Weapons

Drone Warfare — Videos

Posted on August 2, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Bomb, Books, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Crime, Crisis, Data, Diasters, Documentary, Drones, Drug Cartels, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Films, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, Heroes, history, Homicide, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Missiles, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Resources, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Transportation, Video, War, Weapons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Obama defends US drone attacks

Peter Singer: Drone Warfare

The Morality of Drone Warfare

DRONE WARS, PART ONE: THE DRONE LANDSCAPE

DRONE WARS, PART TWO: THE DRONE ECONOMY

DRONE WARS, PART THREE: THE DRONE MORALITY

Drone Boom Why Drones Aren’t Just for Dropping Bombs Anymore

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Rise of the Drones(full documentary)HD

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Mike Maden — Drone — Videos

Posted on August 2, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, College, Communications, Crime, Crisis, Doumentary, Drones, Drug Cartels, Education, Energy, Entertainment, Fiction, Films, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, Homicide, Illegal, Immigration, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Movies, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Resources, Reviews, Security, Transportation, Video, War, Weapons, Welfare | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

drone_

Mike Maden

mike maden

Obama defends US drone attacks

Peter Singer: Drone Warfare

The Morality of Drone Warfare

DRONE WARS, PART ONE: THE DRONE LANDSCAPE

DRONE WARS, PART TWO: THE DRONE ECONOMY

DRONE WARS, PART THREE: THE DRONE MORALITY

Drone Boom Why Drones Aren’t Just for Dropping Bombs Anymore

Drone Laws Restrict Civilian UAV’s but allow Government

Rise of the Drones(full documentary)HD

RISE OF THE DRONES – NOVA (full documentary)

The Costs of Drone Warfare – Documentary

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

EVERYONE needs to see this! Drone Strikes

Top 10 Drones in the world

ex CEO Colin Guinn is ALIVE, Files legal Injunction against DJI Innovations

 

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Breaking News: Malaysian Airline Flight MH 17 Shot Down by Surface To Air Missile — 280 Passengers and 15 Crew Dead — Videos

Posted on July 17, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, British History, Communications, Computers, Diasters, Economics, Education, Foreign Policy, Language, Law, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Rants, Raves, Resources, Technology, Video, War, Weapons | Tags: , , , , , , , |

 

 

 

Ukraine Adviser: Malaysian Airlines Jet Shot Down By Missile Near Ukraine-Russia Border

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Mayalsia Airlines Flight crashes in Ukraine

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Russia Syrian GameBUK-MISSILE-570

 

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Buk-M2 SAM In Action

Malaysian Ailrner Shot Down Over Ukraine – 295 Dead

UPDATE Missile downs Malaysia Airlines MH17

Malaysia Plane crash Malaysia Airlines plane crash mh17 explode over Ukraine TRAGEDY

Malaysia Airlines flight crashes in Ukraine | BREAKING NEWS – 17 JULY 2014

Malaysian Airlines plane crash: passenger jet shot down over Ukraine, 295 dead

[y0utube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1iPi9wfc5Q]

Malaysia Airlines Plane Crash in Ukraine MH17 Flight Shot Down (17 July 2014)

Here’s The Rocket That Shot Down A Malaysian Airlines Flight

Malaysia Plane shot down over Ukraine Malaysia Plane crash video 295 dead 17 07 2014

All 295 Passengers confirmed Dead of Malaysia Airliner MH17 that shot down in eastern Ukraine

Malaysia Plane Crash: Obama Speech About Plane Shot Down | Malaysia Airlines Crash

Malaysian Airplane Shot Down over Ukraine 295 people on board Airplane Shot Down Malaysia

Malaysia Airlines Plane Shot Down And Crashes in Ukraine | VIDEO

Malaysia Airlines Passenger Jet Shot Down Over Ukraine, 295 Dead – Actual Images

BREAKING: Malaysia Plane Crash Malaysia Airlines | Plane Shot Down And Killed 280 People | VIDEO

Marketing video Russian Air Defense Systems S-400, Buk M2 and Tor M2 shooting at US Air Force

US Concludes Malaysian Airline was Shot Down, Both Russia and Ukraine Deny Involvment

US Concludes Malaysian Airline was Shot Down, Both Russia and Ukraine Deny Involvment
One radar system saw a surface-to-air missile system turn on and track an aircraft right before the plane went down Thursday, according to the official. Photo:mashable.com

The United States has concluded the Malaysian airline was shot down, a senior U.S. official told CNN’s Barbara Starr. They are analyzing the trajectory of the missile to try to learn where the attack came from.

“[US intelligence has] another asset that gives them a heat signature, an infrared heat signature that tells them there was a massive event … they put both of these pieces of information together and concluded that the plane was shot down,” Starr said.

One radar system saw a surface-to-air missile system turn on and track an aircraft right before the plane went down Thursday, according to the official. A second system saw a heat signature at the time the airliner was hit, the official said.

US intelligence is reportedly still working to determine the exact location from which the missile was fired, and whether it was on the Russian or the Ukrainian side of the border.

The UN Security Council plans to hold an emergency meeting over the shooting down of Malaysian airliner in Ukraine, and the deteriorating situation in the country. The meeting was called in by the UK, Itar-tass reports.

NATO’s chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has also urged an immediate international investigation into the crash of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane in Eastern Ukraine, RIA-Novosti news agency reports.

“No surface-to-air systems are involved in the military operation against separatists in the east, and the plane was out of reach of other Ukrainian air defence forces,” the statement from Ukraine’s Defence Ministry added.

Yet, The Ukrainian military reportedly deployed a battery of Buk surface-to-air missile systems, capable of bringing down high-flying jets, to the Donetsk region the day before the Malaysian passenger plane crashed in the area.

Itar-Tass and Interfax news agencies are citing a source familiar with the issue, who said that another battery of Buk systems is currently being prepared for shipment to Donetsk region from the Ukrainian city of Kharkov.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s state security chief accused two Russian military intelligence officers of involvement in the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane on Thursday. The SBU chief Valentin Nalivaychenko added they must be punished for their “crime.” The Ukrainian official said he based his allegation on intercepts of phone conversations between the two officers.

The purported telephone intercepts have been posted to YouTube (Russian), as have past recordings of alleged conversations between rebels, some of whom are accused of being agents with Russian agents.

In the recordings, men nicknamed “Demon”, “Mayor,” and “Grek” panic and curse as they realize they’ve shot down a passenger plane and killed civilians, describing to each other the “bodies of women and children”.

The authenticity of the recordings, however, cannot be confirmed.

IHS Jane’s Defense analyst, Nick de Larrinaga, shared the belief that the self-defense forces lack the capability to bring the Malaysian plane down.

“At normal cruising altitude a civilian passenger aircraft would be out of the range of the sort of manned portable air (defense) systems that we have seen proliferate in rebel hands in east Ukraine,” he said in a statement.

But the aircraft would be within range of Buk or other medium-range surface-to-air missile systems, he stressed.

“Both Russia and Ukraine have such SAM systems in their inventories,” the expert added.

It seems unlikely that the self-defense forces could’ve used Buk surface-to-air missile systems to down the Malaysian plane, retired Brig. Gen. Kevin Ryan, the director of the Defense and Intelligence Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, said.

“It takes a lot of training and a lot of coordination to fire one of these and hit something,” he told CNN. “This is not the kind of weapon a couple of guys are going to pull out of a garage and fire.”

According to Ryan, if the plane was really taken down then it was done by a professional military force.

http://www.independent.mk/articles/7367/US+Concludes+Malaysian+Airline+was+Shot+Down,+Both+Russia+and+Ukraine+Deny+Involvment

Ukraine Adviser: Malaysian Airlines Jet Shot Down By Missile Near Ukraine-Russia Border

A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows wreckage of the Malaysian Airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. (credit: DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows wreckage of the Malaysian Airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. (credit: DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukraine said a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane.

As plumes of black smoke rose up near a rebel-held village of Grabovo in eastern Ukraine, an Associated Press journalist counted at least 22 bodies at the crash site 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Russian border.

Photos: Crash Scene in Ukraine

Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, said on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters (33,000 feet). He also said it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher, which can fire missiles up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet).

A similar launcher was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday.

Malaysia Airlines confirmed that it received notification from Ukrainian aviation authorities that it had lost contact with flight MH17 at 1415 GMT some 30 kilometers (20 miles) from Tamak waypoint, approximately 50 km (30 miles) from the Russia-Ukraine border.

It said the plane had 280 passengers and 15 crew aboard a Boeing 777 that left Amsterdam at 12.15 p.m. and was to arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 6.10 a.m. Friday.

CBS News had yet to confirm if the Boeing 777 was shot down.

RELATED: Stay up-to-date with our Live Blog

Interfax reports that the Ukrainian Interior Ministry says that everyone on board was killed. The Interior Ministry claims that 23 Americans were killed in the crash, according to Interfax. The State Department is looking into whether Americans were on the flight.

A source told Interfax that the plane “began to drop, afterwards it was found burning on the ground on Ukrainian territory.”

Reuters reports that body parts have been scattered seven miles within the crash site, an indication that the plane came apart mid-air. A Ukrainian Emergency Ministry official told Reuters that first responders have found at least 100 bodies.

Ukrainian pro-separatists have denied responsibility for the Malaysian Airlines civilian jet crash as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says his country’s military did not shoot down the plane.

“We do not exclude that this plane was shot down, and we stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets,” Poroshenko stated.

Poroshenko said “we are sure that those who are guilty in this tragedy will be held responsible.”

According to Interfax, Poroshenko called it a “terrorist act.”

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry claims in a statement obtained by CBS News that Russia is complicit, if not responsible, for the downing of the plane.

“The plane was shot down, because the Russian air defense systems was affording protection to Russian mercenaries and terrorists in this area,” the statement read.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told The Guardian that allegations that Russia was behind the crash was just sheer “stupidity.”

CBS News reports that President Barack Obama has been briefed on the crash. Obama has instructed his team to be in touch with Ukrainian authorities.

“The world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet at the Russia-Ukraine border and it looks like it might be a terrible tragedy,” Obama said during an event held in Wilmington, Del., adding that the U.S. is working on confirming if Americans were on the flight.

During a phone call with Obama Thursday morning to express his dissatisfaction to the latest economic sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin brought up that there were early reports of a downed Malaysian Airlines jet in Ukraine, CBS News reports.

The Federal Aviation Administration tells CBS News that the agency prohibited U.S. carriers from flying through this region.

It was the second time that a Malaysia Airlines plane was lost in less than six months. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in March while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It has not been found, but the search has been concentrated in the Indian Ocean far west of Australia.

Malaysian Defense Minister Hishamuddin Hussein said on Twitter there’s no confirmation that Thursday’s plane was shot down. He said he has instructed the country’s military to check and get confirmation.

The Donetsk region government said Thursday’s plane crashed near a village called Grabovo, which it said is currently under the control of armed pro-Russian separatists. The region where the flight was lost has seen severe fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatist rebels in recent days.

A launcher similar to the Buk missile system was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne, which is held by pro-Russia rebels, earlier Thursday.

On Wednesday evening, a Ukrainian fighter jet was shot down by an air-to-air missile from a Russian plane, Ukrainian authorities said Thursday, adding to what Kiev says is mounting evidence that Moscow is directly supporting the separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine. Security Council spokesman Andrei Lysenko said the pilot of the Sukhoi-25 jet hit by the air-to-air missile was forced to bail after his jet was shot down.

Pro-Russia rebels, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for strikes Wednesday on two Ukrainian Sukhoi-25 jets. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said the second jet was hit by a portable surface-to-air missile, but added the pilot was unscathed and managed to land his plane safely

Moscow denies Western charges that is supporting the separatists or sowing unrest in its neighbor. The Russian Defense Ministry couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday about the Ukrainian jet and Russia’s foreign ministry didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.

Earlier this week, Ukraine said a military transport plane was shot down Monday by a missile fired from Russian territory.

The Malaysia Airlines plane is a Boeing 777-200ER, which was delivered to Malaysia Airlines on July 30, 1997, according to Flightglobal’s Ascend Online Fleets, which sells and tracks information about aircraft. It has more than 43,000 hours of flight time and 6,950 takeoffs and landings.

If the plane was shot down, it would be the fourth commercial airliner to face such a fate. The previous three were:

- April 20, 1978: Korean Airlines Flight 902, which diverted from its planned course on a flight from Paris to Seoul and strayed over the Soviet Union. After being fired upon by an interceptor aircraft, the crew made a forced landing at night on the surface of a frozen lake. Two of the 97 passengers were killed by the hostile fire.

- Sept. 1, 1983: Korean Air Lines Flight 007 shot down by at least one Soviet air-to-air missile after the 747 had strayed into Soviet airspace. All 240 passengers and 29 crew were killed.

- July 3, 1988: Iran Air Flight 655 Aircraft was shot down by a surface to air missile from the American naval vessel U.S.S. Vincennes. All 16 crew and 274 passengers were killed

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Militarization of Police Departments and SWAT Team in America — Who is the enemy? The American People — War on Drugs — War on Terror — War on Americans — Videos

Posted on June 28, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Drones, Economics, Education, Employment, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, media, People, Philosophy, Pistols, Politics, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Rifles, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

 

Obama Expands Militarization of Police

Are Police Declaring War on Americans?

RISE Of The WARRIOR COP: The Militarization Of America’s Police Forces

Radley Balko on The Militarized Police State

MILITARIZATION OF POLICE – PENTAGON is ARMING the U.S. POLICE with MRAP Military COMBAT VEHICLE’s

 

Barney Fife Meets Delta Force 

Hypermilitarized police departments are more dangerous than whatever they fight. 

 

Nestled awkwardly among the usual guff, the outrage website Salon this week took a welcome flyer and accorded space to something genuinely alarming. “A SWAT team,” the headline screamed, “blew a hole in my 2-year-old son.” For once, this wasn’t hyperbole.

The piece’s author, Alecia Phonesavanh, described what it felt like to be on the business end of an attack that was launched in error by police who believed a drug dealer to be living and operating in her house. They “threw a flashbang grenade inside,” she reported. It “landed in my son’s crib.” Now, her son is “covered in burns” and has “a hole in his chest that exposes his ribs.” So badly injured was he by the raid that he was “placed into a medically induced coma.” “They searched for drugs,” Phonesavanh confirmed, but they “never found any.” Nor, for that matter, did they find the person they were looking for. He doesn’t live there. “All of this,” she asks, “to find a small amount of drugs?”

 

Historians looking back at this period in America’s development will consider it to be profoundly odd that at the exact moment when violent crime hit a 50-year low, the nation’s police departments began to gear up as if the country were expecting invasion — and, on occasion, to behave as if one were underway. The ACLU reported recently that SWAT teams in the United States conduct around 45,000 raids each year, only 7 percent of which have anything whatsoever to do with the hostage situations with which those teams were assembled to contend. Paramilitary operations, the ACLU concluded, are “happening in about 124 homes every day — or more likely every night” — and four in five of those are performed in order that authorities might “search homes, usually for drugs.” Such raids routinely involve “armored personnel carriers,” “military equipment like battering rams,” and “flashbang grenades.”

 

Were the military being used in such a manner, we would be rightly outraged. Why not here? Certainly this is not a legal matter. The principle of posse comitatus draws a valuable distinction between the national armed forces and parochial law enforcement, and one that all free people should greatly cherish. Still, it seems plain that the potential threat posed by a domestic standing army is not entirely blunted just because its units are controlled locally. To add the prefix “para” to a problem is not to make it go away, nor do legal distinctions change the nature of power. Over the past two decades, the federal government has happily sent weapons of war to local law enforcement, with nary a squeak from anyone involved with either political party. Are we comfortable with this?

The Right’s silence on the issue is vexing indeed, the admirable attempts of a few libertarians notwithstanding. Here, conservatives seem to be conflicted between their rightful predilection for law and order — an instinct that is based upon an accurate comprehension of human nature and an acknowledgment of the existence of evil — and a well-developed and wholly sensible fear of state power, predicated upon precisely the same thing. As of now, the former is rather dramatically winning out, leading conservatives to indulge — or at least tacitly to permit — excuses that they typically reject elsewhere. Much as the teachers’ unions invariably attempt to justify their “anything goes” contracts by pointing to the ends that they ostensibly serve (“Well you do want schools for the children or don’t you? Sign here”), the increasingly muscular behavior of local police departments is often shrugged off as a by-product of the need to fight crime. This, if left unchecked, is a recipe for precisely the sort of carte blanche that conservatives claim to fear.

Leaving aside the central moral question of the War on Drugs — which is whether the state should be responding to peaceful transactions and consensual behavior with violence — there is, it seems, considerable room between law enforcement’s turning a blind eye to the law and its aping the military in its attempt to uphold it. The cartels of Mexico and drug lords of America’s larger cities are one thing; but two-bit dealers and consumers of illicit substances are quite another. In the instance that Salon recorded, the person that authorities “were looking for, wasn’t there.” “He doesn’t even live in that house,” Phonesavanh confirmed. But suppose that he had, and that he’d been dealing drugs as charged? Does this alone make the case for the tactics? I suspect not. Instead, attempting to catch a violator in the act by releasing military vehicles full of machine-gun-wielding men, storming a home in the dead of night, and performing a no-knock raid that results in a two-year-old’s being pushed into a coma might, one suspects, be overkill — in many similar cases, literally so. The question for conservatives should be this: If cowboy poetry is no justification for federal intrusion, can drug dealing be said to serve as an open invitation for the deployment of the ersatz 101st?

