Theater Talk: Actor Richard Griffiths of “The History Boys”; Bob Martin of “The Drowsy Chaperone”
Alan Bennett in conversation: part one
Alan Bennett in conversation: part two
Alan Bennett The Lady in The Van Interview
A Chip in the Sugar – Alan Bennett – Talking Heads
Alan Bennett – Sunset Across the Bay (TV Play 1975)
Alan Bennett – Telegram
Alan Bennett & John Fortune: “Men’s Talk”
Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller
Oxbridge Philosophy – Alan Bennett & Jonathan Miller
The Lady In The Van – Alan Bennett Featurette – Starring Maggie Smith – At Cinemas Now
The Lady In The Van Trailer #2 – Starring Maggie Smith – At Cinemas November 13
Dame Margaret Natalie Smith, CH DBE (born 28th December 1934) is an English actress. She made her stage debut in 1952 and has had an extensive, varied career in stage, film and television spanning over sixty years. Smith has appeared in over 50 films and is one of Britain’s most recognisable actresses. She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 1990 New Year Honours for services to the performing arts, and Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to drama.
Dame Maggie Smith’s brilliant career
Beyond the Fringe (Complete)
Beyond the Fringe was a British comedy stage revue written and performed by Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett, and Jonathan Miller. It played in London’s West End and then on New York’s Broadway in the early 1960s, and is widely regarded as seminal to the rise of satire in 1960s Britain.
Take A Pew – Alan Bennett
Richard Griffiths (1947-2013)
The History Boys – Broadway
Almost complete recording of the original production during its run on Broadway. Not mine but thanks for sharing whoever it was
Stephenson studied at Boston University, first specializing in physics, then switching to geography after he found that it would allow him to spend more time on the university mainframe.He graduated in 1981 with a B.A. in geography and a minor in physics. Since 1984, Stephenson has lived mostly in the Pacific Northwest and currently resides in Seattle with his family.
Stephenson’s first novel, The Big U, published in 1984, was a satirical take on life at American Megaversity, a vast, bland and alienating research university beset by chaotic riots. His next novel, Zodiac (1988), was a thriller following the exploits of a radical environmentalist protagonist in his struggle against corporate polluters. Neither novel attracted much critical attention on first publication, but showcased concerns that Stephenson would further develop in his later work.
Stephenson’s next solo novel, published in 1995, was The Diamond Age: or A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, which introduced many of today’s real world technological discoveries. Seen back then as futuristic, Stephenson’s novel has broad range universal self-learning nanotechnology, dynabooks, extensive modern technologies, robotics, cybernetics and cyber cities. Weapons implanted in characters’ skulls, near limitless replicators for everything from mattresses to foods, smartpaper, air and blood-sanitizing nanobots, set in a grim future world of limited resources populated by hard edged survivalists, an amalgamation hero is accidentally conceptualized by a few powerful and wealthy creatives, programmers and hackers.
Following this, Stephenson published a novel titled Anathem (2008), a very long and detailed work, perhaps best described as speculative fiction. It is set in an Earthlike world (perhaps in an alternative reality), deals with metaphysics, and refers heavily to Ancient Greek philosophy, while at the same time being a complex commentary on the insubstantiality of today’s society.
In May 2010, the Subutai Corporation, of which Stephenson was named chairman, announced the production of an experimental multimedia fiction project called The Mongoliad, which centered around a narrative written by Stephenson and other speculative fiction authors.
REAMDE, a novel, was released on September 20, 2011. The title is a play on the common filename README. This thriller, set in the present, centers around a group of MMORPGdevelopers caught in the middle of Chinese cyber-criminals, Islamic terrorists, and Russian mafia.
On August 7, 2012, Stephenson released a collection of essays and other previously published fiction entitled Some Remarks : Essays and Other Writing. This collection also includes a new essay and a short story created specifically for this volume.
In 2012 Stephenson launched a Kickstarter campaign for CLANG, a realistic sword fighting fantasy game. The concept of the game was to use motion control to provide an immersive experience. The campaign’s funding goal of $500,000 was reached by the target date of July 9, 2012 on Kickstarter, but funding options remained open and were still taking contributions to the project on their official site. The project ran out of money in September 2013. This, and the circumstances around it, has angered some backers. There has even been talk, among the backers, of a potential class action lawsuit. The project to develop the game ended in September 2014 without the game being completed. Stephenson took part of the responsibility for the project’s failure, stating, “I probably focused too much on historical accuracy and not enough on making it sufficiently fun to attract additional investment”.
In late 2013, Stephenson stated that he was working on a multi-volume work – historical novels that would “have a lot to do with scientific and technological themes and how those interact with the characters and civilisation during a particular span of history”. He expected the first two volumes to be released in mid-to-late 2014. However, at about the same time, he shifted his attention to a science fiction novel, Seveneves, which was completed about a year later and was published in May 2015.
In 2014, Stephenson was hired as Chief Futurist by the Florida-based company Magic Leap. Magic Leap claims to be developing a revolutionary form of augmented reality, not too different from technologies Stephenson previously has described in his science fiction books.
The science fiction approach doesn’t mean it’s always about the future;
it’s an awareness that this is different.
Quicksilver, Applied Minds (2003) debuted The Metaweb, an online wiki annotating the ideas and historical period explored in the novel. The project was influenced by the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, and its content included annotations from Stephenson himself.
“Innovation Starvation” (2011) lamented the lack of visionary large-scale projects in the world. One concept he cited as an example of such visionary concepts is the idea of a 20-kilometer “tall tower” extending to the edges of the atmosphere; Stephenson then followed this up with work in collaboration with Arizona State University on the engineering of such tall towers.
In his earlier novels Stephenson deals heavily in pop culture-laden metaphors and imagery and in quick, hip dialogue, as well as in extended narrative monologues. The tone of his books is generally more irreverent and less serious than that of previous cyberpunk novels, notably those of William Gibson.
Stephenson at the Starship Century Symposium at UCSD in 2013
Stephenson’s books tend to have elaborate, inventive plots drawing on numerous technological and sociological ideas at the same time. This distinguishes him from other mainstream science fiction authors who tend to focus on a few technological or social changes in isolation from others. The discursive nature of his writing, together with significant plot and character complexity and an abundance of detail suggests a baroque writing style, which Stephenson brought fully to bear in the three-volume Baroque Cycle. His book The Diamond Age follows a simpler plot but features “neo-Victorian” characters and employs Victorian-era literary conceits. In keeping with the baroque style, Stephenson’s books have become longer as he has gained recognition. For example, the paperback editions of Cryptonomicon are over eleven hundred pages long with the novel containing various digressions, including a lengthy erotic story about antique furniture and stockings.
Project Hieroglyph, founded in 2011, administered by Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination since 2012. Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, ed. Ed Finn and Kathryn Cramer, which includes contributions by Stephenson, was published by William Morrow in September, 2014.
“In the Kingdom of Mao Bell“. Wired. 1994. “A billion Chinese are using new technology to create the fastest growing economy on the planet. But while the information wants to be free, do they?”
“Mother Earth Mother Board“. Wired. 1996. “In which the Hacker Tourist ventures forth across three continents, telling the story of the business and technology of undersea fiber-optic cables, as well as an account of the laying of the longest wire on Earth.”
Jump up^“Neal Stephenson – Biography”. ElectricInca.com. Retrieved August 7, 2010. He began his higher education as a physics major, then switched to geography when it appeared that this would enable him to scam more free time on his university’s mainframe computer.
Jump up^Landis, Geoffrey, and Denis, Vincent, “High Altitude Launch for a Practical SSTO,” Conference on Next Generation Space Transportation, Space Technology & Applications International Forum, Albuquerque NM, Feb. 2-6 2003; AIP Conference Proceedings Vol. 654, pp 290-295. (pdf on NASA site)
Jump up^Project Hieroglyph, The Tall Tower, Arizona State University Center for Science and the Imagination (retrieved 1 Sept. 2015)
Mathematics is the art of giving the same name to different things.
Book Trailer: “All Cry Chaos” by Leonard Rosen
Leonard Rosen talks about Chaos Theory, his writing process, and the pleasure of audiobooks
Leonard Rosen – All Cry Chaos
The Science and Psychology of the Chaos Theory
The Strange New Science of Chaos
Fractals – Hunting The Hidden Dimension
Complexity: Life, Scale, & Civilization
TEDxRotterdam – Igor Nikolic – Complex adaptive systems
Where Good Ideas Come From | Steven Johnson | TED Talks
Dirk Helbing: Rethinking Economics Based on Complexity Theory
Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give You Up
It is the harmony of the diverse parts, their symmetry, their happy balance; in a word it is all that introduces order, all that gives unity, that permits us to see clearly and to comprehend at once both the ensemble and the details.
The Honourable School Boy by John Le Carre Audiobook
Smiley’s People 01
Smiley’s People 02
Smiley’s People 03
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
John le Carré- Interview “Spy Who Came In From The Cold” (Merv Griffin Show 1965)
The Genius of John le Carré
British Novelist John le Carré on Democracy Now 2010
DN!!!!! ‘The US Has Gone Mad,’ John le Carré – Democracy Now Amy Goodman
John le Carré
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
John le Carré
John le Carré in Hamburg (10 November 2008)
John le Carré in Hamburg, 2008
Born David John Moore Cornwell
19 October 1931 (age 84)
Poole, Dorset, England
Occupation Novelist, former intelligence officer
Genre Spy fiction
Notable works The Spy Who Came in from the Cold,
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,
The Honourable Schoolboy,
The Constant Gardener
Spouse Alison Sharp (m. 1954–1971)
Valerie Eustace (m. 1972–present)
Children 4 sons
David John Moore Cornwell (born 19 October 1931), pen name John le Carré /lə ˈkɑrˌeɪ/, is a British author of espionage novels. During the 1950s and the 1960s, Cornwell worked for the Security Service and the Secret Intelligence Service, and began writing novels under a pen name. His third novel The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963) became an international best-seller, and it remains one of his best-known works. Following the success of this novel, he left MI6 to become a full-time author.
Le Carré established himself as a writer of espionage fiction. In 2008, The Times ranked le Carré 22nd on its list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”. In 2011, he won the Goethe Medal, a yearly prize given by the Goethe Institute.
Early life and career
On 19 October 1931, David John Moore Cornwell was born to Richard Thomas Archibald (Ronnie) Cornwell (1906–75) and Olive (Glassy) Cornwell, in Poole, Dorset, England. He was the second son to the marriage, the first being Tony, two years his elder, now a retired advertising executive; his younger half-sister is the actress Charlotte Cornwell; and Rupert Cornwell, a former Independent newspaper Washington bureau chief, is a younger half-brother. John le Carré said he did not know his mother, who abandoned him when he was five years old, until their re-acquaintance when he was 21 years old. His relationship with his father was difficult, given that the man had been jailed for insurance fraud, was an associate of the Kray twins (among the foremost criminals in London) and was continually in debt. A biographer reports,
“His father, Ronnie, made and lost his fortune a number of times due to elaborate confidence tricks and schemes which landed him in prison on at least one occasion. This was one of the factors that led to le Carré’s fascination with secrets.”
The character “Rick Pym”, the scheming con-man father of protagonist ‘Magnus Pym’ in his later novel A Perfect Spy (1986), was based on Ronnie. When Ronnie died in 1975, le Carré paid for a memorial funeral service but did not attend.
Cornwell’s formal schooling began at St Andrew’s Preparatory School, near Pangbourne, Berkshire, then continued at Sherborne School; he proved unhappy with the typically harsh English public school régime of the time, and disliked his disciplinarian housemaster, Thomas, and so withdrew. From 1948 to 1949, he studied foreign languages at the University of Bern in Switzerland. In 1950 he joined the Intelligence Corps of the British Army garrisoned in Austria, working as a German language interrogator of people who crossed the Iron Curtain to the West. In 1952, he returned to England to study at Lincoln College, Oxford, where he worked covertly for the British Security Service, MI5, spying upon far-left groups for information about possible Soviet agents.
When Ronnie declared bankruptcy in 1954, Cornwell quit Oxford to teach at a boys’ preparatory school; however, a year later, he returned to Oxford and graduated, in 1956, with a First Class Honours Bachelor of Arts degree. He then taught French and German at Eton College for two years, afterwards becoming an MI5 officer in 1958; he ran agents, conducted interrogations, tapped telephone lines, and effected break-ins. Encouraged by Lord Clanmorris (who wrote crime novels as “John Bingham”), and whilst being an active MI5 officer, Cornwell began writing Call for the Dead (1961), his first novel. Lord Clanmorris was one of two models – Vivian H. H. Green being the other – for George Smiley, the spymaster of the Circus. As a schoolboy, Cornwell had first met Green when he was the Chaplain and Assistant Master at Sherborne School (1942–51), and then later as Rector at Lincoln College.
In 1960, Cornwell transferred to MI6, the foreign-intelligence service, and worked under ‘Second Secretary’ cover in the British Embassy at Bonn; he later was transferred to Hamburg as a political consul. There, he wrote the detective story A Murder of Quality (1962) and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), as “John le Carré” (le Carré is French for “the Square” ), a pseudonym required because Foreign Office officers were forbidden to publish in their own names. Cornwell left the service in 1964 to work full-time as a novelist, as his intelligence officer career was ended by the betrayal of British agents’ covers to the KGB by Kim Philby, a British double agent (of the Cambridge Five). Le Carré depicts and analyses Philby as the upper-class traitor, code-named “Gerald” by the KGB, the mole George Smiley hunts in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1974). Credited by his pen name, Cornwell appears as an extra in the 2011 film version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, among the guests at the Christmas party seen in several flashback scenes.
In 1964, le Carré won the Somerset Maugham Award, established to enable British writers younger than 35 to enrich their writing by spending time abroad.
In 1954, Cornwell married Alison Ann Veronica Sharp; they had three sons—Simon, Stephen and Timothy—and divorced in 1971. In 1972, Cornwell married Valérie Jane Eustace, a book editor with Hodder & Stoughton; they have one son, Nicholas, who writes as Nick Harkaway.
Le Carré has resided in St Buryan, Cornwall, UK, for more than 40 years, where he owns a mile of cliff close to Land’s End.
In 1998, he was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Letters) from the University of Bath. In 2012, he was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa by the University of Oxford.
Le Carré’s first two novels – Call for the Dead (1961) and A Murder of Quality (1962) – are mystery fiction, in which the hero, George Smiley of the SIS (the Circus), resolves the riddles of the deaths investigated. In these first novels his motives are rather more personal than political.
Most of le Carré’s novels are spy stories set in the Cold War (1945–91) and feature Circus agents—unheroic political functionaries aware of the moral ambiguity of their work and engaged in psychological more than physical drama. Le Carré’s books emphasize the fallibility of Western democracy and of the secret services protecting it, often implying the possibility of East-West moral equivalence. Moreover, they experience little of the violence typically encountered in action thrillers and have very little recourse to gadgets. Much of the conflict is internal, rather than external and visible.
A departure from the use of East–West conflict as a backdrop in this era is the spy novel The Little Drummer Girl (1983), which is set against the Israel–Palestine conflict.
A Perfect Spy (1986), which chronicles the boyhood moral education of Magnus Pym and how it leads to his becoming a spy, is the author’s most autobiographical espionage novel, reflecting the boy’s very close relationship with his con man father. Biographer Lynndianne Beene describes the novelist’s own father, Richard Cornwell, as “an epic con man of little education, immense charm, extravagant tastes, but no social values”; le Carré reflected that “writing A Perfect Spy is probably what a very wise shrink would have advised”.
Le Carré’s only non-genre novel, The Naïve and Sentimental Lover (1971)—a story of a man’s post-marital existential crisis—may be thought to be semi-autobiographical.
With the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, le Carré’s writing shifted to portrayal of the new multilateral world. For example, The Night Manager (1993), his first completely post-Cold-War novel, deals with drug and arms smuggling in the murky world of Latin America drug lords, shady Caribbean banking entities, and western officials who look the other way.
As a journalist, le Carré wrote The Unbearable Peace (1991), a non-fiction account of Brigadier Jean-Louis Jeanmaire (1911–92), the Swiss Army officer who spied for the USSR from 1962 until 1975.
In 2009, he donated the short story “The King Who Never Spoke” to the Oxfam “Ox-Tales” project, which included it in the project’s Fire volume.
In a TV interview with Jon Snow of Channel 4 News, Le Carré remarked on his own writing style that, since the facts that inform his work were widely known, he felt it was his job to put them into a context that made them believable to the reader.[when?]
Le Carré feuded with Salman Rushdie over The Satanic Verses stating, “nobody has a God-given right to insult a great religion and be published with impunity”.
In January 2003, The Times published le Carré’s essay “The United States Has Gone Mad”. Le Carré contributed it to a volume of political essays titled Not One More Death (2006). Other contributors include Richard Dawkins, Brian Eno, Michel Faber, Harold Pinter, and Haifa Zangana.
Le Carré wrote a testimonial in The Future of the NHS.
John le Carré appeared in an episode of BBC Radio 4’s Book Club broadcast in February 1999, with presenter James Naughtie and an audience in Penzance.
In an interview with John le Carré, broadcast in October 2008 on BBC Four, Mark Lawson asked him to name a Best of le Carré list of books; the novelist answered: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Tailor of Panama and The Constant Gardener.
In September 2010, le Carré was interviewed on Channel 4 News by journalist Jon Snow at his house in Cornwall. The conversation involved a few topics: his writing career generally and processes adopted for writing, specifically about his current book, Our Kind of Traitor, involving Russia and its current global influences, financially and politically; his SIS career, reasoning why, both personally and more generally, one did such a job then, as compared to now; and how the fight against communism then has now conversely moved to the hugely negative effects of certain aspects of excessive capitalism. During the interview he said that it would be his last UK television interview. While reticent as to his exact reasons, those he was willing to cite were that of slight self-loathing (which he considered most people feel), along with a distaste for showing off (he felt that writing necessarily involved a lot of this anyway) and to breaching what he felt was the necessarily solitary nature of the writer’s work. He was also wary of wasting writing time and dissipating his talent in social success, having seen this happen to many talented writers, to the detriment of their later work.
A week after this appearance, le Carré was interviewed for the TV show Democracy Now! in the US. He told interviewer Amy Goodman “This is the last book about which I intend to give interviews. That isn’t because I’m in any sense retiring. I’ve found that, actually, I’ve said everything I really want to say, outside my books. I would just like—I’m in wonderful shape. I’m entering my eightieth year. I just want to devote myself entirely to writing and not to this particular art form of conversation.” In December 2010 Channel 4 broadcast John Le Carre: A Life Unmasked, described as ” his most candid television interview”.
Le Carré was interviewed in the February 2011 edition of Sunday Morning, stating that it would be the last interview he would grant. Le Carré was interviewed at the Hay on Wye festival 2013.
