The Pronk Pops Show 1200, February 1, 2019, Story 1 President Trump — A Big Beautiful Border Barrier or Wall Is Required To Stop The Continuing Illegal Alien Invasion of United States  — What about The 30 to 60 Million Illegal Aliens Already in the United States? — Part 2 of 2 — Videos — Story 2: Will United States Economy Measured By Gross Domestic Product Grow At Historical Average of 3% to 3.5% Annually? — Bureau of Economic Analysis Reports Scheduled for this Week Delayed  — Better Than Average Jobs Report of 304,000 Non farm Payroll Jobs Created in January 2019 — The  U-3 Unemployment Rate Increased to 4.0% from 3.86% and U-6 Unemployment Rate Increased to 8.07% from 7.59% and Number of Unemployed Increased To 6.5 Million from 6.3 Million — 100th Month of Job Increases and Growing Stronger — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1195 January 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1194 January 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1193 January 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1192 January 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1191 December 19, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1189 December 14, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1187 December 12, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1185 December 10, 2018

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Story 1 President Trump — A Big Beautiful Border Barrier or Wall Is Required To Stop The Continuing Illegal Alien Invasion of United States  — What about The 30 to 60 Million Illegal Aliens Already in the United States? — Part 2 of 2 — Videos —

 

Trump: Nancy Pelosi will be begging for a wall

President Trump: I won’t wait for congressional deal on wall

WATCH: President Trump Talks Border Wall, North Korea To The Media

Trump says Pelosi ‘playing games’ on wall funds

Nancy Pelosi: No money in legislation for Trump’s wall

Will Trump’s wall ever be built?

Trump vows to deport criminal illegal immigrants

Donald Trump explains his immigration plan

Trump’s plan for deporting criminal illegal immigrants

Trump: It is realistic to deport all illegal immigrants

Historian Victor Davis Hanson on why he supports Trump

The Suicide of Europe

Europe Is Killing Itself

A Nation of Immigrants

Trump Breaking News 2/1/19 | Tucker Carlson Tonight February 1, 2019

Trump Breaking News 2/1/19 | Fox News @ Night February 1, 2019

Trump Breaking News 2/1/19 | The Ingraham Angle February 1, 2019

Trump says Nancy Pelosi is ‘playing games’ with wall funding

– The Washington Times – Thursday, January 31, 2019

President Trump said Thursday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is “playing games” with his demand for a border wall and he doesn’t expect the congressional negotiations to reach a deal on a barrier for the southern border.

“She’s playing games,” the president told reporters at the White House. “If there’s no wall, it doesn’t work.”

Minutes earlier, Mrs. Pelosi vowed at the Capitol that Democrats won’t approve money for a wall as part of negotiations on border security.

She suggested there might be money available for a so-called “Normandy” fence along the southern border, which would stop vehicles but not people on foot.

Upon hearing that, the president said he doesn’t expect a 17-member bipartisan committee to reach a deal on border security that’s acceptable to him.

“I don’t think they’re going to make a deal,” Mr. Trump said. “I don’t expect much coming out of this committee.”

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/01/31/donald-trump-border-wall-talks-congress/2729908002/

Story 2: Will United States Economy Measured By Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Grow At Historical Average of 3% to 3.5% Annually? — Bureau of Economic Analysis Reports Scheduled for this Week Delayed  — Better Than Average Jobs Report of 304,000 Non-farm Payroll Jobs Created in January 2019 — The  U-3 Unemployment Rate Increased to 4.0% from 3.86% and U-6 Unemployment Rate Increased to 8.07% from 7.59% and Number of Unemployed Increased To 6.5 Million from 6.3 Million — 100th Month of Job Increases and Growing Stronger — Videos

Watch 5 experts weigh in on the January jobs report

NEC’s Kudlow on Jobs Report, U.S.-China Trade Talks

St. Louis Fed president James Bullard on January jobs report

Strong jobs report won’t cause Fed to raise rates: Economist

Jobs Report

Jim Cramer’s Quick Take on Amazon, the Jobs Number and Google

Alternate Unemployment Charts

The seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994. That estimate is added to the BLS estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes short-term discouraged workers.

The U-3 unemployment rate is the monthly headline number. The U-6 unemployment rate is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) broadest unemployment measure, including short-term discouraged and other marginally-attached workers as well as those forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment.

 

Public Commentary on Unemployment

Unemployment Data Series   subcription required(Subscription required.)  View  Download Excel CSV File   Last Updated: February 1st, 2019

The ShadowStats Alternate Unemployment Rate for January 2019 is 21.8%.

http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts

Shadow Government Statistics
Analysis Behind and Beyond Government Economic Reporting

Data extracted on: February 1, 2019 (6:25:46 PM)

Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey

Civilian Labor Force Level

163,229,000

 

Series Id:           LNS11000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Civilian Labor Force Level
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 142267(1) 142456 142434 142751 142388 142591 142278 142514 142518 142622 142962 143248
2001 143800 143701 143924 143569 143318 143357 143654 143284 143989 144086 144240 144305
2002 143883 144653 144481 144725 144938 144808 144803 145009 145552 145314 145041 145066
2003 145937(1) 146100 146022 146474 146500 147056 146485 146445 146530 146716 147000 146729
2004 146842(1) 146709 146944 146850 147065 147460 147692 147564 147415 147793 148162 148059
2005 148029(1) 148364 148391 148926 149261 149238 149432 149779 149954 150001 150065 150030
2006 150214(1) 150641 150813 150881 151069 151354 151377 151716 151662 152041 152406 152732
2007 153144(1) 152983 153051 152435 152670 153041 153054 152749 153414 153183 153835 153918
2008 154063(1) 153653 153908 153769 154303 154313 154469 154641 154570 154876 154639 154655
2009 154210(1) 154538 154133 154509 154747 154716 154502 154307 153827 153784 153878 153111
2010 153484(1) 153694 153954 154622 154091 153616 153691 154086 153975 153635 154125 153650
2011 153263(1) 153214 153376 153543 153479 153346 153288 153760 154131 153961 154128 153995
2012 154381(1) 154671 154749 154545 154866 155083 154948 154763 155160 155554 155338 155628
2013 155763(1) 155312 155005 155394 155536 155749 155599 155605 155687 154673 155265 155182
2014 155352(1) 155483 156028 155369 155684 155707 156007 156130 156040 156417 156494 156332
2015 157053(1) 156663 156626 157017 157616 157014 157008 157165 156745 157188 157502 158080
2016 158371(1) 158705 159079 158891 158700 158899 159150 159582 159810 159768 159629 159779
2017 159693(1) 159854 160036 160169 159910 160124 160383 160706 161190 160436 160626 160636
2018 161123(1) 161900 161646 161551 161667 162129 162209 161802 162055 162694 162821 163240
2019 163229(1)
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

Labor Force Participation Rate

63.2% 

 

Series Id:           LNS11300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Labor Force Participation Rate
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force participation rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

Employment Level

156,694,000

 

Series Id:           LNS12000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Employment Level
Labor force status:  Employed
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Download:
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 136559(1) 136598 136701 137270 136630 136940 136531 136662 136893 137088 137322 137614
2001 137778 137612 137783 137299 137092 136873 137071 136241 136846 136392 136238 136047
2002 135701 136438 136177 136126 136539 136415 136413 136705 137302 137008 136521 136426
2003 137417(1) 137482 137434 137633 137544 137790 137474 137549 137609 137984 138424 138411
2004 138472(1) 138542 138453 138680 138852 139174 139556 139573 139487 139732 140231 140125
2005 140245(1) 140385 140654 141254 141609 141714 142026 142434 142401 142548 142499 142752
2006 143150(1) 143457 143741 143761 144089 144353 144202 144625 144815 145314 145534 145970
2007 146028(1) 146057 146320 145586 145903 146063 145905 145682 146244 145946 146595 146273
2008 146378(1) 146156 146086 146132 145908 145737 145532 145203 145076 144802 144100 143369
2009 142152(1) 141640 140707 140656 140248 140009 139901 139492 138818 138432 138659 138013
2010 138438(1) 138581 138751 139297 139241 139141 139179 139438 139396 139119 139044 139301
2011 139250(1) 139394 139639 139586 139624 139384 139524 139942 140183 140368 140826 140902
2012 141584(1) 141858 142036 141899 142206 142391 142292 142291 143044 143431 143333 143330
2013 143292(1) 143362 143316 143635 143882 143999 144264 144326 144418 143537 144479 144778
2014 145150(1) 145134 145648 145667 145825 146247 146399 146530 146778 147427 147404 147615
2015 148150(1) 148053 148122 148491 148802 148765 148815 149175 148853 149270 149506 150164
2016 150622(1) 150934 151146 150963 151074 151104 151450 151766 151877 151949 152150 152276
2017 152128(1) 152417 152958 153150 152920 153176 153456 153591 154399 153847 153945 154065
2018 154482(1) 155213 155160 155216 155539 155592 155964 155604 156069 156582 156803 156945
2019 156694(1)
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

 

January 28, 2019

Bureau of Economic Analysis reports scheduled for this week and next will be delayed because of the effects of the partial government shutdown.

Those reports are:

  • Gross Domestic Product by State for the third quarter of 2018, originally scheduled for release on Tuesday, Jan. 29.
  • The “advance,” or initial, estimates of Gross Domestic Product for the fourth quarter of 2018 and for all of 2018, originally scheduled for release Wednesday, Jan. 30.
  • Personal Income and Outlays for December 2018, originally scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 31.
  • U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services for December 2018, originally scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 5.

BEA has not yet set new release dates for those economic reports.

In addition, new release dates will be set for three other economic reports that were originally set for release while parts of the government were shut down: U.S. International Investment Position for the third quarter of 2018, scheduled for Dec. 27; U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services for November 2018, scheduled for Jan. 8; and GDP by Industry for the third quarter of 2018, scheduled for Jan. 24.

BEA reopened on Monday and is consulting with the U.S. Census Bureau and other data suppliers to determine the availability of the thousands of data series used to produce our economic indicators. We will then work with the Office of Management and Budget to publish a revised schedule of BEA’s economic releases.

Until we know more about when source data will be available, we cannot say anything definitive about release dates for specific economic indicators. We will work through this as quickly as possible and provide information as soon as we can. Watch bea.gov and our Twitter feed, @BEA_News, for updates.

 

Employment Situation Summary

Transmission of material in this news release is embargoed until		USDL-19-0140
8:30 a.m. (EST) Friday, February 1, 2019

Technical information: 
 Household data:	(202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
 Establishment data:	(202) 691-6555  *  cesinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/ces

Media contact:		(202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov

	
		 THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- JANUARY 2019


Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 304,000 in January, and the
unemployment rate edged up to 4.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. Job gains occurred in several industries, including leisure
and hospitality, construction, health care, and transportation and warehousing. 

 _____________________________________________________________________________
| 									      |
|                Changes to The Employment Situation Data		      |
|									      |
|   Establishment survey data have been revised as a result of the annual     |
|   benchmarking process and the updating of seasonal adjustment factors.     |
|   Also, household survey data for January 2019 reflect updated population   |
|   estimates. See the notes beginning at the end of this news release for    |
|   more information about these changes.				      |
|_____________________________________________________________________________|


Household Survey Data

Both the unemployment rate, at 4.0 percent, and the number of unemployed persons,
at 6.5 million, edged up in January. The impact of the partial federal government
shutdown contributed to the uptick in these measures. Among the unemployed, the
number who reported being on temporary layoff increased by 175,000. This figure
includes furloughed federal employees who were classified as unemployed on
temporary layoff under the definitions used in the household survey. (See tables
A-1 and A-11. For information about annual population adjustments to the household
survey estimates, see the note at the end of this release and tables B and C. For
more information on the classification of workers affected by the partial federal
government shutdown, see the box note at the end of this news release.) 

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Hispanics increased to
4.9 percent in January. The jobless rates for adult men (3.7 percent), adult
women (3.6 percent), teenagers (12.9 percent), Whites (3.5 percent), Blacks
(6.8 percent), and Asians (3.1 percent) showed little change over the month. (See
tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

In January, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more)
was little changed at 1.3 million and accounted for 19.3 percent of the unemployed.
(See table A-12.)

The labor force participation rate, at 63.2 percent, and the employment-population
ratio, at 60.7 percent, changed little over the month; both measures were up by 0.5
percentage point over the year. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred
to as involuntary part-time workers) increased by about one-half million to 5.1
million in January. Nearly all of this increase occurred in the private sector and
may reflect the impact of the partial federal government shutdown. (Persons employed
part time for economic reasons would have preferred full-time employment but were
working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find
full-time jobs.) (See table A-8.)

In January, 1.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force,
essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) These
individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and
had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as 
unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the
survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 426,000 discouraged workers in January,
little different than a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.)
Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they
believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.2 million persons
marginally attached to the labor force in January had not searched for work for
reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 304,000 in January, compared with
an average monthly gain of 223,000 in 2018. In January, employment grew in several
industries, including leisure and hospitality, construction, health care, and
transportation and warehousing. There were no discernible impacts of the partial
federal government shutdown on the estimates of employment, hours, and earnings
from the establishment survey. (See table B-1. For information about the annual
benchmark process, see the note at the end of this release and table A. For more
information on the classification of workers affected by the partial federal
government shutdown, see the box note at the end of this news release.) 

In January, employment in leisure and hospitality rose by 74,000. Within the
industry, job gains occurred in food services and drinking places (+37,000) and in
amusements, gambling, and recreation (+32,000). Over the year, leisure and
hospitality has added 410,000 jobs. 

Construction employment rose by 52,000 in January. Job gains occurred among
specialty trade contractors, with increases in both the nonresidential (+19,000)
and residential (+15,000) components. Employment also rose in heavy and civil
engineering construction (+10,000) and residential building (+9,000). Construction
has added 338,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

Employment in health care increased by 42,000 in January. Within the industry, job
gains occurred in ambulatory health care services (+22,000) and hospitals (+19,000).
Health care has added 368,000 jobs over the past year.

Over the month, employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 27,000,
following little change in December. In January, job gains occurred in warehousing
and storage (+15,000) and among couriers and messengers (+7,000). Over the year,
employment in transportation and warehousing has increased by 219,000.

In January, retail trade employment edged up by 21,000. Job gains occurred in
sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (+17,000), while general merchandise
stores lost jobs (-12,000). Employment in retail trade has shown little net change
over the past 12 months (+26,000). 

Mining employment increased by 7,000 in January. The industry has added 64,000 jobs
over the year, almost entirely in support activities for mining.

Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up over the
month (+30,000) and has increased by 546,000 in the past 12 months.

Employment in manufacturing continued to trend up in January (+13,000). Over-the-
month job gains occurred in durable goods (+20,000), while employment in nondurable
goods changed little (-7,000). Manufacturing employment has increased by 261,000
over the year, with more than four-fifths of the gain in durable goods industries.

Employment in federal government was essentially unchanged in January (+1,000).
Federal employees on furlough during the partial government shutdown were counted as
employed in the establishment survey because they worked or received pay (or will
receive pay) for the pay period that included the 12th of the month. 

Employment showed little change over the month in other major industries, including
wholesale trade, information, and financial activities.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at
34.5 hours in January. In manufacturing, both the workweek and overtime decreased by
0.1 hour to 40.8 hours and 3.5 hours, respectively. The average workweek for
production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls held at 33.7
hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls
rose by 3 cents to $27.56, following a 10-cent gain in December. Over the year,
average hourly earnings have increased by 85 cents, or 3.2 percent. Average hourly
earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 3
cents to $23.12 in January. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised up from
+176,000 to +196,000, and the change for December was revised down from +312,000 to
+222,000. With these revisions, employment gains in November and December combined
were 70,000 less than previously reported. After revisions, job gains have averaged
241,000 per month over the last 3 months. (Monthly revisions result from additional
reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published
estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors. The annual benchmark process
also contributed to the November and December revisions.) 

_____________
The Employment Situation for February is scheduled to be released on Friday,
March 8, 2019, at 8:30 a.m. (EST).
	

   _____________________________________________________________________________
  |									        |
  |                     Partial Federal Government Shutdown		        |
  |										|
  |  Some federal government agencies were shut down or operating at reduced	|
  |  staffing levels during a lapse in appropriations from December 22, 2018,	|
  |  through January 25, 2019. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was		|
  |  funded during the shutdown period and was operating as usual. Data		|
  |  collection for the household and establishment surveys occurred as		|
  |  scheduled.									|
  |										|
  |  In the household survey, individuals are classified as employed,		|
  |  unemployed, or not in the labor force based on their answers to a series	|
  |  of questions about their activities during the survey reference week.	|
  |  Workers who indicated that they were not working during the entire		|
  |  survey reference week and expected to be recalled to their jobs should	|
  |  be classified as unemployed on temporary layoff. In January 2019, there	|
  |  was an increase in the number of federal workers who were classified as	|
  |  unemployed on temporary layoff. However, there also was an increase in	|
  |  the number of federal workers who were classified as employed but absent	|
  |  from work. BLS analysis of the underlying data indicates that this group	|
  |  included federal workers affected by the shutdown who also should have	|
  |  been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff. Such a			|
  |  misclassification is an example of nonsampling error and can occur when	|
  |  respondents misunderstand questions or interviewers record answers		|
  |  incorrectly. If the federal workers who were recorded as employed but	|
  |  absent from work had been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff,	|
  |  the overall unemployment rate would have been slightly higher than		|
  |  reported. However, according to usual practice, the data from the		|
  |  household survey are accepted as recorded. To maintain data integrity,	|
  |  no ad hoc actions are taken to reassign survey responses. 			|
  |										|
  |  In the establishment survey, businesses and government agencies report the |
  |  number of people on payrolls during the pay period that includes the 12th  |
  |  of the month. Individuals who work or receive pay for any part of the pay  |
  |  period are	defined as employed. Federal employees on furlough during the   |
  |  partial federal government shutdown were considered employed in the        |
  |  establishment survey because they worked or received pay (or will receive  |
  |  pay) for the pay period that included the 12th of the month. Other workers |
  |  (including	federal contractors) who did not work or receive pay during the |
  |  partial federal government shutdown were not counted among the employed.	|
  |										|
  |  Additional information is available online at				|
  |  www.bls.gov/bls/shutdown_2019_empsit_qa.pdf.				|
  |_____________________________________________________________________________|	


	         Revisions to Establishment Survey Data

In accordance with annual practice, the establishment survey data released today
have been benchmarked to reflect comprehensive counts of payroll jobs for March
2018. These counts are derived principally from the Quarterly Census of Employment
and Wages (QCEW), which counts jobs covered by the Unemployment Insurance (UI) tax
system. The benchmark process results in revisions to not seasonally adjusted data
from April 2017 forward. Seasonally adjusted data from January 2014 forward are
subject to revision. In addition, data for some series prior to 2014, both
seasonally adjusted and unadjusted, incorporate other revisions.                           
                                                                
The total nonfarm employment level for March 2018 was revised downward by 1,000
(-16,000 on a not seasonally adjusted basis, or less than -0.05 percent). The
absolute average benchmark revision over the past 10 years is 0.2 percent. 

The effect of these revisions on the underlying trend in nonfarm payroll employment
was minor. For example, the over-the-year change in total nonfarm employment for 2018
was revised from +2,638,000 to +2,674,000 (seasonally adjusted). Table A presents
revised total nonfarm employment data on a seasonally adjusted basis from January to
December 2018.

All revised historical establishment survey data are available on the BLS website at
www.bls.gov/ces/data.htm. In addition, an article that discusses the benchmark and
post-benchmark revisions and other technical issues is available at
www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cesbmart.htm. 


Table A. Revisions to total nonfarm employment, January to December 2018, seasonally
adjusted
(Numbers in thousands)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 |                                    |                                
                 |                Level               |      Over-the-month change     
                 |---------------------------------------------------------------------
 Year and month  |    As     |           |            |    As    |         |           
                 |previously |    As     | Difference |previously|   As    | Difference
                 |published  |  revised  |            |published | revised |           
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 |           |           |           |          |         |           
       2018      |           |           |           |          |         |           
                 |           |           |           |          |         |           
 January.........|  147,801  |  147,767  |    -34    |    176   |    171  |     -5   
 February........|  148,125  |  148,097  |    -28    |    324   |    330  |      6   
 March...........|  148,280  |  148,279  |     -1    |    155   |    182  |     27   
 April...........|  148,455  |  148,475  |     20    |    175   |    196  |     21   
 May.............|  148,723  |  148,745  |     22    |    268   |    270  |      2   
 June............|  148,931  |  149,007  |     76    |    208   |    262  |     54   
 July............|  149,096  |  149,185  |     89    |    165   |    178  |     13   
 August..........|  149,382  |  149,467  |     85    |    286   |    282  |     -4   
 September.......|  149,501  |  149,575  |     74    |    119   |    108  |    -11   
 October.........|  149,775  |  149,852  |     77    |    274   |    277  |      3   
 November........|  149,951  |  150,048  |     97    |    176   |    196  |     20   
 December (p)....|  150,263  |  150,270  |      7    |    312   |    222  |    -90   
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   (p) = preliminary.


                Adjustments to Population Estimates for the Household Survey


Effective with data for January 2019, updated population estimates were incorporated into
the household survey. Population estimates for the household survey are developed by the
U.S. Census Bureau. Each year, the Census Bureau updates the estimates to reflect new
information and assumptions about the growth of the population since the previous decennial
census. The change in population reflected in the new estimates results from adjustments
for net international migration, updated vital statistics, and estimation methodology
improvements. 

In accordance with usual practice, BLS will not revise the official household survey
estimates for December 2018 and earlier months. To show the impact of the population
adjustments, however, differences in selected December 2018 labor force series based on
the old and new population estimates are shown in table B.

The adjustments decreased the estimated size of the civilian noninstitutional population
in December by 800,000, the civilian labor force by 506,000, employment by 488,000,
unemployment by 18,000 and the number of persons not in the labor force was by 294,000.
The total unemployment rate, employment-population ratio, and labor force participation
rate were unaffected.

Data users are cautioned that these annual population adjustments can affect the comparability
of household data series over time. Table C shows the effect of the introduction of new
population estimates on the comparison of selected labor force measures between December 2018
and January 2019. Additional information on the population adjustments and their effect on
national labor force estimates is available at 
https://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cps-pop-control-adjustments.pdf.
Table B. Effect of the updated population controls on December 2018 estimates by sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, not seasonally adjusted
(Numbers in thousands)
Category Total Men Women White Black or
African
Ameri-
can
Asian Hispanic or
Latino
ethnicity

Civilian noninstitutional population

-800 -412 -389 -455 -119 -224 -275

Civilian labor force

-506 -281 -226 -303 -67 -134 -183

Participation rate

0 0 0 0 0 0.1 0

Employed

-488 -270 -217 -292 -62 -131 -176

Employment-population ratio

0 0 0 0 0 0.1 0

Unemployed

-18 -11 -8 -12 -4 -4 -8

Unemployment rate

0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Not in labor force

-294 -131 -164 -153 -53 -90 -91

NOTE: Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. Estimates for the above race groups (White, Black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are not presented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.

Table C. December 2018-January 2019 changes in selected labor force measures, with adjustments for population control effects
(Numbers in thousands)
Category Dec.-Jan.
change, as
published
2019
population
control effect
Dec.-Jan. change, after
removing the
population control
effect(1)

Civilian noninstitutional population

-649 -800 151

Civilian labor force

-11 -506 495

Participation rate

0.1 0 0.1

Employed

-251 -488 237

Employment-population ratio

0.1 0 0.1

Unemployed

241 -18 259

Unemployment rate

0.1 0 0.1

Not in labor force

-639 -294 -345

(1) This Dec.-Jan. change is calculated by subtracting the population control effect from the over-the-month change in the published seasonally adjusted estimates.

NOTE: Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.

Employment Situation Summary Table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted

HOUSEHOLD DATA
Summary table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted
[Numbers in thousands]
Category Jan.
2018
Nov.
2018
Dec.
2018
Jan.
2019
Change from:
Dec.
2018-
Jan.
2019

Employment status

Civilian noninstitutional population

256,780 258,708 258,888 258,239

Civilian labor force

161,123 162,821 163,240 163,229

Participation rate

62.7 62.9 63.1 63.2

Employed

154,482 156,803 156,945 156,694

Employment-population ratio

60.2 60.6 60.6 60.7

Unemployed

6,641 6,018 6,294 6,535

Unemployment rate

4.1 3.7 3.9 4.0

Not in labor force

95,657 95,886 95,649 95,010

Unemployment rates

Total, 16 years and over

4.1 3.7 3.9 4.0

Adult men (20 years and over)

3.9 3.3 3.6 3.7

Adult women (20 years and over)

3.6 3.4 3.5 3.6

Teenagers (16 to 19 years)

13.9 12.0 12.5 12.9

White

3.5 3.4 3.4 3.5

Black or African American

7.7 6.0 6.6 6.8

Asian

3.0 2.7 3.3 3.1

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

5.0 4.5 4.4 4.9

Total, 25 years and over

3.4 3.0 3.1 3.3

Less than a high school diploma

5.5 5.6 5.8 5.7

High school graduates, no college

4.4 3.5 3.8 3.8

Some college or associate degree

3.4 3.1 3.3 3.4

Bachelor’s degree and higher

2.2 2.2 2.1 2.4

Reason for unemployment

Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs

3,243 2,842 2,903 3,082

Job leavers

724 697 839 805

Reentrants

1,959 1,880 1,958 1,945

New entrants

638 577 588 606

Duration of unemployment

Less than 5 weeks

2,271 2,128 2,126 2,325

5 to 14 weeks

1,927 1,842 2,027 2,013

15 to 26 weeks

959 865 897 902

27 weeks and over

1,428 1,259 1,306 1,252

Employed persons at work part time

Part time for economic reasons

4,982 4,781 4,657 5,147

Slack work or business conditions

3,006 2,882 2,891 3,451

Could only find part-time work

1,648 1,562 1,496 1,419

Part time for noneconomic reasons

20,978 20,909 21,234 20,949

Persons not in the labor force (not seasonally adjusted)

Marginally attached to the labor force

1,653 1,678 1,556 1,614

Discouraged workers

451 453 375 426

– December – January changes in household data are not shown due to the introduction of updated population controls.
NOTE: Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Detail for the seasonally adjusted data shown in this table will not necessarily add to totals because of the independent seasonal adjustment of the various series. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.

