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Secretary of Defense Hagel Out — Ferguson Verdict In — No True Bill — No Charges — Case Closed — Videos

Posted on November 24, 2014. Filed under: Blogroll, College, Constitution, Crime, Education, Energy, Homicide, Natural Gas, Oil, Pistols, Radio, Rifles, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 377: November 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 376: November 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 375: November 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 374: November 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 373: November 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 372: November 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 371: November 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 370: November 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 369: November 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 368: November 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 367: November 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 366: November 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 365: November 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 364: November 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 363: November 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 362: November 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 361: October 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 360: October 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 359: October 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 358: October 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 357: October 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 356: October 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 355: October 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 354: October 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 353: October 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 352: October 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 351: October 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 350: October 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 349: October 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 348: October 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 347: October 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 346: October 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 345: October 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 344: October 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 343: October 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 342: October 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 341: October 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 340: September 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 339: September 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 338: September 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 337: September 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 336: September 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 335: September 23 2014

Pronk Pops Show 334: September 22 2014

Pronk Pops Show 333: September 19 2014

Pronk Pops Show 332: September 18 2014

Pronk Pops Show 331: September 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 330: September 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 329: September 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 328: September 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 326: September 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 323: September 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 320: August 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 319: August 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 318: August 27, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 317: August 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 316: August 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 315: August 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 314: August 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 313: August 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 312: August 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 311: August 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 310: August 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 309: August 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 308: August 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 307: August 1, 2014

 

Story 1: Secretary of Defense Hagel Out — Ferguson Verdict In — No True Bill — No Charges — Case Closed — Videos

President Obama’s Statement on Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

No indictment in Michael Brown shooting! (Video) HD

BREAKING! Ferguson Grand Jury Announces Verdict

Ferguson, Missouri protesters riot; tear gas released following follow Michael Brown ruling

Who will interview Darren Wilson first?

Deluge Of Ferguson MO Leaks – Show Officer’s Side Of Micheal Brown Killing – Media Buzz Spin Cycle

Michael Brown Shooting: Surveillance Video Shows Ferguson Officer After Shooting

Grand Jury Decides Not To Indict Officer Darren Wilson For The Shooting Death Of Michael Brown! (HD)

Answers to questions about the Ferguson grand jury

President Obama asks Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to resign

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Resigns stepping down Breaking News November 24 2014

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel Resigns

Hagel resigns as U.S. defense secretary, official says

Ferguson Grand Jury Reportedly Comes to a Decision; Announcement Expected Later Today

Michael Brown shooting | Ferguson jury reaches verdict

No indictment for Ferguson officer

A white police officer will not face charges for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager in a case that set off violent protests and racial unrest throughout the nation.

A St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict officer Darren Wilson, 28, for firing six shots in an August confrontation that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch said Monday night.

The decision had been long awaited and followed rioting that resembled war-zone news footage in this predominantly black suburb of St. Louis.

Crowds of protesters filled streets near the Ferguson police station following the announcement.

In Washington, President Obama appeared before TV cameras. “We need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make,” he said in calling for peaceful protests. But he said the Ferguson case “speaks to broader challenges that we still face as a nation.”

Prosecutor McCulloch made the announcement in an unusual nighttime presentation in a courtroom. He spoke at length about media coverage of the case and what he called the unreliability of eyewitness accounts. He said the grand jury weighed evidence and testimony before concluding there was no probable cause to indict the officer.

“The duty of the grand jury is to separate fact from fiction,” McCulloch said.

He said prosecuting attorneys presented five potential indictments to the grand jury, and all were rejected.

“The jury was not inclined to indict on any charges,” Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Brown’s family, said after being informed of the decision by authorities.

Brown’s family attorneys received a call from McCulloch shortly before the announcement. Crump took the call and and delivered the news to Brown’s family in an area hotel.

“The jury was not inclined to indict on any charges,” Crump said to Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s mother. “He (McCulloch) said he would be willing to meet with you all.”

McSpadden began crying and shouting. Her body vibrated with pain as she jumped to her feet.

“I do want to meet with him right now,” McSpadden screamed. “What do you mean no indictment?!”

She then ran out of a hotel room followed by family members.

Brown’s family later released a statement saying, “We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.” The urged others who share their pan to “channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change.”

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, called for calm after calling up National Guard troops to stand by in case of unrest. Speaking before the decision was announced, he urged that “regardless of the decision, people on all sides show tolerance, mutual respect and restraint.”

Crowds gathered around the Ferguson police headquarters in anticipation of the announcement at the courthouse in Clayton, Mo., another St. Louis suburb.

The 12-person grand jury had been considering whether probable cause existed to bring charges against Wilson, 28, the white officer who fatally shot Brown, an 18-year-old black man, after their Aug. 9 confrontation. The shooting inflamed tensions in a largely minority community that is patrolled by an overwhelmingly white police force.

Brown’s lifeless and bleeding body lay for more than four hours in a Ferguson residential street after the shooting, prompting dismay and anger as a crowd gathered. Protests turned into rioting and looting the following night, and police responded with armored vehicles and tear gas, triggering a nationwide debate over police tactics.

The 12-person grand jury, including nine whites and three African Americans, had been meeting in secret for months, hearing evidence and weighing whether Wilson’s should face charges that could have ranged from involuntary manslaughter to murder.

Brown’s family joined thousands of protesters to demand Wilson’s arrest. As anger at official inaction grew following Brown’s death, protesters clashed with police, who began patrolling the streets with military-grade weapons and armored vehicles.

Wilson has been on paid leave and largely invisible since the shooting.

While the grand jury met in secret to hear evidence in the case, two starkly different versions of the events leading to the shooting emerged in media accounts.

Police have said a scuffle broke out after Wilson asked Brown and a friend to move out of the street. Wilson told investigators he shot Brown only after the teenager reached for the officer’s gun. Some witnesses said Brown had run away from Wilson, then turned and raised his hands in the air in a gesture of surrender before he was shot in the head and chest.

The unusual timing of the grand jury’s announcement, after darkness had fallen, was a decision of prosecutors, Nixon said.

He said several local churches would provide shelter, safe haven and medical care in the event of unrest.

As officials called for peace, security preparations were beefed up around the courthouse and at other locations including the Ferguson police headquarters. Barricades were erected and Missouri state troopers were present with rifles, 3-foot batons, riot shields and other equipment. Crowds of protesters waving signs and chanting spilled into streets near the police offices.

“This is not the time to turn on each other; it is a time to turn to each other,” said St. Louis County Executive Charley Dooley. “We are one community,” he said.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay acknowledged the case “has deeply divided us” but said “turning violent or damaging property will not be tolerated.”

“The world will be watching us,” Slay said.

Anthony Gray, a lawyer for the Brown family, said they were informed the announcement by the county prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, was imminent.

Police have said Brown struggled with Wilson inside his police car, then reached for Wilson’s weapon. Brown’s family and some witnesses say Wilson killed Brown as he raised his hands in surrender.

The death of Brown, 18, touched off weeks of protests, and the decision by the grand jury on whether to bring charges prompted extraordinary precautions by law enforcement and the community. The Ferguson school district canceled Tuesday classes.

Police officials and protest organizers have collaborated on rules of engagement — that is, rules for conduct when protesters meet police again on the streets. Nixon has declared a state of emergency and activated the state’s National Guard.

Brown’s family called for 4½ minutes of silence after the grand jury announcement, Maggie Crane, spokeswoman for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, said in a tweet Monday afternoon.

St. Louis County Police asked for donations for officers working round-the-clock shifts in Ferguson. Items requested on the department’s Facebook page include Visa gift cards, water, Gatorade, soda, hand and foot warmers, DayQuil and cough drops. The department said it uses the gift cards to order hot meals for the command centers.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/11/24/ferguson-grand-jury-deliberations/19474907/

Hagel Resigns Under Pressure as Global Crises Test Pentagon

By

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel handed in his resignation under pressure on Monday, the first cabinet-level casualty of the collapse of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and the struggles of his national security team to respond to an onslaught of global crises.

In announcing Mr. Hagel’s resignation from the State Dining Room on Monday, the president, flanked by Mr. Hagel and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., called Mr. Hagel critical to ushering the military “through a significant period of transition” and lauded “a young Army sergeant from Vietnam who rose to serve as America’s 24th secretary of defense.”

Mr. Obama called Mr. Hagel “no ordinary secretary of defense,” adding that he had “been in the dirt” of combat like no other defense chief. He said that Mr. Hagel would remain in the job until his successor is confirmed by the Senate.

Administration officials said that Mr. Obama made the decision to remove Mr. Hagel, the sole Republican on his national security team, last Friday after a series of meetings between the two men over the past two weeks.

 

Obama Praises Hagel at Resignation

 

President Obama called Chuck Hagel “no ordinary secretary of defense” during a news conference at which Mr. Hagel announced his resignation.

Video by Associated Press on Publish DateNovember 24, 2014. Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.

 

The officials characterized the decision as a recognition that the threat from the militant group Islamic State will require different skills from those that Mr. Hagel, who often struggled to articulate a clear viewpoint and was widely viewed as a passive defense secretary, was brought in to employ.

Mr. Hagel, a combat veteran who was skeptical about the Iraq war, came in to manage the Afghanistan combat withdrawal and the shrinking Pentagon budget in the era of budget sequestrations.

Now, however, the American military is back on a war footing, although it is a modified one. Some 3,000 American troops are being deployed in Iraq to help the Iraqi military fight the Sunni militants of the Islamic State, even as the administration struggles to come up with, and articulate, a coherent strategy to defeat the group in both Iraq and Syria.

“The next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus,” one administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He insisted that Mr. Hagel was not fired, saying that the defense secretary initiated discussions about his future two weeks ago with the president, and that the two men mutually agreed that it was time for him to leave.

But Mr. Hagel’s aides had maintained in recent weeks that he expected to serve the full four years as defense secretary. His removal appears to be an effort by the White House to show that it is sensitive to critics who have pointed to stumbles in the government’s early response to several national security issues, including the Ebola crisis and the threat posed by the Islamic State.

Even before the announcement of Mr. Hagel’s removal, Obama officials were speculating on his possible replacement. At the top of the list were Michèle A. Flournoy, a former under secretary of defense, and Ashton B. Carter, a former deputy secretary of defense.

 

PLAY VIDEO|0:30

Hagel Resigning as Defense Secretary

 

Hagel Resigning as Defense Secretary

Chuck Hagel, whose resignation as defense secretary was announced Monday, said he would stay in the job and support the president until his successor was confirmed.

Video by Associated Press on Publish DateNovember 24, 2014. Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.

 

Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and a former officer with the Army’s 82nd Airborne, was also considered to be a contender, but a spokesman said that the senator was not in the running. “Senator Reed loves his job and does not wish to be considered for secretary of defense or any other cabinet post,” the spokesman said.

Mr. Hagel, a respected former senator who struck a friendship with Mr. Obama when they were both critics of the Iraq war from positions on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has nonetheless had trouble penetrating the tight team of former campaign aides and advisers who form Mr. Obama’s closely knit set of loyalists. Senior administration officials have characterized him as quiet during cabinet meetings; Mr. Hagel’s defenders said that he waited until he was alone with the president before sharing his views, the better to avoid leaks.

Whatever the case, Mr. Hagel struggled to fit in with Mr. Obama’s close circle and was viewed as never gaining traction in the administration after a bruising confirmation fight among his old Senate colleagues, during which he was criticized for seeming tentative in his responses to sharp questions.

He never really shed that pall after arriving at the Pentagon, and in the past few months he has largely ceded the stage to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, who officials said initially won the confidence of Mr. Obama with his recommendation of military action against the Islamic State.

In Mr. Hagel’s less than two years on the job, his detractors said he struggled to inspire confidence at the Pentagon in the manner of his predecessors, especially Robert M. Gates. But several of Mr. Obama’s top advisers over the past few months have also acknowledged privately that the president did not want another high-profile defense secretary in the mold of Mr. Gates, who went on to write a memoir of his years with Mr. Obama in which he sharply criticized the president. Mr. Hagel, they said, in many ways was exactly the kind of defense secretary whom the president, after battling the military during his first term, wanted.

Mr. Hagel, for his part, spent his time on the job largely carrying out Mr. Obama’s stated wishes on matters like bringing back American troops from Afghanistan and trimming the Pentagon budget, with little pushback. He did manage to inspire loyalty among enlisted soldiers and often seemed at his most confident when talking to troops or sharing wartime experiences as a Vietnam veteran.

But Mr. Hagel has often had problems articulating his thoughts — or administration policy — in an effective manner, and has sometimes left reporters struggling to describe what he has said in news conferences. In his side-by-side appearances with both General Dempsey and Secretary of State John Kerry, Mr. Hagel, a decorated Vietnam veteran and the first former enlisted combat soldier to be defense secretary, has often been upstaged.

He raised the ire of the White House in August as the administration was ramping up its strategy to fight the Islamic State, directly contradicting the president, who months before had likened the Sunni militant group to a junior varsity basketball squad. Mr. Hagel, facing reporters in his now-familiar role next to General Dempsey, called the Islamic State an “imminent threat to every interest we have,” adding, “This is beyond anything that we’ve seen.” White House officials later said they viewed those comments as unhelpful, although the administration still appears to be struggling to define just how large is the threat posed by the Islamic State.

 

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

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2015 Hyundai Sonata — Videos

Posted on November 2, 2014. Filed under: Autos, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Computers, Education, Energy, Enivornment, Oil, People, Photos, Technology, Transportation, Video, Wealth | Tags: , , , , , , , |

2015-Hyundai-Sonata2015_hyundai_sonat2015-Hyundai-Sonata-12015-Hyundai-Sonata-6Hyundai-Sonata-72015-hyundai-sonata-2015-Hyundai-Sonata-center-stack2015-Hyundai-Sonata-USA372015-hyundai-sonata-20t-interior-022015-hyundai-sonata-sport-20t-interior-photo-624988-s-1280x7822015-hyundai-sonata-20t-front-interior-seats2015-hyundai-sonata-eco-front-three-quarters-04

2015 Hyundai Sonata Review

2015 Hyundai Sonata Start Up and Review 2.4 L 4-Cylinder

2015 Hyundai Sonata Turbo Review: More Style, Comfort & Car

2015 Hyundai Sonata: Almost Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited w/ Tech Pkg. Start Up, Exterior/ Interior Review

2015 Hyundai Sonata — First Drive with Alabama Factory Tour & In Depth Apple Car Play Demo

Hyundai Sonata Sings a New Song – Autoline After Hours 249

 

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Asset Price Bubble Bursts Coming In October With 69 Months of Near Zero Federal Funds Interest Rates! — Interest Rate Suppression or Price Control and Manipulation Will Blow Up Economy — Suppressing Savings and Investment With Low Interest Rates Is A Formula For Diaster and Depression — Panic Time — Start A War Over Oil — Meltdown America –Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 332: September 18 2014

Pronk Pops Show 331: September 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 330: September 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 329: September 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 328: September 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 326: September 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 323: September 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 320: August 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 319: August 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 318: August 27, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 317: August 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 316: August 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 315: August 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 314: August 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 313: August 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 312: August 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 311: August 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 310: August 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 309: August 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 308: August 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 307: August 1, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 306: July 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 305: July 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 304: July 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 303: July 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 302: July 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 301: July 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 300: July 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 299: July 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 298: July 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 297: July 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 296: July 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 295: July 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 294: July 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 293: July 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 292: July 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 291: July 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 290: July 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 289: July 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 288: June 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 287: June 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 286: June 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 285 June 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 284: June 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 283: June 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 282: June 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 281: June 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 280: June 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 279: June 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 278: June 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 277: June 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 276: June 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 275: June 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 274: June 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 273: June 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 272: June 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 271: June 2, 2014

Story 1: Asset Price Bubble Bursts Coming In October With 69 Months of Near Zero Federal Funds Interest Rates! — Interest Rate Suppression or Price Control and Manipulation Will Blow Up Economy — Suppressing Savings and Investment With Low Interest Rates Is A Formula For Diaster and Depression — Panic Time — Start A War Over Oil — Meltdown America –Videos

U.S. Debt Clock

Current Debt Held by the Public Intragovernmental Holdings Total Public Debt Outstanding
09/17/2014 12,767,522,798,389.80 4,997,219,915,398.95 17,764,742,713,788.75

 

TABLE I -- SUMMARY OF TREASURY SECURITIES OUTSTANDING, AUGUST 31, 2014
(Millions of dollars)
                                              Amount Outstanding
Title                                         Debt Held             Intragovernmental         Totals
                                              By the Public         Holdings
Marketable:
  Bills.......................................        1,450,293                     1,704                1,451,998
  Notes.......................................        8,109,269                     7,365                8,116,634
  Bonds.......................................        1,521,088                        57                1,521,144
  Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities.....        1,031,836                        52                1,031,888
  Floating Rate Notes  21  ...................          109,996                         0                  109,996
  Federal Financing Bank  1  .................                0                    13,612                   13,612
Total Marketable  a...........................       12,222,481                    22,790 2             12,245,271
Nonmarketable:
  Domestic Series.............................           29,995                         0                   29,995
  Foreign Series..............................            2,986                         0                    2,986
  State and Local Government Series...........          105,440                         0                  105,440
  United States Savings Securities............          177,030                         0                  177,030
  Government Account Series...................          193,237                 4,993,277                5,186,514
  Hope Bonds 19...............................                0                       494                      494
  Other.......................................            1,443                         0                    1,443
Total Nonmarketable  b........................          510,130                 4,993,771                5,503,901
Total Public Debt Outstanding ................       12,732,612                 5,016,561               17,749,172
TABLE II -- STATUTORY DEBT LIMIT, AUGUST 31, 2014
(Millions of dollars)
                                              Amount Outstanding
Title                                         Debt Held             Intragovernmental         Totals
                                                 By the Public 17, 2Holdings
Debt Subject to Limit: 17, 20
  Total Public Debt Outstanding...............       12,732,612                 5,016,561               17,749,172
  Less Debt Not Subject to Limit:
    Other Debt ...............................              485                         0                      485
    Unamortized Discount  3...................           15,742                    12,421                   28,163
    Federal Financing Bank  1     ............                0                    13,612                   13,612
    Hope Bonds 19.............................                0                       494                      494
  Plus Other Debt Subject to Limit:
    Guaranteed Debt of Government Agencies  4                 *                         0                        *
  Total Public Debt Subject to Limit .........       12,716,386                 4,990,033               17,706,419
  Statutory Debt Limit  5.....................................................................                   0
COMPILED AND PUBLISHED BY
THE BUREAU OF THE FISCAL SERVICE
www.TreasuryDirect.gov

Interest Expense on the Debt Outstanding

The Interest Expense on the Debt Outstanding includes the monthly interest for:

Amortized discount or premium on bills, notes and bonds is also included in the monthly interest expense.

The fiscal year represents the total interest expense on the Debt Outstanding for a given fiscal year. This includes the months of October through September. View current month details (XLS Format, File size 199KB, uploaded 09/05/2014).

Note: To read or print a PDF document, you need the Adobe Acrobat Reader (v5.0 or higher) software installed on your computer. You can download the Adobe Acrobat Reader from the Adobe Website.

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Interest Expense Fiscal Year 2014
August $27,093,517,258.24
July $29,260,530,745.98
June $97,565,768,696.69
May $32,081,384,628.40
April $31,099,852,014.96
March $26,269,559,883.36
February $21,293,863,450.50
January $19,498,592,676.78
December $88,275,817,263.03
November $22,327,099,682.97
October $16,451,313,332.09
Fiscal Year Total $411,217,855,816.94
Available Historical Data Fiscal Year End
2013 $415,688,781,248.40
2012 $359,796,008,919.49
2011 $454,393,280,417.03
2010 $413,954,825,362.17
2009 $383,071,060,815.42
2008 $451,154,049,950.63
2007 $429,977,998,108.20
2006 $405,872,109,315.83
2005 $352,350,252,507.90
2004 $321,566,323,971.29
2003 $318,148,529,151.51
2002 $332,536,958,599.42
2001 $359,507,635,242.41
2000 $361,997,734,302.36
1999 $353,511,471,722.87
1998 $363,823,722,920.26
1997 $355,795,834,214.66
1996 $343,955,076,695.15
1995 $332,413,555,030.62
1994 $296,277,764,246.26
1993 $292,502,219,484.25
1992 $292,361,073,070.74
1991 $286,021,921,181.04
1990 $264,852,544,615.90
1989 $240,863,231,535.71
1988 $214,145,028,847.73

chart

fredgraph

fredgraph

BND-10-Year-Treasury-Yield-09122014

 JIM ROGERS Financial disaster coming – Dollar collapse – Countries Move Away From USD

US Fed signals move to normalize monetary policy

Dollar Meltdown, Massive Financial Bubble, Economic Collapse Marc Faber

Peter Schiff Iraq Crisis Threatens Global Economy

Peter Schiff – Fantasy About US Recovery Is Not Going To Materialize

Most important video Americans will see today – Doug Casey Interview

James Grant: Two Alternative Outcomes From Fed Policy – Much Higher Inflation or More Money Printing

Investor Jim Grant on Bubbles And Bargains

Jim Rogers Discusses Concern Over The Market

Jim Rogers On Economic Collapse And The US Debt‬

US Economy 2014 Collapse – *Peter Schiff* – FED will cause Huge Economic Crisis!

US ECONOMY COLLAPSE WILL LEAVE MILLIONS IN POVERTY

There Will Be No Economic Recovery. Prepare Yourself Accordingly

US Massive Financial Crisis Coming

Dan Mitchell Discussing Harvard Survey, Arguing for Growth over Class Warfare

The Coming Stock Market Crash and The Death of Money with Jim Rickards

Market Crash, Economic collapse 2014, The coming of World War 3 – Stock Market

Forbes: Obama’s Economic Reforms Are the Definition of Insanity

Why America Should Default and You Should Live Abroad: Q&A with Doug Casey

Doug Casey-No Way Out-Stock, Bond and Real Estate Markets Will Collapse

Russia conspired to destroy US dollar with China – clip from Meltdown America documentary

http://www.caseyresearch.com/lg/meltdown-video

 

 

Here a bubble, there a bubble: Ol’ Marc Faber

Even after the Dow and the S&P 500 closed at new all-time highs, closely followed contrarian Marc Faber keeps sounding the alarm.

“We have a bubble in everything, everywhere,” the publisher of The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday. Faber has long argued that the Federal Reserve’s massive asset purchasing programs and near-zero interest rates have inflated stock prices.

The catalyst for a market decline, as he sees it, could be a “raise in interest rates, not engineered by the Fed,” referring an increase in bond yields.

 

Faber also expressed concern about American consumers. “Their cost of living have gone up more than the salary increases, so they’re getting squeezed. So that’s why retailing is not doing particularly well.”

A real black swan event, he argued, would be a global recession. “The big surprise will be that the global economy slows down and goes into recession. And that will shock markets.”

If economies around the world can’t recovery with the Fed and other central banks pumping easy money into the system, that would send a dire message, Faber added. He believes the best way for world economies to recover is to cut the size of government.

Read MoreBond market hears Fed hawks; stocks see doves

There’s a dual-economy in the U.S. and around the world with the rich doing really well and others struggling, he said. “[But] the rich will get creamed one day, especially in Europe, on wealth taxes.”

On the other end of the market spectrum, longtime stock market bull Jeremy Siegel told CNBC on Tuesday (ahead of Wednesday’s Fed policy statement leaving interest rate guidance unchanged) that he stands by his Dow 18,000 prediction.

The Wharton School professor sees second half economic growth of 3 to 4 percent, S&P 500 earnings near $120, and the start of Fed rate hikes in the spring or summer of 2015

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102016166

 

Fed and TWTR Overvaluation, Evidence of Looming Market Crash: Stockman

The Federal Reserve Wednesday reassured investors that it will hold interest rates near zero for a “considerable time” after it ends the bond-buying program known as quantitative easing in October. In response, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) closed at a new record high.

Former Director of the Office of Management and Budget and author of the book, The Great Deformation, David Stockman, has significant concerns about that very policy.

“I’m worried… that we’ve got the greatest bubble created by a central bank in human history,” he told Yahoo Finance.

In a recent blog post, Stockman offered a handful of high-flying stocks as evidence of what he sees as “madness.”

                                               “…Twitter, is all that is required to remind us that once

                                               again markets are trading in the nosebleed section

                                               of history, rivaling even the madness of March 2000.”

Behind the madness

In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Stockman blamed Fed policy for creating that madness.

“We have been shoving zero-cost money into the financial markets for 6-years running,” he said. “That’s the kerosene that drives speculative trading – the carry trades. That’s what the gamblers use to fund their position as they move from one momentum play and trade to another.”

And that, he says, is not sustainable. While Stockman believes tech stocks are especially overvalued, he warns that it’s not just tech valuations that are inflated. “Everything’s massively overvalued, and it’s predicated on zero-cost overnight money that continues these carry trades; It can’t continue.”

And he still believes, as he has for some time – so far, incorrectly – that there will be a day of reckoning.

“When the trades begin to unwind because the carry cost has to normalize, you’re going to have a dramatic re-pricing dislocation in these financial markets.”

As Yahoo Finance’s Lauren Lyster points out in the associated video, investors who heeded Stockman’s advice last year would have missed out on a 28% run-up in stocks. But Stockman remains steadfast in his belief that the current Fed policy and the resultant market behavior can not continue. “I think what the Fed is doing is so unprecedented, what is happening in the markets is so unnatural,” he said. “This is dangerous, combustible stuff, and I don’t know when the explosion occurs – when the collapse suddenly is upon us – but when it happens, people will be happy that they got out of the way if they did.”

 

 

Federal Reserve Statistical Release, H.4.1, Factors Affecting Reserve Balances; title with eagle logo links to Statistical Release home page
Release Date: Thursday, September 11, 2014
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FEDERAL RESERVE statistical release

H.4.1

Factors Affecting Reserve Balances of Depository Institutions and Condition Statement of Federal Reserve Banks September 11, 2014

1. Factors Affecting Reserve Balances of Depository Institutions

Millions of dollars

Reserve Bank credit, related items, and
reserve balances of depository institutions at
Federal Reserve Banks
Averages of daily figures Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Week ended
Sep 10, 2014
Change from week ended
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Reserve Bank credit 4,377,690 +    4,183 +  761,693 4,379,719
Securities held outright1 4,159,537 +    2,675 +  765,361 4,160,521
U.S. Treasury securities 2,439,657 +    2,671 +  401,376 2,440,637
Bills2          0          0          0          0
Notes and bonds, nominal2 2,325,368 +    2,678 +  386,333 2,326,351
Notes and bonds, inflation-indexed2     97,755          0 +   11,737     97,755
Inflation compensation3     16,534 -        7 +    3,306     16,531
Federal agency debt securities2     41,562          0 -   22,868     41,562
Mortgage-backed securities4 1,678,317 +        4 +  386,851 1,678,322
Unamortized premiums on securities held outright5    208,963 -      219 +    5,815    208,907
Unamortized discounts on securities held outright5    -18,664 +       21 -   12,958    -18,654
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0          0
Loans        291 -        8 +       18        352
Primary credit         10 -       18 -        8         53
Secondary credit          0          0          0          0
Seasonal credit        247 +        9 +       94        266
Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility7         34          0 -       68         34
Other credit extensions          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane LLC8      1,664 -        1 +      171      1,665
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane II LLC9         63          0 -        1         63
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane III LLC10         22          0          0         22
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC11         44          0 -       80         44
Float       -675 -       69 +       94       -627
Central bank liquidity swaps12         77 +        1 -      243         77
Other Federal Reserve assets13     26,369 +    1,784 +    3,517     27,349
Foreign currency denominated assets14     22,933 -      353 -      737     22,801
Gold stock     11,041          0          0     11,041
Special drawing rights certificate account      5,200          0          0      5,200
Treasury currency outstanding15     46,103 +       14 +      820     46,103
Total factors supplying reserve funds 4,462,967 +    3,844 +  761,776 4,464,863

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

1. Factors Affecting Reserve Balances of Depository Institutions (continued)

Millions of dollars

Reserve Bank credit, related items, and
reserve balances of depository institutions at
Federal Reserve Banks
Averages of daily figures Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Week ended
Sep 10, 2014
Change from week ended
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Currency in circulation15 1,292,467 -      442 +   84,956 1,291,993
Reverse repurchase agreements16    266,584 +      818 +  173,996    267,602
Foreign official and international accounts    102,228 -      296 +    9,640    107,303
Others    164,356 +    1,115 +  164,356    160,299
Treasury cash holdings        165 +        4 +       23        164
Deposits with F.R. Banks, other than reserve balances     52,715 -    6,170 -   19,233     53,117
Term deposits held by depository institutions          0          0          0          0
U.S. Treasury, General Account     39,081 -    3,787 +      530     31,872
Foreign official      5,432 -    1,134 -    3,562      5,241
Other17      8,202 -    1,248 -   16,201     16,004
Other liabilities and capital18     63,991 -        1 +      818     63,033
Total factors, other than reserve balances,
absorbing reserve funds
1,675,922 -    5,792 +  240,561 1,675,910
Reserve balances with Federal Reserve Banks 2,787,045 +    9,636 +  521,214 2,788,954

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.
2. Face value of the securities.
3. Compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the original face value of inflation-indexed securities.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of
the securities.
5. Reflects the premium or discount, which is the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the securities that has not been amortized.  For U.S. Treasury and Federal agency debt securities, amortization is on a straight-line basis.  For mortgage-backed securities, amortization is on an effective-interest basis.
6. Cash value of agreements.
7. Includes credit extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to eligible borrowers through the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility.
8. Refer to table 4 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
9. Refer to table 5 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
10. Refer to table 6 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
11. Refer to table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
12. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned
to the foreign central bank. This exchange rate equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the
foreign central bank.
13. Includes accrued interest, which represents the daily accumulation of interest earned, and other accounts receivable.  Also, includes Reserve Bank premises and equipment net of allowances for depreciation.
14. Revalued daily at current foreign currency exchange rates.
15. Estimated.
16. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities, federal agency debt securities, and mortgage-backed securities.
17. Includes deposits held at the Reserve Banks by international and multilateral organizations, government-sponsored enterprises, and designated financial market utilities.
18. Includes the liabilities of Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC to entities other than the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, including liabilities that have recourse only to the portfolio holdings of these LLCs. Refer to table 4 through table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9. Also includes the liability for interest on Federal Reserve notes due to U.S. Treasury. Refer to table 8 and table 9.