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965), directed by Martin Ritt, with Richard Burton as protagonist Alec Leamas
The Deadly Affair (1966), an adaptation of Call for the Dead, directed by Sidney Lumet, with James Mason as Charles Dobbs (George Smiley in the novel)
The Looking Glass War (1969), directed by Frank Pierson, with Anthony Hopkins as Avery, Christopher Jones as Leiser, and Sir Ralph Richardson as LeClerc
The Little Drummer Girl (1984), directed by George Roy Hill, with Diane Keaton as Charlie
The Russia House (1990), directed by Fred Schepisi, with Sean Connery as Barley Blair
The Tailor of Panama (2001), directed by John Boorman, with Pierce Brosnan as Andy Osnard, a disgraced spy, and Geoffrey Rush as emigre English tailor Harry Pendel
The Constant Gardener (2005), directed by Fernando Meirelles, with Ralph Fiennes as Justin Quayle, set in the slums in Kibera and Loiyangalani, Kenya; the poverty so affected the film crew that they established the Constant Gardener Trust to provide basic education to those areas (John le Carré is a patron of the charity)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), directed by Tomas Alfredson and starring Gary Oldman as George Smiley
A Most Wanted Man (2014), directed by Anton Corbijn and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman
Our Kind of Traitor (2015), directed by Susanna White and starring Ewan McGregor
The Russia House (1994 on BBC Radio), features Tom Baker as Barley Blair
The Complete Smiley (2009-2010 on BBC Radio 4), an eight radio-play series, based upon the novels featuring George Smiley, that commenced broadcast on 23 May 2009, beginning with Call for the Dead, with Simon Russell Beale as George Smiley, and concluding with The Secret Pilgrim, in June 2010
A Delicate Truth (May 2013 on BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime), recorded by Damian Lewis
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979), BBC seven-part television mini-series, with Alec Guinness as George Smiley
Smiley’s People (1982), BBC television mini-series, with Alec Guinness as George Smiley
A Perfect Spy (1987), BBC television adaptation directed by Peter Smith, with Peter Egan as Magnus Pym and Ray McAnally as Rick
Gavin Millar directed A Murder of Quality (1991), Gavin Millar directed the Thames Television adaptation, with Denholm Elliott as George Smiley and Joss Ackland as Terence Fielding
The Night Manager (2016), an upcoming AMC and BBC mini-series, directed by Susanne Bier, with Tom Hiddleston as Jonathan Pine and Hugh Laurie as Richard Onslow Roper
Call for the Dead (1961) ISBN 0-143-12257-6
A Murder of Quality (1962) ISBN 0-141-19637-8
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963) ISBN 0-143-12475-7
The Looking Glass War (1965) ISBN 0-143-12259-2
A Small Town in Germany (1968) ISBN 0-143-12260-6
The Naïve and Sentimental Lover (1971) ISBN 0-143-11975-3
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1974) ISBN 0-143-12093-X
The Honourable Schoolboy (1977) ISBN 0-143-11973-7
Smiley’s People (1979) ISBN 0-340-99439-8
The Little Drummer Girl (1983) ISBN 0-143-11974-5
A Perfect Spy (1986) ISBN 0-143-11976-1
The Russia House (1989) ISBN 0-743-46466-4
The Secret Pilgrim (1990) ISBN 0-345-50442-9
The Night Manager (1993) ISBN 0-345-38576-4
Our Game (1995) ISBN 0-345-40000-3
The Tailor of Panama (1996) ISBN 0-345-42043-8
Single & Single (1999) ISBN 0-743-45806-0
The Constant Gardener (2001) ISBN 0-743-28720-7
Absolute Friends (2003) ISBN 0-670-04489-X
The Mission Song (2006) ISBN 0-340-92199-4
A Most Wanted Man (2008) ISBN 1-416-59609-7
Our Kind of Traitor (2010) ISBN 0-143-11972-9
A Delicate Truth (2013) ISBN 0-143-12531-1
The Good Soldier (1991) collected in Granta 35: The Unbearable Peace
The United States Has Gone Mad (2003) collected in Not One More Death (2006) ISBN 1-844-67116-X
Afterword (2014) – an essay on Kim Philby, published in A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre
Dare I Weep, Dare I Mourn? (1967) published in the Saturday Evening Post 28 January 1967.
What Ritual is Being Observed Tonight? (1968) published in the Saturday Evening Post 2 November 1968.
The Writer and The Horse (1968) published in The Savile Club Centenary Magazine and later The Argosy (& The Saturday Review under the title A Writer and A Gentleman.)
The King Who Never Spoke (2009) published in Ox-Tales: Fire 2 July 2009.
The Incongruous Spy (1964) (containing Call for the Dead and A Murder of Quality)
The Quest for Karla (1982) (containing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley’s People) (republished in 1995 as Smiley Versus Karla in the UK; and John Le Carré: Three Complete Novels in the U.S.) ISBN 0-394-52848-4
End of the Line (1970) broadcast 29 June 1970
A Murder of Quality (1991)
The Tailor of Panama (2001) with John Boorman and Andrew Davies
The Tailor of Panama (2001)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
A Most Wanted Man (2014)
The Little Drummer Girl (1984, as David Cornwell)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011, as John le Carré)
In 2010, le Carré donated his literary archive to the Bodleian Library, Oxford. The initial 85 boxes of material deposited included handwritten drafts of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Constant Gardener. The library hosted a public display of these and other items to mark World Book Day in March 2011.
Awards and honours
1963 British Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger for The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
1964 Somerset Maugham Award for The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
1965 Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
1977 British Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger for The Honourable Schoolboy
1977 James Tait Black Memorial Prize Fiction Award for The Honourable Schoolboy
1983 Japan Adventure Fiction Association Prize for The Little Drummer Girl
1984 Honorary Fellow Lincoln College, Oxford
1984 Mystery Writers of America Edgar Grand Master 
1988 British Crime Writers Association Diamond Dagger Lifetime Achievement Award
1988 The Malaparte Prize, Italy
1990 Honorary Degree University of Exeter
1990 The Helmerich Award of the Tulsa Library Trust.
1991 Nikos Kasanzakis prize
1996 Honorary Degree University of St. Andrews
1997 Honorary Degree University of Southampton
1998 Honorary Degree University of Bath
2005 British Crime Writers Association Dagger of Daggers for The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
2005 Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, France
2008 Honorary Doctorate University of Bern
2011 Goethe Medal of the Goethe Institute
2012 Honorary Doctorate University of Oxford
Rupert Murdoch Destroyed Fox News. National Geographic is Next. • BRAVE NEW FILMS
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Rupert Murdoch: a seven-point plan for rehabilitation in British life
By Jane Martinson
How the News Corp mogul restored public links with David Cameron after the turbulence of the phone-hacking scandal and Leveson inquiry
Cameron, Osborne and Murdoch back together at mogul’s Christmas knees-up
Rupert Murdoch’s Christmas’s party – which drew David Cameron, George Osborne and other ministers on Monday – marks his return to the centre of power, the culmination of a seven-step process that has seen him regain his position at the top of British life:
1 A profession of humility
Psychologists say acknowledgement is always the first step on the road to recovery but it took Murdoch 12 days after the Guardian revealed that Milly Dowler’s phone was hacked to take out a full-page advert on 16 July 2011 saying: “We are sorry for the serious wrongdoing that occurred”. Andy Coulson had already resigned as Cameron’s spin doctor in January 2011 but within days of the Dowler revelations, Murdoch closed the 168-year-old News of the World and scrapped his plan to take over the whole of satellite broadcaster Sky. Brooks resigned to face charges and, by 19 July, a surprisingly frail-looking Murdoch told a House of Commons committee that he was facing “the most humble day of my life”.
2 A fistful of dollars
In total, News Corp spent $512m (£345m) on the closure of its Sunday tabloid and legal settlements for at least 377 victims of voicemail interception. Nine of the 12 journalists charged with phone hacking were convicted, while public officials were found guilty for accepting payments for information. After an eight-month trial, Coulson was found guilty of conspiring to hack phones, while Brooks was cleared of all charges in June 2014. (Having eventually served five months of his sentence, Coulson is now writing the odd piece for the Telegraph. The newspaper group denies that he is on a contract to advise chief executive Murdoch MacLennan). 3 A job for a friend
From the very beginning of the scandal, Murdoch said his top priority was looking after Rebekah Brooks. Within months of the end of her trial, Murdoch was looking at a range of senior jobs for Brooks, firstly in the US. Initial reports that she would rejoin the company were met with disbelief from senior insiders but, after her husband Charlie was understood to have ruled out a move to the US, Murdoch and Brooks started to think that a return to her old job was the best option. She was reappointed chief executive of News UK in September 2015 and, having spent weeks working long hours in the office, she is only now ready for meetings with her old contacts.
4 Let the authorities complete their work
The biggest fear all along for the News Corp boss was the possibility of corporate charges being pressed for phone hacking. Murdoch had already split his publishing arm, which includes the British newspapers as well as the Wall Street Journal, from the Fox film and television business, partly to protect the latter from any possible charges. In February, the Department of Justice declared that News Corp would not face any charges in the US in relation to phone hacking and payments to public officials, and earlier this month the Crown Prosecution Service dropped all corporate charges against News Corp. However, given the appeals against the decision launched by victims, the final curtain has not quite come down. Although no one expects the government to go ahead with “Leveson part two” into the “extent of unlawful and improper conduct”, it cannot confirm this until all criminal proceedings, including appeals, are dealt with. 5 A clear political order
Labour party leaders may have attended Murdoch soirees but the opposition went into the May general election with concern over media domination written into its manifesto. In contrast, the Conservatives’ first manifesto promise on the media was to warn the BBC that it would face a licence fee freeze. Osborne’s comments about Auntie’s “imperial ambitions” reminded everyone that the Liberal Democrats were no longer in government to argue against imposing the cost of free licence fees for the over-75s on the corporation.
Even so, the appearance of Cameron at a party attended by Murdoch and Brooks is remarkable, given the fact that few politicians were as embarrassed by phone hacking as he was. The prime minister’s close links with Brooks and the Murdochs – with their Christmas gatherings, country suppers and “LOL” texting – were revealed in some detail during the Leveson inquiry, which he launched in November 2011. It later emerged that he had ignored those warning him against appointing a man who had stood down from his role as editor of the News of the World as his spin doctor. Having accepted Coulson’s denials, Cameron said he warranted a “second chance”.
Chris Bryant, the former shadow culture secretary and phone-hacking victim, who has recently attended a party at the home of Evgeny Lebedev, said: “There is nothing intrinsically wrong with meeting a proprietor socially. However, I would have thought that Cameron in particular, as well as Osborne, would have learnt from the whole sorry saga that these informal contacts just start to smell dodgy.
“I have always known that, if they won the general election, the Tories would just bide their time before ushering Rupert back through the front door. It was one of the reasons I was so desperate for them not to win.”
6 Rediscover the contacts book
Under disclosure rules brought in by Cameron, we now know when he meets interested parties. So we know that Murdoch and senior News Corp executives met government ministers 10 times in the year to the end of March 2015, more than any other newspaper group. Murdoch also met Osborne twice in the month before the chancellor imposed the aforementioned costly financial settlement on the BBC in July. 7 A model relationship
With his sons busy in the US, a new woman has made the family patriarch a more frequent visitor to the UK. Having split with his third wife, Wendi Deng, in 2013, Murdoch happily posed for pictures at the Rugby World Cup in October alongside his new flame, the London-based Jerry Hall, 59-year-old former wife of Mick Jagger.
Rupert Murdoch, arguably the world’s most powerful media tycoon, stepped down from the CEO role at cable TV and broadcasting giant 21st Century Fox in July 2015 but remains executive co-chairman alongside his son Lachlan; his son James Murdoch took over as CEO. Rupert Murdoch also continues to chair News Corp, which owns The Wall Street Journal and other print operations. He built a media empire out of Adelaide, Australia; at 22 he inherited two newspapers when his father died. Today, the Murdoch family controls 120 newspapers in five countries; a large cable TV network comprised of the Fox channels in the U.S. and Fox International Channels across Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia; book publishing powerhouse HarperCollins; a movie studio and a large broadcasting and satellite TV arm.
In the 1950s and ’60s, he acquired various newspapers in Australia and New Zealand, before expanding into the United Kingdom in 1969, taking over the News of the World followed closely by The Sun. He moved to New York City in 1974 to expand into the U.S. market, but retained interests in Australia and Britain. In 1981, he bought The Times, his first British broadsheet, and became a naturalised U.S. citizen in 1985 to satisfy the legal requirement for U.S. television ownership.
In 1986, keen to adopt newer electronic publishing technologies, he consolidated his UK printing operations in Wapping, causing bitter industrial disputes. His News Corporation acquired Twentieth Century Fox (1985), HarperCollins (1989) and The Wall Street Journal (2007). He formed the British broadcaster BSkyB in 1990, and during the 1990s expanded into Asian networks and South American television. By 2000, Murdoch’s News Corporation owned over 800 companies in more than 50 countries with a net worth of over $5 billion.
In July 2011, Murdoch faced allegations that his companies, including the News of the World, owned by News Corporation, had been regularlyhacking the phones of celebrities, royalty and public citizens. He faces police and government investigations into bribery and corruption by the British government and FBI investigations in the U.S. On 21 July 2012, Murdoch resigned as a director of News International. On 1 July 2015, Murdoch left his post as CEO of 21st Century Fox.
Murdoch was born Keith Rupert Murdoch on 11 March 1931 in Melbourne, Australia to Sir Keith Murdoch (1885–1952) and Elisabeth Joy Greene (1909–2012), daughter of Rupert Greene. He is of English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry. His parents were also born in Melbourne. Keith Murdoch was a war correspondent and later a regional newspaper magnate owning two newspapers in Adelaide, South Australia, and a radio station in a faraway mining town. Later in life, Keith Rupert chose to use Rupert, the first name of his maternal grandfather.
Keith Murdoch the elder asked to meet with his future wife after seeing her debutante photograph in one of his own newspapers and they married in 1928, when she was aged 19 and he was 23 years older. In addition to Rupert, the couple had three daughters: Janet Calvert-Jones, Anne Kantor and Helen Handbury (1929–2004). Murdoch attended Geelong Grammar School, where he was co-editor of the school’s official journal The Corian and editor of the student journal If Revived. He took his school’s cricket team to the National Junior Finals. He worked part-time at the Melbourne Herald and was groomed by his father to take over the family business. Murdoch read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Worcester College, Oxford in England, where he supported the Labour Party, stood for Secretary of the Labour Club and managed Oxford Student Publications Limited, the publishing house of Cherwell. After her husband’s death from cancer in 1952, Elisabeth Murdoch did charity work, as life governor of the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne and established the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. At the age of 102 (in 2011), she had 74 descendants. Murdoch completed an MA before working as a sub-editor with theDaily Express for two years.
Activities in Australia and New Zealand
Journalist Sir Keith Murdoch (1885–1952), Rupert Murdoch’s father
Following his father’s death, when he was 21, Murdoch returned from Oxford to take charge of the family business News Limited, which had been established in 1923. Rupert Murdoch turned its newspaper, Adelaide News, its main asset, into a major success. He began to direct his attention to acquisition and expansion, buying the troubled Sunday Times in Perth,Western Australia (1956) and over the next few years acquiring suburban and provincial newspapers in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and theNorthern Territory, including the Sydney afternoon tabloid, The Daily Mirror (1960). The Economist describes Murdoch as “inventing the modern tabloid”,as he developed a pattern for his newspapers, increasing sports and scandal coverage and adopting eye-catching headlines.
Murdoch’s first foray outside Australia involved the purchase of a controlling interest in the New Zealand daily The Dominion. In January 1964, while touring New Zealand with friends in a rented Morris Minor after sailing across the Tasman, Murdoch read of a takeover bid for the Wellington paper by the British-based Canadian newspaper magnate, Lord Thomson of Fleet. On the spur of the moment, he launched a counter-bid. A four-way battle for control ensued in which the 32-year-old Murdoch was ultimately successful. Later in 1964, Murdoch launched The Australian, Australia’s first national daily newspaper, which was based first in Canberra and later in Sydney. In 1972, Murdoch acquired the Sydney morning tabloid The Daily Telegraph from Australian media mogul Sir Frank Packer, who later regretted selling it to him. In 1984, Murdoch was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for services to publishing.
Murdoch found a political ally in John McEwen, leader of the Australian Country Party (now known as the National Party of Australia), who was governing in coalition with the larger Menzies-Holt Liberal Party. From the very first issue of The Australian Murdoch began taking McEwen’s side in every issue that divided the long-serving coalition partners. (The Australian, 15 July 1964, first edition, front page: “Strain in Cabinet, Liberal-CP row flares.”) It was an issue that threatened to split the coalition government and open the way for the stronger Australian Labor Party to dominate Australian politics. It was the beginning of a long campaign that served McEwen well.
After McEwen and Menzies retired, Murdoch threw his growing power behind the Australian Labor Party under the leadership of Gough Whitlam and duly saw it elected on a social platform that included universal free health care, free education for all Australians to tertiary level, recognition of the People’s Republic of China, and public ownership of Australia’s oil, gas and mineral resources. Rupert Murdoch’s backing of Whitlam turned out to be brief. Murdoch had already started his short-lived National Star newspaper in America, and was seeking to strengthen his political contacts there.
Asked about the Australian federal election, 2007 at News Corporation’s annual general meeting in New York on 19 October 2007, its chairman Rupert Murdoch said, “I am not commenting on anything to do with Australian politics. I’m sorry. I always get into trouble when I do that.” Pressed as to whether he believed Prime Minister John Howard should continue as prime minister, he said: “I have nothing further to say. I’m sorry. Read our editorials in the papers. It’ll be the journalists who decide that – the editors.” In 2009, in response to accusations by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd that News Limited was running vendettas against him and his government, Murdoch opined that Rudd was “oversensitive”. Murdoch described Howard’s successor, Labor Party Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, as “…more ambitious to lead the world [in tackling climate change] than to lead Australia…” and criticised Rudd’s expansionary fiscal policies in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 as unnecessary. Although News Limited’s interests are extensive, also including the Daily Telegraph, the Courier-Mail and theAdelaide Advertiser, it was suggested by the commentator Mungo MacCallum in The Monthly that “the anti-Rudd push, if coordinated at all, was almost certainly locally driven” as opposed to being directed by Murdoch, who also took a different position from local editors on such matters as climate change and stimulus packages to combat the financial crisis.
