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Breaking News — Two Hostages and Refugee Iranian Muslim Terrorist, Man Haron Monis, Killed in Sydney, Australia, 4 Injured, After 16 Hour Siege — Videos

Posted on December 16, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Documentary, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government spending, history, Homicide, Illegal, Immigration, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Regulations, Religion, Security, Talk Radio, Terrorism, Video, War, Welfare, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Breaking News — Two Hostages and Refugee Iranian Muslim Terrorist, Man Haron Monis, Killed in Sydney, Australia, 4 Injured, After 16 Hour Siege — Videos

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Australia: Sydney cafe gunman “infatuated with extremism” says Abbott

Prime Minister Tony Abbott spoke from Canberra on Tuesday, following the Sydney hostage siege which ended after 17 hours at a Lindt chocolate cafe at Martin Place. Abbott stated the “lone gunman” was dead after a standoff with police, and that “tragically” two hostages were killed. A New South Wales police officer was also wounded by a gunshot to the face.

Sydney Hostage Police Storm Lindt Cafe in Sydney 2 Shot Dead – 3 Injured (RAW FOOTAGE)

BREAKING NEWS SYDNEY TERROR SIEGE 5 Hostage Left lintd cafe live video

President Of Australia On Terror Attack In Sydney

Australian Terrorist Attack: Gunman Takes Hostages In Sydney Cafe

President Obama praises Australia’s gun control

The Ultimate TRUTH About The Failed Gun Ban Control Experience (Documentary)

It is a common fantasy that gun bans make society safer. In 2002 — five years after enacting its gun ban — the Australian Bureau of Criminology acknowledged there is no correlation between gun control and the use of firearms in violent crime. In fact, the percent of murders committed with a firearm was the highest it had ever been in 2006 (16.3 percent).

Even Australia’s Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research acknowledges that the gun ban had no significant impact on the amount of gun-involved crime:

In 2006, assault rose 49.2 percent and robbery 6.2 percent.
Sexual assault — Australia’s equivalent term for rape — increased 29.9 percent.
Overall, Australia’s violent crime rate rose 42.2 percent.
Moreover, Australia and the United States — where no gun-ban exists — both experienced similar decreases in murder rates:

Between 1995 and 2007, Australia saw a 31.9 percent decrease; without a gun ban, America’s rate dropped 31.7 percent.
During the same time period, all other violent crime indices increased in Australia: assault rose 49.2 percent and robbery 6.2 percent.
Sexual assault — Australia’s equivalent term for rape — increased 29.9 percent.
Overall, Australia’s violent crime rate rose 42.2 percent.
At the same time, U.S. violent crime decreased 31.8 percent: rape dropped 19.2 percent; robbery decreased 33.2 percent; aggravated assault dropped 32.2 percent.
Australian women are now raped over three times as often as American women.

When you hand over your firearms,this is what you can expect!

Proof Gun Control is 100% BS

NRA: To See Where Gun Licensing Leads, Look To Great Britain

Suzanna Gratia Hupp explains meaning of 2nd Amendment!

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed….”- Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787

On October 16, 1991, Hennard drove his 1987 Ford Ranger pickup truck through the front window of a Luby’s Cafeteria at 1705 East Central Texas Expressway in Killeen, yelled “This is what Bell County has done to me!”, then opened fire on the restaurant’s patrons and staff with a Glock 17 pistol and later a Ruger P89. About 80 people were in the restaurant at the time. He stalked, shot, and killed 23 people and wounded another 20 before committing suicide. During the shooting, he approached Suzanna Gratia Hupp and her parents. Hupp had actually brought a handgun to the Luby’s Cafeteria that day, but had left it in her vehicle due to the laws in force at the time, forbidding citizens from carrying firearms. According to her later testimony in favor of Missouri’s HB-1720 bill[1] and in general, after she realized that her firearm was not in her purse, but “a hundred feet away in [her] car”, her father charged at Hennard in an attempt to subdue him, only to be gunned down; a short time later, her mother was also shot and killed. (Hupp later expressed regret for abiding by the law in question by leaving her firearm in her car, rather than keeping it on her person. One patron, Tommy Vaughn, threw himself through a plate-glass window to allow others to escape. Hennard allowed a mother and her four-year-old child to leave. He reloaded several times and still had ammunition remaining when he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head after being cornered and wounded by police.

Reacting to the massacre, in 1995 the Texas Legislature passed a shall-issue gun law allowing Texas citizens with the required permit to carry concealed weapons. The law had been campaigned for by Suzanna Hupp, who was present at the Luby’s massacre and both of whose parents were shot and killed. Hupp testified across the country in support of concealed-handgun laws, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996. The law was signed by then-Governor George W. Bush and became part of a broad movement to allow U.S. citizens to easily obtain permits to carry concealed weapons.

5 Deadliest Mass Shootings in the USA

THREE DEAD IN BLOODY END TO SIEGE: Two hostages dead and Muslim gunman killed as police storm Sydney cafe with assault rifles and stun grenades moments after hostages fled

  • Police stormed the cafe in central Sydney where a gunman held hostages for more than 16 hours
  • Police moved in firing automatic weapons and throwing grenades as hostages were seen fleeing in terror from cafe
  • Live TV footage showed hostages running frantically from the cafe at shortly after 2 am in small groups 
  • It came hours after Man Haron Monis was named as the gunman holding people hostage in a Sydney café
  • Iranian refugee, 50, was charged with accessory in the murder of his ex-wife
  • He was also facing multiple charges of sexual assault while claiming to be a ‘spiritual healer’ 
  • Monis received 300 community service hours for sending hate mail to the families of Australian dead soldiers
  • The siege follows an unsuccessful attempt to have these charges overturned in the High Court on Friday 
  • He forced hostages to hold up a black flag with white writing in Arabic, an emblem linked to terror groups 

By Emily Crane and Daniel Piotrowski and Sarah Dean and Louise Cheer and Candace Sutton for Daily Mail Australia and Leesa Smith and Heather Mcnab

An Iranian-born gunman was killed, two of his hostages are dead and four injured after a dramatic and chaotic firefight brought an end to a terrorist siege at a Sydney cafe.

Teams of heavily armed police swooped on the Lindt Chocolat cafe in a hail of gunfire, ending a tense stand-off where Man Haron Monis had been holding around 17 people captive.

Police issued a statement describing the event as a confrontation with a 50-year man, who they said died after shots were fired. The man was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital, police said.

A man, aged 34, and a woman, aged 38, also died, the police said in their statement.

Of the injured, two women have non life-threatening injuries and a police officer was injured by gunshot pellets, the police said. Another woman has a gunshot wound to the shoulder.

Live television coverage earlier showed at least two people being taken away from the scene on stretchers, while one hostage was seen being carried out of the building. She appeared to be in pain and blood flowed down her legs.

Nine News reported that eleven hostages had been accounted for after the police raid, which occurred shortly after 2am.

An injured hostage is carried away on a stretcher by paramedics after police stormed the Lindt Chocolat cafe in central Sydney where around 20 people were being held by a gunman during a 17-hour siege. One hostage and the gunman were reportedly killed in the firefight

A hostage feared dead is carried out of the cafe after they were reportedly shot by the hostage-taker, prompting police to storm the building

A hostage feared dead is carried out of the cafe after they were reportedly shot by the hostage-taker, prompting police to storm the building

A female hostage is carried out and away from the cafe - clearly in distress with blood pouring down the legs

Man Haron Monis bound in chains in protest of his charges of using the postal service for menace

Man Haron Monis bound in chains in protest of his charges of using the postal service for menace

With terror etched on their faces, two female hostages run into the arms of armed police at the back of the building

With terror etched on their faces, two female hostages run into the arms of armed police at the back of the building

Siege over: Police raided the cafe in central Sydney early Tuesday, bringing a dramatic end to a 17-hour siefe. The raid came moments after some hostages fled the Lindt cafe after more than 16

Siege over: Police raided the cafe in central Sydney early Tuesday, bringing a dramatic end to a 17-hour siefe. The raid came moments after some hostages fled the Lindt cafe after more than 16

Petrified: Two heavily armed police officers assist a hostage away from Lindt Cafe in Martin Place in central Sydney

Petrified: Two heavily armed police officers assist a hostage away from Lindt Cafe in Martin Place in central Sydney

Police officers wearing armoured suits walk with a robot towards Lindt Cafe in Martin Place to check for booby traps after the siege ended

Police officers wearing armoured suits walk with a robot towards Lindt Cafe in Martin Place to check for booby traps after the siege ended

Seven Network reporter Chris Reason, who was watching the siege unfold from his newsroom across the road, said some of the hostages broke free after Monis attempted to usher the hostages from one side of the café to the other.

One man emerged from the cafe with his hands up and lay down on the ground in front of police. Seconds later, a group of at least five hostages escaped from the cafe.

It is believed that Monis then fired his shotgun, reportedly killing one of his captives. This appeared to be the trigger for tactical police to move in.

Within seconds, they had blasted through the cafe door and opened fire with automatic weapons, also hurling what appeared to be stun grenades. The sounds of explosions echoed through the city, and the flashes of rifle fire and the grenades lit up the area.

The gunfight lasted less than two minutes, and more hostages emerged after the police raid.

As the scene calmed down, a bomb disposal robot was seen entering the cafe.

Self-proclaimed Islamic cleric Man Haron Monis, a 49-year-old man living in southwest Sydney, came to Australia from Iran as a refugee in 1996.

He first came to the attention of authorities when he started sending hate mail to the families of Australian dead soldiers between 2007 and 2009, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The siege in the Lindt cafe in Martin Place on Monday reportedly followed an unsuccessful effort to have a conviction related to penning those letters overturned in the High Court on Friday, according to The Age.

Monis received 300 community service hours and a two-year good behaviour bond for the correspondence, which he claims were his version of sympathy cards and sent with the help from his girlfriend Amirah Droudis.

Man Haron Monis - also known as Sheik Haron - has been named as the gunman holding up to 15 people hostage in a Sydney café

Man Haron Monis – also known as Sheik Haron – has been named as the gunman holding up to 15 people hostage in a Sydney café

Heavily armed police remained posted around the cafe as night fell and the hostage drama continued into the night

Heavily armed police remained posted around the cafe as night fell and the hostage drama continued into the night. Inside, the remaining hostages were brought food and were observed by witnesses as looking ‘pained’

The hostage-taker was charged as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife – who was allegedly stabbed and set on fire on a flight of stairs in her western Sydney apartment block in November 2013. The man’s current partner was charged with murder but they both received bail as the case was deemed too weak.

He was arrested in April this year for the sexual assault of a 27-year-old woman in 2002 after luring her to his clinic following claims he was as an expert in astrology, meditation and black magic, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Monis was slapped with an additional 40 charges in October after more victims came forward alleging incidents took place in his spiritual healing clinic in Station Street in Wentworthville, western Sydney.

High-profile Sydney Muslim leader Jamal Rifi told Daily Mail Australia he knew of the gunman but not on a personal level.

‘What he expressed did not reflect the Muslim community which is why he is not part of the larger Muslim community and that’s why he does not belong to a mainstream mosque,’ he said.

‘He wanted his name known and may want some gratification from the reaction to this’

The hostages were seized by the gunman on Monday morning after he stormed the Sydney cafe. Several captives made an early courageous break for freedom but it was thought that about 15 hostages remained in the cafe through the night.

During the stand-off with police, three videos were released on YouTube, believed to be of three female hostages putting the gunman’s demands to police. Those demands included the police bringing an ISIS flag to the cafe and insisting on a conversation with Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Daily Mail Australia decided not to air the disturbing footage which was taken down during the night. The gunman’s name was released soon after midnight, after senior police gave their approval to various media outlets.

The seige in the Lindt cafe in Martin Place on Monday follows an unsuccessful attempt to have the charges overturned linked to the hate mail he sent to the families of dead Australian soldiersin the High Court on Friday

The seige in the Lindt cafe in Martin Place on Monday follows an unsuccessful attempt to have the charges overturned linked to the hate mail he sent to the families of dead Australian soldiersin the High Court on Friday

The drama began unfolding Monday morning when the gunman entered the cafe, located in one of busiest plazas in Sydney’s central business district, and pulled a shotgun from a blue carry bag and disabled the doors.

Soon afterwards, hostages were seen with their hands pressed against the windows holding up the Islamic Shahada flag. It is an emblem of extremist group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is fighting the Assad government in Syria. The man was described as wearing a headband with Arabic writing on it.

Scores of police rushed to the scene, evacuating surrounding buildings and closing off part of the city. The scene sent shockwaves across Australia, where terror attacks have rarely touched home soil.

Paramilitary police armed with automatic rifles spent Monday surrounding the cafe, with senior commanders saying they were prepared to take a patient approach to the siege, hoping to end it through negotiation with the gunman.

A total of five hostages, including barista Elly Chen, managed to escape the cafe by scrambling out a side door about seven hours into the drama. Fear etched on their faces, they ran into the arms of waiting police.

It is understood the hostages escaped from the cafe, rather than being released by their captor. One former male hostage was taken to nearby St Vincent’s Hospital, in Sydney’s inner suburbs, and is being treated for a pre-existing condition.

The gunman flew into a rage when he realised some of his captives had escaped.

‘The gunman could be seen from here getting extremely agitated, shouting at remaining hostages,’ tweeted journalist Chris Reason.

The light inside the building went off through the night but police would not reveal whether it was a law enforcement or hostage-taker tactic. Mr Reason said he could see the gunman rotating the hostages through positions in the store’s window.

‘From inside Martin Place we can see the faces of hostages – pained, strained, eyes red and raw,’ he recounted. Food and water was also being delivered to the prisoners from the cafe’s back kitchens.

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Arriving as a refugee in Australia in 1996, the hostage-taker was charged as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife - who was allegedly stabbed and set on fire on a flight of stairs in her western Sydney apartment block in November 2013

Arriving as a refugee in Australia in 1996, the hostage-taker was charged as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife – who was allegedly stabbed and set on fire on a flight of stairs in her western Sydney apartment block in November 2013

A young female employee came running out of the Lindt cafe shortly before 5pm and was sheltered by waiting police

Another distraught female worker, cafe barista Elly Chen, bolted from the shop before taking cover with police

A total of five hostages have now escaped Lindt cafe – it’s believed they escaped and were not released

One of the young female employees was visibly upset as she grabbed hold of armed police

One of the young female employees was visibly upset as she grabbed hold of armed police

'Omg Elly!! So glad you're OK': Ms Chen, pictured, was the fifth hostage, scrambling from the cafe with her hands in the air

‘Omg Elly!! So glad you’re OK': Ms Chen, pictured, was the fifth hostage, scrambling from the cafe with her hands in the air

Freedom: Ms Chen was helped to a cover immediately after she burst from the Lindt Cafe store

Freedom: Ms Chen was helped to a cover immediately after she burst from the Lindt Cafe store

Daily Mail Australia understands a 25-year-old female fashion industry worker and two female baristas aged in their 30s were among that number.

Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said overnight that police would do whatever it takes for the situation to be peacefully resolved.

Sydney was eerily quiet on Monday night. Office buildings went into lockdown earlier this morning, Martin Place train station – a central thoroughfare for workers – was shuttered. Events at the Opera House, such as a performance of the Nutcracker, were cancelled as the city icon was evacuated.

Hundreds of heavily armed police, operating under unprecedented Task Force Pioneer counter-terrorism protocols, were scouring the city, completely isolating the darkened cafe.

Two terrified men were spotted fleeing the Lindt cafe in Martin Place shortly before 3.45pm

Two terrified men were spotted fleeing the Lindt cafe in Martin Place shortly before 3.45pm

Two men, believed to be customers, ran around a corner and hid behind heavily armed police after six hours inside the cafe

Two men, believed to be customers, ran around a corner and hid behind heavily armed police after six hours inside the cafe

A male employee wearing an apron frantically ran out of a side fire exit and hid behind police

A male employee wearing an apron frantically ran out of a side fire exit and hid behind police

BThe three men are believed to have escaped from the cafe after six hours

Many remain: Around 10 hostages are thought to remain inside the Lindt chocolate cafe 

Many remain: Around 10 hostages are thought to remain inside the Lindt chocolate cafe

On Monday morning, columnist Chris Kenny, who was in the shop about 20 minutes before the siege began, said he understood the automatic glass sliding doors had been disabled after the gunman stormed the store.

‘I did speak to a couple of people who saw a bit more of this unfold than I did,’ he said. ‘One woman said she tried to go into the shop just after I came out with my takeaway coffee but the doors wouldn’t open.

‘So obviously whoever is doing this has disabled the automatic glass sliding doors to stop anyone else going in and she said immediately she could see there was a weapon.

‘The woman was quite frantic but very clear what she was telling (the police).

‘I know the faces of the people who are sitting there enjoying a morning coffee.’

2GB radio host Ray Hadley said he had three tense telephone conversations with one of the hostages inside the cafe and he could hear the gunman giving demands.

The hostage asked to be put to air live following the instructions of the gunman. However, Hadley refused saying he didn’t have the expertise to deal with the situation.

‘There are some people who are not well. They’ve been in there for five hours, they’re distraught,’ he said.

‘I’m not in a position to comply with requests that have been made, I can’t.

‘The media can’t play a role in negotiating with people purporting to be from Islamic State holding hostages in a cafe in Sydney. This is the job of authorities to solve htis problem.

‘They want us to say things that we simply can’t say.’

Witnesses described the chaotic scenes in the legal, business and media centre as it was shut down and scores of heavily armed police surrounded the Lindt building.

All of the chocolate chain’s stores around Sydney were closed following the incident, in an act of camaraderie.

Dozens of people are being held hostage by a terrorist who stormed into a central Sydney cafe with a gun and forced crying women to hold a black Islamic flag up to the window

Dozens of people are being held hostage by a terrorist who stormed into a central Sydney cafe with a gun and forced crying women to hold a black Islamic flag up to the window

A man believed to be one of the hostage-takers was filmed wearing a black headband covered in Arabic inside the cafe

A man believed to be one of the hostage-takers was filmed wearing a black headband covered in Arabic inside the cafe

Terrified customers and employees were among those standing with their hands against the window at the Lindt cafe in Sydney

Terrified customers and employees were among those standing with their hands against the window at the Lindt cafe in Sydney

A hostage could be seen pressing their hands up against the window of the cafe

A hostage could be seen pressing their hands up against the window of the cafe

One blonde-haired hostage was pictured inside the cafe through the glass doors standing in the middle of the shop

One blonde-haired hostage was pictured inside the cafe through the glass doors standing in the middle of the shop

SYDNEY SIEGE TIMELINE

9.45am – A number of hostages held inside a cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place with an Islamic flag pressed up against a window.

10.14am – Police establish a 150m exclusion zone around the cafe with specialist police outside the shop.

10.55am – The flag being displayed appears to be the Shahada flag which has been adopted by extremist groups such as the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front.

11.40am – Channel Seven air footage of alleged armed offender. He is middle aged with a salt and pepper beard, wearing a headband with Islamic writing.

11.51am – NSW Police try to make contact with the people inside the cafe. They advise workers who are trapped in buildings inside the police cordon to stay away from windows.

1.30pm – NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione says they had moved to a ‘footing’ similar to dealing with a terrorist attack.

1.55pm – NSW Premier Mike Baird says Sydney is being tested today, but ‘we will remain a democratic society’

2.45pm – Lindt Chocolat Cafe Australia thank the public for their support via Facebook, saying they are ‘deeply concerned over this serious incident’

3.37pm – Three male hostages run out of the cafe.

3.50pm – NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn confirms negotiators have spoken with a gunman.

5.00pm – Two female Lindt workers leave the cafe.

Police kept their guns raised on the fire exit after an employee unexpectedly ran from the cafe

Police kept their guns raised on the fire exit after an employee unexpectedly ran from the cafe

Police are stationed behind a ballistic shield with weapons drawn outside the fire door where a hostage escaped from

Police are stationed behind a ballistic shield with weapons drawn outside the fire door where a hostage escaped from

Police officers were spotted climbing through the first floor window above the Lindt cafe to help evacuate those inside

Police officers were spotted climbing through the first floor window above the Lindt cafe to help evacuate those inside

Scores of police have surrounded the cafe in Martin Place amid claims the terrorists are also armed with a machete and may have explosives

Scores of police have surrounded the cafe in Martin Place amid claims the terrorists are also armed with a machete and may have explosives

Armed police have sealed off streets around the cafe and Martin Place station is shut

Armed police have sealed off streets around the cafe and Martin Place station is shut

Armed police have sealed off streets around the cafe and Martin Place station is shut

Police heavily armed with weapons have covering all corners of Martin Place 

Police heavily armed with weapons have covering all corners of Martin Place

Thousands of workers have been evacuated from the buildings in Martin Place and have been directed to another area

Thousands of workers have been evacuated from the buildings in Martin Place and have been directed to another area

People in the area encompassing Hunter, George, Elizabeth and Macquarie streets bordering Martin Place have been directed to remain indoors and away from open windows

People in the area encompassing Hunter, George, Elizabeth and Macquarie streets bordering Martin Place have been directed to remain indoors and away from open windows

Emergency services have shut down the area surrounding Martin Place as they continue the operation 

Emergency services have shut down the area surrounding Martin Place as they continue the operation

A Lindt cafe employee, who was due to start her shift just an hour after the Sydney hostage drama unfolded, said she was ‘shaking with fear’ when the gunman arrived.

Kathryn Chee, a chocolatier at the cafe said she meant to turn up early for her 11am shift because the business had been so busy in the lead up to Christmas.

‘It shakes me to the bone,’ Ms Chee told the ABC. She said her colleagues who are now hostages are ‘people who I hold like another family’.

‘It’s good I’m not there but I wish I could be there for them. That could be me standing there.’

Ms Chee said the young woman seen in footage holding an Islamic flag pressed against the window had ‘a look of sheer horror on her face’.

She says the woman is a thoughtful colleague who bakes treats for people’s birthdays.

Ms Chee said the male hostage seen in the TV footage is a funny guy who jokes with the customers.

Police have handcuffed a man 200m from the cafe with reports an officer has hit foot on what appears to be a small black handgun

Police have handcuffed a man 200m from the cafe with reports an officer has hit foot on what appears to be a small black handgun

Hostages: People could be seen with their hands pressed against the window of the Lindt cafe in Sydney

Hostages: People could be seen with their hands pressed against the window of the Lindt cafe in Sydney

Police have shut down Martin Place train station and office buildings in the area have been evacuated

Police have shut down Martin Place train station and office buildings in the area have been evacuated

Prime Minister Tony Abbott described the incident as ‘deeply concerning’ but said police were well equipped to respond

Officials have also evacuated the Opera House after reports of a suspicious device

Other areas of Sydney are feeling a heavy police presence as the siege at Martin Place continues

Other areas of Sydney are feeling a heavy police presence as the siege at Martin Place continues

Witnesses have described the chaotic scenes in Martin Place as the area was shut down and scores of police surrounded the building

Witnesses have described the chaotic scenes in Martin Place as the area was shut down and scores of police surrounded the building

Witnesses have described the chaotic scenes in Martin Place as the area was shut down and scores of police surrounded the building

The Seven Network newsroom, which is in a building opposite the cafe, was among the first to be evacuated, immediately followed by the nearby Westpac building and the Reserve Bank of Australia. Surrounding buildings soon followed or went into lockdown.

