The Pronk Pops Show 1399, February 14, 2020, Story 1: Department of Justice Will Not Prosecute Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe — When are U.S. Attorney John Durham Indictments Coming Down for Illegally Syping on Trump Campaign? — Summer or 12th of Never — Will Justice Be Done — Videos — Story 2: Department of Justice Unseals 16-Count Indictment Against Huawei To Steal Trade Secrets of Six U.S. Companies — Videos — Story 3: Just Walk Away From Two Party Tyranny Big Government Parties — Walk Away Renee — Videos

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Story 1: Department of Justice Will Not Prosecute Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe — When are U.S. Attorney John Durham Indictments Coming Down for Illegally Syping on Trump Campaign? — Summer or 12th of Never — Will Justice Be Done — Videos

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FBI Director Confirms to Ratcliffe that FBI Illegally Surveilled Trump Campaign Associate

Feb 10, 2020

Gohmert in Judiciary Hearing on FBI Oversight: “This is Serious”

Hannity: Democrats’ unequal standard of justice exposed

Trish Regan: Andrew McCabe walking free is ‘a total injustice’

Gaetz: An old FBI business card isn’t a ‘get out of jail free card’

Feb 14, 2020

Trump notably quiet on DOJ decision not to prosecute Andrew McCabe

Bannon: GOP has to subpoena John Brennan, Adam Schiff

Feb 8, 2020

DOJ Declines To Prosecute Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe | Andrea Mitchell | MSNBC

‘General Flynn was set up’: KT McFarland

IG report hearing part 4: Lindsey Graham questions Michael Horowitz

Dec 11, 2019

Cruz on spying: This wasn’t Jason Bourne, this was ‘Beavis and Butt-head’

Dec 11, 2019

Tom Fitton: Why is the DOJ Editing “302” Interviews They Had With General Flynn?

Sebastian Gorka Radio: Trust Bill Barr and John Durham. Matt Whitaker with Sebastian Gorka

Hans von Spakovsky: CIA Director Haspel is Obligated to Comply with the Durham Investigation

Spygate Indictments Coming, Says Former Intelligence Operative Tony Shaffer

Aug 10, 2019

Fitton: Ohr 302s show ‘disturbing’ desperation to oust Trump

Aug 9, 2019

Tucker Carlson – Trump’s Claims of Spying

May 13, 2019

Did the Obama administration spy on the Trump campaign?

May 22, 2018

FBI Trump campaign spying allegations: How much did Obama know?

May 21, 2018

Roger Stone reacts to reports FBI spied on Trump campaign

May 17, 2018

DiGenova: Comey, Clapper and Brennan will have to pay the ‘Barr bill’

May 14, 2019

Watch Barr double down on Trump spying claims in heated exchange

FBI chief: No evidence of spying on Trump campaign

Barr: ‘I think spying did occur’ on Trump campaign

Apr 10, 2019

Former US attorney: FBI officials will likely face charges

Feb 7, 2018

Should Obama be investigated over Trump wiretapping claims?

Mar 31, 2017

Former FBI agent says his privacy was violated by Justice Dept.

AG Barr appoints outside prosecutor to review Michael Flynn case

Should officials who started the Russia probe be worrying?

Russia origins probe now a criminal investigation

Former US attorney: FBI officials will likely face charges

Johnny Mathis – 12th of Never

Why Wasn’t Andrew McCabe Charged?

The proof that he willfully deceived investigators appears strong, but the Justice Department likely felt there were too many obstacles to convicting him.

The Justice Department announced Friday that it is closing its investigation of Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s former deputy director, over his false statements to investigators probing an unauthorized leak that McCabe had orchestrated. McCabe was fired in March 2018, shortly after a blistering Justice Department inspector general (IG) report concluded that he repeatedly and blatantly lied — or, as the Bureau lexicon puts it, “lacked candor” — when questioned, including under oath.

I emphasize Flynn’s intent because purported lack of intent is McCabe’s principal defense, too. Even McCabe himself, to say nothing of his lawyers and his apologists in the anti-Trump network of bureaucrats-turned-pundits, cannot deny that he made false statements to FBI agents and the IG. Rather, they argue that the 21-year senior law-enforcement official did not mean to lie, that he was too distracted by his high-level responsibilities to focus on anything as mundane as a leak — even though he seemed pretty damned focused on the leak while he was orchestrating it.

It will be a while before we learn the whole story of why the Justice Department walked away from the McCabe case, if we ever do. I have some supposition to offer on that score. First, however, it is worth revisiting the case against McCabe as outlined by the meticulous and highly regarded IG, Michael Horowitz. If you want to know why people are so angry, and why they are increasingly convinced that, for all President Trump’s “drain the swamp” rhetoric, a two-tiered justice system that rewards the well-connected is alive and well, consider the following.

In fact, the Bureau’s then-director, James Comey, had tried to keep the Clinton Foundation probe under wraps, refusing to confirm or deny its existence even to the House Judiciary Committee. Comey had been right to stay mum: Public revelation would have harmed the probe and thrust the FBI deeper into the politics of the then-imminent 2016 presidential election, in which Hillary Clinton was the Democratic candidate and her investigation by the Bureau was an explosive campaign issue.

Notwithstanding these concerns, according to Horowitz’s report, McCabe orchestrated the leak “to advance his personal interests” — to paint himself in a favorable light in comparison to Justice Department officials amid an internal dispute about the Clinton Foundation probe (specifically, about the Obama Justice Department’s pressure on the Bureau to drop it). As the IG put it: “McCabe’s disclosure was an attempt to make himself look good by making senior department leadership . . . look bad.”

McCabe’s account has been contradicted by Comey, a witness who is otherwise sympathetic to him and hostile to the Trump Justice Department, and whose actions — like his — are being examined in prosecutor John Durham’s probe of the Trump-Russia investigation. Comey’s testimony is directly at odds with McCabe’s version of events, and the IG painstakingly explained why the former director’s version was credible while his deputy’s was not. (Comey was, nevertheless, exceedingly complimentary of McCabe after the IG report was published.)

Page is regarded by McCabe backers as key to his defense. She reportedly told the grand jury that, because McCabe had authority to approve media disclosures, he had no motive to lie about the leak. That’s laughable. McCabe did serially mislead investigators, so plainly he had some reason for doing so. But even putting that aside, the IG’s conclusion was not that McCabe lacked authority to leak; it was that he lacked a public-interest justification for exercising that authority. He leaked for self-promotion purposes, and then he lied about it because it was humiliating to be caught putting his personal interests ahead of the Bureau’s investigative integrity. That said, Page’s account does illuminate a problem for prosecutors: It’s tough to win a case when your witnesses are spinning for the defendant. (Oh, and have you seen Page’s tweet toasting McCabe in the aftermath of the news that the DOJ had closed the investigation?)

McCabe’s Multiple False Statements

Barrett’s Journal article appeared on October 30, 2016. The very next day, McCabe deceived Comey about it, indicating that he had not authorized the leak and had no idea who its source was. In Comey’s telling, credited by the IG, McCabe “definitely” did not acknowledge that he had approved the leak.

Thereafter, the FBI’s Inspection Division (INSD) opened an investigation of the leak. On May 9, 2017, McCabe denied to two INSD investigators that he knew the source of the leak. This was not a fleeting conversation. McCabe was placed under oath, and the INSD agents provided him with a copy of Barrett’s article. He read it and initialed it to acknowledge that he had done so. He was questioned about it by the agents, who took contemporaneous notes. McCabe told the agents that he had “no idea where [the leaked information] came from” or “who the source was.”

On July 28, 2017, McCabe was interviewed by the IG’s office — under oath and recorded on tape. In that session, he preposterously claimed to be unaware that Page, his FBI counsel, was directed to speak to reporters around the time of the October 30 Journal report. McCabe added that he was out of town then, and thus unaware of what Page had been up to. In point of fact, McCabe had consulted closely with Page about the leak. A paper trail of their texts and phone contacts evinced his keen interest in Page’s communications with Barrett. Consequently, the IG concluded that McCabe’s denials were “demonstrably false.”

Clearly concerned about the hole he had dug for himself, McCabe called the IG’s office four days later, on August 1, 2017, to say that, shucks, come to think of it, he just might have kinda, sorta told Page to speak with Barrett after all. He might even have told her to coordinate with Mike Kortan, then the Bureau’s top media liaison, and follow-up with the Journal about some of its prior reporting.

As the IG observed, this “attempt to correct his prior false testimony” was the “appropriate” thing for McCabe to do. Alas, when he was given an opportunity to come in and explain himself, he compounded his misconduct by making more false statements while under oath: In an interview with investigators on November 29, 2017, McCabe purported to recall informing Comey that he, McCabe, had authorized the leak, and that Comey had responded that the leak was a good idea.

These were quite stunning recollections, given that the deputy director had previously disclaimed any knowledge about the source of the leak. But McCabe took care of that little hiccup by simply denying his prior denial. That is, he insisted that he had not feigned ignorance about the leak when INSD interviewed him on May 9. Indeed, McCabe even denied that the May 9 interview had been a real interview. To the contrary, he claimed that agents had casually pulled him aside at the conclusion of a meeting on an unrelated topic, and peppered him out of the blue with a question or two about the Journal leak. As General Flynn could tell you, that sort of thing can be tough on a busy top U.S. government official . . . although Flynn did not get much sympathy for it when McCabe was running the FBI.

Again, the IG concluded that McCabe’s version of events was “demonstrably false.”

McCabe Covers His Tracks

As an old trial lawyer, I’d be remiss if I failed to rehearse my favorite part of the IG’s report — the part that would tell a jury everything they needed to know about good ol’ Andy McCabe.

Again, the Journal story generated by McCabe’s leak was published on October 30, a Sunday. Late that afternoon, McCabe called the head of the FBI’s Manhattan office. Why? Well . . . to ream him out over media leaks, that’s why. McCabe railed that New York agents must be the culprits. He also made a similar call to the Bureau’s Washington field office, warning its chief to “get his house in order” and stop these terribly damaging leaks.