In 1968 Murdoch entered the British newspaper market with his acquisition of the populist News of the World, followed in 1969 with the purchase of the struggling daily broadsheet The Sun from IPC. Murdoch turned The Sun into a tabloid format and reduced costs by using the same printing press for both newspapers. On acquiring it, he appointed Albert ‘Larry’ Lamb as editor and – Lamb recalled later – told him: “I want a tearaway paper with lots of tits in it”. In 1997 The Sun attracted 10 million daily readers. In 1981, Murdoch acquired the struggling Times and Sunday Times from Canadian newspaper publisherLord Thomson of Fleet. Ownership of The Times came to him through his relationship with Lord Thomson, who had grown tired of losing money on it as a result of much industrial action that stopped publication. In the light of success and expansion at The Sun the owners believed that Murdoch could turn the papers around. Harold Evans, Editor of the Sunday Times from 1967, was made head of the daily Times, though he stayed only a year amid editorial conflict with Murdoch.
During the 1980s and early 1990s, Murdoch’s publications were generally supportive of Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. At the end of theThatcher/Major era, Murdoch switched his support to the Labour Party and its leader, Tony Blair. The closeness of his relationship with Blair and their secret meetings to discuss national policies was to become a political issue in Britain. This later changed, with The Sun, in its English editions, publicly renouncing the ruling Labour government and lending its support to David Cameron‘s Conservative Party, which soon afterwards formed a coalition government. In Scotland, where the Tories had yet to recover from their complete annihilation in 1997, the paper began to endorse the Scottish National Party (though not yet its flagship policy of independence), which soon after came to form the first ever outright majority in the proportionally elected Scottish Parliament. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s official spokesman said in November 2009 that Brown and Murdoch “were in regular communication” and that “there is nothing unusual in the prime minister talking to Rupert Murdoch”.
In 1986, Murdoch introduced electronic production processes to his newspapers in Australia, Britain and the United States. The greater degree of automation led to significant reductions in the number of employees involved in the printing process. In England, the move roused the anger of the print unions, resulting in a long and often violent dispute that played out in Wapping, one of London’s docklands areas, where Murdoch had installed the very latest electronic newspaper purpose-built publishing facility in an old warehouse. The bitter dispute at Wappingstarted with the dismissal of 6,000 employees who had gone on strike and resulted in street battles and demonstrations. Many on the political left in Britain alleged the collusion of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government with Murdoch in the Wapping affair, as a way of damaging the British trade union movement. In 1987, the dismissed workers accepted a settlement of £60 million.
Murdoch’s British-based satellite network, Sky Television, incurred massive losses in its early years of operation. As with many of his other business interests, Sky was heavily subsidised by the profits generated by his other holdings, but convinced rival satellite operator British Satellite Broadcasting to accept a merger on his terms in 1990. They were quick to see the advantages of direct to home (DTH) satellite broadcasting that did not require costly cable networks and the merged company, BSkyB, has dominated the British pay-TV market ever since. By 1996, BSkyB had more than 3.6 million subscribers, triple the number of cable customers in the UK. British financier Lord Jacob Rothschild, a close Murdoch friend since the 1960s, served as deputy chairman of Murdoch’s BSkyB corporation from 2003–2007, and Murdoch jointly invested with Rothschild in a 5.5 percent stake in Genie Oil and Gas, which conducted shale gas and oil exploration in Israel.
In response to print media’s decline and the increasing influence of online journalism during the 2000s, Murdoch proclaimed his support of the micropayments model for obtaining revenue from on-line news, although this has been criticised by some.
The Labour Party, from when Tony Blair became leader in 1994, had moved from the Left to a more central position on many economic issues prior to 1997. Murdoch identifies himself as alibertarian, saying “What does libertarian mean? As much individual responsibility as possible, as little government as possible, as few rules as possible. But I’m not saying it should be taken to the absolute limit.”
In a 2005 speech delivered in New York, Murdoch said that Blair described the BBC coverage of the Hurricane Katrina disaster as being full of hatred of America.
In 1998, Rupert Murdoch made an attempt to buy the football club Manchester United F.C., with an offer of £625 million, but this failed. It was the largest amount ever offered for a sports club. It was blocked by the United Kingdom’s Competition Commission, which stated that the acquisition would have “hurt competition in the broadcast industry and the quality of British football”.
On 28 June 2006 the BBC reported that Murdoch and News Corporation were considering backing new Conservative leaderDavid Cameron at the next General Election – still up to four years away. In a later interview in July 2006, when he was asked what he thought of the Conservative leader, Murdoch replied “Not much”. In a 2009 blog, it was suggested that in the aftermath of the News of the World phone hacking scandal which is still ongoing in 2012 and might yet have Transatlantic implications Murdoch and News Corporation might have decided to back Cameron. Despite this, there had already been a convergence of interests between the two men over the muting of Britain’s communications regulator Ofcom.
In 2006, Britain’s Independent newspaper reported that Murdoch would offer Tony Blair a senior role in his global media company News Corporation when the prime minister stood down from office.
He is accused by former Solidarity MSPTommy Sheridan of having a personal vendetta against him and of conspiring with MI5 to produce a video of him confessing to having affairs – allegations over which Sheridan had previously sued News International and won. On being arrested for perjury following the case, Sheridan claimed that the charges were “orchestrated and influenced by the powerful reach of the Murdoch empire”.
In August 2008, British Conservative leader and future Prime Minister David Cameron accepted free flights to hold private talks and attend private parties with Murdoch on his yacht, theRosehearty. Cameron has declared in the Commons register of interests he accepted a private plane provided by Murdoch’s son-in-law, public relations guru Matthew Freud; Cameron has not revealed his talks with Murdoch. The gift of travel in Freud’s Gulfstream IV private jet was valued at around £30,000. Other guests attending the “social events” included the then EU trade commissioner Lord Mandelson, the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and co-chairman of NBC UniversalBen Silverman. The Conservatives have not disclosed what was discussed.
In July 2011, it emerged that Cameron met key executives of Murdoch’s News Corporation 26 times during the 14 months that Cameron had served as Prime Minister. It was also reported that Murdoch had given Cameron a personal guarantee that there would be no risk attached to hiring Andy Coulson, the former editor of News of the World, as the Conservative Party’s communication director in 2007. This was in spite of Coulson having resigned as editor over phone hacking by a reporter. Cameron chose to take Murdoch’s advice, despite warnings from Nick Clegg, Lord Ashdown and The Guardian. Coulson resigned his post in 2011 and was later arrested and questioned on allegations of further criminal activity at TheNews of the World, specifically the News International phone hacking scandal. As a result of the subsequent trial, Coulson was sentenced to 18 months in jail.
In July 2011 Rupert Murdoch, along with his son James, provided testimony before a British parliamentary committee regarding phone hacking. In the U.K., his media empire remains under fire as investigators continue to probe reports of other phone hacking.
On 14 July, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons served a summons on Murdoch, his son James, and his former CEO Rebekah Brooks to testify before a committee on 19 July. After an initial refusal, the Murdochs confirmed they would attend after the committee issued them a summons to Parliament. The day before the committee, the website of the News Corporation publication The Sun was hacked, and a false story was posted on the front page claiming that Murdoch had died. Murdoch described the day of the committee “the most humble day of my life”. He argued that since he ran a global business of 53,000 employees and that the News of the World was “just 1%” of this, he was not ultimately responsible for what went on at the tabloid. He added that he had not considered resigning, and that he and the other top executives had been completely unaware of the hacking.
On 15 July, Murdoch attended a private meeting in London with the family of Milly Dowler, where he personally apologized for the hacking of their murdered daughter’s voicemail by a company he owns. On 16 and 17 July, News International published two full-page apologies in many of Britain’s national newspapers. The first apology took the form of a letter, signed by Rupert Murdoch, in which he said sorry for the “serious wrongdoing” that occurred. The second was titled “Putting right what’s gone wrong”, and gave more detail about the steps News International was taking to address the public’s concerns. In the wake of the allegations Murdoch accepted the resignations of Rebekah Brooks, head of Murdoch’s British operations, andLes Hinton, head of Dow Jones who was chairman of Murdoch’s British newspaper division when some of the abuses happened. They both deny any knowledge of any wrongdoing under their command.
On 27 February 2012, the following day after Murdoch’s controversial release of the Sun on Sunday, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers informed the Leveson Inquiry that police are investigating a “network of corrupt officials” as part of their inquiries into phone hacking and police corruption. She said that evidence suggested a “culture of illegal payments” at the Sun newspaper and that these payments allegedly made by the Sun were authorised at a senior level.
In testimony on 25 April 2012, Murdoch did not deny the quote attributed to him by his former editor of The Sunday Times, Harold Evans: “I give instructions to my editors all round the world, why shouldn’t I in London?” On 1 May 2012, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee issued a report stating that Murdoch was “not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company”.
On 3 July 2013 Exaro and Channel 4 news broke the story of a secretly recorded tape. The tape was recorded by Sun journalists and in it Murdoch can be heard telling them that the whole investigation was one big fuss over nothing, and that he, or his successors, would take care of any journalists who went to prison. He said: “Why are the police behaving in this way? It’s the biggest inquiry ever, over next to nothing.”
Activities in the United States
Murdoch made his first acquisition in the United States in 1973, when he purchased the San Antonio Express-News. Soon afterwards, he founded Star, a supermarket tabloid, and in 1976, he purchased the New York Post. On 4 September 1985, Murdoch became a naturalized citizen to satisfy the legal requirement that only US citizens were permitted to own US television stations. This resulted in Murdoch losing his Australian citizenship.
In 1987 in Australia, he bought The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd, the company that his father had once managed. By 1990 News Corporation had built up debts of $7 billion (much from Sky TV in the UK). forcing Murdoch to sell many of the American magazine interests he had acquired in the mid-1980s. In 1993, it took exclusive coverage of the National Football League (NFL) from CBS and increased programming to seven days a week. In 1995, Murdoch’s Fox Network became the object of scrutiny from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), when it was alleged that News Ltd.’s Australian base made Murdoch’s ownership of Fox illegal. However, the FCC ruled in Murdoch’s favour, stating that his ownership of Fox was in the best interests of the public. That same year, Murdoch announced a deal with MCI Communications to develop a major news website and magazine, The Weekly Standard. Also that year, News Corporation launched the Foxtel pay television network in Australia in partnership with Telstra. In 1996, Murdoch decided to enter the cable news market with the Fox News Channel, a 24-hourcable news station. Ratings studies released in 2009 showed that the network was responsible for nine of the top ten programs in the “Cable News” category at that time. Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner (founder and former owner of CNN) are long-standing rivals. In late 2003, Murdoch acquired a 34 percent stake in Hughes Electronics, the operator of the largest American satellite TV system, DirecTV, from General Motors for $6 billion (USD). His Fox movie studio would go on to have global hits with Titanic and Avatar.
In 2004, Murdoch announced that he was moving News Corporation headquarters from Adelaide, Australia to the United States. Choosing a US domicile was designed to ensure that American fund managers could purchase shares in the company, since many were deciding not to buy shares in non-US companies.
News Corporation logo
On 20 July 2005, News Corporation bought Intermix Media Inc., which held Myspace, Imagine Games Network and other social networking-themed websites, for $580 million USD, making Murdoch a major player in online media concerns. In June 2011, it sold off Myspace for US$35 million.On 11 September 2005, News Corporation announced that it would buy IGN Entertainment for $650 million (USD).
In June 2014, Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox made a bid for Time Warner at $85 per share in stock and cash ($80 billion total) which Time Warner’s board of directors turned down in July. Warner’s CNN unit would have been sold to ease antitrust issues of the purchase. On 5 August 2014 the company announced it had withdrawn its offer for Time Warner, and said it would spend $6 billion buying back its own shares over the following 12 months.
On 8 May 2006, the Financial Times reported that Murdoch would be hosting a fund-raiser for Senator Hillary Clinton‘s (D-New York) Senate re-election campaign. In a 2008 interview with Walt Mossberg, Murdoch was asked whether he had “anything to do with the New York Post‘s endorsement of Barack Obama in the democratic primaries.” Without hesitating, Murdoch replied, “Yeah. He is a rock star. It’s fantastic. I love what he is saying about education. I don’t think he will win Florida… but he will win in Ohio and the election. I am anxious to meet him. I want to see if he will walk the walk.” Murdoch is a strong supporter of Israel and its domestic policies.
Murdoch is a supporter of more open immigration policies in western nations generally. In the United States, Murdoch and chief executives from several major corporations, includingHewlett-Packard, Boeing and Disney joined New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to form the Partnership for a New American Economy to advocate “for immigration reform – including a path to legal status for all illegal aliens now in the United States.” The coalition, reflecting Murdoch and Bloomberg’s own views, also advocates significant increases in legal immigration to the United States as a means of boosting America’s sluggish economy and lowering unemployment. The Partnership’s immigration policy prescriptions are notably similar to those of the Cato Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—both of which Murdoch has supported in the past.
The Wall Street Journal editorial page has similarly advocated for increased legal immigration, in contrast to the staunch anti-immigration stance of Murdoch’s British newspaper, The Sun. On 5 September 2010, Murdoch testified before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law Membership on the “Role of Immigration in Strengthening America’s Economy.” In his testimony, Murdoch called for ending mass deportations and endorsed a “comprehensive immigration reform” plan that would include a pathway to citizenship for all illegal immigrants.
In October 2015, Murdoch stirred controversy, tweeting, “Ben and Candy Carson terrific. What about a real black President who can properly address the racial divide? And much else.” After which he apologized, tweeting, “Apologies! No offence meant. Personally find both men charming.” 
Activities in Europe
Murdoch owns controlling interest in Sky Italia, a satellite television provider in Italy. Murdoch’s business interests in Italy have been a source of contention since they began. In 2010 Murdoch won a media dispute with then Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. A judge ruled the then Prime Minister’s media arm Mediaset prevented News Corporation’s Italian unit, Sky Italia, from buying advertisements on its television networks.
Activities in Asia
In 1993, Murdoch acquired Star TV, a Hong Kong company founded by Richard Li for $1 billion (Souchou, 2000:28), and subsequently set up offices for it throughout Asia. The deal enables News International to broadcast from Hong Kong to India, China, Japan and over thirty other countries in Asia, becoming one of the biggest satellite TV networks in the east.However, the deal did not work out as Murdoch had planned, because the Chinese government placed restrictions on it that prevented it from reaching most of China.
In 1956 Murdoch married Patricia Booker, a former shop assistant and flight attendant from Melbourne and they had their only child, Prudence, in 1958. Rupert and Patricia Murdoch divorced in 1967.
On 25 June 1999, 17 days after divorcing his second wife, Murdoch, then aged 68, married Chinese-born Wendi Deng. She was 30, a recent Yale School of Management graduate, and a newly appointed vice-president of his STAR TV. Murdoch has two daughters with her; Grace (born 2001) and Chloe (born 2003). Rupert Murdoch has six children in all, and is grandfather to thirteen grandchildren. On 13 June 2013, a News Corporation spokesperson confirmed that Murdoch filed for divorce from Deng in New York City, U.S. According to the spokesman, the marriage had been irretrievably broken for more than six months. Murdoch also ended his long-standing relationship with Tony Blair after suspecting him of having an affair with Deng while they were still married.
Murdoch has six children. His eldest child, Prudence MacLeod, was appointed on 28 January 2011 to the board of Times Newspapers Ltd, part of News International, which publishesThe Times and The Sunday Times. Murdoch’s eldest son Lachlan, formerly the deputy chief operating officer at the News Corporation and the publisher of the New York Post, was Murdoch’s heir apparent before resigning from his executive posts at the global media company at the end of July 2005. Lachlan’s departure left James Murdoch chief executive of the satellite television service British Sky Broadcasting since November 2003, as the only Murdoch son still directly involved with the company’s operations, though Lachlan has agreed to remain on the News Corporation’s board.
After graduating from Vassar College and marrying classmate Elkin Kwesi Pianim (the son of Ghanaian financial and political mogul Kwame Pianim) in 1993, Murdoch’s daughterElisabeth, along with her husband, purchased a pair of NBC-affiliate television stations in California, KSBW and KSBY, with a $35 million loan provided by her father. By quickly re-organising and re-selling them at a $12 million profit in 1995, Elisabeth emerged as an unexpected rival to her brothers for the eventual leadership of the publishing dynasty’s empire. But after divorcing her first husband in 1998 and quarrelling publicly with her assigned mentor Sam Chisholm at BSkyB, she struck out on her own as a television and film producer in London. She has since enjoyed independent success, in conjunction with her second husband, Matthew Freud, the great-grandson of Sigmund Freud (the founder of psychoanalysis) whom she met in 1997 and married in 2001.
It is not known how long Murdoch will remain as News Corporation’s CEO. For a while the American cable television entrepreneur John Malone was the second-largest voting shareholder in News Corporation after Murdoch himself, potentially undermining the family’s control. In 2007, the company announced that it would sell certain assets and give cash to Malone’s company in exchange for its stock. In 2007, the company issued Murdoch’s older children voting stock.
Murdoch has two children with Wendi Deng: Grace (b. New York, 19 November 2001) and Chloe (b. New York, 17 July 2003). It was revealed in September 2011 that Tony Blair is Grace’s godfather. There is reported to be tension between Murdoch and his oldest children over the terms of a trust holding the family’s 28.5 percent stake in News Corporation, estimated in 2005 to be worth about $6.1 billion. Under the trust, his children by Wendi Deng share in the proceeds of the stock but have no voting privileges or control of the stock. Voting rights in the stock are divided 50/50 between Murdoch on the one side and his children of his first two marriages. Murdoch’s voting privileges are not transferable but will expire upon his death and the stock will then be controlled solely by his children from the prior marriages, although their half-siblings will continue to derive their share of income from it. It is Murdoch’s stated desire to have his children by Deng given a measure of control over the stock proportional to their financial interest in it (which would mean, if Murdoch dies while at least one of the children is a minor, that Deng would exercise that control). It does not appear that he has any strong legal grounds to contest the present arrangement, and both ex-wife Anna and their three children are said to be strongly resistant to any such change.
In the 1997 film Fierce Creatures, the head of Octopus Inc. Rod McCain (initials R.M.) character is likely modelled after Murdoch.
In 1999, the Ted Turner owned TBS aired an original sitcom, The Chimp Channel. This featured an all-simian cast and the role of an Australian TV veteran named Harry Waller. The character is described as “a self-made gazillionaire with business interests in all sorts of fields. He owns newspapers, hotel chains, sports franchises and genetic technologies, as well as everyone’s favourite cable TV channel, The Chimp Channel.” Waller is thought to be a parody of Murdoch, a long-time rival of Turner.
In 2004, the movie Outfoxed included many interviews accusing Fox News of pressuring reporters to report only one side of news stories, in order to influence viewers’ political opinions.
In 2012, the satirical show Hacks, broadcast on UK-based Channel 4, made obvious comparisons with Rupert Murdoch using the fictional character ‘Stanhope Feast’, portrayed by Michael Kitchen, as well as other central figures in the phone hacking scandal.