Even the city’s courts, including the venerable Downing Centre building, were sealed for the day, with police quickly vacating the areas.

Rosemary Healion, who works at Frederick Jordan Chambers, told Daily Mail Australia on Monday morning that ‘a couple hundred’ of her colleagues were inside at the time of the attack.

‘My colleagues are still in there. They’re trying to get them out now,’ Ms Healion told Daily Mail Australia.

Ms Healion said her office was on the ground floor, the same one as Lindt and they had been pushed behind the office’s reception area.

‘I’m so so worried as you would be. I was about to walk into the cafe. I get coffee there all the time.’

Window cleaner, David Wilson, managed to get a birds-eye-view of police swarming into Martin Place as he and a colleague cleaned the windows of a building across from Lindt.

‘We were looking around and there were cops running around and guns drawn. Some people came out, they looked like just coffee drinkers and that was about all we saw,’ Mr Wilson said, adding that his colleague’s first response was to get out his phone and start filming.

Rodrigo Neryt was arriving at Channel Seven for his first day of work experience when he heard screaming out the front of the cafe.

‘I was at the corner when everything started. I saw people yelling and screaming and two police cars arriving at the scene. I saw what looked like a black ISIS flag and they were holding it up’.

Armed police evacuated office staff next to the Lindt cafe on Monday afternoon

Armed police evacuated office staff next to the Lindt cafe on Monday afternoon

Police helped direct employees who were in lockdown in a building near the cafe under siege

Police helped direct employees who were in lockdown in a building near the cafe under siege

Police in white jumpsuits were helping people climb from the offices on the level above the Lindt cafe

Women help an elderly lady as they are evacuated by NSW Police from Martin Place

Women help an elderly lady as they are evacuated by NSW Police from Martin Place

Three women were pictured rushing through Philip Street past armed police as they fled Martin Place

Three women were pictured rushing through Philip Street past armed police as they fled Martin Place

It is unclear how many people are involved in the siege in a Lindt cafe in Martin Place but people could be seen with their hands pressed against the windows (second window)

It is unclear how many people are involved in the siege in a Lindt cafe in Martin Place but people could be seen with their hands pressed against the windows (second window)

At least two gunmen are involved in the siege but dozens of armed police have sealed off the streets surrounding the site

At least two gunmen are involved in the siege but dozens of armed police have sealed off the streets surrounding the site

WHAT IS THE SHAHADA FLAG?

Held up to a window by terrified hostages, a black flag covered in white Arabic was the first sign that the Martin Place siege could be linked to extremist Islam.

Witnesses initially believed that it was the standard of ISIS. However, close examination revealed it was in fact the Shahada flag, bearing the words ‘There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’

It is used by the extremist group, Jabhat al Nusra, which is fighting the Assad government in Syria.

But it has meaning for all Muslims, in that the Shahada is the Islamic Creed, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which is recited by Muslims when they pray.

The flag displayed at the Lindt cafe

The flag displayed at the Lindt cafe

John Edwards works across the road from the cafe on the ninth floor of 53 Martin Place.

He said every floor of the building had been cleared about 11.15am.

‘We were evacuated out of the building from the basement,’ Mr Edwards told Daily Mail Australia.

‘All we were told by security was to get out.’

Lindt Australia issued a statement about the siege on its Facebook page.

‘We are deeply concerned over this serious incident and our thoughts and prayers are with the staff and customers involved and all their friends and families,’ they said.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Martin Place was the planned location of a terror plot. It was alleged in September that Omarjan Azari, the 22-year-old Sydney man arrested on terrorism charges, was planning a public beheading there.

The alleged terror plot, mentioned in a conversation between now deceased Australian terrorism recruiter in Syria, Mohammad Ali Barylei and Azari, involved selecting a member of the public at random, beheading them and then covering their body in a flag.

The whole incident was going to be filmed, and then used as propaganda for the Islamic State cause. Federal prosecutors said the alleged terror plot was ‘clearly designed to shock, horror and terrify the community’

Police Prosecutor Michael Allnutt said that Azari had made a threat which involved a ‘random selection of persons to execute’ during a telephone conversation with Baryalei.

Azari was arrested on September 18 and charged with preparing for an act of terrorism.

He is due in court this week for a bail application.

Thousands of office workers have relocated from Martin Place to Sydney's Hyde Park

Thousands of office workers have relocated from Martin Place to Sydney’s Hyde Park

Patients from the nearby Sydney Hospital patients were also evacuated alongside office workers

Patients from the nearby Sydney Hospital patients were also evacuated alongside office workers

Police are guarding the area in Hyde Park where people are congregating after evacuating 

Police are guarding the area in Hyde Park where people are congregating after evacuating

People evacuated from offices in Martin Place have been told to congregate in Hyde Park

People evacuated from offices in Martin Place have been told to congregate in Hyde Park

Martin Place is one of Sydney's busiest streets and is at the centre of the CBD

Martin Place is one of Sydney’s busiest streets and is at the centre of the CBD

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2873855/Gunman-takes-hostages-cafe-Sydney.html

Lindt Chocolat Cafe hostage drama in Martin Place, Sydney

December 16, 2014 – 3:01AM

Daniel Fallon

Siege hostages ‘our number one priority’

“We are doing all we can to set you free” is the message from the Premier and Police Commissioner to those held hostage.

1:24am: The man who is holding more than a dozen people hostage and placed Sydney’s CBD into lockdown is no stranger to the NSW police or the judiciary.

Self-described cleric, Man Haron Monis, 50, first came to attention of police when he penned poisonous letters to the family of dead Australian soldiers.

You can read the full story on Man Haron Monis here.

SIege gunman: Man Haron Monis.SIege gunman: Man Haron Monis. Photo: Nick Ralston

1:21am: As we enter day two of the hostage drama at Martin Place, we have kicked off a new live article for our readers. We’ll be switching off this live blog, and our reporters will be keeping you informed in our new blog.

You can keep up to date with all our coverage throughout Tuesday here. 

12:37am: The hostage siege at Lindt Cafe in Martin Place has been given prominence on the front pages of newspapers in the United States where there is great sensitivity to any terrorist-related attacks. The siege in Sydney follows ‘the lone-wolf’ attack on Canada’s war memorial and parliament in Ottawa by an Islamic State sympathiser.

12:12am: Police continue to keep watch and maintain their positions outside the Lindt Chocolate Cafe.

A NSW Tactical Operations Group police officer maintains his position at the scene in Martin Place, Sydney.A NSW Tactical Operations Group police officer maintains his position at the scene in Martin Place, Sydney. Photo: Andrew Meares

11:54pm yesterday:

Muslim leaders brace for backlash

A coalition of Muslim groups has issued a statement expressing their “utter shock and horror” over the siege at Martin Place and “urging everyone to stay calm”.

“We reject any attempt to take the innocent life of any human being, or to instil fear and terror into their hearts,” the statement says.

Read the full story by Anne Davies and Tim Elliott here: Muslim leaders brace for backlash

11:48pm yesterday:

Overreaction from fear is a measure of a terrorist’s success

Peter Hartcher comments on the siege that has captured media attention around the world:

“Why do political activists turn to terrorism? Australia gave the world a lesson today.

They turn to terrorism to win attention, to cause fear, and to use that fear to produce an overreaction. That overreaction is the measure of their success.”

Read the full story here: Overreaction from fear is a measure of a terrorist’s success

11:28pm yesterday: Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn has commended the public for its patience during the ongoing operation.

“You, the community, made our job much easier than it could have been,” Deputy Commissioner Burn said.

“We only hope that co-operation and understanding continues tomorrow as we work to bring about a peaceful resolution to this situation.”

Bus services will run according to regular schedules, although some routes will be diverted around the affected area.

Train services will operate normally although Martin Place station remains closed.

People intending to travel to the Sydney CBD, away from the cordoned off area, are advised to go ahead with their plans.

Those affected by the operation are advised to contact their employers, monitor media reports and seek advice via the NSW Police website and social media platforms.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn has commended members of the public for the cooperation they have shown police during the siege in Martin Place.NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn has commended members of the public for the cooperation they have shown police during the siege in Martin Place. Photo: Les Smith

11:16pm yesterday Daniel Fallon:

Public urged to go about its business as usual: police

Police are urging the public to go about their business as usual tomorrow.

Officers will continue to maintain a perimeter around a cafe at the corner of Martin Place and Elizabeth streets overnight where a man is holding a number of hostages.

Traffic and Highway Patrol police have cordoned-off parts of Hunter, Macquarie, King and Elizabeth streets.

  • Elizabeth Street between Hunter and King Streets – closed to all traffic
  • Elizabeth Street – northbound between Market and King Street – closed to all traffic
  • Phillip Street – between King and Hunter Streets – closed to all traffic
  • King Street – between Elizabeth and Phillip Streets – closed to all traffic
  • Macquarie Street – between St James Road and Hunter Street – closed to all traffic

10:50pm yesterday: Elly Chen, one of the employees who fled the Lindt Cafe at about 5pm on Monday, was a talented student and athlete, according to her social media accounts.

Friends and relatives flooded her Facebook page with messages of relief that she had made it from the building.

A waitress, believed to be Elly Chen, flees Lindt cafe on Monday afternoon.A waitress, believed to be Elly Chen, flees Lindt cafe on Monday afternoon. Photo: Jason Reed/Reuters

10:21pm yesterday: The hostages inside the cafe have now been there for more than 12 hours.

Here is a timeline of events from earlier in the day.

9.44am: Man seen entering Lindt Cafe, carrying blue sports bag with gun inside.

9.45am: Police called to scene.

9:50am: Police clear area and cordon off Martin Place.

10am: Cafe staff and customers pressed against windows with hands raised.

10:02am: Hostages forced to hold up flag with Islamic script.

10:45am: Sydney Opera House evacuated.

11:20am: Prime Minister Tony Abbott announces national security committee of cabinet convened for briefings.

About 1pm: Talkback host Ray Hadley claims to have spoken to a hostage who spoke under instruction of a gunman.

1:53pm: Premier Mike Baird says “we are being tested in Sydney today”.

1:58pm: NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione says “at least one” armed offender is holding an undisclosed number of hostages.

3:35pm: Three people – one staff member and two others – seen running from cafe.

4:04pm: NSW Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn says the number of hostages is fewer than 30

4:59pm: Two female employees of Lindt run from cafe.

8:20pm: Premier Baird and Police Commissioner Scipione foreshadow extension of hostage crisis into Tuesday. Scipione says the Lindt Cafe is the only building in the city police are now interested in.

Martin Place Siege exclusion zoneMartin Place Siege exclusion zone Photo: NSW government

10:11pm yesterday: This is a map of the exclusion zone around Martin Place in Sydney’s central business district, distributed by the NSW Government.

Premier Mike Baird has requested those who work inside the zone stay at home tomorrow.

10:06pm yesterday: Here is the Herald’s editorial on today’s siege, running online and in tomorrow’s newspaper.

The next test is to ensure we see this sad event for what it is – and what it is not. While there were a number of instances on Monday when Sydneysiders and the media jumped to conclusions about the link between this event and  other incidents around the city, in most cases people were rightfully reluctant to jump to conclusions about the motivations of the gunman or the extent of his plans.

Nonetheless, a temptation lingers in the community to catastrophise about such criminal behaviour; to believe that because we have endured one siege from at least one deranged individual, we are at risk of many more. Rationally, that is highly unlikely.

9:58pm yesterday:

A recap on the siege in Martin Place

  • Hours after five hostages escaped from the Lindt cafe, one of the remaining women switched off the lights inside.
  • Premier Mike Baird has asked Sydneysiders to go about their day as usual on Tuesday
  • There is an exclusion zone near the cafe, bordered by Pitt, Elizabeth, Hunter and King Streets.
  • NSW Police have activated Task Force Pioneer, which they use in terrorism related incidents.
  • A coalition of Muslim groups has expressed their shock and horror at the siege. They have urged calm.
  • Sydneysiders have united under the hashtag #illridewithyou offering company to Muslims wearing religious garments as they travel in the city.

Suzanna Gratia Hupp explains meaning of 2nd Amendment!

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed….”- Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787

On October 16, 1991, Hennard drove his 1987 Ford Ranger pickup truck through the front window of a Luby’s Cafeteria at 1705 East Central Texas Expressway in Killeen, yelled “This is what Bell County has done to me!”, then opened fire on the restaurant’s patrons and staff with a Glock 17 pistol and later a Ruger P89. About 80 people were in the restaurant at the time. He stalked, shot, and killed 23 people and wounded another 20 before committing suicide. During the shooting, he approached Suzanna Gratia Hupp and her parents. Hupp had actually brought a handgun to the Luby’s Cafeteria that day, but had left it in her vehicle due to the laws in force at the time, forbidding citizens from carrying firearms. According to her later testimony in favor of Missouri’s HB-1720 bill[1] and in general, after she realized that her firearm was not in her purse, but “a hundred feet away in [her] car”, her father charged at Hennard in an attempt to subdue him, only to be gunned down; a short time later, her mother was also shot and killed. (Hupp later expressed regret for abiding by the law in question by leaving her firearm in her car, rather than keeping it on her person. One patron, Tommy Vaughn, threw himself through a plate-glass window to allow others to escape. Hennard allowed a mother and her four-year-old child to leave. He reloaded several times and still had ammunition remaining when he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head after being cornered and wounded by police.

Reacting to the massacre, in 1995 the Texas Legislature passed a shall-issue gun law allowing Texas citizens with the required permit to carry concealed weapons. The law had been campaigned for by Suzanna Hupp, who was present at the Luby’s massacre and both of whose parents were shot and killed. Hupp testified across the country in support of concealed-handgun laws, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996. The law was signed by then-Governor George W. Bush and became part of a broad movement to allow U.S. citizens to easily obtain permits to carry concealed weapons.

  • Map: Where Is ‘Open Carry’ Legal?

    • By RANIMOLLA

    As people on both sides of the debate regarding open carry—the practice of carrying firearms in plain view—have been turning up the heat, more companies are being forced to take a side.

    Gun-rights advocates see the practice as a way to normalize gun ownership and deter crime, while gun-control activists believe carrying guns in stores and restaurants is disruptive to the public and encourages violence.

    Recently, TargetStarbucks and Chipotle have asked their patrons not to bring their guns. After petitions by gun-control groups such as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Kroger said it would uphold local and state laws in the 34 states it operates.

    Carrying a firearm in a concealed manner is legal in all states, but open carry has more restrictions, especially for handguns. Though federal law doesn’t restrict the open carrying of handguns in public, several states—including California, Florida, Illinois, New York, South Carolina and Texas—ban the practice, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Thirteen states require a special permit or license to open carry. The remaining 31 states don’t require one. The laws are different for long guns, which are commonly associated with hunting.

    In a Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012 photo, Rick Ector carries his Smith and Wesson 9mm as he prepares to pump gas in Detroit. Ector is pushing to make Detroit an “open carry” city and organizes public dinners and picnics where each legally licensed attendee wears a handgun. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    Why is open carry causing so much of a stir when concealed carry is so widespread?
    “Concealed carry—you don’t know who’s doing it and it doesn’t cause as much concern as open carry,” said Laura Cutilletta, senior staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “One is a danger you know, and one is a danger you don’t know.”
    According to Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action,”The National Rifle Association strongly supports conceal carry and open carry, and we will continue to lead the charge to protect and expand the right to self defense for law abiding Americans throughout the country.”

  • http://blogs.wsj.com/numbers/map-where-is-open-carry-legal-1715/

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Profiles in Hypocrisy — Democratic Obama Killing of Civilians By Drones OK — Republican Bush Torturing of Terrorists — Not OK — The Hypocrisy of The Political Elitist Establishment and Decline of The American Empire — Videos

Posted on December 10, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Communications, Computers, Corruption, Documentary, Economics, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Islam, Law, liberty, Life, media, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Rants, Raves, Resources, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 379: November 26, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

Story 1: Profiles in Hypocrisy — Democratic Obama Killing of Civilians By Drones OK — Republican Bush Torturing of Terrorists — Not OK — The Hypocrisy of The Political Elitist Establishment and Decline of The American Empire — Videos

pakistandronestrikesmap

U.S. military drones All-Totals-Dash12 Drones1 drones2_s640x543 dronewar_pak_771x574 Every-confirmed-US-drone-strike-in-Pakistan-Yemen-and-Somalia-recorded-by-the-Bureau-2002-20121 Five-years-of-drone-strikes1

George Carlin – Euphemisms

Live TV Footage of 9/11 (Second Plane hit, Collapse of Towers) World Trade Center Coverage

Obama on CIA torture report: ‘Terrible mistakes were made’

CIA interrogation techniques used after September 11 to be detailed in Senate report

CIA Spying on the Senate? (w/ Mark Mazzetti)

Ex-CIA Head Jose Rodriguez on Report Fallout: Obama Admin Prefers to Kill From Afar

hard_measures

Hard Measures, part 1

Hard Measures, part 2

VICE News Exclusive: The Architect of the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Program

Fox’s Hume: Senate Torture Report Made Same Mistake as Rolling Stone

Feinstein: CIA Report ‘Ugly Truth’ We Must Face

Senate report: CIA torture brutal, ineffective

Leahy Speaks On Release Of Senate’s Historic Report On Torture

Torture Report Details Long List Of America’s Brutal Crimes

CIA Torture Report Incomplete as Key Documents Remain Withheld

CIA Torture Report: US Intelligence Facilities Overseas

Morning Joe’s Debate on CIA Torture Program Was a Masterpiece of Deflection

AP Analysis: CIA Torture Report

Assessing the impact of the Senate’s CIA torture report

Fmr. CIA Chief Explains the ‘Major Problems’ of Senate Dems Report on Interrogations after 9/11

ABC, NBC Hype ‘Explosive’ ‘Torture’ Report; Omit Its Partisan Origin

Fmr. CIA Lawyer: Senate Interrogation Report ‘Unfair and Preposterous’

Former U.S. Senator Bob Graham explains the importance of redacted 28 pages in the Reports

What Is In The Redacted 28 Pages Of The 9/11 Commission Report?

Secrets Of The 28 Page 9/11 Report Released

The Shocking Truth About Obama’s Drones

Obama’s secret drone war explained by Reuters’ David Rohde – Fast Forward

Richard Clarke – U.S. Drone Program Under Obama “Got Out of Hand”

Confirmed: Obama’s drone program killing civilians

Rise of the Drones [PBS NOVA]

drone pilot kills Afghani militants from Nevada control centre

Warfare by Remote (Part 1)

Warfare by Remote (Part 2)

Warfare by Remote (Part 3)

Predator Drones

Former Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke on Obama’s “Unproductive” Drone Program

George Carlin We Like War

Drone Wars Pakistan: Analysis

http://securitydata.newamerica.net/drones/pakistan/analysis

 

‘For me, and those in my chain of command, those deaths will haunt us as long as we live.’ And he added: ‘Before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured – the highest standard we can set’.

~Barack Obama

Presidents Pakistan

 

Drone Warfare

More than 2,400 dead as Obama’s drone campaign marks five years

Obama de Souza April 2013

Obama has launched over 390 covert drone strikes in his first five years in office (Pete Souza/White House).

Five years ago, on January 23 2009, a CIA drone flattened a house in Pakistan’s tribal regions. It was the third day of Barack Obama’s presidency, and this was the new commander-in-chief’s first covert drone strike.

Initial reports said up to ten militants were killed, including foreign fighters and possibly a ‘high-value target’ – a successful first hit for the fledgling administration.

But reports of civilian casualties began to emerge. As later reports revealed, the strike was far from a success. At least nine civilians died, most of them from one family. There was one survivor, 14-year-old Fahim Qureshi, but with horrific injuries including shrapnel wounds in his stomach, a fractured skull and a lost eye, he was as much a victim as his dead relatives.

Ob1 - Fahim Qureshi - Vocativ GrabLater that day, the CIA attacked again – and levelled another house. It proved another mistake, this time one that killed between five and ten people, all civilians.

Obama was briefed on the civilian casualties almost immediately and was ‘understandably disturbed’, Newsweek reporter Daniel Klaidman later wrote. Three days earlier, in his inauguration address, Obama had told the world ‘that America is a friend of each nation, and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity.’

Fahim Qureshi, injured in the first Obama strike
(Vocativ/YouTube).

The Pakistani government also knew civilians had been killed in the strikes. A record of the strikes made by the local political administration and published by the Bureau last year listed nine civilians among the dead. But the government said nothing about this loss of life.

Yet despite this disastrous start the Obama administration markedly stepped up the use of drones. Since Obama’s inauguration in 2009, the CIA has launched 330 strikes on Pakistan – his predecessor, President George Bush, conducted 51 strikes in four years. And in Yemen, Obama has opened a new front in the secret drone war.

For all the Bureau’s drones data: Get the data – drone wars

Lethal strikes
Across Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the Obama administration has launched more than 390 drone strikes in the five years since the first attack that injured Qureshi – eight times as many as were launched in the entire Bush presidency. These strikes have killed more than 2,400 people, at least 273 of them reportedly civilians.

Although drone strikes under Obama’s presidency have killed nearly six times as many people as were killed under Bush, the casualty rate – the number of people killed on average in each strike – has dropped from eight to six under Obama. The civilian casualty rate has fallen too. Strikes during the Bush years killed nearly more than three civilians in each strike on average. This has halved under Obama (1.43 civilians per strike on average). In fact reported civilian casualties in Pakistan have fallen sharply since 2010, with no confirmed reports of civilian casualties in 2013.

The decline in civilian casualties could be because of reported improvements in drone and missile technology, rising tensions between Pakistan and the US over the drone campaign, and greater scrutiny of the covert drone campaign both at home and abroad.

Presidents Pakistan
Obama has sharply escalated the drone campaign in Pakistan.

The apparent change in targeting  is well demonstrated by comparing a strike carried out by the Bush administration in 2006 and one seven years later under Obama. On October 30 2006 at least 68 children were killed when CIA drones destroyed a madrassa – a religious school – in the Bajaur area of Pakistan’s tribal belt. The attack was reportedly targeting then-al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al Zawahiri. He escaped. On November 21 last year, drones again targeted a madrassa, this time in Hangu, outside the tribal regions. As many as 80 students were sleeping in the building. But the strike destroyed a specific portion of the building – just one or two rooms – and killed between six and nine people.

In Yemen, however, civilians continue to die in US drone strikes. Last year saw the highest civilian casualty rate since Obama first hit the country in 2009.

In recent years drones have come to dominate Obama’s war in Yemen as much as in Pakistan.

Drones were not the first weapon the administration turned to when it started to attack the country. On December 17 2009 a US Navy submarine launched a cluster bomb-laden cruise missile at a suspected militant camp in al Majala, southern Yemen.

The missile slammed into a hamlet hitting one of the poorest tribes in Yemen. Shrapnel and fire left at least 41 civilians dead, including at least 21 children and 12 women – five of them were pregnant. A week earlier President Obama had been awardedthe Nobel Peace Prize. He used his acceptance speech to defend the use of force at times as ‘not only necessary but morally justified’. He warned that ‘negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms’.