Employment Situation Summary Table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted

ESTABLISHMENT DATA
Summary table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted
Category Jan.
2018
Nov.
2018
Dec.
2018(P)
Jan.
2019(P)

EMPLOYMENT BY SELECTED INDUSTRY
(Over-the-month change, in thousands)

Total nonfarm

171 196 222 304

Total private

186 200 206 296

Goods-producing

56 29 53 72

Mining and logging

7 -3 5 7

Construction

33 5 28 52

Manufacturing

16 27 20 13

Durable goods(1)

17 16 17 20

Motor vehicles and parts

2.0 -1.9 1.8 0.7

Nondurable goods

-1 11 3 -7

Private service-providing

130 171 153 224

Wholesale trade

-2.3 11.3 10.9 4.7

Retail trade

2.4 32.5 -12.0 20.8

Transportation and warehousing

19.8 23.6 -4.9 26.6

Utilities

-1.5 0.3 -0.2 -0.5

Information

-9 -3 -4 -4

Financial activities

2 3 4 13

Professional and business services(1)

37 34 29 30

Temporary help services

-0.8 1.3 7.9 1.0

Education and health services(1)

65 29 67 55

Health care and social assistance

45.9 36.6 55.5 45.4

Leisure and hospitality

13 39 55 74

Other services

4 1 9 4

Government

-15 -4 16 8

(3-month average change, in thousands)

Total nonfarm

188 194 232 241

Total private

188 198 230 234

WOMEN AND PRODUCTION AND NONSUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES
AS A PERCENT OF ALL EMPLOYEES(2)

Total nonfarm women employees

49.6 49.7 49.7 49.7

Total private women employees

48.2 48.3 48.3 48.3

Total private production and nonsupervisory employees

82.4 82.4 82.4 82.4

HOURS AND EARNINGS
ALL EMPLOYEES

Total private

Average weekly hours

34.4 34.4 34.5 34.5

Average hourly earnings

$26.71 $27.43 $27.53 $27.56

Average weekly earnings

$918.82 $943.59 $949.79 $950.82

Index of aggregate weekly hours (2007=100)(3)

108.3 110.1 110.6 110.9

Over-the-month percent change

-0.1 -0.2 0.5 0.3

Index of aggregate weekly payrolls (2007=100)(4)

138.2 144.4 145.6 146.1

Over-the-month percent change

0.1 0.1 0.8 0.3

DIFFUSION INDEX
(Over 1-month span)(5)

Total private (258 industries)

58.1 61.6 66.3 61.0

Manufacturing (76 industries)

61.8 65.8 63.2 59.9

Footnotes
(1) Includes other industries, not shown separately.
(2) Data relate to production employees in mining and logging and manufacturing, construction employees in construction, and nonsupervisory employees in the service-providing industries.
(3) The indexes of aggregate weekly hours are calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate hours by the corresponding annual average aggregate hours.
(4) The indexes of aggregate weekly payrolls are calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate weekly payrolls by the corresponding annual average aggregate weekly payrolls.
(5) Figures are the percent of industries with employment increasing plus one-half of the industries with unchanged employment, where 50 percent indicates an equal balance between industries with increasing and decreasing employment.
(P) Preliminary

NOTE: Data have been revised to reflect March 2018 benchmark levels and updated seasonal adjustment factors.


https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1187, December 12, 2018, Part 2 of 2 Story 1: Transparency in Oval Office Exposes Delusional Democrat Leaders — American People Are Demanding The Funding for Border Security and The Wall  — President Trump Promises to Shutdown The Government Should The Wall Not Be Funded — Make My Day — Walls Work — Fences Useless — Videos — Story 2: Balanced Budgets By Permanently Shutting Down Ten Federal Departments — Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Transportation, Veterans Affairs — End All Government Subsidies –Videos — Story 3: Back To The Free Enterprise Competitive Market Capital System — Videos —

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Story 1: Transparency in Oval Office Exposes Delusional Democrat Leaders — American People Are Demanding The Funding for Border Security and The Wall  — President Trump Promises to Shutdown The Government Should The Wall Not Be Funded — Make My Day — Walls Work — Fences Useless — Videos —

See the source image

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Tucker: Trump insists GOP Congress should fund wall

Body Language: Government Shutdown Trump, Pelosi & Schumer

Migrants Continue to Breach US Border Wall

Lying Politicians And Words

Trump, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer get in fight over border wall: full video

Trump Outsmarts Pelosi, Reveals Unstoppable Plan To Build The Wall Without Democrat Support

Tucker Carlson Tonight 12/11/18 | Breaking Fox News December 11, 2018

Sean Hannity 12/11/18 | Hannity Breaking News | Fox News December 11 2018

Tucker: Schumer hated moment when Trump berated him

The Ingraham Angle 12/11/18 | Laura Ingraham Fox News Today December 11, 2018

George Carlin Politicians

George Carlin on Elections

George Carlin – Balance the Budget

George Carlin – Question Everything

Fact-checking Trump, Pelosi and Schumer’s White House fight over the border wall, shutdown

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence meet with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in the Oval Office on Dec. 11, 2018. (AP)
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence meet with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in the Oval Office on Dec. 11, 2018. (AP)

President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer sparred before news cameras over the effectiveness of a southern border wall, at times fact-checking and speaking over one another.

While all three leaders said they wanted border security, there was clearly no consensus over how much money they would set aside for Trump’s barrier. Trump said he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security.”

Vice President Mike Pence was there, too, looking on from his seat between Trump and Pelosi in silence.

Here’s a recap of what was said, fact-checked and with added context.

Trump: “A lot of the wall is built.”

While there have been improvements at the border, Trump so far isn’t getting the long, contiguous wall he promised on the campaign.

“Steel bollard wall” has been built at the southern border since Trump took office. But that’s not much different from what’s been built by other administrations. During the Obama administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection in a memo referred to bollard barriers as “fencing.” Under Trump, these similar barriers are considered “wall.”

Bollard barriers are hollow steel beams filled with concrete and rebar. None of the Trump administration’s wall prototypes have been constructed.

CBP said construction started for 40 miles of “steel bollard wall” along border areas in California and Texas, at a cost of $292 million. About 22 miles of bollards are completed, construction of four more miles started in September, and an additional 14 miles should be finished in May 2019, CBP said.

Appropriations from Congress so far have been far less than what Trump promised. Congress authorized $1.6 billion for established designs for new and replacement fencing, like the bollard system — and not the Trump’s administration’s prototypes.

Donald Trump
President of the United States
“A lot of the wall is built.”
Trump: “If you look at San Diego, illegal traffic dropped 92 percent once the wall was up. El Paso, illegal traffic dropped 72 percent, then ultimately 95 percent once the wall was up. In Tucson, Ariz., illegal traffic dropped 92 percent. Yuma, it dropped illegal traffic 95 to 96 percent.”

It’s unclear what specific construction Trump is talking about, and he did not define start and end points for measuring the effect on illegal migration. The White House did not respond to PolitiFact’s query. Here’s what we could gather from CBP announcements by region:

San Diego: CBP in June said it began replacing about 14 miles of “8-to-10 foot high scrap metal wall with an 18-to-30 foot bollard-style wall topped off with an anti-climbing plate.” In December, CBP told PolitiFact that a 14-mile San Diego project is expected to be completed in May 2019.

El Paso: CBP in September said it started construction on a new “steel bollard wall” to replace existing pedestrian fencing in El Paso. That four-mile project would be completed in late April 2019, the agency said. CBP in December also told PolitiFact that another 20-mile project in El Paso had been completed.

Tucson and Yuma: CBP in November said a contract had been awarded to build up to 32 miles of “primary pedestrian replacement wall” within the U.S. Border Patrol’s Yuma and Tucson sectors. Construction should begin in April 2019.

Schumer: “The experts say you can do this without a wall.”

This is consistent with previous reporting by us and other outlets.

Asked which experts Schumer had in mind, his staff directed us to a January New York Times article that said the Trump administration would cut or delay funding for security measures “that officials and experts have said are more effective than building a wall along the Mexican border.”

Adam Isaacson, director for defense oversight at the Washington Office on Latin America, told PolitiFact that the wall might not do much to bolster border security because there is already a wall at the points that are most densely populated, with the exception of southern Texas. Apprehensions are at their lowest point in decades. Most resources are instead needed at the legal ports of entry, Isaacson said.

Sanho Tree, director of the Drug Policy Project at the progressive think tank Institute for Policy Studies, told PolitiFact that while the vast majority of drugs are coming in through legal checkpoints or more advanced methods of catapults, drones, boats and tunnels.

“They’re not going where the wall isn’t, they’re going where the wall is, and they’re slipping right through,” Tree said.

Trump: “We caught 10 terrorists over the last very short period of time. 10. These are very serious people.”

We rated a similar claim by Pence as Pants on Fire, and experts remain dubious of Trump’s version.

“No matter what period of time Trump is talking about, there is no evidence to support his claim,” said Alex Nowrasteh, a senior immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute. He counted fewer than 10 people who had crossed the southern border and were charged with terrorism-related crimes.

David Sterman, senior policy analyst at the New America International Security Program, said, “There are no cases that come to mind among the more than 400 people accused of jihadist terrorism crimes since 9/11 tracked by New America in which terrorists infiltrated across the southern border.”

Trump’s State Department in July 2017 reported there is “no credible information that any member of a terrorist group has traveled through Mexico to gain access to the United States.”

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen reported in June her department “now blocks 10 known or suspected terrorists a day from traveling to or attempting to enter the United States.”

That’s across all ports of entry by land, air and sea, not just the Mexican border.

Donald Trump
President of the United States
“We caught 10 terrorists over the last very short period of time. 10. These are very serious people.”
Trump: “If you really want to find out how effective a wall is, just ask Israel. 99.9 percent effective. And our wall will be every bit as good as that, if not better.”

Israel has built multiple barriers along its borders with Egypt, Lebanon, Gaza Strip and West Bank. The 99-percent reduction comes from Israeli government data for the Israeli-Egyptian southern border, where there is a 143-mile fence. (See related fact-check.)

Border security experts said the fence alone was not responsible for the dramatic decrease in illegal immigration — policies also deterred illegal border crossings.

They also cautioned about comparing Israel with the United States’ southern borders. The U.S.-Mexico border is much longer than the Israel-Egypt border, terrain conditions are different and more agents would be needed to monitor the U.S. border, experts said.

Trump: “People with tremendous medical difficulty and medical problems are pouring in … and in many cases it’s contagious.”

We have found little evidence to support this periodic Trump claim. Recently, we rated a widespread claim that “2,267 caravan invaders have tuberculosis, HIV, chickenpox and other health issues” as Mostly False, because the number of individuals with such serious diseases was far lower.

The number of people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in close proximity to each other does provide opportunities for diseases to spread, especially when migrants come from poor and under-vaccinated locations. For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its Mexican counterpart have established disease-surveillance infrastructure on the border.

However, not many outbreaks are known to have occurred at the U.S. border, with the most common ones involving scabies, an easily treatable condition similar to lice.

Two dozen medical experts spent two years investigating the health impacts of migration. In the journal the Lancet, they concluded that the harsh journey to the U.S. could increase the risk of infectious disease, especially measles and food- and water-borne diseases.

“However,” the authors wrote, “despite the commonly held view of an association between migration and spread of infectious diseases, no systematic association has been shown with many of the infectious diseases of concern.”

Thomas Fekete, the section chief for infectious diseases at the Temple University School of Medicine, told PolitiFact that claims such as Trump’s involve more fear-mongering than sound science.

Assertions like Trump’s “are just ad hominem statements that have no epidemiologic basis,” he said. “One of the only potential contagious infections that would be potentially relevant is tuberculosis. But we currently have excellent tools to diagnose TB and to deal with it both in its latent stage and its active stage, so any concern about that is highly overblown.”\

https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2018/dec/11/fact-checking-trump-pelosi-and-schumers-public-whi/

Video shows border wall construction underway in Texas

 

Video released this week shows construction underway in El Paso, Texas, for a portion of a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

The video published by the El Paso Times shows construction beginning to replace existing fencing with a wall in Chihuahuita, El Paso’s oldest neighborhood.

The wall, construction for which began last Saturday, is set to run from Chihuahuita and continue east for four miles.

The 18-foot-tall steel bollard wall will replace the chain link and metal fence as part of President Trump’s executive order last year authorizing construction of his wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, the administration said.

The construction project is expected to be completed in late April 2019 and is estimated to cost $22 million.

https://uw-media.elpasotimes.com/embed/video/1437649002?placement=snow-embed

“El Paso Sector continues to experience a high number of apprehensions of illegal aliens and drug smuggling,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a news release last Friday.

“In fiscal year 2017, El Paso Sector apprehended 25,193 illegal aliens, seized 34,189 pounds of marijuana and 140 pounds of cocaine,” the release continued. “Additionally during that fiscal year, there were 54 assaults against El Paso Sector agents.”

The agency said it contracted West Point Contractors of Tucson, Ariz., on June 1 to build the barrier.

Trump lashed out at Congress earlier this month over a lack of funding for his border wall in a recently passed spending bill.

“I want to know, where is the money for Border Security and the WALL in this ridiculous Spending Bill, and where will it come from after the Midterms?” Trump tweeted. “Dems are obstructing Law Enforcement and Border Security. REPUBLICANS MUST FINALLY GET TOUGH!”

On Friday, Trump signed an $854 billion spending package that funds most parts of the federal government through fiscal 2019, pushing off a deadline for a partial shutdown and a showdown over funding for his proposed border wall until December.

 

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Milton Friedman: Why Government Started Growing

Published on Nov 23, 2017
Milton Friedman, recipient of the 1976 Nobel Prize for Economic Science, was one of the most recognizable and influential proponents of liberty and markets in the 20th century, and the leader of the Chicago School of economics. In this video from 1999, he gives a history lesson on the 20th century and talks about the effects of intellectuals, the great depression and the 70s inflation and how they had an effect on government growth. Complete Video quoted under creative common licence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFqKA…

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The Pronk Pops Show 868, April 6, 2017, Story 1: Neoconservatives and Progressive Global Interventionists Elite Banging The War Drums For American Empire Warfare and Welfare State vs. We The People America First Non-interventionists For American Republic Peace and Prosperity Economy — American People Not Readily Accepting Big Lie Media Propaganda on Syria Chemical Gas Air Attack — Another False Flag — Sunni and Shia Have Being Killing Each Other For Hundreds of Years — Stop Being Imperial Umpire For A Religious Sectarian Civil War and Proxy War — National Interest — Oil and Gas — Videos

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Breaking News

Undeclared War!

President Trump Launches 59 Cruise Missile Attack From Two U.S. Destroyers Against Syrian Air Base 

President Trump Neoconned!

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RAW USA launches cruise missile strike on Syria Regime Breaking News April 6 2017 

RAW USA launches cruise missiles strike on Syria RUSSIA IRAN backed ASSAD Regime after chemical Warfare weapons attack Breaking News April 6 2017

Neo-CONNED speech by Ron Paul

U.S. Launches Missiles at Syrian Base After Chemical Weapons Attack

The United States launched dozens of cruise missiles Thursday night at a Syrian airfield in response to what it believes was Syria’s use of banned chemical weapons that killed at least 100 people, U.S. military officials told NBC News.

Two U.S. warships in the Mediterranean Sea fired 59 Tomahawk missiles intended for a single target — Ash Sha’irat in Homs province in western Syria, the officials said. That’s the airfield from which the United States believes the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fired the banned weapons.

There was no immediate word on casualties. U.S. officials told NBC News that people were not targeted and that aircraft and infrastructure at the site were hit, including the runway and gas fuel pumps.y

Trump Speaks on Missile Strike in Syria 2:48

“Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children,” President Donald Trump said in remarks from Mar-a-Lago, his family compound in Palm Beach, Florida.

“It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” said Trump, who called on other countries to end the bloodshed in Syria.

Related: Trump: Why I Launched a Missile Attack on Syria

Trump is in Florida for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinpeng. Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster traveled to Florida with him.

Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster traveled to Florida with Trump. In Washington, Vice President Mike Pence returned to the White House after having gone home for dinner Thursday evening.

Syrian television characterized the missile strike “as American aggression” Friday morning. But Ahrar Al Sham, the largest Syrian armed rebel group, told NBC News it “welcomes any U.S. intervention through surgical strikes that would deter the Assad regime capabilities to kill civilians and shorten the suffering of our people.”

Syria Crisis: Trump Given Military Options After Chemical Attack 2:25

Tillerson and Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, have bluntly blamed Syria for the chemical weapons attack, whose victims included at least 25 children.

Tillerson told reporters on Thursday that “there is no doubt in our minds” that the Syrian regime was responsible for the attack. And in a combative speech at the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, Haley warned: “When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action.”y

Tillerson on Assad Regime: He Has ‘No Role’ to Govern Syria0:58

NBC News reported Thursday that Defense Secretary James Mattis briefed President Donald Trump on U.S. military options, which included carrying out targeted strikes against those responsible for Tuesday’s attack.

There was no immediate reaction from Russia, which Tillerson and Haley have accused of turning a blind eye to Syria’s transgressions.

“Russia cannot escape responsibility for this,” Haley said at the United Nations. “They chose to close their eyes to the barbarity. They defied the conscience of the world.”

Thursday, Tillerson urged Russia to “consider carefully their continued support of the Assad regime.”

Story 1: Progressive Global Interventionists Elite Banging The War Drums For American Empire Warfare and Welfare State vs. We The People America First Non-interventionists For American Republic Peace and Prosperity Economy — American People Not Readily Accepting Big Lie Media Propaganda on Syria Chemical Gas Air Attack — Another False Flag — Sunni and Shia Have Being Killing Each Other For Hundreds of Years — Stop Being Imperial Umpire For A Religious Sectarian Civil War — National Interest — Oil and Gas — Videos

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President Trump may be considering military action in Syria

Gen. Keane on the possibility of US military action in Syria

Trump Orders Attack On Syria! Will Russia Respond? Is Trump Wrong?

Syria Gas Attack: Assad’s Doing…Or False Flag?

Streamed live on Apr 5, 2017

Just days after the US Administration changed course on Syrian President Assad, saying he could stay, an alleged chemical weapon attack that killed dozens of civilians has been blamed on the Syrian government. Did Assad sign his own death warrant with such an attack…or does some other entity benefit?

[youytube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LULzvg1gA5U]

Ron Paul: The Word That Best Defines Libertarianism Is Non-Intervention

Sen. John Barrasso Speaking on Trump Considering Military Action in Syria & North Korea

Cotton: President Trump struck the ‘right tone’ on Syria

Corker Comments on Suspected Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria

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Syrian Chemical False Flag Exposed

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Unconfirmed Syria Chemical Weapons Attack is Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction REDUX

What we know about the chemical attack in Syria

Syria Gas Attack: Assad’s Doing…Or False Flag?

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Was Syrian Chemical Attack A False Flag?

Understanding the Refugee Crisis in Europe, Syria, and around the World

Aftermath of Syrian chemical attack sparks outrage

World leaders condemn the Syrian chemical attack

Syria nerve gas attack: Chemical weapons expert debunks Assad’s defense

War in Syria: Russia and West clash over Idlib gas attack (part 1)

Published on Apr 5, 2017

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On Tuesday in Idlib, a province in the Northwest of Syria, at least seventy people were killed, 20 of them children, in what appears to have been a chemical weapon attack in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. Initial reports point to the nerve agent Sarin gas. Our panel of experts asks who was behind this attack. What explanations are being given, and do they stack up?
Click here for PART TWO.

Another suspected chemical weapons attack is latest chapter in brutal Syrian conflict

‘Assad Has Unleashed Horror in Syria’: World Reacts to Alleged Chemical Attack

Syria Gas Attack: Russia says chemical depot held by rebels bombed

Turkish President Erdogan calls chemical attack in Syria “inhuman and unacceptable”

“The Desperate BBC Propaganda Machine Blames Assad For Chemical Attack Before Any Investigation.”

Russia denies involvement in reported Syrian chemical attack

Children caught in Syria ‘chemical attack’- BBC News

Published on Apr 5, 2017

The UN Security Council has held an emergency session to discuss the suspected gas attack on a rebel-held town in Syria. The attack is believed to have killed more than 70 people, including children. The Syrian government has denied responsibility, while its ally Russia says the gas came from rebel weapons on the ground. But those claims have been widely rejected by western governments, as our Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet reports.

Syria conflict: ‘Chemical attack’ in Idlib kills 58 – BBC News

Published on Apr 4, 2017

At least 58 people have been killed and dozens wounded in a suspected chemical attack on a rebel-held town in north-western Syria, a monitoring group says. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that strikes on Khan Sheikhoun by Syrian government or Russian jets had caused many people to choke. Later, aircraft fired rockets at local clinics treating some of the survivors, medics and opposition activists said. The Syrian government has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley Condemns Russia, Iran After Chemical Attack In Syria | NBC News

UK: Chemical Attack Bears All Hallmarks of Assad

UNSC holds emergency meeting on Syria chemical attack

WATCH LIVE: U.N. Security Council Holds Emergency Meeting On Syria Chemical Attack | TIME

The TRUTH About the Syria Gas Attack

Hillary in Rat Line for Syria False Flag Sarin Gas Attack says Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist

Sy Hersh Reveals Potential Turkish Role in Syria Chemical Strike That Almost Sparked U.S. Bombing

Global Empire – The World According to Seymour Hersh [Part Two]

Published on Aug 10, 2016

Tariq Ali talks to investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, about his revelations concerning the chemical attack at Ghouta, Syria in August 2013.

Seymour Hersh Exposes Erdogan’s Chemical Adventure in Syria

Published on Apr 8, 2014

The US author reveals secret US reports warning that Al-Nusrah terrorist group affiliated with Qatar and Turkey, posses a chemical weapons cell. Worst threat since 9/11.

Global Empire – The World According to Seymour Hersh [Part One]

Published on Aug 10, 2016

Tariq Ali talks to investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, about the assassination of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011 and describes what the Americans and Pakistanis knew about his whereabouts.

Global Empire – Syria After Trump

Seymour Hersh: Obama “Cherry-Picked” Intelligence on Syrian Chemical Attack to Justify U.S. Strike

Published on Dec 9, 2013

Writing in the London Review of Books, Hersh argues that the Obama administration “cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.” The administration failed to disclose it knew Syrian rebels in the al-Nusra Front had the ability to produce chemical weapons. Evidence obtained in the days after the attack was also allegedly distorted to make it appear it was gathered in real time.

Whose sarin? Seymour M. Hersh
Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded — without assessing responsibility — had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order — a planning document that precedes a ground invasion — citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.

In his nationally televised speech about Syria on 10 September, Obama laid the blame for the nerve gas attack on the rebel-held suburb of Eastern Ghouta firmly on Assad’s government, and made it clear he was prepared to back up his earlier public warnings that any use of chemical weapons would cross a ‘red line’: ‘Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people,’ he said. ‘We know the Assad regime was responsible … And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike.’ Obama was going to war to back up a public threat, but he was doing so without knowing for sure who did what in the early morning of 21 August.

He cited a list of what appeared to be hard-won evidence of Assad’s culpability: ‘In the days leading up to August 21st, we know that Assad’s chemical weapons personnel prepared for an attack near an area where they mix sarin gas. They distributed gas masks to their troops. Then they fired rockets from a regime-controlled area into 11 neighbourhoods that the regime has been trying to wipe clear of opposition forces.’ Obama’s certainty was echoed at the time by Denis McDonough, his chief of staff, who told the New York Times: ‘No one with whom I’ve spoken doubts the intelligence’ directly linking Assad and his regime to the sarin attacks.

But in recent interviews with intelligence and military officers and consultants past and present, I found intense concern, and on occasion anger, over what was repeatedly seen as the deliberate manipulation of intelligence. One high-level intelligence officer, in an email to a colleague, called the administration’s assurances of Assad’s responsibility a ‘ruse’. The attack ‘was not the result of the current regime’, he wrote. A former senior intelligence official told me that the Obama administration had altered the available information — in terms of its timing and sequence — to enable the president and his advisers to make intelligence retrieved days after the attack look as if it had been picked up and analyzed in real time, as the attack was happening. The distortion, he said, reminded him of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, when the Johnson administration reversed the sequence of National Security Agency intercepts to justify one of the early bombings of North Vietnam. The same official said there was immense frustration inside the military and intelligence bureaucracy: ‘The guys are throwing their hands in the air and saying, “How can we help this guy” — Obama — “when he and his cronies in the White House make up the intelligence as they go along?”‘…()

Obama Was Lying!

President Obama’s Syria Address [FULL SPEECH]

Seymour Hersh’s Latest Bombshell: U.S. Military Undermined Obama on Syria with Tacit Help to Assad

Published on Dec 22, 2015

A new report by the Pulitzer-winning veteran journalist Seymour Hersh says the Joints Chiefs of Staff has indirectly supported Bashar al-Assad in an effort to help him defeat jihadist groups. Hersh reports the Joint Chiefs sent intelligence via Russia, Germany and Israel on the understanding it would be transmitted to help Assad push back Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State. Hersh also claims the military even undermined a U.S. effort to arm Syrian rebels in a bid to prove it was serious about helping Assad fight their common enemies. Hersh says the Joints Chiefs’ maneuvering was rooted in several concerns, including the U.S. arming of unvetted Syrian rebels with jihadist ties, a belief the administration was overly focused on confronting Assad’s ally in Moscow, and anger the White House was unwilling to challenge Turkey and Saudi Arabia over their support of extremist groups in Syria. Hersh joins us to detail his claims and respond to his critics.

US, Russia Announce Syria Chemical Weapons Deal

U.S. Ship Begins Neutralizing Syrian Chemical Weapons

MV Cape Ray Storage Area Tour

MV Cape Ray Disposal Practice

MV Cape Ray FDHS

Published on Jul 2, 2014

As part of the U.N. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Joint Mission to eliminate chemical materials from the Syrian Arab Republic, the U.S. will destroy approximately 700 metric tons of chemicals aboard the MV Cape Ray. Danish and Norwegian vessels will transport the chemicals to a yet-unnamed Italian port for transfer to the MV Cape Ray. The MV Cape Ray, part of the U.S. Maritime Administration’s Ready Reserve Fleet, has been retrofitted with two field-deployable hydrolysis systems designed to neutralize the dangerous chemicals before disposal at a commercial facility.

MV Cape Ray’s Bridge

MV Cape Ray Command Post Tour

MV Cape Ray Laboratory Tour

False flag

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“False colors” redirects here. For the imaging technique, see False-color.

This US Douglas A-26 C Invader was painted in fake Cuban Air Force colors for the military invasion of Cuba undertaken by the CIA-sponsored paramilitary group Brigade 2506 in April 1961.

The contemporary term false flag describes covert operations that are designed to deceive in such a way that activities appear as though they are being carried out by entities, groups, or nations other than those who actually planned and executed them.[1]

Historically, the term “false flag” has its origins in naval warfare where the use of a flag other than the belligerent’s true battle flag before (but not while) engaging the enemy has long been accepted as a permissible ruse de guerre; by contrast, flying a false flag while engaging the enemy constitutes perfidy.[1]

Operations carried out during peace-time by civilian organizations, as well as covert government agencies, can (by extension) also be called false flag operations if they seek to hide the real organization behind an operation.[citation needed]

Use in warfare

In land warfare such operations are generally deemed acceptable in certain circumstances, such as to deceive enemies providing that the deception is not perfidious and all such deceptions are discarded before opening fire upon the enemy. Similarly in naval warfare such a deception is considered permissible provided the false flag is lowered and the true flag raised before engaging in battle:[2]auxiliary cruisers operated in such a fashion in both World Wars, as did Q-ships, while merchant vessels were encouraged to use false flags for protection.

Such masquerades promoted confusion not just of the enemy but of historical accounts: in 1914 the Battle of Trindade was fought between the British auxiliary cruiser RMS Carmania and the German auxiliary cruiser SMS Cap Trafalgar which had been altered to look like Carmania. (Contrary to some possibly mendacious accounts, the RMS Carmania had not been altered to resemble the Cap Trafalgar.)

Another notable example was the World War II German commerce raider Kormoran which surprised and sank the Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney in 1941 while disguised as a Dutch merchant ship, causing the greatest recorded loss of life on an Australian warship. While Kormoran was fatally damaged in the engagement and its crew captured the outcome represented a considerable psychological victory for the Germans.[3]

Other examples from WWII included a Kriegsmarineensign in the St Nazaire Raid and captured a German code book: the old destroyer Campbeltown, which the British planned to sacrifice in the operation, was provided with cosmetic modifications that involved cutting the ship’s funnels and chamfering the edges to resemble a German Type 23torpedo boat.