In the more febrile of the Right’s quarters, the sight of MRAPs being delivered to the chief of police in Westington, Mont., has given rise to all forms of regrettable silliness — to visions of black helicopters and reeducation camps and an America on the verge of being taken by force by the gun-toting rangers of the Fish and Wildlife Service. Nevertheless, a small amount of latent paranoia has served America well, and Chekhov’s advice that “one must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it” should be applied to governments as rigorously as to aspiring playwrights. Once the holders of the monopoly on violence are accorded the latest weaponry, there will always be the temptation to use it. Likewise, once one has taken the mental and linguistic leap of ascribing to domestic law enforcement the imprimatur of “war,” one may be inclined to reach for the trigger that little bit more quickly. The disaster at Waco, Texas, was, it seems, more cock-up than conspiracy. But the recognition in the aftermath that the whole bloody mess could have been avoided if local officers had taken the time to chat with the victims should haunt us to this day. Rushing in at 100 miles per hour rarely works out, whatever the ill that one is attempting to resolve.

The Left’s current inclination is to spin offenses out of straw — having no major battles left to fight, it seeks to detect microaggressions; with overt bigotry so thin on the ground, the dog whistles have come out; and with the barriers to the Declaration’s maxim having been largely removed, the focus has shifted to the structural and the invisible. But first-degree burns and holes in the chest are different things altogether — not to be dismissed or downplayed — and that the issue is being raised by an outlet known for its absurdity should not dull its impact. Will the Right wake up to the threat, applying its usual mistrust of power to a favored group, or will its usually alert advocates leave themselves willfully in the dark until, one day, a flashbang with their name on it is tossed through the window to wake them up with a start?

 

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State and Central Banking: Killing and Fleecing The People Massively — Financing War — Videos

Posted on June 18, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Communications, Constitution, Diasters, Economics, Education, Employment, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Genocide, government, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , |

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lew_rockwell

Mises

War and the Fed | Lew Rockwell

Lew Rockwell explains how the Federal Reserve Enables War, Empire, and Destroys the Middle Class

Economics and Moral Courage | Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

The Misesian Vision | Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

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

Posted on June 14, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Constitution, Demographics, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Genocide, government, history, Illegal, Immigration, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Literacy, media, Natural Gas, Nuclear Power, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Talk Radio, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Kurdistan-Map

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kurdistan_map

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Who are the Kurds

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

Brief History of Kurdistan

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

The Invisible Nation of Kurds

Kurds After the Gulf War

Kurdish Exodess in 1991 part 1

Kurdish Exodess in 1991 part 2

The Kurds: A People in Search of Their Homeland

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Female Fighters of Kurdistan (Part 1/3)

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Female Fighters of Kurdistan (Part 3/3)

Women fighters in kurdistan 2013 (documentary)

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26 years of Kurdish struggle in Turkey 

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

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

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 1/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 2/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 3/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 4/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 5/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 6/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 7/8

Documentary: Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 8/8

 

 

 

 

 

The Kurdish Question

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Kurdish wedding in Dallas Plano

Former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford on Kurds in Syria

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

Kurdish oil upsets Washington and Baghdad

Kurdish population

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

 

Turkey[edit]

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

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

Iran[edit]

Main articles: Kurds in Iran and Kurds of Khorasan

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

Iraq[edit]

Main article: Kurds in Iraq

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

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

Syria[edit]

Main article: Kurds in Syria

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

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

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

Armenia[edit]

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

Georgia[edit]

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

Russia[edit]

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

Lebanon[edit]

Main article: Kurds in Lebanon

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

Western Europe[edit]

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

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

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

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

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

North America[edit]

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

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

Oceania[edit]

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

Statistics by country[edit]

Traditional areas of Kurdish settlement[edit]

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

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

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

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

Other countries[edit]

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

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

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

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

 

 

Etymology

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

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

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

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

Language

Main article: Kurdish languages

Kurdish area in the Middle East(2007)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Population

Main article: Kurdish population

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

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

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

History

The greatest extent of the Median Empire

Origins

Further information: Gutian peopleMedesCyrtii and Carduchi

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

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

Legends

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

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

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

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

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

Ancient Period

Artistic rendition of Ardashir I

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

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

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

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

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

Medieval period

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Safavid period

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

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

Zand Period

Karim Khan, the Laki ruler of the Zand Dynasty

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

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

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

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

Ottoman period

Further information: Sheik Ubeydullah

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

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

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

20th century

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kurdish communities

Further information: Kurdistan and Kurdish refugees

Turkey

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

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

Kurdish boys in Diyarbakir.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iran

A view of Sanandaj, a major city inIranian Kurdistan.

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

Major Ethnic Groups of Iran

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iraq

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Syria

Main article: Kurds in Syria

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

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

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

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

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

Armenia

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

Azerbaijan

Main article: Kurds in Azerbaijan

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

Diaspora

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

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

 

Religion

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

Islam

Main articles: Islam and Alevi

The Zulfiqar, symbol for the Shia Muslims and Alevis.

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

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

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

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

Ahl-i Haqq (Yarsan)

Main article: Yârsânism

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

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

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

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

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

Yazidis

Main article: Yazidis

Melek Taus, the central figure of Yezidism.

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

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

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

Zoroastrianism

Main article: Zoroastrianism

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

Judaism

Main article: Kurdish Jews

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

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

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

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

Christianity

Main article: Kurdish Christians

Two Kurds with an Orthodox priest, 1873.

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

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

Culture

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

Women

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

Folklore and Mythology

The fox; a widely recurring character in Kurdish tales

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weaving

Modern rug from Bijar

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

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

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

Handicrafts

A Kurdish nobleman bearing ajambiya dagger

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

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

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

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

Tattoos

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

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

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

Music and Dance

Main article: Kurdish music

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

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

Cinema

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

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

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

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

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

Sports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Architecture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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Bizarre week for NSA reformers

“USA Freedom Act” Has All Oversight Of NSA Gutted By Phony Gatekeepers!

Through a PRISM, Darkly – Everything we know about NSA spying [30c3]

U.S. Freedom act

Real Talk with Julie Borowski: Stop Snooping, NSA!

Is NSA reform being sabotaged?

 

“The USA FREEDOM Act” Congress Plan To Curb NSA Spying On American Citizens

GOP against Justin Amash The Glenn Beck Talk Show

Report exposes secret NSA snooping tool

Opposing Bulk NSA Surveillance (Rep. Justin Amash)

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

Glenn Beck Justin Amash Interview On Nsa Surveillance

Congress’s Abdication on NSA Oversight (U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI))

Justin Amash: President Obama Was ‘Highly Misleading’ In Claiming There’s No Domestic Spying Program

House committee passes NSA reform bill

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

“USA Freedom Act” Bill To Put NSA “Out Of Business”

Fox News Reporting The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? 1 of 6

Fox News Reporting The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy Controversy Not The First Time 2 of

Fox News Reporting The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? Controversy? 9 11 3 of 6

Fox News Reporting – The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? – Phone Records – 4 of 6

Fox News Reporting – The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? – Edward Snowden & Security – 5 of 6

Fox News Reporting – The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? – Day Of Reckoning At Hand? – 6 of 6

C-SPAN Callers On The Future Of The National Security Agency (NSA)

James Bamford Says NSA “Exploiting” U.S. Citizens With Info About Their Online Porno Viewing Habits

 

 

 

Congress Pulls Bait-and-Switch on USA FREEDOM Act

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Letter to Judiciary Committee – USA FREEDOM Act

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

 

USA Freedom Act unanimously clears House Judiciary Committee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

USA Freedom Act

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

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

Purpose

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

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

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

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

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

Background

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

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

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

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

Markup in House Judiciary Committee

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reaction

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

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

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

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

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

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

See also

References

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

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

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

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

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

External links

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

 

XKeyscore

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Logo for the XKeyscore program

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

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

The scope of XKeyscore

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

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

According to Snowden and Greenwald

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

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

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

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

According to the NSA

Further information: SIGINT

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

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

Workings

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

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

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

Data sources

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Capabilities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Significance

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

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

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

Usage by foreign partners of the NSA

Germany

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

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

Sweden

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

 

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Pronk Pops Show 244: April 15, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 242: April 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 241: April 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 240: April 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 239: April 8, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 237: April 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 236: April 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 235: March 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 234: March 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 233: March 27, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 231: March 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 230: March 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 229: March 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 228: March 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 227: March 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 226: March 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 225: March 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 224: March 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 223: March 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 222: March 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 221: February 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 220: February 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 219: February 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 218: February 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 217: February 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 216: February 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 215: February 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 214: February 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 213: February 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 212: February 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 211: February 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 210: February 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 209: February 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 208: February 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 207: February 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 206: February 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 205: February 5, 2014

Story 2: Speaker of House Boehner To Establish Select Committee on Benghazi — Oversight Committee Subpoenas Secretary of State John Kerry — Videos

Judge Jeanine Pirro Opening Statement – Benghazi Scandal Biggest Cover-up Since Watergate

Benghazi Scandal – Where Was Obama? – Visitor Logs Show He Had Debate Prep Night – Fox & Friends

Fox News Reporting – Benghazi White House Cover-Up Revealed? – Part 1 of 5

Fox News Reporting – Benghazi White House Cover-Up Revealed? – Part 2 of 5

Fox News Reporting – Benghazi White House Cover-Up Revealed? – Part 3 of 5

Fox News Reporting – Benghazi White House Cover-Up Revealed? – Part 4 of 5 – Military Option

Fox News Reporting – Benghazi White House Cover-Up Revealed? – Part 5 of 5 – What We Now Know

Benghazi Scandal – Peters: If There’s 1 Chances In Hell, You Try! – Kerry To Testify – Lt Col Peters

Benghazi Scandal Obama’s Paid Liar New Documents Revealed

Rep. Schiff on Fox News Sunday: Benghazi Select Committee A “Colossal Waste of Time

House To Form Select Committee On Benghazi To Get To The Truth – Special Report 1st Segment

Benghazi Scandal – Uncovering The Truth Speaker Forming Select Committee On Benghazi – Trey Gowdy

Boehner To Appoint Select Benghazi Committee

Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) discusses Benghazi on Fox News

McCarthy: Boehner Not Calling for Select Committee for Benghazi ‘Inexplicable’

Fmr. WH Spox to Baier on Benghazi

Bret Baier: Jay Carney’s Spin On Benghazi Briefing Materials “Surreal”

Chaffetz: Someone should be fired for Benghazi

Special Ops Vets Rally on Capitol Steps for Benghazi Select Committee

Wolf Calls For House Select Committee To Investigate Benghazi Attack

Rep. Frank Wolf on Benghazi – Politicizing the FBI & the CIA

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

CNN Benghazi Claims: Report alleges CIA operatives in Libya were sending weapons to Syrian rebels

SYRIA Geraldo Rivera: My Sources Say The US Running Libya Arms To Syrian Rebels

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

Unguarded Weapons in Libya

20,000 Surface-to-Air Missiles Stolen in Libya

Thousands of Surface To Air Missiles Are Missing In Libya

FSA Takes Out Helicopter With Surface to Air Missile!

Embedded with Al-Qaeda in Syria

CIA Begins Delivering Weapons To AL-Qaeda In Syria

Al Nusra USA and France Co-ordinate Joint attacks on Syria

Report: Al-Qaeda Missile Manual Found

Obama Considering Secret Order Authorizing Covert Ops in Libya

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

SOCOM and the Secret Missions of Special Ops (Full Documentary)

CIA Covert Action in Iran, Vietnam, Laos, the Congo, Cuba, and Guatemala: Documentary Film (1965)

A covert operation (also as CoveOps or covert ops) is a military, intelligence or law enforcement operation that is carried clandestinely and, often, outside of official channels. Covert operations aim to fulfill their mission objectives without any parties knowing who sponsored or carried out the operation. It is normally sponsored by taxes from the government.

Under United States law, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is the sole US Government agency legally allowed to carry out Covert Action. The CIA’s authority to conduct Covert Action comes from the National Security Act of 1947. President Ronald Reagan issued Executive Order 12333 titled in 1984. This order defined covert action as “special activities”, both political and military, that the US Government could legally deny. The CIA was also designated as the sole authority under the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act and in Title 50 of the United States Code Section 413(e). The CIA must have a “Presidential Finding” issued by the President of the United States in order to conduct these activities under the Hughes-Ryan amendment to the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act. These findings are then monitored by the oversight committees in both the US Senate and the House of Representatives. As a result of this framework, the CIA “receives more oversight from the Congress than any other agency in the federal government.” The Special Activities Division (SAD) is a division of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, responsible for Covert Action and “Special Activities”. These special activities include covert political influence and paramilitary operations. The division is overseen by the United States Secretary of State.

The following persons are known to have participated in covert operations, as distinct from clandestine intelligence gathering (espionage) either by their own admission or by the accounts of others: Robert Baer Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš, Czechoslovak British-trained agents sent to assassinate one of the most important Nazis, Reinhard Heydrich, in 1942 as part of Operation Anthropoid. Aaron Franklin, World War II US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) officer who created a fake group of the German Army, made up of POWs, with the mission of killing Hitler. As a colonel, he was the first commander of United States Army Special Forces. Charles Beckwith, US Army colonel who was an early exchange officer with the British Special Air Service (SAS), and created the Delta Force (1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta) based on the SAS. Gary Berntsen, CIA field officer and team leader during Operation Enduring Freedom Wendell Fertig, United States Army Reserve officer who organized large Filipino guerrilla forces against the Japanese in World War II Virginia Hall, American who first worked for the British Special Operations Executive, then for the American Office of Strategic Services in German-occupied France. Only U.S. woman to receive the Distinguished Service Cross. Eric Haney, founding member of Delta Force. Michael Harari, Israeli Mossad officer who led assassination operations (Operation Wrath of God) against PLO members accused of the 1972 Munich Massacre. Bruce Rusty Lang, commander of a mixed United States Army Special Forces & Montagnard (Degar/Bru people) commando Recon Team (RT Oklahoma) of Command and Control North, Studies and Observations Group. Previously served on Project 404, U.S. Embassy Laos, Assistant Army Attaché (“Secret War” in Laos 1970). Edward Lansdale, United States Air Force officer (and eventually major general) seconded to the CIA, and noted for his work with Ramon Magsaysay against the Hukbalahap insurgency in Philippines during the early 1950s, and later involved in Operation Mongoose against Cuba. T. E. Lawrence, British “Lawrence of Arabia” who organized Arab forces during World War I. Alain Mafart, French DGSE officer convicted, in New Zealand, for sinking the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior. Richard Meadows, United States Army Special Forces officer known for many operations, including the POW rescue attempt at Son Tay, North Vietnam, and for deep operations in support of Operation Eagle Claw.

America’s Roundtable: Congressman Frank Wolf Calls for Select Committee – Benghazi Terrorist Attack

‘Protestors’ fly Al Qaeda Flag at US embassy on Sept 11, 2012 Cairo, Egypt

‘US has supported Arab uprisings, and now it’s blowback time’

Petraeus Testifies CIA’s Benghazi, Libya Talking Points Were Changed – Megyn Kelly

130519-benghazi-timeline-spreasheeet

 

 

 

Boehner to Establish Select Committee on Benghazi

Americans learned this week that the Obama Administration is so intent on obstructing the truth about Benghazi that it is even willing to defy subpoenas issued by the standing committees of the People’s House.  These revelations compel the House to take every possible action to ensure the American people have the truth about the terrorist attack on our consulate that killed four of our countrymen.  In light of these new developments, the House will vote to establish a new select committee to investigate the attack, provide the necessary accountability, and ensure justice is finally served.

“The administration’s withholding of documents – emails showing greater White House involvement in misleading the American people – is a flagrant violation of trust and undermines the basic principles of oversight upon which our system of government is built.  And it forces us to ask the question, what else about Benghazi is the Obama administration still hiding from the American people?

“The House committees that have been investigating this attack have done extraordinary work, using their subpoena power, holding dozens of hearings, and conducting hundreds of interviews.  Without this work we would not know much that we do today.  But it’s clear that questions remain, and the administration still does not respect the authority of Congress to provide proper oversight.  This dismissiveness and evasion requires us to elevate the investigation to a new level.  I intend for this select committee to have robust authority, and I will expect it to work quickly to get answers for the American people and the families of the victims.

“Four Americans died at the hands of terrorists nearly 20 months ago, and we are still missing answers, accountability, and justice.  It’s time that change.”

 

http://www.speaker.gov/press-release/boehner-establish-select-committee-benghazi

 

Boehner announces special committee on Benghazi, Kerry subpoenaed

 

House Republicans moved on two fronts Friday to dig for answers on Benghazi, with Speaker John Boehner announcing a special committee to investigate and a key panel subpoenaing Secretary of State John Kerry to testify.

In a significant shift, Boehner announced that the House will vote on establishing a select committee to investigate, on the heels of newly released emails that raised additional questions about the White House’s response.

Top Republicans claimed those emails should have been released to Congress months ago, and Boehner signaled those concerns prompted him to rethink the need for a select committee.

“Americans learned this week that the Obama Administration is so intent on obstructing the truth about Benghazi that it is even willing to defy subpoenas issued by the standing committees of the People’s House. These revelations compel the House to take every possible action to ensure the American people have the truth about the terrorist attack on our consulate that killed four of our countrymen,” he said in a statement.