Strikes in Pakistan are carried out by the CIA. But in Yemen the CIA and the US military’s special forces unit, Joint Special Operations Command, have used various weapons including drones and conventional jets as well as cruise missiles to target al Qaeda militants.

However in recent years drones have come to dominate Obama’s war in Yemen as much as in Pakistan. President Bush ordered a single drone strike in Yemen, killing six people in 2002. Under Obama, the CIA and the Pentagon have launched at least 58 drone strikes on the country killing more than 281 people, including at least 24 reported civilians.

Opaque operations
The escalation in the drone war has happened with almost no official transparency from the White House. It took Obama three years to publicly mention his use of drones. In January 2012 he said ‘actually drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties’. He added: ‘For the most part they have been very precise, precision strikes against al Qaeda and affiliates.’

In this period Bureau records show drones reportedly killed at least 236 civilians – including 61 children. And according to a leaked CIA record of drone strikes, seen by the McClatchy news agency, the US often did not know who it was killing. In the year after September 2010 at least 265 of up to 482 people were recorded as the documents as killed by drones ‘were “assessed” as Afghan, Pakistani and unknown extremists’.

A letter written by Attorney General Eric Holder and leaked to NBC confirmed drones had killed four US citizens living abroad. US citizen Anwar al Awlaki died in a missile strike in Yemen on September 30 2011. His 16-year-old son Abdulrahman, who was born in Detroit, was killed in a separate strike two weeks later.

In April 2013 a leaked Department of Justice memo outlined the administration’s legal justification for such killings: the US has the right to kill US citizens if they pose an imminent threat, it said. It added that determining a citizen poses an imminent threat ‘does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on US persons and interests will take place in the immediate future’. Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union described the memo as a ‘chilling document’.

For the most part they have been very precise, precision strikes against al Qaeda and affiliates
- President Obama

The following month President Obama made a major policy speech in which he codified the rules his administration must follow as it selects targets for drone strikes and special forces teams.

The rules are meant to constrain the use of drones. Obama said the US only carries out such attacks against individuals who pose ‘a continuing and imminent threat’ to US citizens, not ‘to punish individuals’. Obama acknowledged drone strikes had killed civilians, saying: ‘For me, and those in my chain of command, those deaths will haunt us as long as we live.’ And he added: ‘Before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured – the highest standard we can set’.

However Bureau analysis shows more people were killed in Pakistan and Yemen in the six months after the speech than the six months before. And the casualty rate also rose over the same period.

In 2013, there were no confirmed civilian casualties in Pakistan – the first year of the drone campaign that this was the case. But in Yemen, the year ended with mass civilian casualties. On December 12, JSOC drones attacked a convoy taking a bride to her wedding. The attack destroyed several vehicles and flying shrapnel killed up to 15 civilians. It was the biggest single loss of civilian life from a US strike for more than a year. The Yemeni government initially claimed al Qaeda militants were killed. But the Yemeni government quickly negotiated reparations with the families of the victims, sending them $140,000 and 100 rifles. The US has not commented on the strike, but in an unprecedented move Washington is carrying out an investigation.

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First Good Jobs Report In Years with 321,000 Jobs Created In November With 5.8% Unemployment Rate U-3, 9.1 Million Unemployed — Still 10-12 Million Jobs Short Due To Low Labor Participation Rate of 62.8% — Years Away From Near Full Unemployment Rate of 3% With 67% Labor Participation Rate — National Debt Hits $18 Trillion and Climbing — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 379: November 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 378: November 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 377: November 24, 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

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Pronk Pops Show 341: October 1, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

Story 1: First Good Jobs Report In Years with 321,000 Jobs Created In November With 5.8% Unemployment Rate U-3, 9.1  Million Unemployed — Still 10-12 Million Jobs Short Due To Low Labor Participation Rate of 62.8% — Years Away From Near Full Unemployment Rate of 3% With 67% Labor Participation Rate — National Debt Hits $18 Trillion and Climbing —  Videos

national-debt-wave

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U.S. Debt Clock

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

 

sgs-emp

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

private sector payroll employment monthly change

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Crude Oil Brent

Latest Price & Chart for Crude Oil Brent

End of day Commodity Futures Price Quotes for Crude Oil Brent

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Ep 28: Media Spins Horrible Holiday Sales as Reflecting Economic Strength

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Hiring surge: 321k jobs added in November

Employment Situation Report – November 2014

Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey

Employment Level

147,287,000

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

 

employment level

 

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 136559(1) 136598 136701 137270 136630 136940 136531 136662 136893 137088 137322 137614
2001 137778 137612 137783 137299 137092 136873 137071 136241 136846 136392 136238 136047
2002 135701 136438 136177 136126 136539 136415 136413 136705 137302 137008 136521 136426
2003 137417(1) 137482 137434 137633 137544 137790 137474 137549 137609 137984 138424 138411
2004 138472(1) 138542 138453 138680 138852 139174 139556 139573 139487 139732 140231 140125
2005 140245(1) 140385 140654 141254 141609 141714 142026 142434 142401 142548 142499 142752
2006 143150(1) 143457 143741 143761 144089 144353 144202 144625 144815 145314 145534 145970
2007 146028(1) 146057 146320 145586 145903 146063 145905 145682 146244 145946 146595 146273
2008 146378(1) 146156 146086 146132 145908 145737 145532 145203 145076 144802 144100 143369
2009 142152(1) 141640 140707 140656 140248 140009 139901 139492 138818 138432 138659 138013
2010 138451(1) 138599 138752 139309 139247 139148 139179 139427 139393 139111 139030 139266
2011 139287(1) 139422 139655 139622 139653 139409 139524 139904 140154 140335 140747 140836
2012 141677(1) 141943 142079 141963 142257 142432 142272 142204 142947 143369 143233 143212
2013 143384(1) 143464 143393 143676 143919 144075 144285 144179 144270 143485 144443 144586
2014 145224(1) 145266 145742 145669 145814 146221 146352 146368 146600 147283 147287
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

 

Civilian Labor Force Level

156,397,000

Civilian Labor Force


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

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 142267(1) 142456 142434 142751 142388 142591 142278 142514 142518 142622 142962 143248
2001 143800 143701 143924 143569 143318 143357 143654 143284 143989 144086 144240 144305
2002 143883 144653 144481 144725 144938 144808 144803 145009 145552 145314 145041 145066
2003 145937(1) 146100 146022 146474 146500 147056 146485 146445 146530 146716 147000 146729
2004 146842(1) 146709 146944 146850 147065 147460 147692 147564 147415 147793 148162 148059
2005 148029(1) 148364 148391 148926 149261 149238 149432 149779 149954 150001 150065 150030
2006 150214(1) 150641 150813 150881 151069 151354 151377 151716 151662 152041 152406 152732
2007 153144(1) 152983 153051 152435 152670 153041 153054 152749 153414 153183 153835 153918
2008 154063(1) 153653 153908 153769 154303 154313 154469 154641 154570 154876 154639 154655
2009 154210(1) 154538 154133 154509 154747 154716 154502 154307 153827 153784 153878 153111
2010 153404(1) 153720 153964 154642 154106 153631 153706 154087 153971 153631 154127 153639
2011 153198(1) 153280 153403 153566 153526 153379 153309 153724 154059 153940 154072 153927
2012 154328(1) 154826 154811 154565 154946 155134 154970 154669 155018 155507 155279 155485
2013 155699(1) 155511 155099 155359 155609 155822 155693 155435 155473 154625 155284 154937
2014 155460(1) 155724 156227 155421 155613 155694 156023 155959 155862 156278 156397
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

 

Labor Force Participation Rate

62.8%

Labor Participation Rate

Series Id: LNS11300000

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

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.1 67.1 66.9 66.9 66.9 66.8 66.9 67.0
2001 67.2 67.1 67.2 66.9 66.7 66.7 66.8 66.5 66.8 66.7 66.7 66.7
2002 66.5 66.8 66.6 66.7 66.7 66.6 66.5 66.6 66.7 66.6 66.4 66.3
2003 66.4 66.4 66.3 66.4 66.4 66.5 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 65.9
2004 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 66.0 66.1 66.1 66.0 65.8 65.9 66.0 65.9
2005 65.8 65.9 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0
2006 66.0 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.3 66.4
2007 66.4 66.3 66.2 65.9 66.0 66.0 66.0 65.8 66.0 65.8 66.0 66.0
2008 66.2 66.0 66.1 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 65.8
2009 65.7 65.8 65.6 65.7 65.7 65.7 65.5 65.4 65.1 65.0 65.0 64.6
2010 64.8 64.9 64.9 65.2 64.9 64.6 64.6 64.7 64.6 64.4 64.6 64.3
2011 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.0 64.0 64.1 64.2 64.1 64.1 64.0
2012 63.7 63.9 63.8 63.7 63.8 63.8 63.7 63.5 63.6 63.7 63.6 63.6
2013 63.6 63.5 63.3 63.4 63.4 63.5 63.4 63.2 63.2 62.8 63.0 62.8
2014 63.0 63.0 63.2 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.9 62.8 62.7 62.8 62.8

 

Unemployment Level

9,110,000

 

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

unemployment level

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 5708 5858 5733 5481 5758 5651 5747 5853 5625 5534 5639 5634
2001 6023 6089 6141 6271 6226 6484 6583 7042 7142 7694 8003 8258
2002 8182 8215 8304 8599 8399 8393 8390 8304 8251 8307 8520 8640
2003 8520 8618 8588 8842 8957 9266 9011 8896 8921 8732 8576 8317
2004 8370 8167 8491 8170 8212 8286 8136 7990 7927 8061 7932 7934
2005 7784 7980 7737 7672 7651 7524 7406 7345 7553 7453 7566 7279
2006 7064 7184 7072 7120 6980 7001 7175 7091 6847 6727 6872 6762
2007 7116 6927 6731 6850 6766 6979 7149 7067 7170 7237 7240 7645
2008 7685 7497 7822 7637 8395 8575 8937 9438 9494 10074 10538 11286
2009 12058 12898 13426 13853 14499 14707 14601 14814 15009 15352 15219 15098
2010 14953 15121 15212 15333 14858 14483 14527 14660 14578 14520 15097 14373
2011 13910 13858 13748 13944 13873 13971 13785 13820 13905 13604 13326 13090
2012 12650 12883 12732 12603 12689 12702 12698 12464 12070 12138 12045 12273
2013 12315 12047 11706 11683 11690 11747 11408 11256 11203 11140 10841 10351
2014 10236 10459 10486 9753 9799 9474 9671 9591 9262 8995 9110

Unemployment Rate U-3

5.8%

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

 

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 4.0 4.1 4.0 3.8 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.1 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9
2001 4.2 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.3 4.5 4.6 4.9 5.0 5.3 5.5 5.7
2002 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 6.0
2003 5.8 5.9 5.9 6.0 6.1 6.3 6.2 6.1 6.1 6.0 5.8 5.7
2004 5.7 5.6 5.8 5.6 5.6 5.6 5.5 5.4 5.4 5.5 5.4 5.4
2005 5.3 5.4 5.2 5.2 5.1 5.0 5.0 4.9 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.9
2006 4.7 4.8 4.7 4.7 4.6 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4
2007 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4 4.6 4.7 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.7 5.0
2008 5.0 4.9 5.1 5.0 5.4 5.6 5.8 6.1 6.1 6.5 6.8 7.3
2009 7.8 8.3 8.7 9.0 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.8 10.0 9.9 9.9
2010 9.7 9.8 9.9 9.9 9.6 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.8 9.4
2011 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.0 8.8 8.6 8.5
2012 8.2 8.3 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.1 7.8 7.8 7.8 7.9
2013 7.9 7.7 7.5 7.5 7.5 7.5 7.3 7.2 7.2 7.2 7.0 6.7
2014 6.6 6.7 6.7 6.3 6.3 6.1 6.2 6.1 5.9 5.8 5.8

 

Employment -Population Ratio

5.9%

Series Id:           LNS12300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Employment-Population Ratio
Labor force status:  Employment-population ratio
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

employment population ratio

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 64.6 64.6 64.6 64.7 64.4 64.5 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.3 64.4
2001 64.4 64.3 64.3 64.0 63.8 63.7 63.7 63.2 63.5 63.2 63.0 62.9
2002 62.7 63.0 62.8 62.7 62.9 62.7 62.7 62.7 63.0 62.7 62.5 62.4
2003 62.5 62.5 62.4 62.4 62.3 62.3 62.1 62.1 62.0 62.1 62.3 62.2
2004 62.3 62.3 62.2 62.3 62.3 62.4 62.5 62.4 62.3 62.3 62.5 62.4
2005 62.4 62.4 62.4 62.7 62.8 62.7 62.8 62.9 62.8 62.8 62.7 62.8
2006 62.9 63.0 63.1 63.0 63.1 63.1 63.0 63.1 63.1 63.3 63.3 63.4
2007 63.3 63.3 63.3 63.0 63.0 63.0 62.9 62.7 62.9 62.7 62.9 62.7
2008 62.9 62.8 62.7 62.7 62.5 62.4 62.2 62.0 61.9 61.7 61.4 61.0
2009 60.6 60.3 59.9 59.8 59.6 59.4 59.3 59.1 58.7 58.5 58.6 58.3
2010 58.5 58.5 58.5 58.7 58.6 58.5 58.5 58.6 58.5 58.3 58.2 58.3
2011 58.4 58.4 58.4 58.4 58.4 58.2 58.2 58.3 58.4 58.4 58.5 58.5
2012 58.5 58.5 58.6 58.5 58.6 58.6 58.5 58.4 58.6 58.8 58.7 58.6
2013 58.6 58.6 58.5 58.6 58.7 58.7 58.7 58.6 58.6 58.2 58.6 58.6
2014 58.8 58.8 58.9 58.9 58.9 59.0 59.0 59.0 59.0 59.2 59.2

 

Unemployment Rate 16-19 Years Old

17.7%


Series Id:           
LNS14000012
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Rate – 16-19 yrs.
Labor force status:  Unemployment rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 to 19 yearsteenage unemployment rate

 

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 12.7 13.8 13.3 12.6 12.8 12.3 13.4 14.0 13.0 12.8 13.0 13.2
2001 13.8 13.7 13.8 13.9 13.4 14.2 14.4 15.6 15.2 16.0 15.9 17.0
2002 16.5 16.0 16.6 16.7 16.6 16.7 16.8 17.0 16.3 15.1 17.1 16.9
2003 17.2 17.2 17.8 17.7 17.9 19.0 18.2 16.6 17.6 17.2 15.7 16.2
2004 17.0 16.5 16.8 16.6 17.1 17.0 17.8 16.7 16.6 17.4 16.4 17.6
2005 16.2 17.5 17.1 17.8 17.8 16.3 16.1 16.1 15.5 16.1 17.0 14.9
2006 15.1 15.3 16.1 14.6 14.0 15.8 15.9 16.0 16.3 15.2 14.8 14.6
2007 14.8 14.9 14.9 15.9 15.9 16.3 15.3 15.9 15.9 15.4 16.2 16.8
2008 17.8 16.6 16.1 15.9 19.0 19.2 20.7 18.6 19.1 20.0 20.3 20.5
2009 20.7 22.3 22.2 22.2 23.4 24.7 24.3 25.0 25.9 27.2 26.9 26.7
2010 26.0 25.6 26.2 25.4 26.5 26.0 25.9 25.6 25.8 27.3 24.8 25.3
2011 25.5 24.1 24.3 24.5 23.9 24.8 24.8 25.1 24.5 24.2 24.1 23.3
2012 23.5 23.8 24.8 24.6 24.2 23.7 23.7 24.4 23.8 23.8 23.9 24.0
2013 23.5 25.2 23.9 23.7 24.1 23.8 23.4 22.6 21.3 22.0 20.8 20.2
2014 20.7 21.4 20.9 19.1 19.2 21.0 20.2 19.6 20.0 18.6 17.7

 

Average Weeks Unemployed

33.0%

 


Series Id:           LNS13008275
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Average Weeks Unemployed
Labor force status:  Unemployed
Type of data:        Number of weeks
Age:                 16 years and over

average weeks unemployed
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 13.1 12.6 12.7 12.4 12.6 12.3 13.4 12.9 12.2 12.7 12.4 12.5
2001 12.7 12.8 12.8 12.4 12.1 12.7 12.9 13.3 13.2 13.3 14.3 14.5
2002 14.7 15.0 15.4 16.3 16.8 16.9 16.9 16.5 17.6 17.8 17.6 18.5
2003 18.5 18.5 18.1 19.4 19.0 19.9 19.7 19.2 19.5 19.3 19.9 19.8
2004 19.9 20.1 19.8 19.6 19.8 20.5 18.8 18.8 19.4 19.5 19.7 19.4
2005 19.5 19.1 19.5 19.6 18.6 17.9 17.6 18.4 17.9 17.9 17.5 17.5
2006 16.9 17.8 17.1 16.7 17.1 16.6 17.1 17.1 17.1 16.3 16.2 16.1
2007 16.3 16.7 17.8 16.9 16.6 16.5 17.2 17.0 16.3 17.0 17.3 16.6
2008 17.5 16.9 16.5 16.9 16.6 17.1 17.0 17.7 18.6 19.9 18.9 19.9
2009 19.8 20.2 20.9 21.7 22.4 23.9 25.1 25.3 26.6 27.5 28.9 29.7
2010 30.3 29.9 31.6 33.3 33.9 34.5 33.8 33.6 33.4 34.2 33.9 34.8
2011 37.2 37.5 39.2 38.7 39.5 39.7 40.4 40.2 40.2 39.1 40.3 40.7
2012 40.1 40.0 39.4 39.3 39.6 40.0 38.8 39.1 39.4 40.3 39.2 38.0
2013 35.4 36.9 37.0 36.6 36.9 35.7 36.7 37.0 36.8 36.0 37.1 37.1
2014 35.4 37.1 35.6 35.1 34.5 33.5 32.4 31.7 31.5 32.7 33.0

Not In Labor Force

2,109,000


Series Id:                       LNU05026642
Not Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:                    (Unadj) Not in Labor Force, Searched For Work and Available
Labor force status:              Not in labor force
Type of data:                    Number in thousands
Age:                             16 years and over
Job desires/not in labor force:  Want a job now
Reasons not in labor force:      Available to work now

Not In Labor force
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 1207 1281 1219 1216 1113 1142 1172 1097 1166 1044 1100 1125 1157
2001 1295 1337 1109 1131 1157 1170 1232 1364 1335 1398 1331 1330 1266
2002 1532 1423 1358 1397 1467 1380 1507 1456 1501 1416 1401 1432 1439
2003 1598 1590 1577 1399 1428 1468 1566 1665 1544 1586 1473 1483 1531
2004 1670 1691 1643 1526 1533 1492 1557 1587 1561 1647 1517 1463 1574
2005 1804 1673 1588 1511 1428 1583 1516 1583 1438 1414 1415 1589 1545
2006 1644 1471 1468 1310 1388 1584 1522 1592 1299 1478 1366 1252 1448
2007 1577 1451 1385 1391 1406 1454 1376 1365 1268 1364 1363 1344 1395
2008 1729 1585 1352 1414 1416 1558 1573 1640 1604 1637 1947 1908 1614
2009 2130 2051 2106 2089 2210 2176 2282 2270 2219 2373 2323 2486 2226
2010 2539 2527 2255 2432 2223 2591 2622 2370 2548 2602 2531 2609 2487
2011 2800 2730 2434 2466 2206 2680 2785 2575 2511 2555 2591 2540 2573
2012 2809 2608 2352 2363 2423 2483 2529 2561 2517 2433 2505 2614 2516
2013 2443 2588 2326 2347 2164 2582 2414 2342 2302 2283 2096 2427 2360
2014 2592 2303 2168 2160 2130 2028 2178 2141 2226 2192 2109

 

Not In Labor Force Searched For Work and Available, Discouraged Reasons For Not Currently Looking

698,000

Series Id:                       LNU05026645
Not Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:                    (Unadj) Not in Labor Force, Searched For Work and Available, Discouraged Reasons For Not Currently Looking
Labor force status:              Not in labor force
Type of data:                    Number in thousands
Age:                             16 years and over
Job desires/not in labor force:  Want a job now
Reasons not in labor force:      Discouragement over job prospects  (Persons who believe no job is available.)

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 236 267 258 331 280 309 266 203 253 232 236 269 262
2001 301 287 349 349 328 294 310 337 285 331 328 348 321
2002 328 375 330 320 414 342 405 378 392 359 385 403 369
2003 449 450 474 437 482 478 470 503 388 462 457 433 457
2004 432 484 514 492 476 478 504 534 412 429 392 442 466
2005 515 485 480 393 392 476 499 384 362 392 404 451 436
2006 396 386 451 381 323 481 428 448 325 331 349 274 381
2007 442 375 381 399 368 401 367 392 276 320 349 363 369
2008 467 396 401 412 400 420 461 381 467 484 608 642 462
2009 734 731 685 740 792 793 796 758 706 808 861 929 778
2010 1065 1204 994 1197 1083 1207 1185 1110 1209 1219 1282 1318 1173
2011 993 1020 921 989 822 982 1119 977 1037 967 1096 945 989
2012 1059 1006 865 968 830 821 852 844 802 813 979 1068 909
2013 804 885 803 835 780 1027 988 866 852 815 762 917 861
2014 837 755 698 783 697 676 741 775 698 770 698

Total Unemployment Rate U-6

11.4%

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


Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 7.1 7.2 7.1 6.9 7.1 7.0 7.0 7.1 7.0 6.8 7.1 6.9
2001 7.3 7.4 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.9 7.8 8.1 8.7 9.3 9.4 9.6
2002 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.7 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.7 9.8
2003 10.0 10.2 10.0 10.2 10.1 10.3 10.3 10.1 10.4 10.2 10.0 9.8
2004 9.9 9.7 10.0 9.6 9.6 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.4 9.7 9.4 9.2
2005 9.3 9.3 9.1 8.9 8.9 9.0 8.8 8.9 9.0 8.7 8.7 8.6
2006 8.4 8.4 8.2 8.1 8.2 8.4 8.5 8.4 8.0 8.2 8.1 7.9
2007 8.4 8.2 8.0 8.2 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.8
2008 9.2 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.7 10.1 10.5 10.8 11.0 11.8 12.6 13.6
2009 14.2 15.2 15.8 15.9 16.5 16.5 16.4 16.7 16.7 17.1 17.1 17.1
2010 16.7 17.0 17.1 17.2 16.6 16.4 16.4 16.5 16.8 16.6 16.9 16.6
2011 16.1 16.0 15.9 16.1 15.8 16.1 16.0 16.1 16.3 15.9 15.6 15.2
2012 15.1 15.0 14.5 14.6 14.8 14.8 14.9 14.7 14.7 14.4 14.4 14.4
2013 14.4 14.3 13.8 13.9 13.8 14.2 13.9 13.6 13.6 13.7 13.1 13.1
2014 12.7 12.6 12.7 12.3 12.2 12.1 12.2 12.0 11.8 11.5 11.4

 

Employment Situation Summary

 

Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until                  USDL-14-2184
8:30 a.m. (EST) Friday, December 5, 2014

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

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


                             THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- NOVEMBER 2014


Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 321,000 in November, and the unemployment
rate was unchanged at 5.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Job gains were widespread, led by growth in professional and business services, retail
trade, health care, and manufacturing.

