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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 900,  May 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 899,  May 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 898,  May 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 897,  May 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 896,  May 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 895,  May 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 894,  May 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 893,  May 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 892,  May 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 891,  May 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 890,  May 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 889,  May 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 888,  May 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 887,  May 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 886,  May 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 885,  May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884,  May 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 881: April 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 880: April 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 879: April 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 878: April 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 877: April 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 876: April 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 875: April 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 874: April 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 865: March 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 864: March 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 863: March 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 862: March 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 861: March 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 860: March 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 859: March 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 858: March 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 857: March 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 856: March 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 855: March 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 854: March 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 853: March 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 852: March 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 851: March 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 850: March 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 849: March 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 848: February 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 847: February 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 846: February 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 845: February 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 844: February 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 843: February 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 842: February 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 841: February 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 840: February 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 839: February 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 838: February 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 837: February 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 836: February 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 835: February 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 834: February 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 833: February 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 832: February 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 831: February 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 830: February 2, 2017

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Story 1: President Trump To 23 Members Of NATO “Pay Your Fair Share” — How Much Does NATO Headquarters Building Cost? American Tax Payers Would Like To Know — About $1, 230,000,000 — Videos —

 

Article 5

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/North_Atlantic_Treaty#Article_5https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/North_Atlantic_Treaty#Article_5

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Trump’s full speech at NATO 9/11 memorial

Amb. Bolton: It would be a mistake for the U.S. to drop NATO

What is NATO?

How Powerful Is NATO?

President Trump arrives at NATO summit in Brussels May 25, 2017.

FULL: President Donald Trump Speech NATO Unveiling Of The Article 5 Berlin Wall Memorials 2017 Trump

FULL Event: NATO meeting in Brussels. President Trump speech at NATO summit. May 25, 2017.

Can NATO Survive Without The U.S.?

Why Germany And Japan Are Expanding Their Militaries

Which Countries Spend The Most On Their Military?

What Are The World’s Most Powerful Militaries?

Which Countries Can Defend Against Nuclear Missiles?

New NATO Headquarters Cost $1.23 Billion

(Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)

BY: Daniel Halper
May 25, 2017 11:15 am

President Trump departed from prepared remarks Thursday to comment on the ostentatious new NATO headquarters in Brussels at a dedication ceremony with world leaders.

“I never asked once what the new NATO headquarters cost,” Trump said, bringing attention to the glass structure. “I refuse to do that, but it is beautiful.”

In fact, the building cost an astounding $1.23 billion, according to a budget released by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Architecture, design, and quality management cost the alliance $129 million alone. Audio visual installations ran $29 million, while construction ran $514 million, the document states.

  • 1,500 personnel from national delegations

  • 1,700 international military and civilian staff

  • 600 staff from NATO agencies

  • frequent visitors, currently some 500 per day

The alliance bragged that the structure is also a “green building for the future.”

“The environment and sustainability have played a major role in the design process. The new building’s energy consumption has been optimized through the use of geothermal and solar energy and advanced lighting systems. Thermal insulation, thermal inertia and solar protection have been incorporated in the design to reduce heating. Rainwater will be used for non-potable water use and the buildings short wings will have green roofs,” the document states.

In his remarks Thursday, Trump took NATO member states to task for not paying their fair share.

“Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they’re supposed to be paying for their defense,” Trump told leaders of the alliance countries.

“This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States — and many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and not paying in those past years. Over the last eight years, the United States spent more on defense than all other NATO countries combined. If all NATO members had spent just 2 percent of their GDP on defense last year, we would have had another $119 billion for our collective defense and for the financing of additional NATO reserves,” he added.

Trump said NATO would be “stronger” in fighting terrorism if member states paid their obligations.

http://freebeacon.com/politics/new-nato-headquarters-cost-1-23-billion/

NATO

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 50°52′34″N 4°25′19″E

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Organisation du Traité de l’Atlantique Nord
NATO OTAN landscape logo.svg

Logo
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (orthographic projection).svg

Member states of NATO
Abbreviation NATO, OTAN
Motto
Flag Flag of NATO.svg
Formation 4 April 1949; 68 years ago
Type Military alliance
Headquarters Brussels, Belgium
Membership
Official language
English
French[2]
Jens Stoltenberg
Petr Pavel
Curtis Scaparrotti
Denis Mercier
Expenses (2015) $866,971 million[3]
Website nato.int

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO/ˈnt/; French: Organisation du Traité de l’Atlantique Nord; OTAN), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmentalmilitary alliance between several North American and European states based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949. The organization constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. Three NATO members (the United States, France and the United Kingdom) are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and are officially nuclear-weapon states. NATO’s headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons.

NATO is an Alliance that consists of 28 independent member countries across North America and Europe, the newest of which, Albania and Croatia, joined in April 2009. An additional 22 countries participate in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programmes. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the global total.[4] Members’ defence spending is supposed to amount to at least 2% of GDP.[5]

NATO was little more than a political association until the Korean War galvanized the organization’s member states, and an integrated military structure was built up under the direction of two US supreme commanders. The course of the Cold War led to a rivalry with nations of the Warsaw Pact, which formed in 1955. Doubts over the strength of the relationship between the European states and the United States ebbed and flowed, along with doubts over the credibility of the NATO defence against a prospective Soviet invasion—doubts that led to the development of the independent French nuclear deterrent and the withdrawal of France from NATO’s military structure in 1966 for 30 years. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the organization became involved in the breakup of Yugoslavia, and conducted its first military interventions in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 and later Yugoslavia in 1999. Politically, the organization sought better relations with former Warsaw Pact countries, several of which joined the alliance in 1999 and 2004.

Article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty, requiring member states to come to the aid of any member state subject to an armed attack, was invoked for the first and only time after the September 11 attacks,[6] after which troops were deployed to Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF. The organization has operated a range of additional roles since then, including sending trainers to Iraq, assisting in counter-piracy operations[7] and in 2011 enforcing a no-fly zoneover Libya in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. The less potent Article 4, which merely invokes consultation among NATO members, has been invoked five times: by Turkey in 2003 over the Iraq War; twice in 2012 by Turkey over the Syrian Civil War, after the downing of an unarmed Turkish F-4 reconnaissance jet, and after a mortar was fired at Turkey from Syria;[8] in 2014 by Poland, following the Russian intervention in Crimea;[9] and again by Turkey in 2015 after threats by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to its territorial integrity.[10]

History

Beginnings

Eleven men in suits stand around a large desk at which another man is signing a document.

The North Atlantic Treaty was signed by President Harry Truman in Washington, D.C., on 4 April 1949 and was ratified by the United States that August.

The Treaty of Brussels, signed on 17 March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom, is considered the precursor to the NATO agreement. The treaty and the Soviet Berlin Blockade led to the creation of the Western European Union‘s Defence Organization in September 1948.[11] However, participation of the United States was thought necessary both to counter the military power of the USSR and to prevent the revival of nationalist militarism. In addition the 1948 Czechoslovak coup d’état by the Communists had overthrown a democratic government and British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin reiterated that the best way to prevent another Czechoslovakia was to evolve a joint Western military strategy. He got a receptive hearing, especially considering American anxiety over Italy (and the Italian Communist Party).[12] In 1948 European leaders met with U.S. defense, military and diplomatic officials at the Pentagon, under U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall‘s orders, exploring a framework for a new and unprecedented association.[13] Talks for a new military alliance resulted in the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed by U.S. President Harry Truman in Washington, D.C. on 4 April 1949. It included the five Treaty of Brussels states plus the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.[14] The first NATO Secretary General, Lord Ismay, stated in 1949 that the organization’s goal was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”.[15] Popular support for the Treaty was not unanimous, and some Icelanders participated in a pro-neutrality, anti-membership riot in March 1949. The creation of NATO can be seen as the primary institutional consequence of a school of thought called Atlanticism which stressed the importance of trans-Atlantic cooperation.[16]

The members agreed that an armed attack against any one of them in Europe or North America would be considered an attack against them all. Consequently, they agreed that, if an armed attack occurred, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence, would assist the member being attacked, taking such action as it deemed necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. The treaty does not require members to respond with military action against an aggressor. Although obliged to respond, they maintain the freedom to choose the method by which they do so. This differs from Article IV of the Treaty of Brussels, which clearly states that the response will be military in nature. It is nonetheless assumed that NATO members will aid the attacked member militarily. The treaty was later clarified to include both the member’s territory and their “vessels, forces or aircraft” above the Tropic of Cancer, including some overseas departments of France.[17]

The creation of NATO brought about some standardization of allied military terminology, procedures, and technology, which in many cases meant European countries adopting US practices. The roughly 1300 Standardization Agreements (STANAG) codified many of the common practices that NATO has achieved. Hence, the 7.62×51mm NATO rifle cartridge was introduced in the 1950s as a standard firearm cartridge among many NATO countries.[18]Fabrique Nationale de Herstal‘s FAL, which used the 7.62mm NATO cartridge, was adopted by 75 countries, including many outside of NATO.[19] Also, aircraft marshalling signals were standardized, so that any NATO aircraft could land at any NATO base. Other standards such as the NATO phonetic alphabet have made their way beyond NATO into civilian use.[20]

Cold War

The outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 was crucial for NATO as it raised the apparent threat of all Communist countries working together, and forced the alliance to develop concrete military plans.[21]Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) was formed to direct forces in Europe, and began work under Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower in January 1951.[22] In September 1950, the NATO Military Committee called for an ambitious buildup of conventional forces to meet the Soviets, subsequently reaffirming this position at the February 1952 meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Lisbon. The Lisbon conference, seeking to provide the forces necessary for NATO’s Long-Term Defence Plan, called for an expansion to ninety-six divisions. However this requirement was dropped the following year to roughly thirty-five divisions with heavier use to be made of nuclear weapons. At this time, NATO could call on about fifteen ready divisions in Central Europe, and another ten in Italy and Scandinavia.[23][24] Also at Lisbon, the post of Secretary General of NATO as the organization’s chief civilian was created, and Lord Ismay was eventually appointed to the post.[25]

Two soldiers crouch under a tree while a tank sits on a road in front of them.

The German Bundeswehr provided the largest element of the allied land forces guarding the frontier in Central Europe.

In September 1952, the first major NATO maritime exercises began; Exercise Mainbrace brought together 200 ships and over 50,000 personnel to practice the defence of Denmark and Norway.[26] Other major exercises that followed included Exercise Grand Slam and Exercise Longstep, naval and amphibious exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, Italic Weld, a combined air-naval-ground exercise in northern Italy, Grand Repulse, involving the British Army on the Rhine (BAOR), the Netherlands Corps and Allied Air Forces Central Europe (AAFCE), Monte Carlo, a simulated atomic air-ground exercise involving the Central Army Group, and Weldfast, a combined amphibious landing exercise in the Mediterranean Sea involving American, British, Greek, Italian and Turkish naval forces.[27]

Greece and Turkey also joined the alliance in 1952, forcing a series of controversial negotiations, in which the United States and Britain were the primary disputants, over how to bring the two countries into the military command structure.[22] While this overt military preparation was going on, covert stay-behind arrangements initially made by the Western European Union to continue resistance after a successful Soviet invasion, including Operation Gladio, were transferred to NATO control. Ultimately unofficial bonds began to grow between NATO’s armed forces, such as the NATO Tiger Association and competitions such as the Canadian Army Trophy for tank gunnery.[28][29]

In 1954, the Soviet Union suggested that it should join NATO to preserve peace in Europe.[30] The NATO countries, fearing that the Soviet Union’s motive was to weaken the alliance, ultimately rejected this proposal.

On 17 December 1954, the North Atlantic Council approved MC 48, a key document in the evolution of NATO nuclear thought. MC 48 emphasized that NATO would have to use atomic weapons from the outset of a war with the Soviet Union whether or not the Soviets chose to use them first. This gave SACEUR the same prerogatives for automatic use of nuclear weapons as existed for the commander-in-chief of the US Strategic Air Command.

The incorporation of West Germany into the organization on 9 May 1955 was described as “a decisive turning point in the history of our continent” by Halvard Lange, Foreign Affairs Minister of Norway at the time.[31] A major reason for Germany’s entry into the alliance was that without German manpower, it would have been impossible to field enough conventional forces to resist a Soviet invasion.[32] One of its immediate results was the creation of the Warsaw Pact, which was signed on 14 May 1955 by the Soviet Union, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, and East Germany, as a formal response to this event, thereby delineating the two opposing sides of the Cold War.

Three major exercises were held concurrently in the northern autumn of 1957. Operation Counter Punch, Operation Strikeback, and Operation Deep Water were the most ambitious military undertaking for the alliance to date, involving more than 250,000 men, 300 ships, and 1,500 aircraft operating from Norway to Turkey.[33]

French withdrawal

A map of France with red and blue markings indicating air force bases as of 1966.

Map of the NATO air bases in France before Charles de Gaulle‘s 1966 withdrawal from NATO military integrated command

NATO’s unity was breached early in its history with a crisis occurring during Charles de Gaulle‘s presidency of France.[34] De Gaulle protested against the USA’s strong role in the organization and what he perceived as a special relationship between it and the United Kingdom. In a memorandum sent to President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan on 17 September 1958, he argued for the creation of a tripartite directorate that would put France on an equal footing with the US and the UK.[35]

Considering the response to be unsatisfactory, de Gaulle began constructing an independent defence force for his country. He wanted to give France, in the event of an East German incursion into West Germany, the option of coming to a separate peace with the Eastern bloc instead of being drawn into a larger NATO–Warsaw Pact war.[36] In February 1959, France withdrew its Mediterranean Fleet from NATO command,[37] and later banned the stationing of foreign nuclear weapons on French soil. This caused the United States to transfer two hundred military aircraft out of France and return control of the air force bases that it had operated in France since 1950 to the French by 1967.

Though France showed solidarity with the rest of NATO during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, de Gaulle continued his pursuit of an independent defence by removing France’s Atlantic and Channel fleets from NATO command.[38] In 1966, all French armed forces were removed from NATO’s integrated military command, and all non-French NATO troops were asked to leave France. US Secretary of State Dean Rusk was later quoted as asking de Gaulle whether his order included “the bodies of American soldiers in France’s cemeteries?”[39] This withdrawal forced the relocation of SHAPE from Rocquencourt, near Paris, to Casteau, north of Mons, Belgium, by 16 October 1967.[40] France remained a member of the alliance, and committed to the defence of Europe from possible Warsaw Pact attack with its own forces stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany throughout the Cold War. A series of secret accords between US and French officials, the Lemnitzer–Ailleret Agreements, detailed how French forces would dovetail back into NATO’s command structure should East-West hostilities break out.[41]

France announced their return to full participation at the 2009 Strasbourg–Kehl summit.[42]

Détente and escalation

Two older men in suits sit next to each other, while a third stands behind leaning in to listen to the right man talk.

Détente led to many high level meetings between leaders from both NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

During most of the Cold War, NATO’s watch against the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact did not actually lead to direct military action. On 1 July 1968, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty opened for signature: NATO argued that its nuclear sharing arrangements did not breach the treaty as US forces controlled the weapons until a decision was made to go to war, at which point the treaty would no longer be controlling. Few states knew of the NATO nuclear sharing arrangements at that time, and they were not challenged. In May 1978, NATO countries officially defined two complementary aims of the Alliance, to maintain security and pursue détente. This was supposed to mean matching defences at the level rendered necessary by the Warsaw Pact’s offensive capabilities without spurring a further arms race.[43]

A map of Europe showing several countries on the left in blue, while ones on the right are in red. Other unaffiliated countries are in white.

During the Cold War, most of Europe was divided between two alliances. Members of NATO are shown in blue, with members of the Warsaw Pact in red, unaffiliated countries are in grey. Yugoslavia, although communist, had left the Soviet sphere in 1948, while Albania was only a Warsaw Pact member until 1968.

On 12 December 1979, in light of a build-up of Warsaw Pact nuclear capabilities in Europe, ministers approved the deployment of US GLCMcruise missiles and Pershing IItheatre nuclear weapons in Europe. The new warheads were also meant to strengthen the western negotiating position regarding nuclear disarmament. This policy was called the Dual Track policy.[44] Similarly, in 1983–84, responding to the stationing of Warsaw PactSS-20 medium-range missiles in Europe, NATO deployed modern Pershing II missiles tasked to hit military targets such as tank formations in the event of war.[45] This action led to peace movement protests throughout Western Europe, and support for the deployment wavered as many doubted whether the push for deployment could be sustained.

The membership of the organization at this time remained largely static. In 1974, as a consequence of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, Greece withdrew its forces from NATO’s military command structure but, with Turkish cooperation, were readmitted in 1980. The Falklands War between the United Kingdom and Argentina did not result in NATO involvement because article 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty specifies that collective self-defence is only applicable to attacks on member state territories north of the Tropic of Cancer.[46] On 30 May 1982, NATO gained a new member when, following a referendum, the newly democratic Spain joined the alliance. At the peak of the Cold War, 16 member nations maintained an approximate strength of 5,252,800 active military, including as many as 435,000 forward deployed US forces, under a command structure that reached a peak of 78 headquarters, organized into four echelons.[47]

After the Cold War

The Revolutions of 1989 and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 removed the de facto main adversary of NATO and caused a strategic re-evaluation of NATO’s purpose, nature, tasks, and their focus on the continent of Europe. This shift started with the 1990 signing in Paris of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe between NATO and the Soviet Union, which mandated specific military reductions across the continent that continued after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991.[48] At that time, European countries accounted for 34 percent of NATO’s military spending; by 2012, this had fallen to 21 percent.[49] NATO also began a gradual expansion to include newly autonomous Central and Eastern Europeannations, and extended its activities into political and humanitarian situations that had not formerly been NATO concerns.

Two men in suits sit signing documents at a large table in front of their country's flags. Two others stand outside watching them.

Reforms made under Mikhail Gorbachev led to the end of the Warsaw Pact.

The first post-Cold War expansion of NATO came with German reunification on 3 October 1990, when the former East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and the alliance. This had been agreed in the Two Plus Four Treaty earlier in the year. To secure Soviet approval of a united Germany remaining in NATO, it was agreed that foreign troops and nuclear weapons would not be stationed in the east, and there are diverging views on whether negotiators gave commitments regarding further NATO expansion east.[50]Jack Matlock, American ambassador to the Soviet Union during its final years, said that the West gave a “clear commitment” not to expand, and declassified documents indicate that Soviet negotiators were given the impression that NATO membership was off the table for countries such as Czechoslovakia, Hungary, or Poland.[51]Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the West German foreign minister at that time, said in a conversation with Eduard Shevardnadze that “[f]or us, however, one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.”[51] In 1996, Gorbachev wrote in his Memoirs, that “during the negotiations on the unification of Germany they gave assurances that NATO would not extend its zone of operation to the east,”[52] and repeated this view in an interview in 2008.[53] According to Robert Zoellick, a State Department official involved in the Two Plus Four negotiating process, this appears to be a misperception, and no formal commitment regarding enlargement was made.[54]

As part of post-Cold War restructuring, NATO’s military structure was cut back and reorganized, with new forces such as the Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps established. The changes brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union on the military balance in Europe were recognized in the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, which was signed in 1999. The policies of French President Nicolas Sarkozy resulted in a major reform of France’s military position, culminating with the return to full membership on 4 April 2009, which also included France rejoining the NATO Military Command Structure, while maintaining an independent nuclear deterrent.[41][55]

Enlargement and reform

A pale yellow building with square columns with three flags hanging in front and soldiers and dignitaries saluting them.

The NATO flag being raised in a ceremony marking Croatia‘s joining of the alliance in 2009.

Between 1994 and 1997, wider forums for regional cooperation between NATO and its neighbors were set up, like the Partnership for Peace, the Mediterranean Dialogueinitiative and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. In 1998, the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council was established. On 8 July 1997, three former communist countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland, were invited to join NATO, which each did in 1999. Membership went on expanding with the accession of seven more Central and Eastern European countries to NATO: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania. They were first invited to start talks of membership during the 2002 Prague summit, and joined NATO on 29 March 2004, shortly before the 2004 Istanbul summit. In Istanbul, NATO launched the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative with four Persian Gulf nations.[56] At that time the decision was criticised in the US by many military, political and academic leaders as a “a policy error of historic proportions.”[57] According to George F. Kennan, an American diplomat and an advocate of the containment policy, this decision “may be expected to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.”[58]

New NATO structures were also formed while old ones were abolished. In 1997, NATO reached agreement on a significant downsizing of its command structure from 65 headquarters to just 20.[59]The NATO Response Force (NRF) was launched at the 2002 Prague summit on 21 November, the first summit in a former Comecon country. On 19 June 2003, a further restructuring of the NATO military commands began as the Headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic were abolished and a new command, Allied Command Transformation (ACT), was established in Norfolk, Virginia, United States, and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) became the Headquarters of Allied Command Operations (ACO). ACT is responsible for driving transformation (future capabilities) in NATO, whilst ACO is responsible for current operations.[60] In March 2004, NATO’s Baltic Air Policing began, which supported the sovereignty of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia by providing jet fighters to react to any unwanted aerial intrusions. Eight multinational jet fighters are based in Lithuania, the number of which was increased from four in 2014.[61]

Two older Caucasian men in black suits and red ties sit facing each other in a room with green, white, and gold trimmed walls.

Meetings between the government of Viktor Yushchenko and NATO leaders led to the Intensified Dialogue programme.

The 2006 Riga summit was held in Riga, Latvia, and highlighted the issue of energy security. It was the first NATO summit to be held in a country that had been part of the Soviet Union. At the April 2008 summit in Bucharest, Romania, NATO agreed to the accession of Croatia and Albania and both countries joined NATO in April 2009. Ukraine and Georgia were also told that they could eventually become members.[62] The issue of Georgian and Ukrainian membership in NATO prompted harsh criticism from Russia, as did NATO plans for a missile defence system. Studies for this system began in 2002, with negotiations centered on anti-ballistic missiles being stationed in Poland and the Czech Republic. Though NATO leaders gave assurances that the system was not targeting Russia, both presidents Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev criticized it as a threat.[63]

In 2009, US President Barack Obama proposed using the ship-based Aegis Combat System, though this plan still includes stations being built in Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Romania, and Poland.[64] NATO will also maintain the “status quo” in its nuclear deterrent in Europe by upgrading the targeting capabilities of the “tactical” B61 nuclear bombs stationed there and deploying them on the stealthier Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.[65][66] Following the 2014 Crimean crisis, NATO committed to forming a new “spearhead” force of 5,000 troops at bases in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria.[67][68] On June 15, 2016, NATO officially recognized cyberwarfare as an operational domain of war, just like land, sea and aerial warfare. This means that any cyber attack on NATO members can trigger Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.[69]

At the 2014 Wales summit, the leaders of NATO’s member states reaffirmed their pledge to spend the equivalent of at least 2% of their gross domestic products on defense.[70] In 2015, five of its 28 members met that goal.[71][72][73]

Military operations

Early operations

No military operations were conducted by NATO during the Cold War. Following the end of the Cold War, the first operations, Anchor Guard in 1990 and Ace Guard in 1991, were prompted by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Airborne early warning aircraft were sent to provide coverage of southeastern Turkey, and later a quick-reaction force was deployed to the area.[74]

Bosnia and Herzegovina intervention

A fighter jet with AV marked on its tail takes off from a mountain runway.

NATO planes engaged in aerial bombardments during Operation Deliberate Force after the Srebrenica massacre.

The Bosnian War began in 1992, as a result of the breakup of Yugoslavia. The deteriorating situation led to United Nations Security Council Resolution 816 on 9 October 1992, ordering a no-fly zone over central Bosnia and Herzegovina, which NATO began enforcing on 12 April 1993 with Operation Deny Flight. From June 1993 until October 1996, Operation Sharp Guard added maritime enforcement of the arms embargo and economic sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 28 February 1994, NATO took its first wartime action by shooting down four Bosnian Serb aircraft violating the no-fly zone.[75]

On 10 and 11 April 1994, during the Bosnian War, the United Nations Protection Force called in air strikes to protect the Goražde safe area, resulting in the bombing of a Bosnian Serb military command outpost near Goražde by two US F-16 jets acting under NATO direction.[76] This resulted in the taking of 150 U.N. personnel hostage on 14 April.[77][78] On 16 April a British Sea Harrier was shot down over Goražde by Serb forces.[79] A two-week NATO bombing campaign, Operation Deliberate Force, began in August 1995 against the Army of the Republika Srpska, after the Srebrenica massacre.[80]

NATO air strikes that year helped bring the Yugoslav wars to an end, resulting in the Dayton Agreement in November 1995.[80] As part of this agreement, NATO deployed a UN-mandated peacekeeping force, under Operation Joint Endeavor, named IFOR. Almost 60,000 NATO troops were joined by forces from non-NATO nations in this peacekeeping mission. This transitioned into the smaller SFOR, which started with 32,000 troops initially and ran from December 1996 until December 2004, when operations were then passed onto European Union Force Althea.[81] Following the lead of its member nations, NATO began to award a service medal, the NATO Medal, for these operations.[82]

Kosovo intervention

Three trucks of soldiers idle on a country road in front of trees and red roofed houses. The rear truck has KFOR painted on is back.

