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

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

 

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 997, November 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 996, November 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 995, November 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 994, November 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 993, November 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 992, October 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 991, October 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 990, October 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 989, October 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 988, October 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 987, October 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 986, October 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 985, October 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 984, October 16, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 983, October 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 982, October 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 981, October 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 980, October 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 979, October 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 978, October 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 977, October 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 976, October 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 975, September 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 974, September 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 973, September 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 972, September 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 971, September 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 970, September 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 969, September 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 968, September 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 967, September 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 966, September 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 965, September 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 964, September 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 963, September 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 962, September 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 961, September 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 960, September 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 959, September 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 958, September 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 957, September 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 956, August 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 955, August 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 954, August 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 953, August 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 952, August 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 951, August 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 950, August 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 949, August 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 948, August 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 947, August 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 946, August 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 945, August 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 944, August 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 943, August 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 942, August 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 941, August 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 939, August 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 938, August 1, 2017

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

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

Saudi Arabia arrests princes, ministers for corruption

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

Image result for Nations with nuclear weaspon

Image result for Nations with nuclear weaspon

Image result for Nations with nuclear weaspon

Image result for Nations with nuclear weaspon

Image result for Nations with nuclear weaspon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump in Beijing and US-China trade

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

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

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

Understanding the Chinese mindset

China and Democracy

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

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

Chinese Leaders Fear Military Revolt | China Uncensored

Why China Fears Japan’s Military | China Uncensored

North Korea “Fatal Mistake” WW3 Nuclear Invasion

North Korea War Countdown Initiated ~ Urgent Warning

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

How Does North Korea Have Nuclear Weapons?

Who Are The World’s Nuclear Watchdogs?

What Countries Have Nuclear Weapons?

Where Are The World’s Nuclear Weapons Stored?

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

How Powerful Are Modern Nuclear Weapons?

Nuclear Proliferation

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

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

How Does China’s Government Work?

TED – China’s Political System

Eric X. Li: A tale of two political systems

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

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

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

China’s Communist party enshrines Xi Jinping ideology in constitution

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

How Xi Jinping Went From Feeding Pigs to Ruling China

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Socialism with Chinese characteristics

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

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

Primary stage of socialism

During Mao era

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

After Mao’s death

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

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

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

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

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

Socialist market economy

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

Ideological justification

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

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

Private ownership

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

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

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

Criticism

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

See also

References

Citations

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

Sources

Further reading

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

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

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

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

Trump’s South Korea speech, in 3 minutes

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

Is Trump softening his stance on North Korea?

Trump urges N Korea to ‘come to the table’

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump arrives in South Korea amid tensions with North

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump and Abe meet at a golf course in Japan

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

Trump abruptly talking negotiations, not threats in Korea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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

___

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The whole manic scene is watched over by white jerseys.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DON’T MESS WITH OUR SUPER HORNETS

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

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

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

The Super Hornets’ armament includes: 

One M61A1/A2 Vulcan 20mm cannon

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

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

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

One Standoff Land Attack Missile

One AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile

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

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

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

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

Source: US NAVY 

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

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

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

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

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

But crew safety is of utmost importance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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𝐁en 𝐒hapiro 𝐄xplains 𝐓he 𝐆odfather 𝐒cenario 𝐇appening 𝐈n 𝐒audi 𝐀rabia

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

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Saudi Minister: Lebanon declared war on kingdom

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

Saudi Arabia’s proxy war with Iran intensifies

Iran denies arming Yemenis with missiles

Is Lebanon on the brink of turmoil? – Inside Story

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

Did the Saudis Force Lebanese PM to Resign?

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The Middle East Crisis in a nutshell

The Middle East’s cold war, explained

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

Iranian proxy Hezbollah increasing influence over Lebanese politics and army

What the rising power of Hezbollah means for the Middle East

What If Saudi Arabia And Iran Went To War?

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

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

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

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

Saudi Arabia Arrests 11 Princes Including A Billionaire

Cabinet reshuffle, crackdown on corruption in latest Saudi purge

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

PBS NewsHour

Published on Nov 6, 2017

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

Saudi Arabia arrests 4 ministers and 11 princes

PBS NewsHour

Published on Nov 5, 2017

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

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Saudi Arabia attacked by Yemen missile in Riyadh intercepts ballistic missile

Saudi Arabia Missile: Air Force intercepts missile near Riyadh

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

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

10 Minutes: Saudi Arabia’s New Crown Prince

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

The 18 Religions That Make Up Lebanon’s Government

Why Lebanon Is Fractured By The Conflicts In The Middle East

Saudi Arabia says Lebanon declares war, deepening crisis

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was no immediate comment from the Lebanese government.

