March 12, 2018, Story 1: President Trump Unloads on Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Left Losers — Keep America Great! — Videos — Story 2: Case Closed: Absolutely No Evidence of Collusion of Trump or Cinton Campaign With Russians — Obama and Clinton Democratic Conspiracy and Destruction of Democratic Party — Video

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Story 1: President Trump Unloads on Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Left Losers — Videos —

Trump calls Chuck Todd ‘sleeping son of a bitch’

Trump veers off script with insults about Democrats

Full video: Trump rallies for Saccone in final days before Pennsylvania special election

After the Show Show: Keep America Great!

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Victor D Hanson; Explains Perfectly how Trump pulled off the biggest Upset in Presidential History

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Victor Davis Hanson – The Wind Behind Trump

Victor Davis Hanson – Revolt of the Forgotten Masses

Victor Davis Hanson’s brilliant analysis of never-Trump

 

Story 2: Absolutely No Evidence of Collusion of Trump or Cinton Campaign With Russians — Obama and Clinton Democratic Conspiracy and Destruction of Democratic Party — Video

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The Situation Room w/ Wolf Blitzer 03/12/18| House GOP ending Russia probe, says no collusion found

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Victor Davis Hanson on Obama and the current administartion

House Republicans say probe found no evidence of collusion between Trump, Russia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – House Intelligence Committee Republicans said on Monday the panel had finished conducting interviews in its investigation of Russia and the 2016 U.S. election, and found no collusion between President Donald Trump’s associates and Moscow’s efforts to influence the campaign.

“We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” committee Republicans said as they released an overview of their probe.

Representative Mike Conaway, who has led the panel’s investigation, said the panel had finished the interview phase of its probe.

“You never know what you never know, but we found no reason to think that there’s something we’re missing in this regard. We’ve talked to everybody we think we need to talk to,” Conaway said in an interview on Fox News Channel.

Committee Democrats had no immediate response to the announcement, which was expected. Panel Republicans have been saying for weeks they were near the end of the interview phase of the probe.

Reflecting a deep partisan divide on the House of Representatives panel, Democrats have been arguing that the probe is far from over. Representative Adam Schiff, the panel’s ranking Democrat, said last week that there were dozens more witnesses who should be called before the panel, and many more documents that should be subpoenaed.

Democrats have accused Republicans on the committee of shirking the investigation in order to protect Trump and his associates, some of whom have pleaded guilty to charges including lying to investigators and conspiring against the United States.

Trump has repeatedly denied collusion between his associates and Russia.

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Kevin Phillips — The Man Who Owns The News: The Secret World of Rupert Murdoch — Videos

Posted on December 26, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Book, Books, Business, College, Communications, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Documentary, Education, Elections, Employment, Faith, Family, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Islam, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, media, Narcissism, Newspapers, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Political Correctness, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Strategy, Talk Radio, Television, Unemployment, Video, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

DIGITAL AGE – Why Did Murdoch Buy The Journal? – Michael Wolff – Jan 25, 2009

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Murdoch biographer says family must step down from News Corp

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Rupert Murdoch: a seven-point plan for rehabilitation in British life

By Jane Martinson

How the News Corp mogul restored public links with David Cameron after the turbulence of the phone-hacking scandal and Leveson inquiry
Cameron, Osborne and Murdoch back together at mogul’s Christmas knees-up

Rupert Murdoch’s Christmas’s party – which drew David Cameron, George Osborne and other ministers on Monday – marks his return to the centre of power, the culmination of a seven-step process that has seen him regain his position at the top of British life:

1 A profession of humility

Psychologists say acknowledgement is always the first step on the road to recovery but it took Murdoch 12 days after the Guardian revealed that Milly Dowler’s phone was hacked to take out a full-page advert on 16 July 2011 saying: “We are sorry for the serious wrongdoing that occurred”. Andy Coulson had already resigned as Cameron’s spin doctor in January 2011 but within days of the Dowler revelations, Murdoch closed the 168-year-old News of the World and scrapped his plan to take over the whole of satellite broadcaster Sky. Brooks resigned to face charges and, by 19 July, a surprisingly frail-looking Murdoch told a House of Commons committee that he was facing “the most humble day of my life”.

2 A fistful of dollars

In total, News Corp spent $512m (£345m) on the closure of its Sunday tabloid and legal settlements for at least 377 victims of voicemail interception. Nine of the 12 journalists charged with phone hacking were convicted, while public officials were found guilty for accepting payments for information. After an eight-month trial, Coulson was found guilty of conspiring to hack phones, while Brooks was cleared of all charges in June 2014. (Having eventually served five months of his sentence, Coulson is now writing the odd piece for the Telegraph. The newspaper group denies that he is on a contract to advise chief executive Murdoch MacLennan).
3 A job for a friend

From the very beginning of the scandal, Murdoch said his top priority was looking after Rebekah Brooks. Within months of the end of her trial, Murdoch was looking at a range of senior jobs for Brooks, firstly in the US. Initial reports that she would rejoin the company were met with disbelief from senior insiders but, after her husband Charlie was understood to have ruled out a move to the US, Murdoch and Brooks started to think that a return to her old job was the best option. She was reappointed chief executive of News UK in September 2015 and, having spent weeks working long hours in the office, she is only now ready for meetings with her old contacts.

4 Let the authorities complete their work

The biggest fear all along for the News Corp boss was the possibility of corporate charges being pressed for phone hacking. Murdoch had already split his publishing arm, which includes the British newspapers as well as the Wall Street Journal, from the Fox film and television business, partly to protect the latter from any possible charges. In February, the Department of Justice declared that News Corp would not face any charges in the US in relation to phone hacking and payments to public officials, and earlier this month the Crown Prosecution Service dropped all corporate charges against News Corp. However, given the appeals against the decision launched by victims, the final curtain has not quite come down. Although no one expects the government to go ahead with “Leveson part two” into the “extent of unlawful and improper conduct”, it cannot confirm this until all criminal proceedings, including appeals, are dealt with.
5 A clear political order

Labour party leaders may have attended Murdoch soirees but the opposition went into the May general election with concern over media domination written into its manifesto. In contrast, the Conservatives’ first manifesto promise on the media was to warn the BBC that it would face a licence fee freeze. Osborne’s comments about Auntie’s “imperial ambitions” reminded everyone that the Liberal Democrats were no longer in government to argue against imposing the cost of free licence fees for the over-75s on the corporation.

Even so, the appearance of Cameron at a party attended by Murdoch and Brooks is remarkable, given the fact that few politicians were as embarrassed by phone hacking as he was. The prime minister’s close links with Brooks and the Murdochs – with their Christmas gatherings, country suppers and “LOL” texting – were revealed in some detail during the Leveson inquiry, which he launched in November 2011. It later emerged that he had ignored those warning him against appointing a man who had stood down from his role as editor of the News of the World as his spin doctor. Having accepted Coulson’s denials, Cameron said he warranted a “second chance”.

Chris Bryant, the former shadow culture secretary and phone-hacking victim, who has recently attended a party at the home of Evgeny Lebedev, said: “There is nothing intrinsically wrong with meeting a proprietor socially. However, I would have thought that Cameron in particular, as well as Osborne, would have learnt from the whole sorry saga that these informal contacts just start to smell dodgy.

“I have always known that, if they won the general election, the Tories would just bide their time before ushering Rupert back through the front door. It was one of the reasons I was so desperate for them not to win.”

6 Rediscover the contacts book

Under disclosure rules brought in by Cameron, we now know when he meets interested parties. So we know that Murdoch and senior News Corp executives met government ministers 10 times in the year to the end of March 2015, more than any other newspaper group. Murdoch also met Osborne twice in the month before the chancellor imposed the aforementioned costly financial settlement on the BBC in July.
7 A model relationship

With his sons busy in the US, a new woman has made the family patriarch a more frequent visitor to the UK. Having split with his third wife, Wendi Deng, in 2013, Murdoch happily posed for pictures at the Rugby World Cup in October alongside his new flame, the London-based Jerry Hall, 59-year-old former wife of Mick Jagger.

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/dec/23/rupert-murdoch-news-corp-david-cameron

    • #35 Rupert Murdoch & family

  • Real Time Net Worth As of 12/29/15
  • $11.9 Billion
  • Chairman and CEO, News Corp
Age
84
Source Of Wealth
media, Self Made
Self-Made Score
7
Residence
New York, NY
Citizenship
United States
Marital Status
Divorced
Children
6
Education
Bachelor of Arts / Science, Oxford University; Master of Arts, Oxford University

Rupert Murdoch & family on Forbes Lists

Rupert Murdoch, arguably the world’s most powerful media tycoon, stepped down from the CEO role at cable TV and broadcasting giant 21st Century Fox in July 2015 but remains executive co-chairman alongside his son Lachlan; his son James Murdoch took over as CEO. Rupert Murdoch also continues to chair News Corp, which owns The Wall Street Journal and other print operations. He built a media empire out of Adelaide, Australia; at 22 he inherited two newspapers when his father died. Today, the Murdoch family controls 120 newspapers in five countries; a large cable TV network comprised of the Fox channels in the U.S. and Fox International Channels across Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia; book publishing powerhouse HarperCollins; a movie studio and a large broadcasting and satellite TV arm.
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Majority of American People Support Trumps Temporary Ban on Muslims — Trump Takes Out Big Media and Leadership of Big Government Democratic and Republican Parties — Political Elitist Establishment (PEEs) Panic! — Trump/Cruz Republican Ticket Will Win By A Landside Running The Table — PEEs Wet Their Pants — Conservative Republicans in White House — Videos

Posted on December 15, 2015. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Bomb, Business, Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Dirty Bomb, Drones, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, media, Missiles, Money, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Rants, Raves, Rifles, Technology, Terrorism, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 590: December 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 589: December 9, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 588: December 7, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 587: December 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 586: December 3, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 585: December 2, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 584: December 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 583: November 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 582: November 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 581: November 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 580: November 23, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 579: November 20, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 578: November 19, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 577: November 18, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 576: November 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 575: November 16, 2015  (more…)

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Roku 4 vs. Competition — Videos

Posted on December 2, 2015. Filed under: Articles, Blogroll, Business, Communications, liberty, Life, Links, media, Media Streamers, Money, People, Technology, Television, Video, Wealth, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Roku 4: Our favorite TV streaming system gets 4K video and a remote locator

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Rupert Murdock — Videos

Posted on August 7, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Books, British History, Business, Communications, Corruption, Crisis, Cult, Documentary, Economics, Employment, Entertainment, Faith, Family, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, media, Movies, Newspapers, Radio, Television, Television | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

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How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 1

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    • #77 Rupert Murdoch & family

  • Real Time Net Worth As of 8/7/15
  • $12.7 Billion
  • Chairman and CEO, News Corp
Age
84
Source Of Wealth
media, Self Made
Self-Made Score
7
Residence
New York, NY
Citizenship
United States
Marital Status
Divorced
Children
6
Education
Bachelor of Arts / Science, Oxford University; Master of Arts, Oxford University
Rupert Murdoch & family on Forbes Lists
Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has one less thing to worry about. News Corp announced in February 2015 that the U.S. Department of Justice had finished its investigation related to the phone-hacking charges at Murdoch’ newspapers in London and would not prosecute News Corp or 21st Century Fox. On the management front, in March 2014 he got his sons Lachlan and James appointed to top positions at News Corporation and 21st Century Fox, ensuring that his legacy will live on. He also tried, and failed, to acquire Time Warner in what would have been an $80 billion mega-deal. Meanwhile Murdoch, who gave ex-wife Wendi Deng their Fifth Avenue apartment along with a residence in Beijing, bought himself a $57 million bachelor pad in Manhattan in 2014. He then sold his Beverly Hills estate for $30 million, reportedly to his son, James. Australian born, Murdoch inherited two Adelaide newspapers at age 22 after his father’s sudden death. The Murdoch empire includes 120 newspapers in at least five countries (including The Wall Street Journal), a massive cable network comprised of the Fox channels in the U.S. and across Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia, one of the largest movie studios with 21st Century Fox, book publishing powerhouse HarperCollins, and a broadcasting and satellite TV arm.

Rupert Murdoch Biography

Publisher (1931–)
Media magnate Rupert Murdoch is the founder and head of News Corporation, a global media conglomerate. He created FOX Broadcasting Company in 1986.

Synopsis

Rupert Murdoch was born on March 11, 1931, in Melbourne, Australia. His father was a famous war correspondent and newspaper publisher. Murdoch inherited his father’s papers, the Sunday Mail and the News, and continued to purchase other media outlets over the years. In the 1970s, he started buying American newspapers. Murdoch branched out into entertainment with the purchase of 20th Century Fox Film Corp. in 1985. He later launched his own cable news channel, FOX News.

Early Life and Career

Keith Rupert Murdoch was born on March 11, 1931, on a small farm about 30 miles south of Melbourne, Australia. Since birth, Murdoch has gone by his middle name, Rupert, the name of his maternal grandfather. His father, Keith Murdoch, was a well-known Australian journalist who owned a number of local and regional newspapers: the Herald in Melbourne, the Courier-Mail in Brisbane, and the News and Sunday Mail.

The family farm was named Cruden Farm, after the Scottish village from which both of Murdoch’s parents had emigrated. The house at Cruden Farm was a stone building with colonial pillars, adorned with original paintings, a grand piano and a library of books, situated amongst green expanses of farmland and bordered by Ghost Gum trees. Murdoch’s favorite childhood pastime was horseback riding. His mother later described her son’s childhood: “I think it was a very normal childhood, not in any way elaborate or an overindulged one. I suppose he was lucky to be brought up in attractive—you could say aesthetic—surroundings.”

The son of a well-respected journalist, Murdoch was groomed to enter the world of publishing from a very young age. He remembers, “I was brought up in a publishing home, a newspaper man’s home, and was excited by that, I suppose. I saw that life at close range, and after the age of ten or twelve never really considered any other.” Murdoch graduated from Geelong Grammar, a prestigious Australian boarding school, in 1949 before crossing the ocean to attend Worcester College at Oxford University in England. According to one of his early biographers, Murdoch was a “a normal, red-blooded college student who had many friends, chased girls, went on the usual drinking binges, engaged in slapdash horseplay, tried at sports and never had enough money, no doubt due to his gambling.” Murdoch’s fun-loving youthful ways came to an abrupt end when his father suddenly passed away in 1952, leaving his son the owner of his Adelaide newspapers, theNews and the Sunday Mail. After preparing himself with a brief apprenticeship under Lord Beaverbrook at the Daily Express in London, in 1953, a 22-year-old Murdoch returned to Australia to take up the reins of his father’s papers.

Media Mogul

Immediately upon assuming control of the Sunday Mail and the News, Murdoch immersed himself in all aspects of the papers’ daily operations. He wrote headlines, redesigned page layouts and labored in the typesetting and printing rooms. He quickly converted the News into a chronicle of crime, sex and scandal, and while these changes were controversial, the paper’s circulation soared. Only three years later, in 1956, Murdoch expanded his operations by purchasing the Perth-based Sunday Times, and revamped it in the sensationalist style of the News. Then, in 1960, Murdoch broke into the lucrative Sydney market by purchasing the struggling afternoon daily, theMirror, and slowly transforming it into Sydney’s best-selling afternoon paper. Encouraged by his success and harboring ambitions of political influence, in 1965 Murdoch founded Australia’s first national daily paper, the Australian, which helped to rebuild Murdoch’s image as a respectable news publisher.

In the fall of 1968, 37 years old and owner of an Australian news empire valued at $50 million, Murdoch moved to London and purchased the enormously popular Sunday tabloid, The News of the World. One year later, he purchased a struggling daily tabloid, the Sun, once again transformed the paper into a wild success with his formula of reporting heavily on sex, sports and crime. The Sun also attracted readers by including pictures of topless women in its infamous “Page 3” feature.

Murdoch next expanded his news empire to the United States, with the 1973 acquisition of a Texas-based tabloid, the San Antonio News. As he had done in Australia and England, Murdoch quickly set out to expand across the country, founding a national tabloid, the Star, in 1974 and purchasing theNew York Post in 1976. In 1979, Murdoch founded News Corporation, commonly referred to as News Corp., as a holding company for his various media properties.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Murdoch acquired news outlets around the globe at a dizzying pace. In the United States, he bought up the Chicago Sun-Times, the Village Voice and New York magazine. In England, he acquired the eminently respectable Times and Sunday Times of London.

It was also during these years that Murdoch began expanding his media empire into television and entertainment. In 1985, he purchased 20th Century FOX Film Corporation as well as several independent television stations and consolidated these companies into FOX, Inc.—which has since become a major American television network. In 1990, he founded STAR TV, a Hong Kong-based television broadcasting company that broadcasts to over 320 million viewers across Asia. Throughout the late 1980s, he purchased several prestigious American and British academic and literary publishing companies and consolidated them into HarperCollins in 1990. Murdoch has also invested in sports; he is a part owner of the Los Angeles Kings NHL franchise, the Los Angeles Lakers NBA franchise and the Staples Center, as well as FOX Sports Radio and FOXSports.com.

Later Career

With the dawn of the new century, Murdoch continued to expand News Corp’s holdings to control more and more of the media people view on a daily basis. In 2005, he purchased Intermix Media, the owner of the popular social networking site MySpace.com. Two years later, in 2007, the longtime newspaper mogul made headlines himself with the purchase of Dow Jones, the owner of the Wall Street Journal.