It is worth remembering McCabe’s October 30 scolding of subordinates when you think about how he later claimed that, on the very next day, he’d freely admitted to his superior, Comey, that he himself was the source of the leak. Quite the piece of work, this guy: To throw the scent off himself after carefully arranging the leak, McCabe dressed down the FBI’s two premier field offices, knowing they were completely innocent, and then pretended for months that he knew nothing about the leak.

This is the second-highest-ranking officer of the nation’s top law-enforcement agency we’re talking about, here.

The Non-Prosecution Decision

We may never get a satisfying explanation for the Justice Department’s decision to drop the McCabe probe. That’s the way it is when such complicated reasons and motives are at play.

The aforementioned challenge of hostile witnesses is not to be underestimated. In addition, there are growing indications that the Justice Department had lost confidence in the U.S. attorney who was overseeing the probe, Jesse Liu. As I noted this week, while Liu was once seen as a rising Trump administration star, she was quietly edged out of her post last month, and the White House just pulled her nomination to fill an important Treasury Department post.

There have been rumblings that the McCabe investigation was botched. Kamil Shields, a prosecutor who reportedly grew frustrated by her supervisors’ inordinate delays in making decisions about the McCabe probe, ultimately left the Justice Department to take a private-practice job. Another prosecutor, David Kent, quit last summer as DOJ dithered over the decision on whether to prosecute. Things became so drawn out that the investigating grand jury’s term lapsed. Meanwhile, the Justice Department endorsed Liu’s aggressive decision to bring a thin, politically fraught false-statements case against former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig, in connection with lobbying for a foreign country — the sort of crime that is rarely prosecuted. Craig was swiftly acquitted. Reportedly, Liu advocated charging McCabe, but the DOJ may have harbored doubts about her judgment.

No matter the outcome, the Justice Department stood to take some hits if McCabe had been charged. Focus on McCabe’s leak would have drawn attention to pressure DOJ officials had put on the Bureau over the Clinton Foundation investigation (which, reportedly, is likely to be closed without charges). It would also renew interest in the question of whether the FBI improperly allowed McCabe to play a role in Clinton-related investigations when his wife, as a political candidate, got major funding from Clinton-tied sources.

Moreover, new Freedom of Information Act disclosures — made to meet a deadline set by District Judge Reggie Walton, which may explain the timing of the non-prosecution announcement — indicate that the Justice Department and FBI did not comply with regulations in what appears to be the rushed termination of McCabe, adding heft to the former deputy director’s claim that he was being singled out for abusive treatment, potentially including prosecution, because of vengeful politics.

On that score, Judge Walton took pains to decry the fusillade of tweets directed at McCabe by President Trump. I must note here that if a district U.S. attorney publicly labeled as a liar a suspect the Justice Department had indicted for false statements, that U.S. attorney would be sanctioned by the court. The U.S. attorneys, like the rest of the Justice Department, work for Trump. The president is correct when he insists, as he did this week, that he has the constitutional power to intervene in Justice Department matters. But that means he is subject to the same legal obligations that inhibit his Justice Department subordinates. Those obligations include protecting McCabe’s right to a fair trial — a duty the president may chafe at, but which is part of the deal when you take an oath to preserve the Constitution and execute the laws faithfully.

If you envision Judge Walton as part of the Obama-appointed robed resistance, check your premises. He is a no-nonsense jurist originally named to the D.C. Superior Court by President Reagan, and then to the federal district court by President George W. Bush. As Politico reports, he had this to say about President Trump’s commentary on the McCabe investigation:

The public is listening to what’s going on, and I don’t think people like the fact that you got somebody at the top basically trying to dictate whether somebody should be prosecuted. . . . I just think it’s a banana republic when we go down that road. . . . I think there are a lot of people on the outside who perceive that there is undo inappropriate pressure being brought to bear. . . . It’s just, it’s very disturbing that we’re in the mess that we’re in in that regard. . . . I just think the integrity of the process is being unduly undermined by inappropriate comments and actions on the part of people at the top of our government. . . . I think it’s very unfortunate. And I think as a government and as a society we’re going to pay a price at some point for this.

If you want to know why Attorney General Barr was warning this week that the president’s tweets are undermining the Justice Department’s pursuit of its law-enforcement mission, Judge Walton’s words are worth heeding. I have been making this point since the start of the Trump presidency. If you want people held accountable for their crimes, you have to ensure their fundamental right to due process. When the government poisons the well, the bad guys reap the benefits.

Finally, we must note that when the District of Columbia is the venue for any prosecution with political overtones, Justice Department charging decisions must factor in the jury pool, which is solidly anti-Trump.

The proof that McCabe willfully deceived investigators appears strong — it is noteworthy that IG Horowitz, who has strained to give the FBI the benefit of the doubt in many dubious contexts, was unequivocal in slamming McCabe. Nevertheless, a D.C. jury would be weighing that evidence, as discounted by whatever pro-McCabe slant reluctant prosecution witnesses put on it. And the jury would be weighing against that evidence (a) whatever problems caused prosecutors at the U.S. attorney’s office to beg off, and more significantly, (b) defense arguments that McCabe would not have been fired or prosecuted if not for the fact that he had gotten crosswise with a president of the United States whom at least some of the jurors are apt to dislike.

McCabe is not out of the woods yet, of course: The Durham investigation is a separate matter, and it is continuing. But it is unclear whether he will face any criminal charges arising from that inquiry, whereas the now-dead-and-buried false-statements case against him looked cut-and-dried.

The FBI’s former deputy director, though he undeniably misled investigators, remains a commentator at CNN. In the meantime, Papadopoulos is a felon convicted and briefly imprisoned for misleading investigators, while Flynn and Stone are awaiting sentencing on their false-statements charges. That covers both tiers of our justice system.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/02/why-wasnt-andrew-mccabe-charged/

 

US won’t charge ex-FBI official McCabe, a Trump target

an hour ago
 In this June 7, 2017, file photo, then FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal prosecutors have declined to charge former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, closing an investigation into whether the longtime target of President Donald Trump’s ire lied to federal officials about his involvement in a news media disclosure, McCabe’s legal team said Friday.

The decision, coming at the end of a tumultuous week between the Justice Department and the White House, is likely to further agitate a president who has loudly complained that federal prosecutors have pursued cases against his allies but not against his perceived political enemies.

The case was handled by the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, which was at the center of a public rift with Justice Department leadership this week over the recommended sentence for Trump ally Roger Stone. Senior Justice Department officials overruled a decision on a recommended prison sentence that they felt was too harsh, prompting the trial team to quit the case. Attorney General William Barr also took a rare public swipe at Trump by saying in a television interview that the president’s tweets about the Stone case and other matters were making his job “impossible.”

Separately, the Justice Department has begun reviewing the handling of the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a person familiar with the matter said Friday.

On Friday, prosecutors notified McCabe’s attorneys in a phone call and a letter that they were closing the case. The letter, signed by the chief of the office’s public corruption unit, did not give a precise reason but said the decision was reached after “careful consideration” and “based on the totality of the circumstances and all of the information known to the government at this time.”

McCabe’s lawyers, Michael Bromwich and David Schertler, said they were gratified by the decision.

“At long last, justice has been done in this matter,” the lawyers said in a statement. “We said at the outset of the criminal investigation, almost two years ago, that if the facts and the law determined the result, no charges would be brought.”

Speaking Friday on CNN, where he works as a contributor, McCabe said it was an “absolute disgrace” that the investigation had taken so long and that he was relieved to be done with a process that he described as “so unbelievably tense.”

Though federal prosecutors wrote that they consider the matter closed, Justice Department actions in the last few months have proven unpredictable, with a willingness to scrutinize or revisit decisions that had appeared resolved.

McCabe, a frequent target of Trump’s attacks, has denied that he intentionally misled anyone. He has said his 2018 firing — for what the Justice Department called “lack of candor” — was politically motivated. He sued the Justice Department in August, saying officials had used the inspector general’s conclusions as a pretext to rid the FBI of leaders Trump perceived as biased against him.

The decision is likely to further exacerbate tensions between Trump and Barr, who before speaking out in the television interview had privately complained to aides and the president himself that Trump’s comments about the Justice Department were undercutting his political agenda and raising questions about the department’s credibility. The White House was not given a heads-up about the decision beforehand, a person familiar with the matter said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

The moment came against a backdrop of growing anger from Trump at the Justice Department. The president has seethed that more of his political enemies have not been charged, included former FBI Director James Comey and his associates.

The president was particularly incensed no charges were filed over Comey’s handling of memos about his interactions with Trump, a matter that was referred to the Justice Department for potential prosecution, according to a White House official and Republican close to the White House who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about private discussions and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The president angrily denounced the decision and berated Barr over it, according to the officials. Aides expected that the decision not to charge McCabe could produce a similar eruption of rage. Trump did not address the matter during a media appearance Friday.

Trump has also repeatedly complained about FBI Director Christopher Wray in recent months, saying he has not done enough to rid the bureau of people who are disloyal to Trump.

It was not immediately clear what had prompted a review of the Flynn case, though the person familiar with the matter said U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen of St. Louis was working on it. The New York Times first reported Jensen’s involvement.

The decision to spare McCabe criminal charges eliminates the prospect of a sensational trial that would have refocused public attention on the chaotic months of 2016, when the FBI was entangled in presidential politics through investigations touching both main contenders — Democrat Hillary Clinton and Trump, her Republican opponent.

The criminal investigation arose from an October 2016 story in The Wall Street Journal that described internal debates roiling the FBI and the Justice Department weeks before the presidential election about how aggressively the Clinton Foundation should be investigated. The article recounted a particularly tense phone call between McCabe and a senior Justice Department official.

The inspector general’s report said McCabe told internal investigators that he had not authorized anyone at the FBI to speak with the reporter and that he did not know who did. The report said McCabe ultimately corrected that account and confirmed that he had encouraged the conversation with the reporter to counter a narrative that he thought was false.