Household Survey Data

In November, the unemployment rate held at 5.8 percent, and the number of unemployed
persons was little changed at 9.1 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate and
the number of unemployed persons were down by 1.2 percentage points and 1.7 million,
respectively. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men rose to 5.4 percent
in November. The rates for adult women (5.3 percent), teenagers (17.7 percent), whites
(4.9 percent), blacks (11.1 percent), and Hispanics (6.6 percent) showed little change
over the month. The jobless rate for Asians was 4.8 percent (not seasonally adjusted),
little changed from a year earlier. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little
changed at 2.8 million in November. These individuals accounted for 30.7 percent of
the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed declined
by 1.2 million. (See table A-12.)

The civilian labor force participation rate held at 62.8 percent in November and has
been essentially unchanged since April. The employment-population ratio, at 59.2
percent, was unchanged in November but is up by 0.6 percentage point over the year.
(See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to
as involuntary part-time workers), at 6.9 million, changed little in November. These
individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time
because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time
job. (See table A-8.)

In November, 2.1 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force,
essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.)
These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work,
and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as
unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the
survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 698,000 discouraged workers in November,
little different from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.)
Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe
no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.4 million persons marginally attached
to the labor force in November had not searched for work for reasons such as school
attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 321,000 in November, compared with an
average monthly gain of 224,000 over the prior 12 months. In November, job growth
was widespread, led by gains in professional and business services, retail trade,
health care, and manufacturing. (See table B-1.)

Employment in professional and business services increased by 86,000 in November,
compared with an average gain of 57,000 per month over the prior 12 months. Within
the industry, accounting and bookkeeping services added 16,000 jobs in November.
Employment continued to trend up in temporary help services (+23,000), management
and technical consulting services (+7,000), computer systems design and related
services (+7,000), and architectural and engineering services (+5,000).

Employment in retail trade rose by 50,000 in November, compared with an average
gain of 22,000 per month over the prior 12 months. In November, job gains occurred
in motor vehicle and parts dealers (+11,000); clothing and accessories stores
(+11,000); sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (+9,000); and nonstore
retailers (+6,000).

Health care added 29,000 jobs over the month. Employment continued to trend up in
offices of physicians (+7,000), home health care services (+5,000), outpatient care
centers (+4,000), and hospitals (+4,000). Over the past 12 months, employment in
health care has increased by 261,000.

In November, manufacturing added 28,000 jobs. Durable goods manufacturers accounted
for 17,000 of the increase, with small gains in most of the component industries.
Employment in nondurable goods increased by 11,000, with plastics and rubber products
(+7,000) accounting for most of the gain. Over the year, manufacturing has added
171,000 jobs, largely in durable goods.

Financial activities added 20,000 jobs in November, with half of the gain in insurance
carriers and related activities. Over the past year, insurance has contributed 70,000
jobs to the overall employment gain of 114,000 in financial activities.

Transportation and warehousing employment increased by 17,000 in November, with a
gain in couriers and messengers (+5,000). Over the past 12 months, transportation
and warehousing has added 143,000 jobs.

Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in November
(+27,000) and has increased by 321,000 over the year.

Construction employment also continued to trend up in November (+20,000). Employment in
specialty trade contractors rose by 21,000, mostly in the residential component. Over
the past 12 months, construction has added 213,000 jobs, with just over half the gain
among specialty trade contractors.

In November, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose
by 0.1 hour to 34.6 hours. The manufacturing workweek rose by 0.2 hour to 41.1 hours,
and factory overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to 3.5 hours. The average workweek for
production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at
33.8 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 9 cents
to $24.66 in November. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.1 percent.
In November, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory
employees increased by 4 cents to $20.74. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for September was revised from +256,000
to +271,000, and the change for October was revised from +214,000 to +243,000. With
these revisions, employment gains in September and October combined were 44,000 more
than previously reported.

_____________
The Employment Situation for December is scheduled to be released on Friday,
January 9, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (EST).



   __________________________________________________________________________________
  |                                                                                  |
  |               Upcoming Changes to the Employment Situation News Release          |
  |                                                                                  |
  |Effective with the release of January 2015 data on February 6, 2015, the U.S.     |
  |Bureau of Labor Statistics will introduce several changes to The Employment       |
  |Situation news release tables.                                                    |
  |                                                                                  |
  |Household survey table A-2 will introduce seasonally adjusted series on the labor |
  |force characteristics of Asians. These series will appear in addition to the not  |
  |seasonally adjusted data for Asians currently displayed in the table. Also, in    |
  |summary table A, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Asians will replace|
  |the not seasonally adjusted series that is currently displayed for the group.     |
  |                                                                                  |
  |Household survey table A-3 will introduce seasonally adjusted series on the labor |
  |force characteristics of Hispanic men age 20 and over, Hispanic women age 20 and  |
  |over, and Hispanic teenagers age 16 to 19. The not seasonally adjusted series for |
  |these groups will continue to be displayed in the table.                          |
  |                                                                                  |
  |The establishment survey will introduce two data series: (1) total nonfarm        |
  |employment, 3-month average change and (2) total private employment, 3-month      |
  |average change. These new series will be added to establishment survey summary    |
  |table B. Additionally, in the employment section of summary table B, the list     |
  |of industries will be expanded to include utilities (currently published in       |
  |table B-1). Also, hours and earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees   |
  |will be removed from summary table B, although these series will continue to be   |
  |published in establishment survey tables B-7 and B-8. A sample of the new summary |
  |table B is available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/ces/cesnewsumb.pdf.        |
  |__________________________________________________________________________________|




   __________________________________________________________________________________
  |                                                                                  |
  |            Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Household Survey Data                 |
  |                                                                                  |
  |In accordance with usual practice, The Employment Situation news release for      |
  |December 2014, scheduled for January 9, 2015, will incorporate annual revisions in|
  |seasonally adjusted household survey data. Seasonally adjusted data for the most  |
  |recent 5 years are subject to revision.                                           |
  |__________________________________________________________________________________|



 

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

 

Employment Situation Summary Table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted

HOUSEHOLD DATA
Summary table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted
[Numbers in thousands]

CategoryNov.
2013Sept.
2014Oct.
2014Nov.
2014Change from:
Oct.
2014-
Nov.
2014

Employment status

 

Civilian noninstitutional population

246,567248,446248,657248,844187

Civilian labor force

155,284155,862156,278156,397119

Participation rate

63.062.762.862.80.0

Employed

144,443146,600147,283147,2874

Employment-population ratio

58.659.059.259.20.0

Unemployed

10,8419,2628,9959,110115

Unemployment rate

7.05.95.85.80.0

Not in labor force

91,28392,58492,37892,44769

Unemployment rates

 

Total, 16 years and over

7.05.95.85.80.0

Adult men (20 years and over)

6.75.35.15.40.3

Adult women (20 years and over)

6.25.55.45.3-0.1

Teenagers (16 to 19 years)

20.820.018.617.7-0.9

White

6.15.14.84.90.1

Black or African American

12.411.010.911.10.2

Asian (not seasonally adjusted)

5.34.35.04.8-

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

8.76.96.86.6-0.2

Total, 25 years and over

5.84.74.74.70.0

Less than a high school diploma

10.68.47.98.50.6

High school graduates, no college

7.35.35.75.6-0.1

Some college or associate degree

6.45.44.84.90.1

Bachelor’s degree and higher

3.42.93.13.20.1

Reason for unemployment

 

Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs

5,7314,5304,3584,483125

Job leavers

89082979483844

Reentrants

3,0652,8092,8712,773-98

New entrants

1,1691,1051,0631,0641

Duration of unemployment

 

Less than 5 weeks

2,4392,3832,4732,52956

5 to 14 weeks

2,5852,5082,3122,39078

15 to 26 weeks

1,7421,4161,4171,43114

27 weeks and over

4,0442,9542,9162,815-101

Employed persons at work part time

 

Part time for economic reasons

7,7237,1037,0276,850-177

Slack work or business conditions

4,8694,1624,2144,064-150

Could only find part-time work

2,4992,5622,4472,4536

Part time for noneconomic reasons

18,85819,56119,76920,004235

Persons not in the labor force (not seasonally adjusted)

 

Marginally attached to the labor force

2,0962,2262,1922,109-

Discouraged workers

762698770698-

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

 

 

 

Employment Situation Summary Table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted

ESTABLISHMENT DATA
Summary table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted
Category Nov.
2013
Sept.
2014
Oct.
2014(p)
Nov.
2014(p)

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

Total nonfarm

274 271 243 321

Total private

272 249 236 314

Goods-producing

68 36 28 48

Mining and logging

1 6 1 0

Construction

32 18 7 20

Manufacturing

35 12 20 28

Durable goods(1)

19 11 18 17

Motor vehicles and parts

4.7 1.7 2.0 3.0

Nondurable goods

16 1 2 11

Private service-providing(1)

204 213 208 266

Wholesale trade

16.8 2.9 6.1 2.5

Retail trade

22.3 39.9 34.2 50.2

Transportation and warehousing

32.4 7.0 15.3 16.7

Information

1 3 -5 4

Financial activities

-4 14 6 20

Professional and business services(1)

73 66 52 86

Temporary help services

36.6 23.2 19.5 22.7

Education and health services(1)

25 35 37 38

Health care and social assistance

24.4 24.8 31.5 37.2

Leisure and hospitality

37 47 55 32

Other services

-1 0 7 15

Government

2 22 7 7

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

Total nonfarm women employees

49.5 49.4 49.4 49.3

Total private women employees

48.0 47.9 47.9 47.9

Total private production and nonsupervisory employees

82.6 82.6 82.6 82.6

HOURS AND EARNINGS
ALL EMPLOYEES

Total private

Average weekly hours

34.5 34.5 34.5 34.6

Average hourly earnings

$24.15 $24.54 $24.57 $24.66

Average weekly earnings

$833.18 $846.63 $847.67 $853.24

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

99.6 101.4 101.6 102.2

Over-the-month percent change

0.5 0.2 0.2 0.6

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

114.8 118.7 119.1 120.2

Over-the-month percent change

0.8 0.2 0.3 0.9

HOURS AND EARNINGS
PRODUCTION AND NONSUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES

Total private

Average weekly hours

33.7 33.7 33.8 33.8

Average hourly earnings

$20.30 $20.67 $20.70 $20.74

Average weekly earnings

$684.11 $696.58 $699.66 $701.01

Index of aggregate weekly hours (2002=100)(3)

107.1 109.1 109.6 109.8

Over-the-month percent change

0.5 -0.1 0.5 0.2

Index of aggregate weekly payrolls (2002=100)(4)

145.3 150.6 151.6 152.2

Over-the-month percent change

0.8 -0.1 0.7 0.4

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

Total private (264 industries)

66.9 63.4 63.8 69.7

Manufacturing (81 industries)

65.4 59.3 64.2 63.0

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

 

EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EST, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2014
BEA 14-59

* See the navigation bar at the right side of the news release text for links to data tables,
contact personnel and their telephone numbers, and supplementary materials.

Lisa S. Mataloni: (202) 606-5304 (GDP) gdpniwd@bea.gov
Kate Shoemaker: (202) 606-5564 (Profits) cpniwd@bea.gov
Jeannine Aversa: (202) 606-2649 (News Media)
National Income and Product Accounts
Gross Domestic Product: Third Quarter 2014 (Second Estimate)
Corporate Profits: Third Quarter 2014 (Preliminary Estimate)
      Real gross domestic product -- the value of the production of goods and services in the United
States, adjusted for price changes -- increased at an annual rate of 3.9 percent in the third quarter of
2014, according to the "second" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  In the second
quarter, real GDP increased 4.6 percent.

      The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for
the "advance" estimate issued last month.  In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 3.5
percent.  With the second estimate for the third quarter, private inventory investment decreased less than
previously estimated, and both personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and nonresidential fixed
investment increased more.  In contrast, exports increased less than previously estimated (see
"Revisions" on page 3).

      The increase in real GDP in the third quarter reflected positive contributions from PCE,
nonresidential fixed investment, federal government spending, exports, residential fixed investment, and
state and local government spending that were partly offset by a negative contribution from private
inventory investment.  Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.

      The deceleration in the percent change in real GDP reflected a downturn in private inventory
investment and decelerations in exports, in nonresidential fixed investment, in state and local
government spending, in PCE, and in residential fixed investment that were partly offset by a downturn
in imports and an upturn in federal government spending.

      The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents,
increased 1.4 percent in the third quarter, 0.1 percentage point more than in the advance estimate; this
index increased 2.0 percent in the second quarter.  Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for
gross domestic purchases increased 1.6 percent in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 1.7
percent in the second.


_____
FOOTNOTE.  Quarterly estimates are expressed at seasonally adjusted annual rates, unless otherwise
specified.  Quarter-to-quarter dollar changes are differences between these published estimates.  Percent
changes are calculated from unrounded data and are annualized.  "Real" estimates are in chained (2009)
dollars.  Price indexes are chain-type measures.

This news release is available on BEA's Web site along with the Technical Note and Highlights related
to this release.  For information on revisions, see "The Revisions to GDP, GDI, and Their
Major Components."
_____

      Real personal consumption expenditures increased 2.2 percent in the third quarter, compared
with an increase of 2.5 percent in the second.  Durable goods increased 8.7 percent, compared with an
increase of 14.1 percent.  Nondurable goods increased 2.2 percent, the same increase as in the second
quarter.  Services increased 1.2 percent, compared with an increase of 0.9 percent.

      Real nonresidential fixed investment increased 7.1 percent in the third quarter, compared with an
increase of 9.7 percent in the second.  Investment in nonresidential structures increased 1.1 percent,
compared with an increase of 12.6 percent.  Investment in equipment increased 10.7 percent, compared
with an increase of 11.2 percent.  Investment in intellectual property products increased 6.4 percent,
compared with an increase of 5.5 percent.  Real residential fixed investment increased 2.7 percent,
compared with an increase of 8.8 percent.

      Real exports of goods and services increased 4.9 percent in the third quarter, compared with an
increase of 11.1 percent in the second.  Real imports of goods and services decreased 0.7 percent, in
contrast to an increase of 11.3 percent.

      Real federal government consumption expenditures and gross investment increased 9.9 percent
in the third quarter, in contrast to a decrease of 0.9 percent in the second.  National defense increased
16.0 percent, compared with an increase of 0.9 percent.  Nondefense increased 0.4 percent, in contrast to
a decrease of 3.8 percent.  Real state and local government consumption expenditures and gross
investment increased 0.8 percent, compared with an increase of 3.4 percent.

      The change in real private inventories subtracted 0.12 percentage point from the third-quarter
change in real GDP after adding 1.42 percentage points to the second-quarter change.  Private
businesses increased inventories $79.1 billion in the third quarter, following increases of $84.8 billion in
the second quarter and $35.2 billion in the first.

      Real final sales of domestic product -- GDP less change in private inventories -- increased 4.1
percent in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 3.2 percent in the second.


Gross domestic purchases

      Real gross domestic purchases -- purchases by U.S. residents of goods and services wherever
produced -- increased 3.0 percent in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 4.8 percent in the
second.


Gross national product

      Real gross national product -- the value of the goods and services produced by the labor and
property supplied by U.S. residents -- increased 3.8 percent in the third quarter, compared with an
increase of 4.6 percent in the second.  GNP includes, and GDP excludes, net receipts of income from the
rest of the world, which decreased $1.6 billion in the third quarter, in contrast to an increase of $1.4
billion in the second; in the third quarter, receipts decreased $1.1 billion, and payments increased $0.5
billion.


Current-dollar GDP

      Current-dollar GDP -- the market value of the production of goods and services in the United
States -- increased 5.3 percent, or $227.0 billion, in the third quarter to a level of $17,555.2 billion.  In
the second quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 6.8 percent, or $284.2 billion.


Gross domestic income

      Real gross domestic income (GDI), which measures the value of the production of goods and
services in the United States as the costs incurred and the incomes earned on that production, increased
4.5 percent in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 4.0 percent (revised) in the second.  For a
given quarter, the estimates of GDP and GDI may differ for a variety of reasons, including the
incorporation of largely independent source data.  However, over longer time spans, the estimates of
GDP and GDI tend to follow similar patterns of change.


Revisions

      The upward revision to the percent change in real GDP primarily reflected upward revisions to
private inventory investment, to personal consumption expenditures, and to nonresidential fixed
investment that were partly offset by a downward revision to exports and an upward revision to imports.


                                         Advance Estimate  Second Estimate

                                     (Percent change from preceding quarter)
Real GDP...............................         3.5            3.9
Current-dollar GDP.....................         4.9            5.3
Real GDI...............................         --             4.5
Gross domestic purchases price index...         1.3            1.4
Corporate Profits


Profits from current production

      Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation adjustment (IVA) and
capital consumption adjustment (CCAdj)) increased $43.8 billion in the third quarter, compared with an
increase of $164.1 billion in the second.

      Profits of domestic financial corporations increased $20.3 billion in the third quarter, compared
with an increase of $33.3 billion in the second.  Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased
$22.5 billion, compared with an increase of $134.3 billion.  The rest-of-the-world component of profits
increased $1.0 billion, in contrast to a decrease of $3.6 billion.  This measure is calculated as the
difference between receipts from the rest of the world and payments to the rest of the world.  In the third
quarter, receipts were unchanged, and payments decreased $1.0 billion.

      Taxes on corporate income decreased $4.8 billion in the third quarter, in contrast to an increase
of $45.7 billion in the second.  Profits after tax with IVA and CCAdj increased $48.6 billion, compared
with an increase of $118.4 billion.

      Dividends decreased $3.9 billion in the third quarter, compared with a decrease of $0.5 billion in
the second.  Undistributed profits increased $52.5 billion, compared with an increase of $118.8 billion.
Net cash flow with IVA -- the internal funds available to corporations for investment -- increased $25.1
billion, compared with an increase of $133.4 billion.

	The IVA and CCAdj are adjustments that convert inventory withdrawals and depreciation of
fixed assets reported on a tax-return, historical-cost basis to the current-cost economic measures used in
the national income and product accounts.  The IVA increased $16.8 billion in the third quarter,
compared with an increase of $11.9 billion in the second.  The CCAdj increased $1.2 billion, in contrast
to a decrease of $0.8 billion.


Gross value added of nonfinancial domestic corporate business

      In the third quarter, real gross value added of nonfinancial corporations increased, and profits per
unit of real gross value added increased.  The increase in unit profits reflected an increase in unit prices
that was partly offset by an increase in unit nonlabor costs; unit labor costs were unchanged.


                                     *          *          *

      BEA's national, international, regional, and industry estimates; the Survey of Current Business;
and BEA news releases are available without charge on BEA's Web site at www.bea.gov.  By visiting
the site, you can also subscribe to receive free e-mail summaries of BEA releases and announcements.


                                     *          *          *


                     Next release -- December 23, 2014 at 8:30 A.M. EST for:
                  Gross Domestic Product:  Third Quarter 2014 (Third Estimate)
                    Corporate Profits:  Third Quarter 2014 (Revised Estimate)


                                     *          *          *


Release dates in 2015


Gross Domestic Product

                 2014: IV and 2014 annual     2015: I          2015: II          2015: III

Advance....           January 30              April 29         July 30           October 29
Second.....           February 27             May 29           August 27         November 24
Third......           March 27                June 24          September 25      December 22


Corporate Profits

Preliminary...        ..                      May 29           August 27         November 24
Revised.......        March 27                June 24          September 25      December 22

http://bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/gdpnewsrelease.htm

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The Lunatic Left Agitators and Activists and The Failure of Government Schools, Housing and Welfare State On Display In Ferguson, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis, Washington, D.C. — Dumbed Down — Hands Up — Don’t Shoot — Just Loot — Progressive Parade Plays With Traffic On U.S. Highways — Race Riot Route — Videos

Posted on November 29, 2014. Filed under: American History, Babies, Blogroll, College, Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Demographics, Diasters, Education, Faith, Family, Farming, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, history, Homicide, Illegal, Immigration, Law, liberty, Life, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Programming, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Reviews, Strategy, Technology, Unemployment, Vacations, Video, War, Wealth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1:  The Lunatic Left Agitators and Activists and The Failure of Government Schools, Housing and Welfare State On Display In Ferguson,  Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles,  New York, Oakland,  Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis, Washington, D.C. — Dumbed Down — Hands Up — Don’t Shoot — Just Loot — Progressive Parade Plays With Traffic On U.S. Highways — Race Riot Route — Videos

cartoon_lootgun control for dummiesturkey

ferguson-looting-6

_2lootersAPTOPIX_FergusonA man walks past a burning building during rioting after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MissouriFergusoncars-burn-at-a-dealership-tuesday-nov-25-2014-in-dellwood-mo1wptv-ferguson-unrest-after-no-indictment_3APTOPIX FergusonFerguson_Miss

ferguson-looting-2

ferugson_businessGTY_ferguson_damage_burned_lburned_out_businessferg9NUMBER-ONE-KILLER-2013-FB

 

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Protesters Turn Out in U.S. Cities Following Ferguson Decision

Rallies Largely Peaceful, Though Some Vandalism Occurred in at Least One City

By

THOMAS MACMILLAN,
ALEJANDRO LAZO and
CAMERON MCWHIRTER

Protests broke out in a number of U.S. cities following the decision on Monday by a grand jury not to indict a Ferguson, Mo., police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager.

Marches and rallies had been planned in many of the nation’s largest cities, from New York to Chicago to Houston, regardless of the jury’s finding.

In New York, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Union Square in Manhattan. When the grand jury decision was announced, word quickly spread through the crowd. In a few minutes, most were holding one fist up in the air as they observed a moment of silence that lasted nearly five minutes.

The only audible sound was the shutter of press cameras. Some demonstrators were in tears.

WSJ’s Ben Kesling reports from the scene in Ferguson, Mo., after a grand jury declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown Photo: Getty Images

Then, with the cooperation of New York Police Department officers, the protesters began a spontaneous march, moving north along Sixth Avenue, blocking traffic. Protesters occupied several blocks as they marched toward Times Square.

“I feel like I don’t have an outlet for my anger,” said Monica Thompson, 29 years old, a social worker who lives in Harlem. “There’s not been an indictment. There’s an acceptance that black and brown lives don’t matter.”

A police helicopter hovered overhead as protesters marched and a large police presence accompanied the protest. No arrests were reported as of 10:30 p.m.

A sense of anger pulsed through the crowd. “They don’t know what they just started,” said Precious Etsekhume, 22, referring to the government and police. “They are going to regret every bad decision they made.”

At a New York news conference, the Rev. Al Sharpton , who has worked to bring attention to the case since Ferguson officer Darren Wilson shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown, called for a federal investigation into the shooting, saying he had no confidence in local prosecutors.

Mr. Sharpton said the grand jury’s decision was expected but was “still an absolute blow to those of us that wanted to see a fair and open trial.”