“In light of these new developments, the House will vote to establish a new select committee to investigate the attack, provide the necessary accountability, and ensure justice is finally served.”

Boehner has long faced pressure from rank-and-file members to form such a panel to probe the attacks which killed four Americans including a U.S. ambassador, and until now had resisted. Fox News is told the speaker made the decision Thursday to go forward with a vote.

The committee is expected to be bipartisan, and Fox News is told Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., is among those being considered to lead it.

House GOP Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said the “continued obstruction” made clear that a select committee is needed. Many of the details are still being worked out but Boehner claimed the panel, if approved in a vote by the full House, would have “robust authority.”

He called the alleged “withholding” of documents a “flagrant violation of trust.”

“This dismissiveness and evasion requires us to elevate the investigation to a new level,” Boehner said.

But Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid blasted the decision as an election-year stunt. “There have already been multiple investigations into this issue and an independent Accountability Review Board is mandated under current law,” Reid said in a statement. “For Republicans to waste the American people’s time and money staging a partisan political circus instead of focusing on the middle class is simply a bad decision.”

The movement comes after newly released emails raised questions about the White House role in pushing faulty claims about the attacks.

The emails in question were obtained and published by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. One email showed White House adviser Ben Rhodes discussing a “prep call” with then-U.N. ambassador Susan Rice, before she went on several Sunday shows and made controversial and flawed statements linking the attack to an anti-Islam Internet video.

The email from Rhodes emphasized the role of the Internet video — leading to GOP charges that this “smoking gun” shows the White House politicized the tragedy.

The White House maintains the “prep call” was in reference to protests elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa.

On the heels of those documents, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee also announced Friday that it has issued the subpoena for Kerry to testify at a May 21 hearing. The chairman of that committee has accused the administration of hiding records following an earlier subpoena.

“The State Department’s response to the congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack has shown a disturbing disregard for the Department’s legal obligations to Congress,” Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wrote in a letter to Kerry.

He added: “Compliance with a subpoena for documents is not a game. Because your Department is failing to meet its legal obligations, I am issuing a new subpoena to compel you to appear before the Committee to answer questions about your agency’s response to the congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack.”

Before the subpoena was announced, Boehner also called on Kerry to testify before Congress in light of these revelations.

A State Department official voiced surprise at the announcement, telling Fox News that the department has been cooperating with the committee all along.

White House officials have pushed back hard on Republican claims that the Rhodes email was a “smoking gun” that proves the administration politicized the attack.

Former White House spokesman Tommy Vietor told Fox News on Thursday that he wished the documents had been released earlier.

“I bet you every single person in that White House wished that email has been released earlier. I wish it too because it tells us nothing new, It tells us what we said privately was what we said publicly, because that is what we thought had occurred,” Vietor said.

As for the special committee, one of the biggest backers of such a panel, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., commended Boehner for the decision.

He also cited Fox News’ reporting. “In the case of Benghazi, much credit goes to FOX News’ Catherine Herridge and Bret Baier for their tenacious commitment to this story and investigation,” he said in a statement.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/05/02/house-committee-subpoenas-kerry-over-benghazi-documents/

 

 

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 250-255

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Keith E. Wrightson — Early Modern England: Politics, Religion, and Society under the Tudors and Stuarts — History 251 — Yale University — Videos

Posted on May 4, 2014. Filed under: Agriculture, Art, Art, Blogroll, Books, British History, Business, Climate, College, Comedy, Communications, Constitution, Crime, Cult, Culture, Dance, Demographics, Economics, Education, Employment, Entertainment, European History, Faith, Family, Farming, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Games, government, Heroes, history, Homes, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Music, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Rants, Raves, Resources, Taxes, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Professor Keith E. Wrightson

Early Modern England: Politics, Religion, and Society under the Tudors and Stuarts (HIST 251)

1. General Introduction

2. “The Tree of Commonwealth”: The Social Order in the Sixteenth Century

3. Households: Structures, Priorities, Strategies, Roles

4. Communities: Key Institutions and Relationships

5. “Countries” and Nation: Social and Economic Networks and the Urban System

6. The Structures of Power

7. Late Medieval Religion and Its Critics

8. Reformation and Division, 1530-1558

9. “Commodity” and “Commonweal”: Economic and Social Problems, 1520-1560

10. The Elizabethan Confessional State: Conformity, Papists and Puritans

11. The Elizabethan “Monarchical Republic”: Political Participation

12. Economic Expansion, 1560-1640

13. A Polarizing Society, 1560-1640

14. Witchcraft and Magic

15. Crime and the Law

16. Popular Protest

17. Education and Literacy

18. Street Wars of Religion: Puritans and Arminians

19. Crown and Political Nation, 1604-1640

20. Constitutional Revolution and Civil War, 1640-1646

21. Regicide and Republic, 1647-1660

22. An Unsettled Settlement: The Restoration Era, 1660-1688

23. England, Britain, and the World: Economic Development, 1660-1720

24. Refashioning the State, 1688-1714

25. Concluding Discussion and Advice on Examination

 

 

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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, 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

The First World War – Part 1/10

The First World War – Part 2/10

The First World War – Part 3/10

The First World War – Part 4/10

The First World War – Part 5/10

The First World War – Part 6/10

The First World War – Part 7/10

The First World War – Part 8/10

The First World War – Part 9/10

The First World War – Part 10/10

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.

 

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The Economics of Russian Imperialism in Ukraine: Russia Goes Around Ukraine with Gas Pipelines — Videos

Posted on March 5, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Communications, Economics, Employment, European History, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Inflation, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Security, Talk Radio, Taxes, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 222: March 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 221: February 28, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 179: December 11, 2013

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 222-223 

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Story 1: The Economics of Russian Imperialism in Ukraine: Russia Goes Around Ukraine with Gas Pipelines — Videos

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Russian-Ukrainian Conflict Spilling Beyond Borders And Into Natural Gas Markets

 

Ken Silverstein

Contributor

The Russian and Ukrainian conflict is about freedom — not just to political expression but also to explore new economic ties with the western world, which includes finding additional access to lucrative natural gas supplies.

It’s a battle that extends well beyond the walls of the former Soviet Bloc and into the heart of Europe that has long relied on Russian natural gas to provide about a quarter of its needs and which a third of it flows through Ukraine’s pipelines. Now that Russia has taken military control of the Crimean section of Ukraine, those conduits are in peril.

Russia, meantime, provides anywhere from one-third to one-half of Ukraine’s natural gas. And, since 2006, the two nations have had legitimate battles over how to value that vital product. During the early years of that dispute, Russia had wanted to quadruple prices to Ukraine. Recently, though, those natural gas prices are tied to global oil prices and have sold at much greater rates, which has cut Ukraine’s consumption of Russian natural gas.

Ukraine still subsidizes the gas that it does buy for its own citizens, noting that without such help, its already recession-ridden country would go into an economic tailspin. The International Monetary Fund is reporting that energy subsidies made up 7.5 percent of Ukraine’s 2012 gross domestic product.

“The Ukrainian economy has been in recession since mid-2012, and the outlook remains challenging. In January–September 2013 GDP contracted by 1.25 percent year-over-year, reflecting lower demand for Ukrainian exports and falling investments,” says the IMF’s December 2013 analysis.

For the moment, Ukraine — and Europe as well — have gotten a minor reprieve because each has had a mild winter. Europe is also warming to U.S. natural gas imports in the form of liquefied natural gas, which can sell for a premium there. Its also been shying away, lately, from Russian gas and using more coal.

Europe, too, has also won access to a number of new pipeline routes, or ones that are able to bypass Ukraine and enter the continent other ways. Among them: Pipelines are linking the Caspian Sea, Middle East and North Africa with Continental Europe. Algeria, for example, is increasing the capacity of its export routes that carry gas into Italy and efforts are also underway to do the same for routes into France and Germany.

Ukraine could ultimately break loose of the natural gas shackles from which Russia has help it captive. A Washington Post story says that Ukraine has signed deals with Chevron Corp and Royal Dutch Shell to invest as much as $10 billion into shale gas development in the western part of the country. ExxonMobil, meantime, wants to drill for oil and gas in the deep water of the Black Sea there — something that the paper says will have to wait given the uncertainties.

 

It’s accurate to say that the distrust that permeated during Cold War era still exists. But Russia can still be counted on — to act in its self interest. And in this case, the need to grow its own economy and to continue to market its natural gas to both Eastern and Western Europe could help soothe things.

Many Europeans say that Russia needs the revenues from selling its natural gas as much as the West needs those supplies. They maintain that the former Communist state is as reliable of a partner as the nations of the Middle East or Northern Africa. Other nations made up of mostly the former Soviet Bloc argue that Russia leverages its natural gas domination as a way to earn economic clout.

There’s no disagreement that Russia holds vast natural gas reserves. According to theU.S. Energy Information Administration, it possesses 27.5 percent of the world’s gas supply. About half of its own needs are met with natural gas while it provides about 23 percent of Europe’s demand.

Russia’s prized national asset is the natural gas company Gazprom, which is an outgrowth of the old Soviet empire. Today, though, Gazprom suffers from aging fields, state regulation and monopolistic control.

While Russia has been investing in its natural gas sector, it lacks the know-how or the capital to vastly increase its production. For that, it has been in talks with some western enterprises that consist of ConocoPhilips and Norsk Hydro of Norway to develop the gas-rich Shtokman fields in the Barents Sea. To become an energy leader, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says that between $173 billion and $203 billion must be invested in Russia’s gas sector by 2020.

Therein is the western world’s leverage with Russia, which needs the capital and technology to increase its international status. The crisis in Ukraine, however, is challenging the whole geo-political-economic paradigm. Russia needs Ukraine both culturally and economically. But it also needs to refurbish its image and to ingratiate itself with the world community.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2014/03/03/russian-ukrainian-conflict-spilling-beyond-borders-and-into-natural-gas-markets/

Russia Moves to Deploy Troops in Ukraine

In Phone Call, Obama Urges Putin to De-escalate Tensions

By

ALAN CULLISON in Sevastopol,
PAUL SONNE in Simferopol and
GREGORY L. WHITE in Moscow

The American and Russian presidents spoke on the phone for 90 minutes on Saturday after Russia’s parliament voted unanimously to deploy troops in Ukraine, defying warnings from Western leaders not to intervene.

In his conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin , U.S. President Barack Obamaexpressed “his deep concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Mr. Obama urged Russia to de-escalate tensions by withdrawing its forces back to bases in Crimea and to refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine.

Saturday’s developments come as Russian troops and their local allies have already largely taken control of Crimea, a restive province of Ukraine that belonged to Russia until 1954 and remains predominantly pro-Russian.

In a statement after the call between Mr. Putin and Mr. Obama, the White House said the U.S. “condemns Russia’s military intervention into Ukrainian territory.”

Mr. Putin told Mr. Obama that Russia reserved the right to intervene in Ukraine to protect its interests and those of the Russian-speaking population there, according to a statement from the Kremlin.

Mr. Putin also spoke of “provocations, crimes by ultranationalist elements, essentially supported by the current authorities in Kiev.” It wasn’t clear what incidents Mr. Putin was referring to.

n Moscow, Russian lawmakers also asked Mr. Putin to recall the country’s ambassador to the U.S. On Friday, Mr. Obama had publicly warned Russia that there would be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.

Western officials expressed alarm and cautioned Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

French President François Hollande also spoke with Mr. Putin Saturday and urged him to avoid any use of force in Ukraine. The French leader held a round of phone calls with Mr. Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel that aimed to forge a common position between the allies.

“I deplore today’s decision by Russia on the use of armed forces in Ukraine. This is an unwarranted escalation of tensions,” said European Union foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is “gravely concerned about the deterioration of the situation” in Ukraine.

In an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Saturday that the regional Crimean government had formally requested Russian military assistance to restore stability to the peninsula. U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power denounced the Russian decision to intervene as “dangerous as it is destabilizing” and said it was taken without legal basis. “The Russian military must stand down,” Ms. Power said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke to his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu. U.S. defense officials wouldn’t immediately provide any details of the call and didn’t say whether Mr. Hagel delivered any warning or caution.

In Brussels, ambassadors to the main political decision-making body of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are set to meet Sunday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine. Afterward, the ambassadors will meet with the Ukrainian ambassador to NATO in a format called the NATO-Ukraine Council.

Meanwhile, skirmishes broke out in other regions of Ukraine, raising concern about broader unrest.

The new government in Kiev called an urgent session of its security council Saturday evening and set a special parliamentary meeting for Sunday to discuss the Russian move.

Vitali Klitschko, the former boxing champion who is one of the protest movement’s most prominent leaders, called on parliament to call a “general mobilization” to respond to the threat, apparently referring to Ukraine’s military.

Heavily armed troops, many from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which is based in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, surrounded key facilities across the region in the past day. The newly installed pro-Russian leader of Crimea Saturday formally asked Russia to deploy its troops to help secure the region.

Mr. Putin’s request didn’t specify how many troops might be sent. It said they would be deployed “until the normalization of the social-political situation in the country.”

The request cited the “threat to the lives of Russian citizens” living in Crimea, as well as the personnel of the Black Sea Fleet.

The approval of Mr. Putin’s request doesn’t necessarily mean troops will be dispatched immediately, an official said.

“Having the right (to deploy forces) doesn’t mean immediately, momentarily exercising that. So we will hope that the situation will go according to a better scenario and won’t continue to be exacerbated as it is now,” presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a radio interview.

Mr. Peskov said in the interview that no decision had been made yet on deploying forces to Ukraine or on recall of the ambassador.

Sergei Aksyonov, who was appointed prime minister of Crimea after armed men took over the regional parliament this week, said troops from the Black Sea Fleet are guarding vital facilities in the region and helping with patrols to ensure public order. Mr. Aksyonov, who is pro-Russian, said he was taking command of the peninsula’s police and army.

In the economically important eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, hundreds of pro-Russian protesters massed Saturday in the main square and took over a main government administration building, and raised the Russian flag, according to local residents and news outlets. It was unclear whether the protesters were local residents. The number of protesters was also unclear; Russian and Ukrainian media had wildly different estimates of crowd strength.

The Donetsk city council issued a statement demanding a referendum over whether the mining region with strong ties to Russia should remain part of Ukraine.

By nightfall, the area around the Donetsk main square was quiet. A reporter from Ukrainian national television said that the protesters remained inside the building, drinking tea and planning new pro-Russia protests for Monday.

In Kharkiv, protests erupted Saturday between crowds of mostly young men who have been camped out at different sides of the city’s main square—Europe’s largest city square—for weeks now.

The groups, one which is pro-Kiev and the other which is pro-Moscow, are mostly local youth, some of which are supporters of the local football team, who appear to have more personal grievances with each other rather than deeply held political agendas, according to local residents who know several of the people at the demonstration.

Interfax reported that about 100 people were injured in the disorder Saturday, though that figure couldn’t immediately be confirmed.

Ukraine military bases were quickly surrounded and sealed off Saturday by Russian forces in Crimea as the Kremlin made preparations for a larger-scale landing of troops.

Russian troops were posted near the gates and around the perimeters of several bases near Sevastopol. When asked why they were there, officers replied that they were providing security to the bases, to stop any pro-Russian citizens who might try to take them.

The troops posted around the base had no markings on their uniforms. Their commander, when asked if he could reveal their nationality, said “of course not.” Others admitted they were Russian. Ukrainian officials at the base said the Russians were allowing food and provisions to be brought in.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused the government in Kiev of trying to destabilize the region and directing gunmen to capture Crimea’s ministry of internal affairs building overnight. It said the attack, which couldn’t be verified, was averted with “decisive action.”

Five people who live in the buildings next to the ministry building in Simferopol said everything was peaceful Friday night and they heard nothing. There were no signs of struggle at the building complex.

Vladimir Krashevsky, a top official at the Simferopol-based division of the local berkut, or riot police, said there was no attack by Kiev-allied gunmen on the building, where he gave an impromptu news conference Saturday.

“There was no attack here and there won’t be one,” he said.

The resolution authorizing the use of force in Ukraine cited the threat to Russian citizens there, but officials in Moscow repeatedly suggested that the Kremlin was coming to the defense of ethnic Russians in Ukraine, even if they hold Ukrainian citizenship.

“There is a threat today to the lives and safety of our fellow citizens, of Russian speakers, of ethnic Russians,” Valentina Matvienko, speaker of the upper house of parliament, told reporters after the vote. “We can’t remain indifferent.”

Asked about possible western counter-intervention, she said there was no ground for it. “With all due respect to the United States, where is the U.S. located and where is Russia? This is happening on Russia’s border.”

Alexander Chekalin, a senator, spoke before the vote, saying, “we are one people, speaking one language, following one faith and sharing one history.” The eastern and southern parts of Ukraine have a large number of Russian-speakers who are members of the Orthodox church.

On Friday, armed men surrounded Crimea’s two main airports, took command of its state television network and set up checkpoints along the key roads connecting the peninsula to the rest of Ukraine. On Saturday, professional military men in unmarked green camouflage uniforms appeared outside the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol.

Ukrainian officials said the well-equipped men—many of whom carried sophisticated automatic weapons—were Russian soldiers.

The leader of the Crimean Tatars, the ethnic minority that accounts for 12% of Crimea and supports the new government in Kiev, sought to dispel the notion that the seizure of government buildings in Crimea had grown out of a citizen uprising.