By this ruse the British were able to get within two miles (3 km) of the harbour before the defences responded, where the explosive-rigged Campbeltown and commandos successfully disabled or destroyed the key dock structures of the port.[4][5]

Air warfare

In December 1922–February 1923, Rules concerning the Control of Wireless Telegraphy in Time of War and Air Warfare, drafted by a commission of jurists at the Hague regulates:[6]

Art. 3. A military aircraft must carry an exterior mark indicating its nationality and its military character.
Art. 19. The use of false exterior marks is forbidden.

This draft was never adopted as a legally binding treaty, but the ICRC states in its introduction on the draft that ‘To a great extent, [the draft rules] correspond to the customary rules and general principles underlying treaties on the law of war on land and at sea’,[7] and as such these two non–controversial articles were already part of customary law.[8]

Land warfare

In land warfare, the use of a false flag is similar to that of naval warfare: the trial of Otto Skorzeny, who planned and commanded Operation Greif, by a U.S. military tribunal at the Dachau Trials included a finding that Skorzeny was not guilty of a crime by ordering his men into action in American uniforms. He had relayed to his men the warning of German legal experts: that if they fought in American uniforms, they would be breaking the laws of war; however, they probably were not doing so simply by wearing the American uniforms. During the trial, a number of arguments were advanced to substantiate this position and the German and U.S. military seem to have been in agreement.

In the transcript of the trial,[9] it is mentioned that Paragraph 43 of the Field Manual published by the War Department, United States Army, on 1 October 1940, under the entry Rules of Land Warfare states “National flags, insignias and uniforms as a ruse – in practice it has been authorized to make use of these as a ruse. The foregoing rule (Article 23 of the Annex of the IVth Hague Convention), does not prohibit such use, but does prohibit their improper use. It is certainly forbidden to make use of them during a combat. Before opening fire upon the enemy, they must be discarded’.”

The American Soldiers’ Handbook was also quoted by Defense Counsel: “The use of the enemy flag, insignia, and uniform is permitted under some circumstances. They are not to be used during actual fighting, and if used in order to approach the enemy without drawing fire, should be thrown away or removed as soon as fighting begins.” Subsequently, the outcome of the trial has been codified in the 1977 Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 (Protocol I):

Article 37. – Prohibition of perfidy

1. It is prohibited to kill, injure, or capture an adversary by resort to perfidy. Acts inviting the confidence of an adversary to lead him to believe that he is entitled to, or is obliged to accord, protection under the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, with intent to betray that confidence, shall constitute perfidy. The following acts are examples of perfidy:
(a) The feigning of an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce or of a surrender;
(b) The feigning of an incapacitation by wounds or sickness;
(c) The feigning of civilian, non-combatant status; and
(d) The feigning of protected status by the use of signs, emblems or uniforms of the United Nations or of neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict.
2. Ruses of war are not prohibited. Such ruses are acts which are intended to mislead an adversary or to induce him to act recklessly but which infringe no rule of international law applicable in armed conflict and which are not perfidious because they do not invite the confidence of an adversary with respect to protection under that law. The following are examples of such ruses: the use of camouflage, decoys, mock operations and disinformation.

Article 38. – Recognized emblems

1. It is prohibited to make improper use of the distinctive emblem of the Red Cross, Red Crescent or Red Lion and Sun or of other emblems, signs or signals provided for by the Conventions or by this Protocol. It is also prohibited to misuse deliberately in an armed conflict other internationally recognized protective emblems, signs or signals, including the flag of truce, and the protective emblem of cultural property.
2. It is prohibited to make use of the distinctive emblem of the United Nations, except as authorized by that Organization.

Article 39. – Emblems of nationality

1. It is prohibited to make use in an armed conflict of the flags or military emblems, insignia or uniforms of neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict.
2. It is prohibited to make use of the flags or military emblems, insignia or uniforms of adverse Parties while engaging in attacks or in order to shield, favour, protect or impede military operations.
3. Nothing in this Article or in Article 37, paragraph 1 ( d ), shall affect the existing generally recognized rules of international law applicable to espionage or to the use of flags in the conduct of armed conflict at sea.

Cyber warfare

A false flag in the cyber domain is slightly different and easier to perpetrate than in other physical theaters of war. Cyber false flags refer to tactics used in covert cyber attacks by a perpetrator to deceive or misguide attribution attempts including the attacker’s origin, identity, movement, and/or code/exploitation. This misdirection tactic can cause misattribution (permitting response and/or counterattack as a condiciosine qua non under international law) or misperception which can lead to retaliation against the wrong adversary.

Cyber false flags can exist in the cyber domain when:

  1. Weaponized cyber exploits use recycled code/variants from previous attacks;
  2. Exploits are developed to mimic the scope and complexity of other malware;
  3. Exploits are procured rather than developed;
  4. Exploits are executed from new/unknown operator command servers;
  5. Malware calls out to or connects to known operator command servers;
  6. The action or attack is outsourced;
  7. The compromise is socially engineered to misguide investigations towards other operators;
  8. The audit trail or lack thereof conceals actual intent or actions with other exploits designed to mislead investigators.

As pretexts for war

Russo-Swedish War

In 1788, the head tailor at the Royal Swedish Opera received an order to sew a number of Russian military uniforms. These were then used by the Swedes to stage an attack on Puumala, a Swedish outpost on the Russo-Swedish border, on 27 June 1788. This caused an outrage in Stockholm and impressed the Riksdag of the Estates, the Swedish national assembly, who until then had refused to agree to an offensive war against Russia. The Puumala incident allowed King Gustav III of Sweden, who lacked the constitutional authority to initiate unprovoked hostilities without the Estates’ consent, to launch the Russo-Swedish War (1788–1790).[10]

Second Sino-Japanese War

Japanese experts inspect the scene of the ‘railway sabotage’ on South Manchurian Railway

In September 1931, Japanese officers fabricated a pretext for invading Manchuria by blowing up a section of railway. Though the explosion was too weak to disrupt operations on the rail line, the Japanese nevertheless used this Mukden incident to seize Manchuria and create a puppet government for what they termed the “independent” state of Manchukuo.[11]

World War II

Gleiwitz incident

Alfred Naujocks

The Gleiwitz incident in 1939 involved Reinhard Heydrich fabricating evidence of a Polish attack against Germany to mobilize German public opinion for war and to justify the war with Poland. Alfred Naujocks was a key organiser of the operation under orders from Heydrich. It led to the deaths of Nazi concentration camp victims who were dressed as German soldiers and then shot by the Gestapo to make it seem that they had been shot by Polish soldiers. This, along with other false flag operations in Operation Himmler, would be used to mobilize support from the German population for the start of World War II in Europe.[12]

The operation failed to convince international public opinion of the German claims, and both Britain and France—Poland’s allies—declared war two days after Germany invaded Poland.[13]

Winter War

On November 26, 1939, the Soviet armyshelled Mainila, a Russian village near the Finnish border. Soviet authorities blamed Finland for the attack and used the incident as a pretext to invade Finland, starting the Winter War, four days later.[14]

Cuban Revolution

Operation Northwoods

Operation Northwoods memorandum (13 March 1962)[15]

The proposed, but never executed, 1962 Operation Northwoods plot by the U.S. Department of Defense for a war with Cuba involved scenarios such as fabricating the hijacking or shooting down of passenger and military planes, sinking a U.S. ship in the vicinity of Cuba, burning crops, sinking a boat filled with Cuban refugees, attacks by alleged Cuban infiltrators inside the United States, and harassment of U.S. aircraft and shipping and the destruction of aerial drones by aircraft disguised as Cuban MiGs.[16] These actions would be blamed on Cuba, and would be a pretext for an invasion of Cuba and the overthrow of Fidel Castro‘s communist government. It was authored by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but then rejected by President John F. Kennedy. The surprise discovery of the documents relating to Operation Northwoods was a result of the comprehensive search for records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy by the Assassination Records Review Board in the mid-1990s.[17] Information about Operation Northwoods was later publicized by James Bamford.[18]

As a tactic to undermine political opponents

Reichstag fire

Main article: Reichstag fire

The Reichstag fire was an arson attack on the Reichstag building in Berlin on 27 February 1933. The fire started in the Session Chamber,[19] and, by the time the police and firemen arrived, the main Chamber of Deputies was engulfed in flames. Police searched the building and found Marinus van der Lubbe, a young Dutchcouncil communist and unemployed bricklayer, who had recently arrived in Germany to carry out political activities.[citation needed]

The fire was used as evidence by the Nazis that the Communists were beginning a plot against the German government. Van der Lubbe and four Communist leaders were subsequently arrested. Adolf Hitler, who was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany four weeks before, on 30 January, urged President Paul von Hindenburg to pass an emergency decree to counter the “ruthless confrontation of the Communist Party of Germany“.[20] With civil liberties suspended, the government instituted mass arrests of Communists, including all of the Communist parliamentary delegates. With their bitter rival Communists gone and their seats empty, the National Socialist German Workers Party went from being a plurality party to the majority; subsequent elections confirmed this position and thus allowed Hitler to consolidate his power.[citation needed]

Historians disagree as to whether Van der Lubbe acted alone, as he said, to protest the condition of the German working class, or whether the arson was planned and ordered by the Nazis, then dominant in the government themselves, as a false flag operation.[21][22]

Project TP-Ajax

On 4 April 1953, the CIA was ordered to undermine the government of Iran over a four-month period, as a precursor to overthrowing Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.[23] One tactic used to undermine Mosaddegh was to carry out false flag attacks “on mosques and key public figures”, to be blamed on Iranian communists loyal to the government.[23]

The CIA project was code-named TP-Ajax, and the tactic of a “directed campaign of bombings by Iranians posing as members of the Communist party”,[24] involved the bombing of “at least” one well known Muslim’s house by CIA agents posing as Communists.[24] The CIA determined that the tactic of false flag attacks added to the “positive outcome” of Project TPAJAX.[23]

However, as “the C.I.A. burned nearly all of its files on its role in the 1953 coup in Iran”, the true extent of the tactic has been difficult for historians to discern.[25]

Pseudo-operations

Pseudo-operations are those in which forces of one power disguise themselves as enemy forces. For example, a state power may disguise teams of operatives as insurgents and, with the aid of defectors, infiltrate insurgent areas.[26] The aim of such pseudo-operations may be to gather short or long-term intelligence or to engage in active operations, in particularassassinations of important enemies. However, they usually involve both, as the risks of exposure rapidly increase with time and intelligence gathering eventually leads to violent confrontation. Pseudo-operations may be directed by military or police forces, or both. Police forces are usually best suited to intelligence tasks; however, military provide the structure needed to back up such pseudo-ops with military response forces. According to US military expert Lawrence Cline (2005), “the teams typically have been controlled by police services, but this largely was due to the weaknesses in the respective military intelligence systems.”[citation needed]

Charlemagne Péralte of Haiti was assassinated in 1919, after checkpoints were passed by military disguised as guerrilla fighters.

The State Political Directorate (OGPU) of the Soviet Union set up such an operation from 1921 to 1926. During Operation Trust, they used loose networks of White Army supporters and extended them, creating the pseudo-“Monarchist Union of Central Russia” (MUCR) in order to help the OGPU identify real monarchists and anti-Bolsheviks.[citation needed]

An example of a successful assassination was United States MarineSergeantHerman H. Hanneken leading a patrol of his HaitianGendarmerie disguised as enemy guerrillas in 1919. The Patrol successfully passed several enemy checkpoints in order to assassinate the guerilla leader Charlemagne Péralte near Grande-Rivière-du-Nord. Hanneken was awarded the Medal of Honor and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant for his deed.[citation needed]

During the Mau Mau uprising in the 1950s, captured Mau Mau members who switched sides and specially trained British troops initiated the pseudo-gang concept to successfully counter Mau Mau. In 1960 Frank Kitson, (who was later involved in the Northern Irish conflict and is now a retired British General), published Gangs and Counter-gangs, an account of his experiences with the technique in Kenya; information included how to counter gangs and measures of deception, including the use of defectors, which brought the issue a wider audience.[citation needed]

Another example of combined police and military oversight of pseudo-operations include the Selous Scouts in the former country Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), governed by white minority rule until 1980. The Selous Scouts were formed at the beginning of Operation Hurricane, in November 1973, by Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) Ronald Reid-Daly. As with all Special Forces in Rhodesia, by 1977 they were controlled by COMOPS (Commander, Combined Operations) Commander Lieutenant General Peter Walls. The Selous Scouts were originally composed of 120 members, with all officers being white and the highest rank initially available for black soldiers being colour sergeant. They succeeded in turning approximately 800 insurgents who were then paid by Special Branch, ultimately reaching the number of 1,500 members. Engaging mainly in long-range reconnaissance and surveillance missions, they increasingly turned to offensive actions, including the attempted assassination of Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army leader Joshua Nkomo in Zambia. This mission was finally aborted by the Selous Scouts, and attempted again, unsuccessfully, by the Rhodesian Special Air Service.[27]

Some offensive operations attracted international condemnation, in particular the Selous Scouts’ raid on a Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) camp at Nyadzonya Pungwe, Mozambique in August 1976. ZANLA was then led by Josiah Tongogara. Using Rhodesian trucks and armored cars disguised as Mozambique military vehicles, 84 scouts killed 1,284 people in the camp-the camp was registered as a refugee camp by the United Nations (UN). Even according to Reid-Daly, most of those killed were unarmed guerrillas standing in formation for a parade. The camp hospital was also set ablaze by the rounds fired by the Scouts, killing all patients.[28] According to David Martin and Phyllis Johnson, who visited the camp shortly before the raid, it was only a refugee camp that did not host any guerrillas. It was staged for UN approval.[29]

According to a 1978 study by the Directorate of Military Intelligence, 68% of all insurgent deaths inside Rhodesia could be attributed to the Selous Scouts, who were disbanded in 1980.[30]

If the action is a police action, then these tactics would fall within the laws of the state initiating the pseudo, but if such actions are taken in a civil war or during a belligerent military occupation then those who participate in such actions would not be privileged belligerents. The principle of plausible deniability is usually applied for pseudo-teams. (See the above section Laws of war). Some false flag operations have been described by Lawrence E. Cline, a retired US Army intelligence officer, as pseudo-operations, or “the use of organized teams which are disguised as guerrilla groups for long- or short-term penetration of insurgent-controlled areas.”[citation needed]

Pseudo Operations should be distinguished, notes Cline, from the more common police or intelligence infiltration of guerrilla or criminal organizations. In the latter case, infiltration is normally done by individuals. Pseudo teams, on the other hand, are formed as needed from organized units, usually military or paramilitary. The use of pseudo teams has been a hallmark of a number of foreign counterinsurgency campaigns.”[26]

Similar false flag tactics were also employed during the Algerian civil war, starting in the middle of 1994. Death squads composed of Département du Renseignement et de la Sécurité (DRS) security forces disguised themselves as Islamist terrorists and committed false flag terror attacks. Such groups included the Organisation of Young Free Algerians (OJAL) or the Secret Organisation for the Safeguard of the Algerian Republic (OSSRA)[31] According to Roger Faligot and Pascal Kropp (1999), the OJAL was reminiscent of “the Organization of the French Algerian Resistance (ORAF), a group of counter-terrorists created in December 1956 by the Direction de la surveillance du territoire (Territorial Surveillance Directorate, or DST) whose mission was to carry out terrorist attacks with the aim of quashing any hopes of political compromise”.[32]

Espionage

Main article: False flag penetrator

In espionage the term “false flag” describes the recruiting of agents by operatives posing as representatives of a cause the prospective agents are sympathetic to, or even the agents’ own government. For example, during the Cold War, several female West German civil servants were tricked into stealing classified documents by agents of the East GermanStasi intelligence service, pretending to be members of West German peace advocacy groups (the Stasi agents were also described as “Romeos,” indicating that they also used their sex appeal to manipulate their targets, making this operation a combination of the false flag and “honey trap” techniques).[33]

The technique can also be used to expose enemy agents in one’s own service, by having someone approach the suspect and pose as an agent of the enemy. Earl Edwin Pitts, a 13-year veteran of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and an attorney, was caught when he was approached by FBI agents posing as Russian agents.[citation needed]

British intelligence officials in World War II allowed double agents to fire-bomb a power station and a food dump in the UK to protect their cover, according to declassified documents. The documents stated the agents took precautions to ensure they did not cause serious damage. One of the documents released also stated: “It should be recognised that friends as well as enemies must be completely deceived.”[34]

Civilian usage

While false flag operations originate in warfare and government, they also can occur in civilian settings among certain factions, such as businesses, special interest groups, religions, political ideologies and campaigns for office.[citation needed]

Businesses

In business and marketing, similar operations are being employed in some public relations campaigns (see Astroturfing). Telemarketing firms practice false flag type behavior when they pretend to be a market research firm (referred to as “sugging“). In some rare cases, members of an unsuccessful business will destroy some of their own property to conceal an unrelated crime (e.g., safety violations, embezzlement) but make it appear as though the destruction was done by a rival company.[citation needed]

Political campaigning

Political campaigning has a long history of this tactic in various forms, including in person, print media and electronically in recent years. This can involve when supporters of one candidate pose as supporters of another, or act as “straw men” for their preferred candidate to debate against. This can happen with or without the candidate’s knowledge. The Canuck letter is an example of one candidate creating a false document and attributing it as coming from another candidate in order to discredit that candidate.[citation needed]

In the final days of Florida’s 1994 gubernatorial campaign, Democratic Governor Lawton Chiles ran a false flag operation that paid for tens of thousands of calls to elderly voters using false organization names. The calls purported to be from Republican groups and told voters that Jeb Bush was against Social Security and seniors. Chiles denied his campaign was behind the calls. After winning re-election and facing an investigation, Chiles admitted the truth in November 1995.[35]

In 2006, individuals practicing false flag behavior were discovered and “outed” in New Hampshire[36][37] and New Jersey[38] after blog comments claiming to be from supporters of a political candidate were traced to the IP address of paid staffers for that candidate’s opponent.

On 19 February 2011, Indiana Deputy Prosecutor Carlos Lam sent a private email to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker suggesting that he run a “‘false flag’ operation” to counter the protests against Walker’s proposed restrictions on public employees’ collective bargaining rights:

If you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions’ cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the unions … Employing a false flag operation would assist in undercutting any support that the media may be creating in favor of the unions.[39][40]

The press had acquired a court order to access all of Walker’s emails and Lam’s email was exposed. At first, Lam vehemently denied it, but eventually admitted it and resigned.[40]

Ideological

A bomb threat forged by Scientology operatives.

Proponents of political or religious ideologies will sometimes use false flag tactics. This can be done to discredit or implicate rival groups, create the appearance of enemies when none exist, or create the illusion of organized and directed persecution. This can be used to gain attention and sympathy from outsiders, in particular the media, or to convince others within the group that their beliefs are under attack and in need of protection.

In retaliation for writing The Scandal of Scientology, some members of the Church of Scientology stole stationery from author Paulette Cooper‘s home and then used that stationery to forge bomb threats and have them mailed to a Scientology office. The Guardian’s Office also had a plan for further operations to discredit Cooper known as Operation Freakout, but several Scientology operatives were arrested in a separate investigation and the plan was exposed.[41]

See also

Concepts

Examples

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

42 FALSE-FLAG ATTACKS OFFICIALY ADMITTED TO

Mirrored from Washington’s Blog (due to their server being swamped)

Presidents, Prime Ministers, Congressmen, Generals, Spooks, Soldiers and Police ADMIT to False Flag Terror

In the following instances, officials in the government which carried out the attack (or seriously proposed an attack) admit to it, either orally, in writing, or through photographs or videos:

(1) Japanese troops set off a small explosion on a train track in 1931, and falsely blamed it on China in order to justify an invasion of Manchuria. This is known as the “Mukden Incident” or the “Manchurian Incident”. The Tokyo International Military Tribunal found: “Several of the participators in the plan, including Hashimoto [a high-ranking Japanese army officer], have on various occasions admitted their part in the plot and have stated that the object of the ‘Incident’ was to afford an excuse for the occupation of Manchuria by the Kwantung Army ….” And see this.

(2) A major with the Nazi SS admitted at the Nuremberg trials that – under orders from the chief of the Gestapo – he and some other Nazi operatives faked attacks on their own people and resources which they blamed on the Poles, to justify the invasion of Poland.

(3) Nazi general Franz Halder also testified at the Nuremberg trials that Nazi leader Hermann Goering admitted to setting fire to the German parliament building in 1933, and then falsely blaming the communists for the arson.

(4) Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev admitted in writing that the Soviet Union’s Red Army shelled the Russian village of Mainila in 1939 – while blaming the attack on Finland – as a basis for launching the “Winter War” against Finland. Russian president Boris Yeltsin agreed that Russia had been the aggressor in the Winter War.

(5) The Russian Parliament, current Russian president Putin and former Soviet leader Gorbachev all admit that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin ordered his secret police to execute 22,000 Polish army officers and civilians in 1940, and then falsely blamed it on the Nazis.

(6) The British government admits that – between 1946 and 1948 – it bombed 5 ships carrying Jews attempting to flee the Holocaust to seek safety in Palestine, set up a fake group called “Defenders of Arab Palestine”, and then had the psuedo-group falsely claim responsibility for the bombings (and see this, this and this).

(7) Israel admits that in 1954, an Israeli terrorist cell operating in Egypt planted bombs in several buildings, including U.S. diplomatic facilities, then left behind “evidence” implicating the Arabs as the culprits (one of the bombs detonated prematurely, allowing the Egyptians to identify the bombers, and several of the Israelis later confessed) (and see this and this).

(8) The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950’s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister.

(9) The Turkish Prime Minister admitted that the Turkish government carried out the 1955 bombing on a Turkish consulate in Greece – also damaging the nearby birthplace of the founder of modern Turkey – and blamed it on Greece, for the purpose of inciting and justifying anti-Greek violence.

(10) The British Prime Minister admitted to his defense secretary that he and American president Dwight Eisenhower approved a plan in 1957 to carry out attacks in Syria and blame it on the Syrian government as a way to effect regime change.

(11) The former Italian Prime Minister, an Italian judge, and the former head of Italian counterintelligence admit that NATO, with the help of the Pentagon and CIA, carried out terror bombings in Italy and other European countries in the 1950s and blamed the communists, in order to rally people’s support for their governments in Europe in their fight against communism. As one participant in this formerly-secret program stated: “You had to attack civilians, people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security” (and see this) (Italy and other European countries subject to the terror campaign had joined NATO before the bombings occurred). And watch this BBC special. They also allegedly carried out terror attacks in France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the UK, and other countries.

False flag attacks carried out pursuant to this program include – by way of example only:

(12) In 1960, American Senator George Smathers suggested that the U.S. launch “a false attack made on Guantanamo Bay which would give us the excuse of actually fomenting a fight which would then give us the excuse to go in and [overthrow Castro]”.

(13) Official State Department documents show that, in 1961, the head of the Joint Chiefs and other high-level officials discussed blowing up a consulate in the Dominican Republic in order to justify an invasion of that country. The plans were not carried out, but they were all discussed as serious proposals.

(14) As admitted by the U.S. government, recently declassified documents show that in 1962, the American Joint Chiefs of Staff signed off on a plan to blow up AMERICAN airplanes (using an elaborate plan involving the switching of airplanes), and also to commit terrorist acts on American soil, and then to blame it on the Cubans in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. See the following ABC news report; the official documents; and watch this interview with the former Washington Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.

(15) In 1963, the U.S. Department of Defense wrote a paper promoting attacks on nations within the Organization of American States – such as Trinidad-Tobago or Jamaica – and then falsely blaming them on Cuba.

(16) The U.S. Department of Defense even suggested covertly paying a person in the Castro government to attack the United States: “The only area remaining for consideration then would be to bribe one of Castro’s subordinate commanders to initiate an attack on Guantanamo.”

(17) The NSA admits that it lied about what really happened in the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 … manipulating data to make it look like North Vietnamese boats fired on a U.S. ship so as to create a false justification for the Vietnam war.

(18) A U.S. Congressional committee admitted that – as part of its “Cointelpro” campaign – the FBI had used many provocateurs in the 1950s through 1970s to carry out violent acts and falsely blame them on political activists.

(19) A top Turkish general admitted that Turkish forces burned down a mosque on Cyprus in the 1970s and blamed it on their enemy. He explained: “In Special War, certain acts of sabotage are staged and blamed on the enemy to increase public resistance. We did this on Cyprus; we even burnt down a mosque.” In response to the surprised correspondent’s incredulous look the general said, “I am giving an example”.

(20) A declassified 1973 CIA document reveals a program to train foreign police and troops on how to make booby traps, pretending that they were training them on how to investigate terrorist acts:

The Agency maintains liaison in varying degrees with foreign police/security organizations through its field stations ….

[CIA provides training sessions as follows:]

a. Providing trainees with basic knowledge in the uses of commercial and military demolitions and incendiaries as they may be applied in terrorism and industrial sabotage operations.

b. Introducing the trainees to commercially available materials and home laboratory techniques, likely to he used in the manufacture of explosives and incendiaries by terrorists or saboteurs.

c. Familiarizing the trainees with the concept of target analysis and operational planning that a saboteur or terrorist must employ.

d. Introducing the trainees to booby trapping devices and techniques giving practical experience with both manufactured and improvised devices through actual fabrication.

***

The program provides the trainees with ample opportunity to develop basic familiarity and use proficiently through handling, preparing and applying the various explosive charges, incendiary agents, terrorist devices and sabotage techniques.

(21) The German government admitted (and see this) that, in 1978, the German secret service detonated a bomb in the outer wall of a prison and planted “escape tools” on a prisoner – a member of the Red Army Faction – which the secret service wished to frame the bombing on.

(22) A Mossad agent admits that, in 1984, Mossad planted a radio transmitter in Gaddaffi’s compound in Tripoli, Libya which broadcast fake terrorist trasmissions recorded by Mossad, in order to frame Gaddaffi as a terrorist supporter. Ronald Reagan bombed Libya immediately thereafter.

(23) The South African Truth and Reconciliation Council found that, in 1989, the Civil Cooperation Bureau (a covert branch of the South African Defense Force) approached an explosives expert and asked him “to participate in an operation aimed at discrediting the ANC [the African National Congress] by bombing the police vehicle of the investigating officer into the murder incident”, thus framing the ANC for the bombing.

(24) An Algerian diplomat and several officers in the Algerian army admit that, in the 1990s, the Algerian army frequently massacred Algerian civilians and then blamed Islamic militants for the killings (and see this video; and Agence France-Presse, 9/27/2002, French Court Dismisses Algerian Defamation Suit Against Author).

(25) The United States Army’s 1994 publication Special Forces Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces – updated in 2004 – recommends employing terrorists and using false flag operations to destabilize leftist regimes in Latin America. False flag terrorist attacks were carried out in Latin America and other regions as part of the CIA’s “Dirty Wars“. And see this.

(26) Similarly, a CIA “psychological operations” manual prepared by a CIA contractor for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels noted the value of assassinating someone on your own side to create a “martyr” for the cause. The manual was authenticated by the U.S. government. The manual received so much publicity from Associated Press, Washington Post and other news coverage that – during the 1984 presidential debate – President Reagan was confronted with the following question on national television:

At this moment, we are confronted with the extraordinary story of a CIA guerrilla manual for the anti-Sandinista contras whom we are backing, which advocates not only assassinations of Sandinistas but the hiring of criminals to assassinate the guerrillas we are supporting in order to create martyrs.

