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

Posted on April 6, 2017. Filed under: American History, Benghazi, Bernie Sanders, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Cruise Missiles, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Egypt, Elections, Empires, European History, European Union, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Genocide, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Great Britain, Hate Speech, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Iraq, Islam, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Israel, Jordan, Law, Libya, Life, Lying, Marco Rubio, Media, Medicare, Middle East, MIssiles, National Security Agency, Nerve Gas, News, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Progressives, Qatar, Radio, Rand Paul, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Religion, Rifles, Rule of Law, Russia, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Social Security, Spying, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Syria, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, U.S. Negotiations with Islamic Republic of Iran, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 865: March 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 864: March 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 863: March 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 862: March 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 861: March 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 860: March 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 859: March 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 858: March 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 857: March 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 856: March 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 855: March 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 854: March 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 853: March 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 852: March 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 851: March 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 850: March 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 849: March 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 848: February 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 847: February 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 846: February 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 845: February 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 844: February 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 843: February 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 842: February 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 841: February 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 840: February 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 839: February 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 838: February 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 837: February 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 836: February 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 835: February 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 834: February 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 833: February 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 832: February 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 831: February 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 830: February 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 829: February 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 828: January 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 827: January 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 826: January 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 825: January 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 824: January 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 823: January 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 822: January 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 821: January 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 820: January 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 819: January 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 818: January 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 817: January 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 816: January 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 815: January 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 814: January 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 813: January 9, 2017

Updated

Breaking News

Undeclared War!

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

President Trump Neoconned!

Trump Orders ATTACK on Syria – April 6, 2017 – FULL Press Conference

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

Rubio, Cardin call for Assad, Putin to be held accountable for Syria chemical weapons attack

Will the U.S. take military action in Syria?

Do powerful people in Washington want to know the truth?

Syrian Chemical False Flag Exposed

Laura Ingraham Show PODCAST April 6, 2017 – Bob Costa: ‘Trump Has Always Used His Family In Business

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?

Syria’s war: Who is fighting and why?

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

Subscribe to France 24 now:
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FRANCE 24 live news stream: all the latest news 24/7
http://f24.my/YTliveEN

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 843, February 21, 2017, Story 1: VICTOR DAVIS HANSON Nails The Big Lie Media and The Threat of Lying Lunatic Left Losers and Deep State Moles and Leakers — JFK Secret Societies Speech Warning — Seven Days In May — Videos — Story 2: The Power Elite’s Greatest Fear — President Trump Succeeds With A Booming Economy of Peace and Prosperity — Videos

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Story 1: VICTOR DAVIS HANSON Nails The Big Lie Media and The Threat of Lying Lunatic Left Losers and Deep State Moles and Leakers — Videos

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Pat Buchanan: The establishment is in a panic over Trump

Pat Buchanan DESTROYS CUCK CNN Anchor On Donald Trump

Why Globalism Threatens Western Civilization | G. Edward Griffin and Stefan Molyneux

CIA Traitor Calls Trump Domestic Enemy

Former CIA Operative: Trump Is Battling Pedophile Network

JFK – The Speech That Killed Him

JFK Secret Societies Speech (full version)

JFK wanted movie “Seven Days in May” made

Seven Days in May (1964) – John Frankenheimer

Seven Days in May Trailer

Seven Days in May – Closing speech by President

Seven Days in February

 by VICTOR DAVIS HANSON February 20, 2017 7:31 PM @VDHANSON

Trumps’ critics, left and right, aim to bring about the cataclysm they predicted.

A 1964 political melodrama, Seven Days in May, envisioned a futuristic (1970s) failed military cabal that sought to sideline the president of the United States over his proposed nuclear-disarmament treaty with the Soviets.

Something far less dramatic but perhaps as disturbing as Hollywood fiction played out this February. The Teeth-Gnashing of Deep Government Currently, the political and media opponents of Donald Trump are seeking to subvert his presidency in a manner unprecedented in the recent history of American politics. The so-called resistance among EPA federal employees is trying to disrupt Trump administration reform; immigration activists promise to flood the judiciary to render executive orders inoperative.

Intelligence agencies had earlier leaked fake news briefings about the purported escapades of President-elect Trump in Moscow — stories that were quickly exposed as politically driven concoctions. Nearly one-third of House Democrats boycotted the Inauguration. Celebrities such as Ashley Judd and Madonna shouted obscenities to crowds of protesters; Madonna voiced her dreams of Trump’s death by saying she’d been thinking a lot about blowing up the White House.

But all that pushback was merely the clownish preliminary to the full-fledged assault in mid February.

Career intelligence officers leaked their own transcripts of a phone call that National Security Advisor–designate Michael Flynn had made to a Russian official.

The media charge against Flynn was that he had nefariously talked to higher-ups in Russia before he took office. Obama-administration officials did much the same, before Inauguration Day 2009, and spoke with Syrian, Iranian, and Russian counterparts. But they faced no interference from the outgoing Bush administration.

No doubt the designated security officials of most incoming administrations do not wait until being sworn in to sound out foreign officials. Most plan to reset the policies of their predecessors. The question, then, arises: Why were former Obama-administration appointees or careerist officials tapping the phone calls of an incoming Trump designate (and Trump himself?) and then leaking the tapes to their pets in the press? For what purpose?

Indeed, Trump’s own proposed outreach to Russia so far is not quite of the magnitude of Obama’s in 2009, when the State Department staged the red-reset-button event to appease Putin; at the time, Russia was getting set to swallow the Crimea and all but absorb Eastern Ukraine. Trump certainly did not approve the sale of some 20 percent of North American uranium holdings to Russian interests, in the quid pro quo fashion that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did, apparently in concert with Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation — and to general indifference of both the press and the intelligence community.

Why were former Obama-administration appointees or careerist officials tapping the phone calls of an incoming Trump designate and then leaking the tapes to their pets in the press?

In addition, the Wall Street Journal reported last week that career intelligence officers have decided to withhold information from the president, on the apparent premise that he is unfit, in their view, to receive it. If true, that disclosure would mean that elements of the federal government are now actively opposing the duly elected president of the United States. That chilling assessment gains credence from the likelihood that the president’s private calls to Mexican and Australian heads of state were likewise recorded, and selected segments were leaked to suggest that Trump was either trigger-happy or a buffoon.

Oddly, in early January, Senator Charles Schumer had essentially warned Trump that he would pay for his criticism of career intelligence officials. In an astounding shot across his bow, which was followed up by an onslaught in February, Schumer said: “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you. . . . So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”

Schumer was evidently not disturbed about rogue intelligence agencies conspiring to destroy a shared political enemy — the president of the United States. What surprised him was how naïve Trump was in not assessing the anti-constitutional forces arrayed against him.

Trump-Removal Chic

The elite efforts to emasculate the president have sometimes taken on an eerie turn. The publisher-editor of the German weekly magazine Zeit raised the topic on German television of killing Trump to end the “Trump catastrophe.” So did British Sunday Times columnist India Knight, who tweeted, “The assassination is taking such a long time.” A former Obama Pentagon official, Rosa Brooks, recently mused about theoretical ways to remove Trump, including a military coup, should other avenues such as impeachment or medically forced removal fail: “The fourth possibility is one that until recently I would have said was unthinkable in the United States of America: a military coup, or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders.”

The Atlantic now darkly warns that Trump is trying to create an autocracy. Former Weekly Standard editor in chief Bill Kristol suggested in a tweet that if he faced a choice (and under what surreal circumstances would that happen?) between the constitutionally, democratically elected president and career government officials’ efforts to thwart or remove him, he would come down on the side of the revolutionary, anti-democratic “deep state”:

“Obviously strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics. But if it comes to it [emphasis added], prefer the deep state to the Trump state.”

No doubt some readers interpreted that as a call to side with anti-constitutional forces against an elected U.S. president. Hollywood stars such as Meryl Streep equate the president with brownshirts and assorted fascists. A CNN reporter announced that Trump was Hitlerian; another mused about his plane’s crashing. Prominent conservative legal scholar Richard Epstein recently called for Trump to resign after less than a month in office, largely on grounds that Trump’s rhetoric is unbridled and indiscreet — although Epstein cited no indictable or impeachable offenses that would justify the dispatch of a constitutionally elected president. Earlier, Republican columnists David Frum and Jennifer Rubin had theorized that the 25th Amendment might provide a way to remove Trump from office as unfit to serve. The New Republic published an unfounded theory, based on no empirical evidence, alleging that Trump suffers from neurosyphilis and thus is mentally not up to his office.

Former president Barack Obama — quite unlike prior presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, who all refrained from attacking their successors — is now reportedly ready to join the efforts of a well-funded political action committee to undermine the Trump presidency.

The Police Need Policing

Fake news proliferates. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Representative Elijah Cummings recently attacked departing national-security advisor Michael Flynn by reading a supposed Flynn tweet that was a pure invention. Nor did Trump, as reported, have a serious plan to mobilize “100,000” National Guard troops to enforce deportations.

Other false stories claimed that Trump had pondered invading Mexico, that his lawyer had gone to Prague to meet with the Russians, and that he had removed from the Oval Office a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. — sure proof of Trump’s racism. Journalists — including even “fact-checker” Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post — reposted fake news reports that Trump’s father had run a campaign for the New York mayorship during which he’d aired racist TV ads. Celebrities and writers have attacked Trump’s eleven-year-old son Barron as a sociopath-to-be.

Nor is the Trump family immune from constant attack. Daughter Ivanka Trump was recently cornered on an airline flight, while traveling with her three young children three days before Christmas, and bullied by a screaming activist passenger. Her private fashion business is the target of a national progressive-orchestrated boycott. Celebrities and writers have attacked Trump’s eleven-year-old son Barron as a sociopath-to-be or as a boy trapped in an autistic bubble. First Lady Melania Trump sued the Daily Mail after it trafficked in reports that she had once been a paid escort — a lie that was recently recirculated by a New York Times reporter.  Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka are routinely smeared as anti-Semites and fascists. One Trump critic berated Gorka as a Nazi sympathizer for wearing a commemorative medal once awarded his father for his role in the resistance to the Communist takeover of Hungary. What has the often boisterous Trump done in his first month to earn calls for his death, forced removal, or resignation? Dangerous Style or Substance?

The stock market is reaching all-time highs. Polls show business optimism rising. The Rasmussen poll puts Trump’s approval rating at 55 percent.

Compared with Obama in 2009, at the same point in his young administration, Trump has issued about the same number of executive orders. For all his war on the press, Trump has so far not ordered wiretaps on any reporter on the grounds that he is a “criminal co-conspirator,” nor has he gone after the phone records of the Associated Press — Barack Obama’s Justice Department did both, to little notice in the media.

Trump’s edicts are mostly common-sense and non-controversial: green-lighting the Keystone and Dakota pipelines, freezing federal hiring, resuming work on a previously approved wall along the Mexican border, prohibiting retiring federal officials from lobbying activity for five years, and pruning away regulations.

His promises to deport illegal aliens with past records of criminal activity or gang affiliation have, by design, sidestepped so-called dreamers and the illegal aliens who are currently working, without criminal backgrounds, and with some record of lengthy residence.

In his executive order to temporarily suspend immigration from seven war-torn Middle East states, Trump channeled Barack Obama’s prior targeting of immigration trouble spots. At first, Trump’s order was poorly worded and clumsily ushered in; then it was reformulated. It is supported by the public but nonetheless earned a hysterical response from federal judges who seemed to invent new jurisprudence stating that foreign nationals abroad enjoy U.S. constitutional protections.

On more substantive reforms, such as repealing Obamacare, reforming the tax code, and rebuilding infrastructure, Trump awaits proposed legislation from the Republican congressional majority. By all accounts, Trump’s initial meetings or phone calls with British, Israeli, Japanese, and Russian heads of states have gone well.

Trump has had fewer Cabinet appointees bow out than did Barack Obama. Most believe that the vast majority of his selections are inspired. The nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch was a widely praised move. The defense secretary, retired general James Mattis has echoed Trump’s earlier calls for European NATO members to step up and meet their contracted obligations to the alliance.

Clearly in empirical terms, nothing that Trump in his first month in office has done seems to have justified calls for violence against his person or his removal from office. What then accounts for the unprecedented venom?

1) As we saw from his recent free-wheeling press conference, Trump’s loud, take-no-prisoners style is certainly anti-Washington, anti-media, anti-elite, and anti-liberal. He often unsettles reporters with bombast and invective, when most are accustomed to dealing with career politicians or fellow liberal officeholders who share their same beliefs. As part of Trump’s art-of-the-deal tactics, he often blusters, rails, and asks for three times what he might eventually settle for, on the expectation that critics of his style will be soon silenced by the undeniable upside of his eventual achievements. This is a long-term strategy that in the short term allows journalists to fault the present means rather than the future ends. Trump’s unconventional bluster, not his record so far, fuels the animosity of elites who seek to delegitimize him and fear that their reputations and careers can be rendered irrelevant by his roughshod populism. He also has reminded the country that some of the mainstream media and Washington–New York elite are often mediocre and boring.

2) The Democratic party has been absorbed by its left wing and is beginning to resemble the impotent British Labour party. Certainly it no longer is a national party. Mostly it’s a local and municipal coastal force, galvanized to promote a race and gender agenda and opposed to conservatism yet without a pragmatic alternative vision. Its dilemma is largely due to the personal success but presidential failure of Barack Obama, who moved the party leftward and yet bequeathed an electoral matrix that will deprive future national candidates of swing-state constituencies without compensating for that downside with massive minority turnouts, which were unique to Obama’s candidacy. The Democratic party bites its tail in endless paroxysms of electoral frustration — given that the medicine of broadening support to win back the white poor and working classes is deemed worse than the disease of losing the state governorships and legislatures, the Congress, the presidency, and the Supreme Court.

3) Usually conservative pundits and journalists would push back against this extraordinary effort to delegitimize a Republican president. But due to a year of Never Trump politicking and opposition, and Trump’s own in-your-face, unorthodox style and grating temperament, hundreds of Republican intellectuals and journalists, former officeholders and current politicians — who shared a common belief that Trump had no chance of winning and thus could be safely written off — find themselves without influence in either the White House or indeed in their own party, over 90 percent of which voted for Trump. In other words, the Right ruling class is still in a civil war of sorts. It is no accident that many of those calling for his resignation or removal are frustrated that, for the first time in a generation, they will have no influence in a Republican administration or indeed among most Republicans. For some, the best pathway to redemption is apparently to criticize Trump to such an extent that their prior prophecies of his preordained failure in the election will be partially redeemed by an imploding presidency. It is no accident that many of those calling for his resignation or removal are frustrated that, for the first time in a generation, they will have no influence in a Republican administration or indeed among most Republicans. Yet, in private, they accept that Trump’s actual appointments, executive orders, and announced policies are mostly orthodox conservative — a fact that was supposed to have been impossible.

4) Since 2000, what might have been seen as irrational and abnormal has become institutionalized and commonplace: record U.S. debt approaching $20 trillion, chronic trade deficits, an often destructive globalization, Hoover-era anemic economic growth, polarizing racial identity politics, open borders, steady growth in the size of government, sanctuary cities, unmet NATO obligations abroad, crumbling faith that the European Union is sustainable and democratic, and a gradual symbiosis between the two parties, both of which ignored the working classes as either demographically doomed or as a spent force of deplorables and irredeemables (or both).

Trump’s efforts to return politics to the center — enforce existing laws, complete previously approved projects, rein in government regulations and growth, recalibrate U.S. alliances to reflect current realities, unapologetically side with friends and punish enemies — were viewed as revolutionary rather than as a return to conventionality, in part because they threatened status quo careers and commerce. Trumpism is more or less akin to the Gingrich-Clinton compromises of the early 1990s or to what Reagan often did rather than what he sometimes said. But what was then bipartisan and centrist today appears revolutionary and nihilistic.

For now, chic Trump hatred and sick talks of coups — or worse — hinge on economic growth. If Trump’s agenda hits 3 percent GDP growth or above by 2018, then his critics — progressive shock troops, Democratic grandees, mainstream media, Never Trump Republicans — will either shift strategies or face prolonged irrelevance.

But for now, ending Trump one way or another is apparently the tortured pathway his critics are taking to exit their self-created labyrinth of irrelevance.

— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Savior Generals.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445091/never-trumpers-subvert-presidency-talk-coup-impeachment-assassination

Seven Days in May

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Seven Days in May
theatrical release poster

Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Frankenheimer
Produced by Edward Lewis
Screenplay by Rod Serling
Based on the novel by
Fletcher Knebel
& Charles W. Bailey II
Starring
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography Ellsworth Fredricks A.S.C.
Edited by Ferris Webster
Production
company
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • February 12, 1964(Washington, DC)
Running time
118 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2.2 million
Box office $3,650,000 (rentals)[1]

Seven Days in May is a 1964 American political thriller motion picture about a military-political cabal‘s planned take-over of the United States government in reaction to the president’s negotiation of a disarmament treaty with the Soviet Union. Directed by John Frankenheimer, it stars Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March, and Ava Gardner. The screenplay was written by Rod Serling based on the novel of the same name by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II, published in September 1962.[2]

Background

The book was written in late 1961 and into early 1962, during the first year of the Kennedy administration, reflecting some of the events of that era. In November 1961, President John F. Kennedy accepted the resignation of vociferously anti-Communist General Edwin Walker who was indoctrinating the troops under his command with personal political opinions and had described former President Harry S. Truman, former United States Secretary of State Dean Acheson, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and other recent still-active public figures as Communist sympathizers.[3] Although no longer in uniform, Walker continued to be in the news as he attempted to run for Governor of Texas and made speeches promoting strongly right-wing views. In the film version of Seven Days in May, Fredric March, portraying the narrative’s fictional President Jordan Lyman, mentions General Walker as one of the “false prophets” who were offering themselves to the public as leaders. (Accused John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald purportedly fired rifle shots into the home of General Walker in April 1963.[4])

As they collaborated on the novel, Knebel and Bailey, who were primarily political journalists and columnists, also conducted interviews with another controversial military commander, the newly appointed Air Force Chief of Staff, Curtis LeMay, an advocate of preventive first-strike nuclear option.[5][6]

President Kennedy had read Seven Days in May shortly after its publication and believed the scenario as described could actually occur in the United States. According to Frankenheimer in his director’s commentary, production of the film received encouragement and assistance from Kennedy through White House Press Secretary Pierre Salinger, who conveyed to Frankenheimer Kennedy’s wish that the film be produced and that, although the Pentagon did not want the film made, the President would conveniently arrange to visit Hyannis Port for a weekend when the film needed to shoot outside the White House.[7]

Plot

The story is set in the early 1970s, ten years in the future at the time of the film’s 1964 release, and the Cold War is still a problem (in the 1962 book, the setting was May 1974). U.S. President Jordan Lyman has recently signed a nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviet Union, and the subsequent ratification has produced a wave of public dissatisfaction, especially among the President’s opposition and the military, who believe the Soviets cannot be trusted.