Murdoch has drawn wide criticism for monopolizing control over international media outlets as well as for his conservative political views, which are often reflected in the reporting of Murdoch-controlled outlets such as FOX News Channel. In the 2010 American midterm elections, News Corp donated $1 million each to the Republican Governors Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a group supporting Republican candidates. Critics argued that the owner of major news sources covering the election should not contribute directly to the political campaigns involved.

His empire, however, was dealt a significant blow in 2011. His London tabloid, The News of the World, was caught up in a phone hacking scandal. Several editors and journalists were brought up on charges for illegally accessing the voicemails of some of Britain’s leading figures. Rupert himself was called to testify that same year, and he shut down The News of the World. News Corp later paid damages to some of individuals who were hacked.

Despite this scandal, News Corp retains a significant share of virtually all forms of media across the globe. Murdoch owns many of the books and newspapers people read, the television shows and films they watch, the radio stations they listen to, the websites they visit, and the blogs and social networks they create. In 2013, he announced a significant restructuring of his empire. Murdoch decided to divide his business into two companies—21st Century Fox Inc. and News Corp. This move separated his entertainment holdings from his publishing interests. According to the Los Angeles Times, Murdoch explained that “Both companies will be uniquely positioned to execute on their respective strategic objectives and to lead their industries forward.”

Although he could never have imagined the power he would one day yield, this kind of influence was exactly what Murdoch sought as a young publisher building his empire. “I sensed the excitement and the power,” he recalls. “Not raw power, but the ability to influence at least the agenda of what was going on.” And after six decades working in the media, Murdoch has said that he could not imagine his life any other way. “If you’re in the media, particularly newspapers, you are in the thick of all the interesting things that are going on in a community, and I can’t imagine any other life that one would want to dedicate oneself to,” he said.

In June 2015, news broke that Murdoch would be handing over the leadership of 21st Century Fox to his son James. James would become the company’s chief executive while Murdoch would stay on in the organization as the executive co-chairman. Murdoch would share this position with his oldest son Lachlan. The company’s board must approve this plan before it can be implemented.

Personal Life

Rupert Murdoch married Patricia Booker in 1956. They had a daughter, Prudence, before divorcing in 1965. He married Anna Torv in 1967, and they had four children before eventually divorcing in 1999. Only 17 days after his second divorce, Murdoch married his third wife, Wendi Deng. They have two children.

Murdoch filed for divorce from Deng in June 2013, citing that the “relationship between husband and wife had broken down irretrievably” in court papers. The news of the split came as a surprise to some, but there had some rumors of trouble in the marriage in recent years. The couple has a prenuptial agreement, but many have speculated that there may still be a battle for his billions.

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Rupert Murdoch

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch - Flickr - Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer.jpg
Murdoch at Les Misérables premiere in Sydney, on 21 December 2012

BornKeith Rupert Murdoch
11 March 1931 (age 84)
Melbourne, AustraliaNationalityAmericanCitizenshipUnited States (naturalized 1985)[a]Alma materWorcester College, OxfordOccupationChairman and CEO of News Corporation (1979–2013)
Executive chairman of News Corp (2013–present)
Chairman and CEO of 21st Century Fox (2013–2015)
Executive co-chairman of 21st Century Fox (2015–present)Net worthDecrease US$13.4 billion (June 2015)[1]Political partyConservative
Republican
Liberal partyBoard member ofNews Corp
21st Century FoxReligionChristian[2][3]Spouse(s)Patricia Booker
(1956–1967, 1 child)
Anna Murdoch Mann
(1967–1999, 3 children)
Wendi Deng
(1999–2013, 2 children)[4]ChildrenPrudence (b. 1958)[5]
Elisabeth (b. 1968)[5]
Lachlan (b. 1971)[5]
James (b. 1972)[5]
Grace (b. 2001)[6]
Chloe (b. 2003)[5]Parent(s)Keith Murdoch (1885–1952)
Elisabeth Joy (1909–2012)RelativesJanet Calvert-Jones (sister)
Anne Kantor (sister)
Helen Handbury (sister)
Matthew Freud (son-in-law)
Sarah Murdoch (daughter-in-law)AwardsCompanion of the Order of Australia (1984)[7]Notes

  1. Jump up^ Australian citizenship lost in 1985 (under S17 of Australian Citizenship Act 1948) with acquisition of US nationality.

Keith Rupert Murdoch /ˈmɜrdɒk/,[8] AC, KCSG (born 11 March 1931) is an Australian American business magnate. Murdoch became managing director of Australia’sNews Limited, inherited from his father Sir Keith Arthur Murdoch in 1952.[6][9] He is the founder, chairman and CEO of global media holding company News Corporation, the world’s second-largest media conglomerate, and its successors News Corp and 21st Century Fox after the conglomerate split on 28 June 2013.[10][11][12][13]

In the 1950s and ’60s, he acquired various newspapers in Australia and New Zealand, before expanding into the United Kingdom in 1969, taking over the News of the World followed closely by The Sun. He moved to New York City in 1974 to expand into the US market, but retained interests in Australia and Britain. In 1981, he boughtThe Times, his first British broadsheet, and became a naturalised US citizen in 1985 to satisfy the legal requirement for US television ownership.[9]

In 1986, keen to adopt newer electronic publishing technologies, he consolidated his UK printing operations in Wapping, causing bitter industrial disputes. His News Corporation acquired Twentieth Century Fox (1985), HarperCollins (1989)[14] and The Wall Street Journal (2007). He formed the British broadcaster BSkyB in 1990, and during the 1990s expanded into Asian networks and South American television. By 2000, Murdoch’s News Corporation owned over 800 companies in more than 50 countries with a net worth of over $5 billion.

In July 2011, Murdoch faced allegations that his companies, including the News of the World, owned by News Corporation, had been regularly hacking the phones of celebrities, royalty and public citizens. He faces police and government investigations into bribery and corruption by the British government and FBI investigations in the US.[15][16] On 21 July 2012, Murdoch resigned as a director of News International.[17][18] On July 1, 2015, Murdoch left his post as CEO of 21st Century Fox.[19]

Early life

Murdoch was born Keith Rupert Murdoch on 11 March 1931 in Melbourne, Australia to Sir Keith Murdoch (1885–1952) and Elisabeth Joy Greene (1909–2012), daughter of Rupert Greene. Rupert is of English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry. His parents were also born in Melbourne. Keith Murdoch was a war correspondent and later a regional newspaper magnate owning two newspapers in Adelaide, South Australia, and a radio station in a faraway mining town.[9] Later in life, Keith Rupert chose to use Rupert, the first name of his maternal grandfather.

Keith Murdoch the elder asked for a rendezvous with his future wife after seeing her debutante photograph in one of his own newspapers and they married in 1928, when she was aged 19 and he 23 years her senior.[20] In addition to Rupert, the couple had three daughters: Janet Calvert-Jones, Anne Kantor and Helen Handbury (1929–2004). Murdoch attended Geelong Grammar School,[21] where he had his first experience of editing a publication, being co-editor of the school’s official journal The Corian and editor of the student journal If Revived.[22][23] He also took his school’s cricket team to the National Junior Finals. He worked part-time at the Melbourne Heraldand was groomed by his father from an early age to take over the family business.[6][9] Murdoch read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Worcester College, Oxford in England, where he supported the Labour Party[6] and managed Oxford Student Publications Limited, the publishing house of Cherwell.[24] After her husband’s death from cancer in 1952, Elisabeth Murdoch went on to invest herself in charity work, as life governor of the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne and establishing the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. At 102 (in 2011), she had 74 descendants.[20] Murdoch completed an MA before working as a sub-editor with the Daily Express for two years.[9]

Activities in Australia and New Zealand

Journalist Sir Keith Murdoch (1885–1952), Rupert Murdoch’s father

Following his father’s death, when he was 21, Murdoch returned from Oxford to take charge of the family business News Limited, which had been established in 1923. Rupert Murdoch turned its newspaper, Adelaide News, its main asset, into a major success.[6] He began to direct his attention to acquisition and expansion, buying the troubled Sunday Times in Perth, Western Australia (1956) and over the next few years acquiring suburban and provincial newspapers in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory, including the Sydney afternoon tabloid, The Daily Mirror (1960). The Economist describes Murdoch as “inventing the modern tabloid”,[25] as he developed a pattern for his newspapers, increasing sports and scandal coverage and adopting eye-catching headlines.[9]

Murdoch’s first foray outside Australia involved the purchase of a controlling interest in the New Zealand daily The Dominion. In January 1964, while touring New Zealand with friends in a rented Morris Minor after sailing across the Tasman, Murdoch read of a takeover bid for the Wellington paper by the British-based Canadian newspaper magnate, Lord Thomson of Fleet. On the spur of the moment, he launched a counter-bid. A four-way battle for control ensued in which the 32-year-old Murdoch was ultimately successful.[26] Later in 1964, Murdoch launched The Australian, Australia’s first national daily newspaper, which was based first in Canberra and later in Sydney.[27] In 1972, Murdoch acquired the Sydney morning tabloid The Daily Telegraph from Australian media mogul Sir Frank Packer, who later regretted selling it to him.[28] In 1984, Murdoch was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for services to publishing.[29]

In 1999, Murdoch significantly expanded his music holdings in Australia by acquiring the controlling share in a leading Australian independent label, Michael Gudinski‘s Mushroom Records; he merged that with Festival Records, and the result was Festival Mushroom Records (FMR). Both Festival and FMR were managed by Murdoch’s son James Murdoch for several years.[30]

Political activities in Australia

Murdoch found a political ally in John McEwen, leader of the Australian Country Party (now known as the National Party of Australia), who was governing in coalition with the larger Menzies-Holt Liberal Party. From the very first issue of The Australian Murdoch began taking McEwen’s side in every issue that divided the long-serving coalition partners. (The Australian, 15 July 1964, first edition, front page: “Strain in Cabinet, Liberal-CP row flares.”) It was an issue that threatened to split the coalition government and open the way for the stronger Australian Labor Party to dominate Australian politics. It was the beginning of a long campaign that served McEwen well.[31]

After McEwen and Menzies retired, Murdoch threw his growing power behind the Australian Labor Party under the leadership of Gough Whitlam and duly saw it elected[32] on a social platform that included universal free health care, free education for all Australians to tertiary level, recognition of the People’s Republic of China, and public ownership of Australia’s oil, gas and mineral resources. Rupert Murdoch’s backing of Whitlam turned out to be brief. Murdoch had already started his short-lived National Star[31] newspaper in America, and was seeking to strengthen his political contacts there.[33]

Asked about the Australian federal election, 2007 at News Corporation’s annual general meeting in New York on 19 October 2007, its chairman Rupert Murdoch said, “I am not commenting on anything to do withAustralian politics. I’m sorry. I always get into trouble when I do that.” Pressed as to whether he believed Prime Minister John Howard should continue as prime minister, he said: “I have nothing further to say. I’m sorry. Read our editorials in the papers. It’ll be the journalists who decide that – the editors.”[34] In 2009, in response to accusations by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd that News Limited was running vendettas against him and his government, Murdoch opined that Rudd was “oversensitive”.[35] Murdoch described Howard’s successor, Labor Party Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, as “…more ambitious to lead the world [in tackling climate change] than to lead Australia…” and criticised Rudd’s expansionary fiscal policies in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 as unnecessary.[36] Although News Limited’s interests are extensive, also including the Daily Telegraph, the Courier-Mail and the Adelaide Advertiser, it was suggested by the commentator Mungo MacCallum in The Monthly that “the anti-Rudd push, if coordinated at all, was almost certainly locally driven” as opposed to being directed by Murdoch, who also took a different position from local editors on such matters as climate change and stimulus packages to combat the financial crisis.[37]

Activities in the United Kingdom

Business activities in the United Kingdom

Rupert Murdoch – World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, in 2007

In 1968 Murdoch entered the British newspaper market with his acquisition of the populist News of the World, followed in 1969 with the purchase of the struggling daily broadsheet The Sun from IPC.[38] Murdoch turned The Sun into a tabloid format and reduced costs by using the same printing press for both newspapers. On acquiring it, he appointed Albert ‘Larry’ Lamb as editor and – Lamb recalled later – told him: “I want a tearaway paper with lots of tits in it”. In 1997 The Sun attracted 10 million daily readers.[9] In 1981, Murdoch acquired the struggling Times and Sunday Times from Canadian newspaper publisher Lord Thomson of Fleet.[38] Ownership of The Times came to him through his relationship with Lord Thomson, who had grown tired of losing money on it as a result of much industrial action that stopped publication.[39] In the light of success and expansion at The Sun the owners believed that Murdoch could turn the papers around. Harold Evans, Editor of the Sunday Times from 1967, was made head of the daily Times, though he stayed only a year amid editorial conflict with Murdoch.[40][41]

During the 1980s and early 1990s, Murdoch’s publications were generally supportive of Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.[42] At the end of the Thatcher/Major era, Murdoch switched his support to the Labour Party and its leader, Tony Blair. The closeness of his relationship with Blair and their secret meetings to discuss national policies was to become a political issue in Britain.[43] This later changed, with The Sun, in its English editions, publicly renouncing the ruling Labour government and lending its support to David Cameron‘sConservative Party, which soon afterwards formed a coalition government. In Scotland, where the Tories had yet to recover from their complete annihilation in 1997, the paper began to endorse the Scottish National Party (though not yet its flagship policy of independence), which soon after came to form the first ever outright majority in the proportionally elected Scottish Parliament. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s official spokesman said in November 2009 that Brown and Murdoch “were in regular communication” and that “there is nothing unusual in the prime minister talking to Rupert Murdoch”.[44]

In 1986, Murdoch introduced electronic production processes to his newspapers in Australia, Britain and the United States. The greater degree of automation led to significant reductions in the number of employees involved in the printing process. In England, the move roused the anger of the print unions, resulting in a long and often violent dispute that played out in Wapping, one of London’s docklands areas, where Murdoch had installed the very latest electronic newspaper purpose-built publishing facility in an old warehouse.[45] The bitter dispute at Wapping started with the dismissal of 6,000 employees who had gone on strike and resulted in street battles and demonstrations. Many on the political left in Britain alleged the collusion of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government with Murdoch in the Wapping affair, as a way of damaging the British trade union movement.[46][47][48] In 1987, the dismissed workers accepted a settlement of £60 million.[9]

Murdoch’s British-based satellite network, Sky Television, incurred massive losses in its early years of operation. As with many of his other business interests, Sky was heavily subsidised by the profits generated by his other holdings, but convinced rival satellite operator British Satellite Broadcasting to accept a merger on his terms in 1990.[9] They were quick to see the advantages of direct to home (DTH) satellite broadcasting that did not require costly cable networks and the merged company, BSkyB, has dominated the British pay-TV market ever since.[49] By 1996, BSkyB had more than 3.6 million subscribers, triple the number of cable customers in the UK.[9] British financier Lord Jacob Rothschild, a close Murdoch friend since the 1960s, served as deputy chairman of Murdoch’s BSkyB corporation from 2003–2007, and Murdoch jointly invested with Rothschild in a 5.5 percent stake in Genie Oil and Gas, which conducted shale gas and oil exploration in Israel.[50]

In response to print media’s decline and the increasing influence of online journalism during the 2000s, Murdoch proclaimed his support of the micropayments model for obtaining revenue from on-line news,[51]although this has been criticised by some.[52]

News Corporation has subsidiaries in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, the Channel Islands and the Virgin Islands. From 1986, News Corporation’s annual tax bill averaged around seven percent of its profits.[53]

Political activities in United Kingdom

In Britain, in the 1980s, Murdoch formed a close alliance with Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher, and The Sun credited itself with helping her successor John Major to win an unexpected election victory in the 1992 general election, which had been expected to end in a hung parliament or a narrow win for Neil Kinnock‘s Labour.[54] In the general elections of 1997, 2001 and 2005, Murdoch’s papers were either neutral or supported Labour under Tony Blair.[citation needed]

The Labour Party, from when Tony Blair became leader in 1994, had moved from the Left to a more central position on many economic issues prior to 1997. Murdoch identifies himself as a libertarian, saying “What does libertarian mean? As much individual responsibility as possible, as little government as possible, as few rules as possible. But I’m not saying it should be taken to the absolute limit.”[55]

In a 2005 speech delivered in New York, Murdoch said that Blair described the BBC coverage of the Hurricane Katrina disaster as being full of hatred of America.[56]

In 1998, Rupert Murdoch made an attempt to buy the football club Manchester United F.C.,[57] with an offer of £625 million, but this failed. It was the largest amount ever offered for a sports club. It was blocked by the United Kingdom’s Competition Commission, which stated that the acquisition would have “hurt competition in the broadcast industry and the quality of British football”.