Sources: Federal Reserve Banks and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

1A. Memorandum Items

Millions of dollars

Memorandum item Averages of daily figures Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Week ended
Sep 10, 2014
Change from week ended
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Securities held in custody for foreign official and international accounts 3,338,309 -      417 +   61,832 3,343,937
Marketable U.S. Treasury securities1 3,010,563 -      456 +   86,414 3,016,027
Federal agency debt and mortgage-backed securities2    285,805 +       28 -   29,008    285,934
Other securities3     41,942 +       12 +    4,427     41,976
Securities lent to dealers     10,669 +    1,648 -    1,429     11,123
Overnight facility4     10,669 +    1,648 -    1,429     11,123
U.S. Treasury securities      9,860 +    1,721 -    1,405     10,373
Federal agency debt securities        810 -       72 -       23        750

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes securities and U.S. Treasury STRIPS at face value, and inflation compensation on TIPS. Does not include securities pledged as collateral to foreign official and international account holders against reverse repurchase agreements with the Federal Reserve presented in tables 1, 8, and 9.
2. Face value of federal agency securities and current face value of mortgage-backed securities, which is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
3. Includes non-marketable U.S. Treasury securities, supranationals, corporate bonds, asset-backed securities, and commercial paper at face value.
4. Face value. Fully collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities.
2. Maturity Distribution of Securities, Loans, and Selected Other Assets and Liabilities, September 10, 2014

Millions of dollars

Remaining Maturity Within 15
days
16 days to
90 days
91 days to
1 year
Over 1 year
to 5 years
Over 5 year
to 10 years
Over 10
years
All
Loans1        118        234          0          0          0        352
U.S. Treasury securities2
Holdings          0         90      3,194 1,037,162    742,261    657,930 2,440,637
Weekly changes          0          0          0 +    1,615 -        1 +    2,037 +    3,651
Federal agency debt securities3
Holdings      1,556      1,329      3,584     32,746          0      2,347     41,562
Weekly changes          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Mortgage-backed securities4
Holdings          0          0          0         10      4,698 1,673,614 1,678,322
Weekly changes          0          0          0          0 +      863 -      857 +        6
Asset-backed securities held by
TALF LLC5
         0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0
Central bank liquidity swaps7         77          0          0          0          0          0         77
Reverse repurchase agreements6    267,602          0    267,602
Term deposits          0          0          0          0

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.
…Not applicable.

1. Excludes the loans from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) to Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden
Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC. The loans were eliminated when preparing the FRBNY’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation
under generally accepted accounting principles.
2. Face value. For inflation-indexed securities, includes the original face value and compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the
original face value of such securities.
3. Face value.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
5. Face value of asset-backed securities held by TALF LLC, which is the remaining principal balance of the underlying assets.
6. Cash value of agreements.
7. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned to
the foreign central bank. This exchange rate equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the foreign
central bank.

3. Supplemental Information on Mortgage-Backed Securities

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Mortgage-backed securities held outright1 1,678,322
Commitments to buy mortgage-backed securities2     80,643
Commitments to sell mortgage-backed securities2          0
Cash and cash equivalents3          4
1. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
2. Current face value. Generally settle within 180 days and include commitments associated with outright transactions, dollar rolls, and coupon swaps.
3. This amount is included in other Federal Reserve assets in table 1 and in other assets in table 8 and table 9.

4. Information on Principal Accounts of Maiden Lane LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane LLC1      1,665
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Outstanding principal amount and accrued interest on loan payable to JPMorgan Chase & Co.3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date. Revalued quarterly. This table reflects valuations as of June 30, 2014. Any assets purchased after
this valuation date are initially recorded at cost until their estimated fair value as of the purchase date becomes available.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The fair value of these obligations is included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On June 26, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) extended credit to Maiden Lane LLC under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. This limited liability company was formed to acquire certain assets of Bear Stearns and to manage those assets through time to maximize repayment of the credit extended and to minimize disruption to financial markets. Payments by Maiden Lane LLC from the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings will be made in the following order: operating expenses of the LLC, principal due to the FRBNY, interest due to the FRBNY, principal due to JPMorgan Chase & Co., and interest due to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Any remaining funds will be paid to the FRBNY.

5. Information on Principal Accounts of Maiden Lane II LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane II LLC1         63
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Deferred payment and accrued interest payable to subsidiaries of American International Group, Inc.3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date. Revalued quarterly. This table reflects valuations as of June 30, 2014. Any assets purchased after
this valuation date are initially recorded at cost until their estimated fair value as of the purchase date becomes available.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The deferred payment represents the portion of the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings due to subsidiaries of American
International Group, Inc. in accordance with the asset purchase agreement. The fair value of this payment and accrued interest payable are
included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On December 12, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) began extending credit to Maiden Lane II LLC under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. This limited liability company was formed to purchase residential mortgage-backed securities from the U.S. securities lending reinvestment portfolio of subsidiaries of American International Group, Inc. (AIG subsidiaries). Payments by Maiden Lane II LLC from the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings will be made in the following order: operating expenses of Maiden Lane II LLC, principal due to the FRBNY, interest due to the FRBNY, and deferred payment and interest due to AIG subsidiaries. Any remaining funds will be shared by the FRBNY and AIG subsidiaries.

6. Information on Principal Accounts of Maiden Lane III LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane III LLC1         22
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Outstanding principal amount and accrued interest on loan payable to American International Group, Inc.3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date. Revalued quarterly. This table reflects valuations as of June 30, 2014. Any assets purchased after
this valuation date are initially recorded at cost until their estimated fair value as of the purchase date becomes available.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The fair value of these obligations is included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) began extending credit to Maiden Lane III LLC under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. This limited liability company was formed to purchase multi-sector collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) on which the Financial Products group of American International Group, Inc. (AIG) has written credit default swap (CDS) contracts. In connection with the purchase of CDOs, the CDS counterparties will concurrently unwind the related CDS transactions. Payments by Maiden Lane III LLC from the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings will be made in the following order: operating expenses of Maiden Lane III LLC, principal due to the FRBNY, interest due to the FRBNY, principal due to AIG, and interest due to AIG. Any remaining funds will be shared by the FRBNY and AIG.

7. Information on Principal Accounts of TALF LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Asset-backed securities holdings1          0
Other investments, net         44
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC         44
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Funding provided by U.S. Treasury to TALF LLC, including accrued interest payable3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The fair value of these obligations is included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve announced the creation of the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) under theauthority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. The TALF is a facility under which the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) extended loans with a term of up to five years to holders of eligible asset-backed securities. The Federal Reserve closed the TALF for new loan extensions in 2010. The loans provided through the TALF to eligible borrowers are non-recourse, meaning that the obligation of the borrower can be discharged by surrendering the collateral to the FRBNY.

TALF LLC is a limited liability company formed to purchase and manage any asset-backed securities received by the FRBNY in connection with the decision of a borrower not to repay a TALF loan. TALF LLC has committed, for a fee, to purchase all asset-backed securities received by the FRBNY in conjunction with a TALF loan at a price equal to the TALF loan plus accrued but unpaid interest. Prior to January 15, 2013, the U.S. Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) committed backup funding to TALF LLC, providing credit protection to the FRBNY. However, the accumulated fees and income collected through the TALF and held by TALF LLC now exceed the remaining amount of TALF loans outstanding. Accordingly, the TARP credit protection commitment has been terminated, and TALF LLC has begun to distribute excess proceeds to the Treasury and the FRBNY. Any remaining funds will be shared by the FRBNY and the U.S. Treasury.

8. Consolidated Statement of Condition of All Federal Reserve Banks

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Eliminations from consolidation Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Change since
Wednesday Wednesday
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Assets
Gold certificate account     11,037          0          0
Special drawing rights certificate account      5,200          0          0
Coin      1,930 +        8 -       62
Securities, unamortized premiums and discounts, repurchase agreements, and loans 4,351,126 +    3,534 +  756,847
Securities held outright1 4,160,521 +    3,657 +  763,739
U.S. Treasury securities 2,440,637 +    3,651 +  399,549
Bills2          0          0          0
Notes and bonds, nominal2 2,326,351 +    3,661 +  385,784
Notes and bonds, inflation-indexed2     97,755          0 +   10,546
Inflation compensation3     16,531 -       10 +    3,219
Federal agency debt securities2     41,562          0 -   22,654
Mortgage-backed securities4 1,678,322 +        6 +  386,844
Unamortized premiums on securities held outright5    208,907 -      132 +    5,820
Unamortized discounts on securities held outright5    -18,654 +       19 -   12,787
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0
Loans        352 -       10 +       75
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane LLC7      1,665 +        1 +      167
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane II LLC8         63          0 -        1
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane III LLC9         22          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC10         44          0 -       68
Items in process of collection (0)         94 -       22 -       31
Bank premises      2,255          0 -       29
Central bank liquidity swaps11         77 +        1 -      243
Foreign currency denominated assets12     22,801 -      404 -      925
Other assets13     25,095 +    2,704 +    3,719
Total assets (0) 4,421,408 +    5,821 +  759,373

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

8. Consolidated Statement of Condition of All Federal Reserve Banks (continued)

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Eliminations from consolidation Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Change since
Wednesday Wednesday
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Liabilities
Federal Reserve notes, net of F.R. Bank holdings 1,247,980 -    2,086 +   84,510
Reverse repurchase agreements14    267,602 +   17,296 +  175,438
Deposits (0) 2,842,072 -    8,612 +  499,663
Term deposits held by depository institutions          0          0          0
Other deposits held by depository institutions 2,788,954 -   24,799 +  513,312
U.S. Treasury, General Account     31,872 +   10,836 +    1,852
Foreign official      5,241 -    1,326 -    3,524
Other15 (0)     16,004 +    6,676 -   11,978
Deferred availability cash items (0)        721 -      482 -      163
Other liabilities and accrued dividends16      6,693 -      299 -    1,529
Total liabilities (0) 4,365,067 +    5,817 +  757,919
Capital accounts
Capital paid in     28,170 +        2 +      726
Surplus     28,170 +        2 +      726
Other capital accounts          0          0          0
Total capital     56,341 +        4 +    1,454

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.
2. Face value of the securities.
3. Compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the original face value of inflation-indexed securities.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
5. Reflects the premium or discount, which is the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the securities that has not been amortized.  For U.S. Treasury and Federal agency debt securities, amortization is on a straight-line basis.  For mortgage-backed securities, amortization is on an effective-interest basis.
6. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury and federal agency securities.
7. Refer to table 4 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
8. Refer to table 5 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
9. Refer to table 6 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
10. Refer to table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
11. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned to
the foreign central bank. This exchange rate equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the foreign
central bank.
12. Revalued daily at current foreign currency exchange rates.
13. Includes accrued interest, which represents the daily accumulation of interest earned, and other accounts receivable.
14. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities, federal agency debt securities, and mortgage-backed securities.
15. Includes deposits held at the Reserve Banks by international and multilateral organizations, government-sponsored enterprises, and designated financial market utilities.
16. Includes the liabilities of Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC to entities other than the Federal
Reserve Bank of New York, including liabilities that have recourse only to the portfolio holdings of these LLCs. Refer to table 4 through table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9. Also includes the liability for interest on Federal Reserve notes due to U.S. Treasury.

9. Statement of Condition of Each Federal Reserve Bank, September 10, 2014

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Total Boston New York Philadelphia Cleveland Richmond Atlanta Chicago St. Louis Minneapolis Kansas Dallas San
City Francisco
Assets
Gold certificate account     11,037        352      4,125        338        464        824      1,349        706        278        173        291        880      1,257
Special drawing rights certificate acct.      5,200        196      1,818        210        237        412        654        424        150         90        153        282        574
Coin      1,930         32         94        124        123        320        222        276         25         46        153        182        332
Securities, unamortized premiums and discounts, repurchase agreements,
and loans
4,351,126     88,009 2,670,390    104,231     94,993    243,168    240,542    177,833     53,725     26,795     57,330    132,586    461,524
Securities held outright1 4,160,521     84,160 2,553,576     99,673     90,839    232,534    229,991    170,046     51,317     25,497     54,804    126,772    441,311
U.S. Treasury securities 2,440,637     49,370 1,497,974     58,470     53,288    136,409    134,917     99,752     30,104     14,957     32,149     74,367    258,881
Bills2          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Notes and bonds3 2,440,637     49,370 1,497,974     58,470     53,288    136,409    134,917     99,752     30,104     14,957     32,149     74,367    258,881
Federal agency debt securities2     41,562        841     25,509        996        907      2,323      2,298      1,699        513        255        547      1,266      4,409
Mortgage-backed securities4 1,678,322     33,949 1,030,093     40,207     36,644     93,803     92,777     68,595     20,701     10,285     22,107     51,139    178,021
Unamortized premiums on securities held outright5    208,907      4,226    128,220      5,005      4,561     11,676     11,548      8,538      2,577      1,280      2,752      6,365     22,159
Unamortized discounts on securities held outright5    -18,654       -377    -11,449       -447       -407     -1,043     -1,031       -762       -230       -114       -246       -568     -1,979
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Loans        352          1         44          0          0          0         34         11         61        132         20         17         33
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden
Lane LLC7      1,665          0      1,665          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden
Lane II LLC8         63          0         63          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden
Lane III LLC9         22          0         22          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC10         44          0         44          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Items in process of collection         94          0          0          0          0          0         93          0          0          1          0          0          0
Bank premises      2,255        121        434         74        110        222        209        198        124         97        243        224        200
Central bank liquidity swaps11         77          4         25          6          6         16          4          2          1          0          1          1         11
Foreign currency denominated assets12     22,801      1,037      7,335      1,714      1,813      4,754      1,311        629        192         96        240        381      3,299
Other assets13     25,095        535     15,039        739        546      1,547      1,374      1,014        356        219        347        798      2,580
Interdistrict settlement account          0 +   10,547 -   58,585 +    2,678 +    9,252 +      197 +    8,040 -   10,297 -   10,950 -    2,083 -      134 +    2,635 +   48,701
Total assets 4,421,408    100,833 2,642,468    110,114    107,543    251,460    253,799    170,787     43,900     25,434     58,623    137,969    518,478

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

9. Statement of Condition of Each Federal Reserve Bank, September 10, 2014 (continued)

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Total Boston New York Philadelphia Cleveland Richmond Atlanta Chicago St. Louis Minneapolis Kansas Dallas San
City Francisco
Liabilities
Federal Reserve notes outstanding 1,443,974     44,572    489,349     42,766     65,118    103,568    212,875     94,569     37,360     21,242     36,783    115,911    179,862
Less: Notes held by F.R. Banks    195,994      5,311     63,063      6,357      8,870     11,177     20,690     11,915      4,937      4,278      5,302     25,736     28,359
Federal Reserve notes, net 1,247,980     39,261    426,285     36,409     56,248     92,391    192,186     82,654     32,423     16,964     31,481     90,175    151,503
Reverse repurchase agreements14    267,602      5,413    164,244      6,411      5,843     14,956     14,793     10,937      3,301      1,640      3,525      8,154     28,385
Deposits 2,842,072     53,409 2,030,175     62,876     40,791    131,999     42,547     75,315      7,510      6,356     22,882     38,429    329,783
Term deposits held by depository institutions          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Other deposits held by depository institutions 2,788,954     53,397 1,977,410     62,837     40,788    131,731     42,538     75,306      7,510      6,355     22,881     38,428    329,774
U.S. Treasury, General Account     31,872          0     31,872          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Foreign official      5,241          2      5,214          3          3          8          2          1          0          0          0          1          6
Other15     16,004         11     15,679         36          0        260          7          7          0          0          1          0          3
Deferred availability cash items        721          0          0          0          0          0        611          0          0        110          0          0          0
Interest on Federal Reserve notes due
to U.S. Treasury16
     1,693         19      1,199         20         10         23         86         73         20         12         20         54        155
Other liabilities and accrued
dividends17
     5,000        167      2,179        211        208        544        361        282        142        118        126        208        454
Total liabilities 4,365,067     98,270 2,624,083    105,927    103,101    239,913    250,583    169,261     43,395     25,200     58,034    137,021    510,279
Capital
Capital paid in     28,170      1,282      9,193      2,093      2,221      5,773      1,608        763        252        117        295        474      4,099
Surplus     28,170      1,282      9,193      2,093      2,221      5,773      1,608        763        252        117        295        474      4,099
Other capital          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Total liabilities and capital 4,421,408    100,833 2,642,468    110,114    107,543    251,460    253,799    170,787     43,900     25,434     58,623    137,969    518,478

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

9. Statement of Condition of Each Federal Reserve Bank, September 10, 2014 (continued)

1. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.
2. Face value of the securities.
3. Includes the original face value of inflation-indexed securities and compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the original face value of such securities.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
5. Reflects the premium or discount, which is the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the securities that has not been amortized.  For U.S. Treasury and Federal agency debt securities, amortization is on a straight-line basis.  For mortgage-backed securities, amortization is on an effective-interest basis.
6. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury and federal agency securities.
7. Refer to table 4 and the note on consolidation below.
8. Refer to table 5 and the note on consolidation below.
9. Refer to table 6 and the note on consolidation below.
10. Refer to table 7 and the note on consolidation below.
11. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned to the foreign central bank. This exchange rate
equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the foreign central bank.
12. Revalued daily at current foreign currency exchange rates.
13. Includes accrued interest, which represents the daily accumulation of interest earned, and other accounts receivable.
14. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities, federal agency debt securities, and mortgage-backed securities.
15. Includes deposits held at the Reserve Banks by international and multilateral organizations, government-sponsored enterprises, and designated financial market utilities.
16. Represents the estimated weekly remittances to U.S. Treasury as interest on Federal Reserve notes or, in those cases where the Reserve Bank’s net earnings are not sufficient to equate surplus to capital paid-in, the deferred asset for interest on Federal Reserve notes. The amount of any deferred asset, which is presented as a negative amount in this line, represents the amount of the Federal Reserve Bank’s earnings that must be retained before remittances to the U.S. Treasury resume. The amounts on this line are calculated in accordance with Board of Governors policy, which requires the Federal Reserve Banks to remit residual earnings to the U.S. Treasury as interest on Federal Reserve notes after providing for the costs of operations, payment of dividends, and the amount necessary to equate surplus with capital paid-in.
17. Includes the liabilities of Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC to entities other than the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, including liabilities that have recourse only to the portfolio holdings of these LLCs. Refer to table 4 through table 7 and the note on consolidation below.

Note on consolidation:

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) has extended loans to several limited liability companies under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. On June 26, 2008, a loan was extended to Maiden Lane LLC, which was formed to acquire certain assets of Bear Stearns. On November 25, 2008, a loan was extended to Maiden Lane III LLC, which was formed to purchase multi-sector collateralized debt obligations on which the Financial Products group of the American International Group, Inc. has written credit default swap contracts. On December 12, 2008, a loan was extended to Maiden Lane II LLC, which was formed to purchase residential mortgage-backed securities from the U.S. securities lending reinvestment portfolio of subsidiaries of American International Group, Inc. On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve Board authorized the FRBNY to extend credit to TALF LLC, which was formed to purchase and manage any asset-backed securities received by the FRBNY in connection with the decision of a borrower not to repay a loan extended under the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility.

The FRBNY is the primary beneficiary of TALF LLC, because of the two beneficiaries of the LLC, the FRBNY and the U.S. Treasury, the FRBNY is primarily responsible for directing the financial activities of TALF LLC. The FRBNY is the primary beneficiary of the other LLCs cited above because it will receive a majority of any residual returns of the LLCs and absorb a majority of any residual losses of the LLCs. Consistent with generally accepted accounting principles, the assets and liabilities of these LLCs have been consolidated with the assets and liabilities of the FRBNY in the preparation of the statements of condition shown on this release. As a consequence of the consolidation, the extensions of credit from the FRBNY to the LLCs are eliminated, the net assets of the LLCs appear as assets on the previous page (and in table 1 and table 8), and the liabilities of the LLCs to entities other than the FRBNY, including those with recourse only to the portfolio holdings of the LLCs, are included in other liabilities in this table (and table 1 and table 8).

10. Collateral Held against Federal Reserve Notes: Federal Reserve Agents’ Accounts

Millions of dollars

Federal Reserve notes and collateral Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Federal Reserve notes outstanding 1,443,974
Less: Notes held by F.R. Banks not subject to collateralization    195,994
Federal Reserve notes to be collateralized 1,247,980
Collateral held against Federal Reserve notes 1,247,980
Gold certificate account     11,037
Special drawing rights certificate account      5,200
U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities pledged1,2 1,231,743
Other assets pledged          0
Memo:
Total U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities1,2 4,160,521
Less: Face value of securities under reverse repurchase agreements    257,508
U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities eligible to be pledged 3,903,013

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes face value of U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities held outright, compensation to adjust for the effect of inflation on the original face value of inflation-indexed securities, and cash value of repurchase agreements.
2. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.

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Kurdistan — A New Nation In The Making With 40 Million Kurds — Turkey (15 Million +), Iran (7 Million +), Iraq (6 Million +), and Syria (3 Million +) — No Friends But The Mountains — Videos

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Who are the Kurds

Kurdistan; Paradise of 7 tribes

Iraq: Border crossings into autonomous Kurdistan flooded with fleeing Iraqis

( Kurdistan ) New country in Mideast Kurds aim to create own state amid conflicts

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New country in Mideast? Kurds aim to create own state amid conflicts

The Invisible Nation of Kurds

Kurds After the Gulf War

Kurdish Exodess in 1991 part 1

Kurdish Exodess in 1991 part 2

The Kurds: A People in Search of Their Homeland

Iraqi Kurds ‘fully control Kirkuk’ as army flees

2014 – BBC World News – Imminent ISIS Attack on Baghdad; Iraqi Kurds Seize Ctrl of Kirkuk

Kurdish Special Forces VS isis 2014

Syrias Kurdish Islamist terror conflict Ceylanpınar

MidEast In-Depth: What’s the impact of the rift between the Kurds in Syria?

 

Female Fighters of Kurdistan (Part 1/3)

Female Fighters of Kurdistan (Part 2/3)

Female Fighters of Kurdistan (Part 3/3)

Women fighters in kurdistan 2013 (documentary)

Cases: The Condition of Kurds in Turkey

26 years of Kurdish struggle in Turkey 

DN! US Journalist (1) on Plight of Kurds Deported from Turkey

DN! US Journalist (2) on Plight of Kurds Deported from Turkey

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 1/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 2/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 3/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 4/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 5/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 6/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 7/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 8/8

 

 

 

 

 

The Kurdish Question

History of the Kurdish Aryan Race (Proto indo-European)

BBC – Fast Track, About Kurdistan

The Other Iraq Who are the Kurds

KURDISTAN – CBS NEWS REPORT, WHAT IS KURDISTAN?

Booming Economy in Kurdistan Transforms Region into Business Hub

In A Changing Middle East, Should the U.S. Support Kurdish Independence?

The Invisible Nation of Kurds

KURDISTAN the new Dubai 2012-2031

Kurdish wedding in Dallas Plano

Former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford on Kurds in Syria

Noam Chomsky (July, 2013) “On the Kurds”

Kurdish oil upsets Washington and Baghdad

Kurdish population

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Kurdish people are an Indo-European ethnic group, whose origins are in the Middle East.[1] They are the largest ethnic group in the world that do not have a state of their own.[2] The region of Kurdistan, the original geographic region of the Kurdish people and the home to the majority of Kurds today, covers contemporary TurkeyIraqIran, and Syria. This geo-cultural region means “Land of the Kurds”. Kurdish populations occupy the territory in and around the Zagros mountains. These arid unwelcoming mountains have been a geographic buffer to cultural and political dominance from neighboring empires.[2] Persians,Arabs and Ottomans were kept away, and a space was carved out to develop Kurdish culture, language and identity.[2]

 

Turkey[edit]

According to a report by Turkish agency KONDA, in 2006, out of the total population of 73 million people in Turkey there were 11.4 million Kurds and Zazas living in Turkey (close to 15.68% of the total population).[3]The Turkish newspaper Milliyet has reported in 2008 that the Kurdish population in Turkey is 12.6 million; although this also includes 3 million Zazas.[4] According to the World Factbook, Kurdish people make up 18% of Turkey’s population (about 14 million, out of 77.8 million people).[5] Kurdish sources put the figure at 20[6] to 25 million Kurds in Turkey.[7]

Kurds mostly live in southeastern and eastern parts of Anatolia. But large Kurdish populations can be found in western Turkey due to internal migration. According to Rüstem Erkan, Istanbul is the province with the largest Kurdish population in Turkey.[8]

Iran[edit]

Main articles: Kurds in Iran and Kurds of Khorasan

From the 7 million Iranian Kurds, a significant portion are Shia.[9] Shia Kurds inhabit Kermanshah Province, except for those parts where people are Jaff, and Ilam Province; as well as some parts of Kurdistan,Hamadan and Zanjan provinces. The Kurds of Khorasan Province in northeastern Iran are also adherents of Shia Islam. During the Shia revolution in Iran the major Kurdish political parties were unsuccessful in absorbing Shia Kurds, who at that period had no interest in autonomy.[10][11][12] However, since the 1990s Kurdish nationalism has seeped into the Shia Kurdish area partly due to outrage against government’s violent suppression of Kurds farther north.[13]

Iraq[edit]

Main article: Kurds in Iraq

Kurds constitute approximately 17% of Iraq’s population. They are the majority in at least three provinces in northern Iraq which are together known as Iraqi Kurdistan. Kurds also have a presence in KirkukMosul,Khanaqin, and Baghdad. Around 300,000 Kurds live in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, 50,000 in the city of Mosul and around 100,000 elsewhere in southern Iraq.[14]

Kurds led by Mustafa Barzani were engaged in heavy fighting against successive Iraqi regimes from 1960 to 1975. In March 1970, Iraq announced a peace plan providing for Kurdish autonomy. The plan was to be implemented in four years.[15] However, at the same time, the Iraqi regime started an Arabization program in the oil-rich regions of Kirkuk and Khanaqin.[16] The peace agreement did not last long, and in 1974, the Iraqi government began a new offensive against the Kurds. Moreover in March 1975, Iraq and Iran signed the Algiers Accord, according to which Iran cut supplies to Iraqi Kurds. Iraq started another wave of Arabization by moving Arabs to the oil fields in Kurdistan, particularly those around Kirkuk.[17] Between 1975 and 1978, 200,000 Kurds were deported to other parts of Iraq.[18]

Syria[edit]

Main article: Kurds in Syria

Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Syria and make up nine percent of the country’s population.[19] Syrian Kurds have faced routine discrimination and harassment by the government.[20][21]

Syrian Kurdistan is an unofficial name used by some to describe the Kurdish inhabited regions of northern and northeastern Syria.[22] The northeastern Kurdish inhabited region covers the greater part of Hasakah Governorate. The main cities in this region are Qamishli and Hasakah. Another region with significant Kurdish population is Kobanê (Ayn al-Arab) in the northern part of Syria near the town of Jarabulus and also the city of Afrin and its surroundings along the Turkish border.