McCabe has denied any wrongdoing and has said he was distracted by the tumult surrounding the FBI and the White House during the times he was questioned. One of the interviews took place the same day that Comey was fired.

“During these inquiries, I answered questions truthfully and as accurately as I could amidst the chaos that surrounded me,” McCabe has said in a statement. “And when I thought my answers were misunderstood, I contacted investigators to correct them.”

McCabe has been a target of Trump’s attacks since even before he was elected, after news emerged in the fall of 2016 that McCabe’s wife had accepted campaign contributions from a political action committee associated with ex-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe during an unsuccessful run for the state Senate there.

https://apnews.com/ec85aa4a4fdc5a36b7b85c7a34f1b8f9

DOJ drops leak case vs. McCabe, judge said White House involvement like a ‘banana republic’

The judge, a George W. Bush appointee, said “the fact that you got somebody at the top basically trying to dictate whether somebody should be prosecuted” was like a “banana republic.”
Image: Andrew McCabe, acting director of the FBI, at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington on May 11, 2017.

Andrew McCabe, acting director of the FBI, at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington on May 11, 2017.Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

By Tom Winter and Dareh Gregorian

The Department of Justice has told lawyers for former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe that he will not face criminal charges for allegedly lying to investigators about a leak to the media, the ex-official’s attorneys said Friday.

The decision was released on the same day it was revealed that a federal judge had expressed concerns months ago that McCabe’s case was looking like a “banana republic” prosecution.

“We write to inform you that, after careful consideration, the government has decided not to pursue criminal charges against your client,” J.P. Cooney of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., told McCabe’s attorneys in a letter Friday. “Based on the totality of the circumstances and all of the information known to the government at this time, we consider the matter closed.”

McCabe’s lawyers Michael R. Bromwich and David Schertler responded in a statement, saying, “At long last, justice has been done in this matter.”

President Donald Trump had publicly urged that action be taken against McCabe, the former deputy FBI director who briefly became acting head of the agency after Trump fired James Comey in 2017.

“He LIED! LIED! LIED!” Trump wrote in one 2018 tweet about McCabe after the Justice Department’s inspector general found McCabe “lacked candor” when being interviewed about whether he was a source for two news articles pertaining to the FBI in 2016.

The Justice Department’s announcement came one day after Attorney General William Barr pushed back against criticism he’s using the department to do Trump’s bidding, and said Trump’s tweeting about his agency’s work was undercutting his authority.

“Public statements and tweets made about the department, about people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department and about judges before whom we have cases make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the department that we’re doing our work with integrity,” Barr, who was sworn in a year ago Friday, told ABC News.

McCabe told CNN on Friday that “the timing is curious” but he was relieved that the Justice Department “did the right thing today.”

“To have this horrific black cloud that’s been hanging over me and my family for almost the last two years, to have that finally lifted is just unbelievable,” he said. “It’s a relief that I’m not sure I can really explain to you adequately. It’s just a very emotional moment for my whole family.”

McCabe has denied intentionally misleading investigators. He told CNN that he has maintained from the day the inspector general’s report came out that if investigators “followed the law and they followed the facts, that I would have nothing to worry about. But as the president’s interest in pursuing his perceived political enemies continued over the last two years, we were getting more and more concerned about where this would end up.”

Those worries had increased in recent days, he told the network.

“I’ve been greatly concerned by what I’ve seen take place in the White House and in the Department of Justice, quite frankly, in the last week,” McCabe said. “And certainly the president’s kind of revenge tirade following his acquittal in the impeachment proceeding has only kind of amplified my concerns about what would happen in my own case.”

The Justice Department’s decision came the same day it was required by a judge to make details about the McCabe investigation public in a case stemming from a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The court transcripts, released after the Justice Department’s letter to McCabe’s lawyers, show prosecutors struggling with how to proceed in his case, and the judge in the matter expressing concerns about political pressure

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/justice-department-drops-leak-case-against-former-fbi-acting-head-n1137066

Story 2: Department of Justice Unseals 16-Count Indictment Against Huawei To Steal Trade Secrets of Six U.S. Companies — Videos 

New U.S. charges against Huawei

The US DOJ and the FBI have announced a 16 count indictment against Huawei

Huawei faces new charges in US

US charges Huawei with racketeering

Is America right to fear Huawei? | The Economist

DOJ announces criminal charges against Huawei

Jan 28, 2019

DOJ announces indictments against China’s Huawei

Prosecutors Hit Huawei With New Charges For Allegedly Working With Iran | NBC News NOW

U.S. unveils new charges against Chinese telecom giant Huawei

Riley Walters: Trump Can Be Tough on Huawei and Keep Negotiating on Trade With China

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[youtubehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UtzbA0qQgM]

DOJ hits Huawei with NEW charges for ‘plotting to steal trade secrets’ from SIX US companies including Cisco and T-Mobile by ‘offering employees cash bounties and sending spy with farcical ‘Weihua’ badge to trade shows’

  • DoJ brought new charges against Huawei in indictment unsealed on Thursday 
  • Accuses Chinese tech giant of a deliberate ‘campaign’ to steal US trade secrets
  • Details bounties Huawei allegedly offered to staff to steal proprietary data
  • Describes brazen spy with ‘Weihua’ badge breaking into trade show booth
  • Though not named in indictment, Cisco and T-Mobile are among alleged victims
  • Feds also claim Huawei covered up secret subsidiary operating in Iran
  • CFO Meng Wanzhoua is still fighting extradition from Canada on Iran charges 

The Department of Justice has announced new criminal charges against Huawei, accusing the Chinese tech giant of being engaged in a ‘decades-long’ effort to steal trade secrets from a slew of US companies.

The 16-count superseding indictment unsealed on Thursday adds RICO charges to the criminal case against Huawei and its CFO Meng Wanzhoua, who is currently fighting extradition in Canada.

The charges come in addition to previous criminal charges accusing Huawei and Wanzhoua of operating a secret subsidiary in Iran and lying to U.S. financial institutions about the violation of sanctions on that country.

The new charges detail a brazen decades-long scheme to steal trade secrets from at least six U.S. companies. Cisco and T-Mobile are among the alleged victims in the case, though the companies are not actually named in the new indictment.

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei is seen with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015. US officials accuse the company of building a secret back door into its mobile network hardware

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei is seen with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015. US officials accuse the company of building a secret back door into its mobile network hardware

Prosecutors say that in 2013, Huawei instituted a cash bounty program ‘to reward employees who obtained confidential information from competitors’ and that the more valuable the secrets were, the more the company paid out.

The indictment details a shocking incident from 2004, at a trade show in Chicago, where prosecutors say a Huawei employee was busted in the middle of the night while breaking into a competitor’s booth.

The employee was wearing a bogus badge identifying him as an employee of ‘Weihua’, which is the syllables of Huawei reversed, and was caught taking pictures of the interior circuit boards of a competitor’s product, according to the indictment.

A Huawei spokesman denied the allegations, saying that the indictment was ‘part of an attempt to irrevocably damage Huawei’s reputation and its business for reasons related to competition rather than law enforcement.’

The company called the racketeering accusation ‘nothing more than a contrived repackaging of a handful of civil allegations that are almost 20 years old.’

Huawei pleaded not guilty to the earlier indictment unsealed against the company in January 2019, which charged it with bank and wire fraud, violating sanctions against Iran, and obstructing justice.

Wanzhoua, the CFO, was arrested in December 2018 in Canada on charges in the prior indictment, but she has protesting her innocence and fighting extradition to the US. She is the daughter of Huawei’s founder and CEO, 75-year-old Ren Zengfei.

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhoua was arrested in December 2018 in Canada on charges in the initial Department of Justice indictment against the Chinese tech company. She is protesting her innocence and fighting extradition to the US.  She is pictured wearing a court-ordered ankle monitor last month

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhoua was arrested in December 2018 in Canada on charges in the initial Department of Justice indictment against the Chinese tech company. She is protesting her innocence and fighting extradition to the US.  She is pictured wearing a court-ordered ankle monitor last month

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou arrives at extradition hearing

The new indictment also includes ‘new allegations about Huawei and its subsidiaries’ involvement in business and technology projects in countries subject to sanctions, such as Iran and North Korea’.

The DoJ asserts that the Chinese company even tired to cover up the fact they were doing business with such countries, by using code names. ‘A2’ reportedly referred to Iran, and ‘A9’ is alleged to have referred to North Korea.

The new indictment is the latest effort in a global campaign by the United States against the company, which Washington has warned could spy on customers for Beijing. The United States also placed Huawei on a trade blacklist last year, citing national security concerns.

‘The indictment paints a damning portrait of an illegitimate organization that lacks any regard for the law,’ U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr and vice chairman Mark Warner said in a joint statement.

The Republican and Democratic Senators called it ‘an important step in combating Huawei’s state-directed and criminal enterprise.’

In a statement on Tuesday, the DoJ alleges that Huawei’s ‘campaign’ to steal trade secrets from US competitors formed part of their global growth strategy.

The DoJ statement alleges that Huawei even launched a policy ‘instituting a bonus program to reward employees who misappropriated intellectual property from competitors.’

Prosecutors allege some Huawei employees entered into confidential agreements with the six US companies, before violating such agreements by then handing over the information to the Chinese tech giant.

Thus, the DoJ statements alleges that ‘Huawei’s efforts to steal trade secrets and other sophisticated US technology were successful.’

Trump administration officials, increasingly intent on preventing China from global technological domination, have urged allies not to use Huawei hardware

Trump administration officials, increasingly intent on preventing China from global technological domination, have urged allies not to use Huawei hardware

‘As a consequence of its campaign to steal this technology and intellectual property, Huawei was able to drastically cut its research and development costs and associated delays, giving the company a significant and unfair competitive advantage,’ the statement goes on to say.

The case was unsealed as the Trump administration is raising national security and surveillance concerns about Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer.

Huawei, one of the largest tech firms and a major telecom equipment maker, has been blacklisted by Washington amid concerns of its ties to the Chinese government and intelligence services.