German KFOR soldiers patrol southern Kosovo in 1999

In an effort to stop Slobodan Milošević‘s Serbian-led crackdown on KLA separatists and Albanian civilians in Kosovo, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1199 on 23 September 1998 to demand a ceasefire. Negotiations under US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke broke down on 23 March 1999, and he handed the matter to NATO,[83] which started a 78-day bombing campaign on 24 March 1999.[84] Operation Allied Force targeted the military capabilities of what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. During the crisis, NATO also deployed one of its international reaction forces, the ACE Mobile Force (Land), to Albania as the Albania Force (AFOR), to deliver humanitarian aid to refugees from Kosovo.[85]

Though the campaign was criticized for high civilian casualties, including bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Milošević finally accepted the terms of an international peace plan on 3 June 1999, ending the Kosovo War. On 11 June, Milošević further accepted UN resolution 1244, under the mandate of which NATO then helped establish the KFOR peacekeeping force. Nearly one million refugees had fled Kosovo, and part of KFOR’s mandate was to protect the humanitarian missions, in addition to deterring violence.[85][86] In August–September 2001, the alliance also mounted Operation Essential Harvest, a mission disarming ethnic Albanian militias in the Republic of Macedonia.[87] As of 1 December 2013, 4,882 KFOR soldiers, representing 31 countries, continue to operate in the area.[88]

The US, the UK, and most other NATO countries opposed efforts to require the U.N. Security Council to approve NATO military strikes, such as the action against Serbia in 1999, while France and some others claimed that the alliance needed UN approval.[89] The US/UK side claimed that this would undermine the authority of the alliance, and they noted that Russia and China would have exercised their Security Council vetoes to block the strike on Yugoslavia, and could do the same in future conflicts where NATO intervention was required, thus nullifying the entire potency and purpose of the organization. Recognizing the post-Cold War military environment, NATO adopted the Alliance Strategic Concept during its Washington summit in April 1999 that emphasized conflict prevention and crisis management.[90]

War in Afghanistan

A monumental green copper statue of a woman with a torch stands on an island in front of a mainland where a massive plume of gray smoke billows amongst skyscrapers.

The September 11 attacks in the United States caused NATO to invoke its collective defence article for the first time.

The September 11 attacks in the United States caused NATO to invoke Article 5 of the NATO Charter for the first time in the organization’s history. The Article says that an attack on any member shall be considered to be an attack on all. The invocation was confirmed on 4 October 2001 when NATO determined that the attacks were indeed eligible under the terms of the North Atlantic Treaty.[91] The eight official actions taken by NATO in response to the attacks included Operation Eagle Assist and Operation Active Endeavour, a naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea which is designed to prevent the movement of terrorists or weapons of mass destruction, as well as enhancing the security of shipping in general which began on 4 October 2001.[92]

The alliance showed unity: On 16 April 2003, NATO agreed to take command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which includes troops from 42 countries. The decision came at the request of Germany and the Netherlands, the two nations leading ISAF at the time of the agreement, and all nineteen NATO ambassadors approved it unanimously. The handover of control to NATO took place on 11 August, and marked the first time in NATO’s history that it took charge of a mission outside the north Atlantic area.[93]

A general hands a NATO flag from a soldier on the left to one on the right.

ISAF General David M. Rodriguez at an Italian change of command in Herat.

ISAF was initially charged with securing Kabul and surrounding areas from the Taliban, al Qaeda and factional warlords, so as to allow for the establishment of the Afghan Transitional Administration headed by Hamid Karzai. In October 2003, the UN Security Council authorized the expansion of the ISAF mission throughout Afghanistan,[94] and ISAF subsequently expanded the mission in four main stages over the whole of the country.[95]

On 31 July 2006, the ISAF additionally took over military operations in the south of Afghanistan from a US-led anti-terrorism coalition.[96] Due to the intensity of the fighting in the south, in 2011 France allowed a squadron of Mirage 2000 fighter/attack aircraft to be moved into the area, to Kandahar, in order to reinforce the alliance’s efforts.[97] During its 2012 Chicago Summit, NATO endorsed a plan to end the Afghanistan war and to remove the NATO-led ISAF Forces by the end of December 2014.[98] ISAF was disestablished in December 2014 and replaced by the follow-on training Resolute Support Mission.

Iraq training mission

In August 2004, during the Iraq War, NATO formed the NATO Training Mission – Iraq, a training mission to assist the Iraqi security forces in conjunction with the US ledMNF-I.[99] The NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) was established at the request of the Iraqi Interim Government under the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546. The aim of NTM-I was to assist in the development of Iraqi security forces training structures and institutions so that Iraq can build an effective and sustainable capability that addresses the needs of the nation. NTM-I was not a combat mission but is a distinct mission, under the political control of NATO’s North Atlantic Council. Its operational emphasis was on training and mentoring. The activities of the mission were coordinated with Iraqi authorities and the US-led Deputy Commanding General Advising and Training, who was also dual-hatted as the Commander of NTM-I. The mission officially concluded on 17 December 2011.[100]

Gulf of Aden anti-piracy

A tall plume of black smoke rises from the blue ocean waters next to a large gray battleship and a small black inflatable boat.

USS Farragut destroying a Somali pirate skiff in March 2010

Beginning on 17 August 2009, NATO deployed warships in an operation to protect maritime traffic in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean from Somali pirates, and help strengthen the navies and coast guards of regional states. The operation was approved by the North Atlantic Council and involves warships primarily from the United States though vessels from many other nations are also included. Operation Ocean Shield focuses on protecting the ships of Operation Allied Provider which are distributing aid as part of the World Food Programme mission in Somalia. Russia, China and South Korea have sent warships to participate in the activities as well.[101][102] The operation seeks to dissuade and interrupt pirate attacks, protect vessels, and abetting to increase the general level of security in the region.[103]

Libya intervention

During the Libyan Civil War, violence between protestors and the Libyan government under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi escalated, and on 17 March 2011 led to the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which called for a ceasefire, and authorized military action to protect civilians. A coalition that included several NATO members began enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya shortly afterwards. On 20 March 2011, NATO states agreed on enforcing an arms embargo against Libya with Operation Unified Protector using ships from NATO Standing Maritime Group 1 and Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 1,[104] and additional ships and submarines from NATO members.[105] They would “monitor, report and, if needed, interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries“.[104]

Pieces of a destroyed tank, notably the gun turret, lie on a sandy landscape.

Libyan Army Palmaria howitzers destroyed by the French Air Force near Benghazi in March 2011

On 24 March, NATO agreed to take control of the no-fly zone from the initial coalition, while command of targeting ground units remained with the coalition’s forces.[106][107] NATO began officially enforcing the UN resolution on 27 March 2011 with assistance from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.[108] By June, reports of divisions within the alliance surfaced as only eight of the 28 member nations were participating in combat operations,[109] resulting in a confrontation between US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and countries such as Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Germany to contribute more, the latter believing the organization has overstepped its mandate in the conflict.[110][111][112] In his final policy speech in Brussels on 10 June, Gates further criticized allied countries in suggesting their actions could cause the demise of NATO.[113] The German foreign ministry pointed to “a considerable [German] contribution to NATO and NATO-led operations” and to the fact that this engagement was highly valued by President Obama.[114]

While the mission was extended into September, Norway that day announced it would begin scaling down contributions and complete withdrawal by 1 August.[115] Earlier that week it was reported Danish air fighters were running out of bombs.[116][117] The following week, the head of the Royal Navy said the country’s operations in the conflict were not sustainable.[118] By the end of the mission in October 2011, after the death of Colonel Gaddafi, NATO planes had flown about 9,500 strike sorties against pro-Gaddafi targets.[119][120] A report from the organization Human Rights Watch in May 2012 identified at least 72 civilians killed in the campaign.[121] Following a coup d’état attempt in October 2013, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan requested technical advice and trainers from NATO to assist with ongoing security issues.[122]

Participating countries

Map of NATO affiliations in Europe Map of NATO partnerships globally
A map of Europe with countries in blue, cyan, orange, and yellow based on their NATO affiliation. A world map with countries in blue, cyan, orange, yellow, purple, and green, based on their NATO affiliation.

Members

Twelve men in black suits stand talking in small groups under a backdrop with the words Lisbonne and Lisboa.

NATO organizes regular summits for leaders of their members states and partnerships.

NATO has twenty-eight members, mainly in Europe and North America. Some of these countries also have territory on multiple continents, which can be covered only as far south as the Tropic of Cancer in the Atlantic Ocean, which defines NATO’s “area of responsibility” under Article 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty. During the original treaty negotiations, the United States insisted that colonies such as the Belgian Congo be excluded from the treaty.[123][124]French Algeria was however covered until their independence on 3 July 1962.[125] Twelve of these twenty-eight are original members who joined in 1949, while the other sixteen joined in one of seven enlargement rounds. Few members spend more than two percent of their gross domestic product on defence,[126] with the United States accounting for three quarters of NATO defense spending.[127]

From the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s, France pursued a military strategy of independence from NATO under a policy dubbed “Gaullo-Mitterrandism”.[citation needed]Nicolas Sarkozy negotiated the return of France to the integrated military command and the Defence Planning Committee in 2009, the latter being disbanded the following year. France remains the only NATO member outside the Nuclear Planning Group and unlike the United States and the United Kingdom, will not commit its nuclear-armed submarines to the alliance.[41][55]

Enlargement

A map of Europe with countries labeled in shades of blue, green, and yellow based on when they joined NATO.

NATO has added 12 new members since the German reunification and the end of the Cold War.

New membership in the alliance has been largely from Central and Eastern Europe, including former members of the Warsaw Pact. Accession to the alliance is governed with individual Membership Action Plans, and requires approval by each current member. NATO currently has three candidate countries that are in the process of joining the alliance: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and the Republic of Macedonia. On 2 December 2015, NATO Foreign Ministers decided to invite Montenegro to start accession talks to become the 29th member of the Alliance.[128] On 28 April 2017 the Montenegro’s parliament ratified the accession treaty, and as of that date 27 of 28 NATO members had approved Montenegro’s accession, with Spain’s parliament expected to act in May 2017.[129] In NATO official statements, the Republic of Macedonia is always referred to as the “former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, with a footnote stating that “Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name”. Though Macedonia completed its requirements for membership at the same time as Croatia and Albania, NATO’s most recent members, its accession was blocked by Greece pending a resolution of the Macedonia naming dispute.[130] In order to support each other in the process, new and potential members in the region formed the Adriatic Charter in 2003.[131]Georgia was also named as an aspiring member, and was promised “future membership” during the 2008 summit in Bucharest,[132] though in 2014, US President Barack Obama said the country was not “currently on a path” to membership.[133]

Russia continues to oppose further expansion, seeing it as inconsistent with understandings between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and European and American negotiators that allowed for a peaceful German reunification.[51] NATO’s expansion efforts are often seen by Moscow leaders as a continuation of a Cold War attempt to surround and isolate Russia,[134] though they have also been criticised in the West.[135]Ukraine‘s relationship with NATO and Europe has been politically divisive, and contributed to “Euromaidan” protests that saw the ousting of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. In March 2014, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk reiterated the government’s stance that Ukraine is not seeking NATO membership.[136] Ukraine’s president subsequently signed a bill dropping his nation’s nonaligned status in order to pursue NATO membership, but signaled that it would hold a referendum before seeking to join.[137] Ukraine is one of eight countries in Eastern Europe with an Individual Partnership Action Plan. IPAPs began in 2002, and are open to countries that have the political will and ability to deepen their relationship with NATO.[138]

Partnerships

Hundreds of soldiers in military uniforms stand behind a line on a tarmac with 14 flags held by individuals at the front.

Partnership for Peace conducts multinational military exercises like Cooperative Archer, which took place in Tblisi in July 2007 with 500 servicemen from four NATO members, eight PfP members, and Jordan, a Mediterranean Dialogue participant.[139]

The Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme was established in 1994 and is based on individual bilateral relations between each partner country and NATO: each country may choose the extent of its participation.[140] Members include all current and former members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.[141] The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) was first established on 29 May 1997, and is a forum for regular coordination, consultation and dialogue between all fifty participants.[142] The PfP programme is considered the operational wing of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership.[140] Other third countries also have been contacted for participation in some activities of the PfP framework such as Afghanistan.[143]

The European Union (EU) signed a comprehensive package of arrangements with NATO under the Berlin Plus agreement on 16 December 2002. With this agreement, the EU was given the possibility to use NATO assets in case it wanted to act independently in an international crisis, on the condition that NATO itself did not want to act—the so-called “right of first refusal“.[144] For example, Article 42(7) of the 1982 Treaty of Lisbon specifies that “If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power”. The treaty applies globally to specified territories whereas NATO is restricted under its Article 6 to operations north of the Tropic of Cancer. It provides a “double framework” for the EU countries that are also linked with the PfP programme.

Additionally, NATO cooperates and discusses its activities with numerous other non-NATO members. The Mediterranean Dialogue was established in 1994 to coordinate in a similar way with Israel and countries in North Africa. The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative was announced in 2004 as a dialog forum for the Middle East along the same lines as the Mediterranean Dialogue. The four participants are also linked through the Gulf Cooperation Council.[145]

Political dialogue with Japan began in 1990, and since then, the Alliance has gradually increased its contact with countries that do not form part of any of these cooperation initiatives.[146] In 1998, NATO established a set of general guidelines that do not allow for a formal institutionalisation of relations, but reflect the Allies’ desire to increase cooperation. Following extensive debate, the term “Contact Countries” was agreed by the Allies in 2000. By 2012, the Alliance had broadened this group, which meets to discuss issues such as counter-piracy and technology exchange, under the names “partners across the globe” or “global partners”.[147][148]Australia and New Zealand, both contact countries, are also members of the AUSCANNZUKUS strategic alliance, and similar regional or bilateral agreements between contact countries and NATO members also aid cooperation. Colombia is the NATO’s latest partner and Colombia has access to the full range of cooperative activities NATO offers to partners; Colombia became the first and only Latin American country to cooperate with NATO.[149]

Structures

Two gray haired older men talk with a soldier wearing camouflage and a green beret who is facing away.

Secretary General of NATOJens Stoltenberg (right) and his predecessor, Anders Fogh Rasmussen (left), talk with members of the Norwegian army’s Telemark Battalion in Oslo.

The main headquarters of NATO is located on Boulevard Léopold III/Leopold III-laan, B-1110 Brussels, which is in Haren, part of the City of Brussels municipality.[150] A new €750 million headquarters building began construction in 2010, was completed in summer 2016,[151] and was dedicated on 25 May 2017.[152] Problems in the original building stemmed from its hurried construction in 1967, when NATO was forced to move its headquarters from Porte Dauphine in Paris, France following the French withdrawal.[153][40]

The staff at the Headquarters is composed of national delegations of member countries and includes civilian and military liaison offices and officers or diplomatic missions and diplomats of partner countries, as well as the International Staff and International Military Staff filled from serving members of the armed forces of member states.[154] Non-governmental citizens’ groups have also grown up in support of NATO, broadly under the banner of the Atlantic Council/Atlantic Treaty Association movement.

NATO Council

Like any alliance, NATO is ultimately governed by its 28 member states. However, the North Atlantic Treaty and other agreements outline how decisions are to be made within NATO. Each of the 28 members sends a delegation or mission to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.[155] The senior permanent member of each delegation is known as the Permanent Representative and is generally a senior civil servant or an experienced ambassador (and holding that diplomatic rank). Several countries have diplomatic missions to NATO through embassies in Belgium.

Together, the Permanent Members form the North Atlantic Council (NAC), a body which meets together at least once a week and has effective governance authority and powers of decision in NATO. From time to time the Council also meets at higher level meetings involving foreign ministers, defence ministers or heads of state or government (HOSG) and it is at these meetings that major decisions regarding NATO’s policies are generally taken. However, it is worth noting that the Council has the same authority and powers of decision-making, and its decisions have the same status and validity, at whatever level it meets. France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States are together referred to as the Quint, which is an informal discussion group within NATO. NATO summits also form a further venue for decisions on complex issues, such as enlargement.[156]

The meetings of the North Atlantic Council are chaired by the Secretary General of NATO and, when decisions have to be made, action is agreed upon on the basis of unanimity and common accord. There is no voting or decision by majority. Each nation represented at the Council table or on any of its subordinate committees retains complete sovereignty and responsibility for its own decisions.

List of Secretaries General[157]
# Name Country Duration
1 Lord Ismay  United Kingdom 4 April 1952 – 16 May 1957
2 Paul-Henri Spaak  Belgium 16 May 1957 – 21 April 1961
3 Dirk Stikker  Netherlands 21 April 1961 – 1 August 1964
4 Manlio Brosio  Italy 1 August 1964 – 1 October 1971
5 Joseph Luns  Netherlands 1 October 1971 – 25 June 1984
6 Lord Carrington  United Kingdom 25 June 1984 – 1 July 1988
7 Manfred Wörner  Germany 1 July 1988 – 13 August 1994
Sergio Balanzino  Italy 13 August 1994 – 17 October 1994
8 Willy Claes  Belgium 17 October 1994 – 20 October 1995
Sergio Balanzino  Italy 20 October 1995 – 5 December 1995
9 Javier Solana  Spain 5 December 1995 – 6 October 1999
10 Lord Robertson  United Kingdom 14 October 1999 – 17 December 2003
Alessandro Minuto-Rizzo  Italy 17 December 2003 – 1 January 2004
11 Jaap de Hoop Scheffer  Netherlands 1 January 2004 – 1 August 2009
12 Anders Fogh Rasmussen  Denmark 1 August 2009 – 30 September 2014
13 Jens Stoltenberg  Norway 1 October 2014 – present
List of Deputy Secretaries General[158]
# Name Country Duration
1 Jonkheer van Vredenburch  Netherlands 1952–1956
2 Baron Adolph Bentinck  Netherlands 1956–1958
3 Alberico Casardi  Italy 1958–1962
4 Guido Colonna di Paliano  Italy 1962–1964
5 James A. Roberts  Canada 1964–1968
6 Osman Olcay  Turkey 1969–1971
7 Paolo Pansa Cedronio  Italy 1971–1978
8 Rinaldo Petrignani  Italy 1978–1981
9 Eric da Rin  Italy 1981–1985
10 Marcello Guidi  Italy 1985–1989
11 Amedeo de Franchis  Italy 1989–1994
12 Sergio Balanzino  Italy 1994–2001
13 Alessandro Minuto Rizzo  Italy 2001–2007
14 Claudio Bisogniero  Italy 2007–2012
15 Alexander Vershbow  United States 2012–2016
16 Rose Gottemoeller  United States 2016–present
Acting Secretary General

NATO Parliamentary Assembly

A large baroque yellow and gold room with a stage on the left and long tables filled with men and women in suits on the right.

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly, an intergovernmental organization of NATO and associate countries’ elected representatives, meets in London prior to the start of the 2014 Newport summit.

The body that sets broad strategic goals for NATO is the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO-PA) which meets at the Annual Session, and one other during the year, and is the organ that directly interacts with the parliamentary structures of the national governments of the member states which appoint Permanent Members, or ambassadors to NATO. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is made up of legislators from the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance as well as thirteen associate members. Karl A. Lamers, German Deputy Chairman of the Defence Committee of the Bundestag and a member of the Christian Democratic Union, became president of the assembly in 2010.[159] It is however officially a different structure from NATO, and has as aim to join together deputies of NATO countries in order to discuss security policies on the NATO Council.

The Assembly is the political integration body of NATO that generates political policy agenda setting for the NATO Council via reports of its five committees:

  • Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security
  • Defence and Security Committee
  • Economics and Security Committee
  • Political Committee
  • Science and Technology Committee

These reports provide impetus and direction as agreed upon by the national governments of the member states through their own national political processes and influencers to the NATO administrative and executive organizational entities.

Military structures

An older man with a gray beard, red beret, and olive green military suit.

Petr Pavel (right), of the Czech Republic, has been Chairman of the NATO Military Committee since 2015

NATO’s military operations are directed by the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, and split into two Strategic Commands commanded by a senior US officer and (currently) a senior French officer[160] assisted by a staff drawn from across NATO. The Strategic Commanders are responsible to the Military Committee for the overall direction and conduct of all Alliance military matters within their areas of command.[60]

Each country’s delegation includes a Military Representative, a senior officer from each country’s armed forces, supported by the International Military Staff. Together the Military Representatives form the Military Committee, a body responsible for recommending to NATO’s political authorities those measures considered necessary for the common defence of the NATO area. Its principal role is to provide direction and advice on military policy and strategy. It provides guidance on military matters to the NATO Strategic Commanders, whose representatives attend its meetings, and is responsible for the overall conduct of the military affairs of the Alliance under the authority of the Council.[161] The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee is Petr Pavel of the Czech Republic, since 2015.

Like the Council, from time to time the Military Committee also meets at a higher level, namely at the level of Chiefs of Defence, the most senior military officer in each nation’s armed forces. Until 2008 the Military Committee excluded France, due to that country’s 1966 decision to remove itself from the NATO Military Command Structure, which it rejoined in 1995. Until France rejoined NATO, it was not represented on the Defence Planning Committee, and this led to conflicts between it and NATO members.[162] Such was the case in the lead up to Operation Iraqi Freedom.[163] The operational work of the Committee is supported by the International Military Staff.

Three soldiers in camouflage stand in salute while a fourth raises a blue and white flag on a red and white striped flagpole.

NATO flag raising at opening of Exercise Steadfast Jazz at Drawsko Pomorskie in Poland in November 2013.

The structure of NATO evolved throughout the Cold War and its aftermath. An integrated military structure for NATO was first established in 1950 as it became clear that NATO would need to enhance its defences for the longer term against a potential Soviet attack. In April 1951, Allied Command Europe and its headquarters (SHAPE) were established; later, four subordinate headquarters were added in Northern and Central Europe, the Southern Region, and the Mediterranean.[164]

From the 1950s to 2003, the Strategic Commanders were the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT). The current arrangement is to separate responsibility between Allied Command Transformation (ACT), responsible for transformation and training of NATO forces, and Allied Command Operations (ACO), responsible for NATO operations worldwide.[165] Starting in late 2003 NATO has restructured how it commands and deploys its troops by creating several NATO Rapid Deployable Corps, including Eurocorps, I. German/Dutch Corps, Multinational Corps Northeast, and NATO Rapid Deployable Italian Corps among others, as well as naval High Readiness Forces (HRFs), which all report to Allied Command Operations.[166]

In early 2015, in the wake of the War in Donbass, meetings of NATO ministers decided that Multinational Corps Northeast would be augmented so as to develop greater capabilities, to, if thought necessary, prepare to defend the Baltic States, and that a new Multinational Division Southeast would be established in Romania. Six NATO Force Integration Units would also be established to coordinate preparations for defence of new Eastern members of NATO.[167]

Multinational Division Southeast was activated on December 1, 2015.[168]

During August 2016 it was announced that 650 soldiers of the British Army would be deployed on an enduring basis in Eastern Europe, mainly in Estonia with some also being deployed to Poland.[169] This British deployment forms part of a four-battle group (four-battalion) deployment by various allies, NATO Enhanced Forward Presence, one each spread from Poland (the Poland-deployed battle group mostly led by the U.S.) to Estonia.

