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The Trump Way — Blood Oath — American People Want This Deal — The Chicago Way Not To Be Confused With Appeaser Obama’s Red Line Way — Videos

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The Trump Way — Blood Oath — American People Want This Deal — The Chicago Way Not To Be Confused With Appeaser Obama’s Red Line Way — Videos

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imagePresident Donald Trump delivered a high-stakes address to the world on Wednesday, offering Iran peace if it abandons its nuclear ambitions but also threatening the use of hypersonic weapons if war follows

 

Trump responds to Iranian airstrike: Iran will never have a nuclear weapon

Special Report: Trump addresses Iran attack on U.S. bases in Iraq

Rep. Dan Crenshaw says Obama-era officials are obsessed with defending their appeasement of Iran

Tucker Carlson Tonight 1/8/20 | Fox News Today January 8, 2020

Sen. Ted Cruz on Sen. Mike Lee’s public frustration with intel briefing on Soleimani strike

Petraeus says U.S. had “lost the element of deterrence” before Soleimani strike

Iran strikes back at US with missile attack at bases in Iraq

Iran Strikes Back at U.S.With Missile Attack on Bases in Iraq | News 4 Now

Shields and Brooks on Iran general’s killing, 2020 Democrats’ fundraising

Trump says Iran will be hit ‘very fast’ if they strike American assets

See the source image

The Chicago Way – The Untouchables (2/10) Movie CLIP

(1987) HD

A Clip From The Blind Side

The Blind Side

 

Donald Trump blames Barack Obama for giving Iran the cash to buy missiles flung at U.S. bases-as he offers to ’embrace peace’ and claims Tehran is ‘standing down’ but warns of ‘hypersonic weapons’ and ‘lethal and fast’ attacks

  • President said Iran can choose peace but warned of new weaponry that’s ready to strike
  • He blamed the Obama administration for unfreezing $150 billion and delivering $1.5 billion in cash to jump-start a nuclear nonproliferation deal that has since fallen apart
  • ‘As long as I am president of the United States, Iran will never be be allowed have a nuclear weapon,’ he vowed, even before saying ‘Good morning’
  • ‘Our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal and fast,’ he said, sending a warning in nearly the same breath as an olive branch
  • ‘Under construction are many hypersonic missiles,’ he warned, standing amid a tableau of stern-faced military leaders
  • Iran fired 22 ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing American troops early Wednesday local time
  • Strikes are not thought to have killed any U.S. or Iraqi personnel, though extent of damage is being assessed
  • Ayatollah Khamenei said U.S. was given a ‘slap’ but strikes alone are ‘not enough’ and wants troops kicked out 
  • There are still fears for U.S. troops after Iran-backed militias in Iraq threatened to carry out their own strikes

Donald Trump blamed Barack Obama on Wednesday for supplying Iran with the money to purchase a torrent of missiles fired at American military positions Tuesday night.

‘The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration,’ he said, citing $150 billion in frozen assets that the previous president released and $1.5 billion flown by the U.S. to Tehran.

He began his speech to the world on Wednesday with a familiar ultimatum, even before saying ‘Good morning.’

‘As long as I am president of the United States, Iran will never be be allowed have a nuclear weapon,’ he said.

And Trump backed up that vow with a threat:

‘Our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal and fast,’ he said, sending a warning in nearly the same breath as an olive branch.

‘Under construction are many hypersonic missiles,’ he warned, standing amid a tableau of stern-faced military leaders.

Minutes later he offered an olive branch, urging European nations to make ‘a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place’ and allows Iran to explore its ‘untapped potential’ as a mainstream trading partner.

‘We want you to have a future, and a great future,’ he told Iran’s people, claiming its military ‘appears to be standing down.’

President Donald Trump delivered a high-stakes address to the world on Wednesday, offering Iran peace if it abandons its nuclear ambitions but also threatening the use of hypersonic weapons if war follows

President Donald Trump delivered a high-stakes address to the world on Wednesday, offering Iran peace if it abandons its nuclear ambitions but also threatening the use of hypersonic weapons if war follows

Talking peace and war: Donald Trump offered to 'embrace peace' with Iran if it gives up its nuclear ambitions and its terrorism - but listed U.S. military capabilities

Talking peace and war: Donald Trump offered to ’embrace peace’ with Iran if it gives up its nuclear ambitions and its terrorism – but listed U.S. military capabilities

The president spoke in the Grand Foyer of the White House, speaking with the aid of a teleprompter in measured tones

The president spoke in the Grand Foyer of the White House, speaking with the aid of a teleprompter in measured tones

Trump's made-for-TV tableau included Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Vice President Mike Pence

Trump’s made-for-TV tableau included Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Vice President Mike Pence

Tightly-scripted: Donald Trump stuck to the teleprompter version of his address to the nation about Iran

Tightly-scripted: Donald Trump stuck to the teleprompter version of his address to the nation about Iran

No questions: Donald Trump left without taking any questions from reporters who had been brought into the room before his speech

No questions: Donald Trump left without taking any questions from reporters who had been brought into the room before his speech

Television entrance: Donald Trump enters to address the nation in the aftermath of missile strikes by Iran on a U.S. base in Iraq

Television entrance: Donald Trump enters to address the nation in the aftermath of missile strikes by Iran on a U.S. base in Iraq

The president's audience-of-one was Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the iron-fisted theocrat who is the mortal enemy of Israel and the United States

The president’s audience-of-one was Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the iron-fisted theocrat who is the mortal enemy of Israel and the United States

His remarks, watched live around the world, came after Tehran’s armies rained missiles down on Iraqi military installations where American troops have been stationed for more than 16 years.

‘No Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime,’ the president said. ‘We suffered no casualties.’

Iranian state-run television claimed at least 20 U.S. servicemen and women were killed.

U.S. officials believe the missiles were deliberately fired into unpopulated areas, in what a senior official called a ‘heads-up bombing.’

The president spoke with the aid of tele-prompters in the Grand Foyer, the main entrance hall in the front of the White House.

He blasted Tehran’s ‘destructive and destabilizing behavior’ and said the days of Western patience ‘are over.’

Trump has long seen himself as a maverick loner on the world stage, unpredictable and unbothered by ruffling feathers overseas.

He boasts that his low approval ratings in foreign countries are an indication that he is focused on Americans’ welfare—not the priorities of real and nominal allies.

That approach could be tested as Iran and the U.S. creep toward what some, but not all, in the national security establishment see as an inevitable war.

The White House isn’t expecting one, the senior official said Wednesday: ‘This doesn’t have to end badly, and frankly right now we might be in the best position ever for diplomacy with Tehran.’

As he has in the past, the president trashed the Iran nuclear deal negotiated during the Obama administration along with Tehran and six other powers. He called the deal, which the administration already backed away from, ‘very defective’ noting that it ‘expires anyway.’

He called on other negotiating parties, including Great Britain, France, Germany, and Russia – to ‘break away from the remnants of the Iran deal.

At the same time, Trump did not completely foreclose negotiation. He called for a ‘deal with Iran that makes the world a more peaceful and safer place.’

Trump, who spoke to reporters but had yet to speak directly to the nation since ordering the killing of Soleimani, called the Iranian general ‘the world’s top terrorist,’ and said he was ‘personally responsible for some of the absolutely worst atrocities.’

‘Soleimani’s hands were drenched in both American and Iranian blood,’ Trump said. ‘He should have been terminated long ago. By removing Soleimani, we have sent a powerful message to terrorists: If you value your own life, you will not threaten the lives of our people,’ he added.

Trump announced that the U.S. would impose ‘powerful’ sanctions on the already heavily-sanctioned Iranian regime. But the White House did not immediately provide specifics. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was seen exiting the meeting Trump had with top military and security advisors moments before the speech.

‘The United States will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime. These powerful sanctions will remain until Iran changes its behavior,’ Trump said.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fired on the Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq and Erbil International airport in the north in the early hours of Wednesday, but failed to kill a single US or Iraqi solider.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, speaking on Iranian TV shortly after the missiles were launched, described the strikes as ‘a slap’ and said they ‘are not sufficient (for revenge)’ while vowing further action to kick US troops out of the region.

But foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the attack was now ‘concluded,’ praising Iran’s ‘proportionate’ response and adding: ‘We do not seek escalation or war.’

Trump tweeted late Tuesday to say ‘so far so good’ as American forces assessed the damage and casualties.

Iranian television had tried to claim that 80 ‘American terrorists’ were killed, but that figure was quickly rubbished by Iraqi and US officials.

Images showed several missiles had either failed to explode on impact or else missed their targets.  The remains of one was found near the town of Duhok, some 70 miles from Erbil air base, which was the intended target.

Tehran fired an ineffective missile strike at U.S. forces at Iraqi airb

Tehran fired an ineffective missile strike at U.S. forces at Iraqi air bases after promising brutal revenge for Trump’s drone strike that killed General Qassem Soleimani (pictured), the architect of terror attacks that have killed hundreds of American servicemen and women

Iran has fired 22 ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing American troops in a revenge attack for the U.S. drone strike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani

Iran has fired 22 ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing American troops in a revenge attack for the U.S. drone strike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani

The rockets hit Ain Asad (pictured) which houses US and coalition troops

The rockets hit Ain Asad (pictured) which houses US and coalition troops

The Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq that was visited by Donald Trump in December 2018 and the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were both struck by the missiles on Tuesday at about 5.20pm EST (1.20am local time)

It is thought Iran used Fatteh-110 and Qaim-1 ballistic missiles during the attack, which failed to kill any US or Iraqi troops (pictured, one of the missiles is launched in Iran)

It is thought Iran used Fatteh-110 and Qaim-1 ballistic missiles during the attack, which failed to kill any US or Iraqi troops (pictured, one of the missiles is launched in Iran)

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Qais al-Khazali

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (left) said the attack it is ‘not enough’ for revenge against the US, before Iraqi militia commander Qais al-Khazali (right) vowed to exact his own revenge for the killing of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis

Iraqi security forces clear away pieces of shrapnel from the Ain al-Asad airbase after it was struck by ballistic missiles fired by Iran as part of operation 'Martyr Soleimani'+

Iraqi security forces clear away pieces of shrapnel from the Ain al-Asad airbase after it was struck by ballistic missiles fired by Iran as part of operation ‘Martyr Soleimani’

Initial reports indicate at least 15 missiles were fired at two American bases in Iraq, though officials said early warning systems sounded alarms at the Ain al-Asad base (pictured) allowing troops to scramble for cover+49

Initial reports indicate at least 15 missiles were fired at two American bases in Iraq, though officials said early warning systems sounded alarms at the Ain al-Asad base (pictured) allowing troops to scramble for cover

A man holds shrapnel from a missile launched by Iran on U.S.-led coalition forces on the outskirts of Duhok, in northern Iraq 70 miles from Erbil, following Iranian missile strikes

A man holds shrapnel from a missile launched by Iran on U.S.-led coalition forces on the outskirts of Duhok, in northern Iraq 70 miles from Erbil, following Iranian missile strikes

Wreckage of a missile that was fired at Ain al-Asad military base in western Iraq but failed to explode on impact

Wreckage of a missile that was fired at Ain al-Asad military base in western Iraq but failed to explode on impact

US officials said early warning systems sounded alarms at the Ain al-Asad base, allowing troops to scramble for cover

US officials said early warning systems sounded alarms at the Ain al-Asad base, allowing troops to scramble for cover

Wreckage of an Iranian missile near Ain al-Asad

Wreckage of an Iranian missile near Ain al-Asad

Iraq said 17 missiles were fired at the Ain al-Asad base, two of which failed to explode (pictured, unexploded wreckage)

In an attempt to talk-up the impact of the strikes, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said they show ‘we don’t retreat in the face of America.’

‘If America has committed a crime… it should know that it will receive a decisive response,’ Rouhani said in a televised address. ‘If they are wise, they won’t take any other action at this juncture.’

It is thought Iran gave advanced warning of the strikes, after Iraq, Finland and Lithuania – which all had troops stationed at the bases which were targeted – all said they were informed in advance.

America said that ‘early warning systems’ detected the missile launches and sirens were sounded at the Asad base, allowing soldiers to seek shelter. It is not clear whether they were also informed by Iran.

Prominent analysts suggested Iran may have deliberately pulled its punches because they are fearful of the ‘disproportionate’ response threatened by Trump if US personnel were killed.

‘With the attacks, Tehran signalled its capacity and readiness to respond to US attacks, thus saving face, and yet they have been well targeted to avoid fatalities and thus avoid provoking Trump’s reaction,’ said Annalisa Perteghella of the Institute for International Political Studies in Milan.

President Donald Trump says 'all is well' and 'so far so good' as the damage and casualties continue to be assessed after Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing American troops

President Donald Trump says ‘all is well’ and ‘so far so good’ as the damage and casualties continue to be assessed after Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing American troops

Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif called the attacks 'self-defense' but said they did 'not seek escalation' but would defend itself against further aggression

 

Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif called the attacks ‘self-defense’ but said they did ‘not seek escalation’ but would defend itself against further aggression

Hours after the launch, a Ukrainian Airlines Boeing 737 caught fire crashed near Tehran killing all 177 passengers and crew – including 63 Canadian and three Britons – amid fears it could have been caught up in the attack.

The Ukrainian embassy in Tehran initially stated that the crash had been caused by an engine failure rather than terrorism or a missile attack, but later deleted that claim.

Iran has blamed technical failure and an engine fire for the crash, after early saying the pilot had lost control during an engine fire.

If it emerges that Iran did shoot down the plane – either accidentally or on purpose – then it is likely to prompt a global response that will escalate tensions in the region even further.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry said of those killed, 82 were Iranian, 63 Canadian, 11 Ukrainian, three British, with the remainder hailing from SwedenAfghanistan, and Germany.

The timing of the Iranian strikes – around 1.20am local time – occurred at the same time as the US drone strike which killed Soleimani.

Following the strikes, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps warned any further strikes by America would be met with fresh attacks, and that any allied countries used as a base for such strikes would themselves become targets.

The Iraqi military said 22 missiles were fired in total – 17 at the Asad base, two of which failed to explode, and five more that struck Erbil International Airport. US officials put the total slightly lower at 15 – ten of which hit Asad, one which hit Erbil, four which failed in flight.

Iran said it had used Fatteh-110 ballistic missiles for the attack, though analysts said images of wreckage near the Aasd base also appears to show Qaim-1 ballistic missiles were used.

The Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq – visited by Trump in December 2018 – and Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were struck by the missiles around 5.20pm EST Tuesday in an operation dubbed ‘Martyr Soleimani’ by Iran.

The Pentagon says the missiles were ‘clearly launched from Iran’ to target U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq. A US official said there were no immediate reports of American casualties, though buildings were still being searched. Iraqi officials say there were no casualties among their forces either.

There are still fears for US forces in the region after Qais al-Khazali, a commander of Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, vowed to exact revenge for the killing of deputy-leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

‘The first Iranian response to the assassination of the martyr leader Soleimani took place,’ he tweeted. ‘Now is the time for the initial Iraqi response to the assassination of the martyr leader Muhandis.

‘And because the Iraqis are brave and zealous, their response will not be less than the size of the Iranian response, and this is a promise.’

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran had delivered a 'slap in the face' to American forces but added that missile strikes are 'not enough' and called for the US to be 'uprooted' from the region

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran had delivered a ‘slap in the face’ to American forces but added that missile strikes are ‘not enough’ and called for the US to be ‘uprooted’ from the region

The Ayatollah spoke in a televised address early Wednesday during which he praised a 'measured' strike against the US, which he said embodied the spirit of slain general Soleimani

The Ayatollah spoke in a televised address early Wednesday during which he praised a ‘measured’ strike against the US, which he said embodied the spirit of slain general Soleimani

The Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq and the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were both struck by the missiles on Tuesday at about 5.30pm (EST)

 

The Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq and the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were both struck by the missiles on Tuesday at about 5.30pm (EST)

Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were spotted arriving at the White House soon after news of the strikes broke

Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were spotted arriving at the White House soon after news of the strikes broke

Iraqi security forces and citizens gather to inspect the site where missiles fired by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps landed outside the Ain al-Asad airbase

Iraqi security forces and citizens gather to inspect the site where missiles fired by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps landed outside the Ain al-Asad airbase

Pieces of shrapnel are seen near the Ain al-Asad airbase after a missile strike by Iran

Pieces of shrapnel are seen near the Ain al-Asad airbase after a missile strike by Iran

Members of Peshmerga fighters stand guard in center of Erbil in the aftermath of Iran's launch of a number of missiles at bases in Iraq

Members of Peshmerga fighters stand guard in center of Erbil in the aftermath of Iran’s launch of a number of missiles at bases in Iraq

Members of Kurdistan's regional government attend a meeting to discuss security after Iranian missiles targeted Erbil International Airport early Wednesday

Members of Kurdistan’s regional government attend a meeting to discuss security after Iranian missiles targeted Erbil International Airport early Wednesday

Britain, Australia, France, Poland, Denmark and Finland have confirmed that none of their troops stationed in Iraq were hurt in the attack, while calling for an end to hostilities and a return to talks.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen vowed the EU will ‘spare no effort’ in trying to save the nuclear deal that Iran signed with President Obama and was ripped up by Trump, sparking the current tensions.

China and Russia, both key Iranian allies, also warned against escalating strikes with Vladimir Dzhabarov, lawmaker with Russia’s upper house of parliament, warning the conflict could easily lead to a nuclear war.

The Syrian government, another key ally of Iran, has expressed full solidarity with Iran, saying Tehran has the right to defend itself ‘in the face of American threats and attacks.’

The foreign ministry said in a statement Wednesday that Syria holds the ‘American regime responsible for all the repercussions due to its reckless policy and arrogant mentality.’

Meanwhile Turkey, which is a NATO member but also has ties to Iran in Syria, said its foreign minister will visit Iraq on Thursday as part of diplomatic efforts to ‘alleviate the escalated tension’ in the region.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, which controls the country’s missile program, confirmed that they fired the rockets in retaliation for last week’s killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

They reported the operation’s name was ‘Martyr Soleimani’ and it took place just hours after the slain general’s funeral.

The rockets used in the attack, according to Iranian TV, were Fatteh-110 ballistic missiles, which have a range of 186 miles or 300km.

The Iranian air force has since deployed multiple fighter jets to patrol it airspace, according to reports – as Iran warned the U.S. and its allies in the region not to retaliate.

The Pentagon said it was still working to assess the damage.

Iranian missiles that blitzed Iraqi airbases can deliver a precision-guided 500lb warhead over a range of more than 180 miles

Two types of ballistic missiles were reportedly used to hit U.S. Military bases in Ain al-Asad in western Iraq and also around Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The majority of those used are believed to be the Fateh-110, which can travel 180 miles or 300km and have a payload of around 500lb.

Reports also suggest the Qiam-1 was also used, a short range ballistic missile produced by Iran which can travel 500 miles and carry 750lb warheads.

The Fateh-110 is an Iranian-designed, short-range, surface-to-surface ballistic missile that can be launched from any location.

While the Qiam-1 was specifically built to target U.S. bases in the Middle East, which have ‘encircled Iran’, according to Iranian sources.

When it was launched the Fateh-110 was described by Iranian defence minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami as ‘100-percent domestically made – agile, stealth, tactical (and) precision-guided’.

Both missiles are reported to have been fired from Tabriz and Kermanshah provinces in Iran.

‘In recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the Department of Defense has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard our personnel and partners. These bases have been on high alert due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces,’ a statement from the Pentagon read.

‘It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at al-Assad and Irbil. We are working on initial battle damage assessments.

‘As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend U.S. personnel, partners, and allies in the region.’

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces, reportedly said Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei was personally in the control center coordinating the attacks.

They also warned U.S. allies in the Middle East that they would face retaliation if America strikes back against any Iranian targets from their bases.

‘We are warning all American allies, who gave their bases to its terrorist army, that any territory that is the starting point of aggressive acts against Iran will be targeted,’ they said. It also threatened Israel.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were spotted arriving at the White House soon after news of the strikes broke.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said on Tuesday night that the missile strikes were an ‘act of war’ and said Trump had all the power he needed to act.

‘This is an act of war by any reasonable definition,’ Graham told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. ‘The President has all the authority he needs under Article II to respond.’

People stand near the wreckage after a Ukrainian plane carrying 177 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport

People stand near the wreckage after a Ukrainian plane carrying 177 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport

Rescue workers in protective suits gather up the bodies of passengers who were killed in the Boeing 737 crash in Iran today

Rescue workers in protective suits gather up the bodies of passengers who were killed in the Boeing 737 crash in Iran today

An aerial view of the crash site where rescuers searched the debris this morning with the cause of the crash still unclear

An aerial view of the crash site where rescuers searched the debris this morning with the cause of the crash still unclear

Mohammad Reza Kadkhoda-Zadeh (pictured), 40, has been named as the first British victim of the Ukrainian Airlines disaster

Mohammad Reza Kadkhoda-Zadeh (pictured), 40, has been named as the first British victim of the Ukrainian Airlines disaster

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted that the U.S., as well as the rest of the world, ‘cannot afford war’.

‘Closely monitoring the situation following bombings targeting U.S. troops in Iraq. We must ensure the safety of our servicemembers, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence. America & world cannot afford war,’ she tweeted.

After the strikes, Saeed Jalili – a former Iranian nuclear negotiator and foreign minister – posted a picture of the Islamic Republic’s flag on Twitter, appearing to mimic Trump who posted an American flag following the killing of Soleimani and others in the drone strike in Baghdad.

Ain al-Asad air base was first used by American forces after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, and later saw American troops stationed there amid the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. It houses about 1,500 U.S. and coalition forces.

About 70 Norwegian troops also were on the air base but no injuries were reported, Brynjar Stordal, a spokesperson for the Norwegian Armed Forces said.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said on Tuesday it would ban U.S. carriers from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, the Gulf of Oman and the waters between Iran and Saudi Arabia after the missile attack on U.S.-led forces.

Earlier on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the United States should anticipate retaliation from Iran over the killing in Iraq of Soleimani.

‘I think we should expect that they will retaliate in some way, shape or form,’ Esper told a news briefing at the Pentagon, adding that such retaliation could be through Iran-backed proxy groups outside of Iran or ‘by their own hand.’

‘We’re prepared for any contingency. And then we will respond appropriately to whatever they do.’

Trump had also earlier told reporters about the prospect of an Iranian attack: ‘We’re totally prepared.’

‘They’re going to be suffering the consequences and very strongly,’ he said from the Oval Office during a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Meanwhile, early reports of an attack at the al-Taji military base, just outside Baghdad, was later reported as a drill.

Local reports initially suggested that five rockets had struck the base after ‘shelter in place’ sirens were heard ringing out around the compound.

Sirens were also heard blaring out inside the U.S. consulate in Erbil, which was one of the bases struck in the missile attack.

Iran said the attack, dubbed Operation Martyr Soleimani, was launched hours after the funeral service for General Qassem Soleimani (pictured) - who was killed in a US drone strike - had finished

Iran said the attack, dubbed Operation Martyr Soleimani, was launched hours after the funeral service for General Qassem Soleimani (pictured) – who was killed in a US drone strike – had finished

Mourners attend funeral and burial of General Soleimani in his hometown in Kerman early Wednesday morning

Mourners attend funeral and burial of General Soleimani in his hometown in Kerman early Wednesday morning

People lower the coffin of Qassem Soleimani into his grave in the city of Kerman, central Iran

People lower the coffin of Qassem Soleimani into his grave in the city of Kerman, central Iran

Mourners rush to lay their hands on the coffin of General Soleimani before it is lowered into a grave in the cit of Kerman

Mourners rush to lay their hands on the coffin of General Soleimani before it is lowered into a grave in the cit of Kerman

Was the Ukrainian jet brought down by an Iranian missile – or were the 176 people on board killed by a mechanical failure? Here are the five key theories

Theory one: Mechanical failure or pilot error 

Iranian authorities have said that initial investigations point to either an engine failure – or a catastrophic pilot error.

The three-year-old Boeing 737 jet came down just three minutes after take-off from Imam Khomeini International Airport.

Iranian officials said the pilot had lost control of the Boeing jet after a fire struck one of the plane’s engines, but said the crew had not reported an emergency and did not say what caused the fire.

Footage of the crash appears to show the plane streaking downwards with a small blaze on the wing, near its jet engines (pictured above on the ground).

But critics have questioned the Iranian account, calling it the ‘fastest investigation in aviation history’ – and said the Boeing 737 has a largely outstanding safety record with no recent history of an engine failure of this kind.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has instructed prosecutors to open criminal proceedings – a clear signal that he is unsure about Iran’s version of events.

His Government also revealed the plane was inspected just two days ago.

Theory two: Accidentally hit by an Iranian missile

The plane came down shortly after Iran launched its missile attacks Iraq with tens of ballistic weapons fired from the rogue state.

Photographs of the downed Ukrainian airlines jet show that the fuselage appears to be peppered with shrapnel damage.

Experts have said that an engine fire or pilot error does not explain those holes (pictured).

Ilya Kusa, a Ukrainian international affairs expert, said amid the US-Iranian tensions and said: ‘It is difficult not to connect the plane crash with the US-Iran confrontation. The situation is very difficult. One must understand that this happened shortly after Iran’s missile attacks on US military facilities’.

Just hours before the crash, the US Federal Aviation Administration had banned US airlines from flying over Iran, Iraq and the waters of the Persian Gulf due to the Middle East crisis.

This was due to the possibility of missiles flying towards Iraq – and airlines are still skirting the region as they head to and from Asia.

Theory three: Jet was deliberately brought down by a missile 

+49

Video footage tweeted by the BBC‘s Iran correspondent, Ali Hashem, appeared to show the plane already burning in the sky before it crashed in a massive explosion.

It sparked speculation that the jet could have been shot down accidentally by nervous Iranian air defence soldiers, hours after Iran fired 22 ballistic missiles at US bases in retaliation for the killing of general Qassem Soleimani.

But there is a major question mark over whether Iran would shoot down a plane with so many of its own citizens on board.

Many of the world’s major airlines have stopped flying through or even near Iranian airspace as they cross the globe amid safety fears after US/Iran tensions boiled over in the past week.

Iran is a key ally of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, which grabbed Crimea from Ukraine and has been involved in an on-off conflict with its neighbour since 2014.

Russia has denied shooting down the ill-fated MH17 jet five years ago – but experts say otherwise with three Russians arrested over the disaster.

 Theory four: An accidental drone strike

Experts have speculated that the Ukrainian aircraft could have collided with a military drone before crashing.

The drone may have smashed into the engine – or been sucked in – with the pilot unsighted because it was after dark.

This could cause an explosion and the fire seen as the plane hit the ground (pictured).

Experts said Iranian were in the air at the time – in case the US decided to fight back – and not always picked up by radar.

Russian military pilot Vladimir Popov said: ‘It could have been an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, which are small in size and poorly visible on radars. A plane in a collision could get significant damage and even catch fire in the air.’

Theory five: Sabotage or a terror attack

Aviation experts have urged investigators to rule out whether the plane was brought down by terrorists or as an act of sabotage.

They say that while a flaming engine is highly unusual, the sudden loss of data communications from the plane is even more so.

This could be caused by a bomb, that blew up after the 737 took to the air, wrecking its systems.

An electronic jammer weapon that knocked out the plane’s controls could also explain it.

British expert Julian Bray said it ‘could be an altitude triggered device set to detonate during take off. Unusual that engine seen to be on fire before crash, points to catastrophic incident’ or being ‘deliberately brought down’.

He added that based on the footage pilot error looks ‘unlikely’.

Experts have said that if the black box is not recovered by Iranian security officials (pictured) from the wreckage it could point to it being a deliberate act.

After the crash the Ukrainian embassy in Tehran reported that the crash had been caused by an engine failure rather than terrorism – but this was later deleted on social media.

The strikes by Iran were a major escalation of tensions that have been rising steadily across the Mideast following months of threats and attacks after Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

Soleimani’s killing and Iran’s missile strikes also marked the first time in recent years that Washington and Tehran have attacked each other directly rather than through proxies in the region.

After the strikes, Saeed Jalili - a former Iranian nuclear negotiator - posted a picture of the Islamic Republic's flag on Twitter, appearing to mimic Trump who posted an American flag following the killing of Soleimani and others in the drone strike in Baghdad

After the strikes, Saeed Jalili – a former Iranian nuclear negotiator – posted a picture of the Islamic Republic’s flag on Twitter, appearing to mimic Trump who posted an American flag following the killing of Soleimani and others in the drone strike in Baghdad

It raised the chances of open conflict erupting between the two nations, which have been foes since the days immediately following Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The revenge attack came a mere few hours after crowds in Iran mourned Soleimani and as the U.S. continued to reinforce its own positions in the region and warned of an unspecified threat to shipping from Iran in the region’s waterways, crucial routes for global energy supplies.

U.S. embassies and consulates from Asia to Africa and Europe issued security alerts for Americans. The U.S. Air Force launched a drill with 52 fighter jets in Utah on Monday, just days after Trump threatened to hit 52 sites in Iran.

Meanwhile a stampede broke out Tuesday at Soleimani’s funeral in his hometown of Kerman and at least 56 people were killed and more than 200 were injured as thousands thronged the procession, Iranian news reports said.

There was no information about what set off the crush in the packed streets. Online videos showed only its aftermath: people lying apparently lifeless, their faces covered by clothing, emergency crews performing CPR on the fallen and onlookers wailing and crying out to God.

A procession in Tehran on Monday drew over one million people in the Iranian capital, crowding both main avenues and side streets.

Hossein Salami, Soleimani’s successor as leader of the Revolutionary Guard, addressed a crowd of supporters gathered at the coffin in a central square in Kernan.

He vowed to avenge Soleimani, saying: ‘We tell our enemies that we will retaliate but if they take another action we will set ablaze the places that they like and are passionate about’.

The al-Asad base for American and coalition troops (pictured above in December) was struck by missiles ‘clearly launched from Iran’, U.S. officials say

The Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan, which provides facilities and services to at least hundreds of coalition personnel and CIA operatives, was also hit in the missile attack+49

The Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan, which provides facilities and services to at least hundreds of coalition personnel and CIA operatives, was also hit in the missile attack

President Trump’s speech on Iran

As long as I am President of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.

Good morning. I’m pleased to inform you: The American people should be extremely grateful and happy no Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime. We suffered no casualties, all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases.

Our great American forces are prepared for anything. Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world.

No American or Iraqi lives were lost because of the precautions taken, the dispersal of forces, and an early warning system that worked very well. I salute the incredible skill and courage of America’s men and women in uniform.

For far too long — all the way back to 1979, to be exact — nations have tolerated Iran’s destructive and destabilizing behavior in the Middle East and beyond. Those days are over. Iran has been the leading sponsor of terrorism, and their pursuit of nuclear weapons threatens the civilized world. We will never let that happen.

Last week, we took decisive action to stop a ruthless terrorist from threatening American lives. At my direction, the United States military eliminated the world’s top terrorist, Qasem Soleimani. As the head of the Quds Force, Soleimani was personally responsible for some of the absolutely worst atrocities.

He trained terrorist armies, including Hezbollah, launching terrorist strikes against civilian targets. He fueled bloody civil wars all across the region. He viciously wounded and murdered thousands of U.S. troops, including the planting of roadside bombs that maim and dismember their victims.

Soleimani directed the recent attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq that badly wounded four service members and killed one American, and he orchestrated the violent assault on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. In recent days, he was planning new attacks on American targets, but we stopped him.

Soleimani’s hands were drenched in both American and Iranian blood. He should have been terminated long ago. By removing Soleimani, we have sent a powerful message to terrorists: If you value your own life, you will not threaten the lives of our people.

As we continue to evaluate options in response to Iranian aggression, the United States will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime. These powerful sanctions will remain until Iran changes its behavior.

In recent months alone, Iran has seized ships in international waters, fired an unprovoked strike on Saudi Arabia, and shot down two U.S. drones.

Iran’s hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013, and they were given $150 billion, not to mention $1.8 billion in cash. Instead of saying “thank you” to the United States, they chanted “death to America.” In fact, they chanted “death to America” the day the agreement was signed.

Then, Iran went on a terror spree, funded by the money from the deal, and created hell in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration. The regime also greatly tightened the reins on their own country, even recently killing 1,500 people at the many protests that are taking place all throughout Iran.

The very defective JCPOA expires shortly anyway, and gives Iran a clear and quick path to nuclear breakout. Iran must abandon its nuclear ambitions and end its support for terrorism. The time has come for the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China to recognize this reality.

They must now break away from the remnants of the Iran deal -– or JCPOA –- and we must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place. We must also make a deal that allows Iran to thrive and prosper, and take advantage of its enormous untapped potential. Iran can be a great country.

Peace and stability cannot prevail in the Middle East as long as Iran continues to foment violence, unrest, hatred, and war. The civilized world must send a clear and unified message to the Iranian regime: Your campaign of terror, murder, mayhem will not be tolerated any longer. It will not be allowed to go forward.

Today, I am going to ask NATO to become much more involved in the Middle East process. Over the last three years, under my leadership, our economy is stronger than ever before and America has achieved energy independence. These historic accompliments [accomplishments] changed our strategic priorities. These are accomplishments that nobody thought were possible. And options in the Middle East became available. We are now the number-one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world. We are independent, and we do not need Middle East oil.

The American military has been completely rebuilt under my administration, at a cost of $2.5 trillion. U.S. Armed Forces are stronger than ever before. Our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal, and fast. Under construction are many hypersonic missiles.

The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean we have to use it. We do not want to use it. American strength, both military and economic, is the best deterrent.

Three months ago, after destroying 100 percent of ISIS and its territorial caliphate, we killed the savage leader of ISIS, al-Baghdadi, who was responsible for so much death, including the mass beheadings of Christians, Muslims, and all who stood in his way. He was a monster. Al-Baghdadi was trying again to rebuild the ISIS caliphate, and failed.

Tens of thousands of ISIS fighters have been killed or captured during my administration. ISIS is a natural enemy of Iran. The destruction of ISIS is good for Iran, and we should work together on this and other shared priorities.

Finally, to the people and leaders of Iran: We want you to have a future and a great future — one that you deserve, one of prosperity at home, and harmony with the nations of the world. The United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it.

I want to thank you, and God bless America. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.

– White House transcript

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7865171/Trump-address-world-Iran-Ayatollah-calls-missile-attack-not-revenge.html

 

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Iran fires TENS of ballistic missiles at US bases in Iraq in operation ‘Martyr Soleimani’ after promising ‘crushing revenge’ for Trump’s decision to kill the top general in drone strike

  • Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing American troops on Tuesday
  • Ayn al Asad airbase in western Iraq that was visited by Trump in December 2018 and the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were both struck by the missiles 
  • The Pentagon says the missiles were ‘clearly launched from Iran’ to target U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq 
  • Trump has been briefed on the attacks and Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were spotted arriving at the White House
  • Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said they fired the rockets in retaliation for last week’s killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani
  • They reported the operation’s name was ‘Martyr Soleimani’ and it took place just hours after the slain general’s funeral 
  • The rockets used in the attack, according to Iranian TV, are Fatteh-110 ballistic missiles, which have a range of 186 miles or 300km 

Iran has fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing American troops in a revenge attack for the U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general.

The Ayn al Asad airbase in western Iraq that was visited by Donald Trump in December 2018 and the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were both struck by the missiles on Tuesday at about 5.30pm (EST).

The Pentagon says the missiles were ‘clearly launched from Iran’ to target U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq. There was no immediate word on injuries but security sources told CNN that there were Iraqi casualties at the Al Asad airbase.

President Donald Trump has been briefed on the attacks and Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were spotted arriving at the White House soon after news of the strikes broke.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, which controls the country’s missile program, confirmed that they fired the rockets in retaliation for last week’s killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, according to state TV.

They reported the operation’s name was ‘Martyr Soleimani’ and it took place just hours after the slain general’s funeral.

The rockets used in the attack, according to Iranian TV, were Fatteh-110 ballistic missiles, which have a range of 186 miles or 300km.

The Iranian air force has since deployed multiple fighter jets to patrol it airspace, according to reports – as Iran warned the U.S. and its allies in the region not to retaliate.

Iran has fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing American troops in a revenge attack for the U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general

Iran has fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing American troops in a revenge attack for the U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general

The rockets hit Ain Asad (pictured) which houses US and coalition troops
The rockets hit Ain Asad (pictured) which houses US and coalition troops

The Ayn al Asad airbase in western Iraq that was visited by Donald Trump in December 2018 and the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were both struck by the missiles on Tuesday at about 5.30pm (EST)

The Pentagon says the missiles were 'clearly launched from Iran' to target U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq

The Pentagon says the missiles were ‘clearly launched from Iran’ to target U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq

Iranian TV airs apparent firing of missiles at US base in Iraq
The Pentagon said it was still working to assess the damage.

‘In recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the Department of Defense has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard our personnel and partners. These bases have been on high alert due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces,’ a statement from the Pentagon read.

‘It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil. We are working on initial battle damage assessments.

‘As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend U.S. personnel, partners, and allies in the region.’

President Trump has been briefed on the rocket attacks and is expected to address the nation later on Tuesday night.

‘We are aware of the reports of attacks on US facilities in Iraq. The President has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team,’ White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said immediately after the attacks.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces, reportedly said Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei was personally in the control center coordinating the attacks.

They also warned U.S. allies in the Middle East that they would face retaliation if America strikes back against any Iranian targets from their bases.