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

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

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

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

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

HARIRI FREE TO TRAVEL, SAUDI FM SAYS

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

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

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

Slideshow (3 Images)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saudi Arabia Blames Iran for Missile Attack

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Saudi Crackdown Targets Up to $800 Billion in Assets

Authorities detain more prominent businessmen, freeze bank accounts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud

The founder of modern Saudi Arabia, who ruled from 1932

to 1953

Detained

Promoted

Other direct descendant

LINE OF SUCCESSION

King Salman bin

Abdulaziz

King 2015-present

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

Prince Miteb bin Abdullah

Prince al-Waleed

bin Talal

Prince Mohammed bin Nayef

Crown Prince

Mohammed bin Salman

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

Previous head of the elite Saudi Arabian National Guard

Previous crown prince

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

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

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

Prince Abdulaziz bin

Saud bin Nayef

New minister of interior

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

Note: not all descendants represented

Sources: Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia; staff reports.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He also heads the anti-corruption panel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 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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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

Image result for false flagImage result for false flagImage result for false flagImage result for map syria united states attack on syria air base april 2017Image result for map syria united states attack on syria air base april 2017Image result for cartoons syria sarin false flagImage result for cartoons syria sarin false flagImage result for cartoons syria sarin false flagImage result for number killed in syrian civil war through 2016Image result for syrian gas attack april 5, 2017 map idlib syriaImage result for syrian gas attack april 2017  Image result for syrian gas attack april 2017Image result for syrian gas attack april 5, 2017 map

Image result for cartoons syria sarin false flagImage result for cartoons syria sarin false flagImage result for syria sarin false flag

Image result for cartoons on syria

Image result for cartoons on syria

Image result for cartoons on syriaImage result for cartoons on syria

Image result for map syria turkey jordan air base attacked by united statesImage result for map syria turkey jordan air base attacked by united states

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Image result for map syria turkey jordan air base attacked by united states

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

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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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Breaking Story 1: Khalid Masood Criminal Radical Islamic Terrorist Killed 4 and Injured 29 (4 In Critical Condition) Before Being Killed by London Police Was Jihadist Soldier of Islamic State — Videos —

Image result for london terrorist attack parliamentImage result for london terrorist attack parliament march 22, 2017 westminster bridge
Image result for london terrorist attack parliamentImage result for london terrorist attack parliament march 22, 2017 westminster bridgeImage result for london terrorist attack parliamentImage result for london terrorist attack parliament march 22, 2017 westminster bridgeImage result for london terrorist attack parliamentImage result for london terrorist attack parliament march 22, 2017 westminster bridgeImage result for london terrorist attack parliament march 22, 2017 westminster bridgeImage result for london terrorist attack parliament march 22, 2017 westminster bridgeImage result for london terrorist attack parliamentImage result for london terrorist attack parliamentImage result for london terrorist attack parliament march 22, 2017Image result for london terrorist attack parliamentImage result for london terrorist attack parliamentImage result for london terrorist attack parliamentImage result for london terrorist attack parliamentImage result for london terrorist attack parliament march 22, 2017Image result for london terrorist attack parliament march 22, 2017Image result for london terrorist attack parliament march 22, 2017 westminster bridgeImage result for london terrorist attack parliament march 22, 2017 westminster bridgeTerror Attack Targets London’s Parliament Building

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SEDUCED BY ISIS

London terror attacker named as Khalid Masood – a 52-year-old body-building obsessed dad-of-three English teacher seduced by ISIS

The Muslim convert used several aliases and had been convicted previously of possessing a knife

A KILLER who murdered three people before he was shot dead by police has been named as a body-building obsessed married dad-of-three.

Muslim convert former English teacher Khalid Masood, 52, who mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before storming Parliament and stabbing a police officer to death, was born in Kent but later moved to the West Midlands.

Khalid Masood lies on a stretcher outside Parliament with paramedics treating his injuries while armed cops stand guard

PA:PRESS ASSOCIATION
Khalid Masood lies on a stretcher outside Parliament with paramedics treating his injuries while armed cops stand guard

Masood was a former English teacher from Kent who was obsessed with body building

PA:PRESS ASSOCIATION
Masood was a former English teacher from Kent who was obsessed with body building

Scotland Yard said serial offender Masood, who was born on Christmas Day, had previous convictions for assaults, including GBH, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences.

He had not been convicted of any terror offences, and was not subject to any investigations at the time of the atrocity.

Masood’s first conviction was in November 1983 for criminal damage and his last conviction was in December 2003 for possession of a knife.

The Met police said there was “no prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack”.

They added: “Anyone with any information about Masood can call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline 0800 789 321.”

The killer was known by a number of aliases including Khalid Choudri, according to Sky News.

Theresa May earlier revealed  MI5 intelligence chiefs had previously investigated 52-year-old Khalid Masood but dismissed him as a “peripheral figure”.

The house in Birmingham that Khalid Masood lived in after moving from London

AP:ASSOCIATED PRESS
The house in Birmingham that Khalid Masood lived in after moving from London

The murderous rampage was only stopped when the Defence Minister’s protection officer drew his gun, shooting the extremist up to three times.

Officials have now said the lone wolf maniac was inspired by “Islamic terrorism” and had been investigated for violent extremism by MI5 before he mowed down crowds on Westminster Bridge and stabbed cop Keith Palmer to death outside Parliament.

A Sky source, who met him, described him as a “big bloke” who looked like a bodybuilder “you wouldn’t want to mess with”.

He added that Masood was a “very religious, well spoken man. You couldn’t go to his home in Birmingham on Friday because he would be at prayer”.

The source also said he was a “religious convert”.

A stunned neighbour claimed she recognised the dead terrorist after he apparently lived next door to her in Winson Green, Birmingham.

Iwona Romek, who did not know the attacker’s name, described the killer as a dad who was a keen gardener.