New charges have been filed in the US against Huawei (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

New charges have been filed in the US against Huawei (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Earlier this week, White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien alleged that Huawei builds secret back doors into its hardware that allow it to covertly access mobile-phone networks around the world.

‘We have evidence that Huawei has the capability secretly to access sensitive and personal information in systems it maintains and sells around the world,’ O’Brien told the Wall Street Journal.

US officials say that Huawei’s back door allows the company to access network data without the carrier’s knowledge, potentially giving the Chinese government a potent spy tool.

Huawei denied the allegations, telling the Journal that it ‘has never and will never do anything that would compromise or endanger the security of networks and data of its clients.’

The U.S. has long tried to convince its allies, such as the U.K. and Germany, to ban the use of Huawei telecom equipment in the building of 5G networks.

 Germany’s legislature is set to vote in the coming weeks on a bill that would allow Huawei full access to its 5G market if the company provides security guarantees.

WHO IS MENG WANZHOU?

Meng Wanzhou, 46, is widely assumed to be the heiress of her billionaire father Ren Zhengfei who founded Huawei in 1987

 

Meng Wanzhou, 46, is widely assumed to be the heiress of her billionaire father Ren Zhengfei who founded Huawei in 1987

Meng Wanzhou, also known as Sabrina Meng and Cathy Meng, is the daughter and eldest child of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei, 74, by his first wife Meng Jun.

Billed as a ‘Red Princess’, the 47-year-old is widely assumed to be the heiress of her former Communist soldier father, who founded the world’s current second largest smartphone seller at the age of 43 with just 21,000 yuan (£2,388).

Ms Meng, who is also the Vice-Chairman of Huawei, was ranked No. 12 by Frobes on the list of China’s most outstanding businesswomen in 2018.

She graduated from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in central China’s Wuhan city.

She worked in a bank for a year upon graduation before taking up a position at Huawei’s front desk in 1993 to answer phone calls.

Over the years, Ms Meng worked as the director of the international accounting department, CFO of Huawei’s Hong Kong branch office, president of the accounts management department and brought Huawei to its current success.

Ms Meng has a brother and a 20-year-old half-sister Annabel Yao who is a ballerina and debutante.

Annabel is said to be extremely international and have lived in Britain, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

She was one of the 19 young women to be presented at the 25th annual Bal des Débutantes held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris in 2018.

 

Story 3: Just Walk Away From Two Party Tyranny Big Government Parties — Walk Away Renee — Videos

See the source image

Walk Away Renee – The left Banke

Walk Away Renee
And when I see the sign that points one way
The lot we used to pass by every day
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re not to blame
From deep inside the tears that I’m forced to cry
From deep inside the pain that I chose to hide
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me it cries
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me it cries
Your name and mine inside a heart upon a wall
Still finds a way to haunt me, though they’re so small
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re not to blame
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Bob Calilli / Mike Brown / Tony Sansone
Walk Away Renee lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Round Hill Music Big Loud Songs, BMG Rights Management, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Carlin America Inc
See the source image

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Walk Away Renée + The Left Banke + Lyrics

George Carlin Politicians

See the source image

Image result for the public sucksSee the source image

The Left Banke

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to navigationJump to search

The Left Banke
The Left Banke 1966.jpg

The Left Banke in 1966
Background information
Origin New YorkNew York, U.S.
Genres Baroque pop[1]
Years active
  • 1965–1969
  • 1971
  • 1978
  • 2011–2012
  • 2015–present
Labels
Associated acts
  • Christopher & The Chaps
  • The Magic Plants
  • Montage
  • Stories
  • The Beckies
  • Sam Kogon
Members

The Left Banke is an American baroque pop band, formed in New York City in 1965.[1] They are best remembered for their two US hit singles, “Walk Away Renée” and “Pretty Ballerina“.[2] The band often used what the music press referred to as “baroque” string arrangements, which led to their music being variously termed as “Bach-rock” or “baroque rock“.[3] The band’s vocal harmonies borrowed from contemporaries such as The BeatlesThe Zombies, and other British Invasion groups.[1]

In 2004, Rolling Stone placed “Walk Away Renée” at #220 in its list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time“.[4]

Contents

History

1965–69: early years and disbandment

The Left Banke was formed in 1965 and consisted of keyboard player/songwriter Michael Browndrummer/singer George Cameron, bass guitarist/singer Tom Finnsinger Steve Martin (who also used the name Steve Martin Caro), and drummer Warren David-Schierhorst. Brown’s father, Harry Lookofsky, a well-known session violinist, ran a studio in New York and took an interest in the band’s music, acting as producermanager and publisher.[5]After some initial recording sessions, David-Schierhorst was ousted, with Cameron switching to drums and Jeff Winfield on guitar. Brown’s song, “Walk Away Renee”, was sold to Smash Records, a subsidiary of Mercury Records, and became a huge hit in late 1966. The band’s second single, “Pretty Ballerina”, also written by Brown, charted in early 1967, and The Left Banke released an album entitled Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina, by which time, Rick Brand had replaced Winfield on guitar.

Tension between Brown and the rest of the band soon began to surface. When “Walk Away Renee” belatedly became a hit, the original band had become inactive. Brown decided to capitalize on the single’s success by assembling a new version of The Left Banke for touring purposes, with Bert Sommer on lead vocals, original drummer Warren David, and (future member of Spinal TapMichael McKean on guitar. Brown also recorded a single, “Ivy, Ivy” b/w “And Suddenly” as The Left Banke, with Sommer and a group of session musicians.[6][7] The remaining members of the band hired attorneys to issue a cease and desist order and urged their fan club to boycott the record,[8] which led to confusion among radio stations over which “Left Banke” to support. Radio and Smash Records ultimately removed their support from the single, which subsequently failed to make the Billboard Hot 100. The “New” Left Banke never performed live. “And Suddenly” was eventually recorded by a group called The Cherry People and became a minor hit.[9] McKean would later find fame as an actor (Laverne & ShirleyThis Is Spinal TapBetter Call Saul).

In late 1967, the original group reunited and recorded more material, including the single “Desiree.” Brown left the group permanently shortly thereafter and was replaced for touring purposes by Emmett Lake. Cameron, Finn and Martin continued to record and tour, with Tom Feher replacing Lake on keyboards and writing half of the band’s new material. The songs recorded by various incarnations of the group in 1967 and 1968 were assembled into a second LPThe Left Banke Too, which was released in November 1968. This album featured backing vocals by a young Steven Tyler (who later became the lead singer of Aerosmith) on “Nice To See You”, “My Friend Today” and “Dark Is The Bark”. The band continued playing live in 1969, without Martin, but soon disbanded due to lack of success and financial problems. Later that same year, Brown and Martin reunited in the studio to record another single as The Left Banke, “Myrah” b/w “Pedestal”, which was their final single for Smash Records.

1971–present: various reunions

In 1971, Brown, Cameron, Finn and Martin reunited briefly to record two songs for the movie Hot Parts. The songs, “Love Songs in the Night” and “Two by Two”, were released as a Steve Martin solo single on Buddah Records, despite featuring contributions from four founding members of The Left Banke. In 1972, producer Les Fradkin offered to produce the group for a project on Bell Records. Although these sessions were not released at the time, one of the songs, “I Could Make It Last Forever”, composed by Fradkin and Diane Ellis, was released on Fradkin’s Goin’ Back solo CD in 2006. It was a rare recording since it featured Caro, Finn, Cameron and Brown, along with Brown’s father, violinist Harry Lookofsky. Fradkin sang and played 12-string guitar on the sessions. In 1978, Martin, Cameron and Finn reunited as The Left Banke to record an album’s worth of material which unfortunately was not released at the time. However, a single from these 1978 sessions, “Queen of Paradise” (b/w “And One Day”), was released in late 1978 with modest success. The album was eventually issued by Relix Records in 1986 under the title Strangers on a Train (Voices Calling in Europe). However, the album did little to restore the popularity of the group.

After leaving The Left Banke in 1967, Michael Brown helped form the band, Montage. Although Brown was never an official member of Montage, his presence is unmistakable in its music.[10] The band released one self-titled album in 1969, which included a re-recording of The Left Banke song “Desiree”, before Brown left. Brown’s next project was the band Stories, featuring singer Ian Lloyd. The band had a hit in 1973 with “Brother Louie“, which reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.[5] However, Brown had left the group after their 2nd album “About Us”, but before the success of “Brother Louie”. Brown’s next project was with The Beckies, although the band achieved only modest success and Brown soon left.

In 1992, Mercury Records released a Left Banke compilation titled There’s Gonna Be a Storm: The Complete Recordings 1966–1969. It was intended to bring together the band’s entire recorded output from the years 1966 to 1969, although a 1969 outtake titled “Foggy Waterfall”, which had previously appeared on two earlier compilations, was not included.

In 1994, Michael Brown and his wife Yvonne Vitale produced and released an album titled On This Moment. Between 2001 and 2006, Brown hosted a series of recording sessions at his home studio with Ian Lloyd (vocals), Tom Finn (bass guitar/vocals), Jim McAllister (guitar), and Jon Ihle (drums).[11]

In 2005, Alice Cooper included a cover version of “Pretty Ballerina” on his album Dirty Diamonds. In 2006, ex-member of The Bangles Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet, as Sid ‘n’ Susie, covered “She May Call You Up Tonight” for their first album Under the Covers, Vol. 1. In addition, Stuart Murdoch of the band Belle and Sebastian has cited The Left Banke as one of the early influences on the sound of the band.[12]

Former guitarist Jeff Winfield died of complications from pneumonia on June 13, 2009, at age 60.[3]

2011–12

The previous touring version of The Left Banke featured one original member, George Cameron. Initially, Tom Finn and George Cameron reformed The Left Banke in March 2011, tapping New York City’s Mike Fornatale (already a veteran of numerous other 60s band reunions, including The Monks and Moby Grape) to sing lead vocals in Steve Martin Caro’s stead. The reunited group also featured new players: Paul Alves (lead guitar, backing vocals), Charly Cazalet (bass), Mickey Finn (keyboards), Rick Reil (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and second keyboardist/synth player Joe McGinty (replaced by John Spurney in 2012). They appeared live at Joe’s Pub in New York City on March 5, 2011, and March 6, 2011, to sold-out audiences. In April 2011, Tom Finn revealed in a Facebook posting that he had reformed the group,[13] with two shows planned for July in New York City.[14][15] Tom Finn only performed with the re-formed group in 2011, after which he left due to disagreements with Cameron and due to back trouble.