Mr. Sharpton appeared with the family of Eric Garner, a New York City man whose death was caused by an apparent police chokehold, according to the city’s medical examiner. Mr. Garner’s family didn’t speak.

In Oakland, Calif. police and protesters clashed violently after groups of protesters blocked a major Bay Area freeway for hours, set piles of trash ablaze on city streets and looted retail shops in the city’s downtown area.

WSJ’s Ben Kesling reports from Ferguson, Mo., on the growing protests after a grand jury declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown. Photo: AP

After marching relatively peacefully for more than an hour, the crowd gathered near City Hall grew to stretch more than two city blocks, and became increasingly unruly, vandalizing buildings and smashing windows of a Chase Bank branch as they marched through downtown and then through the city’s increasingly gentrifying Lake Merritt neighborhood.

About 500 protesters ran up a freeway on ramp near a Trader Joe’s grocery store, the Oakland Police Department said, bringing traffic to a halt for hours on Interstate 580. Several arrests were made, Oakland police said, and the freeway was eventually reopened.

But clashes continued both near the freeway and in the city’s downtown, where the protests had originated. By midnight, protesters had ignited large fires on a street in downtown Oakland and looters could be seen breaking into several stores.

Inside a Metro PCS store, one woman tossed packages through a smashed glass door to gathered crowds. Down the street, young men hurled beer bottles at people passing bye.

Close to the city’s police headquarters, protesters confronted officers in full riot gear and gas masks, linking arms and advancing toward the police shortly after midnight. The police, in turn, advanced toward the protesters and some in the crowd threw water bottles and other objects at the officers.

“This is an unlawful assembly,” a policeman announced via a speaker system. “You may be arrested and subject to removal by force if necessary.”

A man in the crowd wearing a sweatshirt and carrying a bullhorn answered back with his own announcement.

“The Oakland Police Department is now under citizen’s arrest,” he said. “By the power invested in the people of California, the Oakland Police Department is now under arrest. We are arresting you for violating our civil rights.”

Clashes continued into the early morning as police steadily moved up the street arresting and confronting protesters.

D’Andre Teeter, 70, from Berkeley, said before the grand jury’s decision was announced that anything less than an indictment for murder would be an “outrage.”

”We are out here to say this has to stop, and we think the whole country must come to a halt regardless of the outcome of the grand jury’s decision,” he said.

Across the bay in San Francisco, a crowd of a few dozen people gathered in the Mission District to await the grand jury decision. Carrying signs reading “Justice 4 Mike Brown,” they booed and chanted, “The people say guilty! The people say guilty!” when the news came that Officer Wilson wouldn’t be indicted.

In downtown Atlanta, a handful of civil-rights activists gathered outside the Richard B. Russell Federal Building to address the media after the verdict was announced. Markel Hutchins, an African American minister, choked back tears at one point when describing how frustrated he was by the decision.

“If you don’t look like Michael Brown, or have a son or grandson or cousin that looks like Michael Brown, you will never understand why we feel the way we feel tonight,” he said.

With unseasonably chilly temperatures that swept into the area Monday night, most of downtown Atlanta was desolate and no major disturbances were reported. Civil-rights leaders said they planned a peaceful protest Tuesday evening.

In Philadelphia, the city’s police department was monitoring the situation and watching social media, said a spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter. The mayor earlier told reporters he recognizes the public’s right to demonstrate but urged people to do so nonviolently.

According to the Associated Press, several hundred protesters marched through downtown Philadelphia, yelling, “No justice, no peace, no racist police!” A similar protest of about 50 people in Pittsburgh was short-lived, with activists saying they plan to regroup Tuesday at the federal courthouse, the AP reported.

Law-enforcement officials in Los Angeles said they had prepared for potential unrest in the nation’s second-largest city, but a small protest march that started in Leimert Park in south L.A. blocked traffic along its route but otherwise remained peaceful.

As they marched on foot and on bicycles, the few dozen protesters carried signs, blew whistles and shouted: “If you’re sick of the murdering police, outta your house and into the street.” At one point, a few protesters briefly made their way onto a section of the I-10 freeway before police moved them back.

Cue Jnmarie, a 50-year-old pastor, said he met with police twice to prepare for the response to the grand jury’s decision. He said he is pushing for public policy changes, and doesn’t support violence. He said community organizers and religious leaders there aimed to do more than “blow off steam” about Michael Brown’s death.

”This is not just happening now,” he said. “It has been happening, and it’s part of the culture.”

Mr. Jnmarie described himself as a victim of racial profiling in Los Angeles and said the community is angry. “Police protect and serve everyone except people of color,” he said.

”We do everything in our power to facilitate lawful, peaceful demonstrations as long as they don’t become violent or destructive,” said Andy Neiman, spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department.

In Seattle, where a protest march also was reported to be nonviolent, the police department said it hadn’t made any major preparations for protests. The department prefers to take a “rather toned-down approach to that sort of thing,” said Patrick Michaud, a Seattle police detective with the force’s public affairs unit.

In Baltimore, two groups said they would wait until Tuesday afternoon to march through downtown, regardless of the grand jury’s decision. “We want the time to have the largest gathering possible,” said Sharon Black, local representative of one of the groups, the Peoples Power Assembly. “It’s difficult to get a large, large group out in the middle of the night. We want our message to be heard.”

http://online.wsj.com/articles/u-s-cities-prepare-for-reaction-to-ferguson-grand-jury-decision-1416874256

 

Ferguson and Other Cities React to Grand Jury Decision Not to Indict Darren Wilson

Journalists with The New York Times in Ferguson, Mo., are following a grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. On Monday night, the scene in downtown Ferguson grew increasingly unruly as the night wore on with the police using tear gas to disperse crowds who were throwing rocks and shattering store windows. Some businesses were looted, the police said. Protests also broke out in other cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Oakland and Seattle.

Follow Tuesday’s live updates and other ongoing coverage here.

Transcript of the Grand Jury Proceedings

An Overview of What Happened in Ferguson

Timeline: Tracking the Events Following the Shooting

Photo
A photograph of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson presented as evidence to the grand jury.

A photograph of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson presented as evidence to the grand jury.Credit via St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office

Among the many things found in Darren Wilson’s grand jury testimony are several references to the way he felt intimidated by Michael Brown. Though Officer Wilson is himself a large man – nearly 6’4″, around 210 pounds, according to his own testimony — he repeatedly described Mr. Brown as aggressive, big, and threatening, often in vivid language. Here are a few excerpts from his description of the altercation at the window of his patrol car:

“I tried to hold his right arm and use my left hand to get out to have some kind of control and not be trapped in my car any more. And when I grabbed him, the only way I can describe it is I felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan.”

“I felt that another one of those punches in my face could knock me out or worse. I mean it was, he’s obviously bigger than I was and stronger and the, I’ve already taken two to the face and I didn’t think I would, the third one could be fatal if he hit me right.”

“After seeing the blood on my hand, I looked at him and was, this is my car door, he was here and he kind of stepped back and went like this. And then after he did that, he looked up at me and had the most intense aggressive face. The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked. He comes back towards me again with his hands up.”

A police officer from the nearby suburb of University City was shot overnight, but it was unclear if it was related to the grand jury’s decision in the Ferguson case, the St. Louis County police said early Tuesday.
The officer was shot in the arm was expected to be “okay,” the police said in a Twitter post. The police were searching for a suspect.

The officer was shot at the intersection of Canton Avenue and Lamb Avenue in University City, a police spokesman said.

12:42 A.M.Protesters Block Interstate 44 in St. Louis
Photo
Protesters shut down Interstate 44 at Grand Avenue in both directions in St. Louis on Monday.

Protesters shut down Interstate 44 at Grand Avenue in both directions in St. Louis on Monday.Credit J.B. Forbes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, via Associated Press

12:33 A.M.Sounds of Gunfire and Alarms on Ferguson Streets
Photo
Fire roared through a Little Caesar's restaurant on Monday night in Ferguson, Mo.

Fire roared through a Little Caesar’s restaurant on Monday night in Ferguson, Mo.CreditTannen Maury/European Pressphoto Agency

There were numerous stretches of Ferguson late Monday night where all was calm, all was well. Stores with “I Love Ferguson” signs in the windows. The red bows and holiday lights wrapped around the light poles downtown still perfectly intact.

But there were pockets that felt like a city under siege.

A Little Caesars Pizza shop was in flames. There were shattered windows at El Palenque Mexican restaurant, and at a UMB Bank branch. Thick smoke poured from the busted front entrance of a Walgreens pharmacy. Men stepped in but quickly stepped out, complaining that it was too hard to see anything because of the smoke. The sound of gunfire occasionally rang out in the distance, and the acidic smell and aftertaste of tear gas filled the air. One man exited the store and jokingly asked if anyone wanted cigarettes.

At the intersection of North Florissant Road and Hereford Avenue – “Ferguson, a city since 1894,” reads the sign at the corner – firefighters worked on putting out the Little Caesars blaze, but there were no police or fire officials at Walgreens. The fire inside continued to burn. Spectators drove up to the store, as did news crews. All the while, the pharmacy’s high-pitched security bell echoed, the soundtrack of the evening’s drama.

“Not often you get to see anarchy, huh?” one man taking pictures outside Walgreens said.

MANNY FERNANDEZ

12:09 A.M.Protesters Block Highway in Oakland
Photo
Protesters in Oakland blocked a highway on Monday night in response to the grand jury's decision in Ferguson, Mo.

Protesters in Oakland blocked a highway on Monday night in response to the grand jury’s decision in Ferguson, Mo.Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

In Oakland, Calif., protesters blocked a portion of Interstate 580, forcing cars to stop. One man said he had been sitting in his car for about 45 minutes. “I knew there would be protests, but I didn’t think it would get this hectic with shutting down the freeway and all the cops,” said the man, Alex Perez, 28, of Oakland. He was trying to get home, but said he was sympathetic to what the protesters were trying to do. “It was unwarranted for a kid to get shot.”

MOMO CHANG

12:30 A.M.Protesting Coast to Coast
Photo
Demonstrators outside the White House on Monday.

Demonstrators outside the White House on Monday.Credit Jabin Botsford/The New York Times

Photo
A gathering in downtown Seattle.

A gathering in downtown Seattle.Credit Evan McGlinn for The New York Times

12:29 A.M.Flight restrictions at Lambert-St. Louis International

Inbound flights to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport were not being permitted to land late Monday as a safety precaution, officials said. The Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary flight restriction, or TFR, affecting inbound flights, the airport said in a post on Twitter.

EMMA FITZSIMMONS

12:13 A.M.Michael Brown’s Mother Reacts

Credit

11:54 P.M.Protesters March in South Los Angeles
Photo
Demonstrators reacted on Monday night in Los Angeles  to the grand jury's decision not to indict Office Darren Wilson in the  fatal shooting of Michael Brown.

Demonstrators reacted on Monday night in Los Angeles  to the grand jury’s decision not to indict Office Darren Wilson in the  fatal shooting of Michael Brown.Credit Ringo Chiu/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Late on Monday night, a crowd of about 200 people had blocked traffic on Crenshaw Boulevard, a main thoroughfare through South Los Angeles. The crowd swelled to over 250 as it marched north, then turned east on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, a central strip that cuts through South Los Angeles toward downtown Los Angeles.

Beating drums, the crowd chanted: “Turn up, turn down, we do this for Mike Brown.”

The crowd was young, mostly in their 20s and 30s. Police squad cars and officers stood by at a few intersections. Some protesters carried their cellphones, recording officers or photographing the scene. Helicopters hovered overhead.

John K. Givens, 45, a Los Angeles resident who works at a freight trading company, marched with the crowd, wearing a gray Dodgers cap and a navy blue vest jacket. “I was emotionally bothered by the decision,” Mr. Givens said of the grand jury in the Ferguson, Mo., case.

Mr. Givens said that as a black male, violent interactions were to be expected. His younger brother, Mr. Givens said, had been beaten by a Los Angeles police officer. “It’s nothing new,” he said. “This is the one that got the most media attention.”

http://news.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/24/live-updates-from-ferguson-on-the-grand-jury-decision-in-michael-brown-shooting/?_r=0

 

A town ravaged by anger: Before and after pictures show extent of damage to buildings in Ferguson

  • Pictures compares buildings in Ferguson before and after Monday
  • The grand jury decision in Derren Wilson case led to riots in city
  • Buildings were looted and set on fire as protests turned violent
  • Jury ruled Wilson will not be charged over killing Michael Brown 

Although Michael Brown’s family, President Barack Obama, and authorities called for peaceful protests, the Ferguson was soon out of control.

The riots saw a return to the looting, fires and property damages which took place on a smaller scale in August, immediately after the shooting of Brown.

Scroll down for video 

Damage done: Two buildings still smoulder after the riots that ravaged Ferguson, Missouri overnight

Damage done: Two buildings still smoulder after the riots that ravaged Ferguson, Missouri overnight

Before: A satellite image taken by Google in September 2012 show the buildings intact

Before: A satellite image taken by Google in September 2012 show the buildings intact

As the sun rose on Tuesday, the cityscape of Ferguson looked worlds away from satellite and Google Street View snaps taken just months earlier.

Pictures from yesterday in comparison with images from before, tracked down byThe Wall Street Journal, show the damage done.

Last night, tens of thousands of people in more than 170 cities across America – including Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles, among others – were demonstrating against the long-awaited verdict.

However, despite the St. Louis grand jury decision, federal investigations into the shooting of Michael Brown continue the US Attorney General said on Monday.

The Justice Department will continue to pursue two investigations, one into potential civil rights violations by Officer Wilson when he shot dead unarmed Brown in August this year, and one into the practices of the Ferguson Police force.

Beauty lost: A beauty supply store has been left in ruins after Monday night's riots

Beauty lost: A beauty supply store has been left in ruins after Monday night’s riots

True beauty: A Google Street View snap from 2010 shows the shop in its original state

True beauty: A Google Street View snap from 2010 shows the shop in its original state

Burned out: A building in Ferguson only has its four walls left after being destroyed by fire

Burned out: A building in Ferguson only has its four walls left after being destroyed by fire

Better times: The building, which appears to be a shop, is pictured on Google earlier this year

Better times: The building, which appears to be a shop, is pictured on Google earlier this year

The fire at the local Little Ceasars restaurant left the big orange sign in a melted lump on the ground

The fire at the local Little Ceasars restaurant left the big orange sign in a melted lump on the ground

Neighborhood joint: There is no sign of its former glory, captured by Google in August 2012

Neighborhood joint: There is no sign of its former glory, captured by Google in August 2012

Distraught: The manager of the Little Caesar’s said he understood the protesters were angry but added: ‘Speaking your mind – that’s America. You are supposed to be able to protest peacefully and make your point. But this…’

More destruction: The arson frenzy also hit South Florissant Street, about a mile away. This branch of Little Casear's was burned out

More destruction: The arson frenzy also hit South Florissant Street, about a mile away. This branch of Little Casear’s was burned out

Et tu: The neighboring antique shop to the Little Caesar's was also destroyed in the orgy of violence which hit Ferguson

Long way back: A woman stops to take a picture using her phone of the damage done

Long way back: A woman stops to take a picture using her phone of the damage done

Still intact: The local Clean World Laundromat was still standing on Monday morning

Still intact: The local Clean World Laundromat was still standing on Monday morning

Residents on the streets told MailOnline that the wreckage to Ferguson was so bad that it looked like ‘Ferganistan’.

Another said that it ‘looked like Iraq’.

Almost every building along South Florissant Street, where the Ferguson police station is located, had been ransacked or vandalised.

Tony Koenig and his brother Ray, 38 and 40, had taken the day off from working as school groundskeepers to help rebuild a Mexican restaurant run by a friend.

Tony said: ‘I have lived in Ferguson for 38 years and I have never seen anything like this. They just want street justice and they don’t care about how they get it.

‘This young generation. I cannot understand why they do what they do. The parents are to blame. When me and my brother grew up both our parents worked and we were raised knowing how to show respect, and that doesn’t happen these days.

‘We’ve had a hard enough time paying our mortgages after the economy went down. We don’t need this’.

Their friend Drew Canaday, who was also helping them, lives in the street next to South Florissant and said that it was ‘like a war’ the night before.

Destruction: :A rioter uses a stick to break a window at the Hunan Chop Suey Chinese Restaurant along West Florissant Ave last night

Destruction: :A rioter uses a stick to break a window at the Hunan Chop Suey Chinese Restaurant along West Florissant Ave last night

Nothing left: This was all that was left of the Hunan Chop Suey Chinese restaurant this morning after the fire wrecked it 

Nothing left: This was all that was left of the Hunan Chop Suey Chinese restaurant this morning after the fire wrecked it

Picture: 'I don't condone this but I can understand it. I have been racially profiled myself,' said Jason Westbrook of Ferguson as he took video of the burning of the Title Max Loans business on West Florissant

As they were: The Hunan Chop Suey and TitleMax loans were both intact before last night's orgy of violence

As they were: The Hunan Chop Suey and TitleMax loans were both intact before last night's orgy of violence

As they were: The Hunan Chop Suey and TitleMax loans were both intact before last night’s orgy of violence

Burning: Cars parked outside one row of shops on West Florissant were targeted in the destruction spree

Burning: Cars parked outside one row of shops on West Florissant were targeted in the destruction spree

Burned out: Cars parked outside one row of shops on West Florissant were targeted in the destruction spree 

Inspection: The scale of destruction became clear today after a night which saw fires raised across the St Louis suburb of Ferguson

Attacked: McDonald's on West Florissant was smashed up although not set on fire. It had previously avoided damage

Attacked: McDonald's on West Florissant was smashed up although not set on fire. It had previously avoided damage

Attacked: McDonald’s on West Florissant was smashed up although not set on fire. It had previously (right) avoided damage

Devastated: A gas station was among the targets of the violence. Today property manager Terri Willits witnessed the destruction

Crime scene: Much of West Florissant was under police guard today and described by officers as an active crime scene

Crime scene: Much of West Florissant was under police guard today and described by officers as an active crime scene

Crime scene: Much of West Florissant was under police guard today and described by officers as an active crime scene

‘Especially something this big. It takes dialogue and not everyone will be happy but that’s compromise.

‘These people don’t want to wait. That what today’s society has come to, not just here in Ferguson – this is America, this is the world.’

Further up South Florissant a Little Caesar’s pizza restaurant had been burned to the ground, as had the antiques store next to it.

The manager of the restaurant, who declined to give his name for fear of reprisals, said that 12 people had now been put out of work and did not know if the owners would rebuild.

The manager said that the store was destroyed by a tornado three years earlier and they did build it back but it cost ‘a lot of money’.

He said: ‘Most of the people here have families and they are very worried about what will come next for them.

‘I’m proud to work here and started as the dishwasher and worked my way up. I had a motorcycle accident and had my foot amputated and they were good enough to give me a job,

The manger, a widower with two children in their 20s, said that he was in principle on the side of the protesters but that this was ‘too far’.

He said: ‘I believe in their right to protest and what they’re doing is a just case.

‘Speaking your mind – that’s America. You are supposed to be able to protest peacefully and make your point. But this…’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2850383/A-town-ravaged-anger-pictures-extent-damage-buildings-Ferguson.html#ixzz3KCPcRKOm

Ferguson: In Defense of Rioting

Darlena Cunha

Darlena Cunha is a Florida-based contributor to The Washington Post and TIME among dozens of other publications.

The violent protests in Ferguson, Mo., are part of the American experience. Peaceful protesting is a luxury only available to those safely in mainstream culture

When a police officer shoots a young, unarmed black man in the streets, then does not face indictment, anger in the community is inevitable. It’s what we do with that anger that counts. In such a case, is rioting so wrong?

Riots are a necessary part of the evolution of society. Unfortunately, we do not live in a universal utopia where people have the basic human rights they deserve simply for existing, and until we get there, the legitimate frustration, sorrow and pain of the marginalized voices will boil over, spilling out into our streets. As “normal” citizens watch the events of Fergusonunfurl on their television screens and Twitter feeds, there is a lot of head shaking, finger pointing, and privileged explanation going on. We wish to seclude the incident and the people involved. To separate it from our history as a nation, to dehumanize the change agents because of their bad and sometimes violent decisions—because if we can separate the underlying racial tensions that clearly exist in our country from the looting and rioting of select individuals, we can continue to ignore the problem.

While the most famous rant against the riots thus far comes from Hercules actor Kevin Sorbo, where he calls the rioters “animals” and “losers,” there are thousands of people echoing these sentiments. Sorbo correctly ascertains that the rioting has little to do with the shooting of an unarmed black man in the street, but he blames it on the typical privileged American’s stereotype of a less fortunate sect of human being—that the looting is a result of frustration built up over years of “blaming everyone else, The Man, for their failures.”

Because when you have succeeded, it ceases to be a possibility, in our capitalist society, that anyone else helped you. And if no one helped you succeed, then no one is holding anyone else back from succeeding. Except they did help you, and they are holding people back. So that blaming someone else for your failures in the United States may very well be an astute observation of reality, particularly as it comes to white privilege versus black privilege. And, yes, they are different, and they are tied to race, and that doesn’t make me a racist, it makes me a realist. If anything, I am racist because I am white. Until I have had to walk in a person of color’s skin, I will never understand, I will always take things for granted, and I will be inherently privileged. But by ignoring the very real issues this country still faces in terms of race to promote an as-of-yet imaginary colorblind society, we contribute to the problem at hand, which is centuries of abuses lobbied against other humans on no basis but that of their skin color.

Sorbo is not alone. A webpage devoted to Tea Party politics has hundreds of comments disparaging the rioters, bemoaning the state of our country and very much blaming skin color as the culprit of this debauched way of dealing with the state of our society.

“To hear the libs, one would think that burning and looting are a justifiable way to judge negative events that effect (sic) the black,” one person wrote. “I intentionally used black because of a fact that you do not hear of these events when another skin color is in play. It is about time that the blacks start cleaning their own backyards before they start on ours.”

However, even the Tea Party gets its name from a riot, The Boston Tea Party. For those who need a quick history brush-up, in 1773 American protesters dumped an entire shipment of tea into the Boston Harbor to protest The Tea Act, which colonists maintained violated their rights. In response to this costly protest and civil unrest, the British government enforced The Coercive Acts, ending local government in Massachusetts, which in turn led to the American Revolution and created our great country.

Samuel Adams wrote of the incident, claiming it “was not the act of a lawless mob, but was instead a principled protest and the only remaining option the people had to defend their constitutional rights” according to John K. Alexander, author ofSamuel Adams: America’s Revolutionary Politician.

That protest back in 1773 was meant to effect political and societal change, and while the destruction of property in that case may not have ended in loss of human life, the revolutionthat took place afterward certainly did. What separates a heralded victory in history from an attempt at societal change, a cry for help from the country’s trampled, today? The fact that we won.

In terms of riots being more common in black communities, that is true only when the riots are politically aimed.

The obvious example here is the L.A. Riots of 1992, after the Rodney King beating and verdict. I would put forth that peaceful protesting is a luxury of those already in mainstream culture, those who can be assured their voices will be heard without violence, those who can afford to wait for the change they want.