President Trump and First Lady Melania visited the Al Asad airbase in western Iraq in December 2018. The airbase was targeted by Iran on Tuesday in a missile attack

President Trump and First Lady Melania visited the Al Asad airbase in western Iraq in December 2018. The airbase was targeted by Iran on Tuesday in a missile attack

The Ayn al Asad airbase in western Iraq that was visited by Donald Trump in December 2018 and the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were both struck by the missiles on Tuesday at about 5.30pm (EST)

The Ayn al Asad airbase in western Iraq that was visited by Donald Trump in December 2018 and the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were both struck by the missiles on Tuesday at about 5.30pm (EST)

The Al Asad base for American and coalition troops (pictured above in December) was struck by missiles 'clearly launched from Iran', U.S. officials say

The Al Asad base for American and coalition troops (pictured above in December) was struck by missiles ‘clearly launched from Iran’, U.S. officials say

Earlier on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the United States should anticipate retaliation from Iran over the killing in Iraq of Soleimani.

‘I think we should expect that they will retaliate in some way, shape or form,’ Esper told a news briefing at the Pentagon, adding that such retaliation could be through Iran-backed proxy groups outside of Iran or ‘by their own hand.’

‘We’re prepared for any contingency. And then we will respond appropriately to whatever they do.’

Trump had also earlier told reporters about the prospect of an Iranian attack: ‘We’re totally prepared.’

‘They’re going to be suffering the consequences and very strongly,’ he said from the Oval Office during a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Meanwhile, early reports of an attack at the al-Taji military base, just outside Baghdad, was later reported as a drill.

Local reports initially suggested that five rockets had struck the base after ‘shelter in place’ sirens were heard ringing out around the compound.

Sirens were also heard blaring out inside the U.S. consulate in Erbil, which was one of the bases struck in the missile attack.

However, Kurdistan 24 reporter Barzan Sadiq later tweeted that the base was calm on Tuesday night and suggested the purported attack was likely just a drill

 

However, Kurdistan 24 reporter Barzan Sadiq later tweeted that the base was calm on Tuesday night and suggested the purported attack was likely just a drill

 

Kurdistan 24 reporter Barzan Sadiq later tweeted that the base was al-Taji calm on Tuesday night and suggested the purported attack was likely just a drill

Local reports initially suggested that five rocket had struck the al-Taji military base, situated 30km north of Baghdad, after ‘shelter in place’ siren were heard ringing out around the compound

Reports of the strike occurred just hours after a flurry of US airstrikes were carried out on militia bases in Western Iraq and Syria, targeting Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), a paramilitary umbrella group that is part of the Iraqi government.

U.S. forces were said to be specifically targeting the Kataib Hezbollah (KH), a faction within the PMU, in response to repeated attacks against US-led coalition forces in Iraq.

The targeted three KH bases in Iraq and two in Syria, under the belief each of the locations ‘included weapon storage facilities and command and control locations that KH uses to plan and execute attacks on coalition forces.’

Trump had said troops should stay at the base to watch Iran.

‘I want to be able to watch Iran,’ Trump said in and interview with CBS’s Face the Nation in February 2019.

‘We’re going to keep watching and we’re going to keep seeing and if there’s trouble, if somebody is looking to do nuclear weapons or other things, we’re going to know it before they do.’

Iran is considering its options against America in retaliation for the killing of Quds commander Qassem Soleimeni in Baghdad. The conflict could quickly spiral out of control, dragging in other world powers including Russia, Turkey and China

 

Iran is considering 13 ‘revenge scenarios’ over the death of General Soleimani as top official vows to create ‘historic nightmare’ for the US

  • Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani was killed by US airstrike in Iraq last week
  • Tehran has pledged to exact a ‘crushing revenge’ on America in retaliation 
  • Iran has been considering 13 ‘revenge scenarios’ in retaliation, top official said 
  • Even the weakest option will create an ‘historic nightmare’ for the US, he said

Iran is considering 13 ‘revenge scenarios’ in retaliation for the US airstrike that killed General Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, a top official has said.

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, vowed that even if Tehran opted for the weakest option, it will create an ‘historic nightmare for the Americans’.

While Shamkhani would not reveal any specific details of the plans, he said all US forces in the Middle East are being considered for strikes.

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (centre), revealed Tehran is considering 13 'revenge scenarios' in retaliation for the killing of General Soleimani

Even if the security council votes for the weakest option it will mean an 'historic nightmare for the Americans', Shamkani warned (pictured, a protester in Iran)

He said that US bases across Iraq are being kept under close surveillance and claimed to know the exact number of personnel and equipment being kept at each.

‘We insist that all troops be withdrawn,’ he said, according to Iranian newspaper Resalat. ‘If the troops want to dig into the bases, we will destroy the bases in addition to the troops.

‘Those who crawl into shelters and close the doors hoping to escape our revenge are unaware that the Islamic Republic will open the door to hell.’

He later added: ‘If the US troops do not leave our region voluntarily and upright, we will do something to carry their bodies out horizontally.’

Iran has vowed to exact a ‘crushing revenge’ over the killing of Soleimani, which is expected to ramp up Tuesday after a three-day period of mourning ends.

The country has already ripped up what remained of the nuclear deal signed under Obama in the wake of the strike, and Iraq has voted to kick all US troops out.

Rockets have also been launched at the Green Zone surrounding the US embassy in Baghdad, with the area expected to come under increasing attacks.

While Iran has not made its future plans clear, some 5,000 US troops stationed across Iraq and 500 still in Syria are expected to be targeted in response.

Hassan Nasrallah, the Lebanese secretary-general of Iran-backed Hezbollah, said all US bases, all warships and every single soldier in the region is now a target.

‘The true, just retribution for those who conducted this assassination is an institution, which is the U.S. military,’ he said during a ceremony to mourn Soleimani’s death in Beirut on Sunday.

‘We will launch a battle against those killers, those criminals.’

US intelligence believes that Iran will try to kill one of its top generals in the region in a tit-for-tat slaying.

One official said the U.S. anticipates a ‘major’ attack of some type within the next day or two.

Iranian lawmakers holding pictures of slain Iran's Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani as they chant 'death to America' during a session on Tuesday

Iran's response to Soleimani's killing is expected to ramp up Tuesday when a three-day period of mourning comes to an end (pictured, funeral procession in his home town of Kerman)

The U.S. military has increased protection of its forces, particularly in Iraq.

Six long-range B-52 bombers have also been stationed on Diego Garcia, a British-controlled island in the Indian ocean – putting them out of range of Iranian missiles but within striking distance of the country.

Pentagon officials said the B-52s will be available for operations against the Islamic Republic if ordered into action.

Meanwhile the US Air Force put on a show of strength in Utah, after carrying out a training exercise with 52 F-35A Lightining II stealth fighters.

‘We’re ready to fly, fight, and win,’ the 419th Fighter Wings tweeted after the exercise.

They added the exercise ‘pushed the boundaries and tested our Airmen’s ability to deploy the F-35As en masse’

The 52 F-35A aircrafts, which are worth a whopping $4.2 billion, took off in quick succession from the Hill Air Force Base in Utah on Monday following an elephant walk down the runway

The 52 F-35A aircrafts, which are worth a whopping $4.2 billion, took off in quick succession from the Hill Air Force Base in Utah on Monday following an elephant walk down the runway

NATO has said it is withdrawing ‘some personnel’ from Iraq over fears for their safety, after cancelling a training exercise on Saturday.

Iran’s parliament passed a bill on Tuesday designating all US forces ‘terrorists’ over the killing.

Under the newly adopted bill, all US forces and employees of the Pentagon and affiliated organisations, agents and commanders and those who ordered the ‘martyrdom’ of Soleimani were designated as terrorists.

‘Any aid to these forces, including military, intelligence, financial, technical, service or logistical, will be considered as co-operation in a terrorist act,’ the Iranian parliament said.

According to reports on social media, Iranian lawmakers chanted ‘Death to America’ while voting for passage of the bill.

Lawmakers also voted to bolster by £170million the coffers of the Quds Force – the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards that was headed by Soleimani.

The bill was an amended version of a law adopted in April last year that declared the United States a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ and its forces in the region ‘terror groups’.

A U.S. Air Force pilot takes off in his Air Force F-35A aircraft from the 388th and 428th Fighter Wings to participate in the combat power exercise

Iran’s top security body, the Supreme National Security Council, said that blackisting came after the US designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a ‘terrorist organisation’.

Iran and America have careened from one flare-up to another since Trump began his ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Iran shortly after taking office.

He tore up the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed crushing economic sanctions, both steps aimed at preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and deterring the sort of regional aggression spearheaded by Soleimani.

Two U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal discussions, said targeting Soleimani was not representative of a wholesale shift in American policy toward Iran, despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comments on Sunday that the U.S. was targeting Iran’s ‘actual decision-makers’ rather than its network of proxy allies.

Trump has repeatedly contended that he is not seeking ‘regime change’ in Iran, as has been pushed by some of his more hawkish advisers.

Still, Trump’s strike against Soleimani, a revered figure in Iran whose death sparked large displays of anger and grief, was a risky decision his Republican and Democratic predecessors opted not to take out of concern it would draw the U.S. and Iran closer to conflict.

The Pentagon is deploying six B-52 Stratofortress bombers (like the ones seen in the above stock image) to a military base in the northern Indian Ocean, according to a CNN report from Monday

The strategic bombers were on their way Monday to Diego Garcia, an atoll that is home to a vital US military base

The strategic bombers were on their way Monday to Diego Garcia, an atoll that is home to a vital US military base

U.S. officials are also aware that Iran could try to strike a high-level American leader in a ‘tit-for-tat’ move, potentially a military commander.

One official said some Iranian ships have spread out, and while the intent isn´t immediately clear, they could move rapidly to attack.

The U.S. military has increased protection of its forces, particularly in Iraq. Officials said a number of the recently deployed soldiers from the 1st Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division had moved into Iraq from Kuwait in order to increase security for Americans there.

The U.S. military has stopped all training of Iraqi forces to focus on force protection, officials said.

As of Monday, officials said, there had not been a broadly distributed order or recommendation to increase security at military installations worldwide. Instead, decisions were being left up to the commanders.

 

 

‘Don’t mess with me’: Moment nail-spitting Nancy Pelosi ERUPTS when reporter asks if she hates Donald Trump after she ordered Democrats to write formal articles of impeachment

  • Pelosi said she is instructing committees to proceed with impeachment articles against the president: ‘Our democracy is what is at stake’
  • When a reporter asked her, ‘Do you hate the president?’ she became unusually angry and insisted she doesn’t ‘hate’ anyone
  • Pelosi said she prays for the president but Trump tweeted that he doesn’t believe her 
  • Democrats are hurrying to compete their work by the end of the year; speaker didn’t say when she might call a vote 
  • Democrats are debating whether to include an article on obstruction of justice as laid out in the report by special counsel Robert Mueller
  • Politicians are split along party lines on whether Trump committed an impeachable offense when he asked Ukraine president to investigate Joe Biden 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi erupted Thursday at a reporter who asked if she hates President Donald Trump. Pelosi had two hours earlier publicly told House Democrats to draft articles of impeachment to try to remove the president from office.

‘Do you hate the president, Madam Speaker?’ asked James Rosen, a longtime correspondent for Fox News who is now with Sinclair Broadcasting.

Pelosi, typically even-tempered, abandoned her measured speaking and became visibly angry.

‘I pray for the president all the time,’ she shot back. ‘So don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that.’

‘Nancy Pelosi just had a nervous fit. … She says she “prays for the President.” I don’t believe her, not even close,’ he wrote in a tweet.

‘She hates that we will soon have 182 great new judges and sooo much more. Stock Market and employment records,’ he added, before sniping about her hometown San Francisco’s chronic homelessness problem.

The California Democrat had said before storming off the stage that hatred ‘has nothing to do with’ her crusade to impeach Trump.

Also on Thursday, when reporter asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 'Do you hate the president?' she became unusually angry and insisted she doesn't 'hate' anyone: 'Don't mess with me when it comes to words like that!'

Pelosi erupted in response to a question from Sinclair Broadcasting reporter James Rosen (center-right, arm raised), who asked whether she hates Trump

Pelosisaid she prays for Trump, and he tweeted that he doesn't believe it: 'Not even close'

Pelosi insisted she hates no one, and that she often prays for the president

‘Let me say this: I think the president is a coward when it comes to helping kids who are afraid of gun violence. I think he is cruel when he doesn’t deal with helping our dreamers, of which we’re very proud. I think he’s in denial about the climate crisis,’ she said.

But ‘take it up in the election,’ Pelosi continued. ‘This is about the Constitution of the United States and the fact that leads to the president’s violation of his oath of office. And as a Catholic, I resent your using the word “hate” in a sentence that addresses me. I don’t hate anyone.’

Pelosi’s decision to fast-track impeachment articles, the congressional equivalent of criminal charges against Trump, sets up an almost certainly successful House vote likely trial in the Senate, with implications for not only the Trump presidency but control of Congress.

‘Our democracy is what is at stake,’ the longtime liberal lawmaker told reporters in a formal statement outside her ornate balcony on the second floor of the Capitol. ‘Today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.’

She did not specify which articles of impeachment she favored—an issue of intense debate within her caucus—or how quickly she might call a vote, another fraught question.

The speaker also left no doubt where she personally comes down on the matter, after spending many months initially resisting a push to impeach.

‘The president’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution,’ she said in her televised statement, speaking in somber tones in a measured voice.

‘His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution it’s separation of powers,’ she intoned – ‘three coequal branches, each a check and balance on the other.’

Trump quickly attacked the move on Twitter, warning Democrats were impeaching him over ‘NOTHING.’

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said she has instructed House committees to draw up impeachment articles against President Trump

President Trump countered on Twitter that Democrats were impeaching him over 'NOTHING'

President Trump countered on Twitter that Democrats were impeaching him over ‘NOTHING’

He said their actions would lower the bar and be 'used routinely to attack future Presidents'

He said their actions would lower the bar and be ‘used routinely to attack future Presidents’

‘Impeachment will be used routinely to attack future Presidents. That is not what our Founders had in mind,’ Trump retorted on Twitter.

She also appeared to suggest the potential for a sweeping set of impeachment articles – by accusing Trump of corruption in the 2016 election alongside his more recent moves. The House Intelligence Committee’s inquiry dealt primarily with Trump’s actions as recently as this fall and summer dealing with Ukraine.

‘The president leaves us no choice but to act, because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit,’ Pelosi said.

What we do know on impeachment after Pelosi’s speech (and what we don’t)

WHAT WE KNOW 

Democratic committees will draft articles of impeachment for president Trump.

Pelosi used plural language, implying the House Intelligence Committee would continue to be involved, although Judiciary is the place such action would occur.

The committee must hold formal public hearings where articles would be voted on by members.

If those articles are ordered reported in Committee, House leaders would then bring them quickly to the House floor for a vote.

There would be public debate before such a vote, and each member’s vote will be recorded.

Then, the matter will go to the Senate, where Senate leaders have said a trial will occur.

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW 

Pelosi didn’t say what the impeachment articles would be.

She didn’t say whether obstruction of justice – alleged in the Mueller report – would be included.

Obstruction of Congress is another possibility.

Lawmakers are considering various abuse of power related articles.

She did not say when committees would act.

She didn’t say when the goal would be to have the House vote – or if year’s end is the official goal.

She did not speak on the likelihood of passage, although she would be unlikely to proceed without knowing the outcome.

Pelosi did not reveal who House impeachment managers will be. They are charged with arguing the case in the Senate.

The terms of the Senate trial are fluid. Witnesses are called, but it is unclear if the White House will follow through on Trump’s call to bring forward Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and the Bidens as witnesses.

The timing is also unknown. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked out time in January – but Democratic presidential primaries start in early February.

‘The president has engaged in abuse of power, undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections,’ she continued. ‘His actions are in defiance of the vision of our founders and the oath of office that he takes to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”‘

‘Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders,  and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.’

She thanked committee chairs and members ‘for their somber approach’ to deal with actions the president made ‘necessary.’

The Catholic lawmaker invoked Declaration of Independence signers’ reliance on Divine Provenance.

She said Democrats were ‘prayerful’ and will proceed in a manner ‘worthy of our oath of office.’

There is much Pelosi did not say about a way forward – including what precise articles she wants the House Judiciary to draw up. The House intelligence committee, which began the probe under Pelosi ally Adam Schiff, has said it will continue its inquiry.

Seeking to bring her comments above the partisan mud fest that the two initial public hearings have become, Pelosi quoted a long list of Founders in her comments: James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason and and Constitution signer Gouverneur Morris.

‘The founders feared the return of the monarchy in America,’ Pelosi said, in terms that compared Trump to a corrupt tyrant and a king. In particular, she said, they feared one who ‘might betray his trust to for powers,’ she said.

Pelosi, who for months resisted the drive that began among members of her party’s liberal wing, has since jumped aboard, setting up a House Intelligence impeachment inquiry and Wednesday Judiciary Committee hearing.

Minutes before Pelosi was to announce her plans, President Trump weighed in with his own suggestion that Democrats hurry up their House effort to bring on a trial.

‘The Do Nothing Democrats had a historically bad day yesterday in the House. They have no Impeachment case and are demeaning our Country. But nothing matters to them, they have gone crazy. Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair …trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business,’ Trump wrote.

‘We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is,’ he said, laying out plans that lawmakers and his legal team might or might not go along with. ‘I was elected to ‘Clean the Swamp,’ and that’s what I am doing!’ he added.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale used similar language in his own statement.

‘We are less than a year away from Election Day 2020 and Democrats can’t possibly explain to the American people why they want to take the decision of who should be president out of the hands of voters,’ he wrote.

‘But impeaching the President has always been their goal, so they should just get on with it so we can have a fair trial in the Senate and expose The Swamp for what it is. Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Schiff, and Hunter Biden should testify, and then we can get back to the business of our country.’

Do US a favor: Trump said he was asking Ukraine to help 'our Country' by investigating Joe Biden and the 2016 elections

Do US a favor: Trump said he was asking Ukraine to help ‘our Country’ by investigating Joe Biden and the 2016 elections

He called on Democrats to apologize to the American people

'Our democracy is what is at stake,' the longtime California lawmaker said

She spoke in the corridor outside the Speaker's balcony in the Capitol before a bank of American flags

The president is focused on making the case against impeachment in the Senate, the White House signaled Wednesday as House Democrats continue to plow toward recommending impeachment to the upper chamber.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who holds considerable sway over how impeachment will go in his chamber, said on the Floor Thursday: ‘For weeks now, Republicans have beeen asking Democrats to take off their impeachment blinders and let Congress legislate for the American people.’ He said ‘Democrats literally obsess over impeachment.’

Today, he said, ‘the Speaker gave a speech on national television to push forward her rushed and partisan impeachment. Not one word, not one word on the outstanding legislation the American people actually need. Nothing on USMCA or the NDAA or funding for our armed forces. All impeachment, all the time, said McConnell, who served in the Senate during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, whom he accused at the time of a ‘persistent pattern and practice of obstruction of justice.’

White House director of legislative affairs Eric Ueland, a longtime former Senate aide, said Trump ‘wants his case made fully in the Senate.’

‘In this instance, we believe very strongly — given the fatally flawed process in the House — that if they were to elect against our better advice [and] send over impeachment to the Senate, that we need witnesses as part of our trial and a full defense of the president on the facts,’ Ueland told reporters, gesturing toward the Senate chamber, according to The Washington Post.

Ueland, along with White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, met with GOP senators on Wednesday as the House Judiciary Committee conducted its first public hearing.

President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky looks on during a meeting in New York on September 25, 2019, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly

Pelosi's statement was carried on multiple platforms

Pelosi’s statement was carried on multiple platforms

Ueland signaled that the White House was focused on the likely Senate trial where he feels they will be able to make a fair defense.

While speaking with reporters at the White House Monday, the president’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway, said Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff should testify because he is a fact witness in the impeachment inquiry.

She even said if Schiff testified under oath Wednesday before the Judiciary Committee she would show up on Capitol Hill.

Republicans have also asserted that Hunter Biden should appear to testify – since his business dealings in Ukraine are also at the center of the president’s actions that led to the impeachment inquiry.

Trump’s missive came a day after key White House advisors lunched with Senate Republicans to plot strategy on how to handle impeachment in the Senate.

Trump’s push for speedy House Democratic action, if sincere, would put him on the same page as Democratic leaders, who have been fearful of dragging out impeachment long into the new year. They fear it could interfere with their party’s message of working on kitchen table issues like health care and prescription drug costs.

To date, Pelosi has refrained from sweeping pronouncements on process, preferring to let House committees and investigations go forward at their own pace, at least publicly.

‘Are you ready?’ she asked her colleagues Wednesday during a closed-door meeting, earning yells of approval from fellow Democrats, the Washington Post reported.

She has yet to give lawmakers a firm timeline for what comes next – although all indications are that Democrats are rushing to complete impeachment by the end of the year.

That would provide barely enough time for Judiciary to consider and vote on articles of impeachment, setting up a House vote. That could bring a Senate trial early next year.

For that to happen, though Democrats must reach some decisions among themselves over how expansive a set of impeachment articles they want to craft.

The House Intelligence Committee kept its public hearings to Trump’ and his administration and emissaries’ conduct – and its 300-page report dealt with alleged abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

But some influential Democrats want to plumb the findings of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report, which investigated 10 instances of potential obstruction of justice.

Some Democrats are pushing the party to incorporate Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and other actions by Trump as articles of impeachment.

Democrats say no decision has been made at this point on the specific charges. They could include abuse of power, bribery, obstruction of Congress and obstruction of justice.

More centrist and moderate Democrats prefer to stick with the Ukraine matter as a simpler narrative that Americans understand. As complex as the Ukraine affair has become, it has the virtue of being a more contained set of circumstances.

Obstruction of justice could encompass Trump’s conduct allegedly trying to shut down the Mueller probe, his interactions with former White House counsel Don McGahn, payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, and a variety of ancillary issues.

Either way, Democrats could begin drafting articles of impeachment in a matter of days, with a Judiciary Committee vote next week.

The full House could vote by Christmas. Then the matter would move to the Senate for a trial in 2020.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff,

Robert Mueller, Former Special Counsel for the United States Department of Justice

Democrats are debating whether to include an article on obstruction of justice as laid out in the report by special counsel Robert Mueller.  House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff,left, is leading the impeachment hearings

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019

On Wednesday, three leading legal scholars testified that President Donald Trump’s attempts to have Ukraine investigate Democratic rivals are grounds for impeachment.

The legal opinions bolster the Democrats’ case as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi makes sure they’re prepared for that momentous next step.

A fourth expert called by Republicans at the Judiciary Committee warned against rushing the process, arguing it would be the shortest of impeachment proceedings, with the ‘thinnest’ record of evidence in modern times, setting a worrisome standard.

Meeting behind closed doors ahead of the initial Judiciary hearing to consider potential articles of impeachment, Pelosi asked House Democrats a simple question: ‘Are you ready?’

The answer was a resounding yes.

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, joined at left by Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., makes his opening statements on Wednesday

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, joined at left by Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., makes his opening statements on Wednesday

Though no date has been set, the Democrats are charging toward a Christmastime vote on removing the 45th president. It’s a starkly partisan undertaking, a situation Pelosi hoped to avoid but now seems inevitable.

Trump is alleged to have abused the power of his office by putting personal political gain over national security interests, engaging in bribery by withholding $400 million in military aid Congress had approved for Ukraine; and then obstructing Congress by stonewalling the investigation.

Across the Capitol on Wednesday, the polarizing political divide over impeachment, only the fourth such inquiry in the nation´s history, was on display.

At the Judiciary hearing Democrats sided with the scholars who said Trump´s actions reached the Constitution´s threshold of ‘bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.’ Republicans pointed to the lone professor they were allowed to invite, who said impeachment was not warranted.

Democrats in the House say the inquiry is a duty. Republican representatives say it’s a sham. And quietly senators of both parties conferred on Wednesday, preparing for an eventual Trump trial.

‘Never before, in the history of the republic, have we been forced to consider the conduct of a president who appears to have solicited personal, political favors from a foreign government,’ said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., as he gaveled open the landmark House hearing.

Nadler said Trump’s phone call seeking a ‘favor’ from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy wasn’t the first time he had sought foreign help to influence an American election, noting Russian interference in 2016. He warned against inaction with a new campaign underway.

‘We cannot wait for the election,’ he said. ‘ If we do not act to hold him in check, now, President Trump will almost certainly try again to solicit interference in the election for his personal political gain.’

Trump, attending a NATO meeting in London called the hearing a ‘joke’ and doubted many people would watch because it’s ‘boring.’

Once an outsider to the GOP, Trump now has Republicans’ unwavering support. They joined in his name-calling the Judiciary proceedings a ‘disgrace’ and unfair, the dredging up of unfounded allegations as part of an effort to undo the 2016 election and remove him from office.

‘You just don’t like the guy,’ said Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the panel. Trump rewarded some of his allies with politically valuable presidential tweets as the daylong hearing dragged into the evening.

Despite the intent of America’s Founding Fathers to create a durable system of legal checks and balances, impeachment is an admittedly political exercise. Thus Pelosi asked her still-new majority if they were willing to press onward, aware of still-uncertain electoral risks.

At the Democrats’ private morning meeting, support for the impeachment effort was vigorous, though voting to remove Trump could come hard for some lawmakers in regions where the president has substantial backing.

The Democratic lawmakers also delivered a standing ovation to Rep. Adam Schiff, whose 300-page Intelligence Committee report cataloged potential grounds for impeachment, overwhelmingly indicating they want to continue to press the inquiry rather than slow its advance or call a halt for fear of political costs in next year’s congressional elections. The meeting was described by people familiar with it, who were unauthorized to discuss it by name and were granted anonymity.

Meanwhile, Trump’s team fanned out across the Capitol with Vice President Mike Pence meeting with House Republicans and White House officials conferring with Senate Republicans to prepare for what could be the first presidential impeachment trial in a generation.

From left, Constitutional law experts, Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman, Stanford Law School professor Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina Law School professor Michael Gerhardt and George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley

From left, Constitutional law experts, Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman, Stanford Law School professor Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina Law School professor Michael Gerhardt and George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, who has declined for now to participate in the House proceedings, relayed Trump’s hope that the impeachment effort can be stopped in the House and there will be no need for a Senate trial, which seems unlikely.

White House officials and others said Trump is eager to have his say. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said, ‘He feels like he has had no opportunity to tell his side of the story.’

Trump lambastes the impeachment probe daily and proclaims his innocence of any wrongdoing at length, but he has declined to testify before House hearings or answer questions in writing.

At the heart of the inquiry is his July 25 phone call asking Ukraine to investigate rival Democrats including Joe Biden. Trump at the time was withholding $400 million in military aid from the ally, which faced an aggressive Russia on its border.

At Wednesday’s session, three legal experts called by Democrats said impeachment was merited.

Noah Feldman, a Harvard Law School professor, said he considered it clear that the president’s conduct met the definition of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ Said Michael Gerhardt, a University of North Carolina law professor, ‘If what we’re talking about is not impeachable … then nothing is impeachable.’

Pamela Karlan, a Stanford Law School professor and former Obama administration Justice Department official, drew criticism for mentioning Trump’s teenage son, Barron, in a wordplay, violating an unwritten but firm Washington rule against dragging first family’s children into politics.

The only Republican witness, Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, dissented from the other legal experts. He said the Democrats were bringing a ‘slipshod impeachment’ case against the president, but he didn’t excuse Trump’s behavior.

‘It is not wrong because President Trump is right,’ Turley said. ‘A case for impeachment could be made, but it cannot be made on this record.’

New telephone records released with the House report deepened Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s known involvement in what investigators call the ‘scheme.’

Asked about that, Trump told reporters he doesn’t know why Giuliani was calling the White House Office of Management and Budget, which was withholding the military aid to Ukraine.

‘You have to ask him,’ Trump said. ‘Sounds like something that’s not so complicated. … No big deal.’

Based on two months of investigation sparked by a still-anonymous government whistleblower’s complaint, the Intelligence Committee’s Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report found that Trump ‘sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process and endangered U.S. national security.’ When Congress began investigating, it says, Trump obstructed the investigation like no other president in history.

Republicans defended the president in a 123-page rebuttal claiming Trump never intended to pressure Ukraine when he asked for investigations of Biden and his son.

Democrats once hoped to sway Republicans to consider Trump’s removal, but they are now facing an ever-hardening partisan split over the swift-moving proceedings that are dividing Congress and the country.

Trump says he was telling Ukraine’s president to help the COUNTRY when he asked him to ‘do us a favor’ by investigating Joe Biden

Donald Trump‘s efforts to push the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden weren’t done for his own benefit, but for the nation’s the president said online after returning to the U.S. from a trip to London.

Trump offered the latest defense of his ‘perfect’ phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky about two hours after returning home from a trip that had the president clashing with European leaders just as the House Judiciary Committee held its first impeachment hearing on his fate.

President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

Trump explained his position in two long tweets.  ‘When I said, in my phone call to the President of Ukraine, ‘I would like you to do US a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.’ With the word ‘us’ I am referring to the United States, our Country,’ he wrote.

‘I then went on to say that … ‘I would like to have the Attorney General (of the United States) call you or your people…..’ This, based on what I have seen, is their big point – and it is no point at a all (except for a big win for me!).’

Trump concluded: ‘The Democrats should apologize to the American people!’

Trump’s July 25th phone call has become the center of a Democratic impeachment push. In it, he asked Zelensky to investigate Biden and contact Barr, who in addition to guiding the release of the Mueller report has named a federal prosecutor to probe alleged FBI misconduct in the Russia probe.

After Zelensky mentions anti-tank missiles he wants to fend off Russia, Trump says ‘I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.’

He then mentions a conspiracy theory about the Democratic 2016 election server and the Crowdstrike security firm asks Zelensky to ‘get to the bottom of it.’ He then mentions a ‘very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine.’ He said it was ‘very important’ that Zelensky do it.

He also asks Zelensky to contact his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, brings up Hunter Biden’s son, and calls the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine ‘bad news.’

Trump’s defense of his call came as a trio of legal scholars called by Democrats blasted his conduct as a clear breach of the Constitution.

They all argued for impeachment in their opening statements before the panel.

‘I just want to stress, that if this – if what we’re talking about is not impeachable, than nothing is impeachable,’ said Michael Gerhardt, a law professor at the University of North Carolina.

‘This is precisely the misconduct that the framers created a constitution – including impeachment – to protect against,’ he said. ‘If Congress concludes that they’re going to give a pass to the president here… every other president will say, ‘Ok, then I can do the same thing.’

Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan told lawmakers the most ‘chilling’ line in testimony she reviewed came from ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland who said he had never heard that the Ukrainians needed to go through with the investigations, just announce them publicly.

‘This was about injuring someone who the president thinks of as a particularly hard opponent,’ she said in reference to Joe Biden.

Karlan said of the Founders: ‘The very idea that a president might seek the aid of a foreign government in his reelection campaign would have horrified them. But based on the evidentiary record, that is what President Trump has done,’ she said.

But the Republican witness, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, said he did not think there was any way Trump’s conduct rose to the level of impeachment.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s full press statement on articles of impeachment on President Trump

Good morning.

Let us begin where our Founders began in 1776: ‘When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…’

With those words, our Founders courageously began our Declaration of Independence from an oppressive monarch, for, among other grievances, the King’s refusal to follow rightfully-passed laws.

In the course of today’s events, it becomes necessary for us to address, among other grievances, the President’s failure to faithfully execute the law.

When crafting the Constitution, the Founders feared the return of a monarchy in America. And, having just fought a war of independence, they specifically feared the prospect of a king president corrupted by foreign influence.

During the Constitutional Convention, James Madison – the architect of the Constitution – warned that a President might ‘betray his trust to foreign powers… which might prove fatal to the republic.’

Another Founder, Gouverneur Morris, feared that a president ‘may be bribed by a greater interest to betray his trust.’ He emphasized that, ‘This Magistrate is not the King…The people are the King.’

They therefore created a constitutional remedy to protect against a dangerous or corrupt leader: impeachment.

Unless the Constitution contained an impeachment provision, one Founder warned, a president might ‘spare no efforts or means whatever to get himself re-elected.’

Similarly, George Mason insisted that a president who ‘procured his appointment in the first instance’ through improper and corrupt acts might ‘repeat his guilt’ and return to power.

During the debate over impeachment at the Constitutional Convention, George Mason asked: ‘Shall any man be above justice? Shall that man be above it who can commit the most extensive injustice?’

In his great wisdom, he knew that injustice committed by the President erodes the rule of law – the very idea that – of fair justice, which is the bedrock of our democracy.

And if we allow a president to be above the law, we do so surely at the peril of our republic.

In America, no one is above the law.

Over the past few weeks, through the Intelligence Committee working with the Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees, the American people have heard the testimony of truly patriotic career public servants, distinguished diplomats and decorated war heroes: some of the President’s own appointees.

The facts are uncontested: the President abused his power for his own personal, political benefit at the expense of our national security, by withholding military aid and a crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival.

Yesterday, the Judiciary Committee – at the Judiciary Committee, the American people heard testimony from leading American constitutional scholars who illuminated, without a doubt, that the President’s actions are a profound violation of the public trust.

The President’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution – especially when he says and acts upon the belief, ‘Article II says, I can do whatever I want.’

No. His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution: a separation of powers, three co-equal branches, each a check and balance on the other; ‘a Republic, if we can keep it,’ said Benjamin Franklin.

Our Democracy is what is at stake. The President leaves us no choice but to act, because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit.

The President has engaged in abuse of power undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections.

His actions are in defiance of the vision of our Founders and the oath of office that he takes ‘to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’

Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our Founders and our hearts full of love for America, today, I am asking our Chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.

I commend our Committee Chairs and our Members for their somber approach to actions which I wish the President had not made necessary.

In signing the Declaration of Independence, our Founders invoked a firm reliance on divine providence.

Democrats too are prayerful.

And we will proceed in a manner worthy of our oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic, so help us God.

Thank you.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7759555/Speaker-Nancy-Pelosi-reveal-latest-play-break-neck-impeachment-strategy.html

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Trump’s Twofer — Death To Radical Extremist Jihadist Terrorists and Warlords Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis — Death To Tyrants — Supreme Leader Next — Attacking United States Embassy Is An Attack On United States Territory — Another One Bites The Dust — We Will Rock You — Videos

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Queen – Another One Bites the Dust (Official Video)

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Pepsi Commercial HD – We Will Rock You (feat. Britney Spears, Beyonce, Pink & Enrique Iglesias)

We Will Rock You

Queen

""

[Verse 1]
Buddy, you’re a boy, make a big noise
Playing in the street, gonna be a big man someday

You got mud on your face, you big disgrace
Kicking your can all over the place, singing

[Chorus]
We will, we will rock you
We will, we will rock you

[Verse 2]
Buddy, you’re a young man, hard man
Shouting in the street, gonna take on the world someday

You got blood on your face, you big disgrace
Waving your banner all over the place

[Chorus]
We will, we will rock you
Sing it out
We will, we will rock you

[Verse 3]
Buddy, you’re an old man, poor man
Pleading with your eyes, gonna make you some peace someday

You got mud on your face, big disgrace
Somebody better put you back into your place

[Chorus]
We will, we will rock you, sing it
We will, we will rock you, everybody
We will, we will rock you, hmm
We will, we will rock you, alright

 

Queen – We Will Rock You (Official Video)

 

How Qassem Soleimani was ‘torn to shreds’ by a US missile and his body had to be identified by his RING: Pentagon drone launched four rockets at car carrying Iranian general after he arrived from Syria to meet ringleaders of embassy attack

  • US airstrike killed General Qassem Soleimani, the powerful head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, in Baghdad
  • The attack unfolded early on Friday local time in a precision strike on two cars that were carrying Soleimani 
  • Soleimani had just arrived in Baghdad on a flight from Syria and was leaving the airport when he was hit
  • Attack also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, leader of Iranian militias in Iraq which led attacks on US embassy

Four precision missiles were fired from a deadly remote-controlled 4,900 pound U.S. drone, decimating a convoy that Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Quds force, was traveling in and tearing his body ‘to shreds’.

Soleimani, commonly known as the second-most powerful man in Iran and tipped as a future president, was so badly maimed in the strike that he had to be identified by a large ring he wore on his finger.

He had just landed in Baghdad airport on a plane from either Syria or Lebanon around 12.30am when he was met on the tarmac by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq.

Muhandis pulled up to the aircraft steps in two cars before Soleimani and Mohammed Ridha Jabri, public relations chief for the PMF who had been traveling with him, climbed inside and were driven away.

Both vehicles were instantly reduced to smoldering wrecks – killing Soleimani, Muhandis, Jabri and two others who have yet to be identified.

Social media photos show burning wreckage of the US airstrike on two cars at Baghdad International Airport. Iranian officials and pro-Iran militia members were among those killed

This is the moment an American guided missile struck a convoy of cars carrying Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani along with two Islamic Revolutionary Guards generals, a colonel, and a captain, killing all five

The devastating US drone has a range of 1,150 miles and is able to to fly at altitudes of 50,000 feet. It is an ‘armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance’ remotely piloted aircraft.

It is primarily used to execute targets – such as Soleimani – and secondarily to collect intelligence, according to the U.S. Air Force.

The drone is capable of annihilating targets with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles which provide ‘highly accurate’ and ‘low-collateral damage’ capabilities.

An MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft making a rare public sighting in Nevada in November

AGM-114 Hellfire missiles – which are laser guided and subsonic – are so powerful that they are used to take out tanks. They can also be used as an air-to-air weapon against helicopters and other aircraft.

Fired upon Soleimani’s convoy, the 4,900-pound drone- which has a wingspan of 66 feet and a cruising speed of roughly 230mph – is said to have reduced two vehicles to smoldering wrecks and ‘torn to shreds’ the bodies of those inside.