Criticism and controversy

Goals

While the original goal of NATO was clear – to defend Western Europe from Soviet influence – its post-Soviet goals have long been debated. Members of all participating countries have often noted that the United States spends more on the organization than all other members combined. According to the Huffington Post in 2017: “… it can’t be argued that NATO has served American interests since 1991. For the last 15 years, the U.S. has been engaged in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Muslim countries. … NATO is a military alliance and one of its members, the United States, has been involved in wars for 15 years.” However, not all US-led invasions have received automatic support. After Article 5 was invoked for the first and only time due to the September 11 attacks, the NATO members showed support for an invasion of Afghanistan but not for one of Iraq. While some countries independently aided the US in Iraq (such as the United Kingdom and the Netherlands), others like France and Germany refused. Furthermore, countries had no obligation in terms of numbers and involvement regarding Afghanistan. As such, any country in the alliance was free to contribute whatever served their interests best. The Post article refers to the group as “a group of sovereign nations that will respond to American requests as they see fit”, as well as having “devolved into bilateral relations between the U.S. and each NATO member”.[170]

Opponents have described the organization as a “quasi-imperial, militaristic force” and fear that it’s likely to create problems rather than solve them. Pew Research Center‘s 2016 survey among its member states showed that while most countries viewed NATO positively, most NATO members preferred keeping their military spending the same. The response to whether their country should militarily aid another NATO country if it were to get into a serious military conflict with Russia was also mixed. Only in the US and Canada did more than 50% of the people answer that they should.[171]

See also

References

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

North Atlantic Treaty

Washington D.C. – 4 April 1949The Parties to this Treaty reaffirm their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and their desire to live in peace with all peoples and all governments.

They are determined to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilisation of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. They seek to promote stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area.

They are resolved to unite their efforts for collective defence and for the preservation of peace and security. They therefore agree to this North Atlantic Treaty :

Article 1

The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.

Article 2

The Parties will contribute toward the further development of peaceful and friendly international relations by strengthening their free institutions, by bringing about a better understanding of the principles upon which these institutions are founded, and by promoting conditions of stability and well-being. They will seek to eliminate conflict in their international economic policies and will encourage economic collaboration between any or all of them.

Article 3

In order more effectively to achieve the objectives of this Treaty, the Parties, separately and jointly, by means of continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid, will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.

Article 4

The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.

Article 5

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

Article 6

[1]For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:

  • on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France [2], on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;
  • on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.

Article 7

This Treaty does not affect, and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations under the Charter of the Parties which are members of the United Nations, or the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Article 8

Each Party declares that none of the international engagements now in force between it and any other of the Parties or any third State is in conflict with the provisions of this Treaty, and undertakes not to enter into any international engagement in conflict with this Treaty.

Article 9

The Parties hereby establish a Council, on which each of them shall be represented, to consider matters concerning the implementation of this Treaty. The Council shall be so organised as to be able to meet promptly at any time. The Council shall set up such subsidiary bodies as may be necessary; in particular it shall establish immediately a defence committee which shall recommend measures for the implementation of Articles 3 and 5.

Article 10

The Parties may, by unanimous agreement, invite any other European State in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area to accede to this Treaty. Any State so invited may become a Party to the Treaty by depositing its instrument of accession with the Government of the United States of America. The Government of the United States of America will inform each of the Parties of the deposit of each such instrument of accession.

Article 11

This Treaty shall be ratified and its provisions carried out by the Parties in accordance with their respective constitutional processes. The instruments of ratification shall be deposited as soon as possible with the Government of the United States of America, which will notify all the other signatories of each deposit. The Treaty shall enter into force between the States which have ratified it as soon as the ratifications of the majority of the signatories, including the ratifications of Belgium, Canada, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States, have been deposited and shall come into effect with respect to other States on the date of the deposit of their ratifications. [3]

Article 12

After the Treaty has been in force for ten years, or at any time thereafter, the Parties shall, if any of them so requests, consult together for the purpose of reviewing the Treaty, having regard for the factors then affecting peace and security in the North Atlantic area, including the development of universal as well as regional arrangements under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Article 13

After the Treaty has been in force for twenty years, any Party may cease to be a Party one year after its notice of denunciation has been given to the Government of the United States of America, which will inform the Governments of the other Parties of the deposit of each notice of denunciation.

Article 14

This Treaty, of which the English and French texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives of the Government of the United States of America. Duly certified copies will be transmitted by that Government to the Governments of other signatories.

Footnotes

  1. Jump up The definition of the territories to which Article 5 applies was revised by Article 2 of the Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty on the accession of Greece and Turkey signed on 22 October 1951.
  2. Jump up On 16 January 1963, the North Atlantic Council noted that insofar as the former Algerian Departments of France were concerned, the relevant clauses of this Treaty had become inapplicable as from 3 July 1962.
  3. Jump up Treaty came into force on 24 August 1949, after the deposition of the ratifications of all signatory states.

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/North_Atlantic_Treaty#Article_5

Story 2: NSA Violate The Fourth Amendment Rights of American Citizens — Spying Without Warrants — Nothing New — Congress Will Do Nothing As Usual — Videos 

Image result for NSA buildingsImage result for NSA Spying on Americans without warrants

Image result for NSA buildings

OBAMA SECRETLY CONDUCTED ILLEGAL SEARCHES ON AMERICANS FOR YEARS

Published on May 24, 2017

The National Security Agency, under Obama, routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts, and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Trump was elected president last fall (according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community).

More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database, violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011.

The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.

The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.

The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans.

Circa has reported that there was a three-fold increase in NSA data searches about Americans and a rise in the unmasking of U.S. person’s identities in intelligence reports after Obama loosened the privacy rules in 2011.

Officials like former National Security Adviser Susan Rice have argued their activities were legal under the so-called minimization rule changes Obama made, and that the intelligence agencies were strictly monitored to avoid abuses.

The intelligence court and the NSA’s own internal watchdog found that not to be true.
“Since 2011, NSA’s minimization procedures have prohibited use of U.S.-person identifiers to query the results of upstream Internet collections under Section 702,” the unsealed court ruling declared. “The Oct. 26, 2016 notice informed the court that NSA analysts had been conducting such queries in violation of that prohibition, with much greater frequency than had been previously disclosed to the Court.”

The American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself and safeguard American’s privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.
“I think what this emphasizes is the shocking lack of oversight of these programs,” said Neema Singh Guliani, the ACLU’s legislative counsel in Washington.

“You have these problems going on for years that only come to the attention of the court late in the game and then it takes additional years to change its practices.

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Judge Napolitano on a report that the NSA conducted illegal searches under Obama

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The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.

More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.

The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.

WATCH |  Circa’s Sara Carter looks at a classified document from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.

The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans.

The FISA court opinion

Circa has reported that there was a three-fold increase in NSA data searches about Americans and a rise in the unmasking of U.S. person’s identities in intelligence reports after Obama loosened the privacy rules in 2011.

Officials like former National Security Adviser Susan Rice have argued their activities were legal under the so-called minimization rule changes Obama made, and that the intelligence agencies were strictly monitored to avoid abuses.

The intelligence court and the NSA’s own internal watchdog found that not to be true.

“Since 2011, NSA’s minimization procedures have prohibited use of U.S.-person identifiers to query the results of upstream Internet collections under Section 702,” the unsealed court ruling declared. “The Oct. 26, 2016 notice informed the court that NSA analysts had been conducting such queries inviolation of that prohibition, with much greater frequency than had been previously disclosed to the Court.”

Speaking Wednesday on Fox News, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said there was an apparent effort under the Obama Administration to increase the number of unmaskings of Americans.

“If we determine this to be true, this is an enormous abuse of power,” Paul said. “This will dwarf all other stories.”

“There are hundreds and hundreds of people,” Paul added.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself and safeguard American’s privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.

“I think what this emphasizes is the shocking lack of oversight of these programs,” said Neema Singh Guliani, the ACLU’s legislative counsel in Washington.

“You have these problems going on for years that only come to the attention of the court late in the game and then it takes additional years to change its practices.

“I think it does call into question all those defenses that we kept hearing, that we always have a robust oversight structure and we have culture of adherence to privacy standards,” she added. “And the headline now is they actually haven’t been in compliacne for years and the FISA court itself says in its opinion is that the NSA suffers from a culture of a lack of candor.”

The NSA acknowledged it self-disclosed the mass violations to the court last fall and that in April it took the extraordinary step of suspending the type of searches that were violating the rules, even deleting prior collected data on Americans to avoid any further violations.

“NSA will no longer collect certain internet communications that merely mention a foreign intelligence target,” the agency said in the statement that was dated April 28 and placed on its Web site without capturing much media or congressional attention.

In question is the collection of what is known as upstream “about data”about an American that is collected even though they were not directly in contact with a foreigner that the NSA was legally allowed to intercept.

The NSA said it doesn’t have the ability to stop collecting ‘about’ information on Americans, “without losing some other important data. ” It, however, said it would stop the practice to “reduce the chance that it would acquire communication of U.S. persons or others who are not in direct contact with a foreign intelligence target.”

The NSA said it also plans to “delete the vast majority of its upstream internet data to further protect the privacy of U.S. person communications.”

Agency officials called the violations “inadvertent compliance lapses.” But the court and IG documents suggest the NSA had not developed a technological way to comply with the rules they had submitted to the court in 2011.

Officials “explained that NSA query compliance is largely maintained through a series of manual checks” and had not “included the proper limiters” to prevent unlawful searches, the NSA internal watchdog reported in a top secret report in January that was just declassified. A new system is being developed now, officials said.

The NSA conducts thousand of searches a year on data involving Americans and the actual numbers of violations were redacted from the documents Circa reviewed.

But a chart in the report showed there three types of violations, the most frequent being 5.2 percent of the time when NSA Section 702 upstream data on U.S. persons was searched.

The inspector general also found  noncompliance between 0.7 percent and 1.4 percent of the time involving NSA activities in which there was a court order to target an American for spying  but the rules were still not followed. Those activities are known as Section 704 and Section 705 spying.

Review | The NSA inspector general’s highly redacted chart showing privacy violations.

The IG report spared few words for the NSA’s efforts before the disclosure to ensure it was complying with practices, some that date to rules issued in 2008 in the final days of the Bush administration and others that Obama put into effect in 2011.

“We found that the Agency controls for monitoring query compliance have not been completely developed,” the inspector general reported, citing problems ranging from missing requirements for documentation to the failure to complete controls that would ensure “query compliance.”

 

Obama’s NSA rebuked for snooping on Americans; journo says it proves wide pattern

The secret court that oversees government snooping took the Obama administration to task late last year, suggesting it created “a very serious Fourth Amendment issue” by violating rules the government itself had implemented regarding the surveillance of Americans.

According to top-secret documents made public by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court – often referred to as the FISA court – the government admitted that, just days before the 2016 election, NSA analysts were violating surveillance rules on a regular basis. This pattern of overreach, coupled with the timing of the government’s disclosure, resulted in an unusually harsh rebuke of the administration’s practices and principles.

A former CBS journalist suing the federal government for allegedly spying on her said the documents prove the illegal snooping was pervasive and widely abused.

POTENTIAL ‘SMOKING GUN’ SHOWING OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SPIED ON TRUMP TEAM, SOURCE SAYS

“Sources of mine have indicated that political players have increasingly devised premises to gather intel on political targets by wrapping them up in ‘incidental’ collection of foreigners, as if by accident,” Sharyl Attkisson, who is pursuing a federal lawsuit the Department of Justice has tried to dismiss, told the Fox News Investigative Unit.

According to the FISA Court opinion, it was on September 26, 2016 that the government submitted an undisclosed number of “certifications” for the court to review. The review process was supposed to be completed within 30 days, or by October 26, 2016.

Just two days before that review was to be completed – and less than two weeks before the 2016 election – the government informed the court that NSA analysts had been violating rules, established in 2011, designed to protect the internet communications of Americans.

The NSA has suggested these were “inadvertent compliance lapses,” and points out that the agency “self-reported” these problems, meaning they were the ones to bring this issue to the attention of the court.

There was just one problem.

The violations that the government disclosed on October 24, 2016, were based on a report from the NSA’s Inspector General that had been released 10 months earlier, in January 2016. This means that when the government submitted its certifications for review in September, they were likely aware of that IG report – but failed to mention the malpractice going on at the NSA.

The Court at the time blamed an institutional “lack of candor” for the government’s failure to disclose that information weeks earlier, and gave the government until April 28, 2017, to come up with a solution. After failing to come to an agreement, the NSA announced that it was stopping the type of surveillance in question.

The so-called “lapses” among NSA staffers had to do with Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the “upstream” surveillance of what the intelligence community refers to as “about” communications.

REPORT: OBAMA LIED AND OBAMA SPIED

According to the NSA, Section 702 “allows the intelligence community to conduct surveillance on only specific foreign targets located outside the United States to collect foreign intelligence, including intelligence needed in the fight against international terrorism and cyber threats.”

Upstream surveillance, according to the ACLU, was first disclosed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, and “involves the NSA’s bulk interception and searching of Americans’ international internet communications — including emails, chats, and web-browsing traffic.”

Until the NSA stopped it, the “upstream” snooping program notified them directly if someone inside the U.S. composed an email that contained the email address of a foreign intelligence agent who was being monitored. According to an NSA declaration reportedly made during the Bush administration, these communications did not have to be to or from the foreign agent, they simply had to mention the email address.

According to the FISA Court documents just made public, the notifications sent to the NSA often led to the unmasking of American citizens caught up in monitoring. And as the court pointed out, many of the requests being made to unmask the Americans taking part in these communications were in direct violation of safeguards established by the Obama administration.

According to the FISA Court documents, so-called “minimization procedures” adopted in 2011 to curb unlawful surveillance “have prohibited use of U.S.-person identifiers to query the results of upstream Internet collections under Section 702.”

And, according to the government’s October 26, 2016 admission, “NSA analysts had been conducting such queries in violation of that prohibition, with much greater frequency than had been previously disclosed.”

The suspended surveillance program has been a target of fierce criticism from Republican and Democratic lawmakers, as well as journalists and even Snowden.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, told Fox & Friends on Wednesday that the “terrible” program was basically “a back doorway to sort of get at Americans’ privacy without using a warrant.”

When the NSA announced it was stopping certain Section 702 activities, Senate Intelligence Committee member Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, said he had raised concerns for years “that this amounted to an end run around the Fourth Amendment.”

Snowden tweeted that the NSA’s actions represented “the most substantive of the post-2013 NSA reforms, if the principle is applied to all other programs.”

Attkisson, who sued to determine who had access to a government IP address that she says was discovered on her CBS work computer during a forensics exam, said she’s concerned the truth will never come out.

“I’m told by sources that it should only take a day or a week, at most, for the intel community to provide [lawmakers with] the details of which Americans, journalists and public officials were ‘incidentally’ surveilled, which ones were unmasked, who requested the unmaskings, when, and for what supposed purpose,” Attkisson said. “Yet months have gone by. I’m afraid that as time passes, any evidence becomes less likely to persist.”

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/05/25/obama-s-nsa-rebuked-for-snooping-on-americans-journo-says-it-proves-wide-pattern.html

Release of 2015 Section 702 Minimization Procedures

August 11, 2016

Today the ODNI, in consultation with the Department of Justice, is releasing in redacted form the current Section 702 Minimization Procedures, as updated in 2015, in keeping with the Principles of Intelligence Transparency for the Intelligence Community.  These procedures are intended to protect the privacy and civil liberties of U.S. persons, as required by the Fourth Amendment and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, in connection with the foreign intelligence activities undertaken by the CIA, FBI, NSA and the National Counterterrorism Center.

Background

Section 702 was enacted as part of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 , and it authorizes the Attorney General and the DNI to provide to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court annual certifications authorizing the Intelligence Community to target non-U.S. persons reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States to acquire certain categories of foreign intelligence information. The FAA is a carefully constructed framework that provides the government with the tools necessary to collect vital foreign intelligence information and includes a robust scheme for protecting the privacy and civil liberties of U.S. persons.  This framework is implemented in part through a detailed set of procedures designed to minimize the acquisition, retention, use and dissemination of U.S. person information acquired under Section 702.

Additional Section 702 certification information, including the 2014 minimization procedures and the FISC’s August 2014 Opinion, was released on IC on the Record Sept. 29, 2015.

The 2015 Minimization Procedures

The 2015 Section 702 Minimization Procedures were approved by the Attorney General and submitted to the FISC as part of the government’s July 15, 2015, submission of reauthorization certifications pursuant to Section 702.  After thorough consideration, the FISC approved these minimization procedures in its Nov. 6, 2015, Memorandum Opinion and Order (released, in redacted form, in April 2016 on IC on the Record), finding that the minimization procedures comport with the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and the FAA.

The 2015 Section 702 minimization procedures incorporated certain modifications to the 2014 Section 702 minimization procedures, including changes made to implement recommendations the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board made in its 2014 report reviewing the Section 702 program.  Modifications made in the 2015 minimization procedures include:

  • Improvements to provisions in NSA’s and CIA’s minimization procedures that ensure the preservation of information related to criminal and civil litigation;
  • Enhancements to NSA’s, CIA’s and FBI’s protections for attorney-client communications;
  • Clarification of NSA’s, CIA’s and FBI’s 2015 documentation or other requirements with respect to the querying of Section 702 information.

These procedures identified below are released:

https://icontherecord.tumblr.com/post/148797010498/release-of-2015-section-702-minimization

Nets Blackout Massive Constitutional Violations by Obama’s NSA

All of the negative news about President Donald Trump provided a convenient smokescreen to obscure a story highly damaging to former President Barack Obama on Wednesday. As first reported by Circa News, “The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall.” As would be expected, the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) completely omitted from their evening broadcasts.

“More than one in 20 internet searches conducted by the National Security Agency, involving Americans, during the Obama administration violated constitutional privacy protections,” announced Fox News’ Bret Baier near the top of Special Report. “And that practice went on for years. Not only that. But the Obama administration was harshly rebuked by the FISA court for doing it.”

The report was handed off to Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen, who wasted no time in getting to the heart of the matter. “On the day President Obama visited Los Angeles last October to yuk it up with Jimmy Kimmel, lawyers for the National Security Agency were quietly informing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that NSA had systematically violated the rights of countless Americans,” he quipped.

“Declassified documents, first obtained by the news site Circa, show the FISA court sharply rebuked the administration,” Rosen noted as he began to read a passage from the FISA court’s opinion. “’With greater frequency than previously disclosed to the Court, NSA analysts had used U.S. person identifiers to query the results of internet ‘upstream’ collection, even though NSA’s Section 702 minimization procedures prohibited such queries.’”

The Fox News reporter was intrigued by the documents because: “These disclosers are timely though, as Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act—one of the primary means by which U.S. citizens are caught up in incidental surveillance—is up for reauthorization, Bret, by the Congress at year’s end.”

John Soloman, one of the Circa reporters who broke the story, talked with Rosen and told him that “tonight, for the first time, we can say confidently that there’s been a finding that some of that espionage, that spying on Americans, actually violated the law.”

The condemning evidence seemed to have no end, as Rosen reported that:

The documents show it was back in 2011 that the FISA court first determined NSA’s procedures to be, quote, “statutorily and constitutionally deficient with respect to their protection of U.S. person information.” Five years later, two weeks before Election Day, the judges learned that NSA had never adequately enacted the changes it had promised to make. The NSA inspector general and its office of compliance for operations “have been conducting other reviews covering different time periods,” the judges noted, “with preliminary results suggesting that the problem is widespread during all periods of review.”

Rosen had also mentioned how “the judges blasted NSA’s ‘institutional ‘lack of candor’’ and added ‘This is a very serious fourth amendment issue.’”

The lack of coverage by the Big Three, and the liberal media in general shows their bias against Trump and their favoritism to Obama. They rather focus on alleged accusations that so far have bared little fruit, instead of the legal opinion of federal judges exposing the highly illegal actions of a segment of President Obama’s administration.

http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/nicholas-fondacaro/2017/05/25/nets-blackout-massive-constitutional-violations-obamas-nsa

All of the negative news about President Donald Trump provided a convenient smokescreen to obscure a story highly damaging to former President Barack Obama on Wednesday. As first reported by Circa News, “The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall.” As would be expected, the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) completely omitted from their evening broadcasts.

“More than one in 20 internet searches conducted by the National Security Agency, involving Americans, during the Obama administration violated constitutional privacy protections,” announced Fox News’ Bret Baier near the top of Special Report. “And that practice went on for years. Not only that. But the Obama administration was harshly rebuked by the FISA court for doing it.”

The report was handed off to Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen, who wasted no time in getting to the heart of the matter. “On the day President Obama visited Los Angeles last October to yuk it up with Jimmy Kimmel, lawyers for the National Security Agency were quietly informing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that NSA had systematically violated the rights of countless Americans,” he quipped.

“Declassified documents, first obtained by the news site Circa, show the FISA court sharply rebuked the administration,” Rosen noted as he began to read a passage from the FISA court’s opinion. “’With greater frequency than previously disclosed to the Court, NSA analysts had used U.S. person identifiers to query the results of internet ‘upstream’ collection, even though NSA’s Section 702 minimization procedures prohibited such queries.’”

The Fox News reporter was intrigued by the documents because: “These disclosers are timely though, as Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act—one of the primary means by which U.S. citizens are caught up in incidental surveillance—is up for reauthorization, Bret, by the Congress at year’s end.”

John Soloman, one of the Circa reporters who broke the story, talked with Rosen and told him that “tonight, for the first time, we can say confidently that there’s been a finding that some of that espionage, that spying on Americans, actually violated the law.”

The condemning evidence seemed to have no end, as Rosen reported that:

The documents show it was back in 2011 that the FISA court first determined NSA’s procedures to be, quote, “statutorily and constitutionally deficient with respect to their protection of U.S. person information.” Five years later, two weeks before Election Day, the judges learned that NSA had never adequately enacted the changes it had promised to make. The NSA inspector general and its office of compliance for operations “have been conducting other reviews covering different time periods,” the judges noted, “with preliminary results suggesting that the problem is widespread during all periods of review.”

Rosen had also mentioned how “the judges blasted NSA’s ‘institutional ‘lack of candor’’ and added ‘This is a very serious fourth amendment issue.’”

The lack of coverage by the Big Three, and the liberal media in general shows their bias against Trump and their favoritism to Obama. They rather focus on alleged accusations that so far have bared little fruit, instead of the legal opinion of federal judges exposing the highly illegal actions of a segment of President Obama’s administration.

http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/nicholas-fondacaro/2017/05/25/nets-blackout-massive-constitutional-violations-obamas-nsa

REPORT: Obama lied and Obama spied

A new report out this morning details just how much Obama spied on Americans during his administration and it’s a lot. Even the liberal ACLU organization says these new disclosures are some of the most serious to ever be documented:

CIRCA – The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.

More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.

The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.

The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.

The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans.

Circa has reported that there was a three-fold increase in NSA data searches about Americans and a rise in the unmasking of U.S. person’s identities in intelligence reports after Obama loosened the privacy rules in 2011.

Officials like former National Security Adviser Susan Rice have argued their activities were legal under the so-called minimization rule changes Obama made, and that the intelligence agencies were strictly monitored to avoid abuses.

The intelligence court and the NSA’s own internal watchdog found that not to be true.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself and safeguard American’s privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.

Mark Levin wants to know where is the special prosecutor:

Obama spied on journalists and the American people, yet we’re supposed to just ignore that he spied on Trump all because of Trump’s tweet? The media pretends like it’s not a big deal at all and even seems to take Susan Rice at her word that her unmasking of details of the Trump campaign’s communications were appropriate.

Yeah I think we need a special prosecutor to get to the bottom of all of this and pronto.

http://therightscoop.com/report-obama-lied-and-obama-spied/

Story 3: Montana Congressional Candidate Gianforte Will Win Despite Roughing up Aggressive Reporter — Setup of A Political Assassination by Big Lie Media — Videos

Greg Gianforte wins Montana special election

Published on May 25, 2017

The Republican candidate won a seat in the House of Representatives.

Bill Bennet on Gianfortes special election win in Montana

‘Great Win in Montana’, President Trump Praises Greg Gianforte from G7 Summit [VIDEO]

Greg Gianforte Apologizes To reporter Ben jacobs Gianforte Wins Montana Congressional Election

Montana GOP candidate Gianforte charged with assault

Guardian Reporter Ben Jacobs vs GOP Candidate Greg Gianforte, Montana, EYE WITNESS CHANGES STORY

Greg Gianforte body slams Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs in Montana Video

This is NOT the Actual VIDEO but is a representation of what could have happened.

Published on May 25, 2017

Greg Gianforte body slams Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs in Montana Republican candidate charged with assault after ‘body-slamming’ Guardian reporter
The is Audio of Greg Gianforte attacking Ben Jacobs corroborated by Fox News journalists in the room, who described candidate ‘slamming him to the ground’
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The Republican candidate for Montana’s congressional seat has been charged with misdemeanor assault after he is alleged to have slammed a Guardian reporter to the floor on the eve of the state’s special election, breaking his glasses and shouting, “Get the hell out of here.”

Ben Jacobs, a Guardian political reporter, was asking Greg Gianforte, a tech millionaire endorsed by Donald Trump, about the Republican healthcare plan when the candidate allegedly “body-slammed” the reporter.