The 45-year-old said the murderer “seemed to be quite nice” but suddenly moved out with his “young child and Asian wife”.

Masood used to live at this modest house in West Ham, London

PA:PRESS ASSOCIATION
Masood used to live at this modest house in West Ham, London

The killer lived here in London before moving to Birmingham

PA:PRESS ASSOCIATION
The killer lived here in London before moving to Birmingham

Forensic teams work on Westminster Bridge the day after a lone wolf maniac attacked London

GETTY
Forensic teams work on Westminster Bridge the day after a lone wolf maniac attacked London

Forensic teams carry bags of evidence from Westminster Bridge where a maniac ploughed into crowds yesterday

LONDON NEWS PICTURES
Forensic teams carry bags of evidence from Westminster Bridge where a maniac ploughed into crowds yesterday

PM Theresa May confirms MI5 know the identity of the Westminster terror attacker

Theresa May updated MPs in the House of Commons this morning

EPA
Theresa May updated MPs in the House of Commons this morning

Third victim of London terror attack at Westminster named as Kurt Cochran

Iwona Romek believes she lived next door to the killer

SWNS:SOUTH WEST NEWS SERVICE
Iwona Romek believes she lived next door to the killer

She added: “When I saw the pictures on TV and in the papers of the man who carried out the attack, I recognised him as the man who used to live next door.

“I would see him quite often, but it would just be a ‘hello’ and a ‘how are you’.

“He had a young child, who I’d think was about five or six years old.

“There was a woman living there with him, an Asian woman.

“He seemed to be quite nice, he would be taking care of his garden and the weeds.

“He moved out in December, very soon. One day he was gone, there were delivery vans outside all of a sudden.

“Last night I just heard banging of the door and police shouting ‘open the door, open the door’.

“They were saying ‘it’s on the second floor’

“I heard the helicopters flying above too.

“Men were going in in the forensics outfits, it was very strange.

“I’m shaking and I’m nervous. I don’t know if I can live here anymore, I’ve been here

for 12 years.

“I just thought it was a normal family”.

Police leaving the property at the Quayside, in the Winson Green area of Birmingham after carrying out a forensic search

SWNS:SOUTH WEST NEWS SERVICE
Police leaving the property at the Quayside, in the Winson Green area of Birmingham after carrying out a forensic search

Officers holding a battering ram raided the property in Birmingham

SWNS:SOUTH WEST NEWS SERVICE
Officers holding a battering ram raided the property in Birmingham

A number of raids including this one in Birmingham have been carried out across the country

SWNS:SOUTH WEST NEWS SERVICE
A number of raids including this one in Birmingham have been carried out across the country

A photograph shows police arresting an individual after carrying out raids last night

CATERS NEWS AGENCY
A photograph shows police arresting an individual after carrying out raids last night

Hundreds of cops have been drafted in the aftermath of the Westminster attack with six properties raided - including this Birmingham flat

CATERS NEWS AGENCY
Hundreds of cops have been drafted in the aftermath of the Westminster attack with six properties raided – including this Birmingham flat

Police swooped on areas around Hagley Road in Birmingham in raids

SWNS:SOUTH WEST NEWS SERVICE
Police swooped on areas around Hagley Road in Birmingham in raids

An officer enters the flat in Hagley Road in Birmingham

© ANDREW PRICE/VIEW FINDER PICT
An officer enters the flat in Hagley Road in Birmingham

Inside the Birmingham flat, located in the south west of the city, which was raided by cops

Inside the Birmingham flat, located in the south west of the city, which was raided by cops

Cops raided the flat, and took several people into custody, according to reports

Cops raided the flat, and took several people into custody, according to reports

Farahd Makavand, the owner of a flat in Birmingham, that was raided by police

REUTERS
FarahdMakavand, the owner of a flat in Birmingham, that was raided by police

Theresa May told Parliament this morning: “What I can confirm is the man was British-born and that some years ago he was once investigated by MI5 in relation to concerns about violent extremism.”

She said he was a “peripheral” figure, adding: “The case is historic.

“He is not part of the current intelligence picture. There was no prior intelligence of his intent or the plot.”

ISIS has now claimed responsibility for the attack, publishing a statement and claiming the attacker as a “soldier of the Islamic State”.

While vowing that Britain would not be cowed by the attack, the PM said that as a precautionary measure,  more armed police will be rolled out as the country beefs up security.

Met with vocal support from other members of parliament, she said: “Yesterday we saw the worst of humanity, but we will remember the best.”

But she said that with no new intelligence to suggest another attack, the threat level to the UK would remain unchanged at “severe”.

It comes at it was revealed that Masood only got into Parliament when the gates were opened to let the Metropolitan Police chief Mark Rowley leave.

US tourist Kurt Cochran was also killed in the terrorist incident while enjoying a dream holiday

US tourist Kurt Cochran was also killed in the terrorist incident while enjoying a dream holiday

The details come after American tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, was named as the third victim of the horrific Westminster attack.

The revelations come after cops arrested eight people in raids on six different addresses across London, Carmarthenshire, Brighton and Birmingham in connection with yesterday’s bloody attack.

The three women and five men have been held on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts.

Police said a 39-year-old woman was arrested at an address in east London, a 21-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man were arrested at an address in Birmingham, a 26-year-old woman and three men aged 28, 27 and 26 years old were arrested at a separate address in Birmingham.