As the debate rages, a Pentagon insider, United States Marine Corps Colonel Martin “Jiggs” Casey (the Director of the Joint Staff), becomes suspicious of behavior among the Joint Chiefs of Staff and comes to a shocking conclusion: the Joint Chiefs, led by the charismatic Air Force General James Mattoon Scott, intend to stage a coup d’etat to remove President Lyman and his cabinet in seven days. According to the plan, an undisclosed Army combat unit known as ECOMCON (Emergency COMmunications CONtrol) will seize control of the country’s telephone, radio, and television networks, while Congress is prevented from implementing the treaty.

Although personally opposed to President Lyman’s position, Casey, implied to be a lawyer in private life, is appalled by the unconstitutional cabal and alerts the President of the potential threat. Lyman forms a small inner circle of trusted advisors and friends to investigate, including Secret Service White House Detail Chief Art Corwin, Treasury Secretary Christopher Todd, advisor Paul Girard, and U.S. Senator Raymond Clark of Georgia.

Casey makes the pretense of a social visit to General Scott’s former mistress, the vulnerable Ellie Holbrook, in New York City to ferret out potential secrets that can be used against him. The aging, alcoholic Clark is sent to El Paso, Texas, to locate the supposed “Site Y” military base, while Girard leaves for the Mediterranean to obtain a written confession from Vice Admiral Farley C. Barnswell, who is believed to have declined participation in the coup. Girard gets the written confession, but is killed when his flight crashes into a mountain in Spain, while Senator Clark is taken captive by conspirator Colonel Broderick upon finding the secret base and is held incommunicado. The senator convinces Colonel Mutt Henderson, the base’s deputy commander and nonparticipant in the coup, to help him escape. They succeed, though when Clark makes a call to the President, Henderson is arrested by Scott’s men.

A meeting with Scott is scheduled in the Oval Office, with the President confronting him and demanding his resignation and that of all Joint Chiefs involved in the plot. Scott initially denies any guilt, claiming that the President had verbally approved the secret base in Texas, before freely challenging the treaty, arguing it would weaken the U.S. and lead to an attack by the Soviets. Lyman counters with the suggestion that a military coup could result in a preemptive strike by Moscow. Scott is unmoved, stating that he feels the American people are behind him and his position. Lyman considers using the blackmail letters, but decides against it, and allows Scott to leave.

Shortly thereafter, Scott briefs the other three Joint Chiefs, demanding they stay in line and reminding them that the president does not seem to have the evidence they would need for charging them with treason. Somewhat reassured, the others agree to stick to the plan to appear on all television and radio networks simultaneously on Sunday to denounce the President. However, Lyman first holds a press conference where he demands the resignation of Scott and all members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, interrupted only by an attaché from the U.S. Embassy in Spain bringing Barnswell’s hand-written confession, recovered from the plane crash. A copy is given to Scott and the other officers in on the plot, who have no choice but to resign and call off the coup. The ending has Lyman addressing the American people on the country’s future.

Cast

  • Andrew Duggan as Colonel William “Mutt” Henderson, friend of Jiggs Casey
  • Hugh Marlowe as Harold McPherson, T.V. commentator who is one of the conspirators
  • Whit Bissell as Senator Fred Prentice, another conspirator
  • Helen Kleeb as Esther Townsend, secretary to the president
  • George Macready as Chris Todd, member of the president’s cabinet
  • Richard Anderson as Colonel Ben Murdock, also a conspirator
  • Bart Burns as Art Corwin, head of Secret Service

Unbilled speaking roles (in order of appearance)[edit]

  • Malcolm Atterbury (Horace, president’s physician: “Why, in God’s name, do we elect a man president and then try to see how fast we can kill him?“)
  • Jack Mullaney (“All properly decoded in 4.0 fashion and respectfully submitted by yours truly, Lieutenant junior grade, Dorsey Grayson.“)
  • Charles Watts (Stu Dillard, Washington insider: “Oh, Senator, pardon me, come along, I want you to meet the wife of the Indian ambassador.“)
  • John Larkin (Colonel John Broderick, one of the conspirators: “Well, well, well, if it isn’t my favorite jarhead himself, Jiggs Casey.“)
  • Colette Jackson (Girl in Charlie’s Bar, near secret base in Texas: “You wonder what the country’s comin’ to. All those boys sittin’ up in the desert never seein’ no girls. Why, they might as well be in stir.“)
  • John Houseman (Vice Admiral Farley C. Barnswell, declined conspirator: “I’m sorry, sir. I can only recount to you the situation as it occurred. I signed no paper. He took nothing with him.“)
  • Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr. (Captain Ortega, commander at airplane crash site in Spain: “There were only two American nationals on board — a Mrs. Agnes Buchanan from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and a Mr. Paul Girard. His destination was Washington.“)
  • Fredd Wayne (Henry Whitney, official from American embassy in Spain: “You find any effects of the Americans? Anything at all?“)
  • Tyler McVey (General Hardesty, another conspirator: “Barney Rutkowski, Air Defense. He’s screaming bloody murder about those twelve troop carriers dispatched to El Paso.“)
  • Ferris Webster [editor of Seven Days in May] (General Barney Rutkowski: “There’s some kind of a secret base out there, Mr. President, and I think I should have been notified of it.“)

Character names

Other than the billing, “Also starring Ava Gardner as Eleanor Holbrook”, none of the other characters are identified by name in the credits, thus although Kirk Douglas‘ “Jiggs Casey” and Andrew Duggan‘s “Mutt Henderson” are described in the book as having the given names of “Martin” and “William”, respectively, those names are never mentioned in the film. Also, while Rod Serling’s screenplay names the head of the White House Secret Service as “Art Corwin”, in the film he is only referred to as “Art” or “Arthur”. The surname “Corwin” was a tribute to the radio drama writer Serling described as his idol, Norman Corwin,[8] while the given name “Art” was a nod to Serling’s personal favorite, Art Carney, who played a fictionalized version of Serling in Serling’s autobiographical 1959 Playhouse 90 drama, “The Velvet Alley”, as well as the reincarnated Santa Claus, “Henry Corwin”, in “The Night of the Meek“, Serling’s 1960 Christmas episode of The Twilight Zone.

Cast members whose participation has been noted in various sources[edit]

  • At the 35th Academy Awards on April 8, 1963, while Seven Days in May was still in its pre-production and casting stages, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?s Victor Buono was one of the four unsuccessful nominees vying for Best Supporting Actor. His name appears on a list of actors engaged for the production, but there is no confirmation of his actual participation in the filming.
  • On September 17, 1963, as Seven Days in May was in initial production days, ABC showcased the premiere episode of its new TV series, The Fugitive, which prominently featured one-armed bit player Bill Raisch in the iconic, non-speaking, intermittent role of the killer. He is also listed among those who were scheduled to play a part in the filming, but whether he ultimately did has not been confirmed. Raisch was previously used by Kirk Douglas for a notorious scene in his 1960 film epic Spartacus in which, playing a Roman soldier, Raisch had a specially-fitted prosthetic arm chopped off in battle. Douglas engaged him again for a dramatic fight scene in his 1962 modern-day western Lonely Are the Brave.
  • Although he cannot be discerned in the release version of Seven Days in May, minor supporting actor Leonard Nimoy, who gained stardom three years later, in 1966, as Star Treks Mr. Spock, likewise appears in the production company’s casting list among the unbilled actors whose services were retained for this film.[9]

Production

Kirk Douglas and director John Frankenheimer were the moving forces behind the filming of Seven Days in May; the film was produced by Edward Lewis through Douglas’s company Joel Productions and Seven Arts Productions. Frankenheimer wanted the screenwriter to be a partner in the production, and Rod Serling agreed to this arrangement. Douglas agreed to star in it, but he also wanted his frequent co-star Burt Lancaster to star in the film as well. This almost caused Frankenheimer to back out, since he and Lancaster had butted heads on Birdman of Alcatraz two years earlier. Only Douglas’s assurances that Lancaster would behave kept the director on the project.[10] Ironically, Lancaster and Frankenheimer became close friends during the filming, while Douglas and the director had a falling out.[11][12] Frankenheimer was also very happy with Lancaster’s performance, and noted in the long scene toward the end between Lancaster and March, probably his all-time favourite directed scene, that Lancaster was “perfect” in his delivery and that no other actor could have done it better.[13] Most of the actors in the film Frankenheimer had worked with previously, a directorial preference. Frankenheimer, in the DVD commentary for the film, stated that he would not have made the movie any differently decades later and that it was one of the films he was most satisfied with.[13] He saw it as a chance to “put a nail in the coffin of McCarthy“.[13]

Many of Lancaster’s scenes were shot later on as he was recovering from hepatitis.[13] The filming took 51 days and according to the director the production was a happy affair, and all of the actors and crew displayed great reverence for Fredric March.[13] Ava Gardner, whose scenes were shot in just six days, however, thought that Frankenheimer favored the other actors over her and Martin Balsam objected to his habit of shooting off pistols behind him during important scenes.[10] Frankenheimer remarked that she was a “lovely person” and overwhelmingly beautiful, but at times “difficult” to work with.[13] Interiors for Seven Days in May were shot at the Paramount studios in Hollywood, and on location in Paris, France, Washington, D.C., San Diego, Arizona and in California’s Imperial Valley.[14][15] The director had formerly been in the military and had been inside the Pentagon so didn’t have to conduct much research for the film; he stated that the sets were totally authentic, praising the production designer.[13] In addition, many of the scenes in the film were loosely based on real-life events of the Cold War to provide authenticity.[16]

Supercarrier Kitty Hawk in 2002

In an early example of guerrilla filmmaking, Frankenheimer photographed Martin Balsam being ferried out to the supercarrier USS Kitty Hawk, berthed at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego (standing in for Gibraltar), without prior Defense Department permission. Frankenheimer needed a commanding figure to play Vice-Admiral Farley C. Barnswell and asked his friend, well-known producer John Houseman to play him, to which he agreed, on condition that he have a fine bottle of wine (which is seen during the telephone scene), although he was uncredited for it. It was Houseman’s American acting debut, and he would not appear onscreen again until his Oscar-winning role in 1973’s The Paper Chase. Frankenheimer also wanted a shot of Kirk Douglas entering the Pentagon, but could not get permission because of security considerations, so he rigged a movie camera in a parked station wagon to photograph Douglas walking up to the Pentagon. Douglas actually received salutes from military personnel inasmuch as he was wearing the uniform of a U.S. Marine Corps colonel.[17] Several scenes, including one with nuns in the background, were shot inside Washington Dulles International Airport which had recently been built, and the production team were the first ever to film there.[13] The alley and car park scene was shot in Hollywood, and other footage was shot in the Californian desert in 110 degree heat. The secret base and airstrip was specially built in the desert near Indio, California, and they borrowed an aircraft tail in one shot to make it look like a whole plane was off the picture.[13] Originally the script had Lancaster die in a car crash at the end after hitting a bus, but finally this was edited out in favour of a small scene of him departing by taxi which was shot on a Sunday in Paris after the filming of the train scene in France.[13]

Getting permission near the White House was easier. Frankenheimer said that Pierre Salinger conveyed to him President Kennedy‘s wish that the film be made, “these were the days of General Walker” and, though the Pentagon did not want the film made, the president would conveniently arrange to visit Hyannis Port for a weekend when the film needed to shoot a staged riot outside the White House.[18] Kirk Douglas recalled President Kennedy approving of the making of the film.[19] The director considered the scene in which Douglas’s character visits the president to be a masterful scene of acting which would have been technically very difficult for most actors to sustain.[13] He had done similar scenes on many television shows, and every camera angle and shot was extensively planned and rehearsed as was the acting in the scene by the actors. Frankenheimer paid particular attention to ensuring that the three actors in the scene were all in focus for dramatic impact. Many of Frankenheimer’s signature shots were used in scenes such as this throughout the film, including his “depth of focus” shot with one or two people near the camera and another or others in the distance and the “low angle, wide-angle lens” (set at f/11) which he considered to give “tremendous impact” on a scene.[13]

Some efforts were made in the film to have the movie appear to take place in the near future, for instance the use of the then-futuristic technology of video teleconferencing, and of the use of (more exotic) foreign cars in place of (more ordinary) American cars. The film also featured the then recently issued M16 rifle.

David Amram, who had previously scored Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate, originally provided music for the film; however Lewis was unsatisfied with his work. Jerry Goldsmith, who had worked with the producer and Douglas on Lonely are the Brave and The List of Adrian Messenger, was signed to rescore the project (although a brief source cue by Amram remains in the finished film). Goldsmith composed a very brief score (lasting around 15 minutes) using only pianos and percussion; he later scored Seconds and The Challenge for Frankenheimer.[20] In 2013 Intrada Records released Goldsmith’s music for the film on a limited edition CD (paired with Maurice Jarre‘s score for The Mackintosh Man – although that film was produced by Warner Bros. while Seven Days in May was theatrically released by Paramount, the entire Seven Arts Productions library was acquired by Warner Bros. in 1967, meaning both films are now owned by WB).

Alternate ending

According to Douglas, an alternate ending was shot, but discarded:

General Scott, the treacherous Burt Lancaster character, goes off in his sports car, and dies in a wreck. Was it an accident or suicide? Coming up out of the wreckage over the car radio is President Jordan Lyman’s speech about the sanctity of the Constitution.[12]

This alternate ending echoes the novel, which ends with the apparent vehicular suicide of Senator Prentice.

Reception

Seven Days in May premièred on 12 February 1964, appropriately in Washington, D.C.[21] It opened to good critical notices and audience response.[10]

The film was nominated for two 1965 Academy Awards,[22] for Edmond O’Brien for “Best Actor in a Supporting Role”, and for “Best Art Direction-Set Decoration/Black-and-White” for Cary Odell and Edward G. Boyle. In that year’s Golden Globe Awards, O’Brien won for “Best Supporting Actor”, while Fredric March, John Frankenheimer and composer Jerry Goldsmith received nominations.

Frankenheimer won a Danish Bodil Award for directing the “Best Non-European Film” and Rod Serling was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for “Best Written American Drama”.

Evaluation in film guides

Steven H. Scheuer’s Movies on TV (1972–73 edition) gives Seven Days in May its highest rating of 4 stars, recommending it as “[A]n exciting suspense drama concerned with politics and the problems of sanity and survival in a nuclear age”, with the concluding sentences stating, “[B]enefits from taut screenplay by Rod Serling and the direction of John Frankenheimer, which artfully builds interest leading to the finale. March is a standout in a uniformly fine cast. So many American-made films dealing with political subjects are so naive and simple-minded that the thoughtful and, in this case, the optimistic statement of the film is a welcome surprise.” By the 1986–87 edition, Scheuer’s rating was lowered to 3½ and the conclusion shortened to, “which artfully builds to the finale”, with the final sentences deleted. Leonard Maltin’s TV Movies & Video Guide (1989 edition) gives it a still lower 3 stars (out of 4), originally describing it as “[A]bsorbing story of military scheme to overthrow the government”, with later editions (including 2014) adding one word, “[A]bsorbing, believable story…”

Videohound’s Golden Movie Retriever follows Scheuer’s later example, with 3½ bones (out of 4), calling it “[T]opical but still gripping Cold War nuclear-peril thriller” and, in the end, “[H]ighly suspenseful, with a breathtaking climax.” Mick Martin’s & Marsha Porter’s DVD & Video Guide also puts its rating high, at 4 stars (out of 5) finding it, as Videohound did, “[A] highly suspenseful account of an attempted military takeover…” and indicating that “the movie’s tension snowballs toward a thrilling conclusion. This is one of those rare films that treat their audiences with respect.” Assigning the equally high rating of 4 stars (out of 5), The Motion Picture Guide begins its description with “[A] taut, gripping, and suspenseful political thriller which sports superb performances from the entire cast”, goes to state, in the middle, that “proceeding to unravel its complicated plot at a rapid clip, SEVEN DAYS IN MAY is a surprisingly exciting film that also packs a grim warning”, and ends with “Lancaster underplays the part of the slightly crazed general and makes him seem quite rational and persuasive. It is a frightening performance. Douglas is also quite good as the loyal aide who uncovers the fantastic plot that could destroy the entire country. March, Balsam, O’Brien, Bissell, and Houseman all turn in topnotch performances and it is through their conviction that the viewer becomes engrossed in this outlandish tale.”

British references also show high regard for the film, with TimeOut Film Guides founding editor Tom Milne indicating that “[C]onspiracy movies may have become more darkly complex in these post-Watergate days of Pakula and paranoia, but Frankenheimer’s fascination with gadgetry (in his compositions, the ubiquitous helicopters, TV screens, hidden cameras and electronic devices literally edge the human characters into insignificance) is used to create a striking visual metaphor for control by the military machine. Highly enjoyable.” In his Film Guide, Leslie Halliwell provided 3 stars (out of 4), describing it as “[A]bsorbing political mystery drama marred only by the unnecessary introduction of a female character. Stimulating entertainment.” David Shipman in his 1984 The Good Film and Video Guide gives 2 (out of 4) stars, noting that it is “[A] tense political thriller whose plot is plotting”.

Remake

The film was remade in 1994 by HBO as The Enemy Within with Sam Waterston as “President William Foster”, Jason Robards as “General R. Pendleton Lloyd”, and Forest Whitaker as “Colonel MacKenzie ‘Mac’ Casey”. This version followed many parts of the original plot closely, while updating it for the post–Cold War world, omitting certain incidents, and changing the ending.