Influence, wealth and reputation
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According to Forbes‘ 2013 list of richest Americans, Murdoch is the 33rd richest person in the US and the 91st richest person in the world, with a net worth of US$12.4 billion. In 2014, Forbes ranked “Rupert Murdoch & Family” as the 33rd most-powerful person in the world.
In August 2013, Terry Flew, Professor of Media and Communications at Queensland University of Technology, wrote an article for the Conversation publication in which he verified a claim by former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd that Murdoch owned 70% of Australian newspapers in 2011. Flew’s article showed that News Corp Australia owned 23% of the nation’s newspapers in 2011, according to the Finkelstein Review of Media and Media Regulation, but, at the time of the article, the corporation’s titles accounted for 59% of the sales of all daily newspapers, with weekly sales of 17.3 million copies.
News Corp papers were accused of supporting the campaign of the Australian Liberal government and influencing public opinion during the 2013 federal election. Following the announcement of the Liberal Party victory at the polls, Murdoch tweeted “Aust. election public sick of public sector workers and phony welfare scroungers sucking life out of economy. Other nations to follow in time”.
In November 2015, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that Rupert Murdoch “arguably has had more impact on the wider world than any other living Australian.”
Phillips was a strategist on voting patterns for Richard Nixon‘s 1968 campaign, which was the basis for a book, The Emerging Republican Majority, which predicted a conservativerealignment in national politics, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential recent works in political science. His predictions regarding shifting voting patterns in presidential elections proved accurate, though they did not extend “down ballot” to Congress until the Republican revolution of 1994. Phillips also was partly responsible for the design of the Republican “Southern strategy” of the 1970s and 1980s.
Later, he became a critic of Republicans from the south and west, the area he had identified as the “Heartland”, the future core of Republican votes. He had also identified the “Yankee Northeast” as the future Democratic stronghold, foreshadowing the current split between Red States and Blue States. More than 30 years before the 2004 election, Phillips foresaw such previously Democratic states as Texas and West Virginia swinging to the Republicans and Vermont and Maine becoming Democratic states.
Phillips worked for Richard Nixon‘s presidential campaign in 1968, and wrote a book on what has come to be known as the “Southern strategy” of the Republican Party. The book was entitled The Emerging Republican Majority and argued that the southern states of the US would keep the Republicans winning Presidential Elections and more than offset the Northeast states, based on racial politics. As he stated to the New York Times Magazine in 1970,
“All the talk about Republicans making inroads into the Negro vote is persiflage. Even ‘Jake the Snake’ [Senator Jacob Javits of New York] only gets 20 percent. From now on, Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote, and they don’t need any more than that… but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.”
American Theocracy (2006)
Allen Dwight Callahan states the book’s theme is that the Republican Party (GOP), religious fundamentalism, petroleum, and borrowed money are an “Unholy Alliance.” The last chapter, in a nod to his first major work, is titled “The Erring Republican Majority.” American Theocracy “presents a nightmarish vision of ideological extremism, catastrophic fiscal irresponsibility, rampant greed and dangerous shortsightedness.”
He identifies three broad and related trends — none of them new to the Bush years but all of them, he believes, exacerbated by this administration’s policies — that together threaten the future of the United States and the world. One is the role of oil in defining and, as Phillips sees it, distorting American foreign and domestic policy. The second is the ominous intrusion of radical Christianity into politics and government. And the third is the astonishing levels of debt — current and prospective — that both the government and the American people have been heedlessly accumulating. If there is a single, if implicit, theme running through the three linked essays that form this book, it is the failure of leaders to look beyond their own and the country’s immediate ambitions and desires so as to plan prudently for a darkening future.
Phillips uses the term financialization to describe how the U.S. economy has been radically restructured from a focus on production, manufacturing and wages, to a focus on speculation, debt, and profits. Since the 1980s, Phillips argues in American Theocracy,
the underlying Washington strategy… was less to give ordinary Americans direct sums than to create a low-interest-rate boom in real estate, thereby raising the percentage of American home ownership, ballooning the prices of homes, and allowing householders to take out some of that increase through low-cost refinancing. This triple play created new wealth to take the place of that destroyed in the 2000-2002 stock-market crash and simultaneously raised consumer confidence.
Nothing similar had ever been engineered before. Instead of a recovery orchestrated by Congress and the White House and aimed at the middle- and bottom-income segments, this one was directed by an appointed central banker, a man whose principal responsibility was to the banking system. His relief, targeted on financial assets and real estate, was principally achieved by monetary stimulus. This in itself confirmed the massive realignment of preferences and priorities within the American system….
Likewise, huge and indisputable but almost never discussed, were the powerful political economics lurking behind the stimulus: the massive rate-cut-driven post-2000 bailout of the FIRE (finance, insurance, and real estate) sector, with its ever-climbing share of GDP and proximity to power. No longer would Washington concentrate stimulus on wages or public-works employment. The Fed’s policies, however shrewd, were not rooted in an abstraction of the national interest but in pursuit of its statutory mandate to protect the U.S. banking and payments system, now inseparable from the broadly defined financial-services sector.
American Theocracy was reviewed widely. The New York Times Book Review wrote “It is not without polemic, but unlike many of the more glib and strident political commentaries of recent years, it is extensively researched and frighteningly persuasive…”The Chicago Sun-Times wrote “Overall, Phillips’ book is a thoughtful and somber jeremiad, written throughout with a graceful wryness… a capstone to his life’s work.”
Bad Money (2008)
Kevin Phillips examines America’s great shift from manufacturing to financial services. He also discusses America’s petroleum policies and the tying of the dollar to the price of oil. Phillips suggests that the Euro and the Chinese Yuan/Renminbi are favorites to take the dollar’s place in countries hostile towards America, like Iran. He then tackles the lack of regulatory oversight employed in the housing market and how the housing boom was allowed to run free under Alan Greenspan. The book concludes with the proposal that America is employing bad capitalism and extends Gresham’s Law of currency to suggest that our good capitalism will be driven out by the bad.
The Emerging Republican Majority (1969)
Mediacracy: American Parties and Politics in the Communications Age (1974) ISBN 0-385-04945-5
Electoral Reform and Voter Participation (with Paul H. Blackman, 1975)
Post-Conservative America: People, Politics, and Ideology in a Time of Crisis (1982) ISBN 0-394-52212-5
Staying on Top: The Business Case for a National Industrial Strategy (1984) ISBN 0-394-53744-0
The Politics of Rich and Poor: Wealth and Electorate in the Reagan Aftermath (1990) ISBN 0-394-55954-1
Boiling Point: Democrats, Republicans, and the Decline of Middle Class Prosperity (1993) ISBN 0-679-40461-9
Arrogant Capital: Washington, Wall Street and the Frustration of American Politics (1994) ISBN 0-316-70618-3
The Cousins’ Wars: Religion, Politics and the Triumph of Anglo-America (1998) ISBN 0-465-01369-4
Christianity and Democracy, War and Peace, Pope John Paul II – Books (2008)
George Weigel (born 1951) is an American author and political and social activist. He currently serves as a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Weigel was the Founding President of the James Madison Foundation. He is the author of the best-selling biography of Pope John Paul II, Witness to Hope and Tranquillitas Ordinis: The Present Failure and Future Promise of American Catholic Thought on War and Peace.
Weigel was born and grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, where he attended St. Mary’s Seminary and University. He later received his masters degree from St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto. He has received 18 honorary doctorate degrees, as well as the papal cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice and the Gloria Artis Gold Medal from the Polish Ministry of Culture.
Weigel lived in Seattle, serving as Assistant Professor of Theology and Assistant Dean of Studies at the St. Thomas the Apostle Seminary School of Theology in Kenmore, and Scholar-in-Residence at the World Without War Council of Greater Seattle, before returning to Washington, D.C. as a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Weigel served as the founding president of the James Madison Foundation (not to be confused with the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation) from 1986 to 1989. In 1994, he was a signer of the document Evangelicals and Catholics Together.
He currently serves as Distinguished Senior Fellow and Chair of Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C..
Each summer, Weigel and several other Catholic intellectuals from the United States, Poland, and across Europe conduct the Tertio Millennio Seminar on the Free Society in Krakow, in which they and an assortment of students from the United States, Poland, and several other emerging democracies in Central and Eastern Europe discuss Christianity within the context of liberal democracy and capitalism, with the papal encyclical Centesimus Annus being the focal point.
Weigel and his wife Joan live in North Bethesda, Maryland. He has three children.
He is a member of the advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
Weigel writes and serves on the Institute board for the Institute for Religion and Public Life, which publishes First Things, an ecumenical publication that focuses on encouraging a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society.
The main body of Weigel’s writings engage the issues of religion and culture.
Weigel advocates a U.S. foreign policy guided not by utopian notions about how nations should behave, but by moral reasoning. “From the Iliad to Tolstoy and beyond, that familiar trope, “the fog of war,” has been used to evoke the millennia–old experience of the radical uncertainty of combat. Some analysts, however, take the trope of “the fog of war” a philosophical step further and suggest that warfare takes place beyond the reach of moral reason, in a realm of interest and necessity where moral argument is a pious diversion at best and, at worst, a lethal distraction from the deadly serious business at hand.”
In some cases, he adds, moral reasoning may require that the United States support authoritarian regimes to fend off the greater evils of moral decay and threats to the security of the United States. For Weigel, America’s shortcomings do not excuse her from pursuing the greater moral good.
Weigel achieved much fame for writing Witness to Hope, a biography of the late Pope John Paul II, which was also made into a documentary film. In 2004 Weigel wrote an article in Commentary magazine, entitled “The Cathedral and the Cube”, in which he used the contrast between the modernist Grande Arche, and the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral, both located in Paris, France, to illustrate what he called a loss of “civilizational morale” in Western Europe, which he tied to the secular tyrannies of the 20th century, along with, more recently, plummeting birthrates and Europe’s refusal to recognize the Christian roots of its culture. Weigel questions whether Europe can give an account of itself while denying the very moral tradition through which its culture arose: “Christians who share this conviction (that it is the will of God that Christians be tolerant of those who have a different view of God’s will) — can give an account of their defense of the other’s freedom even if the other, skeptical and relativist, finds it hard to give an account of the freedom of the Christian.” This is a theme sounded clearly by Marcello Pera and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (from 2005 to 2013 Pope Benedict XVI), in their book Without Roots: the West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam, for which Weigel authored the foreword. In 2005, he expanded the article into a book, The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God.
Ten Things To Know About Pope Francis (George Weigel – Acton Institute)
Top 10 Immigrant Countries
The ten countries with greatest number of foreign born residents.
10. Spain 6.5 million immigrants (13.8% of pop)
9. Australia 6.5 million immigrants (27.7%)
8. Canada 7.3 million immigrants (20.7%)
7. France 7.4 million immigrants (11.6%)
6. United Kingdom 7.8 million immigrants (12.4%)
5. United Arab Emirates 7.8 million immigrants (83.7%)
4. Saudi Arabia 9.1 million immigrants (31.4%)
3. Germany 9.8 million immigrants (11.9%)
2. Russia 11 million immigrants (7.7%)
1. USA 45.7 million immigrants (14.3%)
The World in 2015: Global population and the changing shape of world demographics
Demographic Winter – the decline of the human family (Full Movie)
Story 1: Part 1: The Decline and Fall Of The Democratic Party Under Liar In Chief Obama — Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump in 2016 Presidential Election — Two Party Tyranny — What Difference Does It Make? — Donor Class Wins No Matter Who Wins — Make America Great Again! –Videos
Ray: A public servant who has a track record of not telling the truth
Judge Napolitano What if the two party system is a sham? – Fox Business
Donald Trump on GOP competition, Benghazi hearing
Kurtz: Paul Ryan, insufficiently conservative?
Rush Limbaugh: GOP donors installed Paul Ryan as House Speaker
Limbaugh: Donor/RINO Class Pushing Hard For Paul Ryan As Speaker Of The House
Both Parties Fear the Tea Party (Limbaugh)
Mark Levin on Paul Ryan’s radical pro Amnesty ideology
UN-led Mass Migration Destroying U.S. Nationhood
Understanding the Impact of Europe’s Migrant Crisis
Would Paul Ryan Be a Good Choice for House Speaker?
What We Can Expect If Congress Passes TPP
The Nuances Behind the Republican Presidential Debate
How Trump’s Attack on McCain Didn’t Go Far Enough
Iran Deal Courtesy of CFR New World Order Crowd
‘2030 Agenda’: Latest UN Plan for World Government
‘Two-party system an illusion, both funded from same source’
“MORE AND MORE PEOPLE “FED UP WITH THIS “RIGGED TWO-PARTY SYSTEM”!
The Two-Party System is Making America Ungovernable- Intelligence Squared U.S.
Andrew Horning on Breaking the Two Party System 1 18 2014
Reagan Warned Us About Obama
Mark Steyn on Racism, Slavery, and the Democratic Party
Rush To Beck: “We May Be Looking At Barack Obama Destroying The Democrat Party”
Mind blowing speech by Robert Welch in 1958 predicting Insiders plans to destroy America
Ron Paul – Judge Napolitano What if the two party system is a sham? – Fox Business
ObamaCare 101: What the Healthcare Law Means to You Part 1 of 3
Art Thompson, CEO of The John Birch Society, takes you into the new healthcare law. He identifies a pattern of government broken promises, revealing that if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Find out what’s really in the new law and what you can expect long term.
ObamaCare 101: What the Healthcare Law Means to You Part 2 of 3
ObamaCare 101: What the Healthcare Law Means to You Part 3 of 3
John Birch Society: Oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
William F. Jasper, Senior Editor for The New American magazine, explains how President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an “an all-out assault on our national sovereignty,” and how It would unconstitutionally transfer legislative powers from the U.S. Congress, our state legislatures, and our city and county governments to multi-national corporations and unaccountable international bureaucrats at the World Trade Organization, or WTO. Incredibly, it also would transfer judicial powers from our federal and state courts — which are bad enough — to globalist TPP judges at regional tribunals and the WTO.
DECLINE of EMPIRES: The Signs of Decay
Archie Bunker on Democrats
Archie Bunker predicts conditions under Obama
George Carlin – It’s a big club and you ain’t in it
Obama Job Approval Steady in 27th Quarter at 45.9%
by Jeffrey M. Jones
Average 45.9% approval similar to 46.1% in prior quarter
Obama has been under 50% approval for most of his presidency
Approval midrange compared with other presidents’ 27th quarters
PRINCETON, N.J. — President Barack Obama’s job approval rating in his 27th quarter in office, from July 20 to Oct. 19, averaged 45.9%, essentially unchanged from his 46.1% average for the prior quarter.
Obama’s daily approval ratings also varied little within his most recent quarter, averaging 46% nearly every week during the quarter. There were just two modest but notable exceptions. In late August, as U.S. stocks fell in response to concerns about problems in the Chinese economy, his weekly approval rating dipped to 44%. And in late September it rose to 48% during the week of Pope Francis’ U.S. trip, which included a widely covered visit with Obama at the White House.
Since he became president nearly seven years ago, Obama has averaged 47% job approval. There have been only five quarters when he had majority approval, with four of those occurring during the first year of his presidency, the so-called “honeymoon phase” when new presidents tend to be rated positively. The only other time Obama’s quarterly approval exceeded 50% was perhaps the most consequential one — the 16th quarter, in which he was re-elected.
Obama’s 27th Quarter Midrange Compared With Other Presidents
Obama is the sixth post-World War II president to serve a 27th quarter in office. Two of these — Dwight Eisenhower and Bill Clinton — were rated quite positively at this stage in their presidencies, with average approval ratings of 65.3% and 59.7%, respectively.
In contrast, Harry Truman (23.0%) and George W. Bush (33.2%) were decidedly unpopular at the same point of their presidencies. Truman’s 27th quarter average is the worst quarterly average for any president in Gallup’s polling history.
Obama’s 27th quarter average, along with Ronald Reagan’s, is between these two extremes. Reagan averaged 47.0% approval, slightly better than Obama’s 45.9%.
After presidents have served nearly seven years in office, Americans’ opinions of them are pretty well-established and unlikely to change unless a major international or domestic crisis occurs. Clinton’s and Bush’s approval ratings did not change between their 27th and 28thquarters. Truman, Eisenhower and Reagan saw modest improvements of a few percentage points.
Americans’ opinions of Obama have been steady this year, holding near 46%. If his approval ratings do not improve dramatically during the remainder of his presidency, his full-term approval rating average, currently 47%, will rank among the lowest for post-World War II presidents, tied with Gerald Ford’s and better than only Truman’s (45.4%) and Jimmy Carter’s (45.5%).
Obama’s relatively low approval ratings may be as much a function of the era in which he is governing as it is a reflection on his leadership, management and decision-making. There have been relatively few international crises that helped to boost his public support, as the 9/11 attacks and Iraq War did for Bush, and as similar crises have done for other presidents. Arguably the only “rally event” in Obama’s presidency was the capture of Osama bin Laden. Obama also took office during the Great Recession, and the economic recovery since it ended has been slow and uneven.
But Obama is also governing in a time of extreme partisan polarization. In Congress, that has meant political gridlock since Democrats lost control of the U.S. House in the 2010 midterm elections. In the American public, it is evident in his historically low support from the opposition party. Obama’s average 13% approval rating among Republicans is on pace to be the lowest job approval rating from the opposition party by a full 10 percentage points, behind Bush’s average 23% approval rating among Democrats. By comparison, Clinton averaged 27% approval among Republicans, and presidents before Clinton averaged 40% approval from the opposition.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted July 20-Oct. 19, 2015, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 45,663 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.
Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.
In U.S., New Record 43% Are Political Independents
by Jeffrey M. Jones
Record 43% of Americans are political independents
Democrats maintain edge among those with a party preference
Democratic advantage smaller in 2014 than in 2013
PRINCETON, N.J. — An average 43% of Americans identified politically as independents in 2014, establishing a new high in Gallup telephone poll trends back to 1988. In terms of national identification with the two major parties, Democrats continued to hold a modest edge over Republicans, 30% to 26%.
Since 2008, the percentage of political independents — those who identify as such before their leanings to the two major parties are taken into account — has steadily climbed from 35% to the current 43%, exceeding 40% each of the last four years. Prior to 2011, the high in independent identification was 39% in 1995 and 1999.
The recent rise in political independence has come at the expense of both parties, but more among Democrats than among Republicans. Over the last six years, Democratic identification has fallen from 36% — the highest in the last 25 years — to 30%. Meanwhile, Republican identification is down from 28% in 2008 to 26% last year.
The latest results are based on aggregated data from 15 separate Gallup telephone polls conducted throughout 2014.
These changes have left both parties at or near low points in the percentage who identify themselves as core supporters of the party. Although the party identification data compiled in telephone polls since 1988 are not directly comparable to the in-person polling Gallup collected before then, the percentages identifying as Democrats prior to 1988 were so high that it is safe to say the average 30% identifying as Democrats last year is the lowest since at least the 1950s.