On 28 June 2006 the BBC reported that Murdoch and News Corporation were considering backing new Conservative leader David Cameron at the next General Election – still up to four years away.[58] In a later interview in July 2006, when he was asked what he thought of the Conservative leader, Murdoch replied “Not much”.[59] In a 2009 blog, it was suggested that in the aftermath of the News of the World phone hacking scandal which is still ongoing in 2012 and might yet have Transatlantic implications[60] Murdoch and News Corporation might have decided to back Cameron.[61] Despite this, there had already been a convergence of interests between the two men over the muting of Britain’s communications regulator Ofcom.[62]

In 2006, Britain’s Independent newspaper reported that Murdoch would offer Tony Blair a senior role in his global media company News Corporation when the prime minister stood down from office.[63]

He is accused by former Solidarity MSP Tommy Sheridan of having a personal vendetta against him and of conspiring with MI5 to produce a video of him confessing to having affairs – allegations over which Sheridan had previously sued News International and won.[64] On being arrested for perjury following the case, Sheridan claimed that the charges were “orchestrated and influenced by the powerful reach of the Murdoch empire”.[65]

In August 2008, British Conservative leader and future Prime Minister David Cameron accepted free flights to hold private talks and attend private parties with Murdoch on his yacht, the Rosehearty.[66] Cameron has declared in the Commons register of interests he accepted a private plane provided by Murdoch’s son-in-law, public relations guru Matthew Freud; Cameron has not revealed his talks with Murdoch. The gift of travel in Freud’s Gulfstream IV private jet was valued at around £30,000. Other guests attending the “social events” included the then EU trade commissioner Lord Mandelson, the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and co-chairman of NBC Universal Ben Silverman. The Conservatives have not disclosed what was discussed.[67]

In July 2011, it emerged that Cameron met key executives of Murdoch’s News Corporation 26 times during the 14 months that Cameron had served as Prime Minister.[68] It was also reported that Murdoch had given Cameron a personal guarantee that there would be no risk attached to hiring Andy Coulson, the former editor of News of the World, as the Conservative Party’s communication director in 2007.[69] This was in spite of Coulson having resigned as editor over phone hacking by a reporter. Cameron chose to take Murdoch’s advice, despite warnings from Nick Clegg, Lord Ashdown and The Guardian.[70] Coulson resigned his post in 2011 and was later arrested and questioned on allegations of further criminal activity at The News of the World, specifically the News International phone hacking scandal. As a result of the subsequent trial, Coulson was sentenced to 18 months in jail.[71]

News International phone hacking scandal

In July 2011 Rupert Murdoch, along with his son James, provided testimony before a British parliamentary committee regarding phone hacking. In the U.K., his media empire remains under fire as investigators continue to probe reports of other phone hacking.[72]

On 14 July, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons served a summons on Murdoch, his son James, and his former CEO Rebekah Brooks to testify before a committee on 19 July.[73] After an initial refusal, the Murdochs confirmed they would attend after the committee issued them a summons to Parliament.[74] The day before the committee, the website of the News Corporation publication The Sunwas hacked, and a false story was posted on the front page claiming that Murdoch had died.[75] Murdoch described the day of the committee “the most humble day of my life”. He argued that since he ran a global business of 53,000 employees and that the News of the World was “just 1%” of this, he was not ultimately responsible for what went on at the tabloid. He added that he had not considered resigning,[76] and that he and the other top executives had been completely unaware of the hacking.[77][78]

On 15 July, Murdoch attended a private meeting in London with the family of Milly Dowler, where he personally apologized for the hacking of their murdered daughter’s voicemail by a company he owns.[79][80] On 16 and 17 July, News International published two full-page apologies in many of Britain’s national newspapers. The first apology took the form of a letter, signed by Rupert Murdoch, in which he said sorry for the “serious wrongdoing” that occurred. The second was titled “Putting right what’s gone wrong”, and gave more detail about the steps News International was taking to address the public’s concerns.[80] In the wake of the allegations Murdoch accepted the resignations of Rebekah Brooks, head of Murdoch’s British operations, and Les Hinton, head of Dow Jones who was chairman of Murdoch’s British newspaper division when some of the abuses happened. They both deny any knowledge of any wrongdoing under their command.[81]

On 27 February 2012, the following day after Murdoch’s controversial release of the Sun on Sunday, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers informed the Leveson Inquiry that police are investigating a “network of corrupt officials” as part of their inquiries into phone hacking and police corruption. She said that evidence suggested a “culture of illegal payments” at the Sun newspaper and that these payments allegedly made by the Sun were authorised at a senior level.[82]

In testimony on 25 April 2012, Murdoch did not deny the quote attributed to him by his former editor of The Sunday Times, Harold Evans: “I give instructions to my editors all round the world, why shouldn’t I in London?”[83][84] On 1 May 2012, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee issued a report stating that Murdoch was “not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company”.[85][86]

On 3 July 2013 Exaro and Channel 4 news broke the story of a secretly recorded tape. The tape was recorded by Sun journalists and in it Murdoch can be heard telling them that the whole investigation was one big fuss over nothing, and that he, or his successors, would take care of any journalists who went to prison.[87] He said: “Why are the police behaving in this way? It’s the biggest inquiry ever, over next to nothing.”[88]

Activities in the United States

Murdoch made his first acquisition in the United States in 1973, when he purchased the San Antonio Express-News. Soon afterwards, he founded Star, a supermarket tabloid, and in 1976, he purchased the New York Post.[9] On 4 September 1985, Murdoch became a naturalized citizen to satisfy the legal requirement that only US citizens were permitted to own US television stations. This resulted in Murdoch losing his Australian citizenship.[89][90]

Marvin Davis sold Marc Rich‘s interest in 20th Century Fox to Murdoch for $250 million in March 1984. Davis later backed out of a deal with Murdoch to purchase John Kluge‘s Metromedia television stations.[91]Murdoch went alone and bought the stations, and later bought out Davis’ remaining stake in Fox for $325 million.[91] The six television stations owned by Metromedia would form the nucleus of the Fox Broadcasting Company, founded on 9 October 1986, which would go on to have great success with programmes such as The Simpsons and The X-Files.[9]

In 1987 in Australia, he bought The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd, the company that his father had once managed. By 1990 News Corporation had built up debts of $7 billion (much from Sky TV in the UK).[9] forcing Murdoch to sell many of the American magazine interests he had acquired in the mid-1980s. In 1993, it took exclusive coverage of the National Football League (NFL) from CBS and increased programming to seven days a week.[92] In 1995, Murdoch’s Fox Network became the object of scrutiny from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), when it was alleged that News Ltd.’s Australian base made Murdoch’s ownership of Fox illegal. However, the FCC ruled in Murdoch’s favour, stating that his ownership of Fox was in the best interests of the public. That same year, Murdoch announced a deal with MCI Communicationsto develop a major news website and magazine, The Weekly Standard. Also that year, News Corporation launched the Foxtel pay television network in Australia in partnership with Telstra. In 1996, Murdoch decided to enter the cable news market with the Fox News Channel, a 24-hour cable news station. Ratings studies released in 2009 showed that the network was responsible for nine of the top ten programs in the “Cable News” category at that time.[93] Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner (founder and former owner of CNN) are long-standing rivals.[94] In late 2003, Murdoch acquired a 34 percent stake in Hughes Electronics, the operator of the largest American satellite TV system, DirecTV, from General Motors for $6 billion (USD).[29] His Fox movie studio would go on to have global hits with Titanic and Avatar.[95]

In 2004, Murdoch announced that he was moving News Corporation headquarters from Adelaide, Australia to the United States. Choosing a US domicile was designed to ensure that American fund managers could purchase shares in the company, since many were deciding not to buy shares in non-US companies.[citation needed]

News Corporation logo

On 20 July 2005, News Corporation bought Intermix Media Inc., which held Myspace, Imagine Games Network and other social networking-themed websites, for $580 million USD, making Murdoch a major player in online media concerns.[96] In June 2011, it sold off Myspace for US$35 million.[97] On 11 September 2005, News Corporation announced that it would buy IGN Entertainment for $650 million (USD).[98]

In May 2007, Murdoch made a $5 billion offer to purchase Dow Jones. At the time, the Bancroft family, who had owned the Dow Jones for 105 years and controlled 64% of the shares at the time, declined the offer. Later, the Bancroft family confirmed a willingness to consider a sale. Besides Murdoch, the Associated Press reported that supermarket magnate Ron Burkle and Internet entrepreneur Brad Greenspan were among the other interested parties.[99] In 2007, Murdoch acquired Dow Jones,[100][101] which gave him such publications as The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s Magazine, the Far Eastern Economic Review (based in Hong Kong) and SmartMoney.[102]

In June 2014, Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox made a bid for Time Warner at $85 per share in stock and cash ($80 billion total) which Time Warner’s board of directors turned down in July. Warner’s CNN unit would have been sold to ease antitrust issues of the purchase.[103] On 5 August 2014 the company announced it had withdrawn its offer for Time Warner, and said it would spend $6 billion buying back its own shares over the following 12 months.[104]

Political activities in the United States

McNight (2010) identifies four characteristics of his media operations: free market ideology; unified positions on matters of public policy; global editorial meetings; and opposition to a liberal bias in other public media.[105]

On 8 May 2006, the Financial Times reported that Murdoch would be hosting a fund-raiser for Senator Hillary Clinton‘s (D-New York) Senate re-election campaign.[106] In a 2008 interview with Walt Mossberg, Murdoch was asked whether he had “anything to do with the New York Posts endorsement of Barack Obama in the democratic primaries.” Without hesitating, Murdoch replied, “Yeah. He is a rock star. It’s fantastic. I love what he is saying about education. I don’t think he will win Florida… but he will win in Ohio and the election. I am anxious to meet him. I want to see if he will walk the walk.”[107][108] Murdoch is a strong supporter of Israel and its domestic policies.[109]

In 2010, News Corporation gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association and $1 million to the conservative U.S. Chamber of Commerce.[110][111][112] Murdoch also served on the board of directors of thelibertarian Cato Institute.[113] He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[114] Murdoch is also a supporter of the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect Intellectual Property Act.[115]

Murdoch is a supporter of more open immigration policies in western nations generally.[116] In the United States, Murdoch and chief executives from several major corporations, including Hewlett-Packard, Boeing andDisney joined New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to form the Partnership for a New American Economy to advocate “for immigration reform – including a path to legal status for all illegal aliens now in the United States.”[117] The coalition, reflecting Murdoch and Bloomberg’s own views, also advocates significant increases in legal immigration to the United States as a means of boosting America’s sluggish economy and lowering unemployment. The Partnership’s immigration policy prescriptions are notably similar to those of the Cato Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—both of which Murdoch has supported in the past.[118]

The Wall Street Journal editorial page has similarly advocated for increased legal immigration, in contrast to the staunch anti-immigration stance of Murdoch’s British newspaper, The Sun.[119] On 5 September 2010, Murdoch testified before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law Membership on the “Role of Immigration in Strengthening America’s Economy.” In his testimony, Murdoch called for ending mass deportations and endorsed a “comprehensive immigration reform” plan that would include a pathway to citizenship for all illegal immigrants.[117]

In the 2012 U.S. Presidential election, Murdoch was critical of the competence of Mitt Romney‘s team but was nonetheless strongly supportive of a Republican victory, tweeting: “Of course I want him [Romney] to win, save us from socialism, etc.”[120]

In May 2013, Murdoch purchased the Moraga Estate, an estate, vineyard and winery in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California.[121][122]

Activities in Europe

Murdoch owns controlling interest in Sky Italia, a satellite television provider in Italy.[123] Murdoch’s business interests in Italy have been a source of contention since they began.[123] In 2010 Murdoch won a media dispute with then Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. A judge ruled the then Prime Minister’s media arm Mediaset prevented News Corporation’s Italian unit, Sky Italia, from buying advertisements on its television networks.[124]

Activities in Asia

In 1993, Murdoch acquired Star TV, a Hong Kong company founded by Richard Li[125] for $1 billion (Souchou, 2000:28), and subsequently set up offices for it throughout Asia. The deal enables News International to broadcast from Hong Kong to India, China, Japan and over thirty other countries in Asia, becoming one of the biggest satellite TV networks in the east.[9] However, the deal did not work out as Murdoch had planned, because the Chinese government placed restrictions on it that prevented it from reaching most of China.

Personal life

Marriage

Murdoch with his third wife, Wendi, in 2011

In 1956 Murdoch married Patricia Booker, a former shop assistant and flight attendant from Melbourne and they had their only child, Prudence, in 1958.[126][127] Rupert and Patricia Murdoch divorced in 1967.[5]

In 1967 Murdoch married Anna Maria Torv (Tõrv),[126] a Scottish-born cadet journalist working for his Sydney newspaper The Daily Telegraph.[5] During his marriage to Torv, a Roman Catholic, Murdoch was made a Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great (KSG), a papal honour awarded by Pope John Paul II.[128] Torv and Murdoch had three children: Elisabeth Murdoch (born in Sydney, Australia on 22 August 1968), Lachlan Murdoch (born in London, UK on 8 September 1971), and James Murdoch, (born in London on 13 December 1972).[126][127] Murdoch’s companies published two novels by his then wife: Family Business (1988) and Coming to Terms (1991), both widely regarded[129] as vanity publications. They divorced in June 1999. Anna Murdoch received a settlement of US$1.2 billion in assets.[130]

On 25 June 1999, 17 days after divorcing his second wife, Murdoch, then aged 68, married Chinese-born Wendi Deng.[131] She was 30, a recent Yale School of Managementgraduate, and a newly appointed vice-president of his STAR TV. Murdoch has two daughters with her; Grace (born 2001) and Chloe (born 2003). Rupert Murdoch has six children in all, and is grandfather to thirteen grandchildren.[132] On 13 June 2013, a News Corporation spokesperson confirmed that Murdoch filed for divorce from Deng in New York City, U.S.[133] According to the spokesman, the marriage had been irretrievably broken for more than six months.[134] Murdoch also ended his long-standing relationship with Tony Blair after suspecting him of having an affair with Deng while they were still married.[135]

Children

Murdoch has six children.[136] His eldest child, Prudence MacLeod, was appointed on 28 January 2011 to the board of Times Newspapers Ltd, part of News International, which publishes The Times and The Sunday Times.[137] Murdoch’s eldest son Lachlan, formerly the deputy chief operating officer at the News Corporation and the publisher of the New York Post, was Murdoch’s heir apparent before resigning from his executive posts at the global media company at the end of July 2005.[136] Lachlan’s departure left James Murdoch chief executive of the satellite television service British Sky Broadcasting since November 2003, as the only Murdoch son still directly involved with the company’s operations, though Lachlan has agreed to remain on the News Corporation’s board.[138]

After graduating from Vassar College[139] and marrying classmate Elkin Kwesi Pianim (the son of Ghanaian financial and political mogul Kwame Pianim) in 1993,[139] Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth, along with her husband, purchased a pair of NBC-affiliate television stations in California, KSBW and KSBY, with a $35 million loan provided by her father. By quickly re-organising and re-selling them at a $12 million profit in 1995, Elisabeth emerged as an unexpected rival to her brothers for the eventual leadership of the publishing dynasty’s empire. But after divorcing her first husband in 1998 and quarrelling publicly with her assigned mentorSam Chisholm at BSkyB, she struck out on her own as a television and film producer in London. She has since enjoyed independent success, in conjunction with her second husband, Matthew Freud, the great-grandson of Sigmund Freud (the founder of psychoanalysis) whom she met in 1997 and married in 2001.[139]

It is not known how long Murdoch will remain as News Corporation’s CEO. For a while the American cable television entrepreneur John Malone was the second-largest voting shareholder in News Corporation after Murdoch himself, potentially undermining the family’s control. In 2007, the company announced that it would sell certain assets and give cash to Malone’s company in exchange for its stock. In 2007, the company issued Murdoch’s older children voting stock.[citation needed]

Murdoch has two children with Wendi Deng: Grace (b. New York, 19 November 2001)[6] and Chloe (b. New York, 17 July 2003).[5][127] It was revealed in September 2011 that Tony Blair is Grace’s godfather.[140]There is reported to be tension between Murdoch and his oldest children over the terms of a trust holding the family’s 28.5 percent stake in News Corporation, estimated in 2005 to be worth about $6.1 billion. Under the trust, his children by Wendi Deng share in the proceeds of the stock but have no voting privileges or control of the stock. Voting rights in the stock are divided 50/50 between Murdoch on the one side and his children of his first two marriages. Murdoch’s voting privileges are not transferable but will expire upon his death and the stock will then be controlled solely by his children from the prior marriages, although their half-siblings will continue to derive their share of income from it. It is Murdoch’s stated desire to have his children by Deng given a measure of control over the stock proportional to their financial interest in it (which would mean, if Murdoch dies while at least one of the children is a minor, that Deng would exercise that control). It does not appear that he has any strong legal grounds to contest the present arrangement, and both ex-wife Anna and their three children are said to be strongly resistant to any such change.[141]

Portrayal on television, in film, books and music

Murdoch and rival newspaper and publishing magnate Robert Maxwell are thinly fictionalised as “Keith Townsend” and “Richard Armstrong” in The Fourth Estate by British novelist and former MP Jeffrey Archer.[142]

Murdoch has been portrayed

It has been speculated that the character of Elliot Carver, the global media magnate and main villain in the 1997 James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies, is based on Murdoch. The writer of the film, Bruce Feirstein, has stated that Carver was actually inspired by British press magnate Robert Maxwell, who was one of Murdoch’s rivals.[145]

In the 1997 film Fierce Creatures, the head of Octopus Inc. Rod McCain (initials R.M.) character is likely modelled after Murdoch.[146]

In 1999, the Ted Turner owned TBS aired an original sitcom, The Chimp Channel. This featured an all-simian cast and the role of an Australian TV veteran named Harry Waller. The character is described as “a self-made gazillionaire with business interests in all sorts of fields. He owns newspapers, hotel chains, sports franchises and genetic technologies, as well as everyone’s favourite cable TV channel, The Chimp Channel.” Waller is thought to be a parody of Murdoch, a long-time rival of Turner’s.[147]

In 2004, the movie Outfoxed included many interviews accusing Fox News of pressuring reporters to report only one side of news stories, in order to influence viewers’ political opinions.[148]

In 2012, the satirical show Hacks, broadcast on UK-based Channel 4, made obvious comparisons with Rupert Murdoch using the fictional character ‘Stanhope Feast’, as well as other central figures in the phone hacking scandal.[149]

Influence, wealth and reputation

According to Forbes 2013 list of richest Americans, Murdoch is the 33rd richest person in the US and the 91st richest person in the world, with a net worth of US$13.4 billion.[1] In 2014, Forbes ranked “Rupert Murdoch & Family” as the 33rd most-powerful person in the world.[150]

In 2003 Murdoch bought a ‘Rosehearty’, 11 bedroom home on a 5-acre waterfront estate in Centre Island, New York.[151]

In August 2013, Terry Flew, Professor of Media and Communications at Queensland University of Technology, wrote an article for the Conversation publication in which he verified a claim by former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd that Murdoch owned 70% of Australian newspapers in 2011. Flew’s article showed that News Corp Australia owned 23% of the nation’s newspapers in 2011, according to the Finkelstein Review of Media and Media Regulation, but, at the time of the article, the corporation’s titles accounted for 59% of the sales of all daily newspapers, with weekly sales of 17.3 million copies.[152]

In connection with Murdoch’s testimony to the Leveson Inquiry “into the ethics of the British press”, editor of Newsweek International, Tunku Varadarajan, referred to him as “the man whose name is synonymous with unethical newspapers”.[153]

News Corp papers were accused of supporting the campaign of the Australian Liberal government and influencing public opinion during the 2013 federal election. Following the announcement of the Liberal Party victory at the polls, Murdoch tweeted “Aust. election public sick of public sector workers and phony welfare scroungers sucking life out of economy. Other nations to follow in time”.[154]

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Murdoch

 

Fox News boss Roger Ailes renews contract to remain CEO and chairman

Powerhouse executive signs multi-year contract a month after Rupert Murdoch passed reins of company to sons, which had put Ailes’s future at Fox in doubt

Roger Ailes – the powerhouse executive behind Fox News – has signed a new multi-year contract with 21st Century Fox that will see him continuing in his role as chairman and CEO of the channels. The move comes after it appeared Ailes was losing his grip on Fox.