The drone made a rare public sighting at Nellis Air Force Base in southern Nevada in November. The Aviationist reports that it was ‘nearly silent’ and ‘sent a collective shiver up air show viewers’ spines’.

Two officials from the PMF said Soleimani’s body was torn to pieces in the attack, while they did not find the body of al-Muhandis.

A senior politician said Soleimani’s body was identified by the ring he wore. Photos from the scene show a hand with large ring that looks identical to one Soleimani is seen wearing in old photos.

Local militia commander Abu Muntathar al-Hussaini told Reuters:

‘Haj Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were riding in one vehicle when it was struck by two successive guided missiles launched from an American helicopter while they were on their way from the arrivals hall on the road that leads out of Baghdad Airport.’

He said the second vehicle was carrying bodyguards from the PMF and was hit by one rocket.

While American forces did not make it clear how they had tracked Soleimani’s location, he is thought to be kept under near-constant surveillance by US, Saudi and Israeli security forces.

The New York Times reported that Friday’s attack drew upon a combination of highly classified information from informants, electronic intercepts, reconnaissance aircraft and other surveillance techniques.

The Defense Department said that the airstrike was justified to protect American lives.

‘General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,’ the Pentagon statement said.

The statement added that Soleimani ‘orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months’ including the embassy assault.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Soleimani’s assassination would strengthen resistance against the United States and Israel in the region and the world, Iranian state television reported.

‘The brutality and stupidity of American terrorist forces in assassinating Commander Soleimani … will undoubtedly make the tree of resistance in the region and the world more prosperous,’ Zarif said in a statement.

The high-profile assassinations are likely to be a massive blow to Iran, which has been locked in a long conflict with the United States that escalated sharply last week with an attack on the US embassy in Iraq by pro-Iranian militiamen.

A senior politician said Soleimani's body was identified by the ring (above) he often wore

The strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (center in sunglasses), the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, which were responsible for the recent attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad

Soleimani’s killing marks a dramatic escalation in the regional ‘shadow war’ between Iran and the US and its allies, principally Israel and Saudi Arabia, which could quickly ratchet up tit-for-tat attacks – all the way to the brink of all-out war.

The slain commander’s Quds Force, along with its stable of paramilitary proxies from Lebanon’s Hezbollah to the PMF in Iraq – battle-hardened militias armed with missiles – has ample means to launch a multi-barrelled response against its enemies.

In September, US officials blamed Iran for a devastating missiles and drones attack on oil installations of Saudi Aramco, the Saudi state energy giant and world’s largest oil exporter. The Trump administration did not respond, beyond heated rhetoric and threats.

Iran, for its part, has absorbed scores of air strikes and missile attacks, mainly carried out by Israel against its fighters and proxies in Syria and Iraq.

But analysts say Iran is likely to respond forcefully to the targeting of Soleimani, who it has built into a legend as its influence has spread across the region in the wake of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and subsequent occupation.

This photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office shows a burning vehicle at the Baghdad International Airport following an airstrike, in Baghdad, Iraq, early Friday, Jan. 3, 2020

This photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office shows a burning vehicle at the Baghdad International Airport following an airstrike, in Baghdad, Iraq, early Friday, Jan. 3, 2020

The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force

The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force

Images taken after sunup on Friday show the twisted wreckage left behind by the US missile strike on two cars

 

Images taken after sunup on Friday show the twisted wreckage left behind by the US missile strike on two cars

PMF official said the dead also included its airport protocol officer, identifying him as Mohammed Reda (above)

Soleimani, who has led the foreign arm of the Revolutionary Guards and has had a key role in fighting in Syria and Iraq, acquired celebrity status at home and abroad.

The United States and Iran’s regional foes Saudi Arabia and Israel have struggled to keep Iran’s influence in check.

Soleimani survived several assassination attempts against him by Western, Israeli and Arab agencies over the past two decades.

His Quds Force, tasked with carrying out operations beyond Iran’s borders, shored up support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad when he looked close to defeat in the civil war raging since 2011 and also helped militiamen defeat Islamic State in Iraq.

He became head of the Quds Force in 1998, a position in which he kept a low profile for years while he strengthened Iran’s ties with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Syria’s government and Shi´ite militia groups in Iraq.

Muhandis, who was killed with Soleimani, oversaw Iraq´s PMF, an umbrella grouping of paramilitary groups mostly consisting of Iran-backed Shi´ite militias that was formally integrated into Iraqi armed forces.

Soleimani (right) is seen attending a religious ceremony with Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a file photo. Soleimani was immensely popular in Iran and the Ayatollah has vowed 'harsh revenge'

Soleimani (right) is seen attending a religious ceremony with Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a file photo. Soleimani was immensely popular in Iran and the Ayatollah has vowed ‘harsh revenge’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7847795/How-airstrike-Iranian-general-unfolded-Baghdad.html

Qasem Soleimani

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Qasem Soleimani
Qasem Soleimani with Zolfaghar Order.jpg

Soleimani in his official military dress with the Order of Zolfaghar in 2019
Native name
قاسم سلیمانی
Nickname(s) Haj Qassem” (among supporters)[1]
“The Shadow Commander” (in the West)[2][3][4][5][6]
Born 11 March 1957
Qanat-e MalekKermanImperial State of Iran
Died 3 January 2020 (aged 62)[7]
Near Baghdad International AirportBaghdadIraq
Allegiance Iran
Service/branch Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Years of service 1979–2020
Rank Major general
Lieutenant general (posthumously)
Commands held 41st Tharallah Division of Kerman
Quds Force
Battles/wars

See battles
Awards Order of Zolfaghar (1)[17]
Order of Fath (3)[18]

Qasem Soleimani (Persianقاسم سلیمانی‎, pronounced [ɢɒːseme solejmɒːniː]; 11 March 1957 – 3 January 2020), also spelled Qassem Suleimani or Qassim Soleimani, was an Iranian major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and from 1998 until his death, commander of its Quds Force, a division primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations.

Soleimani began his military career in the beginning of the Iran–Iraq War of the 1980s, during which he eventually commanded the 41st Division. He was later involved in extraterritorial operations, providing military assistance to Hezbollah in Lebanon. In 2012, Soleimani helped bolster the Syrian government, a key Iranian ally, during the Syrian Civil War, particularly in its operations against ISIS and its offshoots. Soleimani also assisted in the command of combined Iraqi government and Shia militia forces that advanced against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 2014–2015.

Soleimani was killed in a targeted U.S. drone strike on 3 January 2020 in Baghdad, Iraq. Also killed were Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces members and its deputy head, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.[19] Soleimani was posthumously promoted to lieutenant general.[20] Soleimani was suceeded by Esmail Ghaani as commander of the Quds Force.[21]

Early life

Soleimani was born on 11 March 1957 in the village of Qanat-e MalekKerman Province,[22] to an impoverished peasant family. In his youth, he moved to the city of Kerman and worked as a construction worker to help repay a debt his father owed. In 1975, he began working as a contractor for the Kerman Water Organization.[23][24] When not at work, he spent his time lifting weights in local gyms and attending the sermons of a traveling preacher, Hojjat Kamyab, a protege of Ayatollah Khomeini.[25]

Military career

Soleimani joined the Revolutionary war Guard (IRGC) in 1979 following the Iranian Revolution, which saw the Shah fall and Ayatollah Khomeini take power. Reportedly, his training was minimal, but he advanced rapidly. Early in his career as a guardsman, he was stationed in northwestern Iran, and participated in the suppression of a Kurdish separatist uprising in West Azerbaijan Province.[25]

On 22 September 1980, when Saddam Hussein launched an invasion of Iran, setting off the Iran–Iraq War (1980–1988), Soleimani joined the battlefield serving as the leader of a military company, consisting of men from Kerman whom he personally assembled and trained.[26] He quickly earned a reputation for bravery,[27] and rose through the ranks because of his role in the successful operations in retaking the lands Iraq had occupied, eventually becoming the commander of the 41st Sarallah Division while still in his 20s, participating in most major operations. He was mostly stationed at the southern front.[26][28] He was seriously injured in Operation Tariq-ol-Qods. In a 1990 interview, he mentioned Operation Fath-ol-Mobin as “the best” operation he participated in and “very memorable”, due to its difficulties yet positive outcome.[29] He was also engaged in leading and organizing irregular warfare missions deep inside Iraq carried out by the Ramadan Headquarters. It was at this point that Suleimani established relations with Kurdish Iraqi leaders and the Shia Badr Organization, both of which were opposed to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.[26]

On 17 July 1985, Soleimani opposed the IRGC leadership’s plan to deploy forces to two islands in western Arvandroud (Shatt al-Arab).[30]

After the war, during the 1990s, he was an IRGC commander in Kerman Province.[28] In this region, which is relatively close to Afghanistan, Afghan-grown opium travels to Turkey and on to Europe. Soleimani’s military experience helped him earn a reputation as a successful fighter against drug trafficking.[25]

During the 1999 student revolt in Tehran, Soleimani was one of the IRGC officers who signed a letter to President Mohammad Khatami. The letter stated that if Khatami did not crush the student rebellion the military would, and it might also launch a coup against Khatami.[25][31]

Command of Quds Force

Qasem Soleimani Reading Quran in Memorial ceremony of Akbar Hashemi

The exact date of his appointment as commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force is not clear, but Ali Alfoneh cites it as between 10 September 1997 and 21 March 1998.[24] He was considered one of the possible successors to the post of commander of the IRGC, when General Yahya Rahim Safavi left this post in 2007. In 2008, he led a group of Iranian investigators looking into the death of Imad Mughniyah. Soleimani helped arrange a ceasefire between the Iraqi Army and Mahdi Army in March 2008.[32]

Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, Ryan Crocker, a senior State Department official in the United States, flew to Geneva to meet with Iranian diplomats who were under the direction of Soleimani with the purpose of collaborating to destroy the Taliban, which had targeted Shia Afghanis.[25] This collaboration was instrumental in defining the targets of bombing operations in Afghanistan and in capturing key Al-Qaeda operatives, but abruptly ended in January 2002, when President George W. Bush named Iran as part of the “Axis of evil” in his State of the Union address.[25]

In 2009, a leaked report stated that General Soleimani met Christopher R. Hill and General Raymond T. Odierno (America’s two most senior officials in Baghdad at the time) in the office of Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani (who knew General Soleimani for decades). Hill and General Odierno denied the occurrence of the meeting.[33]

On 24 January 2011, Soleimani was promoted to Major General by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.[28][34] Khamenei was described as having a close relationship with him, calling Soleimani a “living martyr” and helping him financially.[25]

Soleimani was described as “the single most powerful operative in the Middle East today” and the principal military strategist and tactician in Iran’s effort to combat Western influence and promote the expansion of Shiite and Iranian influence throughout the Middle East.[25] In Iraq, as the commander of the Quds force, he was believed to have strongly influenced the organization of the Iraqi government, notably supporting the election of previous Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki.[25][35] Soleimani has even been described as being “Iran’s very own Erwin Rommel“.[36]

According to some sources, Soleimani was the principal leader and architect of the military wing of the Lebanese Shia party Hezbollah since his appointment as Quds commander in 1998.[25] In an interview aired in October 2019, he said he was in Lebanon during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war to oversee the conflict.[37]

Syrian Civil War

A map of Al-Qusayr and its environs. The Al-Qusayr offensive was allegedly masterminded by Soleimani[38]

According to several sources, including Riad Hijab, a former Syrian premier who defected in August 2012, he was also one of the staunchest supporters of the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian Civil War.[25][35] In the later half of 2012, Soleimani assumed personal control of the Iranian intervention in the Syrian Civil War, when Iranians became deeply concerned about the Assad government’s lack of ability to fight the opposition, and the fallout to the Islamic Republic if the Syrian government fell. He was reported to have coordinated the war from a base in Damascus at which a Lebanese Hezbollah commander and an Iraqi Shiite militia coordinator have been mobilized, in addition to Syrian and Iranian officers. Brigadier General Hossein Hamadani, the Basij’s former deputy commander, helped to run irregular militias that Soleimani hoped to continue the fight if Assad fell.[25] Under Soleimani the command “coordinated attacks, trained militias, and set up an elaborate system to monitor rebel communications”. According to a Middle Eastern security official Dexter Filkins talked to, thousands of Quds Force and Iraqi Shiite militiamen in Syria were “spread out across the entire country.”[25] The retaking of Qusayr in May 2013 from rebel forces and Al-Nusra Front[39] was, according to John Maguire, a former CIA officer in Iraq, “orchestrated” by Soleimani.[25]

Soleimani was much credited in Syria for the strategy that assisted President Bashar al-Assad in finally repulsing rebel forces and recapture key cities and towns.[40] He was involved in the training of government-allied militias and the coordination of decisive military offensives.[25] The sighting of Iranian UAVs in Syria strongly suggested that his command, the Quds force, was involved in the civil war.[25] In a visit to the Lebanese capital Beirut on Thursday 29 January 2015, Soleimani laid wreaths at the graves of the slain Hezbollah members, including Jihad Mughniyah, the son of late Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyah which strengthens some possibilities about his role in Hezbollah military reaction on Israel.[41]

Soleimani helped form of the National Defence Forces (NDF) in Syria.[42]

In October 2015, it was reported that he had been instrumental in devising during his visit to Moscow in July 2015 the Russian–Iranian–Syrian offensive in October 2015.[43]

War on ISIS in Iraq

The east of Saladin Governorate in Iraq, where Qasem Soleimani was involved in breaking the Siege of Amirli by ISIL[44]

Qasem Soleimani was in the Iraqi city of Amirli, to work with the Iraqi forces to push back militants from ISIL.[45][46] According to the Los Angeles Times, which reported that Amerli was the first town to successfully withstand an ISIS invasion, it was secured thanks to “an unusual partnership of Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers, Iranian-backed Shiite militias and U.S. warplanes”. The US acted as a force multiplier for a number of Iranian-backed armed groups—at the same time that was present on the battlefield.[47][48]

Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani prays in the Syrian desert during a local pro-government offensive in 2017.

A senior Iraqi official told the BBC that when the city of Mosul fell, the rapid reaction of Iran, rather than American bombing, was what prevented a more widespread collapse.[10] Qasem Soleimani also seems to have been instrumental in planning the operation to relieve Amirli in Saladin Governorate, where ISIL had laid siege to an important city.[44] In fact the Quds force operatives under Soleimani’s command seem to have been deeply involved with not only the Iraqi army and Shi’ite militias but also the Kurdish in the battle of Amirli,[49] not only providing liaisons for intelligence sharing but also the supply of arms and munitions in addition to “providing expertise”.[50]

In the operation to liberate Jurf Al Sakhar, he was reportedly “present on the battlefield”. Some Shia militia commanders described Soleimani as “fearless”—one pointing out that the Iranian general never wears a flak jacket, even on the front lines.[51]

Soleimani was also intimately involved in the planning and execution of the operation to liberate Tikrit[52][53]

Hadi al-Amiri, the former Iraqi minister of transportation and the head of the Badr Organization [an official Iraqi political party whose military wing is one of the largest armed forces in the country] highlighted the pivotal role of General Qasem Soleimani in defending Iraq’s Kurdistan Region against the ISIL terrorist group, maintaining that if it were not for Iran, Heidar al-Ebadi’s government would have been a government-in-exile right now[54] and he added there would be no Iraq if Gen. Soleimani hadn’t helped us.[55]

There were reports by some Western sources that Soleimani was seriously wounded in action against ISIL in Samarra. The claim was rejected by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.[56]

Soleimani played an integral role in the organisation and planning of the crucial operation to retake the city of Tikrit in Iraq from ISIS. The city of Tikrit rests on the left bank of the Tigris river and is the largest and most important city between Baghdad and Mosul, gifting it a high strategic value. The city fell to ISIS during 2014 when ISIS made immense gains in northern and central Iraq. After its capture, ISIL’s massacre at Camp Speicher led to 1,600 to 1,700 deaths of Iraqi Army cadets and soldiers. After months of careful preparation and intelligence gathering an offensive to encircle and capture Tikrit was launched in early March 2015.[53] Soleimani was directing the operations on the eastern flank from a village about 35 miles from Tikrit called Albu Rayash, captured over the weekend.[citation needed] The offensive was the biggest military operation in the Salahuddin region since the previous summer, when ISIS fighters killed hundreds of Iraq army soldiers who had abandoned their military base at Camp Speicher outside Tikrit.[citation needed]

Orchestration of military escalation in 2015

In 2015 Soleimani started to gather support from various sources in order to combat the newly resurgent ISIL and rebel groups which were both successful in taking large swathes of territory away from Assad’s forces. He was reportedly the main architect of the joint intervention involving Russia as a new partner with Assad and Hezbollah.[57][58][59]

According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory—with Russia’s help. Qasem Soleimani’s visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new Iranian–Russian alliance in support of the Syrian (and Iraqi) governments. Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei also sent a senior envoy to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin. “Putin reportedly told the envoy ‘Okay we will intervene. Send Qassem Soleimani’. General Soleimani went to explain the map of the theatre and coordinate the strategic escalation of military forces in Syria.[58]

Operations in Aleppo

Map of the offensive.[60][61][62][63][64][65]

Soleimani had a decisive impact on the theatre of operations and led to a strong advance in southern Aleppo with the government and allied forces re-capturing two military bases and dozens of towns and villages in a matter of weeks. There was also a series of major advances towards Kuweiris air-base to the north-east.[66] By mid-November, the Syrian army and its allies had gained ground in southern areas of Aleppo Governorate, capturing numerous rebel strongholds. Soleimani was reported to have personally led the drive deep into the southern Aleppo countryside where many towns and villages fell into government hands. He reportedly commanded the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division, Hezbollah, Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi), Kata’ib Hezbollah (Iraqi), Liwaa Abu Fadl Al-Abbas (Iraqi), and Firqa Fatayyemoun (Afghan/Iranian volunteers).[67]

Soleimani was lightly wounded while fighting in Syria, outside of Al-Eis. Reports initially speculated that he was seriously or gravely injured.[68] He was quoted as saying, “Martyrdom is what I seek in mountains and valleys, but it isn’t granted yet”.[69]

In early February 2016, backed by Russian and Syrian air force airstrikes, the 4th Mechanized Division – in close coordination with Hezbollah, the National Defense Forces (NDF), Kata’eb Hezbollah, and Harakat Al-Nujaba – launched an offensive in Aleppo Governorate’s northern countryside,[70] which eventually broke the three-year siege of Nubl and Al-Zahraa and cut off rebel’s main supply route from Turkey. According to a senior, non-Syrian security source close to Damascus, Iranian fighters played a crucial role in the conflict. “Qassem Soleimani is there in the same area”, he said.[71] In December 2016, new photos emerged of Soleimani at the Citadel of Aleppo, though the exact date of the photos is unknown.[72][73]

Operations in 2016 and 2017

In 2016, photos published by a Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) source showed Iran’s Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani and other PMF commanders discussing the Battle of Fallujah.[74]

In late March 2017, Soleimani was seen in the northern Hama Governorate countryside, reportedly aiding Maj. Gen. Suheil al-Hassan in repelling a major rebel offensive.[16]

CIA chief Mike Pompeo said that he sent Soleimani and other Iranian leaders a letter holding them responsible for any attacks on US interests by forces under their control. According to Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, a senior aide for Iran’s supreme leader, Soleimani ignored the letter when it was handed over to him during the Abu Kamal offensive against ISIL, saying “I will not take your letter nor read it and I have nothing to say to these people.”[75][76]

In politics

General Soleimani in civilian attire during a public ceremony in 2015

In 1999, Soleimani, along with other senior IRGC commanders, signed a letter to then-President Mohammad Khatami regarding the student protests in July. They wrote “Dear Mr. Khatami, how long do we have to shed tears, sorrow over the events, practice democracy by chaos and insults, and have revolutionary patience at the expense of sabotaging the system? Dear president, if you don’t make a revolutionary decision and act according to your Islamic and national missions, tomorrow will be so late and irrecoverable that cannot be even imagined.”[77]

Iranian media reported in 2012 that he might be replaced as the commander of Quds Force in order to allow him to run in the 2013 presidential election.[78] He reportedly refused to be nominated for the election.[77] According to BBC News, in 2015 a campaign started among conservative bloggers for Soleimani to stand for 2017 presidential election.[79] In 2016, he was speculated as a possible candidate,[77][80] however in a statement published on 15 September 2016, he called speculations about his candidacy as “divisive reports by the enemies” and said he will “always remain a simple soldier serving Iran and the Islamic Revolution”.[81]

In the summer of 2018, Soleimani and Tehran exchanged public remarks related to Red Sea shipping with American President Donald Trump which heightened tensions between the two countries and their allies in the region.[82]

Personal life

Qasem Soleimani while Praying

Soleimani was a Persian from Kerman. His father was a farmer who died in 2017. His mother, Fatemeh, died in 2013.[83] He came from a family of nine and had five sisters and one brother, Sohrab, who lived and worked with Soleimani in his youth.[84] Sohrab Soleimani is a warden and former director general of the Tehran Prisons Organization. The United States imposed sanctions on Sohrab Soleimani in April 2017 “for his role in abuses in Iranian prisons”.[85]

Soleimani had Dan in karate and was a fitness trainer in his youth. He had four children: two sons and two daughters.[86]

Sanctions

In March 2007, Soleimani was included on a list of Iranian individuals targeted with sanctions in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747.[87] On 18 May 2011, he was sanctioned again by the United States along with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and other senior Syrian officials due to his alleged involvement in providing material support to the Syrian government.[88]

On 24 June 2011, the Official Journal of the European Union said the three Iranian Revolutionary Guard members now subject to sanctions had been “providing equipment and support to help the Syrian government suppress protests in Syria”.[89] The Iranians added to the EU sanctions list were two Revolutionary Guard commanders, Soleimani, Mohammad Ali Jafari, and the Guard’s deputy commander for intelligence, Hossein Taeb.[90] Soleimani was also sanctioned by the Swiss government in September 2011 due to the same grounds cited by the European Union.[91]

He was listed by the United States as a known terrorist, which forbade U.S. citizens from doing business with him.[32][92] The list, published in the EU’s Official Journal on 24 June 2011, also included a Syrian property firm, an investment fund and two other enterprises accused of funding the Syrian government. The list also included Mohammad Ali Jafari and Hossein Taeb.[93]

On 13 November 2018, the United States sanctioned an Iraqi military leader named Shibl Muhsin ‘Ubayd Al-Zaydi and others who allegedly were acting on Qasem Soleimani’s behalf in financing military actions in Syria or otherwise providing support for terrorism in the region.[94]

Death

Qasem Soleimani (left) with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (right) at a 2017 ceremony commemorating the father of Soleimani, in Mosalla, Tehran.

Soleimani was killed on 3 January 2020 around 1 am local time (22:00 UTC on 2 January)[95], after missiles shot from American drones targeted his convoy near Baghdad International Airport.[96] He had just left his plane, which arrived in Iraq from Lebanon or Syria.[97] His body was identified using a ring he wore on his finger, with DNA confirmation still pending.[98] Also killed were four members of the Popular Mobilization Forces, including Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Iraqi-Iranian military commander who headed the PMF.[99]

The airstrike followed attacks on the American embassy in Baghdad by supporters of an Iran-backed Iraqi Shia militia and the 2019 K-1 Air Base attack.[100]

The United States Department of Defense issued a statement that said the U.S. strike was carried out “at the direction of the President” and asserted that Soleimani had been planning further attacks on American diplomats and military personnel and had approved the attacks on the American embassy in Baghdad in response to U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on 29 December 2019 and was meant to deter future attacks.[101][102]

Soleimani was posthumously promoted to lieutenant general.[103][20] He was suceeded by Esmail Ghaani as commander of the Quds Force.[21]

Cultural depictions

He was described as having “a calm presence”,[104] and as carrying himself “inconspicuously and rarely rais[ing] his voice”, exhibiting “understated charisma“.[27] In Western sources, Suleimani’s personality was compared to the fictional characters KarlaKeyser Söze,[27] and The Scarlet Pimpernel.[105]

Unlike other IRGC commanders, he usually did not appear in his official military clothing, even in the battlefield.[106][107]

In January 2015, Hadi Al-Ameri the head of the Badr Organization in Iraq said of him: “If Qasem Soleimani were not present in Iraq, Haider al-Abadi would not be able to form his cabinet within Iraq”.[108]

The British magazine The Week featured Soleimani in bed with Uncle Sam in 2015, which indicated to both sides fighting ISIS, although Soleimani was leading militant groups that killed hundreds of Americans during the Iraq War.[109]

The 2016 movie Bodyguard, directed by Ebrahim Hatamikia, was inspired by Soleimani’s activities.[110]

The 2016 Persian book Noble Comrades 17: Hajj Qassem, written by Ali Akbari Mozdabadi, contains memoirs of Qassem Soleimani.[111]

See also

References …

External links

How Trump decided to kill Iran’s Soleimani

The U.S. strike against Tehran’s feared paramilitary commander followed months of Iranian attacks.

Qassem Soleimani

Hours before the U.S. military sent a Reaper drone to kill one of the most wanted men on the planet, President Donald Trump was relaxing at his palatial Florida properties. In the morning, he played 18 holes at Trump International, his West Palm Beach golf club.

At around 3 p.m., he returned to Mar-a-Lago, the historic oceanfront estate he’s branded “the Winter White House,” and waited, donning a navy blue suit with a powder-blue tie and an American flag pinned to his lapel.

He’d already made a risky—and potentially world-altering—decision to allow the U.S. military to kill Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite paramilitary forces. Earlier this week, he’d been surrounded at Mar-a-Lago by top officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, national security adviser Robert O’Brien and Legislative Affairs Director Eric Ueland. Throughout the entire week, Trump sought input from other advisers by phone.

“He was calm, cool and collected,” said conservative radio host Howie Carr, who spoke with Trump on Thursday at Mar-a-Lago soon after the news first broke, as the president dined with GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy. “I had no idea there was anything out of the ordinary going on until I got home.”

As rocket attacks against U.S. bases in Iraq intensified over the last two months, the president had granted the Pentagon extraordinary latitude: The U.S. military had his permission to kill Soleimani the next time it had an opportunity to do so, according to a senior defense official who was not authorized to speak on the record.

“We had authority before the strike to take that action,” said the official, who wouldn’t say how recently Trump gave the Pentagon that authorization—whether it was hours, weeks or even months earlier. As recently as New Year’s Eve, the president was telling reporters that he didn’t want war with Iran.

For a man U.S. officials have portrayed as a terrorist mastermind, an evil genius responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans, Soleimani often flaunted his influence as he jetted between Tehran, Baghdad and Beirut for meetings with local potentates.

“I don’t think it was so hard [to find him] because he was not below the radar in the last two or three years,” said a former senior Israeli government official, who noted that Soleimani had previously moved around under strict operational secrecy. “But the last two or three years, he worked in the open.”

Former national security adviser John Bolton, a vocal advocate of regime change in Iran, described the killing of Soleimani as “long in the making.”

“We’ve known every minute of every day where Soleimani is for years—there’s no moment of any given day where five or six intelligence agencies can’t tell you where he is,” a Republican foreign policy hand said. “It’s been one of his talking points: The Americans can find me any time, they just don’t dare hit me.”

That calculation proved misguided in the wee hours of January 3 in Iraq, where Soleimani landed amid spiraling tensions between U.S.- and Iranian-allied factions. “He arrived at the airport and we had a target of opportunity, and based on the president’s direction, we took it,” the senior defense official said.

U.S. officials had received “an intelligence-based assessment that drove our decision-making process,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday, describing how the recent killing of an American contractor had changed the Trump team’s calculations about the “intelligence flow” they were receiving about Soleimani’s activities in Iraq.

U.S. officials, briefing conservative think-tank experts on Friday, said the U.S. had “exquisite intelligence” on a plot to strike Americans in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, according to someone familiar with the call. By killing Soleimani, the officials said, they disrupted such plans.

A night of confusion and rumors

The first dispatches from Baghdad on Thursday evening were cryptic. “Several Katyusha rockets have been fired at Baghdad airport, causing multiple casualties amid tensions with US,” the AP alert read.

Then, suggestions that something major had just gone down began trickling in. Word that someone—presumably the United States—had just killed Iran’s pre-eminent strategist first posted online shortly before 7 p.m. in Washington.

As journalists scrambled to confirm and make sense of the rumors flying around, Iraqi state television announced that Soleimani, along with several of Iran’s top Iraqi allies, had been killed. A BBC reporter shared a grisly image purporting to show Soleimani’s mangled hand, complete with his signature ruby ring; other photographs claiming to be of the remains of the convoy he was traveling in circulated online.

Photographs taken around this time showed President Trump huddling with McCarthy and White House aides Jared Kushner, Hogan Gidley and Dan Scavino at Mar-a-Lago.

“A memorable and historic evening at The Winter White House. Proud of our President!” McCarthy posted later on his Instagram feed.

It wasn’t until 9:46 p.m. on Thursday that the U.S. government officially confirmed Soleimani’s death, in the form of a terse, 163-word Pentagon press release emailed to reporters.

“At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” the statement read.

But his television surrogates were quick to supply their inside accounts.

Dialing into Fox News from his vacation, conservative commentator Sean Hannity—a close Trump confidant—shared what he’d heard from “one person familiar that was in the room.”

“The president said, ‘Our people will be protected. This will not be Benghazi,’” Hannity relayed.

“At one point,” the Fox host continued, “the president asked the question among some of his military and Cabinet and intelligence and State Department people, ‘Well, how long is it going to take to mobilize?’ And the words [came back from the president], ‘That’s not fast enough,’ and everybody said, ‘Yes, sir.’ And they got it done in really record time.”

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, another of the president’s close allies on Capitol Hill who was with him at Mar-a-Lago, described the president’s mood on Thursday evening as “very focused.”

“I think he was really dialed into the ways in which Soleimani was planning to kill Americans, to harm our diplomats and to throw the entire region into civil war,” Gaetz said on Fox News. “I think we understand that this is a big moment in time. He appreciates the gravity of that.”

The White House seems to have informed only its closest congressional allies ahead of the move, with top Hill Democrats complaining that they hadn’t been informed in advance.

“I was briefed about the potential operation when I was down in Florida,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who was with the president at Mar-a-Lago earlier this week, told Fox News on Friday morning. “I appreciate being brought into the orbit.”

Defense Secretary Mark Esper appeared to warn Iran of the coming strikes hours beforehand on Thursday, amid a discussion of the recent attacks on U.S. bases by Iraqi militias tied to Iran.

In what might have been a sign of preparation for the strike, Pompeo cancelled a trip to Ukraine and several other countries this week to monitor the tensions in Iraq.

State Department officials summoned the Iraqi ambassador to the U.S. for a meeting Thursday afternoon, according to a person familiar with the situation. It was not clear what exactly was discussed.

“I think it’s been in the works for a while because I don’t think it was a last-minute thing,” a Middle Eastern official said. “I don’t think they were like, ‘Oh we just found him, let’s take him out.’ I think it was to mitigate an action that was actually in the works.”

“Tracking Solemani was likely something that was being done from at least May, when the major stream of threats emerged,” a former defense official said.

Actually targeting Soleimani posed a more formidable challenge, though, according to retired Lt. Gen. Michael Nagata, a former senior special operations commander in the Middle East who retired as strategy head at the National Counterterrorism Center last summer. “That depends on being able to know not only where he is, but where he’s going to be at a specific time in the future,” Nagata said.

That, in part, was why “we never decided to go after him personally” before, Nagata said – especially in earlier years when Soleimani maintained a lower profile and traveled less often, the military was reluctant to devote surveillance assets to a target few believed any president would ever allow to be struck.

“Soleimani was the spider at the center of the web, so there were recurring conversations over the years about what it would take to do something about him,” Nagata explained. “But what you had to grapple with was, ‘This is going to divert time, energy and resources from other tasks, and for a mission that I have no confidence we’re going to go through with.’”

Consultation with Israel

Pompeo held several phone calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent weeks, suggesting that Israel was not surprised by the strike against Soleimani.

Before departing on Thursday morning for Greece, Netanyahu told reporters in Israel, “We are in continuous contact with our great friend the U.S., including my conversation yesterday afternoon. I want to make one thing clear: We fully support all of the steps that the U.S. has taken as well as its full right to defend itself and its citizens.”

By Friday morning, Pompeo was dialing up his counterparts in foreign capitals, including Moscow and Beijing, to stress that the strike was a “defensive action” and that the U.S. hopes for a de-escalation in the crisis.

Iranian officials were warning of a severe reaction, and the Parliament in Baghdad was voting to bar U.S. troops from Iraq even as U.S. officials were planning to send more forces to the region. European diplomats traded anxious phone calls, warning about the potential for further regional chaos.

And Trump himself was finally weighing in, explaining and justifying the decision with a barrage of tweets and retweets. “He should have been taken out many years ago!” the president wrote.

Asked about the U.S. plan for managing the potential blowback from Iran, a U.S. defense official said, “Your guess is as good as mine. The ball’s in Iran’s court at this time. We’re waiting to see what their response is.”

Nancy Cook, Quint Forgey and Caitlin Oprysko contributed reporting.

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/01/03/donald-trump-iran-soleimani-093371

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Dian Fossey — When you realize the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate more on the preservation of the future — Videos

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The Lost Film of Dian Fossey DOCUMENTARY (2002)

Dian’s Active Conservation | Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist

Dian Fossey Narrates Her Life With Gorillas in This Vintage Footage | National Geographic

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Mountain Gorillas’ Survival: Dian Fossey’s Legacy Lives On | Short Film Showcase

Who Killed Dian Fossey? | Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist

Gorillas In The Mountain Mist [Gorilla Survival Documentary] | Real Wild

Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist | National Geographic

Mountain Gorillas’ Survival: Dian Fossey’s Legacy Lives On | Short Film Showcase

Dina Fossey Exibit Board Project

Dian Fossey: No One Loved Gorillas More

Dian Fossey Biography and Tribute by Grace Stevens

Maybe It Wasn’t Poachers? | Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist

Dian Fossey’s death

New documentary reveals who they believe killed gorilla campaigner dian fossey

In loving memory of Dian Fossey

Dian Fossey’s Grave Visited by Friends in Rwanda September 4, 2017

Mountain gorilla researcher Dian Fossey died in 1985, yet nearly two years later her grave at her Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda had no headstone. Evelyn Gallardo and David Root held fundraisers in Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach California where their friends and neighbors raised $10,000 to send a bronze grave marker and to hire a anti-poaching patrol to protect the mountain gorillas Dian had devoted her life to

Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International 50th Anniversary Video

The Diana Fossey Gorilla Fund

 

Dian Fossey’s Early Days

dianhistoric3244Dian Fossey was born in San Francisco, Calif., in 1932. Her parents divorced when she was young, so Dian grew up with her mother and stepfather. By all accounts, she was an excellent student and was extremely interested in animals from a very young age. At age 6, she began horseback riding lessons and in high school earned a letter on the riding team.

When Dian enrolled in college courses at Marin Junior College, she chose to focus on business, following the encouragement of her stepfather, a wealthy businessman. She worked while in school, and at age 19, on the summer break following her freshman year of college, she went to work on a ranch in Montana. At the ranch, she fell in love with and developed an attachment to the animals, but she was forced to leave early when she contracted chicken pox.

Even so, the experience convinced Dian to follow her heart and return to school as a pre-veterinary student at the University of California. She found some of the chemistry and physics courses quite challenging, and ultimately, she turned her focus to a degree in occupational therapy at San Jose State College, from which she graduated in 1954.

1948Following graduation, Dian interned at various hospitals in California, working with tuberculosis patients. After less than a year she moved to Louisville, Ky., where she was hired as director of the occupational therapy department at Kosair Crippled Children Hospital. She enjoyed working with the people of Kentucky and lived outside the city limits in a cottage on a farm where the owners encouraged her to help work with the animals.

Dian enjoyed her experience on the farm, but she dreamed of seeing more of the world and its abundant wildlife. A friend traveled to Africa and brought home pictures and stories of her exciting vacation. Once Dian saw the photos and heard the stories, she decided that she must travel there herself.

She spent many years longing to visit Africa and realized that if her dream were to be realized, she would have to take matters into her own hands. Therefore, in 1963, Dian took out a bank loan and began planning her first trip to Africa. She hired a driver by mail and prepared to set off to the land of her dreams.

Dian Fossey Tours Africa (1963)

It took Dian Fossey’s entire life savings, in addition a bank loan, to make her dream a reality. In September 1963, she arrived in Kenya. Her trip included visits to Kenya, Tanzania (then Tanganyika), Congo (then Zaire), and Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia). John Alexander, a British hunter, served as her guide. The route he planned included Tsavo, Africa’s largest national park; the saline lake of Manyara, famous for attracting giant flocks of flamingos; and the Ngorongoro Crater, well-known for its abundant wildlife.

The final two sites on her tour were Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania — the archaeological site of Louis and Mary Leakey — and Mt. Mikeno in Congo, where in 1959 American zoologist Dr. George Schaller carried out a pioneering study of the mountain gorilla. Schaller was the first person to conduct a reliable field study of the mountain gorillas, and his efforts paved the way for the research that would become Dian Fossey’s life work.

A Turning Point: Dian Fossey Visits Dr. Louis Leakey

“I believe it was at this time the seed was planted in my head, even if unconsciously, that I would someday return to Africa to study the gorillas of the mountains.”  — “Gorillas in the Mist”

Dr. Louis B. LeakeyVisiting with Dr. Louis Leakey at Olduvai Gorge was an experience that Dian would later point to as a pivotal moment in her life. During their visit, Leakey talked to Dian about Jane Goodall’s work with chimpanzees in Tanzania, which at the time was only in its third year. He also shared with her his belief in the importance of long-term field studies with the great apes.