See also

References

Notes

  1. Jump up^ “Big Rental Pictures of 1964”, Variety, p. 39, 6 January 1965.
  2. Jump up^ “Seven Days in May” (Kirkus Reviews, September 10, 1962)
  3. Jump up^ “Armed Forces: I Must Be Free…” (Time Magazine, November 10, 1961)
  4. Jump up^ United States. Warren Commission (1964). Report of the Warren Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy. McGraw-Hill Book Company. pp. 282–.
  5. Jump up^ Stoddard, Brooke C. “Seven Days in May: Remembrance of Books Past” (Washington Independent Review of Books, November 27, 2012)
  6. Jump up^ Steed, Mark S. “Seven Days in May by Knebel and Bailey – Book Review” (An Independent Head, October 26, 2013)
  7. Jump up^ Kakutani, Michiko. Kennedy, and What Might Have Been: ‘JFK’s Last Hundred Days’ by Thurston Clarke, page 95 (The New York Times, August 12, 2013)
  8. Jump up^ Romano, Carlin, Inquirer book critic. “He Was So Outspoken About TV He Was Called Its Leading Critic in 1961. (The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 2, 1993)”
  9. Jump up^ Tom. “Missing Cast Members” (The Old Movie House, February 8, 2012)
  10. ^ Jump up to:a b c Stafford, Jeff, Seven Days in May (article), TCM.
  11. Jump up^ Frankenheimer, John and Champlin, Charles. John Frankenheimer : A Conversation Riverwood Press, 1995. ISBN 978-1-880756-13-3
  12. ^ Jump up to:a b Douglas, Kirk. The Ragman’s Son. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988.
  13. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l Frankenheimer, John, Seven Days in May DVD Commentary, Warner Home Video, May 16, 2000
  14. Jump up^ IMDb Filming Locations
  15. Jump up^ Notes, TCM.
  16. Jump up^ Antulov, Dragan. “All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review Seven Days In May” (All-Reviews, 2002)
  17. Jump up^ Pratley, Gerald. The Cinema of John Frankenheimer London: A. Zwemmer, 1969. ISBN 978-0-302-02000-5.
  18. Jump up^ Arthur Meier Schlesinger (1978). Robert Kennedy and His Times. ISBN 978-0-7088-1633-2.
  19. Jump up^ Seven Days in May commentary as part of the Kirk Douglas Featured Collection at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research
  20. Jump up^ Scott Bettencourt, liner notes, soundtrack album, Intrada Special Collection Vol. 235
  21. Jump up^ Overview, TCM.
  22. Jump up^ “Seven Days in May”. The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-25.

Further reading

External links

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

With NAFTA in Trump’s crosshairs, Mexico’s border factories brace for the unknown

February 21 at 6:45 PM

If you sleep on a memory foam mattress, chances are good that its fabric cover was made here in a small factory in this desert border town on the westernmost edge of Texas.

Well, here and over there, across the Rio Grande in Ciudad Juarez, a Mexican city where pieces of fabric cut in El Paso are stitched together and shipped back across the border. The supply of cheap labor in Mexico has fueled the rise of manufacturing plants dotting the border known as maquiladoras.

The journey of this mattress cover, from El Paso to Ciudad Juarez and back, illustrates the far-reaching tentacles of free trade and its impact on the border economy and across the United States. It’s a journey now fraught with tension as President Trump moves to renegotiate — or even unilaterally withdraw the country from — the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that has allowed maquiladoras to flourish but that Trump and some Rust Belt communities blame for the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

Perhaps no one knows the complex implications of trade agreements better than a family whose prosperity and company profits were built on their promises. MFI International is a U.S. textiles manufacturing firm that has operated on the border for three decades. Now, in a moment of uncertainty and flux, the tweaking of any trade deal will change the foundation on which the company runs as well as the economic fates of two cities that are inextricably linked.

“We are in the desert where things don’t look that green, but what makes our area very fertile is our people on both sides of the border who work in the manufacturing industry,” said Cecilia Levine, who, along with her husband and son, owns MFI International. “Every job in Mexico produces jobs in the United States.”

Altering NAFTA could raise another complexity — the higher prices likely to follow would make U.S. companies less competitive against manufacturers overseas.

“Stopping NAFTA doesn’t stop the flow of goods coming in from China,” Levine said.

NAFTA, which Trump has called “the worst trade deal in history,” set the foundation for the current economic ecosystem in border towns by allowing companies in the United States to send raw materials to their plants in Mexico for assembly and import the finished product back to the United States — generally without paying duties.

The result for consumers: finished goods at a lower price.

On a recent morning in an industrial park on the eastern outskirts of town, rolls of bound cloth waited to be inspected and processed by the 100 or so workers in MFI’s El Paso plant. A worker used a knife to manually cut patterns from a three-inch stack of polyester material as cumbia music echoed through the factory.

Once the pieces for the mattress cover are cut, they are loaded onto semi-trucks bound for Ciudad Juarez, where workers earning less than half the salary of their U.S. counterparts sew the pieces together.

‘Economies are intertwined’

Cecilia Levine used to cross the U.S.-Mexico border four to six times each day.

She started manufacturing plus-size fashion in Ciudad Juarez with a six-person plant in 1986, seeking to take advantage of a previous customs rule that allowed U.S. materials to enter Mexico duty free as long as the manufactured products were exported back to the United States. Within a couple years, her factory had grown to 260 workers.

Then a single mom, she recalled her daily routine of piling her three young children in the car and driving from their El Paso home over the bridge to Ciudad Juarez to open the factory by 6:30 each morning before schlepping them back to El Paso in time for school. Her American children grew up in the factories, doing their homework, learning to sew and driving forklifts.

Shortly thereafter, she met Lance Levine, who had just moved his vacuum cleaner filter factories from New York and Illinois to El Paso and Ciudad Juarez to better compete with the Asian market. He was expanding manufacturing to include other goods such as jock straps and baby carriers. She snagged a contract away from him to make slippers, and they fell in love. She sold her company and joined his, as the chief of operations.

Business boomed after NAFTA came into force in 1994. In addition to lowering tariffs among the United States, Canada and Mexico, the trade agreement created a common set of rules, regulations and practices among the countries. That made companies feel more comfortable about the long-term stability of the U.S.-Mexico relationship, prompting them to invest in manufacturing operations along the border, Lance Levine said.

Maquiladora employment in Mexico grew 86 percent in the first five years after the onset of ­NAFTA, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. MFI ­expanded the number of workers in both its El Paso and Ciudad Juarez plants.

Then China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, opening up the world economy for Chinese exports. Nearly all textiles manufacturing migrated to China, where production costs were much smaller in comparison.

“We got killed. Virtually the entire textile industry in the U.S. was destroyed. We just couldn’t compete with Chinese prices,” said Lance Levine, accusing China of currency manipulation and government subsidies that he said prevented fair competition. “Our trade policies just allowed that to happen.”

At the time, Lance Levine sat on an International Trade Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commerce Department. Cecilia Levine served on President George W. Bush’s Export Council. Together they raised concerns to the U.S. government about American businesses losing their competitive edge to China. Cecilia even traveled to China with then-
Commerce Secretary Donald Evans to meet with the Chinese government about leveling the playing field — to no avail.

“It was like a nightmare. All our baby products went away. Clothing went away. Home furnishings went away,” Cecilia Levine said. “Other companies that only made pants and shirts disappeared. But we were flexible. If I’d only known how to make jeans and those jeans went away, I could have sat there and cried. I learned to make something else.”

MFI switched to manufacturing larger products, such as mattress and couch covers, that would cost more to transport from China to the United States.

The Levines’ concerns over unfair foreign competition is reflected in Trump’s trade rhetoric. Trump has already withdrawn the United States from the ­Trans-Pacific Partnership, a ­12-nation trade agreement designed during the Obama administration to help the countries compete against China’s growing economic clout. But Trump argued that the deal would have put U.S. workers at a disadvantage to cheaper labor in countries that were also part of the deal, such as Vietnam. Instead, Trump has threatened to impose high tariffs on Chinese, as well as Mexican, goods.

Economists say NAFTA has benefited the United States overall and that raising tariffs would risk sparking a trade war and wreak havoc on the manufacturing supply chain. Slapping a 35 percent import tariff, as Trump has threatened with Mexico, would be “bad for growth, bad for business, bad for jobs,” said Caroline Freund, senior fellow with the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

Freund chalks up Trump’s talk of high tariffs and withdrawal from NAFTA as negotiating ploys. A more likely scenario floated by the administration, she said, would be to push for rules mandating that a higher percentage of parts and materials originate in North America in order for traded products to be exempt from tariffs. That would limit imported materials from Asia, where MFI gets much of its fabric.

But even that change could have negative consequences, ­Freund said, “making production less efficient and making our companies less competitive globally,” she said.

Others are more supportive of the Trump administration’s attempt to renegotiate NAFTA. Raising the requirement for parts originating in North America would encourage foreign companies to locate production plants in North America and prevent “free-riding imports” from China and elsewhere, said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

MFI currently imports about 20 percent of its cloth from Asia because it’s cheaper than domestic cloth. Certain types of material are no longer available in the United States because the textiles mills have either closed or moved to Asia over the past two decades, said Lance Levine. Even most of the U.S. fabric used by MFI is woven or knit from Asian yarn.

Still, Lance Levine said, finished goods are arriving in the United States from China at a lower cost than the materials themselves. Unless the United States increases tariffs on those finished products, U.S. manufacturers would still lose, Levine said, because renegotiating NAFTA to raise the percentage of materials sourced from North America would result in higher priced mattresses made in the United States and Mexico.

Already, MFI produces some “Made in the USA” mattress covers completely assembled in El Paso for mattress companies who request them — at a higher cost.

“If my products were to become more expensive, I guarantee you my clients are going to buy where they can get equal products at lower cost,” Levine said. “They have to be competitive worldwide. This is not as easy as it first seemed on the campaign trail. There are a lot of sensitive negotiations here.”

Cross-border trade existed in this region long before NAFTA and will continue no matter what Trump does, Cecilia Levine figures. One of her great-grandfathers traded cattle with Mexico. Another operated gold mines in Mexico as well as luxury department stores in both the United States and Mexico. Her father ran cotton gins in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua and sold Pima cotton to the United States.

International trade, she said, is in her blood — and the country’s.

“Mexico makes the perfect partner with the U.S.,” she said. “Our economies are intertwined.”

‘The stakes are very high’

In an industrial park in Ciudad Juarez, about a 20-minute drive from MFI’s El Paso factory, workers sit in clusters surrounded by plastic crates overflowing with pieces of cloth. Some sew covers for a major memory foam mattress brand, assembling zippers, adding labels, topstitching fabric panels. Others do the same for a start-up “bed-in-a-box” company. Altogether, MFI produces mattress covers for seven U.S. memory foam bedding companies.

A child Jesus doll, Santo Nino de Atocha, watches over them from his perch on a little wooden chair nailed to the white cinder block wall. So does Saint Jude, a saint of miracles — as well as a screen displaying their productivity in real time.

The factory’s 650 workers come in two shifts — the first from 6 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., the second until half past midnight, five days a week. They are paid by seniority and skill set, with a seamstress earning, on average, $147 a week including benefits.

Many of the employees have been with MFI for more than 20 years, met their spouses here and witnessed Cecilia’s children grow up in the factory. Now her son, Lawrence Wollschlager, is taking over the family business as MFI International’s president and chief operating officer. When he walks onto the factory floor, cutting a striking figure in his well-tailored suit and brown and blue leather oxford shoes, the women pretend to swoon over their sewing machines.

But workers have been harder to find these days. Maquiladoras in Ciudad Juarez were short about 30,000 workers in 2016, according to local business associations. That deficit has dropped dramatically in 2017, to between 3,000 and 6,000, according to the Industria de Exportación, a nonprofit representing Mexican export companies, because companies are not growing as quickly given the uncertain political and economic climate.

While many workers moved to Ciudad Juarez from elsewhere in Mexico for these factory jobs, thousands more moved out in recent years when the city was racked by violence. The crime has subsided, and “vacantes” signs advertising job openings have sprung up on fences around the industrial parks. An increase in auto manufacturing plants contributed to the worker shortage, Wollschlager said, as well as an aging workforce. Young people in Mexico simply don’t find factory work to be all that attractive these days, he said.

To lure workers from the south, maquiladoras in Ciudad Juarez began offering benefits such as two square meals a day and transportation from their homes to the factories. The commute to MFI’s plant on refurbished school buses painted white could stretch to more than two hours amid afternoon traffic. The factory also offers workers a chance to complete their elementary and secondary educations, with lessons squeezed in before or after their shifts.

The worker shortage in the north recently prompted MFI to open a second Mexico plant farther south, in Jimenez, Chihuahua, where the company employs close to 100 operators.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that 6 million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Mexico. Many are on the border; a 10 percent increase in manufacturing on the Mexican side increases employment in El Paso by 2.8 percent, according to research by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. In addition to factory work making parts for the supply chain of cars, medical devices and electronics, thousands of U.S. warehousing and logistics jobs are driven by cross-border operations.

In Ciudad Juarez, the number of maquiladoras has risen by more than 40 percent since NAFTA to 327 plants today, according to research by the University of Texas at El Paso Border Region Modeling Project.

But the business community here is on edge. More than two dozen business leaders and mayors recently penned a letter to Congress warning that retreating from NAFTA would cripple trade and cause recessions in border communities and elsewhere in the United States.

Uncertainty over NAFTA has frozen investments in the region, with hiring and land purchases slowing, said Jon Barela, chief executive of the Borderplex Alliance, a nonprofit focused on promoting economic opportunity in El Paso, Ciudad Juarez and southern New Mexico. In one week alone, he said, at least a dozen companies have frozen capital investments on both sides of the border, delayed hiring and canceled factory orders from U.S. suppliers as well as transportation contracts with trucking companies.

“The stakes are very high,” Barela said. “For decades the two nations have worked to develop a relationship that Trump has blown apart in a matter of a week.”

‘Difficult to stay open’

Delighted whoops and hollers erupt from a sewing cluster in another corner of MFI’s Ciudad Juarez plant. Geronimo Renteria, a 62-year-old nicknamed “El Gallo” (The Rooster), entertains his colleagues with his realistic clucking and crowing. Renteria stood out in his white fedora, which he’s allowed to wear only on Fridays because he and his colleagues go dancing after work.

Renteria said he came to MFI three years ago because he likes to sew. Previously he was making wiring harnesses for airplanes at another maquiladora. That factory did not allow him to wear his fedora.

“A lot of other companies don’t take the elders. If you’re 50, forget it. But here, we embrace the elders,” said Cecilia Levine.

It would be a mistake to think that all these jobs in Ciudad Juarez would return to El Paso if the United States pulled out of ­NAFTA, she said. What would more likely happen, she said, is that the mattress companies, too, would decamp for China, taking the jobs in Ciudad Juarez and El Paso along with them.

“It would be very difficult to stay open,” she said. “You are talking about a U.S. company that would suffer.”

Once the mattress covers are complete, workers load crates of finished covers into the back of a semi-truck, ready to return to El Paso. From there, the covers will be shipped to various mattress companies around the United States to be stuffed with memory foam and sold in stores.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/with-nafta-in-trumps-crosshairs-mexicos-border-factories-brace-for-the-unknown/2017/02/21/f91a3960-ee49-11e6-b4ff-ac2cf509efe5_story.html?utm_term=.777dba3e7ba1

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Left Imploding: Democrats For Trump Speaks Out

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The Pronk Pops Show 841, February 17, Story 1: President Trump’s First Press Conference Part 2: President Trump Speaks Directly To The American People — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Educates The Big Lie Media (Democratic Newspapers and Television Networks) with Fake News Spinning Propaganda — Trump to news media: The public doesn’t believe you anymore! — Trump On Offense vs. Big Lie Media On Defense — President Trump Wins With Working Americans — Buy American and Hire American — Videos

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 Story 1: President Trump’s First Press Conference Part 1: President Trump Speaks Directly To The American People — Videos — 

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President Donald Trump Full Press Conference Addresses Ties to Russia, Leaks, and “Fake News” 2/16

President Trump scolds media at news conference

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Sorry media — this press conference played very different with Trump’s supporters

 Far from dead, he was positively exuberant. His performance at a marathon press conference was a must-see-tv spectacle as he mixed serious policy talk with stand-up comedy and took repeated pleasure in whacking his favorite pinata, the “dishonest media.”

“Russia is a ruse,” he insisted, before finally saying under questioning he was not aware of anyone on his campaign having contact with Russian officials.

Trump’s detractors immediately panned the show as madness, but they missed the method behind it and proved they still don’t understand his appeal. Facing his first crisis in the Oval Office, he was unbowed in demonstrating his bare-knuckled intention to fight back.

He did it his way. Certainly no other president, and few politicians at any level in any time, would dare put on a show like that.

In front of cameras, and using the assembled press corps as props, he conducted a televised revival meeting to remind his supporters that he is still the man they elected. Ticking off a lengthy list of executive orders and other actions he has taken, he displayed serious fealty to his campaign promises.

Trump goes on marathon rant against the media

Sure, sentences didn’t always end on the same topic they started with, and his claim to have won the election by the largest electoral college margin since Ronald Reagan wasn’t close to true.

Fair points, but so what? Fact-checkers didn’t elect him, nor did voters who were happy with the status quo.

Trump, first, last and always, matches the mood of the discontented. Like them, he is a bull looking for a china shop. That’s his ace in the hole and he played it almost to perfection.

The immediate impact of his performance is likely to calm some of the jitters among Republicans in congress and supporters elsewhere, especially after the beating he took in the last few days.

On Monday night, Trump suddenly removed Gen. Michael Flynn, his national security adviser, over circumstances that still are not entirely clear. And on Wednesday, his nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, withdrew after Republicans said he didn’t have the votes to be confirmed.

Combined with courts blocking his immigration and refugee order, unflattering leaks of confidential material from intelligence agencies and numerous demands for investigations into any Russian connections, Trump’s fast start suddenly hit a wall.

Just three weeks into his term, Democrats, in and out of the media, smelled blood. Many already were going for the kill.

They won’t get it, at least now. Trump bought himself time yesterday.

Yet those determined to bring him down won’t give up, and the insidious leaks of secret material suggest some opponents are members of the permanent government who are willing to use their position and the media to undermine him.

Indeed, the most serious leaks seem to vindicate a warning that Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer made in early January after Trump criticized leaders of the spook agencies.

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told an interviewer. “So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”

That incredible statement reflects what a dangerous game rogue agents are playing. The world is on fire yet the president is the target of partisan revenge in his own government. It’s a scandal and it’s outrageous, but it’s a fact that Trump must confront.

Finding the leakers and prosecuting them, which he promises to do, is part of the solution.

rAnother part comes Saturday, when Trump takes his solo act to Florida for a massive public rally. It’s smart for him to get out of Washington and soak in the enthusiasm of the populist movement he leads.

He should do it regularly, and also hold smaller, town-hall style forums where ordinary citizens can ask him questions in more intimate settings. Any way he can speak directly to the American people and hear from them democratizes his presidency and reduces the power of big biased media and the Washington establishment.

Yet the only sure and lasting way to keep ahead of the lynch mob is by producing results. Success will be Trump’s savior.

And nothing says success like jobs, jobs, jobs. Getting the economy to reach lift-off speed is essential so it can deliver the good-paying jobs and prosperity that he promised and the nation needs.

While Republican honchos in congress say they’re getting ready to move on tax cuts and replacing ObamaCare, nothing will happen without presidential leadership. That means Trump’s fate is in his own hands and he must keep himself and his White House team focused on delivering an economic revival.