Earlier this month media mogul Rupert Murdoch announced he would pass the reins of his TV, film and news empire to his sons James and Lachlan. Fox announced that Ailes, who has clashed with both sons, would now be reporting to Murdoch’s heirs.

Days earlier Fox Business had reported that Ailes would continue to report directly to Rupert Murdoch.

The company did not specify how long Ailes’s new contract would run but Murdoch and his sons gave the Fox boss a ringing endorsement. “Roger and I have always had, and will continue to have, a special relationship. Lachlan, James and I are delighted that Roger will be leading key businesses for us and our shareholders for years to come, and he has our unwavering support,” Rupert Murdoch said in a statement.

“Roger is an incredibly talented executive and we’re pleased he has accepted our offer to continue his extraordinary record of success at 21st Century Fox,” Lachlan and James Murdoch said in a joint statement. “We look forward to witnessing his energy and entrepreneurial drive in leading the next wave of growth for Fox News, Fox Business Network and Fox Television Stations, as well as many years of continued success together.”

The news is a major victory for Ailes whose relations with both sons has been strained at best. According to Ailes biographer Gabriel Sherman the Fox boss and James Murdoch have clashed over their views on the environment. Ailes is a hardcore rightwing climate change denier, James Murdoch has supported green causes and his wife once worked for the Clinton Foundation.

Lachlan Murdoch returned to Australia after a series of clashes with Ailes. According to Sherman’s biography, The Loudest Voice in the Room, Ailes bragged about moving into Lachlan’s vacant office. “Do you know whose chair I’m sitting in? I’m sitting in Lachlan Murdoch’s chair,” Ailes boasted to a colleague. “Do you know who’s sitting on the other side of that wall? Rupert Murdoch.”

Ailes’s contract was set to expire in 2016, the new deal will keep him at Fox through the presidential election and beyond. Under Ailes’s leadership Fox has been the highest-rated news channel in the US for 13 consecutive years.

The contract deal comes amid a series of top level changes in Murdoch’s empire. The billionaire businessman also announced on Thursday that Natalie Ravitz, Murdoch’s chief of staff and vice president of strategy, would be stepping down from her role and seeking “a leadership operating position.”

It is not yet clear whether Ravitz will stay with the company. Ravitz, previously a communications director with the New York City department of education, has looked after Murdoch’s personal affairs as well as business interests.

“I cannot say enough about the exceptional job Natalie has done for me, giving valued support across many functions. She is immensely talented and able, and has greatly benefited me and our companies. I am confident wherever Natalie chooses to go she will be an incredible asset and wish her all the best,” Murdoch wrote in a memo to staff.

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/jun/25/roger-ailes-renews-fox-news-contract

Immigration Reform Can’t Wait

There is rarely a good time to do hard things, and America won’t advance if legislators act like seat-warmers.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Story 1: Two Terrorist Islamic Jihadists Attack Garland Texas Curtis Culwell Center Where Mohammed Cartoon Contest Free Speech Event Was Ending — Suspect Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi Shot Dead — Don’t Mess With Texas — Videos

Posted on May 4, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Catholic Church, College, Communications, Coptic Christian, Corruption, Crime, Documentary, Economics, Education, Employment, Ethic Cleansing, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Genocide, government, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Homicide, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Middle East, Monetary Policy, Natural Gas, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Politics, Press, Programming, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Religion, Religious, Resources, Rifles, Shite, Speech, Sunni, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Television, Television, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 459 May 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 458 May 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 457 April 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 456: April 29, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 455: April 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 454: April 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 453: April 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 452: April 23, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 451: April 22, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 448: April 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 447: April 16, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 444: April 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 443: April 9, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 441: April 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 440: April 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 439: April 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 438: March 31, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 436: March 27, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 435: March 26, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 432: March 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 431: March 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 430: March 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 429: March 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 428: March 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 427: March 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 426: March 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 425: March 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 424: March 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 423: February 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 422: February 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 421: February 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 420: February 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 418: February 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 417: February 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 416: February 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 415: February 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 414: February 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 413: February 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 412: February 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Story 1: Two Terrorist Islamic Jihadists Attack Garland Texas Curtis Culwell Center Where Mohammed Cartoon Contest Free Speech Event Was Ending — Suspect Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi Shot Dead — Don’t Mess With Texas — Videos

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

First Amendment

The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition.  It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices.  It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.  It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Second Amendment

The Second Amendment has most recently been interpreted to grant the right of gun ownership to individuals for purposes that include self-defense.  At first it was thought to apply only to the Federal government, but through the mechanism of the Fourteenth Amendment, it has been applied to the states as well.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/second_amendment

Charlie-GETTY ORIGINALMahamud-Cartoon-Contestgarland-curtis-culwellgarland-texas-map-620x434 curtis_culwellspeakersfgddfdsadsfgarland-peopltwo killed shooting-garland-telton-simpsonnadir-soofitwo terroristTwo+Gunmen+Killed+Outside+Mohammed+CartoonBaggedpolice chiegProphet Cartoon Contest Shooting (7)afdiads american_freedom_defense_initiativeIslamofobia lexington adPamela Geller ubway adislam-ad

Garland Shooting: Inside Texas Community Center Moment of Attack at Muhammad Cartoon Event

Traffic cop praised for thwarting Texas attack

Garland Shooting: Inside Texas Community Center Moment of Attack at Muhammad Cartoon Event |VIDEO

Consistency is key | “Glenn Beck Radio Program”

Glenn it is Socrates. Do your homework!

Jihad Watch

http://www.jihadwatch.org/

Robert Spencer on Hannity’s Great American Panel, January 10, 2015: “Rise of Radical Islam”

Michael Coren & Robert Spencer – Jihad Watch – Jan 15, 2015

Two Gunmen killed at Muhammad Art Contest in Garland Texas identified as Jihad sympathizers

Shooting at Muhammad Cartoon Contest Garland, Texas: 2 Gunmen Killed, Officer Down -FIRST VIDEO

Garland TX Mohammed Cartoon Contest Shooting: First report

Garland Shooting: Elton Simpson, Nadir Soofi Suspects Attack Muhammad Carton Drawing in Texas |VIDEO

The Secret of The Muhammad Garland TX Shooting

Police won’t call Garland attack a TERRORIST ATTACK even though suspect was a wannabe terrorist

Pamela Geller Battles CNN Host over Garland Shooting: Why Is Media ‘Targeting’ Us? |FULL INTERVIEW

Muslim extremists attack Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas – TomoNews

Pamela Geller on anti-jihad ad

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer: The Post American Presidency

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer: Jihad Candidate

Jerry Agar & Robert Spencer – France arrests 8 connected to Paris jihadist cell

Interview with Robert Spencer about Islam حوار مع الكاتب روبرت سبنسر

Pamela Geller on Sean Hannity, FOX news Discussing Islamic Hate Preacher at Yale

WAS THE TEXAS MOHAMMED SHOOTING A FALSE FLAG?

Robert Spencer on Why ISIS is Islamic

Lying Lunatic Left

Video: CAIR Rep on MSNBC’s ‘NOW with Alex Wagner’ to Discuss Shooting in Garland, Texas

SPLC Labels Muhammad Cartoon Group ‘anti-muslim’

FBI had known about suspected Texas shooter for years

By Adam Goldman and Mark Berman

One of the gunmen authorities say opened fire Sunday outside an exhibition of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad had previously been suspected of trying to fly overseas and wage violent jihad, according to court records.

He was identified as Elton Simpson, 30, of Phoenix, according to a U.S. law enforcement official. Law enforcement officials said Monday afternoon that the second shooter in the Texas attack was Nadir Soofi, 34, Simpson’s roommate.

FBI agents searched a Phoenix apartment Monday as part of the investigation into the shooting, which occurred Sunday evening in Garland, a city near Dallas.

The FBI had begun monitoring Simpson again recently. Authorities said Monday that they were still working to determine details about the two men and who may have instigated the plan. The FBI does not believe the shooting was directed by an international terrorist group, but is still investigating.

Police say the two gunmen drove up to the Curtis Culwell Center during a controversial art exhibition and, at around 6:50 p.m., opened fire with assault rifles, striking a security guard in the leg.

An officer who normally works on traffic was there as part of a heavy security detail for the event, and this officer shot and killed both gunmen using his duty pistol, said Joe Harn, a spokesman for the Garland police.

“Both those men died there on the street next to their car,” Harn said during a news conference Monday morning.

The gunmen had additional ammunition as well as suitcases in their vehicle, but no bombs or explosives were found, Harn said. They were also wearing some form of protective gear, he said.

While Harn would not say if police believed the shooting was directly connected with the event, he said the two gunmen intended to get inside the center and shoot people.

“We were able to stop those men before they were able to penetrate the area and attempt to shoot anyone else,” Harn said.

The guns recovered by authorities in Garland were being traced Monday by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Officer ‘probably saved lives’ in Tex. shootings(1:57)
Police planned security for months before a Texas event showing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, a police spokesperson said. (Reuters)
City officials said that Bruce Joiner was the Garland Independent School District security officer who was shot at by the two gunmen. Joiner was treated for an ankle wound and released, the city said in a statement.

The inflammatory event was hosted by a New York group that had promised $10,000 for the best cartoon depicting Muhammad. Drawing or otherwise depicting Muhammad is largely forbidden under Islam.
Authorities said there was considerable discussion on social media in the days leading up to the cartoon event, which prompted authorities to deploy heavy security. One tweet sent out on Sunday referred to taking a pledge of allegiance and referred to a #texasattack, but it was unclear whether the account belonged to either of the men involved.

Simpson was born in Illinois and converted to Islam at a young age, court documents show. The government began investigating him in 2006, recording conversations between him and a paid informant.

In May 2009, according a federal court document, Simpson told an FBI informant: “It’s time to go to Somalia, brother.” He added: “It’s time. I’m tellin’ you man. We gonna make it to the battlefield…it’s time to roll.”

Simpson was arrested by the FBI in January 2010 after a lengthy investigation. He was charged with lying to agents in connection with terrorism. Authorities suspected he was trying to fly to Somalia, but Simpson claimed at the time he had intended to travel to South Africa to go to school and study Islam there.

Following a bench trial, a judge dropped the terrorism enhancement, citing insufficient evidence. The judge, Mary H. Murguia, said in March 2011 that the government had failed to prove that Simpson intended to wage violent jihad in Somalia. Murguia reduced the charge to making a false statement to federal officials and sentenced Simpson to three years of probation. Authorities also returned his passport, which they had confiscated after his arrest.

Simpson’s lawyer described him as a very religious man who had converted to Islam.

“He didn’t seem to me to be any threat to anybody,” Kristina Sitton, Simpson’s lawyer, said in a telephone interview Monday. “He seemed to be very kind but entrenched in Islam. He wouldn’t shake my hand.”

She said that after he was sentenced to probation, Simpson called her saying that he had tried to board a domestic flight and was told he could not fly. Sitton said she believed he was on the no-fly list.
Soofi was a pre-med student at the University of Utah from 1998 to 2003, according to a spokeswoman for the school. He left the school in the summer of 2003 without having earned a degree, she said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/05/04/fbi-had-known-about-suspected-texas-shooter-for-years/?wpisrc=al_alert

Former terror suspect well known to the FBI is named as one of two gunmen shot dead by cops after attack on anti-Islam ‘draw Muhammad’ art contest near Dallas

  • Elton Simpson, 30, and his roommate Nadir Soofi, 34, were gunned down after shooting a guard in the leg outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas on Sunday evening
  • Simpson was convicted of lying to federal agents about traveling to Africa five years ago – but a judge ruled it could not be proved that he was going to join a terror group
  • Their Phoenix, Arizona home has been surrounded and a bomb squad is carrying out a search 
  • The American Freedom Defense Initiative event had offered a $10,000 prize for the best caricature of the prophet; local residents had expressed their concerns about the event but organizers said they were exercising free speech
  • The security guard who was shot, Bruce Joiner, was taken to hospital in stable condition and has been released 
  • One traffic officer shot both men dead and has been praised by cops for potentially saving many lives 
  • ISIS fighter claimed on Twitter that the shooting was carried out by two pro-ISIS individuals 

A former terror suspect has been named as one of the gunmen shot dead by police after the two attackers blasted an unarmed security guard in the ankle during an anti-Islam art contest in Texas on Sunday night.

Elton Simpson, 30, who was previously the subject of a terror investigation, and his roommate Nadir Soofi, 34, were armed with assault rifles when they were killed by a quick-thinking traffic officer after opening fire outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Dallas, at around 7pm.

The shooting unfolded as the American Freedom Defense Initiative held an event inside the building where caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad were being displayed. Followers of Islam deem that any physical depiction of the prophet – even a positive one – is blasphemous.

Simpson, identified in court papers as an American Muslim, had been convicted of lying to federal agents about his plans to travel to Somalia five years ago, but a judge ultimately ruled it could not be proved that he was heading there to join a terror group. He was placed on probation.

Soofi, named as the second gunman by the Washington Post, shared an apartment with Simpson at the Autumn Ridge complex in Phoenix.

On Monday morning, FBI agents and investigators could be seen cordoning off and searching the apartment, as well as a white van believed to belong to Simpson. Investigators are also reviewing computer records from materials found at the home.

Shot dead: Elton Simpson, pictured, was one of the two gunmen who stormed an anti-Islam event on Sunday evening in Texas

Killed: FBI crime scene investigators look at the bodies of the two killed gunmen outside the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas on Monday. Police killed the two men after they opened fire at an anti-Islam event on Sunday

Destroyed: Investigators destroyed some of the belongings found inside the back of the suspects' car, pictured, as a precaution

Destroyed: Investigators destroyed some of the belongings found inside the back of the suspects’ car, pictured, as a precaution

Investigation: Agents work on the scene near to where the men opened fire before they were shot dead by a traffic officer

Investigation: Agents work on the scene near to where the men opened fire before they were shot dead by a traffic officer

Search: Reporters gather near the home of Elton Simpson, one of the suspected attackers, in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday morning

Search: Reporters gather near the home of Elton Simpson, one of the suspected attackers, in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday morning

Raid: Police tape surrounds a vehicle, believed to belong to one of the two gunmen, in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday

Raid: Police tape surrounds a vehicle, believed to belong to one of the two gunmen, in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday

Probe: Investigators pull belongings from the back of the truck and carry items inside the complex on Monday morning

ISIS supporters claimed on Twitter that one of the gunmen was a man calling himself Shariah Is Light on the social media site

ISIS supporters claimed on Twitter that one of the gunmen was a man calling himself Shariah Is Light on the social media site

Investigators also searched the car that the two gunmen drove to the scene and found luggage and further ammunition inside. Some of the belongings were destroyed as a precaution but no explosives were found inside the vehicle, Garland Police Officer Joe Harn said on Monday.

On Monday, Simpson’s father said that he believes his son, who had worked in a dentist’s office, ‘made a bad choice’.

‘We are Americans and we believe in America,’ Dunston Simpson told ABC News. ‘What my son did reflects very badly on my family.’

Ahead of the attack on Sunday evening, several Twitter messages were sent out, and authorities believe Simpson was behind them. The last one was shared just half an hour before the shooting.