Leakey gave Dian permission to have a look around some newly excavated sites while she was at Olduvai. Unfortunately, in her excitement, she slipped down a steep slope, fell onto a recently excavated dig and broke her ankle. The impending climb that would take Dian to the mountain gorillas was at risk, but she would not be discouraged so easily. By her own account, after her fall, she was more resolved than ever to get to the gorillas.

Dian Fossey’s First Encounter with Gorillas

On Oct. 16, Dian visited the Travellers Rest, a small hotel in Uganda, close to the Virunga Mountains and their mountain gorillas. The hotel was owned by Walter Baumgartel, an advocate for gorilla conservation and among the first to see the benefits that tourism could bring to the area.

Baumgartel recommended that Dian meet with Joan and Alan Root, wildlife photographers from Kenya, who were collecting footage of the mountain gorillas for a photographic documentary. The Roots allowed Dian to camp behind their cabin and, after a few days, took her into the forest to search for gorillas. When they did come upon a group of gorillas and Dian was able to observe and photograph them, she developed a firm resolve to come back and study these beautiful creatures, As she describes in “Gorillas in the Mist”:

“It was their individuality combined with the shyness of their behavior that remained the most captivating impression of this first encounter with the greatest of the great apes. I left Kabara with reluctance but with never a doubt that I would, somehow, return to learn more about the gorillas of the misted mountains.”

Following her visit to the Virungas, Dian remained in Africa a while longer, staying with friends in Rhodesia. Upon arriving home in Kentucky, she resumed her work at Kosair Children’s Hospital, in order to repay the loan she had taken out for her trip to Africa – all the while dreaming of the day she would return.

Dian Fossey Sets Off to Study the Mountain Gorillas

As Dian Fossey continued her work in Kentucky at Kosair Children’s Hospital, she also found time to publish a number of articles and photographs from her Africa trip. These would serve her well in the spring of 1966, when a lecture tour brought Dr. Louis Leakey to Louisville. Dian joined the crowd and waited in line to speak with Leakey. When her turn came, she showed him some of the published articles.

This got his attention and during the conversation that followed, Leakey spoke to Dian about heading a long-term field project to study the gorillas in Africa. Leakey informed Dian that if she were to follow through, she would first have to have her appendix removed. Perhaps it was a sign of her strong will that she proceeded to do exactly that, only to later hear from Leakey that his suggestion was mainly his way of gauging her determination!

It was eight months before Leakey was able to secure the funding for the study. Dian used that time to finish paying off her initial trip to Africa and to study. She focused on a “Teach Yourself Swahili” grammar book and George Schaller’s books about his own field studies with the mountain gorillas. Saying goodbye to family, friends, and her beloved dogs proved difficult:

“There was no way that I could explain to dogs, friends, or parents my compelling need to return to Africa to launch a long-term study of the gorillas. Some may call it destiny and others may call it dismaying. I call the sudden turn of events in my life fortuitous.” — “Gorillas in the Mist”

Jane Goodall, Birute GaldikasIn December 1966, Dian was again on her way to Africa. She arrived in Nairobi, and with the help of Joan Root, she acquired the necessary provisions. She set off for the Congo in an old canvas-topped Land Rover named “Lily,” that Dr. Leakey had purchased for her. On the way, Dian made a stop to visit the Gombe Stream Research Centre to meet Jane Goodall and observe her research methods with chimpanzees.

Kabara: Beginnings (1966/1967)

Alan Root accompanied Dian Fossey from Kenya to the Congo and was instrumental in helping her obtain the permits she needed to work in the Virungas. He helped her recruit two African men who would stay and work with her at camp, as well as porters to carry her belongings and gear to the Kabara meadow. Root also helped her set up camp and gave her a brief introduction to gorilla tracking. It was only when he left, and after two days at Kabara that Dian realized just how alone she was. Soon, however, tracking the mountain gorillas would become her single focus, to the exclusion even of simple camp chores.

On her first day of trekking, after only a 10-minute walk, Dian was rewarded with the sight of a lone male gorilla sunning himself. The startled gorilla retreated into the vegetation as she approached, but Dian was encouraged by the encounter. Shortly thereafter, Senwekwe, an experienced gorilla tracker, who had worked with Joan and Alan Root in 1963, joined Dian, and the prospects for more sightings improved.

Slowly, Dian settled into life at Kabara. Space was limited; her 7-by-10-foot tent served as bedroom, bath, office and clothes-drying area (an effort that often seemed futile in the wet climate of the rainforest). Meals were prepared in a run-down wooden building and rarely included local fruits and vegetables, other than potatoes. Dian’s mainstay was tinned food and potatoes cooked in every way imaginable. Once a month, she would hike down the mountain to her Land Rover, “Lily,” and make the two-hour drive to the village of Kikumba to restock the pantry.

Senwekwe proved invaluable as a tracker and taught Dian much of what she came to know about tracking. With his help and considerable patience, she eventually identified three gorilla groups in her area of study along the slopes of Mt. Mikeno.

Dian Fossey Learns to Habituate the Gorillas

“The Kabara groups taught me much regarding gorilla behavior. From them I learned to accept the animals on their own terms and never to push them beyond the varying levels of tolerance they were willing to give. Any observer is an intruder in the domain of a wild animal and must remember that the rights of that animal supersede human interests.” — “Gorillas in the Mist”

highres_dianfosseyhistoric0014Initially, the gorillas would flee into the vegetation as soon as Dian approached. Observing them openly and from a distance, over time, she gained their acceptance. She put the gorillas at ease by imitating regular activities like scratching and feeding, and copying their contentment vocalizations.

Through her observations, she began to identify the individuals that made up each group. Like George Schaller before her, Dian relied heavily on the gorillas’ individual “noseprints” for purposes of identification. She sketched the gorillas and their noseprints from a distance and slowly came to recognize individuals within the three distinct groups in her study area. She learned much from their behavior and kept detailed records of their daily encounters.

Escape from Zaire

Dian Fossey worked tirelessly, every day carrying a pack weighing nearly 20 pounds (some days nearly double that) until the day she was driven from camp by the worsening political situation in Congo. On July 9, 1967, she and Senwekwe returned to camp to find armed soldiers waiting for them. There was a rebellion in the Kivu Province of Zaire and the soldiers had come to “escort” her down the mountain to safety.

She spent two weeks in Rumangabo under military guard until, on July 26, she was able to orchestrate her escape. She offered the guards cash if they would simply take her to Kisoro, Uganda, to register “Lily” properly and then bring her back. The guards could not resist and agreed to provide an escort. Once in Kisoro, Dian went straight to the Travellers Rest Hotel, where Walter Baumgärtel immediately called the Ugandan military. The soldiers from Zaire were arrested, and Dian was safe.

In Kisoro, Dian was interrogated and warned not to return to Zaire. After more questioning in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, she finally flew back to Nairobi where she met with Dr. Leakey for the first time in seven months. There they decided, against the advice of the U.S. Embassy, that Dian would continue her work on the Rwandan side of the Virungas.

Dian Fossey founds Karisoke (1967)

“More than a decade later as I now sit writing these words at camp, the same stretch of alpine meadow is visible from my desk window. The sense of exhilaration I felt when viewing the heartland of the Virungas for the first time from those distant heights is as vivid now as though it had occurred only a short time ago. I have made my home among the mountain gorillas.” — “Gorillas in the Mist”

Much of Dian Fossey’s success in the study of mountain gorillas came from the help of people she met along the way. This would prove true once again as she moved her focus to Volcanoes National Park on the Rwandan side of the Virungas. In Rwanda, Dian met a woman named Rosamond Carr, who had lived in Rwanda for some years and was familiar with the country.

Carr introduced Dian to a Belgian woman, Alyette DeMunck, who was born in the Kivu Province of Zaire and lived in the Congo from an early age, remaining there with her husband until the political situation forced them to move to Rwanda. Alyette and Dian became fast friends, and Alyette became one of Dian’s staunchest supporters in the years to come.

Alyette DeMunck knew a great deal about Rwanda, its people, and their ways. She offered to help Dian find an appropriate site for her new camp and renewed study of the mountain gorillas of the Virungas. At first, Dian was disappointed to find the slopes of Mt. Karisimbi crowded with herds of cattle and frequent signs of poachers. She was rewarded, however, after nearly two weeks, when Dian reached the alpine meadow of Karisimbi, where she had a view of the entire Virunga chain of extinct volcanoes.

KarisokeSo it was, on Sept. 24, 1967, that Dian Fossey established the Karisoke Research Center — “Kari” for the first four letters of Mt. Karisimbi that overlooked her camp from the south and “soke” for the last four letters of Mt. Visoke, the slopes of which rose to the north, directly behind camp.

“Little did I know then that by setting up two small tents in the wilderness of the Virungas I had launched the beginnings of what was to become an internationally renowned research station eventually to be utilized by students and scientists from many countries.” — “Gorillas in the Mist”

Dian Fossey’s Work at Karisoke Gets Underway

Dian faced a number of challenges while setting up camp at Karisoke. Upon the departure of her friend Alyette, she was left with no interpreter. Dian spoke Swahili and the Rwandan men she had hired spoke only Kinyarwanda. Slowly, and with the aid of hand gestures and facial expressions, they learned to communicate. A second and very significant challenge was that of gaining “acceptance” among the gorillas in the area so that meaningful research could be done in close proximity to them. This would require that the gorillas overcome their shy nature and natural fear of humans.

dianhistoric3259George Schaller’s earlier work served as a basis for the techniques Dian would use to habituate the gorillas to her presence. Schaller laid out suggestions in his book, The Mountain Gorilla, which Fossey used to guide herself through the process of successfully habituating six groups of gorillas in the Kabara region.

At Karisoke, Dian continued to rely on Schaller’s work and the guidelines he set forth. She also came to depend on the gorillas’ natural curiosity in the habituation process. While walking or standing upright increased their apprehension, she was able to get quite close when she “knuckle-walked.” She would also chew on celery when she was near the groups, to draw them even closer to her. Through this process, she partially habituated four groups of gorillas in 1968.

It was also in 1968 that the National Geographic Society sent photographer Bob Campbell to photograph her work. Initially, Dian saw his presence as an intrusion, but they would eventually become close friends. His photographs of Fossey among the mountain gorillas launched her into instant celebrity, forever changing the image of the gorillas from dangerous beasts to gentle beings and drawing attention to their plight.

Gaining Scientific Credentials

Dian Fossey never felt entirely up to the scientific aspects of studying the mountain gorillas because she did not have, in her view, adequate academic qualifications.

To rectify this, she enrolled in the department of animal behavior at Darwin College, Cambridge, in 1970. There, she studied under Dr. Robert Hinde, who had also been Jane Goodall’s supervisor. She traveled between Cambridge and Africa until 1974, when she completed her Ph.D.

Armed with the degree, she believed that she could be taken more seriously. It also enhanced her ability to continue her work, command respect, and most importantly, secure more funding.

Protecting the Gorillas

Even as Dian celebrated her daily achievements in collecting data and gaining acceptance among both the mountain gorillas and the world at large, she became increasingly aware of the threats the gorillas faced from poachers and cattle herders. Although gorillas were not usually the targets, they became ensnared in traps intended for other animals, particularly antelope or buffalo.

Dian fought both poachers and encroachment by herds of cattle through unorthodox methods: wearing masks to scare poachers, burning snares, spray-painting cattle to discourage herders from bringing them into the park, and, on occasion, taking on poachers directly, forcing confrontation.

She referred to her tactics as “active conservation,” convinced that without immediate and decisive action, other long-term conservation goals would be useless as there would eventually be nothing left to save.

These tactics were not popular among locals who were struggling to get by. Additionally, the park guards were not equipped to enforce the laws protecting the forest and its inhabitants.

As a last resort, Dian used her own funds to help purchase boots, uniforms, food and provide additional wages to encourage park wardens to be more active in enforcing anti-poaching laws. These efforts spawned the first Karisoke anti-poaching patrols, whose job was to protect the gorillas in the research area.

Dian Fossey and Digit

Digit - 1st proximal contactIn the course of her years of research, Dian established herself as a true friend of the mountain gorilla.  However, there was one gorilla with whom she formed a particularly close bond. Named Digit, he was roughly 5 years old and living in Group 4 when she encountered him in 1967. He had a damaged finger on his right hand (hence, the name) and no playmates his age in his group. He was drawn to her and her to him. Over time, a true friendship would form.

Tragically, on Dec. 31, 1977, Digit was killed by poachers. He died helping to defend his group, allowing them to escape safely. He was stabbed multiple times and his head and hands were severed. Eventually, there would be more deaths, including that of the dominant silverback Uncle Bert, and Group 4 would disband. It was then that Dian Fossey declared war on the poachers.

Digit had been part of a famous photo shoot with Bob Campbell and, as a result, had served as the official representative of the park’s mountain gorillas, appearing on posters and in travel bureaus throughout the world. After much internal debate, Dian used his celebrity and his tragic death to gain attention and support for gorilla conservation. She established the Digit Fund to raise money for her “active conservation” and anti-poaching initiatives. The Digit Fund would later be renamed the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (Fossey Fund).

Dian and DIgit

In 1980, Dian moved to Ithaca, New York, as a visiting associate professor at Cornell University. She used the time away from Karisoke to focus on the manuscript for her book, “Gorillas in the Mist.” Published in 1983, the book is an account of her years in the rainforest with the mountain gorillas. Most importantly, it underscores the need for concerted conservation efforts. The book was well received and, like the movie of the same name, remains popular to this day.

Field Museum, Chicago

Dian Fossey’s Death (1985)

Dian had not been back in Rwanda long when, a few weeks before her 54th birthday, she was murdered. Her body was found in her cabin on the morning of Dec. 27, 1985. She was struck twice on the head and face with a machete. There was evidence of forced entry but no signs that robbery had been the motive.

Dian Fossey's graveTheories about Dian Fossey’s murder are varied but have never been fully resolved. She was laid to rest in the graveyard behind her cabin at Karisoke, among her gorilla friends and next to her beloved Digit.

“When you realize the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate on the preservation of the future.” — “Gorillas in the Mist”

 

 

Continue Dian Fossey’s legacy by supporting the Fossey Fund’s gorilla protection work.

Dian Fossey Biography

The Gorilla KingMore on Dian Fossey and Her Research

It was from a small hut in Rwanda that researcher and conservationist Dian Fossey observed that while gorillas may sometimes act tough, they are really gentle giants.

Fossey is one of the most famous scientists in the world, but her path to greatness was a meandering one. While she had always been interested in animals, her bachelor’s degree was in occupational therapy. One year, after hearing stories and seeing pictures from a friend’s vacation in Africa, Fossey decided that she would visit there herself. In 1963, she gathered all of her savings and took out a three-year loan. She set a course for Africa, planning stops in Kenya, Tanzania, Congo, and Zimbabwe. She didn’t know it yet, but this trip would change her life forever.

At Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, one of the final stops on her journey, Fossey met archaeologist Louis Leakey. During the visit, Dr. Leakey told Fossey of Jane Goodall’s research with chimps, which at that point had just barely begun. They also discussed the importance of long-term research on the great apes. Fossey later said that this meeting planted the idea in her head that she would one day return to study the gorillas of Africa.

Early Research

Fossey began her long-term study of mountain gorillas in 1966, eventually establishing her “Karisoke” Research Center camp on Sept. 24, 1967, in an area between Mt. Visoke and Mt. Karisimbi, merging the names of the two volcanoes to create the name “Karisoke.”

She lived among the mountain gorillas for nearly 20 years keeping detailed journals to record everything she observed, and forging close relationships with individual gorillas as she gained their trust. She shared her thoughts and the results of her findings with the world, teaching us that gorillas are not monsters but social beings full of curiosity and affection. Her work paved the way for international support of mountain gorilla conservation and research, but her life was tragically cut short as a result of her efforts. She was found murdered in her cabin in Karisoke on December 26, 1985.

In 1988, the life and work of Fossey were portrayed in a movie based on her book. In the film Gorillas in the Mist, Sigourney Weaver starred as Fossey and later became the honorary chairperson of what is now the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International.

The film started a wave of curiosity about mountain gorillas and started a whole new industry of “gorilla tourism,” which has been a financial boon for conservation efforts, as well as a deterrent against poachers fearful of being discovered.

Fossey and Other Close Encounters

Dian Fossey with a gorillaDian Fossey started a process of ‘habituation’ that enabled her to work closely with the gorillas.

Just last year, in the Bwindi National Park in Uganda, a group of eight tourists quietly observed a family of mountain gorillas just a few yards away. After fifty-five minutes, a large male approached one of the tourists and gave him a big “high-five.”

“The gorilla probably approached him because he had a lot of body hair,” said Chuck Nichols, who ran the two-week gorilla tour in Uganda. Nichols owns a tour company based in Moab, Utah that specializes in small-group adventure tours around the world.

“The gorillas are not scary,” Nichols said, explaining that, actually, he has to make sure the gorillas are not the ones running scared. “A tracker must accompany the group, and people are only allowed to observe the gorillas for one hour,” he said. He also makes sure the groups are healthy since he does not want to stand the chance of passing on infectious diseases to the animals.

Sadly, these peaceful animals may not survive into the next century. Ape conservationists say time is running out, as there are only about 720 mountain gorillas left in the world, and the majority of gorilla populations are plummeting.

From the beginning, Fossey focused attention on the gorillas’ plight and saw clearly that they were doomed unless people could learn how to share forest resources with these great apes. She understood that they needed our protection if they were to survive, and gave her life in the struggle to protect them from poachers.

Like Fossey, biologists are becoming activists by necessity and are putting their lives on the line to save these great apes. In fact, conservation professionals and many national park staff have lost their lives in the course of duty because until now, their efforts have been poorly enforced. Today, ape conservation organizations, like the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP) have come together to partner with Fossey’s Gorilla Fund in a last-ditch effort to unify existing conservation efforts.

In the mountains east of the Congo River Basin, human-transmitted pathogens have taken a heavy toll, and the hope is that GRASP will succeed in protecting the gorillas. Gorillas are closely related to humans and susceptible to the same diseases that we are; however, they have not developed the immunities to resist human diseases, making them vulnerable to infections that could spread and severely deplete an entire population.

Habituated gorilla groups (those that are visited by tourists) have the greatest risk, which is why tourists are not permitted to go near the gorillas if they feel sick. But, according to Melanie Virtue, a team leader for GRASP, this is hard to enforce, especially due to the amount of money that is spent to view these animals.

“You can imagine that a tourist traveling a great distance to see these animals, of which they have probably dreamed their entire lives, is going to be quite hesitant to say, ‘No, I am not feeling well and don’t want to endanger them,’” Virtue explains.

Today, the Karisoke Research Center that Fossey established is conducting a Tourism Impact Study, using both behavioral and physiological data (urine and fecal samples) to assess the impact of tourism on the Virunga mountain gorilla population.

“Almost certainly the biggest factor in the conservation success with this species has been the income they generate from gorilla tourism, so if you can afford it, going to see these amazing animals in the wild really is helping to ensure their survival,” said David Jay, senior officer of Born Free, an ape conservation organization that works with GRASP.

The future of these great apes will certainly depend on tourists’ interest in seeing these apes first-hand and that people show continued concern for their safety, according to Jay.

Fossey had the courage to follow gorillas among the steep ravines of a 14,000-foot volcano over 40 years ago, and so made it possible for all of us to follow in her footsteps.

More on Dian Fossey and Her Research

Gorillas in the Mist The Story of Dian Fossey (1988)

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

Gorillas in the Mist • Behind the Scenes Featurette

Baby Mountain Gorilla | Gorillas Revisited with Sigourney Weaver | BBC

Destroying Snares | Gorillas Revisited with Sigourney Weaver | BBC

youtube=[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EK2yP1O2p-0]

Gorilla Manners | Gorillas Revisited with Sigourney Weaver | BBC

Sigourney Weaver Teaches Ellen How to Interact with Gorillas

Among Mountain Gorillas

Touched by a Wild Mountain Gorilla (short)

NEW – (short version) – An incredible chance encounter with a family of wild Mountain Gorillas in Uganda. Check blog.commonflat.com for more photos and background on this once in a lifetime experience.

Mountain Gorilla: A Shattered Kingdom! | Real Wild

Titus Gorilla King documentary english in HD part 1

Titus Gorilla King documentary english in HD part 2

Titus Gorilla King documentary english in HD part 3

Gorillas and Wildlife of Uganda HD

Saving Mountain Gorillas, for NTV Kenya

When Mountain Gorillas Attack

Gorillas – Kings of the jungle

Goodall, Fossey & Galdikas: Great Minds

One of “Leakey’s Angels”: Galdikas’ Quest to Save the Red Ape (Birute Galdikas)

Orangutan – Man Of The Forest HD

Orangutan National Geographic Documentary HD

Saving Baby Orangutans From Smuggling | Foreign Correspondent

Dr. Birute’ Mary Galdikas speaks at CWU

Gorilla Documentary – Gorillas: 98.6% Human | Explore Films

Heart-warming moment Damian Aspinall’s wife Victoria is accepted by wild gorillas OFFICIAL VIDEO

Dian Fossey

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Dian Fossey
Dian Fossey.jpg

Dian Fossey in November 1984
Born January 16, 1932

Died c. December 26, 1985 (aged 53)

Cause of death Murder
Resting place Karisoke Research Center
Citizenship United States
Alma mater
Known for Study and conservation of the mountain gorilla
Scientific career
Fields
Institutions
Thesis The behaviour of the mountain gorilla (1976)
Doctoral advisor Robert Hinde
Influences

Dian Fossey (/dˈæn/; January 16, 1932 – c. December 26, 1985) was an American primatologist and conservationist known for undertaking an extensive study of mountain gorilla groups from 1966 until her 1985 murder.[1] She studied them daily in the mountain forests of Rwanda, initially encouraged to work there by paleoanthropologist Louis LeakeyGorillas in the Mist, a book published two years before her death, is Fossey’s account of her scientific study of the gorillas at Karisoke Research Center and prior career. It was adapted into a 1988 film of the same name.[2]

Fossey was one of the foremost primatologists in the world, a member of the so-called “Trimates”, a group formed of prominent female scientists originally sent by Leakey to study great apes in their natural environments, along with Jane Goodall who studied chimpanzees, and Birutė Galdikas, who studied orangutans[3][4]

During her time in Rwanda, she actively supported conservation efforts, strongly opposed poaching and tourism in wildlife habitats, and made more people acknowledge sapient gorillas. Fossey and her gorillas were victims of mobbing; she was brutally murdered in her cabin at a remote camp in Rwanda in December 1985. It has been theorized that her murder was linked to her conservation efforts, probably by a poacher.

Contents

Life and career

Fossey was born in San FranciscoCalifornia, the daughter of Kathryn “Kitty” (née Kidd), a fashion model, and George E. Fossey III, an insurance agent.[2] Her parents divorced when she was six.[5] Her mother remarried the following year, to businessman Richard Price. Her father tried to keep in full contact, but her mother discouraged it, and all contact was subsequently lost.[6] Fossey’s stepfather, Richard Price, never treated her as his own child. He would not allow Fossey to sit at the dining room table with him or her mother during dinner meals.[7] A man adhering to strict discipline, Richard Price offered Fossey little to no emotional support.[8] Struggling with personal insecurity, Fossey turned to animals as a way to gain acceptance.[9] Her love for animals began with her first pet goldfish and continued throughout her entire life.[7] At age six, she began riding horses, earning a letter from her school; by her graduation in 1954, Fossey had established herself as an equestrienne.

Education

Educated at Lowell High School, following the guidance of her stepfather she enrolled in a business course at the College of Marin. However, spending her summer on a ranch in Montana at age 19 rekindled her love of animals, and she enrolled in a pre-veterinary course in biology at the University of California, Davis. In defiance to her stepfather’s wishes that she attend a business school, Dian wanted to spend her professional life working with animals. As a consequence, Dian’s parents failed to give her any substantial amount of financial support throughout her adult life.[7] She supported herself by working as a clerk at White Front (a department store), doing other clerking and laboratory work, and laboring as a machinist in a factory.

Although Fossey had always been an exemplary student, she had difficulties with basic sciences including chemistry and physics, and failed her second year of the program. She transferred to San Jose State College, where she became a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, to study occupational therapy, receiving her bachelor’s degree in 1954.[10] Initially following her college major, Fossey began a career in occupational therapy. She interned at various hospitals in California and worked with tuberculosis patients.[11] Fossey was originally a prizewinning equestrian, which drew her to Kentucky in 1955, and a year later took a job as an occupational therapist at the Kosair Crippled Children’s Hospital in Louisville.[12]

Her shy and reserved personality allowed her to work well with the children at the hospital.[13] Fossey became close with her coworker Mary White “Gaynee” Henry, secretary to the hospital’s chief administrator and the wife of one of the doctors, Michael J. Henry. The Henrys invited Fossey to join them on their family farm, where she worked with livestock on a daily basis and also experienced an inclusive family atmosphere that had been missing for most of her life.[6][14] During her free time she would pursue her love of horses.[15]

Interest in Africa

Fossey turned down an offer to join the Henrys on an African tour due to lack of finances,[6] but in 1963 she borrowed $8,000 (one year’s salary), took out her life savings[16] and went on a seven-week visit to Africa.[5] In September 1963, she arrived in NairobiKenya.[11] While there, she met actor William Holden, owner of Treetops Hotel,[5] who introduced her to her safari guide, John Alexander.[5] Alexander became her guide for the next seven weeks through Kenya, TanzaniaDemocratic Republic of Congo, and Rhodesia. Alexander’s route included visits to Tsavo, Africa’s largest national park; the saline lake of Manyara, famous for attracting giant flocks of flamingos; and the Ngorongoro Crater, well known for its abundant wildlife.[11] The final two sites for her visit were Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania (the archeological site of Louis and Mary Leakey); and Mt. Mikeno in Congo, where in 1959, American zoologist George Schaller had carried out a yearlong pioneering study of the mountain gorilla. At Olduvai Gorge, Fossey met the Leakeys while they were examining the area for hominid fossils. Leakey talked to Fossey about the work of Jane Goodall and the importance of long-term research of the great apes.[11]

Although Fossey had broken her ankle while visiting the Leakeys,[11] by October 16, she was staying in Walter Baumgartel’s small hotel in Uganda, the Travellers Rest. Baumgartel, an advocate of gorilla conservation, was among the first to see the benefits that tourism could bring to the area, and he introduced Fossey to Kenyan wildlife photographers Joan and Alan Root. The couple agreed to allow Fossey and Alexander to camp behind their own camp, and it was during these few days that Fossey first encountered wild mountain gorillas.[11] After staying with friends in Rhodesia, Fossey returned home to Louisville to repay her loans. She published three articles in The Courier-Journal newspaper, detailing her visit to Africa.[5][11]

Research in the Congo

Gorilla mother with cub in Virunga National Park in the Congo

When Leakey made an appearance in Louisville while on a nationwide lecture tour, Fossey took the color supplements that had appeared about her African trip in The Courier-Journal to show to Leakey, who remembered her and her interest in mountain gorillas. Three years after the original safari, Leakey suggested that Fossey could undertake a long-term study of the gorillas in the same manner as Jane Goodall had with chimpanzees in Tanzania.[7] Leakey lined up funding for Fossey to research mountain gorillas, and Fossey left her job to relocate to Africa.[17]

After studying Swahili and auditing a class on primatology during the eight months it took to get her visa and funding, Fossey arrived in Nairobi in December 1966. With the help of Joan Root and Leakey, Fossey acquired the necessary provisions and an old canvas-topped Land Rover which she named “Lily”. On the way to the Congo, Fossey visited the Gombe Stream Research Centre to meet Goodall and observe her research methods with chimpanzees.[11] Accompanied by photographer Alan Root, who helped her obtain work permits for the Virunga Mountains, Fossey began her field study at Kabara, in the Congo in early 1967, in the same meadow where Schaller had made his camp seven years earlier.[18] Root taught her basic gorilla tracking, and his tracker Sanwekwe later helped in Fossey’s camp. Living in tents on mainly tinned produce, once a month Fossey would hike down the mountain to “Lily” and make the two-hour drive to the village of Kikumba to restock.[11]

Fossey identified three distinct groups in her study area, but could not get close to them. She eventually found that mimicking their actions and making grunting sounds assured them, together with submissive behavior and eating of the local celery plant.[18] She later attributed her success with habituating gorillas to her experience working as an occupational therapist with autistic children.[7] Like George Schaller, Fossey relied greatly on individual “noseprints” for identification, initially via sketching and later by camera.[11]

Fossey had arrived in the Congo in locally turbulent times. Known as the Belgian Congo until its independence in June 1960, unrest and rebellion plagued the new government until 1965, when Lieutenant General Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, by then commander-in-chief of the national army, seized control of the country and declared himself president for five years during what is now called the Congo Crisis. During the political upheaval, a rebellion and battles took place in the Kivu Province. On July 9, 1967, soldiers arrived at the camp to escort Fossey and her research workers down, and she was interred at Rumangabo for two weeks. Fossey eventually escaped through bribery to Walter Baumgärtel’s Travellers Rest Hotel in Kisoro, where her escort was arrested by the Ugandan military.[11][19] Advised by the Ugandan authorities not to return to Congo, after meeting Leakey in Nairobi, Fossey agreed with him against US Embassy advice to restart her study on the Rwandan side of the Virungas.[11] In Rwanda, Fossey had met local American expatriate Rosamond Carr, who introduced her to Belgian local Alyette DeMunck; DeMunck had a local’s knowledge of Rwanda and offered to find Fossey a suitable site for study.[11]

Conservation work in Rwanda

Fossey established her research camp on the foothills of Mount Bisoke.

On September 24, 1967, Fossey founded the Karisoke Research Center, a remote rainforest camp nestled in Ruhengeri province in the saddle of two volcanoes. For the research center’s name, Fossey used “Kari” for the first four letters of Mount Karisimbi that overlooked her camp from the south, and “soke” for the last four letters of Mount Bisoke, the slopes of which rose to the north, directly behind camp.[11] Established 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) up Mount Bisoke, the defined study area covered 25 square kilometres (9.7 sq mi).[20] She became known by locals as Nyirmachabelli, or Nyiramacibiri, roughly translated as “The woman who lives alone on the mountain.”[21]

Unlike the gorillas from the Congo side of the Virungas, the Karisoke area gorillas had never been partially habituated by Schaller’s study; they knew humans only as poachers, and it took longer for Fossey to be able to study the Karisoke gorillas at a close distance.[22]

Many research students left after not being able to handle the cold, dark, and extremely muddy conditions around Karisoke on the slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes, where paths usually had to be cut through six-foot-tall grass with a machete.[23]

Opposition to poaching

While hunting had been illegal in the national park of the Virunga Volcanoes in Rwanda since the 1920s, the law was rarely enforced by park conservators, who were often bribed by poachers and paid a salary less than Fossey’s own African staff.[7] On three occasions, Fossey wrote that she witnessed the aftermath of the capture of infant gorillas at the behest of the park conservators for zoos; since gorillas will fight to the death to protect their young, the kidnappings would often result in up to 10 adult gorillas’ deaths.[7] Through the Digit Fund, Fossey financed patrols to destroy poachers’ traps in the Karisoke study area. In four months in 1979, the Fossey patrol consisting of four African staffers destroyed 987 poachers’ traps in the research area’s vicinity.[24] The official Rwandan national park guards, consisting of 24 staffers, did not eradicate any poachers’ traps during the same period.[24] In the eastern portion of the park not patrolled by Fossey, poachers virtually eradicated all the park’s elephants for ivory and killed more than a dozen gorillas.[24]

Fossey helped in the arrest of several poachers, some of whom served or are serving long prison sentences.[25]

In 1978, Fossey attempted to prevent the export of two young gorillas, Coco and Pucker, from Rwanda to the zoo in Cologne, Germany. During the capture of the infants at the behest of the Cologne Zoo and Rwandan park conservator, 20 adult gorillas had been killed.[26] The infant gorillas were given to Fossey by the park conservator of the Virunga Volcanoes for treatment of injuries suffered during their capture and captivity. With considerable effort, she restored them to some approximation of health. Over Fossey’s objections, the gorillas were shipped to Cologne, where they lived nine years in captivity, both dying in the same month.[7] She viewed the holding of animals in “prison” (zoos) for the entertainment of people as unethical.[27]

While gorillas from rival gang groups on the mountains that were not part of Fossey’s study had often been found poached five to ten at a time, and had spurred Fossey to conduct her own anti-poaching patrols, Fossey’s study groups had not been direct victims of poaching until Fossey’s favorite gorilla Digit was killed in 1978. Later that year, the silverback of Digit’s Group 4, named for Fossey’s Uncle Bert, was shot in the heart while trying to save his son, Kweli, from being seized by poachers cooperating with the Rwandan park conservator.[28] Kweli’s mother, Macho, was also killed in the raid, but Kweli was not captured due to Uncle Bert’s intervention; however, three-year-old Kweli died slowly and painfully of gangrene, from being brushed by a poacher’s bullet.[27][28]

According to Fossey’s letters, ORTPN (the Rwandan national park system), the World Wildlife FundAfrican Wildlife Foundation, Fauna Preservation Society, the Mountain Gorilla Project and some of her former students tried to wrest control of the Karisoke research center from her for the purpose of tourism, by portraying her as unstable. In her last two years, Fossey claims not to have lost any gorillas to poachers; however, the Mountain Gorilla Project, which was supposed to patrol the Mount Sabyinyo area, tried to cover up gorilla deaths caused by poaching and diseases transmitted through tourists. Nevertheless, these organizations received most of the public donations directed toward gorilla conservation.[7] The public often believed their money would go to Fossey, who was struggling to finance her anti-poaching and bushmeat hunting patrols, while organizations collecting in her name put it into tourism projects and as she put it “to pay the airfare of so-called conservationists who will never go on anti-poaching patrols in their life.” Fossey described the differing two philosophies as her own “active conservation” or the international conservation groups’ “theoretical conservation.”[25]

Opposition to tourism

Fossey strongly opposed wildlife tourism, as gorillas are very susceptible to human anthroponotic diseases like influenza for which they have no immunity. Fossey reported several cases in which gorillas died because of diseases spread by tourists. She also viewed tourism as an interference into their natural wild behavior.[7] Fossey also criticized tourist programs, often paid for by international conservation organizations, for interfering with both her research and the peace of the mountain gorillas’ habitat, and was concerned Jane Goodall, who actually joined a chimpanzee society as a member, was inappropriately changing her study subjects’ behavior.[25]

Today, however, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International promotes tourism, which they say helps to create a stable and sustainable local community dedicated to protecting the gorillas and their habitat.[29]

Preservation of habitat

Fossey is responsible for the revision of a European Community project that converted parkland into pyrethrum farms. Thanks to her efforts, the park boundary was lowered from the 3,000-meter line to the 2,500-meter line.[7]

Digit Fund

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International in Rwanda

Sometime during the day on New Year’s Eve 1977, Fossey’s favorite gorilla, Digit, was killed by poachers. As the sentry of study group 4, he defended the group against six poachers and their dogs, who ran across the gorilla study group while checking antelope traplines. Digit took five spear wounds in ferocious self-defence and managed to kill one of the poachers’ dogs, allowing the other 13 members of his group to escape.[30] Poachers sell gorilla hands as delicacies, magic charms or to make ash trays.[31] Digit was decapitated, and his hands cut off for ashtrays, for the price of $20.[citation needed] After his mutilated body was discovered by research assistant Ian Redmond, Fossey’s group captured one of the killers. He revealed the names of his five accomplices, three of whom were later imprisoned.[32]

Fossey subsequently created the Digit Fund (now the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International in the US)[33] to raise money for anti-poaching patrols.[27] In addition, a consortium of international gorilla funds arose to accept donations in light of Digit’s death and increased attention on poaching.[28] Fossey mostly opposed the efforts of the international organizations, which she felt inefficiently directed their funds towards more equipment for Rwandan park officials, some of whom were alleged to have ordered some of the gorilla poachings in the first place.[28]

The deaths of some of her most studied gorillas caused Fossey to devote more of her attention to preventing poaching and less on scientific publishing and research.[28] Fossey became more intense in protecting the gorillas and began to employ more direct tactics: she and her staff cut animal traps almost as soon as they were set; frightened, captured and humiliated the poachers; held their cattle for ransom; burned their hunting camps and even mats from their houses.[5][better source needed]

Personal life

During her African safari, Fossey met Alexie Forrester, the brother of a Rhodesian she had been dating in Louisville; Fossey and Forrester later became engaged. In her later years, Fossey became involved with National Geographic photographer Bob Campbell after a year of working together at Karisoke, with Campbell promising to leave his wife.[5] Eventually the pair grew apart through her dedication to the gorillas and Karisoke, along with his need to work further afield and on his marriage. In 1970, studying for her Ph.D. at Darwin CollegeUniversity of Cambridge, she discovered she was pregnant and had an abortion, later commenting that “you can’t be a cover girl for National Geographic magazine and be pregnant.” She graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology in 1976.[5][failed verification] Fossey had other relationships throughout the years and always had a love for children.[4] Since Fossey would rescue any abused or abandoned animal she saw in Africa or near Karisoke, she acquired a menagerie in the camp, including a monkey who lived in her cabin, Kima, and a dog, Cindy. Fossey held Christmas parties every year for her researchers, staffers, and their families, and she developed a genuine friendship with Jane Goodall.[34]

Fossey had been plagued by lung problems from an early age and, later in her life, suffered from advanced emphysema brought on by years of heavy cigarette smoking.[35][36] As the debilitating disease progressed—further aggravated by the high mountain altitude and damp climate—Fossey found it increasingly difficult to conduct field research, frequently suffering from shortness of breath and requiring the help of an oxygen tank when climbing or hiking long distances.[37]

Death

In the early morning of December 27, 1985, Fossey was discovered murdered in the bedroom of her cabin located at the far edge of the camp in the Virunga MountainsRwanda.[38] Her body was found face-up near the two beds where she slept, roughly 7 feet (2 m) away from a hole that her assailant(s) had apparently cut in the wall of the cabin. Wayne Richard McGuire, Fossey’s last research assistant at Karisoke, was summoned to the scene by Fossey’s house servant and found her bludgeoned to death, reporting that “when I reached down to check her vital signs, I saw her face had been split, diagonally, with one machete blow.”[38] The cabin was littered with broken glass and overturned furniture, with a 9-mm handgun and ammunition beside her on the floor.[38] Robbery was not believed to be the motive for the crime, as Fossey’s valuables were still in the cabin, including her passport, handguns, and thousands of dollars in U.S. bills and traveler’s checks.[38][39]

The last entry in her diary read:[40]

When you realize the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate more on the preservation of the future.