“I risk sounding racist but if this was a white kid there would be no riot,” another person wrote on the Tea Party page. “History shows us that blacks in this country are more apt to riot than any other population. They are stirred up by racist black people and set out to cause problems. End of story.”

Blacks in this country are more apt to riot because they are one of the populations here who still need to. In the case of the 1992 riots, 30 years of black people trying to talk about their struggles of racial profiling and muted, but still vastly unfair, treatment, came to a boil. Sometimes, enough is simply too much. And after that catalyst event, the landscape of southern California changed, and nationally, police forces took note.

And the racism they are fighting, the racism we are all fighting, is still alive and well throughout our nation. The modern racism may not culminate in separate water fountains and separate seating in the backs of buses, but its insidious nature is perhaps even more dangerous to the individuals who have to live under the shroud of stereotypical lies society foists upon them.

Instead of tearing down other human beings who are acting upon decades of pent-up anger at a system decidedly against them, a system that has told them they are less than human for years, we ought to be reaching out to help them regain the humanity they lost, not when a few set fire to the buildings in Ferguson, but when they were born the wrong color in the post-racial America.

http://time.com/author/darlena-cunha-2/

 

Dozens in Boston face charges for Ferguson protest

By Martin Finucane and Peter Schworm

Dozens of people are facing charges after crowds took to the streets of Boston Tuesday night to protest a grand jury’s decision not to charge a Ferguson, Mo., police officer in the fatal shooting of a black teenager who was unarmed.

Boston police arrested 47 people on charges that include disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace, said police spokesman Officer James Kenneally.
Still, there were no major incidents or injuries reported in the mostly peaceful demonstrations.

“All in all, I think everybody handled themselves pretty well last night,” said Police Commissioner William Evans. “We wanted people to be able to express their frustration but, at the same time, we did want everybody to be safe.”

Demonstrations also took place in other cities around the country, including in New York, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., as the decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown sparked a heated national debate about law enforcement’s relationship with minority communities.

View Graphic
Map: Ferguson protests in US
Though most of the gatherings were peaceful the day after the announcement, many cities saw marchers disrupting traffic and getting into confrontations with police.
Photos: Protesters march
Anthony Braga: Why Boston’s protests were mostly peaceful
Sense of resigned anger in Boston

The Boston marchers faced arraignment Wednesday in Roxbury District Court and Boston Municipal Court. About half those arrested were Boston residents. Most were college students, Kenneally said.

Many were arrested at Melnea Cass Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue, where there was a sit-in, he said.

Evans said at a news conference that police had gone with a “real soft approach.”

He said he felt the protest went well “because of our whole style,” which includes “great community relations” and a constant dialogue with the community.

He said police recognized a number of the protesters from Occupy Boston, which occupied an area in downtown Boston in 2011.

Police expect protests to continue as long as Ferguson itself is “hot,” but he said, “I’d like to continue dialogue so Boston can be a model of how protests should go.”

At Roxbury District Court, one protester being arraigned painted a less sunny view of how police behaved.

“I was struck in the face by police. They put me in a headlock and dragged me out of the protest group and they hit me in the face, they threw me on the ground. … They handled it pretty poorly,” said David Meredith, a Salem State junior from Revere. Meredith had a black eye, which he said police had inflicted on him.

“I wasn’t shocked. I was appalled, but I wasn’t shocked. The police were being very confrontational. They seemed very angry the entire time,” he said, noting that he saw an officer choking another man, who was holding a camera.
Both Boston police and State Police interacted with demonstrators. It wasn’t clear what agency the officers who confronted Meredith came from.

David Procopio, a State Police spokesman, said that “because of superb cooperation and coordination between State and Boston police, we were able to prevent protesters from entering the Southeast Expressway and the Mass. Turnpike.”

He added that monitoring social media “provided critical intelligence about protesters’ plans to try to disrupt traffic on state highways.”

One state trooper was bitten on the wrist by a protester, Procopio said. He was treated by Boston EMS on the scene.

An estimated 1,400 protesters marched from Dudley Square to the South Bay House of Correction, then onto the Massachusetts Avenue Connector near Interstate 93 before being blocked by police, the Globe reported Wednesday morning

The protesters spread across Boston, through Back Bay and the Financial District, meeting police again in Dewey Square — the former site of the Occupy encampment — outside South Station late Tuesday night, the Globe reported.

State troopers also assisted with other largely peaceful protests in Worcester, Northampton, and Springfield Tuesday night, Procopio said. No tactical and riot-control units were used, though they were on standby.

Procopio said State Police would maintain an increased presence at potential demonstration sites in Boston over the next several days.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/11/26/arraigned-today-after-crowds-protest-ferguson-grand-jury-decision/nHoyjKL83C6uZyJPevrAGK/story.html

 

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Pronk Pops Show 308: August 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 307: August 1, 2014

Story 1: The Coming Wipe Out Election of 2014 Drowns Democrats in Defeat and Obama’s Failed Presidency — Republicans Will Control Senate With 56 Senators and House With 250 Representatives — Jobs –Obamacare–Budgets — Scandals (JOBS) Were The Issues — Big Losers: The Washington Political Elitist Establishment (PEEs) and Mainstream Media — Real Winners: Independents and Tea Party Patriots — Balance The Budget and Enforce Immigration Law and Deport The 30-50 Illegal Aliens Now Or You Are Next! — Videos

Independent-voters

Combined--Control_of_the_U.S._House_of_Representatives_-_Control_of_the_U.S._Senate

Party Affiliation

Party affiliation in U.S. plus leaners

Trend: In politics, as of today, do you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat, or an independent? (Asked of independents:) As of today, do you lean more to the Democratic Party or the Republican Party?

http://www.gallup.com/poll/15370/party-affiliation.aspx

The Ventures Live: Wipe Out

• Glenn Beck Discusses 2014 Midterm Elections • Hannity • 10/28/14

Will Republicans win control the Senate?

Scathing Immigration Report – Illegal Immigration Laura Ingraham Weighs In – O’Reilly

Officials say suspect in killings of California deputies was deported twice

Mexican Man Who was Deported Twice Kills 2 Cops and 1 Civilian in California.

Suspect in Killing of Deputies Was Twice Deported

Deputy killed, three others hurt in California shooting spree

Suspect in Sacramento deputy shootings now in custody

Illegal alien kills two California sheriff deputies

Confirmed — illegal alien drug dealer cop killer deported twice

Sheriff’s officials have identified the suspect as Marcelo Marquez, but the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said in a statement Saturday that his name actually is Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte.

Glenn Beck On Tea Party Vs Republican Party – O’Reilly

Poll shows independents growing in US

Poll Record High 42 Percent Americans Identify As Independents

Most Political Independents Ever In USA

Reason’s Nick Gillespie on the Rise of the Independent Voter

Dan Mitchell Discussing the Tipping Point when America Becomes a Failed Welfare State

5 Facts About Govt Spending: Nick Gillespie at Reason Weekend 2012

“Politicians are like criminals in Batman comics. They’re a superstitious, cowardly lot. And the minute that they know they’re going to lose elections because they’re spending too much money, they will find their inner cheapskate and start [spending less],” said Reason’s Nick Gillespie during his speech at the Reason Weekend event in Las Vegas. In “5 Unacknowledged, Unexpected, and Unavoidable Facts about Government Spending and the Economy,” Gillespie says politicians such as President Obama and John Boehner are in denial. Influential economists like Paul Krugman and Lawrence Summers correctly diagnose debt as a problem even as they prescribe more debt as the cure. Gillespie argues that: • We’re spending too much. Two wars, entitlement growth, and a massive stimulus are the results of a spending frenzy over the last decade. • We’ve got too much debt. Every level of government is in over their heads. The literal and figurative bankruptcies of cities such as Stockton, California and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania are the canaries in the coal mine. • Debt overhang kills growth. The latest studies are clear: excessive debt, sustained over long periods of time, hurts economic growth. Beyond the cost of higher interest rate payments, increasingly higher debt loads — which Gillespie calls “a ziggurat of doom” — promises to reduce opportunities for everyone. • Spending growth is driven by entitlements. Since the Great Society programs of the 1960s, the government has switched from providing infrastructure and basic services, to being a national insurance broker. The consequences of this are dire because, as statistician Nate Silver notes, “most of us don’t much care for our insurance broker.” • Trust in government is at historic lows. This kind of distrust is an inevitable result of a mismanaged economy. Yet it’s also cause for optimism. Public discontent sow the seeds of reform, allowing the possibility of meaningful fiscal reform. Gillespie’s talk, in which he also sketches solutions to long-term economic malaise, is followed by audience Q&A.

Eight Reasons Why Big Government Hurts Economic Growth

Free Markets and Small Government Produce Prosperity

Want Less Corruption? Shrink the Size of Government

 

TAKE IT TO THE LIMITS: Milton Friedman on Libertarianism

This interview was filmed February 10, 1999. What are the elements of the libertarian movement and how does one of its most illustrious proponents, Milton Friedman, apply its tenets to issues facing the United States today? Milton Friedman, Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences discusses how he balances the libertarians’ desire for a small, less intrusive government with environmental, public safety, food and drug administration, and other issues.

TAKEOVER: “The Rise Of The Tea Party”

The Tea Party Continuing the Revolution in American Thought

Tea Party America (BBC Documentary)

Yaron Brook at Tea Party Patriots Summit

Will Hunting had it right 14 years ago

George Carlin – It’s a big club and you ain’t in it

George Carlin – Voting

Independments Walk Out of

The Democratic and Republican Parties

The Ventures – Walk Don’t Run

Independent and Tea Party Patriot Candidates

 And New Third Party Are In The Pipeline

The Ventures – PIPELINE

U.S. Voters Divided on Party Better to Control Congress

U.S. registered voters do not have a clear preference on whether the country would be better off if Republicans (29%) or Democrats (27%) controlled Congress, with 40% saying it would be the same regardless of which party is in power. In the 2006 Democratic and 2010 Republican “wave” elections, voters had a clear preference for the party that won. Today’s views are most similar to the 2002 elections, which saw more modest change in the party composition of Congress. Trend: Do you think the country would be better off if the Republicans controlled Congress, if the Democrats controlled Congress, or would the country be the same regardless of which party controlled Congress? The 2006 and 2010 elections were contested at a time when one party had control of the presidency and both houses of Congress, and voters were more likely to think the country would benefit from shifting control of Congress away from the majority party than keeping it with that party. In 2002, as now, party control was divided, with the president’s party having control of one house of Congress but not the other. The blurred lines of accountability could explain why voters did not more clearly show a preference for which party controlled Congress in 2002 or this year. But other aspects of Americans’ current mood look more like they did in 2006 and 2010 — and in other years, such as 1982 and 1994, in which there were major shakeups in congressional membership — than in 2002. These include their subpar ratings of the job performance of the president and of Congress, and their low satisfaction with the direction of the country as a whole. Key Election Indicators in Recent Midterm Election Years The president’s party typically loses seats in midterm elections, but those losses tend to be greater when Americans’ approval ratings of the president, and of Congress, are relatively poor, and when Americans are not satisfied with the way things are going in the United States. In years like 1986, 1998 and 2002, when Americans were generally upbeat about the state of the nation, there tended to be less change in the membership of Congress in the midterm elections. Importantly, though these key indicators are still low on an absolute basis, most of the current updates are a bit more positive than what Gallup measured earlier this year. For example, congressional job approval has averaged 14% so far in 2014 and has not been as high as the current 20% since just before the 2012 elections. Also, the current 27% satisfied with the way things are going in the United States exceeds the 2014 average to date of 23%; satisfaction was last at this level in July 2013. President Barack Obama’s job approval rating, 44% in the Oct. 29-Nov. 2 poll, is nominally more positive, but not significantly different from, the 42% he has averaged in Gallup Daily tracking over the past week. Americans’ improving economic confidence may be one reason the current national mood indicators are a bit more positive than they have been. And while the level of improvement is not enough to fundamentally erase the Republicans’ advantage going into Tuesday’s elections, it does suggest the negative climate that has been providing the wind at the GOP’s back may not be quite strong as it was a few months, or even weeks, ago. Implications The national political climate, as measured by several key indicators of Americans’ satisfaction with current conditions in the country and how the nation is being governed, usually gives a strong sense of which way a midterm election will go. And this year, with a Democratic president in office and Americans in a generally negative mood, the fundamentals point to 2014 being a better year for the Republican Party than the Democratic Party. Indeed, the general consensus among political experts is that the Republicans will increase their majority in the House of Representatives and could win control of the Senate. And though the key indicators are about as negative this year as they have been in past wave elections, 2014 may not see the same level of shakeup in Congress as was the case in 2006, 2010 and other years. The key variable working against a 2014 wave may be that divided party control in Washington already exists when it did not in 1994, 2006 and 2010, and thus, frustrated voters this year have no clear way to act on their frustration by changing the party composition of the federal government. With Obama in office for two more years and little chance of Republicans losing their House majority, divided government should still be in place regardless of which party has the Senate majority, and the way the nation is governed over the next two years may not materially change. Survey Methods Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 29-Nov. 2, 2014, with a random sample of 1,832 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For results based on the total sample of 1,590 registered voters, the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

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The Select Committee on Benghazi Will Never Answer The Most Important Questions — Why Was The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) In Benghazi, Libya and What Were They Doing? — Shipping Arms Through Turkey To The Syrian Rebels — Free Syrian Army, Al Nustra, Islamic State — Al Qaeda Arms Deal Gone Bad — Congress and Obama Arms Our Enemies To Kill Christians — The War on Christians! — Videos

Posted on September 21, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Books, British History, Business, Catholic Church, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Coptic Christian, Crime, Crisis, Culture, Demographics, Diasters, Documentary, Economics, Education, European History, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Fraud, Genocide, government spending, history, Homicide, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Monetary Policy, Money, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Non-Fiction, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Resources, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Tax Policy, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

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 

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

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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: The Select Committee on Benghazi Will Never Answer The Most Important Questions — Why Was The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) In Benghazi, Libya and What Were They Doing? — Shipping Arms Through Turkey To The Syrian Rebels — Free Syrian Army, Al Nustra, Islamic State — Al Qaeda Arms Deal Gone Bad — Congress and Obama Arms Our Enemies To Kill Christians —  The War on Christians! — Videos

selectcommittegowdy

obama-cia-leon-panetta-twice-denied-military-backup-us-embassy-libya-benghazi

The Tyrant’s Liars Club

liars_club

Benghazi Select Committee Holds First Public Hearing Trey Gowdy On The Record

Watch Live: Select Committee on Benghazi Holds First Hearing

President Obama announces bipartisan House and Senate support of his plan to arm rebels in Syria

Islamic State: Obama’s plan to arm Syrian rebels approved

Rand Paul Lambasts White House, Congress for Arming Syrian Rebels

General: Benghazi ‘Botched Arms Deal’ To Muslim Brotherhood And Al Qaeda

Chairman Gowdy’s Questioning in First Benghazi Select Committee Hearing

Trey Gowdy Demands Answers On Benghazi

Rand Paul Destroys Hillary Clinton Over Benghazi-Gate During Capitol Hill Press Conference

Chaffetz: Clinton’s Top Aides Involved In Benghazi Documents Scrub

Hillary allies secretly removed Benghazi documents damaging to her ahead of ARB probe

Obama Admin Lied To Us! They Knew Who Attack Us In Benghazi, Libya On 9-11!!

RUSH: Benghazi Cover-Up Blown Wide Open And Nobody’s Talking About It

CIA Arming Syrian Rebels With Missiles, Taxpayer Dollars

Congress Passes War Funding To Support Obama’s ISIS Fight

The Benghazi Select Committee: Many Questions Remain Unanswered

Patrick Cockburn on the rise of the Islamic State

The Rise of ISIS: US Invasion of Iraq, Foreign Backing of Syrian Rebels Helped Fuel Jihadis’ Advance

Patrick Cockburn: U.S. Turns Blind Eye As Saudis Fund Jihadists in Syrian Conflict (2 of 2)

Syria – Who are Jabhat al-Nusra? – Truthloader

Who are ISIS? – Truthloader

 

benghazi-we-will-find-out-what-difference-does-it-make

13_hours

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650px-U.S._mission_and_annex_map_for_2012_Benghazi_attacksmcannex_mapcia_annex

manpads

Thousands of Surface To Air Missiles Are Missing In Libya

Libya rebels discover Gaddafi’s huge tank store in Tripoli ready for battle

The largest arms depot in Africa ( Alqaha)been taking over by Libyan freedom fighters

Benghazi, Arms for Rebels & Obama Lies About Syrian Chemical Weapons

FSA rebels shoot down SAA aircraft with 9K38 “Igla” MANPADS

Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front): Reports on Terror Group from CNN & Al-Jazeera… Purpose Explained!

13 Hours – Full Interview of the Three Benghazi Survivors – Fox News

Benghazi – The Truth Behind The Smokescreen – Bret Baier Reporting

Glenn Beck Why Obama Hid the Truth of Benghazi

Rep. Trey Gowdy blasts Jay Carney and Ambassador Susan Rice: I want to know why we were lied to!

Susan Rice Caught Lying About Benghazi – Rep. Trey Gowdy Whistleblower Questioning

Treason Exposed! Obama Used Benghazi Attack to Cover Up Arms Shipments to Muslim Brotherhood

CIA Pressuring Agents With Knowledge Of Benghazi To Keep Silent

SYRIA CNBC: Benghazi Is Not About Libya But An Operation To Put Arms & Men In Syria

Retired Lt Gen Jerry Boykin suspects US Was Running Guns To Syrian Rebels Via Benghazi

SYRIA Rand Paul “Maybe We Were Facilitating Arms Leaving Libya Going Through Turkey Into Syria”

Rand Paul Blasts Stupid Senate for Wanting to Arm Syrian al-Qaeda Fighters

Sen. Rand Paul: ‘Worldwide War on Christianity’ Ignored by Obama, Media

House Votes to Arm Syrian Rebels; CR Passes (Updated) (Video)

After voting to give President Barack Obama the authority to arm and train Syrian rebels, the House passed legislation Wednesday to fund the government until Dec. 11, moving the bill to avoid a government shutdown and address Islamic State organizations to the Senate.

House lawmakers voted 319-108 to pass the continuing resolution, with 143 Democrats joining 176 Republicans in support of the measure. 55 Democrats and 53 Republicans voted against the bill.

A vote on the spending bill, which will continue government spending through Dec. 11 at a $1.012 trillion level, was delayed last week so lawmakers could attach a request from the president to give him Title 10 authority to fight the Islamic State group.

That authority would allow the Obama administration to equip Syrian rebels for the intended purpose of fighting ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also referred to as ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Obama praised the House and urged the Senate to follow suit on the legislation, which he reiterated is not an authorization for the use of U.S. troops in Syria.

“Today’s vote is another step closer to having the authorization to train and equip vetted elements of the moderate Syrian opposition so they can defend themselves against, and ultimately push back on, ISIL forces,” he said in a statement

Just before the CR vote, lawmakers voted 273-156 to adopt the Syrian rebel amendment. 159 Republicans and 114 Democrats voted for the proposal, while 85 Republicans and 71 Democrats voted against it.

As voting on the amendment took place, members stared at the board in the House chamber showing who was voting for the amendment and who was voting against it. Despite a tally that was never really close, it was a dramatic vote.

Much of the debate on the CR turned into a debate on the proposal to arm Syrian rebels, and, more broadly, the specter of another war in the Middle East. In fact, the CR has become such a proxy for the Syria amendment that the Club for Growth, a conservative group opposed to the spending bill, withdrew its key vote on the legislation, explaining that the vote was now largely driven by foreign policy.

But if it were true that foreign policy was driving decisions on the CR, then it was the memories of past foreign policy decisions largely driving this current debate.

Liberal Democrats and some conservative Republicans worried on the House floor that this initial authorization was the first step of a larger military entanglement.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., a staunch opponent of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, said the six-hour debate on the amendment reminded her of “the failure to have a thorough and robust debate in the wake of 9/11,” which, she said resulted in an overly broad authorization that was a “blank check for perpetual war.”

Other members voted against the amendment because they worried of an opposite effect. Louisiana Republican John Fleming expressed concern that the authorization was “little more than an incremental strategy, not unlike the one used in Vietnam.”

“History warns of the dangers of such approaches,” Fleming said. “By moving hesitantly in piecemeal fashion, the enemy has more time to learn, adapt and get stronger. This is a recipe for a stalemate and failure.”

Many other lawmakers expressed concern over the stated strategy of arming the Free Syrian Army. They said there was no guarantee those rebels would always be allies of the United States, or that they wouldn’t simply use their U.S.-supplied weapons to take down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad instead of ISIL.

The Obama administration says there will be a thorough vetting process before any Syrian rebel is handed a weapon, but, by Wednesday, many lawmakers remained less than convinced. California Republican Dana Rohrabacher called the administration’s plan “wishful thinking, not realistic planning.”

But congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle insisted the authority was needed.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said earlier Wednesday that Obama deserved the support of Democrats in what she acknowledged was a “war vote,” but a proposal that was “discrete” and “short-term.”

“It is not pleasant, it’s not easy,” Pelosi later said on the House floor. “It’s hard. But it really is necessary for the House to approve this.”

Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., said ISIL was already threatening U.S. allies in the Middle East and in Europe.  ”And if left unchecked,” he said, “it will surely threaten us here at home.”

The ranking Democrat on the Armed Services panel, Adam Smith of Washington, argued that arming Syrian rebels would deny ISIL a “safe-haven,” and Armed Services Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon of California, who sponsored the amendment, said there was “no doubt” that any strategy to defeat ISIL would need to include a Syria component.

The plan to arm Syrian rebels is a middle-of-the-road response to the rise of ISIL. It isn’t an Authorization for the Use of Military Force, as the amendment explicitly indicates, and it won’t, by itself, dismantle terrorists in the region. But it’s not nothing.

Speaker John A. Boehner appealed to his conference by arguing this was a first step toward defeating ISIL, saying Congress had a responsibility to give the president this authority. While hetold reporters Tuesday there’s “a lot more” the U.S. needed to be doing to address ISIL, the Ohio Republican said there was “no reason not to do what the president asked us to do.”

Already, GOP leaders seem to be indicating that the House may soon consider a new authorization for use of military force for the Middle East, with Majority Leader Kevin McCarthytelling reporters on Monday that, “after November,” there may be an “opportunity” to debate a larger military authorization.

As for the CR itself, the 10-week extension, if it is — as expected — agreed to by the Senate and signed by the president, will force lawmakers to return after the midterm elections and begin work on a more permanent spending solution. Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said he was hopeful the House and Senate could work out an omnibus package similar to the one lawmakers worked out in January 2014.

“It is my sincere hope that if this CR is enacted, we can use the coming months wisely to craft agreement on all 12 bills by Dec. 11,” said the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, Nita M. Lowey of New York. “There is absolutely no reason to punt our responsibilities into the new year and new Congress.”

Conservatives had pushed for a longer CR — one that would fund the government until, say, March 1, 2015 — so that a new Congress, perhaps one with a Senate under Republican control, could set the spending levels. Conservatives also voiced concern over extending the Export-Import Bank until June 30, 2015. They wanted to simply let the credit agency expire.