“These buildings were seized by specially trained people acting on military orders,” said Refat Chubarov, the Tatar leader and deputy in the parliament, at a news conference Saturday.

Ukraine’s new prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, called the continuing militarization in Crimea a provocation intended to draw in Ukraine militarily. He demanded Russian forces return to their base in Sevastopol.

“The presence of Russian troops is nothing more than a violation of the agreement for the Black Sea Fleet to be in Ukraine,” Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted him as saying. “We urge the Russian government to withdraw their troops and return them to their base.”

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303801304579412380376851854

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Ukraine People vs. Russia — USA Response — Absolutely Nothing! — Videos

Posted on March 3, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Diasters, Economics, Education, European History, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Natural Gas, Oil, People, Philosophy, Politics, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Resources, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Transportation, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 220: February 27, 2014

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 Story 2: Ukraine People vs. Russia — USA Response — Absolutely Nothing! — Videos

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National Security Agency Invades Computers Using Radio Pathway — Crossing The Line Into Criminal Activity — Videos

Posted on January 14, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Communications, Computers, Computers, Constitution, Data Storage, Economics, External Hard Drives, External Hard Drives, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Investments, IRS, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Mobile Phones, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Programming, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Reviews, Security, Strategy, Systems, Talk Radio, Taxes, Technology, Television, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , |

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NSA could ‘Spy on offline Computers’ | NSA Infiltrates Personal Computers Worldwide

NY Times: NSA Maps Radio Pathway Into Computers — Even If They Are Offline

Report: NSA Intercepts Computer Deliveries

New York Times – Give Edward Snowden Clemency

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Through a PRISM, Darkly – Everything we know about NSA spying [30c3]

January 14 2014 Breaking News Barack Obama Gun control & NSA worldwide people control last days news

Enemy of the State

N.S.A. Devises Radio Pathway Into Computers

By and JAN. 14, 2014

The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks.

While most of the software is inserted by gaining access to computer networks, the N.S.A. has increasingly made use of a secret technology that enables it to enter and alter data in computers even if they are not connected to the Internet, according to N.S.A. documents, computer experts and American officials.

The technology, which the agency has used since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers. In some cases, they are sent to a briefcase-size relay station that intelligence agencies can set up miles away from the target.

The N.S.A. calls its efforts more an act of “active defense” against foreign cyberattacks than a tool to go on the offensive. But when Chinese attackers place similar software on the computer systems of American companies or government agencies, American officials have protested, often at the presidential level.

Among the most frequent targets of the N.S.A. and its Pentagon partner, United States Cyber Command, have been units of the Chinese Army, which the United States has accused of launching regular digital probes and attacks on American industrial and military targets, usually to steal secrets or intellectual property. But the program, code-named Quantum, has also been successful in inserting software into Russian military networks and systems used by the Mexican police and drug cartels, trade institutions inside the European Union, and sometime partners against terrorism like Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan, according to officials and an N.S.A. map that indicates sites of what the agency calls “computer network exploitation.”

“What’s new here is the scale and the sophistication of the intelligence agency’s ability to get into computers and networks to which no one has ever had access before,” said James Andrew Lewis, the cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “Some of these capabilities have been around for a while, but the combination of learning how to penetrate systems to insert software and learning how to do that using radio frequencies has given the U.S. a window it’s never had before.”

No Domestic Use Seen

There is no evidence that the N.S.A. has implanted its software or used its radio frequency technology inside the United States. While refusing to comment on the scope of the Quantum program, the N.S.A. said its actions were not comparable to China’s.

“N.S.A.’s activities are focused and specifically deployed against — and only against — valid foreign intelligence targets in response to intelligence requirements,” Vanee Vines, an agency spokeswoman, said in a statement. “We do not use foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of — or give intelligence we collect to — U.S. companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line.”

Over the past two months, parts of the program have been disclosed in documents from the trove leaked by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor. A Dutch newspaper published the map of areas where the United States has inserted spy software, sometimes in cooperation with local authorities, often covertly. Der Spiegel, a German newsmagazine, published the N.S.A.’s catalog of hardware products that can secretly transmit and receive digital signals from computers, a program called ANT. The New York Times withheld some of those details, at the request of American intelligence officials, when it reported, in the summer of 2012, on American cyberattacks on Iran.

President Obama is scheduled to announce on Friday what recommendations he is accepting from an advisory panel on changing N.S.A. practices. The panel agreed with Silicon Valley executives that some of the techniques developed by the agency to find flaws in computer systems undermine global confidence in a range of American-made information products like laptop computers and cloud services.

Embracing Silicon Valley’s critique of the N.S.A., the panel has recommended banning, except in extreme cases, the N.S.A. practice of exploiting flaws in common software to aid in American surveillance and cyberattacks. It also called for an end to government efforts to weaken publicly available encryption systems, and said the government should never develop secret ways into computer systems to exploit them, which sometimes include software implants.

Richard A. Clarke, an official in the Clinton and Bush administrations who served as one of the five members of the advisory panel, explained the group’s reasoning in an email last week, saying that “it is more important that we defend ourselves than that we attack others.”

“Holes in encryption software would be more of a risk to us than a benefit,” he said, adding: “If we can find the vulnerability, so can others. It’s more important that we protect our power grid than that we get into China’s.”

From the earliest days of the Internet, the N.S.A. had little trouble monitoring traffic because a vast majority of messages and searches were moved through servers on American soil. As the Internet expanded, so did the N.S.A.’s efforts to understand its geography. A program named Treasure Map tried to identify nearly every node and corner of the web, so that any computer or mobile device that touched it could be located.

A 2008 map, part of the Snowden trove, notes 20 programs to gain access to big fiber-optic cables — it calls them “covert, clandestine or cooperative large accesses” — not only in the United States but also in places like Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Middle East. The same map indicates that the United States had already conducted “more than 50,000 worldwide implants,” and a more recent budget document said that by the end of last year that figure would rise to about 85,000. A senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the actual figure was most likely closer to 100,000.

That map suggests how the United States was able to speed ahead with implanting malicious software on the computers around the world that it most wanted to monitor — or disable before they could be used to launch a cyberattack.

A Focus on Defense

In interviews, officials and experts said that a vast majority of such implants are intended only for surveillance and serve as an early warning system for cyberattacks directed at the United States.

“How do you ensure that Cyber Command people” are able to look at “those that are attacking us?” a senior official, who compared it to submarine warfare, asked in an interview several months ago.

“That is what the submarines do all the time,” said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe policy. “They track the adversary submarines.” In cyberspace, he said, the United States tries “to silently track the adversaries while they’re trying to silently track you.”

If tracking subs was a Cold War cat-and-mouse game with the Soviets, tracking malware is a pursuit played most aggressively with the Chinese.

The United States has targeted Unit 61398, the Shanghai-based Chinese Army unit believed to be responsible for many of the biggest cyberattacks on the United States, in an effort to see attacks being prepared. With Australia’s help, one N.S.A. document suggests, the United States has also focused on another specific Chinese Army unit.

Documents obtained by Mr. Snowden indicate that the United States has set up two data centers in China — perhaps through front companies — from which it can insert malware into computers. When the Chinese place surveillance software on American computer systems — and they have, on systems like those at the Pentagon and at The Times — the United States usually regards it as a potentially hostile act, a possible prelude to an attack. Mr. Obama laid out America’s complaints about those practices to President Xi Jinping of China in a long session at a summit meeting in California last June.

At that session, Mr. Obama tried to differentiate between conducting surveillance for national security — which the United States argues is legitimate — and conducting it to steal intellectual property.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/15/us/nsa-effort-pries-open-computers-not-connected-to-internet.html?hp&_r=0

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Central Intelligence Agency (CIA): Counter Intelligence I: The Company (Full Length Documentary) — Videos

Posted on January 3, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Computers, Economics, Education, Employment, External Hard Drives, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Inflation, Investments, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Security, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Counter Intelligence I: The Company (Full Length Documentary)

Counter Intelligence II: The Deep State (Full Length Documentary)

Counter Intelligence III: The Strategy of Tension (Full Length Documentary)

Counter Intelligence IV: Necrophilous (Full Length Documentary)

Counter Intelligence V: Drone Nation (Full Length Documentary)

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National Security Agency (NSA) Intercepts FedX and UPS Packages To Install Malware Software — Bugs iPhones and Laptops — TOR Network — Videos

Posted on December 31, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Computers, Constitution, Crime, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Programming, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

NSA Interception: Spy malware installed on laptops bought online

Glenn Greenwald Keynote on 30c3

The Tor Network [30c3] (with Jacob Applebaum)

NSA Spying Project Prism Glenn Greenwald Interview

Glenn Greenwald: The NSA Can “Literally Watch Every Keystroke You Make”

Spiegel has revealed new details about a secretive hacking unit inside the National Security Agency called the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO. The unit was created in 1997 to hack into global communications traffic. Hackers inside the TAO have developed a way to break into computers running Microsoft Windows by gaining passive access to machines when users report program crashes to Microsoft. In addition, with help from the CIA and FBI, the NSA has the ability to intercept computers and other electronic accessories purchased online in order to secretly insert spyware and components that can provide backdoor access for the intelligence agencies. American Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer and journalist Glenn Greenwald join us to discuss the latest revelations, along with the future of Edward Snowden, who has recently offered to assist U.S. targets Germany and Brazil with their respective probes into NSA spying.

TAO Revealed: The NSA’s ‘top secret weapon’

‘NSA’s goal is elimination of privacy worldwide’ – Greenwald to EU (FULL SPEECH)

Glenn Greenwald and Ruth Marcus Get in Explosive Exchange over Snowden and ‘Horrible’ D.C. Media

How The NSA Hacks Your iPhone (Presenting DROPOUT JEEP)

by Tyler Durden

Following up on the latest stunning revelations released yesterday by German Spiegel which exposed the spy agency’s 50 page catalog of “backdoor penetration techniques“, today during a speech given by Jacob Applebaum (@ioerror) at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress, a new bombshell emerged: specifically the complete and detailed description of how the NSA bugs, remotely, your iPhone. The way the NSA accomplishes this is using software known as Dropout Jeep, which it describes as follows: “DROPOUT JEEP is a software implant for the Apple iPhone that utilizes modular mission applications to provide specific SIGINT functionality. This functionality includes the ability to remotely push/pull files from the device. SMS retrieval, contact list retrieval, voicemail, geolocation, hot mic, camera capture, cell tower location, etc. Command, control and data exfiltration can occur over SMS messaging or a GPRS data connection. All communications with the implant will be covert and encrypted.”

The flowchart of how the NSA makes your iPhone its iPhone is presented below:

  • NSA ROC operator
  • Load specified module
  • Send data request
  • iPhone accepts request
  • Retrieves required SIGINT data
  • Encrypt and send exfil data
  • Rinse repeat

And visually:

What is perhaps just as disturbing is the following rhetorical sequence from Applebaum:

“Do you think Apple helped them build that? I don’t know. I hope Apple will clarify that. Here’s the problem: I don’t really believe that Apple didn’t help them, I can’t really prove it but [the NSA] literally claim that anytime they target an iOS device that it will succeed for implantation. Either they have a huge collection of exploits that work against Apple products, meaning that they are hoarding information about critical systems that American companies produce and sabotaging them, or Apple sabotaged it themselves. Not sure which one it is. I’d like to believe that since Apple didn’t join the PRISM program until after Steve Jobs died, that maybe it’s just that they write shitty software. We know that’s true.”

Or, Apple’s software is hardly “shitty” even if it seems like that to the vast majority of experts (kinda like the Fed’s various programs), and in fact it achieves precisely what it is meant to achieve.

Either way, now everyone knows that their iPhone is nothing but a gateway for the NSA to peruse everyone’s “private” data at will. Which, incidentally, is not news, and was revealed when we showed how the “NSA Mocks Apple’s “Zombie” Customers; Asks “Your Target Is Using A BlackBerry? Now What?

How ironic would it be if Blackberry, left for dead by virtually everyone, began marketing its products as the only smartphone that does not allow the NSA access to one’s data (and did so accordingly). Since pretty much everything else it has tried has failed, we don’t see the downside to this hail mary attempt to strike back at Big Brother and maybe make some money, by doing the right thing for once.

We urge readers to watch the full one hour speech by Jacob Applebaum to realize just how massive Big Brother truly is, but those who want to just listen to the section on Apple can do so beginning 44 minutes 30 seconds in the presentation below.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-12-30/how-nsa-hacks-your-iphone-presenting-dropout-jeep

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Three Cheers for Phil Robertson — Duck Dynasty, Free Speech, and Religious Freedom Win One — GLAAD IS SAD — Live With It and Move On — Videos

Posted on December 28, 2013. Filed under: American History, Art, Art, Babies, Blogroll, Business, Comedy, Communications, Constitution, Culture, Demographics, Economics, Education, Entertainment, Heroes, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Microeconomics, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Radio, Rants, Raves, Religion, Rifles, Talk Radio, Television, Television, Vacations, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

“Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson reinstated

 

A & E lifts suspension on ‘Duck Dynasty’

‘This Week’ Roundtable: ‘Duck Dynasty’ Debate

‘Duck Dynasty’ Reversal Shows GLAAD Has an Expiration Date

A few years ago, I couldn’t imagine a network disregarding GLAAD’s recommendations

By Brandon Ambrosino

Phil v. The Gays. With which will we side? Or rather, against which will we side? This is the question that society demands we answer. Are we anti-Phil or anti-gay or anti-GLAAD or anti-A&E or anti- … ?

Perhaps no other word sums up the Duck Dynasty fiasco as aptly as the word “anti.”

Whenever I hear that someone is anti-this or that, I immediately think of the old quip about MADD – are there any mothers for drunk driving? – and ask myself if anyone is really in favor of the particular thing being protested. Since GLAAD has recently taken a hard-line stance against Phil Robertson’s “anti-gay” comments, I’ve been asking myself a similar question about defamation: Who among us is for it? Most of us are decidedly against defamation, although we choose not to publicly participate in institutional demonstrations to prove how against it we are. But, of course, GLAAD is an institution, and therefore their criticism reverberates at systemic levels.

Founded in 1985 in the wake of the AIDS crisis, GLAAD was formed to protest skewed coverage of LGBT issues and “to put pressure on media organizations to end homophobic reporting.” The original name was an acronym for “Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation,” and although the organization has recently rebranded itself by deciding that the letters G-L-A-A-D aren’t actually going to stand for anything any more, their reputation for protesting defamatory speech is well known both within and without the LGBT community.

It goes without saying that GLAAD has done a great deal of good for the LGBT community, and for that they deserve our applause and honor. As they noted in their announcement heralding their name change, their work continues to educate and influence the greater culture. Historically they’ve been a symbol of inclusion and tolerance, and they’ve worked tirelessly to infuse these values into our controlling media discourses. Frankly, though, I don’t think their hasty reaction to Phil Robertson displayed our LGBT community’s best values.

Before many of us even learned that Phil Robertson was interviewed by GQ, GLAAD had already convinced us that Phil’s words were vile and offensive, and called upon A&E “to re-examine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.” (I still wonder how many of us – commentators included – have read the actual story in GQ.) A&E offered its own kneejerk response to GLAAD’s kneejerk response, and placed Phil on “indefinite” hiatus, which then prompted some Evangelicals to offer up their own kneejerk response which had something to do with the freedom of speech and now – did I hear this correctly? – Chick-fil-A. In the end, after carefully reviewing all of the responses, A&E issued a final response explaining their decision to lift Phil’s suspension, which resulted in yet another predictable response from GLAAD. I’m not sure how we do it, but we manage to craft responses to our opponents without ever having actual conversations with them.

It isn’t shocking that a conservative Christian duck-hunter from Louisiana has opinions that GLAAD deemed “anti-gay,” and it isn’t shocking that A&E immediately kowtowed to GLAAD at the first drop of the word “homophobic.” What is shocking, however, is that A&E lifted Phil’s hiatus in spite of the fact that they knew GLAAD wasn’t going to be happy about it. A few years ago, I couldn’t imagine a network disregarding GLAAD’s recommendations. A&E is certainly setting a precedent – which makes me wonder about where we are today with queer politics.

In the ’80s and ’90s, GLAAD was necessary, if only because top media outlets needed to be reminded that journalistic ethics applied to AIDS coverage, too. But in 2014, how necessary is GLAAD? I don’t mean to suggest that the organization isn’t doing some good for our world – as I’ve already noted, they are! But as America edges closer and closer to unqualified and full inclusion of LGBT persons, I wonder if an organization whose raison d’etre is to find and shame instances of discrimination isn’t just a bit archaic.