Republican identification, at 26%, is a shade higher than the 25% in 2013. Not since 1983, the year before Ronald Reagan’s landslide re-election victory, have fewer Americans identified as Republicans.
The decline in identification with both parties in recent years comes as dissatisfaction with government has emerged as one of the most important problems facing the country, according to Americans. This is likely due to the partisan gridlock that has come from divided party control of the federal government. Trust in the government to handle problems more generally is the lowest Gallup has measured to date, and Americans’ favorable ratings of both parties are at or near historical lows. Thus, the rise in U.S. political independence likely flows from the high level of frustration with the government and the political parties that control it.
Democrats’ Edge in Party Identification and Leaning Shrinks
Although independents claim no outright allegiance to either major party, it is well-known that they are not necessarily neutral when it comes to politics. When pressed, most independents will say they lean to one of the two major parties. For example, last year an average of 17% of Americans who initially identified as independents subsequently said they “leaned” Republican, 15% were independents who leaned Democratic, with the remaining 11% not expressing a leaning to either party.
Since partisan leaners often share similar attitudes to those who identify with a party outright, the relative proportions of identifiers plus leaners gives a sense of the relative electoral strength of the two political parties, since voting decisions almost always come down to a choice of the two major-party candidates. In 2014, an average 45% of Americans identified as Democrats or said they were Democratic-leaning independents, while 42% identified as Republicans or were Republican-leaning independents.
That the three-point Democratic edge was down from six points in 2013, and among Democrats’ smaller advantages the past 25 years. Democrats usually hold an advantage in this combined measure of party affiliation. In fact, the only year Republicans held a notable edge since Gallup began tracking independents’ political leanings was in 1991, the year Republican President George H.W. Bush’s approval ratings soared after the United States’ victory in the Persian Gulf War. Democrats’ high point came in 2008, in the final year of George W. Bush’s administration and the year Barack Obama was first elected president.
However, the three-point Democratic advantage for all of 2014 obscures the change that occurred during the year. On a quarterly basis, Democrats started out 2014 with a five-point edge, similar to their advantage in 2013. That dipped to two points by the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, likely in response to Republicans’ success in the 2014 midterm elections, Republicans held a slight advantage of one point.
Since 2008, Americans have been increasingly reluctant to identify with either the Republican or Democratic Party, and now a record 43% claimed political independence in 2014. Given historical trends, 2015 could bring a new record, as the percentage identifying as independents typically increases in the year before a presidential election, averaging a 2.5-point increase in the last six such years.
Although Democrats typically have an advantage in partisanship, that edge shrunk in 2014 and in the last months of the year the parties were essentially on equal footing. With each party controlling part of the federal government — Democrats the presidency and Republicans the Congress — they each will have a say in how the nation addresses its major challenges in the coming year. However, in recent years divided control of government has more often than not resulted in partisan gridlock, and Americans’ frustration with the frequent political stalemate is evident. Continued frustration with the government would likely encourage more Americans to identify as independents this year.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted January-December 2014, with a combined random sample of 16,479 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.
Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.
New Emails Reveal Obama White House Worked on Concocting Benghazi Lie DURING the Attacks
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said on Thursday that the Obama White House was contacting YouTube owner Google during the Benghazi terrorist attacks, working on the false narrative even before Americans were out of harm’s way and before the intelligence community examined available evidence.
The still classified Obama State Department email, according to Issa, shows that the Obama White House rushed to settle on the false narrative of the anti-Islamic YouTube video instigating the attacks, which was completely at odds with the conclusions reached by reports from the ground.
This new evidence destroys the Obama White House claims, communicated by Obama spokesman Jay Carney, that the White House obtained the false narrative from CIA talking points, since, according to Congressman Issa, the communication with YouTube was conducted by the Obama White House before any CIA talking points were concocted.
The subject line of the email, ironically sent at 9:11 p.m. (the attacks took place on 9/11/12) on the night of the attack, was “Update on Response to actions – Libya,” hours before the attack had ended.
“The e-mail shows the White House had hurried to settle on a false narrative — one at odds with the conclusions reached by those on the ground — before Americans were even out of harm’s way or the intelligence community had made an impartial examination of available evidence,” Issa said.
Issa has called for the Obama White House to declassify the email.
According to Issa, one of the items noted in the email stated, “White House is reaching out to U-Tube [sic] to advise ramifications of the posting of the Pastor Jon video.”
Issa scolded current Secretary of State, Democrat John Kerry, for just now turning over a classified version of the email, some 20 months after the attack, while calling on the regime to release a unclassified copy.
“Unfortunately, Secretary Kerry and the State Department continue to try to keep this information from the public, only turning this document over to Congress last month. While the information I have cited from this email is clearly unclassified, the State Department has attempted to obstruct its disclosure by not providing Congress with an unclassified copy of this document that redacted only classified portions outlining what the Department of Defense and the Secretary of State were doing in response to the attack in Benghazi that night.”
“This tactic prevents the release of the email itself,” said Issa.
Paul Ryan officially declares candidacy for House speaker
Rep. Paul Ryan officially announced his bid Thursday night to become the next House speaker after securing backing from the three major political factions inside the House GOP conference.
“I never thought I’d be speaker,” Ryan wrote in a letter to his Republican colleagues. “But I pledged to you that if I could be a unifying figure, then I would serve — I would go all in. After talking with so many of you, and hearing your words of encouragement, I believe we are ready to move forward as one, united team. And I am ready and eager to be our speaker.”
The Wisconsin Republican snapped up endorsements from a centrist Republican caucus called the Tuesday Group as well as from the more conservative Republican Study Committee.
“After hearing Paul lay out his vision for the future of the Republican conference, I am confident that he is the right person to lead the House going forward,” Rep. Bill Flores, chairman of the RSC, said in a statement Thursday. “He has the policy expertise, conservative principles and strong values we need in our next speaker.”
The endorsements came after Ryan won support from most members of the House Freedom Caucus — a group of about 40 hard-line conservatives — late Wednesday night.
“I’ve spoken with many of you over the past few days, and I can sense the hunger in our conference to get to work,” Ryan wrote. “I know many of you want to show the country how to fix our tax code, how to rebuild our military, how to strengthen the safety net, and how to lift people out of poverty. I know you’re willing to work hard and get it done, and I think this moment is ripe for real reform.”
Ryan, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, announced Tuesday he would run for the top leadership job if he got support from all GOP factions. He gave his colleagues until Friday to decide whether to support him.
He had repeatedly said he did not want the job but was pressed to run by Republicans who see him as the best candidate to unite the GOP conference.
“Whatever our differences, we’re all conservatives,” Ryan wrote in his letter. “We were elected to defend the constitution. We share the same principles. We all believe America is the land of opportunity — the place where you should be able to go as far as your talents and hard work will take you.”
Republicans will choose a new speaker next week — voting in conference next Wednesday to pick their nominee and on the House floor next Thursday. Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is set to resign next Friday.
The rebellious Freedom Caucus was Ryan’s biggest obstacle to becoming speaker. He did not win the group’s official backing because he fell short of its requirement that at least 80% of its members agree on an endorsement. He won support from about 70% of caucus members.
The caucus’ qualified support, combined with endorsements from the other two GOP groups, are enough to clear Ryan’s path — and possibly end the weeks-long leadership scramble inside the House GOP conference.
Eighty-one percent of Republican insiders say that the likelihood that Trump becomes their party’s nominee is more today than it was a month ago.
The odds that Donald Trump wins the Republican presidential nomination are going up.
Eighty-one percent of Republican insiders say the likelihood that Trump becomes their party’s nominee is more today than it was a month ago, and 79 percent of Democrats said the same. That’s according to the POLITICO Caucus, our weekly bipartisan survey of top strategists, operatives and activists in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.
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“I can’t even describe the lunacy of him as our nominee. But reason has not applied to date in this race, and my hopes are fleeting that it will ever surface,” lamented an Iowa Republican, who like all participants was granted anonymity in order to speak freely.
“Predictions of his demise keep not coming true,” added a New Hampshire Republican.
Asserted a South Carolina Republican, “Donald Trump being the GOP nominee is now within the realm of possibility.”
Twenty-two percent of Caucus Republicans said Trump has a 50-50 shot at becoming the Republican nominee; the same percentage said he has a 30 percent chance. The rest of the respondents were divided, with the majority saying his odds are still less than 50 percent. But more than 8-in-10 GOP respondents said those are better odds than they gave Trump a month ago.
The results are notable because they represent a big shift in the thinking of POLITICO Caucus insiders, who this summer were deeplyskeptical of Trump’s staying power.
“Trump will be among 3-4 finalists well into April; of that there is no doubt,” an Iowa Republican said.
Added a New Hampshire Republican, who like all participants responded via an online survey: “Numbers are numbers and you have to give them credence. I remain skeptical that he has the ability to turn people out, come primary day, but I [have] been wrong about this campaign every step of the way so far.”
Several insiders pointed to both Trump’s persistent leads in polls and evidence of organization on the ground.
“I think he’s now mounting a serious campaign,” a South Carolina Republican said. “His stump speech had matured and even though the novelty of his candidacy is wearing off, his straight talk is appealing to people who are so sick of being lied to by the political class.”
Another Iowa Republican agreed, saying, “The more time that goes by that he continues to lead — the more likely it is he wins. That simple. Also, comparatively, he is building a real campaign. More so than many others.”
“Not sure why anyone should be so surprised that Trump’s campaign is getting so serious in terms of infrastructure build-out,” a New Hampshire Democrat said. “Trump may be a jerk, but he is an extremely successful jerk. He has the means and the smarts to compete everywhere — and he is not slowing down.”
That’s not the case in Nevada, noted several Republicans there, who said they see little evidence of a strong Trump ground game there.
But, one Republican from that state admonished: “He has demonstrated that he is durable in a way that Herman Cain, Michele [Bachmann] and Newt Gingrich were not. … A lot can happen in the next few months, but it is time for everyone to stop whistling past the graveyard and realize that this is real and he could be our standard-bearer.”
However, several insiders also predict that, though his odds have improved, the rest of the Republican Party will coalesce against him if he still appears to be a serious contender for the nomination when voting begins.
“Maybe, just maybe, Trump wins an early contest or two. That will trigger a much stronger Stop Trump movement,” a New Hampshire Republican said. “The party will nominate Bob Dole — in 2016 —before it will nominate Trump. And a Trump nomination would result in a third candidate emerging.”
Several insiders also said Trump couldn’t withstand waves of scrutiny stemming from attacks launched by super PACs and big donors that, they said, may be just around the corner.
“The summer of Trump has lasted longer than conventional wisdom suggested it would,” a South Carolina Republican said. “It’s going to take a sustained, multi-pronged paid media effort to educate voters that Trump is not a conservative and has flip-flopped on practically every issue. Major donors are quickly getting to the place where they are ready to fund such an effort.”
All eyes on Jeb
The pressure is on for Jeb Bush in next week’s GOP debate, insiders said. Forty-seven percent of Republicans, and 41 percent of Democrats, said the former Florida governor is the candidate with the most riding on the contest, set for next Wednesday in Boulder, Colo.
“Jeb really needs a knock-out performance — it needs to be all him with nobody even close. Otherwise those fumes he’s on are going to evaporate even quicker,” a New Hampshire Republican said.
An Iowa Republican said he doesn’t even need to go that far, but he does need to step up his performance.
“Riding at 6 percent in the polls has rattled Jeb’s donors and volunteers,” this insider said. “He doesn’t need a breakout performance, but he needs to be in the mix and in the top tier of the debate or risk getting shoved to the background and overshadowed by Rubio and others seeking to win over mainstream Republican voters.”
Marco Rubio was a distant second choice for which candidate was under the most pressure for a strong debate, pulling in 13 percent of the overall Republican vote and 24 percent of the Democratic vote.
“Rubio has been the one constant at third place, and it’s time he breaks out of that and starts cutting into Trump/Carson,” a South Carolina Democrat said. “It’s no longer ‘early’ and it’s not the final stretch, but this is the part of the horse race where jockeys know they have to start making their moves if they want to be in position to win.”
Fire-breathing scourge of Wall Street on the campaign trail — and reliable friend of Wall Street in the boardroom. That’s Hillary Clinton — and the big-money crowd thinks it’s in on the game.
For all her populist rhetoric against hedge-funders and the like, Clinton has received more donations from CEOs than any candidate in the GOP — you know, the party of the greedy rich.
More than 760 of Clinton’s presidential donors have listed their occupation as CEO or some variation, according to a Big Crunch analysis of federal election forms.
That’s as many as have given to Republican hopefuls Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz combined.
And it doesn’t even include people like hedge-fund CEO Robert Mercer, who prefers to list himself as a “financial consultant” — or those who’ve given instead to pro-Hillary super-PACs. (Or all the folks who’ve bought goodwill over the years by giving to the Clinton Foundation.)
Surprising? No. We’re talking about a woman who’s made millions from hefty six-figure fees for speeches to, among others, groups headed by those same CEOs.
She’s also raked in many millions more for her campaign from corporate lawyers, lobbyists and bankers.
Still, that hasn’t stopped her from declaring, “Wall Street, you’ve had your president. Now we need a president for Main Street.”
And never mind what that seems to imply about the guy in the Oval Office now. Or that just one of her speeches costs four times the average American’s salary.
Wall Street gets it. The fat cats figure she’s just saying what she must to placate her party’s Sanders-Warren hard-left wing.
As one hedge-fund manager told Politico: “Nobody takes it like she’s going after them personally.”
It’s just Hillary being Hillary. Which is to say, all things to all people.
A virulent strain of Clinton Derangement Syndrome, which scientists and Republicans thought had been wiped out at the end of the last century, is now afflicting millions of conservative Americans. Some Republicans so detest Hillary Clinton they are badly underestimating how likely she is, at this point in the campaign, to be America’s 45thpresident. Their denial is just as strong now as it was a month ago, before Clinton began a run of political victories that have enhanced her prospects, all while the roller derby/demolition derby that is the Republican nomination contest has continued to harm the GOP’s chances of winning back the White House.
To be sure, nothing ever happens in a linear or tidy fashion with the Clintons; she is certain to add more chapters to the Perils of Hillary saga before Election Day 2016. Bernie Sanders could still upend her in Iowa, New Hampshire, or both, which could throw the nomination battle into unadulterated bedlam. Even if Clinton is nominated, a strong Republican candidate could absolutely defeat her next November, with victory as simple as the party putting forth a nominee who is more likeable to voters and better on television. Indeed, many elite and grassroots Republicans believe Clinton’s personality, which they can’t stand, will keep her out of the Oval Office no matter what.
But October has been good to Clinton: a glittering debate performance, the decision of potential rival Joe Biden not to run (greatly simplifying her path to the nomination), the vanquishing of Republicans during her daylong Benghazi hearing, and a solid turn at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner Saturday night. All have improved Clinton’s odds of cruising into the White House twelve months hence, and have thrown into sharper relief some of the advantages she has had all along.
To state the obvious, Clinton faces two tasks to become commander-in-chief: get enough delegates to beat Sanders and then sew up 270 electoral votes. The more easily she can complete her first mission (especially compared to the wooly nomination battle of her eventual Republican opponent), the more easily achievable will be her second goal.
Here, then, are some of the advantages the Democratic frontrunner has now, many of which have been ignored or discounted by the people who want to beat her so badly they can’t think straight:
Hillary has shown she can handle Bernie Sanders, despite his plucky persona, raw grassroots appeal, and authentic authenticity.The Vegas debate and Clinton’s improved poll standing has given her and her team a revived notion that Sanders will end up a nuisance rather than a real threat. She has confidence she can face him down in the three debates remaining before Iowa. Without Biden in the race, Clinton is not going to have to play three-dimensional chess and can focus her energies on Sanders alone.
Bernie has shown he doesn’t quite understand how to play big moments in the big leagues.First the debate and now the Jefferson-Jackson dinner—Sanders prepared more for both evenings than the organic Vermonter normally would for any political event, but even his advisers concede that neither occasion represented the kind of performance that Sanders will eventually have to present if he is going to stop the prohibitive front-runner. He was very strong Saturday night but aides say they are still having trouble fully convincing him that not all campaign events are created equal.
Hillary is getting better at managing (and shaking off) the personal pang of her likability deficit.At the J-J dinner, in her recent television interviews, and in her Benghazi testimony, she is showing more of her real self (even the all-too-human tetchy, the airily dismissive, the lordly—without knee-jerk defensiveness or wide-eyed guile), and not getting tied in knots over how she is coming off. While this version of Hillary is still nails-on-a-chalkboard to her conservative critics, it is a huge improvement over the recent past and probably enough to win under the right circumstances.
Biden’s withdrawal means Clinton will lock up even more commitments from the Democratic establishment, giving her even more super delegates and making it easier to bounce back if Sanders wins Iowa, New Hampshire, or both. I reported in August that Clinton’s camp already had in hand private commitments from enough of the elected and party officials who are automatic delegates to the national convention next summer (so-called super delegates) that she was one fifth of her way to the nomination. That number has increased significantly in recent weeks and will go up now that Biden has passed on the race. This allows Team Clinton to make a robust argument about her inevitability and gives it a squadron of surrogates from the left, center, and right of the Democratic Party to wound Sanders, buck her up if she stumbles, and, eventually, argue that the senator should get out of the competition if she wins early.
Hillary has massive support from labor unions.The party’s most important constituency group in terms of ground troops and campaign resources is now moving decisively towards Clinton, also giving her more working-class cred and undermining one of Sanders’ strongest rhetorical plays—that she is out of touch with the economic grassroots. And long-invested unions will provide her important foot soldiers in the general election battlegrounds, as they have since time began for Democratic presidential nominees.
Hillary could be the de facto Democratic nominee by Feb. 8. Her team privately believes that, given the way expectations have been set up, even narrow wins in the two first-voting contests would not be discounted. Clinton has robust field operations in both states and could diligently grind her way to victories. Even Sanders’ top aides acknowledge that, barring other factors, it could be game, set, match if Hillary starts the voting year with twin wins, giving Brooklyn ample incentive to go all in there and try to put it away early.
Hillary’s husband now seems fired up and ready to go.Although a little rusty over the weekend in Iowa in his 2015 campaign trail debut, accounts from aides to both Clintons suggest the former president has learned lessons from his performance eight years ago, when he arguably hurt his wife’s chances as much as he helped her. He has been kept in the loop on the campaign’s thinking, receives polling information on a regular basis, and has participated in some strategy discussions with the team. The campaign seems happy with him, and he seems happy with the campaign, and that is a big change from 2008. Both campaign chairman John Podesta and campaign manager Robby Mook have good and confident relationships with the FPOTUS, who seems less ambivalent than last time about becoming the First Lad.