In early 2011, Sundazed released reissues of the two Smash vinyl albums on CD and LP, utilizing the original running order and artwork.

In February 2012, Tom Finn notified the YouTube community that the Left Banke was in the process of creating a new record featuring contributions from co-founder Michael Brown.

George Cameron (3rd from left) and Tom Finn (Center, 4th from left) with band during their 2012 reunion tour.

On April 29, 2012, Brown joined the reunited Left Banke on stage at B.B. King’s in New York City for a version of his “Pretty Ballerina.” His performance was greeted with a standing ovation. Rick Brand, guitarist with the band in 1966-67 was also in attendance. Tom Finn sang a newly written song called “City Life” which showed a heavier rock version of the Left Banke with baroque string section intact. No new recordings begun in 2012 were ever released, and Brown died in 2015.

At the beginning of their reunion dates, the group was joined onstage by a two or three-piece string section and even a guest oboe player for one or two shows. Both Michael Brown and George Cameron were in touch with Steve Martin Caro, who wanted to rejoin the group, but was unable to tour in 2012 due to previous commitments.

Unrealized reunions

On March 18, 2015, the day before Mike Brown’s death, it was announced that original vocalist Steve Martin Caro officially rejoined the current touring version of The Left Banke. Photos on The Left Banke official Facebook and Twitter pages displayed Steve signing a contract. Two 2015 shows featured co-headliner Ian Lloyd of Stories and Sam Kogon as vocalist. The re-formed Cameron band played for the last time twice in 2015; once in Sellersville, PA and once in Natick, MA. No shows under any Left Banke configuration have been performed since 2015, and by 2020 the major players of 1966 were all deceased except for the disabled Tom Finn.

In January, 2018, it was announced on the official Facebook page operated by Steve Martin Caro and George Cameron that they were planning a tour. Several photos of Steve Martin Caro rehearsing with George Cameron and guitarist Sam Kogon were posted with a message which stated “it was Steve’s first time behind the microphone in over 15 years. We went through and workshopped much of the Left Banke catalog.” However, Cameron passed away five months later, before any performances could take place under this collaboration.

Deaths

Michael Brown died from heart disease on March 19, 2015, at age 65. Brown had been writing new material and planned to participate in the 2015 reunion of The Left Banke with Steve Martin Caro and George Cameron. Brown’s funeral and memorial service was held on March 25, 2015 at Fort Lee Gospel Church in Fort Lee, New Jersey.[16]

Justo George Cameron (born October 16, 1947 in New York City) died of cancer at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan on June 24, 2018, at age 70.[17] Thomas Leo Feher died from heart failure on August 5, 2018.[18] Steve Martin Caro died from heart disease on January 14, 2020. He was 71.[19] This left Tom Finn (later a renowned disc jockey) as the only surviving member from the original “Walk Away Renée” lineup.

Band members

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

Story 3: $19 Billion of 30-Year Bonds Sold At Record Low Yield of 2.06% — Inverted Yield Curve Flashes Recession Warning — Videos

Dow Flatlines While Fed’s Recession Alarm Screams

Treasury Sells 30-Year Bonds at Record Low Yield

Fear that the coronavirus will slow global growth has helped push down Treasury yields in recent weeks

The Treasury sold $19 billion of 30-year bonds on Thursday afternoon.

PHOTO: CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS

The Treasury sold $19 billion of 30-year bonds on Thursday afternoon at a 2.061% yield. That beat the previous record of 2.170% set last October, according to data from BMO Capital Markets.

The auction came as Treasury yields generally moved lower after Chinese officials changed the way they counted coronavirus infections, leading to a big jump in the number of confirmed cases in the country’s Hubei province. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note settled at 1.616%, compared with 1.629% Wednesday.

Yields fall when bond prices rise.

Fear that the coronavirus will slow global growth has helped push down Treasury yields in recent weeks. Other factors include persistently soft inflation, which has limited one of the main threats to the value of longer-term Treasurys, analysts said.

Investors have also grown more comfortable buying 30-year bonds because they view them as insurance against losses in riskier assets, said Jon Hill, a U.S. interest-rates strategist at BMO. Prices of 30-year bonds increase more for every one-percentage point decline in yields than those of shorter-term bonds. That means on days like Thursday, when investors are selling stocks and buying bonds, the holders of 30-year bonds are well-hedged, Mr. Hill said.

Thursday’s level doesn’t represent the lowest point that the 30-year bond yield has ever reached. Last August, it settled as low as 1.941%, but yields rose again before the next 30-year auction in September.

In recent years, low Treasury yields have, at times, caused U.S. officials to flirt with issuing bonds with maturities beyond 30 years to lock in low interest rates for a longer period.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last September that the Treasury Department was “very seriously considering” issuing a 50-year bond. The department, however, dropped that idea due to a lack of interest from bond dealers. Instead, it recently announced plans to issue 20-year bonds, which haven’t been issued regularly since the 1980s.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/treasury-to-sell-30-year-bonds-at-record-low-yield-11581614475

Story 4: Just Walk Away From Two Party Tyranny Big Government Parties — Walk Away Renee — Videos

See the source image

Walk Away Renee – The left Banke

Walk Away Renee
And when I see the sign that points one way
The lot we used to pass by every day
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re not to blame
From deep inside the tears that I’m forced to cry
From deep inside the pain that I chose to hide
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me it cries
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
Now as the rain beats down upon my weary eyes
For me it cries
Your name and mine inside a heart upon a wall
Still finds a way to haunt me, though they’re so small
Just walk away Renee
You won’t see me follow you back home
The empty sidewalks on my block are not the same
You’re not to blame
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Bob Calilli / Mike Brown / Tony Sansone
Walk Away Renee lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Round Hill Music Big Loud Songs, BMG Rights Management, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Carlin America Inc
See the source image

Tucker: Our ruling class is authoritarian, not Trump

Federal budget deficit to hit $1 trillion in 2020: CBO forecast

George Carlin – It’s a Big Club and You Ain’t In It! The American Dream

Walk Away Renée + The Left Banke + Lyrics

The Left Banke

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to navigationJump to search

The Left Banke
The Left Banke 1966.jpg

The Left Banke in 1966
Background information
Origin New YorkNew York, U.S.
Genres Baroque pop[1]
Years active
  • 1965–1969
  • 1971
  • 1978
  • 2011–2012
  • 2015–present
Labels
Associated acts
  • Christopher & The Chaps
  • The Magic Plants
  • Montage
  • Stories
  • The Beckies
  • Sam Kogon
Members

The Left Banke is an American baroque pop band, formed in New York City in 1965.[1] They are best remembered for their two US hit singles, “Walk Away Renée” and “Pretty Ballerina“.[2] The band often used what the music press referred to as “baroque” string arrangements, which led to their music being variously termed as “Bach-rock” or “baroque rock“.[3] The band’s vocal harmonies borrowed from contemporaries such as The BeatlesThe Zombies, and other British Invasion groups.[1]

In 2004, Rolling Stone placed “Walk Away Renée” at #220 in its list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time“.[4]

Contents

History

1965–69: early years and disbandment

The Left Banke was formed in 1965 and consisted of keyboard player/songwriter Michael Browndrummer/singer George Cameron, bass guitarist/singer Tom Finnsinger Steve Martin (who also used the name Steve Martin Caro), and drummer Warren David-Schierhorst. Brown’s father, Harry Lookofsky, a well-known session violinist, ran a studio in New York and took an interest in the band’s music, acting as producermanager and publisher.[5]After some initial recording sessions, David-Schierhorst was ousted, with Cameron switching to drums and Jeff Winfield on guitar. Brown’s song, “Walk Away Renee”, was sold to Smash Records, a subsidiary of Mercury Records, and became a huge hit in late 1966. The band’s second single, “Pretty Ballerina”, also written by Brown, charted in early 1967, and The Left Banke released an album entitled Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina, by which time, Rick Brand had replaced Winfield on guitar.

Tension between Brown and the rest of the band soon began to surface. When “Walk Away Renee” belatedly became a hit, the original band had become inactive. Brown decided to capitalize on the single’s success by assembling a new version of The Left Banke for touring purposes, with Bert Sommer on lead vocals, original drummer Warren David, and (future member of Spinal TapMichael McKean on guitar. Brown also recorded a single, “Ivy, Ivy” b/w “And Suddenly” as The Left Banke, with Sommer and a group of session musicians.[6][7] The remaining members of the band hired attorneys to issue a cease and desist order and urged their fan club to boycott the record,[8] which led to confusion among radio stations over which “Left Banke” to support. Radio and Smash Records ultimately removed their support from the single, which subsequently failed to make the Billboard Hot 100. The “New” Left Banke never performed live. “And Suddenly” was eventually recorded by a group called The Cherry People and became a minor hit.[9] McKean would later find fame as an actor (Laverne & ShirleyThis Is Spinal TapBetter Call Saul).

In late 1967, the original group reunited and recorded more material, including the single “Desiree.” Brown left the group permanently shortly thereafter and was replaced for touring purposes by Emmett Lake. Cameron, Finn and Martin continued to record and tour, with Tom Feher replacing Lake on keyboards and writing half of the band’s new material. The songs recorded by various incarnations of the group in 1967 and 1968 were assembled into a second LPThe Left Banke Too, which was released in November 1968. This album featured backing vocals by a young Steven Tyler (who later became the lead singer of Aerosmith) on “Nice To See You”, “My Friend Today” and “Dark Is The Bark”. The band continued playing live in 1969, without Martin, but soon disbanded due to lack of success and financial problems. Later that same year, Brown and Martin reunited in the studio to record another single as The Left Banke, “Myrah” b/w “Pedestal”, which was their final single for Smash Records.