If he does that, the lynch mob will be left holding an empty rope.

http://nypost.com/2017/02/16/sorry-media-this-press-conference-played-very-different-with-trumps-supporters/

At Boeing, Trump returns to an economic message after a week of controversy

February 17 at 2:35 PM

Trump promises focus on jobs, lower taxes in speech at Boeing factory

President Trump promised to work to keep manufacturing companies in the U.S., and to lower taxes for businesses, speaking at the unveiling of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on Feb. 17 in North Charleston, S.C. (The Washington Post)

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — When President Trump took the stage here Friday to mark the launch of Boeing’s newest aircraft, it was a scene reminiscent of his airplane hangar rallies during the presidential campaign.

Except, instead of his “Trump” branded Boeing 757 parked in the background, Boeing’s newest product, the Dreamliner 787-10, glittered in the sun behind him, and off to the side stood Trump’s new ride, Air Force One.

Trump’s somewhat unusual appearance at the launch event for the company’s highly anticipated version 10 of the Dreamliner wasn’t to roll out new economic policy or even push a specific economic agenda item. Instead, it seemed that Trump was there to boost the company with a presidential endorsement for its American-made fleet, and he in turn would be the face of a major milestone for one of the country’s largest job creators.

“We’re here today to celebrate American engineering and American manufacturing,” Trump said. “We’re also here today to celebrate jobs. Jobs!”

“Jobs is one of the primary reasons I’m standing here as president, and I will never ever disappoint you. Believe me,” he added.

Trump’s visit to the Boeing plant also comes at a time when the Trump administration is struggling to establish a greater sense of order and focus after weeks of distractions and negative headlines.

The White House has aimed to structure his daily schedule with at least one jobs-focused meeting each day. But much of that has been overshadowed by several all-consuming stories, the most damaging of which was the ouster of Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, on Monday.

Questions about the Trump administration and campaign’s ties to Russia have only intensified after multiple media reports revealed that Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, despite Flynn’s statements to the contrary.

Friday’s event on the manufacturing floor of Boeing’s South Carolina plant offered Trump a much-needed opportunity to reset his administration and refocus an economic-based message.

“You look at what’s happening with jobs. You look at what’s happening with plants moving back to this country. All of a sudden they’re coming back,” Trump said. “As your president, I’m going to do everything that I can to unleash the power of the American spirit and put our great people back to work.

“This is our mantra, buy American and hire American.”

A few months ago, it seemed that Trump’s relationship with Boeing was on the rocks before it even really began.

As president-elect, Trump launched into a Twitter fight with the company and its chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, over the cost of a new fleet of presidential airplanes that would be used as Air Force One. Quickly, Boeing relented, promising to bring down the plane’s costs after meetings with Trump.

Less than a month into his presidency, Trump is back to Boeing on a decidedly more positive note.

“That plane, as beautiful as it looks, is 30 years old,” Trump said, pointing to the Boeing 747 that serves as Air Force One. “What can look so beautiful at 30?”

The turnabout is emblematic of Trump’s preferred mode of dealing with America’s largest and most powerful businesses. It reflects the degree to which Trump has already changed the terms of engagement with the business community, quickly creating an incentive structure where businesses are rewarded with praise from the highest office in the land when they roll out jobs or cost savings for taxpayers — and credit him for influencing their decision-making.

Over the past several weeks, chief executives including Intel’s Brian Krzanich traveled to the White House to announce new American jobs, thanks to fresh “confidence” in the economy spurred by the new administration.

“They’re keeping and bringing thousands of jobs back to our country because the business climate, they know, has already changed,” Trump said, highlighting jobs announcements from automakers Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler. “We will see more and more of that across the country as we continue to work on reducing regulations, cutting taxes — including for the middle class, including for everyone, and including for businesses.”

In this setting, Trump seems at his most comfortable.

Here, Trump reveled in his electoral victory and the adulation of a supportive crowd in a state that he won in both the Republican primary and the general election.

“This was going to be a place that was tough to win, and we won in a landslide,” Trump declared.

As the restive crowd of Boeing employees waited for hours for Trump to arrive, some cheered when his name was mentioned in the preshow. “Make America Great Again” hats and T-shirts dotted the sea of people on the plant’s manufacturing floor where more than 5,000 employees were gathered.

He toured the new Dreamliner with Boeing executives and could be seen sitting in the plane’s cockpit after his speech.

On Saturday, Trump plans something of a repeat performance in what the White House is dubbing the first “campaign” event of his presidency, at an airplane hangar rally in Melbourne, Fla.

Among some Boeing employees, the reception to Trump was reserved, but optimistic.

Leif Anderson, who started working at the factory six years ago after leaving the Air Force, sat Thursday night at the bar at Domino Lounge, a pool hall three miles from the Boeing plant, smoking cigarillos and sipping a shot of Crown Royal apple whiskey alongside a glass of Bud Lite.

Anderson said he voted for Trump more out of loyalty to the Republican Party, but is “not jumping to conclusions” about the president as a leader.

“I’m really curious to see what he does,” said Anderson, who leads a group of workers at the Boeing plant installing the planes’ interiors. He hopes that Trump’s economic policies succeed, which he said would help his own career along with the country as a whole.

“If he does good, then I’m going to do good,” Anderson said.

Elliott Slater, a Boeing mechanic, took the day off Friday and did not attend Trump’s speech, saying he wanted to avoid the traffic.

“I didn’t vote for him, either.” said Slater, a veteran of the Navy. “He’s not my president. He’s got to earn my respect.”

Slater, who supported the union’s unsuccessful vote to organize the plant in Wednesday’s election, said that Trump would support companies over workers. “He’s definitely pro businesses, being a business man himself. … That’s fine, but you know, how does the business treat its workers?”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/02/17/at-boeing-trump-returns-to-an-economic-message-after-a-week-of-controversy/?utm_term=.208a463653aa

Trump signs bill undoing Obama coal mining rule

Trump signs bill undoing Obama coal mining rule
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President Trump on Thursday signed legislation ending a key Obama administration coal mining rule.

The bill quashes the Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Protection Rule, a regulation to protect waterways from coal mining waste that officials finalized in December.

The legislation is the second Trump has signed into law ending an Obama-era environmental regulation. On Tuesday, he signed a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution undoing a financial disclosure requirement for energy companies.

Both the mining and financial disclosure bills are the tip of a GOP push to undo a slate of regulations instituted in the closing days of the Obama administration. The House has passed several CRA resolutions, and the Senate has so far sent three of them to President Trump for his signature.

Regulators finalized the stream protection rule in December, but they spent most of Obama’s tenure writing it.The rule is among the most controversial environment regulations the former administration put together. The coal mining industry said it would be costly to implement and lead to job losses across the sector, which is already suffering from a market-driven downturn in demand for its product.

At the signing, Trump called the regulation “another terrible job killing rule” and said ending it would save “many thousands American jobs, especially in the mines, which, I have been promising you — the mines are a big deal.”

“This is a major threat to your jobs and we’re going to get rid of this threat,” he added. “We’re going to fight for you.”

Republicans on Congress, especially from Appalachia, supported that argument and sought to block the rule several times before finally passing the CRA resolution this month.

“In my home state of Kentucky and others across the nation, the stream buffer rule will cause major damage to communities and threaten coal jobs,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said before the bill passed. “We should heed their call now and begin bringing relief to coal country.”

Environmentalists supported the administration rule, saying it would protect waterways from pollution and preserve public health. They have criticized the GOP for repealing environmental rules in the name of supporting coal mining jobs, but doing little else to help displaced workers in mining areas.

“If you want to help miners, then come address their health and safety and their pension program,” Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said during floor debate on the measure.

“You can protect the coal industry here with special interests and the amount of lobbying they do, or you can step up in a process and have a regulation that works for the United States of America so the outdoor industry and sportsman and fishermen can continue to thrive.”

The Senate this week sent Trump a CRA resolution blocking a gun sales regulation. Members could soon take up a measure undoing a methane rule for natural gas drilling operations on public land.

http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/319938-trump-signs-bill-undoing-obama-coal-mining-rule

Dan Coats Announced as Trump’s Pick for Director of National Intelligence

President-Elect Trump Goes on Tweetstorm for Better Russia Relations 1:38

President-elect Donald Trump intends to nominate former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats to serve as national intelligence director, his transition team announced Saturday.

Coats, would need to be confirmed by Senate for the role, served eight years in the House of Representatives and two years in the Senate. During the George W. Bush administration, he served as U.S. ambassador to Germany.

“I’m very confident that Senator Dan Coats is the right choice to serve as Director of National Intelligence,” President-elect Trump said in a statement. “Dan has clearly demonstrated the deep subject matter expertise and sound judgment required to lead our intelligence community.”

As director of national intelligence, Coats would serve as the head of the United States’ intelligence community and be the president’s principal adviser on the issue.

Image: Trump to name Dan Coats as Director of national intelligence
Indiana Senator Dan Coats speaks briefly with the press following his meeting with US President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York, New York, USA, 30 November 2016 AALBIN LOHR-JONES / POOL / EPA

Coats will succeed James Clapper, who recently testified in front of Congress that Russia had stepped up its cyber espionage operation in an attempt to undermine the election. A redacted report about the hack and its goals was released on Friday.

First elected to the Senate in 1990 in a special election that filled the seat vacated by Dan Quayle — who departed the Senate to serve as George H. W. Bush’s vice president — Coats won reelection in 1992 before retiring from the Senate in 1998. He then was nominated to serve as U.S. ambassador to Germany in 2001, arriving there mere days before the Sept. 11 terrorism attack.

After departing as ambassador four years later, Coats worked as a prominent lobbyist in Washington D.C. and then decided to run for his former Senate seat in 2010 — an election he won.

Coats again announced his retirement from government in November 2015.

Most recently while in the Senate, Coats served as the chairman of the Joint Economic Committee and as a member of the Senate Committee on Finance and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

“If confirmed as Director of National Intelligence, he will provide unwavering leadership that the entire intelligence community can respect, and will spearhead my administration’s ceaseless vigilance against those who seek to do us harm,” Trump added in his statement.

“I’m pleased to hear the President-elect has nominated my colleague and friend Dan Coats to be the next head of our Intelligence Community,” said Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “Dan’s experience as a valued member of the Senate Intelligence Committee will help to guide him as the next Director of National Intelligence.”

In the past year as a senator, Coats has introduced six bills. Only two simple resolutions passed: The first recognized the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and the other commemorated the bicentennial of the state of Indiana.

Coats will lead an intelligence community that already has a rocky relationship with the president-elect, as Trump has continued to float doubts about the community’s findings in the Russia hacking investigation.

While testifying before the Armed Services Committee, Clapper stopped short of calling Russia’s interference in the election an act of war, saying that was something for lawmakers to discern.

However, the committee’s chairman, John McCain (R-AZ), maintained that the attack was alarming.

“Every American should be alarmed by Russia’s attacks on our nation. There is no national security interest more vital to the United States of America than the ability to hold free and fair elections without foreign interference,” McCain said in his opening statement during the hearing. “That is why Congress must set partisanship aside, follow the facts, and work together to devise comprehensive solutions to deter, defend against, and, when necessary, respond to foreign cyberattacks.”

On Twitter, Donald Trump seemed more concerned with the intelligence community’s findings that pertained to the legitimacy of his election rather than Russia’s involvement.

Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only “stupid” people, or fools, would think that it is bad! We…..

The president-elect has maintained a belief that the United States should “move on” from the attack, adding on Saturday that the country will have a good relationship and will work together with Russia under his administration.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/dan-coats-announced-trump-s-pick-director-national-intelligence-n704231

CNN’s Jeff Zucker on Covering Donald Trump — Past, Present, and Future

By Gabriel Sherman

At his press conference last week, President-elect Trump refused to take a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta, denouncing the network as a purveyor of “fake news.” Trump’s ire was in response to CNN’s explosive report that U.S. intelligence chiefs had briefed Trump on claims that the Kremlin had collected compromising information on him. In the wake of CNN’s report, BuzzFeed published the unedited, and unverified, opposition-research dossier referenced in the intel briefing, which included lurid allegations about Trump’s behavior and his campaign’s ties to Russia.

On Tuesday morning, I sat down with CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker for a wide-ranging discussion about that controversial scoop, Trump’s threat to press freedom, and why he’s not worried about losing access to the White House.

After Trump attacked CNN for reporting on the intelligence chiefs’ briefing on the Russian dossier, you issued a strongly worded statement defending your story. What made CNN decide to publish reporting on the existence of the dossier?
I actually think this was a pretty easy call in terms of its news value. The fact is, the top four intelligence chiefs of the United States decided to include in their briefing to the president and president-elect a two-page summary of allegations involving the president-elect. That is newsworthy by any definition.

Even if the allegations themselves weren’t verified?
We didn’t pass judgment on the allegations. We reported we had not been able to corroborate them. But the news was that the two most powerful people in the world had been briefed on the existence of these allegations.

I was at the press conference at Trump Tower, where Trump’s incoming press secretary Sean Spicer and Trump himself denounced CNN and BuzzFeed as fake news. What do you think of BuzzFeed’s decision to publish the complete dossier?
They made a decision for themselves, and they have to live with it. I’m not going to pass judgment on their decision. We did not think it was appropriate for us given that we had not been able to corroborate the allegations.

It’s just unfortunate that the most powerful person in the world is trying to delegitimizejournalism.

When you have the president-elect saying, “Don’t trust CNN, it’s fake news,” is that harmful?
It’s just unfortunate that the most powerful person in the world is trying to delegitimize journalism and an organization that plays such a vital role in our democracy. I think he’s entitled to his opinion, but it’s — to use one of his favorite words — sad.

Over the weekend, it was reported that Trump is considering moving reporters out of the West Wing. How worried are you about Trump’s attacks on the press?
As Tim Russert said, the role of the media is the accountability of government. I think the press plays a much more important role in this administration. Their willingness and inclination to cherry-pick facts, conflate and inflate things, will make covering this administration very challenging. That means our role is more important than ever. We think that CNN has a job to do, which is to hold their feet to the fire. They may not like it, but they should respect it.

Acosta didn’t get to ask a question at last week’s press conference. The first question went to Fox News, and Breitbart got to ask a question. Are you concerned about getting access to Trump?
I think the era of access journalism as we’ve known it is over. It doesn’t worry me that Donald Trump hasn’t done an interview with CNN in eight months. I think our credibility is higher than ever, and our viewership is higher than ever, and our reporting is as strong as ever. One of the things I think this administration hasn’t figured out yet is that there’s only one television network that is seen in Beijing, Moscow, Seoul, Tokyo, Pyongyang, Baghdad, Tehran, and Damascus — and that’s CNN. The perception of Donald Trump in capitals around the world is shaped, in many ways, by CNN. Continuing to have an adversarial relationship with that network is a mistake.

Wouldn’t Trump say that’s what Twitter is for? He can shape his own perception.
If he’s relying on Twitter to shape his own perception in the capitals of the world then I think he’s making a big mistake.

How does CNN plan to cover Trump’s tweets?
I think we should look at his tweets on a case-by-case basis, just like we’d look at the comments of any president, and make an editorial decision on which ones to report, discuss, and cover. So I don’t think we should knee-jerk-cover every tweet just as we didn’t knee-jerk-cover every comment Barack Obama made. We should use our editorial judgment.

I noticed that Trump is sitting down with Fox & Friends. And in recent days, he’s given interviews to The Wall Street Journal and the Times of London, both Murdoch papers. What do you think of Trump’s alliance with Murdoch?
I think you’re trying to goad me here. But you’ve made the right observation. Look, I don’t think it’s any coincidence that friendly outlets have been the ones that have ended up with the interviews with Donald Trump. Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, the Times of London — the fact that they’re all Rupert’s publications — I don’t think it’s any coincidence those are the outlets that ended up with the interviews.

It was reported that MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were at Mar-a-Lago on New Year’s Eve. They said it was because they were trying to get an interview with Trump. Was it appropriate for journalists to attend the president-elect’s private party?
I think in that case, optically, it would have been a lot better to have just made a phone call and ask for the interview.

Trump’s feud with CNN is ironic, in a way, because you have perhaps more history with him than any media executive. Some people say you made Trump’s presidential run possible with The Apprentice. Did you?
It’s true I put him on television with The Apprentice in 2004. I’ve never run away from that. But in no way do I think that’s why he’s the president. You have to give the guy credit. He ran a campaign that worked.

So you don’t ever regret that the Trump phenomenon arguably started with you?
No. Listen, I don’t regret putting The Apprentice on television.

Another irony of the current antagonism is that CNN has sometimes been perceived as being too close to Trump. You got a lot of flak for covering his speeches in full during the primaries and for hiring his former campaign chairman Corey Lewandowski. What do you think of the criticism?
We didn’t bend over backward for Trump; we did what we felt was in the best interest of our viewers and readers to understand the story. The reason we hired a number of voices to reflect the Trump point of view was to help the audience understand who he was, where he was coming from, and what he was thinking. Given the results of the election, it turns out we were exactly right to do so. We had a much better sense on our air what the Trump point of view was than most others.

Were you in touch with Trump regularly throughout the campaign?
Obviously we’ve known each other for a long time. Just because I’ve known somebody for more than 15 years doesn’t mean they get a pass.

So how often did you talk to him?
Probably once a month?

Do you still talk to him?
I haven’t talked to him in more than a month.

Some criticized the Ivanka Trump special that aired on CNN as an effort to curry favor with the White House. Was it?
I don’t think we’re the only news organization that did a profile of Ivanka Trump. That’s silly. Let’s remember the stories we’ve broken in the last week: the original story on the intelligence briefing; the fact that Monica Crowley was a plagiarist; the fact that Congressman Price may have broken the law on his stocks; the fact that Trump’s pick for Labor was having second thoughts … All those stories were broken by CNN. Tell me another news organization that’s broken more news on Donald Trump in the last week? Please.

Your corporate owner Time Warner is currently going through an $85 billion merger with telecom giant AT&T. Trump has suggested he may try to block the deal because it would concentrate too much media power in one company. Have you spoken with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes about that?
No. It’s one of the things I respect about Time Warner and Turner: their understanding of CNN’s independence. There’s been absolutely no conversations or anything of the sort between us and Time Warner.

Some have suggested that CNN might have to be spun off in order to have the deal approved by Trump’s Justice Department. Are you worried about that?
No.

You had the biggest night in cable-news history on Election Night, 13 million viewers. What’s your plan to maintain ratings in 2017?
Our viewership continues to be significantly higher than it was a year ago and frankly much higher than we expected it to be. There’s been no evidence of any falloff at all. I think people are coming to us because they know we’ll report both sides of the story. We expected we’d be down 25 percent from last year because you had all the election nights, debates, and conventions, but if the first three weeks of this year are any indication, I’m not so sure it will be down that much.

In December, the Drudge Report reported you were wooing Megyn Kelly. Did you try to hire her?
I had one conversation with Megyn about coming to CNN in prime time. It never got serious, it never got real.

What do you think of her move to NBC?
I wish her nothing but success. I think NBC News is a great fit for her and she’ll be a big star there.