Many Kurds seek political autonomy for the Kurdish inhabited areas of Syria, similar to Iraqi Kurdistan in Iraq, or outright independence as part of Kurdistan. The name “Western Kurdistan” (Kurdish: Rojavayê Kurdistanê) is also used by Kurds to name the Syrian Kurdish inhabited areas in relation to Kurdistan.[23][24][25] Since the Syrian civil war, Syrian government forces have abandoned many Kurdish-populated areas, leaving the Kurds to fill the power vacuum and govern these areas autonomously.[26]

Armenia[edit]

According to the 2011 Armenian Census, 37,470 Kurds live in Armenia, mainly Yazidi.[27] They mainly live in the western parts of Armenia. The Kurds of the former Soviet Union first began writing Kurdish in the Armenian alphabet in the 1920s, followed by Latin in 1927, then Cyrillic in 1945, and now in both Cyrillic and Latin. The Kurds in Armenia established a Kurdish radio broadcast from Yerevan and the first Kurdish newspaper Riya Teze. There is a Kurdish Department in the Yerevan State Institute of Oriental studies. The Kurds of Armenia were the first exiled country to have access to media such as radio, education and press in their native tongue[28] but many Kurds, from 1939 to 1959 were listed as the Azeri population or even as Armenians.[29]

Georgia[edit]

According to the 2000 Georgian Census, 20,843 Kurds live in Georgia.[30] The Kurds in Georgia mainly live in the capital of Tbilisi and Rustavi.[31] According to a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugeesrerport from 1998, about 80% of the Kurdish population in Georgia are Yazidi Kurds.[31]

Russia[edit]

According to the 2010 Russian Census, 63,818 Kurds live in Russia. Russia has maintained warm relations with the Kurds for a long time, During the early 19th century, the main goal of the Russian Empire was to ensure the neutrality of the Kurds, in the wars against Persia and the Ottoman Empire.[32] In the beginning of the 19th century, Kurds settled in Transcaucasia, at a time when Transcaucasia was incorporated into the Russian Empire. In the 20th century, Kurds were persecuted and exterminated by the Turks and Persians, a situation that led Kurds to move to Russia.[33]

Lebanon[edit]

Main article: Kurds in Lebanon

The existence of a community of at least 100,000 Kurds is the product of several waves of immigrants, the first major wave was in the period of 1925-1950 when thousands of Kurds fled violence and poverty in Turkey.[34] Kurds in Lebanon go back far as the twelfth century A.D. when the Ayyubids arrived there. Over the next few centuries, several other Kurdish families were sent to Lebanon by a number of powers to maintain rule in those regions, others moved as a result of poverty and violence in Kurdistan. These Kurdish groups settled in and ruled many areas of Lebanon for a long period of time.[35]:27 Kurds of Lebanon settled in Lebanon because of Lebanon’s pluralistic society.[36]

Western Europe[edit]

The Kurdish diaspora in Western Europe is most significant in Germany, France, Sweden and the UK. Kurds from Turkey went to Germany and France during the 1960s as immigrant workers. Thousands of Kurdish refugees and political refugees fled from Turkey to Sweden during the 1970s and onward, and from Iraq during the 1980s and 1990s.

In France, the Iranian Kurds make up the majority of the community.[37] However, thousands of Iraqi Kurds also arrived in the mid 1990s.[38] More recently, Syrian Kurds have been entering France illegally[39]

In the United Kingdom, Kurds first began to immigrate between 1974-75 when the rebellion of Iraqi Kurds against the Iraqi government was repressed. The Iraqi government began to destroy Kurdish villages and forced many Kurds to move to barren land in the south.[40] These events resulted in many Kurds fleeing to the United Kingdom. Thus, the Iraqi Kurds make up a large part of the community.[37] In 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in Iran and installed Islamic law. There was widespread political oppression and persecution of the Kurdish community. Since the late 1970s the number of people from Iran seeking asylum in Britain has remained high.[40] In 1988, Saddam Hussein launched the Anfal campaign in the northern Iraq. This included mass executions and disappearances of the Kurdish community. The use of chemical weapons against thousands of towns and villages in the region, as well as the town of Halabja increased the number of Iraq Kurds entering the United Kingdom.[40] A large number of Kurds also came to the United Kingdom following the 1980 military coup in Turkey.[40] More recently, immigration has been due to the continued political oppression and the repression of ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Iran.[40] Estimates of the Kurdish population in the United Kingdom are as high as 200-250,000.[40]

In Denmark, there is a significant number of Iraqi political refugees, many of which are actually Kurds.[41]

In Finland, most Kurds arrived in the 1990s as Iraqi refugees.[42] Kurds in Finland have no great attachment to the Iraqi state because of their position as a persecuted minority. Thus, they feel more accepted and comfortable in Finland, many wanting to get rid of their Iraqi citizenship.[43]

North America[edit]

In the United States, it is believed that the Kurdish population is approximately 58,000,[44] the large majority of which come from Iran.[45] It is estimated that some 23,000 Iranian Kurds are living in the United States.[45]During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, about 10,000 Iraqi refugees were admitted to the United States, most of which were Kurds and Shiites who had assisted or were sympathisers of the U.S –led war.[46] Nashville, Tennessee has the nation’s largest population of Kurdish people, with an estimated 8,000-11,000. There are also Kurds in Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, and San Diego.[47]

In Canada, Kurdish immigration was largely the result of the Iran-Iraq War and the Gulf War. Thus, many Iraqi Kurds immigrated to Canada due to the constant wars and suppression of Kurds and Shiites by the Iraqi government.[48]

Oceania[edit]

In Australia, Kurdish migrants first arrived in the second half of the 1960s, mainly from Turkey.[49] However, in the late 1970s families from Syria and Lebanon were also present in Australia.[49] Since the second half of the 1980s, the majority of Kurds arriving in Australia have been from Iraq and Iran; many of them were accepted under the Humanitarian Programme.[49] However, Kurds from Lebanon, Armenia and Georgia have also migrated to Australia. The majority live in Melbourne and Sydney.[49]

Statistics by country[edit]

Traditional areas of Kurdish settlement[edit]

Country Official figures Official figures in % Current est. Kurdish population Further information
 Turkey 2,819,727 (1965 census, Kurdish speakers)a 8.98% 13,261,000 (18.3%)e Kurds in Turkey
 Iran N/A N/A approx. 6,500,000[50] Kurds in Iran
 Iraq N/A N/A approx. 5,000,000[51] Kurds in Iraq
 Syria N/A N/A approx. 2,200,000[52] Kurds in Syria
 Armenia 37,470 (2011 census)d 1.24% Kurds in Armenia

 Azerbaijan6,073 (2009 census)b0.07%150,000–180,000[59][60]Kurds in Azerbaijan

 Russia63,818 (2010 census)c0.04%—Kurds in Russia

 Georgia20,843 (2002 census)[63]0.48%—Kurds in Georgia

Other countries[edit]

Country Official figures Official figures in % Current est. Kurdish population Further information
 Germany N/A N/A approx. 800,000[64]
 Israel N/A N/A approx. 150,000[65] Kurds in Israel
 France N/A N/A approx. 150,000[66]
 Sweden N/A N/A approx. 90,000[67] Kurds in Sweden
 Lebanon N/A N/A approx. 80,000[68] Kurds in Lebanon
 Netherlands N/A N/A approx. 70,000[69]
 Belgium N/A N/A approx. 80,000[70]
 United Kingdom 49,921 (2011 census)[71][72][73] 0.08% Kurds in the United Kingdom

 Kazakhstan 41,431 (2013 annual statistics)[74] 0.25% Kurds in Kazakhstan
 Jordan N/A N/A 30,000[75]–100,000[76] Kurds in Jordan
 Denmark N/A N/A 30,000[77]
 Greece N/A N/A 28,000[78]
 United States 15,361 (2006-2010 ACS)[79] 0.01% Kurds in the United States

  Switzerland 14,699 (2012 statistics, Kurdish speakers)[80] 0.22% N/A
 Kyrgyzstan 13,171 (2009 census)[81][82] 0.25%
 Canada 11,685 (2011 census)[83] 0.04%
 Finland 10,075 (2013 annual statistics, Kurdish speakers)[84] 0.18%
 Australia 6,991 (2011 census)[85]
4,586 (2011 census, Kurdish speakers)[85]
0.03%
0.02%
 Turkmenistan 6,097 (1995 census)[89] 0.14% Kurds in Turkmenistan
 Kuwait N/A N/A 5,000[90]
 Norway N/A N/A 5,000[70]
 Italy N/A N/A 4,000[70]
 Romania N/A N/A 3,000[91]
 Austria 2,133 (2001 census, Kurdish speakers)[92] 0.03% N/A
 Ukraine 2,088 (2001 census)[93] 0%
 Uzbekistan 1,839 (1989 census)[94] 0.01%
 Ireland 128 (2011 census)[95] 0% 1,500[96]
 Cyprus N/A N/A 1,500[97]
 South Korea N/A N/A 1,000[98]
 Spain N/A N/A 1,000[99]
 New Zealand 720 (2013 census)[100]
828 (2013 census, Kurdish speakers)[100]
0.02%
0.02%
 Japan N/A N/A 300–400[101] Kurds in Japan
 Poland 224 (2011 census)[102] 0%
 Hungary 149 (2011 census)[103] 0%
 Bulgaria 147 (2011 census)[104] 0%
 Moldova (1989 census)[105]
132 (Immigrants 1993-2013)[106]
0%
0%
 Czech Republic 100 (2011 census)[107] 0%
 Belarus 81 (2009 census)[108] 0%
 Abkhazia 29 (1989 census)[109] 0.01%
 Latvia 29 (2014 annual statistics)[110] 0%
 Estonia 23 (2011 census)[111] 0%
 Serbia <12 (2011 census)[112] 0%
 Lithuania <10 (2011 census)[113] 0%
 Croatia (2011 census)[114][115] 0%
 Tajikistan (2010 census)[116] 0%
 South Ossetia (1989 census)[109] 0%
Notes
^a According to the Turkish 1965 census, 2,219,502 people indicated Kurdish as their mother language and 429,168 as their second best language spoken. 150,644 people indicated Zaza as their mother language and 20,413 as their second best language spoken.[117]
^b Official Azerbaijani records claim only 6,073 Kurds in 2009,[61] while Kurdish leaders estimate as much as 200,000. The problem is that the historical record of the Kurds in Azerbaijan is filled with lacunae.[118]For instance, in 1979 there was according to the census no Kurds recorded.[119] Not only did Turkey and Azerbaijan pursue an identical policy against the Kurds, they even employed identical techniques like forced assimilation, manipulation of population figures, settlement of non-Kurds in areas predominantly Kurdish, suppression of publications and abolition of Kurdish as a medium of instruction in schools.[119]
^c In the 2010 Russian Census, 23,232 people indicated Kurdish (Курды) as their ethnicity, while 40,586 chose Yazidi (Езиды) as their ethnicity.[120]
^d In the 2011 Armenian Census, 2,131 people indicated Kurdish (Քրդեր) as their ethnicity, while 35,272 indicated Yazidi (Եզդիներ) as their ethnicity.[27]
^e 2006 Konda survey.[121]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurdish_population
Kurds
The Kurdish people, or Kurds (Kurdishکورد, Kurd), are an ethnic group in Western Asia, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of IranIraqSyria, and Turkey.They are an Iranian people and speak the Kurdish languages, which are members of the Iranian branch of Indo-European languages.[31] The Kurds number about 30 million, the majority living in West Asia, with significant Kurdish diaspora communities in the cities of western Turkey, in Armenia, Georgia, Israel, Azerbaijan, Russia, Lebanon and, in recent decades, some European countries and the United States.

The Kurds have had partial autonomy in Iraqi Kurdistan since 1991. Nationalist movements in the other Kurdish-populated countries (TurkeySyriaIran) push for Kurdish regional autonomy or the creation of a sovereign state.

 

 

Etymology

The exact origins of the name “Kurd” are unclear.[32] Though it is believed that the term precedes the formation of the ethnic group by centuries or even millennia.

G.S. Reynolds believes that the term Kurd is most likely related to the ancient term Qardu. The common root of Kurd and Qardu is first mentioned in a Sumeriantablet from the third millennium BC as the “land of Kar-da.”[33] Similarly, Hennerbichler believes the term Kurd and similar ethnic labels to have been derived from the Sumerian word stem “kur”, meaning mountain.[34]

The term Qardu however, appears in Assyrian sources, where it refers to the contemporary Mount Judi, and which derived its name from the people inhabiting the region, the Carduchi,[35] mentioned by Xenophon as the tribe who opposed the retreat of the Ten Thousand through the mountains north of Mesopotamia in the 4th century BC. However, according to G. Asatrian, the most reasonable explanation of the ethnonym is its possible connections with the Cyrtii (Cyrtaei).[36]

The word Kurd was first written in sources in the form of Kurt(kwrt-) in the Middle Persian treatise (Karnamak Ardashir Papakan and the Matadakan i Hazar Dastan), used to describe a social group or tribes that existed before the development of the modern ethnic nation.[37] The term was adopted by Arabic writers of the early Islamic era and gradually became associated with an amalgamation of Iranian and Iranicized nomadic tribes and groups in the region[38][39][40] Sherefxan Bidlisi states that there are four division of Kurds: KurmanjLurKalhor and Guran, each of which speak a different dialect or language variation. Of these, according to Ludwig Paul, only Kurmanji and possibly the Kalhuri correspond to the Kurdish language, while Luri and Gurani are linguistically distinct. Nonetheless, Ludwig writes that linguistics does not provide a definition for when a language becomes a dialect, and thus, non-linguistic factors contribute to the ethnic unity of some of the said groups, namely the Kurmanj, Kalhur, and Guran.[41]

Language

Main article: Kurdish languages

Kurdish area in the Middle East(2007)

The Kurdish language (Kurdish: Kurdî or کوردی) refers collectively to the related dialects spoken by the Kurds.[42] It is mainly spoken in those parts of IranIraq,Syria and Turkey which comprise Kurdistan.[43] Kurdish holds official status in Iraq as a national language alongside Arabic, is recognized in Iran as a regional language, and in Armenia as a minority language.

The Kurdish languages belong to the northwestern sub‑group of the Iranian languages, which in turn belongs to the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-Europeanfamily.

Most Kurds are either bilingual or multilingual, speaking the language of their respective nation of origin, such as ArabicPersian, and Turkish as a second language alongside their native Kurdish, while those in diaspora communities often speak 3 or more languages. Kurdish Jews and some Kurdish Christians (not be confused with ethnic Assyrians) usually speak Aramaic (for example: Lishana Deni) as their first language. Aramaic is a Semitic language related to Hebrew andArabic rather than Kurdish.[44]

According to Mackenzie, there are few linguistic features that all Kurdish dialects have in common and that are not at the same time found in other Iranian languages.[45]

The Kurdish dialects according to Mackenzie are classified as:[46]

  • Northern group (The Kurmanji dialect group.)
  • Central group (Part of the Sorani dialect group)
  • Southern group (Part of the Sorani dialect group) including Kermanshahi, Ardalani and Laki

The Zaza and Gorani are ethnic Kurds,[citation needed] but the Zaza–Gorani languages are not classified as Kurdish.

Commenting on the differences between the dialects of Kurdish, Kreyenbroek clarifies that in some ways, Kurmanji and Sorani are as different from each other as English and German, giving the example that Kurmanji has grammatical gender and case endings, but Sorani does not, and observing that referring to Sorani and Kurmanji as “dialects” of one language is supported only by “their common origin…and the fact that this usage reflects the sense of ethnic identity and unity of the Kurds.”[47]

Population

Main article: Kurdish population

The number of Kurds living in Southwest Asia is estimated at 26-34 million, with another one or two million living in diaspora. Kurds are the fourth largest ethnicity in Western Asia after the ArabsPersians, and Turks.

Kurds comprise anywhere from 18% to 25% of the population in Turkey,[3][48] 15-20% in Iraq, 9% in Syria,[49][50] 7% in Iran and 1.3% in Armenia. In all of these countries except Iran, Kurds form the second largest ethnic group. Roughly 55% of the world’s Kurds live in Turkey, about 18% each in Iran and Iraq, and a bit over 5% in Syria.[51]

McDowall has estimated that in 1991 the Kurds comprised 19% of the population in Turkey, 23% in Iraq, 10% in Iran, and 8% in Syria. The total number of Kurds in 1991 was in this estimate placed at 22.5 million, with 48% of this number living in Turkey, 18% in Iraq, 24% in Iran, and 4% in Syria.[52]

History

The greatest extent of the Median Empire

Origins

Further information: Gutian peopleMedesCyrtii and Carduchi

The Kurds as an ethnic group appear in the medieval period. The Kurdish people are believed to be of heterogenous origins[53][54] combining a number of earlier tribal or ethnic groups[55] including Median,[54][55][56][57] Lullubi,[58] Guti,[58] Cyrtians,[59] Carduchi.[60] They have also absorbed some elements from Semitic,[55][61][62][63][64]Turkic[65][66][67][68] and Armenian people.[55][69][70][71][72][73] According to J.P. Mallory, the original Gutians precede the arrival of Indo-Iranian peoples (of which the Kurds are one) by some 1500 years.[74] This argument is seconded by F. Hennerbichlers theory which reassigns the ethnic Iranian origin of Kurds (traditionally considered Indo-European) to a people of predominantly unknown ancient Middle Eastern stock, in particular to indigenous Neolithic Northern Fertile Crescent aborigines.[75] This hypothesis is supported by the tentative linguistic identification of Kurds as a people “Iranianized in several waves by militarily organized elites of immigrants from Central Asia”, tentatively ascribing it to carriers of the Y-Dna haplogroup R1a1.[75]

Additionally Minorsky states that there is an “ethno-geographical identification” of present day Kurds as descendent of ancient Medes, an idea based on his “historical, linguistic, and philological” arguments.[76] This was further advanced by I. Gershevitch who provided first “a piece of linguistic confirmation” of Minorsky’s identification and then another “sociolinguistic” argument. Those works of Minorsky were the base of yet another and different approach by Mackenzie. He argued that in contrast to Minorsky (and precisely Gershevitch’s advancement) the evolution of the present day Kurdish language as a Northwestern Iranian language was to “lean more toward Persian” and in turn “marked off from Median”.[76] These disagreements of scholars caused bitter reactions.[76] Dandamaev considers Carduchi (who were from the upper Tigris near the Assyrian and Median borders) less likely than Cyrtians as ancestors of modern Kurds.[77] However according to McDowall, the term Cyrtii was first applied to Seleucid or Parthian mercenary slingers from Zagros, and it is not clear if it denoted a coherent linguistic or ethnic group.[78] Gershevitch and Fisher consider the independent Kardouchoi or Carduchi as the ancestors of the Kurds, or at least the original nucleus of the Iranian-speaking people in what is now Kurdistan.[60]

Legends

Depiction of Noah’s ark landing on the mountain top, from the North French Hebrew Miscellany (13th century)

There are multiple legends that detail the origins of the Kurds. One details the Kurds as being the descendants of King Solomon’s angelic servants (Djinn). These were sent to Europe to bring him five-hundred beautiful maidens, for the king’s harem. However, when these had done so and returned to Israel the king had already passed away. As such, the Djinn settled in the mountains, married the women themselves, and their offspring came to be known as the Kurds.[79]

Additionally, in the legend of Newroz, an evil Assyrian king named Zahak, who had two snakes growing out of his shoulders, had conquered Iran, and terrorized its subjects; demanding daily sacrifices in the form of young men’s brains. Unknowingly to Zahak, the cooks of the palace saved one of the men, and mixed the brains of the other with those of a sheep. The men that were saved were told to flee to the mountains. Hereafter, Kaveh the Blacksmith, who had already lost several of his children to Zahak, trained the men in the mountains, and stormed Zahak’s palace, severing the heads of the snakes and killing the tyrannical king. Kaveh was instilled as the new king, and his followers formed the beginning of the Kurdish people.[80][81]

In the writings of the Ottoman Turkish traveller Evliya Çelebi, there’s also a legend concerning the Kurds to be found. He states to have learned of this legend from a certainMighdisî, an Armenian historian:

According to the chronicler Mighdisî, the first town to be built after Noah’s Flood was the town of Judi, followed by the fortresses of Sinjar and Mifariqin. The town of Judi was ruled by Melik Kürdim of the Prophet Noah’s community, a man who lived no less than 600 years and who travelled the length and width of Kurdistan. Coming to Mifariqin he liked its climate and settled there, begetting many children and descendants. He invented a language of his own, independent of Hebrew. It is neither Hebrew nor Arabic, Farsi, Dari or Pahlavi; they still call it the language of Kürdim. So the Kurdish language, which was invented in Mifariqin and is now used throughout Kurdistan, owes its name to Melik Kürdim of the community of the Prophet Noah. Because Kurdistan is an endless stony stretch of mountains, there are no less than twelve varieties of Kurdish, differing from one another in pronunciation and vocabulary, so that they often have to use interpreters to understand one another’s words.[82]

Ancient Period

Artistic rendition of Ardashir I

The first attestation of the Kurds was during the time of rule of the Sassanids. In the Kar-Namag i Ardashir i Pabagan, a short prose work written in Middle Persian, Ardashir I is depicted as having battled the Kurds and their leader, Madig. After initially sustaining a heavy defeat, Ardashir I was successful in subjugating the Kurds.[83] In a letter Ardashir I received from his foe, Ardavan V, which is also featured in the same work, he’s referred to as being a Kurd himself.

You’ve bitten off more than you can chew
and you have brought death to yourself.
O son of a Kurd, raised in the tents of the Kurds,
who gave you permission to put a crown on your head?[84]

The usage of the term Kurd during this time period most likely was a social term, designating Iranian nomads, rather than a concrete ethnic group.[85][86] At least one author believes Ardashir I to have actually descended from a Kurdish tribe.[87]

Similarly, in 360 CE, the Sassanid king Shapur II marched into the Roman province Zabdicene, to conquer its chief city, Bezabde, present-day Cizre. He found it heavily fortified, and guarded by three legions and a large body of Kurdish archers.[88] After a long and hard-fought siege, Shapur II breached the walls, conquered the city and massacred all its defenders. Hereafter he had the strategically located city repaired, provisioned and garrisoned with his best troops.[88]

There is also a 7th-century text by an unidentified author, written about the legendary Christian martyr Mar Qardagh. He lived in the 4th century, during the reign of Shapur II, and during his travels is said to have encountered Mar Abdisho, a deacon and martyr, who, after having been questioned of his origins by Mar Qardagh and his Marzobans, stated that his parents were originally from an Assyrian village called Hazza, but were driven out and subsequently settled in Tamanon, a village in the land of the Kurds, identified as being in the region of Mount Judi.[89]

Medieval period

Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb, orSaladin, founder of the Ayyubid dynastyin Egypt and Syria

In the early Middle Ages, the Kurds sporadically appear in Arabic sources, though the term was still not being used for a specific people; instead it referred to an amalgam of nomadic western Iranic tribes, who were distinct from Persians. However, in the High Middle Ages, the Kurdish ethnic identity gradually materialized, as one can find clear evidence of the Kurdish ethnic identity and solidarity in texts of the 12th and 13th century,[90] though, the term was also still being used in the social sense.[91]

Al-Tabari wrote that in 639, Hormuzan, a Sasanian general originating from a noble family, battled against the Islamic invaders in Khuzestan, and called upon the Kurds to aid him in battle.[92] They were defeated however, and brought under Islamic rule.

In 838, a Kurdish leader based in Mosul, named Mir Jafar, revolted against the Caliph Al-Mu’tasim who sent the commander Itakh to combat him. Itakh won this war and executed many of the Kurds.[93][94] Eventually Arabs conquered the Kurdish regions and gradually converted the majority of Kurds to Islam, often incorporating them into the military, such as the Hamdanids whose dynastic family members also frequently intermarried with Kurds.[95][96]

In 934 the Daylamite Buyid dynasty was founded, and subsequently conquered most of present-day Iran and Iraq. During the time of rule of this dynasty, Kurdish chief and ruler, Badr ibn Hasanwaih, established himself as one of the most important emirs of the time.[97]

In the 10th-12th centuries, a number of Kurdish principalities and dynasties were founded, ruling Kurdistan and neighbouring areas:

Due to the Turkic invasion of Anatolia, the 11th century Kurdish dynasties crumbled and became incorporated into the Seljuk Dynasty. Kurds would hereafter be used in great numbers in the armies of theZengids.[106] Succeeding the Zengids, the Kurdish Ayyubids established themselves in 1171, first under the leadership of Saladin. Saladin led the Muslims to recapture the city of Jerusalem from the Crusaders at theBattle of Hattin; also frequently clashing with the Hashashins. The Ayyubid dynasty lasted until 1341 when the Ayyubid sultanate fell to Mongolian invasions.

Safavid period

The Safavid Dynasty, established in 1501, also established its rule over Kurdish territories. The paternal line of this family actually had Kurdish roots, tracing back to Firuz-Shah Zarrin-Kolah, a dignitary who moved from Kurdistan to Ardabil in the 11th century.[107][108]

Nevertheless, the Kurds would revolt several times against the Safavids. Shah Ismail I put down a Yezidi rebellion which went on from 1506-1510. A century later, the year-long Battle of Dimdim took place, wherein Shah Abbas I succeeded in putting down the rebellion led by Amir Khan Lepzerin. Hereafter, a large number of Kurds was deported to Khorasan, not only to weaken the Kurds, but also to protect the eastern border from invading Afghan and Turkmen tribes. Others migrated to Afghanistan where they took refuge.[109] Kurds were found in great numbers at the slave markets of Khiva and Bukhara, being sold by the Turkmens. The Kurds of Khorasan, numbering around 700,000, still use the Kurmanji Kurdish dialect.[8][110]

Zand Period

Karim Khan, the Laki ruler of the Zand Dynasty

After the fall of the Safavids, Iran fell into civil war, with multiple leaders trying to gain control over the country. Ultimately, it was Karim Khan, a Laki general of the Zand tribe (perhaps of Kurdish origin)[111] One of the contenders for power was Karim Khan Zand, a member of the Lak tribe near Shiraz.[112][113][114][115][116] who proved to be superiour, and became ruler of Iran with the exception of the Khorasan region.[117]

The country would flourish during Karim Khan’s reign; a strong resurgence of the arts would take place, the economy was restored and international ties were strengthened.[117] Karim Khan was portrayed as being a ruler who truly cared about his subjects, thereby gaining the title Vakil e-Ra’aayaa (Representative of the People).[117]

After Karim Khan’s death, the dynasty would decline in favor of the rivaling Qajars due to infighting between the Khan’s incompetent offspring. It wasn’t until Lotf Ali Khan, 10 years later, that the dynasty would once again be led by an adept ruler. By this time however, the Qajars had already progressed greatly, having taken a number of Zand territories. Lotf Ali Khan made multiple successes before ultimately succumbing to the rivaling faction. Iran and all its Kurdish territories would hereby be incorporated in the Qajar Dynasty.