1971–present: various reunions

In 1971, Brown, Cameron, Finn and Martin reunited briefly to record two songs for the movie Hot Parts. The songs, “Love Songs in the Night” and “Two by Two”, were released as a Steve Martin solo single on Buddah Records, despite featuring contributions from four founding members of The Left Banke. In 1972, producer Les Fradkin offered to produce the group for a project on Bell Records. Although these sessions were not released at the time, one of the songs, “I Could Make It Last Forever”, composed by Fradkin and Diane Ellis, was released on Fradkin’s Goin’ Back solo CD in 2006. It was a rare recording since it featured Caro, Finn, Cameron and Brown, along with Brown’s father, violinist Harry Lookofsky. Fradkin sang and played 12-string guitar on the sessions. In 1978, Martin, Cameron and Finn reunited as The Left Banke to record an album’s worth of material which unfortunately was not released at the time. However, a single from these 1978 sessions, “Queen of Paradise” (b/w “And One Day”), was released in late 1978 with modest success. The album was eventually issued by Relix Records in 1986 under the title Strangers on a Train (Voices Calling in Europe). However, the album did little to restore the popularity of the group.

After leaving The Left Banke in 1967, Michael Brown helped form the band, Montage. Although Brown was never an official member of Montage, his presence is unmistakable in its music.[10] The band released one self-titled album in 1969, which included a re-recording of The Left Banke song “Desiree”, before Brown left. Brown’s next project was the band Stories, featuring singer Ian Lloyd. The band had a hit in 1973 with “Brother Louie“, which reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.[5] However, Brown had left the group after their 2nd album “About Us”, but before the success of “Brother Louie”. Brown’s next project was with The Beckies, although the band achieved only modest success and Brown soon left.

In 1992, Mercury Records released a Left Banke compilation titled There’s Gonna Be a Storm: The Complete Recordings 1966–1969. It was intended to bring together the band’s entire recorded output from the years 1966 to 1969, although a 1969 outtake titled “Foggy Waterfall”, which had previously appeared on two earlier compilations, was not included.

In 1994, Michael Brown and his wife Yvonne Vitale produced and released an album titled On This Moment. Between 2001 and 2006, Brown hosted a series of recording sessions at his home studio with Ian Lloyd (vocals), Tom Finn (bass guitar/vocals), Jim McAllister (guitar), and Jon Ihle (drums).[11]

In 2005, Alice Cooper included a cover version of “Pretty Ballerina” on his album Dirty Diamonds. In 2006, ex-member of The Bangles Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet, as Sid ‘n’ Susie, covered “She May Call You Up Tonight” for their first album Under the Covers, Vol. 1. In addition, Stuart Murdoch of the band Belle and Sebastian has cited The Left Banke as one of the early influences on the sound of the band.[12]

Former guitarist Jeff Winfield died of complications from pneumonia on June 13, 2009, at age 60.[3]

2011–12

The previous touring version of The Left Banke featured one original member, George Cameron. Initially, Tom Finn and George Cameron reformed The Left Banke in March 2011, tapping New York City’s Mike Fornatale (already a veteran of numerous other 60s band reunions, including The Monks and Moby Grape) to sing lead vocals in Steve Martin Caro’s stead. The reunited group also featured new players: Paul Alves (lead guitar, backing vocals), Charly Cazalet (bass), Mickey Finn (keyboards), Rick Reil (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and second keyboardist/synth player Joe McGinty (replaced by John Spurney in 2012). They appeared live at Joe’s Pub in New York City on March 5, 2011, and March 6, 2011, to sold-out audiences. In April 2011, Tom Finn revealed in a Facebook posting that he had reformed the group,[13] with two shows planned for July in New York City.[14][15] Tom Finn only performed with the re-formed group in 2011, after which he left due to disagreements with Cameron and due to back trouble.

In early 2011, Sundazed released reissues of the two Smash vinyl albums on CD and LP, utilizing the original running order and artwork.

In February 2012, Tom Finn notified the YouTube community that the Left Banke was in the process of creating a new record featuring contributions from co-founder Michael Brown.

George Cameron (3rd from left) and Tom Finn (Center, 4th from left) with band during their 2012 reunion tour.

On April 29, 2012, Brown joined the reunited Left Banke on stage at B.B. King’s in New York City for a version of his “Pretty Ballerina.” His performance was greeted with a standing ovation. Rick Brand, guitarist with the band in 1966-67 was also in attendance. Tom Finn sang a newly written song called “City Life” which showed a heavier rock version of the Left Banke with baroque string section intact. No new recordings begun in 2012 were ever released, and Brown died in 2015.

At the beginning of their reunion dates, the group was joined onstage by a two or three-piece string section and even a guest oboe player for one or two shows. Both Michael Brown and George Cameron were in touch with Steve Martin Caro, who wanted to rejoin the group, but was unable to tour in 2012 due to previous commitments.

Unrealized reunions

On March 18, 2015, the day before Mike Brown’s death, it was announced that original vocalist Steve Martin Caro officially rejoined the current touring version of The Left Banke. Photos on The Left Banke official Facebook and Twitter pages displayed Steve signing a contract. Two 2015 shows featured co-headliner Ian Lloyd of Stories and Sam Kogon as vocalist. The re-formed Cameron band played for the last time twice in 2015; once in Sellersville, PA and once in Natick, MA. No shows under any Left Banke configuration have been performed since 2015, and by 2020 the major players of 1966 were all deceased except for the disabled Tom Finn.

In January, 2018, it was announced on the official Facebook page operated by Steve Martin Caro and George Cameron that they were planning a tour. Several photos of Steve Martin Caro rehearsing with George Cameron and guitarist Sam Kogon were posted with a message which stated “it was Steve’s first time behind the microphone in over 15 years. We went through and workshopped much of the Left Banke catalog.” However, Cameron passed away five months later, before any performances could take place under this collaboration.

Deaths

Michael Brown died from heart disease on March 19, 2015, at age 65. Brown had been writing new material and planned to participate in the 2015 reunion of The Left Banke with Steve Martin Caro and George Cameron. Brown’s funeral and memorial service was held on March 25, 2015 at Fort Lee Gospel Church in Fort Lee, New Jersey.[16]

Justo George Cameron (born October 16, 1947 in New York City) died of cancer at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan on June 24, 2018, at age 70.[17] Thomas Leo Feher died from heart failure on August 5, 2018.[18] Steve Martin Caro died from heart disease on January 14, 2020. He was 71.[19] This left Tom Finn (later a renowned disc jockey) as the only surviving member from the original “Walk Away Renée” lineup.

Band members

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

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 439, April 1, 2015, Story 1: Negotiating Nuclear Proliferation Agreements With State Sponsors of Terrorism — What a Difference A Day Makes — April Fools Day Celebrates Kerry and Obama Negotiations With The Mad Mullah Terrorists of Islamic Republic of Iran — I who have nothing — Just Walk Away — Breakaway — Dance With The One That Brought You — Videos

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Story 1: What a Difference A Day Makes — April Fools Day Celebrates Kerry and Obama Negotiations With The Mad Mullah Terrorists of Islamic Republic of Iran — I who have nothing — Just Walk Away — Breakaway — Dance With The One That Brought You — Videos

kerry leaves talksUS-america-Iran-paintingiran_nuclear_facilities iran_nuclear_facilities_israel_strike_2009_reutersfordowiran-underground-nuclear-facilities-FordowIran-nuclear-bunkersFix Edited Files : 2.
United_States_ready_to_use_bunker_buster_bomb_against_Iran_nuclear_facilities060409-nuclear-strikes-iran_telegraphFordow Fuel Enrichment Plant

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Published on Jul 12, 2012

Negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program is a “waste of time” and it should be pushed forward towards time-limited talks says Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Fisal

News and Info on the Israel-Saudi pact aimed against “the evil” Iran/ Saudi Arabias nuclear ambitions

Beside the Israel-Saudi Arabia agreement on flyover rights and ground-supply for Israel Air- and Specialforces in case of a possible attack on iranian nuclear-facilities, the really scary thing, which should concern everybody whos against nuclear proliferation, is the fact that that the nasty Saudi Kingdom is deeply involved in the nuclear program of the Al-Qaida terrorist-breeding facility called Pakistan……Saudi Arabia payed nearly half of its costs and it seems in return the Saudis might get a shipment of nuclear warheads derived from the pakistani-nuclear program.

Tom Jones I Who Have Nothing

Just Walk Away – South Park

{youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKxUfdv_U00]

just walk away

Walk Away Renee – The left Banke

Kelly Clarkson – Walk Away

Kelly Clarkson – Breakaway

Shania Twain – Dance With The One That Brought You

help

Why Obama chose the Iran talks to take one of the biggest risks of his presidency

By Greg Jaffe

Much of President Obama’s foreign policy agenda has been foisted upon him during his six years in office. He inherited two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, neither of which he’s been able to end. He’s had to react to chaos in the Middle East and a Russian incursion in Ukraine.

The negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program are different. They are Obama’s choice, and he’s fought to keep them moving forward since the beginning of his presidency despite setbacks and second-guessing from Republicans, fellow Democrats and longtime foreign allies.

The latest setback came when the White House agreed to suspend its self-imposed March 31 deadline for an agreement with Iran and keep talking in the hope that remaining differences might soon be resolved. Significant gaps, however, remained.

The president’s desire to keep negotiating reflects both the importance he has placed on the talks and his particular view of how American leadership, persistence and engagement with determined enemies can change the world.

Obama often talks about moments in which American leadership can “bend the arc of human history.” An Iran accord represents exactly such an opportunity, as well as one of the most risky foreign policy gambles of his presidency.

The talks revolve around an issue — nuclear proliferation — that has been a major focus for Obama since he first arrived in Washington. As a senator, he called for a world without nuclear weapons. As president, his first foreign policy speech focused on the dangers that a terrorist group, such as al-Qaeda, might someday acquire a nuclear bomb.