But the reauthorization until June 30 seemed to scare Democrats more than Republicans. Democrats are showing unease that they won’t have a must-pass bill in June to which they can attach another extension of the Ex-Im Bank, and they worry that decoupling the agency from a spending bill will ultimately kill it.

Democrats seemed to understand, however, that holding up the CR over the length of extension on such an inside-the-Beltway issue would not be politically advantageous just before an election.

Passing the CR allows both Republicans and Democrats to get back to their districts early and campaign for about six weeks before the midterms. While the House is scheduled to be in session next week, most aides expect McCarthy to cancel the remaining legislative days before November and send everyone to the campaign trail early.

http://blogs.rollcall.com/218/house-votes-to-arm-syrian-rebels-passes-cr/?dcz=

Clinton insiders screened Benghazi documents before ARB probe, official says

 BY ED MORRISSEY

Just how unfettered was that “unfettered access” promised by the State Department to the Accountability Review Board in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack two years ago? According to one of the four officials punished and then cleared by State for the failures that led to the death of four men, a weekend housecleaning operation kept the ARB from seeing some of the most explosive documentation related to the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens. Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell told Sharyl Attkisson that the operation was supervised by advisers within Hillary Clinton’s inner circle, in this Daily Signal exclusive:

As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story. …

When he arrived, Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though the office director technically worked for him, Maxwell says he wasn’t consulted about her weekend assignment.

“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisors.

“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’ ”

Not long afterward, two people high up the State Department chain arrived to check on the operation. Attkisson describes them as “close confidants” of Hillary Clinton, probably from Maxwell’s own description, although neither are named in Attkisson’s report. Maxwell says that both of them accompanied him into another office with a fourth person, where they personally vetted more documents:

Maxwell says after those two officials arrived, he, the office director and an intern moved into a small office where they looked through some papers. Maxwell says his stack included pre-attack telegrams and cables between the U.S. embassy in Tripoli and State Department headquarters. After a short time, Maxwell says he decided to leave.

“I didn’t feel good about it,” he said.

Don’t expect that this will disappear as quietly. Maxwell says that members of the select House committee on Benghazi have already deposed him on this weekend filing session, including both chair Trey Gowdy and Rep. Jason Chaffetz. Chaffetz told Attkisson that he is “100% confident the Benghazi Select Committee is going to dive deep on that issue.”

The ARB has insisted all along that they conducted a thorough and independent probe, a claim at which Maxwell scoffs on both counts in Attkisson’s report. This could let them off the hook, though. If State conspired to hide evidence from them, it will give the ARB an opening to withdraw their report — which would be a PR move entirely, since the ARB had no authoritative status otherwise — and give Congress even more validation for pursuing this in select-committee form. If Maxwell testifies to this in open session and the BSC finds one or more corroborating witnesses, it will put this right back front and center. And we may still yet hear from the unnamed advisers, too, as to what their orders were, and who gave them.

Benghazi Post-Attack Satellite Revelations

Benghazi, Libya showing the locations of the U. S. Consulate and CIA Annex on the outskirts of town

Perplexing questions yet remain surrounding the attacks in Benghazi that killed U.S. Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Satellite images taken before and AFTER the attacks, which anyone can view on Google Earth, show evidence of the attacks at both the Consulate and CIA Annex. They help clarify conditions on the ground at the time.

Google Earth (GE) is an incredibly useful online tool. With it, armchair sleuths at home can uncover important details about news events that get overlooked by the big shot mainstream media.

Such is the case with the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

Geography and News Events

Google Earth provides two unique capabilities to the armchair sleuth:

  • A scalable geographic look at any place on Earth and its surroundings
  • A history of images of that place to investigate its background and history

Most important for investigating the Benghazi attacks is that the most current GE satellite image of both the Consulate and CIA Annex were taken on 9/17/2012, just 6 days after the attack.

GE’s image history is used to go back and forth between before and after images to identify evidence of the attacks visible from space.

For the attack on the CIA Annex this is particularly important because Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were killed when hit by mortar fire while defending the Annex from a rooftop position.

The U.S. Consulate


—————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Plainly visible on the satellite image of the Consulate complex are the burned out remains of two vehicles, the charred remains of burnt furniture next to one of the vehicles and the couch and other things tossed into the swimming pool by either the terrorists or looters.

GE shows us that the U.S. Consulate is located on the outskirts of Benghazi in a very open area surrounded by an orchard and soccer field. Contrary to news reports, GE tells us it is in a narrow rectangular shaped property about 300 feet wide and 800 feet long.

The property is surrounded by trees with no visible wall. It was built as a residence. It has two gates.
The back gate has no defenses whatsoever.

The consulate has three main buildings and a guardhouse at the front gate. The front gate has been fortified with barriers since October of 2011. Those barriers are the only visible signs of increased security at the Consulate. The unprotected back gate opens onto Fourth Ring Road, one of the main streets circling Benghazi.

Its three main structures are the consulate building, a detached Ambassador’s residence with saferoom where Ambassador Stephens was found; and a nearby guard barracks near the front gate.

GE history reveals the main consulate building, detached residence and swimming pool were a lonely patch of dirt in August of 2007 and that they were under construction in June of 2009. Little has changed since then.

During the consulate attack Navy SEAL Woods and others came from the CIA Annex, fought their way to consulate, rescued staff and recovered the body of Sean Smith. They took them back to the CIA Annex from the consulate.

The CIA Annex

CIA Annex showing where mortar rounds struck building tops and grounds

Line of sight, the CIA Annex complex is located about a mile from the consulate next to what appears to be a large warehouse with many buildings.

The annex is within a thick wall surrounding a 300 X 400 foot rectangle. It is better fortified and much more defensible than the consulate. It is also closer to civilian targets.

The annex took mortar fire. Mortar strikes show up as distinct smudges on the satellite image near the red dots. Navy SEALs Doherty and Woods were killed by one of the rooftop mortar strikes.

GE history reveals the annex was built some time after June 28th, 2009.

Conclusions

From satellite images it is easy to see why Ambassador Stephens would be seriously concerned about consulate security, especially given all the al Qaeda activity in area and previous attacks.

The consulate, originally built as someone’s house, was barely modified after it was acquired by the U.S. government. It is not even clear from satellite imagery that it had a surrounding wall. Its unguarded back gate opens onto a main Benghazi street and is easily penetrable.

The Annex is better protected and was successfully defended against a physical breach, albeit at the cost of Doherty and Woods who gave their lives defending the annex from a rooftop position.

Woods and Doherty probably deserve the Congressional Medal of Honor for their heroic efforts.

Armchair sleuthing reveals this immutable fact… the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, one of the most dangerous places in the world, was woefully under-protected at the time of the attacks. The warning signs of another inevitable attack were all present. Those up the chain of command had been told.

Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith and the others didn’t stand a chance.
Someone MUST be held accountable!

Intrigue Surrounding The Secret CIA Operation In Benghazi Is Not Going Away

In May CNN’s Jake Tapper argued that the CIA’s presence in Benghazi, where four Americans were killed in an attack on September 11, 2012, should be scrutinized.

Congressman Frank Wolf (R-Va.) agreed, saying: “There are questions that must be asked of the CIA and this must be done in a public way.”

The Agency, for its part, doesn’t want anyone knowing what it was doing in the Libyan port city.

On Thursday Drew Griffin and  of CNN reported that the CIA “is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret.”

Sources told CNN that 35 Americans were in Benghazi that night — 21 of whom were working out of the annex — and that several were wounded, some seriously.

One source said: “You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation.”

Among the questions are whether CIA missteps contributed to the security failure in Benghazi and, more importantly, whether the Agency’s Benghazi operation had anything to do with reported heavy weapons shipments from the local port to Syrian rebels.

In short, the CIA operation is the most intriguing thing about Benghazi.

Here’s what we know:

benghaziThe attack

At about 9:40 p.m. local time on Sept. 11, a mob of Libyans attacked a building housing U.S. State Department personnel. At 10:20 p.m. Americans arrived from a CIA annex located 1.2 miles away, to help the besieged Americans. At 11:15 p.m. they fled with survivors back to the secret outpost.

Armed Libyans followed them and attacked the annex with rockets and small arms from around midnight to 1:00 a.m., when there was a lull in the fighting.

Glen Doherty, a former Navy SEAL and CIA security contractor, was with a team of Joint Special Operations Command military operators and CIA agents in Tripoli at the time of the attack. When they received word of the assault on the mission, Doherty and six others bribed the pilots of small jet with $30,000 cash for a ride to Benghazi.

At about 5:15 a.m., right after Doherty’s group arrived, the attackers began shooting mortars at the annex, leading to the death of Doherty and fellow former Navy SEAL and CIA contractor Tyrone Woods.

At 6 a.m. Libyan forces from the military intelligence service arrived and subsequently took more than 30 Americans — only seven of whom were from the State Department — to the Benghazi airport.

So the CIA’s response to go to the mission where Ambassador Christopher Stevens was located, after being held back for 20 minutes, saved American lives but also ended up exposing the annex.

And according to Paula Broadwell, the mistress of David Petraeus when he was CIA director, the CIA may have provided an impetus for the attack by holding prisoners: “Now I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back.”charlene lamb

At its heart a CIA operation’

The top-secret presence and location of the CIA outpost was first acknowledged by Charlene Lamb, a top official in the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, during Congressional testimony in October.

Representatives Jason Chaffetz and Darrell Issa immediately called a point of order when Lamb exposed the location of the annex, and asked for the revelation to be stricken from the record.

“I totally object to the use of that photo,” Chaffetz. said. “I was told specifically while I was in Libya I could not and should not ever talk about what you’re showing here today.”

In November The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. mission in Benghazi “was at its heart a CIA operation.”

In January, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Congress that the CIA was leading a “concerted effort to try to track down and find and recover … MANPADS [man-portable air defense systems]” looted from the stockpiles of toppled Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi.

The State Department “consulate” served as diplomatic cover for the previously-hidden annex.

AnnexWeapons from Benghazi to Syria

Also in October we reported the connection between Ambassador Stevens, who died in the attack, and a reported September shipment of SA-7 surface-to-air anti-craft missiles (i.e. MANPADS) and rocket-propelled grenades from Benghazi to Syria through southern Turkey.

That 400-ton shipment — “the largest consignment of weapons” yet for Syrian rebels — was organized by Abdelhakim Belhadj, who was the newly-appointed head of the Tripoli Military Council.

In March 2011 Stevens, the official U.S. liaison to the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan rebels, worked directly with Belhadj while he headed the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

Stevens’ last meeting on Sept. 11 was with Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin, and a source told Fox News that Stevens was in Benghazi “to negotiate a weapons transfer in an effort to get SA-7 missiles out of the hands of Libya-based extremists.”

Syrian rebels subsequently began shooting down Syrian helicopters and fighter jets with SA-7s akin to those in Qaddafi’s looted stock. (The interim Libyan government also sent money and fighters to Syria.)

What did the CIA know?

Collectively these details raise the question of what the CIA knew, given that Agency operatives in Libya were rounding up SA-7s, ostensibly to destroy them, while operatives in southern Turkey were funneling weapons to the rebels.

The State Department told CNN that it was not involved in any transfer of weapons to other countries, but it “can’t speak for any other agencies.”

Ambassador Stevens certainly would have known if the new Libyan government was sending 400 tons of heavy weapons to Turkey from Benghazi’s port.

Just like the CIA would know if those the weapons arrived in Turkey and began showing up in Syria.

Journalist Damien Spleeters created this sourced map, drawing info shared on social media such as YouTube, that gives an idea of the MANPADS presence in Syria.

We’ve added red tag noting the Turkish port, Iskenderun, where the massive SA-7 shipment docked.

And this map of nearby Turkish highways shows that the heavy weapons could have been transported from the port to the Syrian city of Aleppo in three hours.

syriaOther intriguing details

This week Nancy Youssef of McClatchy reported that Ambassador Stevens twice turned down offers for additional security, despite specifically asking for more men in cables to the State Department.

Right after the attack American Matthew VanDyke, who fought with Libyan rebels during their revolution, told us he suspected that extremist groups in the nearby mountains — who felt marginalized by the new Libyan government — “saw their opportunity to pounce.”

In May Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kent.) told CNN: “I’ve actually always suspected that, although I have no evidence, that maybe we were facilitating arms leaving Libya going through Turkey into Syria. … Were they trying to obscure that there was an arms operation going on at the CIA annex? I’m not sure exactly what was going on, but I think questions ought to be asked and answered.”

So now that the White House has released more than 100 pages of Benghazi emails, and the State Department’s role during and after the attack have been probed ad nauseam, the only thing to explore is “whatever [the CIA] was doing.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-secret-cia-mission-in-benghazi-2013-8

UN has testimony showing Syrian rebels used sarin gas

WW3 UPDATE – U.S. Intelligence: Rebels Used Sarin Gas

U.N. Strong Suspicions That Syrian Rebels Used Sarin Gas

Syria Gas Attack – ‘Eyes Twitching, Noses Foaming’ (CNN, 30Aug13)

Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra Caught with Sarin Gas inside Turkey

Seymour Hersh: Obama “Cherry Picked” Intel on Syrian Chemical Attack to Justify U.S. Strike (1 of 2)

Seymour Hersh: Obama “Cherry Picked” Intel on Syrian Chemical Attack to Justify U.S. Strike (2 of 2)

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

U.S. Ship Finishes Neutralizing Syria’s Worst Chemical Arms: Pentagon

Syrian Sarin gas chemicals destroyed.

 

 

The Red Line and the Rat Line

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The former intelligence official said that many in the US national security establishment had long been troubled by the president’s red line: ‘The joint chiefs asked the White House, “What does red line mean? How does that translate into military orders? Troops on the ground? Massive strike? Limited strike?” They tasked military intelligence to study how we could carry out the threat. They learned nothing more about the president’s reasoning.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An American foreign policy expert who speaks regularly with officials in Washington and Ankara told me about a working dinner Obama held for Erdoğan during his May visit. The meal was dominated by the Turks’ insistence that Syria had crossed the red line and their complaints that Obama was reluctant to do anything about it. Obama was accompanied by John Kerry and Tom Donilon, the national security adviser who would soon leave the job. Erdoğan was joined by Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey’s foreign minister, and Hakan Fidan, the head of the MIT. Fidan is known to be fiercely loyal to Erdoğan, and has been seen as a consistent backer of the radical rebel opposition in Syria.

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

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

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

Turkey’s willingness to manipulate events in Syria to its own purposes seemed to be demonstrated late last month, a few days before a round of local elections, when a recording, allegedly of a government national security meeting, was posted to YouTube. It included discussion of a false-flag operation that would justify an incursion by the Turkish military in Syria. The operation centred on the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the revered Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire, which is near Aleppo and was ceded to Turkey in 1921, when Syria was under French rule. One of the Islamist rebel factions was threatening to destroy the tomb as a site of idolatry, and the Erdoğan administration was publicly threatening retaliation if harm came to it. According to a Reuters report of the leaked conversation, a voice alleged to be Fidan’s spoke of creating a provocation: ‘Now look, my commander, if there is to be justification, the justification is I send four men to the other side. I get them to fire eight missiles into empty land [in the vicinity of the tomb]. That’s not a problem. Justification can be created.’ The Turkish government acknowledged that there had been a national security meeting about threats emanating from Syria, but said the recording had been manipulated. The government subsequently blocked public access to YouTube.

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

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

 

Whose sarin?

Seymour M. Hersh

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

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

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

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

The complaints focus on what Washington did not have: any advance warning from the assumed source of the attack. The military intelligence community has for years produced a highly classified early morning intelligence summary, known as the Morning Report, for the secretary of defence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; a copy also goes to the national security adviser and the director of national intelligence. The Morning Report includes no political or economic information, but provides a summary of important military events around the world, with all available intelligence about them. A senior intelligence consultant told me that some time after the attack he reviewed the reports for 20 August through 23 August. For two days – 20 and 21 August – there was no mention of Syria. On 22 August the lead item in the Morning Report dealt with Egypt; a subsequent item discussed an internal change in the command structure of one of the rebel groups in Syria. Nothing was noted about the use of nerve gas in Damascus that day. It was not until 23 August that the use of sarin became a dominant issue, although hundreds of photographs and videos of the massacre had gone viral within hours on YouTube, Facebook and other social media sites. At this point, the administration knew no more than the public.

Obama left Washington early on 21 August for a hectic two-day speaking tour in New York and Pennsylvania; according to the White House press office, he was briefed later that day on the attack, and the growing public and media furore. The lack of any immediate inside intelligence was made clear on 22 August, when Jen Psaki, a spokesperson for the State Department, told reporters: ‘We are unable to conclusively determine [chemical weapons] use. But we are focused every minute of every day since these events happened … on doing everything possible within our power to nail down the facts.’ The administration’s tone had hardened by 27 August, when Jay Carney, Obama’s press secretary, told reporters – without providing any specific information – that any suggestions that the Syrian government was not responsible ‘are as preposterous as suggestions that the attack itself didn’t occur’.

On 29 August, the Washington Post published excerpts from the annual budget for all national intelligence programmes, agency by agency, provided by Snowden. In consultation with the Obama administration, the newspaper chose to publish only a slim portion of the 178-page document, which has a classification higher than top secret, but it summarised and published a section dealing with problem areas. One problem area was the gap in coverage targeting Assad’s office. The document said that the NSA’s worldwide electronic eavesdropping facilities had been ‘able to monitor unencrypted communications among senior military officials at the outset of the civil war there’. But it was ‘a vulnerability that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces apparently later recognised’. In other words, the NSA no longer had access to the conversations of the top military leadership in Syria, which would have included crucial communications from Assad, such as orders for a nerve gas attack. (In its public statements since 21 August, the Obama administration has never claimed to have specific information connecting Assad himself to the attack.)

The Post report also provided the first indication of a secret sensor system inside Syria, designed to provide early warning of any change in status of the regime’s chemical weapons arsenal. The sensors are monitored by the National Reconnaissance Office, the agency that controls all US intelligence satellites in orbit. According to the Postsummary, the NRO is also assigned ‘to extract data from sensors placed on the ground’ inside Syria. The former senior intelligence official, who had direct knowledge of the programme, told me that NRO sensors have been implanted near all known chemical warfare sites in Syria. They are designed to provide constant monitoring of the movement of chemical warheads stored by the military. But far more important, in terms of early warning, is the sensors’ ability to alert US and Israeli intelligence when warheads are being loaded with sarin. (As a neighbouring country, Israel has always been on the alert for changes in the Syrian chemical arsenal, and works closely with American intelligence on early warnings.) A chemical warhead, once loaded with sarin, has a shelf life of a few days or less – the nerve agent begins eroding the rocket almost immediately: it’s a use-it-or-lose-it mass killer. ‘The Syrian army doesn’t have three days to prepare for a chemical attack,’ the former senior intelligence official told me. ‘We created the sensor system for immediate reaction, like an air raid warning or a fire alarm. You can’t have a warning over three days because everyone involved would be dead. It is either right now or you’re history. You do not spend three days getting ready to fire nerve gas.’ The sensors detected no movement in the months and days before 21 August, the former official said. It is of course possible that sarin had been supplied to the Syrian army by other means, but the lack of warning meant that Washington was unable to monitor the events in Eastern Ghouta as they unfolded.

The sensors had worked in the past, as the Syrian leadership knew all too well. Last December the sensor system picked up signs of what seemed to be sarin production at a chemical weapons depot. It was not immediately clear whether the Syrian army was simulating sarin production as part of an exercise (all militaries constantly carry out such exercises) or actually preparing an attack. At the time, Obama publicly warned Syria that using sarin was ‘totally unacceptable’; a similar message was also passed by diplomatic means. The event was later determined to be part of a series of exercises, according to the former senior intelligence official: ‘If what the sensors saw last December was so important that the president had to call and say, “Knock it off,” why didn’t the president issue the same warning three days before the gas attack in August?’

The NSA would of course monitor Assad’s office around the clock if it could, the former official said. Other communications – from various army units in combat throughout Syria – would be far less important, and not analysed in real time. ‘There are literally thousands of tactical radio frequencies used by field units in Syria for mundane routine communications,’ he said, ‘and it would take a huge number of NSA cryptological technicians to listen in – and the useful return would be zilch.’ But the ‘chatter’ is routinely stored on computers. Once the scale of events on 21 August was understood, the NSA mounted a comprehensive effort to search for any links to the attack, sorting through the full archive of stored communications. A keyword or two would be selected and a filter would be employed to find relevant conversations. ‘What happened here is that the NSA intelligence weenies started with an event – the use of sarin – and reached to find chatter that might relate,’ the former official said. ‘This does not lead to a high confidence assessment, unless you start with high confidence that Bashar Assad ordered it, and began looking for anything that supports that belief.’ The cherry-picking was similar to the process used to justify the Iraq war.

*The White House needed nine days to assemble its case against the Syrian government. On 30 August it invited a select group of Washington journalists (at least one often critical reporter, Jonathan Landay, the national security correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers, was not invited), and handed them a document carefully labelled as a ‘government assessment’, rather than as an assessment by the intelligence community. The document laid out what was essentially a political argument to bolster the administration’s case against the Assad government. It was, however, more specific than Obama would be later, in his speech on 10 September: American intelligence, it stated, knew that Syria had begun ‘preparing chemical munitions’ three days before the attack. In an aggressive speech later that day, John Kerry provided more details. He said that Syria’s ‘chemical weapons personnel were on the ground, in the area, making preparations’ by 18 August. ‘We know that the Syrian regime elements were told to prepare for the attack by putting on gas masks and taking precautions associated with chemical weapons.’ The government assessment and Kerry’s comments made it seem as if the administration had been tracking the sarin attack as it happened. It is this version of events, untrue but unchallenged, that was widely reported at the time.

An unforeseen reaction came in the form of complaints from the Free Syrian Army’s leadership and others about the lack of warning. ‘It’s unbelievable they did nothing to warn people or try to stop the regime before the crime,’ Razan Zaitouneh, an opposition member who lived in one of the towns struck by sarin, told Foreign Policy. The Daily Mail was more blunt: ‘Intelligence report says US officials knew about nerve-gas attack in Syria three days before it killed over 1400 people – including more than 400 children.’ (The number of deaths attributable to the attack varied widely, from at least 1429, as initially claimed by the Obama administration, to many fewer. A Syrian human rights group reported 502 deaths; Médicins sans Frontières put it at 355; and a French report listed 281 known fatalities. The strikingly precise US total was later reported by the Wall Street Journal to have been based not on an actual body count, but on an extrapolation by CIA analysts, who scanned more than a hundred YouTube videos from Eastern Ghouta into a computer system and looked for images of the dead. In other words, it was little more than a guess.)

Five days later, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence responded to the complaints. A statement to the Associated Press said that the intelligence behind the earlier administration assertions was not known at the time of the attack, but recovered only subsequently: ‘Let’s be clear, the United States did not watch, in real time, as this horrible attack took place. The intelligence community was able to gather and analyse information after the fact and determine that elements of the Assad regime had in fact taken steps to prepare prior to using chemical weapons.’ But since the American press corps had their story, the retraction received scant attention. On 31 August the Washington Post, relying on the government assessment, had vividly reported on its front page that American intelligence was able to record ‘each step’ of the Syrian army attack in real time, ‘from the extensive preparations to the launching of rockets to the after-action assessments by Syrian officials’. It did not publish the AP corrective, and the White House maintained control of the narrative.