Hillary’s campaign is much less tense and fractious than was the 2008 team. There are fraught moments in Brooklyn, as in any campaign, and Clinton’s donors can get restive awfully quick, but this year’s model is one of relative peace and tranquility. Zen masters Podesta, Mook, and communications chief Jennifer Palmieri set the “been there, done that, seen that, dealt with that” sensibility.
Hillary’s team at last is convincing rich Democrats to come around to the super-PAC game.Clinton loyalist Guy Cecil is now topping Priorities USA and he has brought in a new cast of folks to supplement holdovers such as Paul Begala, Jim Messina, and Harold Ickes, all of whom have experience rubbing shoulders with the mega-wealthy and prying seven-figure checks out of their hands. Cecil knows how to leverage hot buttons like the Koch brothers and the threat of more conservative Supreme Court justices and unified GOP control of Washington to maintain momentum and encourage the participation of those previously reluctant to muck about in the big money world that many liberals despise and disdain.
Hillary has a first-class opposition research team that is saving nuggets to use once Republicans pick their nominee.Oppo veteran Christina Reynolds heads an operation that can afford to play a long game, teasing out incremental research in conjunction with allies such as the Democratic National Committee but knowing full well that holding back powerful tidbits until the late spring or summer, when the eventual Republican nominee will be most vulnerable, is supremely smart. The research operations of the Republican presidential campaigns, on the other hand, are currently focused on each other (although the independent group America Rising is hoping to make up the gap).
The Republican nominee is more likely to emerge bloodied, broke, and behind. A nominating calendar and delegate rules designed to avoid the kind of extended intra-party fight that crippled Mitt Romney’s general election effort will almost certainly be no match for a fifteen candidate field, a number of whom can make a decent argument that they’ll win the prize. The ferociousness and deep pockets of gladiators Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and the possibility that the party establishment will end up intervening with tens of millions of dollars in negative TV spots means a long, gory slog that might not find resolution until after the national convention in Cleveland in mid-July. (Of course, if Trump is ultimately the nomination victor, then “broke” should not be a factor.)
As the nominee, Hillary will effectively control the DNC and will exercise free rein over the convention.Even with Sanders a remaining foe, Hillaryland is coordinating fundraising with the national and state parties, strategizing about installing allies at the party headquarters in DC, and gaming out what the Philly convention will look like. If Clinton is the standard bearer, make no mistake: Brooklyn will convert the DNC into its wholly owned subsidiary and will take over every jot and tittle of convention planning and execution. This type of control typically leads to less friction and a smoother running enterprise, including on-message convention speakers.
Republicans are erroneously convinced they can beat Clinton solely with talk of Benghazi, e-mails, and other controversies that have nothing to do with the economy and the real lives of real people.Nowhere does the Fox News-Rush Limbaugh echo chamber more hurt Republican chances of beating Clinton than in the politics of scandal and controversy. To paraphrase the famous line attributed to Pauline Kael: everyone who conservatives know think the Clintons should be in prison. The problem is that swing voters don’t share that view in sufficient numbers to actually warrant banking a victory on placing those arguments front and center. Kevin McCarthy’s acknowledgement that the Benghazi committee was set up to damage Clinton politically has not just polluted the select committee’s efforts; it also means that one of the most effectively tried-and-true Team Clinton defenses (that any controversy that swirls around her is a ginned up political attack because Republicans don’t want to talk about real issues) has got legs straight through next November.
Hillary is ready for the debates.She won’t have as many debates in which to hone her skills as the eventual GOP nominee, but she has many other edges, including her 2008 experience; the fact that going forward she will face only one or two opponents—rather than nine or so—on the debate stage (much closer to the dynamics in a general election); her professionalized and experienced debate prep team (many of whom worked the same gig for Barack Obama); and her own fearsome, dogged, and scrupulous preparation.
Hillary’s pollster knows how to find issues that test 80-20 or 70-30, and the candidate knows how to translate them on the stump.While Republican presidential candidates thrash around competing to see who can be the most anti-immigrant, pro-tax cuts for the wealthy, anti-abortion and gay marriage, and pro-climate change-denying, Clinton’s pollster and strategist Joel Benenson is busy finding topics she can talk about in a general election that garner overwhelming support from the public across the political spectrum and will put the GOP nominee on the defensive. Nothing makes a Clinton running for president more confident and effective than having mainstream boldface issues to use as a cudgel.
Obama’s approval rating is holding at a level that would make Clinton’s path much easier. Yes, the economy is not going gangbusters. Yes, ObamaCare is not universally popular (to say the least). Yes, the world is filled with dangerous hot spots and looming, chilling threats. But barring some major change in his fortune, Obama’s current approval rating of around 46% is likely to sustain through Election Day, a high enough figure, history suggests, to keep him from being a drag on his party’s nominee and chosen successor.
Hillary’s team is already thinking about general election targeting.One of the pages Brooklyn has taken from the Obama playbook is to start thinking about the general election early. That includes using contests in caucuses and primaries states that will be battlegrounds next November to build up a team, target data, establish media relationships, and keep it all humming after the nominating contest and throughout the duration. It also includes living by the dictum “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours let’s negotiate over,” hawkishly protecting the nearly 250 electoral votes and voting groups Democrats have won consistently over the last several cycles while looking to expand the targeting efforts demographically and geographically.
Hillary would inherit a considerable demographic edge in a general election. Republicans have done next to nothing, and clearly much more harm than good since Mitt Romney lost in 2012, to make in-roads with the so-called coalition of the ascendant. Clinton would almost certainly have an overwhelming edge with African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, LGBT voters, young people, and single women, and the future contours of the Republican nomination fight are not likely to make the party’s challenge with these groups any easier.
Hillary would also inherit a considerable Electoral College edge in a general election.The Democrats don’t have quite the Electoral College “lock” that the GOP had in the ‘70s and ‘80s but it is pretty close. A strong Republican nominee could make Clinton play defense in states such as Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and Colorado. But the safe Democrat states would give her a huge leg up, and demographic changes mean Clinton could be playing offense in places such as Georgia and Arizona under the right circumstances. Political pros in both parties believe some of the leading Republican contenders would give Clinton a chance to surpass her husband’s 1992 electoral vote total of 370 if they are her eventual competition.
Clinton advisers are well aware of these many advantages. They are staying largely mum for now, preferring to let the candidate’s recent positive media coverage speak for itself and not relinquish any tactical advantage of surprise.
They also know the FBI probe into her e-mails, Bill Clinton’s portfolio, or something new and super controversial could upend her standing at any time. And the raucous Republican nomination process could yet yield a strong general election opponent for her. This list is not meant to gloss over the considerable challenges Clinton is sure to face even if everything goes as planned on her side—not to mention if things start to go south. And a few savvy Republican operatives are ringing the alarm bell in private strategy sessions, urging the party to try to address as many of these deficits as soon as possible.
But don’t be surprised if reports soon surface mirroring what happened almost exactly eight years ago, when Clinton asked top advisers to secretly begin planning her vice presidential selection process—and her presidential transition. Republicans would surely see those steps as wildly premature, but given all of Clinton’s advantages now, she may consider it simply prudent planning.
Story 1: House Select Committee investigating Benghazi — The Unintended Consequences Of President Obama’s Undeclared War on Libya and Central Intelligence Agency Covert Operations in Libya and Syria — Congress Did Nothing To Stop An Imperial President — The Lying and Blame Game On Display — “Disgusting and Reprehensible” — Videos
Obama and Hillary Blame Youtube Video for Benghazi Terrorist Attack as Coffins Arrive
Our Fallen Heroes
Published on Sep 15, 2012
President Obama speaks about the tragic loss of four of our fellow Americans who were serving in our diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya. These Americans represented the best of our country; without people like them, we could not sustain our freedoms or security, or provide the leadership that the entire world depends on. During this time of turmoil in many different countries, the President makes it clear that the United States has a profound respect for people of all faiths, but as Commander in Chief, he will never tolerate efforts to harm our fellow Americans and will ensure that those who attack our people find no escape from justice.
Obama and Press Secretary Carney Blame a Video for the Benghazi Attack
YouTube Video Maker Blamed for Benghazi Attacks Breaks Silence on CNN
White House Covers Up Benghazi Terrorist Attack
13 hours in Benghazi FULL VERSION INTERVIEW 5 parts combined.
ABC News’ Jon Karl hammers Jay Carney over New bombshell Benghazi emails
Benghazi Whistleblower Embarrassed by Obama Admin Placing Blame on a YouTube Video
Benghazi Gate – Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton – Question & Answer
Email Reveals Obama Advisor Urged Susan Rice to Blame Video for Benghazi
Exclusive: Docs Show Weapons Going From Benghazi To Syria – Benghazi Gate – Happening Now
Breaking: Hillary Clinton Knew About Libyan Arms Shipments to Syria in 2011
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knew that the US was sending arms from Libya to Syria back in 2011. She denied this during public testimony (under oath) in early 2013 after the Benghazi terrorist attack.
Melvin Goodman on why CIA Director Brennan is dangerous
The show is going to be about the response to CIA director Brennan’s press conference two weeks ago and then an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations last week, an on the record interview with Charlie Rose in New York about his plans to restructure the CIA to try to bring a more integrity to intelligence and make it less politicized. We are going to hear from today Melvin Goodman. Goodman is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and a professor of government at Johns Hopkins University. He is he is a former CIA analyst. Melvin Goodman is the author of Failure of Intelligence: the Decline and Fall of the CIA and the forthcoming book On the Path to Dissent: A Whistleblower at the CIA. Goodman is the national security columnist for Counterpunch, and he said of CIA director ‘s plan to restructure the CIA and I quote “Simply, it takes the CIA further from Truman’s concept and closer to the ability to politicize intelligence. Operations are part of the policy world and not the intelligence world. The Centers have made it too easy to provide the intelligence that the ‘masters’ desire, whether they are the masters on CIA’s 7th floor or the policy masters. Brennan’s world was the Center for Counterintelligence and Counterterrorism, and many of the intelligence errors and operational errors of the past 15 years have emanated from those centers. Organizationally, it makes no sense — what are the directorates of operations and analysis — they sound as if they are HR experts.”
CNN Benghazi Claims: Report alleges CIA operatives in Libya were sending weapons to Syrian rebels
Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin suspects US Was Running Guns To Syrian Rebels Via Benghazi
Clinton Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary
Even by the standards of arms deals between the United States and Saudi Arabia, this one was enormous. A consortium of American defense contractors led by Boeing would deliver $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to the United States’ oil-rich ally in the Middle East…E
Why is Benghazi still a big issue for Hillary Clinton? BBC News
General Petraeus Testifies Before Congress For The First Time Since Resigning As Director Of CIA
Select Committee on Benghazi Holds First Hearing
Former CIA Director and General David Petraeus (Ret.) testified at a hearing on U.S. policy toward the Middle East and combating ISIS* in the region. He talked about his support for military enclaves in Syria and for greater military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and ISIS. He also gave his assessment of the Russian military build-up in Syria and of the Iran nuclear agreement.
At the beginning of his testimony, General Petraeus apologized for what what he called his “serious mistake” of sharing classified information with his biographer, with whom he also had an extramarital affair.
Select Committee on Benghazi Holds Second Hearing
Select Committee on Benghazi Holds Third Hearing
Rep. Gowdy: Either Petraeus Will Come Before Congressional Committee Or He Will Be Subpoenaed
Rep. Trey Gowdy addresses Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during his opening statement at a hearing Thursday by the House Select Committee on Benghazi. trey gowdy elivers opening statement of benghazi committee hearing with hillary clinton. trey gowdy says ‘We are going to find the #Truth because there is no expiration of it.’ Chairman Trey Gowdy opens #Benghazi hearing: ‘Previous investigations were not thorough. Trey Gowdy to Clinton: Trey Gowdy addressed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally at a high-stakes hearing on Thursday, telling the Democratic presidential candidate that the panel’s investigation is not about her. “Madame Secretary, I understand some people — frankly in both parties — have suggested this investigation is about you,” Gowdy said. “Let me assure you it is not. And let me assure you why it is not. This work is about something much more important than any single person. It is about four U.S. government workers, including our Ambassador, murdered by terrorists on foreign soil. It is about what happened before, during, and after the attacks that killed these four men.” He continued: “It is about what this country owes those who risk their lives to serve it. It is about the fundamental obligation of our government to tell the truth — always — to the American people. Not a single member of this Committee signed up for an investigation into you or your email system. We signed up because we wanted to honor the service and sacrifice of four people sent to a foreign land to represent us – who were killed – and do everything we can to prevent it from happening to others.” Gowdy also presented several key questions he would be asking in his opening statement: Why were there so many requests for more security personnel and equipment, and why were those requests denied in Washington? Why did the State Department compound in Benghazi not even come close to meeting proper security specifications? What policies were we pursuing in Libya that required a physical presence in spite of the escalating violence? Who in Washington was aware of the escalating violence in Libya? What special precautions, if any, were taken on the anniversary of 9-11? What happened in Washington after the first attack and what was the response to that attack? What did the military do or not do? What did our leaders in Washington do or not do and when? Why was the American public given such divergent accounts of what caused these attacks? And why is it so hard to get information from the very government these four men were representing and serving and sacrificing for?
Benghazi panel chair: Investigation not about Hillary Clinton
South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House Select Committee investigating Benghazi, tells Hillary Clinton in his opening statement that the probe is not singularly focused on the former secretary of state.
Hillary Clinton gave her opening statement to the House Select Committee investigating the 2012 attacks at the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya.
Benghazi Hearing Committee Chairman on Hillary Clinton’s Emails | The New York Times
Trey Gowdy questions Hillary Clinton (Part 1)
Trey Gowdy questions Hillary Clinton (Part 2)
Clinton to panel: 3 things we learned from Benghazi
Trey Gowdy GRILLS Hillary Clinton Benghazi Committee Hearing
Trey Gowdy GRILLS Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi Committee Hearing. trey gowdy went off on hillary clinton about blumenthal and more. watch the explosive exchange. Hillary Clinton coolly hit back at her Republican interrogators on the Benghazi committee during her long-awaited testimony on Thursday, rebuffing claims she was detached as the situation in Libya deteriorated and asserting she did not use email to conduct the “vast majority” of her work as secretary of state.
The Democratic front-runner told the House Selection Committee on Benghazi, which is 18 months into its probe of the 2012 attacks on the consulate in Libya, that the tragedy does not deserve partisan attacks, while insisting the U.S. needs to stay committed to diplomatic engagement.
“Despite all the previous investigations and all the talk about partisan agendas, I’m here to honor those we lost and to do what I can to aid those who serve us still,” Clinton said, speaking slowly and deliberately during her opening statement. “My challenge to you, members of this committee, is the same challenge I put to myself…. Let’s be worthy of the trust the American people bestow on us… they expect us to rise above partisanship. And I hopes it’s what we’ll strive for today and in the future.”
Republicans questioned Clinton about why numerous requests for additional security never made it Clinton’s attention. She said they went to the right place: to personnel who handled security. And when they pressed her on why she kept the compound open or did not give it additional, she retorted that she never received a recommendation to shut down the mission—even after two attacks on the compound.
The hearing kicked off on Thursday with the partisan sniping that has been the hallmark of the committee’s work, with House Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy defended his investigation, assuring Clinton that his probe is not centered on her.
WATCH LIVE: Hillary Clinton testifies before Benghazi Committee
“Madame Secretary, I understand some people — frankly in both parties — have suggested this investigation is about you. Let me assure you it is not,” Gowdy said in his opening statement, adding that it was about the people who were killed.
He also blamed her in part for the fact that the inquiry has dragged on for a year and a half.
The State Department only realized it did not have Clinton’s emails after they requested documents, triggering a lengthy process by which the department had to ask her and her top aides who also sometimes used private email for work purposes to turn them over.
“You had an unusual email arrangement with yourself, which meant the State Department could not produce your emails to us,” Gowdy said. “When you left the State Department you kept those public records to yourself for almost two years….Those decisions were your decisions, not ours… It just took longer to get them and garnered more attention in the process.
Ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) blasted the committee as a partisan witch-hunt out to get Clinton, saying Republicans formed the panel because they “did not like the answers they got” in previous probe—“so they set up this select committee with no rules, no deadlines and a unlimited budget.”
“They set the noose because you’re running for president,” Cummings said, raising his voice before calling for the panel to disband. “It is time for Republicans to end this …fishing expedition.”
It only took Cummings a few minutes to highlight a number of embarrassing moments for Gowdy in recent weeks, including comments by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y) and a fired GOP Benghazi investigator who all suggested the panel was either out to hurt Clinton or increasingly focused on investigating her.
REP. Martha Roby vs Hillary Clinton at House Select Committee on Benghazi 10/22/15
Rep Jim Jordan Goes After Hillary ‘Where’d the False Narrative Start It Started With You’
REP Trey Gowdy vs Hillary Clinton Round 2 at House Select Committee on Benghazi 102215
Benghazi Select – Gowdy: this is an investigation, not a prosecution
Bickering among Benghazi panel as Clinton looks on silently
Fireworks erupt between Clinton, Republicans at Benghazi hearing
More Background Information
Weekly Address: Carrying on the Work of
America’s intelligence community, explained
THE RECRUIT – Spy School: Inside the CIA Training Program, 1 of 2
THE RECRUIT – Spy School: Inside the CIA Training Program, 2 of 2
Special Activities Division
Published on Aug 15, 2014
The Special Activities Division (SAD) is a division in the United States Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) National Clandestine Service (NCS) responsible for covert operations known as “special activities”. Within SAD there are two separate groups, SAD/SOG for tactical paramilitary operations and SAD/PAG for covert political action.
Special Operations Group (SOG) is the department within SAD responsible for operations that include the collection of intelligence in hostile countries and regions, and all high threat military or intelligence operations with which the U.S. government does not wish to be overtly associated. As such, members of the unit (called Paramilitary Operations Officers and Specialized Skills Officers) normally do not carry any objects or clothing (e.g., military uniforms) that would associate them with the United States government. If they are compromised during a mission, the government of the United States may deny all knowledge.
Inside America’s New Covert Wars: Navy SEALs, Delta Force, Blackwater, Security Contractors (2013)
The Daring Early Years of the CIA: Covert Ops from WW2 to Vietnam (1995)
How has the CIA been used as a secret Military force? William Blum • BRAVE NEW FILMS
The CIA began as a spy agency after World War Two, but soon the CIA was planning and executing covert operations across the globe without proper congressional oversight. From the removal of the democratically elected leaders of Iran and Guatemala to the attempted invasion of Cuba, to the removal of every secular government in the Middle East, the influence of the agency is insidious. But how can a democratic society tolerate such a secret and lethal institution that works against the very values America seeks to uphold around the world?
CIA Covert Operations in Africa: How Does the U.S. Government Make Decisions?