Fossey’s grave at Karisoke, alongside those of her gorilla friends

Fossey is buried at Karisoke,[41][42] in a site that she herself had constructed for her deceased gorilla friends. She was buried in the gorilla graveyard next to Digit, and near many gorillas killed by poachers. Memorial services were also held in New York, Washington, and California.[43]

A will purporting to be Fossey’s bequeathed all of her estate (including the proceeds from the film Gorillas in the Mist) to the Digit Fund to underwrite anti-poaching patrols. Fossey did not mention her family in the will, which was unsigned. Her mother, Hazel Fossey Price, challenged the will and was successful.[7] Supreme Court Justice Swartwood threw out the will and awarded the estate to her mother, including about $4.9 million in royalties from a recent book and upcoming movie, stating that the document “was simply a draft of her purported will and not a will at all.” Price said she was working on a project to preserve the work her daughter had done for the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, located in eastern central Africa south of Uganda.[44]

Aftermath

After Fossey’s death, her entire staff were arrested. This included Rwandan Emmanuel Rwelekana, a tracker who had been fired from his job after he allegedly tried to kill Fossey with a machete, according to the government’s account of McGuire’s trial. All were later released except Rwelekana, who was later found dead in prison, supposedly having hanged himself.[7][45]

Rwandan courts later tried and convicted Wayne McGuire in absentia for her murder. The alleged motive was that McGuire murdered Fossey in order to steal the manuscript of the sequel to her 1983 book, Gorillas in the Mist. At the trial investigators said McGuire was not happy with his own research and wanted to use “any dishonest means possible” to complete his work. McGuire had returned to the United States in July 1987,[45] and because no extradition treaty exists between the U.S. and Rwanda, McGuire, whose guilt is still widely questioned, has not served his sentence.[7]

Following his return to the U.S., McGuire gave a brief statement at a news conference in Century City, Los Angeles, saying Fossey had been his “friend and mentor”, calling her death “tragic” and the charges “outrageous”.[46] Thereafter, McGuire was largely absent from public notice until 2005, when news broke that he had been accepted for a job with the Health and Human Services division of the State of Nebraska. The job offer was revoked upon discovery of his relation to the Fossey case.[47]

Several subsequent books, including Farley Mowat‘s biography of Fossey, Woman in the Mists (New York, NY: Warner Books, 1987), have suggested alternative theories regarding her murder including intimations that she may have been killed by financial interests linked to tourism or illicit trade.

Controversy

Fossey was reported to have captured and held Rwandans whom she suspected of poaching. She allegedly beat a poacher’s testicles with stinging nettles.[48] She also kidnapped a local child for a time.[49] After her murder, Fossey’s National Geographic editor, Mary Smith, told Shlachter that on visits to the United States, Fossey would “load up on firecrackers, cheap toys and magic tricks as part of her method to mystify the (Africans) hold them at bay.”[50]

Writing in The Wall Street Journal in 2002, the journalist Tunku Varadarajan described Fossey at the end of her life as colorful, controversial, and “a racist alcoholic who regarded her gorillas as better than the African people who lived around them”.[5][51]

Scientific achievements 

Fossey made discoveries about gorillas including how females transfer from group to group over the decades, gorilla vocalization, hierarchies and social relationships among groups, rare infanticide, gorilla diet, and how gorillas recycle nutrients.[52] Fossey’s research was funded by the Wilkie Foundation and the Leakey Home, with primary funding from the National Geographic Society.[53]

By 1980, Fossey, who had obtained her PhD at Cambridge University in the UK, was recognized as the world’s leading authority on the physiology and behavior of mountain gorillas, defining gorillas as being “dignified, highly social, gentle giants, with individual personalities, and strong family relationships.”[6] Fossey lectured as professor at Cornell University in 1981–83. Her bestselling book Gorillas in the Mist was praised by Nikolaas Tinbergen, the Dutch ethologist and ornithologist who won the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Her book remains the best-selling book about gorillas.[7]

Legacy

After her death, Fossey’s Digit Fund in the US was renamed the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International.[54] The Karisoke Research Center is operated by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, and continues the daily gorilla monitoring and protection that she started.

Shirley McGreal, a friend of Fossey,[55] continues to work for the protection of primates through the work of her International Primate Protection League (IPPL) one of the few wildlife organizations that according to Fossey effectively promotes “active conservation”.

Between Fossey’s death and the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Karisoke was directed by former students, some of whom had opposed her.[7] During the genocide and subsequent period of insecurity, the camp was completely looted and destroyed. Today only remnants are left of her cabin. During the civil war, the Virunga National Park was filled with refugees, and illegal logging destroyed vast areas.

In 2014, the 82nd anniversary of Fossey’s birth was marked by a Google Doodle appearing on its search homepage worldwide.[56] The doodle depicted a group of mountain gorillas, with one touching Dian Fossey’s hair while she made notes in a journal.[57]

Biographies

Mowat’s Virunga (1987), whose British and U.S. editions are called Woman in the Mists: The Story of Dian Fossey and the Mountain Gorillas of Africa, was the first book-length biography of Fossey, and it serves as an insightful counterweight to the many omissions in Fossey’s own story, being derived from Fossey’s actual letters and entries in her journals. Harold Hayes‘s book The Dark Romance of Dian Fossey was published in 1989 after extensive interviews with people who lived and worked with Fossey. Haye’s book shows Fossey in a less positive or romanticized light than previous accounts had done. The film Gorillas in the Mist was based on Hayes’ 1987 article in Life magazine, as cited in the film’s credits, instead of Fossey’s self-edited autobiography by that title.

No One Loved Gorillas More (2005) was written by Camilla de la Bedoyere and published by National Geographic in the United States and Palazzo Editions in the United KingdomGorilla Dreams: The Legacy of Dian Fossey was written by the investigative journalist Georgianne Nienaber and published in 2006. This account of Fossey’s story is told as if in her own words from beyond the grave. Fossey is also prominently featured in a book by Vanity Fair journalist Alex Shoumatoff called African Madness, in which the author expands on Fossey’s controversial behaviors, implying that Fossey provoked her own murder by way of her private and public inflammatory interactions with people. The author also wrote a lengthy article titled “The Fatal Obsession of Dian Fossey”.[58]

A Forest in the Clouds: My Year among the Mountain Gorillas in the Remote Enclave of Dian Fossey, by John Fowler, is a first-person account from inside Dian Fossey’s camp. The author gives a candid and vivid portrait of Fossey’s mercurial personality, her ill treatment of staff and research students, and her alcohol-fueled tirades. The book also shows the daily workings of camp, Fossey’s dependence on her students and the movement to remove her from Karisoke years before her brutal murder.[59]

In media

The Kentucky Opera Visions Program, in Louisville, has written an opera about Fossey, entitled Nyiramachabelli; it premiered on May 23, 2006.

Universal Studios bought the film rights to Gorillas in the Mist from Fossey in 1985, and Warner Bros. Studios bought the rights to the Hayes article, despite its having been severely criticized by Rosamond Carr. As a result of a legal battle between the two studios, a co-production was arranged. Portions of the story and the Hayes article were adapted for the film Gorillas in the Mist, starring Sigourney WeaverBryan Brown, and John Omirah Miluwi. The book covers Fossey’s scientific career in great detail and omits material on her personal life, such as her affair with photographer Bob Campbell. In the film, the affair with Campbell (played by Bryan Brown) forms a major subplot. The Hayes article preceding the movie portrayed Fossey as a woman obsessed with gorillas, who would stop at nothing to protect them. The film includes scenes of Fossey’s ruthless dealings with poachers, including a scene in which she sets fire to a poacher’s home.

In the 2011 BBC documentary All Watched Over by Machines of Loving GraceAdam Curtis uses Fossey as a symbol of the ideology of ecology, a balance of nature and western post-colonial political exploits in Africa.

In December 2017, Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist, a three-hour series, aired on the National Geographic Channel, The series tells the story of Fossey’s life, work, murder and legacy, using archive footage and still images, interviews with people who knew and worked with her, specially shot footage and reconstruction.[60]

Selected bibliography

Books

Scholarly articles

  • —— (Summer 1982). “An amiable giant: Fuertes’s gorilla”. The Living Bird: 21–22. ISSN0459-6137OCLC1783015.
  • —— (1982). “Mountain gorilla research, 1974”. Research Reports – National Geographic Society. Washington, DC. 14: 243–258. ISSN0077-4626OCLC1586425.
  • —— (1980). “Mountain gorilla research, 1971–1972”. Projects. Research Reports – National Geographic Society 1971. Washington, DC. 12: 237–255. ISSN0077-4626OCLC1586425.
  • —— (1978). “Mountain gorilla research, 1969–1970”. Projects. Research Reports – National Geographic Society 1969. Washington, DC. 11: 173–176. ISSN0077-4626OCLC1586425.
  • —— (1976). The Behaviour of the Mountain Gorilla (Thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC60364345500444186.
  • closed access —— (August 1974). “Observations on the home range of one group of mountain gorillas (Gorilla gorilla beringel)”. Animal Behaviour22 (3): 568–581. doi:10.1016/S0003-3472(74)80002-3ISSN0003-3472OCLC191252756.
  • closed access —— (March 1972). “Vocalizations of the mountain Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla beringei)”. Animal Behaviour20 (1): 36–53. doi:10.1016/S0003-3472(72)80171-4ISSN0003-3472OCLC191252756.

References …

Sources

External links

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

Gorilla

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Gorillas[1]
Male gorilla in SF zoo.jpg
Western gorilla
(Gorilla gorilla)
Scientific classificatione
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Family: Hominidae
Subfamily: Homininae
Tribe: Gorillini
Genus: Gorilla
I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1852
Type species
Troglodytes gorilla

Savage, 1847
Species
Gorilla gorilla
Gorilla beringei
Distibución gorilla.png
Distribution of gorillas
Synonyms
  • Pseudogorilla Elliot, 1913

Gorillas are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Sub-Saharan Africa. The genus Gorilla is divided into two species: the eastern gorillas and the western gorillas (both critically endangered), and either four or five subspecies. They are the largest living primates. The DNA of gorillas is highly similar to that of humans, from 95 to 99% depending on what is included, and they are the next closest living relatives to humans after the chimpanzees and bonobos.

Gorillas’ natural habitats cover tropical or subtropical forests in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although their range covers a small percentage of Sub-Saharan Africa, gorillas cover a wide range of elevations. The mountain gorilla inhabits the Albertine Rift montane cloud forests of the Virunga Volcanoes, ranging in altitude from 2,200 to 4,300 metres (7,200 to 14,100 ft). Lowland gorillas live in dense forests and lowland swamps and marshes as low as sea level, with western lowland gorillas living in Central West African countries and eastern lowland gorillas living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo near its border with Rwanda.[2]

Contents

Etymology

The word “gorilla” comes from the history of Hanno the Navigator, (c. 500 BC) a Carthaginian explorer on an expedition on the west African coast to the area that later became Sierra Leone.[3][4] Members of the expedition encountered “savage people, the greater part of whom were women, whose bodies were hairy, and whom our interpreters called Gorillae”.[5][6] The word was then later used as the species name, though it is unknown whether what these ancient Carthaginians encountered were truly gorillas, another species of ape or monkeys, or humans.[7]

The American physician and missionary Thomas Staughton Savage and naturalist Jeffries Wyman first described the western gorilla (they called it Troglodytes gorilla) in 1847 from specimens obtained in Liberia.[8] The name was derived from Ancient Greek Γόριλλαι (gorillai), meaning ‘tribe of hairy women’,[9] described by Hanno.

Evolution and classification

The closest relatives of gorillas are the other two Homininae genera, chimpanzees and humans, all of them having diverged from a common ancestor about 7 million years ago.[10] Human gene sequences differ only 1.6% on average from the sequences of corresponding gorilla genes, but there is further difference in how many copies each gene has.[11] Until recently, gorillas were considered to be a single species, with three subspecies: the western lowland gorilla, the eastern lowland gorilla and the mountain gorilla.[7][12] There is now agreement that there are two species, each with two subspecies. More recently, a third subspecies has been claimed to exist in one of the species. The separate species and subspecies developed from a single type of gorilla during the Ice Age, when their forest habitats shrank and became isolated from each other.[2]

Primatologists continue to explore the relationships between various gorilla populations.[7] The species and subspecies listed here are the ones upon which most scientists agree.[citation needed]

Taxonomy of genus Gorilla[1] Phylogeny of superfamily Hominoidea[13](Fig. 4)
 Hominoidea
humans (genus Homo)
chimpanzees (genus Pan)
gorillas (genus Gorilla)
orangutans (genus Pongo)
gibbons (family Hylobatidae)

The proposed third subspecies of Gorilla beringei, which has not yet received a trinomen, is the Bwindi population of the mountain gorilla, sometimes called the Bwindi gorilla.

Some variations that distinguish the classifications of gorilla include varying density, size, hair colour, length, culture, and facial widths.[2] Population genetics of the lowland gorillas suggest that the western and eastern lowland populations diverged ~261 thousand years ago.[14]

Physical characteristics

Male gorilla skull

Gorillas move around by knuckle-walking, although they sometimes walk bipedally for short distances while carrying food or in defensive situations,[15] and some Mountain Gorillas use other parts of their hand to aid locomotion (studies of 77 Mountain Gorillas published in 2018 showed 61% only used knuckle walking, but the remainder used knuckle walking plus other parts of their hand—fist walking in ways that do not use the knuckles, using the backs of their hand, and using their palms).[16] Wild male gorillas weigh 136 to 195 kg (300 to 430 lb), while adult females usually weigh about half as much as adult males at 68–113 kg (150–250 lb).

Western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) and Eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei)

Adult males are 1.4 to 1.8 m (4 ft 7 in to 5 ft 11 in) tall, with an arm span that stretches from 2.3 to 2.6 m (7 ft 7 in to 8 ft 6 in). Female gorillas are shorter at 1.25 to 1.5 m (4 ft 1 in to 4 ft 11 in), with smaller arm spans.[17][18][19][20][21] Groves (1970) calculates that average weight of the 47 wild adult male gorillas is 143 kg, while Smith and Jungers(1997) found that the average weight of the 19 wild adult male gorillas is 169 kg.[22] Adult male gorillas are known as silverbacks due to the characteristic silver hair on their backs reaching to the hips. The tallest gorilla recorded was a 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in) silverback with an arm span of 2.7 m (8 ft 10 in), a chest of 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in), and a weight of 219 kg (483 lb), shot in Alimbongo, northern Kivu in May 1938.[21] The heaviest gorilla recorded was a 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in) silverback shot in AmbamCameroon, which weighed 267 kg (589 lb).[21] Males in captivity are noted to be capable of reaching weights up to 310 kg (683 lb).[21] Gorilla facial structure is described as mandibular prognathism, that is, the mandible protrudes farther out than the maxilla. Adult males also have a prominent sagittal crest.

The eastern gorilla is more darkly coloured than the western gorilla, with the mountain gorilla being the darkest of all. The mountain gorilla also has the thickest hair. The western lowland gorilla can be brown or grayish with a reddish forehead. In addition, gorillas that live in lowland forests are more slender and agile than the more bulky mountain gorillas. The eastern gorilla also has a longer face and broader chest than the western gorilla.[23]

Studies have shown gorilla blood is not reactive to anti-A and anti-B monoclonal antibodies, which would, in humans, indicate type O blood. Due to novel sequences, though, it is different enough to not conform with the human ABO blood group system, into which the other great apes fit.[24] Like humans, gorillas have individual fingerprints.[25][26] Their eye colour is dark brown, framed by a black ring around the iris.

Distribution and habitat

Young gorilla climbing

Gorillas have a patchy distribution. The range of the two species is separated by the Congo River and its tributaries. The western gorilla lives in west central Africa, while the eastern gorilla lives in east central Africa. Between the species, and even within the species, gorillas live in a variety of habitats and elevations. Gorilla habitat ranges from montane forests to swamps. Eastern gorillas inhabit montane and submontane forests between 650 and 4,000 m (2,130 and 13,120 ft) above sea level.[27] Mountain gorillas live in the montane forests at the higher ends of the elevation range, while eastern lowland gorillas live in submontane forests at the lower ends of the elevation range. In addition, eastern lowland gorillas live in montane bamboo forests, as well as lowland forests ranging from 600–3,308 m (1,969–10,853 ft) in elevation.[28] Western gorillas live in both lowland swamp forests and montane forests, and elevations ranging from sea level to 1,600 m (5,200 ft).[27] Western lowland gorillas live in swamp and lowland forests ranging up to 1,600 m (5,200 ft), and Cross River gorillas live in low-lying and submontane forests ranging from 150–1,600 m (490–5,250 ft).

Nesting

Gorilla night nest constructed in a tree

Gorillas construct nests for daytime and night use. Nests tend to be simple aggregations of branches and leaves about 2 to 5 ft (0.61 to 1.52 m) in diameter and are constructed by individuals. Gorillas, unlike chimpanzees or orangutans, tend to sleep in nests on the ground. The young nest with their mothers, but construct nests after three years of age, initially close to those of their mothers.[29] Gorilla nests are distributed arbitrarily and use of tree species for site and construction appears to be opportunistic.[30] Nest-building by great apes is now considered to be not just animal architecture, but as an important instance of tool use.[30]

Food and foraging

A gorilla’s day is divided between rest periods and travel or feeding periods. Diets differ between and within species. Mountain gorillas mostly eat foliage, such as leaves, stems, pith, and shoots, while fruit makes up a very small part of their diets.[31] Mountain gorilla food is widely distributed and neither individuals nor groups have to compete with one another. Their home ranges vary from 3 to 15 km2 (1.16 to 5.79 mi2), and their movements range around 500 m (0.31 mi) or less on an average day.[31] Despite eating a few species in each habitat, mountain gorillas have flexible diets and can live in a variety of habitats.[31]

Gorillas moving in habitat

Gorilla foraging

Eastern lowland gorillas have more diverse diets, which vary seasonally. Leaves and pith are commonly eaten, but fruits can make up as much as 25% of their diets. Since fruit is less available, lowland gorillas must travel farther each day, and their home ranges vary from 2.7–6.5 km2 (1.04 to 2.51 mi2), with day ranges 154–2,280 m (0.096–1.417 mi). Eastern lowland gorillas will also eat insects, preferably ants.[32] Western lowland gorillas depend on fruits more than the others and they are more dispersed across their range.[33] They travel even farther than the other gorilla subspecies, at 1,105 m (0.687 mi) per day on average, and have larger home ranges of 7–14 km2 (2.70–5.41 mi2).[33] Western lowland gorillas have less access to terrestrial herbs, although they can access aquatic herbs in some areas. Termites and ants are also eaten.

Gorillas rarely drink water “because they consume succulent vegetation that is comprised of almost half water as well as morning dew”,[34] although both mountain and lowland gorillas have been observed drinking.

Behaviour

Social structure

File:Mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) and his family.webm

Mountain gorilla family

Gorillas live in groups called troops. Troops tend to be made of one adult male or silverback, multiple adult females and their offspring.[35][36][37] However, multiple-male troops also exist.[36] A silverback is typically more than 12 years of age, and is named for the distinctive patch of silver hair on his back, which comes with maturity. Silverbacks also have large canine teeth that also come with maturity. Both males and females tend to emigrate from their natal groups. For mountain gorillas, females disperse from their natal troops more than males.[35][38] Mountain gorillas and western lowland gorillas also commonly transfer to second new groups.[35]

Mature males also tend to leave their groups and establish their own troops by attracting emigrating females. However, male mountain gorillas sometimes stay in their natal troops and become subordinate to the silverback. If the silverback dies, these males may be able to become dominant or mate with the females. This behaviour has not been observed in eastern lowland gorillas. In a single male group, when the silverback dies, the females and their offspring disperse and find a new troop.[38][39] Without a silverback to protect them, the infants will likely fall victim to infanticide. Joining a new group is likely to be a tactic against this.[38][40] However, while gorilla troops usually disband after the silverback dies, female eastern lowlands gorillas and their offspring have been recorded staying together until a new silverback transfers into the group. This likely serves as protection from leopards.[39]

Silverback gorilla

The silverback is the center of the troop’s attention, making all the decisions, mediating conflicts, determining the movements of the group, leading the others to feeding sites, and taking responsibility for the safety and well-being of the troop. Younger males subordinate to the silverback, known as blackbacks, may serve as backup protection. Blackbacks are aged between 8 and 12 years[37] and lack the silver back hair. The bond that a silverback has with his females forms the core of gorilla social life. Bonds between them are maintained by grooming and staying close together.[41] Females form strong relationships with males to gain mating opportunities and protection from predators and infanticidal outside males.[42] However, aggressive behaviours between males and females do occur, but rarely lead to serious injury. Relationships between females may vary. Maternally related females in a troop tend to be friendly towards each other and associate closely. Otherwise, females have few friendly encounters and commonly act aggressively towards each other.[35]

Females may fight for social access to males and a male may intervene.[41] Male gorillas have weak social bonds, particularly in multiple-male groups with apparent dominance hierarchies and strong competition for mates. Males in all-male groups, though, tend to have friendly interactions and socialise through play, grooming, and staying together,[37] and occasionally they even engage in homosexual interactions.[43] Severe aggression is rare in stable groups, but when two mountain gorilla groups meet, the two silverbacks can sometimes engage in a fight to the death, using their canines to cause deep, gaping injuries.[44]

Competition

One possible predator of gorillas is the leopard. Gorilla remains have been found in leopard scat, but this may be the result of scavenging.[45] When the group is attacked by humans, leopards, or other gorillas, an individual silverback will protect the group, even at the cost of his own life.[46]

Reproduction and parenting

Young gorilla riding on mother

Females mature at 10–12 years (earlier in captivity), and males at 11–13 years. A female’s first ovulatory cycle occurs when she is six years of age, and is followed by a two-year period of adolescent infertility.[47] The estrous cycle lasts 30–33 days, with outward ovulation signs subtle compared to those of chimpanzees. The gestation period lasts 8.5 months. Female mountain gorillas first give birth at 10 years of age and have four-year interbirth intervals.[47] Males can be fertile before reaching adulthood. Gorillas mate year round.[48]

Females will purse their lips and slowly approach a male while making eye contact. This serves to urge the male to mount her. If the male does not respond, then she will try to attract his attention by reaching towards him or slapping the ground.[49] In multiple-male groups, solicitation indicates female preference, but females can be forced to mate with multiple males.[49] Males incite copulation by approaching a female and displaying at her or touching her and giving a “train grunt”.[48] Recently, gorillas have been observed engaging in face-to-face sex, a trait once considered unique to humans and bonobos.[50]

Mother gorilla with 10-day-old infant

Gorilla infants are vulnerable and dependent, thus mothers, their primary caregivers, are important to their survival.[40] Male gorillas are not active in caring for the young, but they do play a role in socialising them to other youngsters.[51] The silverback has a largely supportive relationship with the infants in his troop and shields them from aggression within the group.[51] Infants remain in contact with their mothers for the first five months and mothers stay near the silverback for protection.[51] Infants suckle at least once per hour and sleep with their mothers in the same nest.[52]

Infants begin to break contact with their mothers after five months, but only for a brief period each time. By 12 months old, infants move up to five meters (16 feet) from their mothers. At around 18–21 months, the distance between mother and offspring increases and they regularly spend time away from each other.[53] In addition, nursing decreases to once every two hours.[52] Infants spend only half of their time with their mothers by 30 months. They enter their juvenile period at their third year, and this lasts until their sixth year. At this time, gorillas are weaned and they sleep in a separate nest from their mothers.[51] After their offspring are weaned, females begin to ovulate and soon become pregnant again.[51][52] The presence of play partners, including the silverback, minimizes conflicts in weaning between mother and offspring.[53]

Communication

Twenty-five distinct vocalisations are recognised, many of which are used primarily for group communication within dense vegetation. Sounds classified as grunts and barks are heard most frequently while traveling, and indicate the whereabouts of individual group members.[54] They may also be used during social interactions when discipline is required. Screams and roars signal alarm or warning, and are produced most often by silverbacks. Deep, rumbling belches suggest contentment and are heard frequently during feeding and resting periods. They are the most common form of intragroup communication.[44]

For this reason, conflicts are most often resolved by displays and other threat behaviours that are intended to intimidate without becoming physical. The ritualized charge display is unique to gorillas. The entire sequence has nine steps: (1) progressively quickening hooting, (2) symbolic feeding, (3) rising bipedally, (4) throwing vegetation, (5) chest-beating with cupped hands, (6) one leg kick, (7) sideways running, two-legged to four-legged, (8) slapping and tearing vegetation, and (9) thumping the ground with palms to end display.[55]

Lifespan

A gorilla’s lifespan is normally between 35 and 40 years, although zoo gorillas may live for 50 years or more. Colo, a female western gorilla at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was the oldest known gorilla, at 60 years of age when she died on January 17, 2017.[56]

Intelligence

A female gorilla exhibiting tool use by using a tree trunk as a support whilst fishing herbs

Gorillas are considered highly intelligent. A few individuals in captivity, such as Koko, have been taught a subset of sign language. Like the other great apes, gorillas can laugh, grieve, have “rich emotional lives”, develop strong family bonds, make and use tools, and think about the past and future.[57] Some researchers believe gorillas have spiritual feelings or religious sentiments.[2] They have been shown to have cultures in different areas revolving around different methods of food preparation, and will show individual colour preferences.[2]

Tool use

The following observations were made by a team led by Thomas Breuer of the Wildlife Conservation Society in September 2005. Gorillas are now known to use tools in the wild. A female gorilla in the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo was recorded using a stick as if to gauge the depth of water whilst crossing a swamp. A second female was seen using a tree stump as a bridge and also as a support whilst fishing in the swamp. This means all of the great apes are now known to use tools.[58]

In September 2005, a two-and-a-half-year-old gorilla in the Republic of Congo was discovered using rocks to smash open palm nuts inside a game sanctuary.[59] While this was the first such observation for a gorilla, over 40 years previously, chimpanzees had been seen using tools in the wild ‘fishing’ for termites. Great apes are endowed with semiprecision grips, and have been able to use both simple tools and even weapons, such as improvising a club from a convenient fallen branch.

Scientific study

American physician and missionary Thomas Staughton Savage obtained the first specimens (the skull and other bones) during his time in Liberia.[8] The first scientific description of gorillas dates back to an article by Savage and the naturalist Jeffries Wyman in 1847 in Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History,[60][61] where Troglodytes gorilla is described, now known as the western gorilla. Other species of gorilla were described in the next few years.[7]

Drawing of French explorer Paul Du Chaillu at close quarters with a gorilla

The explorer Paul Du Chaillu was the first westerner to see a live gorilla during his travel through western equatorial Africa from 1856 to 1859. He brought dead specimens to the UK in 1861.[62][63][64]

The first systematic study was not conducted until the 1920s, when Carl Akeley of the American Museum of Natural History traveled to Africa to hunt for an animal to be shot and stuffed. On his first trip, he was accompanied by his friends Mary Bradley, a mystery writer, her husband, and their young daughter Alice, who would later write science fiction under the pseudonym James Tiptree Jr. After their trip, Mary Bradley wrote On the Gorilla Trail. She later became an advocate for the conservation of gorillas, and wrote several more books (mainly for children). In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Robert Yerkes and his wife Ava helped further the study of gorillas when they sent Harold Bigham to Africa. Yerkes also wrote a book in 1929 about the great apes.

After World War IIGeorge Schaller was one of the first researchers to go into the field and study primates. In 1959, he conducted a systematic study of the mountain gorilla in the wild and published his work. Years later, at the behest of Louis Leakey and the National GeographicDian Fossey conducted a much longer and more comprehensive study of the mountain gorilla. When she published her work, many misconceptions and myths about gorillas were finally disproved, including the myth that gorillas are violent.

Western lowland gorillas (G. g. gorilla) are believed to be one of the zoonotic origins of HIV/AIDS. The SIVgor Simian immunodeficiency virus that infects them is similar to a certain strain of HIV-1.[65][66][67][68]

Genome sequencing

The gorilla became the next-to-last great ape genus to have its genome sequenced. The first gorilla genome was generated with short read and Sanger sequencing using DNA from a female western lowland gorilla named Kamilah. This gave scientists further insight into the evolution and origin of humans. Despite the chimpanzees being the closest extant relatives of humans, 15% of the human genome was found to be more like that of the gorilla.[69] In addition, 30% of the gorilla genome “is closer to human or chimpanzee than the latter are to each other; this is rarer around coding genes, indicating pervasive selection throughout great ape evolution, and has functional consequences in gene expression.”[70] Analysis of the gorilla genome has cast doubt on the idea that the rapid evolution of hearing genes gave rise to language in humans, as it also occurred in gorillas.[71]

Cultural references

Since coming to the attention of western society in the 1860s,[64] gorillas have been a recurring element of many aspects of popular culture and media. For example, gorillas have featured prominently in monstrous fantasy films such as King Kong. Additionally, pulp fiction stories such as Tarzan and Conan the Barbarian have featured gorillas as physical opponents of the titular protagonists.

Conservation status

All species (and sub-species) of gorilla are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.[72] Now, over 100,000 western lowland gorillas are thought to exist in the wild, with 4,000 in zoos; eastern lowland gorillas have a population of under 5,000 in the wild and 24 in zoos. Mountain gorillas are the most severely endangered, with an estimated population of about 880 left in the wild and none in zoos.[2][72] Threats to gorilla survival include habitat destruction and poaching for the bushmeat trade. In 2004, a population of several hundred gorillas in the Odzala National ParkRepublic of Congo was essentially wiped out by the Ebola virus.[73] A 2006 study published in Science concluded more than 5,000 gorillas may have died in recent outbreaks of the Ebola virus in central Africa. The researchers indicated in conjunction with commercial hunting of these apes, the virus creates “a recipe for rapid ecological extinction“.[74] Conservation efforts include the Great Apes Survival Project, a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme and the UNESCO, and also an international treaty, the Agreement on the Conservation of Gorillas and Their Habitats, concluded under UNEP-administered Convention on Migratory Species. The Gorilla Agreement is the first legally binding instrument exclusively targeting gorilla conservation; it came into effect on 1 June 2008.

See also

References …

External links

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

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Dinesh D’Souza — The Big Lie: Exposing The Nazi Roots of The American Left — Videos

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Fascism

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Benito Mussolini (left) and Adolf Hitler(right), the fascist leaders of Italy and Nazi Germany, respectively

Fascism (/ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a form of radical, right-wingauthoritarian ultranationalism,[1][2][3][4] characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and of the economy,[5] which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe.[6] The first fascist movements emerged in Italy during World War I before it spread to other European countries.[6] Opposed to liberalismMarxism, and anarchism, fascism is placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

Fascists saw World War I as a revolution that brought massive changes to the nature of war, society, the state, and technology. The advent of total war and the total mass mobilization of society had broken down the distinction between civilians and combatants. A “military citizenship” arose in which all citizens were involved with the military in some manner during the war.[12][13] The war had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines and providing economic production and logistics to support them, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens.[12][13]

Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete and regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties.[14] Such a state is led by a strong leader—such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party—to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society.[14] Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature and views political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation.[15][16][17][18] Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky(national economic self-sufficiency) through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.[19]

Since the end of World War II in 1945, few parties have openly described themselves as fascist, and the term is instead now usually used pejoratively by political opponents. The descriptions neo-fascist or post-fascist are sometimes applied more formally to describe parties of the far-right with ideologies similar to, or rooted in, 20th-century fascist movements.[6][20]

Contents

Etymology

The Italian term fascismo is derived from fascio meaning “a bundle of sticks”, ultimately from the Latin word fasces.[21] This was the name given to political organizations in Italy known as fasci, groups similar to guilds or syndicates. According to Mussolini‘s own account, the Fascist Revolutionary Party (Partito Fascista Rivoluzionario or PFR) was founded in Italy in 1915.[22] In 1919, Mussolini founded the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento in Milan, which became the Partito Nazionale Fascista (National Fascist Party) two years later. The Fascists came to associate the term with the ancient Roman fasces or fascio littorio[23]—a bundle of rods tied around an axe,[24] an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of the civic magistrate[25] carried by his lictors, which could be used for corporal and capital punishment at his command.[26][27]

The symbolism of the fasces suggested strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is difficult to break.[28] Similar symbols were developed by different fascist movements: for example, the Falange symbol is five arrows joined together by a yoke.[29]

Definitions

Historians, political scientists, and other scholars have long debated the exact nature of fascism.[30] Each group described as fascist has at least some unique elements, and many definitions of fascism have been criticized as either too wide or narrow.[31][32]

One common definition of the term focuses on three concepts:

  1. the fascist negations (anti-liberalismanti-communism, and anti-conservatism);
  2. nationalist authoritarian goals of creating a regulated economic structure to transform social relations within a modern, self-determined culture; and
  3. a political aesthetic of romantic symbolism, mass mobilization, a positive view of violence, and promotion of masculinity, youth, and charismatic leadership.[33][34][35]

According to many scholars, fascism—especially once in power—has historically attacked communism, conservatism, and parliamentary liberalism, attracting support primarily from the far-right.[36]

Historian Stanley Payne identifies three main strands in fascism. His typology is regularly cited by reliable sources as a standard definition. First, Payne’s “fascist negations” refers to such typical policies as anti-communism and anti-liberalism. Second, “fascist goals” include a nationalist dictatorship and an expanded empire. Third, “fascist style” is seen in its emphasis on violence and authoritarianism and its exultation of men above women and young against old.[37]

Roger Griffin describes fascism as “a genus of political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populistultranationalism“.[38] Griffin describes the ideology as having three core components: “(i) the rebirth myth, (ii) populist ultra-nationalism, and (iii) the myth of decadence”.[39] Fascism is “a genuinely revolutionary, trans-class form of anti-liberal, and in the last analysis, anti-conservative nationalism” built on a complex range of theoretical and cultural influences. He distinguishes an inter-war period in which it manifested itself in elite-led but populist “armed party” politics opposing socialism and liberalism and promising radical politics to rescue the nation from decadence.[40]

Robert Paxton says that fascism is “a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion”.[41]

Racism was a key feature of German fascism, as they made the Holocaust a high priority. According to the historiography of genocide, “In dealing with the Holocaust, it is the consensus of historians that Nazi Germany targeted Jews as a race, not as a religious group.”[42] Umberto Eco,[43]Kevin Passmore,[44] John Weiss,[45] Ian Adams,[46] and Moyra Grant[47] stress racism as a characteristic component of German fascism. The Encyclopedia Britannica says, “Hitler envisioned the ideal German society as a Volksgemeinschaft, a racially unified and hierarchically organized body in which the interests of individuals would be strictly subordinate to those of the nation, or Volk.”[48] Fascist philosophies vary by application, but remain distinct by one theoretic commonality. All traditionally fall into the far-right sector of any political spectrum, catalyzed by afflicted class identities over conventional social inequities[6]

Historian John Lukacs argues that there is no such thing as generic fascism. He claims that National Socialism and communism are essentially manifestations of populism and that states such as National Socialist Germany and Fascist Italy are more different than similar.[49]

Position in the political spectrum

Most scholars place fascism on the far right of the political spectrum.[6][7][8][9][10][11] Such scholarship focuses on its social conservatism and its authoritarian means of opposing egalitarianism.[50][51] Roderick Stackelberg places fascism—including Nazism, which he says is “a radical variant of fascism”—on the political right by explaining: “The more a person deems absolute equality among all people to be a desirable condition, the further left he or she will be on the ideological spectrum. The more a person considers inequality to be unavoidable or even desirable, the further to the right he or she will be”.[52]

Fascism’s origins, however, are complex and include many seemingly contradictory viewpoints, ultimately centered around a myth of national rebirth from decadence.[53] Fascism was founded during World War I by Italian national syndicalists who drew upon both left-wing organizational tactics and right-wing political views.[54]

Italian Fascism gravitated to the right in the early 1920s.[55][56] A major element of fascist ideology that has been deemed to be far-right is its stated goal to promote the right of a supposedly superior people to dominate, while purging society of supposedly inferior elements.[57]

In the 1920s, the Italian Fascists described their ideology as right-wing in the political program The Doctrine of Fascism, stating: “We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the ‘right,’ a fascist century”.[58][59] Mussolini stated that fascism’s position on the political spectrum was not a serious issue for fascists: “Fascism, sitting on the right, could also have sat on the mountain of the center … These words in any case do not have a fixed and unchanged meaning: they do have a variable subject to location, time and spirit. We don’t give a damn about these empty terminologies and we despise those who are terrorized by these words”.[60]

Major Italian groups politically on the right, especially rich landowners and big business, feared an uprising by groups on the left such as sharecroppers and labour unions.[61] They welcomed Fascism and supported its violent suppression of opponents on the left.[62] The accommodation of the political right into the Italian Fascist movement in the early 1920s created internal factions within the movement. The “Fascist left” included Michele BianchiGiuseppe BottaiAngelo Oliviero OlivettiSergio Panunzio, and Edmondo Rossoni, who were committed to advancing national syndicalism as a replacement for parliamentary liberalism in order to modernize the economy and advance the interests of workers and common people.[63] The “Fascist right” included members of the paramilitary Squadristi and former members of the Italian Nationalist Association (ANI).[63] The Squadristi wanted to establish Fascism as a complete dictatorship, while the former ANI members, including Alfredo Rocco, sought to institute an authoritarian corporatist state to replace the liberal state in Italy while retaining the existing elites.[63] Upon accommodating the political right, there arose a group of monarchist fascists who sought to use fascism to create an absolute monarchy under King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy.[63]

After King Victor Emmanuel III forced Mussolini to resign as head of government and placed him under arrest in 1943, Mussolini was rescued by German forces. While continuing to rely on Germany for support, Mussolini and the remaining loyal Fascists founded the Italian Social Republic with Mussolini as head of state. Mussolini sought to re-radicalize Italian Fascism, declaring that the Fascist state had been overthrown because Italian Fascism had been subverted by Italian conservatives and the bourgeoisie.[64] Then the new Fascist government proposed the creation of workers’ councils and profit-sharing in industry, although the German authorities, who effectively controlled northern Italy at this point, ignored these measures and did not seek to enforce them.[64]

A number of post-World War II fascist movements described themselves as a “third position” outside the traditional political spectrum.[65] Spanish Falangist leader José Antonio Primo de Rivera said: “[B]asically the Right stands for the maintenance of an economic structure, albeit an unjust one, while the Left stands for the attempt to subvert that economic structure, even though the subversion thereof would entail the destruction of much that was worthwhile”.[66]

“Fascist” as a pejorative

The term “fascist” has been used as a pejorative,[67] regarding varying movements across the far right of the political spectrum.[68] George Orwell wrote in 1944 that “the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless … almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist'”.[68]

Communist states have sometimes been referred to as “fascist”, typically as an insult. For example, it has been applied to Marxist regimes in Cuba under Fidel Castro and Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh.[69] Chinese Marxists used the term to denounce the Soviet Union during the Sino-Soviet Split, and likewise the Soviets used the term to denounce Chinese Marxists[70] and social democracy (coining a new term in “social fascism“).