Followers of ISIS had been calling for an attack online for more than a week after learning that the competition in Garland would feature a ‘draw Muhammad’ art contest, with a prize of $10,000 for the best caricatur

After the attack, the SITE Intelligence Group reported that an Islamic State fighter claimed on Twitter that the shooting was carried out by two pro-Isis individuals.

In a series of tweets and links, a jihadist named as Abu Hussain AlBritani, which SITE said was British IS fighter Junaid Hussain, claimed that ‘2 of our brothers just opened fire’ at the Prophet Muhammad exhibition in Texas.

‘They Thought They Was Safe In Texas From The Soldiers of The Islamic State,’ added the tweet.

Other ISIS supporters claimed on Twitter that one of the gunmen was a man calling himself Shariah Is Light on the social media site, using the now-suspended account name @atawaakul, according to New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi.

He had posted a message earlier that said ‘the bro with me and myself have given bay’ah [oath] to Amirul Mu’mineen [ISIS leader Al Baghdadi]. May Allah accept us as mujahideen #texasattack’.

The contest was just minutes from finishing when multiple gunshots were heard.

The two suspects had pulled up in a vehicle before getting out and firing at a security officer, 57-year-old Bruce Joiner, who was employed by the independent school district. He was later taken to hospital in a stable condition and was released on Sunday evening.

Attack: The bodies of shooting suspects are seen next to their vehicle as it is searched for explosives at an anti-Muslim event in Texas on Sunday. The two men had got out the vehicle and opened fire, wounding a security guard in the leg, before they were shot by police

Attack: The bodies of shooting suspects are seen next to their vehicle as it is searched for explosives at an anti-Muslim event in Texas on Sunday. The two men had got out the vehicle and opened fire, wounding a security guard in the leg, before they were shot by police

Controversial: On Sunday, two heavily armed police officers can be seen securing art work following the shooting. The art competition, which was awarding $10,000 to the best caricature of the Prophet Muhammad, had been condemned by critics

Controversial: On Sunday, two heavily armed police officers can be seen securing art work following the shooting. The art competition, which was awarding $10,000 to the best caricature of the Prophet Muhammad, had been condemned by critics

An officer prevents two people from leaving the building as the area was placed on lockdown after multiple gunshots were heard

TAPES OF A TERROR SUSPECT: RECORDINGS SHOW SIMPSON’S INTENTIONS TO WAGE A WAR

Elton Simpson was well known to the FBI. In 2010, he was convicted of lying to federal agents about his plans to travel to Somalia – although a judge ultimately ruled it could not be proved that he was heading there to join a terror group.

During the investigation, an FBI informant recorded their conversations, which showed Simpson talking about his intentions to fight for the Muslim way of life.

Court documents state: ‘Mr. Simpson said that the reward is high because “If you get shot, or you get killed, it’s [heaven] straight away”…. “[Heaven] that’s what we here for…so why not take that route?”‘

He added that in countries, such as Palestine, Iraq and Somalia, ‘they trying to bring democracy over there man, they’re trying to make them live by man-made laws, not by Allah’s laws’.

He went on: ‘That’s why they get fought. You try to make us become slaves to man? No we slave to Allah, we going to fight you to the death.’

In a recording from 2009, he told the informant that it was time they went to Somalia.

‘It’s time,’ he said. ‘I’m tellin’ you man. We gonna make it to the battlefield… It’s time to roll…

‘People fighting and killing your kids, and dropping bombs on people that have nothing to do with nothing. You got to fight back you can’t be just sitting down… smiling at each other…’

As the gunmen got out of their car with their weapons, one police officer – a tenured traffic cop – shot both men dead, Garland Police officer Joe Harn said at a press conference on Monday. The officer used his service pistol to shoot the men, who were carrying assault weapons.

‘With what he was faced with and his reaction and his shooting with a pistol, he did a good job,’ Harn said of the officer.

‘He did what he was trained to do, and under the fire that he was put under, he did a very good job and probably saved lives. We think their strategy was to get into the events center and they were not able to get past that outer perimeter.’

Randy Potts, a contributor for The Daily Beast, recalled how he was watching the speeches wrap up when a man wearing camouflage shouted: ‘Get inside the conference room now!’

‘The room was oddly quiet,’ he said. ‘A hush fell over the crowd of about 150, as if we were listening for something outside. Then a camo-clad security guard with a rifle got up on stage and announced that a cop and two suspects had been shot.’

He described how security surrounding the event was evident even as he drove up to the Curtis Culwell Center. The parking lot was surrounded by yellow tape and his ID was checked twice before he was allowed to enter.

Johnny Roby of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, had also been attending the conference. He said he was outside the building when he heard around 20 shots that appeared to be coming from the direction of a passing car.

Roby said he then heard two single shots before officers yelled that they had the car before he was sent inside the building.

The building, which had about 100 people inside, and surrounding areas were placed on lockdown by SWAT teams.

FBI bomb squad robots were then sent in to check the suspects’ vehicle, as the two bodies of the gunmen lay on the road beside it. The bodies were not immediately taken from the scene because they were too close to the car, which police feared had incendiary devices inside.

Shortly before midnight, police alerted media that a strong electronic pulse would be activated near the scene, presumably as part of the bomb squad’s work, and a loud boom was heard moments later, though police did not comment further on what was carried out.

The art event had been condemned by critics as an attack on Islam, but the organizers insisted they were exercising free speech.

Some Twitter users began posting about the shooting using a #JeSuisGarland hashtag, mirroring the #JesuisCharlie hashtag that became popular after January’s jihadist attacks in France. In that incident, gunmen killed 12 people in the Paris offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in revenge for its cartoons of the prophet.

After the gunfire in Garland, those inside the building started to sing patriotic songs, including the national anthem and God Bless America, and said a prayer for the injured security guard after one woman pulled out an American flag from her bag.

Garland Police officer Joe Harn said on Sunday evening they had been monitoring the build-up to the event and had not received any credible threats.

During a press conference, he described how the shootout lasted only seconds. A large area around the Center remained blocked off late into the night.

Update: On Monday, Garland Police spokesperson Joe Harn praised the traffic officer who took down both of the attackers

Update: On Monday, Garland Police spokesperson Joe Harn praised the traffic officer who took down both of the attackers

Keeping calm: A policeman keeps members of the audience inside the auditorium after the shots were fired at the controversial event

Keeping calm: A policeman keeps members of the audience inside the auditorium after the shots were fired at the controversial event

At the ready: Members of the Garland Police Department stand guard inside the Curtis Culwell Center in the aftermath of the shooting 

At the ready: Members of the Garland Police Department stand guard inside the Curtis Culwell Center in the aftermath of the shooting

Safe: Attendees of the event were led off of a school bus into another building where they were questioned by law enforcemen

Safe: Attendees of the event were led off of a school bus into another building where they were questioned by law enforcemen

Two heavily-armed officers stand guard as police blocked off the street surrounding the scene in Garland, Texas

He said: ‘Because of the situation of what was going on today and the history of what we’ve been told has happened at other events like this, we are considering their car (is) possibly containing a bomb.’

Texas Governor Greg Abbott described the incident as a ‘senseless attack’ and praised the ‘swift action’ of Garland law enforcement.

Security guard Bruce Joiner was shot in the leg while standing outside the building. His injuries were not life-threatening

Security guard Bruce Joiner was shot in the leg while standing outside the building. His injuries were not life-threatening

The attack unfolded shortly after Dutch member of parliament and leader of the far-right Party for Freedom, Geert Wilders, had delivered his keynote speech. There had been calls by members of Congress for him to be stopped at the border so he would not be able to speak.

‘We are here in defiance of Islam to stand for our rights and freedom of speech,’ he said during his speech shortly before the building was shut down. ‘That is our duty… Our message today is very simple: we will never allow barbarism, never allow Islam, to rob us of our freedom of speech.’

His remarks were met with a standing ovation. He then told the audience that most terrorists are Muslims, and ‘the less Islam the better’.

In 2009, he sparked controversy for showing a controversial film which linked the Koran to terrorism and has previously said the Netherlands is being taken over by a ‘tsunami of Islamisation’.

Pamela Geller, the organizer of the event and the leader of Stop Islamisation of America, wrote on her personal website after the attack: ‘This is a war. This is war on free speech. What are we going to do? Are we going to surrender to these monsters?’

In a post in late March, she insisted that the event was necessary to fight back against what she described as ‘the jihad against freedom’.

It was set up by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and had been described by opponents as an attack on Islam. They booked the center a little more than a week after Islamic militants in France killed 12 people at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The Garland Independent School district, who own the cultural center, allowed the event to go ahead despite criticism from residents and local Muslims that it was a risk to public safety.

The group spent $10,000 on 40 additional security officers, aware of potential threats they may attract, while Garland Police officers were fully prepared to deal with any issues that arose.

Before the event, the New York-based organisation made the headlines for its sponsorship of anti-Islamic adverts which it paid to run on transit systems in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and San Francisco.

A picture taken from inside the event just before the attack showed Geller giving a check for $12,500 to Bosch Fawtin who won the event.

He told the Dallas Morning News he believed there would be no danger because of the high levels of security surrounding the event.

‘I had known it would be secure, but seeing it is a whole new thing,’ he said before the shootings.

Locals in Garland said they were upset with the exhibit being held in their town, and tried to convince the city council to intervene.

One resident, Dorothy Brooks, said that the event was like shouting ‘fire!’ in a theater – an oft-cited example of freedom of speech taken too far.

She continued: ‘I understand that participants have a right to express themselves with cartoons, but I regret that this will be happening in our city.’

Another, Lena Griffin, asked at a city council meeting: ‘Do we want to be involved with this type of rhetoric?’ It is not an issue of free speech but clearly one of public safety.’

Winner: Artist Bosh Fawstin (left) is presented with a check for $12,500 by Dutch politician Geert Wilders (center) and Pamela Geller (right) during a ceremony at the Curtis Culwell Center just before the shootings occurred 

Winner: Artist Bosh Fawstin (left) is presented with a check for $12,500 by Dutch politician Geert Wilders (center) and Pamela Geller (right) during a ceremony at the Curtis Culwell Center just before the shootings occurred

Proud: Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam Freedom Party, center, poses for a photograph with officers who responded to the shooting

Proud: Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam Freedom Party, center, poses for a photograph with officers who responded to the shooting

Pamela Geller, co-founder and President of Stop Islamization of America, also spoke just before the two gunmen opened fire 

Pamela Geller, co-founder and President of Stop Islamization of America, also spoke just before the two gunmen opened fire

Wilders, who has sparked controversy for linking the Koran with terrorism, speaks at the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest

Scene: An aerial view shows the Curtis Culwell Center and the black car (seen center bottom) that was used by the two gunmen

Scene: An aerial view shows the Curtis Culwell Center and the black car (seen center bottom) that was used by the two gunmen

The event had already been the subject of disapproval from further afield, according to ForeignPolicy.com.

The site obtained a letter from congressmen Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) and André Carson (D-Indiana) sent to John Kerry and Homeland Security asking them to bar a speaker for the event from entering the United States.

Caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed have triggered violent protests in the past, including when the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten published 12 satirical cartoons in 2005, triggering deadly protests in some Muslim countries.

In January, just weeks after the Paris attacks, an event called Stand with the Prophet was held in the same center. Muslim leaders from across the world gathered to try and combat ‘Islamophobes in America’ who had turned Muhammad into an ‘object of hate’.

Geller spearheaded about 1,000 picketers at the event. One chanted: ‘Go back to your own countries! We don’t want you here!’ Others held signs with messages such as, ‘Insult those who behead others,’ an apparent reference to recent beheadings by the militant group Islamic State.

Mr Abbott said state officials are investigating, and Dallas FBI spokeswoman Katherine Chaumont said that the agency is providing investigative and bomb technician assistance.

The Charlie Hebdo attack was followed by another a month later in Europe. A masked gunman sprayed bullets into a Copenhagen meeting in February attended by a Swedish artist who had been threatened with death for his cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

A civilian was killed and three police officers were injured in the attack, aimed at artist Lars Vilks, who stirred controversy in 2007 with published drawings depicting the Prophet Mohammad as a dog.

Denmark itself became a target 10 years ago after the publication of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad. The images led to sometimes fatal protests in the Muslim world.

CONTROVERSIAL CARICATURES: WHY DEPICTING THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD IS BANNED BY MUSLIMS

It’s not mentioned in Islam’s holy book, the Quran, but the religion’s ban on depicting the Prophet Muhammad — even favorably — has run firm through the centuries.

Religious traditions built over the years have prohibited such depictions out of respect for Muhammad and to discourage idolatry, according to Muslim scholars and clerics. The ban is further rooted in a wider prohibition against images or statues of human beings.

There have been exceptions. A rich tradition of depicting Muhammad emerged in miniatures and illustrations for manuscripts from around 1200 to 1700. The art is mainly from Turkey and Iran, where pictorial traditions were stronger than in the Arab world. The paintings often show traditional stories from Muhammad’s life, such as his journey to heaven, though in some the prophet’s face is obscured by a veil or a plume of flame.

Shiites also differ from Sunnis by depicting Muhammad’s son-in-law Ali, revered by Shiites who see him as the prophet’s rightful successor. His image — and those of his sons Hassan and Hussein — are plentiful among Shiites, adorning posters, banners, jewelry and even keychains. For Sunnis, the ban on depictions extends beyond the prophet to his close companions and wives.

‘The Prophet Muhammad enjoys sublime and supreme status among Muslims and it is impossible to let a normal person depict or act the role of the prophet,’ said Iraqi Shiite cleric Fadhil al-Saadi. ‘There is no confirmed information about the shape or the features of the Prophet … So nobody should come up with a painting or an image of him. That would represent an insult to the status of the prophet.’

With no explicit text against depictions — or against images of humans in general — the prohibition comes from deduction by Muslim scholars and interpreters over the centuries from the collections of Hadeeth, or sayings and actions of Muhammad.

The prohibition against depicting humans and other living beings, which emerged from scholars as early as the 9th century, came from reported sayings of Muhammad, in some of which he refused to enter a room with such depictions or challenged their creators to breathe life into them. The presumption was that such art would suggest man can emulate God’s powers of creation — and there were worries that statues in particular could encourage idolatry.

Islamic tradition is full of written descriptions of Muhammad and his qualities — describing him as the ideal human being. But clerics have generally agreed that trying to depict that ideal is forbidden. That puts satirical — and obscene — depictions like those in the French magazing Charlie Hebdo far beyond the pale.

While no one knows Muhammad’s true appearance, followers of the relatively modern, ultraconservative Salafi movement in Islam seek to emulate him as closely as possible — including in what they believe to be his physical features and dress. Hardcore Salafis wear a beard without a moustache, let their hair grow long, line their eyes with kohl or wear robes stopping around mid-shin, contending that was the prophet’s manner.

The ban also extends to his wives, daughters, sons-in-law, the first caliphs who succeeded him and his closest companions. In fact, Egypt’s al-Azhar mosque, the Sunni world’s foremost seat of religious learning, has complained when ‘Mohammed, Messenger of God,’ an epic 1970s Hollywood production, depicted the prophet’s camel.

There is a thriving production of religious TV series in the Arab world depicting the times of the prophet. But Muhammad and his companions are never themselves shown. At times, a white light stands in for Muhammad in the films or in movie posters — and when they are meant to be addressing Muhammad, the actors usually speak into the camera.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3066779/Police-officer-suspect-said-injured-shooting-outside-art-anti-Muslim-exhibition-art-depicting-prophet-Muhammad.html 

How Texas “Terror” Shooter Elton Simpson Avoided Prison In 2011

Wiretaps of Texas shooter Elton Simpson talking about jihad didn’t convince a federal judge that he was a potential terrorist

The attorney who once defended one of two men who opened fire at a “Draw Muhammad” event in Texas on Sunday says she was “shocked” to learn that he was involved in the attack. She says she has represented a number of people charged with terrorism-related crimes. Some of them are the “worst of the worst,” but Elton Simpson was “one of the good ones,” she said.

“He was always respectful to me and my staff—did everything he was supposed to do,” attorney Kristina Sitton told Vocativ.

According to Sitton, Simpson didn’t come from a Muslim family and didn’t convert to Islam until he was in high school. “He said he was running with a bad crowd in high school—smoking, drinking and stuff,” she said. “He said Islam got him away from that stuff.”

Sitton defended Simpson against charges that he made false statements to an FBI agent in 2010 about a trip he was planning to take to Somalia to study Islam. He was facing up to eight years in prison if federal prosecutors had been able to convince Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Mary Murguia that the trip was related to international or domestic terrorism. Ultimately, Murguia in 2011 sentenced him to three years probation for the false statement. According to federal court records obtained by Vocativ, the judge determined that the feds didn’t make their case—despite audio recordings of Simpson talking about “jihad” with an FBI informant.

The FBI began investigating Simpson in 2006 after he was found to be in contact with a man who authorities believe was attempting to set up a terror cell in Phoenix, Arizona. Investigators began recording conversations between Simpson and the informant, Dabla Deng. The federal government paid Deng $132,000 to befriend Simpson under the guise of being new to Islam and needing guidance.

Between March 2007 and November 2009, Deng recorded more than 1,500 hours of conversations he had with Simpson, during which the two discussed fighting non-Muslims and how getting killed while waging jihad made it possible to get to heaven “straight away.”

“[Heaven] that’s what we (sic) here for, so why not take [the jihad] route,” Simpson said during a conversation with Deng on July 31, 2007.