A 58-year-old man was also arrested this morning at a separate address in Birmingham on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts.

Mark Rowley, national lead for Counter Terrorism Policing and Met Acting Deputy Commissioner corrected earlier figures saying three innocent victims – PC Palmer, a woman in her mid 40s and a man in his mid 50s – were killed along with the attacker who was shot by cops.

The female victim was mum-of-two Aysha Frade, who is believed to have been picking up her children from school when she was killed in the horrific attack.

AMAQ News Agency says ISIS carried out London terror attack at Westminster

Police were on their hands and knees searching the area for clues

Police were on their hands and knees searching the area for clues

Mark Rowley, national lead for Counter Terrorism Policing and Met Acting Deputy Commissioner gives a press conference this morning

Mark Rowley, national lead for Counter Terrorism Policing and Met Acting Deputy Commissioner gives a press conference this morning
 

Scotland Yard confirm seven arrests in raids linked to Westminster terror attackPM Theresa May confirms MI5 know the identity of the Westminster terror attackerMr Rowley said 29 people are being treated in hospital, with five in a critical condition and two with life threatening injuries.

Theresa May has been visiting victims of the attack in hospital. The PM spent around 40 minutes with the injured victims talking to them about their harrowing experiences.

She also spoke to medical staff to thank them for their work, said her official spokesman, who declined to name the hospital where the private visit took place.

Many of those injured on Westminster Bridge were taken to St Thomas’ Hospital, which faces the Palace of Westminster across the Thames. Others went to King’s College Hospital and the Royal London Hospital.

PC Keith Palmer's former team lay a wreath for the tragic cop

PC Keith Palmer’s former team lay a wreath for the tragic cop

Twelve Brits were injured, with police officers reportedly among those hurt, while nationals from France, Romania, China and America were also hurt.

The Romanian couple who were injured have been named as Andrei Burnaz and Andreea Cristea.

Andreea suffered multiple injuries and has undergone complex surgery after falling from Westminster Bridge while her boyfriend sustained a broken foot, according to the Romanian ambassador to the UK.

PC Keith Palmer’s devastated family have paid tribute to the fallen cop after he was stabbed to death by Masood yesterday.

They said in a statement: “Keith will be remembered as a wonderful dad and husband. A loving son, brother and uncle. A long-time supporter of Charlton FC.

“Dedicated to his job and proud to be a police officer, brave and courageous.

“A friend to everyone who knew him.

“He will be deeply missed. We love him so much.

“His friends and family are shocked and devastated by his loss and ask that they are left to grieve alone in peace.”

PC Keith Palmer’s former team lay a wreath in memory of those who lost their lives in Westminster terror attackPolice have been also been paying tribute to the dad, and the Met Police announced today they would retire the tragic cop’s shoulder number.

They tweeted: “As a mark of respect Keith’s shoulder number – 4157U – will be retired and not reissued to any other officer #WeRemember #WestminsterAttack”.

As a mark of respect Keith’s shoulder number – 4157U – will be retired and not reissued to any other officer

Today detectives and forensic teams continue to work in Westminster removing evidence from the scene of the atrocity.

Flags across the capital have been flying at half mast, with a minute’s silence held at 9.33am.

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan announced a candlelit vigil will be held in Trafalgar Square at 6pm as he defiantly said “Londoners will not cower”.

The Queen has also released a statement, saying: “My thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathy are with all those who have been affected by yesterday’s awful violence.

“I know I speak for everyone in expressing my enduring thanks and admiration for the members of the Metropolitan Police Service and all who work so selflessly to help and protect others.”

 

PM Theresa May’s statement to Commons following Westminster terror attack

Forensic teams carry bags of evidence from Westminster Bridge where a maniac ploughed into crowds yesterday

Forensic teams carry bags of evidence from Westminster Bridge where a maniac ploughed into crowds yesterday

Police officers in forensics suits search the grass on Parliament Square gardens outside the Houses of Parliament on Thursday morning

Police officers in forensics suits search the grass on Parliament Square gardens outside the Houses of Parliament on Thursday morning

Hundreds of detectives worked through the night after the attack which claimed the lives of three innocent victims

Hundreds of detectives worked through the night after the attack which claimed the lives of three innocent victims

Roads have been blocked off around Westminster Bridge after the Wednesday attack

Roads have been blocked off around Westminster Bridge after the Wednesday attack

The Met’s SO15 counter-terrorist command have said they believe they know the identity of the terrorist fanatic.

Mr Rowley last night said: “It is still our belief – which continues to be born out by our investigation – that this attacker acted alone yesterday and was inspired by international terrorism.

“To be explicit – at this stage, we have no specific information about further threats to the public.

“Clearly our investigation is ongoing – developing all the time – and is focused on his motivation, his preparation and associates.”

Mr Rowley also reminded the public to be vigilant and report anything that causes concern or raises suspicions to police.

PM sends condolences to Pc Keith Palmer’s family following terror attack in London Westminster
PM on Britain’s response to London terror attack on Westminster

Anti-terror police raid in Birmingham linked to Westminster Parliament attackNeighbours recounted the dramatic moments police swooped in to search the Birmingham flat last night, with the homes near the car rental where the vehicle involved in the rampage had been hired from.