In the United States, Herbert Matthews of The New York Times asked in 1946: “Should we now place Stalinist Russia in the same category as Hitlerite Germany? Should we say that she is Fascist?”.[71] J. Edgar Hoover, longtime FBI director and ardent anti-communist, wrote extensively of “Red Fascism”.[72] The Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s was sometimes called “fascist”. Historian Peter Amann states that, “Undeniably, the Klan had some traits in common with European fascism—chauvinism, racism, a mystique of violence, an affirmation of a certain kind of archaic traditionalism—yet their differences were fundamental….[the KKK] never envisioned a change of political or economic system.”[73]

Professor Richard Griffiths of the University of Wales[74] wrote in 2005 that “fascism” is the “most misused, and over-used word, of our times”.[32] “Fascist” is sometimes applied to post-World War II organizations and ways of thinking that academics more commonly term “neo-fascist“.[75]

History

Nineteenth-century roots

According to Encyclopædia Britannica[better source needed] the roots of fascism are either tied to the Jacobin movement or a 19th-century backlash against the Enlightenment.[76] Historians such as Irene Collins and Howard C Payne see Napoleon III, who ran a ‘police state’ and suppressed the media, as a forerunner of fascism.[77] According to David Thomson,[78] the Italian Risorgimento of 1871 led to the ‘nemesis of fascism’. William L Shirer[79] sees a continuity from the views of Fichte and Hegel, through Bismarck, to Hitler; Robert Gerwarth speaks of a ‘direct line’ from Bismarck to Hitler.[80] Julian Dierkes sees fascism as a ‘particularly violent form of Imperialism‘.[81]

Fin de siècle era and the fusion of Maurrasism with Sorelianism (1880–1914)

The historian Zeev Sternhell has traced the ideological roots of fascism back to the 1880s and in particular to the fin de siècle theme of that time.[82][83] The theme was based on a revolt against materialismrationalismpositivism, bourgeois society and democracy.[84] The fin-de-siècle generation supported emotionalismirrationalismsubjectivism and vitalism.[85] The fin-de-sièclemindset saw civilization as being in a crisis that required a massive and total solution.[84] The fin-de-siècle intellectual school considered the individual only one part of the larger collectivity, which should not be viewed as an atomized numerical sum of individuals.[84] They condemned the rationalistic individualism of liberal society and the dissolution of social links in bourgeois society.[84]

The fin-de-siècle outlook was influenced by various intellectual developments, including Darwinian biologyWagnerian aestheticsArthur de Gobineau‘s racialismGustave Le Bon‘s psychology; and the philosophies of Friedrich NietzscheFyodor Dostoyevsky and Henri Bergson.[86] Social Darwinism, which gained widespread acceptance, made no distinction between physical and social life, and viewed the human condition as being an unceasing struggle to achieve the survival of the fittest.[86] Social Darwinism challenged positivism’s claim of deliberate and rational choice as the determining behaviour of humans, with social Darwinism focusing on heredity, race, and environment.[86] Social Darwinism’s emphasis on biogroup identity and the role of organic relations within societies fostered legitimacy and appeal for nationalism.[87] New theories of social and political psychology also rejected the notion of human behaviour being governed by rational choice and instead claimed that emotion was more influential in political issues than reason.[86] Nietzsche’s argument that “God is dead” coincided with his attack on the “herd mentality” of Christianity, democracy and modern collectivism; his concept of the übermensch; and his advocacy of the will to power as a primordial instinct, were major influences upon many of the fin-de-siècle generation.[88] Bergson’s claim of the existence of an “élan vital” or vital instinct centred upon free choice and rejected the processes of materialism and determinism; this challenged Marxism.[89]

Gaetano Mosca in his work The Ruling Class (1896) developed the theory that claims that in all societies an “organized minority” will dominate and rule over the “disorganized majority”.[90][91]Mosca claims that there are only two classes in society, “the governing” (the organized minority) and “the governed” (the disorganized majority).[92] He claims that the organized nature of the organized minority makes it irresistible to any individual of the disorganized majority.[92]

French nationalist and reactionary monarchist Charles Maurras influenced fascism.[93] Maurras promoted what he called integral nationalism, which called for the organic unity of a nation and Maurras insisted that a powerful monarch was an ideal leader of a nation. Maurras distrusted what he considered the democratic mystification of the popular will that created an impersonal collective subject.[93] He claimed that a powerful monarch was a personified sovereign who could exercise authority to unite a nation’s people.[93] Maurras’ integral nationalism was idealized by fascists, but modified into a modernized revolutionary form that was devoid of Maurras’ monarchism.[93]

French revolutionary syndicalist Georges Sorel promoted the legitimacy of political violence in his work Reflections on Violence (1908) and other works in which he advocated radical syndicalist action to achieve a revolution to overthrow capitalism and the bourgeoisie through a general strike.[94]In Reflections on Violence, Sorel emphasized need for a revolutionary political religion.[95] Also in his work The Illusions of Progress, Sorel denounced democracy as reactionary, saying “nothing is more aristocratic than democracy”.[96] By 1909 after the failure of a syndicalist general strike in France, Sorel and his supporters left the radical left and went to the radical right, where they sought to merge militant Catholicism and French patriotism with their views—advocating anti-republican Christian French patriots as ideal revolutionaries.[97] Initially Sorel had officially been a revisionist of Marxism, but by 1910 announced his abandonment of socialist literature and claimed in 1914, using an aphorism of Benedetto Croce that “socialism is dead” because of the “decomposition of Marxism”.[98] Sorel became a supporter of reactionary Maurrassian nationalism beginning in 1909 that influenced his works.[98] Maurras held interest in merging his nationalist ideals with Sorelian syndicalism as a means to confront democracy.[99]Maurras stated “a socialism liberated from the democratic and cosmopolitan element fits nationalism well as a well made glove fits a beautiful hand”.[100]

The fusion of Maurrassian nationalism and Sorelian syndicalism influenced radical Italian nationalist Enrico Corradini.[101] Corradini spoke of the need for a nationalist-syndicalist movement, led by elitist aristocrats and anti-democrats who shared a revolutionary syndicalist commitment to direct action and a willingness to fight.[101] Corradini spoke of Italy as being a “proletarian nation” that needed to pursue imperialism in order to challenge the “plutocratic” French and British.[102] Corradini’s views were part of a wider set of perceptions within the right-wing Italian Nationalist Association (ANI), which claimed that Italy’s economic backwardness was caused by corruption in its political class, liberalism, and division caused by “ignoble socialism”.[102] The ANI held ties and influence among conservatives, Catholics and the business community.[102] Italian national syndicalists held a common set of principles: the rejection of bourgeois values, democracy, liberalism, Marxisminternationalism and pacifism; and the promotion of heroismvitalism and violence.[103] The ANI claimed that liberal democracy was no longer compatible with the modern world, and advocated a strong state and imperialism, claiming that humans are naturally predatory and that nations were in a constant struggle, in which only the strongest could survive.[104]

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Italian modernist author of the Futurist Manifesto (1909) and later the co-author of the Fascist Manifesto (1919)

Futurism was both an artistic-cultural movement and initially a political movement in Italy led by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti who founded the Futurist Manifesto (1908), that championed the causes of modernism, action, and political violence as necessary elements of politics while denouncing liberalism and parliamentary politics. Marinetti rejected conventional democracy based on majority rule and egalitarianism, for a new form of democracy, promoting what he described in his work “The Futurist Conception of Democracy” as the following: “We are therefore able to give the directions to create and to dismantle to numbers, to quantity, to the mass, for with us number, quantity and mass will never be—as they are in Germany and Russia—the number, quantity and mass of mediocre men, incapable and indecisive”.[105]

Futurism influenced fascism in its emphasis on recognizing the virile nature of violent action and war as being necessities of modern civilization.[106] Marinetti promoted the need of physical training of young men, saying that in male education, gymnastics should take precedence over books, and he advocated segregation of the genders on this matter, in that womanly sensibility must not enter men’s education whom Marinetti claimed must be “lively, bellicose, muscular and violently dynamic”.[107]

Benito Mussolini (here in 1917 as a soldier in World War I), who in 1914 founded and led the Fasci d’Azione Rivoluzionaria to promote the Italian intervention in the war as a revolutionary nationalistaction to liberate Italian-claimed lands from Austria-Hungary

World War I and its aftermath (1914–1929)

At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, the Italian political left became severely split over its position on the war. The Italian Socialist Party (PSI) opposed the war but a number of Italian revolutionary syndicalists supported war against Germany and Austria-Hungary on the grounds that their reactionary regimes had to be defeated to ensure the success of socialism.[108] Angelo Oliviero Olivetti formed a pro-interventionist fascio called the Fasci of International Action in October 1914.[108] Benito Mussolini upon being expelled from his position as chief editor of the PSI’s newspaper Avanti! for his anti-German stance, joined the interventionist cause in a separate fascio.[109] The term “Fascism” was first used in 1915 by members of Mussolini’s movement, the Fasci of Revolutionary Action.[110]

The first meeting of the Fasci of Revolutionary Action was held on 24 January 1915[111] when Mussolini declared that it was necessary for Europe to resolve its national problems—including national borders—of Italy and elsewhere “for the ideals of justice and liberty for which oppressed peoples must acquire the right to belong to those national communities from which they descended”.[111] Attempts to hold mass meetings were ineffective and the organization was regularly harassed by government authorities and socialists.[112]

German soldiers parading through Lübeck in the days leading up to World War I. Johann Plenge‘s concept of the “Spirit of 1914” identified the outbreak of war as a moment that forged nationalistic German solidarity

Similar political ideas arose in Germany after the outbreak of the war. German sociologist Johann Plenge spoke of the rise of a “National Socialism” in Germany within what he termed the “ideas of 1914” that were a declaration of war against the “ideas of 1789” (the French Revolution).[113]According to Plenge, the “ideas of 1789” that included rights of man, democracy, individualism and liberalism were being rejected in favor of “the ideas of 1914” that included “German values” of duty, discipline, law and order.[113] Plenge believed that racial solidarity (Volksgemeinschaft) would replace class division and that “racial comrades” would unite to create a socialist society in the struggle of “proletarian” Germany against “capitalist” Britain.[113] He believed that the “Spirit of 1914” manifested itself in the concept of the “People’s League of National Socialism”.[114] This National Socialism was a form of state socialism that rejected the “idea of boundless freedom” and promoted an economy that would serve the whole of Germany under the leadership of the state.[114] This National Socialism was opposed to capitalism because of the components that were against “the national interest” of Germany, but insisted that National Socialism would strive for greater efficiency in the economy.[114][115] Plenge advocated an authoritarian rational ruling elite to develop National Socialism through a hierarchical technocratic state.[116]

Impact of World War I

Fascists viewed World War I as bringing revolutionary changes in the nature of war, society, the state and technology, as the advent of total war and mass mobilization had broken down the distinction between civilian and combatant, as civilians had become a critical part in economic production for the war effort and thus arose a “military citizenship” in which all citizens were involved to the military in some manner during the war.[12][13] World War I had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines or provide economic production and logistics to support those on the front lines, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens.[12][13] Fascists viewed technological developments of weaponry and the state’s total mobilization of its population in the war as symbolizing the beginning of a new era fusing state power with mass politics, technology and particularly the mobilizing myth that they contended had triumphed over the myth of progress and the era of liberalism.[12]

Members of Italy’s Arditi corps (here in 1918 holding daggers, a symbol of their group), which was formed in 1917 as groups of soldiers trained for dangerous missions, characterized by refusal to surrender and willingness to fight to the death. Their black uniforms inspired those of the Italian Fascist movement.

Impact of the Bolshevik Revolution

The October Revolution of 1917—in which Bolshevik communists led by Vladimir Lenin seized power in Russia—greatly influenced the development of fascism.[117] In 1917, Mussolini, as leader of the Fasci of Revolutionary Action, praised the October Revolution, but later he became unimpressed with Lenin, regarding him as merely a new version of Tsar Nicholas.[118] After World War I, fascists have commonly campaigned on anti-Marxist agendas.[117]

Liberal opponents of both fascism and the Bolsheviks argue that there are various similarities between the two, including that they believed in the necessity of a vanguard leadership, had disdain for bourgeois values and it is argued had totalitarian ambitions.[117] In practice, both have commonly emphasized revolutionary action, proletarian nation theories, one-party states and party-armies.[117] However, both draw clear distinctions from each other both in aims and tactics, with the Bolsheviks emphasizing the need for an organized participatory democracy and an egalitarian, internationalist vision for society while the fascists emphasize hyper-nationalism and open hostility towards democracy, envisioning a hierarchical social structure as essential to their aims.

With the antagonism between anti-interventionist Marxists and pro-interventionist Fascists complete by the end of the war, the two sides became irreconcilable. The Fascists presented themselves as anti-Marxists and as opposed to the Marxists.[119] Mussolini consolidated control over the Fascist movement, known as Sansepolcrismo, in 1919 with the founding of the Fasci italiani di combattimento.

The Fascist Manifesto of 1919

In 1919, Alceste De Ambris and Futurist movement leader Filippo Tommaso Marinetti created The Manifesto of the Italian Fasci of Combat (the Fascist Manifesto).[120] The Manifesto was presented on 6 June 1919 in the Fascist newspaper Il Popolo d’Italia. The Manifesto supported the creation of universal suffrage for both men and women (the latter being realized only partly in late 1925, with all opposition parties banned or disbanded);[121] proportional representation on a regional basis; government representation through a corporatist system of “National Councils” of experts, selected from professionals and tradespeople, elected to represent and hold legislative power over their respective areas, including labour, industry, transportation, public health, communications, etc.; and the abolition of the Italian Senate.[122] The Manifesto supported the creation of an eight-hour work day for all workers, a minimum wage, worker representation in industrial management, equal confidence in labour unions as in industrial executives and public servants, reorganization of the transportation sector, revision of the draft law on invalidity insurance, reduction of the retirement age from 65 to 55, a strong progressive tax on capital, confiscation of the property of religious institutions and abolishment of bishoprics, and revision of military contracts to allow the government to seize 85% of profits.[123] It also called for the fulfillment of expansionist aims in the Balkans and other parts of the Mediterranean,[124] the creation of a short-service national militia to serve defensive duties, nationalization of the armaments industry and a foreign policy designed to be peaceful but also competitive.[125]

Residents of Fiume cheer the arrival of Gabriele d’Annunzio and his blackshirt-wearing nationalist raiders, as D’Annunzio and Fascist Alceste De Ambrisdeveloped the quasi-fascist Italian Regency of Carnaro (a city-state in Fiume) from 1919 to 1920 and whose actions by D’Annunzio in Fiume inspired the Italian Fascist movement

The next events that influenced the Fascists in Italy was the raid of Fiume by Italian nationalist Gabriele d’Annunzio and the founding of the Charter of Carnaro in 1920.[126] D’Annunzio and De Ambris designed the Charter, which advocated national-syndicalist corporatistproductionism alongside D’Annunzio’s political views.[127] Many Fascists saw the Charter of Carnaro as an ideal constitution for a Fascist Italy.[128] This behaviour of aggression towards Yugoslavia and South Slavs was pursued by Italian Fascists with their persecution of South Slavs—especially Slovenes and Croats.

Italian Fascists in 1920

In 1920, militant strike activity by industrial workers reached its peak in Italy and 1919 and 1920 were known as the “Red Years”.[129]Mussolini and the Fascists took advantage of the situation by allying with industrial businesses and attacking workers and peasants in the name of preserving order and internal peace in Italy.[130]

Fascists identified their primary opponents as the majority of socialists on the left who had opposed intervention in World War I.[128] The Fascists and the Italian political right held common ground: both held Marxism in contempt, discounted class consciousness and believed in the rule of elites.[131] The Fascists assisted the anti-socialist campaign by allying with the other parties and the conservative right in a mutual effort to destroy the Italian Socialist Party and labour organizations committed to class identity above national identity.[131]

Fascism sought to accommodate Italian conservatives by making major alterations to its political agenda—abandoning its previous populismrepublicanism and anticlericalism, adopting policies in support of free enterprise and accepting the Catholic Church and the monarchy as institutions in Italy.[132] To appeal to Italian conservatives, Fascism adopted policies such as promoting family values, including promotion policies designed to reduce the number of women in the workforce limiting the woman’s role to that of a mother. The fascists banned literature on birth control and increased penalties for abortion in 1926, declaring both crimes against the state.[133] Though Fascism adopted a number of anti-modern positions designed to appeal to people upset with the new trends in sexuality and women’s rights—especially those with a reactionary point of view—the Fascists sought to maintain Fascism’s revolutionary character, with Angelo Oliviero Olivetti saying: “Fascism would like to be conservative, but it will [be] by being revolutionary”.[134] The Fascists supported revolutionary action and committed to secure law and order to appeal to both conservatives and syndicalists.[135]

Prior to Fascism’s accommodations to the political right, Fascism was a small, urban, northern Italian movement that had about a thousand members.[136] After Fascism’s accommodation of the political right, the Fascist movement’s membership soared to approximately 250,000 by 1921.[137]

Fascist violence in 1922

Beginning in 1922, Fascist paramilitaries escalated their strategy from one of attacking socialist offices and homes of socialist leadership figures to one of violent occupation of cities. The Fascists met little serious resistance from authorities and proceeded to take over several northern Italian cities.[138] The Fascists attacked the headquarters of socialist and Catholic labour unions in Cremona and imposed forced Italianization upon the German-speaking population of Trent and Bolzano.[138] After seizing these cities, the Fascists made plans to take Rome.[138]

Benito Mussolini with three of the four quadrumvirsduring the March on Rome (from left to right: unknown, de Bono, Mussolini, Balbo and de Vecchi)

On 24 October 1922, the Fascist party held its annual congress in Naples, where Mussolini ordered Blackshirts to take control of public buildings and trains and to converge on three points around Rome.[138] The Fascists managed to seize control of several post offices and trains in northern Italy while the Italian government, led by a left-wing coalition, was internally divided and unable to respond to the Fascist advances.[139] King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy perceived the risk of bloodshed in Rome in response to attempting to disperse the Fascists to be too high.[140] Victor Emmanuel III decided to appoint Mussolini as Prime Minister of Italy and Mussolini arrived in Rome on 30 October to accept the appointment.[140] Fascist propaganda aggrandized this event, known as “March on Rome“, as a “seizure” of power because of Fascists’ heroic exploits.[138]

Fascist Italy

Historian Stanley G. Payne says Fascism in Italy was:

A primarily political dictatorship….The Fascist Party itself had become almost completely bureaucratized and subservient to, not dominant over, the state itself. Big business, industry, and finance retained extensive autonomy, particularly in the early years. The armed forces also enjoyed considerable autonomy….The Fascist militia was placed under military control….The judicial system was left largely intact and relatively autonomous as well. The police continued to be directed by state officials and were not taken over by party leaders…nor was a major new police elite created….There was never any question of bringing the Church under overall subservience…. Sizable sectors of Italian cultural life retained extensive autonomy, and no major state propaganda-and-culture ministry existed….The Mussolini regime was neither especially sanguinary nor particularly repressive.[141]

Mussolini in power

Upon being appointed Prime Minister of Italy, Mussolini had to form a coalition government because the Fascists did not have control over the Italian parliament.[142] Mussolini’s coalition government initially pursued economically liberal policies under the direction of liberal finance minister Alberto De Stefani, a member of the Center Party, including balancing the budget through deep cuts to the civil service.[142] Initially, little drastic change in government policy had occurred and repressive police actions were limited.[142]

The Fascists began their attempt to entrench Fascism in Italy with the Acerbo Law, which guaranteed a plurality of the seats in parliament to any party or coalition list in an election that received 25% or more of the vote.[143] Through considerable Fascist violence and intimidation, the list won a majority of the vote, allowing many seats to go to the Fascists.[143] In the aftermath of the election, a crisis and political scandal erupted after Socialist Party deputy Giacomo Matteotti was kidnapped and murdered by a Fascist.[143] The liberals and the leftist minority in parliament walked out in protest in what became known as the Aventine Secession.[144] On 3 January 1925, Mussolini addressed the Fascist-dominated Italian parliament and declared that he was personally responsible for what happened, but insisted that he had done nothing wrong. Mussolini proclaimed himself dictator of Italy, assuming full responsibility over the government and announcing the dismissal of parliament.[144] From 1925 to 1929, Fascism steadily became entrenched in power: opposition deputies were denied access to parliament, censorship was introduced and a December 1925 decree made Mussolini solely responsible to the King.[145]

Catholic Church

In 1929, the Fascist regime briefly gained what was in effect a blessing of the Catholic Church after the regime signed a concordat with the Church, known as the Lateran Treaty, which gave the papacy state sovereignty and financial compensation for the seizure of Church lands by the liberal state in the nineteenth century, but within two years the Church had renounced Fascism in the Encyclical Non Abbiamo Bisogno as a “pagan idolotry of the state” which teaches “hatred, violence and irreverence”.[146] Not long after signing the agreement, by Mussolini’s own confession the Church had threatened to have him “excommunicated”, in part because of his intractable nature and that he had “confiscated more issues of Catholic newspapers in the next three months than in the previous seven years”.[147] By the late 1930s, Mussolini became more vocal in his anti-clerical rhetoric, repeatedly denouncing the Catholic Church and discussing ways to depose the pope. He took the position that the “papacy was a malignant tumor in the body of Italy and must ‘be rooted out once and for all,’ because there was no room in Rome for both the Pope and himself”.[148] In her 1974 book, Mussolini’s widow Rachele stated that her husband had always been an atheist until near the end of his life, writing that her husband was “basically irreligious until the later years of his life”.[149]

The National Socialists of Germany employed similar anti-clerical policies. The Gestapo confiscated hundreds of monasteries in Austria and Germany, evicted clergymen and laymen alike and often replaced crosses with a swastikas.[150] Referring to the swastika as the “Devil’s Cross”, church leaders found their youth organizations banned, their meetings limited and various Catholic periodicals censored or banned. Government officials eventually found it necessary to place “Nazis into editorial positions in the Catholic press”.[151] Up to 2,720 clerics, mostly Catholics, were arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned inside of Germany’s Dachau concentration camp, resulting in over 1,000 deaths.[152]

Corporatist economic system

The Fascist regime created a corporatist economic system in 1925 with creation of the Palazzo Vidioni Pact, in which the Italian employers’ association Confindustria and Fascist trade unions agreed to recognize each other as the sole representatives of Italy’s employers and employees, excluding non-Fascist trade unions.[153] The Fascist regime first created a Ministry of Corporations that organized the Italian economy into 22 sectoral corporations, banned workers’ strikes and lock-outs and in 1927 created the Charter of Labour, which established workers’ rights and duties and created labour tribunals to arbitrate employer-employee disputes.[153] In practice, the sectoral corporations exercised little independence and were largely controlled by the regime and employee organizations were rarely led by employees themselves, but instead by appointed Fascist party members.[153]

Aggressive foreign policy

In the 1920s, Fascist Italy pursued an aggressive foreign policy that included an attack on the Greek island of Corfu, aims to expand Italian territory in the Balkans, plans to wage war against Turkey and Yugoslavia, attempts to bring Yugoslavia into civil war by supporting Croat and Macedonian separatists to legitimize Italian intervention and making Albania a de facto protectorate of Italy, which was achieved through diplomatic means by 1927.[154] In response to revolt in the Italian colony of Libya, Fascist Italy abandoned previous liberal-era colonial policy of cooperation with local leaders. Instead, claiming that Italians were a superior race to African races and thereby had the right to colonize the “inferior” Africans, it sought to settle 10 to 15 million Italians in Libya.[155] This resulted in an aggressive military campaign known as the Pacification of Libya against natives in Libya, including mass killings, the use of concentration camps and the forced starvation of thousands of people.[155] Italian authorities committed ethnic cleansing by forcibly expelling 100,000 Bedouin Cyrenaicans, half the population of Cyrenaica in Libya, from their settlements that was slated to be given to Italian settlers.[156][157]

Hitler adopts Italian model

Nazis in Munich during the Beer Hall Putsch

The March on Rome brought Fascism international attention. One early admirer of the Italian Fascists was Adolf Hitler, who less than a month after the March had begun to model himself and the Nazi Party upon Mussolini and the Fascists.[158] The Nazis, led by Hitler and the German war hero Erich Ludendorff, attempted a “March on Berlin” modeled upon the March on Rome, which resulted in the failed Beer Hall Putsch in Munich in November 1923.[159]

International impact of the Great Depression and the buildup to World War II

Benito Mussolini (left) and Adolf Hitler (right)

The conditions of economic hardship caused by the Great Depression brought about an international surge of social unrest. According to historian Philip Morgan, “the onset of the Great Depression…was the greatest stimulus yet to the diffusion and expansion of fascism outside Italy”.[160] Fascist propaganda blamed the problems of the long depression of the 1930s on minorities and scapegoats: “JudeoMasonicbolshevik” conspiracies, left-wing internationalism and the presence of immigrants.

In Germany, it contributed to the rise of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, which resulted in the demise of the Weimar Republic and the establishment of the fascist regime, Nazi Germany, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. With the rise of Hitler and the Nazis to power in 1933, liberal democracy was dissolved in Germany and the Nazis mobilized the country for war, with expansionist territorial aims against several countries. In the 1930s, the Nazis implemented racial laws that deliberately discriminated against, disenfranchised and persecuted Jews and other racial and minority groups.

Fascist movements grew in strength elsewhere in Europe. Hungarian fascist Gyula Gömbös rose to power as Prime Minister of Hungary in 1932 and attempted to entrench his Party of National Unity throughout the country. He created an eight-hour work day, a forty-eight-hour work week in industry and sought to entrench a corporatist economy; and pursued irredentist claims on Hungary’s neighbors.[161] The fascist Iron Guard movement in Romaniasoared in political support after 1933, gaining representation in the Romanian government and an Iron Guard member assassinated Romanian prime minister Ion Duca.[162] During the 6 February 1934 crisisFrance faced the greatest domestic political turmoil since the Dreyfus Affair when the fascist Francist Movement and multiple far-right movements rioted en masse in Paris against the French government resulting in major political violence.[163] A variety of para-fascist governments that borrowed elements from fascism were formed during the Great Depression, including those of GreeceLithuaniaPoland and Yugoslavia.[164]

Integralists marching in Brazil

In the Americas, the Brazilian Integralists led by Plínio Salgado claimed as many as 200,000 members although following coup attempts it faced a crackdown from the Estado Novo of Getúlio Vargas in 1937.[165] In the 1930s, the National Socialist Movement of Chile gained seats in Chile‘s parliament and attempted a coup d’état that resulted in the Seguro Obrero massacre of 1938.[166]

During the Great Depression, Mussolini promoted active state intervention in the economy. He denounced the contemporary “supercapitalism” that he claimed began in 1914 as a failure because of its alleged decadence, its support for unlimited consumerism and its intention to create the “standardization of humankind”.[167] Fascist Italy created the Institute for Industrial Reconstruction (IRI), a giant state-owned firm and holding company that provided state funding to failing private enterprises.[168] The IRI was made a permanent institution in Fascist Italy in 1937, pursued Fascist policies to create national autarky and had the power to take over private firms to maximize war production.[168] While Hitler’s regime only nationalized 500 companies in key industries by the early 1940s,[169] Mussolini declared in 1934 that “[t]hree-fourths of Italian economy, industrial and agricultural, is in the hands of the state”.[170] Due to the worldwide depression, Mussolini’s government was able to take over most of Italy’s largest failing banks, who held controlling interest in many Italian businesses. The Institute for Industrial Reconstruction, a state-operated holding company in charge of bankrupt banks and companies, reported in early 1934 that they held assets of “48.5 percent of the share capital of Italy”, which later included the capital of the banks themselves.[171] Political historian Martin Blinkhorn estimated Italy’s scope of state intervention and ownership “greatly surpassed that in Nazi Germany, giving Italy a public sector second only to that of Stalin’s Russia”.[172] In the late 1930s, Italy enacted manufacturing cartels, tariff barriers, currency restrictions and massive regulation of the economy to attempt to balance payments.[173] Italy’s policy of autarky failed to achieve effective economic autonomy.[173] Nazi Germany similarly pursued an economic agenda with the aims of autarky and rearmament and imposed protectionist policies, including forcing the German steel industry to use lower-quality German iron ore rather than superior-quality imported iron.[174]

World War II (1939–1945)

In Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, both Mussolini and Hitler pursued territorial expansionist and interventionist foreign policy agendas from the 1930s through the 1940s culminating in World War II. Mussolini called for irredentist Italian claims to be reclaimed, establishing Italian domination of the Mediterranean Sea and securing Italian access to the Atlantic Ocean and the creation of Italian spazio vitale (“vital space”) in the Mediterranean and Red Sea regions.[175] Hitler called for irredentist German claims to be reclaimed along with the creation of German Lebensraum(“living space”) in Eastern Europe, including territories held by the Soviet Union, that would be colonized by Germans.[176]

Emaciated male inmate at the Italian Rab concentration camp

From 1935 to 1939, Germany and Italy escalated their demands for territorial claims and greater influence in world affairs. Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935resulting in its condemnation by the League of Nations and its widespread diplomatic isolation. In 1936, Germany remilitarized the industrial Rhineland, a region that had been ordered demilitarized by the Treaty of Versailles. In 1938, Germany annexed Austria and Italy assisted Germany in resolving the diplomatic crisis between Germany versus Britain and France over claims on Czechoslovakia by arranging the Munich Agreement that gave Germany the Sudetenland and was perceived at the time to have averted a European war. These hopes faded when Hitler violated the Munich Agreement by ordering the invasion and partition of Czechoslovakia between Germany and a client state of Slovakia in 1939. At the same time from 1938 to 1939, Italy was demanding territorial and colonial concessions from France and Britain.[177] In 1939, Germany prepared for war with Poland, but attempted to gain territorial concessions from Poland through diplomatic means.[178] The Polish government did not trust Hitler’s promises and refused to accept Germany’s demands.[178]

The invasion of Poland by Germany was deemed unacceptable by Britain, France and their allies, resulting in their mutual declaration of war against Germany that was deemed the aggressor in the war in Poland, resulting in the outbreak of World War II. In 1940, Mussolini led Italy into World War II on the side of the Axis. Mussolini was aware that Italy did not have the military capacity to carry out a long war with France or the United Kingdom and waited until France was on the verge of imminent collapse and surrender from the German invasion before declaring war on France and the United Kingdom on 10 June 1940 on the assumption that the war would be short-lived following France’s collapse.[179] Mussolini believed that following a brief entry of Italy into war with France, followed by the imminent French surrender, Italy could gain some territorial concessions from France and then concentrate its forces on a major offensive in Egypt where British and Commonwealth forces were outnumbered by Italian forces.[180] Plans by Germany to invade the United Kingdom in 1940 failed after Germany lost the aerial warfare campaign in the Battle of Britain. In 1941, the Axis campaign spread to the Soviet Union after Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa. Axis forces at the height of their power controlled almost all of continental Europe. The war became prolonged—contrary to Mussolini’s plans—resulting in Italy losing battles on multiple fronts and requiring German assistance.

Corpses of victims of the German Buchenwald concentration camp

During World War II, the Axis Powers in Europe led by Nazi Germany participated in the extermination of millions of Poles, Jews, Gypsies and others in the genocide known as the Holocaust.

After 1942, Axis forces began to falter. In 1943, after Italy faced multiple military failures, the complete reliance and subordination of Italy to Germany, the Allied invasion of Italy and the corresponding international humiliation, Mussolini was removed as head of government and arrested on the order of King Victor Emmanuel III, who proceeded to dismantle the Fascist state and declared Italy’s switching of allegiance to the Allied side. Mussolini was rescued from arrest by German forces and led the German client state, the Italian Social Republic from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany faced multiple losses and steady Soviet and Western Allied offensives from 1943 to 1945.

On 28 April 1945, Mussolini was captured and executed by Italian communist partisans. On 30 April 1945, Hitler committed suicide. Shortly afterwards, Germany surrendered and the Nazi regime was systematically dismantled by the occupying Allied powers. An International Military Tribunal was subsequently convened in Nuremberg. Beginning in November 1945 and lasting through 1949, numerous Nazi political, military and economic leaders were tried and convicted of war crimes, with many of the worst offenders receiving the death penalty.

Post-World War II (1945–present)

Juan PerónPresident of Argentina from 1946 to 1955 and 1973 to 1974, admired Italian Fascism and modelled his economic policies on those pursued by Fascist Italy

The victory of the Allies over the Axis powers in World War II led to the collapse of many fascist regimes in Europe. The Nuremberg Trials convicted several Nazi leaders of crimes against humanity involving the Holocaust. However, there remained several movements and governments that were ideologically related to fascism.

Francisco Franco‘s Falangist one-party state in Spain was officially neutral during World War II and it survived the collapse of the Axis Powers. Franco’s rise to power had been directly assisted by the militaries of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany during the Spanish Civil War and Franco had sent volunteers to fight on the side of Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union during World War II. The first years were characterized by a repression against the anti-fascist ideologies, a deep censorship and the suppression of democratic institutions (elected Parliament, Constitution of 1931, Regional Statutes of Autonomy). After World War II and a period of international isolation, Franco’s regime normalized relations with the Western powers during the Cold War, until Franco’s death in 1975 and the transformation of Spain into a liberal democracy.

Giorgio Almirante, leader of the Italian Social Movement from 1969 to 1987

Historian Robert Paxton observes that one of the main problems in defining fascism is that it was widely mimicked. Paxton says: “In fascism’s heyday, in the 1930s, many regimes that were not functionally fascist borrowed elements of fascist decor in order to lend themselves an aura of force, vitality, and mass mobilization”. He goes on to observe that Salazar “crushed Portuguese fascism after he had copied some of its techniques of popular mobilization”. [181] Paxton says that: “Where Franco subjected Spain’s fascist party to his personal control, Salazar abolished outright in July 1934 the nearest thing Portugal had to an authentic fascist movement, Rolão Preto’s blue-shirted National Syndicalists […] Salazar preferred to control his population through such “organic” institutions traditionally powerful in Portugal as the Church. Salazar’s regime was not only non-fascist, but “voluntarily non-totalitarian,” preferring to let those of its citizens who kept out of politics “live by habit”.[182] Historians tend to view the Estado Novo as para-fascist in nature,[183]possessing minimal fascist tendencies.[184] In Argentina, Peronism, associated with the regime of Juan Perón from 1946 to 1955 and 1973 to 1974, was influenced by fascism.[185] Between 1939 and 1941, prior to his rise to power, Perón had developed a deep admiration of Italian Fascism and modelled his economic policies on Italian Fascist policies.[185]

The term neo-fascism refers to fascist movements after World War II. In Italy, the Italian Social Movement led by Giorgio Almirante was a major neo-fascist movement that transformed itself into a self-described “post-fascist” movement called the National Alliance (AN), which has been an ally of Silvio Berlusconi‘s Forza Italia for a decade. In 2008, AN joined Forza Italia in Berlusconi’s new party The People of Freedom, but in 2012 a group of politicians split from The People of Freedom, refounding the party with the name Brothers of Italy. In Germany, various neo-Nazi movements have been formed and banned in accordance with Germany’s constitutional law which forbids Nazism. The National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) is widely considered a neo-Nazi party, although the party does not publicly identify itself as such.