During the Bush years, MSNBC saw its ratings skyrocket by being the voice of opposition. Since Election Day, MSNBC has held on to much of its election-year audience, suggesting the network might enjoy similar success during the Trump years. What’s your assessment of MSNBC?
I think all of the cable-news networks are healthy and vibrant and at a good place in the history of cable news. In terms of audience, there’s a clear No. 1, a clear No. 2, and a clear No. 3. In terms of reporting and breaking news, there’s only one true cable-news network.

So, what would be the best scoop now? If CNN got Trump’s tax returns would you report them?
If we could verify they were real and legitimate, just like any other news organization, we would report on them. Sure.

* This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

** Disclosure: I am an MSNBC contributor.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/01/cnns-zucker-on-covering-trump-past-present-and-future.html

The Reason Why There Are More Leaks Traced To Former President Obama and Violating American Citizens Right To Privacy Under The Fourth Amendment To U.S. Constitution

WASHINGTON — In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.

The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches.

The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data. Essentially, the government is reducing the risk that the N.S.A. will fail to recognize that a piece of information would be valuable to another agency, but increasing the risk that officials will see private information about innocent people.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch signed the new rules, permitting the N.S.A. to disseminate “raw signals intelligence information,” on Jan. 3, after the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., signed them on Dec. 15, according to a 23-page, largely declassified copy of the procedures.

Previously, the N.S.A. filtered information before sharing intercepted communications with another agency, like the C.I.A. or the intelligence branches of the F.B.I. and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The N.S.A.’s analysts passed on only information they deemed pertinent, screening out the identities of innocent people and irrelevant personal information.

Now, other intelligence agencies will be able to search directly through raw repositories of communications intercepted by the N.S.A. and then apply such rules for “minimizing” privacy intrusions.

“This is not expanding the substantive ability of law enforcement to get access to signals intelligence,” said Robert S. Litt, the general counsel to Mr. Clapper. “It is simply widening the aperture for a larger number of analysts, who will be bound by the existing rules.”

But Patrick Toomey, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, called the move an erosion of rules intended to protect the privacy of Americans when their messages are caught by the N.S.A.’s powerful global collection methods. He noted that domestic internet data was often routed or stored abroad, where it may get vacuumed up without court oversight.

“Rather than dramatically expanding government access to so much personal data, we need much stronger rules to protect the privacy of Americans,” Mr. Toomey said. “Seventeen different government agencies shouldn’t be rooting through Americans’ emails with family members, friends and colleagues, all without ever obtaining a warrant.”

The N.S.A. has been required to apply similar privacy protections to foreigners’ information since early 2014, an unprecedented step that President Obama took after the disclosures of N.S.A. documents by the former intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden. The other intelligence agencies will now have to follow those rules, too.

Under the new system, agencies will ask the N.S.A. for access to specific surveillance feeds, making the case that they contain information relevant and useful to their missions. The N.S.A. will grant requests it deems reasonable after considering factors like whether large amounts of Americans’ private information might be included and, if so, how damaging or embarrassing it would be if that information were “improperly used or disclosed.”

The move is part of a broader trend of tearing down bureaucratic barriers to sharing intelligence between agencies that dates back to the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In 2002, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court secretly began permitting the N.S.A., the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. to share raw intercepts gathered domestically under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

After Congress enacted the FISA Amendments Act — which legalized warrantless surveillance on domestic soil so long as the target is a foreigner abroad, even when the target is communicating with an American — the court permitted raw sharing of emails acquired under that program, too.

In July 2008, the same month Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act, President George W. Bush modified Executive Order 12333, which sets rules for surveillance that domestic wiretapping statutes do not address, including techniques that vacuum up vast amounts of content without targeting anybody.

After the revision, Executive Order 12333 said the N.S.A. could share the raw fruits of such surveillance after the director of national intelligence and the attorney general, coordinating with the defense secretary, agreed on procedures. It took another eight years to develop those rules.

The Times first reported the existence of those deliberations in 2014 and later filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for documents about them. It ended that case last February, and Mr. Litt discussed the efforts in an interview at that time, but declined to divulge certain important details because the rules were not yet final or public.

Among the most important questions left unanswered in February was when analysts would be permitted to use Americans’ names, email addresses or other identifying information to search a 12333 database and pull up any messages to, from or about them that had been collected without a warrant.

There is a parallel debate about the FISA Amendments Act’s warrantless surveillance program. National security analysts sometimes search that act’s repository for Americans’ information, as do F.B.I. agents working on ordinary criminal cases. Critics call this the “backdoor search loophole,” and some lawmakers want to require a warrant for such searches.

By contrast, the 12333 sharing procedures allow analysts, including those at the F.B.I., to search the raw data using an American’s identifying information only for the purpose of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence investigations, not for ordinary criminal cases. And they may do so only if one of several other conditions are met, such as a finding that the American is an agent of a foreign power.

However, under the rules, if analysts stumble across evidence that an American has committed any crime, they will send it to the Justice Department.

The limits on using Americans’ information gathered under Order 12333 do not apply to metadata: logs showing who contacted whom, but not what they said. Analysts at the intelligence agencies may study social links between people, in search of hidden associates of known suspects, “without regard to the location or nationality of the communicants.”

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is on the verge of permitting the National Security Agency to share more of the private communications it intercepts with other American intelligence agencies without first applying any privacy protections to them, according to officials familiar with the deliberations.

The change would relax longstanding restrictions on access to the contents of the phone calls and email the security agency vacuums up around the world, including bulk collection of satellite transmissions, communications between foreigners as they cross network switches in the United States, and messages acquired overseas or provided by allies.

The idea is to let more experts across American intelligence gain direct access to unprocessed information, increasing the chances that they will recognize any possible nuggets of value. That also means more officials will be looking at private messages — not only foreigners’ phone calls and emails that have not yet had irrelevant personal information screened out, but also communications to, from, or about Americans that the N.S.A.’s foreign intelligence programs swept in incidentally.

Civil liberties advocates criticized the change, arguing that it will weaken privacy protections. They said the government should disclose how much American content the N.S.A. collects incidentally — which agency officials have said is hard to measure — and let the public debate what the rules should be for handling that information.

“Before we allow them to spread that information further in the government, we need to have a serious conversation about how to protect Americans’ information,” said Alexander Abdo, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer.

Robert S. Litt, the general counsel in the office of the Director of National Intelligence, said that the administration had developed and was fine-tuning what is now a 21-page draft set of procedures to permit the sharing.

The goal for the final rules, Brian P. Hale, a spokesman for the office, said in a statement, is “to ensure that they protect privacy, civil liberties and constitutional rights while enabling the sharing of information that is important to protect national security.”

Until now, National Security Agency analysts have filtered the surveillance information for the rest of the government. They search and evaluate the information and pass only the portions of phone calls or email that they decide is pertinent on to colleagues at the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies. And before doing so, the N.S.A. takes steps to mask the names and any irrelevant information about innocent Americans.

The new system would permit analysts at other intelligence agencies to obtain direct access to raw information from the N.S.A.’s surveillance to evaluate for themselves. If they pull out phone calls or email to use for their own agency’s work, they would apply the privacy protections masking innocent Americans’ information — a process known as “minimization” — at that stage, Mr. Litt said.

Executive branch officials have been developing the new framework and system for years. President George W. Bush set the change in motion through a little-noticed line in a 2008 executive order, and the Obama administration has been quietly developing a framework for how to carry it out since taking office in 2009.

The executive branch can change its own rules without going to Congress or a judge for permission because the data comes from surveillance methods that lawmakers did not include in the main law that governs national security wiretapping, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.

FISA covers a narrow band of surveillance: the collection of domestic or international communications from a wire on American soil, leaving most of what the N.S.A. does uncovered. In the absence of statutory regulation, the agency’s other surveillance programs are governed by rules the White House sets under a Reagan-era directive called Executive Order 12333.

Mr. Litt declined to make available a copy of the current draft of the proposed procedures.

“Once these procedures are final and approved, they will be made public to the extent consistent with national security,” Mr. Hale said. “It would be premature to draw conclusions about what the procedures will provide or authorize until they are finalized.”

Among the things they would not address is what the draft rules say about searching the raw data using names or keywords intended to bring up Americans’ phone calls or email that the security agency gathered “incidentally” under the 12333 surveillance programs — including whether F.B.I. agents may do so when working on ordinary criminal investigations.

Under current rules for data gathered under a parallel program — the no-warrant surveillance program governed by the FISA Amendments Act — N.S.A. and C.I.A. officials may search for Americans’ information only if their purpose is to find foreign intelligence, but F.B.I. agents may conduct such a search for intelligence or law enforcement purposes. Some lawmakers have proposed requiring the government to obtain a warrant before conducting such a search.

In 2013, The Washington Post reported, based on documents leaked by the former intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden, that the N.S.A. and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, had tapped into links connecting Google’s and Yahoo’s data centers overseas and that the American spy agency had collected millions of records a day from them. The companies have since taken steps to encrypt those links.

That collection occurred under 12333 rules, which had long prohibited the N.S.A. from sharing raw information gathered from the surveillance it governed with other members of the intelligence community before minimization. The same rule had also long applied to sharing information gathered with FISA wiretaps.

But after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration began an effort to tear down barriers that impeded different parts of the government from working closely and sharing information, especially about terrorism.

In 2002, for example, it won permission, then secret, from the intelligence court permitting the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the N.S.A. to share raw FISA wiretap information. The government did not disclose that change, which was first reported in a 2014 New York Times article based on documents disclosed by Mr. Snowden.

In August 2008, Mr. Bush change d 12333 to permit the N.S.A. to share unevaluated surveillance information with other intelligence agencies once procedures were developed.

Intelligence officials began working in 2009 on how the technical system and rules would work, Mr. Litt said, eventually consulting the Defense and Justice Departments. This month, the administration briefed the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent five-member watchdog panel, seeking input. Before they go into effect, they must be approved by James R. Clapper, the intelligence director; Loretta E. Lynch, the attorney general; and Ashton B. Carter, the defense secretary.

“We would like it to be completed sooner rather than later,” Mr. Litt said. “Our expectation is months rather than weeks or years.”

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The Pronk Pops Show 815, January 11, 2017, Story 1: Junk Journalism, Progressive Propaganda and Down and Dirty Reckless Rumor Rats of Big Lie Media — Dirty Democrat Do Do Dossier = Golden Showers & Happy Hookers In Russia With Love — Lying Lunatic Left Disinformation — Trump: “You (CNN) are Fake News” — Videos

Posted on January 11, 2017. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Countries, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Empires, Employment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hillary Clinton, History, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Monetary Policy, Progressives, Radio, Russia, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 815: January 11, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 814: January 10, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 813: January 9, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 812: December 12, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 811: December 9, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 810: December 8, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 809: December 7, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 808: December 6, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 807: December 5, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 806: December 2, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 805: December 1, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 804: November 30, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 803: November 29, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 802: November 28, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 801: November 22, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 800: November 21, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 799: November 18, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 798: November 17, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 797: November 16, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 796: November 15, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 795: November 14, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 794: November 10, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 793: November 9, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 790: November 4, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 787: October 31, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 777: October 17, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 774: October 12, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 773: October 11, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 772: October 10, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 770: October 6, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 769: October 5, 2016 

Pronk Pops Show 768: October 3, 2016

Story 1: Junk Journalism, Progressive Propaganda and Down and Dirty Reckless Rumor Rats of Big Lie Media — Dirty Democrat Do Do Dossier = Golden Showers & Happy Hookers In Russia With Love  — Lying Lunatic Left Disinformation — Trump: “You (CNN) are Fake News” — Videos

Image result for cartoons trump golden shower buzz feed Image result for cartoons creditability of cnnImage result for cartoons trump press conference
Image result for cartoons trump golden showersImage result for cartoons trump golden shower and hookers
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Image result for cartoons trump golden shower buzz feed

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Kurtz: Why Trump ripped Buzzfeed and CNN

Trump Slams ‘Fake News’ CNN! | Louder With Crowder

Ingraham: Trump will not be a punching bag for the media

Buzzfeed Publishes Shocking Fake News About Donald Trump

“You Are Fake News!” Donald Trump Destroys CNN & Buzzfeed

Kellyanne Conway: It’s An Internet Report, Not An Intel Report

BREAKING: Intelligence Chiefs Told Trump That Russia Attempted to Compromise Him

‘SNL’ mocks CNN’s Trump coverage

‘PROFOUND DISMAY’: Intel boss calls Trump to disavow dossier leaks

James Clapper Calls Trump-Russian Intel Leak “Corrosive”, Assures It Didnt Come From Intel Community

Intel chiefs inform Trump of Russian claims

Donald Trump News Conference SLAMS Buzzfeed & CNN For Fake Russian News Blackmail Reports

Donald Trump Shouting Match With CNN Reporter At Press Conference “You Are Fake News” 1/11/17

CNN’s Jake Tapper: Why Trump’s ‘fake news’ claim is wrong

Mika Accuses CNN/Buzzfeed of ‘Bias’ In Running Trump-Russia Story

Donald Trump ‘Golden Showers’ with Russian Hookers BuzzFeed Liberal Fake News Hoax Totally Debunked

Published on Jan 11, 2017

Truthers. Birthers. Vaxxers. Are we now to meet the Pissers?

The story is beyond exquisite. A “dossier” is released. Dossier. Note the intel-friendly James Bond’ish reference. Dossier. Like cable or communiqué. It’s shite, that’s what it is. And the it seems that Buzz Feed will soon go the way of Gawker as the lawyered-up in-house counseled PEOTUS is sure to unleash a barrage of juridical ninjas.

ZeroHedge reports ably. In a story that is getting more surreal by the minute, a post on 4Chan now claims that the infamous “golden showers” scene in the unverified 35-page dossier, allegedly compiled by a British intelligence officer, was a hoax and fabricated by a member of the chatboard as “fanfiction,” then sent to Rick Wilson, who proceeded to send it to the CIA, which then put it in their official classified intelligence report on the election.

This is delicious.

Here’s Ben Smith’s career suicide note.

“As you have probably seen, this evening we published a secret dossier making explosive and unverified allegations about Donald Trump and Russia. I wanted to briefly explain to you how we made the decision to publish it.

We published the dossier, which Ken Bensinger obtained through his characteristically ferocious reporting, so that, as we wrote, ‘Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government.’

Our presumption is to be transparent in our journalism and to share what we have with our readers. We have always erred on the side of publishing. In this case, the document was in wide circulation at the highest levels of American government and media. It seems to lie behind a set of vague allegations from the Senate Majority Leader to the director of the FBI and a report that intelligence agencies have delivered to the president and president-elect.

As we noted in our story, there is serious reason to doubt the allegations. We have been chasing specific claims in this document for weeks, and will continue to.

Publishing this document was not an easy or simple call, and people of good will may disagree with our choice. But publishing this dossier reflects how we see the job of reporters in 2017.”

He will be missed.

Trump ‘Golden Showers’ with Prostitutes Caught on Video – The Latest Fake News from Liberal Media

[News] Let’s talk about Russia, Donald Trump, and Golden Showers

Russia scholar Stephen Cohen shuts down CNN shill host who tries to link Trump to Putin

Trump Full Press Conference as President-Elect (HD) | ABC News

The Truth About Fake News | Russia Hacked U.S. Election For Donald Trump?

The Truth About Fake News

Fake News Compilation (BBC, CNN, FOX, NBC, NYT)

Top 10 Fake News Stories of 2016

Why Fake News Is A Problem That’s Not Getting Fixed Anytime Soon

Helmut Lotti – From Russia With Love

From Russia With Love (1963) Official Trailer – Sean Connery James Bond Movie HD

The James Bond Theme in From Russia With Love (1963)

From Russia with love (1963) – ‘Must we talk about it now?’

Despite Weak Stream of Proof, 4chan Claims It Invented the Trump Golden Showers Story

The forum alleged an anonymous user invented Tuesday’s bombshell about Donald Trump and Russian prostitutes. But its lack of evidence is turning out to be a bit of a wet blanket.

GIDEON RESNICK

BEN COLLINS

01.10.17 10:40 PM ET

As news broke of an unverified document detailing supposed Russian dirt on President-elect Donald Trump—including sordid allegations involving urine and prostitutes in Russia—users on the subreddit r/The_Donald and 4chan’s /pol/ forum took a victory lap.

Not because they found the story funny, but because they claim they planted it as a fake. Proof that it’s all an elaborate 4chan ruse, however, is thin.

Reddit’s r/The_Donald users pointed to an anonymous 4chan post from Nov. 1, exactly one week before the election, that Redditors say proves “/pol/ really invented this rumor” involving Trump’s alleged business and personal ties to Russia.

“So they took what I told Rick Wilson and added a Russian spy angle to it. They still believe it. Guys, they’re truly fucking desperate—there’s no remaining Trump scandal that’s credible,” the anonymous post from Nov. 1 reads. Wilson is a Republican operative who managed Evan McMullin’s independent campaign and has been an outspoken critic of Trump.

There are no details in the post, which is archived here, about what was allegedly told to Wilson—simply that the user purportedly gave him fake information. It also doesn’t explain how this would have gotten to intelligence agencies.

Wilson’s access to a shocking Donald Trump story had been flaunted by himself and others many weeks before the 4chan post. Wilson himself had been publicly pronouncing that a bombshell involving Trump was set for imminent release a month before the election, even going so far as to say that it could end the race.

The report made public Tuesday, which was reported to have been shared privately with both Trump and President Obama, was not a well-kept secret in media and political circles in the run-up to the election, making it possible to leak to 4chan, where users post anonymously.

Wilson dismissed all of r/The_Donald and 4chan’s claims in a tweet Tuesday night. “You’re wrong if you believe 1. What we had came from /pol 2. That I was Buzzfeed’s source. Try again, boys,” he wrote.

“The information was out there looooong before the 4chan posts,” he replied to another user.

Reached by phone earlier in the evening, Wilson told The Daily Beast that the Russian allegations were “making the rounds before anyone talked about it publicly.” He said that they were being discussed as early as a year and a half ago.

“Trump always knew it was out there,” Wilson said. “He thought he could bullshit his way through it.

“This stuff is real and it’s bad. It’s going to be something that weighs on him,” he added.

For what it’s worth, Wilson has been the object of ire and ridicule on 4chanbefore, particularly after an MSNBC appearance in which he referred to some Trump supporters as “childless single men who masturbate to anime.” So it is conceivable 4chan’s story was invented to seek further retribution.

The intelligence-community documents had reportedly been shopped to several news outlets in the months leading up to the election, and were alluded to in a Mother Jones article the day before the 4chan post.

The New York Times reported Tuesday night that details of the reports were swirling in the fall of 2016.

Then last week, the heads of America’s intelligence agencies were said to have provided a summary of the unverified reports to both President Obama and President-elect Trump. No one has been able to confirm the veracity of the information contained within the documents.