Dozens of officers equipped with machine guns were seen smashing their way into the flat just before midnight, with one witness saying that the man involved in the attack had lived there.

He said he saw three men arrested.

Anti-terror police raid in Birmingham linked to Westminster Parliament attackStuart Bailey, who lives four doors down, said: “There were a load of armed police in the street and on the pavement and I could see three or four in front of me.

“They were all dressed in black and armed with what looked like MP5s (submachine guns) and one of them had six ammunition magazines strapped to his leg.”

Police were still swarming at the site on Thursday morning, with one of the windows of the flat covered with cardboard.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon on whether killed Westminster policeman should have been armed

More armed police are expected to descend on streets across the UK

More armed police are expected to descend on streets across the UK

Floral tributes are left to the victim's of yesterday's attack at the security cordon close to Westminster Abbey

Floral tributes are left to the victim’s of yesterday’s attack at the security cordon close to Westminster Abbey

Flowers are laid outside New Scotland Yard after Pc Keith Palmer was killed in the Westminster attack

Flowers are laid outside New Scotland Yard after Pc Keith Palmer was killed in the Westminster attack

A police officer is given a floral tribute by a member of the public to lay as a tribute to PC Keith Palmer

A police officer is given a floral tribute by a member of the public to lay as a tribute to PC Keith Palmer

MP Tobias Ellwood, who tried to save the police officer's life, sits in Parliament on Thursday morning

MP Tobias Ellwood, who tried to save the police officer’s life, sits in Parliament on Thursday morning

The Enterprise car rental shop on the Stratford Road in Solihull where the car involved in the attack is believed to have been rented from

The Enterprise car rental shop on the Stratford Road in Solihull where the car involved in the attack is believed to have been rented from
 

Overnight video of anti-terror police after Westminster linked raid in BirminghamA large cordon blocked off an area in Hagley Road in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham in the early hours of Thursday,

Pictures from inside the flat, which has six bedrooms, have also emerged.

One of the flat’s windows was covered in cardboard, with non-uniformed officers spotted taking pieces of equipment into the property.

The car used to carry out the slaughter – on the anniversary of the Brussels airport attack – was hired last Thursday in Birmingham, according to Newsnight.

Car hire firm Enterprise has confirmed that one of their cars had been rented out and used in the attack, saying in a statement: “We can confirm that the car used in the tragic attack in London yesterday afternoon was one of ours.

“An employee identified the vehicle after seeing the licence plate in an image online. We ran another check to verify, and immediately contacted the authorities.

“We are co-operating fully with the authorities and will provide any assistance that we can to the investigation.

“Our thoughts are very much with the victims of this terrible tragedy.”

Those injured in the Westminster Bridge attack

Theresa May has confirmed 29 people were hurt when the speeding car smashed into crowds on Westminster Bridge.

Seven remain in a critical condition.

The nationalities of those injured have been released, including:

  • Twelve Brits
  • Three French children
  • Two Romanians
  • Four South Koreans
  • One German
  • One Pole
  • One Irish
  • One Chinese
  • One Italian
  • One American
  • Two Greeks
 

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan pays tribute to victims of Westminster terror attackLast night Theresa May held an emergency COBRA meeting following the attack, which she called “sick and depraved”.

In a statement from Downing Street, the Prime Minister said: “Any attempt to defeat those values through violence and terror is doomed to failure.

“Parliament will meet as normal.

“We will come together as normal.

“And Londoners – and others from around the world who have come here to visit this great city – will get up and go about their day as normal.

“They will board their trains, they will leave their hotels, they will walk these streets, they will live their lives.

“And we will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.”

Incoming Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick has praised the bravery of officers involved in yesterday’s attack.

In a message to staff she said: “One of our officers died protecting the public and Parliament. We will never forget his courage.

“My deepest sympathy is with his family and with the loved ones of everyone who lost their lives.

“My thoughts too are with the members of the public and our officers who were injured as well as those people affected by these appalling events.

“As many Parliamentarians have noted, our officers ran towards danger to do their jobs. We are indebted to their bravery.

“Officers and staff from the Metropolitan Police are working as hard as we can to protect the public and our capital city.

“I am grateful for all their efforts.”


TIMELINE OF TERROR

  • Lone wolf attacker mowed down crowds of pedestrians in 4×4 on Westminster Bridge
  • He then crashed into gate outside Parliament before stabbing policeman PC Keith Palmer, 48, to death
  • Armed cops put Westminster on lockdown as attack brought London to a standstill yesterday afternoon
  • Four people died – including the attacker who was shot by police – and 29 are injured, including seven critical
  • Eight people arrested today after six raids at addresses in London, Birmingham and elsewhere
  • Cops believe they know the identity of the suspect who was inspired by Islamic terrorism
  • The Hyundai used to carry out the attack was hired last Thursday in Birmingham, according to Newsnight
  • Hero MP Tobias Ellwood attempted to revive PC Palmer but husband and father could not be saved
  • Theresa May condemned attack as ‘sick and depraved’ before holding emergency Cobra meeting
  • MPs were locked in House of Commons for five hours

PC Palmer, a member of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Squad and former Bombardier in the Royal Artillery Army Reserve between ’87-’01 , was killed as he tried to stop the attacker at about 2.30pm on Wednesday, while two members of the public were also fatally injured.