Golden Dawn demonstration in Greece in 2012

After the onset of the Great Recession and economic crisis in Greece, a movement known as the Golden Dawn, widely considered a neo-Nazi party, soared in support out of obscurity and won seats in Greece‘s parliament, espousing a staunch hostility towards minorities, illegal immigrants and refugees. In 2013, after the murder of an anti-fascist musician by a person with links to Golden Dawn, the Greek government ordered the arrest of Golden Dawn’s leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos and other Golden Dawn members on charges related to being associated with a criminal organization.

Tenets

Robert O. Paxton finds that the transformations undertaken by fascists in power were “profound enough to be called ‘revolutionary.'” They “often set fascists into conflict with conservatives rooted in families, churches, social rank, and property.” Paxton argues:

[F]ascism redrew the frontiers between private and public, sharply diminishing what had once been untouchably private. It changed the practice of citizenship from the enjoyment of constitutional rights and duties to participation in mass ceremonies of affirmation and conformity. It reconfigured relations between the individual and the collectivity, so that an individual had no rights outside community interest. It expanded the powers of the executive—party and state—in a bid for total control. Finally, it unleashed aggressive emotions hitherto known in Europe only during war or social revolution.[186]

Nationalism

Ultranationalism combined with the myth of national rebirth is a key foundation of fascism.[187] Dylan Riley argues that in Italy in the early 1920s:

Neither organized socialism nor the Italian liberals championed the democratic demands of the left nationalists. Fascism stepped into this vacuum, constituting itself as an antisocialist and antiliberal civil society movement. It was the failure of this counterhegemonic movement that would lead to the fascist seizure of power. Veterans’ organizations are the clearest manifestation of civic mobilization in postwar Italy.[188]

The fascist view of a nation is of a single organic entity that binds people together by their ancestry and is a natural unifying force of people.[189]Fascism seeks to solve economic, political and social problems by achieving a millenarian national rebirth, exalting the nation or race above all else and promoting cults of unity, strength and purity.[41][190][191][192][193] European fascist movements typically espouse a racist conception of non-Europeans being inferior to Europeans.[194] Beyond this, fascists in Europe have not held a unified set of racial views.[194] Historically, most fascists promoted imperialism, although there have been several fascist movements that were uninterested in the pursuit of new imperial ambitions.[194]

Totalitarianism

Fascism promotes the establishment of a totalitarian state.[195] It opposes liberal democracy, rejects multi-party systems and supports a one-party state. Mussolini’s The Doctrine of Fascism (1932) – partly ghostwritten by philosopher Giovanni Gentile,[196] who Mussolini described as “the philosopher of Fascism” – states: “The Fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value. Thus understood, Fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State—a synthesis and a unit inclusive of all values—interprets, develops, and potentiates the whole life of a people”.[197] In The Legal Basis of the Total State, Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt described the Nazi intention to form a “strong state which guarantees a totality of political unity transcending all diversity” in order to avoid a “disastrous pluralism tearing the German people apart”.[198]

Fascist states pursued policies of social indoctrination through propaganda in education and the media and regulation of the production of educational and media materials.[199][200] Education was designed to glorify the fascist movement and inform students of its historical and political importance to the nation. It attempted to purge ideas that were not consistent with the beliefs of the fascist movement and to teach students to be obedient to the state.[201]

Economy

Fascism presented itself as a third position,[when?] alternative to both international socialism and free market capitalism.[202] While fascism opposed mainstream socialism, it sometimes regarded itself as a type of nationalist “socialism” to highlight their commitment to national solidarity and unity.[203][204] Fascists opposed international free market capitalism, but supported a type of productive capitalism.[115][205] Economic self-sufficiency, known as autarky, was a major goal of most fascist governments.[206]

Fascist governments advocated resolution of domestic class conflict within a nation in order to secure national solidarity.[207] This would be done through the state mediating relations between the classes (contrary to the views of classical liberal-inspired capitalists).[208] While fascism was opposed to domestic class conflict, it was held that bourgeois-proletarian conflict existed primarily in national conflict between proletarian nations versus bourgeois nations.[209] Fascism condemned what it viewed as widespread character traits that it associated as the typical bourgeois mentality that it opposed, such as materialism, crassness, cowardice, inability to comprehend the heroic ideal of the fascist “warrior”; and associations with liberalism, individualism and parliamentarianism.[210] In 1918, Mussolini defined what he viewed as the proletarian character, defining proletarian as being one and the same with producers, a productivist perspective that associated all people deemed productive, including entrepreneurs, technicians, workers and soldiers as being proletarian.[211] He acknowledged the historical existence of both bourgeois and proletarian producers, but declared the need for bourgeois producers to merge with proletarian producers.[211]

While fascism denounced the mainstream internationalist and Marxist socialisms, it claimed to economically represent a type of nationalist productivist socialism that while condemning parasitical capitalism, it was willing to accommodate productivist capitalism within it.[205] This was derived from Henri de Saint Simon, whose ideas inspired the creation of utopian socialism and influenced other ideologies, that stressed solidarity rather than class war and whose conception of productive people in the economy included both productive workers and productive bosses to challenge the influence of the aristocracy and unproductive financial speculators.[212] Saint Simon’s vision combined the traditionalist right-wing criticisms of the French Revolution combined with a left-wing belief in the need for association or collaboration of productive people in society.[212] Whereas Marxism condemned capitalism as a system of exploitative property relations, fascism saw the nature of the control of credit and money in the contemporary capitalist system as abusive.[205] Unlike Marxism, fascism did not see class conflict between the Marxist-defined proletariat and the bourgeoisie as a given or as an engine of historical materialism.[205] Instead, it viewed workers and productive capitalists in common as productive people who were in conflict with parasitic elements in society including: corrupt political parties, corrupt financial capital and feeble people.[205] Fascist leaders such as Mussolini and Hitler spoke of the need to create a new managerial elite led by engineers and captains of industry—but free from the parasitic leadership of industries.[205] Hitler stated that the Nazi Party supported bodenständigen Kapitalismus(“productive capitalism”) that was based upon profit earned from one’s own labour, but condemned unproductive capitalism or loan capitalism, which derived profit from speculation.[213]

Fascist economics supported a state-controlled economy that accepted a mix of private and public ownership over the means of production.[214] Economic planning was applied to both the public and private sector and the prosperity of private enterprise depended on its acceptance of synchronizing itself with the economic goals of the state.[215] Fascist economic ideology supported the profit motive, but emphasized that industries must uphold the national interest as superior to private profit.[215]

While fascism accepted the importance of material wealth and power, it condemned materialism which identified as being present in both communism and capitalism and criticized materialism for lacking acknowledgement of the role of the spirit.[216] In particular, fascists criticized capitalism not because of its competitive nature nor support of private property, which fascists supported—but due to its materialism, individualism, alleged bourgeois decadence and alleged indifference to the nation.[217] Fascism denounced Marxism for its advocacy of materialist internationalist class identity, which fascists regarded as an attack upon the emotional and spiritual bonds of the nation and a threat to the achievement of genuine national solidarity.[218]

In discussing the spread of fascism beyond Italy, historian Philip Morgan states:

Since the Depression was a crisis of laissez-faire capitalism and its political counterpart, parliamentary democracy, fascism could pose as the ‘third-way’ alternative between capitalism and Bolshevism, the model of a new European ‘civilization’. As Mussolini typically put it in early 1934, “from 1929…fascism has become a universal phenomenon… The dominant forces of the 19th century, democracy, socialism, liberalism have been exhausted…the new political and economic forms of the twentieth-century are fascist'(Mussolini 1935: 32).[160]

Fascists criticized egalitarianism as preserving the weak, and they instead promoted social Darwinist views and policies.[219][220] They were in principle opposed to the idea of social welfare, arguing that it “encouraged the preservation of the degenerate and the feeble.”[221] The Nazi Party condemned the welfare system of the Weimar Republic, as well as private charity and philanthropy, for supporting people whom they regarded as racially inferior and weak, and who should have been weeded out in the process of natural selection.[222] Nevertheless, faced with the mass unemployment and poverty of the Great Depression, the Nazis found it necessary to set up charitable institutions to help racially-pure Germans in order to maintain popular support, while arguing that this represented “racial self-help” and not indiscriminate charity or universal social welfare.[223] Thus, Nazi programs such as the Winter Relief of the German People and the broader National Socialist People’s Welfare (NSV) were organized as quasi-private institutions, officially relying on private donations from Germans to help others of their race—although in practice those who refused to donate could face severe consequences.[224] Unlike the social welfare institutions of the Weimar Republic and the Christian charities, the NSV distributed assistance on explicitly racial grounds. It provided support only to those who were “racially sound, capable of and willing to work, politically reliable, and willing and able to reproduce.” Non-Aryans were excluded, as well as the “work-shy”, “asocials” and the “hereditarily ill.”[225] Under these conditions, by 1939, over 17 million Germans had obtained assistance from the NSV, and the agency “projected a powerful image of caring and support” for “those who were judged to have got into difficulties through no fault of their own.”[225] Yet the organization was “feared and disliked among society’s poorest” because it resorted to intrusive questioning and monitoring to judge who was worthy of support.[226]

Action

Fascism emphasizes direct action, including supporting the legitimacy of political violence, as a core part of its politics.[17][227] Fascism views violent action as a necessity in politics that fascism identifies as being an “endless struggle”.[228] This emphasis on the use of political violence means that most fascist parties have also created their own private militias (e.g. the Nazi Party’s Brown shirts and Fascist Italy’s Blackshirts).

The basis of fascism’s support of violent action in politics is connected to social Darwinism.[228] Fascist movements have commonly held social Darwinist views of nations, races and societies.[229] They say that nations and races must purge themselves of socially and biologically weak or degenerate people, while simultaneously promoting the creation of strong people, in order to survive in a world defined by perpetual national and racial conflict.[230]

Age and gender roles

Members of the Piccole Italiane, an organization for girls within the National Fascist Party in Italy

Members of the League of German Girls, an organization for girls within the Nazi Party in Germany

Fascism emphasizes youth both in a physical sense of age and in a spiritual sense as related to virility and commitment to action.[231] The Italian Fascists’ political anthem was called Giovinezza (“The Youth”).[231] Fascism identifies the physical age period of youth as a critical time for the moral development of people who will affect society.[232]

Walter Laqueur argues that:

The corollaries of the cult of war and physical danger were the cult of brutality, strength, and sexuality….[fascism is] a true counter-civilization: rejecting the sophisticated rationalist humanism of Old Europe, fascism sets up as its ideal the primitive instincts and primal emotions of the barbarian.[233]

Italian Fascism pursued what it called “moral hygiene” of youth, particularly regarding sexuality.[234] Fascist Italy promoted what it considered normal sexual behaviour in youth while denouncing what it considered deviant sexual behaviour.[234] It condemned pornography, most forms of birth control and contraceptive devices (with the exception of the condom), homosexuality and prostitution as deviant sexual behaviour, although enforcement of laws opposed to such practices was erratic and authorities often turned a blind eye.[234] Fascist Italy regarded the promotion of male sexual excitation before puberty as the cause of criminality amongst male youth, declared homosexuality a social disease and pursued an aggressive campaign to reduce prostitution of young women.[234]

Mussolini perceived women’s primary role as primarily child bearers and men, warriors—once saying: “War is to man what maternity is to the woman”.[235] In an effort to increase birthrates, the Italian Fascist government gave financial incentives to women who raised large families and initiated policies intended to reduce the number of women employed.[236] Italian Fascism called for women to be honoured as “reproducers of the nation” and the Italian Fascist government held ritual ceremonies to honour women’s role within the Italian nation.[237] In 1934, Mussolini declared that employment of women was a “major aspect of the thorny problem of unemployment” and that for women, working was “incompatible with childbearing”. Mussolini went on to say that the solution to unemployment for men was the “exodus of women from the work force”.[238]

The German Nazi government strongly encouraged women to stay at home to bear children and keep house.[239] This policy was reinforced by bestowing the Cross of Honor of the German Mother on women bearing four or more children. The unemployment rate was cut substantially, mostly through arms production and sending women home so that men could take their jobs. Nazi propaganda sometimes promoted premarital and extramarital sexual relations, unwed motherhood and divorce, but at other times the Nazis opposed such behaviour.[240]

The Nazis decriminalized abortion in cases where fetuses had hereditary defects or were of a race the government disapproved of, while the abortion of healthy pure German, Aryan fetuses remained strictly forbidden.[241] For non-Aryans, abortion was often compulsory. Their eugenics program also stemmed from the “progressive biomedical model” of Weimar Germany.[242] In 1935, Nazi Germany expanded the legality of abortion by amending its eugenics law, to promote abortion for women with hereditary disorders.[241] The law allowed abortion if a woman gave her permission and the fetus was not yet viable[243][244] and for purposes of so-called racial hygiene.[245][246]

The Nazis said that homosexuality was degenerate, effeminate, perverted and undermined masculinity because it did not produce children.[247] They considered homosexuality curable through therapy, citing modern scientism and the study of sexology, which said that homosexuality could be felt by “normal” people and not just an abnormal minority.[248] Open homosexuals were interned in Nazi concentration camps.[249]

Palingenesis and modernism

Fascism emphasizes both palingenesis (national rebirth or re-creation) and modernism.[250] In particular, fascism’s nationalism has been identified as having a palingenetic character.[187]Fascism promotes the regeneration of the nation and purging it of decadence.[250] Fascism accepts forms of modernism that it deems promotes national regeneration while rejecting forms of modernism that are regarded as antithetical to national regeneration.[251] Fascism aestheticized modern technology and its association with speed, power and violence.[252] Fascism admired advances in the economy in the early 20th century, particularly Fordism and scientific management.[253] Fascist modernism has been recognized as inspired or developed by various figures—such as Filippo Tommaso MarinettiErnst JüngerGottfried BennLouis-Ferdinand CélineKnut HamsunEzra Pound and Wyndham Lewis.[254]

In Italy, such modernist influence was exemplified by Marinetti who advocated a palingenetic modernist society that condemned liberal-bourgeois values of tradition and psychology, while promoting a technological-martial religion of national renewal that emphasized militant nationalism.[255] In Germany, it was exemplified by Jünger who was influenced by his observation of the technological warfare during World War I and claimed that a new social class had been created that he described as the “warrior-worker”.[256] Jünger like Marinetti emphasized the revolutionary capacities of technology and emphasized an “organic construction” between human and machine as a liberating and regenerative force in that challenged liberal democracy, conceptions of individual autonomy, bourgeois nihilism and decadence.[256] He conceived of a society based on a totalitarian concept of “total mobilization” of such disciplined warrior-workers.[256]

Criticism

Fascism has been widely criticized and condemned in modern times since the defeat of the Axis Powers in World War II.

Anti-democratic and tyrannical

Hitler and Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in Meeting at Hendaye, on 23 October 1940

One of the most common and strongest criticisms of fascism is that it is a tyranny.[257] Fascism is deliberately and entirely non-democratic and anti-democratic.[258][259][260]

Unprincipled opportunism

Some critics of Italian fascism have said that much of the ideology was merely a by-product of unprincipled opportunism by Mussolini and that he changed his political stances merely to bolster his personal ambitions while he disguised them as being purposeful to the public.[261] Richard Washburn Child, the American ambassador to Italy who worked with Mussolini and became his friend and admirer, defended Mussolini’s opportunistic behaviour by writing: “Opportunist is a term of reproach used to brand men who fit themselves to conditions for the reasons of self-interest. Mussolini, as I have learned to know him, is an opportunist in the sense that he believed that mankind itself must be fitted to changing conditions rather than to fixed theories, no matter how many hopes and prayers have been expended on theories and programmes”.[262] Child quoted Mussolini as saying: “The sanctity of an ism is not in the ism; it has no sanctity beyond its power to do, to work, to succeed in practice. It may have succeeded yesterday and fail to-morrow. Failed yesterday and succeed to-morrow. The machine first of all must run!”.[262]

Some have criticized Mussolini’s actions during the outbreak of World War I as opportunist for seeming to suddenly abandon Marxist egalitarianinternationalism for non-egalitarian nationalism and note to that effect that upon Mussolini endorsing Italy’s intervention in the war against Germany and Austria-Hungary, he and the new fascist movement received financial support from foreign sources, such as Ansaldo (an armaments firm) and other companies[263] as well as the British Security Service MI5.[264] Some, including Mussolini’s socialist opponents at the time, have noted that regardless of the financial support he accepted for his pro-interventionist stance, Mussolini was free to write whatever he wished in his newspaper Il Popolo d’Italia without prior sanctioning from his financial backers.[265] Furthermore, the major source of financial support that Mussolini and the fascist movement received in World War I was from France and is widely believed to have been French socialists who supported the French government’s war against Germany and who sent support to Italian socialists who wanted Italian intervention on France’s side.[266]

Mussolini’s transformation away from Marxism into what eventually became fascism began prior to World War I, as Mussolini had grown increasingly pessimistic about Marxism and egalitarianism while becoming increasingly supportive of figures who opposed egalitarianism, such as Friedrich Nietzsche.[267] By 1902, Mussolini was studying Georges Sorel, Nietzsche and Vilfredo Pareto.[268] Sorel’s emphasis on the need for overthrowing decadent liberal democracy and capitalism by the use of violence, direct actiongeneral strikes and neo-Machiavellianappeals to emotion impressed Mussolini deeply.[269] Mussolini’s use of Nietzsche made him a highly unorthodox socialist, due to Nietzsche’s promotion of elitism and anti-egalitarian views.[267]Prior to World War I, Mussolini’s writings over time indicated that he had abandoned the Marxism and egalitarianism that he had previously supported in favour of Nietzsche’s übermenschconcept and anti-egalitarianism.[267] In 1908, Mussolini wrote a short essay called “Philosophy of Strength” based on his Nietzschean influence, in which Mussolini openly spoke fondly of the ramifications of an impending war in Europe in challenging both religion and nihilism: “[A] new kind of free spirit will come, strengthened by the war, … a spirit equipped with a kind of sublime perversity, … a new free spirit will triumph over God and over Nothing”.[106]

Ideological dishonesty

Fascism has been criticized for being ideologically dishonest. Major examples of ideological dishonesty have been identified in Italian fascism’s changing relationship with German Nazism.[270][271] Fascist Italy’s official foreign policy positions were known to commonly utilize rhetorical ideological hyperbole to justify its actions, although during Dino Grandi‘s tenure as Italy’s foreign minister the country engaged in realpolitik free of such fascist hyperbole.[272] Italian fascism’s stance towards German Nazism fluctuated from support from the late 1920s to 1934, when it celebrated Hitler’s rise to power and meeting with Hitler in 1934; to opposition from 1934 to 1936 after the assassination of Italy’s allied leader in AustriaEngelbert Dollfuss, by Austrian Nazis; and again back to support after 1936, when Germany was the only significant power that did not denounce Italy’s invasion and occupation of Ethiopia.

After antagonism exploded between Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy over the assassination of Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss in 1934, Mussolini and Italian fascists denounced and ridiculed Nazism’s racial theories, particularly by denouncing its Nordicism, while promoting Mediterraneanism.[271] Mussolini himself responded to Nordicists’ claims of Italy being divided into Nordic and Mediterranean racial areas due to Germanic invasions of Northern Italy by claiming that while Germanic tribes such as the Lombards took control of Italy after the fall of Ancient Rome, they arrived in small numbers (about 8,000) and quickly assimilated into Roman culture and spoke the Latin language within fifty years.[273] Italian fascism was influenced by the tradition of Italian nationalists scornfully looking down upon Nordicists’ claims and taking pride in comparing the age and sophistication of ancient Roman civilization as well as the classical revival in the Renaissance to that of Nordic societies that Italian nationalists described as “newcomers” to civilization in comparison.[270] At the height of antagonism between the Nazis and Italian fascists over race, Mussolini claimed that the Germans themselves were not a pure race and noted with irony that the Nazi theory of German racial superiority was based on the theories of non-German foreigners, such as Frenchman Arthur de Gobineau.[274] After the tension in German-Italian relations diminished during the late 1930s, Italian fascism sought to harmonize its ideology with German Nazism and combined Nordicist and Mediterranean racial theories, noting that Italians were members of the Aryan Race, composed of a mixed Nordic-Mediterranean subtype.[271]

In 1938, Mussolini declared upon Italy’s adoption of antisemitic laws that Italian fascism had always been antisemitic,[271] In fact, Italian fascism did not endorse antisemitism until the late 1930s when Mussolini feared alienating antisemitic Nazi Germany, whose power and influence were growing in Europe. Prior to that period there had been notable Jewish Italians who had been senior Italian fascist officials, including Margherita Sarfatti, who had also been Mussolini’s mistress.[271] Also contrary to Mussolini’s claim in 1938, only a small number of Italian fascists were staunchly antisemitic (such as Roberto Farinacci and Giuseppe Preziosi), while others such as Italo Balbo, who came from Ferrara which had one of Italy’s largest Jewish communities, were disgusted by the antisemitic laws and opposed them.[271] Fascism scholar Mark Neocleous notes that while Italian fascism did not have a clear commitment to antisemitism, there were occasional antisemitic statements issued prior to 1938, such as Mussolini in 1919 declaring that the Jewish bankers in London and New York were connected by race to the Russian Bolsheviks and that eight percent of the Russian Bolsheviks were Jews.[275]

See also

References …

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

 

 

 

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Steven Pinker – Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress — The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined — The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature — Videos

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Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress featuring Steven Pinker

STEVEN PINKER: ENLIGHTENMENT NOW

Stephen Fry & Steven Pinker on the Enlightenment Today

Enlightenment Now | Steven Pinker | RSA Replay

Dr. Steven Pinker, Harvard University – Collective Impact

The Personal Philosophy of Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker & Charlie Rose – “The Better Angels of Our Nature”

Prof. Steven Pinker – The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity

A History of Violence: Steven Pinker at TEDxNewEngland

The Great Debate: ORIGINS OF VIOLENCE (OFFICIAL) – (Part 1/2)

The Great Debate: ORIGINS OF VIOLENCE (OFFICIAL) – (Part 2/2)

Steven Pinker on Human Nature

Understanding Human Nature with Steven Pinker – Conversations with History

Steven Pinker – The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Steven Pinker – The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Steven Pinker: Human nature and the blank slate

Steven Pinker – The Genius of Charles Darwin: The Uncut Interviews

Steven Pinker — On psychology and human nature

 

Steven Pinker Books

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=steve+pinker+books&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=194752538360&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=18360483831547681179&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9060114&hvtargid=kwd-313239828936&ref=pd_sl_oakl91e0m_b

 

My new favorite book of all time

For years, I’ve been saying Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature was the best book I’d read in a decade. If I could recommend just one book for anyone to pick up, that was it. Pinker uses meticulous research to argue that we are living in the most peaceful time in human history. I’d never seen such a clear explanation of progress.

I’m going to stop talking up Better Angels so much, because Pinker has managed to top himself. His new book, Enlightenment Now, is even better.

Enlightenment Now takes the approach he uses in Better Angels to track violence throughout history and applies it to 15 different measures of progress (like quality of life, knowledge, and safety). The result is a holistic picture of how and why the world is getting better. It’s like Better Angels on steroids.

Pinker was generous enough to send me an early copy, even though Enlightenment Now won’t be released until the end of February. I read the book slowly since I loved it so much, but I think most people will find it a quick and accessible read. He manages to share a ton of information in a way that’s compelling, memorable, and easy to digest.

It opens with an argument in favor of returning to the ideals of the Enlightenment—an era when reason, science, and humanism were touted as the highest virtues. (Gates Notes Insiders can get a preview of this section of the book.)

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I’m all for more reason, science, and humanism, but what I found most interesting were the 15 chapters exploring each measure of progress. Pinker is at his best when he analyzes historic trends and uses data to put the past into context. I was already familiar with a lot of the information he shares—especially about health and energy—but he understands each subject so deeply that he’s able to articulate his case in a way that feels fresh and new.

I love how he’s willing to dive deep into primary data sources and pull out unexpected signs of progress. I tend to point to things like dramatic reductions in poverty and childhood deaths, because I think they’re such a good measure of how we’re doing as a society. Pinker covers those areas, but he also looks at more obscure topics.

Here are five of my favorite facts from the book that show how the world is improving:

  1. You’re 37 times less likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning than you were at the turn of the century—and that’s not because there are fewer thunderstorms today. It’s because we have better weather prediction capabilities, improved safety education, and more people living in cities.
  2. Time spent doing laundry fell from 11.5 hours a week in 1920 to an hour and a half in 2014.This might sound trivial in the grand scheme of progress. But the rise of the washing machine has improved quality of life by freeing up time for people—mostly women—to enjoy other pursuits. That time represents nearly half a day every week that could be used for everything from binge-watching Ozark or reading a book to starting a new business.
  3. You’re way less likely to die on the job. Every year, 5,000 people die from occupational accidents in the U.S. But in 1929—when our population was less than two-fifths the size it is today—20,000 people died on the job. People back then viewed deadly workplace accidents as part of the cost of doing business. Today, we know better, and we’ve engineered ways to build things without putting nearly as many lives at risk.
  4. The global average IQ score is rising by about 3 IQ points every decade. Kids’ brains are developing more fully thanks to improved nutrition and a cleaner environment. Pinker also credits more analytical thinking in and out of the classroom. Think about how many symbols you interpret every time you check your phone’s home screen or look at a subway map. Our world today encourages abstract thought from a young age, and it’s making us smarter.
  5. War is illegal. This idea seems obvious. But before the creation of the United Nations in 1945, no institution had the power to stop countries from going to war with each other. Although there have been some exceptions, the threat of international sanctions and intervention has proven to be an effective deterrent to wars between nations.

Pinker also tackles the disconnect between actual progress and the perception of progress—something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. People all over the world are living longer, healthier, and happier lives, so why do so many think things are getting worse? Why do we gloss over positive news stories and fixate on the negative ones? He does a good job explaining why we’re drawn to pessimism and how that instinct influences our approach to the world, although I wish he went more in depth about the psychology (especially since he’s a psychologist by training). The late Hans Rosling explains this more fully in his excellent new book Factfulness, which I plan to review soon.

I agree with Pinker on most areas, but I think he’s a bit too optimistic about artificial intelligence. He’s quick to dismiss the idea of robots overthrowing their human creators. While I don’t think we’re in danger of a Terminator-style scenario, the question underlying that fear—who exactly controls the robots?—is a valid one. We’re not there yet, but at some point, who has AI and who controls it will be an important issue for global institutions to address.

The big questions surrounding automation are proof that progress can be a messy, sticky thing—but that doesn’t mean we’re headed in the wrong direction. At the end of Enlightenment Now, Pinker argues that “we will never have a perfect world, and it would be dangerous to seek one. But there is no limit to the betterments we can attain if we continue to apply knowledge to enhance human flourishing.”

The world is getting better, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. I’m glad we have brilliant thinkers like Steven Pinker to help us see the big picture. Enlightenment Now is not only the best book Pinker’s ever written. It’s my new favorite book of all time.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/Books/Enlightenment-Now

5 books I loved in 2018

If you’re like me, you love giving—or getting!—books during the holidays. A great read is the perfect gift: thoughtful and easy to wrap (with no batteries or assembly required). Plus, I think everyone could use a few more books in their lives. I usually don’t consider whether something would make a good present when I’m putting together my end of year book list—but this year’s selections are highly giftable.

My list is pretty eclectic this year. From a how-to guide about meditation to a deep dive on autonomous weapons to a thriller about the fall of a once-promising company, there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for a fool-proof gift for your friends and family, you can’t go wrong with one of these.

Educated, by Tara Westover. Tara never went to school or visited a doctor until she left home at 17. I never thought I’d relate to a story about growing up in a Mormon survivalist household, but she’s such a good writer that she got me to reflect on my own life while reading about her extreme childhood. Melinda and I loved this memoir of a young woman whose thirst for learning was so strong that she ended up getting a Ph.D. from Cambridge University.

Army of None, by Paul Scharre. Autonomous weapons aren’t exactly top of mind for most around the holidays, but this thought-provoking look at A.I. in warfare is hard to put down. It’s an immensely complicated topic, but Scharre offers clear explanations and presents both the pros and cons of machine-driven warfare. His fluency with the subject should come as no surprise: he’s a veteran who helped draft the U.S. government’s policy on autonomous weapons.

Bad Blood, by John Carreyrou. A bunch of my friends recommended this one to me. Carreyrou gives you the definitive insider’s look at the rise and fall of Theranos. The story is even crazier than I expected, and I found myself unable to put it down once I started. This book has everything: elaborate scams, corporate intrigue, magazine cover stories, ruined family relationships, and the demise of a company once valued at nearly $10 billion.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari. I’m a big fan of everything Harari has written, and his latest is no exception. While Sapiens and Homo Deus covered the past and future respectively, this one is all about the present. If 2018 has left you overwhelmed by the state of the world, 21 Lessonsoffers a helpful framework for processing the news and thinking about the challenges we face.

The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness, by Andy Puddicombe. I’m sure 25-year-old me would scoff at this one, but Melinda and I have gotten really into meditation lately. The book starts with Puddicombe’s personal journey from a university student to a Buddhist monk and then becomes an entertaining explainer on how to meditate. If you’re thinking about trying mindfulness, this is the perfect introduction.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Best-Books-2018

Wrapping up 2018

What I learned at work this year

Every Christmas when I was a kid, my parents would send out a card with an update on what the family was up to. Dad’s law firm is growing, Mom’s volunteer work is going strong, the girls are doing well in school, Bill is a handful.

Some people think it is corny, but I like the tradition. These days, at the end of each year, I still enjoy taking stock of my work and personal life. What was I excited about? What could I have done better?

I thought I would share a few of these thoughts as 2018 concludes.

One thing that occurs to me is that the questions I am asking myself at age 63 are very different from the ones I would have asked when I was in my 20s.

Back then, an end-of-year assessment would amount to just one question: Is Microsoft software making the personal-computing dream come true?

Today of course I still assess the quality of my work. But I also ask myself a whole other set of questions about my life. Did I devote enough time to my family? Did I learn enough new things? Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones? These would have been laughable to me when I was 25, but as I get older, they are much more meaningful.

Melinda has helped broaden my thinking on this point. So has Warren Buffett, who says his measure of success is, “Do the people you care about love you back?” I think that is about as good a metric as you will find.

It may sound grand, but I think the world is slowly going through a similar transition to a broader understanding of well-being. For most of human history, we have been focused on living longer by fighting disease and trying to grow enough food for everyone. As a result, life spans have gone up dramatically. Technology has played a key role in that through vaccines, medicines, and improved sanitation.

We still need a lot of innovation to solve problems like malaria or obesity, but we are also going to be focusing more on improving the quality of life. I think this will be the thrust of many big breakthroughs of the future. For example, software will be able to notice when you’re feeling down, connect you with your friends, give you personalized tips for sleeping and eating better, and help you use your time more efficiently.

There are not the same clear measures of these things as there are for diseases, and there may never be. But there is nascent work in this field and I think it is going to accelerate.

As I look back on the year, I am also thinking about the specific areas I work on. Some of this is done through our foundation but a lot of it (such as my work on energy and Alzheimer’s work) is not. What connects it all is my belief that innovation can save lives and improve everyone’s well-being. A lot of people underestimate just how much innovation will make life better.

Here are a few updates on what’s going well and what isn’t with innovation in some areas where I work.

Alzheimer’s disease

 I saw two positive trends in Alzheimer’s research in 2018.

I saw two positive trends in Alzheimer’s research in 2018.

One is that researchers focused on a new set of ideas about how to stop Alzheimer’s.

The first generation of theories, which dominated the field for years, emphasized two proteins called amyloid and tau. These proteins cause plaques and tangles in the brain, clogging up and killing brain cells. The idea was to stop the plaques and tangles from forming. I hope these approaches pay off, but we have not seen much evidence that they will.

In the past year, researchers have doubled down on a second generation of hypotheses. One theory is that a patient’s brain cells break down because their energy producers (called mitochondria) wear out. Another is that brain cells break down because part of the immune system gets overactivated and attacks them.

This is a great example of how improving our understanding of biology will reduce both medical costs and human suffering.

The other trend this year is that the Alzheimer’s community focused on getting more and better access to data. We’re working with researchers to make it easier for them to share information from their studies broadly so that we can better understand questions like how the disease progresses.

Over the past few years, the U.S. government has dramatically stepped up funding for Alzheimer’s research, from $400 million a year to over $2 billion a year. There is also a big push to create better diagnostics.

The only problem where I don’t yet see a clear path forward yet is how to develop more efficient ways to recruit patients for clinical trials. Without a simple and reliable diagnostic for Alzheimer’s, it’s hard to find eligible people early enough in the disease’s progression who can participate in trials. It can take years to enroll enough patients. If we could find a way to pre-screen participants, we could start new trials more quickly.

But there is so much momentum in other areas—scientific tools, better diagnostics, improved access to data—that as long as we can solve the recruitment problem, I am confident that we will make substantial progress in the next decade or two.

Polio

 I thought we would be closer to eradicating polio today than we are.

I thought we would be closer to eradicating polio today than we are. Unfortunately, there were more cases in 2018 than in 2017 (29 versus 22).

I underestimated how hard it would be to vaccinate children in places where there’s political violence and war. Families move around to escape fighting, which makes it hard to keep track of children and make sure they get all the doses of the vaccine. Or sewage systems get destroyed, allowing the virus to spread as children come into contact with an infected person’s excrement.

This is a key reason why Afghanistan and Pakistan have never been free of polio—in fact they are the only two countries that have never been free of polio.

I spend a lot of time on polio, part of it talking to the funders to make sure they continue their commitment even though eradication is taking longer than any of us would like. I remind them of the huge benefits of success, and the risk that the disease will return in a big way if we don’t finish the job.

I also remind them what a difference innovation is making. We’re now able to test sewage samples to track the virus and find the source before an outbreak starts. And the global health community is finding creative ways to work in war zones, having stopped outbreaks in Syria and Somalia in recent years.

Finally, I am hopeful about a new oral vaccine being tested in Belgium and Panama. The results should be out in 2019, and if this one proves effective, it would overcome some of the problems with previous oral vaccines when they’re used in places where few children are immunized. The new vaccine could be in use as soon as 2020.

Despite all the challenges, I am still optimistic that we can eradicate polio soon.

Energy

Global emissions of greenhouse gases went up in 2018. For me, that just reinforces the fact that the only way to prevent the worst climate-change scenarios is to get some breakthroughs in clean energy.

Some people think we have all the tools we need, and that driving down the cost of renewables like solar and wind solves the problem. I am glad to see solar and wind getting cheaper and we should be deploying them wherever it makes sense.

But solar and wind are intermittent sources of energy, and we are unlikely to have super-cheap batteries anytime soon that would allow us to store sufficient energy for when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Besides, electricity accounts for only 25% of all emissions. We need to solve the other 75% too.

This year Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the clean-energy investment fund I’m involved with, announced the first companies we’re putting money into. You can see the list at http://www.b-t.energy/ventures/our-investment-portfolio/. We are looking at all the major drivers of climate change. The companies we chose are run by brilliant people and show a lot of promise for taking innovative clean-energy ideas out of the lab and getting them to market.

Next year I will speak out more about how the U.S. needs to regain its leading role in nuclear power research. (This is unrelated to my work with the foundation.)

Nuclear is ideal for dealing with climate change, because it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day. The problems with today’s reactors, such as the risk of accidents, can be solved through innovation.

The United States is uniquely suited to create these advances with its world-class scientists, entrepreneurs, and investment capital.

 Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago.

Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago. To regain this position, it will need to commit new funding, update regulations, and show investors that it’s serious.

There are several promising ideas in advanced nuclear that should be explored if we get over these obstacles. TerraPower, the company I started 10 years ago, uses an approach called a traveling wave reactor that is safe, prevents proliferation, and produces very little waste. We had hoped to build a pilot project in China, but recent policy changes here in the U.S. have made that unlikely. We may be able to build it in the United States if the funding and regulatory changes that I mentioned earlier happen.

The world needs to be working on lots of solutions to stop climate change. Advanced nuclear is one, and I hope to persuade U.S. leaders to get into the game.

The next epidemic

In 1918, the Spanish flu killed 50 million people worldwide. It still ranks as one of the deadliest natural disasters ever.

I had hoped that hitting the 100th anniversary of this epidemic would spark a lot of discussion about whether we’re ready for the next global epidemic. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and we still are not ready.

People rightly worry about dangers like terrorism and climate change (and, more remotely, an asteroid hitting the Earth). But if anything is going to kill tens of millions of people in a short time, it will probably be a global epidemic. And the disease would most likely be a form of the flu, because the flu virus spreads easily through the air. Today a flu as contagious and lethal as the 1918 one would kill nearly 33 million people in just six months.

I have been studying this for several years. To be prepared, we need a plan for national governments to work together. We need to think through how to handle quarantines, make sure supply chains will reach affected areas, decide how to involve the military, and so on. There was not much progress on these questions in 2018.

 There has been progress toward a vaccine that would protect you from every strain of the flu.

The good news is that there has been progress toward a vaccine that would protect you from every strain of the flu. This year I visited the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Maryland and got an update from some of the people leading this work.

The challenges of making a universal flu vaccine are fascinating. All strains of the virus have certain structures in common. If you’ve never been exposed to the flu, it’s possible to make a vaccine that teaches your immune system to look for those structures and attack them. But once you’ve had the flu, your body obsesses over the strain that got you sick. That makes it really hard to get your immune system to look for the common structures.

So it is clear how we could make a universal vaccine that would protect anyone (such as the very young) who has never been exposed to the flu before. But for anyone who has already had the virus, it is a lot harder. The problem is a long way from being solved, but new research money is coming in and more scientists are working on it.

To make the most of these scientific efforts (some of which our foundation is funding), the world needs to develop a global system for monitoring and responding to epidemics. That is a political matter that requires international cooperation among government leaders. This issue deserves a lot more focus.