GOP candidate Greg Gianforte has financial ties to US-sanctioned Russian companies
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“He took me to the ground,” Jacobs said by phone from the back of an ambulance. “I think he wailed on me once or twice … He got on me and I think he hit me … This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics.”

Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna, field producer Faith Mangan and photographer Keith Railey witnessed the incident at Gianforte’s campaign headquarters in Montana, according to an account published by foxnews.com. After Jacobs asked Gianforte his question, Acuna wrote: “Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him.

“Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of ‘I’m sick and tired of this!’ … To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte, who left the area after giving statements to local sheriff’s deputies.”

Jacobs subsequently reported the incident to the police. The Gallatin county sheriff’s office said on Wednesday night it had completed its investigation and that Gianforte had been issued with a charge of misdemeanour assault.

“Following multiple interviews and an investigation by the Gallatin county sheriff’s office it was determined there was probable cause to issue a citation to Greg Gianforte for misdemeanor assault,” sheriff Brian Gootkin said in a statement. “The nature of the injuries did not meet the statutory elements of felony assault. Greg Gianforte received a citation on Wednesday night and is scheduled to appear in Gallatin county justice court between now and June 7, 2017.”

A statement by campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon blamed Jacobs for the altercation, saying that he “entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions”.

“Jacobs was asked to leave,” the statement reads. “After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground.

“It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.”

Scanlon’s account is contradicted by audio of the abortive interview recorded by Jacobs, as well as the Fox News account. The audio does not capture Jacobs being asked to leave or lower his recorder, but does contain an apparent reference to the Guardian’s previous attempts to report on Gianforte. “I’m sick and tired of you guys,” Gianforte said. “The last guy who came here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here. Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. Are you with the Guardian?”

“Yes! You just broke my glasses,” Jacobs replied.

Ben Jacobs with his broken glasses being carted off in the ambulance.
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Ben Jacobs with his broken glasses being carted off in the ambulance. Photograph: Ben Jacobs for the Guardian
“The last guy did the same damn thing,” Gianforte said.

“You just body slammed me and broke my glasses,” Jacobs said.

“Get the hell out of here,” Gianforte yelled.

At a press conference on Wednesday evening, sheriff Brian Gootkin said that there had been four witnesses to the altercation, in addition to Gianforte and Jacobs. Gianforte briefly spoke with sheriff’s deputies following the altercation but has not been interviewed. Gootkin said that he was not aware of any video of the incident. He also requested that reporters and members of the public stop calling Gallatin’s 911 dispatch.

According to campaign finance filings, Gootkin donated $250 to Gianforte’s campaign in March. Gootkin’s later statement acknowledged the contribution but said it had “nothing to do with our investigation which is now complete”.

This is NOT the Actual VIDEO but is a representation of what could have happened.

Montana GOP candidate Gianforte charged with assault

Reaction to Montana GOP candidate allegedly body-slamming reporter

GOP candidate in Montana charged with assault on reporter

 

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Story 1: Trump Visits Pope and Exchange Gifts and Words of Wisdom  —  Climate Change Difference — Videos — 

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Trump meets Pope Francis and the media creates faux controversy?

Published on May 24, 2017

Catholic League President Bill Donohue on President Trump’s meeting with Pope Francis.

President Trump Meets Pope Francis at the Vatican 5/24/17

US President Donald Trump meets Pope Francis at the Vatican

Meeting of Pope Francis with President Donald Trump 24 May 2017 HD

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Pope Francis released an encyclical, one of the highest Catholic teachings, on the environment.
Click here for the full story: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/pop…
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Pope Lends Weight to G-7 Push to Bind Trump to Climate Deal

May 24, 2017, 3:48 AM CDT May 24, 2017, 6:11 AM CDT
  • G-7 leaders await Trump decision on emission cuts this weekend
  • Francis has called for urgent action to protect environment

Pope Francis and President Trump met face to face at the Vatican for the first time, at Trump’s request. Bloomberg’s Kevin Cirilli and Alessandro Migliaccio report on ‘Bloomberg Markets.’ (Source: Bloomberg)

Pope Francis joined an international chorus urging Donald Trump to meet U.S. commitments on climate change in talks at the Vatican Wednesday.

Francis gave the U.S. president a copy of his 2015 encyclical calling for urgent, drastic cuts in fossil-fuel emissions after a half-hour meeting in his private study.

Francis’s choice of gift suggests he is adding his voice to those pressing Trump not to renege on the Paris accord, which is the cornerstone of global efforts to limit climate change. The Vatican said in a statement that the talks focused on international affairs and the promotion of peace, with particular emphasis on health care, education and immigration.

“Thank you, thank you,” Trump told Francis as they shook hands after the meeting. “I won’t forget what you said.” Trump has said climate change might be a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.

For his part, Trump gave Francis a special edition of the works of U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

Trump met with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni later on Wednesday before he travels to Brussels for a NATO meeting. He’ll be back in Italy again on Friday for talks with Group of Seven leaders in Taormina, Sicily. The world’s biggest developed economies are expecting Trump to say whether he’ll keep the U.S. in the Paris climate accord during the summit, Germany’s environment minister Barbara Hendricks, said Monday.

French President Emmanuel Macron will push Trump over climate during the NATO meeting as part of a coordinated European effort to sway the president, a French government official said on Wednesday morning, adding that he had expected the pope and Gentiloni also to raise the issue. The official said that the questions over what the U.S. will decide have led to unprecedented uncertainty over what the G-7 will be able to say in its final communique.

Members of the Trump administration have been deadlocked over whether the U.S. should uphold the pact, brokered by nearly 200 nations in 2015. Leaders from Germany, China and other nations have pushed for America to stay.

Pressure has also come from business groups, including 280 investors representing more than $17 trillion in assets who released a statement Monday saying climate change must be an “urgent priority” for all G-20 nations. Executives have warned that Trump would put U.S. companies at a disadvantage if he pulled out of the pact.

As the richest nation and the second-largest polluter, U.S. efforts are central to keeping climate change from hitting an irreversible tipping point, unleashing catastrophic floods, droughts and storms, according to researchers. The U.S. has pledged to reduce its emissions by at least 26 percent from 2005 levels under the world’s broadest ever environmental agreement.

The meeting at the Vatican was the first between two leaders who have starkly differing views on a range of issues and was arranged at Trump’s request. Beyond their disagreements on the environment, Francis wants the world’s doors swung open to refugees, while Trump wants fewer of them in America. Income inequality is a serious concern for the pope — the billionaire president plans to rewrite the U.S. tax code to make the wealthy even richer.

Pope Francis Wrestles With Curia, Climate and Trump: QuickTake

For the president, it’s an encounter that may confer some legitimacy as he grapples with a political crisis back home. For Francis, it’s a chance to influence a leader who, for all his stumbles, remains the most powerful person in the world.

“There’s a whole range of issues on which the pope and Trump differ, but the point of their meeting isn’t to forge agreement on them or to change each other’s minds,” papal biographer Austen Ivereigh said in a telephone interview. “The point is to establish a bond of trust, which they can both call on in the future to further their agendas.”

Francis arrived at the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace in a Ford Focus and entered the building through a side entrance. Ten minutes later, the president’s motorcade was greeted by Swiss Guards who stood to attention with their halberds and ostrich-plumed helmets. The pope welcomed Trump upstairs in the Sala del Tronetto before the two leaders retired to his private study for a half-hour conversation.

“It was an honor to be with the pope,” Trump told reporters later in the morning. “We had a fantastic meeting,” he added, without addressing a shouted question on whether they discussed climate change.

As well as the text on environmental protection, which Francis said he’s sent to all Roman Catholics, the pope also gave Trump books on family and the joy of the gospel.

“I’ll be reading them,” the president told him.

He also gave Trump a medal made by a Roman artist depicting an olive. The pope told Trump the olive is a symbol of peace.

“That’s so beautiful,” the president said. “We can use peace.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-05-24/pope-gives-trump-book-on-protecting-environment-at-vatican-talks

Why Melania and Ivanka Trump stuck to traditional Vatican dress codes when meeting Pope Francis today

The Trumps arrived in Rome last night, and their first engagement this morning was a headliner in the global tour which they are currently part way through; meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Both the First Lady, Melania Trump, and the First Daughter, Ivanka Trump, accompanied the President to the high-profile engagement, and both chose to honour the traditional Vatican dress codes by wearing black, long sleeved dresses and veils – the former even choosing to honour her host nation by wearing Italian label Dolce and Gabbana.

It was a somewhat unexpected move, especially given recent news that Pope Francis is keen to relax the strict dress codes to which women must conform to when attending private papal audiences.

Earlier in the week, Melania and Ivanka raised eyebrows when they met key figures in Saudi Arabia, without wearing headscarves, as Saudi women are required to do by law.  Although there is no such obligation for foreign women to do the same, Donald Trump criticised Michelle Obama when she didn’t cover her head visiting the country in 2015.

Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump with Pope Francis 
Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump with Pope Francis  CREDIT: AP POOL

Although the First Lady and First Daughter dressed modestly, they did it in their own way.  Largely, the duo has stuck with their signature takes on power-dressing throughout, wearing white sheath dresses and nipped skirt suits by American labels like Michael Kors and Oscar de la Renta, and, in Melania’s case giving a taste of her sense of glamour by stepping off the plane in a flashy gold belt and choosing a jewel-hued gown by Reem Acra for an evening dinner.

Only when Ivanka visited Jerusalem’s Western Wall did she cover her head as is custom for Jewish women when visiting the site- Trump converted to Judaism prior to her 2009 marriage to Jared Kushner.

So why the immaculate toeing of the line at the Vatican? As Pope Francis had been one of Donald Trump’s most vocal critics it was likely deemed to be in everyone’s best interests that today went smoothly – starting with the clothes.

Melania and Ivanka

Traditionally, under Pope Benedict XVI and all those before him, the rule was that women should wear black to meet his Holiness, covering up with full sleeves and a mantilla, the lace veil traditionally worn in the Roman Catholic Church.

Only a handful of Queens and Princesses from Catholic regions are permitted to wear white, according to the traditional “privilège du blanc” or “privilege of the white” rule. When Princess Charlene of Monaco met Pope Francis last January, for example, she exercised the privilege, wearing a chic crepe jacket and white driving gloves with her white mantilla and nude heels.

In the past, anyone who wore white was at risk of offending the privileged few – Cherie Blair did when she met Pope Benedict XVI in 2006, and subsequent headlines about the woman with a ‘grand idea of herself’ were beamed around the world the next day. It’s widely understood, however, that Pope Francis sees himself as a modern Pope, and has now eased the strict dress code once adhered to by The Queen and more.

The Duchess of Cornwall at the Vatican last month
The Duchess of Cornwall at the Vatican last month

When Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall met the Pope in April, she wore a champagne-hued dress by British label Anna Valentine and, despite defying all Vatican dress codes, it wasn’t a faux pas, as his Holiness had welcomed the look.

“Things have become more relaxed over the last few years there are no hard and fast rules,” a spokesperson for the Vatican explained.

Michelle Obama meets Pope Benedict XVI in July 2009
Michelle Obama meets Pope Benedict XVI in July 2009 CREDIT:REUTERS

That said, First Ladies, celebrities, and members of the public still tend to stick to the traditional codes, even if they aren’t officially required to.  Michelle Obama wore a black dress with a mantilla when she met Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, and Amal Clooney wore a sharp black skirt suit with a matching hat when she met Pope Francis in May 2016.

It’s no wonder, in that case, that Melania opted for a traditional lace mantilla, and Ivanka a slightly more modern net veil. If you’re erring on the side of caution, it is surely always the safest bet to stick with tradition.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/people/melania-ivanka-trump-stuck-traditional-vatican-dress-codes-meeting/

Story 2: Trump To NATO Countries — Increase Your Military Spending — Videos

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President Trump & Melania Arrive in Brussels Ahead of NATO Summit 5/24/17

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NATO rolls out the red carpet, buffs its image for Trump

 NATO is not only rolling out the red carpet for President Donald Trump in Brussels Thursday, the military alliance — which Trump once declared obsolete — has been busy repackaging its image and is ready to unveil a new headquarters worth more than 1 billion euros.

In recent months, member nations have strained to show they are ramping up defense spending as Trump has demanded, even though they have been doing so for a few years in response to an aggressive Russia. And while they agree with the chief of the alliance’s most powerful member that NATO can do more to fight terrorism, they say it can be achieved with more of the same; training and mentoring troops in Afghanistan, and equipping local forces in Iraq so they can better fight the Islamic State group themselves.

“They’ll only talk about what he cares about, so really he should come out of this meeting feeling as though NATO responds to him,” said Kristine Berzina, NATO analyst at the German Marshall Fund think tank. “At least that’s what they hope here.”

Indeed, the NATO leaders will agree to join the 68-nation international coalition fighting IS, after Germany and France were no longer raising any objections about announcing the decision on Thursday.

The move is symbolically important, especially since the group claimed responsibility Tuesday for a deadly explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

An anti-terror coordinator may also be named, but most changes will be cosmetic, as NATO allies have no intention of going to war against IS.

“It’s totally out of the question for NATO to engage in any combat operations,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday, on the eve of the meeting.

The 28 member nations, plus soon-to-join Montenegro, will renew an old vow to move toward spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024. Still, many are skeptical about this arbitrary bottom line that takes no account of effective military spending where it’s needed most. Germany would have to virtually double its military budget and spend more than Russia.

Putting some meat on the pledge, the leaders will agree to prepare action plans by the end of the year, plotting how to reach 2 percent over the next seven years, and show how they will use the money and contribute troops to NATO operations.

Only five members currently meet the target: Britain, Estonia, debt-laden Greece, Poland and the United States, which spends more on defense than all the other allies combined.

“It’s not fair that we’re paying close to 4 percent and other countries that are more directly affected are paying 1 percent when they’re supposed to be paying 2 percent,” Trump told the Associated Press in an interview last month.

Tomas Valasek from the Carnegie Europe think tank says the president’s demands on overdue debts have shaken up the other allies.

“Trump has challenged the idea that active engagement in Europe is a core U.S. interest,” Valasek said. “He appears to regard all foreign relations as zero-sum transactions, in which each contribution to someone else’s security represents a net loss to the United States.”

The Europeans, Valasek said, should respond in two ways: “In the short term, focus on preventing the president from abandoning the alliance and, in the long term, prepare to assume a bigger role in defending the European continent.”

The short working-dinner meeting will be high on symbolism. At the entry to the new premises — a village-sized complex that should be in full use early next year — Trump and Stoltenberg will unveil a piece of the World Trade Center.

After the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, NATO activated its collective defense clause for the first and only time, with member nations pledging to help their beleaguered ally.

Stoltenberg and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will also unveil a part of the Berlin Wall that once divided East and West Germany.

But the ceremonies and symbolism will do little to hide the divisions running through NATO. Trump wants more from the alliance, while countries such as Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia want iron-clad assurances that they won’t be left alone should Russia cross their borders.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, has purged around 11,000 military personnel from its armed forces since last July’s thwarted coup. Hundreds of western-educated senior officers were removed from posts at NATO, severely weakening the army.

Yet it’s a subject that is almost taboo at NATO headquarters; a national affair to be dealt with internally.

Tensions have also mounted between Erdogan and Merkel since Germany offered asylum to some of the officers. Belgium has publicly warned against any pro-Erdogan rallies during his visit.

Outside the heavily guarded security perimeter near the city’s airport and in downtown Brussels, peace groups have planned rallies of their own.

But, as the Manchester bombing remains fresh in mind, Belgium will remain on security Level 3 — meaning that the threat of an extremist attack “is possible and likely” — as it has since the suicide-bomb attacks on the Brussels airport and subway killed 32 people last year.

https://apnews.com/1e412fe9983747a6a8f94a2356d31f96/NATO-rolls-out-the-red-carpet,-buffs-its-image-for-Trump

Trump’s Anti-Terrorism Call Resonates at NATO After Manchester Attack

May 24, 2017, 11:51 AM CDT May 24, 2017, 12:25 PM CDT
  • Terrorism, defense spending top agenda of Brussels summit
  • France led concerns of wider NATO role fighting Islamic State

U.S. President Donald Trump’s demands to step up the fight against terrorism is set to get a sympathetic hearing from NATO partners when he visits the alliance headquarters for the first time on Thursday.

A deadly bombing in the U.K. this week has given fresh resonance to his call for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to become more engaged in fighting global terrorism. France and Germany, which had resisted an upgrade of NATO’s role in the international coalition against Islamic State, accepted the move on the eve of the summit, according to two officials familiar with the preparations.

Trump’s meeting with fellow NATO leaders including Prime Minister Theresa May in Brussels, a city he once called a “hellhole,” will go a long way to determining the future strength of the trans-Atlantic alliance. While facing resistance from countries including Italy and Germany to his calls to raise defense spending, he’s likely to find common ground on the shared threat posed by radical Islamist terrorism, and avert fresh tensions with partners already anxious about the Trump administration’s priorities.

The Manchester attack will play a “big role” in the meeting and “drives home the Trump administration’s message that more needs to be done to fight terrorism,” said Kristine Berzina, a Brussels-based fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Message of Unity

The forces tugging at NATO will be symbolized before the summit dinner when the leaders inaugurate a new headquarters. The steel-and-glass complex will feature pieces of the Berlin Wall, whose fall in 1989 marked the West’s victory in the Cold War against Russia, and of the World Trade Center, whose collapse in the 2001 terrorist attacks prompted the only occasion when the alliance has invoked its mutual-defense clause.

At issue for NATO in the Middle East is whether the alliance becomes a full member of the coalition fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. NATO currently plays a supporting role through the use of Airborne Warning and Control System planes and the training of Iraqi soldiers.

Germany and France had expressed concerns that upgrading NATO’s involvement could skew the geographical balance among the existing 68 partners in the coalition and weaken it, according to European officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations are confidential.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said broad support exists for making the organisation a full member of the coalition and doing so will offer political and practical benefits.

“Many allies would like to see NATO as a full member of the coalition for two reasons,” Stoltenberg told reporters on Wednesday. “It sends a strong and clear message of unity in the fight against terrorism” and “will provide a better platform for coordinating the activities of NATO, NATO allies and other partners in the coalition.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters on the plane to Brussels from Rome that it would be an “important step.” NATO’s “been an observer. But they’ve become more and more engaged in the actual fight to defeat” Islamic State, he said.

Pope Meeting

The fight against Islamic State will also be at the forefront of the Group of Seven meeting later this week, with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni saying in a statement that leaders “will deliver the strongest possible message of extraordinary and common commitment against terrorism.” Trump even broached the topic with the Pope on his visit to the Vatican, discussing extremism and the radicalization of young people, Tillerson said.

Trump has leverage to gain concessions from Europe both over NATO’s anti-terrorism activities and over allies’ defense expenditure because European officials are genuinely worried about his commitment to the alliance, not least its mutual-defense provision, said Berzina. She said they are keen for Trump to show unequivocal support for collective defense at the summit.

“Because NATO is a consensus-based organization dominated by the U.S., the Europeans can’t just fire back the way they do when acting as European Union members,” Berzina said. “This could lead to concrete results in the near future on Trump’s demands regarding NATO.”

The timing of Thursday’s dinner, at what is for many Europeans the unthinkably early hour of 5:45 p.m., illustrates the American influence on the Alliance.

Brussels, which was targeted in a 2016 terror attack that left 32 dead, is the penultimate stop for Trump on a four-country tour that marks his first overseas trip as U.S. president and that has coincided with a growing political storm at home over possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. The controversy has sparked a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into whether anyone close to Trump colluded with Russia.

On defense expenditure, with the Trump administration pressing Europe to foot more of the common security bill, NATO members intend to draw up annual plans for increased spending. The U.S. accounts for about 70 percent of NATO’s overall defense outlays.

In 2014, NATO members set a goal of spending at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense within a decade and last year in Europe only Estonia, Greece, Poland and the U.K. met the target. The U.S. led in 2016 with defense expenditure of 3.61 percent of GDP.

In a concession to Germany, which has raised defense outlays while rejecting any rush to the 2 percent target and urging smarter spending in Europe, NATO allies aim to allow national plans to include non-military contributions such as development aid that help meet overall security goals.

Amid the pressure from Trump over defense budgets, the EU is drafting plans to spend more of its common budget on defense research, pool procurement and give the arms industry better access to finance.

“I think you can expect the president to be very tough on them,” said Tillerson, who reiterated U.S. support for NATO’s collective defense obligation. “The American people are doing a lot for your security, for our joint security. You need to make sure you’re doing your share for your own security as well.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-05-24/trump-s-anti-terror-call-to-resonate-with-nato-after-u-k-attack

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The Pronk Pops Show 873, April 13, 2017, Story 1: Made In America Terrorist Tested In Afghanistan — Mother of All Bombs — Who is Next? North Korea, Syria, Iran — Videos — Story 2: Trump To NATO Members: Pay You Bills (2% of GDP For Military Spending) — NATO Not Obsolete — Videos — Story 3: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov To United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — Show Us The Evidence of Chemical Gas Attack in Syria — Assad –“100% Fabrication” — Not Enough Evidence — Videos — Story 4: Trump Will Not Name Communist China As Currency Manipulator –United States Is A Currency Manipulator — Video — Story 5: Trump Favors Fed Chair Yellen’s Unconventional Accommodating Easy Money Policy — Government Intervention in Money Markets — Financial Repression of American Savers — Videos — Story 6: Trump Supporters and Talk Radio Will Dump Trump Should He Continue Flip Flopping and Listening To Liberal Democrat/Moderate Advisers — Videos

Posted on April 13, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, China, Communications, Countries, Donald Trump, Economics, Elections, Fiscal Policy, Government Spending, History, Human, Law, Life, Media, Monetary Policy, North Korea, Obama, Philosophy, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Scandals, Syria, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, United States of America, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Image result for mother of all bombs moab

Image result for nato countries and military spending

Image result for nato countries and military spending

 

 

Story 1: Made In America Terrorist Tested In Afghanistan — Mother of All Bombs — Who is Next? North Korea, Syria, Iran — Videos —

Image result for mother of all bombs moab

Image result for MOAB blast site in afganistan

OFFICIAL M.O.A.B FOOTAGE RELEASED (Afghans React to M.O.A.B Bomb) *Compilation 2017 HD*

OFFICIAL M.O.A.B FOOTAGE RELEASED (Afghans React to M.O.A.B Bomb) *Compilation 2017 HD*

Former UN Amb. Bolton on Afghanistan bombing: Magnitude roughly equivalent to small nuclear weapon

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President Trump Statement on Dropping MOAB on ISIS 4/13/17

Breaking! U.S. Drops Largest Non-Nuclear Bomb on Afghanistan! “Mother of All Bombs”!

Trump Drops the ”Mother of All Bombs” in Afghanistan

WORLDS LARGEST Non-Nuclear Bomb GBU-43 B Massive Ordnance Air Blast

Published on Apr 13, 2017

Mother of all bombs GBU-43 B Massive Ordnance Air Blast.
U.S. on 04.11.2017 dropped the most powerful conventional bomb in its arsenal on Nangarhar, Afghanistan.
The bomb, known in military ranks as “MOAB,” or the “mother of all bombs,” was used Thursday for the first time in combat, though it was developed in the early 2000s.

Dr. Steve Pieczenik: Syria Strike Was A Message To China And North Korea

Can the U.S. handle the North Korea threat without China?

 

Children of Mother of All Bomb

Boeing Delivers Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) 37,000 LB Bombs To The USAF – GBU-57

MOP Massive Ordnance Penetrator GBU-57A-B Penetrator bunker buster bomb Iran

Father of Mother of All Bombs — The Daisy Cutter

Image result for Daisy Cutter Bomb Explosion

Image result for Daisy Cutter Bomb Explosion

The Daisy Cutter in Vietnam

Desert Storm Daisy cutters 11 March 1991

The BLU 82 – [Daisy Cutter]

ISIS hammered as US drops biggest non-nuclear weapon ever: 21,000lb bomb is used in anger for the first time to obliterate jihadists’ caves in Afghanistan

  • U.S. dropped its largest non-nuclear weapon after targeting ISIS in Afghanistan
  • The GBU-43 bomb weighs 21,600 pounds, is 30 feet long, contains 11 tons of explosives and carries a mile-wide blast radius
  • It can create a blast crater more than 300 meters wide after being dropped from a Hercules MC-130 cargo plane
  • Trump pledged in 2015 that if he became president he would ‘bomb the s**t out of ‘ ISIS 
  • On Thursday he called the bombing ‘another successful job’ and said he had delegated strike authority to his military commanders
  • Pentagon denies that it was revenge for the death on Saturday of a Green Beret soldier in the same region of Pakistan 

The United States has dropped its largest non-nuclear weapon after it targeted ISIS a network of caves and tunnels in eastern Afghanistan.