If our goal is to progress beyond defamation against LGBT persons, then that means GLAAD has a sell-by date. To put it in a different, albeit cheekier way: Defamation is good for GLAAD’s business. To bankrupt our society of LGBT defamation would certainly put GLAAD out of work. It’s hard for me to imagine I’m the only one who’s wondered about this. In fact, GLAAD’s recent name-change only confirms that their leadership has been reexamining and revising their purposes moving forward. Again, I’m not suggesting our world doesn’t need GLAAD: There certainly is a place for them. But A&E’s latest reversal should make us question what exactly that place is.
http://ideas.time.com/2013/12/28/duck-dynasty-reversal-shows-glaad-has-an-expiration-date/

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Nelson Mandela Becomes The Good Terrorist Communist — Rest In Peace — Videos

Posted on December 10, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Communications, Constitution, Demographics, Economics, Employment, Energy, European History, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Genocide, government spending, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Rants, Raves, Tax Policy, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

nelson-mandelanelsonmandelacommunistmandela_castromandelamandela_castro_arafatnelson-mandela-statesman-quote-communists-have-always-played-an-active-role-in-themandelaarafatmandela_friendfoto CORNEL VAN HEERDEN . .mandelaunravelsmandela_fistnelson-mandela-love-3waves_goodbye_mandela

Nelson Mandela Dies

Nelson Mandela Death: A Look at South Africa’s First Black President – Documentary

Nelson Mandela – Who was Madiba? Truthloader

Remembering South African leader Nelson Mandela

25 Things You Didn’t Know About Nelson Mandela And His Enduring Legacy

Randall Robinson on Nelson Mandela, U.S. Backing of Apartheid

A Tribute To Nelson Mandela (R.I.P) 1918-2013

The Right Wing Vs Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela & Fidel Castro: A Video You Won’t See on the Evening News

Desmond Tutu Blasts ANC South African Gov’t as Worse Than Apartheid

Mandela The Man and His Country

African National Congress Terrorists Captured (1988)

The Truth on the ANC and South Africa

Christopher Hitchens on the ANC, South African Apartheid, History, Desmond Tutu (1985)

100 Years of Struggle — Mandela’s ANC

Umkhonto we Sizwe(MK)

ANC – VIP’s of Violence Part 1 of 3

Part 1 of 3. A fully factual, well researched and presented documentary on the actions of the ANC that it was hoped would never surface in public – ANC – African National Congress, ruling party in South Africa. What was said in 1987 still applies today, most Black people have not seen a dramatic change in their circumstances……
Nelson Mandela never did renounce the use of violence.

ANC VIP’s of Violence Part 2 of 3

ANC – VIP’s of Violence Part 3 of 3

The Death Of Apartheid – The Whites Last Stand

Who is Nelson Mandela ?

Nelson Mandela Exposed: Communist ANC Ties & The Stupidity Of Black People

WATCH Bill O’Reilly Open Fire on Nelson Mandela: ” Great Man, But He Was a Communist “

Alex Jones: Nelson Mandela is “a horrible person”, “communist mass-bomber”

Racist songs of the ANC and Nelson Mandela- Part 1 of 2

Racist songs by the ANC and Nelson Mandela- Part 2 of 2

Nelson Mandela sings about killing whites

My tribute to vintage Nelson Mandela of South Africa.

NBC and ABC Bash Reagan as Pro-Apartheid During Mandela Coverage

South Africa Today: Did the Mandela Revolution Succeed?

November 30, 2010 | The relatively peaceful transition from apartheid to the beginning of democracy in 1994 was greeted around the world as the beginning of a new era in African politics. Professor Charles Villa-Vicencio, former national research director of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, offered an assessment of the positive momentum and the challenges facing his native South Africa sixteen years later. Assessing the tendency among some rulers of new democracies to resort to the authoritarian tendencies of the governments they have replaced, the question was asked as to what extent South Africa’s current rulers have consolidated and advanced the gains introduced by the Mandela administration. Special attention was given to the current political divisions within the ANC government and the economic challenges facing the country.

Charles Villa-Vicencio is a leading global authority in matters related to transitional justice and reconciliation. A distinguished theologian, he has published numerous works in various scholarly forums. His contributions extend beyond academics: from 1996-1998, he played a central role in South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where he acted as national research director. Villa-Vicencio has used his insight and expertise to advise numerous countries dealing with the challenges of rebuilding their societies after periods of internal strife, including Peru and various African nations. Villa-Vicencio is the author of several books, including A Theology of Reconstruction: Nation-Building and Human Rights (1992) and Civil Disobedience and Beyond: Law, Resistance, and Religion in South Africa (1990). In addition, he has edited or co-edited various volumes, such as Looking Back, Reaching Forward: Reflections on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa (2000, with Wilhelm Verwoerd), and The Provocations of Amnesty: Memory, Justice, and Impunity (2003, with Erik Doxtader).

Former ANC Youth League President Julius Malema has officially formed a new political party.

Malema makes 360 since corruption charges

NELSON MANDELA the TRUTH IS REVEALED

The Life and Times of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

http://djausar.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/the-life-and-times-of-nelson-rolihlahla-mandela/

Background Articles and Videos

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

by David Horowitz

mandela5

Mandela began as a terrorist and never turned his back on monsters like Arafat and Castro, whom he considered brothers in arms. When he was released from prison by deKlerk, he showed unexpected statesmanship, counseling reconciliation rather than revenge, no small achievement in a country in which the “liberation” movement (led by Mandela’s wife and party) placed oil filled inner tubes around the necks of former comrades and set them on fire.

But if a leader should be judged by his works, the country Mandela left behind is an indictment of his political career, not an achievement worthy of praise – let alone the unhinged adoration he is currently receiving across the political spectrum.

http://www.horowitzfreedomcenter.org/nelson_mandela_1918_2013

Mandela’s Economic Legacy Threatened by S. Africa Inequality

By Mike Cohen

Nelson Mandela emerged from 27 years in apartheid jails in 1990 pledging to seize South Africa’s mines and banks. Four years later, his government slashed spending and courted foreign investors, paving the way for the longest period of growth in the country’s history.

The former president and Nobel Laureate, who died yesterday at the age of 95, was instrumental in getting the African National Congress, which led the fight against apartheid and has ruled ever since, to embrace an open economy.

“Only a Mandela could have realigned the ANC’s economic policy from the mindset of the 1950s, with the development state, with socialism, with nationalization, to the world of the 1990s and beyond,” Robert Schrire, a politics professor at the University of Cape Town, said in an interview. “He recognized that for the poor to prosper, the rich had to feel they had a future in the country.”

Yet Mandela’s legacy of economic stability is beginning to come under attack as the country fails to slash unemployment and reduce inequality. The jobless rate remains 24.7 percent, while average earnings for black households are a sixth of their white counterparts. The ANC’s youth wing last year waged a campaign for the nationalization of banks and mines, the very policies ditched by Mandela in 1994, and poor communities have staged a series of protests against a lack of housing and basic services.

Photographer: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg

Mourners gather outside the home of former South African President Nelson Mandela in…Read More

The rand has plunged 19 percent against the dollar this year, the worst performer of 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg, and was trading at 10.4751 as of 1:32 p.m. in Johannesburg today.

White Hands

“We still have racial unemployment, racial poverty and racial inequality,” said Sidumo Dlamini, president of the 2.2-million-member Congress of South African Trade Unions, the country’s largest labor grouping and a member of the ruling alliance. “Our country is still in white hands.”

Mandela’s embrace of spending rigor and foreign capital allowed the economy to expand for 15 years, until the third quarter of 2008, when the global financial crisis pushed it into recession. That growth and rising tax receipts enabled the post-apartheid government to extend welfare grants to about 16 million people and give more than 85 percent of households access to electricity, up from 45 percent in 1996.

Pariah State

Instead of nationalizing companies, Mandela coaxed foreign investors into the country. His ideological shift laid the groundwork for Lakshmi Mittal’s LNM Group to buy Africa’s biggest steelmaker in 2004 and London-based Barclays Plc to take control of South Africa’s largest consumer bank in 2005. In 2011, Fayetteville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. bought a majority stake in the nation’s biggest general-goods wholesaler.

Photographer: Tom Stoddart/Getty Images

Then South African President Nelson Mandela addresses stock brokers at the Johannesburg…Read More

Restoring confidence in South Africa’s economy in 1994 was a significant achievement. Apartheid had turned South Africa into a pariah state, subjected to international sanctions and boycotts. The economy was hemorrhaging foreign capital, had only enough reserves to cover 10 days of imports and was running a budget deficit of 9.1 percent of gross domestic product.

Mandela asked Chris Liebenberg, who had just retired as chief executive officer of what is now Nedbank Group Ltd., the country’s fourth-largest bank, to become finance minister. He accepted the job on condition that South Africa would have a market-related economy and exercise fiscal discipline.

‘Steady Progress’

“Those were tough times,” Liebenberg said in an interview. “We were heading for bankruptcy. Mandela was very mindful that the ANC having not been in government would not be as astute in managing the economy as it should be. He came to me because I was a banker with lots of international contacts and experience.”

In his first budget, Liebenberg raised taxes, equalized the tax system for all racial groups and slashed the defense budget. Those measures helped the government to raise $750 million in 1994 in its first post-apartheid international bond sale, 50 percent more than originally planned. By 1999, the Finance Ministry had reduced the budget deficit to 2.3 percent of GDP.

Mandela also persuaded Chris Stals, the central bank governor, to postpone his retirement by five years to help manage the country’s transition.

Life in Prison

“We made steady progress from day one on for those first five years,” Stals said in an interview. “Our main task was to bring us back into the world economy. Mr. Mandela certainly made a major contribution to that. The trust people had in him and his policies certainly enabled us to lay a very good foundation.”

That trust was hard won.

Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of treason in June 1964, serving much of his sentence on Robben Island near Cape Town. His economic thinking was framed in terms of the ANC’s 1955 Freedom Charter, which called for the country’s mineral wealth and banks to be transferred to the ownership of the people.

“The question of nationalization of mines is a fundamental policy of the ANC,” Mandela said shortly after his release. “I believe the ANC is quite correct in this attitude and we should support it.”

A year later, he assured foreign companies their investments were safe following talks with then-Chinese Premier Li Peng, who told him nationalization wasn’t viable and that China was considering selling state companies.

Broad Sweep

“The world had changed while Mandela was in jail,” said Iraj Abedian, an economist who helped craft the Mandela’s administration’s 1996 hallmark economic policy, which won praise from international investors. “His engagement with the role players in the political, economic and financial world brought that reality home.”

Mandela helped set the broad parameters of economic policy, while leaving formulation and execution to his subordinates, according to Liebenberg, who now helps manage charities established by the former president.

“Until Mandela set his stamp on a policy I think it would not have been possible to drive it through the ANC,” Liebenberg said. “It certainly would not have been possible to drive it through government.”

Abedian, now CEO of Pan-African Capital Holdings, a Johannesburg-based advisory service, was struck by the attention to detail that Mandela, a trained lawyer, gave to policy making.

Phone Calls

“He would go through every document word by word, line by line,” Abedian said. “It was a question of understanding the rationale for every step, weighing it up, questioning it in detail, far more than people would believe.”

Stals recounts how after Trevor Manuel was appointed finance minister in 1996 and the rand tumbled 8.8 percent in the space of a month, Mandela would phone him two or three times a day for market updates.

“He showed a great interest in what we did and he was always quite well-informed,” said Stals. “He liked to discuss the monetary policy issues. He never really interfered, he never really gave instructions.”

Still, the stability that Mandela engineered in those early years after apartheid never made South Africa an economic dynamo. Economic growth has averaged 3.5 percent since 2004, compared with 10.5 percent in China and 7.7 percent in India.

Economic Framework

Moreover, the Gini coefficient, a measure of income inequality, has risen to 0.63 in 2009 from 0.59 in 1993, making South Africa one of the world’s most unequal societies. Poverty remains most prevalent among black South Africans, who make up 79 percent of the population of 53 million.

Mandela never tackled labor laws that companies say stifle investment, or turned around an education system that has left South Africa with labor shortages for skilled jobs.

A wave of violent labor unrest that swept the country in 2012 has continued this year, with workers in the mining, agriculture and transportation industries going on strike for higher wages. The unrest peaked on Aug. 16, when police killed 34 protesters at a Lonmin Plc platinum mine.

Labor unions and the South African Communist Party blame the 1996 economic framework, known as Growth, Employment and Redistribution, for entrenching apartheid-era inequity. The policy, which was spearheaded by Manuel and described by Mandela as “non-negotiable,” sought to trim state borrowing, contain inflation and gradually relax exchange controls.

Working Class

“Established capital benefited from stabilization and liberalization measures,” while the interests of the poor and working class were largely overlooked, said Blade Nzimande, the SACP’s general secretary.

The ANC’s Youth League revived calls for nationalization, saying drastic steps were needed to distribute the country’s wealth more equitably. The league has toned down its demands since its leader Julius Malema was expelled from the ANC last year.

Mandela did the best he could for the country under the circumstances, Abedian said.

“Very few people appreciated what unstable macroeconomic conditions apartheid had left behind,” he said. “In that type of environment what was critical was to have a credible, not necessarily an instant, solution. Mandela realized what steps had to be taken to normalize and stabilize the economy.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-06/mandela-free-market-legacy-imperiled-by-south-african-inequality.html

South Africa’s economy

Strangers will not always be so kind

A COSTLY strike by carworkers in South Africa was at last called off on October 6th. The production lost to the dispute cannot easily be made up as car plants often work around the clock. Worse, the country’s reputation as a place for foreign investment has suffered. BMW, a big German carmaker, says the damage caused by the strike will influence the company’sfuture investment plans.

That sobering statement came just days after the IMF’s anual health-check on the economy. It is a portrait of a country that increasingly relies on foreign creditors to plug the holes in its finances yet does little to ensure that this much-needed investment will keep flowing.

The IMF’s judgment could scarcely be more damning. The report says that South Africa’s economy has grown far more slowly than its peers. The misery in Europe, where a big chunk of South Africa’s exports usually go, has not helped. But it does not excuse troubles at home: “Although weak trading-partner growth contributed, domestic factors were an important reason why South Africa’s growth has been below that of other emerging markets,” the report notes.

It might beggar belief that carworkers can strike for big wage increases when South Africa’s economy is growing so slowly and its unemployment rate is a depressing 25%. Yet the crux of the country’s economic difficulties is an “insider-outsider” complex, says the IMF, which affects both jobs and goods markets. It is costly to fire workers even with good reason. The protections afforded to insiders with jobs leave employers less willing to hire in case they turn out to be work-shy or incompetent. Meanwhile outsiders, mostly the young, are locked out of work.

Business in South Africa is part of the racket. It feigns to loathe costly regulations but in fact red tape makes it harder for job-creating start-ups to challenge established businesses. The IMF notes that the rate of creation and survival of new companies is one of the lowest in the world. This is a sweet deal for incumbent firms, which are more profitable in South Africa than their peers in many emerging markets, including Brazil, China, India and Russia. The lack of competition imposes an additional cost (over forgone jobs) on poor households in the form of high prices.

The social problems related to joblessness are reason enough to shake things up. But reform is even more urgent because of South Africa’s reliance on the kindness of strangers. It runs a current-account deficit of more than 6% of GDP: this is how much it adds to its overdraft with foreigners each year. It would better if this was funded by foreign direct investment, the sort of long-term capital that a BMW plant represents. But the gap between what South Africa spends and what it earns has been bridged by foreign buying of government bonds. The proceeds have gone on public-sector wages rather than on infrastructure projects, such as roads, ports and power plants.

Such purchases cannot be relied on for ever. Interest rates will eventually return to more normal levels in America and Europe. When that happens, capital will flow less freely to emerging markets, such as South Africa. And foreign investors might take fright sooner than that. In the rush for the exits, long-term interest rates would rise and the currency would wilt, leaving the economy in even deeper trouble.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2013/10/south-africa-s-economy?zid=304&ah=e5690753dc78ce91909083042ad12e30

Nelson Mandela

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His Excellency
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
OM AC CC OJ GCStJ QC GCH BR RSO NPk
Nelson Mandela on the eve of his 90th birthday in Johannesburg in May 2008
Mandela in Johannesburg, on 13 May 2008
President of South Africa
In office
10 May 1994 – 14 June 1999
Deputy Thabo Mbeki
F. W. de Klerk
Preceded by F. W. de Klerk
Succeeded by Thabo Mbeki
Personal details
Born Rolihlahla Mandela
18 July 1918
MvezoCape Province
Union of South Africa
Died 5 December 2013 (aged 95)
JohannesburgGauteng
South Africa
Nationality South African
Political party African National CongressSouth African Communist Party
Spouse(s) Evelyn Ntoko Mase
(m. 1944–1957; divorced)
Winnie Madikizela
(m. 1958–1996; divorced)
Graça Machel
(m. 1998–2013; his death)
Children

step children

  • Josina Z. Machel
  • Samora M. Machel Jnr.
Alma mater University of Fort Hare
University of London External System
University of South Africa
University of the Witwatersrand
Profession
Signature Signature of Nelson Mandela
Website www.nelsonmandela.org

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (Xhosa pronunciation: [xoˈliːɬaɬa manˈdeːla]) (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionarypolitician, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first black South African to hold the office, and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation. Politically an African nationalist and democratic socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1991 to 1997. Internationally, Mandela was Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998 to 1999.

Xhosa born to the Thembu royal family, Mandela attended the Fort Hare University and the University of Witwatersrand, where he studied law. Living in Johannesburg, he became involved in anti-colonial politics, joining the ANC and becoming a founding member of its Youth League. After the South African National Party came to power in 1948, he rose to prominence in the ANC’s 1952 Defiance Campaign, was appointed superintendent of the organisation’s Transvaal chapter and presided over the 1955 Congress of the People. Working as a lawyer, he was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities and, with the ANC leadership, was unsuccessfully prosecuted in the Treason Trial from 1956 to 1961. Although initially committed to non-violent protest, he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in 1961 in association with the South African Communist Party, leading a sabotage campaign against the apartheid government. In 1962 he was arrested, convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the state, and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonia Trial.