Gene editing

Gene editing made the news in November when a Chinese scientist announced that he had altered the genes of two baby girls when they were embryos. What is unprecedented about his work is that he edited their germline cells, meaning the changes will be passed down to their children. (The other, less controversial type of gene editing involves somatic cells, which aren’t inherited by future generations.)

I agree with those who say this scientist went too far. But something good can come from his work if it encourages more people to learn and talk about gene editing. This might be the most important public debate we haven’t been having widely enough.

The ethical questions are enormous. Gene editing is generating a ton of optimism for treating and curing diseases, including some that our foundation works on (though we fund work on altering crops and insects, not humans). But the technology could make inequity worse, especially if it is available only for wealthy people.

I am surprised that these issues haven’t generated more attention from the general public. Today, artificial intelligence is the subject of vigorous debate. Gene editing deserves at least as much of the spotlight as AI.

I encourage you to read up on it whenever you have a chance. Keep an eye out for articles in your news feed. If you are willing to read a whole book, The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee is very well done. This story is one to follow, because big breakthroughs—some good, some worrisome—are coming.

Looking ahead

 I am making a resolution for 2019.

Although I have never been one for New Year’s resolutions, I have always been committed to setting clear goals and making plans to achieve them. As I get older, these two things look more and more like the same exercise. So I am making a resolution for 2019. I am committing to learn and think about two key areas where technology has the potential to make an enormous impact on the quality of our lives, but also raises complex ethical and social considerations.

One is the balance between privacy and innovation. How can we use data to gain insights into education (like which schools do the best job of teaching low-income students) or health (like which doctors provide the best care for a reasonable price) while protecting people’s privacy?

The other is the use of technology in education. How much can software improve students’ learning? For years we have been hearing overheated claims about the huge impact that technology would have on education. People have been right to be skeptical. But I think things are finally coming together in a way that will deliver on the promises.

I will be posting updates on these and other issues on the Gates Notes.

In the meantime, Melinda and I are working on our next Annual Letter. The theme is a surprise, though it is safe to say we’ll be sharing some positive trends that make us optimistic about the future. We’ll send the letter out in February.

I hope you have a happy and healthy start to 2019.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Year-in-Review-2018

A Failed Quest for Meaning

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, by Steven Pinker (Viking, 576 pp., $35)Professor Steven Pinker of Harvard has written a 500-plus-page advertising pamphlet for the Enlightenment. He doesn’t quite make the sale, in spite of his having the good fortune to be pitching the best product . . . ever, really.

Good Steven Pinker argues that the Enlightenment represented an escape from dogma, one in which the emerging combination of the scientific method and political liberalism put every claim and creed to the test of reason. Bad Steven Pinker believes — and believes hard — that the Enlightenment is itself a dogma and a tribe and a scripture. Case in point: Countering the argument that Enlightenment ideals fail because people are not perfectly rational actors, Pinker writes, in emphatic italics: “No Enlightenment thinker ever claimed that humans were consistently rational.” Throughout his new book, Enlightenment Now, he offers that same observation repeatedly, as though it were not only dispositive but self-evidently so. From Spinoza to Laplace to Pinker: There is no escaping apostolic succession, after all.

Professor Pinker, like Saint Paul, has a great talent for making the good news sound positively dreadful — unbearable, even. Which is a shame, because there is so much good news in his book. And charts! Goodness, are there charts, charts and charts and charts charting the rise of human flourishing on every axis from educational attainment in India to female literacy in Pakistan to anti-black hate crimes in the United States. Hooray, and well done, humanity. If those are the charts, then bring on the charts!

But this isn’t a book about charts, really. This is a book about the Meaning of Life.

Professor Pinker begins with an anecdote about a student who, after a lecture, asked him, “Why should I live?” After satisfying himself that this was not a case of suicidal ideation or mere smart-assery, he answers:

As a sentient being, you have the potential to flourish. You can refine your faculty of reason itself by learning and debating. You can seek explanations of the natural world through science, and insight into the human condition through the arts and humanities. You can make the most of your capacity for pleasure and satisfaction, which allowed your ancestors to thrive and thereby allowed you to exist. You can appreciate the beauty and richness of the natural and cultural world. As the heir to billions of years of life perpetuating itself, you can perpetuate life in return.

He goes on in that mode for a while, and even the most casual reader will notice that he offers a great deal of “You can” but no “You should.” Which is to say: He does not answer the question. As it turns out, he answers the question neither in short nor at length. “Explaining the meaning of life is not in the usual job description of a professor of cognitive science,” he writes, “and I would not have had the gall to take up her question if the answer depended on my arcane technical knowledge or my dubious personal wisdom.” No, he appeals to a higher power: “But I knew I was channeling a body of beliefs and values that had taken shape more than two centuries before me and that are now more relevant than ever: the ideals of the Enlightenment.”

It was reason that led most of the Enlightenment thinkers to repudiate a belief in an anthropomorphic God who took an interest in human affairs. The application of reason revealed that reports of miracles were dubious, that the authors of holy books were all too human, that natural events unfolded with no regard to human welfare, and that different cultures believed in mutually incompatible deities, none of them less likely than the others to be products of the imagination.

That is fairly sloppy stuff: There is the fallacious appeal to authority (“most of the Enlightenment thinkers”), the failure to understand the claims of the other side (of course reports of miracles are dubious: miracles are unlikely — that is what makes them miracles), the ad hominem (it would hardly come as a shock to any Christian familiar with the biography of Saint Peter that he was “all too human” — accompanying the Prince of Peace in His last days, Peter got into a knife fight), the juvenile (as a matter of logic, it simply is not the case that if not all religious claims can be true simultaneously, then all of them must be false), etc. None of this stuff is very much germane to Professor Pinker’s argument; he simply cannot help himself. If you doubt that this is base, tribal, googly-eyed, us-vs.-them stuff, consider this bit: “Early governments pacified the people they ruled, reducing internecine violence, but imposed a reign of terror that included slavery, harems, human sacrifice, summary executions, and the torture and mutilation of dissidents and deviants. (The Bible has no shortage of examples.)” This appears a few sentences above mentions of the Chinese civil war and Idi Amin. Of course it is the case that accounts of violent episodes can be found in the Bible, but that is not why the Bible appears in that sentence. It appears as a tribal signifier. Us ain’t Them.

Better that Professor Pinker should have taken the advice of A. J. Ayer and eliminated the metaphysics altogether. It isn’t as though the real-world problems of fanaticism and primitivism would have left his volume too slender: The Islamic State exists, and, if it’s explicit anti-intellectualism you’re looking for, consider the etymology of “Boko Haram” — literally, “Books are forbidden.”

In metaphysics as in politics and poker, it is hard to beat something with nothing, and, as ethics go, “The universe is headed for heat death, eventually” isn’t exactly compelling. Marcus Aurelius advised his reader not to worry too much about life, death, or reputation, because, soon enough, we’ll be dead, everybody who knew us will be dead, everybody who might have remembered us will be dead, etc. “‘This man was the last of his house’ is not uncommon upon a monument,” the emperor-philosopher wrote. “How solicitous were the ancestors of these men about an heir! Yet someone must, of necessity, be the last.” Which is sunshine in a glass compared with maximum entropy.

The problem for Professor Pinker is that there isn’t any really good way to get from just the facts to an ethical creed, from the reason and science of his subtitle to the humanism. He tries to get around this with rarity: Humans and human institutions (along with sentient beings and life in general) are examples of low-entropy situations, which are very rare in the universe. Professor Pinker in fact follows the rhetoric of the creationists and intelligent-design cranks (he must shudder to do so) when he explains the Law of Entropy: “If you walk away from a sandcastle, it won’t be there tomorrow, because as the wind, waves, seagulls, and small children push the grains of sand around, they’re more likely to arrange them into one of the vast number of configurations that don’t look like a castle than into one of the tiny few that do.”

The echo of the Reverend William Paley’s Divine Watchmaker is unmistakable. Professor Pinker uses his story for a different purpose, of course: While those who would seek to discredit evolution argue that the fact of the universe argues for a creator in the same way that the existence of a watch implies the existence of a watchmaker, Professor Pinker argues that the rarity of the orderly bits of the universe makes them special, valuable, interesting. But: To whom? And: Says who? There isn’t anything about the Second Law of Thermodynamics that says, or even implies, that we should prefer thermodynamic disequilibrium over thermodynamic equilibrium. It’s only temporary, anyway. There isn’t any scientific reason to prefer a world with humans in it to one without, or a world with happy humans in it to one with unhappy humans in it. (“And what if God prefers your tears to your studying?” asked Rabbi Mendel, no relation to the Right Reverend Gregor Mendel, who laid the foundations of genetics when he wasn’t running the abbey in Brno.) If you want to get from thermodynamics to politics and ethics, there’s a bit more work involved than Professor Pinker has here done. “We’re the Enlightenment, we’re the good guys, follow us!” won’t do it.

This is unfortunate, because Professor Pinker believes that the ideals of the Enlightenment “are now more relevant than ever”: There are challenges to the Enlightenment, to liberalism, and to material progress. Tribalism is, at the moment, resurgent, no less here in the United States than abroad: President Trump is being joined at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference by Marion Maréchal–Le Pen. The new tribalists of the West are not very much impressed by the low prices at Walmart, the improving quality of life in urban China, or the rising literacy rate among Afghan girls. Neither is Boko Haram. Neither is the Islamic State.

And that is what makes the author’s failure here all the more dismaying. Professor Pinker, and many others like him, understand the Enlightenment as a force of oppositionto the civilization that produced it, the civilization we used to call “Christendom.” Professor Pinker’s account has the new gospel of Enlightenment arising from the muck of Christian civilization, with its witch hunts and inquisitions, protected by a few true believers toward whom we still look today for guidance. But the actual Enlightenment happened in the Christian world. They had gunpowder in ancient China, but the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution happened where they happened, and when they happened, for a reason. To properly defend the Enlightenment and its ideals requires grounding the Enlightenment in the culture that produced it, which offends Professor Pinker’s cosmopolitan instincts, to say nothing of his instinct for sneering at Christianity.

“Cult” is the first syllable in “culture,” and Professor Pinker’s professed humanism is a creed, not a scientific deduction. A creed grounded in what? Being nice? The scientific method? Please. It’s grounded in a tribal identity, a little tribe comprising Professor Pinker, Sam Harris, and the ghost of Christopher Hitchens. That sounds like a fun dinner party, but it’s hardly the basis for a civilization. Pinker is dead-on about much — and much that is important — but he remains limited by what must be described as intellectual pettiness, which isn’t what you want in a book professing to lay out the meaning of life.

https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2018/03/19/steven-pinker-enlightenment-now-review-failed-quest-meaning/

Books by Steven Pinker

https://www.thriftbooks.com/a/steven-pinker/202210/?mkwid=s|dc&pcrid=301999411142&pkw=&pmt=b&plc=&pgrid=34947186125&ptaid=dsa-266516562683&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIh_6j9OXS3wIVy7fACh0oCAC1EAMYASAAEgLbO_D_BwE

 

Steven Pinker

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Steven Pinker
102111 Pinker 344.jpg
Born
Steven Arthur Pinker

September 18, 1954 (age 64)

MontrealQuebec, Canada
Nationality Canadian
American
Notable work
Spouse(s)
  • Nancy Etcoff
    (m. 1980; div. 1992)
  • Ilavenil Subbiah
    (m. 1995; div. 2006)
  • Rebecca Goldstein (m. 2007)
Alma mater
Awards Troland Award (1993, National Academy of Sciences),
Henry Dale Prize (2004, Royal Institution),
Walter P. Kistler Book Award (2005),
Humanist of the Year award (2006, issued by the AHA),
George Miller Prize (2010, Cognitive Neuroscience Society), Richard Dawkins Award (2013)
Scientific career
Fields Evolutionary psychologyexperimental psychologycognitive sciencepsycholinguisticsvisual cognition
Thesis The Representation of Three-dimensional Space in Mental Images (1979)
Doctoral advisor Stephen Kosslyn
Influences Noam Chomsky[1]
Website www.stevenpinker.com

Steven Arthur Pinker (born September 18, 1954) is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologistlinguist, and popular science author. He is Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, and is known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind.

Pinker’s academic specializations are visual cognition and psycholinguistics. His experimental subjects include mental imagery, shape recognition, visual attention, children’s language development, regular and irregular phenomena in language, the neural bases of words and grammar, and the psychology of cooperation and communication, including euphemisminnuendo, emotional expression, and common knowledge. He has written two technical books that proposed a general theory of language acquisition and applied it to children’s learning of verbs. In particular, his work with Alan Prince published in 1989 critiqued the connectionist model of how children acquire the past tense of English verbs, arguing instead that children use default rules such as adding “-ed” to make regular forms, sometimes in error, but are obliged to learn irregular forms one by one.

In his popular books, he has argued that the human faculty for language is an instinct, an innate behavior shaped by natural selection and adapted to our communication needs. He is the author of eight books for a general audience. Five of these, The Language Instinct (1994), How the Mind Works (1997), Words and Rules (2000), The Blank Slate (2002), and The Stuff of Thought (2007), describe aspects of the field of psycholinguistics and cognitive science, and include accounts of his own research. In the sixth book, The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011), Pinker makes the case that violence in human societies has, in general, steadily declined with time, and identifies six major causes of this decline.

His seventh book, The Sense of Style (2014), is intended as a general style guide that is informed by modern science and psychology, offering advice on how to produce more comprehensible and unambiguous writing in nonfiction contexts and explaining why so much of today’s academic and popular writing is difficult for readers to understand. His eighth book, Enlightenment Now (2018), continues the optimistic thesis of The Better Angels of Our Nature by using social science data from various sources to argue for a general improvement of the human condition over recent history.

Pinker has been named as one of the world’s most influential intellectuals by various magazines. He has won awards from the American Psychological Association, the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society and the American Humanist Association. He delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 2013. He has served on the editorial boards of a variety of journals, and on the advisory boards of several institutions. He has frequently participated in public debates on science and society.

Biography[edit]

Pinker was born in MontrealQuebec, in 1954, to a middle-class Jewish family. His parents were Roslyn (Wiesenfeld) and Harry Pinker.[3][4] His grandparents emigrated to Canada from Poland and Romania in 1926,[5][6] and owned a small necktie factory in Montreal.[7] His father, a lawyer, first worked as a manufacturer’s representative, while his mother was first a home-maker then a guidance counselor and high-school vice-principal. He has two younger siblings. His brother Robert is a policy analyst for the Canadian government, while his sister, Susan Pinker, is a psychologist and writer who authored The Sexual Paradox and The Village Effect.[8][9]

Pinker married Nancy Etcoff in 1980 and they divorced in 1992; he married Ilavenil Subbiah in 1995 and they too divorced.[10] His third wife, whom he married in 2007, is the novelist and philosopher Rebecca Goldstein.[11] He has two stepdaughters: the novelist Yael Goldstein Love and the poet Danielle Blau.

Pinker graduated from Dawson College in 1973. He received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from McGill University in 1976, and earned his Doctorate of Philosophy in experimental psychology at Harvard University in 1979 under Stephen Kosslyn. He did research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a year, after which he became an assistant professor at Harvard and then Stanford University.

From 1982 until 2003, Pinker taught at the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, was the co-director of the Center for Cognitive science (1985–1994), and eventually became the director of the Center for Cognitive neuroscience (1994–1999),[12] taking a one-year sabbatical at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1995–96. As of 2003, he is the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard; from 2008 to 2013 he also held the title of Harvard College Professor in recognition of his dedication to teaching.[13] He currently gives lectures as a visiting professor at the New College of the Humanities, a private college in London.[14][15]

About his Jewish background Pinker has said, “I was never religious in the theological sense … I never outgrew my conversion to atheism at 13, but at various times was a serious cultural Jew.”[16] As a teenager, he says he considered himself an anarchist until he witnessed civil unrest following a police strike in 1969, when:

As a young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin’s anarchism. I laughed off my parents’ argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose. Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 A.M. on October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike … This decisive empirical test left my politics in tatters (and offered a foretaste of life as a scientist).[17]

Pinker identifies himself as an equity feminist, which he defines as “a moral doctrine about equal treatment that makes no commitments regarding open empirical issues in psychology or biology”.[18] He reported the result of a test of his political orientation that characterized him as “neither leftist nor rightist, more libertarian than authoritarian.”[19] He describes himself as having “experienced a primitive tribal stirring” after his genes were shown to trace back to the Middle East, noting that he “found it just as thrilling to zoom outward in the diagrams of my genetic lineage and see my place in a family tree that embraces all of humanity”.[20]

Pinker also identifies himself as an atheist. In the 2007 interview with the Point of Inquiry podcast, Pinker states that he would “defend atheism as an empirically supported view.” He sees theism and atheism as competing empirical hypotheses, and states that “we’re learning more and more about what makes us tick, including our moral sense, without needing the assumption of a deity or a soul. It’s naturally getting crowded out by the successive naturalistic explanations.”[21]

Research and theory[edit]

Pinker in 2007.

Pinker’s research on visual cognition, begun in collaboration with his thesis adviser, Stephen Kosslyn, showed that mental images represent scenes and objects as they appear from a specific vantage point (rather than capturing their intrinsic three-dimensional structure), and thus correspond to the neuroscientist David Marr‘s theory of a “two-and-a-half-dimensional sketch.”[22] He also showed that this level of representation is used in visual attention, and in object recognition (at least for asymmetrical shapes), contrary to Marr’s theory that recognition uses viewpoint-independent representations.

In psycholinguistics, Pinker became known early in his career for promoting computational learning theory as a way to understand language acquisition in children. He wrote a tutorial review of the field followed by two books that advanced his own theory of language acquisition, and a series of experiments on how children acquire the passive, dative, and locative constructions. These books were Language Learnability and Language Development (1984), in Pinker’s words “outlin[ing] a theory of how children acquire the words and grammatical structures of their mother tongue”,[23] and Learnability and Cognition: The Acquisition of Argument Structure (1989), in Pinker’s words “focus[ing] on one aspect of this process, the ability to use different kinds of verbs in appropriate sentences, such as intransitive verbs, transitive verbs, and verbs taking different combinations of complements and indirect objects”.[23] He then focused on verbs of two kinds that illustrate what he considers to be the processes required for human language: retrieving whole words from memory, like the past form of the irregular verb[24] “bring”, namely “brought”; and using rules to combine (parts of) words, like the past form of the regular verb “walk”, namely “walked”.[23]

In 1988 Pinker and Alan Prince published an influential critique of a connectionist model of the acquisition of the past tense (a textbook problem in language acquisition), followed by a series of studies of how people use and acquire the past tense. This included a monograph on children’s regularization of irregular forms and his popular 1999 book, Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language. Pinker argued that language depends on two things, the associative remembering of sounds and their meanings in words, and the use of rules to manipulate symbols for grammar. He presented evidence against connectionism, where a child would have to learn all forms of all words and would simply retrieve each needed form from memory, in favour of the older alternative theory, the use of words and rules combined by generative phonology. He showed that mistakes made by children indicate the use of default rules to add suffixes such as “-ed”: for instance ‘breaked’ and ‘comed’ for ‘broke’ and ‘came’. He argued that this shows that irregular verb-forms in English have to be learnt and retrieved from memory individually, and that the children making these errors were predicting the regular “-ed” ending in an open-ended way by applying a mental rule. This rule for combining verb stems and the usual suffix can be expressed as[25]

Vpast → Vstem + d

where V is a verb and d is the regular ending. Pinker further argued that since the ten most frequently occurring English verbs (be, have, do, say, make … ) are all irregular, while 98.2% of the thousand least common verbs are regular, there is a “massive correlation” of frequency and irregularity. He explains this by arguing that every irregular form, such as ‘took’, ‘came’ and ‘got’, has to be committed to memory by the children in each generation, or else lost, and that the common forms are the most easily memorized. Any irregular verb that falls in popularity past a certain point is lost, and all future generations will treat it as a regular verb instead.[25]

In 1990, Pinker, with Paul Bloom, published the paper “Natural Language and Natural Selection”, arguing that the human language faculty must have evolved through natural selection.[26] The article provided arguments for a continuity based view of language evolution, contrary to then current discontinuity based theories that see language as suddenly appearing with the advent of Homo sapiens as a kind of evolutionary accident. This discontinuity based view was prominently argued by two of the main authorities, linguist Noam Chomsky and Stephen Jay Gould.[27] The paper became widely cited and created renewed interest in the evolutionary prehistory of language, and has been credited with shifting the central question of the debate from “did language evolve?” to “how did language evolve”.[27][28] The article also presaged Pinker’s argument in The Language Instinct.

Pinker’s research includes delving into human nature and what science says about it. In his interview on the Point of Inquiry podcast in 2007, he provides the following examples of what he considers defensible conclusions of what science says human nature is:

  • The sexes are not statistically identical; “their interests and talents form two overlapping distributions”. Any policy that wants to provide equal outcomes for both men and women will have to discriminate against one or the other.
  • “Individuals differ in personality and intelligence.”
  • “People favor themselves and their families over an abstraction called society.”
  • Humans are “systematically self deceived. Each one of us thinks of ourselves as more competent and benevolent than we are.”
  • “People crave status and power”

He informs the listeners that one can read more about human nature in his book, Blank Slate.

Pinker also speaks about evolutionary psychology in the podcast and believes that this area of science is going to pay off. He cites the fact that there are many areas of study, such as beauty, religion, play, and sexuality, that were not studied 15 years ago. It is thanks to evolutionary psychology that these areas are being studied.[21]

Popularization of science[edit]

Pinker in 2011.

Human cognition and natural language[edit]

Pinker’s 1994 The Language Instinct was the first of several books to combine cognitive science with behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology. It introduces the science of language and popularizes Noam Chomsky‘s theory that language is an innate faculty of mind, with the controversial twist that the faculty for language evolved by natural selection as an adaptation for communication. Pinker criticizes several widely held ideas about language – that it needs to be taught, that people’s grammar is poor and getting worse with new ways of speaking, the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis that language limits the kinds of thoughts a person can have, and that other great apes can learn languages. Pinker sees language as unique to humans, evolved to solve the specific problem of communication among social hunter-gatherers. He argues that it is as much an instinct as specialized adaptative behavior in other species, such as a spider‘s web-weaving or a beaver‘s dam-building.

Pinker states in his introduction that his ideas are “deeply influenced”[29] by Chomsky; he also lists scientists whom Chomsky influenced to “open up whole new areas of language study, from child development and speech perception to neurology and genetics”[29] — Eric LennebergGeorge MillerRoger BrownMorris Halle and Alvin Liberman.[29] Brown mentored Pinker through his thesis; Pinker stated that Brown’s “funny and instructive”[30] book Words and Things (1958) was one of the inspirations for The Language Instinct.[30][31]

The reality of Pinker’s proposed language instinct, and the related claim that grammar is innate and genetically based, has been contested by many linguists. One prominent opponent of Pinker’s view is Geoffrey Sampson whose 1997 book, Educating Eve: The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate has been described as the “definitive response” to Pinker’s book.[32][33] Sampson argues that while it may seem attractive to argue the nature side of the ‘nature versus nurture’ debate, the nurture side may better support the creativity and nobility of the human mind. Sampson denies there is a language instinct, and argues that children can learn language because people can learn anything.[33] Others have sought a middle ground between Pinker’s nativism and Sampson’s culturalism.[34]

The assumptions underlying the nativist view have also been criticised in Jeffrey Elman‘s Rethinking Innateness: A Connectionist Perspective on Development, which defends the connectionist approach that Pinker attacked. In his 1996 book Impossible Minds, the machine intelligence researcher Igor Aleksander calls The Language Instinct excellent, and argues that Pinker presents a relatively soft claim for innatism, accompanied by a strong dislike of the ‘Standard Social Sciences Model’ or SSSM (Pinker’s term), which supposes that development is purely dependent on culture. Further, Aleksander writes that while Pinker criticises some attempts to explain language processing with neural nets, Pinker later makes use of a neural net to create past tense verb forms correctly. Aleksander concludes that while he doesn’t support the SSSM, “a cultural repository of language just seems the easy trick for an efficient evolutionary system armed with an iconic state machine to play.”[35]

Two other books, How the Mind Works (1997) and The Blank Slate (2002), broadly surveyed the mind and defended the idea of a complex human nature with many mental faculties that are adaptive (Pinker is an ally of Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins in many disputes surrounding adaptationism). Another major theme in Pinker’s theories is that human cognition works, in part, by combinatorial symbol-manipulation, not just associations among sensory features, as in many connectionist models. On the debate around The Blank Slate, Pinker called Thomas Sowell‘s book A Conflict of Visions “wonderful”,[36] and explained that “The Tragic Vision” and the “Utopian Vision” are the views of human nature behind right- and left-wing ideologies.[36]

In Words and Rules: the Ingredients of Language (1999), Pinker argues from his own research that regular and irregular phenomena are products of computation and memory lookup, respectively, and that language can be understood as an interaction between the two.[37] “Words and Rules” is also the title of an essay by Pinker outlining many of the topics discussed in the book.[25] Critiqueing the book from the perspective of generative linguistics Charles Yang, in the London Review of Books, writes that “this book never runs low on hubris or hyperbole“.[38] The book’s topic, the English past tense, is in Yang’s view unglamorous, and Pinker’s attempts at compromise risk being in no man’s land between rival theories. Giving the example of German, Yang argues that irregular nouns in that language at least all belong to classes, governed by rules, and that things get even worse in languages that attach prefixes and suffixes to make up long ‘words’: they can’t be learnt individually, as there are untold numbers of combinations. “All Pinker (and the connectionists) are doing is turning over the rocks at the base of the intellectual landslide caused by the Chomskian revolution.”[38]

In The Stuff of Thought (2007), Pinker looks at a wide range of issues around the way words related to thoughts on the one hand, and to the world outside ourselves on the other. Given his evolutionary perspective, a central question is how an intelligent mind capable of abstract thought evolved: how a mind adapted to Stone Age life could work in the modern world. Many quirks of language are the result.[39]

Pinker is critical of theories about the evolutionary origins of language that argue that linguistic cognition might have evolved from earlier musical cognition. He sees language as being tied primarily to the capacity for logical reasoning, and speculates that human proclivity for music may be a spandrel — a feature not adaptive in its own right, but that has persisted through other traits that are more broadly practical, and thus selected for. In How the Mind Works, Pinker reiterates Immanuel Kant‘s view that music is not in itself an important cognitive phenomenon, but that it happens to stimulate important auditory and spatio-motor cognitive functions. Pinker compares music to “auditory cheesecake”, stating that “As far as biological cause and effect is concerned, music is useless”. This argument has been rejected by Daniel Levitin and Joseph Carroll, experts in music cognition, who argue that music has had an important role in the evolution of human cognition.[40][41][42][43][44][45] In his book This Is Your Brain On Music, Levitin argues that music could provide adaptive advantage through sexual selectionsocial bonding, and cognitive development; he questions the assumption that music is the antecedent to language, as opposed to its progenitor, noting that many species display music-like habits that could be seen as precursors to human music.[46]

Pinker has also been critical of “whole language” reading instruction techniques, stating in How the Mind Works, “… the dominant technique, called ‘whole language,’ the insight that [spoken] language is a naturally developing human instinct has been garbled into the evolutionarily improbable claim that reading is a naturally developing human instinct.”[47] In the appendix to the 2007 reprinted edition of The Language Instinct, Pinker cited Why Our Children Can’t Read by cognitive psychologist Diane McGuinness as his favorite book on the subject and noted:

One raging public debate involving language went unmentioned in The Language Instinct: the “reading wars,” or dispute over whether children should be explicitly taught to read by decoding the sounds of words from their spelling (loosely known as “phonics“) or whether they can develop it instinctively by being immersed in a text-rich environment (often called “whole language”). I tipped my hand in the paragraph in [the sixth chapter of the book] which said that language is an instinct but reading is not.[48] Like most psycholinguists (but apparently unlike many school boards), I think it’s essential for children to be taught to become aware of speech sounds and how they are coded in strings of letters.[49]

The Better Angels of Our Nature[edit]

Violence in the middle ages: detail from “Mars” in Das Mittelalterliche Hausbuch, c. 1475 – 1480. The image is used by Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature, with the comment “as the Housebook illustrations suggest, [the knights] did not restrict their killing to other knights”.[50]

In The Better Angels of Our Nature, published in 2011, Pinker argues that violence, including tribal warfare, homicide, cruel punishments, child abuse, animal cruelty, domestic violence, lynching, pogroms, and international and civil wars, has decreased over multiple scales of time and magnitude. Pinker considers it unlikely that human nature has changed. In his view, it is more likely that human nature comprises inclinations toward violence and those that counteract them, the “better angels of our nature”. He outlines six ‘major historical declines of violence’ that all have their own socio/cultural/economic causes:[51]

  1. “The Pacification Process” – The rise of organized systems of government has a correlative relationship with the decline in violent deaths. As states expand they prevent tribal feuding, reducing losses.
  2. “The Civilizing Process” – Consolidation of centralized states and kingdoms throughout Europe results in the rise of criminal justice and commercial infrastructure, organizing previously chaotic systems that could lead to raiding and mass violence.
  3. “The Humanitarian Revolution” – The 18th – 20th century abandonment of institutionalized violence by the state (breaking on the wheel, burning at the stake). Suggests this is likely due to the spike in literacy after the invention of the printing press thereby allowing the proletariat to question conventional wisdom.
  4. “The Long Peace” – The powers of 20th Century believed that period of time to be the bloodiest in history. This to a largely peaceful 65-year period post World War I and World War II. Developed countries have stopped warring (against each other and colonially), adopted democracy, and this has led a massive decline (on average) of deaths.
  5. “The New Peace” – The decline in organized conflicts of all kinds since the end of the Cold War.
  6. “The Rights Revolutions” – The reduction of systemic violence at smaller scales against vulnerable populations (racial minorities, women, children, homosexuals, animals).

The book was welcomed by many critics and reviewers, who found its arguments convincing and its synthesis of a large volume of historical evidence compelling.[52][53][54][55][56] It also aroused criticism on a variety of grounds, such as whether deaths per capita was an appropriate metric, Pinker’s atheism, lack of moral leadership, excessive focus on Europe (though the book covers other areas), the interpretation of historical data, and its image of indigenous people.[57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66][67]

English writing style in the 21st century[edit]

In his seventh popular book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century (2014), Pinker attempts to provide a writing style guide that is informed by modern science and psychology, offering advice on how to produce more comprehensible and unambiguous writing in nonfiction contexts and explaining why so much of today’s academic and popular writing is difficult for readers to understand.

In a November 2014 episode of the Point of Inquiry podcast, host Lindsay Beyerstein, asked Pinker how his style guide was different from the many guides that already exist. His answer,

The Thinking Person’s Guide because I don’t issue dictates from on high as most manuals do but explain why the various guidelines will improve writing, what they do for language, what they do for the reader’s experience, in the hope that the users will apply the rules judiciously knowing what they are designed to accomplish, rather than robotically.[68]

He also indicated that the 21st century was applicable because language and usage change over time and it has been a long time since William Strunk wrote Elements of Style.[68]

Public debate[edit]

Pinker is a frequent participant in public debates surrounding the contributions of science to contemporary society. Social commentators such as Ed West, author of The Diversity Illusion, consider Pinker important and daring in his willingness to confront taboos, as in The Blank Slate. This doctrine (the tabula rasa), writes West, remained accepted “as fact, rather than fantasy”[69] a decade after the book’s publication. West describes Pinker as “no polemicist, and he leaves readers to draw their own conclusions”.[69]

In January 2005, Pinker defended Lawrence Summers, president of Harvard University, whose comments about a gender gap in mathematics and science angered much of the faculty. Pinker noted that Summers’s remarks, properly understood, were hypotheses about overlapping statistical distributions of men’s and women’s talents and tastes, and that in a university such hypotheses ought to be the subject of empirical testing rather than dogma and outrage.[70] Edge.org ran a debate between Pinker and Elizabeth Spelke on gender and science.[71]

In 2009, Pinker wrote a mixed review of Malcolm Gladwell‘s essays in The New York Times criticizing his analytical methods.[72] Gladwell replied, disputing Pinker’s comments about the importance of IQ on teaching performance and by analogy, the effect, if any, of draft order on quarterback performance in the National Football League.[73] Advanced NFL Stats addressed the issue statistically, siding with Pinker and showing that differences in methodology could explain the two men’s differing opinions.[74]

In 2009, David Shenk criticized Pinker for siding with the “nature” argument and for “never once acknowledg[ing] gene-environment interaction or epigenetics” in an article on nature versus nurture in The New York Times.[75] Pinker responded to a question about epigenetics as a possibility for the decline in violence in a lecture for the BBC World Service. Pinker said it was unlikely since the decline in violence happened too rapidly to be explained by genetic changes.[76] Helga Vierich and Cathryn Townsend wrote a critical review of Pinker’s sweeping “Civilizational” explanations for patterns of human violence and warfare in response to a lecture he gave at Cambridge University in September 2015.[77]

Steven Pinker is also noted for having identified the rename of Phillip Morris to Altria as an “egregious example” of phonesthesia, with the company attempting to “switch its image from bad people who sell addictive carcinogens to a place or state marked by altruism and other lofty values”.[78]

Pinker continued to court controversy through his 2018 book Enlightenment Now, in which he argues that enlightenment rationality has driven tremendous progress and should be defended against attacks from both the left and right. The Guardian criticized the book as a “triumphalist” work that has a “curious relationship to intellectual history” and overestimates the role of campus activists in mainstream discourse.[79] While promoting the book on the NPR show 1A, Pinker caused a minor social media backlash when he said that “I don’t think Malcolm X did the world much good.”[80][81][82]

In a debate with Pinker, post-colonial theorist Homi Bhabha argued that Enlightenment Now sees the perils of the modern age such as slavery, imperialism, world wars, genocide, inequality etc as glitches rather than costs for enlightenment’s gifts. But Pinker responded that the natural state of humanity has been poverty and disease, and knowledge has improved human welfare.[83]

Awards and distinctions[edit]

Pinker in Göttingen, 2010

Pinker was named one of Time‘s 100 most influential people in the world in 2004[84] and one of Prospect and Foreign Policy100 top public intellectuals in both years the poll was carried out, 2005[85] and 2008;[86] in 2010 and 2011 he was named by Foreign Policy to its list of top global thinkers.[87][88] In 2016, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.[89]

His research in cognitive psychology has won the Early Career Award (1984) and Boyd McCandless Award (1986) from the American Psychological Association, the Troland Research Award (1993) from the National Academy of Sciences, the Henry Dale Prize (2004) from the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and the George Miller Prize (2010) from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. He has also received honorary doctorates from the universities of NewcastleSurreyTel AvivMcGillSimon Fraser University and the University of Tromsø. He was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, in 1998 and in 2003. On May 13, 2006, he received the American Humanist Association‘s Humanist of the Year award for his contributions to public understanding of human evolution.[90]

Pinker has served on the editorial boards of journals such as Cognition, Daedalus, and PLOS One, and on the advisory boards of institutions for scientific research (e.g., the Allen Institute for Brain Science), free speech (e.g., the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), the popularization of science (e.g., the World Science Festival and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry), peace (e.g., the Peace Research Endowment), and secular humanism (e.g., the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the Secular Coalition for America).

Since 2008, he has chaired the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and wrote the essay on usage for the fifth edition of the Dictionary, which was published in 2011.

In February 2001 Steven Pinker, “whose hair has long been the object of admiration, and envy, and intense study”,[91] was nominated by acclamation as the first member of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS) organized by the Annals of Improbable Research.

Bibliography[edit]

Books[edit]

Articles and essays[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ C-SPAN | BookTV “In Depth with Steven Pinker” November 2nd 2008
  2. ^ “Steven Pinker”Desert Island Discs. 30 June 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  3. ^ Pinker, S. (2009). Language Learnability and Language Development, With New Commentary by the Author. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674042179. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  4. ^ https://mobile.twitter.com/sapinker/status/990944371578109952
  5. ^ Annie Maccoby Berglof «At home: Steven Pinker»
  6. ^ Curious Minds: How a Child Becomes a Scientist
  7. ^ Pinker, Steven (June 26, 2006). “Groups and Genes”The New Republic. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  8. ^ Shermer, Michael (2001-03-01). The Pinker Instinct. Altadena, CA: Skeptics Society & Skeptic Magazine. Retrieved 11 September 2007.
  9. ^ Steven Pinker: the mind reader The Guardian Accessed 25 November 2006.
  10. ^ Biography for Steven Pinker at imdb. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
  11. ^ “How Steven Pinker Works” by Kristin E. Blagg Archived 2014-10-17 at the Wayback MachineThe Harvard Crimson Accessed 3 February 2006.
  12. ^ Curriculum Vitae (PDF)Harvard University, retrieved June 23, 2017
  13. ^ Pinker, Steven. “Official Biography. Harvard University”. Pinker.wjh.harvard.edu. Archived from the original on 29 December 2005. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  14. ^ “The professoriate” Archived June 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., New College of the Humanities. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  15. ^ “Professor Stephen Pinker”, New College of the Humanities. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  16. ^ “Steven Pinker: the mind reader” by Ed Douglas The Guardian Accessed 3 February 2006.
  17. ^ Pinker, Steven (2002), The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human NaturePenguin PutnamISBN 0-670-03151-8.
  18. ^ Pinker, Steven, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (Viking, 2002), p. 341
  19. ^ “My Genome, My Self” by Steven Pinker The New York Times Sunday MagazineAccessed 10 April 2010.
  20. ^ “DNA and You – Personalized Genomics Goes Jewish”The Forward. 12 August 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2011.