Pictures of a man believed to be the suspect have emerged showing two blades lying on the cobbled street next to him.

Paramedics were seen tending to the attacker as armed cops trained their rifles on his stripped body outside Parliament.

Dramatic pictures showed the bloodied bodies of victims littering Westminster bridge as heroic bystanders desperately worked to save the lives of those “catastrophically” injured.

 Conservative MP James Cleverly after paying an emotional tribute to his friend Pc Keith Palmer

Conservative MP James Cleverly after paying an emotional tribute to his friend Pc Keith Palmer

Among them were MP Tobias Ellwood who gave PC Palmer mouth-to-mouth. Ellwood’s brother was killed in the Bali bombings in 2002.

Speaking in parliament this morning, Tory MP James Cleverly, who had known PC Palmer for 25 years, called on the officer to be honoured with a posthumous award.

Nearly in tears, the MP said that his friend was a “strong, professional public servant”.

Theresa May agreed, saying that full consideration would be given to award the 48-year-old, having previously described him as “every inch a hero”.

Tears from Tory MP James Cleverly as he pays tribute to friend PC Keith Palmer murdered in Westminster terror attack

Flags have been flying at half-mast in recognition of the attack

Flags have been flying at half-mast in recognition of the attack

Cops outside Parliament after an attacker stabbed a cop after storming the gates

Armed cops draw their guns on a suspected attacker after a knifeman went on a rampage mowing down pedestrians, injuring at least 40

PC Keith Palmer who was stabbed to death by a suspected terrorist outside the Palace of Westminster

METROPOLITAN POLICE
PC Keith Palmer who was stabbed to death by a suspected terrorist outside the Palace of Westminster

Tobias

MP Tobias Ellwood gives CPR to a police officer stabbed outside Parliament

The knifeman drove a grey Hyundai i40 across Westminster Bridge before crashing it into railings, then running through the gates of the Palace of Westminster.

His attack left a trail of destruction as paramedics and heroic bystanders tended to victims on the bridge and at the gate.

One woman hit by the attacker’s car before he reached Parliament was confirmed dead by a doctor at St Thomas’ Hospital.

Others on the bridge suffered “catastrophic injuries”.

Heavily armed police rushed to the scene, with the public warned to stay away from Parliament Square; Whitehall; Westminster Bridge; Lambeth Bridge; Victoria Street

 Witnesses rushed to help a victim with reports that a car mowed down a number of people on Westminster Bridge before crashing into the gate outside Parliament

A body was seen on Westminster Bridge with police confirming that they were now treating the incident as a terror attack until advised otherwise

A body was seen on Westminster Bridge with police confirming they are treating the incident as a terror attack

Another woman who fell into the Thames was rescued and given urgent medical treatment on a nearby pier.

A party of French schoolchildren were among those targeted on the bridge, while four students from Edge Hill University in Ormskirk were also hurt – two described as “walking wounded”, and others said to have minor injuries.

The vehicle - pictured here outside Parliament - was reportedly rented in Birmingham last week

The vehicle – pictured here outside Parliament – was reportedly rented in Birmingham last week

london terror

A man is treated by paramedics at the scene

One woman is tended to by paramedics and cops after being injured on Westminster Bridge

One woman is tended to by paramedics and cops after being injured on Westminster Bridge
 

Video of victims hit by car on Westminster Bridge during London terror attackISIS supporters celebrated the horror on social media, dubbing it “revenge” for UK strikes in Mosul.

Those celebrating the attack, which had similarities with atrocities in Nice and Berlin, yesterday called it “blood for blood”.

The attack came on the first anniversary of the Brussels airport bombings.

The Muslim Council of Britain said: “We are shocked and saddened by the incident at Westminster. We condemn this attack and while it is still too early to speculate on the motives, our thoughts and prayers are for the victims and those affected.”

Armed police swarm the area in Westminster after a man was shot following a terror attack

Armed police swarm the area in Westminster after a man was shot following a terror attack

police

Cops gather outside Parliament after the attacker mowed pedestrians down

London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “London is the greatest city in the world and we stand together in the face of those who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life.

“Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism.”

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “I want to thank the emergency services for the quick response and pay tribute to their bravery, courage and professionalism.

“We have the best police, the best security services in the world and we must let them get on with doing their job.

“The British people will be united in working together to defeat those who would harm our shared values. Values of democracy, tolerance and the rule of law.

“Values symbolised by the Houses of Parliament. Values that will never be destroyed.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3162970/london-terror-attack-terrorist-named-khalid-masood-westminster-latest/

Story 2: Big Lie Media Ignores Maryland Rape Case — Why? Two Criminal Illegal Aliens Were The Rapists — Rollback The 30-60 Million Illegal Alien Invasion of United States — Enforce Immigration Law: Remove and Deport All Illegal Aliens — It Is The Law! — Videos

Bill ‘O Reilly: The Media’s Treatment of Maryland School Rape ‘Beyond Anything I Have Ever Seen’

Published on Mar 23, 2017

Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly slammed the mainstream media on Wednesday’s “The O’Reilly Factor” for ignoring the case of two immigrant teens, at least one of whom is in the U.S. illegally, accused of raping a Maryland high school student. “ABC, NBC, CBS did not cover it on their nightly news broadcasts,” O’Reilly said in his “Talking Points Memo.” “CNN did not cover the Maryland story in primetime last night. Ditto MSNBC. That is beyond anything I have ever seen in my 40 years-plus of journalism.