The Kurdish tribes present in Baluchistan and some of those in Fars are believed to be remnants of those that assisted and accompanied Lotf Ali Khan and Karim Khan, respectively.[118]

Ottoman period

Further information: Sheik Ubeydullah

When Sultan Selim I, after defeating Shah Ismail I in 1514, annexed Armenia and Kurdistan, he entrusted the organisation of the conquered territories to Idris, the historian, who was a Kurd of Bitlis. He divided the territory into sanjaks or districts, and, making no attempt to interfere with the principle of heredity, installed the local chiefs as governors. He also resettled the rich pastoral country between Erzerum and Erivan, which had lain in waste since the passage of Timur, with Kurds from the Hakkari and Bohtan districts.

The Ottoman centralist policies in the beginning of the 19th century aimed to remove power from the principalities and localities, which directly affected the Kurdish emirs. Bedirhan Bey was the last emir of the Cizre Bohtan Emirate after initiating an uprising in 1847 against the Ottomans to protect the current structures of the Kurdish principalities. Although his uprising is not classified as a nationalist one, his children played significant roles in the emergence and the development of Kurdish nationalism through the next century.[119]

The first modern Kurdish nationalist movement emerged in 1880 with an uprising led by a Kurdish landowner and head of the powerful Shemdinan family, Sheik Ubeydullah, who demanded political autonomy or outright independence for Kurds as well as the recognition of a Kurdistan state without interference from Turkish or Persian authorities.[120] The uprising against Qajar Persia and the Ottoman Empire was ultimately suppressed by the Ottomans and Ubeydullah, along with other notables, were exiled to Istanbul.

20th century

2Provisions of the Treaty of Sèvresfor an independent Kurdistan (in 1920).

Kurdish nationalism emerged after World War I with the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire which had historically successfully integrated (but not assimilated) the Kurds, through use of forced repression of Kurdish movements to gain independence. Revolts did occur sporadically but only in 1880 with the uprising led by Sheik Ubeydullah were demands as an ethnic group or nation made. Ottoman sultan Abdul Hamid responded by a campaign of integration by co-opting prominent Kurdish opponents to strong Ottoman power with prestigious positions in his government. This strategy appears successful given the loyalty displayed by the Kurdish Hamidiye regiments during World War I.[121]

The Kurdish ethnonationalist movement that emerged following World War I and end of the Ottoman empire was largely reactionary to the changes taking place in mainstream Turkey, primarily radical secularization which the strongly Muslim Kurds abhorred, centralization of authority which threatened the power of local chieftains and Kurdish autonomy, and rampant Turkish nationalism in the new Turkish Republic which obviously threatened to marginalize them.[122]

Kurdish Cavalry in the passes of the Caucasus mountains (The New York Times, January 24, 1915).

Jakob Künzler, head of a missionary hospital in Urfa, has documented the large scale ethnic cleansing of both Armenians and Kurds by the Young Turks during World War I.[123] He has given a detailed account of deportation of Kurds from Erzurum and Bitlis in winter of 1916. The Kurds were perceived to be subversive elements that would take the Russian side in the war. In order to eliminate this threat, Young Turks embarked on a large scale deportation of Kurds from the regions of DjabachdjurPaluMuschErzurum and Bitlis. Around 300,000 Kurds were forced to move southwards to Urfa and then westwards to Aintab and Marasch. In the summer of 1917, Kurds were moved to the Konya region in central Anatolia. Through this measures, the Young Turk leaders aimed at eliminating the Kurds by deporting them from their ancestral lands and by dispersing them in small pockets of exiled communities. By the end of World War I, up to 700,000 Kurds were forcibly deported and almost half of the displaced perished.[124]

Some of the Kurdish groups sought self-determination and the championing in the Treaty of Sèvres of Kurdish autonomy in the aftermath of World War I, Kemal Atatürk prevented such a result. Kurds backed by the United Kingdom declared independence in 1927 and established so-called Republic of AraratTurkey suppressed Kurdist revolts in 1925, 1930, and 1937–1938, while Iran did the same in the 1920s to Simko Shikak at Lake Urmia and Jaafar Sultan of Hewraman region who controlled the region betweenMarivan and north of Halabja. A short-lived Soviet-sponsored Kurdish Republic of Mahabad in Iran did not long outlast World War II.

Kurdish-inhabited areas of the Middle East and the Soviet Union in 1986.

From 1922–1924 in Iraq a Kingdom of Kurdistan existed. When Ba’athist administrators thwarted Kurdish nationalist ambitions in Iraq, war broke out in the 1960s. In 1970 the Kurds rejected limited territorial self-rule within Iraq, demanding larger areas including the oil-richKirkuk region.

During the 1920s and 1930s, several large scale Kurdish revolts took place in Kurdistan Following these rebellions, the area of Turkish Kurdistan was put under martial law and a large number of the Kurds were displaced. Government also encouraged resettlement of Albanians from Kosovo and Assyrians in the region to change the population makeup. These events and measures led to a long-lasting mutual distrust between Ankara and the Kurds .[125] During the relatively open government of the 1950s, Kurds gained political office and started working within the framework of the Turkish Republic to further their interests but this move towards integration was halted with the 1960 Turkish coup d’état.[121] The 1970s saw an evolution in Kurdish nationalism as Marxist political thought influenced a new generation of Kurdish nationalists opposed to the localfeudal authorities who had been a traditional source of opposition to authority, eventually they would form the militant separatist PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by the United Nations, European Union, NATO and many states that includes United States), or Kurdistan Workers Party in English.

Kurds are often regarded as “the largest ethnic group without a state”,[126][127][128][129][130][131] although larger stateless nations exist. Such periphrasis is rejected by leading Kurdologists like Martin van Bruinessen[132] and other scholars who agree that claim obscures Kurdish cultural, social, political and ideological heterogeneity.[133][134][135]Michael Radu argues such meaningless claims mostly come from Western human rights militants, leftists and Kurdish nationalists in Europe.[133]

Kurdish communities

Further information: Kurdistan and Kurdish refugees

Turkey

According to CIA Factbook, Kurds formed approximately 18% of the population in Turkey (approximately 14 million) in 2008. One Western source estimates that up to 25% of the Turkish population is Kurdish (approximately 18-19 million people).[3] Kurdish sources claim there are as many as 20 or 25 million Kurds in Turkey.[136] In 1980, Ethnologue estimated the number of Kurdish-speakers in Turkey at around five million,[137] when the country’s population stood at 44 million.[138] Kurds form the largest minority group in Turkey, and they have posed the most serious and persistent challenge to the official image of a homogeneous society. This classification was changed to the new euphemism of Eastern Turk in 1980.[139]

Several large scale Kurdish revolts in 1925, 1930 and 1938 were suppressed by the Turkish government and more than one million Kurds were forcibly relocated between 1925 and 1938. The use of Kurdish language, dress, folklore, and names were banned and the Kurdish-inhabited areas remained under martial law until 1946.[140] The Ararat revolt, which reached its apex in 1930, was only suppressed after a massive military campaign including destruction of many villages and their populations. In quelling the revolt, Turkey was assisted by the close cooperation of its neighboring states such as Soviet UnionIran and Iraq.[141] The revolt was organized by a Kurdish party called Khoybun which signed a treaty with the Dashnaksutyun (Armenian Revolutionary Federation) in 1927.[141] By the 1970s, Kurdish leftist organizations such as Kurdistan Socialist Party-Turkey (KSP-T) emerged in Turkey which were against violence and supported civil activities and participation in elections. In 1977, Mehdi Zana a supporter of KSP-T won the mayoralty of Diyarbakir in the local elections. At about the same time, generational fissures gave birth to two new organizations: the National Liberation of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Workers Party.[142]

Kurdish boys in Diyarbakir.

The Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (PKK), also known as KADEK and Kongra-Gel, is considered by the US, the EU, and NATO to be a terrorist organization.[143] It is an ethnicsecessionist organization using violence for the purpose of achieving its goal of creating an independent Kurdish state in parts of southeastern Turkey, northeastern Iraq, northeastern Syria and northwestern Iran.

Between 1984 and 1999, the PKK and the Turkish military engaged in open war, and much of the countryside in the southeast was depopulated, as Kurdish civilians moved to local defensible centers such as DiyarbakırVan, and Şırnak, as well as to the cities of western Turkey and even to western Europe. The causes of the depopulation included PKK atrocities against Kurdish clans they could not control, the poverty of the southeast, and the Turkish state’s military operations.[144] State actions also included forced inscription, forced evacuation, destruction of villages, severe harassment and extrajudicial executions.[145][146]

Leyla Zana, the first Kurdish female MP from Diyarbakir, caused an uproar in Turkish Parliament after adding the following sentence inKurdish to her parliamentary oath during the swearing-in ceremony in 1994:[147]

I take this oath for the brotherhood of the Turkish and Kurdish peoples. —

In March 1994, the Turkish Parliament voted to lift the immunity of Zana and five other Kurdish DEP members: Hatip Dicle, Ahmet Turk, Sirri Sakik, Orhan Dogan and Selim Sadak. Zana, Dicle, Sadak and Dogan were sentenced to 15 years in jail by the Supreme Court in October 1995. Zana was awarded the Sakharov Prize for human rights by theEuropean Parliament in 1995. She was released in 2004 amid warnings from European institutions that the continued imprisonment of the four Kurdish MPs would affect Turkey’s bid to join the EU.[148][149] The 2009 local elections resulted in 5.7% for Kurdish political party DTP.[150]

Officially protected death squads are accused of disappearance of 3,200 Kurds and Assyrians in 1993 and 1994 in the so-called mystery killings. Kurdish politicians, human-rights activists, journalists, teachers and other members of intelligentsia were among the victims. Virtually none of the perpetrators were investigated nor punished. Turkish government also encouraged Islamic extremist group Hezbollah to assassinate suspected PKK members and often ordinary Kurds.[151] Azimet Köylüoğlu, the state minister of human rights, revealed the extent of security forces’ excesses in autumn 1994: While acts of terrorism in other regions are done by the PKK; in Tunceli it is state terrorism. In Tunceli, it is the state that is evacuating and burning villages. In the southeast there are two million people left homeless.[152]

Iran

A view of Sanandaj, a major city inIranian Kurdistan.

The Kurdish region of Iran has been a part of the country since ancient times. Nearly all Kurdistan was part of Iranian Empire until its Western part was lost during wars against the Ottoman Empire.[153] Following dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, at Paris Conferences of 1919 Tehran has demanded all lost territories including Turkish Kurdistan,Mosul, and even Diyarbakır, but demands were quickly rejected by Western powers.[154] This area has been divided by modern TurkeySyria and Iraq.[155] Today, the Kurds inhabit mostly north western territories known as Iranian Kurdistan but also north eastern region of Khorasan, and constitute approximately 7-10%[156] of Iran’s overall population (6.5–7.9 million), comparing to 10.6% (2 million) in 1956 or 8% (800 thousand) in 1850.[157]

Major Ethnic Groups of Iran

Unlike in other Kurdish-populated countries, there are strong ethnolinguistical and cultural ties between Kurds, Persians and others as Iranian peoples.[156] Some of modern Iranian dynasties like Safavids and Zands are considered to be partly of Kurdish origin. Kurdish literature in all of its forms (KurmanjiSorani and Gorani) has been developed within historical Iranianboundaries under strong influence of Persian language.[155] Fact that Kurds share much of their history with the rest of Iran is seen as reason why Kurdish leaders in Iran do not want a separate Kurdish state[156][158][159]

The government of Iran has never employed the same level of brutality against its own Kurds like Turkey or Iraq, but it has always been implacably opposed to any suggestion of Kurdish separatism.[156] During and shortly after First World War the government of Iran was ineffective and had very little control over events in the country and several Kurdish tribal chiefs gained local political power, even established large confederations.[158] In the same time, wave of nationalism from disintegrating Ottoman Empire has partly influenced some Kurdish chiefs in border region, and they posed as Kurdish nationalist leaders.[158] Prior to this, identity in both countries largely relied upon religion i.e. Shia Islam in the particular case of Iran.[159][160] In 19th century IranShia–Sunni animosity and describing Sunni Kurds as Ottoman fifth column was quite frenquent.[161]

During late 1910’s and early 1920’s, tribal revolt led by Kurdish chieftain Simko Shikak stroke north western Iran. Although elements of Kurdish nationalism were present in this movement, historians agree these were hardly articulate enough to justify a claim that recognition of Kurdish identity was a major issue in Simko’s movement, and he had to rely heavily on conventional tribal motives.[158] Government forces and non-Kurds were not the only ones to suffer in the attacks, theKurdish population was also robbed and assaulted.[158][162] Rebels do not appear to have felt any sense of unity or solidarity with fellow Kurds.[158] Kurdish insurgency and seasonal migrations in late 1920’s, along with long-running tensions between Tehran and Ankara, resulted in border clashes and even military penetrations in both Iranian and Turkish territory.[154] Two regional powers have used Kurdish tribes as tool for own political benefits: Turkey has provided military help and refuge for anti-Iranian Turcophone Shikak rebels in 1918-1922,[163] while Iran did the same during Ararat rebellion against Turkey in 1930. Reza Shah‘s military victory over Kurdish and Turkic tribal leaders initiaded with repressive era toward non-Iranian minorities.[162] Government’s forced detribalization andsedentarization in 1920’s and 1930’s resulted with many other tribal revolts in Iranian regions of AzerbaijanLuristan and Kurdistan.[164] In particular case of the Kurds, this repressive policies partly contributed to developing nationalism among some tribes.[158]

As a response to growing Pan-Turkism and Pan-Arabism in region which were seen as potential threats to the territorial integrity of Iran, Pan-Iranist ideology has been developed in the early 1920s.[160] Some of such groups and journals openly advocated Iranian support to the Kurdish rebellion against Turkey.[165] Secular Pahlavi dynasty has endorsed Iranian ethnic nationalism[160] which seen the Kurds as integral part of the Iranian nation.[159] Mohammad Reza Pahlavi has personally praised the Kurds as “pure Iranians” or “one of the most noble Iranian peoples“.[166] Another significant ideology during this period was Marxism which arose among Kurds under influence of USSR. It culminated in the Iran crisis of 1946 which included a separatist attempt of KDP-I and communist groups[167] to establish the Soviet puppet government[168][169][170]called Republic of Mahabad. It arose along with Azerbaijan People’s Government, another Soviet puppet state.[156][171] The state itself encompassed a very small territory, including Mahabad and the adjacent cities, unable to incorporate the southern Iranian Kurdistan which fell inside the Anglo-American zone, and unable to attract the tribes outside Mahabad itself to the nationalist cause.[156] As a result, when the Soviets withdrew from Iran in December 1946, government forces were able to enter Mahabad unopposed.[156]

Several Marxist insurgencies continuted for decades (196719791989–96) led by KDP-I and Komalah, but those two organization have never advocated a separate Kurdish state or greater Kurdistan as did the PKK in Turkey.[158][173][174][175] Still, many of dissident leaders, among others Qazi Muhammad and Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, were executed or assassinated.[156] During Iran–Iraq War, Tehran has provided support for Iraqi-based Kurdish groups like KDP or PUK, along with asylum for 1,400,000 Iraqi refugees, mostly Kurds. Although Kurdish Marxist groups have been marginalized in Iran since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, in 2004 new insurrection has been started by PJAK, separatist organization affiliated with the Turkey-based PKK[176] and designated as terrorist by Iran, Turkey and the USA.[176] Some analysts claim PJAK do not pose any serious threat to the government of Iran.[177] Cease-fire has been established on September 2011 following the Iranian offensive on PJAK bases, but several clashes between PJAK and IRGC took place after it.[134]Since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, accusations of “discrimination” by Western organizations and of “foreign involvement” by Iranian side have become very frequent.[134]

Kurds have been well integrated in Iranian political life during reign of various governments.[158] Kurdish liberal political Karim Sanjabi has served as minister of education underMohammad Mossadegh in 1952.[166] During the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi some members of parliament and high army officers were Kurds, and there was even a Kurdish Cabinet Minister.[158] During the reign of the Pahlavis Kurds received many favours from the authorities, for instance to keep their land after the land reforms of 1962.[158] In early 2000’s, presence of thirty Kurdish deputies in the 290-strong parliament has also helped to undermine claims of discrimination.[178] Some of influential Kurdish politicians during recent years include former first vice president Mohammad Reza Rahimi and Mohammad Bagher GhalibafMayor of Tehran and second-placed presidential candidate in 2013. Kurdish language is today used more than at any other time since the Revolution, including in several newspapers and among schoolchildren.[178] Large number of Kurds in Iran show no interest in Kurdish nationalism,[156] especially Shia Kurds who even vigorously reject idea of autonomy, preferring direct rule from Tehran.[156][173] Iranian national identity is questioned only in the peripheral Kurdish Sunni regions.[179]

Iraq

The President of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, meeting with U.S. officials inBaghdad, Iraq, on April 26, 2006.

Kurds constitute approximately 17% of Iraq’s population. They are the majority in at least three provinces in northern Iraq which are together known as Iraqi Kurdistan. Kurds also have a presence in KirkukMosulKhanaqin, and Baghdad. Around 300,000 Kurds live in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, 50,000 in the city of Mosul and around 100,000 elsewhere in southern Iraq.[180]

Kurds led by Mustafa Barzani were engaged in heavy fighting against successive Iraqi regimes from 1960 to 1975. In March 1970, Iraq announced a peace plan providing for Kurdish autonomy. The plan was to be implemented in four years.[181] However, at the same time, the Iraqi regime started an Arabization program in the oil-rich regions ofKirkuk and Khanaqin.[182] The peace agreement did not last long, and in 1974, the Iraqi government began a new offensive against the Kurds. Moreover in March 1975, Iraq and Iran signed the Algiers Accord, according to which Iran cut supplies to Iraqi Kurds. Iraq started another wave of Arabization by moving Arabs to the oil fields in Kurdistan, particularly those around Kirkuk.[183] Between 1975 and 1978, 200,000 Kurds were deported to other parts of Iraq.[184]

During the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, the regime implemented anti-Kurdish policies and a de facto civil war broke out. Iraq was widely condemned by the international community, but was never seriously punished for oppressive measures such as the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of civilians, the wholesale destruction of thousands of villages and the deportation of thousands of Kurds to southern and central Iraq.

The genocidal campaign, conducted between 1986 and 1989 and culminating in 1988, carried out by the Iraqi government against the Kurdish population was called Anfal (“Spoils of War”). The Anfal campaign led to destruction of over two thousand villages and killing of 182,000 Kurdish civilians.[185] The campaign included the use of ground offensives, aerial bombing, systematic destruction of settlements, mass deportation, firing squads, and chemical attacks, including the most infamous attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja in 1988 that killed 5000 civilians instantly.

After the collapse of the Kurdish uprising in March 1991, Iraqi troops recaptured most of the Kurdish areas and 1.5 million Kurds abandoned their homes and fled to the Turkish and Iranian borders. It is estimated that close to 20,000 Kurds succumbed to death due to exhaustion, lack of food, exposure to cold and disease. On 5 April 1991, UN Security Council passed resolution 688 which condemned the repression of Iraqi Kurdish civilians and demanded that Iraq end its repressive measures and allow immediate access to international humanitarian organizations.[186] This was the first international document (since the League of Nationsarbitration of Mosul in 1926) to mention Kurds by name. In mid-April, the Coalition established safe havens inside Iraqi borders and prohibited Iraqi planes from flying north of 36th parallel.[187] In October 1991, Kurdish guerrillas captured Erbil and Sulaimaniyah after a series of clashes with Iraqi troops. In late October, Iraqi government retaliated by imposing a food and fuel embargo on the Kurds and stopping to pay civil servants in the Kurdish region. The embargo, however, backfired and Kurds held parliamentary elections in May 1992 and established Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).[188]

The Kurdish population welcomed the American troops in 2003 by holding celebrations and dancing in the streets.[189][190][191][192] The area controlled by peshmerga was expanded, and Kurds now have effective control in Kirkuk and parts of Mosul. The authority of the KRG and legality of its laws and regulations were recognized in the articles 113 and 137 of the new Iraqi Constitution ratified in 2005.[193] By the beginning of 2006, the two Kurdish administrations of Erbil and Sulaimaniya were unified. On August 14, 2007 Yazidis were targeted in a series of bombings that became the deadliest suicide attack since the Iraq War began, killing 796 civilians, wounding 1,562.[194]

Syria

Main article: Kurds in Syria

PYD militiaman manning acheckpoint in AfrinSyria, during the2012 Syrian Kurdistan rebellion

Kurds account for 9% of Syria‘s population, a total of around 1.6 million people.[195] This makes them the largest ethnic minority in the country. They are mostly concentrated in the northeast and the north, but there are also significant Kurdish populations in Aleppo and Damascus. Kurds often speak Kurdish in public, unless all those present do not. According to Amnesty International, Kurdish human rights activists are mistreated and persecuted.[196] No political parties are allowed for any group, Kurdish or otherwise.

Techniques used to suppress the ethnic identity of Kurds in Syria include various bans on the use of the Kurdish language, refusal to register children with Kurdish names, the replacement of Kurdish place names with new names in Arabic, the prohibition of businesses that do not have Arabic names, the prohibition of Kurdish private schools, and the prohibition of books and other materials written in Kurdish.[197][198] Having been denied the right to Syrian nationality, around 300,000 Kurds have been deprived of any social rights, in violation of international law.[199][200] As a consequence, these Kurds are in effect trapped within Syria. In March 2011, in part to avoid further demonstrations and unrest from spreading across Syria, the Syrian government promised to tackle the issue and grant Syrian citizenship to approximately 300,000 Kurds who had been previously denied the right.[201]

On March 12, 2004, beginning at a stadium in Qamishli (a largely Kurdish city in northeastern Syria), clashes between Kurds and Syrians broke out and continued over a number of days. At least thirty people were killed and more than 160 injured. The unrest spread to other Kurdish towns along the northern border with Turkey, and then to Damascus and Aleppo.[202][203]

As a result of Syrian civil war, since July 2012, Kurds were able to take control of large parts of Syrian Kurdistan from Andiwar in extreme northeast to Jindires in extreme northwest Syria.

Armenia

Between the 1930s and 1980s, Armenia was a part of the Soviet Union, within which Kurds, like other ethnic groups, had the status of a protected minority. Armenian Kurds were permitted their own state-sponsored newspaper, radio broadcasts and cultural events. During the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, many non-Yazidi Kurds were forced to leave their homes since both the Azeri and non-Yazidi Kurds were Muslim.

Azerbaijan

Main article: Kurds in Azerbaijan

In 1920, two Kurdish-inhabited areas of Jewanshir (capital Kalbajar) and eastern Zangazur (capital Lachin) were combined to form the Kurdistan Okrug (or “Red Kurdistan”). The period of existence of the Kurdish administrative unit was brief and did not last beyond 1929. Kurds subsequently faced many repressive measures, including deportations, imposed by the Soviet government. As a result of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, many Kurdish areas have been destroyed and more than 150,000 Kurds have been deported since 1988 by separatist Armenian forces.[204]

Diaspora

Hamdi Ulukaya, Kurdish-American billionaire, founder and CEO ofChobani.

According to a report by the Council of Europe, approximately 1.3 million Kurds live in Western Europe. The earliest immigrants were Kurds from Turkey, who settled inGermanyAustria, the Benelux countries, Great BritainSwitzerland and France during the 1960s. Successive periods of political and social turmoil in the region during the 1980s and 1990s brought new waves of Kurdish refugees, mostly from Iran and Iraq under Saddam Hussein, came to Europe.[8] In recent years, many Kurdish asylum seekers from both Iran and Iraq have settled in the United Kingdom (especially in the town of Dewsbury and in some northern areas of London), which has sometimes caused media controversy over their right to remain.[205] There have been tensions between Kurds and the established Muslim community in Dewsbury,[206][207] which is home to very traditional mosques such as the Markazi. There was substantial immigration of Kurds into North America, who are mainly political refugees and immigrants seeking economic opportunity. Kurdish immigrants started to settle in large numbers in Nashville in 1976,[208] which is now home to the largest Kurdish community in the United States and is nicknamed Little Kurdistan.[209] Kurdish population in Nashville is estimated to be around 11,000.[210] Total number of ethnic Kurds residing in the United States is estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau to be around 15,000.[211] According to the 2006 Canadian Census, there were over 9,000 people of Kurdish ethnic background living in Canada[212]and according to the 2011 Census, more than 10,000 Canadians spoke Kurdish language.[213]

 

Religion

As a whole, the Kurdish people are adherents to a large amount of different religions and creeds, perhaps constituting the most religiously diverse people of West Asia. Traditionally, Kurds have been known to take great liberties with their practices. This sentiment is reflected in the saying “Compared to the unbeliever, the Kurd is a Muslim”.[214]

Islam

Main articles: Islam and Alevi

The Zulfiqar, symbol for the Shia Muslims and Alevis.

Today, the majority of Kurds are Sunni Muslim, belonging to the Shafi school.

There is also a minority of Kurds who are Shia Muslims, primarily living in the Ilam and Kermanshah provinces of Iran, Central and south eastern Iraq (Fayli Kurds)

Mystical practices and participation in Sufi orders are also widespread among Kurds.[215]

The Alevis (usually considered adherents of a branch of Shia Islam) are another religious minority among the Kurds, living in Eastern Anatolia. Alevism developed out of the teachings of Haji Bektash Veli, a 13th-century mystic from Khorasan. Among the Qizilbash, the militant groups which predate the Alevis and helped establish the Safavid Dynasty, there were numerous Kurdish tribes. The American missionary Trowbridge, working at Aintab (present Gaziantep) reported that his Alevi acquaintances considered as their highest spiritual leaders an Ahl-i Haqq sayyid family in the Guran district.[216]

Ahl-i Haqq (Yarsan)

Main article: Yârsânism

Ahl-i Haqq is a syncretic religion founded by Sultan Sahak in the late 14th century in western Iran. Most of its adherents, totaling around 1,000,000, are Kurds. Its central religious text is the Kalâm-e Saranjâm, written in Gurani.

In this text, the religion’s basic pillars are summarized as such:

The Yarsan should strive for these four qualities: purity, rectitude, self-effacement and self-abnegation.[217]

The Yârsân faith’s unique features include millenarismnativismegalitarianismmetempsychosisangelology, divine manifestation and dualism. Many of these features are found in Yazidism, another Kurdish faith, in the faith of Zoroastrians and in Shī‘ah extremist groups; certainly, the names and religious terminology of the Yârsân are often explicitly of Muslim origin. Unlike other indigenous Persianate faiths, the Yârsân explicitly reject class, caste and rank, which sets them apart from the Yezidis and Zoroastrians.[218]

The Ahl-i Haqq consider the Bektashi and Alevi as kindred communities.[216]

Yazidis

Main article: Yazidis

Melek Taus, the central figure of Yezidism.

Yazidism is another syncretic religion practiced among Kurdish communities, founded by Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir, an 12th-century mystic from Lebanon. Their numbers exceed 500,000. Its central religious texts are the Kitêba Cilwe and Meshaf Resh

According to Yazidi beliefs, God created the world but left it in the care of a heptad of holy beings or angels. The most prominent angel is Melek Taus (Kurdish: Tawûsê Melek), the Peacock Angel, God’s representative on earth. Yazidis believe in the periodic reincarnation of the seven holy beings in human form.

Their holiest shrine and the tomb of the faith’s founder is located in Lalish, in northern Iraq.[219]

Zoroastrianism

Main article: Zoroastrianism

Presently, there are a small number of Zoroastrian Kurds, most of which are recent converts. These communities have established new temples and have been attempting to recruit new members to their faith.[220] The Kurdish philosopher Sohrevardi drew heavily from Zoroastrian teachings.[221]

Judaism

Main article: Kurdish Jews

A decorated plaque with Kurdish Jewish Purim poems, 19th century.