Mandela served over 27 years in prison, initially on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison. An international campaign lobbied for his release. He was released in 1990, during a time of escalating civil strife. Mandela joined negotiations with President F. W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multiracial elections in 1994, in which he led the ANC to victory and became South Africa’s first black president. He published his autobiography in 1995. During his tenure in the Government of National Unity he invited several other political parties to join the cabinet. As agreed to during the negotiations to end apartheid in South Africa, he promulgated a new constitution. He also created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses. While continuing the former government’s liberal economic policy, his administration also introduced measures to encourage land reform, combat poverty, and expand healthcare services. Internationally, he acted as mediator between Libya and the United Kingdom in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial, and oversaw military intervention in Lesotho. He declined to run for a second term, and was succeeded by his deputy, Thabo Mbeki. Mandela became an elder statesman, focusing on charitable work in combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Mandela was a controversial figure for much of his life. Denounced as a Marxist terrorist by critics,[1][2] he nevertheless gained international acclaim for his activism, having received more than 250 honours, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the USPresidential Medal of Freedom, the Soviet Order of Lenin and the Bharat Ratna. He is held in deep respect within South Africa, where he is often referred to by his Xhosa clan nameMadiba, or as Tata (“Father”); he is often described as “the father of the nation”.

Childhood: 1918–1936

Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in the village of Mvezo in Umtatu, then a part of South Africa’s Cape Province.[3] Given the forename Rolihlahla, a Xhosa term colloquially meaning “troublemaker”,[3] in later years he became known by his clan name, Madiba.[4] His patrilineal great-grandfather, Ngubengcuka, was ruler of the Thembu people in theTranskeian Territories of South Africa’s modern Eastern Cape province.[5] One of this king’s sons, named Mandela, became Nelson’s grandfather and the source of his surname.[6]Because Mandela was only the king’s child by a wife of the Ixhiba clan, a so-called “Left-Hand House”, the descendants of his cadet branch of the royal family were morganatic, ineligible to inherit the throne but recognized as hereditary royal councillors.[6] His father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, was a local chief and councillor to the monarch; he had been appointed to the position in 1915, after his predecessor was accused of corruption by a governing white magistrate.[7] In 1926, Gadla, too, was sacked for corruption, but Nelson was told that he had lost his job for standing up to the magistrate’s unreasonable demands.[8] A devotee of the god Qamata,[9] Gadla was a polygamist, having four wives, four sons and nine daughters, who lived in different villages. Nelson’s mother was Gadla’s third wife, Nosekeni Fanny, who was daughter of Nkedama of the Right Hand House and a member of the amaMpemvu clan of Xhosa.[10]

“No one in my family had ever attended school [...] On the first day of school my teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave each of us an English name. This was the custom among Africans in those days and was undoubtedly due to the British bias of our education. That day, Miss Mdingane told me that my new name was Nelson. Why this particular name I have no idea.”

— Mandela, 1994[11]

Later stating that his early life was dominated by “custom, ritual and taboo”,[12] Mandela grew up with two sisters in his mother’skraal in the village of Qunu, where he tended herds as a cattle-boy, spending much time outside with other boys.[13] Both his parents were illiterate, but being a devout Christian, his mother sent him to a local Methodist school when he was about seven. Baptised a Methodist, Mandela was given the English forename of “Nelson” by his teacher.[14] When Mandela was about nine, his father came to stay at Qunu, where he died of an undiagnosed ailment which Mandela believed to be lung disease.[15] Feeling “cut adrift”, he later said that he inherited his father’s “proud rebelliousness” and “stubborn sense of fairness”.[16]

His mother took Mandela to the “Great Place” palace at Mqhekezweni, where he was entrusted under the guardianship of Themburegent, Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo. Although he did not see his mother again for many years, Mandela felt that Jongintaba and his wife Noengland treated him as their own child, raising him alongside their son Justice and daughter Nomafu.[17] As Mandela attended church services every Sunday with his guardians, Christianity became a significant part of his life.[18] He attended aMethodist mission school located next to the palace, studying English, Xhosa, history and geography.[19] He developed a love of African history, listening to the tales told by elderly visitors to the palace, and became influenced by the anti-imperialist rhetoric of Chief Joyi.[20] At the time he nevertheless considered the European colonialists as benefactors, not oppressors.[21] Aged 16, he, Justice and several other boys travelled to Tyhalarha to undergo the circumcision ritual that symbolically marked their transition from boys to men; the rite over, he was given the name Dalibunga.[22]

Clarkebury, Healdtown, and Fort Hare: 1936–1940

Mandela c. 1937

Intending to gain skills needed to become a privy councillor for the Thembu royal house, Mandela began his secondary education at Clarkebury Boarding Institute in Engcobo, a Western-style institution that was the largest school for black Africans in Thembuland.[23] Made to socialise with other students on an equal basis, he claimed that he lost his “stuck up” attitude, becoming best friends with a girl for the first time; he began playing sports and developed his lifelong love of gardening.[24] Completing his Junior Certificate in two years,[25] in 1937 he moved to Healdtown, the Methodist college in Fort Beaufort attended by most Thembu royalty, including Justice.[26] The headmaster emphasised the superiority of English culture and government, but Mandela became increasingly interested in native African culture, making his first non-Xhosa friend, a Sotho language-speaker, and coming under the influence of one of his favourite teachers, a Xhosa who broke taboo by marrying a Sotho.[27] Spending much of his spare time long-distance running and boxing, in his second year Mandela became a prefect.[28]

With Jongintaba’s backing, Mandela began work on a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree at the University of Fort Hare, an elite black institution inAlice, Eastern Cape, with around 150 students. There he studied English, anthropology, politics, native administration, and Roman Dutch law in his first year, desiring to become an interpreter or clerk in the Native Affairs Department.[29] Mandela stayed in the Wesley House dormitory, befriending his own kinsman, K.D. Matanzima, as well as Oliver Tambo, who became a close friend and comrade for decades to come.[30]Continuing his interest in sport, Mandela took up ballroom dancing,[31] performed in a drama society play about Abraham Lincoln,[32] and gave Bible classes in the local community as part of the Students Christian Association.[33] Although having friends connected to the African National Congress (ANC) and the anti-imperialist movement who wanted an independent South Africa, Mandela avoided any involvement,[34] and became a vocal supporter of the British war effort when the Second World War broke out.[35] Helping found a first-year students’ house committee which challenged the dominance of the second-years,[36] at the end of his first year he became involved in a Students’ Representative Council (SRC) boycott against the quality of food, for which he was temporarily suspended from the university; he left without receiving a degree.[37]

Arriving in Johannesburg: 1941–1943

Returning to Mqhekezweni in December 1940, Mandela found that Jongintaba had arranged marriages for him and Justice; dismayed, they fled to Johannesburg via Queenstown, arriving in April 1941.[38] Mandela found work as a night watchman at Crown Mines, his “first sight of South African capitalism in action”, but was fired when the induna (headman) discovered he was a runaway.[39] Staying with a cousin in George Goch Township, Mandela was introduced to the realtor and ANC activist Walter Sisulu, who secured him a job as an articled clerk at law firm Witkin, Sidelsky and Eidelman. The company was run by a liberal Jew, Lazar Sidelsky, who was sympathetic to the ANC’s cause.[40] At the firm, Mandela befriended Gaur Redebe, a Xhosa member of the ANC and Communist Party, as well as Nat Bregman, a Jewish communist who became his first white friend.[41]Attending communist talks and parties, Mandela was impressed that EuropeansAfricansIndians and Coloureds were mixing as equals. He stated later that he did not join the Party because its atheism conflicted with his Christian faith, and because he saw the South African struggle as being racially based rather than class warfare.[42] Becoming increasingly politicised, in August 1943 Mandela marched in support of a successful bus boycott to reverse fare rises.[43] Continuing his higher education, Mandela signed up to aUniversity of South Africa correspondence course, working on his bachelor’s degree at night.[44]

Earning a small wage, Mandela rented a room in the house of the Xhoma family in the Alexandra township; although rife with poverty, crime and pollution, Alexandra always remained “a treasured place” for him.[45] Although embarrassed by his poverty, he briefly courted a Swazi woman before unsuccessfully courting his landlord’s daughter.[46] In order to save money and be closer to downtown Johannesburg, Mandela moved into the compound of the Witwatersrand Native Labour Association, living among miners of various tribes; as the compound was a “way station for visiting chiefs”, he once met the Queen Regent of Basutoland.[47] In late 1941, Jongintaba visited, forgiving Mandela for running away. On returning to Thembuland, the regent died in winter 1942; Mandela and Justice arrived a day late for the funeral.[48] After passing his BA exams in early 1943, Mandela returned to Johannesburg to follow a political path as a lawyer rather than become a privy councillor in Thembuland.[49] He later stated that he experienced no epiphany, but that he “simply found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise.”[50]

Revolutionary activity

Law studies and the ANC Youth League: 1943–1949

Beginning law studies at the University of Witwatersrand, Mandela was the only native African student, and though facing racism, he befriended liberal and communist European, Jewish, and Indian students, among them Joe SlovoHarry Schwarz and Ruth First.[51] Joining the ANC, Mandela was increasingly influenced by Sisulu, spending much time with other activists at Sisulu’s Orlando house, including old friend Oliver Tambo.[52] In 1943, Mandela met Anton Lembede, an African nationalist virulently opposed to a racially united front against colonialism and imperialism or to an alliance with the communists.[53] Despite his friendships with non-blacks and communists, Mandela supported Lembede’s views, believing that black Africans should be entirely independent in their struggle for political self-determination.[54] Deciding on the need for a youth wing to mass mobilise Africans in opposition to their subjugation, Mandela was among a delegation that approached ANC President Alfred Bitini Xuma on the subject at his home in Sophiatown; the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) was founded on Easter Sunday 1944 in the Bantu Men’s Social Centre in Eloff Street, with Lembede as President and Mandela as a member of the executive committee.[55]

Mandela and Evelyn in 1944

At Sisulu’s house, Mandela met Evelyn Mase, an ANC activist from EngcoboTranskei, who was training at the time to become a nurse. Married on 5 October 1944, after initially living with her relatives, they rented House no. 8115 in Orlando from early 1946.[56] Their first child, Madiba “Thembi” Thembekile, was born in February 1945,[57] and a daughter named Makaziwe was born in 1947, dying nine months later of meningitis.[58] Mandela enjoyed home life, welcoming his mother and sister Leabie to stay with him.[59] In early 1947, his three years of articles ended at Witkin, Sidelsky and Eidelman, and he decided to become a full-time student, subsisting on loans from the Bantu Welfare Trust.[60]

In July 1947, Mandela rushed Lembede to hospital, where he died; he was succeeded as ANCYL president by the more moderate Peter Mda, who agreed to co-operate with communists and non-blacks, appointing Mandela ANCYL secretary.[61] Mandela disagreed with Mda’s approach, in December 1947 supporting an unsuccessful measure to expel communists from the ANCYL, considering their ideology un-African.[62] In 1947, Mandela was elected to the executive committee of the Transvaal ANC, serving under regional president C.S. Ramohanoe. When Ramohanoe acted against the wishes of the Transvaal Executive Committee by co-operating with Indians and communists, Mandela was one of those who forced his resignation.[63]

In the South African general election, 1948, in which only whites were permitted to vote, the Afrikaner-dominated Herenigde Nasionale Party under Daniel François Malan took power, soon uniting with the Afrikaner Party to form the National Party. Openly racialist, the party codified and expanded racial segregation with the new apartheid legislation.[64] Gaining increasing influence in the ANC, Mandela and his cadres began advocating direct action against apartheid, such as boycotts and strikes, influenced by the tactics of South Africa’s Indian community. Xuma did not support these measures and was removed from the presidency in a vote of no confidence, replaced by James Moroka and a more militant cabinet containing Sisulu, Mda, Tambo and Godfrey Pitje; Mandela later related that “We had now guided the ANC to a more radical and revolutionary path.”[65] Having devoted his time to politics, Mandela failed his final year at Witwatersrand three times; he was ultimately denied his degree in December 1949.[66]

Defiance Campaign and Transvaal ANC Presidency: 1950–1954

Mandela took Xuma’s place on the ANC National Executive in March 1950.[67] That month, the Defend Free Speech Convention was held in Johannesburg, bringing together African, Indian and communist activists to call an anti-apartheid general strike. Mandela opposed the strike because it was not ANC-led, but a majority of black workers took part, resulting in increased police repression and the introduction of the Suppression of Communism Act, 1950, affecting the actions of all protest groups.[68] In 1950, Mandela was elected national president of the ANCYL; at the ANC national conference of December 1951, he continued arguing against a racially united front, but was outvoted.[69] Thenceforth, he altered his entire perspective, embracing such an approach; influenced by friends like Moses Kotane and by the Soviet Union‘s support for wars of independence, Mandela’s mistrust of communism also broke down. He became influenced by the texts of Karl MarxFriedrich EngelsVladimir LeninJoseph Stalin and Mao Zedong, and embraceddialectical materialism.[70] In April 1952, Mandela began work at the H.M. Basner law firm,[71] though his increasing commitment to work and activism meant he spent less time with his family.[72]

In 1952, the ANC began preparation for a joint Defiance Campaign against apartheid with Indian and communist groups, founding a National Voluntary Board to recruit volunteers. Deciding on a path of nonviolent resistance influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, some considered it the ethical option, but Mandela instead considered it pragmatic.[73] At a Durban rally on 22 June, Mandela addressed an assembled crowd of 10,000, initiating the campaign protests, for which he was arrested and briefly interned in Marshall Square prison.[74] With further protests, the ANC’s membership grew from 20,000 to 100,000; the government responded with mass arrests, introducing the Public Safety Act, 1953 to permit martial law.[75] In May, authorities banned Transvaal ANU President J. B. Marks from making public appearances; unable to maintain his position, he recommended Mandela as his successor. Although the ultra-Africanist Bafabegiya group opposed his candidacy, Mandela was elected regional president in October.[76] On 30 July 1952, Mandela was arrested under the Suppression of Communism Act and stood trial as a part of the 21 accused – among them Moroka, Sisulu and Dadoo – in Johannesburg. Found guilty of “statutory communism”, their sentence of nine months’ hard labour was suspended for two years.[77] In December, Mandela was given a six-month ban from attending meetings or talking to more than one individual at a time, making his Transvaal ANU presidency impractical. The Defiance Campaign petered out.[78] In September 1953, Andrew Kunene read out Mandela’s “No Easy Walk to Freedom” speech at a Transvaal ANC meeting; the title was taken from a quote by Indian independence leader Jawaharlal Nehru, a seminal influence on Mandela’s thought. The speech laid out a contingency plan for a scenario in which the ANC was banned. This Mandela Plan, or M-Plan, involved dividing the organisation into acell structure with a more centralised leadership.[79]

Mandela obtained work as an attorney for the firm Terblanche and Briggish, before moving to the liberal-run Helman and Michel, passing qualification exams to become a full-fledged attorney.[80] In August 1953, Mandela and Oliver Tambo opened their own law firm, Mandela and Tambo, operating in downtown Johannesburg. The only African-run law firm in the country, it was popular with aggrieved blacks, often dealing with cases of police brutality. Disliked by the authorities, the firm was forced to relocate to a remote location after their office permit was removed under the Group Areas Act; as a result, their custom dwindled.[81] Though a second daughter, Makaziwe Phumia, was born in May 1954, Mandela’s relationship with Evelyn became strained, and she accused him of adultery. Evidence has emerged indicating that he was having affairs with ANC member Lillian Ngoyi and secretary Ruth Mompati; persistent but unproven claims assert that the latter bore Mandela a child. Disgusted by her son’s behaviour, Nosekeni returned to Transkei, and Evelyn embraced the Jehovah’s Witnesses and rejected Mandela’s obsession with politics.[82]

Congress of the People and the Treason Trial: 1955–1961

Main article: Treason Trial

“We, the people of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know:
That South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people.”

— Opening words of the Freedom Charter[83]

Mandela came to the opinion that the ANC “had no alternative to armed and violent resistance” after taking part in the unsuccessful protest to prevent the demolition of the all-black Sophiatown suburb of Johannesburg in February 1955.[84] He advised Sisulu to request weaponry from the People’s Republic of China, but though supporting the anti-apartheid struggle, China’s government believed the movement insufficiently prepared for guerilla warfare.[85] With the involvement of the South African Indian Congress, the Coloured People’s Congress, the South African Congress of Trade Unions and the Congress of Democrats, the ANC planned aCongress of the People, calling on all South Africans to send in proposals for a post-apartheid era. Based on the responses, a Freedom Charter was drafted by Rusty Bernstein, calling for the creation of a democratic, non-racialist state with the nationalisationof major industry. When the charter was adopted at a June 1955 conference in Kliptown attended by 3000 delegates, police cracked down on the event, but it remained a key part of Mandela’s ideology.[86]

Following the end of a second ban in September 1955, Mandela went on a working holiday to Transkei to discuss the implications of the Bantu Authorities Act, 1951 with local tribal leaders, also visiting his mother and Noengland before proceeding to Cape Town.[87] In March 1956 he received his third ban on public appearances, restricting him to Johannesburg for five years, but he often defied it.[88] His marriage broke down as Evelyn left Mandela, taking their children to live with her brother. Initiating divorce proceedings in May 1956, she claimed that Mandela had physically abused her; he denied the allegations, and fought for custody of their children. She withdrew her petition of separation in November, but Mandela filed for divorce in January 1958; the divorce was finalised in March, with the children placed in Evelyn’s care.[89] During the divorce proceedings, he began courting and politicising a social worker, Winnie Madikizela, who he married in Bizana on 14 June 1958. She later became involved in ANC activities, spending several weeks imprisoned.[90]

The apartheid system pervaded all areas of life.