We all know why,” O’Reilly said. “Illegal immigration is a political issue.” The host went on to accuse the media of “allowing the sanctuary [city] movement to pretty much run wild” by opposing President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies.
O’Reilly warned that “many Americans have had enough of illegal immigration,” saying that “the federal government has lost control over the immigration process, and … many states and cities will not obey federal law, creating anarchy.” “[There] comes a time when citizens of any country have to demand justice, have to demand protection, demand the law be respected,” O’Reilly said. “We have not, have not, come to that time yet in America.”

14-year-Old Girl Allegedly Raped In School Bathroom By 2 Illegal Immigrant – Tucker Carlson

All Three Networks Ignore Rockville Maryland Rape Case

[youtub3e=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZjqEQTtlQk]

Sheriff David Clarke: ‘Subhuman Creeps’ In Maryland Rape Case Sign Of ‘Failed Policies’

Reported immigrant rape case stirs national debate

Hannity: It’s time to end the illegal immigration crisis

\

Reporter Goes Where Liberal Media Won’t, Asks Sean Spicer About Maryland Rape By Illegal Immigrant

Maryland school rape puts spotlight on immigration policies

2 Illegal Aliens Rape 14-Year-Old Girl In MD High School – Fox & Friends

Montgomery County Public Schools superintendent ”We all take responsibility’

Rockville High School Community Meeting, March 21, 2017

Rockville High School Rape an Example of Why President Trump Puts a Priority on Illegal Immigration: Spicer

Two students accused of raping another student at Rockville High

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday that a Maryland rape case, in which an 18-year-old with a pending immigration case is charged with assaulting a 14-year-old girl, is an example of why President Donald Trump is making illegal immigration a priority.

Henry E. Sanchez, 18, and Jose O. Montano, 17, are charged with raping the girl in a bathroom stall during school hours at Rockville High School in the D.C. suburbs Thursday, Montgomery County police said.

They approached her in a hallway and asked her to walk with them, police said. Montano asked her for sex, and after she refused, he and Sanchez forced her into a boys’ bathroom, where they both raped her and sodomized her, police said.

“Let’s remember the human side of this, that this is a tragic event that no child, no person, no parent should ever have to deal with,” Spicer said. “School should be a place where a parent puts their child on a bus or drops them off or sees them off and knows that they’re safe.”

Montgomery County Public Schools Responds to High Profile Criticism of Handling of High School Rape Case

[DC] Montgomery County Public Schools Responds to High Profile Criticism of Handling of High School Rape Case

A rape at a local high school gets national attention and high profile criticism. Two students are accused of raping a 14-year-old girl at Rockville High School. News 4’s Darcy Spencer explains how the school district is defending itself.

(Published Tuesday, March 21, 2017)

According to court documents, Sanchez, who admitted to having sex with the victim, has had an immigration case pending since August.

According to court records, Montano, who was charged as an adult, was born in El Salvador, where he lived for 16 years, the Associated Press reported. ICE officials would not discuss Montano’s immigration status because he is a juvenile.

“I think part of the reason that the president has made illegal immigration and crackdown such a big deal is because of tragedies like this,” Spicer said. “We act so many times when we talk about this and say why is the president dealing with this, because of this priority. Well, part of the reason is because of the tragedy that this young girl dealt with, had inflicted upon her, whatever the word is, but this is why he is passionate about this.”

“This horrible incident shouldn’t change anyone’s minds that those schools are safe for our students,” Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith said.

Sean Spicer Addresses Rockville High Rape

[DC] Sean Spicer Addresses Rockville High Rape

Answering questions about the Rockville High School rape case at his press briefing Tuesday, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said it is an example of why President Trump made illegal immigration a priority.

(Published Tuesday, March 21, 2017)

He pledged he won’t allow the assault to become a political issue and denounced comments he has seen since the attack.

“While some would try to make this into a question and an issue of immigration, what comes down here is that we serve every student that walks in our door,” he said. “We are a public school system.”

Spicer also questioned the age of the suspects, who have been called ninth graders.

“I think he was 17 or 18 years old,” Spicer said. “How does that person get put into the ninth grade?”

14-Year-Old Girl Raped in Maryland High School Bathroom: Police

[DC] 14-Year-Old Girl Raped in Maryland High School Bathroom: Police

Two students raped a 14-year-old girl in a Rockville High School bathroom, according to Montgomery County Police. Derrick Ward reports.

(Published Friday, March 17, 2017)

Smith explained they entered the school system in the fall with no credits, which technically makes them freshmen despite their ages. The victim is in the ninth grade.

Spicer said crime is just one aspect of immigration policy.

“People are victims of these crimes and they’re victims of the economic piece of it; there’s a national security peg, but immigration pays its toll on our people if it’s not done legally and this is another example,” he said.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan also commented on the crime Tuesday.

“I am outraged by the brutal and violent rape of a 14 year old girl in a Rockville public school. Our prayers are with her,” Hogan posted in a Facebook statement Tuesday. “The State of Maryland is calling on Montgomery County to immediately and fully cooperate with all federal authorities during the investigation of this heinous crime. The public has a right to know how something this tragic and unacceptable was allowed to transpire in a public school.”