Judaism is still practised in very small numbers across Kurdistan. There are however some 200,000 Kurdish Jews, residing in Israel. The Jews of Kurdistan migrated to Palestine during the previous centuries but the overwhelming majority of the Kurdish Jews had fled to Israel together with Iraqi Jews in Operation Ezra and Nehemiah during 1950–1952.

The Jews of Kurdistan are thought to be the descendants of those Jews that were deported from Israel by the Assyrian Empire in the 8th century BC. These later formed the Kingdom of Adiabene, and, after fading into obscurity in centuries thereafter, reappeared in the Middle Ages, where multiple accounts of them were made. One such accounts details the story of David Alroy, a Jewish leader from Amadiyah in the 12th century, who revolted against the Persian rulers and was bent on recapturing Jerusalem.

For centuries thereafter, the Jews had lived as protected subjects of the Kurdish tribal chieftains (aghas) and survived in the urban centers and villages in which they lived. According to Mordechai Zaken, the Kurdistani Jews had managed to survive by supporting their tribal chieftains and village aghas in times of need and through financial contributions, occasional gifts, variety of services as well as taxes and dues in the form of commissions of their commercial and agricultural transactions. In return, the tribal Kurdish aghas would protect their Jewish subjects and grant them patronage in the tribal arena. Indeed, some wealthy Jewish merchants and community leaders had to deal at times with aghas who coveted their vineyards or other material goods and satisfy their needs and fulfil their desire. However, in his research, Zaken points out that there was a kind of tribal tradition, passed on from father to son, to keep and protect the Jewish subjects in the village (at times one or two Jewish families in one village) or the tribal arena.[222] Even though the ancestral origins, as well as the mother tongue of the Kurdish Jews is different from the main Kurdish populace, the vast majority regard themselves as Kurds.[223]

Christianity

Main article: Kurdish Christians

Two Kurds with an Orthodox priest, 1873.

Although historically there have been various accounts of Kurdish Christians, most often these were in the form of individuals, and not as communities. However, in the 19th and 20th century various travel logs tell of Kurdish Christian tribes, as well as Kurdish Muslim tribes who had substantial Christan populations living amongst them. A significant number of these were allegedly originally Armenian or Assyrian,[224] and it has been recorded that a small number of Christian traditions have been preserved. Several Christian prayers in Kurdish have been found from earlier centuries.[225]

However, most contemporary Kurdish Christians are recent converts. Both among Turkish and Iraqi Kurds there have been an increasing number of Kurds converting to Christianity. Some communities of the Iraqi converts have formed their own evangelical churches. Prominent historical Kurdish Christians include Theophobos[226][227] and the brothers Zakare and Ivane.[228][229][230]

Culture

Kurdish culture is a legacy from the various ancient peoples who shaped modern Kurds and their society. As most other Middle Eastern populations, a high degree of mutual influences between the Kurds and their neighbouring peoples are apparent. Therefore, in Kurdish culture elements of various other cultures are to be seen. However, on the whole, Kurdish culture is closest to that of other Iranian peoples, in particular those who historically had the closest geographical proximity to the Kurds, such as the Persiansand Lurs. Kurds, for instance, also celebrate Newroz (March 21) as New Year’s Day.[231]

Women

Kurdish men and women participate in mixed-gender dancing during feasts, weddings and other social celebrations. Major Soane, a British colonial officer during World War I, noted that this is unusual among Islamic people and pointed out that in this respect Kurdish culture is more akin to that of eastern Europe than to their West Asian counterparts.[232]

Folklore and Mythology

The fox; a widely recurring character in Kurdish tales

The Kurds possess a rich tradition of folklore, which, until recent times, was largely transmitted by speech or song, from one generation to the next. Although some of the Kurdish writers’ stories were well-known throughout Kurdistan; most of the stories told and sung were only written down in the 20th and 21st century. Many of these are, allegedly, centuries old.

Widely varying in purpose and style, among the Kurdish folklore one will find stories about nature, anthropomorphic animals, love, heroes and villains, mythological creatures and everyday life. A number of these mythological figures can be found in other cultures, like the Simurgh and Kaveh the Blacksmith in the broader Iranian Mythology, and stories of Shahmaran throughout Anatolia. Additionally, stories can be purely entertaining, or have an educational or religious aspect.[233]

Perhaps the most widely reoccurring element is the fox, which, through cunningness and shrewdness triumphs over less intelligent species, yet often also meets his demise.[233]Another common theme are the origins of a tribe.

Storytellers would perform in front of an audience, sometimes consisting of an entire village. People from outside the region would travel to attend their narratives, and the storytellers themselves would visit other villages to spread their tales. These would thrive especially during winter, where entertainment was hard to find as evenings had to be spent inside.[233]

Coinciding with the heterogeneous Kurdish groupings, although certain stories and elements were commonly found throughout Kurdistan, others were unique to a specific area; depending on the region, religion or dialect. The Kurdish Jews of Zakho are perhaps the best example of this; whose gifted storytellers are known to have been greatly respected throughout the region, thanks to a unique oral tradition.[234] Other examples are the mythology of the Yezidis,[235] and the stories of the Dersim Kurds, which had a substantial Armenian influence.[236]

During the criminalization of the Kurdish language after the coup d’état of 1980, dengbêj (singers) and çîrokbêj (tellers) were silenced, and many of the stories had become endangered. In 1991, the language was decriminalized, yet the now highly available radios and TV’s had as effect a diminished interest in traditional storytelling.[237] However, a number of writers have made great strides in the preservation of these tales.

Weaving

Modern rug from Bijar

Kurdish weaving is renowned throughout the world, with fine specimens of both rugs and bags. The most famous Kurdish rugs are those from the Bijar region, in the Kurdistan Province. Because of the unique way in which the Bijar rugs are woven, they are very stout and durable, hence their appellation as the ‘Iron Rugs of Persia’. Exhibiting a wide variety, the Bijar rugs have patterns ranging from floral designs, medallions and animals to other ornaments. They generally have two wefts, and are very colorful in design.[238]With an increased interest in these rugs in the last century, and a lesser need for them to be as sturdy as they were, new Bijar rugs are more refined and delicate in design.

Another well-known Kurdish rug is the Senneh rug, which is regarded as the most sophisticated of the Kurdish rugs. They are especially known for their great knot density and high quality mountain wool.[238] They lend their name from the region of Sanandaj. Throughout other Kurdish regions like KermanshahSiirtMalatya and Bitlis rugs were also woven to great extent.[239]

Kurdish bags are mainly known from the works of one large tribe: the Jaffs, living in the border area between Iran and Iraq. These Jaff bags share the same characteristics of Kurdish rugs; very colorful, stout in design, often with medallion patterns. They were especially popular in the West during the 1920s and 1930s.[240]

Handicrafts

A Kurdish nobleman bearing ajambiya dagger

Outside of weaving and clothing, there are many other Kurdish handicrafts, which were traditionally often crafted by nomadic Kurdish tribes. These are especially well known in Iran, most notably the crafts from the Kermanshah and Sanandaj regions. Among these crafts are chess boards, talismans, jewelry, ornaments, weaponry, instruments etc.

Kurdish blades include a distinct jambiya, with its characteristic I-shaped hilt, and oblong blade. Generally, these possess double-edged blades, reinforced with a central ridge, a wooden, leather or silver decorated scabbard, and a horn hilt, furthermore they are often still worn decoratively by older men. Swords were made as well. Most of these blades in curcilation stem from the 19th century.

Another distinct form of art from Sanandaj is ‘Oroosi’, a type of window where stylized wooden pieces are locked into each other, rather than being glued together. These are further decorated with coloured glass, this stems from an old belief that if light passes through a combination of seven colours it helps keep the atmosphere clean.

Among Kurdish Jews a common practice was the making of talismans, which were believed to combat illnesses and protect the wearer from malevolent spirits.

Tattoos

Adorning the body with tattoos (Deq in Kurdish) is widespread among the Kurds; even though permanent tattoos are not permissible in Sunni Islam. Therefore, these traditional tattoos are thought to derive from pre-Islamic times.[241]

Tattoo ink is made by mixing soot with (breast) milk and the poisonous liquid from the gall bladder of an animal. The design is drawn on the skin using a thin twig and is, by needle, penetrated under the skin. These have a wide variety of meanings and purposes, among which are protection against evil or illnesses; beauty enhancement; and the showing of tribal affiliations. Religious symbolism is also common among both traditional and modern Kurdish tattoos. Tattoos are more prevalent among women than among men, and were generally worn on feet, the chin, foreheads and other places of the body.[241][242]

The popularity of permanent, traditional tattoos has greatly diminished among newer generation of Kurds. However, modern tattoos are becoming more prevalent; and temporary tattoos are still being worn on special occasions (such as henna, the night before a wedding) and as tribute to the cultural heritage.[241]

Music and Dance

Main article: Kurdish music

Traditionally, there are three types of Kurdish classical performers: storytellers (çîrokbêj), minstrels (stranbêj), and bards (dengbêj). No specific music was associated with the Kurdish princely courts. Instead, music performed in night gatherings (şevbihêrk) is considered classical. Several musical forms are found in this genre. Many songs are epic in nature, such as the popular Lawiks, heroic ballads recounting the tales of Kurdish heroes such as SaladinHeyrans are love ballads usually expressing the melancholy of separation and unfulfilled love, one of the first Kurdish female singers to sing heyrans is Chopy Fatah, while Lawje is a form of religious music and Payizoks are songs performed during the autumn. Love songs, dance music, wedding and other celebratory songs (dîlok/narînk), erotic poetry, and work songs are also popular.

Throughout the Middle East, there are many prominent Kurdish artists. Most famous are Ibrahim TatlisesNizamettin ArıçAhmet Kaya and the Kamkars. In Europe, well-known artists are Darin ZanyarSivan Perwer, and Azad.

Cinema

Bahman Ghobadi at the presentation of his film Nobody Knows About Persian Cats in San Sebastián, 2009

The main themes of Kurdish films are the poverty and hardship which ordinary Kurds have to endure. The first films featuring Kurdish culture were actually shot in Armenia. Zare, released in 1927, produced by Hamo Beknazarian, details the story of Zare and her love for the shepherd Seydo, and the difficulties the two experience by the hand of the village elder.[243] In 1948 and 1959, two documentaries were made concerning the Yezidi Kurds in Armenia. These were joint Armenian-Kurdish productions; with H. Koçaryan and Heciye Cindi teaming up for The Kurds of Soviet Armenia,[244] and Ereb Samilov and C. Jamharyan for Kurds of Armenia.[244]

The first critically acclaimed and famous Kurdish films were produced by Yılmaz Güney. Initially a popular, award-winning actor in Turkey with the nickname Çirkin Kral (the Ugly King, after his rough looks), he spent the later part of his career producing socio-critical and politically loaded films. Sürü (1979), Yol (1982) and Duvar (1983) are his best-known works, of which the second won Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival of 1982,[245] the most prestigious award in the world of cinema.

Another prominent Kurdish film director is Bahman Qubadi. His first feature film was A Time for Drunken Horses, released in 2000. It was critically acclaimed, and went on to win multiple awards. Other movies of his would follow this example;[246] making him one of the best known film producers of Iran of today. Recently, he released Rhinos Season, starring Behrouz VossoughiMonica Bellucci and Yilmaz Erdogan, detailing the tumultuous life of a Kurdish poet.

Other prominent Kurdish film directors are Mahsun KırmızıgülHiner Saleem and before mentioned Yilmaz Erdogan. There’s also been a number of films set and/or filmed in Kurdistan made by non-Kurdish film directors, such as the Wind Will Carry UsTriageThe ExorcistThe Market: A Tale of TradeDurchs wilde Kurdistan (de) and Im Reiche des silbernen Löwen (de).

Sports

Eren Derdiyok, the most famous contemporary Kurdish footballer, striker for the Swiss national football team

The most popular sport among the Kurds is football. Because the Kurds have no independent state, they have no representative team in FIFA or the AFC; however a team representing Iraqi Kurdistan has been active in the Viva World Cup since 2008. They became runners-up in 2009 and 2010, before ultimately becoming champion in 2012.

On a national level, the Kurdish clubs of Iraq have achieved success in recent years as well, winning the Iraqi Premier League four times in the last five years. Prominent clubs are Erbil SCDuhok SCSulaymaniyah FC and Zakho FC.

In Turkey, a Kurd named Celal Ibrahim was one of the founders of Galatasaray S.K. in 1905, as well as one of the original players. The most prominent Kurdish-Turkish club isDiyarbakirspor. In the diaspora, the most successful Kurdish club is Dalkurd FF and the most famous player is Eren Derdiyok.[247]

Another prominent sport is wrestling. In Iranian Wrestling, there are three styles originating from Kurdish regions:

Furthermore, the most accredited of the traditional Iranian wrestling styles, the Bachoukheh, derives its name from a local Khorasani Kurdish costume in which it is practiced.[248]

Kurdish medalists in the 2012 Summer Olympics were Nur Tatar,[249] Kianoush Rostami and Yezidi Misha Aloyan;[250] who won medals in taekwondoweightlifting and boxing, respectively.

Architecture

The Krak des Chevaliers, originally a Kurdish dwelling place known as Hisn al-Akrad (Castle of the Kurds),Homs

The traditional Kurdish village has simple houses, made of mud. In most cases with flat, wooden roofs, and, if the village is built on the slope of a mountain, the roof on one house makes for the garden of the house one level higher. However, houses with a beehive-like roof, not unlike those in Harran, are also present.

Over the centuries many Kurdish architectural marvels have been erected, with varying styles. Kurdistan boasts many examples from ancient Iranic, Roman, Greek and Semitic origin, most famous of these include Bisotun and Taq-e Bostan in Kermanshah, Takht-e Soleyman near Takab, Mount Nemrud near Adiyaman and the citadels of Erbil and Diyarbakir.

The first genuinely Kurdish examples extant were built in the 11th century. Those earliest examples consist of the Marwanid Dicle Bridge in Diyarbakir, the Shadaddid Minuchir Mosque in Ani,[251] and the Hisn al Akrad near Homs.[252]

In the 12th and 13th centuries the Ayyubid dynasty constructed many buildings throughout the Middle East, being influenced by their predecessors, the Fatimids, and their rivals, the Crusaders, whilst also developing their own techniques.[253] Furthermore, women of the Ayyubid family took a prominent role in the patronage of new constructions.[254] The Ayyubids’ most famous works are the Halil-ur-Rahman Mosque that surrounds the Pool of Sacred Fish in Urfa, the Citadel of Cairo[255] and most parts of the Citadel of Aleppo.[256] Another important piece of Kurdish architectural heritage from the late 12th/early 13th century is the Yezidi pilgrimage site Lalish, with its trademark conical roofs.

In later periods too, Kurdish rulers and their corresponding dynasties and emirates would leave their mark upon the land in the form mosques, castles and bridges, some of which have decayed, or have been (partly) destroyed in an attempt to erase the Kurdish cultural heritage, such as the White Castle of the Bohtan Emirate. Well-known examples are Hosap Castle of the 17th century,[257] Sherwana Castle of the early 18th century, and the Ellwen Bridge of Khanaqin of the 19th century.

Most famous is the Ishak Pasha Palace of Dogubeyazit, a structure with heavy influences from both Anatolian and Iranic architectural traditions. Construction of the Palace began in 1685, led by Colak Abdi Pasha, a Kurdish bey of the Ottoman Empire, but the building wouldn’t be completed until 1784, by his grandson, Ishak Pasha.[258][259]Containing almost 100 rooms, including a mosque, dining rooms, dungeons and being heavily decorated by hewn-out ornaments, this Palace has the reputation as being one of the finest pieces of architecture of the Ottoman Period, and of Anatolia.

In recent years, the KRG has been responsible for the renovation of several historical structures, such as Erbil Citadel and the Mudhafaria Minaret.[260]

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurds

 

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George Washington Flogged and Hung Deserters, Barack Obama Trades Terrorists for Deserter/POW? — Negotiates With Terrorists For Deserter! — Videos

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Story 1: George Washington Flogged and Hung Deserters, Barack Obama Trades Terrorists for Deserter/POW? — Negotiates With Terrorists For Deserter! — Videos

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Army deserter benefits

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6/2/14 Background of the 5 detainees we traded for Bergdahl, a deserter and possibly traitor

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Is Ransomed U.S. Soldier Bowe Bergdahl a Deserter? UPDATED: Was Release of Taliban Prisoners Illegal?

Two GOP lawmakers charge that the Obama administration violated a law requiring the White House to give Congress a month’s notice before transferring or releasing Gitmo captivies. From the AP via Business Insider:

The White House said it moved as quickly as possible given the opportunity that arose to secure Bergdahl’s release. Citing “these unique and exigent circumstances,” the White House said a decision was made to go ahead with the transfer despite the legal requirement of 30 days advance notice to Congress.

 

For President Barack Obama (and thus America), foreign policy in every way remains a disaster. The latest incident? In swapping five Taliban leaders for a U.S. soldier who was held prisoner in Afghanistan for five years, Obama may have just exchanged somecertifiably bad guys for…a deserter from the U.S. Army. CNN’s Jake Tapper explains:

The sense of pride expressed by officials of the Obama administration at the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is not shared by many of those who served with him—veterans and soldiers who call him a deserter whose “selfish act” ended up costing the lives of better men.

“I was pissed off then and I am even more so now with everything going on,” said former Sgt. Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl’s platoon when he went missing on June 30, 2009. “Bowe Bergdahldeserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.”

There’s this:

According to first-hand accounts from soldiers in his platoon, Bergdahl, while on guard duty, shed his weapons and walked off the observation post with nothing more than a compass, a knife, water, a digital camera, and a diary.

At least six soldiers were killed in subsequent searches for Bergdahl, and many soldiers in his platoon said attacks seemed to increase against the United States in Paktika Province in the days and weeks following his disappearance.

 

This is all completely apart from the question of whether exchanging prisoners for prisoners is a good idea while the U.S. still has over 30,000 troops in Afghanistan (and more than 100 detainees in Gitmo). And once again, yesterday, Susan Rice—she of Benghazi talking points fame—was making spurious claims on Sunday talk shows. She emphasized that Bergdahl had been“captured” on the battlefield, which may not be exactly right. Or even at all right.

I caught a few minutes of MSNBC’s Morning Joe earlier today and co-host Mika Brzezinski cautioned that whatever else we know about the five-for-one prisoner deal (which involves the Taliban going to Qatar, where they will be monitored by the government there for at least a year), we don’t know everything. Which is likely accurate and besides the point: Leaving aside the Obama administration’s constant invocations about its super-fantastic dedication to transparency, this White House has managed to make itself toxic to increasing swaths of the public and drive faith in its best intentions and ability to cross the street through the floor.

Here’s hoping that after more than a dozen years of poorly conceived and executed wars—and declining public support for the idea of America as globocop—that official foreign policy will start to appreciate the idea that we cannot undertake large and small-scale military interventions lightly.

http://reason.com/blog/2014/06/02/is-ransomed-us-soldier-bowe-bergdahl-a-d

 

The Gitmo detainees swapped for Bergdahl: Who are they?

Together with the announcement that U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was released after nearly five years of captivity came the news that five detainees at Guantanamo Bay were being transferred to Qatar.
A plane carrying the detainees left the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo, Cuba, after the announcement that Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2009, had been exchanged for the five men.
Saturday’s transfer was brokered through the Qatari government, a senior Defense official said. According to senior administration officials, Qatar agreed to take custody of the detainees and provide assurances they would not pose a threat to the United States, including a one-year ban from travel out of Qatar.
Two senior administration officials confirmed the names of the five released detainees as Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa, Mullah Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Nori, Abdul Haq Wasiq and Mohammad Nabi Omari.
They were mostly mid- to high-level officials in the Taliban regime and had been detained early in the war in Afghanistan, because of their positions within the Taliban, not because of ties to al Qaeda.
CNN profiled them two years ago, when their names first surfaced as candidates for a transfer as part of talks with the Taliban:
Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa
Khairkhwa was an early member of the Taliban in 1994 and was interior minister during the Taliban’s rule. He hails from the same tribe as Afghan President Hamid Karzai and was captured in January 2002. Khairkhwa’s most prominent position was as governor of Herat province from 1999 to 2001, and he was alleged to have been “directly associated” with Osama bin Laden. According to a detainee assessment, Khairkhwa also was probably associated with al Qaeda’s now-deceased leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi. He is described as one of the “major opium drug lords in western Afghanistan” and a “friend” of Karzai. He was arrested in Pakistan and was transferred to Guantanamo in May 2002. During questioning, Khairkhwa denied all knowledge of extremist activities.
Mullah Mohammad Fazl
Fazl commanded the main force fighting the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance in 2001, and served as chief of army staff under the Taliban regime. He has been accused of war crimes during Afghanistan’s civil war in the 1990s. Fazl was detained after surrendering to Abdul Rashid Dostam, the leader of Afghanistan’s Uzbek community, in November 2001. He was wanted by the United Nations in connection with the massacre of thousands of Afghan Shiites during the Taliban’s rule. “When asked about the murders, he did not express any regret,” according to the detainee assessment. He was alleged to have been associated with several militant Islamist groups, including al Qaeda. He was transferred into U.S. custody in December 2001 and was one of the first arrivals at Guantanamo, where he was assessed as having high intelligence value.
Mullah Norullah Noori
Noori served as governor of Balkh province in the Taliban regime and played some role in coordinating the fight against the Northern Alliance. Like Fazl, Noori was detained after surrendering to Dostam, the Uzbek leader, in 2001. Noori claimed during interrogation that “he never received any weapons or military training.” According to 2008 detainee assessment, Noori “continues to deny his role, importance and level of access to Taliban officials.” That same assessment characterized him as high risk and of high intelligence value.
Abdul Haq Wasiq
Wasiq was the deputy chief of the Taliban regime’s intelligence service. His cousin was head of the service. An administrative review in 2007 cited a source as saying that Wasiq was also “an al Qaeda intelligence member” and had links with members of another militant Islamist group, Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin. Wasiq claimed, according to the review, that he was arrested while trying to help the United States locate senior Taliban figures. He denied any links to militant groups.
Mohammad Nabi Omari
Omari was a minor Taliban official in Khost Province. According to the first administrative review in 2004, he was a member of the Taliban and associated with both al Qaeda and another militant group Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin. He was the Taliban’s chief of communications and helped al Qaeda members escape from Afghanistan to Pakistan. Omari acknowledged during hearings that he had worked for the Taliban but denied connections with militant groups. He also said that he had worked with a U.S. operative named Mark to try to track down Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/31/us/bergdahl-transferred-guantanamo-detainees/index.html

 

The bizarre tale of America’s last known POW

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the last known American POW, was freed after five years in captivity — an ordeal that began and ended in Afghanistan under a shroud of mystery.

The Taliban turned over Bergdahl Saturday morning to US special forces in exchange for five notorious Islamic militants who had been held at Guantanamo Bay and will be sent to Qatar, where they will stay for a year under the terms of the trade.

At least one of the prisoners, ranking Taliban leader Khairullah Khairkhwa, had direct ties to Osama bin Laden.

Bergdahl was picked up by helicopter in western Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border.

After climbing aboard, the 28-year-old Idahoan, trying to communicate with his rescuers over the roar of the rotors, scrawled “SF?” on a paper plate — asking his rescuers whether they were special forces.

“Yes,” one of the men shouted. “We’ve been looking for you for a long time.”

The Army infantryman — himself nicknamed “SF” by his comrades for his gung-ho interest in special-forces tactics — began to weep.

Bergdahl’s parents, who had lobbied continuously for his ­release, had not seen him by Saturday night, but intimated that he faces an arduous recovery from his ordeal.

Bergdahl is speaking in what appears to be Pashto, said his dad, Bob Bergdahl. It was not clear whether his son can still even speak English, Bob said.

When the father spoke to his son — for the first time in five worried years — it was to say both in Pashto and English, “I am your father, Bowe.”

“We will continue to stay strong for Bowe while he recovers,” said his mom, Jani.

The search for Bergdahl began soon after he went missing on June 30, 2009, in the same rugged wilds of southeastern Afghanistan where NFL player-turned-Army Ranger Pat Tillman was killed.

Bergdahl’s mysterious disappearance from the small military outpost there and the subsequent revelation that he was in enemy hands prompted questions that still linger.

But in the weeks before his capture, Bergdahl had made murky statements that suggested he was gravitating away from the soldiers in his unit and toward ­desertion, a member of his platoon told Rolling Stone.

“He spent more time with the Afghans than he did with his platoon,” former Spc. Jason Fry told the magazine in 2012.

As a teen, the home-schooled son of Calvinists took up ballet — recruited to be a “lifter” by “a beautiful local girl,” Rolling Stone reported, “the guy who holds the girl aloft in a ballet sequence.” The strategy worked: Bergdahl — who also began dabbling in Budd­hism and tarot card reading — soon moved in with the woman.

Even as a teen, he could fire a .22-caliber rifle with precision.

At age 20, he traveled to Paris and started learning French in hopes of joining the French Foreign Legion.

His application was rejected, and he was devastated, the magazine reported.

Bergdahl would drift for years, working mainly at a coffee shop near home. He briefly considered moving to Uganda to help villagers being terrorized by militias before deciding on a different ­adventure.

“I’m thinking of joining the Army,” he told his folks after ­already having signed up.

Bergdahl’s dream was to help Afghan villagers rebuild their lives and learn to defend themselves, his dad told the magazine.

“The whole ‘COIN’ thing,” Bob explained, referring to America’s strategy of counter-insurgency. “We were given a fictitious picture, an artificially created picture of what we were doing in ­Afghanistan,” the dad said.

Bowe Bergdahl would detail his disillusionment with the Afghanistan campaign in an email to his parents three days before he went missing.

“I am sorry for everything here,” he wrote. “These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid.”

Bergdahl also complained about fellow soldiers. The battalion commander was a “conceited old fool,” he said, and the only “decent” sergeants, planning to leave the platoon “as soon as they can,” told the privates — Bergdahl then among them — “to do the same.”

“I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools,” he concluded. “I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting.”

Bob Bergdahl responded in an email: “OBEY YOUR CONSCIENCE!”

One night, after finishing a guard-duty shift, Bowe Bergdahl asked his team leader whether there would be a problem if he left camp with his rifle and night-vision goggles — to which the team leader replied “yes.”

Bergdahl then returned to his bunker, picked up a knife, water, his diary and a camera, and left camp, according to Rolling Stone.

The next morning, he was reported missing, and later that day, a drone and four fighter jets ­began to search for him.

Weeks of searching turned into months. The military pushed his parents and fellow soldiers to sign nondisclosure agreements. But before everyone signed, a comrade from his unit publicly called on Facebook for Bergdahl’s execution as a deserter.

Propaganda videos of his captivity — which featured Bergdahl denouncing American foreign policy — were released.

At least once, in 2011, the prisoner, looking more haggard, fought back and tried to escape.

“He fought like a boxer,” a Taliban fighter told Newsweek.

Why Bergdahl was captured in the first place remained a mystery by the time high-level US government talks began in 2012 regarding a trade for his release.

“Frankly, we don’t give a s–t why he left,” one White House official said at the time. “He’s an American soldier. We want to bring him home.”

There was fierce debate over exchanging him for the five Taliban combatants. Sen. John McCain, himself a former POW, once described the five as “the five biggest murderers in world history,” according to Rolling Stone.

We Lost Soldiers in the Hunt for Bergdahl, a Guy Who Walked Off in the Dead of Night

Nathan Bradley Bethea

For five years, soldiers have been forced to stay silent about the disappearance and search for Bergdahl. Now we can talk about what really happened.
It was June 30, 2009, and I was in the city of Sharana, the capitol of Paktika province in Afghanistan. As I stepped out of a decrepit office building into a perfect sunny day, a member of my team started talking into his radio. “Say that again,” he said. “There’s an American soldier missing?”