Reacting to published reports on Tuesday night, Trump tweeted in all-caps: “FAKE NEWS—A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”

Trump fans seemed to agree.

The top post on r/The_Donald, the largest pro-Trump community on the internet, links to a screenshot of a 4chan post that claims “/pol/acks (/pol/ users) mailed fanfiction to anti-trump pundit rick wilson about trump making people piss on a bed Obama slept in” and that “the cia has concluded that the russians plan to blackmail Trump with this story we made up.”

The memos, which were presented after intelligence agencies asserted that Russia was involved in various hacking campaigns during the presidential election, purport that the Russian government has been seeking ways to influence Trump for many years, including with real-estate deals. Trump did not complete major deals in the country despite discussing them.

According to American officials cited by The New York Times, the former British intelligence officer who was allegedly responsible for gathering the material was considered a reliable source with experience in Russia.

“There’s nothing they can’t push him to do,” Wilson told The Daily Beast when it comes to Russia and Trump.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/10/4chan-claims-they-invented-the-trump-golden-showers-story.html

Was BuzzFeed right to publish the Donald Trump “golden showers” dossier?

The news site released documents containing unverified claims about the President-Elect’s behaviour in Russia.

The US news site BuzzFeed has published an entire dossier of unverified claims about Donald Trump. The leaked intelligence report is full of unsubstantiated stories about the President Elect’s behaviour in Russia. Detailing a graphic sex act, the scandal has swiftly and gleefully been labelled “watersportsgate”.

And just as Trump has become the focus of internet jokes,BuzzFeed is now at the centre of a scandal of its own – albeit a drier one. A media ethics crisis.

The president-elect himself has accused BuzzFeed of propagating “fake news” – a media phenomenon which was much-discussed during and after the US election campaign, when false stories circulated about Trump’s rivals. And the US-based news organisation doesn’t even know whether the news it has reported is fake or not.

The story, headlined “These Reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia”, links to the full, unredacted dossier, so that “Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government”.

Its story admits that its journalists have not “verified or falsified” the claims, and warns, “the allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors”.

Criticism was quick to appear. “By publishing the full document without proof of its veracity, journalists risk undermining public faith in the media,” writes Rupert Myers,GQ’s political correspondent. “You can’t complain about the deluge of fake news shared by all of Trump’s supporters if you’re encouraging people to believe in this latest piece of unverified scandal.”

“How, exactly, are Americans supposed to make up their own minds about allegations presented without verification or evidence?” tweeted Brad Heath, a USA Today investigative journalist.

Trump dismissed the story as “FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCHUNT!” on Twitter, and his lawyer Michael Cohen has issued a blanket denial to Mic,claiming, “the person who created this [document] did so from their imagination”.

So how is running this story different from the bogus exposés invented about Hillary Clinton? Surely a journalist’s job is to stand up a story, rather than simply leaving it up to the reader’s interpretation?

I contacted both BuzzFeed’s UK and US teams to ask why they published the document – and if they had “fake news” concerns. Neither would comment. But a memo sent to staff byBuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief Ben Smith says the decision behind publishing was to enlighten readers:

“Our presumption is to be transparent in our journalism and to share what we have with our readers . . . In this case, the document was in wide circulation at the highest levels of American government and media.

“It seems to lie behind a set of vague allegations from the Senate Majority Leader to the director of the FBI and a report that intelligence agencies have delivered to the president and president-elect . . . publishing this dossier reflects how we see the job of reporters in 2017.”

The rationale is that news of this document’s existence was already public. It had been reported on (in general terms, without the specific allegations being mentioned) by bothMother Jones and CNN. So BuzzFeed was just moving the story forward by giving readers the opportunity to see its contents.

This dilemma perfectly encapsulates how digital news is changing journalism. A tension between transparency and accuracy has been growing over the past few years, according to former BBC journalist Nic Newman, research associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and author ofthe Digital News Project 2017.

“You used to basically not do anything unless you had two sources on it,” he recalls. “Twenty-four-hour news came around, and then people said, increasingly: ‘You’re hiding something; you need to be more transparent’.”

He believes BuzzFeed’s story reflects this modern urge for transparency: “On the one hand, it’s good to be transparent, let people know what you’ve got,” he says. “On the other, there’s a real danger of putting stuff out there if you can’t verify it . . . it’s not good for our democracy if people can’t tell truth from lies.”

Giving readers the entire document is “putting a lot of weight on individuals to try and make those judgements and sort these things for themselves”, Newman says. He ran focus groups on transparency in journalism last year, and found, “consumers are stressed by this; they feel overloaded with information and they don’t know what to trust and what not to trust”.

He says this ties into the “fake news” phenomenon; people believe what they want to, because they don’t know which sources to trust. In trying to inform its readers as thoroughly as possible, BuzzFeed may have done the opposite.

In this case, the dossier’s claims have neither been corroborated nor redacted. There is also no proof of the source’s identity (a “British former intelligence agent”), and what their motivation was for leaking this information. Without this context, how useful is this document really to the reader? Is there a danger that repeating unverified rumours is exactly the kind of “fake news” which journalists are supposed to counteract?

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/media/2017/01/was-buzzfeed-right-publish-donald-trump-golden-showers-dossier

Trump conducts his own sting operation to ensnare intelligence briefers – and says he caught them leaking

  • President-elect Donald Trump described a sting operation he says he conducted after growing frustrated at a series of leaks about his own classified briefings
  • He says he decided to tell no one about a particular briefing, shielding even his longtime scheduling aide, Rhoda, to rule out the possibility leaks were coming from his staff
  • When word got out anyway, Trump concluded it was the intelligence community who was putting out information
  • He described the operation he conducted after suggesting intelligence officials leaked a fake dirty dossier of information about him

President-elect Donald Trump, after growing suspicious that intelligence officials were leaking news about their classified briefings with him, says he conducted a sting operation to try to prove top spies were behind the leaks.

Trump revealed the extraordinary scheme to try to entrap the senior spies in a furious press conference where he suggested the intelligence community had been behind salacious and totally unproven allegations against him.

‘I think it’s pretty sad when intelligence reports get leaked out to the press. First of all, it’s illegal. These are classified and certified meetings and reports,’ Trump said during a press conference at Trump Tower – his first since getting elected.

Then he revealed the details of the stealthy sting he says he conducted on the nation’s senior spooks.

‘I’ll tell you what does happen. I have many meetings with intelligence. And every time I meet, people are reading about it,’ Trump said, possibly referencing reports on his classified briefings, which he has chosen not to receive daily.

President-elect Donald Trump said he set a trap for his intelligence briefers and that they fell for it by leaking word of a classified briefing he had with them

President-elect Donald Trump said he set a trap for his intelligence briefers and that they fell for it by leaking word of a classified briefing he had with them

‘Somebody’s leaking them out,’ Trump said, after inveighing against leaks generally.

‘So I said, “Maybe it’s my office. Maybe my office.” Because I’ve got a lot of people … Maybe it’s them?’

‘What I did, is I said I won’t tell anyone. I’m going to have a meeting, and I won’t tell anybody about my meeting with intelligence,’ Trump continued.

He even shielded one of his closest aides from word of the meeting.

‘Nobody knew – not even Rhoda, my executive assistant for years. She didn’t know – I didn’t tell her. Nobody knew,’ Trump continued.

Having set the trap, Trump says the word leaked anyway

‘The meeting was held. They left, and immediately the word got out that I had a meeting. So, I don’t want that. It’s very unfair to the country. It’s very unfair to our country what’s happening,’ he said.

President-elect Donald Trump blasted 'phony stuff' contained in a dirt dossier against him that was released and blasted whoever leaked it – mentioning the intelligence agencies

President-elect Donald Trump blasted ‘phony stuff’ contained in a dirt dossier against him that was released and blasted whoever leaked it – mentioning the intelligence agencies

Degrading acts in bed used by president: The extraordinary - and entirely unverified - allegations that Donald Trump ordered prostitutes to commit degrading sex acts in the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow are contained in a dossier drawn up by a former British spy

Degrading acts in bed used by president: The extraordinary – and entirely unverified – allegations that Donald Trump ordered prostitutes to commit degrading sex acts in the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow are contained in a dossier drawn up by a former British spy

Trump blasted the intelligence community at his press briefing, saying it was behind the leak of a dossier of information about him, but without revealing evidence

Trump blasted the intelligence community at his press briefing, saying it was behind the leak of a dossier of information about him, but without revealing evidence

President-elect Donald Trump conducted the sting after growing frustrated that word of his classified briefings were leaking. He is entitled to get a top-level security briefing. It is usually conducted by senior intelligence officers. Pictured are FBI Director James Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan (L-R) testify before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee

President-elect Donald Trump conducted the sting after growing frustrated that word of his classified briefings were leaking. He is entitled to get a top-level security briefing. It is usually conducted by senior intelligence officers. Pictured are FBI Director James Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan (L-R) testify before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee

As president-elect, Trump is entitled to a daily briefing of the ‘crown jewels’ of the intelligence community. The briefings typically are conducted by high level intelligence officers.

On Friday, he got a briefing that included James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence and other top intelligence officials.

At his Wednesday press conference, he went after the intelligence community as being behind the leak of a dirty dossier of material alleging the Russians had compromising information on him, saying it would be a ‘blot’ on the record if true.

He blasted those who published it, but in a twist, complimented outlets which stayed away from the claims.

‘They looked at that nonsense that was released by maybe the intelligence agencies,’ Trump said, referencing a dirt dossier against him.

‘Who knows, it may be the intelligence agencies – which would be a tremendous blot of their record if they did that,’ Trump said, in just his latest shot at the intelligence community.

‘A thing like that should have never been written … and it certainly should never have been released,’ Trump continued.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4110654/Trump-conducts-sting-operation-ensnare-intelligence-briefers-says-caught-leaking.html#ixzz4VVLDvITg

BuzzFeed

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
BuzzFeed
BuzzFeed.svg
Type of business Private
Type of site
News and Entertainment
Available in English, French, Spanish,German, Portuguese,Japanese
Founded November 1, 2006; 10 years ago
Headquarters New York City, New York, U.S.
Owner BuzzFeed Inc.
Key people Jonah Peretti
(co-founder and CEO)
Revenue DecreaseUS$167 million (2015)[1][2]
Employees 770 (October 2014)[3]
Slogan(s) “The Media Company for the Social Age”
Website www.buzzfeed.com
Alexa rank Decrease 171 (December 2016)[4]
Advertising Native
Registration Optional
Current status Active

BuzzFeed is an American internetmedia company based in New York City. The firm describes itself as a “social news and entertainment company” with a focus on digital media anddigital technology in order to provide “the most shareable breaking news, original reporting, entertainment, and video.”[5] BuzzFeed was founded in 2006 as a viral lab, focusing on tracking viral content, by Jonah Peretti and John S. Johnson III.[6] Kenneth Lerer, co-founder and chairman of The Huffington Post, started as a co-founder and investor in BuzzFeed and is now the executive chairman as well.[6]

Prior to establishing BuzzFeed, Peretti was director of research and development and the OpenLab at Eyebeam, Johnson’s New York City-based art and technology non-profit, where he experimented with other viral media.[7][8] The company has grown into a global media and technology company providing coverage on a variety of topics including politics, DIY, animals and business.[9] In late 2011, Ben Smith of Politico was hired as Editor-in-Chief to expand the site into serious journalism, long-form journalism, and reportage.[10]

History

Jonah Peretti founded BuzzFeed in November 2006.

Funding

In August 2014, BuzzFeed raised $50 million from the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, more than doubling previous rounds of funding.[11] The site was reportedly valued at around $850 million by Andreessen Horowitz.[11] BuzzFeed generates its advertising revenue through native advertising that matches its own editorial content, and does not rely on banner ads.[12] Buzzfeed also uses its familiarity with social media to target conventional advertising through other channels, like Facebook.[13]

In August 2015, NBCUniversal made a $200 million equity investment in Buzzfeed.[14] Along with plans to hire more journalists to build a more prominent “investigative” unit, BuzzFeed is hiring journalists around the world and plans to open outposts in India, Germany, Mexico and Japan.[15]

In December 2014, growth equity firm General Atlantic acquired $50M in secondary stock of the company.[16]

In October 2016, BuzzFeed raised $200 million from Comcast’s TV and movie arm NBCUniversal, at a valuation of roughly $1.7 billion.[17]

Acquisitions

BuzzFeed’s first acquisition was in 2012 when the company purchased Kingfish Labs, a startup founded by Rob Fishman, initially focused on optimizing Facebook ads.[18]

On October 28, 2014, BuzzFeed announced its next acquisition, taking hold of Torando Labs. The Torando team was to become BuzzFeed’s first data engineering team.[19]

Content

BuzzFeed produces daily content, in which the work of staff reporters, contributors, syndicated cartoon artists, and its community are featured. Popular formats on the website include lists, videos, and quizzes. While BuzzFeed was initially focused exclusively on such viral content, according to The New York Times, “it added more traditional content, building a track record for delivering breaking news and deeply reported articles” in the years up to 2014.[20] In that year, BuzzFeed deleted over 4000 early posts, “apparently because, as time passed, they looked stupider and stupider”, as observed byThe New Yorker.[21]

BuzzFeed consistently ranked at the top of NewsWhip‘s “Facebook Publisher Rankings” from December 2013 to April 2014, until The Huffington Post entered the position.[22][23][24][25][26]

Traingate

In September 2016, Private Eye revealed that a Guardian story from 16 August on “Traingate” was written by a former SWP member who joined the Labour Party once Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader. The journalist also had a conflict of interest with the individual who filmed Corbyn on the floor of an allegedly overcrowded train, something the Guardian did not mention in its reporting.[27] Paul Chadwich, the global readers’ editor for the Guardian, later stated that the story was published too quickly, with aspects of the story not being corroborated by third-party sources prior to reporting. The story proved to be an embarrassment for Corbyn and the Guardian.[28]

The story was originally submitted to BuzzFeed News, who rejected the article its author had “attached a load of conditions around the words and he wanted it written his way”, according to BuzzFeed UK editor-in-chief Janine Gibson.[29]

“The dress”

Main article: The dress

The most interesting thing to me, is that it traveled. It went from New York media circle-jerk Twitter to international. And you could see it in my Twitter notifications because people started having conversations in, like, Spanish and Portuguese and then Japanese and Chinese and Thai and Arabic. It was amazing to watch this move from a local thing to, like, a massive international phenomenon.[30]

Cates Holderness

A post about a debate over the color of an item of clothing from BuzzFeed’s Tumblr editor Cates Holderness garnered more than 28 million views in one day, setting a record for most concurrent visitors to a BuzzFeed post.[31] Holderness had showed the picture to other members of the site’s social mediateam, who immediately began arguing about the dress’s colors among themselves. After creating a simple poll for users of the site, she left work and tookthe subway back to her Brooklyn home. When she got off the train and checked her phone, it was overwhelmed by the messages on various sites. “I couldn’t open Twitter because it kept crashing. I thought somebody had died, maybe. I didn’t know what was going on.” Later in the evening the page set a new record at BuzzFeed for concurrent visitors, which would reach 673,000 at its peak.[30][32]

Video

BuzzFeed Video, BuzzFeed Motion Picture’s flagship channel,[33] produces original content, and its production studio and team is based in Los Angeles. Since hiring Ze Frank in 2012, BuzzFeed Video has produced several video series including “The Creep Series”, “The Try Guys”, and “Fun Facts.” In August 2014, the company announced a new division, BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, which may produce feature-length films.[20] As of December 13, 2015, BuzzFeed Video’s YouTube had garnered over 6.3 billion views and more than 9.3 million subscribers.[34] It was recently announced that YouTube has signed on for two feature length series to be created by BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, titled Broke and Squad Wars.[35]

Watermelon stunt

On April 8, 2016, BuzzFeed created a live stream on Facebook, during which two staffers wrapped rubber bands around a watermelon until the pressure of the rubber bands caused it to explode. The stunt was notable for drawing a very large online audience.[36]

Community

On July 17, 2012, humor website McSweeney’s Internet Tendency published a satirical piece entitled “Suggested BuzzFeed Articles”,[37] prompting BuzzFeed to create many of the suggestions.[38][39][40][41] BuzzFeed listed McSweeney’s as a “Community Contributor.”[38] The post subsequently received more than 350,000 page views,[39] prompted BuzzFeed to ask for user submissions[38][42] and received media attention.[39][40][42][43][44][45][46][47][48][49] Subsequently, the website launched the “Community” section in May 2013 to enable users to submit content. Users are initially limited to publishing only one post per day, but can increase their submission capacity by raising their “Cat Power”,[50] described on the BuzzFeed website as “an official measure of your rank in BuzzFeed’s Community.” A user’s Cat Power increases as they achieve greater prominence on the site.[51]

Technology and social media

BuzzFeed receives the majority of its traffic by creating content that is shared on social media websites. BuzzFeed works by judging their content on how viral it will become. Operating in a “continuous feedback loop” where all of its articles and videos are used as input for its sophisticated data operation.[13] The site continues to test and track their custom content with an in-house team of data scientists and external-facing “social dashboard.” Using an algorithm dubbed “Viral Rank” created by Jonah Peretti and Duncan Watts, the company uses this formula to let editors, users, and advertisers try lots of different ideas which maximizes distribution.[52] Staff writers are ranked by views on an internal leaderboard. In 2014, BuzzFeed received 75% of its views from links on social media outlets such as Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.[12][20]

Tasty

BuzzFeed’s video series on comfort food, “Tasty“, is tailor made for Facebook, where it had over thirty million followers as of January 2016. The channel has substantially more views than BuzzFeed’s dedicated food site.[53] At the end of every video, a male voice can be heard saying the catchphrase, “Oh yes!”. The channel included three spinoff segments such as “Tasty Junior”–features meals the whole family can make, “Tasty Happy Hour”–featuring alcoholic beverages, and “Tasty Story”–featuring a celebrity making their own recipes and telling their stories about them. As of November 23, 2016, “Tasty” has released their own customizable cookbook.[54]

The company also operates the following international versions of “Tasty”, each in their own respective languages:

Spinoffs

BuzzFeed also operates two more video series on Facebook.

  • Nifty – This contains unique do it yourself (DIY) projects.
  • Goodful – An indirect spinoff of “Tasty”, this features content (recipes, exercising tips) that focuses on healthy lifestyles.

Criticism and controversies

Benny Johnson was fired from BuzzFeed in July 2014 for plagiarism.