According to the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, a covert operation (also as CoveOps or covert ops) is “an operation that is so planned and executed as to conceal the identity of or permit plausible denial by the sponsor.” It is intended to create a political effect which can have implications in the military, intelligence or law enforcement arenas. Covert operations aim to fulfill their mission objectives without any parties knowing who sponsored or carried out the operation. It is normally financed by government revenues but in this age of super-empowered individuals and corporations they could become a common tool of power beyond traditional war and diplomacy.
Under United States law, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) must lead covert operations unless the president finds that another agency should do so and properly informs the congress. Normally, the CIA is the 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.
Special Activities Division – Special Operations Group | SAD SOG
Published on Jun 30, 2015
The Special Activities Division (SAD) is a division in the United States Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) National Clandestine Service responsible for covert operations known as “special activities”. Within SAD there are two separate groups, SAD/SOG for tactical paramilitary operations and SAD/PAG for covert political action. The Special Activities Division reports directly to the Deputy Director of the National Clandestine Service.
Special Operations Group (SOG) is the department within SAD responsible for operations that include the collection of intelligence in hostile countries and regions, and all high threat military or intelligence operations with which the U.S. government does not wish to be overtly associated. As such, members of the unit (called Paramilitary Operations Officers and Specialized Skills Officers) normally do not carry any objects or clothing (e.g., military uniforms) that would associate them with the United States government. If they are compromised during a mission, the United States government may deny all knowledge.
SOG is generally considered the most secretive special operations force in the United States. The group selects operatives from other tier one special mission units such as Delta Force, DEVGRU and ISA, as well as other United States special operations forces, such as USNSWC, MARSOC, Special Forces, SEALs and 24th STS.
SOG Paramilitary Operations Officers account for a majority of Distinguished Intelligence Cross and Intelligence Star recipients during any given conflict or incident which elicits CIA involvement. An award bestowing either of these citations represents the highest honors awarded within the CIA organization in recognition of distinguished valor and excellence in the line of duty. SAD/SOG operatives also account for the majority of the names displayed on the Memorial Wall at CIA headquarters indicating that the agent died while on active duty.
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Special Operations Group (SOG) is the department within SAD responsible for operations that include the collection ofintelligence in hostile countries and regions, and all high threat military or intelligence operations with which the U.S. government does not wish to be overtly associated. As such, members of the unit (called Paramilitary Operations Officers and Specialized Skills Officers) normally do not carry any objects or clothing (e.g., military uniforms) that would associate them with the United States government. If they are compromised during a mission, the United States government maydeny all knowledge.
SOG Paramilitary Operations Officers account for a majority of Distinguished Intelligence Cross and Intelligence Star recipients during any given conflict or incident which elicits CIA involvement. An award bestowing either of these citations represents the highest honors awarded within the CIA organization in recognition of distinguished valor and excellence in the line of duty. SAD/SOG operatives also account for the majority of the names displayed on the Memorial Wall at CIA headquarters indicating that the agent died while on active duty.
Political Action Group (PAG) is responsible for covert activities related to political influence, psychological operations and economic warfare. The rapid development of technology has added cyberwarfare to their mission. Tactical units within SAD are also capable of carrying out covert political action while deployed in hostile and austere environments. A large covert operation usually has components that involve many, or all, of these categories, as well as paramilitary operations. Political and Influence covert operations are used to support U.S. foreign policy. Often overt support for one element of an insurgency would be counter-productive due to the impression it would have on the local population. In such cases, covert assistance allows the U.S. to assist without damaging these elements in the process. Many of the other activities (such as propaganda, economic and cyber) support the overall political effort. There have been issues in the past with attempts to influence the US media such as in Operation Mockingbird. However, these activities are now subject to the same oversight as all covert action operations.
SAD provides the President of the United States with an option when overt military and/or diplomatic actions are not viable or politically feasible. SAD can be directly tasked by the President of the United States or the National Security Council at the President’s direction. This is unlike any other U.S. special mission force. However, SAD/SOG has far fewer members than most of the other special missions units, such as the U.S. Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Delta Force) or Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU).
The political action group within SAD conducts the deniable psychological operations, also known as black propaganda, as well as “Covert Influence” to effect political change as an important part of any Administration’s foreign policy. Covert intervention in a foreign election is the most significant form of political action. This could involve financial support for favored candidates, media guidance, technical support for public relations, get-out-the-vote or political organizing efforts, legal expertise, advertising campaigns, assistance with poll-watching, and other means of direct action. Policy decisions could be influenced by assets, such as subversion of officials of the country, to make decisions in their official capacity that are in the furtherance of U.S. policy aims. In addition, mechanisms for forming and developing opinions involve the covert use of propaganda.
Propaganda includes leaflets, newspapers, magazines, books, radio, and television, all of which are geared to convey the U.S. message appropriate to the region. These techniques have expanded to cover the internet as well. They may employ officers to work as journalists, recruit agents of influence, operate media platforms, plant certain stories or information in places it is hoped it will come to public attention, or seek to deny and/or discredit information that is public knowledge. In all such propaganda efforts, “black” operations denote those in which the audience is to be kept ignorant of the source; “white” efforts are those in which the originator openly acknowledges himself; and “gray” operations are those in which the source is partly but not fully acknowledged.
There remains some conflict between the National Clandestine Service and the more clandestine parts of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), such as the Joint Special Operations Command. This is usually confined to the civilian/political heads of the respective Department/Agency. The combination of SAD and USSOCOM units has resulted in some of the most notable successes of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to include the locating and killing of Osama bin Laden. SAD/SOG has several missions. One of these missions is the recruiting, training, and leading of indigenous forces in combat operations. SAD/SOG and its successors have been used when it was considered desirable to have plausible deniability about U.S. support (this is called a covert operation or “covert action”). Unlike other special missions units, SAD/SOG operatives combine special operations and clandestine intelligence capabilities in one individual. These individuals can operate in any environment (sea, air or ground) with limited to no support.
The Pentagon commissioned a study to determine whether the CIA or the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) should conduct covert action paramilitary operations. Their study determined that the CIA should maintain this capability and be the “sole government agency conducting covert action.” The DoD found that, even under U.S. law, it does not have the legal authority to conduct covert action, nor the operational agility to carry out these types of missions. The operation in May 2011 that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden was a covert action under the authority of the CIA.
SAD/SOG has several hundred officers, mostly former members of special operations forces (SOF) and a majority from theJoint Special Operations Command (JSOC). The CIA has also recruited individuals within the agency. The CIA’s formal position for these individuals is “Paramilitary Operations Officers” and “Specialized Skills Officers.” Paramilitary Operations Officers attend the Clandestine Service Trainee (CST) program, which trains them as clandestine intelligence operatives (known as “Core Collectors” within the Agency). The primary strengths of SAD/SOG Paramilitary Officers are operational agility, adaptability, and deniability. They often operate in small teams, typically made up of six operators (with some operations being carried out by a single officer), all with extensive military special operations expertise and a set of specialized skills that does not exist in any other unit. As fully trained intelligence case officers, Paramilitary Operations Officers possess all the clandestine skills to collect human intelligence—and most importantly—to recruit assets from among the indigenous troops receiving their training. These officers often operate in remote locations behind enemy lines to carry out direct action (including raids and sabotage), counter-intelligence, guerrilla/unconventional warfare, counter-terrorism, and hostage rescue missions, in addition to being able to conduct espionage via HUMINT assets.
There are four principal elements within SAD’s Special Operations Group: the Air Branch, the Maritime Branch, the Ground Branch, and the Armor and Special Programs Branch. The Armor and Special Programs Branch is charged with development, testing, and covert procurement of new personnel and vehicular armor and maintenance of stockpiles of ordnance and weapons systems used by SOG, almost all of which must be obtained from clandestine sources abroad, in order to provide SOG operatives and their foreign trainees with plausible deniability in accordance with U.S. Congressional directives.
Together, SAD/SOG contains a complete combined arms covert military. Paramilitary Operations Officers are the core of each branch and routinely move between the branches to gain expertise in all aspects of SOG. As such, Paramilitary Operations Officers are trained to operate in a multitude of environments. Because these officers are taken from the most highly trained units in the U.S. military and then provided with extensive additional training to become CIA clandestine intelligence officers, many U.S. security experts assess them as the most elite of the U.S. special missions units.
One of the OSS’ greatest accomplishments during World War II was its penetration of Nazi Germany by OSS operatives. The OSS was responsible for training German and Austrian commandos for missions inside Nazi Germany. Some of these agents included exiled communists and socialist party members, labor activists, anti-NaziPOWs, and German and Jewish refugees. At the height of its influence during World War II, the OSS employed almost 24,000 people.
OSS Paramilitary Officers parachuted into many countries then behind enemy lines, including France, Norway, Greece and The Netherlands. In Crete, OSS paramilitary officers linked up with, equipped and fought alongside Greek resistance forces against the Axis occupation.
OSS was disbanded shortly after World War II, with its intelligence analysis functions moving temporarily into the U.S. Department of State. Espionage and counterintelligence went into military units, while paramilitary and related functions went into an assortment of ‘ad hoc’ groups, such as the Office of Policy Coordination. Between the original creation of the CIA by the National Security Act of 1947 and various mergers and reorganizations through 1952, the wartime OSS functions generally went into CIA. The mission of training and leading guerrillas generally stayed in the United States Army Special Forces, but those missions required to remain covert were folded into the paramilitary arm of the CIA. The direct descendant of the OSS’ Special Operations is the CIA’s Special Activities Division.
After the Chinese invasion of Tibet in October 1950, the CIA inserted SAD paramilitary teams into Tibet to train and lead Tibetan resistance fighters against thePeople’s Liberation Army of China. These teams selected and then trained Tibetan soldiers in the Rocky Mountains of the United States; training occurred atCamp Hale. The SAD teams then advised and led these commandos against the Chinese, both from Nepal and India. In addition, SAD Paramilitary Officers were responsible for the Dalai Lama‘s clandestine escape to India, narrowly escaping capture and certain execution by the Chinese government.
According to a book by retired CIA officer John Kenneth Knaus, entitled Orphans Of The Cold War: America And The Tibetan Struggle For Survival, Gyalo Thondup, the older brother of the 14th (and current) Dalai Lama, sent the CIA five Tibetan recruits. These recruits were then trained in paramilitary tactics on the island ofSaipan in the Northern Marianas. Shortly thereafter, the five men were covertly returned to Tibet “to assess and organize the resistance” and selected another 300 Tibetans for training. U.S. assistance to the Tibetan resistance ceased after the 1972 Nixon visit to China, after which the United States and China normalized relations.
The CIA sponsored a variety of activities during the Korean War. These activities included maritime operations behind North Korean lines. Yong Do Island, connected by a rugged isthmus to Pusan, served as the base for those operations. These operations were carried out by well-trained Korean guerrillas. The four principal U.S. advisers responsible for the training and operational planning of those special missions were Dutch Kramer, Tom Curtis, George Atcheson and Joe Pagnella. All of these Paramilitary Operations Officers operated through a CIA front organization called the Joint Advisory Commission, Korea (JACK), headquartered at Tongnae, a village near Pusan, on the peninsula’s southeast coast. These paramilitary teams were responsible for numerous maritime raids and ambushes behind North Korean lines, as well as prisoner of warrescue operations. These were the first maritime unconventional warfare units that trained indigenous forces as surrogates. They also provided a model, along with the other CIA-sponsored ground based paramilitary Korean operations, for theMilitary Assistance Command, Vietnam-Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) activities conducted by the U.S. military and the CIA/SAD in Vietnam. In addition, CIA paramilitary ground-based teams worked directly for U.S. military commanders, specifically with the 8th Army, on the “White Tiger” initiative. This initiative included inserting South Korean commandos and CIA Paramilitary Operations Officers prior to the two major amphibious assaults on North Korea, including the landing at Inchon.
The Bay of Pigs Invasion (known as “La Batalla de Girón”, or “Playa Girón” in Cuba), was an unsuccessful attempt by a U.S.-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba and overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro. The plan was launched in April 1961, less than three months after John F. Kennedy assumed the presidency of the United States. TheCuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, trained and equipped by Eastern Bloc nations, defeated the exile-combatants in three days.
The National Liberation Army of Bolivia (ELN-Ejército de Liberación Nacional de Bolivia) was a communist guerrilla force that operated from the remote Ñancahuazú region against the pro-U.S. Bolivian government. They were joined by Che Guevara in the mid-1960s. The ELN was well equipped and scored a number of early successes against the Bolivian army in the difficult terrain of the mountainous Camiri region. In the late 1960s, the CIA deployed teams of SAD Paramilitary Operations Officers to Bolivia to train the Bolivian army in order to counter the ELN. These SAD teams linked up with U.S. Army Special Forces and Bolivian Special Forces to track down and capture Guevara, who was a special prize because of his leading role in the Cuban Revolution. On October 9, 1967, Guevara was executed by Bolivian soldiers on the orders of CIA paramilitary operative Félix Rodríguez shortly after being captured, according to CIA documents.
Vietnam and Laos
South Vietnam, Military Regions, 1967
The original OSS mission in Vietnam under MajorArchimedes Patti was to work with Ho Chi Minh in order to prepare his forces to assist the United States and their Allies in fighting the Japanese. After the end of World War II, the US agreed at Potsdam to turn Vietnam back to their previous French rulers and in 1950 the US began providing military aid to the French.
CIA Paramilitary Operations Officers trained and led Hmong tribesmen in Laos and Vietnam, and their actions of these officers were not known for several years. Air America was the air component of the CIA’s paramilitary mission in Southeast Asia and was responsible for all combat, logistics and search and rescue operations in Laos and certain sections of Vietnam. The ethnic minority forces numbered in the tens of thousands and they conducted direct actions mission, led by Paramilitary Operations Officers, against the communist Pathet Lao forces and their North Vietnamese allies.
Elements of SAD were seen in the CIA’s Phoenix Program. One component of the Phoenix Program was involved in the capture and killing of suspected Viet Cong (National Liberation Front – NLF) members. Between 1968 and 1972, the Phoenix Program captured 81,740 National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF or Viet Cong) members, of whom 26,369 were killed. This was a large proportion of U.S. killings between 1969 and 1971. The program was also successful in destroying their infrastructure. By 1970, communist plans repeatedly emphasized attacking the government’s “pacification” program and specifically targeted Phoenix agents. The NLF also imposed quotas. In 1970, for example, communist officials near Da Nang in northern South Vietnam instructed their agents to “kill 400 persons” deemed to be government “tyrant[s]” and to “annihilate” anyone involved with the “pacification” program. Several North Vietnamese officials have made statements about the effectiveness of Phoenix.
MAC-V SOG (Studies and Observations Group) (which was originally named the Special Operations Group, but was changed for cover purposes), was created and active during the Vietnam War. While CIA was just one part of MAC-V SOG, it did have operational control of some of the programs. Many of the military members of MAC-V SOG joined the CIA after their military service. The legacy of MAC-V SOG continues within SAD’s Special Operations Group.
Maritime activities against the USSR
In 1973, SAD/SOG and the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology built and deployed the USNS Glomar Explorer (T-AG-193), a large deep-sea salvage ship, on a secret operation. This operation was called Project Azorian (erroneously called Project Jennifer by the press). Her mission was to recover a sunken Sovietsubmarine, K-129, which had been lost in April 1968. A mechanical failure caused two-thirds of the submarine to break off during recovery, but SAD recovered two nuclear-tipped torpedoes, cryptographic machines and the bodies of six Soviet submariners. An alternative theory claims that all of K-129 was recovered and that the official account was an “elaborate cover-up”.
In 1979, the U.S.-backed Anastasio Somoza Debayle dictatorship in Nicaragua fell to the socialist Sandinistas. Once in power, the Sandinistas disbanded theNicaraguan National Guard, who had committed many human rights abuses, and arrested and executed some of its members. Other former National Guard members helped to form the backbone of the Nicaraguan Counterrevolution or Contra. SAD/SOG paramilitary teams were deployed to train and lead these forces against the Sandinista government. These paramilitary activities were based in Honduras and Costa Rica. Direct military aid by the United States was eventually forbidden by the Boland Amendment of the Defense Appropriations Act of 1983. The Boland Amendment was extended in October 1984 to forbid action by not only the Defense Department, but also to include the Central Intelligence Agency.
The Boland Amendment was a compromise because the U.S. Democratic Party did not have enough votes for a comprehensive ban on military aid. It covered only appropriated funds spent by intelligence agencies. Some of Reagan’s national security officials used non-appropriated money of the National Security Council (NSC) to circumvent the Amendment. NSC officials sought to arrange funding by third parties. These efforts resulted in the Iran-Contra Affair of 1987, which concerned Contra funding through the proceeds of arms sales to the Islamic Republic of Iran. No court ever made a determination whether Boland covered the NSC and on the grounds that it was a prohibition rather than a criminal statute, no one was indicted for violating it. Congress later resumed aid to the Contras, totaling over $300 million. The Contra war ended when the Sandinistas were voted out of power by a war-weary populace in 1990.Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega was re-elected as President of Nicaragua in 2006 and took office again on January 10, 2007.
CIA personnel were also involved in the Salvadoran civil war. Some allege that the techniques used to interrogate prisoners in El Salvador foreshadowed those later used in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, when a similar counter-insurgency program was proposed in Iraq, it was referred to as “the Salvador Option”.
Location of Somalia
SAD sent in teams of Paramilitary Operations Officers into Somalia prior to the U.S. intervention in 1992. On December 23, 1992, Paramilitary Officer Larry Freedman became the first casualty of the conflict in Somalia. Freedman was a former ArmyDelta Force operator who had served in every conflict that the U.S. was involved in, both officially and unofficially, since Vietnam. Freedman was killed while conducting special reconnaissance in advance of the entry of U.S. military forces. His mission was completely voluntary, as it required entry into a very hostile area without any support. Freedman was awarded the Intelligence Star on January 5, 1993 for his “extraordinary heroism”.
SAD/SOG teams were key in working with JSOC and tracking high value targets (HVT), known as “Tier One Personalities”. Their efforts, working under extremely dangerous conditions with little to no support, led to several very successful joint JSOC/CIA operations. In one specific operation, a CIA case officer, Michael Shanklin and codenamed “Condor”, working with a CIA Technical Operations Officer from the Directorate of Science and Technology, managed to get a cane with a beacon in it to Osman Ato, a wealthy businessman, arms importer, and Mohammed Aideed, a money man whose name was right below Mohamed Farrah Aidid’s on the Tier One list.
Once Condor confirmed that Ato was in a vehicle, JSOC‘s Delta Force launched a capture operation.
a Little Bird helicopter dropped out of the sky and a sniper leaned out and fired three shots into the car’s engine block. The car ground to a halt as commandos roped down from hovering Blackhawks [sic], surrounded the car and handcuffed Ato. It was the first known helicopter takedown of suspects in a moving car. The next time Jones saw the magic cane, an hour later, Garrison had it in his hand. “I like this cane,” Jones remembers the general exclaiming, a big grin on his face. “Let’s use this again.” Finally, a tier one personality was in custody.