There was. His name was Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, the only prisoner of war in the Afghan theater of operations. His release from Taliban custody on May 31 marks the end of a nearly five-year-old story for the soldiers of his unit, the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. I served in the same battalion in Afghanistan and participated in the attempts to retrieve him throughout the summer of 2009. After we redeployed, every member of my brigade combat team received an order that we were not allowed to discuss what happened to Bergdahl for fear of endangering him. He is safe, and now it is time to speak the truth.

And that the truth is: Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.

On the night prior to his capture, Bergdahl pulled guard duty at OP Mest, a small outpost about two hours south of the provincial capitol. The base resembled a wagon circle of armored vehicles with some razor wire strung around them. A guard tower sat high up on a nearby hill, but the outpost itself was no fortress. Besides the tower, the only hard structure that I saw in July 2009 was a plywood shed filled with bottled water. Soldiers either slept in poncho tents or inside their vehicles.

The next morning, Bergdahl failed to show for the morning roll call. The soldiers in 2nd Platoon, Blackfoot Company discovered his rifle, helmet, body armor and web gear in a neat stack. He had, however, taken his compass. His fellow soldiers later mentioned his stated desire to walk from Afghanistan to India.

The Daily Beast’s Christopher Dickey later wrote that “[w]hether Bergdahl…just walked away from his base or was lagging behind on a patrol at the time of his capture remains an open and fiercely debated question.” Not to me and the members of my unit. Make no mistake: Bergdahl did not “lag behind on a patrol,” as was cited in news reports at the time. There was no patrol that night. Bergdahl was relieved from guard duty, and instead of going to sleep, he fled the outpost on foot. He deserted. I’ve talked to members of Bergdahl’s platoon—including the last Americans to see him before his capture. I’ve reviewed the relevant documents. That’s what happened.

Our deployment was hectic and intense in the initial months, but no one could have predicted that a soldier would simply wander off. Looking back on those first 12 weeks, our slice of the war in the vicinity of Sharana resembles a perfectly still snow-globe—a diorama in miniature of all the dust-coated outposts, treeless brown mountains and adobe castles in Paktika province—and between June 25 and June 30, all the forces of nature conspired to turn it over and shake it. On June 25, we suffered our battalion’s first fatality, a platoon leader named First Lieutenant Brian Bradshaw. Five days later, Bergdahl walked away.

His disappearance translated into daily search missions across the entire Afghanistan theater of operations, particularly ours. The combat platoons in our battalion spent the next month on daily helicopter-insertion search missions (called “air assaults”) trying to scour villages for signs of him. Each operations would send multiple platoons and every enabler available in pursuit: radio intercept teams, military working dogs, professional anthropologists used as intelligence gathering teams, Afghan sources in disguise. They would be out for at least 24 hours. I know of some who were on mission for 10 days at a stretch. In July, the temperature was well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit each day.

These cobbled-together units’ task was to search villages one after another. They often took rifle and mortar fire from insurgents, or perhaps just angry locals. They intermittently received resupply from soot-coated Mi-17s piloted by Russian contractors, many of whom were Soviet veterans of Afghanistan. It was hard, dirty and dangerous work. The searches enraged the local civilian population and derailed the counterinsurgency operations taking place at the time. At every juncture I remember the soldiers involved asking why we were burning so much gasoline trying to find a guy who had abandoned his unit in the first place. The war was already absurd and quixotic, but the hunt for Bergdahl was even more infuriating because it was all the result of some kid doing something unnecessary by his own volition.

On July 4, 2009, a human wave of insurgents attacked the joint U.S./Afghan outpost at Zerok. It was in east Paktika province, the domain of our sister infantry battalion (3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry). Two Americans died and many more received wounds. Hundreds of insurgents attacked and were only repelled by teams of Apache helicopters. Zerok was very close to the Pakistan border, which put it into the same category as outposts now infamous—places like COP Keating or Wanat, places where insurgents could mass on the Pakistani side and then try to overwhelm the outnumbered defenders.

One of my close friends was the company executive officer for the unit at Zerok. He is a mild-mannered and generous guy, not the kind of person prone to fits of pique or rage. But, in his opinion, the attack would not have happened had his company received its normal complement of intelligence aircraft: drones, planes, and the like. Instead, every intelligence aircraft available in theater had received new instructions: find Bergdahl. My friend blames Bergdahl for his soldiers’ deaths. I know that he is not alone, and that this was not the only instance of it. His soldiers’ names were Private First Class Aaron Fairbairn and Private First Class Justin Casillas.

Though the 2009 Afghan presidential election slowed the search for Bergdahl, it did not stop it. Our battalion suffered six fatalities in a three-week period. On August 18, an IED killed Private First Class Morris Walker and Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen during a reconnaissance mission. On August 26, while conducting a search for a Taliban shadow sub-governor supposedly affiliated with Bergdahl’s captors, Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss was shot in the face and killed. On September 4, during a patrol to a village near the area in which Bergdahl vanished, an insurgent ambush killed Second Lieutenant Darryn Andrews and gravely wounded Private First Class Matthew Martinek, who died of his wounds a week later. On September 5, while conducting a foot movement toward a village also thought affiliated with Bergdahl’s captors, Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey stepped on an improvised land mine. He died the next day.

It is important to name all these names. For the veterans of the units that lost these men, Bergdahl’s capture and the subsequent hunt for him will forever tie to their memories, and to a time in their lives that will define them as people. He has finally returned. Those men will never have the opportunity.

Bergdahl was not the first American soldier in modern history to walk away blindly. As I write this in Seoul, I’m about 40 miles from where an American sergeant defected to North Korea in 1965. Charles Robert Jenkins later admitted that he was terrified of being sent to Vietnam, so he got drunk and wandered off on a patrol. He was finally released in 2004, after almost 40 hellish years of brutal internment. The Army court-martialed him, sentencing him to 30 days’ confinement and a dishonorable discharge. He now lives peacefully with his wife in Japan—they met in captivity in North Korea, where they were both forced to teach foreign languages to DPRK agents. His desertion barely warranted a comment, but he was not hailed as a hero. He was met with sympathy and humanity, and he was allowed to live his life, but he had to answer for what he did.

The war was already absurd and quixotic, but the hunt for Bergdahl was even more infuriating because it was the result of some kid doing something unnecessary by his own volition.

I believe that Bergdahl also deserves sympathy, but he has much to answer for, some of which is far more damning than simply having walked off. Many have suffered because of his actions: his fellow soldiers, their families, his family, the Afghan military, the unaffiliated Afghan civilians in Paktika, and none of this suffering was inevitable. None of it had to happen. Therefore, while I’m pleased that he’s safe, I believe there is an explanation due. Reprimanding him might yield horrible press for the Army, making our longest war even less popular than it is today. Retrieving him at least reminds soldiers that we will never abandon them to their fates, right or wrong. In light of the propaganda value, I do not expect the Department of Defense to punish Bergdahl.

He’s lucky to have survived. I once saw an insurgent cellphone video of an Afghan National Police enlistee. They had young boys hold him down, boys between the ages of 10 and 15, all of whom giggled like they were jumping on a trampoline. The prisoner screamed and pleaded for his life. The captors cut this poor man’s head off. That’s what the Taliban and their allies do to their captives who don’t have the bargaining value of an American soldier. That’s what they do to their fellow Afghans on a regular basis. No human being deserves that treatment, or to face the threat of that treatment every day for nearly five years.

But that certainly doesn’t make Bergdahl a hero, and that doesn’t mean that the soldiers he left behind have an obligation to forgive him. I just hope that, with this news, it marks a turning point for the veterans of that mad rescue attempt. It’s done. Many of the soldiers from our unit have left the Army, as I have. Many have struggled greatly with life on the outside, and the implicit threat of prosecution if they spoke about Bergdahl made it much harder to explain the absurdity of it all. Our families and friends wanted to understand what we had experienced, but the Army denied us that.

I forgave Bergdahl because it was the only way to move on. I wouldn’t wish his fate on anyone. I hope that, in time, my comrades can make peace with him, too. That peace will look different for every person. We may have all come home, but learning to leave the war behind is not a quick or easy thing. Some will struggle with it for the rest of their lives. Some will never have the opportunity.

And Bergdahl, all I can say is this: Welcome back. I’m glad it’s over. There was a spot reserved for you on the return flight, but we had to leave without you, man. You’re probably going to have to find your own way home.

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/02/we-lost-soldiers-in-the-hunt-for-bergdahl-a-guy-who-walked-off-in-the-dead-of-night.html

 

Five of the Most Dangerous Taliban Commanders in U.S. Custody Exchanged for American Captive

3:42 PM, MAY 31, 2014 • BY THOMAS JOSCELYN

The Obama administration announced today that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has been held by the Taliban for several years, has been freed from his captors. Reading the stories of his newfound freedom it is impossible not to feel joy for Bergdahl and his family. NBC News reports that Bergdahl held up a sign once he was on board an American helicopter that read, “SF?” The operators quickly confirmed that they were in fact U.S. Special Forces: “Yes, we’ve been looking for you for a long time.”

Gitmo

“On behalf of the American people, I was honored to call his parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return, mindful of their courage and sacrifice throughout this ordeal,” President Obama said in a statement. The president rightly noted: “Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery is a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield.”

Unfortunately, America is not the only party in this war that is committed to leaving no man behind. So are the Taliban and other al Qaeda-linked groups. But the president did not say who America exchanged for Bergdahl: five of the most dangerous Taliban commanders in U.S. custody.

The Taliban has long demanded that the “Gitmo 5” be released in order for peace talks to begin in earnest. The Obama administration has desperately sought to engage the Taliban as American forces are drawn down in Afghanistan, but those talks have gone nowhere to this point.  At first, the administration set preconditions for the talks, including that the Taliban break its relationship with al Qaeda. When it became clear that this was a non-starter, the administration decided to make the Taliban’s desired break with al Qaeda a goal, and no longer a precondition, for its diplomacy.

There is little hope that the peace talks will be more successful now. But the president seems to believe that Bergdahl’s exchange for the Gitmo 5 (who are reportedly being transferred to Qatar) may break the ice. “While we are mindful of the challenges, it is our hope Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery could potentially open the door for broader discussions among Afghans about the future of their country by building confidence that it is possible for all sides to find common ground,” Obama said in his statement.

The Obama administration says that security measures have been put into place to make sure that the Gitmo 5 do not pose a threat to American national security. Let’s hope that is true; it certainly has not been the case with many ex-Gitmo detainees in the past.

THE WEEKLY STANDARD has profiled these jihadists previously on multiple occasions, and what follows below is culled from these accounts.

There are good reasons why the Taliban has long wanted the five freed from Gitmo. All five are among the Taliban’s top commanders in U.S. custody and are still revered in jihadist circles.

Two of the five have been wanted by the UN for war crimes. And because of their prowess, Joint Task Force-Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) deemed all five of them “high” risks to the U.S. and its allies.

The Obama administration wants to convince the Taliban to abandon its longstanding alliance with al Qaeda. But these men contributed to the formation of that relationship in the first place. All five had close ties to al Qaeda well before the 9/11 attacks. Therefore, it is difficult to see how their freedom would help the Obama administration achieve one of its principal goals for the hoped-for talks.

Here are short bios for each of the five Taliban commanders. All quotes are drawn from declassified and leaked documents prepared at Guantanamo.

Mullah Mohammad Fazl (Taliban army chief of staff): Fazl is “wanted by the UN for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiites.” Fazl “was associated with terrorist groups currently opposing U.S. and Coalition forces including al Qaeda, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), and an Anti-Coalition Militia group known as Harakat-i-Inqilab-i-Islami.” In addition to being one of the Taliban’s most experienced military commanders, Fazl worked closely with a top al Qaeda commander named Abdul Hadi al Iraqi, who headed al Qaeda’s main fighting unit in Afghanistan prior to 9/11 and is currently detained at Guantanamo.

Mullah Norullah Noori (senior Taliban military commander): Like Fazl, Noori is “wanted by the United Nations (UN) for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiite Muslims.” Beginning in the mid-1990s, Noori “fought alongside al Qaeda as a Taliban military general, against the Northern alliance.” He continued to work closely with al Qaeda in the years that followed.

Abdul Haq Wasiq (Taliban deputy minister of intelligence): Wasiq arranged for al Qaeda members to provide crucial intelligence training prior to 9/11. The training was headed by Hamza Zubayr, an al Qaeda instructor who was killed during the same September 2002 raid that netted Ramzi Binalshibh, the point man for the 9/11 operation. Wasiq “was central to the Taliban’s efforts to form alliances with other Islamic fundamentalist groups to fight alongside the Taliban against U.S. and Coalition forces after the 11 September 2001 attacks,” according to a leaked JTF-GTMO threat assessment.

Khairullah Khairkhwa (Taliban governor of the Herat province and former interior minister): Khairkhwa was the governor of Afghanistan’s westernmost province prior to 9/11. In that capacity, he executed sensitive missions for Mullah Omar, including helping to broker a secret deal with the Iranians. For much of the pre-9/11 period, Iran and the Taliban were bitter foes. But a Taliban delegation that included Kharikhwa helped secure Iran’s support for the Taliban’s efforts against the American-led coalition in late 2001. JTF-GTMO found that Khairkhwa was likely a major drug trafficker and deeply in bed with al Qaeda. He allegedly oversaw one of Osama bin Laden’s training facilities in Herat.

Mohammed Nabi (senior Taliban figure and security official): Nabi “was a senior Taliban official who served in multiple leadership roles.” Nabi “had strong operational ties to Anti-Coalition Militia (ACM) groups including al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), some of whom remain active in ACM activities.” Intelligence cited in the JTF-GTMO files indicates that Nabi held weekly meetings with al Qaeda operatives to coordinate attacks against U.S.-led forces.

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/five-most-dangerous-taliban-commanders-us-custody-released-pow-exchange_794017.html?page=2

 

The best biography of George Washington yet

Ron Chernow’s extraordinary new book paints the first president as a man in a struggle to contain his emotions

Two unforgettable images run through Ron Chernow’s great book, “Washington: A Life,” and they have nothing to do with cherry trees or wooden teeth or silver dollars thrown across the Potomac.

The first is the image of a gallows. It appears early in the narrative, when Colonel George Washington of the Virginia Militia, seeking to terrify his untutored, undisciplined, ragamuffin soldiers into obedience, builds a 40-foot-high gibbet. Soon after, he sentences 14 of his men to death for desertion and insubordination. Though he will eventually spare 12 from the noose, he will still punish them with absolutely fierce and shocking floggings, an average of 600 lashes per prisoner. “Washington made a point of hanging people in public,” Ron Chernow writes, “to deter others.” It is an expression of “his blazing temper.” It is also a result of his experience as explorer and soldier in the Virginia wilderness, “which darkened his view of human nature.” His lifelong practice will be to see “people as motivated more by force than kindness.” When he hangs his first man, the year is 1756, Virginia is still a British colony, and Washington is 24 years old.

These gallows will recur. They are what novelists call a “through-line” or motif, a pattern of figures within a story. To a historian they are that and more. They are a kind of portal into Washington’s famously elusive, enigmatic character.

Gallows and nooses were, of course, an ordinary part of Washington’s time and world. To hang a disobedient solider — or rebel — was commonplace in 18th century warfare. The British government routinely punished treason this way, with the additional flourish of disemboweling the offender while he was still alive, and then decapitating him. When Benjamin Franklin cautions the Continental Congress that “we must all hang together, or we will all hang separately,” only the first part of his famous sentence is metaphorical.

 

FORMER OFFICER: SOLDIERS WERE ‘THREATENED’ IF THEY QUESTIONED BERGDAHL STORY

by 

A former U.S. officer who served in Afghanistan with Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl claims that soldiers were threatened by U.S. authorities if they questioned his story.

After he was captured, Bergdahl said on a video from his captors that he lagged behind on patrol, although other sources in the military suggested anonymously that he walked away from his post.

“Not only has this nebulous non-story been put out for years but you know these soldiers of 4th Brigade 25th Infantry Division were threatened with legal repercussions if they spoke about Bergdahl. Everybody officially mandated silencing of what we saw has been so frustrating,” Bethea explained on BBC World Service Radio today.

Bethea served in Sgt. Bergdahl’s unit, and was an infantry officer in the U.S. Army from 2007 to 2014

CNN’s Jake Tapper also reported that many of Bergdahl’s fellow troops signed nondisclosure agreements agreeing to never share any information about Bergdahl’s disappearance and the efforts to recapture him.

Bethea explained that now he was safe, more soldiers would be trying to tell the truth of his disappearance.

BBC interviewed Bethea after he wrote an article for the Daily Beast, asserting that Bergdahl was a deserter.

“He is safe, and now it is time to speak the truth,” he wrote. “And that the truth is: Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.”

Bethea admitted that it would probably be unlikely that Bergdahl would face a court martial, because it would cast doubt on the deal the United States made with the Taliban to secure his release.

“I would at least like to see an official statement on what happened,” he said, referring to the Department of Defense.

Bergdahl is currently at an American military hospital in Germany, where he is being evaluated.

Bethea said that he would reserve judgement whether or not Bergdahl betrayed his country.

“I’m not going to call the guy a traitor just because it sounds like a stronger or harsher word than deserter,” Bethea said, admitting that he didn’t know what happened to him after he was captured.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/06/02/Former-Officer-Soldiers-Were-Threatened-if-They-Questioned-Bergdahl-Story

 

AWOL and Desertion

By 

Many people confuse the terms, AWOL and Desertion. Some people believe that AWOL is when someone is absent for less than 30 days, and someone absent from the military for 30 days or more is a deserter. That’s not quite true.

Unauthorized absence from the military fall under three articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ): Article 85Desertion,Article 86AWOL, and Article 87Missing Movement. Of the three, Desertion is the most serious offense.

Missing Movement

A military member has violated Article 87 if he/she is ordered to be on a ship or an aircraft, or deploy with a unit on a certain date and time, and then fails to show up. It doesn’t matter if the member failed to show up through intention or because of neglect, but it is required that the member knew about the movement. A viable defense would be that the member missed the movement through physical inability (as long as that physical inability wasn’t a result of misconduct or neglect). The possible punishment is more severe if the member missed the movement on purpose. It’s not uncommon for Missing Movement to be charged in conjunction with AWOL or Desertion, depending on the circumstances.

AWOL

AWOL, or “Absent without Leave,” is usually called “Unauthorized Absence” (or UA) by the Navy and Marine Corps, and AWOL by the Army and Air Force. The use of “UA” by the Navy/Marine Corps and “AWOL” by the Army/Air Force is historical. Prior to enactment of the Uniform Code of Military Justice in 1951 the services were governed by separate laws. However, its official title under the current UCMJ is “AWOL” (a rose by any other name is still a rose). It simply means not being where you are supposed to be at the time you are supposed to be there. Being late for work is a violation of Article 86. Missing a medical appointment is a violation. So is disappearing for several days (or months, or years). The maximum possible punishments, which I’ll discuss later in this article, depends on the exact circumstances of the absence.

Desertion

Did you know that desertion can result in the death penalty? It’s true. The maximum punishment for desertion during “time of war” is death. However, since the Civil War, only one American servicemember has ever been executed for desertion — Private Eddie Slovik in 1945.

The offense of desertion, under Article 85 carries a much greater punishment than the offense of AWOL, under Article 86. Many people believe that if one is absent without authority for 30 days or more, the offense changes from AWOL to desertion, but that’s not quite true.

The primary difference between the two offenses is “intent to remain away permanently,” or if the purpose of the absence is to shirk “important duty,” (such as a combat deployment).

If one intends to return to “military control” someday, one is guilty of AWOL, not desertion, even if they were away for 50 years. Conversely, if a person was absent for just one minute, and then captured, he could be convicted of desertion, if the prosecution could prove that the member intended to remain away from the military permanently.

If the intent of the absence was to “shirk important duty,” such as a combat deployment, then the “intent to remain away permanently” to support a charge of desertion is not necessary. However, Such services as drill, target practice, maneuvers, and practice marches are not ordinarily “important duty.” “Important duty” may include such duty as hazardous duty, duty in a combat zone, certain ship deployments, etc. Whether a duty is hazardous or a service is important depends upon the circumstances of the particular case, and is a question of fact for the court-martial to decide.

More About AWOL and Desertion

Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)
ART. 85. DESERTION
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(a) Any member of the armed forces who–

(1) without authority goes or remains absent from his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to remain away therefrom permanently;

(2) quits his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service; or

(3) without being regularly separated from one of the armed forces enlists or accepts an appointment in the same or another on of the armed forces without fully disclosing the fact that he has not been regularly separated, or enters any foreign armed service except when authorized by the United States;

is guilty of desertion.

(b) Any commissioned officer of the armed forces who, after tender of his resignation and before notice of its acceptance, quits his post or proper duties without leave and with intent to remain away therefrom permanently is guilty of desertion.

(c) Any person found guilty of desertion or attempt to desert shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct, but if the desertion or attempt to desert occurs at any other time, by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct.

Note: For specific details concerning this offense, including elements of proof, maximum punishments, and detailed explanation, see Punitive Articles of the UCMJ.

Next Article > ART. 86. ABSENCE WITHOUT LEAVE >

 

 

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National Security Agency (NSA) — Who’s The Enemy? — The American People — House Judiciary Committee Guts NSA Reform Bill — USA Freedom Act — Broadly Defined Bulk Collection Will Continue — Congress Pulls Bait-and-Switch on U.S. Freedom Act — Videos

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Rep. Justin Amash cosponsored an amendment that would have defunded the National Security Agency’s unwarranted bulk collection of Americans’ phone data. The measure failed narrowly, but has re-energized the legislative struggle for civil liberties. Amash believes that James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, should be prosecuted for lying to Congress. He also says he doesn’t appreciate the “condescending” tone of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with respect to the debate over national security.

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The House Judiciary Committee passed the National Security Agency reforming “USA Freedom Act” 31-0 Wednesday. The first major piece of legislation seeking to curb the NSA’s collection of electronic information, the bill which has undergone major changes will now proceed to the full House of Representatives. It will be competing with another reform bill that is expected to be approved by the House Intelligence Committee Thursday. RT’s Sam Sacks breaks down the bill and the chances for instituting real reform.

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Congress Pulls Bait-and-Switch on USA FREEDOM Act

Yesterday, C4L sent a letter to members of the House Judiciary Committee strongly opposing the Manager’s Amendment to H.R. 3361, the USA FREEDOM Act.

The original version of the act was sold to Americans as a way to rein in the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs, and it would have been a first step towards real reform of the surveillance state since 9/11.

But, that’s seldom the way Congress works. In an effort to “pass something this year,” the Judiciary Committee watered down the legislation and it passed out of the committee unanimously.

Want proof the recent changes to USA Freedom Act make it unworthy of support from civil libertarians? Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger, the NSA’s biggest cheerleaders in the House,just reported it out of their committee by voice vote.

What’s more likely, that Rogers and Ruppersberger had a change of heart on the NSA? Or that Judiciary watered down the USA FREEDOM Act enough to the point that its “reform” is devoid of any substantive changes?

The bill is now earning plaudits from the same guys who said the original version would “make America less safe,” and from the administration that never wanted you to know they were spying on you in the first place.

Read Campaign for Liberty’s letter to the Judiciary Committee below:

Letter to Judiciary Committee – USA FREEDOM Act

http://www.campaignforliberty.org/national-blog/congress-pulls-bait-switch-usa-freedom-act/

 

USA Freedom Act unanimously clears House Judiciary Committee

Surveillance reform bill designed to prevent collection of US phone data in bulk and is first to proceed onto the House floor

Jim Sensenbrenner
The bill’s architect, Republican James Sensenbrenner, said the bill ‘makes it crystal clear that Congress does not support bulk collection.’ Photo: Chip Somodevilla /Getty

Six months after it was written to restrain the National Security Agency’s sweeping domestic surveillance, a privacy bill cleared a major legislative obstacle on Wednesday, even as its advocates worried that the compromises made to advance the bill have weakened its constraints on mass data collection.

The USA Freedom Act, designed to prevent the US government from collecting US phone data in bulk, passed the House Judiciary Committee by a 32 to zero bi-partisan vote, making it the first surveillance reform bill to proceed out of committee and to the House floor.

But an internal committee breakthrough on Monday that won the support of chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, significantly recast the bill, softening its prohibitions on aspects of bulk collection and requiring transparency around it.

The bill’s architect, Republican James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, who also wrote the 2001 Patriot Act, said the bill “makes it crystal clear that Congress does not support bulk collection.”

While changes to the bill now permit the government to gather call records up to two degrees of separation away from a specific target – potentially millions of records – Sensenbrenner urged his colleagues “not to make the perfect the enemy of the good,” expressing confidence that the revamped USA Freedom Act was on “the fast track to passage.”

Supporters in and outside of Congress concede the latest compromises have left the USA Freedom Act less protective of civil liberties than it was when introduced in October. Its distinctions from a rival bill written by the leaders of the House intelligence committee, the NSA’s strongest Capitol Hill advocates, are somewhat blurred, prompting civil libertarians to become less enthusiastic of a measure they have championed as a fix to the broad NSA powers exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Representative John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat and longtime USA Freedom Act supporter, said that the new version of the bill was a “less than perfect compromise” that still makes “important, vital, substantive changes” to US surveillance.

The revised USA Freedom Act, “while still better than any other proposal on the board, is a setback from the original,” said Amie Stepanovich of Access, a human rights and digital rights advocacy group.

While the USA Freedom Act has nearly 150 House co-sponsors, and a stalled Senate companion commands 20 votes in the upper chamber, it was clear on Wednesday that the House intelligence committee will continue attempts to outmaneuvre its rival.

The chairman of the intelligence committee, until now a fervent critic of the USA Freedom Act, is now praising a bill he has long criticized, and which several congressional sources said he attempted to influence ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who is retiring this year, called the changes to the USA Freedom Act a “huge improvement,” adding in an interview with Foreign Policy magazine that the bill’s architects have “come a lot closer [and] now we’re just trying to work out the wording.”

Rogers is scheduled to mark up his alternative bill, the Fisa Transparency and Modernization Act, on Thursday, a decision USA Freedom Act supporters view as a desperation move. But on Wednesday, Rogers’ committee announced it will also mark up the USA Freedom Act on Thursday, prompting Capitol Hill speculation that Rogers will attempt to merge his bill with the Freedom Act rather than attempt to rally more votes.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio had earlier thrown his support behind Rogers’ bill. But now Boehner is said to be monitoring the committe process and keeping his options open. Congressional sources expected Boehner to schedule a vote on a surveillance proposal – of whatever form – as early as the week of 19 May, so the issue does not derail the annual defense budget authorization, though nothing is scheduled yet.

Both bills as originally crafted prevent the NSA from collecting US phone data in bulk, as it has done in secret since 2001, a position that President Barack Obama now embraces. The major difference between the two bills remains the role of judges in authorizing data collection. The Rogers bill permits the government to collect phone and email data absent a judges’ prior order, which the revised USA Freedom Act requires in all but emergency cases.

Additionally, the revised USA Freedom Act permits the government to get phone data two “hops,” or degrees of separation, from the target of the order, which can mean millions of call records reaped from a single court order. The legal standard for that order, for counterterrorism purposes, will be “reasonable articulable suspicion” of connection to an agent of a foreign power, the NSA’s desired framework.

Significantly, the new version of the USA Freedom Act all but stripped out a provision preventing the NSA from combing through its foreign communications dragnets for Americans’ information, something Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon dubbed the “backdoor search provision,” an absence that has deeply upset supporters. Those dragnets exist pursuant to a major 2008 piece of legislation, known as Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act.

Congressional sources pointed to new language tightening up prohibitions on the NSA intentionally targeting Americans’ communications at the outset as a palliative. But they conceded the absence of the backdoor search ban was a major change – one they said the NSA’s advocates fought hard for, an indication of how central the NSA considers a power it has rarely forthrightly acknowledged using. They indicated that USA Freedom Act supporters lacked the votes within the committee to pass the bill that retained the backdoor search prohibition.

An attempt by Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, to restore the backdoor search provision failed Wednesday. Goodlatte said restoring it would “disrupt this bipartisan agreement.”