In another recording, from May 29, 2009, Simpson tells Deng: “It’s time to go to Somalia, brother,” before explaining, “we gonna make it to the battlefield…it’s time to roll.” On January 7, 2010, FBI agents contacted Simpson and specifically asked whether he “discussed traveling to, or are you planning to, travel to Somalia?”

Simpson said “no.”

“I thought [the case] was completely ridiculous, to tell you the truth,” said Sitton, who told Vocativ that she’s “not a bleeding heart — I’m a Republican.”

“They show up at his house and ask him about something that happened two years ago, and he says ‘no’ and then faces federal charges?” Sitton said that in the 1,500 hours of recordings with Deng, Simpson only mentioned Al-Shabaab, a Somali terrorist organization, twice.

Federal prosecutors wanted Simpson to receive the beefed-up sentence of eight years because, they argued, his crime of lying to federal authorities involved terrorism. But Judge Murguia—an Obama appointee on what is often considered to be the most left-leaning appeals court in the country—found that there was insufficient evidence that Simpson’s false statement to authorities involved international terrorism.

On Sunday, Simpson posted on Twitter: “May Allah accept us as mujahideen,” with the hashtag “#texasattack,” before he and another man drove to the “Draw Muhammad” event at a conference center in a Dallas suburb and opened fire. Both men were fatally shot by security.

Sitton says the narrative of the shooting is not representative of the client she describes as a kind, respectful young man who frequently tried to convert her and others to Islam. “He was always kind about it,” she said. “He would say, ‘the Koran says this and the Koran says that,’ but it was always respectful.”

She questioned the motivation of the organizers of the “Draw Muhammad” event, as images of the prophet are highly offensive to many Muslims. “I kind of wonder what this event was about,” she says. “It just seems like they want to provoke people.”

http://www.vocativ.com/usa/nat-sec/how-texas-terror-shooter-elton-simpson-avoided-jail-in/

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Senator Rand Paul Learns Valuable Lesson — Most Media Interviewers Are Liberal Progressive Democrats Pushing Their Agenda — Republican Candidates For President Are To Be Buried Not Praised — Just Smile and Give Your Prepared Response — “Friends, Romans, countrymen” — Drives Interviewers Nuts — Be Prepared — Stay On Message — Videos

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Story 1: Senator Rand Paul Learns Valuable Lesson — Most Media Interviewers Are Liberal Progressive Democrats Pushing Their Agenda — Republican Candidates For President Are To Be Buried Not Praised — Just Smile and Give Your Prepared Response — “Friends, Romans, countrymen” —  Drives Interviewers Nuts — Be Prepared — Stay On Message — Videos

rand-paul-todayrand paul dronesconstitution

dronesrand paul friends

Charlton Heston Mark Antony speech “Julius Caesar” (1970)

Rand Paul Goes off on Savannah Guthrie for Saying He’s ‘Changed His Positions’

Adoring Fan Savannah Guthrie Fawns Over Left-Wing Lena Dunham: ‘Voice Of Her Generation’

Megyn Kelly Rips Rand Paul For Constantly Losing His Cool

Thin-Skinned Obama gets vewy mad during Texas-Style Interview 4-18-11 (video)

Chic – Le Freak

Rand-Paul-Ted-Cruz

Rand Paul and the media: No love story

Reporters who cover him describe the Kentucky senator as “prickly” even as they laud his unusual accessibility.

Rand Paul loves the spotlight. He just doesn’t love the people who wield it.
In February, the Kentucky senator scolded CNBC anchor Kelly Evans as she tried to ask him about a bill he co-sponsored.
Story Continued Below

“You have taken an interview and you’ve made an interview into something where we got no useful information because you were argumentative and you started out with so many preoppositions [sic] that were incorrect,” he said.
The interview continued, but Paul wasn’t done with the tongue-lashing, and went back to media criticism a few minutes later.
“Part of the problem is that you end up having interviews like this where the interview is so slanted and full of distortions that you don’t get useful information,” he said. “I think this is what is bad about TV sometimes. So frankly, I think if we do this again, you need to start out with a little more objectivity going into the interview.”
Ron Paul is shown. | Getty
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Clips of the interview quickly went viral as headlines blared how Rand Paul “tears into,” “snaps,” “shushes” and “belittles” the CNBC host.
“Rand Paul needs to be shushed,” read a headline from a piece by Joan Walsh on Salon.com. “To some men, apparently, an assertive woman is out of control and needs to calm down – especially if she’s succeeded in upsetting his calm,” she wrote.
PBS NewsHour host Gwen Ifill warned in a blog post soon after the interview that whether or not he considers questions from the press to be distorted, “Paul might want to get used to concealing his irritation. That sort of viral video lives forever.”
The tantrum was a rare case of Paul losing his temper on live TV, which he’s made almost a second home as he’s sought to build his brand ahead of his expected April 7 presidential launch. But his famed accessibility — he’s willing to submit to most Capitol Hill hallway interviews and even impromptu interviews on airplanes; he’ll hop on the phone with a junior reporter and talk to cable shouters from Bill Maher to Bill O’Reilly — masks a relationship with the media that is anything but friendly. Reporters who cover Paul have called him “thin-skinned,” “sensitive,” “wary” and “prickly.” Others say he and his team will blame the media for his own mistakes, at some points freezing out reporters for perceived slights.
Sen., Rand Paul is pictured. | AP
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Brian Darling, Paul’s former senior communications director and now a senior VP at Third Dimension Strategies, a Washington PR firm, told POLITICO Paul is an “open guy” who “speaks with what’s in his heart and mind … that’s the way he’s wired.”
“To make him be more secretive, walled off from the media — it would be something that would not be consistent with the way Rand Paul is put together,” Darling said.
“We’re not an office that hides things, we want to get our message far and wide,” Paul spokesperson Sergio Gor echoed. “He’s interesting, he speaks his mind … I think people appreciate the honesty he brings.”
Paul’s willingness to go off script might sometimes get him in trouble, but reporters find it a welcome break from the rigidly controlled operations of other potential 2016 candidates, like Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.
Rand Paul is shown. | Getty
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“One of the refreshing things in covering him is the tendency to go offscript. Now that’s not always intentional and his staff doesn’t always appreciate it when that happens and you write about it, but it is a departure from the norm in covering politics to be around somebody who isn’t so tightly scripted,” said New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters.
Ask Paul the wrong type of question, or point out an inconsistency, though, and he doesn’t hide his irritation.
“He still has pretty thin skin when things get tough,” one reporter who has covered Paul for years and asked to speak on background said. “He doesn’t hide his displeasure and anger very well and that can do you in. He’s probably overly sensitive to some of the coverage.”
Another reporter for a major national paper wondered whether Paul, an ophthalmologist, suffers from what a lot of doctors experience, “a sense of never being questioned in their professional lives.”
Darling defends Paul, saying he “has a thick skin,” despite one or two antagonistic interviews.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., arrives in his hometown, Bowling Green, Ky., Monday, Nov. 3, 2014, to give an assist to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., at his final campaign stop. McConnell, a 30-year incumbent, would ascend to majority leader if he holds his seat and Republicans take control of the Senate in Tuesday’s midterm election. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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“The CNBC interview turned out to be a bait and switch where the network was intent on making news,” Darling said. “Sometimes prickly is the best way to deal with a hostile interviewer. I don’t think he is prickly, but if that is a perception, then he should work to smooth out his delivery so that he can dispel that perception.”
But Kevin Madden, a senior adviser and spokesperson for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign who is now a partner at Hamilton Place Strategies not connected with any 2016 candidate, said that how a candidate answers a question can matter just as much as the content of their answer.

“Oftentimes it’s not just how you answer the message but substantively it’s what kind of message you send about your leadership style,” Madden said. “If you’re prickly and easily irritated that’s not going to be something that really gives people a great sense of security. If you can be calm and collected, show a lot of poise — that says a lot about your leadership style and voters pick up on that.”
Almost all pols have their prickly moments with the press corps. What’s nonetheless appealing about Paul, journalists who cover him say, is his accessibility.
“Would I rather have that, or Mitt who always stayed in front of plane and never deviated from script? Of course, I’d never want to cover someone like Romney, or Hillary for that matter,” one reporter said.

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But Paul and his team are also known to blame the media when the senator makes a mistake, or says something that’s inconsistent with his previous positions.
In 2010, The Louisville Courier-Journal published the transcript of a meeting with the newspaper’s editorial board, in which Paul suggested he wasn’t a fan of how the Civil Rights Act lets the federal government intrude into private business practices.
“I don’t like the idea of telling private business owners — I abhor racism. I think it’s a bad business decision to exclude anybody from your restaurant — but, at the same time, I do believe in private ownership. But I absolutely think there should be no discrimination in anything that gets any public funding, and that’s most of what I think the Civil Rights Act was about in my mind,” Paul said at the time.
When asked whether he then believed that it was OK for a restaurant to deny service to someone such as Martin Luther King Jr., Paul said he’d protest t but that the First Amendment allows for “boorish people.”
File-This March 28, 2015, file photo shows Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky reacting after winning possession of the ball against Arizona during the second half of a college basketball regional final in the NCAA Tournament, in Los Angeles. When Kentucky, with four NBA-quality freshmen on the roster, lost to a senior-laden team from Wisconsin in the semifinals Saturday, it struck a blow for traditionalists who say you can still have it all, a full college career, a chance to play for a title, a wealthy future in the NBA. Player of the Year Kaminsky and two of his teammates, Sam Dekker and Nigel Hayes, forged opportunities to do all that with the Badgers. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
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“In a free society, we will tolerate boorish people who have abhorrent behavior, but if we’re civilized people we publicly criticize that and don’t belong or associate with those people,” Paul said.
Paul went on the “Rachel Maddow Show” for a follow-up interview a few weeks later, repeated his position and endured a few more days of media firestorm. In 2014, when the hosts of MSNBC’s “The Cycle” brought up his old Civil Rights Acts comments, Paul turned the attack back on the network.
“Have I ever had a philosophical discussion about all aspects of it? Yeah, and I learned my lesson: To come on MSNBC and have a philosophical discussion, the liberals will come out of the woodwork and they will go crazy and say you’re against the Civil Rights Act and that you’re some terrible racist,” Paul said.
When Yahoo! News asked Paul whether he still believed the United States should stop sending federal aid to Israel, he denied he’d made the proposal. After being pointed to interviews and videos showing that he had said as much previously, Paul lashed out.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, left, accompanied by Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, speaks to lawmakers, Thursday, March 19, 2015, at the State Capitol in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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Jeb Bush identified himself as ‘Hispanic’ in 2009 form
NICK GASS
“You can mistake my position, but then I’ll answer the question,” Paul said. “That has not been a position — a legislative position — we have introduced to phase out or get rid of Israel’s aid. That’s the answer to that question. Israel has always been a strong ally of ours and I appreciate that. I voted just this week to give money — more money — to the Iron Dome, so don’t mischaracterize my position on Israel.”
Earlier this year as measles outbreaks were making headlines, Paul seemed to suggest in a link between vaccines and mental disorders, a link widely debunked by the medical community.
“I’ve heard many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines,” he said in the same CNBC appearance where he shushed the anchor.
Paul later tried to clarify his statement, denying that he had said vaccines caused mental illness but saying he believed it should be a personal decision. Paul’s staff then invited members of the media, including The New York Times, to accompany the senator as he received a booster shot at the congressional infirmary.
“Today, I am getting my booster vaccine. Wonder how the liberal media will misreport this,” Paul tweeted.
Paul’s media attacks can backfire, says Eric Fehrnstrom, a former top Mitt Romney adviser and founder of the consulting firm the Shawmut Group who is unaligned with any 2016ers.
“He sounds like a surly teenager arguing with his parents, and not about the substance of things either but about their meaning and definition,” Fehrnstrom said in an email. “It’s tiresome. I’m not saying the media is always right, they aren’t, but that can’t be your constant critique.”
One favored tactic among Paul and his team is a common one — freeze out reporters who have committed perceived slights, sometimes for months. At least three reporters interviewed mentioned specific instances where after certain stories — about the medical board he created in Kentucky, funding for Israel or his criticisms of the GOP’s focus on voter ID policies — Paul and his team would institute a temporary ban on the reporter. And it’s not just reporters who suffer the freeze — in September, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt said Paul had said he would no longer appear on his show.
“I think maybe he’s written off a lot of conservative talk radio as simply neocon or hawkish, and he won’t talk to us,” Hewitt said. (That seems to be changing though — both Paul and Hewitt’s teams said Paul would appear on the show in the next couple weeks.)
Gor pushed back on Hewitt’s comment that Paul doesn’t like conservative radio, calling it “blatantly false” and noting that he is a regular on Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity’s shows. “We do tend to avoid unfair and biased interviewers,” Gor said.
But while Paul’s team may have a penchant for freezing reporters out, Paul himself doesn’t even seem remember them.
“I approached him for an interview in the hall and he asked his staff, ‘So why are we mad at him again, why shouldn’t I talk to him?’” Peters said. “He clearly doesn’t remember day to day what grievances he has against the media. And that’s definitely a good thing.”
Reporters also noted that Paul is still a rather mysterious character for them, though that may be rectified with long days on the campaign trail.
“They put him in front of so many reporters, it is kind of hard to get a good feel for him, develop the same kind of rapport that I’ve had with other politicians. He’s not the most chatty, extroverted guy. Very little small talk. Maybe he’d rather keep the interviews short and get down to other business. But at least he suffers through them,” Peters said.
Another reporter who has covered Paul for years said that for a politician, Paul doesn’t seem to particularly enjoy the social aspect of his job.
“I wouldn’t call him a happy warrior,” the reporter said. “For all his hipster demeanor and clothing, he doesn’t look really comfortable a lot of the time. He’s doing most public thing you can do but doesn’t see to be enjoying it. I’ve seen him at events where he doesn’t even work the room. If you’re running for president, that’s not how you do it.” (Running for president is “not really a lot of fun,” Paul told a conference in February.)
Paul’s relationship with the media has matured as he has spent time in Washington, especially as his press team of just three staffers gained experience from fielding as many as 100 requests some weeks.
“When he first got here, his overall press organization was quite challenged, to be generous,” said Courier-Journal Washington Correspondent Jim Carroll. “He’s a work in progress as a candidate.”
http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/rand-paul-and-the-media-no-love-story-116709.html

Rand Paul comes out swinging…at interviewers

By Thomas Lifson

In a round of interviews yesterday, Rand Paul took on questions he found unfair, and got into an argument with Savannah Guthrie of the Today show. The predictable result was return fire from talking head pundits, unhappy over his refusal to play the game on the ground rules the media likes to set.  In the words of T. Beckett Adams of the Washington Examiner, it was a “media pile-on.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., became the target of media criticism Wednesday after he accused NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie during an interview of “editorializing” her questions.

“That Rand Paul sure is a charmer,” tweeted Business Insider’sNicholas Carson, after Paul said Today Show co-anchor Guthrie was phrasing her questions as declaratives rather than interrogatives during an interview with the newly declared 2016 presidential candidate.

Politico’s Ben White tweeted, “Politicians mansplaining to female journos how to conduct an interview is just, well, it’s just very bad.”

The hoary Democrat spin of the GOP “war on women” was picked up by several commentators, including Chuck Todd on MSNBC (embedded below because almost nobody saw it when broadcast):

Paul shot back: “I’ve Been Universally Short Tempered and Testy with Both Male and Female Reporters” (Mediaite).

That is true, and it may be the best signal for the senator from Kentucky to heed.  Without question, the GOP base, sick to death of unfair media treatment, will cheer Paul on.  And he did something that many of us have longed for (via CNN).

Rand Paul says he doesn’t want to be grilled about abortion until Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz answers similarly tough questions.

My own opinion is that Rand is pursuing a good strategy, but he needs to quickly refine his skills.  It is important to be likable, especially when taking on media interviewers who have been chosen for their Q Score (likability).  By shushing Savannah Guthrie, Paul left himself wide open, and Wasserman Schultz took advantage:

Wasserman Schultz hit back — highlighting Paul’s testy interviews with female television anchors, too, by saying she hopes he can “respond without ‘shushing’ me.”

President Reagan was a master of being genial while also refusing to kowtow to media gotcha questions.  It is an open question in my mind whether or not this is a skill that can be picked up or a gift that is inherent in a personality.

Megyn Kelly’s interview with Rand Paul last night saw a mixture of criticism and concern.
What works for Sen. Paul in the primaries will not work in a general election.  I think voters do not want a president whom they perceive as “short-tempered and testy” (in the senator’s own words).  I realize that Rand Paul is running on ideas and change.  But the sad reality is that a huge number of voters, probably a majority, choose their president based on factors like their comfort level in having a beer with the person.  To paraphrase an old saying, you go to the voters with the electorate you have.