President Bill Clinton withdrew U.S. forces on May 4, 1994.
In June 2006, the Islamic Courts Union seized control of southern Somalia, including the country’s capital Mogadishu, prompting the Ethiopian government to send in troops to try to protect the transitional government. In December, the Islamic Courts warned Ethiopia they would declare war if Ethiopia did not remove all its troops from Somalia. Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, leader of the Islamic Courts, called for a jihad, or holy war, against Ethiopia and encouraged foreign Muslim fighters to come to Somalia. At that time, the United States accused the group of being controlled by al-Qaeda, but the Islamic Courts denied that charge.
In 2009, PBS reported that al-Qaeda had been training terrorists in Somalia for years. Until December 2006, Somalia’s government had no power outside of the town of Baidoa, 150 miles (240 km) from the capital. The countryside and the capital were run by warlords and militia groups who could be paid to protect terrorist groups.
CIA officers kept close tabs on the country and paid a group of Somali warlords to help hunt down members of al-Qaeda according to the New York Times. Meanwhile, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the deputy to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, issued a message calling for all Muslims to go to Somalia.On January 9, 2007, a U.S. official said that ten militants were killed in one airstrike.
On September 14, 2009, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a senior al-Qaeda leader in East Africa as well as a senior leader in Shabaab, al Qaeda’s surrogate in Somalia, was killed by elements of U.S. Special Operations. According to a witness, at least two AH-6 Little Bird attack helicopters strafed a two-car convoy. Navy SEALs then seized the body of Nabhan and took two other wounded fighters captive. JSOC and the CIA had been trying to kill Nabhan for some time including back in January 2007, when an AC-130 Gunship was called in on one attempt. A U.S. intelligence source stated that CIA paramilitary teams are directly embedded with Ethiopian forces in Somalia, allowing for the tactical intelligence to launch these operations. Nabhan was wanted for his involvement in the 1998 United States embassy bombings, as well as leading the cell behind the 2002 Mombasa attacks.
From 2010 to 2013, the CIA set up the Somalia National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) by providing training, funding and diplomatic access. In the same time period, the EU and UN has spent millions of dollars for the military training of the Somali National Army (SNA). NISA is considered a professional Somali security force that can be relied upon to neutralize the terrorist threat. This force responded to the complex al-Shabaab attack on the Banadir Regional Courthouse in Mogadishu which killed 25 civilians. NISA’s response however saved 100s and resulted in the death of all the al-Shabaab guerrillas involved.
Significant events during this timeframe included the targeted drone strikes against British al-Qaida operative Bilal el-Berjawi  and Moroccan al-Qaida operative Abu Ibrahim. It also included the rescue of U.S. citizen Jessica Buchanan by U.S. Navy SEALs. All likely aided by intelligence collection efforts in Somalia.
Hamid Karzai with Special Forces and CIA Paramilitary in late 2001.
During the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, Paramilitary Operations Officers were instrumental in equippingMujaheddin forces against the Soviet Army. Although the CIA in general, and a Texas congressman named Charlie Wilson in particular, have received most of the attention, the key architect of this strategy was Michael G. Vickers. Vickers was a young Paramilitary Operations Officer from SAD/SOG. The CIA’s efforts have been given credit for assisting in ending the Sovietinvolvement in Afghanistan and bringing Taliban to power.
SAD paramilitary teams were active in Afghanistan in the 1990s in clandestine operations to locate and kill or capture Osama Bin Laden. These teams planned several operations, but did not receive the order to execute from President Bill Clintonbecause the available intelligence did not guarantee a successful outcome weighed against the extraordinary risk to the SAD/SOG teams that would execute the mission. These efforts did however build many of the relationships that would prove essential in the 2001 U.S. Invasion of Afghanistan.
On September 26, 2001, members of the Special Activities Division, led by Gary Schroen, were the first U.S. forces inserted into Afghanistan. The Northern Afghanistan Liaison Team entered the country nine days after the 9/11 attack and linked up with the Northern Alliance as part of Task Force Dagger.
They provided the Northern Alliance with resources including cash to buy weapons and prepared for the arrival of USSOCOM forces. The plan for the invasion of Afghanistan was developed by the CIA, the first time in United States history that such a large-scale military operation was planned by the CIA. SAD, U.S. Army Special Forces, and the Northern Alliance combined to overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan with minimal loss of U.S. lives. They did this without the use of conventional U.S. military ground forces.
What made the Afghan campaign a landmark in the U.S. Military’s history is that it was prosecuted by Special Operations forces from all the services, along with Navy and Air Force tactical power, operations by the Afghan Northern Alliance and the CIA were equally important and fully integrated. No large Army or Marine force was employed”.
The valor exhibited by Afghan and American soldiers, fighting to free Afghanistan from a horribly cruel regime, will inspire even the most jaded reader. The stunning victory of the horse soldiers – 350 Special Forces soldiers, 100 C.I.A. officers and 15,000 Northern Alliance fighters routing a Taliban army 50,000 strong – deserves a hallowed place in American military history”.
Small and highly agile paramilitary mobile teams spread out over the countryside to meet with locals and gather information about the Taliban and al-Qa’ida. During that time, one of the teams was approached in a village and asked by a young man for help in retrieving his teenage sister. He explained that a senior Taliban official had taken her as a wife and had sharply restricted the time she could spend with her family. The team gave the man a small hand-held tracking device to pass along to his sister, with instructions for her to activate it when the Taliban leader returned home. The team responded to her emergency signal, capturing the senior Taliban official and rescuing the sister. The siblings’ tearful reunion left the team at a loss for words—a rarity for the normally loud warriors of CIA’s Special Activities Division.
In December 2001, SAD/SOG and the Army’s Delta Force tracked down Osama bin Laden in the rugged mountains near the Khyber Pass in Afghanistan.Former CIA station chief Gary Berntsen as well as a subsequent Senate investigation claimed that the combined American special operations task force was largely outnumbered by al-Qaeda forces and that they were denied additional US troops by higher command. The task force also requested munitions to block the avenues of egress of bin Laden, but that request was also denied. The team allegedly uncovered evidence in the subsequent site exploration that bin Laden’s ultimate aim was to obtain and detonate a nuclear device in a terrorist attack. According to other press reports, SAD were ineffectual and “Bin Laden and bodyguards walked uncontested out of Tora Bora and disappeared into Pakistan’s unregulated tribal area.”
In September 2009, the CIA planned on “deploying teams of spies, analysts and paramilitary operatives to Afghanistan, part of a broad intelligence ‘surge’ ordered by President Obama. This will make its station there among the largest in the agency’s history.” This presence is expected to surpass the size of the stations in Iraq and Vietnam at the height of those wars. The station is located at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and is led “by a veteran with an extensive background in paramilitary operations”. The majority of the CIA’s workforce is located among secret bases and military special operations posts throughout the country.
Also in 2009, General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, planned to request an increase in teams of CIA operatives, including their elite paramilitary officers, to join with U.S. military special operations forces. This combination worked well in Iraq and is largely credited with the success of that surge. There have been basically three options described in the media: McChrystal’s increased counterinsurgency campaign; a counter-terror campaign using special operations raids and drone strikes; and withdrawal. The most successful combination in both the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has been the linking up of SAD and military special forces to fight alongside highly trained indigenous units. One thing all of these options have in common is a requirement for greater CIA participation.
The End Game
According to the current and former intelligence officials, General McChrystal also had his own preferred candidate for the Chief of Station (COS) job, a good friend and decorated CIA paramilitary officer. The officer had extensive experience in war zones, including two previous tours in Afghanistan with one as the Chief of Station, as well as tours in the Balkans, Baghdad and Yemen. He is well known in CIA lore as “the man who saved Hamid Karzai‘s life when the CIA led the effort to oust the Taliban from power in 2001″. President Karzai is said to be greatly indebted to this officer and was pleased when the officer was named chief of station again. According to interviews with several senior officials, this officer “was uniformly well-liked and admired. A career paramilitary officer, he came to the CIA after several years in an elite Marine unit”.
General McChrystal’s strategy included the lash up of special operations forces from the U.S. Military and from SAD/SOG to duplicate the initial success and the defeat of the Taliban in 2001 and the success of the “Surge” in Iraq in 2007. This strategy proved highly successful and worked very well in Afghanistan with SAD/SOG and JSOC forces conducting raids nearly every night having “superb results” against the enemy.
In 2001, the CIA’s SAD/SOG began creating what would come to be called Counter-terrorism Pursuit Teams (CTPT). These units grew to include over 3,000 operatives by 2010 and have been involved in sustained heavy fighting against the enemy. It is considered the “best Afghan fighting force”.
Located at 7,800 feet (2,400 m) above sea level, Firebase Lilley in Shkin serves as a “nerve center for the covert war”. This covert war includes being a hub for these CTPT operations with Firebase Lilley being just one in a constellation of CIA bases across Afghanistan. These units have not only been highly effective in combat operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces, but have also been used to engage with the tribes in areas with no other official government presence.
This covert war also includes a large SOG/CTPT expansion into Pakistan to target senior al-Qaeda and Taliban leadership in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA). CTPT units are the main effort in both the “Counterterrorism plus” and the full “Counterinsurgency” options being discussed by the Obama administration in the December 2010 review. SOG/CTPT are also key to any exit strategy for the U.S. government to leave Afghanistan, while still being able to deny al-Qaeda and other trans-national extremists groups a safehaven both in Afghanistan and in the FATA of Pakistan.
In January 2013, a CIA drone strike killed Mullah Nazir a senior Taliban commander in the South Waziristan area of Pakistan believed responsible for carrying out the insurgent effort against the US military in Afghanistan. Nazir’s death degraded the Taliban.
The U.S. has decided to lean heavily on CIA in general and SAD specifically in their efforts to withdraw from Afghanistan as it did in Iraq. There are plans being considered to have several US Military special operations elements assigned to CIA after the withdrawal.
On November 5, 2002, a missile launched from a CIA-controlled Predator drone killed al-Qaeda members traveling in a remote area in Yemen. SAD/SOG paramilitary teams had been on the ground tracking their movements for months and called in this air strike. One of those in the car was Ali Qaed Senyan al-Harthi, al-Qaeda’s chief operative in Yemen and a suspect in the October 2000 bombing of the destroyer USS Cole. Five other people, believed to be low-level al-Qaeda members, were also killed to include an American named Kamal Derwish. Former Deputy U.S. Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz called it “a very successful tactical operation” and said “such strikes are useful not only in killing terrorists but in forcing al-Qaeda to change its tactics”.
“It’s an important step that has been taken in that it has eliminated another level of experienced leadership from al-Qaeda,” said Vince Cannistraro, former head of counter-terrorism for the CIA and current ABC News consultant. “It will help weaken the organization and make it much less effective.” Harithi was on the run, pursued by several security forces who were looking for him and Muhammad Hamdi al-Ahdal, another suspect in the USS Cole bombing case.
In 2009, the Obama administration authorized continued lethal operations in Yemen by the CIA. As a result, the SAD/SOG and JSOC have joined together to aggressively target al-Qaeda operatives in that country, both through leading Yemenese special forces and intelligence driven drone strikes. A major target of these operations is ImamAnwar al-Aulaqi, an American citizen with ties to both Nidal Hassan, the alleged Fort Hood attacker, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas 2009 attempted bomber of Northwest Airline flight 253. Imam al-Aulaki was killed on September 30, 2011 by an air attack carried out by the Joint Special Operations Command.
SAD paramilitary teams entered Iraq before the 2003 invasion. Once on the ground they prepared the battle space for the subsequent arrival of U.S. military forces. SAD teams then combined with U.S. Army special forces (on a team called the Northern Iraq Liaison Element or NILE). This team organized the KurdishPeshmerga for the subsequent U.S. led invasion. This joint team combined in Operation Viking Hammer to defeat Ansar al-Islam, an Islamist group allied to al-Qaeda, which several battle-hardened fighters from Afghanistan had joined after the fall of the Taliban, in a battle for control over the northeast of Iraq – a battle that turned out being one of the “most intense battles of Special Forces since Vietnam”. This battle was for an entire territory that was completely occupied by Ansar al-Islam and was executed prior to the invasion in February 2003. If this battle had not been as successful as it was, there would have been a considerable hostile force in the rear of the U.S./secular Kurdish force in the subsequent assault on the Iraqi army to the south. The U.S. side was represented by paramilitary operations officers from SAD/SOG and the army’s 10th Special Forces Group (10th SFG). 10th SFG soldiers were awarded three Silver Stars and six Bronze Stars with V for valor for this battle alone  and several paramilitary officers were awarded the Intelligence Star for valor in combat. This battle was a significant direct attack and victory on a key U.S. opponent. It resulted in the deaths of a substantial number of militants and the uncovering of a crude laboratory that had traces of poisons and information on chemical weapons at Sargat. The team found foreign identity cards, visas, and passports on the enemy bodies. They had come from a wide variety of Middle Eastern and north African countries including Yemen, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Tunisia, Morocco, and Iran.Sargat was also the only facility that had traces of chemical weapons discovered in the Iraq war.
The village of Biyara and Base of Ansar al-Islam 2001–2003
In a 2004 U.S. News & World Report article, “A firefight in the mountains”, the author states:
“Viking Hammer would go down in the annals of Special Forces history—a battle fought on foot, under sustained fire from an enemy lodged in the mountains, and with minimal artillery and air support.”
SAD/SOG teams also conducted high risk special reconnaissance missions behind Iraqi lines to identify senior leadership targets. These missions led to the initial assassination attempts against Iraqi PresidentSaddam Hussein and his key generals. Although the initial air strike against Hussein was unsuccessful in killing the dictator, it was successful in effectively ending his ability to command and control his forces. Other strikes against key generals were successful and significantly degraded the command’s ability to react to and maneuver against the U.S.-led invasion force. SAD operations officers were also successful in convincing key Iraqi army officers to surrender their units once the fighting started and/or not to oppose the invasion force.
NATO member Turkey refused to allow its territory to be used by the U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Division for the invasion. As a result, the SAD/SOG, U.S. Army special forces joint teams, the Kurdish Peshmerga and the 173d Airborne Brigade were the entire northern force against the Iraqi army during the invasion. Their efforts kept the 13 divisions of the Iraqi Army in place to defend against the Kurds rather allowing them to contest the coalition force coming from the south. This combined U.S. special operations and Kurdish force defeated the Iraqi Army. Four members of the SAD/SOG team received CIA’s rare Intelligence Star for “extraordinary heroism”.
The mission that captured Saddam Hussein was called “Operation Red Dawn“. It was planned and carried out by JSOC’s Delta Force and SAD/SOG teams (together called Task Force 121). The operation eventually included around 600 soldiers from the 1st Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division. Special operations troops probably numbered around 40. Much of the publicity and credit for the capture went to the 4th Infantry Division soldiers, but CIA and JSOC were the driving force. “Task Force 121 were actually the ones who pulled Saddam out of the hole” said Robert Andrews, former deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict. “They can’t be denied a role anymore.”
CIA paramilitary units continued to team up with the JSOC in Iraq and in 2007 the combination created a lethal force many credit with having a major impact in the success of “the Surge“. They did this by killing or capturing many of the key al-Qaeda leaders in Iraq. In a CBS60 Minutes interview, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward described a new special operations capability that allowed for this success. This capability was developed by the joint teams of CIA and JSOC. Several senior U.S. officials stated that the “joint efforts of JSOC and CIA paramilitary units was the most significant contributor to the defeat of al-Qaeda in Iraq”.
In May 2007, Marine Major Douglas A. Zembiec was serving in SAD Ground Branch in Iraq when he was killed by small arms fire while leading a raid.Reports from fellow paramilitary officers stated that the flash radio report sent was “five wounded and one martyred” Major Zembiec was killed while saving his soldiers, Iraqi soldiers. He was honored with an intelligence star for his valor in combat.
On October 26, 2008, SAD/SOG and JSOC conducted an operation in Syria targeting the “foreign fighter logistics network” bringing al-Qaeda operatives into Iraq (See 2008 Abu Kamal raid). A U.S. source told CBS News that “the leader of the foreign fighters, an al-Qaeda officer, was the target of Sunday’s cross-border raid.” He said the attack was successful, but did not say whether or not the al-Qaeda officer was killed.Fox News later reported that Abu Ghadiya, “al-Qa’ida’s senior coordinator operating in Syria”, was killed in the attack.The New York Times reported that during the raid U.S. forces killed several armed males who “posed a threat”.
In September 2014 with the rise of the Islamic State, the U.S. government began aggressive military operations against them in both Iraq and Syria. SAD Ground Branch was placed in charge of the ground war. This is a testament to SAD being the preeminent force for unconventional warfare and their long-standing relationship with the most effective fighting force in the region, the Kurdish Peshmerga.
SAD/SOG has been very active “on the ground” inside Pakistan targeting al-Qaeda operatives for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Predator strikes and along with USSOCOM elements they have been training Pakistani Special Service Group Commandos. Before leaving office, President George W. Bush authorized SAD’s successful killing of eight senior al-Qaeda operatives via targeted air strikes. Among those killed were the mastermind of a 2006 plot to detonate explosives aboard planes flying across the Atlantic Rashid Rauf and the man thought to have planned the Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing on September 20, 2008 that killed 53 people. The CIA Director authorized the continuation of these operations and on January 23, SAD/SOG performed killings of 20 individuals in northwestern Pakistan that were terrorists. Some experts assess that the CIA Director – at that time Leon Panetta – has been more aggressive in conducting paramilitary operations in Pakistan than his predecessor. A Pakistani security official stated that other strikes killed at least 10 insurgents, including five foreign nationals and possibly “a high-value target” such as a senior al-Qaeda or Taliban official. On February 14, the CIA drone killed 27 taliban and al-Qaeda fighters in a missile strike in south Waziristan, a militant stronghold near the Afghan border where al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri were believed to be hiding.
In a National Public Radio (NPR) report dated February 3, 2008, a senior official stated that al-Qaeda has been “decimated” by SAD/SOG’s air and ground operations. This senior U.S. counter-terrorism official goes on to say, “The enemy is really, really struggling. These attacks have produced the broadest, deepest and most rapid reduction in al-Qaida senior leadership that we’ve seen in several years.” President Obama’s CIA Director Leon Panetta stated that SAD/SOG’s efforts in Pakistan have been “the most effective weapon” against senior al-Qaeda leadership.
These covert attacks have increased significantly under President Obama, with as many at 50 al-Qaeda militants being killed in the month of May 2009 alone. In June 2009, sixty Taliban fighters were killed while at a funeral to bury fighters that had been killed in previous CIA attacks. On July 22, 2009,