Kevin Bankston of the Open Technology Institute said he was “incredibly disappointed” at the new USA Freedom Act’s effective blessing of backdoor searches.

“Especially when we’re expecting the government’s own surveillance watchdog, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, to issue a report on just that issue within a month or so, closing the door to reform on Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act would be premature,” Bankston said in a statement.

But the Judiciary Committee restored a provision initially struck from the original USA Freedom Act permitting increased transparency for companies receiving surveillance orders for their customers’ data, the absence of which had alarmed supporters.

The language, added back to the bill Wednesday by Representative Suzan Delbene of Washington, had been cut in order to codify a January deal the Justice Department reached with phone and Internet companies allowing them to list received orders only in bands of 1,000 and with a time lag. Congressional sources said companies lobbied hard to restore transparency language.

The Obama administration has withheld endorsement of either bill in public, confusing supporters. But in recent weeks, its guidance to Capitol Hill on surveillance reform included a requirement for up-front judicial authorization for data requests, which only the USA Freedom Act possesses.

“At this stage, I think I’d just say we will be watching closely as these bills go through the process,” said Caitlin Hayden, a White House spokeswoman said shortly before the vote.

Hours after the vote, Hayden issued a statement welcoming the USA Freedom Act as “a very good first step”:

“In March the president laid out his proposal to reform Section 215, and called upon Congress to act quickly to pass implementing legislation. We applaud the House Judiciary Committee for approaching this issue on a bipartisan basis. The Judiciary Committee passed bill is a very good first step in that important effort, and we look forward to House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence action on it tomorrow,” Hayden said.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act is the provision cited by the NSA and blessed by the secret Fisa Court for bulk data collection.

Some legislators, distressed by the changes to the USA Freedom Act, are considering a different option for surveillance reform.

As amended, the USA Freedom Act would push back the expiration of Section 215 to the end of 2017, when Section 702 is set to expire. The current expiration is 1 June of next year. Some legislators are already whispering that allowing Section 215 to expire wholesale in 2015 is a preferable reform.

But Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, a Democrat, said the USA Freedom Act was “the first, best and perhaps only chance in a decade” to constrain widespread surveillance.

“This is our chance. We have to seize it,” Nadler said on Wednesday.

Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who sponsored the USA Freedom Act in the Senate, hailed the committee vote, but said he was concerned that the text does not reform the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s national-security letters and makes insufficient changes on transparency and to the Fisa Court.

“I will continue to push for those reforms when the Senate Judiciary Committee considers the USA Freedom Act this summer,” Leahy said in a statement.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/07/usa-freedom-act-clears-house-committee-nsa-surveillance

 

USA Freedom Act

The USA Freedom Act, formally titled the Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-Collection and Online Monitoring Act, is a bill that was introduced in both houses of the U.S. Congress on October 29, 2013.

The House version, introduced by Representative Jim Sensenbrenner as HR 3361, was referred to the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations January 9, 2014,[3] and the Senate version, S. 1599, introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy, was read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.[4] An amended version out of the House Judiciary Committee contained many provisions raising concerns among civil libertarians,[5] including an extension of the controversial USA PATRIOT Act through the end of 2017.[6][7] The bill will be considered in the Senate through the summer of 2014.[8]

Purpose

The USA Freedom Act[9] would end the bulk collection of Americans’ metadata, end the secret laws created by the FISA court, and introduce a “Special Advocate” to represent public and privacy matters.[10][11][12] Other proposed changes include limits to programs like PRISM, which “incidentally” retains Americans’ Internet data,[13] and greater transparency by allowing companies such as Google and Facebook to disclose information about government demands for information.[14]

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, who introduced the bill, stated that its purpose was:

To rein in the dragnet collection of data by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies, increase transparency of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), provide businesses the ability to release information regarding FISA requests, and create an independent constitutional advocate to argue cases before the FISC.[10][15]

According to the bill’s sponsors, their legislation would amend Section 215 of the Patriot Act to ensure that any phone records obtained by the government were essential in an investigation that involved terrorism or espionage, thereby ending bulk collection,[16] while preserving “the intelligence community’s ability to gather information in a more focused way.”[17] A May 2014 amended version of the bill would also extend thecontroversial USA PATRIOT Act through the end of 2017.[18] The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has criticized the Patriot Act as unconstitutional, especially when “the private communications of law-abiding American citizens might be intercepted incidentally”.[19]

The bill is made up of several titles: FISA business records reforms, FISA pen register and trap and trace device reforms, FISA acquisitions targeting persons outside the United States reforms, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reforms, Office of the Special Advocate, National Security Letter reforms, FISA and National Security Letter transparency reforms, and Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board subpoena authority.[20]

Background

Many members of Congress believed that in the wake of the Snowden disclosures, restoration of public trust would require legislative changes.[21] More than 20 bills have been written since the disclosures began with the goal of reining in government surveillance powers.[13]

Sensenbrenner, who introduced the USA PATRIOT Act (H.R. 3162) in 2001 following the September 11 terrorist attacks to give more power to US intelligence agencies, and who has described himself as “author of the Patriot Act”,[22] declared that it was time to put the NSA’s “metadata program out of business”. With its bulk collection of Americans’ phone data, Sensenbrenner asserted that the intelligence community “misused those powers”, had gone “far beyond” the original intent of the legislation, and had “overstepped its authority”.[21][23]

An opinion piece by Leahy and Sensenbrenner, published in Politico, described the impetus for proposed changes,[24] saying:

The intelligence community has failed to justify its expansive use of [the FISA and Patriot Act] laws. It is simply not accurate to say that the bulk collection of phone records has prevented dozens of terrorist plots. The most senior NSA officials have acknowledged as much in congressional testimony. We also know that the FISA court has admonished the government for making a series of substantial misrepresentations to the court regarding these programs. As a result, the intelligence community now faces a trust deficit with the American public that compromises its ability to do its job. It is not enough to just make minor tweaks around the edges. It is time for real, substantive reform.[17]

Markup in House Judiciary Committee

In May 2014, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee posted a “Manager’s Amendment” on its website. Title VII of the Amendment read “Section 102(b)(1) of the USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (50 U.S.C. 1805 note) is amended by striking “June 1, 2015″ and inserting “December 31, 2017″, extending the controversial USA PATRIOT Act through the end of 2017.[25] The Electronic Privacy Information Center(EPIC) has criticized the Patriot Act as unconstitutional, especially when “the private communications of law-abiding American citizens might be intercepted incidentally”.[19] James Dempsey, of the CDT, believes that the Patriot Act unnecessarily overlooks the importance of notice under the Fourth Amendment and under a Title III wiretap,[26] while the American Library Association became so concerned that they formed a resolution condemning the USA PATRIOT Act, and which urged members to defend free speech and protect patrons’ privacy against the Act.[27]

The Guardian wrote “civil libertarians on the Judiciary Committee had to compromise in order to gain support for the act. Significantly, the government will still be able to collect phone data on Americans, pending a judge’s individualized order based on ‘reasonable articulable suspicion‘ – a standard preferred by the NSA – of wrongdoing, and can collect call records two degrees or ‘hops’ of separation from the individual suspected”.[5] Kara Brandeisky of ProPublica said “some worry that the bill does not unequivocally ban bulk collection of American records. Again, a lot depends on how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court interprets the statute”.[28]

The National Journal wrote “one tech lobbyist noted concern that a provision that would have allowed companies to disclose to customers more information about government data requests has been dropped. In addition, an external special advocate that would oversee the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court would no longer be selected by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Instead, the court’s judges would designate five ‘amicus curiae‘ who possess appropriate security clearances.”[29]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) stated it remained “concerned that this bill omits important transparency provisions found in the USA FREEDOM Act, which are necessary to shed light on surveillance abuses”. In addition, the EFF said it believed “this bill should do more to address mass surveillance under Section 702 of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act, a section of law used to collect the communications of users worldwide”.[30] The Open Technology Institute commented “several other key reforms—such as provisions allowing Internet and phone companies to publish more information about the demands they receive, which OTI and a coalition of companies and organizations have been pressing for since last summer—have been removed, while the bill also provides for a new type of court order that the President has requested, allowing for continuous collection by the government of specified telephone records.”[31]

Despite the criticism from civil liberties groups, Mike Rogers, a defender of the NSA‘s surveillance practices and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, praised the amendments. Rogers, who had his own bill which would codify the NSA’s surveillance practices in to law, called the proposed amendments a “huge improvement”. Foreign Policy wrote “any compromise to the Judiciary bill risks an insurrection from civil libertarians in Congress. Michigan Republican Justin Amash led such a revolt last year when he offered an NSA amendment to a defense appropriations bill that would have stripped funding for the NSA’s collection program.” “Just a weakened bill or worse than status quo? I’ll find out,” Representative Amash said.[32]

After passage of the marked up bill, USA Freedom Act co-author and Senate Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy commented that he “remain concerned that the legislation approved today does not include some of the important reforms related to national security letters, a strong special advocate at the FISA Court, and greater transparency. I will continue to push for those reforms when the Senate Judiciary Committee considers the USA FREEDOM Act this summer.”[8]

Reaction

The Act has bipartisan support, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. As of May 8, 2014, it had 150 co-sponsors in the House[1] and 21 in the Senate.[2] Viewed as one of the most comprehensive of the similar bills introduced since the NSA leaks, the USA Freedom Act has support or qualified support from a diverse range of groups such as the ACLUMozilla, and the NRA.[13][33]

Representative Justin Amash, author of the narrowly-defeated Amash Amendment, a proposal that would have de-funded the NSA, backed the legislation. “It’s getting out of control” he commented, “[Courts are issuing] general warrants without specific cause…and you have one agency that’s essentially having superpowers to pass information onto others”.[23]

According to Deputy Attorney General James Cole, even if the Freedom Act becomes law, the NSA could continue its bulk collection of American’s phone records. He explained that “it’s going to depend on how the [FISA] court interprets any number of the provisions” contained within the legislation.[16] Jennifer Granick, Director of Civil Liberties at Stanford Law School, stated:

The Administration and the intelligence community believe they can do whatever they want, regardless of the laws Congress passes, so long they can convince one of the judges appointed to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to agree. This isn’t the rule of law. This is a coup d’etat.[16]

Opponents of global surveillance have called for the bill to be strengthened. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released a statement saying “we consider this bill to be a floor, not a ceiling”. The ACLU wrote that “although the USA Freedom Act does not fix every problem with the government’s surveillance authorities and programs, it is an important first step and it deserves broad support.”[34][35]

International human rights groups remain somewhat skeptical of specific provisions of the bill. For example, Human Rights Watch expressed its concern that the “bill would do little to increase protections for the right to privacy for people outside the United States, a key problem that plagues U.S. surveillance activities. Nor would the bill address mass surveillance or bulk collection practices that may be occurring under other laws or regulations, such as Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act or Executive Order 12333. These practices affect many more people and include the collection of the actual content of internet communications and phone calls, not just metadata”.[36] Zeke Johnson, Director of Amnesty International‘s Security and Human Rights Program, agreed that “any proposal that fails to ban mass surveillance, end blanket secrecy, or stop discrimination against people outside the U.S. will be a false fix”.[37]

See also

References

  1. Jump up to:a b “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361″THOMAS, Library of Congress. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  2. Jump up to:a b “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361″THOMAS, Library of Congress. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  3. Jump up^ “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361″. THOMAS, Library of Congress.
  4. Jump up^ “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) S.1599″. THOMAS, Library of Congress.
  5. Jump up to:a b The Guardian: Chairman of key House committee agrees to proceed with NSA reform bill
  6. Jump up^ House Judicicary Committee: Manager’s Amendment to USA Freedom Act

    Section 102(b)(1) of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (50 U.S.C. 1805 note) is amended by striking ‘‘June 1, 2015’’ and inserting ‘‘December 31, 2017’’.

  7. Jump up^ The Guardian: USA Freedom Act unanimously clears House Judiciary Committee

    As amended, the USA Freedom Act would push back the expiration of Section 215 to the end of 2017, when Section 702 is set to expire. The current expiration is 1 June of next year. Some legislators are already whispering that allowing Section 215 to expire wholesale in 2015 is a preferable reform.

  8. Jump up to:a b Office of Senator Patrick Leahy: Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Action by the House Judiciary Committee to End Bulk Collection
  9. Jump up^ “Bill Summary & Status: 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361 CRS Summary”. THOMAS, Library of Congress.
  10. Jump up to:a b Roberts, Dan. “The USA Freedom Act: a look at the key points of the draft bill”Guardian.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  11. Jump up^ Wilhelm, Alex (2013-10-29). “Proposed USA FREEDOM Act Would Dramatically Curtail The NSA’s Surveillance”TechCrunch.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  12. Jump up^ ‘Patriot Act’ Author Seeks ‘USA Freedom Act’ to Rein In NSA – US News and World Report. Usnews.com (October 10, 2013).
  13. Jump up to:a b c Gallagher, Rhan. “U.S. Lawmakers Launch Assault on NSA Domestic Snooping”Slate.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  14. Jump up^ “USA Freedom Act Would Leash the National Security Agency”Businessweek. Bloomberg. 2013-10-31. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  15. Jump up^ Sensenbrenner, Jim. “The USA Freedom Act”House.gov. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  16. Jump up to:a b c Granick, Jennifer (2013-12-16). “NSA’s Creative Interpretations Of Law Subvert Congress And The Rule Of Law”Forbes. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  17. Jump up to:a b Leahy, Sen. Patrick; Sensenbrenner, Rep. Jim (29 October 2013). “The case for NSA reform”Politico. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  18. Jump up^ House Judicicary Committee: Manager’s Amendment to USA Freedom Act
  19. Jump up to:a b “Analysis of Specific USA PATRIOT Act Provisions: Expanded Dissemination of Information Obtained in Criminal Investigations”AnalysisElectronic Privacy Information Center. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
  20. Jump up^ “Bill Text 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361.IH”THOMASLibrary of Congress. Retrieved 2014-03-09.
  21. Jump up to:a b Roberts, Dan (2013-10-10). “Patriot Act author prepares bill to put NSA bulk collection ‘out of business'”Guardian. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  22. Jump up^ Editorial Board (2013-06-06). “President Obama’s Dragnet”. New York Times.
  23. Jump up to:a b Krietz, Andrew (2013-10-15). “Amash-backed bill aimed to end NSA spying programs garners even bipartisan support”. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  24. Jump up^ Shabad, Rebecca (2014-01-16). “Sen. Leahy on NSA claim: ‘Baloney'”The Hill.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  25. Jump up^ House Judicicary Committee: Manager’s Amendment to USA Freedom Act
  26. Jump up^ James X. Dempsey“Why Sections 209, 212, and 220 Should be Modified” (undated). Retrieved October 15, 2007.
  27. Jump up^ “Resolution on the USA Patriot Act and Related Measures That Infringe on the Rights of Library Users”American Library Association. January 29, 2003. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
  28. Jump up^ ProPublica: What the Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn’t Do
  29. Jump up^ National Journal: House Panels Race Against Each Other to Reform NSA Spying
  30. Jump up^ EFF Statement on Rep. Sensenbrenner’s USA FREEDOM Act Amendment
  31. Jump up^ Open Technology Institute: OTI Statement on New Version of Surveillance Reform Bill, The USA FREEDOM Act
  32. Jump up^ Foreign Policy: Key NSA Defender: Congress ‘A Lot Closer’ On Surveillance Reform
  33. Jump up^ Handerson (2013-10-29). “The Freedom Act will Help Rebuild User Trust in the Internet”The Mozilla Blog. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  34. Jump up^ Kurt Opsahl and Rainey Reitman (2013-11-14). “A Floor, Not a Ceiling: Supporting the USA FREEDOM Act as a Step Towards Less Surveillance”. Electronic Frontier Foundation.
  35. Jump up^ Michelle Richardson (2013-10-29). “The USA FREEDOM Act is Real Spying Reform”. American Civil Liberties Union.
  36. Jump up^ Human Rights Watch: US: Modest Step by Congress on NSA Reform
  37. Jump up^ Amnesty International: Congress Must Put Human Rights at the Center of Surveillance Reform

External links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USA_Freedom_Act

 

XKeyscore

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Logo for the XKeyscore program

XKeyscore or XKEYSCORE (abbreviated as XKS) is a formerly secret computer system first used by the United States National Security Agency for searching and analyzing Internet data it collects worldwide every day. The program has been shared with other spy agencies including Australia’s Defence Signals Directorate, New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau and the German Bundesnachrichtendienst.[1]

The program’s existence was publicly revealed in July 2013 by Edward Snowden in The Sydney Morning Herald and O Globo newspapers, though the codename is mentioned in earlier articles, and like many other codenames can also be seen in job postings, and in the online resumes of employees.[2][3]

The scope of XKeyscore

XKeyscore is a complicated system and various authors have different interpretations about its actual capabilities. Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald explained XKeyscore as being a system which enables almost unlimited surveillance of anyone anywhere in the world, while NSA said that usage of the system is limited and restricted.

According to The Washington Post and national security reporter Marc Ambinder, XKeyscore is an NSA data-retrieval system which consists of a series of user interfaces, backend databases, servers and software that selects certain types of data and metadata that the NSA has already collected using other methods.[4][5]

According to Snowden and Greenwald

On January 26, 2014, the German broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk asked Edward Snowden in its TV interview: “What could you do if you would use XKeyscore?” and he answered:[1]

“You could read anyone’s email in the world, anybody you’ve got an email address for. Any website: You can watch traffic to and from it. Any computer that an individual sits at: You can watch it. Any laptop that you’re tracking: you can follow it as it moves from place to place throughout the world. It’s a one-stop-shop for access to the NSA’s information.”
“…You can tag individuals… Let’s say you work at a major German corporation and I want access to that network, I can track your username on a website on a form somewhere, I can track your real name, I can track associations with your friends and I can build what’s called a fingerprint, which is network activity unique to you, which means anywhere you go in the world, anywhere you try to sort of hide your online presence, your identity.”

According to The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, low-level NSA analysts can via systems like XKeyscore “listen to whatever emails they want, whatever telephone calls, browsing histories, Microsoft Word documents. And it’s all done with no need to go to a court, with no need to even get supervisor approval on the part of the analyst.”[6]

He added that the NSA’s databank of collected communications allows its analysts to listen “to the calls or read the emails of everything that the NSA has stored, or look at the browsing histories or Google search terms that you’ve entered, and it also alerts them to any further activity that people connected to that email address or that IP address do in the future”.[6]

According to the NSA

Further information: SIGINT

In an official statement from July 30, 2013, the NSA said there is no “unchecked analyst access to NSA collection data. Access to XKeyscore, as well as all of NSA’s analytic tools, is limited to only those personnel who require access for their assigned tasks.” The NSA also states that there are “stringent oversight and compliance mechanisms built in at several levels. One feature is the system’s ability to limit what an analyst can do with a tool, based on the source of the collection and each analyst’s defined responsibilities.”[7]

The agency defended the program, stressing that it was only used to legally obtain information about “legitimate foreign intelligence targets in response to requirements that our leaders need for information necessary to protect our nation and its interests. […] XKeyscore is used as a part of NSA’s lawful foreign signals intelligence collection system. […] These types of programs allow us to collect the information that enables us to perform our missions successfully — to defend the nation and to protect U.S. and allied troops abroad.”[8]

Workings

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing a worldmap with the locations of XKeyscore servers

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing the query hierarchy

An NSA presentation about XKeyscore from 2008 says that it’s a “DNI Exploitation System/Analytic Framework”. DNI stands for Digital Network Intelligence, which means intelligence derived from internet traffic.[9] In an interview with the German Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Edward Snowden said about XKeyscore: “It’s a front end search engine”.[10]

Data sources

XKeyscore consists of over 700 servers at approximately 150 sites where the NSA collects data, like “US and allied military and other facilities as well as US embassies and consulates” in many countries around the world.[11][12][13] Among the facilities involved in the program are four bases in Australia and one in New Zealand.[12]

According to an NSA presentation from 2008, these XKeyscore servers are fed with data from the following collection systems:[14]

  1. F6 (Special Collection Service) – joint operation of the CIA and NSA that carries out clandestine operations including espionage on foreign diplomats and leaders
  2. FORNSAT – which stands for “foreign satellite collection”, and refers to intercepts from satellites
  3. SSO (Special Source Operations) – a division of the NSA that cooperates with telecommunication providers

In a single, undated slide published by Swedish media in December 2013, the following additional data sources for XKeyscore are mentioned:[15]

  1. Overhead – intelligence derived from American spy planes, drones and satellites
  2. Tailored Access Operations – a division of the NSA that deals with hacking and cyberwarfare
  3. FISA – all types of surveillance approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
  4. Third party – foreign partners of the NSA such as the (signals) intelligence agencies of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, etc.

From these sources, XKeyscore stores “full-take data”, which are indexed by plug-ins that extract certain types of metadata (like phone numbers, e-mail addresses, log-ins, and user activity) and index them in metadata tables, which can be queried by analysts. XKeyscore has been integrated with MARINA, which is NSA’s database for internet metadata.[9]

However, the system continuously gets so much Internet data that it can be stored only for short periods of time. Content data remain on the system for only three to five days, while metadata is stored for up to 30 days.[16] A detailed commentary on an NSA presentation published in The Guardian in July 2013 cites a document published in 2008 declaring that “At some sites, the amount of data we receive per day (20+ terabytes) can only be stored for as little as 24 hours.”[17]

Capabilities

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing the differences between the various NSA database systems

For analysts, XKeyscore provides a “series of viewers for common data types”, which allows them to query terabytes of raw data gathered at the aforementioned collection sites. This enables them to find targets that cannot be found by searching only the metadata, and also to do this against data sets that otherwise would have been dropped by the front-end data processing systems. According to a slide from an XKeyscore presentation, NSA collection sites select and forward less than 5% of the internet traffic to the PINWALE database for internet content.[16]

Because XKeyscore holds raw and unselected communications traffic, analysts can not only perform queries using “strong selectors” like e-mail addresses, but also using “soft selectors”, like keywords, against the body texts of e-mail and chat messages and digital documents and spreadsheets in English, Arabic and Chinese.[9]

This is useful because “a large amount of time spent on the web is performing actions that are anonymous” and therefore those activities can’t be found by just looking for e-mail addresses of a target. When content has been found, the analyst might be able to find new intelligence or a strong selector, which can then be used for starting a traditional search.[9]

Besides using soft selectors, analysts can also use the following other XKeyscore capabilities:[9][18]

  • Look for the usage of Google Maps and terms entered into a search engine by known targets looking for suspicious things or places.
  • Look for “anomalies” without any specific person attached, like detecting the nationality of foreigners by analyzing the language used within intercepted emails. An example would be a German speaker in Pakistan. The Brazilian paper O Globo claims that this has been applied to Latin America and specifically to Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela.[11][19]
  • Detect people who use encryption by do searches like “all PGP usage in Iran”. The caveat given is that very broad queries can result in too much data to transmit back to the analyst.
  • Showing the usage of Virtual private networks (VPNs) and machines that can potentially be hacked via TAO.
  • Track the source and authorship of a document that has passed through many hands.

Most of these things cannot be detected by other NSA tools because they operate with strong selectors (like e-mail and IP addresses and phone numbers) and the raw data volumes are too high to forward them to other NSA databases.[9]

In 2008, it was planned to add a number of new capabilities in the future, like:

Significance

The NSA slides published in The Guardian during 2013 claimed that XKeyscore had played a role in capturing 300 terrorists by 2008.[9] This claim could not be substantiated as the redacted documents do not cite instances of terrorist interventions.

A 2011 report from the NSA unit in Griesheim (Germany) says that XKeyscore made it easier and more efficient to target surveillance. Previously, analysis often accessed data they were not interested in. XKeyscore allowed them to focus on the intended topics, while ignoring unrelated data. XKeyscore also proved to be an outstanding tool for tracking active groups associated with the Anonymous movement in Germany, because it allows for searching on patterns, rather than particular individuals. An analyst is able to determine when targets research new topics, or develop new behaviors.[20]

To create additional motivation, the NSA incorporated various features from computer games into the program. For instance, analysts who were especially good at using XKeyscore could acquire “skilz” points and “unlock achievements.” The training units in Griesheim were apparently successful and analysts there had achieved the “highest average of skilz points” compared with all other NSA departments participating in the training program.[20]

Usage by foreign partners of the NSA

Germany

Excerpt of an NSA document leaked by Edward Snowden that reveals the BND‘s usage of the NSA’s XKeyscore to wiretap a German domestic target

According to documents Der Spiegel acquired from Snowden, the German intelligence agencies BND (foreign intelligence) and BfV (domestic intelligence) were also allowed to use the XKeyscore system. In those documents the BND agency was described as the NSA’s most prolific partner in information gathering.[21] This led to political confrontations, after which the directors of the German intelligence agencies briefed members of the German parliamentary intelligence oversight committee on July 25, 2013. They declared that XKeyscore has been used by the BND since 2007 and that the BfV uses a test version since 2012. The directors also explained that this program is not for collecting data, but only for analyzing them.[22]

Sweden

As part of the UKUSA Agreement, a secret treaty was signed in 1954 by Sweden with the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand for the purpose of intelligence collaboration and data sharing.[23] According to documents leaked by Snowden, the National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) has been granted access to XKeyscore.[24]

 

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Rubio and Ryan, GOP leaders in Congress all see big drops in support

Sen. Rand Paul demolished his competition in the 2014 Washington Times/CPAC presidential preference straw poll on Saturday, winning 31 percent of the vote — nearly three times the total of second-place Sen. Ted Cruz.

The poll also found a strong plurality of attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference believe marijuana should be fully legalized, with 41 percent saying it’s time to change the law and tax it. Another 21 percent said it should be legalized only for medicinal purposes, while just 31 percent said it should remain illegal in all cases.


SEE ALSO: CPAC 2014 straw poll results


In the presidential poll, Mr. Cruz’s 11 percent was a big improvement for the freshman senator, who won just 4 percent in last year’s straw poll. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson was third with 9 percent and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was fourth with 8 percent in results that signal growing discontent with the GOP establishment in Washington.

Indeed, CPAC voters now have an unfavorable view of Republicans in Congress, with 51 percent saying they disapprove of the job the GOP is doing on Capitol Hill. Just last year the GOP had a 54 percent approval rating, and in 2012 they held a 70 percent approval rating.

But a series of tough votes over the last few months that saw Republican leaders work with President Obama to boost spending and raised the government’s debt limit have deepened a rift between the GOP’s leadership on Capitol Hill and conservative activists around the country.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference in National Harbor, Md., Thursday, March 6, 2014. Thursday marks the first day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, which brings together prospective presidential candidates, conservative opinion leaders and tea party activists from coast to coast. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)Enlarge PhotoSen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual … more >

That could be one reason why Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who wrote December’s budget deal that boosted spending in 2014 and 2015, saw his standing with CPAC voters cut in half — from 6 percent support in last year’s presidential straw poll to just 3 percent this year.

Sen. Marco Rubio suffered an even bigger drop, falling from 23 percent and second place in 2013 to seventh place, with 6 percent, this year.

“I like Ted Cruz, I like Rand Paul, I like Mike Lee. I like Rubio, but less now than I did a year ago because of immigration,” said David Fitzwilliam, 83.


SEE ALSO: Rand Paul urges conservatives to fight with him for liberty


For Mr. Paul, the victory is his second in a row, and he saw his support climb from 25 percent last year to 31 percent this year.

“He is the only true liberty candidate who focuses on civil liberties more than anybody else,” said Al Seltzinger, 36, from Baltimore. “I think the way the nation is going today with the government and the president going against the Constitution that we need someone who holds strict to the Constitution and whose voting record is pretty solid when it comes to the Constitution.”

Mr. Cruz also jumped from just 4 percent last year — when he was a newly sworn-in senator — to his 11 percent this year.

Mr. Carson, who gained prominence with a 27-minute speech challenging Mr. Obama when the two appeared at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, is also on the rise. In last year’s straw poll, taken just after that speech, he garnered 4 percent of the vote, but jumped to 9 percent this year.

“I love Ted Cruz, I love Rand Paul, but Ben Carson is all of the above,” said Jean Carlton, a 71-year-old CPAC attendee who said the doctor’s lack of Washington experience was a big plus.