(27) An Indonesian fact-finding team investigated violent riots which occurred in 1998, and determined that “elements of the military had been involved in the riots, some of which were deliberately provoked“.

(28) Senior Russian Senior military and intelligence officers admit that the KGB blew up Russian apartment buildings in 1999 and falsely blamed it on Chechens, in order to justify an invasion of Chechnya (and see this report and this discussion).

(29) As reported by BBC, the New York Times, and Associated Press, Macedonian officials admit that the government murdered 7 innocent immigrants in cold blood and pretended that they were Al Qaeda soldiers attempting to assassinate Macedonian police, in order to join the “war on terror”.

(30)  At the July 2001 G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy, black-clad thugs were videotaped getting out of police cars, and were seen by an Italian MP carrying “iron bars inside the police station”.  Subsequently, senior police officials in Genoa subsequently  admitted that police planted two Molotov cocktails and faked the stabbing of a police officer at the G8 Summit, in order to justify a violent crackdown against protesters.

(31) The U.S. falsely blamed Iraq for playing a role in the 9/11 attacks – as shown by a memo from the defense secretary – as one of the main justifications for launching the Iraq war. Even after the 9/11 Commission admitted that there was no connection, Dick Cheney said that the evidence is “overwhelming” that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein’s regime, that Cheney “probably” had information unavailable to the Commission, and that the media was not ‘doing their homework’ in reporting such ties. Top U.S. government officials now admit that the Iraq war was really launched for oil … not 9/11 or weapons of mass destruction. Despite previous “lone wolf” claims, many U.S. government officials now say that 9/11 was state-sponsored terror; but Iraq was not the state which backed the hijackers. (Many U.S. officials have alleged that 9/11 was a false flag operation by rogue elements of the U.S. government; but such a claim is beyond the scope of this discussion. The key point is that the U.S. falsely blamed it on Iraq, when it knew Iraq had nothing to do with it.).

(32) Although the FBI now admits that the 2001 anthrax attacks were carried out by one or more U.S. government scientists, a senior FBI official says that the FBI was actually told to blame the Anthrax attacks on Al Qaeda by White House officials (remember what the anthrax letters looked like). Government officials also confirm that the white House tried to link the anthrax to Iraq as a justification for regime change in that country.

(33) According to the Washington Post, Indonesian police admit that the Indonesian military killed American teachers in Papua in 2002 and blamed the murders on a Papuan separatist group in order to get that group listed as a terrorist organization.

(34) The well-respected former Indonesian president also admits that the government probably had a role in the Bali bombings.

(35) Police outside of a 2003 European Union summit in Greece were filmed planting Molotov cocktails on a peaceful protester

(36) Former Department of Justice lawyer John Yoo suggested in 2005 that the US should go on the offensive against al-Qaeda, having “our intelligence agencies create a false terrorist organization. It could have its own websites, recruitment centers, training camps, and fundraising operations. It could launchfake terrorist operations and claim credit for real terrorist strikes, helping to sow confusion within al-Qaeda’s ranks, causing operatives to doubt others’ identities and to question the validity of communications.”

(37) Similarly, in 2005, Professor John Arquilla of the Naval Postgraduate School – a renowned US defense analyst credited with developing the concept of ‘netwar’ – called for western intelligence services to create new “pseudo gang” terrorist groups, as a way of undermining “real” terror networks. According to Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh, Arquilla’s ‘pseudo-gang’ strategy was, Hersh reported, already being implemented by the Pentagon:

“Under Rumsfeld’s new approach, I was told, US military operatives would be permitted to pose abroad as corrupt foreign businessmen seeking to buy contraband items that could be used in nuclear-weapons systems. In some cases, according to the Pentagon advisers, local citizens could be recruited and asked to join up with guerrillas or terrorists

The new rules will enable the Special Forces community to set up what it calls ‘action teams’ in the target countries overseas which can be used to find and eliminate terrorist organizations. ‘Do you remember the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador?’ the former high-level intelligence official asked me, referring to the military-led gangs that committed atrocities in the early nineteen-eighties. ‘We founded them and we financed them,’ he said. ‘The objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want. And we aren’t going to tell Congress about it.’ A former military officer, who has knowledge of the Pentagon’s commando capabilities, said, ‘We’re going to be riding with the bad boys.'”

(38) United Press International reported in June 2005:

U.S. intelligence officers are reporting that some of the insurgents in Iraq are using recent-model Beretta 92 pistols, but the pistols seem to have had their serial numbers erased. The numbers do not appear to have been physically removed; the pistols seem to have come off a production line without any serial numbers. Analysts suggest the lack of serial numbers indicates that the weapons were intended for intelligence operations or terrorist cells with substantial government backing. Analysts speculate that these guns are probably from either Mossad or the CIA. Analysts speculate that agent provocateurs may be using the untraceable weapons even as U.S. authorities use insurgent attacks against civilians as evidence of the illegitimacy of the resistance.

(39) Undercover Israeli soldiers admitted in 2005 to throwing stones at other Israeli soldiers so they could blame it on Palestinians, as an excuse to crack down on peaceful protests by the Palestinians.

(40) Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest were actually undercover Quebec police officers (and see this).

(41) A 2008 US Army special operations field manual recommends that the U.S. military use surrogate non-state groups such as “paramilitary forces, individuals, businesses, foreign political organizations, resistant or insurgent organizations, expatriates, transnational terrorism adversaries, disillusioned transnational terrorism members, black marketers, and other social or political ‘undesirables.'” The manual specifically acknowledged that U.S. special operations can involve both counterterrorism and “Terrorism” (as well as “transnational criminal activities, including narco-trafficking, illicit arms-dealing, and illegal financial transactions.”)

(42)  The former head of Secret Services and Head of State of Italy (Francesco Cossiga) advised the 2008 minister in charge of the police, on how to deal with protests from teachers and students:

He should do what I did when I was Minister of the Interior … infiltrate the movement with agents provocateurs inclined to do anything …. And after that, with the strength of the gained population consent,  … beat them for blood and beat for blood also those teachers that incite them. Especially the teachers. Not the elderly, of course, but the girl teachers yes.

(43) At the G20 protests in London in 2009, a British member of parliament saw plain clothes police officers attempting to incite the crowd to violence.

(44) Egyptian politicians admitted (and see this) that government employees looted priceless museum artifacts in 2011 to try to discredit the protesters.

(45) Rioters who discredited the peaceful protests against the swearing in of the Mexican president in 2012 admitted that they were paid 300 pesos each to destroy everything in their path. According to Wikipedia, photos also show the vandals waiting in groups behind police lines prior to the violence.

(46) A Colombian army colonel has admitted that his unit murdered 57 civilians, then dressed them in uniforms and claimed they were rebels killed in combat.

(47) On November 20, 2014, Mexican agent provocateurs were transported by army vehicles to participate in the 2014 Iguala mass kidnapping protests, as was shown by videos and pictures distributed via social networks.

(48) The highly-respected writer for the Telegraph Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says that the head of Saudi intelligence – Prince Bandar – recently admitted that the Saudi government controls “Chechen” terrorists.

(49) High-level American sources admitted that the Turkish government – a fellow NATO country – carried out the chemical weapons attacks blamed on the Syrian government; and high-ranking Turkish government admitted on tape plans to carry out attacks and blame it on the Syrian government.

(50) The Ukrainian security chief admits that the sniper attacks which started the Ukrainian coup were carried out in order to frame others. Ukrainian officials admit that the Ukrainian snipers fired on both sides, to create maximum chaos.

(51) Britain’s spy agency has admitted (and see this) that it carries out “digital false flag” attacks on targets, framing people by writing offensive or unlawful material … and blaming it on the target.

(52) U.S. soldiers have admitted that if they kill innocent Iraqis and Afghanis, they then “drop” automatic weapons near their body so they can pretend they were militants

(53) Similarly, police frame innocent people for crimes they didn’t commit. The practice is so well-known that the New York Times noted in 1981:

In police jargon, a throwdown is a weapon planted on a victim.

Newsweek reported in 1999:

Perez, himself a former [Los Angeles Police Department] cop, was caught stealing eight pounds of cocaine from police evidence lockers. After pleading guilty in September, he bargained for a lighter sentence by telling an appalling story of attempted murder and a “throwdown”-police slang for a weapon planted by cops to make a shooting legally justifiable. Perez said he and his partner, Officer Nino Durden, shot an unarmed 18th Street Gang member named Javier Ovando, then planted a semiautomatic rifle on the unconscious suspect and claimed that Ovando had tried to shoot them during a stakeout.

Wikipedia notes:

As part of his plea bargain, Perez implicated scores of officers from the Rampart Division’s anti-gang unit, describing routinely beating gang members, planting evidence on suspects, falsifying reports and covering up unprovoked shootings.

(As a side note – and while not technically false flag attacks – police have been busted framing innocent people in many other ways, as well.)

(54) A former U.S. intelligence officer recently alleged:

Most terrorists are false flag terrorists or are created by our own security services.

(55) The head and special agent in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office said that most terror attacks are committed by the CIA and FBI as false flags.  Similarly, the director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan – Lt. General William Odom said:

By any measure the US has long used terrorism. In ’78-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism – in every version they produced, the lawyers said the US would be in violation.

(audio here).

(56) Leaders throughout history have acknowledged the “benefits” of of false flags to justify their political agenda:

Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death”.
– Adolph Hitler

“Why of course the people don’t want war … But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
– Hermann Goering, Nazi leader.

“The easiest way to gain control of a population is to carry out acts of terror. [The public] will clamor for such laws if their personal security is threatened”.
– Josef Stalin

Postscript: Private parties – such as NBC News, as well as Muslims, Jews, Scientologists, African-Americans and Neo-Nazis – play this game as well.

www.whatreallyhappened.comhttp://www.whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/42falseflags.php#ixzz4dVI2Q7La

The Red Line and the Rat Line

Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels

In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons.Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.

For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’

The joint chiefs also knew that the Obama administration’s public claims that only the Syrian army had access to sarin were wrong. The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’. (According to a Defense Department consultant, US intelligence has long known that al-Qaida experimented with chemical weapons, and has a video of one of its gas experiments with dogs.) The DIA paper went on: ‘Previous IC [intelligence community] focus had been almost entirely on Syrian CW [chemical weapons] stockpiles; now we see ANF attempting to make its own CW … Al-Nusrah Front’s relative freedom of operation within Syria leads us to assess the group’s CW aspirations will be difficult to disrupt in the future.’ The paper drew on classified intelligence from numerous agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large scale production effort in Syria.’ (Asked about the DIA paper, a spokesperson for the director of national intelligence said: ‘No such paper was ever requested or produced by intelligence community analysts.’)

Last May, more than ten members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested in southern Turkey with what local police told the press were two kilograms of sarin. In a 130-page indictment the group was accused of attempting to purchase fuses, piping for the construction of mortars, and chemical precursors for sarin. Five of those arrested were freed after a brief detention. The others, including the ringleader, Haytham Qassab, for whom the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 25 years, were released pending trial. In the meantime the Turkish press has been rife with speculation that the Erdoğan administration has been covering up the extent of its involvement with the rebels. In a news conference last summer, Aydin Sezgin, Turkey’s ambassador to Moscow, dismissed the arrests and claimed to reporters that the recovered ‘sarin’ was merely ‘anti-freeze’.

The DIA paper took the arrests as evidence that al-Nusra was expanding its access to chemical weapons. It said Qassab had ‘self-identified’ as a member of al-Nusra, and that he was directly connected to Abd-al-Ghani, the ‘ANF emir for military manufacturing’. Qassab and his associate Khalid Ousta worked with Halit Unalkaya, an employee of a Turkish firm called Zirve Export, who provided ‘price quotes for bulk quantities of sarin precursors’. Abd-al-Ghani’s plan was for two associates to ‘perfect a process for making sarin, then go to Syria to train others to begin large scale production at an unidentified lab in Syria’. The DIA paper said that one of his operatives had purchased a precursor on the ‘Baghdad chemical market’, which ‘has supported at least seven CW efforts since 2004’.

A series of chemical weapon attacks in March and April 2013 was investigated over the next few months by a special UN mission to Syria. A person with close knowledge of the UN’s activity in Syria told me that there was evidence linking the Syrian opposition to the first gas attack, on 19 March in Khan Al-Assal, a village near Aleppo. In its final report in December, the mission said that at least 19 civilians and one Syrian soldier were among the fatalities, along with scores of injured. It had no mandate to assign responsibility for the attack, but the person with knowledge of the UN’s activities said: ‘Investigators interviewed the people who were there, including the doctors who treated the victims. It was clear that the rebels used the gas. It did not come out in public because no one wanted to know.’

In the months before the attacks began, a former senior Defense Department official told me, the DIA was circulating a daily classified report known as SYRUP on all intelligence related to the Syrian conflict, including material on chemical weapons. But in the spring, distribution of the part of the report concerning chemical weapons was severely curtailed on the orders of Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff. ‘Something was in there that triggered a shit fit by McDonough,’ the former Defense Department official said. ‘One day it was a huge deal, and then, after the March and April sarin attacks’ – he snapped his fingers – ‘it’s no longer there.’ The decision to restrict distribution was made as the joint chiefs ordered intensive contingency planning for a possible ground invasion of Syria whose primary objective would be the elimination of chemical weapons.

In the aftermath of the 21 August attack Obama ordered the Pentagon to draw up targets for bombing. Early in the process, the former intelligence official said, ‘the White House rejected 35 target sets provided by the joint chiefs of staff as being insufficiently “painful” to the Assad regime.’ The original targets included only military sites and nothing by way of civilian infrastructure. Under White House pressure, the US attack plan evolved into ‘a monster strike’: two wings of B-52 bombers were shifted to airbases close to Syria, and navy submarines and ships equipped with Tomahawk missiles were deployed. ‘Every day the target list was getting longer,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The Pentagon planners said we can’t use only Tomahawks to strike at Syria’s missile sites because their warheads are buried too far below ground, so the two B-52 air wings with two-thousand pound bombs were assigned to the mission. Then we’ll need standby search-and-rescue teams to recover downed pilots and drones for target selection. It became huge.’ The new target list was meant to ‘completely eradicate any military capabilities Assad had’, the former intelligence official said. The core targets included electric power grids, oil and gas depots, all known logistic and weapons depots, all known command and control facilities, and all known military and intelligence buildings.

Britain and France were both to play a part. On 29 August, the day Parliament voted against Cameron’s bid to join the intervention, the Guardian reported that he had already ordered six RAF Typhoon fighter jets to be deployed to Cyprus, and had volunteered a submarine capable of launching Tomahawk missiles. The French air force – a crucial player in the 2011 strikes on Libya – was deeply committed, according to an account in Le Nouvel Observateur; François Hollande had ordered several Rafale fighter-bombers to join the American assault. Their targets were reported to be in western Syria.

By the last days of August the president had given the Joint Chiefs a fixed deadline for the launch. ‘H hour was to begin no later than Monday morning [2 September], a massive assault to neutralise Assad,’ the former intelligence official said. So it was a surprise to many when during a speech in the White House Rose Garden on 31 August Obama said that the attack would be put on hold, and he would turn to Congress and put it to a vote.

At this stage, Obama’s premise – that only the Syrian army was capable of deploying sarin – was unravelling. Within a few days of the 21 August attack, the former intelligence official told me, Russian military intelligence operatives had recovered samples of the chemical agent from Ghouta. They analysed it and passed it on to British military intelligence; this was the material sent to Porton Down. (A spokesperson for Porton Down said: ‘Many of the samples analysed in the UK tested positive for the nerve agent sarin.’ MI6 said that it doesn’t comment on intelligence matters.)

The former intelligence official said the Russian who delivered the sample to the UK was ‘a good source – someone with access, knowledge and a record of being trustworthy’. After the first reported uses of chemical weapons in Syria last year, American and allied intelligence agencies ‘made an effort to find the answer as to what if anything, was used – and its source’, the former intelligence official said. ‘We use data exchanged as part of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The DIA’s baseline consisted of knowing the composition of each batch of Soviet-manufactured chemical weapons. But we didn’t know which batches the Assad government currently had in its arsenal. Within days of the Damascus incident we asked a source in the Syrian government to give us a list of the batches the government currently had. This is why we could confirm the difference so quickly.’

The process hadn’t worked as smoothly in the spring, the former intelligence official said, because the studies done by Western intelligence ‘were inconclusive as to the type of gas it was. The word “sarin” didn’t come up. There was a great deal of discussion about this, but since no one could conclude what gas it was, you could not say that Assad had crossed the president’s red line.’ By 21 August, the former intelligence official went on, ‘the Syrian opposition clearly had learned from this and announced that “sarin” from the Syrian army had been used, before any analysis could be made, and the press and White House jumped at it. Since it now was sarin, “It had to be Assad.”’

The UK defence staff who relayed the Porton Down findings to the joint chiefs were sending the Americans a message, the former intelligence official said: ‘We’re being set up here.’ (This account made sense of a terse message a senior official in the CIA sent in late August: ‘It was not the result of the current regime. UK & US know this.’) By then the attack was a few days away and American, British and French planes, ships and submarines were at the ready.

The officer ultimately responsible for the planning and execution of the attack was General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs. From the beginning of the crisis, the former intelligence official said, the joint chiefs had been sceptical of the administration’s argument that it had the facts to back up its belief in Assad’s guilt. They pressed the DIA and other agencies for more substantial evidence. ‘There was no way they thought Syria would use nerve gas at that stage, because Assad was winning the war,’ the former intelligence official said. Dempsey had irritated many in the Obama administration by repeatedly warning Congress over the summer of the danger of American military involvement in Syria. Last April, after an optimistic assessment of rebel progress by the secretary of state, John Kerry, in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee that ‘there’s a risk that this conflict has become stalemated.’

Dempsey’s initial view after 21 August was that a US strike on Syria – under the assumption that the Assad government was responsible for the sarin attack – would be a military blunder, the former intelligence official said. The Porton Down report caused the joint chiefs to go to the president with a more serious worry: that the attack sought by the White House would be an unjustified act of aggression. It was the joint chiefs who led Obama to change course. The official White House explanation for the turnabout – the story the press corps told – was that the president, during a walk in the Rose Garden with Denis McDonough, his chief of staff, suddenly decided to seek approval for the strike from a bitterly divided Congress with which he’d been in conflict for years. The former Defense Department official told me that the White House provided a different explanation to members of the civilian leadership of the Pentagon: the bombing had been called off because there was intelligence ‘that the Middle East would go up in smoke’ if it was carried out.

The president’s decision to go to Congress was initially seen by senior aides in the White House, the former intelligence official said, as a replay of George W. Bush’s gambit in the autumn of 2002 before the invasion of Iraq: ‘When it became clear that there were no WMD in Iraq, Congress, which had endorsed the Iraqi war, and the White House both shared the blame and repeatedly cited faulty intelligence. If the current Congress were to vote to endorse the strike, the White House could again have it both ways – wallop Syria with a massive attack and validate the president’s red line commitment, while also being able to share the blame with Congress if it came out that the Syrian military wasn’t behind the attack.’ The turnabout came as a surprise even to the Democratic leadership in Congress. In September the Wall Street Journal reported that three days before his Rose Garden speech Obama had telephoned Nancy Pelosi, leader of the House Democrats, ‘to talk through the options’. She later told colleagues, according to the Journal, that she hadn’t asked the president to put the bombing to a congressional vote.

bama’s move for congressional approval quickly became a dead end. ‘Congress was not going to let this go by,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Congress made it known that, unlike the authorisation for the Iraq war, there would be substantive hearings.’ At this point, there was a sense of desperation in the White House, the former intelligence official said. ‘And so out comes Plan B. Call off the bombing strike and Assad would agree to unilaterally sign the chemical warfare treaty and agree to the destruction of all of chemical weapons under UN supervision.’ At a press conference in London on 9 September, Kerry was still talking about intervention: ‘The risk of not acting is greater than the risk of acting.’ But when a reporter asked if there was anything Assad could do to stop the bombing, Kerry said: ‘Sure. He could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week … But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done, obviously.’ As the New York Times reported the next day, the Russian-brokered deal that emerged shortly afterwards had first been discussed by Obama and Putin in the summer of 2012. Although the strike plans were shelved, the administration didn’t change its public assessment of the justification for going to war. ‘There is zero tolerance at that level for the existence of error,’ the former intelligence official said of the senior officials in the White House. ‘They could not afford to say: “We were wrong.”’ (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The Assad regime, and only the Assad regime, could have been responsible for the chemical weapons attack that took place on 21 August.’)

*The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida. (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The idea that the United States was providing weapons from Libya to anyone is false.’)

In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others. The report’s criticism of the State Department for not providing adequate security at the consulate, and of the intelligence community for not alerting the US military to the presence of a CIA outpost in the area, received front-page coverage and revived animosities in Washington, with Republicans accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of a cover-up. A highly classified annex to the report, not made public, described a secret agreement reached in early 2012 between the Obama and Erdoğan administrations. It pertained to the rat line. By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria. A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping. The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer. (A spokesperson for Petraeus denied the operation ever took place.)

The operation had not been disclosed at the time it was set up to the congressional intelligence committees and the congressional leadership, as required by law since the 1970s. The involvement of MI6 enabled the CIA to evade the law by classifying the mission as a liaison operation. The former intelligence official explained that for years there has been a recognised exception in the law that permits the CIA not to report liaison activity to Congress, which would otherwise be owed a finding. (All proposed CIA covert operations must be described in a written document, known as a ‘finding’, submitted to the senior leadership of Congress for approval.) Distribution of the annex was limited to the staff aides who wrote the report and to the eight ranking members of Congress – the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate, and the Democratic and Republicans leaders on the House and Senate intelligence committees. This hardly constituted a genuine attempt at oversight: the eight leaders are not known to gather together to raise questions or discuss the secret information they receive.

The annex didn’t tell the whole story of what happened in Benghazi before the attack, nor did it explain why the American consulate was attacked. ‘The consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms,’ the former intelligence official, who has read the annex, said. ‘It had no real political role.’

Washington abruptly ended the CIA’s role in the transfer of arms from Libya after the attack on the consulate, but the rat line kept going. ‘The United States was no longer in control of what the Turks were relaying to the jihadists,’ the former intelligence official said. Within weeks, as many as forty portable surface-to-air missile launchers, commonly known as manpads, were in the hands of Syrian rebels. On 28 November 2012, Joby Warrick of the Washington Post reported that the previous day rebels near Aleppo had used what was almost certainly a manpad to shoot down a Syrian transport helicopter. ‘The Obama administration,’ Warrick wrote, ‘has steadfastly opposed arming Syrian opposition forces with such missiles, warning that the weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists and be used to shoot down commercial aircraft.’ Two Middle Eastern intelligence officials fingered Qatar as the source, and a former US intelligence analyst speculated that the manpads could have been obtained from Syrian military outposts overrun by the rebels. There was no indication that the rebels’ possession of manpads was likely the unintended consequence of a covert US programme that was no longer under US control.

By the end of 2012, it was believed throughout the American intelligence community that the rebels were losing the war. ‘Erdoğan was pissed,’ the former intelligence official said, ‘and felt he was left hanging on the vine. It was his money and the cut-off was seen as a betrayal.’ In spring 2013 US intelligence learned that the Turkish government – through elements of the MIT, its national intelligence agency, and the Gendarmerie, a militarised law-enforcement organisation – was working directly with al-Nusra and its allies to develop a chemical warfare capability. ‘The MIT was running the political liaison with the rebels, and the Gendarmerie handled military logistics, on-the-scene advice and training – including training in chemical warfare,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Stepping up Turkey’s role in spring 2013 was seen as the key to its problems there. Erdoğan knew that if he stopped his support of the jihadists it would be all over. The Saudis could not support the war because of logistics – the distances involved and the difficulty of moving weapons and supplies. Erdoğan’s hope was to instigate an event that would force the US to cross the red line. But Obama didn’t respond in March and April.’

There was no public sign of discord when Erdoğan and Obama met on 16 May 2013 at the White House. At a later press conference Obama said that they had agreed that Assad ‘needs to go’. Asked whether he thought Syria had crossed the red line, Obama acknowledged that there was evidence such weapons had been used, but added, ‘it is important for us to make sure that we’re able to get more specific information about what exactly is happening there.’ The red line was still intact.

The foreign policy expert told me that the account he heard originated with Donilon. (It was later corroborated by a former US official, who learned of it from a senior Turkish diplomat.) According to the expert, Erdoğan had sought the meeting to demonstrate to Obama that the red line had been crossed, and had brought Fidan along to state the case. When Erdoğan tried to draw Fidan into the conversation, and Fidan began speaking, Obama cut him off and said: ‘We know.’ Erdoğan tried to bring Fidan in a second time, and Obama again cut him off and said: ‘We know.’ At that point, an exasperated Erdoğan said, ‘But your red line has been crossed!’ and, the expert told me, ‘Donilon said Erdoğan “fucking waved his finger at the president inside the White House”.’ Obama then pointed at Fidan and said: ‘We know what you’re doing with the radicals in Syria.’ (Donilon, who joined the Council on Foreign Relations last July, didn’t respond to questions about this story. The Turkish Foreign Ministry didn’t respond to questions about the dinner. A spokesperson for the National Security Council confirmed that the dinner took place and provided a photograph showing Obama, Kerry, Donilon, Erdoğan, Fidan and Davutoğlu sitting at a table. ‘Beyond that,’ she said, ‘I’m not going to read out the details of their discussions.’)

But Erdoğan did not leave empty handed. Obama was still permitting Turkey to continue to exploit a loophole in a presidential executive order prohibiting the export of gold to Iran, part of the US sanctions regime against the country. In March 2012, responding to sanctions of Iranian banks by the EU, the SWIFT electronic payment system, which facilitates cross-border payments, expelled dozens of Iranian financial institutions, severely restricting the country’s ability to conduct international trade. The US followed with the executive order in July, but left what came to be known as a ‘golden loophole’: gold shipments to private Iranian entities could continue. Turkey is a major purchaser of Iranian oil and gas, and it took advantage of the loophole by depositing its energy payments in Turkish lira in an Iranian account in Turkey; these funds were then used to purchase Turkish gold for export to confederates in Iran. Gold to the value of $13 billion reportedly entered Iran in this way between March 2012 and July 2013.

The programme quickly became a cash cow for corrupt politicians and traders in Turkey, Iran and the United Arab Emirates. ‘The middlemen did what they always do,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Take 15 per cent. The CIA had estimated that there was as much as two billion dollars in skim. Gold and Turkish lira were sticking to fingers.’ The illicit skimming flared into a public ‘gas for gold’ scandal in Turkey in December, and resulted in charges against two dozen people, including prominent businessmen and relatives of government officials, as well as the resignations of three ministers, one of whom called for Erdoğan to resign. The chief executive of a Turkish state-controlled bank that was in the middle of the scandal insisted that more than $4.5 million in cash found by police in shoeboxes during a search of his home was for charitable donations.