U.S. forces used a GPS-guided GBU-43 bomb, which is 30 feet long and weighs a staggering 21,600 pounds.

It is known as the ‘Mother Of All Bombs’ – a play on ‘MOAB,’ an acronym that stands for ‘Massive Ordnance Air Burst.’

A crater left by the blast is believed to be more than 300 meters wide after it exploded six feet above the ground. Anyone at the blast site was vaporized.

President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that he was ‘very, very proud’ and called the operation ‘really another successful job. We’re very, very proud of our military.’

The Pentagon is denying that the attack was a revenge strike despite the fact that it came in the same area of Afghanistan where a Green Beret soldier was killed on Saturday.

Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar, of 7th Special Forces Group, was cut down by enemy small arms fire while his unit was conducting counter-ISIS operations.

The military used a GBU-43 (pictured), which weighs a staggering 21,600 pounds, and has earned the moniker 'Mother Of All Bombs

The military used a GBU-43 (pictured), which weighs a staggering 21,600 pounds, and has earned the moniker ‘Mother Of All Bombs

That MOAB's first practical test was carried out on March 11, 2003 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida

That MOAB’s first practical test was carried out on March 11, 2003 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida

President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that he had authorized his military commanders to take actions like the one put into play on Thursday

President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that he had authorized his military commanders to take actions like the one put into play on Thursday

Trump suggested he had not personally ordered the bomb strike but delegated authority to commanders in the field.

‘Everybody knows exactly what happened. So, what I do is I authorize my military … We have given them total authorization,’ he said.

The move marks the fulfilment of a 17-month-old campaign promise Trump delivered in Iowa, when he scoffed at ISIS terror forces and said he ‘would bomb the s**t out of them’ if he became president.

It also comes at a moment in the young Trump presidency when tensions are rising with Russia over its role in Syria, where ISIS has its headquarters.

Huge: The MOAB test fired in 2003 shortly before final preparations for it to be loaded onto an MC-130 attack aircraft

Huge: The MOAB test fired in 2003 shortly before final preparations for it to be loaded onto an MC-130 attack aircraft

Then-candidate Donald Trump told an Iowa audience in November 2015 that he would fight ISIS from the air as president: 'I would bomb the s**t out of them'

Then-candidate Donald Trump told an Iowa audience in November 2015 that he would fight ISIS from the air as president: ‘I would bomb the s**t out of them’

The explosion will also send a saber-rattling message to North Korea and Iran that rogue states’ nuclear-weapons ambitions could be met with brute force.

Trump said of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un: ‘I don’t know if this sends a message. It doesn’t make any difference if it does or not.’

‘North Korea’s a problem. The problem will be taken care of.’

The Department of Defense is denying that Thursday's attack was revenge for Saturday's death of Green Beret sergeant Mark De Alencar in the same region of Afghanistan

The Department of Defense is denying that Thursday’s attack was revenge for Saturday’s death of Green Beret sergeant Mark De Alencar in the same region of Afghanistan

White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that MOAB is ‘a large, powerful and accurately delivered weapon’ whose use was intended to collapse underground spaces used by ISIS terrorists to move freely and attack U.S. and allied troops.

‘The United States takes the fight against ISIS seriously, and in order to defeat the group we must deny them operational space – which we did,’ Spicer said.

He referred reporters’ questions to the Pentagon and ignored a shouted question about whether Trump had been aware the bomb was dropped before or during the military operation.

Trump said during a November 2015 campaign rally in Fort Dodge, Iowa that ISIS was ‘making a tremendous amount of money’ because of ‘certain areas of oil that they took away’ after the Obama administration withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

‘They have some in Syria, some in Iraq. I would bomb the s**t out of them,’ he said to wild cheers. ‘I would just bomb those suckers. That’s right. I’d blow up the pipes. … I’d blow up every single inch. There would be nothing left.’

Preparations: This was the scene as the only other MOAB to be exploded was readied for action in 2003 in Florida. The tail rotor is part of the guidance system for it to exploded over a specified target

Preparations: This was the scene as the only other MOAB to be exploded was readied for action in 2003 in Florida. The tail rotor is part of the guidance system for it to exploded over a specified target

Mushroom cloud: This was the aftermath of the test explosion seen outside Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Mushroom cloud: This was the aftermath of the test explosion seen outside Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Florida

 The MOAB was pushed out the back door of a giant cargo plane on Thursday, flying to its target with GPS guidance. A MOAB has only been exploded once before - in a 2003 test

 The MOAB was pushed out the back door of a giant cargo plane on Thursday, flying to its target with GPS guidance. A MOAB has only been exploded once before – in a 2003 test

A specialized MC-130 ‘Hercules’ cargo aircraft released the weapon at 7:00 p.m. local time.

It was too big to drop from a traditional bomb-bay door or release from an aircraft wing, so ‘we kicked it out the back door,’ a U.S. official told Fox News.

The weapon’s sheer power produces a blast that can be felt miles away, largely because of its construction.

Engineers used an unusually thin aluminum skin to encase MOAB’s payload, in order to avoid a thicker steel frame interfering with the impact on a target.

The U.S. fast-tracked the MOAB in 2003 for use in Operation Iraqi Freedom, but the Defense Department later decided that the enemy provided too little resistance to justify its deployment.

It was available to the Obama administration throughout the former president’s entire two terms, but he never deployed it in combat.

Its first practical test was carried out on March 11, 2003 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

HOW ‘MOAB’ WORKS

Key stats:

  • Known as the ‘Mother Of All Bombs’
  • The U.S. military’s largest non-nuclear weapon
  • Each bomb costs around $16 million (£12.8 million)
  • Its explosion is equivalent to 11 tons of TNT and the blast radius is a mile wide
  • First tested by US forces in 2003
  • It is designed to destroy heavily reinforced targets or to shatter ground forces and armour across a large area
  • 30 feet (9 meters) long and 40 inches (1 meter) wide
  • Weighs 21,000lbs (9,500kg) – heavier than the Hiroshima nuclear bomb
  • Leaves no lasting radiation effect

How it’s deployed:

  • The bomb has ‘grid’ fins that fold into the body and then open up in flight to help control its descent
  • It can only be deployed out of the back of a large cargo plane due to its size
  • The bomb rides on a pallet, a parachute pulls the pallet and bomb out of the plane
  • The pallet then separates so that the bomb can fall to its target
  • It accelerates rapidly to its terminal velocity and is partially guided to its target via satellite
  • It explodes six feet (1.8 meters) above the ground
  • The idea behind this ‘airburst’ mechanism is to spread its destructive range

The weapon carries a blast wave that can be felt more than a mile away

The Pentagon confirmed Thursday that the explosive colossus was dropped in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, making it the first time America’s largest non-nuclear weapon has been used in a combat situation.

Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said it was the first ever combat use of the bomb, which contains 11 tons of explosives.

Stump said the bomb was dropped on a cave complex believed to be used by ISIS fighters in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, very close to the border with Pakistan.

Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement about ISIS that ‘as ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense.’

‘This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against [ISIS-K].’

News reports suggest Nicholson made the decision to drop it from the sky.

He added that ‘[t]he strike was designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and U.S. Forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities.’

The ISIS faction in Afghanistan is known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria-Khorasan province, or ISIS-K.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4409772/US-drops-biggest-non-nuclear-bomb-combat-time.html#ixzz4eAJVW5w0

 

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Sec. Tillerson, Russian Minister Lavrov. News conference in Moscow. Syria. April 12. 2017

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Story 4: Trump Will Not Name Communist China As Currency Manipulator –United States Is A Currency Manipulator — Video — 

A New Approach to Currency Manipulation?

How China’s devaluation impacts the U.S.

How Does China Manipulate Its Currency?

China’s Currency Manipulation

Donald Trump Economic Speech | Calls China as a Currency Manipulator | Monessen, PA | Mango News

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China’s Upward Currency Manipulation Might Have To End – FX Reserves Are Falling

It is a standard belief of many in the US, including the new President, Donald Trump, that China is a currency manipulator. This is true, China has indeed been manipulating the value of the yuan. However, contrary to popular belief it has, at least recently, been manipulating that value up against the American dollar, not down. This of course makes Chinese exports to America more expensive and reduces the trade deficit between the two countries. Not that simple facts tend to change many peoples’ beliefs about the economy of course.

However, this all might come to an end soon enough because China’s foreign currency reserves are falling as a result of their interventions. In fact, that those reserves are falling is the very evidence we need to show that they are intervening up, not down:

China’s foreign exchange reserves unexpectedly fell below the closely watched $3 trillion level in January for the first time in nearly six years, though tighter regulatory controls appeared to making some progress in slowing capital outflows. China has taken a raft of steps in recent months to make it harder to move money out of the country and to reassert a grip on its faltering currency, even as U.S. President Donald Trump steps up accusations that Beijing is keeping the yuan too cheap.

As we can see the general assumption in the financial markets, and the correct assumption too, is that China has been intervening to keep the value of the yuan up, not down. The major way it has been doing this being by limiting the amount that Chinese citizens can move out of the country:

Further erosion of the world’s largest stockpile may prompt policy makers again to tighten measures for controlling outflows and on companies transferring money to other countries. Authorities recently rolled out stricter requirements for citizens converting yuan into foreign currencies as the annual $50,000 foreign exchange quota for individuals reset Jan. 1.

For a capital outflow does indeed reduce the value of a currency:

China’s foreign exchange reserves fell below the $3 trillion mark for the first time in almost six years as capital continued to flow out of the world’s second-largest economy, data from the People’s Bank of China showed Tuesday.

The reserves fell by $12.31 billion from the previous month to $2.998 trillion, following a drop of $41.08 billion in December. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had expected a $1 billion decrease in January.

The reason a capital outflow does this should be obvious. Yuan work only in China. Thus, to take money out of China you must sell yuan and buy some other form of money. That sale reduces the value of the yuan (more of something for sale does usually mean a price fall) against those other currencies. And thus the truth of those accusations of currency manipulation. As we can see the Chinese government is placing restrictions on peoples’ ability to sell yuan. This is thus manipulation which keeps the value up, not such that pushes it down.

All of which leaves us with an interesting point. The general demand is that China stop manipulating the value of its currency. OK, so, let’s insist upon that. The value of the yuan will fall, Chinese exports to America will be cheaper and we might well then see an increase in the US trade deficit. Which isn’t really what the people complaining about manipulation want, is it? But it may well be what they’re about to get.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2017/02/07/chinas-upward-currency-manipulation-might-have-to-end-fx-reserves-are-falling/#49701dc0751c

Trump says he will not label China currency manipulator, reversing campaign promise

April 12

Trump called China a ‘currency manipulator.’ Does it deserve the label?

During his presidential campaign Trump talked tough on China, accusing them of undervaluing the yuan. The International Monetary Fund has said that Chinese currency is “no longer undervalued”. Does China still deserve to be called a “currency manipulator”?(Daron Taylor/The Washington Post)

President Trump on Wednesday said he would not label China a currency manipulator, contradicting one of the biggest economic promises he made on the campaign trail.

Trump told the Wall Street Journal that he had changed his mind because China is not currently manipulating its currency, adding that he hoped to enlist China’s help on containing the nuclear threat from North Korea.

Trump also indicated that he might be open to keeping Janet L. Yellen as Federal Reserve chair after her term expires. “I like her, I respect her. … It’s very early,” he said when asking about her reappointment.

Trump was highly critical of Yellen during the campaign. He accused her of keeping interest rates low to benefit the Obama administration and said she should be ashamed of herself. But Yellen has a reputation for being slow to raise interest rates, and Trump had also professed his preference for low interest rates in the past.

“I do like a low-interest rate policy, I must be honest with you,” he told the Journal, when asked about Yellen.

The president is also “very close” to naming a vice chair and filling another open seat that governs community banking on the Federal Reserve Board, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said during the interview.

In the interview, Trump also inveighed against the strong U.S. dollar, saying that the strength of the currency stemmed partially from people’s confidence in him, but that it was also hurting the economy.

“It’s very, very hard to compete when you have a strong dollar and other countries are devaluing their currency,” he said.

Eswar Prasad, a professor of international trade at Cornell University, said it was striking that a sitting president would comment so directly on the value of the dollar.

“It could also be taken as an implicit threat to other countries that if the dollar stays strong and if U.S. bilateral trade imbalances with its major trading partners stay high or continue to expand, that he will take some sort of action,” Prasad said.

The judgment on currency manipulation was scheduled to be released in a semiannual report from the Treasury Department that is due this week.

China defies international trade rules in some respects, economists say, but devaluing its currency is not currently one of them. While China suppressed the value of its currency for years to make its products cheaper abroad and boost its exports, for the past several years it has been intervening in currency markets to prop the yuan up, which actually benefits American exporters.

“Certainly for the past six months, which is the period notionally covered by the April 15 report, China has been intervening to raise the value of its currency, not to suppress it,” said Matthew Goodman, a former Treasury official who helped to label China a currency manipulator during the Clinton administration.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-promise-tracker/?promise=9

China was a favored target of Trump’s on the campaign trail. He often said the world’s second-largest economy was taking advantage of the U.S., and that he would respond on his first day in office by labeling China a currency manipulator. He has also said he would impose tariffs of up to 45 percent on China if the country does not negotiate better trade terms with the United States.

Labeling a country a currency manipulator triggers an investigation and can eventually lead to tariffs or other economically punitive measures.

But when Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago last week, the conversation was much more genial. The outcome of the talks was a 100-day plan to reevaluate the countries’ trading relationship, including trying to boost American exports to China.

President Trump met with China’s president on April 6, after months of criticizing China and promising big trade changes. From blasting China for currency manipulation to accusing them of “raping our economy,” here are some of his biggest blusters from the campaign trail. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

Has the United States mismanaged the ascent of China?

By April 15, the Treasury Department is required to present to Congress a report on the exchange rate policies of the country’s major trading partners, intended to identify manipulators that cheapen their currency to make their exports more attractive and gain market share in the United States, a designation that could eventually lead to retaliation.

It would be hard, these days, to find an economist who feels China fits the bill. Under a trade law passed in 2015, a country must meet three criteria: It would have to have a “material” trade surplus with the rest of the world, have a “significant” surplus with the United States, and intervene persistently in foreign exchange markets to push its currency in one direction.

While China’s surplus with the United States is pretty big — almost $350 billion — its global surplus is modest, at 2.4 percent of its gross domestic product last year. Most significant, it has been pushing its currency up, not down. Since the middle of 2014 it has sold over $1 trillion from its reserves to prop up the renminbi, under pressure from capital flight by Chinese companies and savers.

Even President Trump — who as a candidate promised to label China a currency manipulator on Day 1 and put a 45 percent tariff on imports of Chinese goods — seems to be backing away from broad, immediate retaliation.

 And yet the temptation remains. “When you talk about currency manipulation, when you talk about devaluations,” the Chinese “are world champions,” Mr. Trump told The Financial Times, ahead of the state visit of the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, to the United States last week.

For all Mr. Trump’s random impulsiveness and bluster — and despite his lack of a coherent strategy to engage with what is likely soon to become the world’s biggest economy — he is not entirely alone with his views.

Many learned economists and policy experts ruefully acknowledge that the president’s intuition is broadly right: While labeling China a currency manipulator now would look ridiculous, the United States should have done it a long time ago.

“With the benefit of hindsight, China should have been named,” said Brad Setser, an expert on international economics and finance who worked in the Obama administration and is now at the Council on Foreign Relations.

A Changing Trade Picture

After suppressing its currency through 2014, China has turned to propping it up, and its trade surplus as a share of its economy has declined over the last decade.

There were reasonable arguments against putting China on the spot and starting a process that could eventually lead to American retaliation.

Yet by not pushing back against China’s currency manipulation, and allowing China to deploy an arsenal of trade tactics of dubious legality to increase exports to the United States, successive administrations — Republican and Democratic — arguably contributed to the economic dislocations that pummeled so many American workers over more than a decade. Those dislocations helped propel Mr. Trump to power.

From 2000 to 2014 China definitely suppressed the rise of the renminbi to maintain a competitive advantage for its exports, buying dollars hand over fist and adding $4 trillion to its foreign reserves over the period. Until 2005, the Chinese government kept the renminbi pegged to the dollar, following it down as the greenback slid against other major currencies starting in 2003.

American multinationals were flocking into China, taking advantage of its entry into the World Trade Organization in December 2001, which guaranteed access to the American and other world markets for its exports. By 2007, China’s broad trade surplus hit 10 percent of its gross domestic product — an unheard-of imbalance for an economy this large. And its surplus with the United States amounted to a full third of the American deficit with the world.

Though the requirement that the Treasury identify currency manipulators “gaining unfair competitive advantage in international trade” dates back to the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, China was never called out.

There were good reasons. Or at least they seemed so at the time. For one, China hands in the administration of George W. Bush argued that putting China on the spot would make negotiations more difficult, because even Chinese leaders who understood the need to allow their currency to rise could not be seen to bow to American pressure.

Labeling China a manipulator could have severely hindered progress in other areas of a complex bilateral economic relationship. And the United States had bigger fish to fry.

“There were other dimensions of China’s economic policies that were seen as more important to U.S. economic and business interests,” Eswar Prasad, who headed the China desk at the International Monetary Fund and is now a professor at Cornell, told me. These included “greater market access, better intellectual property rights protection, easier access to investment opportunities, etc.”

At the end of the day, economists argued at the time, Chinese exchange rate policies didn’t cost the United States much. After all, in 2007 the United States was operating at full employment. The trade deficit was because of Americans’ dismal savings rate and supercharged consumption, not a cheap renminbi. After all, if Americans wanted to consume more than they created, they had to get it somewhere.

Photo

Shi Guangsheng, seated, then the Chinese trade minister, signing documents admitting China to the World Trade Organization at a ceremony in Qatar in 2001. CreditRabih Moghrabi/Agence France-Presse

And the United States had a stake in China’s rise. A crucial strategic goal of American foreign policy since Mao’s death had been how to peacefully incorporate China into the existing order of free-market economies, bound by international law into the fabric of the postwar multilateral institutions.

And the strategy even worked — a little bit. China did allow its currency to rise a little from 2005 to 2008. And when the financial crisis hit, it took the foot off the export pedal and deployed a giant fiscal stimulus, which bolstered internal demand.

Yet though these arguments may all be true, they omitted an important consideration: The overhaul of the world economy imposed by China’s global rise also created losers.

In a set of influential papers that have come to inform the thinking about the United States’ relations with China, David Autor, Daron Acemoglu and Brendan Price from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Gordon Hanson from the University of California, San Diego; and David Dorn from the University of Zurich concluded that lots of American workers, in many communities, suffered a blow from which they never recovered.

Rising Chinese imports from 1999 to 2011 cost up to 2.4 million American jobs, one paper estimated. Another found that sagging wages in local labor markets exposed to Chinese competition reduced earnings by $213 per adult per year.

Economic theory posited that a developed country like the United States would adjust to import competition by moving workers into more advanced industries that competed successfully in global markets. In the real world of American workers exposed to the rush of imports after China erupted onto world markets, the adjustment didn’t happen.

If mediocre job prospects and low wages didn’t stop American families from consuming, it was because the American financial system was flush with Chinese cash and willing to lend, financing their homes and refinancing them to buy the furniture. But that equilibrium didn’t end well either, did it?

What it left was a lot of betrayed anger floating around among many Americans on the wrong end of these dynamics. “By not following the law, the administration sent a political signal that the U.S. wouldn’t stand up to Chinese cheating,” said Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “As we can see now, that hurt in terms of maintaining political support for open trade.”

If there was a winner from this dynamic, it was Mr. Trump.

Will Mr. Trump really go after China? In addition to an expected executive order to retaliate against the dumping of Chinese steel, he has promised more. He could tinker with the definitions of “material” and “significant” trade surpluses to justify a manipulation charge.

And yet a charge of manipulation would add irony upon irony. “It would be incredibly ironic not to have named China a manipulator when it was manipulating, and name it when it is not,” Mr. Setser told me. And Mr. Trump would be retaliating against the economic dynamic that handed him the presidency.

China is No Longer Manipulating its Currency

C. Fred Bergsten (PIIE)

November 18, 2016 9:45 AM

US President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to instruct his Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator on his first day in office, just as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney did in 2012. He would then presumably seek to negotiate with the Chinese to reduce their large trade surplus, which equals roughly half the total US trade deficit of about $500 billion, under the threat of limiting imports unilaterally if they failed to cooperate (and risking retaliation against US exports). A declining US trade deficit, if it could be achieved, would increase US economic growth. But China has not manipulated its currency, the renminbi, for the past two years, and even an erroneous designation would not enable the new president to take any retaliatory trade actions.

China was the champion currency manipulator of all time from 2003 through 2014. During this “decade of manipulation,” China bought more than $300 billion annually to resist upward movement of its currency by artificially keeping the exchange rate of the dollar strong and the renminbi’s exchange rate weak. China’s competitive position was thus strengthened by as much as 30 to 40 percent at the peak of the intervention. Currency manipulation explained most of China’s large trade surpluses, which reached a staggering 10 percent of its entire GDP in 2007.

China was not the only manipulator. A number of other Asian economies, including Taiwan and Hong Kong, also intervened regularly to keep from losing their competitive position to China (and thus to the United States as well). A few others, including Japan and Korea, intervened occasionally as well.

Naming a country a manipulator, however, has no significant operational consequences (which is one of the reasons it has not been done in recent years). The relevant US law, dating from 1988, requires only that the Secretary of the Treasury launch a negotiation with the indicted countries in an effort to rectify the situation. Trump and his advisors have suggested they would use a designation to impose new import restrictions against China, up to the level of the renminbi undervaluation that resulted, but they would have to invoke other US statutes to justify such action. (Regardless of manipulation, the administration might authorize the Commerce Department to apply countervailing duties against imports that were subsidized by undervalued exchange rates in China and elsewhere; this would probably run afoul of US obligations in the World Trade Organization, however, and might also be challenged domestically unless Congress explicitly authorized such treatment.)

I was among the first to call attention to the manipulation by the Chinese and others and to advocate strong action to counter it, but it must be recognized that the situation has changed dramatically over the past two years. China has experienced large outflows of private capital that have driven its exchange rate down and indeed sparked market fears of disorderly renminbi devaluations. To their credit, the Chinese have intervened heavily on the opposite side of the market: Instead of buying dollars to keep the renminbi weak, they have sold large amounts of dollars to prevent it from sliding further. Their recent intervention has promoted US competitiveness rather than undermined it. Manipulation (including by other countries) has passed largely into remission.

It would thus be factually incorrect, as well as ineffectual, for the new Trump administration to label China a currency manipulator (and the Chinese might well refuse to negotiate under such circumstances). Indeed, the White House would be running counter to the thrust of the new US currency law (although it could still label a country as a “manipulator,” even if it did not meet the terms of that law). The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 spells out three criteria for identifying a country for currency misbehavior:

  • a large bilateral trade surplus with the United States, which China has;
  • a material global current account surplus, which the Treasury Department interprets as meaning more than 3 percent of a country’s GDP, a bit more than China is now running; and
  • “persistent one-sided intervention” in the currency markets, to keep its exchange rate from rising, which China is clearly not conducting.

These tests would have caught China for eight consecutive years, from 2003 through 2010, but Treasury currently has placed China only on a “monitoring list” along with five others that meet at least two of the criteria or have met them in the recent past. There is always a possibility that China (and others) could resume the competitive nonappreciation of the earlier period if market pressure again pushed the renminbi upward, especially if China’s economic reforms faltered and its growth rate sank below the new target of 7 percent. So we cannot be confident that the problem has been definitively resolved.

Indeed, it would be desirable for the Trump administration to add a new tool to the US policy arsenal, to ensure the problem will not resurface, by announcing that the United States will counter any future manipulation by others with offsetting intervention of its own. If China buys $1 billion in an effort to keep the dollar artificially strong, the United States could buy $1 billion worth of renminbi to neutralize any impact of the Chinese action on the exchange rate between the two currencies. The Chinese currency and bond markets are now large enough to permit any foreseeable level of US intervention that might be needed. But simply the announcement of a policy of such “countervailing currency intervention” would almost surely deter future manipulation efforts, requiring very little if any actual activity. It should thus prolong the current remission of manipulation indefinitely. The Senate passed a bill authorizing “remedial currency intervention” in 2011, but the policy could be adopted under current law.