On 5 December 1956, Mandela was arrested alongside most of the ANC Executive for “high treason” against the state. Held in Johannesburg Prison amid mass protests, they underwent a preparatory examination in Drill Hall on 19 December, before being granted bail.[91] The defence’s refutation began on 9 January 1957, overseen by defence lawyer Vernon Berrangé, and continued until adjourning in September. In January 1958, judge Oswald Pirow was appointed to the case, and in February he ruled that there was “sufficient reason” for the defendants to go on trial in the Transvaal Supreme Court.[92] The formal Treason Trial began in Pretoria in August 1958, with the defendants successfully applying to have the three judges – all linked to the governing National Party – replaced. In August, one charge was dropped, and in October the prosecution withdrew its indictment, submitting a reformulated version in November which argued that the ANC leadership committed high treason by advocating violent revolution, a charge the defendants denied.[93]

In April 1959, militant Africanists dissatisfied with the ANC’s united front approach founded the Pan-African Congress (PAC); Mandela’s friend Robert Sobukwe was elected president, though Mandela thought the group “immature”.[94] Both parties campaigned for an anti-pass campaign in May 1960, in which Africans burned the passes that they were legally obliged to carry. One of the PAC-organized demonstrations was fired upon by police, resulting in the deaths of 69 protesters in the Sharpeville massacre. In solidarity, Mandela publicly burned his pass as rioting broke out across South Africa, leading the government to proclaim martial law.[95] Under the State of Emergency measures, Mandela and other activists were arrested on 30 March, imprisoned without charge in the unsanitary conditions of the Pretoria Local prison, and the ANC and PAC were banned in April.[96] This made it difficult for their lawyers to reach them, and it was agreed that the defence team for the Treason Trial should withdraw in protest. Representing themselves in court, the accused were freed from prison when the state of emergency was lifted in late August.[97] Mandela used his free time to organise an All-In African Conference near PietermaritzburgNatal, in March, at which 1,400 anti-apartheid delegates met, agreeing on a stay-at home protest to mark 31 May, the day South Africa became a republic.[98] On 29 March 1961, after a six-year trial, the judges produced a verdict of not guilty, embarrassing the government.[99]

Umkhonto we Sizwe and African tour: 1961–1962

Thatched room at Liliesleaf Farm, where Mandela hid

Mandela House in the Johannesburg township of Soweto was Mandela’s home before his 27-year imprisonment, and his home immediately after being released from prison. The property is now a national museum.

Disguising himself as a chauffeur, Mandela travelled the country incognito, organising the ANC’s new cell structure and a mass stay-at-home strike for 29 May. Referred to as the “Black Pimpernel” in the press – a reference to Emma Orczy‘s 1905 novel The Scarlet Pimpernel – the police put out a warrant for his arrest.[100] Mandela held secret meetings with reporters, and after the government failed to prevent the strike, he warned them that many anti-apartheid activists would soon resort to violence through groups like the PAC’sPoqo.[101] He believed that the ANC should form an armed group to channel some of this violence, convincing both ANC leader Albert Luthuli – who was morally opposed to violence – and allied activist groups of its necessity.[102]

Inspired by Fidel Castro‘s 26th of July Movement in the Cuban Revolution, in 1961 Mandela co-founded Umkhonto we Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”, abbreviated MK) with Sisulu and the communist Joe Slovo. Becoming chairman of the militant group, he gained ideas from illegal literature on guerilla warfare by Mao and Che Guevara. Officially separate from the ANC, in later years MK became the group’s armed wing.[103] Most early MK members were white communists; after hiding in communist Wolfie Kodesh’s flat in Berea, Mandela moved to the communist-owned Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia, there joined by Raymond Mhlaba, Slovo and Bernstein, who put together the MK constitution.[104] Although Mandela himself denied ever being a Communist Party member, historical research has suggested that he might have been for a short period, starting from the late 1950s or early 1960s.[105] After his death, the Communist Party and the ANC confirmed that he was a Communist Party member when he was arrested in 1962.[106][107]

Operating through a cell structure, the MK agreed to acts of sabotage to exert maximum pressure on the government with minimum casualties, bombing military installations, power plants, telephone lines and transport links at night, when civilians were not present. Mandela himself stated that they chose sabotage not only because it was the least harmful action, but also “because it did not involve loss of life [and] it offered the best hope for reconciliation among the races afterward.” He noted that “strict instructions were given to members of MK that we would countenance no loss of life”, but should these tactics fail, MK would resort to “guerilla warfare and terrorism”.[108]

Soon after ANC leader Luthuli was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the MK publicly announced its existence with 57 bombings onDingane’s Day (16 December) 1961, followed by further attacks on New Year’s Eve.[109]

The ANC agreed to send Mandela as a delegate to the February 1962 Pan-African Freedom Movement for East, Central and Southern Africa (PAFMECSA) meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.[110] Traveling there in secret, Mandela met with Emperor Haile Selassie I, and gave his speech after Selassie’s at the conference.[111] After the conference, he travelled to Cairo, Egypt, admiring the political reforms of President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and then went to Tunis, Tunisia, where President Habib Bourguiba gave him £5000 for weaponry. He proceeded to Morocco, Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Senegal, receiving funds from Liberian President William Tubman and Guinean President Ahmed Sékou Touré.[112]Leaving Africa for London, England, he met anti-apartheid activists, reporters and prominent leftist politicians.[113] Returning to Ethiopia, he began a six-month course in guerrilla warfare, but completed only two months before being recalled to South Africa.[114]

Imprisonment

Police shots of several accused in theRivonia Trial. The portrait at the top is of Mandela, the chief accused. The photograph in the lower right-hand corner is of Walter Sisulu.

Arrest and Rivonia trial: 1962–1964

Main article: Rivonia Trial

On 5 August 1962, police captured Mandela along with Cecil Williams near Howick.[115] A large number of groups have been accused of having tipped off the police about Mandela’s whereabouts including Mandela’s host in Durban GR Naidoo, white members of the South African Communist Party, and the CIA, but Mandela himself considers none of these connections to be credible and instead attributes his arrest to his own carelessness in concealing his movements.[116] Of the CIA link in particular, Mandela’s official biographer Anthony Sampson believes that “the claim cannot be substantiated.”[117] Jailed in Johannesburg’s Marshall Square prison, he was charged with inciting workers’ strikes and leaving the country without permission. Representing himself with Slovo as legal advisor, Mandela intended to use the trial to showcase “the ANC’s moral opposition to racism” while supporters demonstrated outside the court.[118] Moved to Pretoria, where Winnie could visit him, in his cell he began correspondence studies for a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from theUniversity of London.[119] His hearing began on 15 October, but he disrupted proceedings by wearing a traditional kaross, refusing to call any witnesses, and turning his plea of mitigation into a political speech. Found guilty, he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment; as he left the courtroom, supporters sang Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika.[120]

“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. “

“In a way I had never quite comprehended before, I realized the role I could play in court and the possibilities before me as a defendant. I was the symbol of justice in the court of the oppressor, the representative of the great ideals of freedom, fairness and democracy in a society that dishonoured those virtues. I realized then and there that I could carry on the fight even in the fortress of the enemy.”

— Mandela, 1994[122]

On 11 July 1963, police raided Liliesleaf Farm, arresting those they found there and uncovering paperwork documenting MK’s activities, some of which mentioned Mandela. The Rivonia Trial began at Pretoria Supreme Court on 9 October, with Mandela and his comrades charged with four counts of sabotage and conspiracy to violently overthrow the government. Their chief prosecutor wasPercy Yutar, who called for them to receive the death penalty.[123] Judge Quartus de Wet soon threw out the prosecution’s case for insufficient evidence, but Yutar reformulated the charges, presenting his new case from December until February 1964, calling 173 witnesses and bringing thousands of documents and photographs to the trial.[124]

With the exception of James Kantor, who was innocent of all charges, Mandela and the accused admitted sabotage but denied that they had ever agreed to initiate guerilla war against the government. They used the trial to highlight their political cause. At the opening of the defence’s proceedings Mandela gave a four hour long speech. That speech – which was inspired by Castro’s “History Will Absolve Me” speech – was widely reported in the press despite official censorship, and has been hailed as one of his greatest speeches.[125] The trial gained international attention, with global calls for the release of the accused from such institutions as the United Nations and World Peace Council. The University of London Union voted Mandela to its presidency, and nightly vigils for him were held in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.[126] Deeming them to be violent communist agitators, South Africa’s government ignored all calls for clemency, and on 12 June 1964 de Wet found Mandela and two of his co-accused guilty on all four charges, sentencing them to life imprisonment rather than death.[127]

Robben Island: 1964–1982

Lime quarry on Robben Island where Mandela and other prisoners were subjected to hard labour

Mandela and his co-accused were transferred from Pretoria to the prison on Robben Island, remaining there for the next 18 years.[128] Isolated from non-political prisoners in Section B, Mandela was imprisoned in a damp concrete cell measuring 8 feet (2.4 m) by 7 feet (2.1 m), with a straw mat on which to sleep.[129] Verbally and physically harassed by several white prison wardens, the Rivonia Trial prisoners spent their days breaking rocks into gravel, until being reassigned in January 1965 to work in a lime quarry. Mandela was initially forbidden to wear sunglasses, and the glare from the lime permanently damaged his eyesight.[130] At night, he worked on his LLB degree, but newspapers were forbidden, and he was locked in solitary confinement on several occasions for possessing smuggled news clippings.[131] Classified as the lowest grade of prisoner, Class D, he was permitted one visit and one letter every six months, although all mail was heavily censored.[132]

The political prisoners took part in work and hunger strikes – the latter considered largely ineffective by Mandela – to improve prison conditions, viewing this as a microcosm of the anti-apartheid struggle.[133] ANC prisoners elected him to their four-man “High Organ” along with Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and Raymond Mhlaba, and he involved himself in a group representing all political prisoners on the island, Ulundi, through which he forged links with PAC and Yu Chi Chan Club members.[134] Initiating the “University of Robben Island”, whereby prisoners lectured on their own areas of expertise, he debated topics such as homosexuality and politics with his comrades, getting into fierce arguments on the latter with Marxists like Mbeki and Harry Gwala.[135] Though attending Christian Sunday services, Mandela studied Islam.[136] He also studied Afrikaans, hoping to build a mutual respect with the warders and convert them to his cause.[137] Various official visitors met with Mandela; most significant was the liberal parliamentary representative Helen Suzman of theProgressive Party, who championed Mandela’s cause outside prison.[138] In September 1970 he met British Labour Party MP Dennis Healey.[139] South African Minister of JusticeJimmy Kruger visited in December 1974, but he and Mandela did not get on.[140] His mother visited in 1968, dying shortly after, and his firstborn son Thembi died in a car accident the following year; Mandela was forbidden from attending either funeral.[141] His wife was rarely able to visit, being regularly imprisoned for political activity, and his daughters first visited in December 1975; Winnie got out of prison in 1977 but was forcibly settled in Brandfort, still unable to visit him.[142]

The inside of Mandela’s prison cell as it was when he was imprisoned in 1964 and his open cell window facing the prison yard on Robben Island, now a national andWorld Heritage Site. Mandela’s cell later contained more furniture, including a bed from around 1973.[143]

From 1967, prison conditions improved, with black prisoners given trousers rather than shorts, games being permitted, and food quality improving.[144] In a FIFA documentary, Mandela commented on howfootball gave hope to his fellow inmates; “the game made us feel alive and triumphant despite the situation we found ourselves in”.[145] In 1969, an escape plan for Mandela was developed by Gordon Bruce, but it was abandoned after being infiltrated by an agent of the South African Bureau of State Security (BOSS), who hoped to see Mandela shot during the escape.[146] In 1970, Commander Piet Badenhorst became commanding officer. Mandela, seeing an increase in the physical and mental abuse of prisoners, complained to visiting judges, who had Badenhorst reassigned.[147] He was replaced by Commander Willie Willemse, who developed a co-operative relationship with Mandela and was keen to improve prison standards.[148] By 1975, Mandela had become a Class A prisoner,[149] allowing greater numbers of visits and letters; he corresponded with anti-apartheid activists like Mangosuthu Buthelezi andDesmond Tutu.[150] That year, he began his autobiography, which was smuggled to London, but remained unpublished at the time; prison authorities discovered several pages, and his study privileges were stopped for four years.[151] Instead he devoted his spare time to gardening and reading until he resumed his LLB degree studies in 1980.[152]

By the late 1960s, Mandela’s fame had been eclipsed by Steve Biko and the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM). Seeing the ANC as ineffectual, the BCM called for militant action, but following the Soweto uprising of 1976, many BCM activists were imprisoned on Robben Island.[153] Mandela tried to build a relationship with these young radicals, although he was critical of their racialism and contempt for white anti-apartheid activists.[154] Renewed international interest in his plight came in July 1978, when he celebrated his 60th birthday.[155] He was awarded an honorary doctorate in Lesotho, the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding in India in 1979, and the Freedom of the City ofGlasgow, Scotland in 1981.[156][157][158] In March 1980 the slogan “Free Mandela!” was developed by journalist Percy Qoboza, sparking an international campaign that led the UN Security Council to call for his release.[159] Despite increasing foreign pressure, the government refused, relying on powerful foreign Cold War allies in US President Ronald Reaganand UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; both considered Mandela a communist terrorist and supported the suppression of the ANC.[160]

Pollsmoor Prison: 1982–1988

In April 1982 Mandela was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison in Tokai, Cape Town along with senior ANC leaders Walter Sisulu, Andrew Mlangeni, Ahmed Kathrada and Raymond Mhlaba; they believed that they were being isolated to remove their influence on younger activists.[161] Conditions at Pollsmoor were better than at Robben Island, although Mandela missed the camaraderie and scenery of the island.[162] Getting on well with Pollsmoor’s commanding officer, Brigadier Munro, Mandela was permitted to create a roof garden,[163]also reading voraciously and corresponding widely, now permitted 52 letters a year.[164] He was appointed patron of the multi-racial United Democratic Front (UDF), founded to combat reforms implemented by South African President P.W. Botha. Botha’s National Party government had permitted Coloured and Indian citizens to vote for their own parliaments which had control over education, health, and housing, but black Africans were excluded from the system; like Mandela, the UDF saw this as an attempt to divide the anti-apartheid movement on racial lines.[165]

Bust of Mandela erected on London’s Southbank by theGreater London Counciladministration of socialist Ken Livingstone in 1985

Violence across the country escalated, with many fearing civil war. Under pressure from an international lobby, multinational banks stopped investing in South Africa, resulting in economic stagnation. Numerous banks and Thatcher asked Botha to release Mandela – then at the height of his international fame – to defuse the volatile situation.[166] Although considering Mandela a dangerous “arch-Marxist”,[167] in February 1985 Botha offered him a release from prison on condition that he ‘”unconditionally rejected violence as a political weapon”. Mandela spurned the offer, releasing a statement through his daughter Zindzi stating “What freedom am I being offered while the organisation of the people [ANC] remains banned? Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts.”[168]

In 1985 Mandela underwent surgery on an enlarged prostate gland, before being given new solitary quarters on the ground floor.[169] He was met by “seven eminent persons”, an international delegation sent to negotiate a settlement, but Botha’s government refused to co-operate, in June calling a state of emergency and initiating a police crackdown on unrest. The anti-apartheid resistance fought back, with the ANC committing 231 attacks in 1986 and 235 in 1987. Utilising the army and right-wing paramilitaries to combat the resistance, the government secretly funded Zulunationalist movement Inkatha to attack ANC members, furthering the violence.[170] Mandela requested talks with Botha but was denied, instead secretly meeting with Minister of Justice Kobie Coetsee in 1987, having a further 11 meetings over 3 years. Coetsee organised negotiations between Mandela and a team of four government figures starting in May 1988; the team agreed to the release of political prisoners and the legalisation of the ANC on the condition that they permanently renounce violence, break links with the Communist Party and not insist on majority rule. Mandela rejected these conditions, insisting that the ANC would only end the armed struggle when the government renounced violence.[171]

Mandela’s 70th birthday in July 1988 attracted international attention, notably with the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert at London’sWembley Stadium.[172] Although presented globally as a heroic figure, he faced personal problems when ANC leaders informed him that Winnie had set herself up as head of a criminal gang, the “Mandela United Football Club”, who had been responsible for torturing and killing opponents – including children – in Soweto. Though some encouraged him to divorce her, he decided to remain loyal until she was found guilty by trial.[173]