Hogan accused the school system of withholding information from the Maryland State Board of Education about the rape and the students involved.

“Montgomery County government and the Montgomery County police are cooperating and the school system is not and it appears as if they have something to hide,” he said.

Smith said all the information they have about the case as of Tuesday afternoon was sent to the state board.

A spokesman for Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett said his administration is cooperating.

“We want to get bad eggs out of our county, basically, but we don’t want our county police enforcing immigration law, but in this case I think everybody can agree that if these folks are convicted that we don’t want them in our county,” Patrick Lacefield said.

Investigators arrested Montano and Sanchez on school property. They are charged with first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sexual assault.

“These are very serious allegations carrying a life sentence,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office spokesman Ramon Korionoff said last week. “The potential of life in prison would be available as we prosecute these individuals.”

Both suspects were ordered held without bond.

Montano is charged as an adult. However, a court-appointed attorney wants him moved to a juvenile facility. He is due in court March 31.

Sanchez will be back in court April 14.

Montgomery County Public Schools records show 27 high school sexual assaults or sexual incidents requiring police response in the previous school year, the News4 I-Team reported, including at least one incident at Rockville High School.

In 2014-2015, the school district reported 14 “sex-related” incidents requiring police response at county high schools.

In April 2014, MCPS told the I-Team it installed mirrors and cameras to reduce blind spots in some hallways of another high school in Rockville after a consensual sexual encounter wasn’t noticed by staff or administrators.

Police described the bathroom where the rape occurred as being in a remote area of the school and said the rape took place early in the morning.

In a Freedom of Information Act request from 2015, the school district reported to the I-Team that it had 5,000 security cameras district-wide.

Smith said Tuesday the district will review all safety procedures in response to the rape.

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Rockville-High-School-Rape-an-Example-of-President-Trumps-Priority-on-Illegal-Immigration-Spicer-416748893.html

Parents blame immigration, others blame HS after alleged rape by undocumented immigrants

A brutal rape was reported at Rockville High School Thursday and some parents are blaming immigration enforcement, saying they dropped the ball. Meanwhile, other parents are questioning if the school system should take some of the blame.

The incident took place the morning of Tuesday, March 14 inside of the boys bathroom at the high school. Police say the 14-year-old girl was brutally raped by two fellow freshmen who entered the country illegally around seven months before from Central America. They were both placed in the ninth grade.

View image on Twitter

A female teenager is allegedly raped in school by 2 undocumented classmates. What parents & community members are saying, noon on @ABC7News

The victim tells authorities she was dragged into an empty stall from the hallway near the gymnasium around 9 a.m. when she was approached by two male students, later identified as Jose O. Montano, 17, and Henry E. Sanchez Milian, 18. According to court documents, she grabbed a sink trying to get away. Just minutes after the crime, she reported the alleged rape in class.

Here is a FAQ sheet from @MCPS following rape at HS. I’ll have much more at 6 on @ABC7News

The younger of the suspects was detained by U.S. Border Patrol in August from Texas and was issued a notice to appear in immigration court, but that hearing was still pending at the time of the rape.

http://wjla.com/news/local/parents-blame-immigration-others-blame-school-after-alleged-rape-by-illegal-students

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The Pronk Pops Show 437, March 30, 2015, Story 1: Clash of Islamic Sects — War On: Middle East Islamic Sectarian War (Sunni vs. Shia, Arab vs. Persians) — Sunni Coalition of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait vs. Islamic Republic of Iran vs. Iranian Proxies (Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Iraqi Shite Militias, Yemen Houthis) vs. Islamic State vs. Al Quaeda vs Israel and United States of America — Videos

Posted on March 29, 2015. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Bombs, Communications, Consitutional Law, Cruise Missiles, Education, Empires, Energy, European History, Foreign Policy, Government, Government Spending, History, Investments, Islam, Israel, Language, Law, Media, Middle East, MIssiles, Natural Gas, Networking, Neutron Bomb, News, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Scandals, Security, Social Science, Solar, Spying, Success, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Ted Cruz, Terror, Terrorism, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 437: March 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 436: March 27, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 435: March 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 434: March 25, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 433: March 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 432: March 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 431: March 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 430: March 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 429: March 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 428: March 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 427: March 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 426: March 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 425: March 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 424: March 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 423: February 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 422: February 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 421: February 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 420: February 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 418: February 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 417: February 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 416: February 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 415: February 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 414: February 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 413: February 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 412: February 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 407: January 30, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 406: January 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 405: January 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 404: January 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 403: January 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 402: January 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 401: January 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 400: January 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 399: January 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 398: January 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 397: January 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 396: January 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 395: January 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 394: January 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 393: January 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 392: December 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 391: December 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 390: December 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 389: December 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 388: December 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 387: December 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 386: December 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 384: December 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Story 1: Clash of Islamic Sects — War On:  Middle East Islamic Sectarian War (Sunni vs. Shia, Arab vs. Persians) — Sunni Coalition of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait vs. Islamic Republic of Iran vs. Iranian Proxies (Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Iraqi Shite Militias, Yemen Houthis) vs. Islamic State  vs. Al Quaeda vs Israel and United States of America  — Videos

 sunni-vs-shia
sunni_shiite_by_countrylines in the sandislam1population by country sect