Trump’s economic team may decide to address a number of Chinese policies that support its exports and impede its imports, in an effort to reduce the Chinese surplus and the US deficit, as its predecessors have done for many years. There are several US statutes that provide a basis for doing so. Currency manipulation is not one of these, however, especially at the present time. The new administration should look for alternative paths to any immediate action while shoring up the country’s defenses against possible recrudescence of currency aggression in the future.

C. Fred Bergsten is senior fellow and director emeritus of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He was the founding director of the Institute from 1981 through 2012. He was previously assistant secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs and is coauthor, with Joseph E. Gagnon, of the forthcoming Institute book Currency Conflict and Trade Policy: A New Strategy for the United States.

https://piie.com/blogs/trade-investment-policy-watch/china-no-longer-manipulating-its-currency

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Steve Bannon’s downgrade is just one of many complaints. ‘We expect him to keep his word, and right now he’s not keeping his word,’ says one campaign supporter.

04/13/17 02:21 PM EDT

Donald Trump is pictured. | Getty
The swiftness and abruptness of Trump’s shift from bomb-throwing populist outsider to a more mainstream brand of Republican has taken the president’s stalwarts by surprise. | Getty
 Donald Trump’s true believers are losing the faith.

As Trump struggles to keep his campaign promises and flirts with political moderation, his most steadfast supporters — from veteran advisers to anti-immigration activists to the volunteers who dropped their jobs to help elect him — are increasingly dismayed by the direction of his presidency.

Their complaints range from Trump’s embrace of an interventionist foreign policy to his less hawkish tone on China to, most recently, his marginalization of his nationalist chief strategist, Steve Bannon. But the crux of their disillusionment, interviews with nearly two dozen Trump loyalists reveal, is a belief that Trump the candidate bears little resemblance to Trump the president. He’s failing, in their view, to deliver on his promise of a transformative “America First” agenda driven by hard-edged populism.

“Donald Trump dropped an emotional anchor. He captured how Americans feel,” said Tania Vojvodic, a fervent Trump supporter who founded one of his first campaign volunteer networks. “We expect him to keep his word, and right now he’s not keeping his word.”

Earlier this week, Vojvodic launched a Facebook group called, “The concerned support base of President Trump,” which quickly drew several dozen sign-ups. She also changed the banner on her Facebook page to a picture of Bannon accompanied by the declaration: “Mr. President: I stand with Steve Bannon.”

“I’m not so infatuated with Trump that I can’t see the facts,” she said. “People’s belief, their trust in him, it’s declining.”

The swiftness and abruptness of Trump’s shift from bomb-throwing populist outsider to a more mainstream brand of Republican has taken the president’s stalwarts by surprise.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/trump-base-supporters-turn-on-him-237200

“It was like, here’s the chance to do something different. And that’s why people’s hopes are dashed,” said Lee Stranahan, who, as a former writer at Breitbart News, once worked with Bannon. “There was always the question of, ‘Did he really believe this stuff?’ Apparently, the answer is, ‘Not as much as you’d like.’”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

The deflation of Trump’s base threatens to further weaken a president who’s already seen his public support drop to historic lows. Frustration among the president’s allies has intensified in recent days, with many expressing worry that Bannon, the intellectual pillar of the nationalist movement that catapulted Trump to the presidency, is being pushed out.

As Bannon’s influence wanes, on the rise is a small group of Wall Street-connected advisers whose politically moderate and globalist views are anathema to the populist cause.

The palace intrigue intensified this week after Trump refused to say he still had confidence in Bannon and downplayed the former Breitbart chairman’s role in his campaign victory. And it’s feeding suspicions that the president is changing his priorities.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), one of the president’s most vocal backers on Capitol Hill, said he’s been disheartened by the chief strategist’s isolation.

“A lot of us look at Steve Bannon as the voice of conservatism in the White House,” said King, who has known Bannon for years.

The displeasure over Bannon’s reduced status has trickled down to Trump’s grass-roots army of volunteers. Among those unsettled is Shane Bouvet, a 24-year-old campaign volunteer and blue-collar single father from Illinois who became something of a hero in the Trump movement. On the eve of the inauguration, Trump, who had read about how Bouvet trekked across the country by car so he could watch the swearing-in, gave him a check for $10,000.

Bouvet later said the gift saved the life of his father, who was battling cancer and needed the money to cover medical costs.

That day, Bouvet also was introduced to Bannon. The two spoke briefly, and Bouvet came to identify with the adviser who, like him, represented a “forgotten America” that Trump had appealed to with his blue-collar pitch. He said in an interview that he still supports the president, but is troubled by reports that Bannon is on the outs and that senior adviser Jared Kushner, a New York City real estate scion, is accumulating influence.

“I see a lot of people upset about his role,” Bouvet said of Bannon.

“I love our president,” he added. “I would tell him, follow his heart instead of whispers in his ears.”

On his South Florida-based radio show, Trump backer John Cardillo has begun to hear from listeners who are disillusioned with the rising influence of moderate staffers like Kushner and Gary Cohn, the Goldman Sachs executive-turned-Trump economic adviser.

For Cardillo, too, it’s been a letdown. During the 2016 Republican primary, he was attracted to Trump because of his insurgent streak. As a former New York City police officer, Cardillo identified with the candidate’s blue-collar style. He fell hard and got aboard the Trump train early, backing the insurgent candidate over home-state favorite Marco Rubio.

Trump voters “felt like they were voting for an anti-establishment candidate — and they’re terrified, they’re losing faith,” Cardillo said. “They’re saying, ‘Why does he have these people around him?’”

The gripes go beyond Bannon’s apparent downgrade. Many of Trump’s most stalwart supporters, including radio show hosts Michael Savage and Laura Ingraham, called last week’s bombing of Syria a betrayal of Trump’s pledge to be an “America First” commander in chief who would avoid unnecessary conflicts overseas.

Concerns about Trump’s foreign policy approach intensified on Wednesday when he backed away from his oft-repeated campaign line that NATO is “obsolete.” Instead, during an appearance with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump called the organization a “great alliance.”

Howie Carr, an influential Boston radio show host and a vocal Trump backer, said he’s been mostly satisfied with the president’s tenure so far. But he said he and his listeners weren’t on board with the Syria bombing and warned against a U.S.-led push to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“People are concerned because it’s such a morass over there,” Carr said. “I don’t think any of my listeners have any great stomach for overthrowing Assad, as odious as he is.”

Other Trump boosters worry that he’s ditching his economic agenda. They wonder why he backed off his vow to label
China a currency manipulator, and are chagrined by his reversal on his position to eliminate the Export-Import Bank.

On Thursday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer took issue with the premise that Trump’s switch on labeling China a currency manipulator amounted to abandoning a campaign promise.

“The president’s tough talk … on a variety of subjects was to get results for the American people. That’s what he has pledged to do, to get more jobs here, to grow more manufacturing, to keep our country safe,” Spicer told reporters. “At the end of the day, this is always about developing a better situation for the American people, and I think he’s done that.”

Still others are concerned about Trump’s lack of progress on reforming the tax code.

Larry Kudlow, a veteran economist who advised Trump’s campaign, expressed dismay that the president hadn’t yet released a tax plan. He said he was beginning to wonder whether the president is about to walk back his pledge to cut taxes.

“What is their product?” Kudlow asked. “It doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m not giving up hope. But it’s looking very shaky to me.”

Conservative economist Stephen Moore, who also advised the Trump campaign, said he’s reached out to the White House about the lack of a tax package.

“They’re all over the map,” he said. “I don’t know if they’re listening or not.”

Then there’s immigration, the issue that catapulted Trump to front-runner status. Activists are increasingly alarmed that the president has yet to follow through on his pledge to rescind protections for undocumented parents and children put in place under former President Barack Obama.

Brenda Sparks, an “angel mom” whose son was killed by an illegal immigrant, appeared onstage with Trump at an August campaign event in Phoenix. She said he promised her that he would overturn the program known Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, in short order.

While Sparks said she didn’t think it would be done immediately, “I had expected it before now.”

“I still support Trump, but I’m going to hold his feet to the fire,” she said. “He has not lived up to that promise.”

Michelle Dallacroce, an anti-immigration activist, is more pointed. Immigration is “why we voted for Donald Trump,” she said. “This could be the most elaborate reality show. I’m wondering, was this all an illusion for us, using our movement so he could get in there?”

Trump is hardly the first president to get crosswise with his supporters. After running on a promise to infuse Washington with change, Barack Obama faced sharp accusations from backers that he was moving too slowly to change the culture of the capitol. Governing, Obama learned, is a lot different than campaigning.

Not all of the president’s backers are disappointed. They point to his successful nomination of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and his rollback of environmental regulations as early wins.

“There’s always going to be things that aren’t perfect, but it’s exciting,” said Ed Martin, a conservative leader in Missouri.

But as Trump evolves, some of his loyalists are beginning to compare him to another Republican who lost the support of the party’s base: Arnold Schwarzenegger. After being elected California governor in 2003, the former movie star took on entrenched Democratic interests, lost badly, then tacked sharply to the left.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/trump-base-supporters-turn-on-him-237200

This week, some Trump die-hards passed around a column by conservative commentator Kurt Schlichter headlined: “Trump Can’t Let His Real or His Fake Friends Turn Him into Schwarzenegger Part 2.”

Schlichter, in an interview, said conservatives are fundamentally distrustful of Republican politicians who had often misled them. He urged the president to take some immediate actions, however small, to put his supporters at ease.

“You’ve got to understand the base. It’s like dating a girl whose father cheated on her mother. She’s always going to be suspicious,” he said. “He’s got to constantly provide wins because he’s got an emotionally damaged base that’s been abused.”

Within Trump’s inner circle, a moderate voice captures the president’s ear

April 13 at 7:58 PM
As power struggles and ideological battles engulfed the White House, an unlikely player is exercising new influence on the direction of President Trump’s administration.Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs president, is capitalizing on his new position as director of Trump’s National Economic Council to push a centrist vision and court bipartisan support on some of Trump’s top agenda items such as tax reform and a $1 trillion infrastructure plan.The growing strength of Cohn and like-minded moderates was on display this week as Trump reversed himself on several high-profile issues — including a less confrontational approach to China, an endorsement of government subsidies for exports and the current leadership of the Federal Reserve. The president’s new positions move him much closer to the views of Cohn and others on Wall Street, not to mention mainstream Republicans and Democrats.It was the clearest sign yet that an alliance of moderates in the White House — including Cohn; senior adviser Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law; and another influential Goldman Sachs alumna, Dina Powell — is racking up successes in a battle over ideology and control with hardcore conservatives led by chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who held sway at the start of the administration.In a White House short on experienced personnel, Cohn has found an edge by hiring two dozen policy experts, most with government experience. His team produced detailed proposals on overhauling the tax code, rebuilding infrastructure, cutting back financial regulations and restructuring international trade deals. He is widely considered a future candidate to be chief of staff.

“Cohn might be a newbie to policy and Washington, but you have to give him credit for one thing,” said Gene Sperling, who held Cohn’s job during the Obama administration. “While others seemed engaged in ideological and ‘House of Cards’-like staff warfare, he quietly and quickly focused on the first rule of governing: He hired some competent, professional staff at the NEC, and it has paid off for him.”

Cohn now finds himself in the awkward — and politically risky — position of being praised by Democrats but shunned by conservative allies of Trump who see the former Goldman Sachs executive as anathema to the values that got Trump elected.

“From a pure political perspective, I do not know if the White House appreciates how Gary Cohn is a liability with the Republican and conservative base, as well as the Republican Congress,” said Sam Nunberg, a strategist on Trump’s 2016 campaign. “The Trump White House will always be held in suspicion when you have someone who’s consolidated full economic power in the White House who is also a liberal, New York Democrat.”

Cohn has been getting flak in the conservative media as he has risen in profile. Rush Limbaugh last week called him “a very ideological liberal Democrat” and a “trader at Goldman Sachs.” He expressed concern that Cohn and his allies in the White House “are starting to have sway” at Bannon’s expense.

Cohn, who declined to comment for this article, has given thousands of dollars to candidates from both parties, including President Barack Obama and former candidate Hillary Clinton.

White House aides say Cohn has done well because Trump sees him, more than anything else, as a dealmaker. Cohn represents a bloc of White House officials who are working harder than before to court Democratic support for key parts of Trump’s agenda, having seen the Republican Party splinter during the health-care debate.

“I’m not a Democrat, and I’m not a Republican,” Cohn often says in meetings with business executives, according to two people familiar with his exchanges. “I just want to get things done.”

People who have met with Cohn in his new role said they weren’t aware of what his ideology was. He just seemed driven to forge agreements.

That philosophy has led Cohn to show enthusiasm for ideas such as a new tax on carbon — a Democrat-friendly idea which would raise revenue to ease tax reform, a top presidential priority, while also helping to curb carbon emissions. The idea is ridiculed by many conservatives on Capitol Hill, and the White House rapidly distanced itself last week after word leaked that senior officials were studying the concept.

“I think the National Economic Council has done a terrible job,” said Larry Kudlow, who was one of Trump’s top economic advisers during the campaign. “It’s the NEC’s job to put a plan together and show the president options and make decisions. So far, I would say they are way behind the eight ball.”

But even as the legislative agenda struggles to gain momentum, Cohn and his allies are having a clear impact on the president’s thinking. In the past week, Trump reversed his earlier statements and said he supported the Export-Import Bank, would not declare China a “currency manipulator” and said flattering things about Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet L. Yellen.

Conservatives took aim at the Ex-Im Bank and the Fed throughout much of Obama’s term, while Trump, as part of his tough trade rhetoric, promised to go after China’s currency practices on Day One of his administration.

Cohn’s stature among the top advisers is notable because he is one of the few who played no role in the campaign. Cohn, who grew up in a middle-class family and struggled in a number of schools because of dyslexia, graduated from American University and took a job with U.S. Steel in Ohio. During a trip to New York, he coaxed a well-dressed senior Wall Street executive into sharing a cab with him to the airport, acting as if he knew financial markets (he knew virtually nothing), according to an interview he gave author Malcolm Gladwell. Cohn schmoozed his way into his first Wall Street job and then climbed the ranks, eventually becoming Goldman’s president and chief operating officer.

While friends say he loves his new job, they say Cohn also holds the traditions of Washington in low regard.

At a recent dinner with friends in New York, he called Washington a “s—show,” according to a person familiar with the exchange.

Cohn has not tried to shirk his past at Goldman Sachs or hide his lavish lifestyle. He recently had drinks at the Four Seasons with Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein, and shortly after the failure of the House GOP health-care legislation, he went on vacation in the Bahamas.

If he is able to deflect the growing criticism from hardcore conservatives, White House officials say Cohn will have a strong future as a Trump adviser given his experience and the deep bench of experts he has established.

This includes DJ Gribbin, an infrastructure expert, and Shahira Knight, a former congressional aide on tax policy who joined the White House from Fidelity Investments.

Other top members of the team include Kenneth Juster, who is slated to play a top White House role in international negotiations; Jeremy Katz, a former White House official in the George W. Bush administration; and Ray Starling, who works on agriculture issues and was formerly the general counsel for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

While Cohn has met with lawmakers from both parties and executives from numerous companies in his role, he rarely telegraphs what the White House plans to do.

One exception came last week, when — during a gathering of chief executives — he went into great detail about how the U.S. air-traffic-control system needed to be reworked.

He quickly moved through a technical discussion on why the United States should scrap its land-based radar system and adopt a global-positioning system, suggesting he had already devoted time to the topic. He said their approach would save 25 percent of the jet fuel consumed each year.

“We are going to cut flight times down fairly dramatically,” he told the executives. “We are going to cut the experience down. We are going to cut tarmac time down.”

His penchant for dealmaking has even attracted the admiration of Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, a tough fiscal conservative and longtime critic of government spending. Cohn, working to fulfill Trump’s pledge to spend billions to rebuild infrastructure, has toyed with an idea that would pair $200 billion in taxpayer money with $800 billion in additional funds, mostly from private investors.

“You’ve got to give these Goldman Sachs guys credit,” Mulvaney said this week on CNBC about Cohn’s plan. “They know how to lever up.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/within-trumps-inner-circle-a-moderate-voice-captures-the-presidents-ear/2017/04/13/7a7f87b0-1fa7-11e7-be2a-3a1fb24d4671_story.html?utm_term=.0024e13db393

Steve Bannon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Steve bannon)
Steve Bannon
Steve Bannon by Gage Skidmore.jpg

Bannon at the 2017 CPAC
White House Chief Strategist
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Position established
Senior Counselor to the President
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
Serving with Kellyanne Conway
(Counselor to the President)
President Donald Trump
Preceded by John Podesta (2015)
Personal details
Born Stephen Kevin Bannon
November 27, 1953 (age 63)
Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Cathleen Houff Jordan
(divorced)
Mary Piccard (1995–1997)
Diane Clohesy (divorced 2009)
Children 3
Education Virginia Tech (BA)
Georgetown University (MA)
Harvard University (MBA)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1976–1983
Rank Lieutenant (O-3)[1][a]

Stephen Kevin “Steve” Bannon (born November 27, 1953) is an American political aide, and former media executive and film producer, who is currently the White House Chief Strategist in the Trump administration.[2] In this capacity, he attended the Principals Committee of the U.S. National Security Council from January 28, 2017[3] to April 5, 2017.[4][5]

On August 17, 2016, in the later months of the campaign, Bannon joined the Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential bid, taking the position of chief executive officer.[6][7] Prior to taking a leave of absence in August 2016, he had been executive chair of Breitbart News, a far-right[i] news, opinion, and commentary website[17][18] which he described in 2016 as “the platform for the alt-right“.[I]

Bannon was previously a US Navy officer, a Goldman Sachs banker, a radio host, a research director, a film producer and then a media executive. He was an officer in the United States Navy for seven years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, serving on the destroyer USS Paul F. Foster as well as at the Pentagon. After his military service, he worked at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker in the Mergers and Acquisitions Department. When he left the company, Bannon held the position of vice president. In 1993, he was made acting director of the Earth-science research project Biosphere 2. In the 1990s, he became an executive producer in the Hollywood film and media industry and has produced 18 films since 1991.

Early life, family and education

Stephen Kevin Bannon was born on November 27, 1953, in Norfolk, Virginia, to Doris (née Herr) and Martin Bannon, a telephone lineman, later in middle management.[26][27] His working class, Irish Catholic family was pro-Kennedy, pro-union Democrat.[28][29] After serving as president of the student government association,[30] he graduated from Virginia Tech in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in urban planning and holds a master’s degree in national security studies from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. In 1985,[33] Bannon received a Master of Business Administration degree with honors[34] from Harvard Business School.[35]

Service as naval officer

Bannon was an officer in the United States Navy for seven years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, serving on the destroyer USS Paul F. Foster as a surface warfare officer in the Pacific Fleet and, afterwards stateside as a special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon.[36] Bannon’s job at the Pentagon were among other things handling messages between senior officers and writing reports about the state of the Navy fleet worldwide.[37]

Upon his departure he was ranked as a lieutenant (O-3).[1][a]

Business career

Investment banking

After his military service, Bannon worked at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker in the Mergers and Acquisitions Department.[39] When he left the company he held the position of vice president.[40][b]

In 1990, Bannon and several colleagues from Goldman Sachs launched Bannon & Co., a boutique investment bank specializing in media. In one of Bannon & Co.’s transactions, the firm represented Westinghouse Electric which wanted to sell Castle Rock Entertainment.[34] Bannon negotiated a sale of Castle Rock to CNN, which was owned by Ted Turner at the time.[42]Instead of a full adviser’s fee, Bannon & Co. accepted a financial stake in five television shows, including Seinfeld, which was in its third season. Bannon still receives cash residuals each time Seinfeld is aired.[42] Société Générale purchased Bannon & Co. in 1998.[34]

Earth science

In 1993, while still managing Bannon & Co., Bannon was made acting director of the Earth-science research project Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona. Under Bannon, the closed-system experiment project shifted emphasis from researching human space exploration and colonization toward the scientific study of earth’s environment, pollution and climate change. He left the project in 1995.[43][44]

Entertainment and media

Bannon in 2010

In the 1990s, Bannon ventured into the entertainment and media industry. He became an executive producer in the Hollywood film and media industry. Bannon produced 18 films,[27] from the 1991 Sean Penn drama The Indian Runner to Julie Taymor‘s 1999 film Titus. Bannon became a partner with entertainment industry executive Jeff Kwatinetz at The Firm, Inc., a film and television management company.[34]

In 2004, Bannon made a documentary about Ronald Reagan titled In the Face of Evil. Through the making and screening of this film, Bannon was introduced to Reagan’s War author Peter Schweizer and publisher Andrew Breitbart, who would later describe him as the Leni Riefenstahl of the Tea Party movement.[34] He was involved in the financing and production of a number of films, including Fire from the Heartland: The Awakening of the Conservative Woman, The Undefeated, and Occupy Unmasked.

Bannon persuaded Goldman Sachs to invest, in 2006, in a company known as Internet Gaming Entertainment.[45] Following a lawsuit, the company rebranded as Affinity Media and Bannon took over as CEO. From 2007 through 2011, Bannon was the chair and CEO of Affinity Media.[46][47]

In 2007, Bannon wrote an eight-page treatment for a new documentary called Destroying the Great Satan: The Rise of Islamic Facism (sic) in America. The outline describes Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America as “cultural jihadists” and describes the Washington Post, the New York Times, NPR, “Universities and the Left”, the “American Jewish Community“, the ACLU, the CIA, the FBI, the State Department, and the White House as “enablers” of a covert mission to establish an Islamic Republic in the United States.[48] In 2011, Bannon spoke at the “Liberty Restoration Foundation” in Orlando, Florida about the Economic Crisis of 2008, the Troubled Assets Relief Program and their impact in the origins of the Tea Party movement, while also discussing his films Generation Zero and The Undefeated.[49]

Bannon was executive chair and co-founder of the Government Accountability Institute, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, where he helped orchestrate the publication of Breitbart News senior editor-at-large[50] Peter Schweizer’s book Clinton Cash,[34][51] from its founding in 2012 until he left in August 2016.[52] For the years 2012 through 2015, he received between $81,000 and $100,000 each year; the organization reported that he worked an average of 30 hours per week for the organization.[52] He has also worked as vice president of Cambridge Analytica‘s board, a data-analytics firm owned largely by the Mercer family;[53] said family are also co-owners of Breitbart News.[54]

In 2015, Bannon was ranked No. 19 on Mediaite‘s list of the “25 Most Influential in Political News Media 2015”.[55]

Bannon also hosted a radio show (Breitbart News Daily) on the SiriusXM Patriot satellite radio channel.[56]

Breitbart News

Main article: Breitbart News

Bannon was a founding member of the board of Breitbart News,[57] an online far-right news, opinion and commentary website which, according to Philip Elliott and Zeke J. Miller of Time, has “pushed racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic material into the vein of the alternative right“.[17]

In March 2012, after founder Andrew Breitbart‘s death, Bannon became executive chair of Breitbart News LLC, the parent company of Breitbart News.[58][59][60] Under his leadership, Breitbart took a more alt-right and nationalistic approach toward its agenda.[61] Bannon declared the website “the platform for the alt-right” in 2016.[19] Bannon identifies as a conservative.[62][63][64] Speaking about his role at Breitbart, Bannon said: “We think of ourselves as virulently anti-establishment, particularly ‘anti-‘ the permanent political class.”[65]

In 2016, Ronald Radosh claimed in The Daily Beast that Bannon had told him earlier, in a book party on November 12, 2013, that he was a Leninist, in that “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment”.[66] While Snopes considers this claim unproven,[67] other media such as Time magazine and The Guardian have reported or discussed it.[68][69]

In a 2014 speech to a Vatican conference, Bannon made a passing reference to Julius Evola, a twentieth-century, Nazi-linked Italian writer who influenced Mussolini‘s Italian Fascism and promoted the Traditionalist School, described by a New York Times writer as “a worldview popular in far-right and alternative religious circles that believes progress and equality are poisonous illusions.”[70] In referring to the associated views of Vladimir Putin, who is influenced by Evola follower Aleksandr Dugin, Bannon stated “We, the Judeo-Christian West, really have to look at what he’s talking about as far as Traditionalism goes — particularly the sense of where it supports the underpinnings of nationalism.”[70] He has likewise quoted French anti-Enlightenment writer Charles Maurras approvingly to a French diplomat.[71][72]

Starting in 2015, Bannon has frequently referenced controversial, allegedly racist 1973 French novel The Camp of the Saints, which depicts immigration destroying Western civilization.[73]

Political career

Donald Trump campaign

On August 17, 2016, Bannon was appointed chief executive of Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign; he left Breitbart, as well as the Government Accountability Institute[52] and Cambridge Analytica,[74] to take the job, and shortly after the chairman of the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort, was dismissed.[59][62][75][76][58]

Protests against Bannon’s appointment

Following Trump’s election, on November 13 Bannon was appointed chief strategist and senior counselor to President-elect Donald Trump.[77]This appointment drew opposition from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Council on American–Islamic Relations, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Democrat Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, and some Republican strategists, because of statements in Breitbart News that were alleged to be racist or antisemitic.[6][7][78][79][80]

Ben Shapiro,[80][81][82] David Horowitz,[83] Pamela Geller,[84] Bernard Marcus of the Republican Jewish Coalition,[85] Morton Klein[86] and the Zionist Organization of America,[85] and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach[87] defended Bannon against the allegations of antisemitism. Alan Dershowitz first defended Bannon and said there was no evidence he was antisemitic,[88][89] but in a later piece stated that Bannon and Breitbart had made bigoted statements against Muslims, women, and others.[90] The ADL said “we are not aware of any anti-Semitic statements from Bannon”, while adding “under his stewardship, Breitbart has emerged as the leading source for the extreme views of a vocal minority who peddle bigotry and promote hate.”[91] Shapiro, who previously worked as an editor-at-large at Breitbart, said that he has no evidence of Bannon being racist or an antisemite, but that he was “happy to pander to those people and make common cause with them in order to transform conservatism into European far-right nationalist populism”,[92] an assertion supported by other sources and by gestures like his alluding to Front National politician Marion Maréchal-Le Pen as “the new rising star”.[93]

On November 15, 2016, U.S. Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island released a letter to Trump signed by 169 Democratic House Representatives urging him to rescind his appointment of Bannon. The letter stated that appointing Bannon “sends a disturbing message about what kind of president Donald Trump wants to be”,[94][95][96] because his “ties to the White Nationalist movement have been well documented”; it went on to present several examples of Breitbart News’ alleged xenophobia.[97] Bannon denied being a white nationalist and claimed, rather, that he is an “economic nationalist.”[98]

On November 18, during his first interview not conducted by Breitbart Media since the 2016 presidential election, Bannon remarked on some criticisms made about him stating that “Darkness is good: Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.”[99][100] The quote was published widely in the media.[99][101][102][103]

Trump responded to the ongoing controversy over Bannon’s appointment in an interview with The New York Times by saying “I’ve known Steve Bannon a long time. If I thought he was a racist, or alt-right, or any of the things that we can, you know, the terms we can use, I wouldn’t even think about hiring him.”[104]

Trump administration

Bannon and other advisors watching Trump sign an executive order.