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/04/rand_paul_comes_out_swinging__at_interviewers.html

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Part 2 Commentary On: Three Cheers For Netanyahu’s Warning To American People About Islamic Republic of Iran and Islamic State and Three Thumbs Down On Obama’s Bad Deal With The Iranian Republic On Developing Nuclear Weapons And Intercontinental Missiles — “Your Enemy of Your Enemy Is Your Enemy” — Restore Severe Sanctions On Iran Immediately — Take Out The Nuclear Weapons Facilities With Israel Defense Forces – Stop Iran’s Uranium Enrichment Forever Now! — Videos

Posted on March 7, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Bomb, British History, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Communications, Computers, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Demographics, Diasters, Documentary, Energy, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, history, Inflation, Investments, Islam, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Missiles, Money, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Nuclear Power, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Physics, Politics, Press, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Resources, Reviews, Science, Security, Shite, Space, Sunni, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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 Story 1: Part 2 Commentary On: Three Cheers For Netanyahu’s Warning To American People About Islamic Republic of Iran and Islamic State and Three Thumbs Down On Obama’s Bad Deal With The Iranian Republic On Developing Nuclear Weapons And Intercontinental Missiles — “Your Enemy of Your Enemy Is Your Enemy” — Restore Severe Sanctions On Iran Immediately — Take Out The Nuclear Weapons Facilities With Israel Defense Forces – Stop Iran’s Uranium Enrichment Forever Now! — Videos

Iran-Nuke-Fixiran_cartoonbombNegotiatingWithTehran-bigmichael_ramirez_michael_ramirez_kerry-cartoonKerry-Chamberlain_Varvelarabs_israelkerry-and-bibiCartoon-Iran-Nuke-Dealtrustkeep nuclearprogram
reactor
rocketssyria-iran-middle-east-map

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nuclear enrichment sitesiran-nuclear-facilitiesiran incidencesiranarsenal_missilesUS-preventative-strike-against-Iranian-nuclear-facilities-and-ballistic-missile-basesShia-Sunni percentagesmid_east_shias2_map416mapMEethnicmuslim-distributionreligious-minorities-chart2iran_ethnic_groupsLegalSystemsberglee-fig08_055menapopulationtablepoplChangeturkey-map

Iran Nuclear Site: Natanz Uranium Enrichment Site

natanz

Inside Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Plan

A Briefing on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Iranium – The Islamic Republic’s Race to Obtain Nuclear Weapons

O’Reilly on Iran Nuclear Deal: ‘Let’s See It’

Sen Rand Paul sounds off on Iran nuclear negotiations latest news today

Kerry says demanding Iran’s ‘capitulation’ is no way to secure nuclear deal

Benjamin Netanyahu speech to congress 2015 – Prime Minister of Israel Address Meeting of Congress

Benjamin Netanyahu speech to congress 2015 – Prime Minister of Israel Address Joint Meeting of Congress benjamin netanyahu speech to congress Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel Address to a Joint Meeting of Congress Netanyahu on Tensions Over Iran Speech to Congress FULL Benjamin Netanyahu Speech To US Congress Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses Congress The quickest of takes are already coming in, but few seem to agree about whether Netanyahu’s speech was a boom or a bust for President Obama and talks with Iran.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel Address to a Joint Meeting of Congress

“This was a speech the American people needed to hear, plain and simple. It addressed the gravity of the threats we face and why we cannot allow a nuclear Iran, or any semblance of a path to a nuclear Iran. It demonstrated why there is such deep-seated – and bipartisan – concern about the deal that is being made. I thank my colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, who took the time to hear the Prime Minister’s address on behalf of their constituents, and I hope all Americans will have the chance to see it for themselves.” – Speaker John Boehner

Kerry says demanding Iran’s ‘capitulation’ is no way to secure nuclear deal

Iran Nuclear Talks Advancing, no Deal Likely Next Week

Negotiations on an agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program have advanced substantially, but difficult issues remain and a senior U.S. official said he did not expect a deal in the coming week. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will join in talks next week between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Montreux, Switzerland. The United States and five major powers are seeking a deal under which Iran would restrain its nuclear program in exchange for the gradual easing of economic sanctions that have crippled the oil exporter’s economy. Washington and some of its allies believe Iran is seeking to develop an atomic bomb, which they regard as a direct threat to Israel as well as to Arab allies of the United States. Iran says its program is solely for peaceful purposes such as power generation.

Kerry Tries to Ease Gulf Countries’ Concerns On Iran Nuclear Talks

Krauthammer: Sanctions on Iran Are Only Way to Avoid Capitulation or War

Iran rejects US Nuclear Freeze Call

Rubio to Iran: You Can Have An Economy or Nukes Program, Not Both

Graham Discusses Secretary’s Kerry’s Testimony on U.S.-Iran Nuclear Negotiations

DNI James Clapper on Israel, Iran and Nuclear Negotiations (Mar. 2, 2015) | Charlie Rose

James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, talks to Charlie Rose about the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and whether the U.S. and Israeli intelligence services are “on the same page” regarding their assessment of Iran’s capabilities. The full interview airs March 2, 2015 on PBS.

Ambassador John Bolton, American Enterprise Institute CPAC 2015

 

John Bolton: Obama giving Iran “an open path to nuclear weapons”

“The odds are right now the deal will be signed and that Iran will have an open path to nuclear weapons…there’s no guarantee that the verification mechanisms that are required are going to work. You really think we really know everything about Iran’s nuclear weapons program, like whether some of it’s being conducted in North Korea? I have no faith in our verification capabilities, number one. Number two, to the extent Iran is allowed any continuing uranium enrichment capability at all, and that’s where the administration’s concessions are moving, it has in its hands the long pole in the tent that any aspiring nuclear weapons state wants” he said. Adding that appeasing Iran is “par for the course for the Obama administration. The negotiation with Iran over its nuclear weapons program is a policy of appeasement, and the president is desperate to get this deal done so it doesn’t slip between his fingers.”

Iran Nuclear Talks – Negotiations Continue As Deadline Nears – Special Report All Star

Obama’s Nuclear Demand Unacceptable To Iran

Chairman Royce on CNN Discusses Iran Nuclear Negotiations & Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress

No Deal…Yet: Iran Nuclear Talks Extended

Why Iran Nuclear Deal Is An Urgent Issue For President Obama

Staged Attack Coming As Result of Iran Nuclear Deal

Could Israel Take Out Iran’s Nuclear Sites? Experts Say Perhaps, But….

Israel’s countdown to a Nuclear Iran: Can and will Jerusalem strike?

History of Modern Iran A Nuclear Islamic Republic – BBC Documentary – YouTube

Like Israel, U.S. Arab Allies Fear Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal

Kerry Visiting Saudi Arabia to assuage concerns

By YAROSLAV TROFIMOV

DUBAI—It isn’t just about Bibi.

The Israeli prime minister’s public confrontation with PresidentBarack Obama over the U.S. administration’s pursuit of a nuclear bargain with Iran may have drawn all the spotlight this week. But America’s other key allies across the Middle East—such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates—are just as distraught, even if they lack the kind of lobbying platform that Benjamin Netanyahu was offered in Congress.

ANALYSIS

These nations’ ties with Washington have already frayed in recent years, dented by what many officials in the region describe as a nagging sense that America doesn’t care about this part of the world anymore.

Now, with the nuclear talks nearing a deadline, these allies—particularly in the Gulf—fret that America is about to ditch its long-standing friends to win love from their common foe, at the very moment that this foe is on the offensive across the region.

“A lot of the Gulf countries feel they are being thrown under the bus,” said Mishaal al-Gergawi, managing director of the Delma Institute in Abu Dhabi and a prominent Emirati political commentator. “The Gulf thought it was in a monogamous relationship with the West, and now it realizes it’s being cheated on because the U.S. was in an open relationship with it.”

Trying to assuage such concerns, Secretary of State John Kerry flew Wednesday to Saudi Arabia. There, he is slated to discuss with King Salman and foreign ministers of other Gulf nations their worries that the nuclear deal may enable Iran to dominate the region.

In remarks after Mr. Netanyahu’s speech on Tuesday, Mr. Obama acknowledged Iran’s “ambitions when it comes to territory or terrorism”—but argued that “if, in fact, they obtain a nuclear weapon, all those problems would be worse.”

Steven Simon, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute who served as senior director for Middle East and North Africa at the White House in 2011-12, noted that the Gulf countries—while genuinely alarmed by the U.S. outreach—can’t really propose a viable alternative.

“The alternative to what the administration is doing with Iran is war,” he said. “And I don’t think the Saudis and the Emiratis and others are actually prepared for war.”

America’s other key allies across the Middle East are just as distraught about Obama’s pursuit of a nuclear grand bargain with Iran. WSJ’s Yaroslav Trofimov discusses. Photo: AP

A joint effort to contain Iran and its proxies after the 1979 Islamic revolution was the key reason for the massive architecture of military, political and economic ties that the U.S. built with its regional allies in recent decades.

Even before the revolution, Iran tried to dominate the Gulf, laying claim to Shiite-majority Bahrain and seizing disputed islands claimed by the U.A.E.

Taking advantage of the Obama administration’s attempt to pivot away from the region, Tehran in recent years asserted its influence in Baghdad and solidified its control in Damascus and Beirut. Last month, pro-Iranian Houthi Shiite militias seized power in Yemen’s capital San’a and ousted that country’s U.S.-backed president.

The Sunni Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia that are engaged in proxy conflicts with Tehran in Yemen, Syria, Bahrain and Lebanon view this confrontation as an existential zero-sum game—and interpret any American opening to Iran, and any relaxation of the economic sanctions that have hobbled Iran’s ability to project power, as succor to the enemy.

“Some of these countries are more worried about the consequences of the deal, about how it will change the balance of power in the region, rather than the actual contents of the deal,” explained Ali Vaez, Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group think tank. These fears are overblown, he said: “The reality is that the U.S. may have a tactical overlap in its interests in the region with Iran, but strategically it sees the region in a very different way.”

That may be true, but this tactical overlap has already created strategic consequences in the crucial battlefields of Syria and Iraq, cementing Iran’s sway in both nations.

The White House decision to focus the U.S. military effort exclusively on Islamic State, sparing the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, has allowed the regime and its Iranian-backed allies to regain ground there.

This means that even the fighters of the U.S.-funded Free Syrian Army, which is supposed to help defeat Islamic State one day, are no longer sure about which side Washington really supports.

“America wants to back whoever is stronger, and the strongest now are Iran and Bashar. This is clear to all people,” said Bakri Kaakeh, a senior FSA officer in Aleppo province.

In Iraq’s war against Islamic State, the U.S. has in fact become a cobelligerent with Iran, which maintains brutal Shiite militias and is directly involved in running major campaigns, such as the current assault on the Sunni city of Tikrit.“Any opportunities that the Arab countries will have to undermine the deal, they will not miss it,” said Riad Kahwaji, CEO of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai. “They will all conclude that the U.S. is no longer a reliable strategic ally, and that the U.S. can sell them out any minute.”

John Kerry in Switzerland before flying to Saudi Arabia Wednesday.
John Kerry in Switzerland before flying to Saudi Arabia Wednesday. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Moeen al-Kadhimi, a senior commander in the largest Iraqi Shiite militia, Badr, which is armed by Iran and staffed with Iranian advisers, said he’s yearning for the day when Tehran and Washington will finally reconcile.

“It’s our wish as Iraqis for this to happen. We will be happy, and the entire Middle East will be stabilized,” he said.

Stability under an Iranian tutelage, of course, isn’t the most desirable outcome for other powers in the region, particularly in the Gulf. The big question is what can these allies do about it.

Not much, said Brian Katulis, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a think tank close to the Obama administration.

“All of the fuss shows how much they need America. Who are they going to turn to? Russia or China?” he wondered. “ No one has the security footprint, capabilities, and network of partnerships across the region.”

But that doesn’t mean the disgruntled allies won’t start looking for ways to torpedo any U.S. opening to Iran—and for alternatives, including a nuclear option of their own, if that fails. Their dismay with the administration’s Iran policy—while not displayed as publicly as Mr. Netanyahu’s—is just as strong.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/like-israel-u-s-arab-allies-fear-obamas-iran-nuclear-deal-1425504773

The complete transcript of Netanyahu’s address to Congress

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is addressing a joint meeting of Congress; here is a complete transcript of his remarks.

NETANYAHU: Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you…

(APPLAUSE)

… Speaker of the House John Boehner, President Pro Tem Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Minority — Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

I also want to acknowledge Senator, Democratic Leader Harry Reid. Harry, it’s good to see you back on your feet.

(APPLAUSE)

I guess it’s true what they say, you can’t keep a good man down.

(LAUGHTER)

My friends, I’m deeply humbled by the opportunity to speak for a third time before the most important legislative body in the world, the U.S. Congress.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank you all for being here today. I know that my speech has been the subject of much controversy. I deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political. That was never my intention.

I want to thank you, Democrats and Republicans, for your common support for Israel, year after year, decade after decade.

(APPLAUSE)

I know that no matter on which side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel.

(APPLAUSE)

[READ: Republicans loved every word of Bibi’s address]

The remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States has always been above politics. It must always remain above politics.

(APPLAUSE)

Because America and Israel, we share a common destiny, the destiny of promised lands that cherish freedom and offer hope. Israel is grateful for the support of American — of America’s people and of America’s presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.

(APPLAUSE)

We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel.

Now, some of that is widely known.

(APPLAUSE)

Some of that is widely known, like strengthening security cooperation and intelligence sharing, opposing anti-Israel resolutions at the U.N.

Some of what the president has done for Israel is less well- known.

I called him in 2010 when we had the Carmel forest fire, and he immediately agreed to respond to my request for urgent aid.

In 2011, we had our embassy in Cairo under siege, and again, he provided vital assistance at the crucial moment.

Or his support for more missile interceptors during our operation last summer when we took on Hamas terrorists.

(APPLAUSE)

In each of those moments, I called the president, and he was there.

And some of what the president has done for Israel might never be known, because it touches on some of the most sensitive and strategic issues that arise between an American president and an Israeli prime minister.

But I know it, and I will always be grateful to President Obama for that support.

(APPLAUSE)

And Israel is grateful to you, the American Congress, for your support, for supporting us in so many ways, especially in generous military assistance and missile defense, including Iron Dome.

(APPLAUSE)

Last summer, millions of Israelis were protected from thousands of Hamas rockets because this capital dome helped build our Iron Dome.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you, America. Thank you for everything you’ve done for Israel.

My friends, I’ve come here today because, as prime minister of Israel, I feel a profound obligation to speak to you about an issue that could well threaten the survival of my country and the future of my people: Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.

We’re an ancient people. In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people. Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we’ll read the Book of Esther. We’ll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago. But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

The plot was foiled. Our people were saved.

(APPLAUSE)

Today the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate to destroy us. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology. He tweets that Israel must be annihilated — he tweets. You know, in Iran, there isn’t exactly free Internet. But he tweets in English that Israel must be destroyed.

For those who believe that Iran threatens the Jewish state, but not the Jewish people, listen to Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, Iran’s chief terrorist proxy. He said: If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the world.

But Iran’s regime is not merely a Jewish problem, any more than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem. The 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis were but a fraction of the 60 million people killed in World War II. So, too, Iran’s regime poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also the peace of the entire world. To understand just how dangerous Iran would be with nuclear weapons, we must fully understand the nature of the regime.

The people of Iran are very talented people. They’re heirs to one of the world’s great civilizations. But in 1979, they were hijacked by religious zealots — religious zealots who imposed on them immediately a dark and brutal dictatorship.

That year, the zealots drafted a constitution, a new one for Iran. It directed the revolutionary guards not only to protect Iran’s borders, but also to fulfill the ideological mission of jihad. The regime’s founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, exhorted his followers to “export the revolution throughout the world.”

I’m standing here in Washington, D.C. and the difference is so stark. America’s founding document promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Iran’s founding document pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad. And as states are collapsing across the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that.

Iran’s goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror. Backed by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians. Back by Iran, Shiite militias are rampaging through Iraq. Back by Iran, Houthis are seizing control of Yemen, threatening the strategic straits at the mouth of the Red Sea. Along with the Straits of Hormuz, that would give Iran a second choke-point on the world’s oil supply.

Just last week, near Hormuz, Iran carried out a military exercise blowing up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier. That’s just last week, while they’re having nuclear talks with the United States. But unfortunately, for the last 36 years, Iran’s attacks against the United States have been anything but mock. And the targets have been all too real.

Iran took dozens of Americans hostage in Tehran, murdered hundreds of American soldiers, Marines, in Beirut, and was responsible for killing and maiming thousands of American service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Beyond the Middle East, Iran attacks America and its allies through its global terror network. It blew up the Jewish community center and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. It helped Al Qaida bomb U.S. embassies in Africa. It even attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, right here in Washington, D.C.

In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran’s aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow.

So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations.

(APPLAUSE)

We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation and terror.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, two years ago, we were told to give President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif a chance to bring change and moderation to Iran. Some change! Some moderation!

Rouhani’s government hangs gays, persecutes Christians, jails journalists and executes even more prisoners than before.

Last year, the same Zarif who charms Western diplomats laid a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh. Imad Mughniyeh is the terrorist mastermind who spilled more American blood than any other terrorist besides Osama bin Laden. I’d like to see someone ask him a question about that.

Iran’s regime is as radical as ever, its cries of “Death to America,” that same America that it calls the “Great Satan,” as loud as ever.

Now, this shouldn’t be surprising, because the ideology of Iran’s revolutionary regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam, and that’s why this regime will always be an enemy of America.

Don’t be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn’t turn Iran into a friend of America.

Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.

In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone.

So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.

(APPLAUSE)

The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs. We must always remember — I’ll say it one more time — the greatest dangers facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. We can’t let that happen.

(APPLAUSE)

But that, my friends, is exactly what could happen, if the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran. That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them.

Let me explain why. While the final deal has not yet been signed, certain elements of any potential deal are now a matter of public record. You don’t need intelligence agencies and secret information to know this. You can Google it.

Absent a dramatic change, we know for sure that any deal with Iran will include two major concessions to Iran.