BuzzFeed has been accused of plagiarizing original content from competitors throughout the online and offline press. On June 28, 2012, Gawker‘s Adrian Chen posted a story titled “BuzzFeed and the Plagiarism Problem”. In the article, Chen observed that one of BuzzFeed’s most popular writers – Matt Stopera – had frequently copied and pasted “chunks of text into lists without attribution.”[55] On March 8, 2013, The Atlantic Wire also published an article concerning BuzzFeed and plagiarism.[56]

BuzzFeed has been the subject of multiple copyright infringement lawsuits for both using content it had no rights to and encouraging its proliferation without attributing its sources: one for an individual photographer’s photograph,[57] and another for nine celebrity photographs from a single photography company.[58]

In July 2014, BuzzFeed writer Benny Johnson was accused of multiple instances of plagiarism.[59] Two anonymous Twitter users chronicled Johnson attributing work that was not his own, but “directly lift[ed] from other reporters, Wikipedia, and Yahoo! Answers,” all without credit.[60] BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith initially defended Johnson, calling him a “deeply original writer”.[61] Days later, Smith acknowledged that Johnson had plagiarized others’ work 40 times, announced that Johnson had been fired, and apologized to BuzzFeed readers. “Plagiarism, much less copying unchecked facts from Wikipedia or other sources, is an act of disrespect to the reader,” Smith said. “We are deeply embarrassed and sorry to have misled you.”[61] In total, 41 instances of plagiarism were found and corrected.[62] Johnson, who had previously worked for the Mitt Romney 2008 Presidential campaign, was subsequently hired by the conservative magazine National Review as their social media editor.[63]

In October 2014, it was noted by the Pew Research Center that in the United States, BuzzFeed was viewed as an unreliable source by the majority of people, regardless of political affiliation.[64][65][66]

In April 2015, BuzzFeed drew scrutiny after Gawker observed the publication had deleted two posts that criticized advertisers.[67] One of the posts criticized Dove soap (manufactured by Unilever), while another criticizedHasbro.[68] Both companies advertise with BuzzFeed. Ben Smith apologized in a memo to staff for his actions. “I blew it,” Smith wrote. “Twice in the past couple of months, I’ve asked editors — over their better judgment and without any respect to our standards or process — to delete recently published posts from the site. Both involved the same thing: my overreaction to questions we’ve been wrestling with about the place of personal opinion pieces on our site. I reacted impulsively when I saw the posts and I was wrong to do that. We’ve reinstated both with a brief note.”[69] Days later, one of the authors of the deleted posts, Arabelle Sicardi, resigned.[70] An internal review by the company found three additional posts deleted for being critical of products or advertisements (by Microsoft, Pepsi, and Unilever).[71]

In September 2015, The Christian Post wrote that a video by BuzzFeed titled I’m Christian But I’m Not… was getting criticism from conservative Christians for not specifically mentioning Christ or certain Biblical values.[72]

In 2016, the Advertising Standards Authority of the UK ruled that BuzzFeed broke the UK advertising rules for failing to make it clear that an article on “14 Laundry Fails We’ve All Experienced” that promoted Dylon was an online advertorial paid for by the brand.[73][74] Although the ASA agreed with BuzzFeed’s defence that links to the piece from its homepage and search results clearly labelled the article as “sponsored content”, this failed to take into account that many people may link to the story directly, ruling that the labelling “was not sufficient to make clear that the main content of the web page was an advertorial and that editorial content was therefore retained by the advertiser”.[74][75]

In February 2016, Scaachi Koul, a Senior Writer for BuzzFeed Canada tweeted a request for pitches stating that BuzzFeed was “…looking for mostly non-white non-men” followed by “If you are a white man upset that we are looking mostly for non-white non-men I don’t care about you go write for Maclean’s.” When confronted, she followed with the tweet “White men are still permitted to pitch, I will read it, I will consider it. I’m just less interested because, ugh, men.” In response to the tweets, Koul received numerous rape and death threats and racist insults.[76][77] Sarmishta Subramanian, a former colleague of Koul’s writing for Maclean’s condemned the reaction to the tweets, and commented that Koul’s request for diversity was appropriate. Subramanian said that her provocative approach raised concerns of tokenism that might hamper BuzzFeed’s stated goals.[78]

On January 10, 2017, Buzzfeed published a 35-page document alleging to be a dossier containing controversial but unverified information about President-Elect Donald Trump.[79] In response, Trump called Buzzfeed a “failing pile of garbage” during a January 11, 2017 news conference.[80]

See also

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

BuzzFeed News became the center of a swirling debate over journalistic ethics on Tuesday after its decision to publish a 35-page document carrying explosive, but unverified, allegations about ties between the Russian government and President-elect Donald J. Trump.

The document, a dossier prepared by a former British intelligence officer hired by Mr. Trump’s political opponents, had been circulating among high-ranking politicians and some journalists since the fall. Intelligence officials recently presented a two-page summary of the allegations to Mr. Trump and President Obama, CNN reported on Tuesday.

But CNN declined to include the specific allegations contained in the dossier — such as collusion between Mr. Trump’s team and Russian operatives — saying that its journalists could not independently verify them.

Roughly an hour later, BuzzFeed, in a break from typical journalistic practice, posted the document that fully detailed the unverified allegations to which CNN had alluded.

“BuzzFeed News is publishing the full document so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government,” BuzzFeed wrote.

Ben Smith, BuzzFeed’s editor in chief, declined to comment beyond the article, which carried the bylines of three BuzzFeed reporters. But in a memo to his staff, Mr. Smith offered a further explanation about why the site had published the document.

“Our presumption is to be transparent in our journalism and to share what we have with our readers,” Mr. Smith wrote. “We have always erred on the side of publishing. In this case, the document was in wide circulation at the highest levels of American government and media.

“Publishing this document was not an easy or simple call, and people of good will may disagree with our choice,” Mr. Smith added. “But publishing this dossier reflects how we see the job of reporters in 2017.”

The reports by CNN and Buzzfeed sent other news organizations, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, scrambling to publish their own articles, some of which included generalized descriptions of the unverified allegations about Mr. Trump. By late Tuesday, though, only BuzzFeed had published the full document.

BuzzFeed’s decision, besides its immediate political ramifications for a president-elect who is to be inaugurated in 10 days, was sure to accelerate a roiling debate about the role and credibility of the traditional media in today’s frenetic, polarized information age.

Of particular interest was the use of unsubstantiated information from anonymous sources, a practice that fueled some of the so-called fake news — false rumors passed off as legitimate journalism — that proliferated during the presidential election.

CNN said that its journalists had reviewed the full 35-page compilation of memos, the same document later published in full by BuzzFeed, but declined to include some details, saying that the network “has not independently corroborated the specific allegations.” CNN said its reporters spoke with multiple high-ranking intelligence and government officials before publishing its report.

In a brief interview in the Times newsroom on Tuesday evening, Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times, said the paper would not publish the document because the allegations were “totally unsubstantiated.”

“We, like others, investigated the allegations and haven’t corroborated them, and we felt we’re not in the business of publishing things we can’t stand by,” Mr. Baquet said.

On social media, some left-leaning writers who generally oppose Mr. Trump expressed skepticism about the document published by BuzzFeed. “An anonymous person, claiming to be an ex-British intel agent & working as a Dem oppo researcher, said anonymous people told him things,” wrote Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who was instrumental in publishing Edward Snowden’s leaks about government surveillance.

But BuzzFeed’s move was welcomed by some people, who expressed concern that news outlets and government officials with access to the allegations had not disclosed them sooner. Almost immediately, the report’s publication prompted questions from Hillary Clinton’s camp about why the claims had not surfaced earlier.

“Today has brought a gush of reporting that outlets knew about and sat on prior to November 8,” Brian Fallon, Mrs. Clinton’s chief campaign spokesman, wrote on Twitter. He added, in a second message: “I repeat: certain media outlets were told this prior to November 8.”

Mother Jones, a left-leaning publication, published an article in late October about the existence of the information. Newsweek also publishedsome of the allegations.

Immediately after BuzzFeed’s publication, some reporters volunteered that they, too, had received copies of the report. “Raise your hand if you too were approached with this story,” Julia Ioffe, a journalist who has written extensively on Russia, wrote on Twitter, adding that she had not reported on the information in the document “because it was impossible to verify.”

Writers at the blog Lawfare, which covers national security issues, said they had been in possession of the document “for a couple of weeks” but opted not to publish because the allegations were unproven.

“Yes, they are explosive; they are also entirely unsubstantiated, at least to our knowledge, at this stage,” the site wrote on Tuesday night. “For this reason, even now, we are not going to discuss the specific allegations within the document.”

Mr. Trump, for his part, seized on the report on Tuesday evening to denigrate the news media and his detractors. “FAKE NEWS — A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!” the president-elect wrote in a message on Twitter.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/10/business/buzzfeed-donald-trump-russia.html?_r=0

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The Pronk Pops Show 813, January 13, 2017, Story 1: Streep Shills For Hillary Clinton By Falsely Attacking Trump — Rating Booster For Golden Globes — Streep Got It Wrong On Purpose! — Lying Lunatic Left and Big Lie Media Got It Wrong! — In 11 Days Trump Will Be President — Live With It — Videos — Story 2: National Security Agency Hacks Russia and All American People — Democrats Should Blame The National Security Agency, Who Has Most If Not All American Citizens Emails, For Hillary’s Loss — Move On — The Hack Story Is Fake News For Lame Losers — Produce The Evidence — Cannot It is Classified — What Did Obama Do To Stop Hacking By Russians, Chinese, Islamic Republic of Iran, North Korea and NSA of American People? — Where Is The Big Lie Media Outrage! — Videos

Posted on January 9, 2017. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Breaking News, Corruption, Countries, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, Russia, Second Amendment, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Streep vs Trump — Rating Booster For Golden Globes — In 11 Days Trump Will Be President — Live With It — Videos

 

Image result for cartoons on trump mocking disabled

Image result for cartoons on trump mocking disabledImage result for cartoons on trump mocking disabled

Media Exposed: Donald Trump Did NOT Make Fun of a Disabled Reporter

Trump did NOT mock a reporter’s disability. He makes funny expressions all the time

Published on Oct 28, 2016

Hillary is still running ads saying Trump mocked a reporter’s disability. Show them this video proving he did NOT. He did not know the reporter had a disability. Trump makes funny gestures imitating people all the time and he cherishes people with disabilities.

https://www.catholics4trump.com/the-t…
https://www.catholics4trump.com/even-…

Hillary FALSELY Accuses Trump of Mocking Disabled Reporter

Proof Trump Didn’t Mock The Disabled!

Meryl Streep Rebukes Trump at Golden Globes

Meryl Streep powerful speech at the Golden Globes (2017)

Tucker Carlson on Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes rant

Donald Trump MOCKS disabled New York Times reporter

5 Reasons Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes Speech Was A Dud

Meryl Streep says Hollywood elites are the real victims and MMA is for losers, and fails to empathize with Trump voters.

By Mollie Hemingway

The 2017 Hollywood award season got going with last night’s Golden Globes. These awards are given by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association after a period of intense lobbying by Hollywood studios.

Mostly it seemed like a very nice party for an industry that loves to give itself awards. As per usual, some Hollywood elites took their time in the spotlight to disparage others, such as Paul Ryan, Donald Trump, and Republicans in general.

Hugh Laurie, who won “best supporting actor in a series, limited series or TV movie” for his role in AMC’s “The Night Manager” joked that it was going to be the last year these awards were presented. “I don’t mean to be gloomy, it’s just that it has the words ‘Hollywood,’ ‘Foreign,’ and ‘Press’ in the title. I also think to some Republicans even the word ‘association’ is sketchy.” He added, “I accept this award on behalf of psychopathic billionaires everywhere,” he said.

Edgy! Or it’s the opposite. The cliched dig on Trump is better than the out-of-nowhere broadside against Republicans. If well-heeled Hollywood stars and starlets feel the need to mock Trump, they should do that, I guess. I’m not sure how meaningful it is after eight years of unwavering devotion for the current president, but Hollywood is going to do what Hollywood does.

Besides, Hollywood went hard for Hillary Clinton. Time reported in September:

Members of the cast of The West Wing, which went off the air in 2006, will campaign together in Ohio this weekend, while Scandal stars Bellamy Young and Tony Goldwyn have hit the trail in Virginia. Tim Daly, who plays the husband of a fictional Secretary of State on Madam Secretary, one of Clinton’s favorite shows, stumped in Ohio, as will Sally Field, who won an Oscar portraying a union organizer.

The list went on and on. But as much as people may enjoy their stories on the TV, enough Americans rejected the guidance of people who recite other people’s lines to give Trump, of all people, a victory.

So it came to pass that Meryl Streep, the high priestess of Hollywood, gave a barn burner of a sermon to her congregation. Now, federal law requires that you say Streep is the best actress who ever lived and ever will live. (I rather agree with Kate Hepburn’s critique of her, but we’re outliers.) Streep won a Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award and chose to speak on Donald Trump.

Or as CNN put it in their “breaking news” (really!) announcement: Streep “criticized President-elect Trump — without mentioning his name — for his behavior on the campaign trail and called on the press to hold him accountable.” Someone needs to let the folks at CNN know about the difference between dogs biting men and men biting dogs. A Hollywood star criticizing Trump is the opposite of breaking news.

Here were a few issues with her speech.

1. No, Meryl, Hollywood Elites Are Not Victims

Streep said, “Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said. You and all of us in this room, really, belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it. Hollywood, foreigners, and the press.”

How do I put this? UM, NO. Just no. The press and Hollywood are some of the most privileged segments of society. Whether you measure it in terms of cash money, prestige, fame, or an ability to fail year after year and get promoted, Hollywood and media elite do not get to cast themselves as victims.

2. Less Condescension Would Be Nice

Then Streep said Hollywood is “just a bunch of people from other places” noting that not everyone who works in Hollywood was born there. I bet you did not know that until Ms. Streep informed you of this salient fact that renders all criticism of smug Hollywood suddenly moot. She added, “So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”

As J.D. Vance, author of the hit memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” put it:

Can someone explain to me why she needed to insult football and mixed-martial arts? Seemed like needless condescension.

Seriously. I don’t watch football or MMA (and, to be fair, you couldn’t pay me to watch “Florence Foster Jenkins”), but this statement doesn’t even make sense. Mixed martial arts has more “outsiders and foreigners” than Hollywood does. It’s such unnecessary condescension, unless you believe all condescension is necessary to those who watch MMA instead of yet another progressive call to arms masquerading as entertainment.

3. What Is Empathy?

Streep said, “An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that, breathtaking, compassionate work. There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.”

Okay, there is so much to unpack here, so buckle up. Streep tells the widely known story of Trump mocking Serge Kovaleski, a reporter with a physical ailment. This was something that everyone from Jeb Bush to Hillary Clinton and, of course, the entire media complex was very focused on throughout 2016. But if our best empathizers want to truly empathize with people who voted differently from them, it’s time to have a little bit of a chat about this incident and the entire 2016 freakshow.

First off, Trump is horribly rude. He hits people hard, commenting on their looks, their strength, their demeanor. He mocks what they say. At its worst, this is embarrassing behavior to witness in a grown man and a sure sign that our civil discourse is suffering. At its best, he shows some much needed fight in a world where bullies are able to shut down differing opinions through control of the news cycle.

Now, Trump didn’t just do this mocking and insulting in 2016. He’s been doing this for decades. It’s his entire brand. He did this while NBC paid him millions upon millions upon many, many millions of dollars as one of their entertainers. He did this while appearing in “Zoolander,” “Sex and the City,” “Home Alone 2,” and countless other TV shows and movies. He did this while TV networks gave him unparalleled free coverage as he trounced every Republican primary opponent. So it was in this context that people saw him mocking Kovaleski. The media absolutely loved this very persona for decades … until they didn’t.

The media always claimed that Trump was mocking Kovaleski for his disability, a charge that Trump denied. While Trump’s rudeness and failure to speak well of others didn’t help his case, the fact is that the specific “flailing hands” motion that led to this charge is one that he has used on others. Here’s a video of him doing the “flailing hands” motion twice in the same rally — once to describe Kovaleski and once to describe some general — and at another rally when he went after Ted Cruz. It’s the exact same motion for Kovaleski and Cruz. Go ahead and see for yourself:

Now, I don’t particularly like any of these insults. But the characterization of the insult being specific to the reporter’s disability — as opposed to a charge that the reporter was flailing — doesn’t explain why Ted Cruz got the exact same treatment when he was accused of flailing in a debate.

Now it wasn’t that voters had a choice between a boorish insulter and a church mouse. Perhaps the most damaging thing Hillary Clinton did in her campaign — even worse than not visiting Wisconsin because she thought she didn’t need to — was her broadbrush insult of Americans being “deplorable” and “irredeemable.” For some reason Americans chose to nominate these two people, and these were our choices. All of which to say, though, that while Trump did mock Kovaleski, the charge he “imitated” a reporter’s disability is questionable.

So our chief empathizer Streep says that Trump mocked a “disabled reporter” for the purpose of making his “intended audience laugh and show their teeth.” That’s a pretty awful thing to say about your fellow Americans, if we’re all about empathizing. It’s doing the same thing Trump was doing. His flailing arm motions were always done while retelling a story so that he sounded great and others sounded stupid.

Streep skips the flailing arm motions but puts herself and her in-group on a pedestal while disparaging others and mischaracterizing their views. They didn’t laugh with Trump at the reporter so they could show their teeth at the disabled. That’s ridiculous. They laughed because they were enjoying Trump — a proven entertainer — whipping the media into a frenzy and evading their once-powerful jaws. You can disagree with Trump — vehemently, even — without inventing a false story about what his supporters enjoyed in him.

4. We Learned It by Watching You, Meryl!

Streep goes on, “And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, ’cause it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”

Oh man, where to start? There is this advertisement from way back in the day where a kid is getting busted by his dad for smoking weed. “Who taught you how to do this stuff?” the dad asks. “You all right? I learned it by watching you!” the kid shouts in response. That’s all I can think of when smug, condescending, rude, insulting, mocking Hollywood tells Americans that “disrespect invites disrespect.”

You don’t say. You don’t say!

Yes! That’s exactly what it does!

Media reporter Alex Griswold wrote, “I think those who share Hollywood’s politics don’t realize how tiresome it is that being lectured at is a prerequisite to follow pop culture.” It’s not just Hollywood. It’s a political media that treated Mitt Romney — Mitt Freaking Romney! — as the second coming of Hitler. It’s a political media that has never cared to understand, much less fairly explain, conservative viewpoints, instead running after Republican politicians shouting “What about your gaffes!”

Yes, if you rudely dismiss and sneer and treat half the country like they are monsters worthy of extermination for enough decades, you should not be surprised to find them voting for Donald Trump as a weapon of last resort. If you disparage and mock and systematically dismantle all norms, tear down every traditional institution, deny objective reality, and preach that all truth is relative, you should not act like the rise of Donald Trump is such a surprise.