For his part Mr. Christie, who has faced political troubles back home in New Jersey after his staffers caused a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge to punish a town mayor, seems to be holding steady among activists. He rose from 7 percent last year to 8 percent support this year.

In his speech to the conference on Thursday, Mr. Christie argued that the GOP needs to not only pick a conservative champion, but pick a candidate who can get elected.

“We can’t govern if we can’t win,” he said.

That resonated with some CPAC straw poll voters.

“I think he has the best chance in the general election. I am less optimistic about his chances in the primary, but he seems to be more palatable to Independents and Democrats. I think electability is the main concern,” said Matthew Smith, a 19-year-old student at Yale University.

This year’s straw poll listed 25 potential candidates, which is far more than usual. The high number signals just how wide open the GOP’s presidential contest is with two years to go before the first caucuses and primaries.

On the Democratic side, meanwhile, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton easily leads the rest of her party’s field in national and state polling.

Previous versions of The Washington Times/CPAC poll showed that the audience that gathers in Washington leans younger and more libertarian than the conservative movement throughout the country, which likely gives Mr. Paul a boost with this crowd here.

Indeed, his father, then-Rep. Ron Paul, won the straw poll twice on a similar libertarian-minded message, though he struggled to translate that support into votes when it came to primaries and caucuses.

The straw poll was conducted between Thursday and Saturday afternoon, and 2,459 votes were cast.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/8/rand-paul-wins-2014-cpac-straw-poll-ted-cruz-finis/

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Diplomatic Agreement — The Budapest Memorandum — Will It Lead To US War With Russia Over Ukraine or More Obama Appeasement? — Videos

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Story 3: Diplomatic Agreement — The Budapest Memorandum — Will It Lead To US War With Russia Over Ukraine or More Obama Appeasement? — Videos

Donald Rumsfeld on Russia, Ukraine, Obama !

Russian Roulette: The Invasion of Ukraine (Dispatch Two)

Russian Roulette: The Invasion of Ukraine (Dispatch One)

Russia fires first shots of Crimea invasion – Ukraine update – Truthloader

The Alex Jones Show(VIDEO Commercial Free) Sunday March 2 2014: Ukraine Mobilizes For War

Headlines: Hillary Clinton compares Russia’s actions in Ukraine to Nazi Germany

Obama: ‘Russia on the Wrong Side of History’

WW3 UPDATE: Ukrainian FORCES MOBILISING As RUSSIA Approves MILITARY ACTION In Ukraine

Russia Expands Its Natural Gas Infrastructure (Agenda)

Videographic: Sidestepping Russia’s gas monopoly

Ukrainian Protests and Russian Influence (Dispatch)

Crimea in the middlegaspipelines

Story 3: Diplomatic Agreement — The Budapest Memorandum — Will It Lead To US War With Russia Over Ukraine or More Obama Appeasement? — Videos

On 1 March 2014, the White House released a press release stating that Russia had breached its obligations to Ukraine under the Budapest Memorandum:

President Obama expressed his deep concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is a breach of international law, including Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter, and of its 1997 military basing agreement with Ukraine, and which is inconsistent with the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and the Helsinki Final Act. The United States condemns Russia’s military intervention into Ukrainian territory.

—Office of the Press Secretary

Budapest Memorandums on Security Assurances, 1994

Published December 5, 1994

The Presidents of Ukraine, Russian Federation and United States of America, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom signed three memorandums (UN Document A/49/765) on December 5, 1994, with the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Through this agreement, these countries (later to include China and France in individual statements) gave national security assurances to Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The Joint Declaration by the Russian Federation and the United States of America of December 4, 2009 confirmed their commitment.

Excerpt:

“Welcoming the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-nuclear-weapon State,

Taking into account the commitment of Ukraine to eliminate all nuclear weapons from its territory within a specified period of time,

Noting the changes in the world-wide security situation, including the end of the cold war, which have brought about conditions for deep reductions in nuclear forces,

Confirm the following:

1. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine;

2. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or

political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;

3. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind;

4. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear

weapons are used;

5. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm, in the case of Ukraine, their commitment not to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclearweapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,

except in the case of an attack on themselves, their territories or dependent territories, their armed forces, or their allies, by such a State in association or alliance with a nuclear-weapon State;

6. Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America will consult in the event a situation arises that raises a question concerning these commitments.

This Memorandum will become applicable upon signature.

Signed in four copies having equal validity in the Ukrainian, English and Russian languages.

For Ukraine:

(Signed) Leonid D. KUCHMA

For the Russian Federation:

(Signed) Boris N. YELTSIN

For the United Kingdom of Great

Britain and Northern Ireland:

(Signed) John MAJOR

For the United States of America:

(Signed) William J. CLINTON

U.S./U.K./Ukraine Press Statement on the Budapest Memorandum Meeting

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 5, 2014

On 5 March 2014, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hosted a meeting in Paris with the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, William Hague, and the Acting Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Andriy Deshchytsia.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the urgent question of the Budapest Memorandum, the agreement signed by the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Russia in 1994. The United States had conveyed an invitation to the Russian Federation to the meeting. We deeply regret that the Russian Federation declined to attend.

The Budapest Memorandum sets out the obligations of signatories in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons. Under its terms, the three parties commit to refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The Memorandum also obliges the UK, US and Russia to consult in the event of a situation arising where the memorandum commitments are questioned.

Ukraine voluntarily surrendered the world’s third largest nuclear weapons arsenal in exchange for these assurances. The three Governments treat these assurances with utmost seriousness, and expect Russia to as well. Russia has chosen to act unilaterally and militarily. The United Kingdom and United States will continue to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and we commend the new Ukrainian government for not taking actions that might escalate the situation. Russia’s continued violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity can only degrade Russia’s international standing and lead to greater political and economic consequences.

In the meeting, the Governments of the United States, United Kingdom and Ukraine discussed steps needed to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity and called on Russia to engage in consultations with Ukraine as they have committed to in the Budapest memorandum.

The United States, United Kingdom and Ukraine agreed that direct talks between Ukraine and Russia, facilitated as needed by members of the international community, are crucial to resolving the current situation. They also agreed that international observers should be deployed immediately in Ukraine, especially in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. The three governments reaffirmed the importance of protecting the rights of all Ukrainian citizens, and believed that international observers would help address any concerns regarding irregular forces, military activity and the treatment of all Ukrainians irrespective of their ethnicity or spoken language.

 http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/03/222949.htm

The Budapest Memorandum and Crimea

With tensions rising in Crimea and pro-Russian forces controlling the peninsula’s main airports, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has called on Russia to “not violate the Budapest Memorandum.” So what is the “Budapest Memorandum” and what does it have to do with Crimea?

What exactly is the “Budapest Memorandum”?

The “Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances” is a diplomatic memorandum that was signed in December 1994 by Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

It is not a formal treaty, but rather, a diplomatic document under which signatories made promises to each other as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Under the memorandum, Ukraine promised to remove all Soviet-era nuclear weapons from its territory, send them to disarmament facilities in Russia, and sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Ukraine kept these promises.

In return, Russia and the Western signatory countries essentially consecrated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine as an independent state. They did so by applying the principles of territorial integrity and nonintervention in 1975 Helsinki Final Act — a Cold War-era treaty signed by 35 states including the Soviet Union — to an independent post-Soviet Ukraine.

Which principles in the Helsinki Final Act, reiterated in the “Budapest Memorandum,” are relevant to the current situation in the Crimea?

In the “Budapest Memorandum,” Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States promised that none of them would ever threaten or use force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine. They also pledged that none of them would ever use economic coercion to subordinate Ukraine to their own interest.

They specifically pledged they would refrain from making each other’s territory the object of military occupation or engage in other uses of force in violation of international law.

All sides agreed that no such occupation or acquisition will be recognized as legal and that the signatories would “consult in the event a situation arises which raises a question concerning these commitments.”

Is there anything legally binding about the “Budapest Memorandum” regarding Russia’s obligations to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity?

“That’s actually a much more complex question than it may sound. It is binding in international law, but that doesn’t mean it has any means of enforcement,” says Barry Kellman, a professor of law and director of the International Weapons Control Center at DePaul University’s College of Law.

“The ‘Budapest Memorandum’ follows the Helsinki Final Act and essentially reiterates its provisions. There are confidence building measures and then a host of other broader obligations – primarily negative obligations. Don’t interfere.”

Kellman concludes that there are a host of other sources of international law that oblige Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity — including the provisions of the CSCE treaty and the UN Charter.

http://www.voanews.com/content/the-budapest-memorandum-and-crimea/1862439.html

: The forgotten treaty which could drag the US and UK into WAR with Russia if Putin’s troops intervene in Ukraine

  • The agreement sees signatories promise to protect Ukraine’s borders
  • It was signed by Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma in 1994
  • Ukrainian parliament has now reached out directly to all the countries who signed the treaty
  • Putin currently has 150,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders and it is reported some have crossed into the country
  • President Obama says he is ‘deeply concerned’ by the news
  • The US and Britain have both made ‘crisis calls’ to President Putin to warn him to respect territorial boundaries

By JILL REILLY and LIZZIE EDMONDS

A treaty signed in 1994 by the US and Britain could pull both countries into a war to protect Ukraine if President Putin’s troops cross into the country.

Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine – agreed to the The Budapest Memorandum as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Technically it means that if Russia has invaded Ukraine then it would be difficult for the US and Britain to avoid going to war.

The revelation comes as reports suggest the Kremlin was moving up to 2,000 troops across the Black Sea from Novorossiysk to their fleet base at Sevastopol.

At least 20 men wearing the uniform of the Russian fleet and carrying automatic rifles surrounded a Ukrainian border guard post in a standoff near the port yesterday.

Last night it was still unclear the exact scale of Russian boots on the ground in Crimea or the identity of gunmen who have taken over airports in Simferopol and Sevastopol – though reports suggest they are Russian marines or Moscow- controlled militias.

The action came as President Obama delivered blunt warnings to Moscow.

‘We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine,’ he told reporters at the White House.

‘Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing,’ he said in a brief appearance.

‘The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.’

U.S. officials also said the President could scrap plans to attend an international summit in Russia and take negotiations on deepening trade ties with the country off the table in response to Russian involvement in the Ukraine.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel added: “This could be a very dangerous situation if this continues in a provocative way.”

Asked about options in a CBS News interview, he said that “We’re trying to deal with a diplomatic focus, that’s the appropriate, responsible approach.”

Both the U.S. and the UK are advising against all non-essential trips to Ukraine – especially Crimea.

former British Ambassador to Moscow Sir Tony Brenton, who served as British Ambassador from 2004 to 2008, said in an interview that war could be an option 'if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding.'

former British Ambassador to Moscow Sir Tony Brenton, who served as British Ambassador from 2004 to 2008, said in an interview that war could be an option ‘if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding.’

NATO also asked Russia not to take action that could escalate tension. However Moscow responded by telling the organization to ‘refrain’ from provocative statements on Ukraine and respect its ‘non-bloc’ status.

Sir Tony Brenton, who served as British Ambassador from 2004 to 2008, said that war could be an option ‘if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding.’

It promises to protect Ukraine’s borders, in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons.

Kiev has demanded the agreement is activated after insisting their borders had been violated.

In response Mr Brenton said in a BBC radio interview: ‘If indeed this is a Russian invasion of Crimea and if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding then it’s very difficult to avoid the conclusion that we’re going to go to war with Russia’.

Ukraine accused Russia of a ‘military invasion and occupation’, saying Russian troops have taken up positions around a coast guard base and two airports on its strategic Crimea peninsula.

Russia kept silent on the accusations, as the crisis deepened between two of Europe’s largest countries.

Any Russian military incursion in Crimea would dramatically raise the stakes in Ukraine’s conflict, which saw pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych flee last weekend after three months of anti-government protests. Yanukovych vowed Friday at a news conference in Russia to ‘keep fighting for the future of Ukraine,’ though he called any military action ‘unacceptable.’

Moscow has vowed to protect Russian-speaking Ukrainians in Crimea, where it has a major naval base, and Ukraine and the West have warned Russia to stay away.

Russia did not confirm its troops were involved in Friday’s action in Crimea, which would be a major escalation.

In Kiev, Ukraine’s parliament adopted a resolution demanding that Russia halt steps it says are aimed against Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and called for a U.N. Security Council meeting on the crisis.

THE BUDAPEST REFERENDUM

Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances was a international treaty signed on February, 5, 1994, in Budapest.

The diplomatic document saw signatories make promises to each other as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

It was signed by Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine.

The agreement promises to protest Ukraine’s borders in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons.

It is not a formal treaty, but rather, a diplomatic document.

It was an unprecedented case in contemporary international life and international law.

Whether is it legally binding in complex.

‘It is binding in international law, but that doesn’t mean it has any means of enforcement,’ says Barry Kellman is a professor of law and director of the International Weapons Control Center at DePaul University’s College of Law told Radio Free Europe.

‘I can only describe this as a military invasion and occupation,’ Ukraine’s newly named interior minister, Arsen Avakov, wrote in a Facebook post.

The chief of Ukraine’s security council, Andriy Parubiy, seemed to strike a less strident tone later in the day, saying gunmen had tried to ‘seize’ the airports in the Crimean cities of Simferopol and Sevastopol but insisting in comments to the Interfax news agency that ‘de-facto the airports are controlled by the law enforcement bodies of Ukraine.’

Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service also said about 30 Russian marines from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet – which is based in Sevastopol – had taken up position outside the Ukrainian Coast Guard base in the area. It said the marines said they were there to prevent any weapons at the base from being seized by extremists.

Russia’s defense ministry had no comment.

Yanukovych made his first public appearance since fleeing Ukraine in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, not far from the Ukrainian border. It was the first confirmation that he had left the country, and he said he was ‘forced’ to do so only after his family received threats.

‘I intend to keep fighting for the future of Ukraine,’ he said.

Yanukovych said he supports Crimea’s residents who are worried about ‘nationalists’ in Kiev and added that Russia cannot stand by while events in Ukraine unfold. He denied, however, that this amounts to a call for military intervention.

‘Any military action in this situation is unacceptable,’ he said. 

Tensions rising: A Russian soldier on an armoured personnel carrier halted on a road in Ukraine around 20 miles from Sebastapol, where there is a large Russian military presence

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Tensions rising: A Russian soldier on an armoured personnel carrier halted on a road in Ukraine around 20 miles from Sebastapol, where there is a large Russian military presence

The prosecutor-general’s office in Kiev said it would seek Yanukovych’s extradition to Ukraine, where he is wanted on suspicion of mass murder in last week’s violent clashes between protesters and police, during which over 80 people were killed.

At the airport serving Simferopol, commercial flights were landing and taking off despite dozens of armed men in military uniforms without markings patrolling with assault rifles. They didn’t stop or search people leaving or entering the airport, and refused to talk to journalists.

One man who identified himself only as Vladimir said the men were part of the Crimean People’s Brigade, which he described as a self-defense unit ensuring that no ‘radicals and fascists’ arrive from other parts of Ukraine. There was no way to verify his account.

The airport deployments came a day after masked gunmen with rocket-propelled grenades and sniper rifles seized the parliament and government offices in Simferopol and raised the Russian flag. Ukrainian police cordoned off the area but didn’t confront the gunmen. They remained in control of the buildings Friday.

The Russian foreign and defense ministries had no comment. Russia’s state RIA Novosti and Interfax cited an unnamed official from the Russian Black Sea Fleet denying involvement, saying Russian servicemen stationed in Crimea have not moved into the airports and denying that the Russian military was in control there.

Tensions between the two countries were high, however. Russia continued with massive combat readiness exercises involving most of its troops in western and southern Russia that it said were unrelated to the Ukraine conflict. The moves were reminiscent of Cold War brinksmanship.

Russian military forces are blockading an airport in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea, an act Ukraine's new interior minister has announced branded an 'armed invasion'

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Russian military forces are blockading an airport in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea, an act Ukraine’s new interior minister has announced branded an ‘armed invasion’

As events in the Crimea region heighten tensions with neighboring Russia, this morning armed men also took over the other main Crimean airport, Simferopol, according to a Facebook post by Mr Avakov

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As events in the Crimea region heighten tensions with neighboring Russia, this morning armed men also took over the other main Crimean airport, Simferopol, according to a Facebook post by Mr Avakov

Dozens of armed men in military uniforms without markings were seen patrolling the airport in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea

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Dozens of armed men in military uniforms without markings were seen patrolling the airport in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea

The move came as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told Ukraine's new prime minister that the U.S. welcomes the formation of the country's new government

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The move came as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told Ukraine’s new prime minister that the U.S. welcomes the formation of the country’s new government

The Kremlin, in a statement published late Thursday, said President Vladimir Putin had instructed the government to ‘maintain contacts with the counterparts in Kiev in what concerns trade and economic ties between Russia and Ukraine.’

Moscow has been sending mixed signals about Ukraine but pledged to respect its territorial integrity. Putin has long dreamed of pulling Ukraine, a country of 46 million people considered the cradle of Russian civilization, closer into Moscow’s orbit.

Meanwhile, Swiss prosecutors announced they had launched a criminal investigation against Yanukovych and his son Aleksander over ‘aggravated money laundering.’

They said police and Geneva’s chief prosecutor conducted a search and seized documents Thursday at the premises of a company owned by Aleksander Yanukovych.

Ukraine's ex-President Yanukovych has made his first public appearance since being ousted, telling a news conference that he was going to fight for his country's future

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Ukraine’s ex-President Yanukovych has made his first public appearance since being ousted, telling a news conference that he was going to fight for his country’s future

Switzerland and Austria both said they would freeze any assets Yanukovych and his entourage might have in those countries.

Ukraine’s population is divided in loyalties between Russia and the West, with much of western Ukraine advocating closer ties with the European Union while eastern and southern regions look to Russia for support.

Crimea, a southeastern peninsula of Ukraine that has semi-autonomous status, was seized by Russian forces in the 18th century under Catherine the Great, and was once the crown jewel in Russian and then Soviet empires.

It became part of Ukraine in 1954 when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred jurisdiction from Russia, a move that was a mere formality until the 1991 Soviet collapse meant Crimea landed in an independent Ukraine.

In a bid to shore up Ukraine’s fledgling administration, the International Monetary Fund has said it is ‘ready to respond’ to Ukraine’s bid for financial assistance; Ukraine’s finance ministry has said it needs $35 billion over the next two years to avoid default.

The European Union is also considering emergency loans for a country that is the chief conduit of Russian natural gas to western Europe.

And Putin, in his statement, asked his government to ‘hold consultations with foreign partners including the IMF and the G8 nations to provide financial aid to Ukraine.’

Associated Press journalists approaching the Sevastopol airport found the road leading up to it blocked by two military trucks and a handful of gunmen wearing camouflage uniforms and carrying assault rifles.

A car with Russian military plates was stopped at the roadblock. A man wearing a military uniform with a Russian flag on his sleeve got out of the car and was allowed to enter on foot after a brief discussion with the gunmen.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2570335/Former-British-Ambassador-Moscow-warns-Russia-invaded-Ukraine-difficult-avoid-going-war.html

Fact Check: Could a Little-Known International Agreement With Ukraine Force U.S., Britain Into War With Russia?

The United States and Britain “reaffirmed” their commitment to protect Ukraine’s borders in exchange for the nation giving up its nuclear weapons in a little-known agreement known as the “Budapest Memorandum signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1994.

The Daily Mail notes reports “if Russia has invaded Ukraine then it would be difficult for the US and Britain to avoid going to war.”

Sir Tony Brenton, who served as a British ambassador from 2004 to 2008, said war is certainly on the table if it’s determined that the Budapest Memorandum is “legally binding.”

According to the Daily Mail, Kiev has asked that the agreement be honored as it claims its borders have been violated.

“If indeed this is a Russian invasion of Crimea and if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding then it’s very difficult to avoid the conclusion that we’re going to go to war with Russia,” Brenton told BBC radio.

Ukraine has accused Russia of a “military invasion,” though details are still coming in.

The unsettling news comes after President Barack Obama warned Russia about military action in Ukraine on Friday.

But a closer look at the Budapest Memorandum shows the specifics might be more complex than some are assuming. Article one of the agreement states:

The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine … to respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.

Reaffirming a “commitment” to Ukraine’s borders and being legally required to go to war are two very different ideas.

There will surely be much debate over whether the Budapest Memorandum is a legally binding agreement requiring action. The U.S. going to war with Russia is likely a last resort for the Obama administration.

According to rferl.org, the Budapest Memorandum is a diplomatic memorandum, not an official treaty.

Barry Kellman, a professor of law and director of the International Weapons Control Center at DePaul University’s College of Law, told the website that the answers to questions about whether the agreement is binding are “complex.”

“That’s actually a much more complex question than it may sound. It is binding in international law, but that doesn’t mean it has any means of enforcement,” he said.

“The ‘Budapest Memorandum’ follows the Helsinki Final Act and essentially reiterates its provisions. There are confidence building measures and then a host of other broader obligations – primarily negative obligations. Don’t interfere,” the professor added.

Armed men described as Russian troops took control of key airports in Crimea on Friday and Russian transport planes flew into the strategic region, Ukrainian officials said, an ominous sign of the Kremlin’s iron hand in Ukraine. President Barack Obama bluntly warned Moscow “there will be costs” if it intervenes militarily.

The sudden arrival of men in military uniforms patrolling key strategic facilities prompted Ukraine to accuse Russia of a “military invasion and occupation” – a claim that brought an alarming new dimension to the crisis.

Unidentified armed men patrol outside of Simferopol airport, on February 28, 2014. Ukraine accused today Russia of staging an 'armed invasion' of Crimea and appealed to the West to guarantee its territorial integrity after pro-Moscow gunmen took control of the peninsula's main airport. (Source: AFP PHOTO / VIKTOR DRACHEV VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Unidentified armed men patrol outside of Simferopol airport, on February 28, 2014. Ukraine accused today Russia of staging an ‘armed invasion’ of Crimea and appealed to the West to guarantee its territorial integrity after pro-Moscow gunmen took control of the peninsula’s main airport. (Source: AFP PHOTO / VIKTOR DRACHEV VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Obama urged Russia to respect the independence and territory of Ukraine and not try to take advantage of its neighbor, which is undergoing political upheaval.

“Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing,” Obama said.

“Just days after the world came to Russia for the Olympic Games, that would invite the condemnation of nations around the world,” he continued. “The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”

He did not say what those costs might be.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/02/28/fact-check-could-a-little-known-international-agreement-force-u-s-britain-into-war-with-russia/#

Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances

The Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances is an international treaty signed on 5 December 1994, providing security assurances by its signatories relating to Ukraine‘s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The Memorandum was originally signed by three nuclear-powers, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom. China and France later gave individual statements of assurance as well.[1][clarification needed]

The memorandum included security assurances against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine as well as those of Belarus and Kazakhstan. As a result Ukraine gave up the world’s third largest nuclear weapons stockpile between 1994 and 1996.[2][3]

Following the 2014 Crimean crisis, the US stated that Russian involvement is in breach of its obligations to Ukraine under the Budapest Memorandum, and in clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.[4][5]


According to the memorandum, Russia, the US, and the UK confirmed, in recognition of Ukraine becoming party to the 
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and in effect abandoning its nuclear arsenal to Russia, that they would:

  1. Respect Ukrainian independence and sovereignty within its existing borders.
  2. Refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine.
  3. Refrain from using economic pressure on Ukraine in order to influence its politics.
  4. Seek United Nations Security Council action if nuclear weapons are used against Ukraine.
  5. Refrain from the use of nuclear arms against Ukraine.
  6. Consult with one another if questions arise regarding these commitments.[6]

Analyse

Under the treaty, the signatories offered Ukraine “security assurances” in exchange for its adhesion to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The memorandum bundled together a set of assurances that Ukraine already held from the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) Final Act, United Nations Charter and Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Ukrainian government nevertheless found it politically valuable to have these assurances in a Ukraine-specific document. [7] [8]

The Budapest Memorandum was negotiated as a political agreement. It refers to assurances, not defined, but less than a military guarantee of intervention. According to Stephen MacFarlane, a professor of international relations “It gives signatories justification if they take action, but it does not force anyone to act in Ukraine.”[7][8]

Issues

Tuzla Island crisis

Main article: Tuzla Island

Ukraine gave up the world’s third largest nuclear weapons stockpile between 1994 and 1996 in return for “security assurances” from five nuclear powers, including Russia who was seen by Ukraine as the main threat to its territorial integrity.[2] In 2003, Russian construction efforts were seen as an attempt to annex Tuzla Island off the Crimean coast of Ukraine.[2] The Russian threat to Tuzla led to the Ukrainian leadership appealing to NATO for consultations on security, as outlined in the 1997 NATO-Ukraine Charter, without result.[2] The dispute led to negotiations over delimitation of the maritime borders. In a 2012 preliminary agreement, Ukraine and Russia agreed that Tuzla Island would be considered Ukraine’s territory.[9][needs update]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia after hosting the Budapest Memorandum Ministerial on the Ukraine crisis in Paris, France, on March 5, 2014.

2014 Crimean crisis

Main article: 2014 Crimean crisis

In February 2014, unidentified troops seized or blockaded various airports, as well as other strategic sites throughout Crimea.[10] Official Ukrainian sources have said that the troops are Russian, attached to the Russian Black Sea Fleet stationed in Crimea,[11] likely placing Russia in violation of the Budapest Memorandum. The Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed the movement of armoured units attached to the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, but asserts that they are acting within the scope of the various agreements between the two countries. Other official Russian sources deny that the units in the area of Sevastopol International Airport, specifically, are attached to the Black Sea Fleet.[12]

On 1 March 2014, the White House released a press release stating that Russia had breached its obligations to Ukraine under the Budapest Memorandum:

President Obama expressed his deep concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is a breach of international law, including Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter, and of its 1997 military basing agreement with Ukraine, and which is inconsistent with the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and the Helsinki Final Act. The United States condemns Russia’s military intervention into Ukrainian territory.

—Office of the Press Secretary[4]

[5]

In response to the crisis, the Ukrainian parliament has requested that the Memorandum’s signatories reaffirm their commitment to the principles enshrined in the treaty, and further asked that they hold consultations with Ukraine to ease tensions.[13]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ “Budapest Memorandums on Security Assurances, 1994″. Council on Foreign Relations. December 5, 1994. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  2. Jump up to:a b c d The Crimea:Europe’s Next Flashpoint, By Taras Kuzio, November 2010
  3. Jump up^ [1]
  4. Jump up to:a b Office of the Press Secretary. “Readout of President Obama’s Call with President Putin”. whitehouse.gov.
  5. Jump up to:a b Washington Post Editorial Board. “Condemnation isn’t enough for Russian actions in Crimea”. Washington Post.
  6. Jump up^ Memorandum on Security Assurances [2]
  7. Jump up to:a b Are the US and the UK bound to intervene in Ukraine?france24, 03-03-2014
  8. Jump up to:a b Ukraine crisis’ impact on nuclear weapons, 4-March-2014
  9. Jump up^ http://en.ria.ru/russia/20120713/174576071.html
  10. Jump up^ Higgins, Andrew; Reevell, Patrick (28 February 2014). “Armed, masked men appear at airports in Crimea”The Boston Globe. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  11. Jump up^ Booth, William; DeYoung, Karen (28 February 2014). “Reports of Russian military activity in Crimea prompts stern warning from Obama”The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  12. Jump up^ “Movement of Russian armored vehicles in Crimea fully complies with agreements – Foreign Ministry”. RT. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  13. Jump up^ “Ukrainian parliament appeals to Budapest Memorandum signatories”. Interfax Ukraine. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014.

External links

Ukraine – The Birth of a Nation. Part 1 of 4. From Rus to Ukraine

Ukraine – The Birth of a Nation. Part 2 of 4. Ukraine or Little Russia?

Ukraine – The Birth of a Nation. Part 3 of 4. Together Forever

Ukraine – The Birth of a Nation. Part 4 of 4. Independence