So when Obama said on 10 September that his administration knew Assad’s chemical weapons personnel had prepared the attack in advance, he was basing the statement not on an intercept caught as it happened, but on communications analysed days after 21 August. The former senior intelligence official explained that the hunt for relevant chatter went back to the exercise detected the previous December, in which, as Obama later said to the public, the Syrian army mobilised chemical weapons personnel and distributed gas masks to its troops. The White House’s government assessment and Obama’s speech were not descriptions of the specific events leading up to the 21 August attack, but an account of the sequence the Syrian military would have followed for any chemical attack. ‘They put together a back story,’ the former official said, ‘and there are lots of different pieces and parts. The template they used was the template that goes back to December.’ It is possible, of course, that Obama was unaware that this account was obtained from an analysis of Syrian army protocol for conducting a gas attack, rather than from direct evidence. Either way he had come to a hasty judgment.

The press would follow suit. The UN report on 16 September confirming the use of sarin was careful to note that its investigators’ access to the attack sites, which came five days after the gassing, had been controlled by rebel forces. ‘As with other sites,’ the report warned, ‘the locations have been well travelled by other individuals prior to the arrival of the mission … During the time spent at these locations, individuals arrived carrying other suspected munitions indicating that such potential evidence is being moved and possibly manipulated.’ Still, the New York Times seized on the report, as did American and British officials, and claimed that it provided crucial evidence backing up the administration’s assertions. An annex to the UN report reproduced YouTube photographs of some recovered munitions, including a rocket that ‘indicatively matches’ the specifics of a 330mm calibre artillery rocket. The New York Times wrote that the existence of the rockets essentially proved that the Syrian government was responsible for the attack ‘because the weapons in question had not been previously documented or reported to be in possession of the insurgency’.

Theodore Postol, a professor of technology and national security at MIT, reviewed the UN photos with a group of his colleagues and concluded that the large calibre rocket was an improvised munition that was very likely manufactured locally. He told me that it was ‘something you could produce in a modestly capable machine shop’. The rocket in the photos, he added, fails to match the specifications of a similar but smaller rocket known to be in the Syrian arsenal. The New York Times, again relying on data in the UN report, also analysed the flight path of two of the spent rockets that were believed to have carried sarin, and concluded that the angle of descent ‘pointed directly’ to their being fired from a Syrian army base more than nine kilometres from the landing zone. Postol, who has served as the scientific adviser to the chief of naval operations in the Pentagon, said that the assertions in the Times and elsewhere ‘were not based on actual observations’. He concluded that the flight path analyses in particular were, as he put it in an email, ‘totally nuts’ because a thorough study demonstrated that the range of the improvised rockets was ‘unlikely’ to be more than two kilometres. Postol and a colleague, Richard M. Lloyd, published an analysis two weeks after 21 August in which they correctly assessed that the rockets involved carried a far greater payload of sarin than previously estimated. The Times reported on that analysis at length, describing Postol and Lloyd as ‘leading weapons experts’. The pair’s later study about the rockets’ flight paths and range, which contradicted previous Times reporting, was emailed to the newspaper last week; it has so far gone unreported.

The White House’s misrepresentation of what it knew about the attack, and when, was matched by its readiness to ignore intelligence that could undermine the narrative. That information concerned al-Nusra, the Islamist rebel group designated by the US and the UN as a terrorist organisation. Al-Nusra is known to have carried out scores of suicide bombings against Christians and other non-Sunni Muslim sects inside Syria, and to have attacked its nominal ally in the civil war, the secular Free Syrian Army (FSA). Its stated goal is to overthrow the Assad regime and establish sharia law. (On 25 September al-Nusra joined several other Islamist rebel groups in repudiating the FSA and another secular faction, the Syrian National Coalition.)

Two months later, a White House statement announced a change in the assessment of Syrian culpability and declared that the intelligence community now had ‘high confidence’ that the Assad government was responsible for as many as 150 deaths from attacks with sarin. More headlines were generated and the press was told that Obama, in response to the new intelligence, had ordered an increase in non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition. But once again there were significant caveats. The new intelligence included a report that Syrian officials had planned and executed the attacks. No specifics were provided, nor were those who provided the reports identified. The White House statement said that laboratory analysis had confirmed the use of sarin, but also that a positive finding of the nerve agent ‘does not tell us how or where the individuals were exposed or who was responsible for the dissemination’. The White House further declared: ‘We have no reliable corroborated reporting to indicate that the opposition in Syria has acquired or used chemical weapons.’ The statement contradicted evidence that at the time was streaming into US intelligence agencies.

Already by late May, the senior intelligence consultant told me, the CIA had briefed the Obama administration on al-Nusra and its work with sarin, and had sent alarming reports that another Sunni fundamentalist group active in Syria, al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI), also understood the science of producing sarin. At the time, al-Nusra was operating in areas close to Damascus, including Eastern Ghouta. An intelligence document issued in mid-summer dealt extensively with Ziyaad Tariq Ahmed, a chemical weapons expert formerly of the Iraqi military, who was said to have moved into Syria and to be operating in Eastern Ghouta. The consultant told me that Tariq had been identified ‘as an al-Nusra guy with a track record of making mustard gas in Iraq and someone who is implicated in making and using sarin’. He is regarded as a high-profile target by the American military.

On 20 June a four-page top secret cable summarising what had been learned about al-Nusra’s nerve gas capabilities was forwarded to David R. Shedd, deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. ‘What Shedd was briefed on was extensive and comprehensive,’ the consultant said. ‘It was not a bunch of “we believes”.’ He told me that the cable made no assessment as to whether the rebels or the Syrian army had initiated the attacks in March and April, but it did confirm previous reports that al-Nusra had the ability to acquire and use sarin. A sample of the sarin that had been used was also recovered – with the help of an Israeli agent – but, according to the consultant, no further reporting about the sample showed up in cable traffic.

Independently of these assessments, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assuming that US troops might be ordered into Syria to seize the government’s stockpile of chemical agents, called for an all-source analysis of the potential threat. ‘The Op Order provides the basis of execution of a military mission, if so ordered,’ the former senior intelligence official explained. ‘This includes the possible need to send American soldiers to a Syrian chemical site to defend it against rebel seizure. If the jihadist rebels were going to overrun the site, the assumption is that Assad would not fight us because we were protecting the chemical from the rebels. All Op Orders contain an intelligence threat component. We had technical analysts from the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, weapons people, and I & W [indications and warnings] people working on the problem … They concluded that the rebel forces were capable of attacking an American force with sarin because they were able to produce the lethal gas. The examination relied on signals and human intelligence, as well as the expressed intention and technical capability of the rebels.’

There is evidence that during the summer some members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were troubled by the prospect of a ground invasion of Syria as well as by Obama’s professed desire to give rebel factions non-lethal support. In July, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, provided a gloomy assessment, telling the Senate Armed Services Committee in public testimony that ‘thousands of special operations forces and other ground forces’ would be needed to seize Syria’s widely dispersed chemical warfare arsenal, along with ‘hundreds of aircraft, ships, submarines and other enablers’. Pentagon estimates put the number of troops at seventy thousand, in part because US forces would also have to guard the Syrian rocket fleet: accessing large volumes of the chemicals that create sarin without the means to deliver it would be of little value to a rebel force. In a letter to Senator Carl Levin, Dempsey cautioned that a decision to grab the Syrian arsenal could have unintended consequences: ‘We have learned from the past ten years, however, that it is not enough to simply alter the balance of military power without careful consideration of what is necessary in order to preserve a functioning state … Should the regime’s institutions collapse in the absence of a viable opposition, we could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek to control.’

The CIA declined to comment for this article. Spokesmen for the DIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence said they were not aware of the report to Shedd and, when provided with specific cable markings for the document, said they were unable to find it. Shawn Turner, head of public affairs for the ODNI, said that no American intelligence agency, including the DIA, ‘assesses that the al-Nusra Front has succeeded in developing a capacity to manufacture sarin’.

The administration’s public affairs officials are not as concerned about al-Nusra’s military potential as Shedd has been in his public statements. In late July, he gave an alarming account of al-Nusra’s strength at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. ‘I count no less than 1200 disparate groups in the opposition,’ Shedd said, according to a recording of his presentation. ‘And within the opposition, the al-Nusra Front is … most effective and is gaining in strength.’ This, he said, ‘is of serious concern to us. If left unchecked, I am very concerned that the most radical elements’ – he also cited al-Qaida in Iraq – ‘will take over.’ The civil war, he went on, ‘will only grow worse over time … Unfathomable violence is yet to come.’ Shedd made no mention of chemical weapons in his talk, but he was not allowed to: the reports his office received were highly classified.

*

A series of secret dispatches from Syria over the summer reported that members of the FSA were complaining to American intelligence operatives about repeated attacks on their forces by al-Nusra and al-Qaida fighters. The reports, according to the senior intelligence consultant who read them, provided evidence that the FSA is ‘more worried about the crazies than it is about Assad’. The FSA is largely composed of defectors from the Syrian army. The Obama administration, committed to the end of the Assad regime and continued support for the rebels, has sought in its public statements since the attack to downplay the influence of Salafist and Wahhabist factions. In early September, John Kerry dumbfounded a Congressional hearing with a sudden claim that al-Nusra and other Islamist groups were minority players in the Syrian opposition. He later withdrew the claim.

In both its public and private briefings after 21 August, the administration disregarded the available intelligence about al-Nusra’s potential access to sarin and continued to claim that the Assad government was in sole possession of chemical weapons. This was the message conveyed in the various secret briefings that members of Congress received in the days after the attack, when Obama was seeking support for his planned missile offensive against Syrian military installations. One legislator with more than two decades of experience in military affairs told me that he came away from one such briefing persuaded that ‘only the Assad government had sarin and the rebels did not.’ Similarly, following the release of the UN report on 16 September confirming that sarin was used on 21 August, Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, told a press conference: ‘It’s very important to note that only the [Assad] regime possesses sarin, and we have no evidence that the opposition possesses sarin.’

It is not known whether the highly classified reporting on al-Nusra was made available to Power’s office, but her comment was a reflection of the attitude that swept through the administration. ‘The immediate assumption was that Assad had done it,’ the former senior intelligence official told me. ‘The new director of the CIA, [John] Brennan, jumped to that conclusion … drives to the White House and says: “Look at what I’ve got!” It was all verbal; they just waved the bloody shirt. There was a lot of political pressure to bring Obama to the table to help the rebels, and there was wishful thinking that this [tying Assad to the sarin attack] would force Obama’s hand: “This is the Zimmermann telegram of the Syrian rebellion and now Obama can react.” Wishful thinking by the Samantha Power wing within the administration. Unfortunately, some members of the Joint Chiefs who were alerted that he was going to attack weren’t so sure it was a good thing.’

The proposed American missile attack on Syria never won public support and Obama turned quickly to the UN and the Russian proposal for dismantling the Syrian chemical warfare complex. Any possibility of military action was definitively averted on 26 September when the administration joined Russia in approving a draft UN resolution calling on the Assad government to get rid of its chemical arsenal. Obama’s retreat brought relief to many senior military officers. (One high-level special operations adviser told me that the ill-conceived American missile attack on Syrian military airfields and missile emplacements, as initially envisaged by the White House, would have been ‘like providing close air support for al-Nusra’.)

The administration’s distortion of the facts surrounding the sarin attack raises an unavoidable question: do we have the whole story of Obama’s willingness to walk away from his ‘red line’ threat to bomb Syria? He had claimed to have an iron-clad case but suddenly agreed to take the issue to Congress, and later to accept Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical weapons. It appears possible that at some point he was directly confronted with contradictory information: evidence strong enough to persuade him to cancel his attack plan, and take the criticism sure to come from Republicans.

The UN resolution, which was adopted on 27 September by the Security Council, dealt indirectly with the notion that rebel forces such as al-Nusra would also be obliged to disarm: ‘no party in Syria should use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer [chemical] weapons.’ The resolution also calls for the immediate notification of the Security Council in the event that any ‘non-state actors’ acquire chemical weapons. No group was cited by name. While the Syrian regime continues the process of eliminating its chemical arsenal, the irony is that, after Assad’s stockpile of precursor agents is destroyed, al-Nusra and its Islamist allies could end up as the only faction inside Syria with access to the ingredients that can create sarin, a strategic weapon that would be unlike any other in the war zone. There may be more to negotiate.

 

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Posted on August 25, 2014. Filed under: Blogroll, Communications, Documentary, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Shite, Sunni, Television, Terrorism, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , |

My trip to Al-Qaeda

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Peter Brimelow — Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster — Videos

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Mr. Brimelow discussed his book Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, published by Random House. The book focuses on U.S. immigration policy and cycles of control on immigration. Mr. Brimelow argues that legislation passed in 1965 has resulted in negative trends in immigration to the United States, including an influx of immigrants from a very few countries that he says are engulfing America. The author says that the latest immigration wave consists of immigrants who are less educated, less skilled, and less likely to share American ideals, which he argues is a detriment to American culture.

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

Posted on June 7, 2014. Filed under: Blogroll, Business, Communications, Constitution, Crime, Economics, Energy, Faith, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fraud, Freedom, government, government spending, Homicide, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Psychology, Rants, Religion, Resources, Science, Security, Shite, Sunni, Terrorism, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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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
 More of this Feature
• UCMJ Menu
• Punitive Articles of the UCMJ
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Military Law
 Related Resources
• Court Martials
• Nonjudicial Punishment (Art 15)
• Administrative Discharges
• Military Lawyers 

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• Crime & Punishment
• Current Events: Law
• Government
• US Government Info

 

 

(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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Civilisation — Videos

Posted on April 30, 2014. Filed under: American History, Art, Blogroll, Books, Catholic Church, College, Communications, Culture, Dance, Demographics, Economics, Education, Entertainment, European History, Federal Government, government spending, Heroes, history, Language, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Security, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , |

civilization

civilization_2Civilisation by Kenneth Clark - Folio Society

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Civilisation (1969) Part 1 of 13 – The Skin of Our Teeth [HD]

 

Civilisation (1969) Part 2 of 13 – The Great Thaw [HD]

Civilisation (1969) Part 3 of 13 – Romance and Reality [HD]

Civilisation (1969) Part 4 of 13 – Man: The Measure of all Things [HD]

Civilisation (1969) Part 5 of 13 – The Hero as Artist [HD]

Civilisation (1969) Part 6 of 13 – Protest and Communication [HD]

Civilisation (1969) Part 7 of 13 – Grandeur and Obedience [HD] No Sound

Civilisation (1969) Part 8 of 13 – The Light of Experience [HD]

Civilisation (1969) Part 9 of 13 – The Pursuit of Happiness [HD]

Civilisation (1969) Part 10 of 13 – The Smile of Reason [HD]

Civilisation (1969) Part 11 of 13 – The Worship of Nature [HD]

Civilisation (1969) Part 12 of 13 – The Fallacies of Hope [HD]

 

Civilisation (1969) Part 13 of 13  [HD]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Collectivists Celebrate 100 Anniversary of Start of World War I By Starting World War III? — Accidents Happen — Cold War Turns Into Hot War — Videos

Posted on March 14, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Constitution, Crime, Culture, Demographics, Diasters, Drones, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Entertainment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, government, government spending, history, Homicide, Inflation, Investments, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Programming, Radio, Rants, Raves, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , |

europe-mapUkrain-physical-mapukraine_russia_timeline

 map_of_russian_gas_pipelines_supplies_to_europe_via_ukraine

gas_europe

map_eurrussian_gas_pipelines

Russia dismisses U.S. proposals in Ukraine talks

Drifting Towards War

Ron Paul: U.S. Already Spent $5 Billion to Undermine Ukrainian Government

Victoria Nuland’s Admits Washington Has Spent $5 Billion to “Subvert Ukraine”

Ron Paul: US shouldn’t meddle in Ukraine

Russia Ukraine debate sparks fiery exchange

Putin in Ukraine ‘Russia will lose most from this’

Clashes in Ukraine create tension for U.S. and Russia

Debate: Is Ukraine’s Opposition a Democratic Movement or a Force of Right-Wing Extremism…

A New Cold War? Ukraine Violence Escalates, Leaked Tape Suggests US Was Plotting Coup

OReilly: Distorting Russia: How the American Media Misrepresent Putin, Sochi and Ukraine

2/18/14 Stephen F. Cohen, Ph.D. on O’Reilly claiming we’re Putin bashing

US Betrayal of Russia

Learn How The United States Is Behind The Kiev Ukraine Riots

Build up to WW3 – OBAMA Announces SANCTIONS to be Imposed on RUSSIA Amid UKRAINE CRISIS

GERALD CELENTE on the UKRAINE CRISIS – U.S. Agenda To Destabilize Russia

OBAMA PUSHING WAR WITH RUSSIA WORLD WAR 3 RUSSIAN TROOPS IN UKRAINE! 3-2-14

John McCain moves to start World War 3 in Ukraine

Why Ukraine matters to the U.S. & Russia

MUST SEE! World War 3 is upon us!

Build up to WW3 – RUSSIAN TROOPS in Uneasy Standoff with UKRAINE TROOPS in CRIMEA

The Road to World War 3: Ukraine, Russia and American Imperialism

WORLD WAR ONE (1 / 10): Call to Arms

WORLD WAR ONE (2 / 10): Under the Eagle

WORLD WAR ONE (3 / 10): Global War

WORLD WAR ONE (4 / 10): Ultimate Jihad

 WORLD WAR ONE (5 /10): Shackled To A Corpse

WORLD WAR ONE (6 / 10): Breaking the Deadlock

WORLD WAR ONE (7 /10): Blockade

WORLD WAR ONE (8 / 10): Revolution

WORLD WAR ONE (9 / 10): Germany’s Last Gamble

WORLD WAR ONE (10 /10): Endless War

The Guns of August

The Guns of August is a documentary that follows the book by the same title by author, Barbara Tuchman (1912-1989), an eminent American historian. She received the first of her two Pulitzer prizes for this 1962 masterpiece on World War I. The documentary was made in 1965. Barbara Tuchman was highly respected for her ability to present complex subjects and present them with clarity. Until I read the previous review, I have never heard of anyone accusing her of hating Germany or its people or of her book being anti-German propaganda. But there are pictures of shot civilians and movies of smoldering ruins. Then again, there are people who claim the Holocaust never took place and is just anti-Nazi propaganda… Facts: On August 3 1914, Germany declared war on France. The German invasion plan for France called for an attack through Belgium, instead of through the heavily defended Franco-German border. Belgium was neutral and its neutrality was protected by treaty with Great Britain. The Germans attacked on August 3rd. The next day, August 4th, Great Britain declared war on Germany. Germany warned Belgium that they only wanted to reach France and if Belgium complied, there wouldn’t be any trouble. Despite its small army, Belgium chose to protect its sovereignty and its honor and paid for it. Liège, Aarschot, Andenne, Tamines, Dinant, and Leuven, where the worst of the German depredations occurred.

World War I: American Legacy

Blood and Oil: The Middle East in World War I

Promises and Betrayals – Middle East – History Channel Documentary

 

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Neocon Warmonger Senate John McCain Off To Beat The War Drums — Go Home Senator — American People Want No US Intervention Into Ukraine! — Drums Beating Along The Black Sea — Videos

Posted on March 13, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Constitution, Economics, Energy, Family, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Religion, Resources, Security, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

John McCain moves to start World War 3 in Ukraine

Sen. John McCain to Ukrainian protesters: ‘This is your moment’

McCain: ‘West must condemn Russian involvement in Ukraine’

War Party : Documentary on the Neoconservative War Party

Richard Perle – Defining Neoconservatism Q&A 1/6

Richard Perle – Defining Neoconservatism Q&A 2/6

Richard Perle – Defining Neoconservatism Q&A 3/6

Richard Perle – Defining Neoconservatism Q&A 4/6

Richard Perle – Defining Neoconservatism Q&A 5/6

Richard Perle – Defining Neoconservatism Q&A 6/6

‘They knew they were right’ A Critique of Neoconservatism 2/5

‘They knew they were right’ A Critique of Neoconservatism 3/5

‘They knew they were right’ A Critique of Neoconservatism 4/5

‘They knew they were right’ A Critique of Neoconservatism 5/5

 

 

 

Congressman Ron Paul, MD – We’ve Been NeoConned

Betrayal of the Constitution: The Neocons Now Run the GOP | John F. McManus

 

John McCain: NeoCon and his NeoCon advisor

 

Roundtable: As Crimea Threatens Secession, Does East-West Split Hasten Ukraine’s Polit. Divide? 1/2

Roundtable: As Crimea Threatens Secession, Does East-West Split Hasten Ukraine’s Polit. Divide? 2/2

 

Who Is Provoking the Unrest in Ukraine? A Debate on Role of Russia, U.S. in Regional Crisis (1/2)

 

Who Is Provoking the Unrest in Ukraine? A Debate on Role of Russia, U.S. in Regional Crisis (2/2)

 

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President Obama’s State of the Union 2014 Address — The Young and The Jobless Betrayed By Obama — Videos

Posted on January 29, 2014. Filed under: Agriculture, American History, Babies, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Constitution, Crime, Culture, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Farming, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Fraud, government, government spending, Health Care, history, History of Economic Thought, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, IRS, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Narcissism, Obamacare, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Private Sector, Psychology, Public Sector, Quotations, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Resources, Reviews, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 200: January 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 199: January 28, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 198: January 27, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 197: January 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 196: January 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 195: January 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 194: January 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 193: January 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 192: January 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 191: January 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 190: January 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 189: January 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 188: January 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 187: January 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 186: January 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 185: January 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 184: December 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 183: December 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 182: December 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 181: December 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 180: December 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 179: December 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 178: December 5, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 177: December 2, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 176: November 27, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 175: November 26, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 174: November 25, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 173: November 22, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 172: November 21, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 171: November 20, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 170: November 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 169: November 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 168: November 15, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 167: November 14, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 166: November 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 165: November 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 164: November 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 163: November 8, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 162: November 7, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 161: November 4, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 160: November 1, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 159: October 31, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 158: October 30, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 157: October 28, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 156: October 25, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 155: October 24, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 154: October 23, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 153: October 21, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 152: October 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 151: October 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 150: October 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 149: October 14, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 148: October 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 147: October 10, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 146: October 9, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 145: October 8, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 144: October 7, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 143: October 4 2013

Pronk Pops Show 142: October 3, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 141: October 2, 2013

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 194-200

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 184-193

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 174-183

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 165-173

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 158-164

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 151-157

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 143-150

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 135-142

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 131-134

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 124-130

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 121-123

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 118-120

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 113 -117

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 108-111

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 106-108

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 104-105

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 101-103

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 98-100

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 94-97

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 93

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 92

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 91

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 88-90

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 84-87

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 79-83

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 74-78

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 71-73

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 68-70

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 65-67

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 62-64

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 58-61

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 55-57