Late last year Jonathan Schanzer and Mark Dubowitz reported in Foreign Policy that the Obama administration closed the golden loophole in January 2013, but ‘lobbied to make sure the legislation … did not take effect for six months’. They speculated that the administration wanted to use the delay as an incentive to bring Iran to the bargaining table over its nuclear programme, or to placate its Turkish ally in the Syrian civil war. The delay permitted Iran to ‘accrue billions of dollars more in gold, further undermining the sanctions regime’.*

The American decision to end CIA support of the weapons shipments into Syria left Erdoğan exposed politically and militarily. ‘One of the issues at that May summit was the fact that Turkey is the only avenue to supply the rebels in Syria,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘It can’t come through Jordan because the terrain in the south is wide open and the Syrians are all over it. And it can’t come through the valleys and hills of Lebanon – you can’t be sure who you’d meet on the other side.’ Without US military support for the rebels, the former intelligence official said, ‘Erdoğan’s dream of having a client state in Syria is evaporating and he thinks we’re the reason why. When Syria wins the war, he knows the rebels are just as likely to turn on him – where else can they go? So now he will have thousands of radicals in his backyard.’

A US intelligence consultant told me that a few weeks before 21 August he saw a highly classified briefing prepared for Dempsey and the defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, which described ‘the acute anxiety’ of the Erdoğan administration about the rebels’ dwindling prospects. The analysis warned that the Turkish leadership had expressed ‘the need to do something that would precipitate a US military response’. By late summer, the Syrian army still had the advantage over the rebels, the former intelligence official said, and only American air power could turn the tide. In the autumn, the former intelligence official went on, the US intelligence analysts who kept working on the events of 21 August ‘sensed that Syria had not done the gas attack. But the 500 pound gorilla was, how did it happen? The immediate suspect was the Turks, because they had all the pieces to make it happen.’

As intercepts and other data related to the 21 August attacks were gathered, the intelligence community saw evidence to support its suspicions. ‘We now know it was a covert action planned by Erdoğan’s people to push Obama over the red line,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘They had to escalate to a gas attack in or near Damascus when the UN inspectors’ – who arrived in Damascus on 18 August to investigate the earlier use of gas – ‘were there. The deal was to do something spectacular. Our senior military officers have been told by the DIA and other intelligence assets that the sarin was supplied through Turkey – that it could only have gotten there with Turkish support. The Turks also provided the training in producing the sarin and handling it.’ Much of the support for that assessment came from the Turks themselves, via intercepted conversations in the immediate aftermath of the attack. ‘Principal evidence came from the Turkish post-attack joy and back-slapping in numerous intercepts. Operations are always so super-secret in the planning but that all flies out the window when it comes to crowing afterwards. There is no greater vulnerability than in the perpetrators claiming credit for success.’ Erdoğan’s problems in Syria would soon be over: ‘Off goes the gas and Obama will say red line and America is going to attack Syria, or at least that was the idea. But it did not work out that way.’

The post-attack intelligence on Turkey did not make its way to the White House. ‘Nobody wants to talk about all this,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘There is great reluctance to contradict the president, although no all-source intelligence community analysis supported his leap to convict. There has not been one single piece of additional evidence of Syrian involvement in the sarin attack produced by the White House since the bombing raid was called off. My government can’t say anything because we have acted so irresponsibly. And since we blamed Assad, we can’t go back and blame Erdoğan.’

Barring a major change in policy by Obama, Turkey’s meddling in the Syrian civil war is likely to go on. ‘I asked my colleagues if there was any way to stop Erdoğan’s continued support for the rebels, especially now that it’s going so wrong,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The answer was: “We’re screwed.” We could go public if it was somebody other than Erdoğan, but Turkey is a special case. They’re a Nato ally. The Turks don’t trust the West. They can’t live with us if we take any active role against Turkish interests. If we went public with what we know about Erdoğan’s role with the gas, it’d be disastrous. The Turks would say: “We hate you for telling us what we can and can’t do.”’

4 April

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line

Ghouta chemical attack

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ghouta chemical attack
Part of the Syrian Civil War
Ghouta massacre1.JPG

Some of the victims of the Ghouta chemical attack
Location Ghouta, Syria
Coordinates Eastern Ghouta: within 750 meters (2,460 ft) from[1]
33.5238301°N 36.3566995°E
Western Ghouta: within 500 meters (1,600 ft) from[1]
33.4602966°N 36.1972287°E
Date 21 August 2013[2]
Attack type
Chemical attack
Deaths Various estimates:
at least 281 (French intelligence)[3]
at least 350 (UK intelligence)[4]
355 (MSF)[5]
494 (Damascus Media Office)[6]
502 (SOHR)[7]
635 (SRGC)[8]
923 (VDC)[9]
1,300 (SNC)[10]
1,338 (LCC)[11]
1,429 (United States)[12][13]
1,729 (FSA)[14]
Non-fatal injuries
3,600 patients displaying neurotoxic symptoms in 3 hospitals supported by MSF[5]
Perpetrators Unknown

The Ghouta chemical attack occurred in Ghouta, Syria, during the Syrian Civil War in the early hours of 21 August 2013. Two opposition-controlled areas in the suburbs around Damascus, Syria were struck by rockets containing the chemical agent sarin. Estimates of the death toll range from at least 281 people[3] to 1,729.[14] The attack was the deadliest use of chemical weapons since the Iran–Iraq War.[15][16][17]

Inspectors from the United Nations Mission already in Syria to investigate an earlier alleged chemical weapons attack,[18](p6)[19] requested access to sites in Ghouta the day after the attack,[20][21][22][22][23][24] and called for a ceasefire to allow inspectors to visit the Ghouta sites.[20] The Syrian government granted the UN’s request on 25 August,[25][26][27] and inspectors visited and investigated Moadamiyah in Western Ghouta the next day, and Zamalka and Ein Tarma in Eastern Ghouta on 28 and 29 August.[18](p6)[28][29]

The UN investigation team confirmed “clear and convincing evidence” of the use of sarin delivered by surface-to-surface rockets,[18][30] and a 2014 report by the UN Human Rights Council found that “significant quantities of sarin were used in a well-planned indiscriminate attack targeting civilian-inhabited areas, causing mass casualties. The evidence available concerning the nature, quality and quantity of the agents used on 21 August indicated that the perpetrators likely had access to the chemical weapons stockpile of the Syrian military, as well as the expertise and equipment necessary to manipulate safely large amount of chemical agents.”[31] It also stated that the chemical agents used in the Khan al-Assal chemical attack “bore the same unique hallmarks as those used in Al-Ghouta.”[32][31][33]

The Syrian opposition,[34] as well as many governments, the Arab League and the European Union[35][36][37] stated the attack was carried out by forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.[38] The Syrian and Russian governments blamed the opposition for the attack,[34] the Russian government calling the attack a false flag operation by the opposition to draw foreign powers into the civil war on the rebels’ side.[39]Åke Sellström, the leader of the UN Mission, characterized government explanations of rebel chemical weapons acquisition as unconvincing, resting in part upon “poor theories.”[40]

Several countries including France, the United Kingdom, and the United States debated whether to intervene militarily against Syrian government forces.[41][42][43][44] On 6 September 2013, the United States Senate filed a resolution to authorize use of military force against the Syrian military in response to the Ghouta attack.[45] On 10 September 2013, the military intervention was averted when the Syrian government accepted a US–Russian negotiated deal to turn over “every single bit” of its chemical weapons stockpiles for destruction and declared its intention to join the Chemical Weapons Convention.[46][47]

Background

The Ghouta area is composed of densely populated suburbs to the east and south of Damascus, part of the province of Rif Dimashq.[48] Ghouta is a primarily conservative Sunni region.[49] Since early in the civil war, civilians in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta have almost entirely sided with the opposition to Syria’s government.[50][51] The opposition has controlled much of Eastern Ghouta since 2012, partly cutting off Damascus from the countryside.[48]Muadamiyat al-Sham in Western Ghouta had been under government siege since April 2013.[52] Ghouta had been the scene of continuing clashes for more than a year before the chemical attack, with government forces launching repeated missile assaults trying to dislodge the rebels. The week of the attack, the Syrian government launched an offensive to capture opposition-held Damascus suburbs.[51]

The attack came one year and one day after US President Barack Obama‘s 20 August 2012 “red line” remarks, in which he warned: “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”[53][54][55] Syria was one of five non-signatories to the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention at the time. After the “red line” remarks, and before the chemical attack in Ghouta, chemical weapons were suspected to have been used in four attacks in the country.[56]

Khan al-Assal chemical attack

The Khan al-Assal chemical attack occurred on 19 March 2013, when a government-controlled area of Khan al-Asal, a district of Aleppo in northern Syria, was struck by a rocket containing the nerve agent sarin. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights the attack resulted in at least 26 fatalities, including 16 government soldiers and 10 civilians.[57] The Syrian government later reported to the United Nations that one soldier and 19 civilians died and that 17 soldiers and 107 civilians were injured.[2](p32) A medic at the local civilian hospital said he personally had witnessed Syrian army soldiers helping the wounded and dealing with fatalities at the scene.[58]

The sarin used in the Khan al-Assal attack “bore the same unique hallmarks” as the sarin used in the Ghouta attack.[32][31](p19)

Independent International Commission of Inquiry

The United Nations Human Rights Council established the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic on 22 August 2011 to investigate human rights violations during the Syrian civil war. One of the topics the commission investigated was possible use of chemical weapons. In early June 2013, the Fifth Report of the Commission of Inquiry stated that there were reasonable grounds to believe that limited amounts of toxic chemicals were used in four attacks, but more evidence was needed “to determine the precise chemical agents used, their delivery systems or the perpetrator.”[59](p21)[60][61] On 22 June, the head of the Commission of Inquiry, Paulo Pinheiro, said the UN could not determine who used chemical weapons in Syria based on evidence sent by the United States, Britain and France.[62]

Assessments prior to the attack

US assessment

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stated on 25 April that US intelligence showed the Assad government had likely used sarin on a small scale.[63] However, the White House announced that “much more” work had to be done to verify the intelligence assessments.[64]

On 13 June 2013, the United States government publicly announced it had concluded that the Assad government had used limited amounts of chemical weapons on multiple occasions against rebel forces, killing 100 to 150 people. US officials stated that sarin was the agent used.[65] Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes did not say whether this showed that Syria had crossed the “red line” established by President Obama in August 2012. Rhodes stated: “The president has said that the use of chemical weapons would change his calculus, and it has.”[66] The French government announced that its own tests confirmed US assertions.[67]

Russian assessment

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said “the accusations of Damascus using chemical weapons put forth by the USA are not backed by credible facts.”[68] Lavrov further stated that the Syrian government had no motive to use chemical weapons since the government already maintained a military advantage over the rebel fighters.[69]

Attacks

The attacks affected two separate opposition-controlled districts in the Damascus suburbs, located 16 kilometres apart.[1](p1)

Eastern Ghouta attack

The first attack took place around 2:30 a.m. on 21 August 2013[70][71] in Eastern Ghouta, a rebel-held suburb to the east of Damascus.[72] The area was on a rebel weapons supply route from Jordan and had been under siege by the Syrian military and Hezbollah for months.[73][74]

At least 8, and possibly 12, rockets struck within a 1500 by 500 meter area in the Zamalka and nearby Ein Tarma neighborhoods.[note 1] The rockets were all of the same improvised type, each with an estimated capacity to carry 50–60 liters (11–13 imp gal; 13–16 U.S. gal) of sarin.[1](p9)[18](p24) The rocket engine was similar in type and parameters to a 122 mm GRAD unguided surface-to-surface rocket, while the chemical warhead and the stabilization fin was of an artisan-type.[1][75] One (or both) of the labs examining the environmental samples taken from Zamalka (and Ein Tarma[18](pp28–29)) found at least traces of sarin in 14 of the 17 cases.[2](pp45–49) One of the labs described the sarin level as a “high level concentration” in 4 of the 17 samples.[2](pp45–49)

Western Ghouta attack

The second attack took place in the Western Ghouta area around 5:00 in the morning on 21 August. On 22 August, a witness who works for Moadamiya media center said he had counted seven rockets that fell in two areas of Moadamiya during the early morning of 21 August. He said four rockets hit next to the Rawda Mosque and another three in the area between Qahweh Street and Zeytouneh Street, which he said was approximately 500 meters to the east of the Rawda Mosque. He said all the rockets were of the same type.[1]

While no chemical warhead was ever found in the Western Ghouta area, one rocket engine has been identified as a 140mm M-14 unguided surface-to-surface rocket. This type of rocket can be fitted with three types of warheads: high explosive-fragmentation, white phosphorus smoke, or a chemical warhead containing 2 liters (0.44 imp gal; 0.53 U.S. gal) of sarin.[1](p5) None of the 13 environmental samples taken from Western Ghouta tested positive for sarin, although three had “degradation and/or by-products.”[2](pp43–45)

Chemical weapons capability

At the time of the attack, Syria was not a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention,[76] which prohibits the development, production, stockpiling, transfer and use of chemical weapons, although in 1968 it acceded to the 1925 Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases. In 2012 Syria publicly stated it possessed chemical and biological weapons and would use them if it faced a foreign attack.[77]

According to French intelligence, the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) is responsible for producing toxic agents for use in war. A group named “Branch 450” is allegedly responsible for filling munitions with chemicals and maintaining security of the chemical agent stockpiles.[78] As of September 2013, French intelligence estimated the Syrian stockpile at 1,000 tonnes, including Yperite, VX and “several hundred tonnes of sarin.”[78]

The UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee publicly dismissed the possibility of rebel responsibility for the attack in Ghouta, stating that rebels are incapable of an attack of its scale.[79] The Committee stated that “there is no credible intelligence or evidence to substantiate the claims or the possession of CW by the opposition.”[80]

Åke Sellström, a Swedish scientist who led the UN mission to investigate the attacks, said it was difficult to see how rebels could have weaponized the toxins,[81] but admitted that he didn’t know who the perpetrator was.[40]According to the Associated Press, “chemical and biological weapons experts have been relatively consistent in their analysis, saying only a military force with access to and knowledge of missile delivery systems and the sarin gas suspected in Ghouta could have carried out an attack capable of killing hundreds of people.”[82]

Initial claims

Both the opposition and the Syrian government said a chemical attack was carried out in the suburbs around Damascus on 21 August 2013. Anti-government activists said the Syrian government was to blame for the attack, while the Syrian government said foreign fighters and their international backers were to blame.[71][83]

Opposition claims

On the day of the attack, George Sabra, the head of the Syrian National Council, said 1,300 people had been killed as shells loaded with poisonous gas rained down on the capital’s eastern suburbs of Douma, Jobar, Zamalka, Arbeen and Ein Tarma.[84] A spokesman for the Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Council, Qassim Saadeddine, said, “people are growing desperate as they watch another round of political statements and UN meetings without any hope of action.”[72]Ahmad Jarba, who was the president of the Syrian National Coalition at the time of the attack, called on the UN investigators to travel to “the site of the massacre” and for an urgent United Nations Security Council meeting on the subject.[10] The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack was committed by the Syrian regime and called on Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, “to apply all pressure within his powers to pressure the Syrian regime.”[85][86]

The next day, a spokesman for the Syrian National Coalition, Khaled al-Saleh, said at least six doctors died after treating victims, and that they didn’t yet have the number of dead first responders.[87]

Government claims

Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Qadri Jamil, said foreign fighters and their international backers were to blame for the attack.[83] Syrian state television, SANA, said the accusations were fabricated to distract a team of UN chemical weapons experts which had arrived three days before the attacks.[6] Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the claims that his government had used chemical weapons would go against elementary logic and that “accusations of this kind are entirely political.”[88][89]

UN investigation

On 19 March 2013, the Syrian government reported to the UN Security Council that the rebels had fired a rocket containing chemical materials into a government controlled part of Khan al-Asal, a district of Aleppo in northern Syria,[90] and requested a UN mission to investigate it.[91][92] As a response, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon created the “United Nations Mission to Investigate Alleged Uses of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic.”[92][93] The Syrian government first refused to allow the UN mission to be expanded to places outside Khan al-Assal,[94] but agreed in July 2013 to also allow investigation of the alleged attack in Sheikh Maqsood on 13 April 2013 and the alleged attack in Saraqib on 29 April 2013.[95][2](p7)

On 23 April 2013, the New York Times reported that the British and French governments had sent a confidential letter to the UN Secretary-General, stating there was evidence that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons in Aleppo, Homs and perhaps Damascus. Israel also claimed that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons on 19 March near Aleppo and Damascus.[96] On 24 April, Syria blocked UN investigators from entering Syria, while UN Under-Secretary for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said this would not prevent an inquiry from being carried out.[97]

On 18 August 2013, three days before the Ghouta attack, a UN mission headed by Åke Sellström[18] arrived in Damascus with permission from the Syrian government to investigate earlier alleged chemical weapons use.[98] On the day of the attack, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed “the need to investigate [the Ghouta incident as] soon as possible,” hoping for consent from the Syrian government.[98] The next day, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged government and opposition forces to allow an investigation[99] and Ban requested the government provide immediate access.[25][100] On 23 August, clashes between rebel and government forces continued in and around Ghouta, government shelling continued and UN inspectors were denied access for a second day.[22][24]White House officials were convinced that the Syrian government was trying to hide the evidence of chemical weapons use by shelling the sites and delaying their inspection.[25] Ban called for a ceasefire to allow the inspectors to visit the attack sites.[20] On 25 August the government and various rebel factions agreed to a ceasefire for five hours each day from 26 to 29 August.[101][102]

Early in the morning of 26 August several mortars hit central Damascus, including one that fell near the Four Seasons Hotel where the UN inspectors were staying.[103] Later in the day the UN team came under sniper fire en route to Moadamiyah in western Ghouta (to the southwest of central Damascus), forcing them to return to their hotel and replace one of their vehicles before continuing their investigation four hours later.[104][105] The attack prompted a rebuke from Ban toward the fighters.[106][107] After returning to Moadamiyah the UN team visited clinics and makeshift field hospitals, collected samples and conducted interviews with witnesses, survivors and doctors.[104] The inspectors spoke with 20 victims of the attacks and took blood and hair samples, soil samples, and samples from domestic animals.[107] As a result of the delay caused by the sniper attack, the team’s time in Moadamiyah was substantially shortened, with the scheduled expiry of the daily cease-fire leaving them around 90 minutes on the ground.[102][107][108]

On 28 and 29 August the UN team visited Zamalka and Ein Tarma in Eastern Ghouta, east of central Damascus, for a total time of five-and-a-half hours.[18](p6) On 30 August the team visited a Syrian government military hospital in Mazzeh and collected samples.[109] The mission left Syria early on August 31,[110] promising to return to complete the original objective to investigate the previously alleged attack sites. The Syrian government wanted the mission to stay and investigate them at that time.[111]

UN Ghouta Area report

The UN report on the investigation into the Ghouta chemical attacks was published on 16 September 2013. The report stated: “the environmental, chemical and medical samples we have collected provide clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used in Ein Tarma, Moadamiyah and Zamalka in the Ghouta area of Damascus.”[18](p8)[30] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the findings “beyond doubt and beyond the pale,” and clear evidence of a war crime. “The results are overwhelming and indisputable,” he said. Ban stated a majority of the blood samples, environmental samples and rockets or rocket fragments recovered tested positive for sarin.[112] The report, which was “careful not to blame either side,” said that during the mission’s work in areas under rebel control, “individuals arrived carrying other suspected munitions indicating that such potential evidence is being moved and possibly manipulated.”[113] The UN investigators were accompanied by a rebel leader:

A leader of the local opposition forces … was identified and requested to take ‘custody’ of the Mission … to ensure the security and movement of the Mission, to facilitate the access to the most critical cases/witnesses to be interviewed and sampled by the Mission and to control patients and crowd in order for the Mission to focus on its main activities.[18](p13)

The British UN Ambassador stated that the report’s lead author, Åke Sellström, said the quality of the sarin used in the attack was higher than that used by Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war,[114] implying a purity higher than the Iraqi chemical weapons program‘s low purity of 45–60%.[115] (By comparison, Aum Shinrikyo used nearly pure sarin in the 1994 Matsumoto incident.[116])

Responses

According to Human Rights Watch, hundreds of kilograms of sarin were used in the attack, which it said suggested government responsibility, as opposition forces were not known to possess significant amounts of sarin.[117]

The Russian government dismissed the initial UN report after it was released, calling it “one-sided” and “distorted.”[118] On 17 September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated his government’s belief that the opposition carried out the attacks as a “provocation.”[119] The United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane said the inspection team would review Russia’s objections.[111]

An August 2013 Scientific American article described difficulties that could arise when attempting to identify the manufacturer of sarin from soil or tissue samples.[120]

An Iranian chemical weapons expert, Abbas Foroutan, said in October 2013 that the UN should publish more details about the investigation than were provided in the report, including victims’ pulse rates and blood pressure and their response to the atropine treatment, the victims’ levels of acetylcholinesterase (sarin is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor) and more technical details on the lab testing process.[121][122]

Final UN Mission report

The UN inspection team returned to Syria to continue investigations into other alleged chemical attacks in late September 2013. A final report on Ghouta and six other alleged attacks (including three alleged to have occurred after the Ghouta attack) was released in December 2013.[111] The inspectors wrote that they “collected clear and convincing evidence that chemical weapons were used also against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale in the Ghouta area of Damascus on 21 August 2013.” The conclusion was based on:

  • Impacted and exploded surface-to-surface rockets, capable to carry a chemical payload, were found to contain sarin;
  • Close to the rocket impact sites, in the area where patients were affected, the environment was found to be contaminated by sarin;
  • The epidemiology of over fifty interviews given by survivors and health care workers provided ample corroboration of the medical and scientific results;
  • A number of patients/survivors were clearly diagnosed as intoxicated by an organophosphorous compound;
  • Blood and urine samples from the same patients were found positive for sarin and sarin signatures.[2](p19)

UN Human Rights Council report

The 7th Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, a different group than the UN fact-finding mission, stated the sarin used in the Ghouta attack bore the “same unique hallmarks” as the sarin used in the Khan al-Assal attack. The report, dated 12 February 2014, also indicated that the perpetrators likely had access to the chemical weapons stockpile of the Syrian military. These conclusions were based on the fact-finding mission’s evidence, as the Commission of Inquiry did not conduct its own investigation of either chemical attack.[31]

Aftermath

The continuous fighting has severely limited the quality of medical care for injured survivors of the attack. A month after the attack, approximately 450 survivors still required medical attention for lingering symptoms such as respiratory and vision problems.[123] By early October 2013, the 13,000 residents of Moadhamiya, one of the places targeted in the August attack, had been surrounded by pro-government forces and under siege for five months. Severe malnourishment and medical emergencies become pressing as all supply lines had stopped.[124] Care for chronic symptoms of sarin exposure had become “just one among a sea of concerns.”[123]

As countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom debated their response to the attacks, they encountered significant popular and legislative resistance to military intervention. In particular, British Prime Minister David Cameron’s request to the House of Commons to use military force was declined by a 285–272 margin.[125][126] UK government policy subsequently focused on providing humanitarian assistance inside Syria and to refugees in neighboring countries.[127]

Within a month of the attacks, Syria agreed to join the Chemical Weapons Convention and allow all its stockpiles to be destroyed.[128]The destruction began under OPCW supervision on 6 October 2013.[129] On 23 June 2014, the last shipment of Syria’s declared chemical weapons was shipped out of the country for destruction.[130] By 18 August 2014, all toxic chemicals were destroyed aboard the US naval vessel MV Cape Ray.[131]

Nine months after the attack, there is evidence that mothers from the affected areas are giving birth to children with defects and as stillborn.[132][133]

Evidence

Witness statements and victim symptoms

Syrian human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouneh, who was present in Eastern Ghouta, stated, “Hours [after the shelling], we started to visit the medical points in Ghouta to where injured were removed, and we couldn’t believe our eyes. I haven’t seen such death in my whole life. People were lying on the ground in hallways, on roadsides, in hundreds.”[134] Several medics working in Ghouta reported the administration of large quantities of atropine, a common antidote for nerve agent toxicity, to treat victims.[135][136]

Doctors Without Borders said the three hospitals it supports in Eastern Ghouta reported receiving roughly 3,600 patients with “neurotoxic symptoms” over less than three hours during the early morning of 21 August. Of those, 355 died.[137] The Local Coordination Committees of Syria claimed that of the 1,338 victims, 1,000 were in Zamalka, of which 600 bodies were transferred to medical points in other towns and 400 remained at a Zamalka medical center.[11] Some of the fatalities were rebel fighters.[138] The deadliness of the attack is believed to have been increased due to civilians reacting to the chemical attack as if it was typical government bombardment. For conventional artillery and rocket attacks, residents usually went to the basements of buildings, where in this case the heavier-than-air sarin sank into these below-ground, poorly ventilated areas.[139] Some of the victims died while sleeping.[72]

Abu Omar of the Free Syrian Army told The Guardian that the rockets involved in the attack were unusual because “you could hear the sound of the rocket in the air but you could not hear any sound of explosion” and no obvious damage to buildings occurred.[140] Human Rights Watch’s witnesses reported “symptoms and delivery methods consistent with the use of chemical nerve agents.”[19] Activists and local residents contacted by The Guardian said that “the remains of 20 rockets [thought to have been carrying neurotoxic gas] were found in the affected areas. Many [remained] mostly intact, suggesting that they did not detonate on impact and potentially dispersed gas before hitting the ground.”[141]

Child frothing at the mouth.