“If we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable,” he told a crowd of thousands in Prague’s main square, “then in some ways we are admitting to ourselves that the use of a nuclear weapon is inevitable.”

The Iran negotiations also reflect Obama’s abiding belief that the best way to change the behavior of hostile governments with spotty human rights records isn’t through isolation or the threat of military force, but persistent engagement. In recent years, Obama has pushed to open up trade and diplomatic relations with countries such as Cuba and Burma.

“He believes the more people interact with open societies, the more they will want to be part of an open society,” said Ivo Daalder, Obama’s former NATO ambassador and head of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Iran, a longtime enemy and sponsor of some of the world’s most potent militias and terror groups, is the biggest and boldest test of Obama’s theory. “It’s not like we are all waking up in a cold sweat worried about Burma and Cuba,” said Julianne Smith, a former deputy national security adviser to Vice President Biden and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “This is the crown jewel of six years of diplomatic effort, and the president has worked it.”

Even if the United States and its allies secure a deal with Iran, the accord could backfire. Iran could cheat, although evading intrusive inspections will be difficult for the Islamic republic, said White House officials. If U.S. allies, such as Saudi Arabia, think that the accord doesn’t do enough to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, they could start their own program, triggering an arms race in one of the most dangerous and unstable regions of the world.

The most immediate concern is that an emboldened Iran will use the financial windfall that comes with the easing of economic sanctions to boost support to its proxy militias in a region that’s already being torn to pieces by sectarian war.

Obama has acknowledged those risks but insists that the alternatives to an Iran deal — tighter sanctions or military strikes — would be much worse. As the negotiations have progressed, Obama has become more personally involved in the talks, said current and former aides. He can describe in minute detail the number and type of centrifuges that Iran would be allowed to retain under a deal.

In public comments, he often has put the chances of striking an accord at less than 50 percent. Privately, aides said, he has demanded briefings on every minor setback and reversal.

His personal involvement demonstrates how important the negotiations have become to his presidency.

Obama and senior aides have bemoaned the tendency in Washington to look first to the military to solve America’s most vexing foreign policy problems. “The debates around the Middle East don’t seem to recognize that the Iraq war took place,” said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to the president. There continues to be “an instinctive reach for military solutions as the only sign of America’s seriousness,” he said.

The Iran negotiations, for Obama, offer a new model. The talks have played down threats of U.S. military force and instead placed a heavy emphasis on American diplomacy and statecraft. The United States has acted as part of a broad international coalition that includes Russia and China, a change from an earlier era in which Obama insisted the United States had too often ignored its allies and tried to go it alone.

The negotiations are also personal for the president. Obama was dismissed as dangerously naive in 2007 by then-candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton for suggesting that he would engage in “aggressive personal diplomacy” with Iran. More recently, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress, where the Israeli leader leveled the same charge. Netanyahu’s speech infuriated the White House. Two weeks later, 47 Republicans sent an open letter to Iran’s leaders saying that they would seek to undo any agreements that the administration and its partners reached with Tehran.

“There’s a determination to prove the Republicans wrong,” said Smith, “and to prove the world wrong.”

A successful accord with Iran also would give credence to Obama’s core belief that the United States must be open to negotiations with its enemies. In 2007, then-presidential candidate Obama said it was a “disgrace” that the Bush administration hadn’t done more to talk with America’s enemies in the Middle East. “The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous,” he added.

In Iran, Obama has chosen to negotiate with one of America’s biggest and most destabilizing enemies. Iranian money, weapons and combat advisers have helped President Bashar al-Assad cling to power in Syria. In Lebanonand Yemen, Iranian-backed militias have sown unrest against U.S. allies. Iran’s support has helped Hamas launch deadly attacks on Israel, America’s closest ally in the region.

Although Iran is working alongside the United States in Iraq to destroy Islamic State insurgents, Iranian-backed militias were responsible for some of the deadliest attacks on U.S. troops prior to 2011.

It is Iran’s potential as a stabilizing force in the region that gives it such allure. “They’re a big sophisticated country with a lot of talent,” Obama said in an interview with the New York Times in the summer. Even a moderately less threatening Iran could pay big dividends at a time when the Middle East’s post-World War I order is coming apart.

“With all this turmoil in the Arab world, you need a workable relationship with the other side,” said Shawn Brimley, a former director for strategic planning in the White House. “You can’t argue with Iran’s importance in the region. That’s why Obama is taking this extremely seriously.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/why-obama-chose-the-iran-talks-to-take-one-of-his-presidencys-biggest-risks/2015/04/01/403b7a06-d7af-11e4-ba28-f2a685dc7f89_story.html

Iran Nuclear Talks Miss Deadline

U.S. says enough progress made to merit staying until Wednesday

By LAURENCE NORMAN

Nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers crashed through another deadline on Tuesday, casting doubt about whether the two sides can reach a final deal to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

In the early morning hours Wednesday, there were some signs of progress toward building a framework outlining elements of a final nuclear deal to be reached by June 30. “We’ve made enough progress in the last days to merit staying until Wednesday,” said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. “There are several difficult issues still remaining.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also said work would resume on Wednesday morning. “I hope that we can finalize the work on Wednesday and hopefully start the process of drafting,” Mr. Zarif said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sides reached agreement in principle, according to his spokeswoman. The parties would try to finalize a text later on Wednesday, she added.

But people involved in the talks have said many tough details would still be left over even if a framework agreement is reached.

The two big sticking points were the timetable for lifting United Nations Security Council sanctions on Iran and the question of what nuclear work Tehran would be permitted to do in the final years of an agreement. Late Tuesday night, diplomats said some inroads had been made but differences on these points remained.

Still the Obama administration was forced to accede to the third delay in less than a year in the talks, stoking new criticism from Congress about the direction of the White House Iran policy.

The deadline has been seized on by U.S. lawmakers who have warned that they would push for fresh sanctions legislation on Iran if a framework agreement isn’t reached on time.

Many lawmakers—Republicans and Democrats—believe the terms of the deal won’t go far enough in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Senate Republicans are pushing legislation in April that would give Congress the power to approve, amend or kill any deal announced by the Obama administration.

“The decision to extend the nuclear negotiations in the face of Iranian intransigence and duplicity proves once again that Iran is calling the shots,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.). Mr. Cotton penned a letter to Iran’s leadership in March, signed by 47 Republican senators, that said Congress had the power to overrule any agreement signed by the White House.

U.S. officials and other senior Western diplomats have said in the past few days that with Congress out on recess, they had a few days more political space to hammer out the details.

The talks have encountered few successes since they began in early 2014.

Negotiators failed to meet two deadlines in July and November last year, setting Tuesday as the final day to reach a framework of an agreement and the end of June as the deadline for a comprehensive deal.

President Barack Obama in February said he saw little point to any further delays.

An Iranian diplomat told state-run television on Tuesday that some progress had been made on the sanctions issues.

“We don’t want an agreement at any price. We want to guarantee the Iranian people’s honor and rights…Our goal is this. Time won’t stop us,” said the senior negotiator, Hamid Baeedinejad.

The U.S. and its European partners at the talks have long said Iran would only win phased sanctions relief with some U.N. restrictions on nuclear-related trade remaining in place. However, Iran was pushing for sanctions relief up front.

Iran was also doubling down on its insistence that after 10 years, it would have no tight restrictions on its nuclear program, including its research work, Western diplomats said. U.S. and European officials have said some of those constraints must stay in place.

After an official said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius could leave early Wednesday morning, a senior U.S. official said there was no discussion of giving Iran an immediate ultimatum to make concessions or end the diplomacy.

The Obama administration has made an Iranian nuclear agreement its main foreign-policy goal, hoping both to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power and thaw the deeply hostile relationship between the two countries since the 1979 Iranian revolution.

However, over the past 18 months, as the diplomacy heated up, the U.S. and its partners have dropped a number of conditions they once set for a deal.

As the diplomacy has dragged on, skepticism has risen in Washington and elsewhere that a strong deal can be reached.

Critics of the diplomacy say the U.S. and other powers have accepted terms that will embolden Iran in regional power struggles and do little over time to prevent the country from developing nuclear weapons. Fueling that debate will be the many questions an agreement will leave unanswered.

U.S. officials have said the deal is a good compromise which will meet its central goal of blocking any of Iran’s paths to an atomic weapon.

Western officials say they believe they can achieve their central demand that Iran will be at least a year away from amassing enough nuclear fuel for a bomb for at least a decade.

Missing Tuesday’s deadline has no automatic consequences for the talks. The interim agreement reached in November 2013 remains in effect until the end of June.

At various points in the past decade, the negotiations have appeared on the brink of collapse, raising the prospect of a military conflict with Iran.

While diplomats had appeared confident earlier in the day that a deal could be reached Tuesday, officials described discussions as hard-going as the talks dragged on.

A German delegation official said the negotiations had been very tough.

“Whether it will succeed remains open,” said the official.

—Jay Solomon in Washington and Asa Fitch in Dubai contributed to this article.

Corrections & Amplifications

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sides reached an agreement in principle, according to his spokeswoman. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said it was his spokesman.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-foreign-minister-to-return-to-iran-nuclear-talks-1427783300

Iran Nuclear Talks Q&A: Objectives and Deadlines

By FELICIA SCHWARTZ

Foreign ministers from major powers kicked off a scheduled day of talks aimed at securing the outlines of a nuclear deal with Iran by a midnight deadline. Pictured, Secretary of State John Kerry, left, before the opening of the plenary session at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 31.

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Negotiators meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, are working to meet a deadline on Tuesday — give or take — for a nuclear agreement with Iran aimed at resolving more than a dozen years of friction. Here is the latest state of play:

Is Tuesday the big day or not?

It’s a big day because it’s the target date set by Iran and six world powers for a deal. Everybody’s watching to see if they arrive at an agreement by midnight in Switzerland (or 6p.m. Eastern Daylight Time). They could come up short, and they could also try again tomorrow or next week. More on this later.