5. Now Is the Time for Humility

So if you’re wondering why anyone could possibly have any problem with the saintly Streep’s sermon, hopefully you can empathize with others who heard it differently. It was an unwelcome reproof from a representative of a group that doesn’t exactly have a ton of credibility. To see media elites cheer her on and push out her message was as unwelcome as everything else the media pushed in 2016. You’d think they’d learn.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-3-01-32-am

But let’s revisit the best part of the speech Streep delivered. “Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.” We can hope that powerful Hollywood and the powerful political media will take this message to heart and stop disrespecting those who disagree with them, excommunicating as heretics any who dare differ. We can hope that they will stop bullying others into their narrow groupthink. While we’re at it, we can hope that Donald Trump stops being so rude on Twitter and elsewhere.

We can also face the reality that at this point Trump is more likely to modify his behavior than Hollywood or political media are. As individuals, however, we can and should always redouble our efforts to speak well of each other and treat each other well. We shouldn’t take our guidance from politicians or movie stars, and if we focus our efforts on improving our own virtue, perhaps future generations will have better statesmen and artists.

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter at @mzhemingway

 

Trump fires back at Meryl Streep and calls her ‘one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood’ after she labels him a ‘disrespectful bully’ in searing Golden Globes speech

  • Meryl Streep publicly slammed Donald Trump in her Golden Globes speech  for mocking disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski at a rally in November of 2015
  • ‘Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose,’ said Streep   
  • Trump fired back by calling Streep the ‘most -overrated actress in Hollywood’ and ‘a Hillary flunky who lost big’ while denying that he mocked Kovaleski
  • Streep, 67, is a three-time Academy Award winner who has been nominated for a record 19 Oscars and 30 Golden Globes  
  • Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway said she would like Streep to give a ‘shout-out to the mentally challenged boy who was tortured on Facebook for half an hour’
  • Kovaleski, who suffers from arthrogryposis, angered Trump when he shot down claim that ‘thousands’ were celebrating the terror attacks in New Jersey on 9/11 

Donald Trump is firing back at Meryl Streep after she very publicly criticized him in front of millions of people around the world at the Golden Globe Awards.

In an explosive six-minute speech on Sunday night, Streep did not hold back as she went after Trump for mocking disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski in November of 2015 during a campaign rally.

‘That instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in a public platform, it filters down into everyone’s life because it gives permission for others to do the same,’ said Streep in front of a audience packed full of Hollywood A-listers.

‘Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.’

Trump responded to Streep’s comments on Monday by taking aim at the actress on Twitter, writing: ‘Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes.’

Streep, 67, is a three-time Academy Award winner who has been nominated for a record 19 Oscars and  a record 30 Golden Globes during a career that has spanned five decades. The actress is also widely considered to be the greatest-living actor by both members of the public and those in the industry.

That talent is why Streep was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association on Sunday night for her ‘outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.’

Scroll down for videos

Meryl Streep, the Cecil B. DeMille honoree, used her Golden Globes acceptance speech on Sunday night to publicly slam Donald Trump for mocking a disabled reporter

Meryl Streep, the Cecil B. DeMille honoree, used her Golden Globes acceptance speech on Sunday night to publicly slam Donald Trump for mocking a disabled reporter

Trump hit back by describing Streep as 'one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood'

Trump hit back by describing Streep as ‘one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood’

Golden Globes: Meryl Streep condemns Donald Trump’s behaviour

Trump also called Streep a ‘Hillary flunky who lost big’ on Monday morning.

The actress was a vocal Hillary Clinton supporter throughout the campaign and even introduced the presidential nominee when she appeared via video feed from her home in New York on the second night of the Democratic National Convention over the summer.

 That instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in a public platform, it filters down into everyone’s life because it gives permission for others to do the same. Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.
-Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech

Streep is also fond of the Obamas as well, and was one of the few guests who made the cut for the couple’s final White House party on Friday night.

The actress was so intent on attending that she flew to Washington DC from Los Angeles just after Carrie Fisher’s memorial on Thursday afternoon to attend the event.

Streep, who played the character Fisher based on herself in the 1990 film adaptation of the Star Wars actress’ semi-autobiographical tale Postcards from the Edge, delivered the eulogy at the private memorial before singing her friend’s favorite song, ‘Happy Days are Here Again.’

And she was once again in the air right after the Obamas party on Friday, which was still going strong at 4am on Saturday according to guests, heading  back to Los Angeles for the Golden Globes on Sunday.

Trump also used his early-morning Twitter rant to once again claim that he had not been mocking Kovaleski during the 2015 rally Streep spoke about on Sunday night.

‘For the 100th time, I never “mocked” a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him “groveling” when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!’ wrote Trump.

The president-elect also said in a statement earlier on Monday: ‘I was never mocking anyone. I was calling into question a reporter who had gotten nervous because he had changed his story.

‘People keep saying I intended to mock the reporter’s disability, as if Meryl Streep and others could read my mind, and I did no such thing.’

He added: ‘And remember, Meryl Streep introduced Hillary Clinton at her convention, and a lot of these people supported Hillary.’

Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway also went after Streep while appearing on Fox and Friends Monday morning.

‘My initial reaction is I’m glad Meryl Streep has such a passion for the disabled because I didn’t hear her weigh in and I didn’t hear her use her platform last night to give a shout-out to the mentally challenged boy who last week was tortured live on Facebook for half an hour,’ said Conway.

She then made a point of noting that it was ‘four African-American adults’ that were ‘screaming anti-Trump expletives’ who carried out the horrifying attack in Chicago o the 18-year-old male whose name is not being released by authorities.

‘So I’d like to hear from her today, if she wants to come and continue her platform on behalf of the disabled,’ said Conway to close things out, adding that Trump has debunked the claim that he was mocking the reporter countless times in the past.

Kramer Vs. Kramer Oscar
Sophie's Choice Oscar
The iron Lady Oscar

Golden girl: Streep, 67, is a three-time Academy Award winner who has been nominated for a record 19 Oscars (l to r: Best Supporting Actress for Kramer vs. Kramer at the 1980 ceremony, Best Actress for Sophie’s Choice at the 1983 ceremony and Best Actress for The Iron Lady in 2014)

Speaking up: Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway (above) said she would like Streep to give a 'shout-out to the mentally challenged boy who was tortured on Facebook for half an hour'

Speaking up: Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway (above) said she would like Streep to give a ‘shout-out to the mentally challenged boy who was tortured on Facebook for half an hour’

Trump came under fire in 2015 for mocking New York Times investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski by impersonating the journalist's physical handicap

Esteemed journalist Serge Kovaleski suffers from a chronic condition which effects the movement in his arms

Trump came under fire in 2015 for mocking New York Times investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski by impersonating the journalist’s physical handicap

Trump was speaking to an audience in South Carolina back in 2015 when he began to go after Kovaleski, who reported in a Washington Post story that was published after 9/11 that authorities had ‘questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks.’

That line was being used by Trump during his campaign as evidence to support his claim that ‘thousands and thousands’ of Muslims were celebrating in New Jersey when the Twin Towers fell.

Kovaleski quickly made a point of noting however that there were not ‘thousands’ or even ‘hundreds’ of people cheering on after the terror attack, adding in a statement that he had no confirmation that there was any celebrations at all on that day.

My initial reaction is I’m glad Meryl Streep has such a passion for the disabled because I didn’t hear her weigh in and I didn’t hear her use her platform last night to give a shout-out to the mentally challenged boy who last week was tortured live on Facebook for half an hour.
-Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway

‘I certainly do not remember anyone saying that thousands or even hundreds of people were celebrating. That was not the case, as best as I can remember,’ said Kovaleski.

Two days later, Trump went after the disabled reporter while appearing in South Carolina, claiming that he was changing his story now all these years later.

Kovaleski has not changed a word of his original report since he first published the story 15 years ago.

‘Now the poor guy, you ought to see this guy,’ Trump said at the rally before drawing his wrists up close to his chest and flailing around.

‘”Ah, I don’t know what I said! I don’t remember!”‘

The move made him look similar like Kovaleski, who suffers from arthrogryposis.

Trump claimed soon after that appearance that he was not imitating the reporter, and had never even met the man so he would not have any idea about his disability.

Kovaleski responded by stating he had in fact met Trump back in the 80s while he was covering the real estate scion, and that he had even flown with him on his private airplane.

Those claims were also later supported by some of Kovaleski’s fellow reporters who recalled seeing him speak with Trump at the time, and noted that the two men were on a first name basis.

Streep dressed up as Donald Trump (above) at the annual Shakespeare in the Park gala in New York City this past June

Streep dressed up as Donald Trump (above) at the annual Shakespeare in the Park gala in New York City this past June

Streep as Trump

Meryl dressed up for Shakespeare in the Park

The three-time Oscar winner and staunch Hillary Clinton supporter, was the spitting image of the Republican (above), as she donned a fat suit and painted her features orange

The Cecil B. DeMille honoree’s speech stunned the audience, leaving many teary-eyed

Meryl Streep uses speech to call out Trump for his actions

Speaking about the controversial moment, Streep said: ‘There was nothing good about it, but it did its job.

‘It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out my head because it wasn’t in a movie, it was in real life.

‘It was that moment when a person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter – someone he outranked in privilege, in power and in the capacity to fight back.

‘That instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in a public platform, it filters down into everyone’s life because it gives permission for others to do the same.

‘Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.’

 Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners and if you kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts
-Streep’s Golden Globes speech

In her speech Streep, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention last year, also called for the press to stand up to Trump and hold him to account going forward.

Streep also spoke about how the Hollywood Foreign Press and actors present were part of ‘the most vilified segments in American society right now’ – Hollywood, foreigners and the press.

‘But who are we, and what is Hollywood anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places,’ Streep said as she touched on her New Jersey upbringing.

She mentioned nominees seated in the room by name and recalled details of their cultural backgrounds to shine a light on Hollywood’s multicultural makeup and to build context for the rest of her speech.

‘Viola (Davis) was born in a sharecroppers cabin in South Carolina, came up in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mom in Brooklyn,’ she said.

‘Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Vicenzia, Italy, and Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem.

‘Where are their birth certificates?’ she asked.

Streep noted Viola Davis - who introduced Streep for the award - was born in a sharecroppers cabin in South Carolina before being raised in Central Falls, Rhode Island

Streep noted Viola Davis – who introduced Streep for the award – was born in a sharecroppers cabin in South Carolina before being raised in Central Falls, Rhode Island

Ryan Gosling 'like all the nicest people' is Canadian, Streep said
Streep mentioned Dev Patel's Kenyan heritage. He was raised in London and was nominated for a Golden Globe playing an Indian raised in Tasmania, Australia

Ryan Gosling ‘like all the nicest people’ is Canadian, Streep said. She also mentioned Dev Patel’s Kenyan heritage. He was raised in London and was nominated for a Golden Globe playing an Indian raised in Tasmania, Australia

Sarah Paulson was born in Florida and raised by a single mom in Brooklyn, Streep noted

Sarah Paulson was born in Florida and raised by a single mom in Brooklyn, Streep noted

Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was raised in Ireland. She was nominated for a Golden Globe for playing a small-town girl from Virginia
Streep pointed out that Amy Adams was born in Vicenzia, Italy

Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was raised in Ireland. Streep pointed out that Amy Adams was born in Vicenzia, Italy

Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio

Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio

‘The beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was raised in Ireland and she’s here nominated for playing a small-town girl from Virginia.

‘Ryan Gosling, like all the nicest people is Canadian. Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London, is here playing an Indian, raised in Tasmania.

Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a Hillary flunky who lost big.
-Donald Trump on Twitter

‘Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners and if you kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts,’ Streep said to loud applause.

Streep mentioned her late friend Carrie Fisher, who died just after Christmas, and how the actress and writer urged others to ‘take your broken heart and make it into art.’

Her speech sent Twitter into a frenzy with many of A-list stars applauding Streep.

‘There has never been anyone like Meryl Streep. I love her,’ Ellen DeGeneres wrote.

Orange Is The New Black star Uzo Aduba wrote: ‘Meryl Streep. It’s this same level of bravery that she has offered us, freely, again and again.’

‘”When the powerful use their position to bully other, we all lose” thank you,’ Julianne Moore wrote.

MERYL STREEP’S FULL SPEECH:

Thank you, thank you. I lost my voice in screaming and lamentation this week. I’ve lost my mind sometime earlier this year, so I have to read. Thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press. Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said: You, and all of us in this room, really belong to the most vilified segment of American society right now. Think about it: Hollywood, foreigners, and the press.

But who are we? What is Hollywood, anyway? It’s just a bunch of different places. I was born and raised and educated in the public schools of New Jersey, Viola was born in a sharecroppers cabin in South Carolina, came up in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Vicenzia, Italy, and Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates? And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was raised in Ireland and she’s here nominated – for playing a small-town girl from Virginia. Ryan Gosling, like all the nicest people is Canadian. And Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London, is here playing an Indian, raised in Tasmania.

So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing else to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts. They gave me three seconds to say that.

An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us, and let you feel what that feels like, and there were many, many ,many powerful performances that did exactly that – breathtaking, compassionate work. But there was one performances this year that stunned me; it sank its hooks in my heart, not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job – it made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth.

It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter – someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it and I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie, it was real life. This instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, filters down into everybody’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.

Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.

Okay, this brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them them on the carpet for every outrage – that’s why our founders enshrine the press and its freedoms in our constitution. So I only asked the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the committee to protect journalists, because we’re gonna need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.

One more thing. Once, when I was standing around on the set one day whining about something, we were going to work through supper, or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor. Yeah, it is. And we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be very proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight.

As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, take your broken heart, make it into art. Thank you.

The Cecil B. DeMille honoree called the moment the president-elect mocked a disabled reporter the most stunning performance of the year

The Cecil B. DeMille honoree called the moment the president-elect mocked a disabled reporter the most stunning performance of the year

Donald Trump mocks disabled New York Times reporter in 2015

However, other social media users condemning the speech as being the exact sort of condescending attitude from the ‘elites’ that got Trump elected.

Twitter user Deplorable P Kelly posted: ‘#MerylStreep dont u get it? There r ppl out here that make less in a year than celebrities spent on their gown tonite? They need an escape.’

Fox News host Meghan McCain added: ‘This Meryl Streep speech is why Trump won. And if people in Hollywood don’t start recognizing why and how – you will help him get re-elected.’

While Streep won the annual Cecille B. DeMille Award and can boast of 48 Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, her career is still current.

She was nominated this year for her portrayal of a bad opera singer in ‘Florence Foster Jenkins.’

Streep was introduced by fellow actress Viola Davis, who said her husband urged her every day when she worked with her to tell Streep how much she meant to her. She was too bashful then, but not on stage on Sunday.

‘You make me proud to be an artist,’ Davis said. ‘You make me feel that what I have in me – my body, my face, my age – is enough.’

DONALD TRUMP SLAMMED FOR MOCKING DISABLED REPORTER:

Donald Trump came under fire in 2015 after he mocked investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski at a Republican rally in South Carolina

Donald Trump came under fire in 2015 after he mocked investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski at a Republican rally in South Carolina

Donald Trump came under fire in 2015 after he mocked investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski at a Republican rally in South Carolina.

He was accused of impersonating the New York Times journalist’s physical handicap for what he saw as the reporter stepping away from an article he wrote on the 9/11 attacks in The Washington Post.

‘Now the poor guy, you ought to see this guy,’ Trump said, drawing his wrists up close to his chest and flailing around. ‘”Ah, I don’t know what I said! I don’t remember!”‘

Kovaleski has arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that has locked his right arm up against his chest in a similar position to the one Trump held.

He claimed Trump was mocking his disability, while Trump denied at the time knowing who Kovaleski was.

Kovaleski then said he was on first-name terms with Trump and had interviewed him around a dozen times over the past 30 years.

Pro-Trump website Catholics 4 Trump claimed last year that the Republican had a long history of making similar gestures while mocking other people.

They featured videos from 2016, 2015 and 2005 showing Trump doing similar – albeit shorter and less involved – impressions on several other occasions.

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Full text of declassified report on Russian activities during 2016 U.S. presidential election

Feds Release Declassified Report On Russian Election Influence Campaign

ALEX PFEIFFER Reporter

Russian President Vladimir Putin directly ordered an influence campaign to undermine the United States election and help elect Donald Trump, according to a declassified report released Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency were the three intelligence agencies that came to these conclusion and investigated Russia’s involvement in influencing the 2016 election.

The report is not strictly about hacking efforts, but focuses broadly on a Russian influence campaign that also includes propaganda efforts, with an emphasis on the Russian-state television network RT. There is a seven page section in the 25-page report which focuses on RT.

The three agencies have high confidence that “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.” The three intelligence agencies also have high confidence that “Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”

The three agencies agree that “Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.” But while the CIA and FBI have high confidence in this assessment, the NSA has “moderate confidence.”

The three agencies concluded that Russia believed Hillary Clinton was likely to win the election, so they changed their approach to “to focus more on undermining her future presidency.”

The agencies say that the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) gained access to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) networks and the email accounts of several Democratic Party officials and political figures. The report continues on to say that GRU disseminated hacked information through the persona Guccifer 2.0, the website DC Leaks and WikiLeaks. The report does not include specific information about the attribution to GRU.

The report from the ODNI heavily focus on public statements from Russian leaders or propaganda networks to back up their conclusion that Russia sought to undermine the 2016 election and Clinton’s chances of victory. For example, the report says, “Pro-Kremlin proxy Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, proclaimed just before the election that if President-elect Trump won, Russia would ‘drink champagne’ in anticipation of being able to advance its positions on Syria and Ukraine.”

The intelligence agencies assess that Putin had a preference for Trump over Clinton due to several factors, including a Trump victory leading to an international coalition against the Islamic State and comments from Clinton that Putin viewed as disparaging.

Russia also gained access into state and local electoral boards in the years before the election, according to the report, but “DHS assesses that the types of systems we observed Russian actors targeting or compromising are not involved in vote tallying.”

The report used an example of RT’s most popular English language content to show how Putin sought to influence the election. “RT’s most popular video on Secretary Clinton, ‘How 100% of the Clintons’ ‘Charity’ Went to…Themselves,’ had more than 9 million views on social media platforms. RT’s most popular English language video about the President-elect, called ‘Trump Will Not Be Permitted To Win,’ featured Assange and had 2.2 million views,” the ODNI report stated.

Outside of using traditional means of propaganda, the intelligence agencies concluded that Russia used social media “trolls” to amplify negative stories about Clinton.

The report concludes that lessons from this campaign will be used in further efforts against the United States’ and it’s allies’ election processes. It also stated that information obtained by Russia in hacking efforts against US think tanks and non-government organizations could be used “for future influence efforts as well as foreign intelligence collection on the incoming administration’s goals and plans.”

http://dailycaller.com/2017/01/06/feds-release-declassified-report-on-russian-election-influence-campaign/#ixzz4VIlX8Gb6

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