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon shake hands with WH Chief of Staff Reince Priebus at 2017 CPAC

Several days after Donald Trump’s inauguration, Bannon told an American newspaper, “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while. I want you to quote this: the media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”[105]

Bannon, along with Stephen Miller, was involved in the creation of Executive Order 13769, which resulted in restricted U.S. travel and immigration by individuals from seven countries, suspension of the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days, and indefinite suspension of the entry of Syrians to the United States.[106][107]

At the end of January 2017, in a departure from the previous format of the National Security Council (NSC), the holder of Bannon’s position, along with that of the Chief of Staff, were designated by presidential memorandum as regular attendees to the NSC’s Principals Committee, a Cabinet-level senior interagency forum for considering national security issues.[3][108][109] The enacted arrangement was criticised by several members of previous administrations and was called “stone cold crazy” by Susan E. Rice, Barack Obama’s last national security adviser.[110] In response, White House spokesman Sean Spicer pointed to Bannon’s seven years experience as a Navy officer in justifying his presence on the Committee.

File:Bannon Says Corporatist Global Media Opposed to Economic Nationalist Agenda.webmhd.webm

‘Bannon Says Corporatist Global Media Opposed to Economic Nationalist Agenda’ video from Voice of America, recorded at the Conservative Political Action Conference 2017

In February 2017, Bannon appeared on the cover of Time, on which he was labeled “the Great Manipulator”.[111] The headline used for the associated article was “Is Steve Bannon the Second Most Powerful Man in the World?”, alluding to Bannon’s perceived influence in the White House.[112] In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in the aftermath of the 2016 election, Bannon analogized his influence to that of “Thomas Cromwell in the court of the Tudors“.[113][114][115]

Bannon was removed from his NSC role in early April 2017 in a reorganization by National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, who Bannon had helped select.[4] Some White House officials said Bannon’s main purpose of serving on the committee was as a check against former National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn, who had resigned in February 2017 for misleading the vice president about a conversation with the Russian operatives.[116][5] Hence, with Flynn gone, Bannon was no longer needed.[4] Bannon reportedly opposed his removal from the council and threatened to quit if president Trump went forward with it, although Republican megadonor Rebekah Mercer urged him to stay.[53] The White House said Bannon had not attempted to leave, and Bannon said any indication that he threatened resignation was “total nonsense”.[117] Bannon had only attended one NSC meeting.[118]

Personal life

Bannon has been married and divorced three times. He has three adult daughters.

His first marriage was to Cathleen Suzanne Houff.[119] Bannon and Houff had a daughter, Maureen, in 1988 and subsequently divorced.[120][78]

Bannon’s second marriage was to Mary Louise Piccard, a former investment banker, in April 1995. Their twin daughters were born three days after the wedding. Piccard filed for dissolution of their marriage in 1997.[121][122]

Bannon was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness in early January 1996 after Piccard accused Bannon of domestic abuse. The charges were later dropped when his now ex-wife did not appear in court.[123] In an article in The New York Times Piccard stated her absence was due to threats made to her by Bannon and his lawyer:

Mr. Bannon, she said, told her that “if I went to court he and his attorney would make sure that I would be the one who was guilty” … Mr. Bannon’s lawyer, she said, “threatened me,” telling her that if Mr. Bannon went to jail, she “would have no money and no way to support the children.” … Mr. Bannon’s lawyer … denied pressuring her not to testify.[124]

Piccard and Bannon divorced in 1997. During the divorce proceedings, Piccard alleged that Bannon had made antisemitic remarks about choice of schools, saying that he did not want to send his children to The Archer School for Girls because there were too many Jews at the school and Jews raise their children to be “whiny brats”. Bannon’s spokesperson denied the accusation noting that he had chosen to send both his children to the Archer School.[123][125][126][127][128]

Bannon’s third marriage was to Diane Clohesy; they divorced in 2009.[129]

Lebanese-American author Nassim Nicholas Taleb, neoreactionary blogger Curtis Yarvin and conservative intellectual Michael Anton have been pointed out as three of the main influences in Steve Bannon’s political thinking, alongside the William Strauss and Neil Howe book The Fourth Turning (which directly inspired Bannon’s film Generation Zero).[130]

Filmography

Bannon has been a producer, writer or director on the following films and documentaries:

Year Title Credited as Notes
1991 The Indian Runner[131] executive producer
1999 Titus[132] co-executive producer
2004 In the Face of Evil: Reagan’s War in Word and Deed[133] director, co-producer, writer based on the 2003 book Reagan’s War by Peter Schweizer
2005 Cochise County USA: Cries from the Border executive producer
2006 Border War: The Battle Over Illegal Immigration executive producer
2007 Tradition Never Graduates: A Season Inside Notre Dame Football executive producer
2009 The Chaos Experiment executive producer
2010 Generation Zero[134] director, producer, writer based on the 1997 book The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe[68]
Battle for America[135] director, producer, writer
Fire from the Heartland: The Awakening of the Conservative Woman[135] director, producer, writer
2011 Still Point in a Turning World: Ronald Reagan and His Ranch[136][137] director, writer
The Undefeated[135][138] director, producer, writer about Sarah Palin
2012 Occupy Unmasked[139] director, writer
The Hope & The Change[140] director, producer, writer
District of Corruption director, producer
2013 Sweetwater[141] executive producer
2014 Rickover: The Birth of Nuclear Power executive producer
2016 Clinton Cash producer, writer based on the similarly titled Peter Schweizer book
Torchbearer director, producer, writer features Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson[142]

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

 

 

Jared Kushner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jared Kushner
Jared Kushner cropped.jpg
Director of the Office of American Innovation
Assumed office
March 27, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Position established
Senior Advisor to the President
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
Serving with Stephen Miller
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Brian Deese
Valerie Jarrett
Shailagh Murray
Personal details
Born Jared Corey Kushner
January 10, 1981 (age 36)
Livingston, New Jersey, U.S.[1]
Political party Democratic[2]
Spouse(s) Ivanka Trump (m. 2009)
Relations Charles Kushner (Father)
Joshua Kushner (Brother)
Murray Kushner (Uncle)
Children 3
Education Harvard University (BA)
New York University (JD, MBA)
Religion Judaism

Jared Corey Kushner (born January 10, 1981) is an American real estate investor and developer, publisher, and senior advisor to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump. Together with Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon he formed Trump’s leadership team. Kushner is said to be President Trump’s most trusted advisor, showing “unwavering loyalty” to his father-in-law.[3]

He was principal owner of the real estate holding and development company Kushner Companies and of Observer Media, publisher of the weekly, on-line New York Observer. On January 9, 2017, Kushner was named to be a Senior White House Adviser to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump. As a result, Kushner resigned as CEO of his family’s real estate company and as publisher of the Observer.[4] He also divested “substantial assets”.[5]

Kushner is the elder son of American real estate developer Charles Kushner and is married to Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump. He was among the senior advisors to Trump’s presidential campaign. Peter Thiel said “If Trump was the CEO, Jared was effectively the chief operating officer.”[6] Kushner played the largest role in developing and running Trump’s digital media strategy.[7][8][9]

In 2007, Kushner’s father and CEO made the most expensive single-building property purchase in U.S. history, acquiring 666 Fifth Avenue for $1.8 billion.[10] In 2011, Kushner brought in Vornado Realty Trust as a 50% equity partner in the ownership of the building.[11]

Family history, early life and education

Kushner was born in Livingston, New Jersey, and is the elder son of Seryl Kushner (née Stadtmauer) and real estate developer Charles Kushner.[12][13] His paternal grandparents, Rae and Joseph Kushner, were Holocaust survivors who came to the U.S. from Poland[a] in 1949.[14]His grandmother Rae Kushner was born in Novogrudek, in what is now Belarus.[15] Joseph became a prominent real estate businessman.[16][17]

He has a brother, Joshua (also a businessman), and two sisters, Nicole and Dara. He is also a nephew of Murray Kushner, the owner of Kushner Real Estate Group. Kushner Real Estate Group is separate from Kushner Companies, which Murray Kushner started in 2000.[16]

Kushner was raised in a Modern Orthodox Jewish family in New Jersey.[18] He graduated from the Frisch School, a private, coed yeshiva high school, in 1999. According to a spokeswoman for Kushner Companies, he was an honors student and a member of the debate, hockey, and basketball teams while at Frisch.[19]

In 2003, Kushner graduated cum laude from Harvard College with a Bachelor of Arts degree[20][21] in government.[22] He lived in Kirkland House.[23] While a student at Harvard, Kushner was a member of the Fly Club and bought and sold buildings in Somerville, Massachusetts, earning a $20 million profit.[24]

In 2007, Kushner graduated from New York University where he earned a J.D. and an M.B.A.;[25] He interned at Manhattan District AttorneyRobert Morgenthau‘s office and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.[26]

Business career

Real estate

Kushner Companies purchased 666 Fifth Avenue in 2007 for $1.8 billion, the most expensive single property purchase in US history at the time.[27]

In May 2015, Kushner purchased a majority stake of One Times Square for $295 million.[28]

According to Forbes, in 2017 Jared Kushner and his parents had a personal fortune of around $1.8 billion.[29] Kushner is a real estate investor, and has increased the Kushner Companies’ presence in the New York City real estate market as a principal in his family’s real estate company.[30] His father, Charles Kushner, was arrested on charges of tax evasion, illegal campaign donations, and witness tampering in 2004, and was eventually convicted on all charges (by the then U.S. Attorney Chris Christie)[31] and sentenced to two years in federal prison.[32]

Kushner Companies purchased the office building at 666 Fifth Avenue in 2007, for a then-record price of $1.8 billion, most of it borrowed.[27] However, following the property crash in 2008, the cash flow generated by the property was insufficient to cover its debt service, and the Kushners were forced to sell the retail portion in the building to Stanley Chera for more than $1 billion[33] and bring in Vornado Realty Trust as a 50% equity partner in the ownership of the building.[11]

He assumed the role of CEO of Kushner Companies in 2008.[31] On August 18, 2014, Kushner acquired a three-building apartment portfolio in Middle River, Maryland, for $37.9 million with Aion Partners. In 2013–14, he and his company acquired more than 11,000 units throughout New York, New Jersey, and the Baltimore area.[34] In May 2015, he purchased 50.1% of the Times Square Building from Africa Israel Investments Ltd. for $295 million.[28]

In 2015, Kushner scored spot No. 25 on Fortune Magazine’s 40 under 40 list ranking the most influential young people in business.[35]

Newspaper publishing

At age 25, Kushner purchased the New York Observer, a weekly New York City newspaper, for $10 million,[36] using money he says he earned during his college years by closing deals on residential buildings in Somerville, Massachusetts, with family members providing the backing for his investments.[37]

After purchasing the Observer, Kushner published it in tabloid format.[38] Since then, he has been credited with increasing the Observers online presence and expanding the Observer Media Group.[39][40] With no substantial experience in journalism, Kushner could not establish a good relationship with the newspaper’s veteran editor-in-chief, Peter W. Kaplan.[41] “This guy doesn’t know what he doesn’t know,” Kaplan remarked about Kushner, to colleagues, at the time. [41] As a result of his differences with Kushner, Kaplan quit his position. Kaplan was followed by a series of short-lived successors until Kushner hired Elizabeth Spiers in 2011.[42] In December 2011, the New York Post reported that the Observer expected to become profitable for the first time.[43] Spiers left the newspaper in 2012. In January 2013, Kushner hired a new editor-in-chief, Ken Kurson. Kurson had been a consultant to Republican political candidates in New Jersey[42] and one-time member of Rudy Giuliani‘s unsuccessful 2008 presidential primary campaign.

According to Vanity Fair, under Kushner, the “Observer has lost virtually all of its cultural currency among New York’s elite, but the paper is now profitable and reporting traffic growth … [it] boasts 6 million unique visitors per month, up from 1.3 million in January 2013″.[44] In April 2016, the New York Observer became one of only a handful of newspapers to officially endorse United States presidential candidate Donald Trump in the Republican primary, but the paper ended the campaign period by choosing not to back any presidential candidate at all.[45][46]

Kushner stepped down from his newspaper role in January 2017 to pursue a role in President Donald Trump’s administration. He was replaced by his brother-in-law, Joseph Meyer.[47]

Los Angeles Dodgers bid

In February 2012, Kushner put in a bid to acquire the MLB team the Los Angeles Dodgers.[48] He withdrew his bid in March 2012.[49]

Political activity

Earlier career and family history

Jared Kushner had been a life-long Democrat and had made major donations to its candidates for years before reportedly undergoing an “ideological conversion” and supporting the 2015–16 Trump campaign.[50][51][52][53] Kushner has had no prior involvement in campaign politics or in government before his father-in-law, Trump’s, campaign.[54]

Trump presidential campaign

From the outset of the presidential campaign of his father-in-law Donald Trump, Kushner was the architect of Trump’s digital, online and social media campaigns, enlisting talent from Silicon Valley to run a 100-person social-media team dubbed “Project Alamo”.[8] Kushner has also helped as a speechwriter and was tasked with working to establish a plan for Trump’s White House transition team should he be elected.[55] He was for a time seen as Trump’s de facto campaign manager, succeeding Corey Lewandowski, who was fired in part on Kushner’s recommendation in June 2016.[56] He has been intimately involved with campaign strategy, coordinating Trump’s visit in late August to Mexico and he was believed to be responsible for the choice of Mike Pence as Trump’s running mate.[8][57] Kushner’s “sprawling digital fundraising database and social media campaign” has been described as “the locus of his father-in-law’s presidential bid”.[58]

According to Eric Schmidt, “Jared Kushner is the biggest surprise of the 2016 election, Best I can tell, he actually ran the campaign and did it with essentially no resources.”[6] Eric Schmidt said, “Jared understood the online world in a way the traditional media folks didn’t. He managed to assemble a presidential campaign on a shoestring using new technology and won. That’s a big deal. Remember all those articles about how they had no money, no people, organizational structure? Well, they won, and Jared ran it.”[6] Peter Thiel said “If Trump was the CEO, Jared was effectively the chief operating officer.”[6]

On July 5, 2016, Kushner wrote an open letter in the New York Observer addressing the controversy around a tweet from the Trump campaign containing allegedly antisemitic imagery. He was responding to his own paper’s editorial by Dana Schwartz criticizing Kushner’s involvement with the Trump campaign.[59] In the letter, Kushner wrote, “In my opinion, accusations like “racist” and “anti-Semite” are being thrown around with a carelessness that risks rendering these words meaningless.”[60]

Trump presidential transition

During the presidential transition, Kushner was said to be his father-in-law’s “confidant”[61] and one of Donald Trump’s closest advisors, even more so than Trump’s four adult children.[62]Trump was reported to have requested the top-secret security clearance for him to attend the Presidential daily intelligence briefings as his staff-level companion, along with General Mike Flynn who already had the clearance prior to his resignation.[63]

The Washington Post, New York Times and numerous other national news authorities explain Kushner was an influential factor behind the firing of New Jersey governor Chris Christie as head of the transition team, as well as the dismissal from the Donald Trump transition team of anyone connected to Christie.[64][65] A source familiar with the Trump campaign explained that “Jared doesn’t like Christie. He’s always held [the prosecution of his father, Charles Kushner] against Christie.”[66] Kushner told Forbes that the reports that he was involved in Christie’s dismissal were false: “Six months ago Governor Christie and I decided this election was much bigger than any differences we may have had in the past, and we worked very well together. The media has speculated on a lot of different things, and since I don’t talk to the press, they go as they go, but I was not behind pushing out him or his people.”[67]

Senior Advisor to President Trump

Japanese PM Shinzō Abe, Jared Kushner, Ivanka, and President Trump, November 17, 2016

In January 2017, Kushner was named a Senior White House Advisor to President Trump. Kushner’s appointment was questioned on the basis of a 1967 anti-nepotism law.[68] On January 20, 2017 the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion stating “the President may appoint relatives to his immediate staff of advisors.”[69][70] Kushner was sworn in on January 22, 2017.[71]

Trump put Kushner in charge of brokering peace in Israeli–Palestinian conflict as well as making deals with foreign countries, although in what way he is in charge is unclear.[72][73][74] Furthermore, after Donald Trump became President-elect, Kushner and his wife met with Japanese Prime Minister and other Japanese officials while his wife was conducting a licensing deal between her namesake clothing brand and a Japanese government-owned company.[75] His wife sat in on a meeting between her father, then President-elect Donald Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.[76] In February 2017, his wife Ivanka Trump was a surprise attendee at the Chinese Embassy’s New Year’s party.[77] In late March 2017 he was also given the new role of leading the “White House Office of American Innovation”.[78][79]

Personal life

Kushner married Ivanka Trump, daughter of businessman and U.S. president Donald Trump, in a Jewish ceremony on October 25, 2009.[80][81] They are Modern Orthodox Jews, keep a kosher home, and observe Shabbat.[82][83][84] Jared and Ivanka have three children: Arabella Rose, Joseph Fredrick and Theodore James.[85]

Notes

Gary Cohn (investment banker)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the business executive. For others, see Gary Cohn (disambiguation).
Gary Cohn
Gary D. Cohn - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2010.jpg
11th Director of the National Economic Council
Assumed office
January 20, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Jeffrey Zients
Personal details
Born August 27, 1960 (age 56)
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Lisa Pevaroff
Children 3
Education American University (BA)

Gary D. Cohn (born August 27, 1960) is an American investment banker and political figure. He is the chief economic advisor to President Donald Trump and Director of the National Economic Council.[1][2] He was formerly the president and chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs from 2006 to 2017. Cohn is a registered Democrat, but has donated extensively to the Republican Party.[3]

Early life and education

Gary Cohn was born to an Eastern European Jewish family,[4][5] the son of Victor and Ellen Cohn;[6] and was raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio. His father was an electrician who later became a real estate developer.[7] Cohn was diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age and attended four schools by the time he reached the sixth grade.[8] Cohn studied at Gilmour Academy, and received his bachelor’s degree from American University‘s Kogod School of Business.[7]

National Economic Council director

On January 20, 2017 Cohn took office as Director of the National Economic Council (NEC) in President Donald Trump‘s administration, a position which did not require Congressional confirmation. By February 11, 2017, The Wall Street Journal described Cohn as an “economic-policy powerhouse”[9][10] and The New York Times called him Trump’s “go-to figure on matters related to jobs, business and growth”.[11] With the confirmation of Trump’s December 12, 2016 nominee for Secretary of Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, being held back by Congressional hearings, Cohn filled in the “personnel vacuum” and pushed “ahead on taxes, infrastructure, financial regulation and replacing health-care law”.[9] Had Cohn stayed at Goldman Sachs, some believed he would have become CEO when Lloyd Blankfein vacated that office.[9] His severance package at Goldman Sachs amounted to $285 million.[12] Additionally, Cohn sold a stake valued at $16 million in the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s largest bank as of 2017.[13]

Cohn supports reinstating the Glass-Steagall legislation, which would separate commercial and investment banking.[14]

Career

Cohn started his career at the U.S. Steel home products division in Cleveland, Ohio.[15] After a few months, he left U.S. Steel and started his career as an options dealer in the New York Mercantile Exchange.[15] He taught himself the basics of options by reading about it in the days between meeting the hiring manager and joining the New York Mercantile Exchange.[16]

Goldman Sachs

Cohn was recruited by Goldman Sachs in 1990.[17] In 1996, he was named head of the commodities department and in 2002, he was named the head of the entire Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Division (FICC) division. In 2003, he was named co-head of Equities and in January 2004, Cohn was named the co-head of global securities businesses .[18] He became President and Co-Chief Operating Officer and director in June 2006.[19]

In late 2009, Cohn led a delegation from Goldman Sachs to meetings with the government of Greece, which included proposals (that were not adopted) to push debt-due dates far into the future, “much as when strapped homeowners take out second mortgages to pay off their credit cards.”[20] Goldman Sachs had been scrutinized for creating or pitching products used by Greece to “obscure billions in debt from the budget overseers in Brussels”.[20]

In 2010, Cohn testified to Congress on the role of Goldman Sachs in the 2007-2008 financial crisis.[21] Cohn testified: “During the two years of the financial crisis, Goldman Sachs lost $1.2 billion in its residential mortgage-related business. We did not ‘bet against our clients,’ and the numbers underscore this fact.”[22]

In February 2015, Cohn hosted the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco. As host, Cohn asked questions of Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., while Cook was on stage.[23]

Compensation

Cohn’s salary at Goldman Sachs was US$22 million in 2014.[24] He received $21 million in 2015.[25]

He received a severance package worth around $285 million – mostly in stock – from Goldman Sachs upon leaving to join the administration of Donald Trump.[12]

Personality and work style

Critics of Cohn attribute to him an arrogant, aggressive, abrasive and risk-prone work style. They see his “6-foot 3-inch & 220lbs” as intimidating, as he might “sometimes hike up one leg, plant his foot on a trader’s desk, his thigh close to the employee’s face and ask how markets were doing”[17] According to former Bear Stearns Asset Management CEO Richard Marin, Cohn’s arrogance is at the root of the problem.