A child in Ghouta froths from the mouth, a medical condition “associated with exposure to nerve agents such as Sarin.”[142][143]

Doctors Without Borders also reported seeing a “large number of victims arriving with symptoms including convulsions, excessive saliva, pinpoint pupils, blurred vision and respiratory distress.”[144] Symptoms reported by Ghouta residents and doctors to Human Rights Watch included “suffocation, muscle spasms and frothing at the mouth.”[19]

Witness statements to The Guardian about symptoms included “people who were sleeping in their homes [who] died in their beds,” headaches and nausea, “foam coming out of [victims’] mouths and noses,” a “smell something like vinegar and rotten eggs,” suffocation, “bodies [that] were turning blue,” a “smell like cooking gas” and redness and itching of the eyes.[140]Richard Spencer of The Telegraph summarised witness statements, stating, “The poison … may have killed hundreds, but it has left twitching, fainting, confused but compelling survivors.”[145]

On 22 August, the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria published numerous testimonies. It summarised doctors’ and paramedics’ descriptions of the symptoms as “vomiting, foamy salivation, severe agitation, [pinpoint] pupils, redness of the eyes, dyspnea, neurological convulsions, respiratory and heart failure, blood out of the nose and mouth and, in some cases, hallucinations and memory loss”.[146]

Analysis of symptoms

Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior associate for the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said the reported symptoms are a textbook case of nerve-agent poisoning.[144]

Médecins Sans Frontières Director of Operations Bart Janssens stated that MSF “can neither scientifically confirm the cause of these symptoms nor establish who is responsible for the attack. However, the reported symptoms of the patients, in addition to the epidemiological pattern of the events – characterised by the massive influx of patients in a short period of time, the origin of the patients, and the contamination of medical and first aid workers – strongly indicate mass exposure to a neurotoxic agent.”[5]

Gwyn Winfield, Editorial Director at CBRNe World, analysed some videos from the day of the attack and wrote on the magazine’s website: “It is difficult to define [an] agent by the signs and symptoms. Clearly respiratory distress, some nerve spasms and a half hearted washdown (involving water and bare hands?!), but it could equally be a riot control agent as a [chemical warfare agent].”[147]

Rockets

A RPU-14 multiple rocket launcher, of a type that may have launched M-14 munitions found by UN inspectors on 26 August at a site in Moadamiyah.[148]

Human Rights Watch reported that two types of rockets were used: in Western Ghouta, a 140mm rocket made in the Soviet Union in 1967 and exported to Syria;[1](p5) and in Eastern Ghouta, a 330mm rocket of unknown origin.[1](p9) HRW also reported that at the time of the attack, Syrian rebels were not known to be in possession of the rockets used.[1](p20)[149]

Seymour Hersh has suggested that the 330mm rockets may have been produced locally, and with a limited range.[150] Blogger Eliot Higgins has looked at the munitions linked to the attack and analysed footage of the putative launchers inside government territory.[151]

According to a study published in January 2014 by Theodore Postol and Richard Lloyd, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the rockets used in the attack had a range of about two kilometers, indicating the munitions could not have been fired from the ‘heart’ or from the Eastern edge of the Syrian Government Controlled Area shown in the Intelligence Map published by the White House on 30 August 2013.[75][152][153] A response from Higgins and Kaszeta included an observation that the Russian-language news site ANNA News had posted videos showing a Syrian government military operation running from June to August 2013 to clear positions between Jobar and Qaboun, a strip of land about 2 km away from the 21 August impact sites.[154] MIT Professor Theodore Postol contacted Dan Kaszeta and asked him how he came to the conclusion that Hexamine was the “smoking gun” regarding the alleged culpability of the Syrian Government. Åke Sellström told Postol that indeed “the presence of hexamine may mean that this substance was used as scavenger for protons when producing sarin” but that it was a common substance and not conclusive evidence implicating the Syrian government.[155]

Many of the munitions and their fragments had been moved; however, in two cases, the UN could identify the likely launch azimuths.[156] Triangulating rocket trajectories suggests that the origin of the attack may have been within government or rebel-held territory. Consideration of missile ranges influences calculations as to whether rockets originated from the government or rebel-held regions.[150][157]

Communications

Two purported intercepts of communications that appeared to implicate the Syrian government received prominent media coverage. One was a phone call allegedly between Syrian officials which Israel’s Unit 8200 was said to have intercepted and passed to the US.[158] The other was a phone call which the German Bundesnachrichtendienst said it had intercepted, between a high-ranking representative of Hezbollah and the Iranian embassy, in which the purported Hezbollah official said that poison gas had been used and that Assad’s order to attack with chemical weapons had been a strategic error.[159][160]

On 29 August the Associated Press reported that, according to two U.S. intelligence officials and two other U.S. officials, the U.S. intercept was a conversation between “low-level” Syrian officials with no direct link to the upper echelons of the government or military.[161]

The Bild am Sonntag newspaper subsequently reported that German intelligence indicated that Assad had likely not ordered the attacks.[162] According to Bild, “intelligence interception specialists” relying on communications intercepted by the German vessel Oker said that Syrian military commanders had repeatedly been asking permission to launch chemical attacks for around four months, with permission always being denied from the presidential palace. The sources concluded that 21 August attack had probably not been approved by Bashar al-Assad.[162][163][164]

Video

Murad Abu Bilal, Khaled Naddaf and other Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria and Local Coordination Committees of Syria (LCC) media staff went to Zamalka soon after the attacks to film and obtain other documentary evidence. Almost all the journalists died from inhalation of the neurotoxins, except Murad Abu Bilal, who was the only Zamalka LCC media member to survive.[165][166] The videos were published on YouTube, attracting worldwide media attention.[167]

Experts who have analysed the first video said it shows the strongest evidence yet consistent with the use of a lethal toxic agent. Visible symptoms reportedly included rolling eyes, foaming at the mouth, and tremors. There was at least one image of a child suffering miosis, the pin-point pupil effect associated with the nerve agent Sarin, a powerful neurotoxin reportedly used before in Syria. Ralph Trapp, a former scientist at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said the footage showed what a chemical weapons attack on a civilian area would look like, and went on to note “This is one of the first videos I’ve seen from Syria where the numbers start to make sense. If you have a gas attack you would expect large numbers of people, children and adults, to be affected, particularly if it’s in a built-up area.”[167]

Some experts, among them Jean Pascal Zanders, initially stated that evidence that sarin was used, as claimed by pro-rebel sources, was still lacking and highlighted the lack of second-hand contaminations typically associated with use of weapons-grade nerve agents: “I remain sceptical that it was a nerve agent like sarin. I would have expected to see more convulsions,” he said. “The other thing that seems inconsistent with sarin is that, given the footage of first responders treating victims without proper protective equipment, you would expect to see considerable secondary casualties from contamination – which does not appear to be evident.” However, after Zanders saw footage imminently after the attack, he changed his mind, saying: “The video footage and pictures this time are of a far better quality. You can clearly see the typical signs of asphyxiation, including a pinkish blueish tinge to the skin colour. There is one image of an adult woman where you can see the tell-tale blackish mark around her mouth, all of which suggests death from asphyxiation.”[167] Zanders however cautioned that these symptoms covered a range of neurotoxicants, including some available for civilian use as pest control agents, and said that until the UN reported its analysis of samples, “I can’t make a judgement. I have to keep an open mind.”[168]

According to a report by The Daily Telegraph, “videos uploaded to YouTube by activists showed rows of motionless bodies and medics attending to patients apparently in the grip of seizures. In one piece of footage, a young boy appeared to be foaming at the mouth while convulsing.”[84]

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former commander of British Chemical and Biological counterterrorism forces,[169] told BBC that the images were very similar to previous incidents he had witnessed, although he could not verify the footage.[170]

Foreign government assessments

According to public statements, intelligence agencies in Israel,[171] the United Kingdom,[172] the United States,[12] France,[173]Turkey,[174] and Germany[175] concluded that the Syrian government was most likely responsible for the attacks. Western intelligence agencies agreed that video evidence is consistent with the use of a nerve agent, such as sarin. Laboratory tests showed traces of sarin, in blood and hair samples collected from emergency workers who responded to the attacks.[176]

Russia said there was no evidence tying the Syrian government to the attack and that it was likely carried out by an opposition group.[177]

France

On 2 September, the French government published a nine-page intelligence report blaming the Syrian government for the Ghouta attacks.[3][78][178] An unnamed French government official said that the analysis was carried out by the Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE) and Direction du renseignement militaire (DRM) based on satellite and video images, on-the-ground sources, and samples collected from two April attacks.[179] The report said analysis of samples collected from attacks in Saraqeb and Jobar in April 2013 had confirmed the use of sarin.[78]

The Guardian reported that French intelligence had images that showed rocket attacks on opposition neighborhoods from government-controlled areas to the east and west of Damascus. The report said that the government later launched conventional bombing of those neighborhoods in order to destroy evidence of a chemical attack.[180] Based on analysis of 47 videos, the report said at least 281 fatalities occurred. Using other sources and extrapolation a chemical attack model estimated the total number of death at approximately 1,500.[3]

Germany

The Bundesnachrichtendienst said it intercepted a phone call between a Hezbollah official and the Iranian Embassy in which the Hezbollah representative criticised Assad’s decision to attack with poison gas, apparently confirming its use by the Syrian government.[159][160] German newspaper Der Spiegel reported on 3 September that BND President Gerhard Schindler told them that based on the agency’s evidence, Germany now shared the United Kingdom, United States, and France’s view that the attacks were carried out by the Syrian government. However, they also said the attack may have been much more potent than intended, speculating that there may have been an error in mixing the chemical weapons used.[181][182]

Israel

Without going into detail, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said on 22 August 2013 that Israel’s intelligence assessment was that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in the Damascus area.[171] Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the Syrian government had already used chemical weapons against the rebels on a smaller scale multiple times prior to the Ghouta attacks.[183]Fox News reported that Unit 8200 helped provide intelligence to the United States, Israel’s closest international ally, implicating the Syrian government in the attacks.[184] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the General debate of the sixty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly that Syrian government used the chemical weapons against its own people.[185]

Russia

Russian officials said that there was no proof that the government of Syria had a hand in the chemical attacks. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the American, British and French intelligence reports as “unconvincing”[186] and said at a joint news conference with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius after the release of the United Nations report in mid-September that he continued to believe the rebels carried out the attack.[177]Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wanted to see evidence that would make it “obvious” who used chemical weapons in Ghouta.[187]

In a commentary published in The New York Times on 11 September 2013, Putin wrote that “there is every reason to believe [poison gas] was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons,”.[39] Lavrov said on 18 September that “new evidence” given to Russia by the Syrian government would be forthcoming.[188]

Turkey

The Turkish government-run Anadolu Agency published an unconfirmed report on 30 August 2013, pointing to the Syrian 155th Missile Brigade and the 4th Armored Division as the perpetrators of the two attacks. It said the attack had involved 15 to 20 missiles with chemical warheads at around 02:45 on 21 August, targeting residential areas between Douma and Zamalka in Eastern Ghouta. It claimed that the 155th Missile Brigade had used 9K52 Luna-M missiles, M600 missiles, or both, fired from Kufeyte, while other rockets with a 15- to 70-kilometer range were fired by the 4th Armored Division from Mount Qasioun. The agency did not explain its source.[189]

United Kingdom

A report on the attacks by the United Kingdom’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) was published on 29 August 2013 prior to a vote on intervention by the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. The report said at least 350 people were killed and that it was “highly likely” that the attacks had been carried out by the Syrian government, resting in part on the firm view that the Syrian opposition was not capable of carrying out a chemical weapons attack on this scale, and on the JIC view that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war on a small scale on 14 previous occasions.[4] Analysis of the Ghouta attacks themselves was based largely on reviewing video footage and publicly available witness evidence. The report conceded problems with motivation for the attacks, saying there was “no obvious political or military trigger for regime use of CW on an apparently larger scale now.”[79][190][191][192] British officials said they believe the Syrian military used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition on at least 14 times prior to the Ghouta attacks and described “a clear pattern of regime use” of the nerve agent since 2012.[193]

The report was met with substantial scepticism in the British media, with the Daily Mail explicitly comparing it with the “dodgy dossier” the UK government had published in 2003 prior to the Iraq War.[194] A vote in the House of Commons to approve UK participation in military action against Syria was narrowly rejected, with some MPs arguing that the case for Syrian government culpability was not sufficiently strong to justify approving action.[195][196]Prime Minister David Cameron himself had been forced to concede that “in the end there is no 100 percent certainty about who is responsible.”[197][198]

United States

The map of “Areas of Influence” and “Areas Reportedly affected by the 21 August Chemical Attack” that was published by the White House on 30 August 2013.[12]

A controversial “US government assessment of the Ghouta attacks” was published by the White House on 30 August 2013, with a longer classified version made available to members of Congress. The report blamed the chemical attacks on the Syrian government, saying rockets containing a nerve agent were fired from government-held territory into neighborhoods in the early morning, impacting at least 12 locations. It stated 1,429 people were killed, including at least 426 children. It dismissed the possibility that evidence supporting the US government’s conclusion could have been manufactured by the opposition, stating it “does not have the capability” to fabricate videos, eyewitness accounts, and other information. The report also said that the US believed Syrian officials directed the attacks, based on “intercepted communications.”[12] A major element, as reported by news media, was an intercepted telephone call between a Syrian Ministry of Defense official and a Syrian 155th Brigade chemical weapons unit commander in which the former demanded answers for the attacks.[199] According to some reports, this phone intercept was provided to the U.S. by Israeli Intelligence CorpsUnit 8200.[158]

The U.S. government assessment suggested a motive for the attack, describing it as “a desperate effort to push back rebels from several areas in the capital’s densely packed eastern suburbs.” The report then states that evidence suggests “the high civilian death toll surprised and panicked senior Syrian officials, who called off the attack and then tried to cover it up.”[200] Secretary of State John Kerry later announced that hair, blood, soil, and cloth samples collected from the attack sites had tested positive for sarin or its immediate breakdown products.[201][202]

At least three members of Congress, including at least one member of President Barack Obama‘s Democratic Party, expressed skepticism about the US intelligence report, calling the evidence circumstantial and thin.[203][204][205][206] Obama’s request that Congress authorize military force was not put to a vote of either the House of Representatives or the Senate, and the president ultimately admitted that “I wouldn’t say I’m confident” that he could convince Congress to support strikes against Syria.[207]

Democratic Party Representative Alan Grayson offered some details regarding the classified report, which he described as 12 pages long, and criticized both the four-page public summary and the classified report. Grayson said the unclassified summary relied on “intercepted telephone calls, ‘social media’ postings and the like, but not one of these is actually quoted or attached … (As to whether the classified summary is the same, I couldn’t possibly comment, but again, draw your own conclusion.)” Grayson cited as a problematic example the intercepted phone call between a Syrian Ministry of Defense official and the Syrian 155th Brigade, the transcript of which was not provided in the classified report, leaving Grayson unable to judge the accuracy of a report in The Daily Caller that the call’s implications had been misrepresented in the report.[205][206]

The AP quoted anonymous US intelligence officials as saying that the evidence presented in the report linking Assad to the attack was “not a slam dunk.”[161]Jeffrey Goldberg also reported that James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, personally told President Obama that the case for the Syrian government’s responsibility was strong but not a “slam dunk.”[208] The AP later characterized the evidence released by the administration as circumstantial and said the government had denied its requests for more direct evidence, including satellite imagery and communications intercepts cited in the government assessment.[209]

IPS news analyst Gareth Porter questioned why the report was released by the White House as a “government assessment” as opposed being released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as an “intelligence community assessment.” Porter quoted former intelligence officials who said the report was “evidently an administration document” and who also suggested evidence was “cherry-picked” to support the conclusion that the Syrian government carried out the attacks.[210]

On 8 September 2013, the then White House Chief-of-Staff, Denis McDonough said the administration lacks the “irrefutable, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence”, but that a “common-sense test” implicates Assad.[211] The U.S. publicly stated there was no “reliable” evidence that the opposition had access to chemical weapons, although Seymour Hersh reported that U.S. intelligence agencies privately assessed some rebel factions to be capable of sarin production.[150]

Legal status

Attack

At the time of the attack, Syria was not a member of the Chemical Weapons Convention. However, Human Rights Watch argues that the Ghouta chemical attack was illegal under a different international agreement:

Syria is a party to the 1925 Geneva Gas protocol, which bans the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices. The use of chemical weapons is also prohibited as a matter of customary international humanitarian law, or the laws of war. The prohibition on the use of chemical weapons applies to all armed conflicts, including so-called non-international armed conflicts such as the current fighting in Syria. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, in the Tadic case, stated “there undisputedly emerged a general consensus in the international community on the principle that the use of [chemical] weapons is also prohibited in internal armed conflicts.”[1](p21)

International Criminal Court referral

Human Rights Watch stated that the UN Security Council should refer the Syria situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) “to ensure accountability for all war crimes and crimes against humanity.”[136]Amnesty International also said that the Syria situation should be referred to the ICC because “the best way for the United States to signal its abhorrence for war crimes and crimes against humanity and to promote justice in Syria, would be to reaffirm its support for the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court.”[212] However, as the amendment to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court explicitly making it a war crime to use chemical weapons in an internal conflict has not been ratified by any major state nor Syria, the legal situation is complex and reliant on the attack being a part of a wider war crime.[213]

Reactions

Domestic

Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi was quoted by the official state news agency, Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), as saying that the government did not and would not use such weapons, if in fact they even existed. Al-Zoubi said, “everything that has been said is absurd, primitive, illogical and fabricated. What we say is what we mean: there is no use of such things (chemical weapons) at all, at least not by the Syrian army or the Syrian state, and it’s easy to prove and it is not that complicated.”[214] SANA called the reports of chemical attacks as “untrue and designed to derail the ongoing UN inquiry.” A Syrian military official appeared on state television denouncing the reports as “a desperate opposition attempt to make up for rebel defeats on the ground.”[71] Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad declared it a tactic by the rebels to turn around the civil war which he said “they were losing” and that, though the government had admitted to having stocks of chemical weapons, stated they would never be used “inside Syria”.[215]Democratic Union Party leader Salih Muslim said he doubted that the Syrian government carried out the chemical attack.[216]

The National Coalition called the attack a “coup de grace that kills all hopes for a political solution in Syria.”[217] In a statement on Facebook, the Coventry-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-government activist network, blamed the attack on the Syrian military and said of the incident that “we assure the world that silence and inaction in the face of such gross and large-scale war crimes, committed in this instance by the Syrian regime, will only embolden the criminals to continue in this path. The international community is thus complicit in these crimes because of its [polarisation], silence and inability to work on a settlement that would lead to the end of the daily bloodshed in Syria.”[218]

International

The international community condemned the attacks. United States President Barack Obama said the US military should strike targets in Syria to retaliate for the government’s purported use of chemical weapons, a proposal publicly supported by French President François Hollande, but condemned by Russia and Iran.[219][220] The Arab League stated it would support military action against Syria in the event of UN support, though member states Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, and Tunisia opposed it.[221]

At the end of August, the House of Commons of the United Kingdom voted against military intervention in Syria.[222] In early September, the United States Congress began debating a proposed authorisation to use military force, although votes on the resolution were indefinitely postponed amid opposition from many legislators[223] and tentative agreement between Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin on an alternative proposal, under which Syria would declare and surrender its chemical weapons to be destroyed under international supervision.[224]

In contrast to the positions of their governments, polls in early September indicated that most people in the US, UK, Germany and France opposed military intervention in Syria.[225][226][227][228][229] One poll indicated that 50% of Americans could support military intervention with cruise missiles only, “meant to destroy military units and infrastructure that have been used to carry out chemical attacks.”[230] In a survey of American military personnel, around 75% said they opposed air strikes on Syria, with 80% saying an attack would not be “in the U.S. national interest”.[231] Meanwhile, a Russian poll suggested that most Russians supported neither side in the conflict, with less than 10% saying they supported Assad.[232]

Allegations of false flag attack

The attacks prompted some U.S. intelligence officials to speculate they were meant to draw the West into the war,[161] a concept dismissed by others.[233][234] In December 2013 Seymour Hersh wrote that in the days before and after the attack, sensors notifying U.S. intelligence agencies of Syrian chemical weapons deployment did not activate, and intelligence briefings shown to the U.S. president contained no information about an impending government chemical weapons attack.[150] Publicly, the U.S. government cited classified intercepts of communications it said were between Syrian officials, unavailable to the public, which they state prove Syrian government forces carried out the chemical attack.[12] Criticizing what they called a misleading presentation of intelligence, a former senior U.S. intelligence official quoted by Seymour Hersh said the transcript actually included intercepts from many months prior to the attack, collated to make them appear related to the Ghouta attacks.[150]

In April 2014 Hersh wrote an article proposing the attacks were committed by Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front, whom Hersh writes were supplied with sarin by Turkey.[235][236] Hersh’s argument received some support,[237][238]but was dismissed by other commentators.[239][240] The US and Turkish governments denied the accuracy of Hersh’s article.[241] On October 20, 2015, Republican People’s Party deputy Eren Erdem stated that documents from a Turkish government investigation showed that ISIL and affiliated groups received help from Turkish intelligence to carry out the Ghouta chemical attack.[242][243]

See also

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

The victims of a bombing in northern Syria this week were exposed to sarin, a banned but easily manufactured poison that has been widely used in chemical weapons, Turkish officials who conducted autopsies on the victims said on Thursday.

What is sarin?

Sarin is a nerve agent, one of a class of chemical weapons that affect the brain’s ability to communicate with the body’s organs through the nervous system. It is a colorless, tasteless, odorless liquid that was first synthesized in Germany in 1938 as a potential pesticide.

Sarin is considered “the most volatile of the nerve agents,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “This means it can easily and quickly evaporate from a liquid into a vapor and spread into the environment.”

Sarin vapor does not last long, but it can be deadly if inhaled. Contact with sarin liquid on exposed surfaces, in food, or in water can also be fatal. Its effects may strike quickly or be delayed after exposure.

How does it work?

All nerve agents belong to a class of organic compounds that contain phosphorous, and work in essentially the same way, by inhibiting the action of a crucial enzyme in the body that allows muscles and organs to contract. Without the enzyme’s action, the muscles and organs are constantly stimulated and stop working properly; asphyxiation soon follows.

How is it weaponized?

Sarin is dangerous to handle and has a short shelf life, so it is usually stored in the form of two separate precursor compounds that will produce sarin when mixed together.

On the battlefield, sarin and other nerve agents can be used against targets by spraying them as a liquid or an aerosol. Chemical bombs are designed to spray out the liquid on detonation. The Syrian government is believed to have used such a bomb this week in Idlib Province.

The United Nations Chemical Convention, which bans the use of sarin in war, went into effect in 1997. The Syrian government agreed in 2013 to destroy its chemical weapons stockpile, including sarin.

How toxic is it?

According to the United States military, sarin is 81 times as toxic as cyanide and 543 times as toxic as chlorine, which has been used in Syria as a chemical weapon. Chlorine has legitimate commercial uses and is not banned.

What are the symptoms of exposure?

Symptoms of exposure may include the pupils of the eyes shrinking to pinpoints, rapid breathing, vomiting, convulsions, paralysis and respiratory failure. Swift medical attention can reverse the effects of low levels of exposure.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/06/world/middleeast/sarin-nerve-agent.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-1&action=click&contentCollection=Middle%20East&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article

Sarin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Sarin (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Serine, Sarrin, or Saran (disambiguation).
Sarin[1]
Sarin-2D-by-AHRLS-2011.png
Sarin-3D-balls-by-AHRLS-2012.png
Names
Preferred IUPAC name

(RS)-Propan-2-yl methylphosphonofluoridate
Other names

(RS)-O-Isopropyl methylphosphonofluoridate; IMPF;
GB;[2]
2-(Fluoro-methylphosphoryl)oxypropane;
Phosphonofluoridic acid, P-methyl-, 1-methylethyl ester
Identifiers
3D model (Jmol)
ChEBI
ChemSpider
UNII
Properties
C4H10FO2P
Molar mass 140.09 g·mol−1
Appearance Clear colorless liquid
Odor Odorless in pure form. Impure sarin can smell like mustard or burned rubber.
Density 1.0887 g/cm3 (25 °C)
1.102 g/cm3 (20 °C)
Melting point −56 °C (−69 °F; 217 K)
Boiling point 158 °C (316 °F; 431 K)
Miscible
log P 0.30
Hazards
Main hazards It is a lethal cholinergic agent.
Safety data sheet Lethal Nerve Agent Sarin (GB)
Extremely Toxic (T+)[3]
NFPA 704
Flammability code 1: Must be pre-heated before ignition can occur. Flash point over 93 °C (200 °F). E.g., canola oil Health code 4: Very short exposure could cause death or major residual injury. E.g., VX gas Reactivity code 0: Normally stable, even under fire exposure conditions, and is not reactive with water. E.g., liquid nitrogen Special hazards (white): no code

NFPA 704 four-colored diamond

Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):
550 ug/kg (rat, oral) [4]
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
 verify (what is Yes ?)
Infobox references

Sarin, or GB (G-series, ‘B’), is a colorless, odorless liquid,[5] used as a chemical weapon due to its extreme potency as a nerve agent. It is generally considered a weapon of mass destruction. Production and stockpiling of sarin was outlawed as of April 1997 by the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, and it is classified as a Schedule 1 substance. In June 1994, the UN Special Commission on Iraqi disarmament destroyed the nerve agent sarin under Security Council resolution 687 (1991) concerning the disposal of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.[6]

Sarin is an organophosphorus compound with the formula [(CH3)2CHO]CH3P(O)F. It can be lethal even at very low concentrations, where death can occur within one[7][8] to ten minutes after direct inhalation of a lethal dose, due to suffocation from lung muscle paralysis, unless some antidotes, typically atropine and an oxime, such as pralidoxime, are quickly administered.[5] People who absorb a non-lethal dose, but do not receive immediate medical treatment, may suffer permanent neurological damage.

Production and structure

Sarin is a chiral molecule because it has four chemically distinct substituents attached to the tetrahedral phosphorus center.[9] The SP form (the (–) optical isomer) is the more active enantiomer due to its greater binding affinity to acetylcholinesterase.[10][11] The P-F bond is easily broken by nucleophilic agents, such as water and hydroxide. At high pH, sarin decomposes rapidly to nontoxic phosphonic acid derivatives.

It is usually manufactured and weaponized as a racemic mixture—an equal mixture of both enantiomeric forms, as this is a simpler process and provides an adequate weapon.

A number of production pathways can be used to create sarin. The final reaction typically involves attachment of the isopropoxy group to the phosphorus with an alcoholysis with isopropyl alcohol. Two variants of this process are common. One is the reaction of methylphosphonyl difluoride with isopropyl alcohol, which produces hydrofluoric acid as a byproduct:

Sarin synth with racemic stereochemistry.png

The second process, uses equal quantities of methylphosphonyl difluoride and methylphosphonic dichloride, a mixture “Di-Di” in this process, rather than just the difluoride. This reaction also gives sarin, but hydrochloric acid as a byproduct instead. The Di-Di process was used by the United States for the production of its unitary sarin stockpile.[12]

The scheme below describes an example of Di-Di process. The selection of reagents is arbitrary and reaction conditions and product yield depend on the selected reagents. Inert atmosphere and anhydrous conditions are used for synthesis of sarin and other organophosphates.

An example of

As both reactions leave considerable acid in the product, bulk sarin produced without further treatment has a very poor shelf life and would be rather destructive to containers or weapon systems. Various methods have been tried to resolve these problems. In addition to industrial refining techniques to purify the chemical itself, various additives have been tried to combat the effects of the acid, such as:

Another byproduct of these two chemical processes is diisopropyl methylphosphonate, formed when a second isopropyl alcohol reacts with the sarin itself. This chemical degrades into isopropyl methylphosphonic acid.[19]

Biological effects

Sarin (red), acetylcholinesterase (yellow), acetylcholine (blue)

Like all other nerve agents, sarin attacks the nervous system by interfering with the degradation of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine at neuromuscular junctions. Death will usually occur as a result of asphyxia due to the inability to control the muscles involved in breathing function.

Specifically, sarin is a potent inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase,[20] an enzyme that degrades the neurotransmitter acetylcholine after it is released into the synaptic cleft. In vertebrates, acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter used at the neuromuscular junction, where signals are transmitted between neurons from the central nervous systems to muscle fibres. Normally, acetylcholine is released from the neuron to stimulate the muscle, after which it is degraded by acetylcholinesterase, allowing the muscle to relax. A build-up of acetylcholine in the synaptic cleft, due to the inhibition of cholinesterase, means the neurotransmitter continues to act on the muscle fibre, so that any nerve impulses are effectively continually transmitted.

Sarin acts on cholinesterase by forming a covalent bond with the particular serine residue at the active site. Fluoride is the leaving group, and the resulting phosphoester is robust and biologically inactive.[21][22]

Its mechanism of action resembles that of some commonly used insecticides, such as malathion. In terms of biological activity, it resembles carbamate insecticides, such as Sevin, and the medicines pyridostigmine, neostigmine, and physostigmine.