What’s the objective here?

The U.S. along with its negotiating partners — Germany, the United Kingdom, France, China and Russia — want an agreement that will leave Iran at least a year away from being able to purify enough nuclear fuel to create a bomb. Iran denies that it is pursuing a nuclear weapon and insists its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian purposes, but the West has long suspected that Iran has harbored nuclear weapons ambitions.

Iran has four potential pathways to a bomb: the secret underground facility called Fordow; the Natanz enrichment facility; Arak, a plutonium heavy water reactor; and lastly, a covert path, encompassing clandestine efforts and facilities not on the radar of the U.S. and its negotiating partners.

The world powers want a deal to address these pathways, limit Iran’s nuclear activity, and provide for inspections intrusive enough to tell them what’s going on with Iran’s program. In exchange, the U.S. and five world powers will further ease sanctions on Iran, which have crippled its economy.

So, what’s the deal with the deadline?

The deadline to reach a “framework” — essentially a political agreement that leads to a comprehensive deal — is Tuesday, March 31. But it’s a self-imposed deadline andnegotiators aren’t totally wedded to it. With little to enforce the deadline except a skeptical U.S. Congress, it’s possible that the Tuesday deadline could slip by as much as two weeks, because Congress is on one of its recesses and doesn’t return to Washington until April 13.

U.S. officials, at least, say that they take the Tuesday deadline seriously and want to deliver some sort of framework by then as a sign of progress. Lawmakers, including many Democrats, are itching to introduce and vote on legislation in April that gives them influence over the deal, whether by introducing additional sanctions if the deal falls through or by voting on the final agreement to ensure it passes muster. The White House has threatened to veto these bills. But lately, it has signaled that it’s open to finding some sort way for Congress to weigh in.

Is there a harder deadline?

The deadline for a final agreement, which will include lots of technical details and diplomatic “annexes,” is the end of June. If negotiators reach a framework accord by day’s end Tuesday — or a little later — it would be a signal that they’re on their way to a full-fledged, detailed agreement. But there will be lots more to discuss if they are able to clear this initial hurdle.

What’s left to figure out for Tuesday’s agreement?

There are several main issues that have been under round-the-clock negotiations: how quickly Iran would get relief from the punishing economic sanctions; how rapidly world powers would “snap back” sanctions if Iran reneges; the scope of Iran’s future nuclear activities; and the degree to which international inspectors will be able to access Iran’s nuclear and military sites.

Tuesday’s announcement is expected to outline the broad strokes of the deal, so it’s likely the finer points of these differences will be kicked over to the remaining months of talks.

Will the deal “dismantle” Iran’s nuclear program?

It will not. However, the president has said the effort has prompted Iran to “roll back” its nuclear program. In November 2013, Iran and world powers agreed on a process of negotiations called the “Joint Plan of Action,” or JPOA, that imposed controls on Iran’s uranium enrichment and fuel programs, but did not eliminate them. For agreeing to limits, Iran was given some relief from the sanctions.

What becomes of the nuclear material still in the country?

Under the 2013 “joint plan of action,” the Iranians may only process uranium to low levels of purity, suitable for use in civilian power reactors. Iran has to stop producing medium-level enriched uranium, under the 2013 plan, and must dilute its existing stocks of medium-level uranium or convert it into an oxide that can’t be used for weapons.

Have they done any of that?

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency, Tehran has complied.

Is there any other way of addressing the uranium stockpiles?

Yes. It could ship its stocks to another country — Russia has offered — to be converted into fuel rods for civilian power use. That would be seen as a reassuring step. But over the weekend, an Iranian negotiator seemed to rule out such a step. Whether that’s the government’s final word on that question remains to be seen. In any case, the U.S. says this isn’t the only way that Iran can get rid of its stockpile, citing dilution and conversion as other methods.

Have sanctions been eased already?

Yes, as part of the Joint Plan of Action, Iran has been allowed to recoup $700 million a month, each month, in money held, frozen, overseas. This has been underway basically since early 2014, so Iran has recouped nearly $10 billion in frozen money — along with other funds it has been given access to.

That’s a lot of money!

Yes, but there much more still frozen that Iran would like to get as part of a final deal, up to $130 billion by some estimates.

What makes the West so suspicious of Iran?

The U.S. and its partners have outstanding questions about Iran’s past nuclear work. The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has had little success in a probe of Tehran in addressing these concerns. This is another issue that likely will be kicked into the next phase of talks.

Is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the biggest critic of a deal?

He’s a big one, but has a lot of company among Obama administration critics at home and abroad. A veto-proof majority of House lawmakers last week sent President Barack Obama a letter warning that they must be convinced a nuclear agreement closes off all pathways to a bomb before they consider voting on legislation to permanently lift sanctions.

Earlier this month, 47 Republican senators, led by Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.,  sent a letter to Iran’s leaders warning that Congress would have a say in any final accord. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) said he will schedule a vote on his bill to give Congress an up-or-down vote on the deal on April 14, as soon as Congress returns from its recess. Sens. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) have drafted legislation that would introduce sanctions if the U.S. and Iran don’t reach an accord by the end of June.

Abroad, Israel and the U.S.’s partners in the Persian Gulf are also worried about the nuclear negotiations and the prospect of an emboldened Iran. Mr. Netanyahu didn’t stop after he addressed a full session of Congress in early March to urge them to scuttle a deal. He said Sunday that the agreement being discussed in Switzerland was worse than he had previously feared.

Persian Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, are wary of Iran’s influence in the Middle East and fear a nuclear deal and sanctions relief could embolden Iran to have an even heavier hand in the region.

How long have negotiations with Iran been going on?

This iteration of diplomacy dates to September 2013, when Secretary of State John Kerry met with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York. In November 2013 came the Joint Plan of Action.

The JPOA was initially set to expire in July 2014, and has been extended twice along with negotiations, this time through June 2015.

Nuclear negotiations with Iran and world powers have gone on in some form or another for over a decade. U.S. diplomacy with Iran appeared to get a fresh start in June 2013, when Hasan Rouhani was elected president of Iran after campaigning on the promise to improve ties with the West. Now, 18 months into this round of talks, officials say they’re closer than ever to an agreement. But it’s still an unknown if they’ll get there.

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2015/03/31/iran-nuclear-talks-qa-objectives-and-deadlines/

Possible Failure of Iran Nuclear Deal Divides U.S., Israel

White House fears collapse of talks would imperil sanctions, while Netanyahu envisions better accord

By GERALD F. SEIB

As profound as the disagreement is between Israel and the U.S. over the substance of the nuclear deal being negotiated with Iran, the two countries disagree just as fundamentally over the consequences of failing to complete such a deal.

In fact, this disagreement is central to the wildly divergent calculations being made by President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The heart of the dispute is simply this: If the talks fail to produce an agreement now, Israel believes the continued pressure of economic sanctions can compel Iran to agree to a much better deal later on. The Obama administration’s fear is that if the U.S. simply walks away from the talks, that could cause the collapse of the sanctions regime—and the end of any real pressure on the Iranians.

This dispute is crucial as negotiations reach their climax this week. After months of diplomatic feints and jabs, the self-imposed deadline for reaching the outlines of a deal arrives Tuesday. And while talks may slip past that point, diplomacy has reached its critical juncture.

As this climactic moment arrives, the Obama administration’s eagerness for a deal is becoming clear. The president and his aides appear to believe a deal can not only curb Iran’s nuclear program short of the ability to produce a weapon, but can open the door to a more productive relationship that reduces broader Iranian misbehavior over time. Israel deeply disagrees on both points, arguing that a deal will only enshrine Iran’s nuclear program and that the desire to preserve such a hard-won agreement will give the U.S. a powerful incentive to look the other way when Iran misbehaves.

All sides agree that the main reason Iran is at the negotiating table in the first place is its desire to win relief from oppressive international economic sanctions in any deal. The dispute between the U.S. and Israel, then, is over whether those sanctions are a perishable commodity.

The administration’s view is that the rest of the world bought into sanctions against Iran in service of diplomacy, not in lieu of it. In other words, the international partners—particularly the more balky ones such as Russia, China and India—agreed to put the heat on Iran precisely to drive forward the negotiations that are under way now, not as some kind of permanent situation.

Indeed, there were great fears, notably in Israel, that an interim nuclear agreement struck with in late 2013—which has frozen some elements of Iran’s nuclear program in place in return for limited sanctions relief while talks continue—would imperil the sanctions regime by opening a crack in it that some nations would then rush through. That hasn’t happened, but U.S. officials doubt that the pressure to stick with sanctions can be sustained forever.

In this view, withdrawing from talks without a deal would give Russia, China India and some European nations a perfect reason to walk away from sanctions, leaving the U.S. and Israel with the worst of all worlds: no negotiated limits on Iran’s nuclear program and no remaining pressure to win them later.

Mr. Netanyahu’s view was encapsulated in his controversial address to a joint meeting of Congress three weeks ago. “Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil,” he said.

In the Israeli view, the glue that could keep economic sanctions in place even if talks collapse is a credible military threat against Iran. Other nations so fear the consequences of an American or Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities if sanctions collapse that they would stick with the sanctions just to forestall the possibility.

Moreover, Israel believes, the most important and effective economic sanction is the one blocking Iran’s access to the international banking system. That is one the U.S., as the center of the international financial system, has the power to keep in place all by itself, regardless of whether allies agree or not.

And at a time when oil prices are so low, the argument continues, it doesn’t take as much pressure to produce economic pain.

Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst at the Carnegie Endowment, thinks that, in the end, neither side may be entirely right—or entirely wrong. Allies are more eager to retain good economic ties with the U.S. than with Iran, which means they may hang in with Washington on sanctions, he says. On the other hand, he adds, Iran senses its international isolation slowly easing, so it won’t feel the need to “capitulate” to continued sanctions to avoid a collapse of its regime.

What is clear is that this disagreement lies at the heart of the U.S.-Israeli split as talks reach the finish line.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/possible-failure-of-iran-nuclear-deal-divides-u-s-israel-1427732162

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