When you become arrogant, in a trading sense, you begin to think that everybody’s a counterparty, not a customer, not a client.[17]

Cohn’s supporters see these qualities as advantages. Michael Ovitz, co-founder and former chairman of Creative Artists Agency and former president of The Walt Disney Company, stated that he is impressed with Cohn. Ovitz said:

“He’s a trader. He has that whole feel in his body and brain and fingertips.”[17]

Ovitz sees Cohn’s toughness as a “positive” value, explaining that a high ranking executive can’t be “all peaches and cream.”[7][17]

Donna Redel, who was Chairman of the Board of the New York Mercantile Exchange when Cohn worked there as a silver trader, remembers Cohn as “firm,” “strategic” and “driven.” Martin Greenberg, her predecessor, said Cohn “was tough,” and added that “Gary got in with the right people, worked his ass off and used his head.”[17]

Personal life

Cohn is married to Lisa A Pevaroff-Cohn.[26] [27] They have three daughters and reside in New York City.[6][15]

Philanthropy

Cohn and his wife are founding board members of the New York University Child Study Center. The couple funded the Pevaroff Cohn Professorship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine in 1999. He financed the Gary D. Cohn Endowed Research Professorship in Finance at American University, his alma mater.[28]

In 2009, the Hillel International building at Kent State University was named the Cohn Jewish Student Center in recognition of a gift from Cohn and his wife.[29] It is the first Hillel building built directly on the campus of a state university.[30]

Cohn has been a supporter of Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities and has supported Harlem RBI since 2011. At that time, Harlem RBI was given the chance to build its own charter school. Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees and Harlem RBI director Rich Berlin asked Cohn if he could help them raise the capital they needed to build the school.[31]

In December 2012, Cohn attended the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief which raised money for the Robin Hood Relief fund to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.[32]

Cohn is active as a trustee of his alma mater, American University, and of his school, Gilmour Academy.[33]

In 2010, the Hospital for Joint Diseases at NYU Langone Medical Center named Cohn the chairman of the HJD Advisory Board.[34]

On June 17, 2013, Cohn was honored at the annual “Bid for Kids” gala in order to raise funds for Harlem RBI and the DREAM charter school. Cohn said in an interview that Harlem RBI is a project that is “very near and dear to his heart.”[31]

Published works

Cohn has written editorials in prestigious journals and newspapers.[citation needed] In March 2014, he wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, discussing “The Responsible Way to Rein in Super-Fast Trading.”[35]

Memberships

Cohn is a member of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County.[36]

Cohn is a member of the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.[37]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Cohn_(investment_banker)

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 421, February 20, 2015, Story 2: The Ukraine Ceasefire Is A Failure — Will NATO Be Forced To Intervene? — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 407: January 30, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 405: January 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 404: January 27, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 402: January 23, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 399: January 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 398: January 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 397: January 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 396: January 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 395: January 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 394: January 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 393: January 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 392: December 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 391: December 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 390: December 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 389: December 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 388: December 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 387: December 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 386: December 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 384: December 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 379: November 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 378: November 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 377: November 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 376: November 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 375: November 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 374: November 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 373: November 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 372: November 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 371: November 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 370: November 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 369: November 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 368: November 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 367: November 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 366: November 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 365: November 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 364: November 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 363: November 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 362: November 3, 2014

Story 2: The Ukraine Ceasefire Is A Failure — Will NATO Be Forced To Intervene? — Videos

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_80980240_ukraine_ceasefire_lines_12.02.2015_624map2015-02-15_wor_7022384_I132-Russian-Tanks-Enter-Ukraine-600x399 easternukraineIslamic-States-Libya-affiliate-beheads-21-Coptic-Christians-from-Egyptukraine-ceaseFire-2-2-15-WEBukraine-maprussian_language_map_ukraine_73363841_ukraine_crimea_russia_map3_624easternukraineships-russia-s-black-sea-fleet-during-naval-parade-sevastopol-crimea-july-2014-photodpa_6-russia-will-add-80-new-warships-to-black-sea-fleetSoviet_and_Russian_Black_Sea_Fleet

eu-gas Europe_SourcesOfGas_ByCountry_2009_2012.png_web europe-russia-gas gas russian dependence Gas-graphic-1 map new routes russia_pipelines_416_1 russia_ukraine_belarus_baltic_republics_pipelines_map ukraine pipelines UKRAINEgasMAP

BBC News Ukraine crisis BBC meets last few Donetsk residents

Kerry says arming Ukrainian forces has not been ruled out

Conversation: Arming Ukraine with Lethal Weapons has Risks

Former U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Yalowitz discusses Ukraine ceasefire

Ceasefire appears to be failing in Ukraine

Ceasefire appears to be failing in Ukraine. Pro-Russian rebels now control key town

Shaky ceasefire in Ukraine

East Ukraine Opinion: Soldiers and residents in Artemivsk doubt ceasefire will last

Ukraine: Fighting continues despite truce

Fierce fighting is said to be continuing in the key Ukrainian town of Debaltseve, as the new ceasefire appears to be failing.

Rebels say they have taken most of the town, but the government says it is still in its control.

Gas Pipeline Blast Caught On Video, Hit By Shell In Eastern Ukraine

Ukraine and Natural Gas

Ukraine promised not to steal Russian gas from Europe

Russia Expands Its Natural Gas Infrastructure (Agenda)

Caspian pipeline politics of Europe, Russia and China

Russia supplies more then 25 percent of Europe’s hydrocarbon needs. Ever since the natural gas cutoffs in 2006 and 2009, the European countries have been searched for ways to reduce their dependency on Russian oil and natural gas. In this context, the crisis in Ukraine has sparked a new drive for the search for alternative sources of energy. One project that is of particular interest, but underappreciated in the media, is the Trans-Caspian pipeline. If realized it would significantly change the energy map of Europe in the long term.

Fulcrium – Like it or not, Russian natural gas is here to stay – panel on European Energy Security

The LBS GES Energy Security panel addressed geo-political issues and challenges decision-makers face in the pursuit of European energy supply security in the wake of the Ukraine Crisis. Bottom line: The EU will remain dependent on Russian natural gas for decades to come irrespective of sanctions, source of supply diversification, and renewables agendas ! Likewise Moscow is dependent on the EU for 60% of Gazprom’s revenues. Like it or not, the EU and Russia are highly co-dependent as far as Russian natural gas is concerned.

Days after this debate took place, Russian President Vladimir Putin shelved the $40bn South Stream project designed to bypass Ukraine as the key transit state for Russian gas to Europe. And in a further twist, on 16 December 2014, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Bulgaria to enter into dialogue with Moscow to revive the South Stream project. Perhaps this is a signal of a softening EU stance in order to rebuild economic ties with Russia, more out of a necessity to safeguard Germany’s and Bulgaria’s interests. Other countries which stood to gain from South Stream, including Serbia and Hungary, also want to rescue the project. Russia supplies about 25 percent of EU gas needs; half of that flows via Ukrainian transit pipelines. The EU’s most powerful economy, Germany, is still highly dependent on Russian natural gas, importing 30% of it’s annual gas consumption from Russia.

Panel Chair: Raju Patel, Chief Executive, Fulcrium

Panellists:

Vladimir Drebentsov, Vice President, BP Russia / Head of Russia & CIS Economics, BP Plc

Dr Tatiana Mitrova, Head of Oil and Gas Department in the Energy Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ERI RAS), Board Director – E.ON Russia

Andrew Risk, Senior Associate – Political Risk, GPW + Co

David Buchan, Senior Research Fellow, The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

Impact on world energy markets of Ukraine Crisis

The Effect of the Ukrainian Crisis on the Economy | Made in Germany

Psaki. Minsk Ceasefire. 19 Feb 2015 (Ukraine)

Ukraine: EU says ceasefire agreement not a failure

Military Forces Pull Out Of Besieged Ukrainian Town – Feb 19, 2015

Putin Tells Kiev to Let Troops Surrender as Ukraine Ceasefire Unravels

NATO Slams Russian Role in Ukraine Conflict: Stoltenberg says Kremlin must end insurgent support

Will the Ukraine-Russia deal stick?

WW3 NEWS UPDATE: The Strategic Role of UKRAINE in WW3

The Road to World War 3: Oil Prices, Ukraine, Russia, America, Collapse U.S. Dollar

Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum

The Role of Russia and NATO in Ukraine’s Civil War

Paul Craig Roberts: The Real Story Behind Oil Prices

The Road to World War 3: Ukraine, Russia and American Imperialism

 

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Pronk Pops Show 123, August 30, 2013, Segment 0: Launching World War 3 with the missiles of September?

Posted on August 30, 2013. Filed under: American History, Bombs, Budgetary Policy, Business, Chemical Explosion, College, Communications, Cruise Missiles, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Government, History, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Oil, Politics, Polls, Resources, Scandals, Tax Policy, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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USS_Jason_Dunham_DDG_109

061806-N-8492C-066

Destroyers_Off_Syria

uss-gravely

The Four $1.8 Billion Destroyers Circling Syria

Special Report Online: What Action Will US Take In Syria?

U.S. Navy Forces warships prepare for possible strike on Syria

World War 3 : Russia sends Warships off the coast of Syria as tension rises (Aug 29, 2013)

Tomahawk Cruise Missile

USS Stout Launches Tomahawk Missiles During Operation Odyssey Dawn HD

First Cruise Missles fired at Libya from USS Barry

Uploaded on Mar 20, 2011

Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Barry launches a Tomahawk missile in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn. This was one of approximately 110 cruise missiles fired from U.S. and British ships and submarines that targeted about 20 radar and anti-aircraft sites along Libya’s Mediterranean coast.

Launching World War 3 with the missiles of September?

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

TLAM_Launch

Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) launched from guided missile cruiser USS Cape St. George

Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

In poll after poll the vast majority of the American people have opposed United States intervention in the Syrian civil war by military action and the shipping of arms to the Syrian rebels opposed to the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The Syrian civil war is essentially a religious-based civil war between an Islamic Sunni majority and an Islamic Shia minority that controls the Syrian government.

Sunni Muslims comprise about 60 percent of the population with the Syrian rebels being mostly Arab Sunni Muslims. The Syrian rebels are supported by the United States, Britain, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Arab Shia Muslims (Alawite, Twelvers and Ismailis) comprise about 13 percent of the Syrian population. Hafez al-Assad ruled Syria from 1970-2000 and Bashar al-Assad since July 2000. The Assad family is Alawite and most members of the Syrian government are Arab Shia Muslims. The Assad government is supported by Russia, China, Iran and Hezbollah. The Iranian government is a Persian Shia theocracy of Twelvers that also support the Shia Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The civil war is more than two years old with over 100,000 killed, nearly two million Syrians fleeing to other countries including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt and several million displaced Syrians moving to other areas within Syria to avoid the violence, according to the United Nations Syrian Refugee Response online report.

“About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the U.S. should not intervene in Syria’s civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act,” according to a recent Reuter’s poll. The Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll, taken Aug. 21-26, found that 47.4 percent would oppose, 27.6 percent would support U.S. intervention in Syria, even if Assad’s forces used chemical weapons against civilians, while 25 percent do not know.

After more than a decade of U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) military action and Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) covert action in the Libyan civil war to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi, the American people may have become war weary and opposed to further U.S. government intervention in the Middle East.

In the Libyan civil war the submarine USS Florida launched 100 cruise missiles to takeout Libyan air defenses. This opened a cleared corridor for airstrikes by NATO aircraft and the eventual overthrow of Gaddafi, according to John Barry in his Aug. 20, 2011 online story, “America’ Secret Libya War.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), in a foreign policy speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention on July 22, said “The Assad regime is no friend to freedom or the United States. But this does not mean the enemy of our enemy is our friend. There are currently 17 different rebel groups in Syria, including the largest group, al-Nusra. Al-Nusra fighters are radical anti-American jihadists that are affiliated with al-Qaeda. Politicians in Washington, who are eager to send these weapons, promise they will not fall into the hands of our enemies. Do you believe that? Does anyone believe that?”

On Aug. 20, 2012 at the White House, Obama said, “We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people.  We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region, that that’s a red line for us, and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front, or the use of chemical weapons. That would change my calculations significantly.”

On Aug. 26 Secretary of State John Kerry accused the Syrian government of crossing Obama’s red line when he said, “Let me be clear: The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard, it is inexcusable and despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable.”

Kerry pointed out in his statement, “the U.N. investigation will not determine who used these chemical weapons, only whether such weapons were used, a judgment that is already clear to the world.”

The question left unanswered is who actually used the chemical weapons, the Syrian government or the Syrian rebels? As of press time, the Obama administration has not provided concrete proof that the Syrian government ordered the use of chemical weapons.

Obama as much as admitted this in a CNN interview on Aug. 23 when he said, “If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it – do we have the coalition to make it work?”

Obama appears determined to order the U.S. navy to launch Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM). Four destroyers, the USS Barry, the USS Mahan, the USS Ramage and the USS Gravely as well as several submarines armed with TLAMs are at press time in position off the coast of Syria, according to naval officials. These cruise missiles would most likely be used to destroy Syrian air defense, communications and command and control systems. After these have been taken out, cruise missiles and fighter and bomber aircraft could be used to destroy the Syrian air force aircraft and runways and the stockpile of chemical and biological weapons.

According to recent polling however, by Reuters and others, the American people, want no part of the Syrian civil war even if chemical weapons were used, no matter who used them.

The American people may be concerned that given the Syrian government’s allies, the launching of cruise missiles could lead to rapid military escalation and a war with Russia, China and Iran.

Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war, not the president. Congress is not scheduled to reconvene until Monday, Sept. 9 at 2 p.m.. By then an undeclared war may have begun with the launching of the missiles aimed at Syria.

Obama Warns Syria’s Assad Chemical Weapons A ‘RED Line’

Published on Aug 21, 2012

President Obama made a surprise appearance during Jay Carney’s White House briefing. Speaking to a packed press room, he raised a smile as he traded banter with them before launching into the serious issue of Syria and chemical weapons.
He confirmed that the US has said Assad needs to step down.
Obama then tackled the issue of humanitarian aid to Syrians, and those who are fleeing the country to escape the Assad regime ,severely straining the resources of nearby host countries.
And the President ended the briefing on a serious note, by saying that should the US and United Nations be aware of any chemical weapons then they would react accordingly to the threat.
On the same day that Obama made this statement in the US, the Russian Minister and Syrian ally, SERGEI LAVROV speaking at a news conference in Helsinki, said Moscow would not approve any political transition that was forced on Syria. Stating that only the United Nations Security Council alone, can authorise the use of force against Syria, and not just the US.
Written and presented by Ann Salter

Barack Obama lays down red line to Syria over chemical weapons

Published on Dec 4, 2012

President Obama warns “there will be consequences” if the regime of Bashar Al-Assad used chemical weapons amid reports Syrian military forces were readying supplies of deadly nerve gas.

President Barack Obama warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad not to use chemical weapons against opposition forces, saying there would be consequences if he were to do so.

“The world is watching,” he said.

“The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable and if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons there will be consequences and you will be held accountable,” Mr Obama said in remarks to a gathering of nuclear proliferation experts.

The President’s warning came as US officials claimed to have detected signs that Syrian forces were mixing the chemicals needed to produce sarin gas, a nerve agent banned under international rules of war.

Rand Paul Obama’s plan to arm Syrian rebels means siding with terrorists

Rand Paul slams Obama’s plans for Syria involvement

Rand Paul: I’m Not Sure I Want To Give Weapons To People Who Are Anti-Christian and Anti-Israel

[youtub e=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9uAJ96BLIM]

Rand Paul Blasts Stupid Senate for Wanting to Arm Syrian al-Qaeda Fighters

Rand Paul Destroys Hillary Clinton Over Benghazi-Gate During Capitol Hill Press Conference

John Kerry: Syria must be held accountable for chemical weapon attacks

Published on Aug 27, 2013

John Kerry: Syria must be held accountable for chemical weapon attacks.

The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has made a stern speech condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria to carry out the ‘indiscriminate slaughter of civilians and the killing of women, children and innocent bystanders’. Kerry said it was a moral outrage and the president was assessing how to respond

John Kerry Syria Chemical Weapons FULL Speech. KERRY: SYRIA ATTACK ‘A MORAL OBSCENITY’

What Is the True Objective of a Strike on Syria?

Rand Paul: Syrian rebels have more incentive to use chemical weapons than Assad

Sen. Ted Cruz with Sean Hannity on Syria, Defunding Obamacare, and More

U.S. DESTROYER LAUNCHES TOMAHAWK CRUISE MISSILES!

Syria: Obama Joins Al-Qaeda…

Published on Mar 20, 2012

Tomahawk cruise missiles being launched towards Qadhafi regime forces as a part of JTF Odyssey Dawn.
USS Stout (DDG-55) is a part of Task Force Odyssey Dawn, the U.S.
Africa Command task force established to provide operational and tactical command and control of U.S.
military forces supporting the international response to the unrest in Libya and enforcement
of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. UNSCR 1973 authorizes all necessary
measures to protect civilians in Libya under threat of attack by Qadhafi regime forces.
JTF Odyssey Dawn is commanded by U.S. Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, III.
Odyssey Dawn, Libya11. Video by Spc. Neil Stanfield. 03.27.2011.

TOMAHAWK Block IV TLAM Test Launched from Submarine

watchout from below

Uploaded on May 31, 2007

first tomahawk launch off the new SSGN, USS Florida

Russia reportedly Supports Syria’s Assad Regime with Advanced ‘Ship Killer’ Missiles

Russia Builds Up Naval Presence Off Syria

Syria crisis: Western military options

By Jonathan Marcus

All the signals from Washington suggest that military action against Syria is a strong possibility. Contingency plans are being drawn up, potential target lists are being reviewed and various military assets are being moved into position.

The US Navy is re-positioning several vessels, including four cruise missile-carrying destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean and probably a missile-firing submarine.

If more firepower is needed, two US aircraft carriers could launch air strikes, and land bases in Turkey and Cyprus might also be used. French air power could also play a part.

syrian_military_operation

But what kind of military action is being proposed ? What risks are involved ? What is the rationale behind such action? And, perhaps most importantly, how might Western military action contribute to a resolution of the Syrian crisis, if at all?

Forces which could be used against Syria:

Four US destroyers – USS Gravely, USS Ramage, USS Barry and USS Mahan – are in the eastern Mediterranean, equipped with cruise missiles. The missiles can also be fired from submarines, but the US Navy does not reveal their locations

Airbases at Incirlik and Izmir in Turkey, and in Jordan, could be used to carry out strikes

Two aircraft carriers – USS Nimitz and USS Harry S Truman are in the wider region

French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is currently in Toulon in the western Mediterranean

French Raffale and Mirage aircraft can also operate from Al-Dhahra airbase in the UAE

‘Mission-creep’

The military options facing US political leaders are varied, ranging from a short, sharp punitive strike against targets in Syria (perhaps the most likely) to – at the other end of the spectrum – a full-scale intervention, including ground troops, to try to end the country’s civil war.

This is not in any sense on the table at the moment, though it is the “shadow” lurking off-stage.

Those who are sceptical of military entanglement fear that any action could escalate. Western forces might get drawn into a more protracted struggle, “mission-creep”, risking an open-ended military commitment that many fear might be as dangerous as another Iraq or Afghanistan.

So what are the military options?

The US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen Martin Dempsey, gave his most detailed view in a letter to Senator Carl Levin in mid-July.

This is the most authoritative assessment of the military options as seen by the Pentagon that is available in an unclassified form.

Let’s look at each of these, though not necessarily in the order that Gen Dempsey discussed them. Bear in mind that these are not mutually exclusive; combinations of different options could well be employed.

1. Limited stand-off strikes

Some might call these punitive strikes.

The aim would be to get Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s attention and to persuade him not to resort to chemical weapons in the future. Targets could include military sites linked closely to the regime – the headquarters or barracks of elite units, for example.

possible_targets_around_Damascus

Missile production facilities could be hit. Caution would have to be exercised if striking chemical weapons production facilities since leakage of toxic chemicals could lead to significant local damage.

Air defence sites and command centres might also be hit as a warning of Western capabilities should there need to be recourse to military action again in the future.

The attraction of this option is that it could be mounted quickly and with limited risk to the Western forces involved. The weapons of choice would be Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles launched from US Navy warships and submarines.

syrian_targets

This could be scaled up using air-launched weapons, but again these would be “stand-off” in nature (i.e. launched from well outside Syrian airspace). French aircraft could strike targets in Syria while operating from their home bases, as they did during the crisis in Libya and Mali.

2. Stepped up support to the Syrian opposition

Gen Dempsey actually put this as his first option. This would involve non-lethal force to step up the training and advice to elements of the opposition. This would be an extension of some of the work that has already been under way.

However, this approach has already foundered upon the growing divisions within the opposition and the rising fears in the West that some of the most effective fighters on the ground come from groups with links to al-Qaeda-type organisations.

3. Establish a ‘no-fly’ zone

The aim here would be to prevent the Syrian government from using its air power to strike rebels on the ground and to re-supply isolated bases around the country. This would probably require Syria’s air defence system to be dismantled, and forces would have to be available to shoot down Syrian military aircraft that took to the skies.

Such a no-fly zone has been discussed for well over a year and generally rejected. Much has been made of Syria’s air defence system, which before the civil war was extensive and well-integrated. It is made up of large numbers of Soviet-era weapons with a significant sprinkling of much more modern Russian systems.

However, the effectiveness of this system as a whole is in doubt. Territorial losses to the rebels mean that some key sites have been lost to the government, and the Israeli air force has demonstrated that it can hit targets inside Syria with impunity (though some of the strikes may well have been made using stand-off weapons).

What is clear is that establishing a no-fly zone would involve much greater initial risk to US and allied aircraft and it would require the assembling of a significant force – which would have to be maintained over time – not just combat aircraft, but tankers, airborne command (Awacs) aircraft and so on.

4. Establish buffer zones

The idea here would be to establish havens inside Syria – probably close to its borders with Turkey and Jordan – from which rebel forces could operate and within which refugees could be supplied. Again this is an option that has been previously discussed and rejected.

Such safe havens might require the establishment of a limited air exclusion zone, and there would be serious questions as to how they might be defended on the ground. If, for example, the Syrian government fired into the zones, what then?

Another idea that has sometimes been mentioned is a no-drive zone, effectively limiting the use of President Assad’s ground forces. But here, too, air power would be needed and this option begins to look very much like embarking upon a full-scale war in Syria.

5. Control Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal

This was Gen Dempsey’s fourth point with a focus on preventing the use or proliferation of chemical weapons. This could be done by destroying portions of Syria’s stockpiles; hindering its movement or by seizing key installations. This would require a massive US involvement, including troops on the ground, for an indefinite duration.

What comes through clearly in Gen Dempsey’s letter (and indeed in a subsequent text that he recently sent to another US congressman in mid-August) is his extraordinary reluctance to embark upon any military action at all.

What comes through clearly in Gen Dempsey’s letter (and indeed in a subsequent text that he recently sent to another US congressman in mid-August) is his extraordinary reluctance to embark upon any military action at all.

That was, of course, before the suspected use of chemical weapons in Syria, and President Barack Obama being forced by circumstances to confront the “red line” of his own choosing.

The most likely scenario, if force is to be used, is number (1) above – a short, sharp punitive strike to send a message to the Syrian regime. But any decision to act raises all sorts of questions:

  • What degree of further evidence – if any – is required from the UN weapons inspectors before military action is unleashed?
  • What about the legality of such action in terms of international law – especially since Russia and China seem resolutely opposed to backing any idea of military action at the UN Security Council?
  • But perhaps the most important question of all if military action goes ahead – what next? How is this action going to bring Syria any closer to peace? What new policies or combination of policies can do this? In what sense will the dynamics of the Syrian crisis be any different after a US and allied strike than it was before? Could Western military action actually make things in Syria much, much worse?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23849386

Syria action ‘would involve submarine cruise missiles’

Any UK military action in Syria would involve submarine-launched cruise missiles rather than air strikes, a military expert has predicted.

Nick de Larrinaga of IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly told ITV News: “I’d be very surprised if any military action by the UK didn’t consist of cruise missile strikes.

Reports emerged today that warplanes had arrived in the UK’s Akrotiri airbase in Cyprus, but De Larrinaga does not believe these would be used against Syria.

“The Akrotiti base could play a supporting role to any military action, but it’s highly unlikely that manned aircraft would be involved at this point – although it’s possible the UK could support the US by monitoring airspace.”

De Larrinaga, the magazine’s Europe Editor, said the chances of western military action are increasing and strikes could occur “quickly” after a decision was made.

“The likelihood of small scale, precision strikes using Tomahawk cruise missiles has significantly increased since Britain, France and the US essentially accused Assad of using chemical weapons,” he said.

Submarines would likely be deployed in eastern Mediterranean waters or in the Gulf.

De Larrinaga added that airstrikes could be possible “to a limited degree” within Syria using stand-off weapons, without entering Syrian airspace, but cruise missiles remained “the far most likely option”.

Parliament is being recalled on Thursday for MPs to discuss the issue, although De Larrinaga says military action would not get UN backing.

“UN Security Council-endorsed military action is a no-go because Russia and China would veto it. It could be a US-led coalition, or possibly a NATO-endorsed mission,” he said.

In 2011, the UK carried out strikes on Libya two days before Parliamentary approval was sought, although there had been a UN resolution endorsing a no fly-zone.

http://www.itv.com/news/2013-08-27/syria-action-would-involve-submarine-cruise-missiles/

“Equally, I’d be very surprised if it did involve air strikes. It would be very risky given the strength of Syrian air defences.”

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