Degradation and shelf life

Rabbit used to check for leaks at former sarin production plant (Rocky Mountain Arsenal), 1970

The most important chemical reactions of phosphoryl halides is the hydrolysis of the bond between phosphorus and the fluoride. This P-F bond is easily broken by nucleophilic agents, such as water and hydroxide. At high pH, sarin decomposes rapidly to nontoxic phosphonic acid derivatives.[23][24] The initial breakdown of sarin is into isopropyl methylphosphonic acid (IMPA), a chemical that is not commonly found in nature except as a breakdown product of sarin (this is useful for detecting the recent deployment of sarin as a weapon). IMPA then degrades into methylphosphonic acid (MPA), which can also be produced by other organophosphates.[25]

Sarin without the residual acid removed degrades after a period of several weeks to several months. The shelf life can be shortened by impurities in precursor materials. According to the CIA, some Iraqi sarin had a shelf life of only a few weeks, owing mostly to impure precursors.[26]

Along with nerve agents such as tabun and VX, sarin can have a maximum shelf-life of five years.[27] Sarin’s otherwise-short shelf life can be extended by increasing the purity of the precursor and intermediates and incorporating stabilizers such as tributylamine. In some formulations, tributylamine is replaced by diisopropylcarbodiimide (DIC), allowing sarin to be stored in aluminium casings. In binary chemical weapons, the two precursors are stored separately in the same shell and mixed to form the agent immediately before or when the shell is in flight. This approach has the dual benefit of solving the stability issue and increasing the safety of sarin munitions.

Effects and treatment]

Sarin has a high volatility (ease with which a liquid can turn into a gas) relative to similar nerve agents, therefore inhalation can be very dangerous and even vapor concentrations may immediately penetrate the skin. A person’s clothing can release sarin for about 30 minutes after it has come in contact with sarin gas, which can lead to exposure of other people.[28]

Even at very low concentrations, sarin can be fatal. Death may follow in 1 to 10 minutes after direct inhalation of a lethal dose unless antidotes, typically atropine and pralidoxime, are quickly administered.[5] Atropine, an antagonist to muscarinic acetylcholine receptors, is given to treat the physiological symptoms of poisoning. Since muscular response to acetylcholine is mediated through nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, atropine does not counteract the muscular symptoms. Pralidoxime can regenerate cholinesterases if administered within approximately five hours. Biperiden, a synthetic acetylcholine antagonist, has been suggested as an alternative to atropine due to its better blood–brain barrier penetration and higher efficacy.[29]

As a nerve gas, sarin in its purest form is estimated to be 26 times more deadly than cyanide.[30] The LD50 of subcutaneously injected sarin in mice is 172 μg/kg.[31] Treatment measures have been described.[32]

Initial symptoms following exposure to sarin are a runny nose, tightness in the chest and constriction of the pupils. Soon after, the victim has difficulty breathing and experiences nausea and drooling. As the victim continues to lose control of bodily functions, the victim vomits, defecates and urinates. This phase is followed by twitching and jerking. Ultimately, the victim becomes comatose and suffocates in a series of convulsive spasms. Moreover, common mnemonics for the symptomatology of organophosphate poisoning, including sarin gas, are the “killer B’s” of bronchorrhea and bronchospasm because they are the leading cause of death,[33] and SLUDGE – Salivation, Lacrimation, Urination, Defecation, Gastrointestinal distress, and Emesis.

Diagnostic tests

Controlled studies in healthy men have shown that a nontoxic 0.43 mg oral dose administered in several portions over a 3-day interval caused average maximum depressions of 22 and 30%, respectively, in plasma and erythrocyte cholinesterase levels. A single acute 0.5 mg dose caused mild symptoms of intoxication and an average reduction of 38% in both measures of cholinesterase activity. Sarin in blood is rapidly degraded either in vivo or in vitro. Its primary inactive metabolites have in vivo serum half-lives of approximately 24 hours. The serum level of unbound isopropylmethylphosphonic acid (IMPA), a sarin hydrolysis product, ranged from 2-135 µg/L in survivors of a terrorist attack during the first 4 hours post-exposure. Sarin or its metabolites may be determined in blood or urine by gas or liquid chromatography, while cholinesterase activity is usually measured by enzymatic methods.[34]

A newer method called “Fluoride Regeneration” or “Fluoride Reactivation” detects the presence of nerve agents for a longer period after exposure than the methods described above. Fluoride reactivation is a technique has been explored since at least the early 2000s. This technique obviates some of the deficiencies of older procedures. Sarin not only reacts with the water in the blood plasma through hydrolysis (forming so-called ‘free metabolites’), but also reacts with various proteins to form ‘protein adducts’. These protein adducts are not so easily removed from the body, and remain for a longer period of time than the free metabolites. One clear advantage of this process is that the period, post-exposure, for determination of Sarin exposure is much longer, possibly 5 to 8 weeks according to at least one study.[35][36]

Toxicity

Sarin is highly toxic, whether by respiratory or dermal exposure. The toxicity of sarin in humans is largely based on calculations from studies with animals. The general consensus is that the lethal concentration of sarin in air is approximately 35 mg per cubic meter per minute for a two-minute exposure time by a healthy adult breathing normally (exchanging 15 liters of air per minute). This number represents the estimated lethal concentration for 50% of exposed victims, the LCt50 value. There are many ways to make relative comparisons between toxic substances. The list below compares some current and historic chemical warfare agents with sarin, with a direct comparison to the respiratory Lct50:

History

Sarin was discovered in 1938 in Wuppertal-Elberfeld in Germany by scientists at IG Farben who were attempting to create stronger pesticides; it is the most toxic of the four G-Series nerve agents made by Germany. The compound, which followed the discovery of the nerve agent tabun, was named in honor of its discoverers: Schrader, Ambros, Gerhard Ritter, and von der Linde.[39]

Use as a weapon

In mid-1939, the formula for the agent was passed to the chemical warfare section of the German Army Weapons Office, which ordered that it be brought into mass production for wartime use. Pilot plants were built, and a high-production facility was under construction (but was not finished) by the end of World War II. Estimates for total sarin production by Nazi Germany range from 500 kg to 10 tons.[40] Though sarin, tabun and soman were incorporated into artillery shells, Germany did not use nerve agents against Allied targets.

U.S. Honest John missile warhead cutaway, showing M134 sarin bomblets (c. 1960)

  • 1950s (early): NATO adopted sarin as a standard chemical weapon, and both the USSR and the United States produced sarin for military purposes.
  • 1953: 20-year-old Ronald Maddison, a Royal Air Force engineer from Consett, County Durham, died in human testing of sarin at the Porton Down chemical warfare testing facility in Wiltshire, England. Ten days after his death an inquest was held in secret which returned a verdict of “misadventure”. In 2004, the inquest was reopened and, after a 64-day inquest hearing, the jury ruled that Maddison had been unlawfully killed by the “application of a nerve agent in a non-therapeutic experiment”.[41]
  • 1957: Regular production of sarin chemical weapons ceased in the United States, though existing stocks of bulk sarin were re-distilled until 1970.[42]
  • 1976: Chile’s intelligence service, DINA, assigns biochemist Eugenio Berríos to develop sarin gas within its program Proyecto Andrea, to be used as a weapon against its opponents.[43]One of DINA’s goals was to package it in spray cans for easy use, which, according to testimony by former DINA agent Michael Townley, was one of the planned procedures in the 1976 assassination of Letelier.[43] Berríos later testified that it was used in a number of assassinations.[44][45]
  • March 1988: Over two days in March, the ethnic Kurd city of Halabja in northern Iraq (population 70,000) was bombarded with chemical bombs, which included sarin, in the Halabja poison gas attack. An estimated 5,000 people died.[46]
  • April 1988: Sarin was used four times against Iranian soldiers at the end of the Iran–Iraq War, helping Iraqi forces to retake control of the al-Faw Peninsula during the Second Battle of al-Faw.
  • 1993: The United Nations Chemical Weapons Convention was signed by 162 member countries, banning the production and stockpiling of many chemical weapons, including sarin. It went into effect on April 29, 1997, and called for the complete destruction of all specified stockpiles of chemical weapons by April 2007.[47] When the convention entered force, the parties declared worldwide stockpiles of 15,047 tonnes of sarin. As of December 2015, 89% of the stockpiles had been destroyed.[48]
  • 1994: Matsumoto incident; the Japanese religious sect Aum Shinrikyo released an impure form of sarin in Matsumoto, Nagano, killing eight people and harming over 200. The Australian sheep station Banjawarn was a testing ground.
  • 1995: Tokyo subway sarin attack; the Aum Shinrikyo sect released an impure form of sarin in the Tokyo Metro. Twelve people died.[49]
  • 2004: Iraqi insurgents detonated a 155 mm shell containing binary precursors for sarin near a U.S. convoy in Iraq. The shell was designed to mix the chemicals as it spun during flight. The detonated shell released only a small amount of sarin gas, either because the explosion failed to mix the binary agents properly or because the chemicals inside the shell had degraded with age. Two United States soldiers were treated after displaying the early symptoms of exposure to sarin.[50]
  • 2013: Ghouta chemical attack; sarin was used in an attack in the Ghouta region of the Rif Dimashq Governorate of Syria during the Syrian civil war.[51] Varying[52] sources gave a death toll of 322[53] to 1,729.[54]
  • 2017: Khan Shaykhun chemical attack; sarin gas was allegedly used on the rebel-held Idlib Province in Syria. Civilian death toll of ~100 reported, over 300 more injured.[55][56]

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 723, July 22, 2016, Breaking News — Story 1: Mentally Depressed/Deranged Teenager Attack in Munich Germany — 9 Killed, Shooter Commits Suicide — 27 Injured – — Germany Borders Shut-Down — Videos — Story 2: Part 1 of 2, Jump On Trump Train/Plane — Videos

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Story 1: Mentally Depressed/Deranged Teenager Attack in Munich Germany — 9 Killed, Shooter Commits Suicide — 27 Injured – — Germany Borders Shut-Down — Videos 

HT_csm_Olympia_Einkaufszentrum_Muenchen_Aussenansich_hb_160722_4x3_992GTY_Munich_mall_shootingGermanyMunichShootingmunich police 2GTY_Munich_shooting_mall_peoplehgermany munich police GTY_Munich_shooting_mall munich (1)

MUNICH, GERMANY - JULY 22: Police officers respond to a shooting at the Olympia Einkaufzentrum (OEZ) at July 22, 2016 in Munich, Germany. According to reports, several people have been killed and an unknown number injured in a shooting at a shopping centre in the north-western Moosach district in Munich. Police are hunting the attacker or attackers who are thought to be still at large. (Photo by Joerg Koch/Getty Images)

MUNICH, GERMANY – JULY 22: Police officers respond to a shooting at the Olympia Einkaufzentrum (OEZ) at July 22, 2016 in Munich, Germany. According to reports, several people have been killed and an unknown number injured in a shooting at a shopping centre in the north-western Moosach district in Munich. Police are hunting the attacker or attackers who are thought to be still at large. (Photo by Joerg Koch/Getty Images)

MUNICH-SATURN police insidepolice enter garagepolice munichMunich-shopping-mall-shooting-msnbc-w-border- transit stopped

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M-U-N-I-C-H, S-H-O-O-T-I-N-G L-I-V-E -U-P-D-A-T-E-S

Munich shooting: shopping centre attack treated as terrorism by police as hunt for three gunmen continues and six confirmed dead

Watch live: Munich shooting latestPlay!Live

  • 00:24POLICE ARRIVE AT THE SCENE OF SHOOTING IN MUNICH
  • 00:32PEOPLE RUN FROM SCENE OF SHOOTING IN MUNICH
  • 00:25FOOTAGE APPEARS TO SHOW SHOOTER OPEN FIRE ON PEOPLE OUTSIDE SHOPPING MALL IN MUNICH

 

  • Gunman in Munich opens fire at a McDonalds by the Olympia shopping centre
  • Police describe shooting as terrorism
  • Police hunt three gunmen, believed to still be in Munich
  • Six confirmed dead
  • Unconfirmed reports that there could be shootings in city centre
  • Islamic State supporters celebrate on social media

Munich police are hunting for three gunmen who they believe have carried out attacks at three locations in the city.

On Twitter, the local forces said shootings had taken place at Hanauer Straße, then the Riesstraße, and also at the Olympia shopping center.

Yet the local state broadcaster said there was only one location – the shopping centre.

Police described the attacks as terrorism, and said the three gunmen are believed to still be in the city.

Lynn Stein, who works inside the Olympia centre, told CNN a woman told her “masked gunmen dressed in black” had been seen running through the centre.

Germany’s Muencher Abendzeitung reported that the death toll was higher, with up to 15 people killed in the incident at the Olympia Einkaufszentrum shopping centre.

Police told another paper, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, that there were multiple deaths.

“There is a major police operation under way in the shopping centre,” Munich police said on Twitter, without elaborating.

An employee inside the shopping centre told the Reuters news agency “many shots were fired”.

Video shows people fleeing from the scene, which has now been cordoned off, according to reports.

 

Footage appears to show shooter open fire on people outside shopping mall in MunichPlay!00:25

Germany has been on high alert after a teenage asylum seeker attacked people with an axe on a train on Monday, injuring five.

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On

8:35pm

Has one of the gunmen killed himself?

BREAKING:  A report by German magazine Focus, citing police sources, claims a gunman shot himself in the head. The report has not been verified.

8:33pm

Panic around the McDonalds

Our correspondent Zia Weise, who is from Munich, has been listening to Bavarian Radio, where a woman has given an eyewitness account.

We were in McDonald’s and wanted to eat something. We were queueing.

Then panic erupted.

The staff ran out and all the people followed behind them. Children were crying. Everybody running out in panic.

We heard three shots. Bang, bang… bang.

I didn’t see him. As far as I know this was upstairs at the Douglas [drug store, like Boots], we were downstairs.

8:23pm

Munich police giving press conference now

– Attack is terrorism

– At least five dead; unclear if children involved

– We believe three perpetrators, we think they are still at large

– They used a long weapon, longer than a pistol, something like a rifle

– We assume the gunmen are still in Munich

– All the clinics in Munich are on alert

8:22pm

Police swarm over the city

Muich

Police in Munich CREDIT: AP

 

8:20pm

Obama speaking now

We don’t yet know what is happening there.

Obviously our heart goes out to those caught up with it.

It’s a good reminder of something I’ve said over the last few weeks.

Our way of life, our freedoms, our ability to go about our daily lives, to raise our kids, to see them grow up and leave – I’m sorry, I’m getting too personal.

That all depends on law enforcement.

Obviously we have gone through a really tough time in the last few weeks, on a whole lot of fronts.

In recent weeks I’ve had the job of speaking to the widows of those police killed in Baton Rouge.

He is still speaking now, but has moved on to domestic issues.

8:03pm

Obama has been briefed on Munich

President Obama is at the White House, hosting his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto.

He has described Germany as “a great ally” and says he is monitoring the situation.

8:01pm

Islamic State supporters celebrate on social media

(Reuters) – Supporters of the Islamic State jihadi group celebrated on social media a shooting rampage in a shopping mall in the southern German city of Munich on Friday that killed and wounded many people.

“Thank God, may God bring prosperity to our Islamic State men,” read one tweet in Arabic on an account that regularly favours the radical Islamist movement.

“The Islamic State is expanding in Europe,” read an Arabic-language tweet on another account also known to support the group.

The attack was the third major act of violence against civilian targets in Western Europe in eight days. Previous attacks in France and Germany were claimed by Islamic State and Munich police said they suspected the latest assault was a terrorist attack.

7:47pm

Police request – in three languages – that people avoid centre

Munich police are now tweeting in German, English and French.

7:35pm

Munich’s main train station evacuated

The city of Munich is in chaos.

  • Main train station evacuated
  • Helicopters overhead
  • Subway and bus stations shut
  • Olympia shopping centre attacked
  • Some reports suggest city centre attack, too

7:33pm

Image of the gunman at McDonalds

Munich McDonalds has been attacked
This image appears to show the gunman, on the right of the screen, just before he opens fire CREDIT: TWITTER

 

7:28pm

One site or multiple?

In news that contradicts the Munich police:

BAVARIAN BROADCASTER BR SAYS SIX PEOPLE DEAD AND MANY INJURED IN MUNICH SHOOTING IN SHOPPING CENTRE, NO ADDITIONAL SITES

7:26pm

Calls for doctors and nurses to report to hospital

Our Germany correspondent, Justin Huggler, has the following:

General call put out for any doctors and nurses available to report to the hospital where injured have been taken.

Bavarian state government holding crisis meeting

7:21pm

“Masked gunmen in black”

Lynn Stein, who worked in a shop inside the centre, tells CNN that a woman told her she’d seen masked gunmen, in black, running through the shopping centre.

7:19pm

Unconfirmed footage appears to show shooter open fire in Munich

Footage appears to show shooter open fire on people outside shopping mall in MunichPlay!00:25

 

7:18pm

Lynn Stein was inside the shopping centre at the time

Lynn Stein, who works in a shop inside the centre, told CNN:

I was in a neighbouring store when shots were fired.

People started running. More shots were fired.

People were screaming.

Then I heard several shots at the parking house next to the mall. I went back inside the wall, to check on my co-workers.

When I went there there was a couple of people coming in towards me, and I told them to leave as I continued towards my store.

A man told me he saw a gunman.

I ran outside, and police told me to leave. Which I did.

This was about 15 minutes after it happened, and I was evacuated.

7:15pm

British witness Victor Wood, who lives in Munich, speaks to BBC

I was leaving the shopping centre from the side entrance and as we were about to go into the U-bahn, we heard shooting.

We couldn’t see where it was coming from – there was a building in between us.

When I got out of the U-bahn a couple of minutes later we saw all the police cars and realised what had happened.

The shopping centre is like a L-shape. It was quite busy – there were a lot of people in there.

We didn’t hear screaming but we were leaving from the side exit so it was hard to see what was going on. But local media reports someone coming out of the McDonalds and shooting a hand gun.

It took about four or five minutes for police to arrive I would say. We managed to get on one of the last trains before they closed the transport system.

Before I came out to Germany, I had been in the air force, so I am used to the sound of gunshots, and it was definitely shooting – you don’t hear that kind of sound in the city.

No one expects something like this to happen in their front garden.

I think Munich is well equipped to handle it though. Police presence is fairly low key, police officers have weapons but you don’t see people walking around with machine guns, for example.”

7:12pm

Three gunmen being hunted

Munich police are searching for three gunmen, they said on Twitter.

7:06pm

Second location under attack?

Munich police believe that a second site, in the centre of town, may have been attacked.

All very unclear at the moment.

7:04pm

Munich residents open their homes to terrified locals

More from Zia Weise:

Munich residents are using the hashtag #offenetür (“open door”) to offer shelter. 

There are reports (unconfirmed) on Twitter that taxi drivers are getting messages from police to avoid the city centre and not to pick up any passengers. 

7:03pm

German police trying to get the situation under control

Munich is on lockdown
German police rush to the scene CREDIT: EPA

 

7:00pm

Situation chaotic in Munich

Our correspondent Zia Weise, who was born in Munich, has translated the German police twitter feed for us.

It gives a sense of how confused the situation remains.

We do not know where the shooter is. Take care and avoid going outside.” – 10 mins ago

We are aware of shooting rumours in city centre. Situation is unclear. Please stay inside.” – 17 mins ago (But reporters there say nothing’s happening)

Please do not put images or videos of police operations online. Do not support the perpetrators!” – 20 mins ago

Avoid public places in Munich. The situation is unclear.” – 40 mins ago

6:57pm

Munich police do not know where the gunmen are

Police have just said that they do not know where the perpetrators – plural – are.

6:56pm

Police request that no photos or videos be posted online

Interior ministry confirms three dead

Bild, the German tabloid, quotes the German interior ministry as saying three people have been killed.

6:43pm

Images from the scene

A gunman has been seen inside a German shopping centre
Police outside the shopping centre in Munich CREDIT: TWITTER
German shopping centre has been attacked
Police in Munich CREDIT: AP

 

6:37pm

Munich residents told to stay indoors

Our correspondent, Zia Weise, reports:

Süddeutsche Zeitung is reporting an unspecified number of deaths. Police has confirmed injuries, but no deaths. 

Police have told people to remain inside as the situation is still not resolved. Rumours of a second attacker in the city centre are untrue, reporters in Munich say. 

The shopping centre (Olympia Einkaufszentrum) is a complex built in the 70s, close to the Olympic sports complex in Western Munich.

6:32pm

“A shooting rampage”

From Reuters:

MUNICH POLICE SPOKESWOMAN SAYS “WE BELIEVE WE ARE DEALING WITH A SHOOTING RAMPAGE”

6:25pm

‘More than one gunman involved’

Police in Munich apparently believe that more than one gunman is involved in the shopping center attack.

6:21pm

Transport services halted

Transport authorities have halted services on multiple train, tram and bus lines.

6:18pm

Pictures emerge of the scene

Pictures have emerged of the massive police operation outside the shopping centre.

Munich attack
CREDIT: AP
The scene outside the shopping centre in Munich
Police outside the shopping centre in Munich CREDIT: TWITTER

 

6:14pm

Witness: “many shots”

Employees are still hiding out in the shopping centre, with one telling Reuters by phone that “many shots were fired” during the shooting.

6:13pm

“Multiple deaths”: police

Police told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that there were multiple deaths in the shooting at the Olympia Einkaufszentrum shopping centre.

6:06pm

Shooting over: police spokesperson

Police spokeswoman Claudia Kvenzel has told CNN that the shooting is now over.

5:59pm

Reports of deaths

There have been reports of at least one death, though details are hazy.

A police source has told the AFP news agency that one person has died and ten people have been injured in the attack, while local media is saying as many as 15 people may have died.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/22/shots-fired-at-munich-shopping-centre/

Second shooting in Munich as gunman opens fire at Marienplatz Metro station

A SECOND shooting has unfolded in a U-Bahn/Metro station in Munich, Germany just minutes after a gunman opened fire at a shopping centre in the Bavarian city.

Munich police live footage of the aftermath of the second shootingTWITTER/GETTY

MUNICH: Second shooting in German city

**WATCH LIVE FOOTAGE FROM THE AFTERMATH OF THE TWO SHOOTINGS**

An evacutation has taken place at the Marienplatz Metro station.

It is not yet known how many people have been wounded.

The second shooting follows an attack which took place earlier today at a shopping centre in Munich.

Over a dozen people are believed to have died at the scene – with six deaths already having been confirmed.

It is thought that the three attackers who carried out the shooting at the Munich shopping centre, fled into the U-Bahn/Metro network.

HELICOPTERS: Police choppers circle over an area near Marienplatz

Munich’s main train station – München Hauptbahnhof – has also been evacuated according to AFP.In addition to the train station, U-Bahn/Metro and the city’s bus station has been closed with no services set to resume until further notice.Transport in the German capital has ground to a halt as a consequence.
Webcam footage in the Marienplatz U-Bahn square emptyEVACUATED: The square – Marienplatz has been cleared as webcam footage shows
http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/532147/Munich-shooting-Deutschland-Metro-Station

 

Munich shopping centre attack: Video shows moment gunman opens fire at shopping centre

19:58, 22 JUL 2016 UPDATED 20:17, 22 JUL 2016
BY SAM ADAMS , SAM WEBB , GEMMA MULLIN
The busy city centre street is plunged into chaos when a man in a cap and sunglasses open fire with what appears to be a handgun outside a McDonalds restaurant
This chilling video captures the moment a gunman opened fire on innocent bystanders outside a packed shopping centre in Munich.

The busy street is plunged into chaos when a man wearing a cap and sunglasses opens fire with what appears to be a shotgun outside a McDonald’s.

Terrified bystanders, including the unnamed witness filming the scene, flee in fear as a barrage of at least 18 shots can be heard ringing out.

Six people have been killed and many more have been injured at around 6pm tonight, according to German public broadcaster BR.

Witnesses have reported shooting inside the Olympia mall with terrified shoppers filming the scenes inside.

READ MORE
Munich shooting: Live updates as armed police swoop on shopping centre where active gunman is on loose
The shooting took palce outside a McDonalds
He raises his gun and fires at passers by
Further video footage shows a man dressed in black with a red rucksack shooting from the roof of a car park.

Armed and armoured cops flooded the streets around the Olympia-Einkaufszentrum (OEZ) shopping mall in the centre of the German city, which has been sealed off.

It is unclear how many gunmen were involved but witnesses have reported seeing at least three different attackers.

Police told people to stay in their homes or to seek shelter indoors – and admit they don’t know where the gunmen are.

Munich police tweeted: “The suspects are still on the run. Please avoid public places.”

The force added: “Please don’t take Fotos or Video of Police Action in order to avoid any helpful Information for the suspects.”

TwitterSuspected shooter seen on the roof of the Munich shopping centreSuspected shooter seen on the roof of the Munich shopping centre

In a second video, captured by a terrified member of the public, an unknown man is seen walking across the roof of the shopping centre’s car park.

Clad in all black, the man wanders all alone before he suddenly turns and pulls out what looks like a handgun.

ISIS-related social media accounts have been sharing reports of the attack, but reports in German newspaper Bild suggests right-wing extremists are responsible.

In pictures posted online, a person can be seen lying on the ground covered in blood.

Dozens of police vehicles can be seen lining the street outside the shopping centre, and a number of armed officers and a helicopter are at the scene.

A cordon appears to be in place and the area has been evacuated.
The shopping centre in the northern part of Munich is not far from the city’s Olympic stadium in the Moosach district of the Bavarian capital.

British nationals in Germany are being advised to comply with instructions from local authorities.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are urgently investigating an incident in Munich and stand ready to provide assistance to British nationals.”
Munich Police said in a statement: “At around ten to six today there were witnesses who called the police and said there was a shooting at the Hanauer Street.

“The shooting moved from that street to the shopping centre. The witnesses said there were three different people with weapons.”

GettyPolice secure the entrance to a subway station
Police secures teh area of a subway station Karlsplatz (Stachus) near a shopping mall following a shooting on July 22, 2016 in Munich. Several people were killed on Friday in a shooting rampage by a lone gunman in a Munich shopping centre, media reports said / AFP PHOTO / dpa / Andreas Gebert / Germany OUTANDREAS GEBERT/AFP/Getty Images
NTV television reported that German police special forces had arrived at the scene.

“Many shots were fired, I can’t say how many but it’s been a lot,” an employee, who declined to be identified, said from the mall in Munich.

“All the people from outside came streaming into the store and I only saw one person on the ground who was so severely injured that he definitely didn’t survive.”

“We have no further information, we’re just staying in the back in the storage rooms.”

PArmed cops run near the shopping mall
This unverified picture from the scene appears to show emergency services and a person lying on the ground
The shopping centre is next to the Munich Olympic stadium, where the Palestinian militant group Black September took 11 Israeli athletes hostage and eventually killed them during the 1972 Olympic Games.

Friday’s attack took place a week after a 17-year-old asylum-seeker wounded passengers on a German train in an axe rampage claimed by Islamic State.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/munich-shopping-centre-attack-video-8474976

 

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FairTax: Fire Up Our Economic Engine (Official HD)

Freedom from the IRS! – FairTax Explained in Detail

What is the FairTax legislation?

Does the FairTax repeal the federal income tax?

Is the FairTax truly progressive?

How does the “prebate” work?

Will the prebate create a massive new entitlement system?

Is it fair for rich people to get the same prebate as poor people?

How does the FairTax affect the economy?

Is consumption a reliable source of revenue?

How does the FairTax impact the middle class?

How does the FairTax impact savings?

Is education taxed under the FairTax?

How will used goods be taxed?

Isn’t it a stretch to say the IRS will go away?

How does the FairTax affect compliance costs?

Does the FairTax protect privacy and other civil liberties?

How will the FairTax affect state sales tax systems?

Why is the FairTax better than other tax reform efforts?

How does the FairTax rate compare to today’s?

Is the FairTax rate really 23%?

Are any significant economies funded by a sales tax?