Victor Verster Prison and release: 1988–1990

Mandela on a 1988 Sovietcommemorative stamp

Recovering from tuberculosis caused by dank conditions in his cell,[174] in December 1988 Mandela was moved to Victor Verster Prison nearPaarl. Here, he was housed in the relative comfort of a warder’s house with a personal cook, using the time to complete his LLB degree.[175]There he was permitted many visitors, such as anti-apartheid campaigner and longtime friend Harry Schwarz.[176][177] Mandela organised secret communications with exiled ANC leader Oliver Tambo.[178] In 1989, Botha suffered a stroke, retaining the state presidency but stepping down as leader of the National Party, to be replaced by the conservative F. W. de Klerk.[179] In a surprise move, Botha invited Mandela to a meeting over tea in July 1989, an invitation Mandela considered genial.[180] Botha was replaced as state president by de Klerk six weeks later; the new president believed that apartheid was unsustainable and unconditionally released all ANC prisoners except Mandela.[181] Following the fall of theBerlin Wall in November 1989, de Klerk called his cabinet together to debate legalising the ANC and freeing Mandela. Although some were deeply opposed to his plans, de Klerk met with Mandela in December to discuss the situation, a meeting both men considered friendly, before releasing Mandela unconditionally and legalising all formerly banned political parties on 2 February 1990.[182] The first photographs of Mandela were allowed to be published in South Africa for 20 years.[183]

Leaving Victor Verster on 11 February, Mandela held Winnie’s hand in front of amassed crowds and press; the event was broadcast live across the world.[184] Driven to Cape Town’s City Hall through crowds, he gave a speech declaring his commitment to peace and reconciliation with the white minority, but made it clear that the ANC’s armed struggle was not over, and would continue as “a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid.” He expressed hope that the government would agree to negotiations, so that “there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle”, and insisted that his main focus was to bring peace to the black majority and give them the right to vote in national and local elections.[185] Staying at the home of Desmond Tutu, in the following days Mandela met with friends, activists, and press, giving a speech to 100,000 people at Johannesburg’sSoccer City.[186]

End of apartheid

Early negotiations: 1990–1991

Luthuli House in Johannesburg, which became the ANC headquarters in 1991

Mandela proceeded on an African tour, meeting supporters and politicians in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Libya and Algeria, continuing to Sweden where he was reunited with Tambo, and then London, where he appeared at the Nelson Mandela: An International Tribute for a Free South Africa concert in Wembley Stadium.[187] Encouraging foreign countries to support sanctions against the apartheid government, in France he was welcomed by President François Mitterrand, in Vatican City by Pope John Paul II, and in the United Kingdom he met Margaret Thatcher. In the United States, he met President George H.W. Bush, addressed both Houses of Congress and visited eight cities, being particularly popular among the African-American community.[188] In Cuba he met President Fidel Castro, whom he had long admired, with the two becoming friends.[189] In Asia he met President R. Venkataraman in India, President Suharto in Indonesia and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in Malaysia, before visiting Australia to meet Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Japan; he notably did not visit the Soviet Union, a longtime ANC supporter.[190]

In May 1990, Mandela led a multiracial ANC delegation into preliminary negotiations with a government delegation of 11 Afrikaner men. Mandela impressed them with his discussions of Afrikaner history, and the negotiations led to the Groot Schuur Minute, in which the government lifted the state of emergency. In August Mandela – recognising the ANC’s severe military disadvantage – offered a ceasefire, the Pretoria Minute, for which he was widely criticised by MK activists.[191] He spent much time trying to unify and build the ANC, appearing at a Johannesburg conference in December attended by 1600 delegates, many of whom found him more moderate than expected.[192] At the ANC’s July 1991 national conference in Durban, Mandela admitted the party’s faults and announced his aim to build a “strong and well-oiled task force” for securing majority rule. At the conference, he was elected ANC President, replacing the ailing Tambo, and a 50-strong multiracial, mixed gendered national executive was elected.[193]

Mandela was given an office in the newly purchased ANC headquarters at Shell House, central Johannesburg, and moved with Winnie to her large Soweto home.[194] Their marriage was increasingly strained as he learned of her affair with Dali Mpofu, but he supported her during her trial for kidnapping and assault. He gained funding for her defence from the International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa and from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, but in June 1991 she was found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison, reduced to two on appeal. On 13 April 1992, Mandela publicly announced his separation from Winnie. The ANC forced her to step down from the national executive for misappropriating ANC funds; Mandela moved into the mostly white Johannesburg suburb of Houghton.[195] Mandela’s reputation was further damaged by the increase in “black-on-black” violence, particularly between ANC and Inkatha supporters in KwaZulu-Natal, in which thousands died. Mandela met with Inkatha leader Buthelezi, but the ANC prevented further negotiations on the issue. Mandela recognised that there was a “third force” within the state intelligence services fuelling the “slaughter of the people” and openly blamed de Klerk – whom he increasingly distrusted – for the Sebokeng massacre.[196] In September 1991 a national peace conference was held in Johannesburg in which Mandela, Buthelezi and de Klerk signed a peace accord, though the violence continued.[197]

CODESA talks: 1991–1992

The Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) began in December 1991 at the Johannesburg World Trade Center, attended by 228 delegates from 19 political parties. Although Cyril Ramaphosa led the ANC’s delegation, Mandela remained a key figure, and after de Klerk used the closing speech to condemn the ANC’s violence, he took to the stage to denounce him as “head of an illegitimate, discredited minority regime”. Dominated by the National Party and ANC, little negotiation was achieved.[198] CODESA 2 was held in May 1992, in which de Klerk insisted that post-apartheid South Africa must use a federal system with a rotating presidency to ensure the protection of ethnic minorities; Mandela opposed this, demanding a unitary system governed by majority rule.[199] Following the Boipatong massacre of ANC activists by government-aided Inkatha militants, Mandela called off the negotiations, before attending a meeting of the Organisation of African Unity in Senegal, at which he called for a special session of the UN Security Council and proposed that a UN peacekeeping force be stationed in South Africa to prevent “state terrorism“. The UN sent special envoy Cyrus Vance to the country to aid negotiations.[200]Calling for domestic mass action, in August the ANC organised the largest-ever strike in South African history, and supporters marched on Pretoria.[201]

De Klerk and Mandela shake hands at the World Economic Forum, 1992

Following the Bisho massacre, in which 28 ANC supporters and one soldier were shot dead by the Ciskei Defence Force during a protest march, Mandela realised that mass action was leading to further violence and resumed negotiations in September. He agreed to do so on the conditions that all political prisoners be released, that Zulu traditional weapons be banned, and that Zulu hostels would be fenced off, the latter two measures to prevent further Inkatha attacks; under increasing pressure, de Klerk reluctantly agreed. The negotiations agreed that a multiracial general election would be held, resulting in a five-year coalition government of national unity and a constitutional assembly that gave the National Party continuing influence. The ANC also conceded to safeguarding the jobs of white civil servants; such concessions brought fierce internal criticism.[202] The duo agreed on an interim constitution, guaranteeing separation of powers, creating a constitutional court, and including a US-style bill of rights; it also divided the country into nine provinces, each with its own premier and civil service, a concession between de Klerk’s desire for federalism and Mandela’s for unitary government.[203]

The democratic process was threatened by the Concerned South Africans Group (COSAG), an alliance of far-right Afrikaner parties and black ethnic-secessionist groups like Inkatha; in June 1993 the white supremacist Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) attacked the Kempton Park World Trade Centre.[204] Following the murder of ANC leader Chris Hani, Mandela made a publicised speech to calm rioting, soon after appearing at a mass funeral in Soweto for Tambo, who had died from a stroke.[205] In July 1993, both Mandela and de Klerk visited the US, independently meeting President Bill Clinton and each receiving the Liberty Medal.[206] Soon after, they were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway.[207] Influenced by young ANC leader Thabo Mbeki, Mandela began meeting with big business figures, and played down his support for nationalisation, fearing that he would scare away much-needed foreign investment. Although criticised by socialist ANC members, he was encouraged to embrace private enterprise by members of the Chinese and Vietnamese Communist parties at the January 1992 World Economic Forum in Switzerland.[208] Mandela also made a cameo appearance as a schoolteacher reciting one ofMalcolm X‘s speeches in the final scene of the 1992 film Malcolm X.[209]

General election: 1994

Mandela casting his vote in the1994 election

With the election set for 27 April 1994, the ANC began campaigning, opening 100 election offices and hiring advisor Stanley Greenberg. Greenberg orchestrated the foundation of People’s Forums across the country, at which Mandela could appear; though a poor public speaker, he was a popular figure with great status among black South Africans.[210] The ANC campaigned on a Reconstruction and Development Programme(RDP) to build a million houses in five years, introduce universal free education and extend access to water and electricity. The party’s slogan was “a better life for all”, although it was not explained how this development would be funded.[211] With the exception of the Weekly Mail and the New Nation, South Africa’s press opposed Mandela’s election, fearing continued ethnic strife, instead supporting the National or Democratic Party.[212]Mandela devoted much time to fundraising for the ANC, touring North America, Europe and Asia to meet wealthy donors, including former supporters of the apartheid regime.[213] He also urged a reduction in the voting age from 18 to 14; rejected by the ANC, this policy became the subject of ridicule.[214]

Concerned that COSAG would undermine the election, particularly in the wake of the Battle of Bop and Shell House Massacre – incidents of violence involving the AWB and Inkatha, respectively – Mandela met with Afrikaner politicians and generals, including P.W. Botha, Pik Botha andConstand Viljoen, persuading many to work within the democratic system, and with de Klerk convinced Inkatha’s Buthelezi to enter the elections rather than launch a war of secession.[215] As leaders of the two major parties, de Klerk and Mandela appeared on a televised debate; although de Klerk was widely considered the better speaker at the event, Mandela’s offer to shake his hand surprised him, leading some commentators to consider it a victory for Mandela.[216] The election went ahead with little violence, although an AWB cell killed 20 with car bombs. As widely expected, the ANC won a sweeping victory, taking 62 percent of the vote, just short of the two-thirds majority needed to unilaterally change the constitution. The ANC was also victorious in 7 provinces, with Inkatha and the National Party each taking another.[217] Mandela voted at theOhlange High School in Durban, and though the ANC’s victory assured his election as President, he publicly accepted that the election had been marred by instances of fraud and sabotage.[218]

Presidency of South Africa: 1994–1999

The newly elected National Assembly’s first act was to formally elect Mandela as South Africa’s first black chief executive. His inauguration took place in Pretoria on 10 May 1994, televised to a billion viewers globally. The event was attended by 4000 guests, including world leaders from disparate backgrounds.[219] Mandela headed a Government of National Unity dominated by the ANC – which alone had no experience of governance – but containing representatives from the National Party and Inkatha. Under the Interim Constitution, Inkatha and the NP were entitled to seats in the government by virtue of winning at least 20 seats. In keeping with earlier agreements, de Klerk became first Deputy President, and Thabo Mbeki was selected as second.[220] Although Mbeki had not been his first choice for the job, Mandela grew to rely heavily on him throughout his presidency, allowing him to organise policy details.[221] Moving into the presidential office at Tuynhuys in Cape Town, Mandela allowed de Klerk to retain the presidential residence in the Groote Schuur estate, instead settling into the nearby Westbrooke manor, which he renamed “Genadendal“, meaning “Valley of Mercy” in Afrikaans.[222] Retaining his Houghton home, he also had a house built in his home village of Qunu, which he visited regularly, walking around the area, meeting with locals, and judging tribal disputes.[223]

Mandela moved into the presidential office at Tuynhuys, Cape Town.

Aged 76, he faced various ailments, and although exhibiting continued energy, he felt isolated and lonely.[224] He often entertained celebrities, such as Michael JacksonWhoopi Goldberg, and the Spice Girls, and befriended ultra-rich businessmen, like Harry Oppenheimer of Anglo-American, as well as Queen Elizabeth II on her March 1995 state visit to South Africa, resulting in strong criticism from ANC anti-capitalists.[225] Despite his opulent surroundings, Mandela lived simply, donating a third of his 552,000 rand annual income to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, which he had founded in 1995.[226] Although speaking out in favour of freedom of the press and befriending many journalists, Mandela was critical of much of the country’s media, noting that it was overwhelmingly owned and run by middle-class whites and believing that it focused too much on scaremongering around crime.[227] Changing clothes several times a day, after assuming the presidency, one of Mandela’s trademarks was his use of Batik shirts, known as “Madiba shirts“, even on formal occasions.[228]

In December 1994, Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, was finally published.[229] In late 1994 he attended the 49th conference of the ANC in Bloemfontein, at which a more militant National Executive was elected, among them Winnie Mandela; although she expressed an interest in reconciling, Nelson initiated divorce proceedings in August 1995.[230] By 1995 he had entered into a relationship with Graça Machel, a Mozambican political activist 27 years his junior who was the widow of former president Samora Machel. They had first met in July 1990, when she was still in mourning, but their friendship grew into a partnership, with Machel accompanying him on many of his foreign visits. She turned down Mandela’s first marriage proposal, wanting to retain some independence and dividing her time between Mozambique and Johannesburg.[231]

National reconciliation

Presiding over the transition from apartheid minority rule to a multicultural democracy, Mandela saw national reconciliation as the primary task of his presidency.[232] Having seen other post-colonial African economies damaged by the departure of white elites, Mandela worked to reassure South Africa’s white population that they were protected and represented in “the Rainbow Nation“.[233] Mandela attempted to create the broadest possible coalition in his cabinet, with de Klerk as first Deputy President. Other National Party officials became ministers for Agriculture, Energy, Environment, and Minerals and Energy, and Buthelezi was named Minister for Home Affairs.[234] The other cabinet positions were taken by ANC members, many of whom – like Joe ModiseAlfred Nzo, Joe Slovo, Mac Maharaj and Dullah Omar – had long been comrades, although others, such as Tito Mboweni and Jeff Radebe, were much younger.[235] Mandela’s relationship with de Klerk was strained; Mandela thought that de Klerk was intentionally provocative, and de Klerk felt that he was being intentionally humiliated by the president. In January 1995, Mandela heavily chastised him for awarding amnesty to 3,500 police just before the election, and later criticised him for defending former Minister of Defence Magnus Malan when the latter was charged with murder.[236]

Mandela personally met with senior figures of the apartheid regime, including Hendrik Verwoerd‘s widow Betsie Schoombie and the lawyer Percy Yutar; emphasising personal forgiveness and reconciliation, he announced that “courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.”[237] He encouraged black South Africans to get behind the previously hated national rugby team, the Springboks, as South Africa hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup. After the Springboks won an epic final over New Zealand, Mandela presented the trophy to captain Francois Pienaar, an Afrikaner, wearing a Springbok shirt with Pienaar’s own number 6 on the back. This was widely seen as a major step in the reconciliation of white and black South Africans; as de Klerk later put it, “Mandela won the hearts of millions of white rugby fans.”[238] Mandela’s efforts at reconciliation assuaged the fears of whites, but also drew criticism from more militant blacks. His estranged wife, Winnie, accused the ANC of being more interested in appeasing whites than in helping blacks.[239]

More controversially, Mandela oversaw the formation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate crimes committed under apartheid by both the government and the ANC, appointing Desmond Tutu as its chair. To prevent the creation of martyrs, the Commission granted individual amnesties in exchange for testimony of crimes committed during the apartheid era. Dedicated in February 1996, it held two years of hearings detailing rapes, torture, bombings, and assassinations, before issuing its final report in October 1998. Both de Klerk and Mbeki appealed to have parts of the report suppressed, though only de Klerk’s appeal was successful.[240] Mandela praised the Commission’s work, stating that it “had helped us move away from the past to concentrate on the present and the future”.[241]

Domestic programmes

Mandela on a visit to Brazil in 1998

Mandela’s administration inherited a country with a huge disparity in wealth and services between white and black communities. Of a population of 40 million, around 23 million lacked electricity or adequate sanitation, 12 million lacked clean water supplies, with 2 million children not in school and a third of the population illiterate. There was 33% unemployment, and just under half of the population lived below the poverty line.[242]Government financial reserves were nearly depleted, with a fifth of the national budget being spent on debt repayment, meaning that the extent of the promised Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) was scaled back, with none of the proposed nationalisation or job creation.[243]Instead, the government adopted liberal economic policies designed to promote foreign investment, adhering to the “Washington consensus” advocated by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.[244]

Under Mandela’s presidency, welfare spending increased by 13% in 1996/97, 13% in 1997/98, and 7% in 1998/99.[245] The government introduced parity in grants for communities, including disability grants, child maintenance grants, and old-age pensions, which had previously been set at different levels for South Africa’s different racial groups.[245] In 1994, free healthcare was introduced for children under six and pregnant women, a provision extended to all those using primary level public sector health care services in 1996.[246] By the 1999 election, the ANC could boast that due to their policies, 3 million people were connected to telephone lines, 1.5 million children were brought into the education system, 500 clinics were upgraded or constructed, 2 million people were connected to the electricity grid, water access was extended to 3 million people, and 750,000 houses were constructed, housing nearly 3 million people.[247]

The Land Restitution Act of 1994 enabled people who had lost their property as a result of the Natives Land Act, 1913 to claim back their land, leading to the settlement of tens of thousands of land claims.[248] The Land Reform Act 3 of 1996 safeguarded the rights of labour tenants who live and grow crops or graze livestock on farms. This legislation ensured that such tenants could not be evicted without a court order or if they were over the age of sixty-five.[249] The Skills Development Act of 1998 provided for the establishment of mechanisms to finance and promote skills development at the workplace.[250]The Labour Relations Act of 1995 promoted workplace democracy, orderly collective bargaining, and the effective resolution of labour disputes.[251] The Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997 improved enforcement mechanisms while extending a “floor” of rights to all workers;[251] the Employment Equity Act of 1998 was passed to put an end to unfair discrimination and ensure the implementation of affirmative action in the workplace.