What will the transition be like from the income tax to the FairTax?

How does the FairTax impact charitable giving?

If people bring home their whole paychecks how can prices fall?

What will happen to government programs like Social Security and Medicare?

How will Social Security payments be calculated under the FairTax?

How will the FairTax impact seniors?


Below are Senator Ted Cruz’s full remarks at the 2016 GOP Convention 

Thank you. Heidi and I are honored to join you here in Cleveland, where Lebron James just led an incredible comeback victory. I’m convinced America is going to come back too.

I congratulate Donald Trump on winning the nomination last night.

Conventions are times of excitement. But given the events of the last few weeks, I hope you’ll allow me a moment to talk to you about what’s really at stake.

Just two weeks ago, a nine-year-old girl named Caroline was having a carefree Texas summer – swimming in the pool, playing with friends, doing all the things a happy child might do.

Like most children, she took for granted the love she received from her mom, Heidi, and her dad, a police sergeant named Michael Smith. That is, until he became one of the five police officers gunned down in Dallas.

The day her father was murdered, Caroline gave him a hug and kiss as he left for work. But as they parted, her dad asked her something he hadn’t asked before:

“What if this is the last time you ever kiss or hug me?'”

Later, as she thought of her fallen father, and that last heartbreaking hug, Caroline broke down in tears. How could anything ever be OK again?

Michael Smith was a former Army ranger who spent three decades with the Dallas Police Department. I have no idea who he voted for in the last election, or what he thought about this one. But his life was a testament to devotion. He protected the very protestors who mocked him because he loved his country and his fellow man. His work gave new meaning to that line from literature, “To die of love is to live by it.”

As I thought about what I wanted to say tonight, Michael Smith’s story weighed on my heart. Maybe that’s because his daughter, Caroline, is about the same age as my eldest daughter and happens to share the same name. Maybe it’s because I saw a video of that dear, sweet child choking back sobs as she remembered her daddy’s last question to her. Maybe it’s because we live in a world where so many others have had their lives destroyed by evil, in places like Orlando and Paris and Nice and Baton Rouge. Maybe it is because of the simple question itself:

What if this, right now, is our last time? Our last moment to do something for our families and our country?

Did we live up to our values? Did we do all we could?

That’s really what elections should be about. That’s why you and millions like you devoted so much time and sacrifice to this campaign.

We’re fighting, not for one particular candidate or one campaign, but because

each of us wants to be able to tell our kids and grandkids, our own Carolines, that we did our best for their future, and for our country.

America is more than just a land mass between two oceans. America is an idea, a simple yet powerful idea: freedom matters.

For much of human history, government power has been the unavoidable constant in life – government decrees, and the people obey.

Not here. We have no king or queen. No dictator. We the People constrain government.

Our nation is exceptional because it was built on the five most powerful words in the English language: I want to be free.

Never has that message been more needed than today.

We stand here tonight a nation divided. Partisan rancor, anger, even hatred are tearing America apart.

And citizens are furious—rightly furious—at a political establishment that cynically breaks its promises and ignores the will of the people.

We have to do better. We owe our fallen heroes more than that.

Of course, Obama and Clinton will tell you that they also care about our children’s future. And I want to believe them. But there is a profound difference in our two parties’ visions for the future.

Theirs is the party that thinks ISIS is a “JV team,” that responds to the death of Americans at Benghazi by asking, “What difference does it make?” That thinks

it’s possible to make a deal with Iran, which celebrates as holidays “Death to America Day” and “Death to Israel Day.”

My friends, this is madness.

President Obama is a man who does everything backwards – he wants to close Guantanamo Bay and open up our borders, he exports jobs and imports terrorists.

Enough is enough.

There is a better vision for our future: A return to freedom.

On education, your freedom to choose your child’s education, even if you aren’t as rich as Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

On healthcare, your freedom to choose your own doctor, without Obamacare.

On taxes, your freedom to provide for your family without the IRS beating down your door.

The Internet? Keep it free from taxes, free from regulation. And don’t give it away to Russia and China.

Freedom means free speech, not politically correct safe spaces.

Freedom means religious freedom, whether you are Christian or Jew, Muslim or atheist. Gay or straight, the Bill of Rights protects the rights of all of us to live according to our conscience.

Freedom means the right to keep and bear arms, and protect your family.

Freedom means Supreme Court Justices who don’t dictate policy, but instead follow the Constitution.

And freedom means recognizing that our Constitution allows states to choose policies that reflect local values. Colorado may decide something different than Texas. New York different than Iowa. Diversity. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. If not, what’s the point of having states to begin with?

Hillary Clinton believes government should make virtually every choice in your life. Education, healthcare, marriage, speech – all dictated out of Washington.

But something powerful is happening. We’ve seen it in both parties. We’ve seen it in the United Kingdom’s unprecedented Brexit vote to leave the European Union.

Voters are overwhelmingly rejecting big government. That’s a profound victory.

People are fed up with politicians who don’t listen to them, fed up with a corrupt system that benefits the elites, instead of working men and women.

We deserve an immigration system that puts America first. And yes, builds a wall to keep us safe.

That stops admitting ISIS terrorists as refugees.

We deserve trade policies that put the interests of American farmers and manufacturing jobs over the global interests funding the lobbyists.

And if we choose freedom, our future will be brighter.

Freedom will bring back jobs, raise wages.

Freedom will lift people out of dependency, to the dignity of work.

We can do this. 47 years ago today, America put a man on the moon. That’s the power of freedom.

Our party was founded to defeat slavery. Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

We passed the Civil Rights Act, and fought to eliminate Jim Crow laws.

Those were fights for freedom, and so is this.

Sergeant Michael Smith stood up to protect our freedom.

So do our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines fighting radical Islamic terrorism.

So did the family of Alton Sterling, who bravely called to end the violence.

So did the families of those murdered at the Charleston Emanuel AME church, who forgave that hateful, bigoted murderer.

And so can we.

We deserve leaders who stand for principle. Unite us all behind shared values. Cast aside anger for love. That is the standard we should expect, from everybody.

And to those listening, please, don’t stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.

It’s love of freedom that has allowed millions to achieve their dreams. Like my Mom, the first in her family to go to college, and my Dad, who fled prison and torture in Cuba, coming to Texas with just $100 sewn into his underwear.

And it is love that I hope will bring comfort to a grieving 9-year-old girl in Dallas – and, God willing, propel her to move forward, and dream, and soar . . . and make her daddy proud.

We must make the most of our moment – to fight for freedom, to protect our God-given rights, even of those with whom we don’t agree, so that when we are old and gray . . . and our work is done . . . and we give those we love one final kiss goodbye . . . we will be able to say, “Freedom matters, and I was part of something beautiful.”

Thank you. And may God bless the United States of America.

 https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2016/07/full-text-of-cruzs-speech-trump-supporters-didnt-want-you-to-hear#sthash.d09iO504.dpuf

All day, buzz was surrounding the highly anticipated Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas (A, 97%) primetime speech at the GOP Convention. “Will he endorse Trump?” “Will he orchestrate his speech for a 2020 run?”

But when Ted Cruz took the stage at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, everyone was silent, and it was all his show. But the speech wasn’t about “any particular candidate or campaign,” as Cruz said. It was about freedom.

Here’s the reaction:

Then came the big story when Cruz bravely uttered the phrase:“vote your conscience.” Having given a speech about foundational conservative principles, Cruz closed his speech without endorsing the GOP nominee.

Many praised Cruz for his “courage.”

Even Republican strategist Rick Wilson credited Cruz with a hashtag “strange new respect!”

The New York delegation and others, once they realized Cruz’s speech would not include an endorsement, shouted “we want Trump!” to protest.

But according to some “sources,” Trump’s team may have orchestrated that …

What’d you think of the powerful, eloquent, highly controversial speech?

 https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2016/07/verdict-on-ted-cruzs-biggest-speech-ever-nailed-it#sthash.QxlAXumP.dpuf

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 470, May 22, 2015, Story 1: Part 1 of 3: American People Leaving Both Democratic and Republican Parties In Search of A Party With Principles and Leaders With Integrity and Defenders of The United States Constitution — A New Direction For America — Videos

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Story 1: Part 1 of 3: American People Leaving Both Democratic and Republican Parties In Search of A Party With Principles and Leaders With Integrity and Defenders of The United States Constitution — A New Direction For America — Videos

Five Finger Death Punch – Wrong Side Of Heaven

[

Gallup: Partisan split at historic level

Gallup Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Want GOP Congress to Set Country’s Agenda, Not Obama

Most Political Independents Ever In USA

How Are Conservative And Liberal Brains Different?

Poll Record High 42 Percent Americans Identify As Independents

Against the USA, Naked Communist Conspiracy Is Unfolding, NWO

1.U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.
2.U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.
3.Develop the illusion that total disarmament by the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.
4.Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation
5.Extension of long-term loans to Russia & satellites.
6.Provide American aid to all nations regardless
7.Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.
8.Set up East and West Germany as separate states under supervision of the U.N.
9.Prolong the conferences to ban atomic tests because the U.S. has agreed to suspend tests as long as negotiations are in progress.
10.Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the U.N.
11.Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. Demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces.
12.Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.
13.Do away with all loyalty oaths.
14.Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.
15.Capture one or both of the political parties.
16.Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken by claiming their activities violate civil rights.
17.Get control of the schools. Promote Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations.
18.Gain control of all student newspapers.
19.Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.
20.Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policymaking positions.
21.Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.
22.Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.”
23.Control art critics and directors of art museums.
24.Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech.
25.Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity 26.Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”
27.Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible as a “religious crutch.”
28.Eliminate prayer or religious expression in the schools
29.Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
30.Discredit the American Founding Fathers.
31.Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history
32.Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture; education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.
33.Eliminate all laws or procedures which interfere with the operation of communism
34.Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
35.Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.
36.Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.
37.Infiltrate and gain control of big business.
38.Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand or treat.
39.Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.
40.Discredit the family. Encourage promiscuity, masturbation, easy divorce.
41.Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding to suppressive influence of parents.
42.Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use “united force” to solve economic, political or social problems.
43.Overthrow all colonial governments before natives are ready for self-government.
44.Internationalize the Panama Canal.
45.Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction over domestic problems and individuals alike.

Mind Control, Psychology of Brainwashing, Sex & Hypnosis

Fit vs. UnFit, Eugenics, Planned Parenthood & Psychology, Mind Control Report

Yuri Bezmenov: Psychological Warfare Subversion & Control of Western Society

The Subversion Factor, Part 1: Moles In High Places

The Subversion Factor, Part 2: The Open Gates of Troy

G. Edward Griffin – The Collectivist Conspiracy

youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAdu0N1-tvU]

The Quigley Formula – G. Edward Griffin lecture

Robert Welch in 1974 reveals NWO

Robert Welch Speaks: A Touch of Sanity (1965)

Robert Welch Speaks: In One Generation (1974)

CORPORATE FASCISM: The Destruction of America’s Middle Class

CULTURAL MARXISM: The Corruption of America

Countdown to Financial Collapse – A Conversation with G. Edward Griffin

WRCFresnoTV — G. Edward Griffin — The Federal Reserve, Taxes, The I.R.S. & Solutions

Rammstein “We’re all living in America” (HD) English Subtitle

Series Id:           LNS14000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Rate
Labor force status:  Unemployment rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

Series Id:           LNS13327709
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (seas) Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers
Labor force status:  Aggregated totals unemployed
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over
Percent/rates:       Unemployed and mrg attached and pt for econ reas as percent of labor force plus marg attached

Series Id:           LNS11300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Labor Force Participation Rate
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force participation rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

Series Id:           LNS12000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Employment Level
Labor force status:  Employed
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Series Id:           LNS13000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Level
Labor force status:  Unemployed
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Series Id:           LNS15000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Not in Labor Force
Labor force status:  Not in labor force
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After reaching a more than two-year high in early 2015, Americans’ satisfaction with the direction of the U.S. continues to fall. Twenty-six percent of Americans say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the nation in May, down slightly from 32% in January and February.

Satisfaction With the Direction of the U.S.

The latest data are from Gallup’s May 6-10 poll.

Satisfaction jumped nine points in January to 32%, a promising sign that Americans’ moods were improving after a year of lower figures throughout 2014, ranging between 20% and 27%. Since February, though, satisfaction has dipped only slightly each month, but these small drops have resulted in a six-point decline since the beginning of the year. Satisfaction remains below the 36% historical average for Gallup’s trend dating back to 1979.

The drop in Americans’ satisfaction with the way things are going parallels the recent decline in economic confidence. Americans had a more positive outlook on the economy at the dawn of 2015, but these views, like satisfaction, have edged down in recent months.

Satisfaction With the Direction of the U.S. vs. Economic Confidence

Views of the nation’s direction have certainly been brighter in the past. Majorities of Americans were typically satisfied with the direction of the U.S. between 1998 and mid-2002 — including a record high of 71% in February 1999. But satisfaction declined steadily in the latter half of President George W. Bush’s presidency as the public grew disillusioned with the war in Iraq and the national economy suffered. This dip in satisfaction culminated in 7% of Americans, a record low, saying they were satisfied with the direction of the nation in October 2008 as the global economy collapsed and the U.S. stock market plummeted.

Satisfaction improved significantly during the first year of President Barack Obama’s term — reaching 36% in August 2009. It has not returned to that level since, ranging between 11% and 33% throughout Obama’s time in office.

Americans Still List Economy, Gov’t and Unemployment as Top Problems

Though the 14% of Americans who name dissatisfaction with government, Congress and politicians as the top problem facing the U.S. has fallen five points since April, it still remains the most commonly mentioned problem — a distinction it has held for six months.

The economy in general (12%) and unemployment (10%) have remained at the top of the list for several years. But mentions of these issues are down significantly from their recent peaks — the economy reached a high of 37% in 2012, and unemployment reached a high of 39% in 2011.

Trends in Top

Race relations and racism (8%), immigration (6%), a decline in moral, religious and family ethics (6%), the state of the healthcare system (5%) and terrorism (5%) were also among the most frequently cited problems facing the nation.

Most Commonly Named Problems in April 2015 vs. May 2015

Bottom Line

After years of dysfunctional government, the economy and unemployment dominating Americans’ mentions of the top problem facing the nation, fewer mention these problems now than in recent years. Still, these three problems remain at the forefront of Americans’ concerns, and may be driving Americans’ high level of dissatisfaction with the nation’s direction.

Although Americans’ confidence in the economy is higher this year than in recent years, it is still negative. And while fewer mention dysfunctional government as the nation’s top problem, Americans still strongly disapprove of Congress’ performance and remain divided on Obama’s.

Meanwhile, mentions of unemployment as a top problem have dipped as more U.S. workers report their workplaces are hiring and the unemployment rate as reported by the BLS declines. But unemployment still remains one of the most frequently cited problems.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 6-10, 2015, with a random sample of 1,024 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/183248/americans-satisfaction-direction-wanes.aspx?utm_source=Politics&utm_medium=newsfeed&utm_campaign=tiles

Trend: Party affiliation in U.S. plus leaners

Story Highlights

  • Congressional job approval at 19%, essentially unchanged
  • Approval of GOP Congress similar among Republicans and Democrats

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressional job approval, currently at 19%, remains stuck near historical lows, despite a number of recent high-profile legislative achievements.

Congressional Job Approval Ratings: 2001-2015

Over the past month, Congress has confirmed the stalled nomination of Attorney General Loretta Lynch and both chambers passed a bill that was signed into law regarding Medicare. Bills that would authorize limited congressional oversight on any international agreement with Iran and help victims of human trafficking passed the Senate with little or no opposition. The uptick in activity, though hardly historic, is notable compared with the past two Congresses. Those Congresses, marked by divided control of the two chambers, were known for their entrenched partisan gridlock and few legislative accomplishments. And Americans didn’t care for their inability to agree — they gave Congress its lowest approval ever over this time period. Gallup found in June 2013, six months into the previous Congress, that gridlock and ineffectiveness were the most frequently cited reason for Americans’ disapproval of Congress.

Several months into this new Congress, the accomplishments that have been realized could give one the impression that the gridlock is softening, particularly over the past month. But these achievements have had virtually no impact on Congress’s job approval compared with early April (15%).

And, of course, Congress is far from working perfectly now, even if the pace of work appears to have increased. Most dramatically, the Senate failed to overcome a Democratic filibuster Tuesday afternoon that would give the president enhanced authority in negotiating trade bills, though the May survey was conducted before this occurrence. Legislation authorizing the use of military force in Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS, proposed by the administration and which many members of Congress support, remains stalled.

GOP Congress Has Low Approval Among Republicans

A key reason the current 114th Congress appears to be having more legislative success than the two Congresses before it is that the House and Senate are now under one party’s control. Unified GOP control of Capitol Hill should, at least in theory, boost Republicans’ overall approval of Congress. But the expected “Republican rally” for Congress has yet to materialize — 21% of Republicans and Republican leaners approve of Congress, not much different from the 18% of independents and of Democrats who approve. Nor is Republican support notably higher than the 15% it reached in 2014, despite the decided Republican tilt of this year’s legislature.

Congressional Job Approval, by Party Identification, May 2015

Bottom Line

After years of dysfunction, Congress is moving forward on key pieces of legislation. No longer shackled by split control — though still facing a president of the opposite party — the legislative branch is suddenly finding some areas of agreement. But even if it appears that the gridlock is easing, the overwhelming majority of Americans still disapprove of Congress. If Congress continues passing bipartisan legislation, more Americans might soften their stance. Still, it may be that Americans are largely not aware of or impressed by Congress’ recent legislative successes. Or it may be that the hit to Congress’ reputation over the last several years — evident not only in dismal job approval ratings, but also fallinglevels of trust and confidence — will take a long time to reverse.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 6-10, 2015, with a random sample of 1,024 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/183128/five-months-gop-congress-approval-remains-low.aspx?utm_source=Politics&utm_medium=newsfeed&utm_campaign=tiles

Story Highlights

  • 31% say they are socially liberal, 31% socially conservative
  • This is the first time conservatives have not outnumbered liberals
  • Conservatives maintain edge on economic issues

PRINCETON, N.J. — Thirty-one percent of Americans describe their views on social issues as generally liberal, matching the percentage who identify as social conservatives for the first time in Gallup records dating back to 1999.

Trend: Americans' Self-Description of Views on Social Issues

Gallup first asked Americans to describe their views on social issues in 1999, and has repeated the question at least annually since 2001. The broad trend has been toward a shrinking conservative advantage, although that was temporarily interrupted during the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency. Since then, the conservative advantage continued to diminish until it was wiped out this year.

The newfound parity on social ideology is a result of changes in the way both Democrats and Republicans describe their social views. The May 6-10 Gallup poll finds a new high of 53% of Democrats, including Democratic-leaning independents, describing their views on social issues as liberal.

Trend: Ideological Identification on Social Issues, Democrats and Democratic Leaners, 2001-2015

Democrats were more likely to describe their views on social issues as moderate rather than liberal from 2001 to 2005. Since then, socially liberal Democrats have outnumbered socially moderate Democrats in all but one year.

Meanwhile, the 53% of Republicans and Republican leaners saying their views on social issues are conservative is the lowest in Gallup’s trend. The drop in Republicans’ self-identified social conservatism has been accompanied by an increase in moderate identification, to 34%, while the percentage identifying as socially liberal has been static near 10%.

Trend: Ideological Identification on Social Issues, Republicans and Republican Leaners, 2001-2015

These trends echo the pattern in Gallup’s overall ideology measure, which dates back to 1992 and shows increasing liberal identification in recent years. As with the social ideology measure, the longer-term shifts are mainly a result of increasing numbers of Democrats describing their views as liberal rather than moderate. That may reflect Democrats feeling more comfortable in describing themselves as liberal than they were in the past, as much as a more leftward shift in Democrats’ attitudes on political, economic and social issues.

Conservatives Still Lead Liberals on Economic Issues

In contrast to the way Americans describe their views on social issues, they still by a wide margin, 39% to 19%, describe their views on economic issues as conservative rather than liberal. However, as on social ideology, the gap between conservatives and liberals has been shrinking and is lower today than at any point since 1999, with the 39% saying they are economically conservative the lowest to date.

Trend: Americans' Self-Description of Views on Economic Issues

Currently, 64% of Republicans identify as conservative economically, which is down from 70% the previous two years and roughly 75% in the early years of the Obama presidency. During George W. Bush’s administration, Republicans were less likely to say they were economic conservatives, with as few as 58% doing so in 2004 and 2005. The trends suggest Republicans’ willingness to identify as economic conservatives, or economic moderates, is influenced by the party of the president in office, and perhaps the types of financial policies the presidential administration is pursuing at the time.

Trend: Ideological Identification on Economic Issues, Republicans and Republican Leaners, 2001-2015

Democrats are also contributing to the trend in lower economic conservative identification. While the plurality of Democrats have consistently said they are economically moderate, Democrats have been more likely to identify as economic liberals than as economic conservatives since 2007. The last two years, there has been a 15-percentage-point gap in liberal versus conservative identification among Democrats on economic matters.

Trend: Ideological Identification on Economic Issues, Democrats and Democratic Leaners, 2001-2015

Implications

Americans’ growing social liberalism is evident not only in how they describe their views on social issues but also in changes in specific attitudes, such as increased support for same-sex marriage and legalizing marijuana. These longer-term trends may be attributable to changing attitudes among Americans of all ages, but they also may be a result of population changes, with younger, more liberal Americans entering adulthood while older, more conservative adults pass on. Gallup found evidence that population replacement is a factor in explaining changes in overall ideology using an analysis of birth cohorts over time.

The 2016 presidential election will thus be contested in a more socially liberal electorate — and a less economically conservative one — than was true of prior elections. Economically and socially conservative candidates may still appeal to the Republican Party base in the primaries, but it may be more important now than in the past for the GOP nominee to be a bit less conservative on social issues in order to appeal to the broader general electorate.

And while Americans are less economically conservative than in the past, economic conservatives still outnumber economic liberals by about 2-to-1. As a result, Democrats must be careful not to nominate a candidate who is viewed as too liberal on economic matters if their party hopes to hold the White House beyond 2016.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 6-10, 2015, with a random sample of 1,024 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/183386/social-ideology-left-catches-right.aspx?utm_source=Politics&utm_medium=newsfeed&utm_campaign=tiles

AGAINST THE GRAIN
Democrats’ Vanishing Future

Hillary Clinton is not the only Democratic comeback candidate on the 2016 ticket. Senate Democrats are betting on the past to rebuild their party for the future.

BY JOSH KRAUSHAAR

One of the most underappreciated stories in recent years is the deterioration of the Democratic bench under President Obama’s tenure in office. The party has become much more ideologically homogenous, losing most of its moderate wing as a result of the last two disastrous midterm elections. By one new catch-all measure, a party-strength index introduced by RealClearPolitics analysts Sean Trende and David Byler, Democrats are in their worst position since 1928. That dynamic has manifested itself in the Democratic presidential contest, where the bench is so barren that a flawed Hillary Clinton is barreling to an uncontested nomination.

But less attention has been paid to how the shrinking number of Democratic officeholders in the House and in statewide offices is affecting the party’s Senate races. It’s awfully unusual to see how dependent Democrats are in relying on former losing candidates as their standard-bearers in 2016. Wisconsin’s Russ Feingold, Pennsylvania’s Joe Sestak, Indiana’s Baron Hill, and Ohio’s Ted Strickland all ran underwhelming campaigns in losing office in 2010—and are looking to return to politics six years later. Party officials are courting former Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina to make a comeback bid, despite mediocre favorability ratings and the fact that she lost a race just months ago that most had expected her to win. All told, more than half of the Democrats’ Senate challengers in 2016 are comeback candidates.

On one hand, most of these candidates are the best choices Democrats have. Feingold and Strickland are running ahead of GOP Sens. Ron Johnson and Rob Portman in recent polls. Hill and Hagan boast proven crossover appeal in GOP-leaning states that would be challenging pickups. Their presence in the race gives the party a fighting chance to retake the Senate.

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But look more closely, and the reliance on former failures is a direct result of the party having no one else to turn to. If the brand-name challengers didn’t run, the roster of up-and-coming prospects in the respective states is short. They’re also facing an ominous historical reality that only two defeated senators have successfully returned to the upper chamber in the last six decades. As political analyst Stu Rothenberg put it, they’re asking “voters to rehire them for a job from which they were fired.” Senate Democrats are relying on these repeat candidates for the exact same reason that Democrats are comfortable with anointing Hillary Clinton for their presidential nomination: There aren’t any better alternatives.

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For a portrait of the Democrats’ slim pickings, just look at the political breakdown in three of the most consequential battleground states. Republicans hold 12 of Ohio’s 16 House seats, and all six of their statewide offices. In Wisconsin, Republicans hold a majority of the state’s eight House seats and four of five statewide partisan offices. In Pennsylvania, 13 of the 18 representatives are Republicans, though Democrats hold all the statewide offices. (One major caveat: Kathleen Kane, the Democrats’ once-hyped attorney general in the state, is under criminal investigation and has become a political punchline.) These are all Democratic-friendly states that Obama carried twice.

If Strickland didn’t run, the party’s hopes against Portman would lie in the hands of 30-year-old Cincinnati Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, who would make unexpected history as one of the nation’s youngest senators with a victory. (Sittenfeld is still mounting a long-shot primary campaign against Strickland.) Without Feingold in Wisconsin, the party’s only logical option would be Rep. Ron Kind, who has regularly passed up opportunities for a promotion. Former Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett already lost to Gov. Scott Walker twice, and businesswoman Mary Burke disappointed as a first-time gubernatorial candidate last year. And despite the Democratic establishment’s publicized carping over Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania, the list of alternatives is equally underwhelming: His only current intra-party opposition is from the mayor of Allentown.

(RELATED: Hillary Clinton to Launch Her Campaign, Again)

In the more conservative states, the drop-off between favored recruits and alternatives is even more stark. Hagan would be a flawed nominee in North Carolina, but there’s no one else waiting in the wings. The strongest Democratic politician, Attorney General Roy Cooper, is running for governor instead. And in Indiana, the bench is so thin that even the GOP’s embattled governor, Mike Pence, isn’t facing formidable opposition. Hill, who lost congressional reelection campaigns in both 2004 and 2010, is not expected to face serious primary competition in the race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Dan Coats.

Even in the two swing states where the party landed young, up-and-coming recruits to run, their options were awfully limited. In Florida, 32-year-old Rep. Patrick Murphy is one of only five House Democrats to represent a district that Mitt Romney carried in 2012—and his centrism has made him one of the most compelling candidates for higher office. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee quickly rallied behind his campaign (in part to squelch potential opposition from firebrand congressman Alan Grayson). But if Murphy didn’t run, the alternatives would have been limited: freshman Rep. Gwen Graham and polarizing Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz being the most logical alternatives.

In Nevada, Democrats boast one of their strongest challengers in former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, vying to become the first Latina ever elected to the Senate. But her ascension is due, in part, to the fact that other talented officeholders lost in the 2014 statewide wipeout. Democratic lieutenant-governor nominee Lucy Flores, hyped by MSNBC as a “potential superstar,” lost by 26 points to her GOP opponent. Former Secretary of State Ross Miller, another fast-rising pol, badly lost his bid for attorney general against a nondescript Republican. By simply taking a break from politics, Cortez Masto avoided the wave and kept her prospects alive for 2016.

(RELATED: Newly Released Clinton Email Detail Benghazi Correspondence)

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This isn’t an assessment of Democratic chances for a Senate majority in 2017; it’