The first major concession would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, providing it with a short break-out time to the bomb. Break-out time is the time it takes to amass enough weapons-grade uranium or plutonium for a nuclear bomb.

According to the deal, not a single nuclear facility would be demolished. Thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium would be left spinning. Thousands more would be temporarily disconnected, but not destroyed.

Because Iran’s nuclear program would be left largely intact, Iran’s break-out time would be very short — about a year by U.S. assessment, even shorter by Israel’s.

And if — if Iran’s work on advanced centrifuges, faster and faster centrifuges, is not stopped, that break-out time could still be shorter, a lot shorter.

True, certain restrictions would be imposed on Iran’s nuclear program and Iran’s adherence to those restrictions would be supervised by international inspectors. But here’s the problem. You see, inspectors document violations; they don’t stop them.

Inspectors knew when North Korea broke to the bomb, but that didn’t stop anything. North Korea turned off the cameras, kicked out the inspectors. Within a few years, it got the bomb.

Now, we’re warned that within five years North Korea could have an arsenal of 100 nuclear bombs.

Like North Korea, Iran, too, has defied international inspectors. It’s done that on at least three separate occasions — 2005, 2006, 2010. Like North Korea, Iran broke the locks, shut off the cameras.

Now, I know this is not gonna come a shock — as a shock to any of you, but Iran not only defies inspectors, it also plays a pretty good game of hide-and-cheat with them.

The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, said again yesterday that Iran still refuses to come clean about its military nuclear program. Iran was also caught — caught twice, not once, twice — operating secret nuclear facilities in Natanz and Qom, facilities that inspectors didn’t even know existed.

Right now, Iran could be hiding nuclear facilities that we don’t know about, the U.S. and Israel. As the former head of inspections for the IAEA said in 2013, he said, “If there’s no undeclared installation today in Iran, it will be the first time in 20 years that it doesn’t have one.” Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted. And that’s why the first major concession is a source of great concern. It leaves Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and relies on inspectors to prevent a breakout. That concession creates a real danger that Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal.

But the second major concession creates an even greater danger that Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal. Because virtually all the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will automatically expire in about a decade.

Now, a decade may seem like a long time in political life, but it’s the blink of an eye in the life of a nation. It’s a blink of an eye in the life of our children. We all have a responsibility to consider what will happen when Iran’s nuclear capabilities are virtually unrestricted and all the sanctions will have been lifted. Iran would then be free to build a huge nuclear capacity that could product many, many nuclear bombs.

Iran’s Supreme Leader says that openly. He says, Iran plans to have 190,000 centrifuges, not 6,000 or even the 19,000 that Iran has today, but 10 times that amount — 190,000 centrifuges enriching uranium. With this massive capacity, Iran could make the fuel for an entire nuclear arsenal and this in a matter of weeks, once it makes that decision.

My long-time friend, John Kerry, Secretary of State, confirmed last week that Iran could legitimately possess that massive centrifuge capacity when the deal expires.

Now I want you to think about that. The foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and this with full international legitimacy.

And by the way, if Iran’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program is not part of the deal, and so far, Iran refuses to even put it on the negotiating table. Well, Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far-reach corners of the earth, including to every part of the United States.

So you see, my friends, this deal has two major concessions: one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. That’s why this deal is so bad. It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.

So why would anyone make this deal? Because they hope that Iran will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the alternative to this deal is worse?

Well, I disagree. I don’t believe that Iran’s radical regime will change for the better after this deal. This regime has been in power for 36 years, and its voracious appetite for aggression grows with each passing year. This deal would wet appetite — would only wet Iran’s appetite for more.

Would Iran be less aggressive when sanctions are removed and its economy is stronger? If Iran is gobbling up four countries right now while it’s under sanctions, how many more countries will Iran devour when sanctions are lifted? Would Iran fund less terrorism when it has mountains of cash with which to fund more terrorism?

Why should Iran’s radical regime change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both world’s: aggression abroad, prosperity at home?

This is a question that everyone asks in our region. Israel’s neighbors — Iran’s neighbors know that Iran will become even more aggressive and sponsor even more terrorism when its economy is unshackled and it’s been given a clear path to the bomb.

And many of these neighbors say they’ll respond by racing to get nuclear weapons of their own. So this deal won’t change Iran for the better; it will only change the Middle East for the worse. A deal that’s supposed to prevent nuclear proliferation would instead spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet.

This deal won’t be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.

If anyone thinks — if anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road, we’ll face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve come here today to tell you we don’t have to bet the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. We don’t have to gamble with our future and with our children’s future.

We can insist that restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world.

(APPLAUSE)

Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second…

(APPLAUSE)

Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world.

(APPLAUSE)

And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you.

If the world powers are not prepared to insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least they should insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires.

(APPLAUSE)

If Iran changes its behavior, the restrictions would be lifted. If Iran doesn’t change its behavior, the restrictions should not be lifted.

(APPLAUSE)

If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country.

(APPLAUSE)

My friends, what about the argument that there’s no alternative to this deal, that Iran’s nuclear know-how cannot be erased, that its nuclear program is so advanced that the best we can do is delay the inevitable, which is essentially what the proposed deal seeks to do?

Well, nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn’t get you very much. A racecar driver without a car can’t drive. A pilot without a plan can’t fly. Without thousands of centrifuges, tons of enriched uranium or heavy water facilities, Iran can’t make nuclear weapons.

(APPLAUSE)

Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well-beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table — and this often happens in a Persian bazaar — call their bluff. They’ll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do.

(APPLAUSE)

And by maintaining the pressure on Iran and on those who do business with Iran, you have the power to make them need it even more.

My friends, for over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.

(APPLAUSE)

Now we’re being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That’s just not true.

The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal.

(APPLAUSE)

A better deal that doesn’t leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and such a short break-out time. A better deal that keeps the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in place until Iran’s aggression ends.

(APPLAUSE)

A better deal that won’t give Iran an easy path to the bomb. A better deal that Israel and its neighbors may not like, but with which we could live, literally. And no country…

(APPLAUSE)

… no country has a greater stake — no country has a greater stake than Israel in a good deal that peacefully removes this threat.

Ladies and gentlemen, history has placed us at a fateful crossroads. We must now choose between two paths. One path leads to a bad deal that will at best curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions for a while, but it will inexorably lead to a nuclear-armed Iran whose unbridled aggression will inevitably lead to war.

The second path, however difficult, could lead to a much better deal, that would prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclearized Middle East and the horrific consequences of both to all of humanity.

You don’t have to read Robert Frost to know. You have to live life to know that the difficult path is usually the one less traveled, but it will make all the difference for the future of my country, the security of the Middle East and the peace of the world, the peace, we all desire.

(APPLAUSE)

My friend, standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is. With us today is Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel.

(APPLAUSE)

Elie, your life and work inspires to give meaning to the words, “never again.”

(APPLAUSE)

And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

(APPLAUSE)

Not to sacrifice the future for the present; not to ignore aggression in the hopes of gaining an illusory peace.

But I can guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over.

(APPLAUSE)

We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves.

(APPLAUSE)

This is why — this is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.

(APPLAUSE)

But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel.

(APPLAUSE)

I know that you stand with Israel.

(APPLAUSE)

You stand with Israel, because you know that the story of Israel is not only the story of the Jewish people but of the human spirit that refuses again and again to succumb to history’s horrors.

(APPLAUSE)

Facing me right up there in the gallery, overlooking all of us in this (inaudible) chamber is the image of Moses. Moses led our people from slavery to the gates of the Promised Land.

And before the people of Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years. I leave you with his message today, (SPEAKING IN HEBREW), “Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them.”

My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead. May we face the future with confidence, strength and hope.

May God bless the state of Israel and may God bless the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you all.

You’re wonderful.

Thank you, America. Thank you.

Thank you.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/03/03/full-text-netanyahus-address-to-congress/

 

Comprehensive agreement on Iranian nuclear program

The Comprehensive agreement on Iranian nuclear program is a topic in a series of negotiations among Iran and theP5+1United states, Russia, China, France, United Kingdom and Germany.

The prospective agreement is to be achieved based on the context of the Geneva agreement, officially titled the Joint Plan of Action (JPA). The Geneva agreement was an interim deal forged on November 24, 2013,[1] under which Iran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear program for relief from some sanctions. The interim agreement went into effect on January 20, 2014.[2] Later the parties agreed to extend their talks. The first extension deadline was set to 24 November 2014[3]and, when it expired, the second extension deadline was set to 1 July 2015.[4]

List of declared nuclear facilities in Iran

 The following is a partial list of nuclear facilities in Iran (IAEA, NTI and other sources):[5][6]

Negotiations under the Joint Plan of Action

First round: 18–20 February

Catherine Ashton and Javad Zarif in final news conference; The negotiation was described “Useful”.

The first round of negotiations was held at the UN’s center in Vienna from February 18 to 20, 2014. A timetable and framework for negotiating a comprehensive agreement was achieved, according to Catherine Ashton and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.[7]

Second round: 17–20 March

Diplomats from the six nations, as well as Ashton and Zarif, met again in Vienna on March 17, 2014. A series of further negotiations were to be held before the July deadline.[8]

Fourth round: 13–16 May

This fourth round of Vienna negotiations ended on May 16. The Iranian and U.S. delegations headed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman held a bilateral meeting. Both sides intended to begin drafting a final agreement, but made little progress. A senior U.S. official said “We are just at the beginning of the drafting process and we have a significant way to go,” while Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told reporters that “the talks were serious and constructive but no progress has been made” and “we have not reached the point to start drafting the final agreement.” The U.S. official emphasized that negotiations had been “very slow and difficult,” saying talks would resume in June and all parties want to keep the July 20 deadline and adding: “we believe we can still get it done.” Negotiators had made progress on one issue, the future of Iran’s planned Arak reactor, but remained far apart on whether Iran’s capacity to enrich uranium should shrink or expand. The U.S. delegation also raised the issues of Iran’s ballistic missile program and military dimensions of its past nuclear research. EU High Representative Catherine Ashton conducted negotiations with Zarif and Wendy Sherman joined the talks at the end the last meeting.[9][10][11]

Fifth round: 16–20 June

The fifth round of talks ended on June 20 “with substantial differences still remaining.” The negotiating parties will meet again in Vienna on July 2. Under Secretary Sherman noted after the talks that it was “still unclear” whether Iran would act “to ensure the world that its nuclear program was strictly meant for peaceful purposes.”[12] Foreign Minister Zarif said the United States was making unreasonable demands of Iran, saying “the United States must take the most difficult decisions.”[13]

Under the Geneva interim agreement Iran agreed to convert some of its up to 5 percent LEU into an oxide powder that is not suitable for further enrichment. According to the monthly IAEA report released during this round the conversion of LEU has not been started yet. This means that Iran’s LEU stockpile “is almost certainly continuing to increase for the time being, simply because its production of the material has not stopped, unlike that of the 20 percent uranium gas.”[14]

Sixth (final) round: 2–20 July

The sixth round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group started in Vienna on 2 July 2014. The parties are headed by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.[15]

John Kerry and Mohammad Javad Zarif conduct a bilateral meeting in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other Western foreign ministers arrived at Vienna to break a deadlock in the nuclear talks with Iran,[16] but their joint efforts failed to advance the negotiations. “There has been no breakthrough today,” said British Foreign Secretary William Hague on 13 July 2014 after meetings with the foreign ministers of USA, France, Germany and Iran. German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: “It is now time for Iran to decide whether they want co-operation with the world community or stay in isolation.”[17] The European foreign ministers left Vienna the same day. The Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that the talks had “made some important headway.” [18] After three days of talks with the Iranian Foreign Minister Secretary of State Kerry headed back to Washington where he will consult with President Barack Obama and Congress leaders. No decision on an extension of negotiations beyond the July 20 deadline has been taken yet.[19] In order to continue talks a decision of each member of P5+1 is required.[20]

Wrapping-up the sixth round the Foreign Minister Zarif said that the achieved progress convinced the sides to extend their talks and the ultimate deadline would be November 25. He also expressed the hope that the new British foreign secretaryPhilip Hammond “will adopt a constructive diplomacy” towards Iran.[21] Several sources reported that all parties were prepared to extend negotiations but extension faced opposition in the U.S. Congress. Republicans and Democrats in Congress made it clear that they view a prolongation of the talks as allowing Iran to play for time. The Republican chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ed Royce said he hoped “the administration will finally engage in robust discussions with Congress about preparing additional sanctions against Iran”.[22][23]

Before the expiration of the six months imposed by the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) the sides agreed to extend negotiations by four months with a final deadline set for 24 November 2014. Additionally, in exchange for Iranian consent to convert some of its 20% enriched uranium into fuel for a research reactor, United States will unblock $2.8 billion in frozen Iranian funds. Negotiations will resume in September. John Kerry said that tangible progress had been made, but “very real gaps” remained. Ed Royce stated that he did not see “the extension as progress”.[3][24][25]

Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman has testified before the U. S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the status of the talks. At her testimony on July 29, 2014 she said: “We made tangible progress in key areas, including Fordow, Arak, and IAEA access. However, critical gaps still exist…” Both Republicans and Democrats have insisted that a final agreement be put to a vote.[26]

Negotiations under the First Extension of JPA

Seventh (first extended) round: New York

Negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran over Iran’s nuclear program were resumed on 19 September 2014. They started on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly and Secretary of State John Kerry and his counterparts were given the opportunity to join the talks.[27][28] The talks were planned to last until September 26.[29][30]

Eighth round: Vienna

Negotiating teams of Iran and the P5+1 have held their eighth round of talks in Vienna on 16 October 2014. The meeting was led jointly by Foreign Minister Zarif and High Representative Ashton and the parties made an effort to sort out their differences.[31] Ashton’s spokesman stated: “Diplomatic efforts to find a resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue are now in a critical phase”.[32]

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov pointed that the issues of Iran’s enrichment programme, the schedule for sanction lifting and the future of the reactor in Arak were not settled and the subjects of inspection and transparency, duration of the agreement and some others were not completely agreed yet. Ryabkov expressed his opinion that a comprehensive agreement between the P5+1 and Iran will require no ratification. “We are negotiating a binding document, but under a generally recognized doctrine international political liabilities are equated with legal,” he said and admitted that some resolutions of the Security Council on Iran will need to be adjusted.[33]

Ninth round: Muscat

The round of talks took place on November 11 in the Omani capital Muscat and lasted one hour. At the meeting, Iranian deputy foreign ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht Ravanchi exchanged views with their counterparts from the P5+1.[34] The round, chaired by former EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, was scheduled to brief the P5+1 members on Kerry and Zarif’s talks.[35] Local media reported that some representatives of the parties remained in Muscat to continue the talks.[36]

Tenth round: Vienna

Nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 resumed in Vienna on 18 November 2014 with participation of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif, EU chief negotiator Catherine Ashton, and foreign ministry officials. The talks were supposed to continue until the November 24 deadline.[37][38]

P5+1 Ministers and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif in Vienna, Austria, November 24, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry, after meeting British and Omani foreign ministers in London and Saudi and French foreign ministers in Paris, will arrive in Vienna for talks with Zarif and Ashton. Kerry’s meetings with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal were considered critical.[39] After his Paris talks with Kerry Saudi Foreign Minister was due to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.[40]

At IAEA meeting held on 20 November in Vienna the agency’s Director General Yukiya Amano, referring to allegations related to Iran’s engagement in weaponization activities, said that “Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures.”[41] The same day at a press conference in Brussels The International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ) presented its 100-page investigation report and claimed that Iran was hiding its nuclear military program inside a civil program. The report was endorsed by John Bolton and Robert Joseph and authored by ISJ President Alejo Vidal‐Quadras, a professor in nuclear physics and the former Vice-President of the European Parliament.[42][43][44][45]

The tenth round of nuclear negotiations and the first extension of the Joint Plan of Action between Iran and the P5+1 have ended on November 24. The two sides have failed to cut a deal at this round of talks and agreed to extend the Joint Plan of Action for the second time. The new deadline for a comprehensive deal was set to July 1, 2015. British foreign secretary Philip Hammond said it was not possible to meet the November deadline due to wide gaps on well-known points of contention. He stressed that while July 1 was the new deadline, the expectation was that broad agreement would be in place by March 1. According to Hammond, expert level talks will resume in December and Iran will receive about $700 million per month in frozen assets.[46][4]

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a press conference after the Vienna talks: “Today the Iranian nuclear program is internationally recognized and no one speaks about our enrichment right…”[47] While answering a question about “fundamental gaps over how much enrichment capacity Iran would be allowed to retain”, Secretary of State John Kerry said in a news conference: “I’m not going to confirm whether or not there’s a gap or not a gap or where the gaps are. There obviously are gaps. We’ve said that.”[48]

Negotiations under the Second Extension of JPA

Eleventh round: Geneva

Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 were resumed on 17 December 2014 in Geneva and lasted one day. No statements were issued after the closed-door talks either by the U.S. negotiating team or by EU spokesmen. Deputy foreign minister Araqchi said that it was agreed to continue the talks “next month” at a venue to be decided. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov said that Arak heavy-water reactor and sanctions against Iran were the two key outstanding issues in the nuclear talks.[49][50]

Twelfth round: Geneva

The round, held at the level of political directors of Iran and the P5+1, took place on January 18, 2015 following the four-day bilateral talks between the United States and Iran.[51] EU political director Helga Schmid chaired the meetings. After the talks France’s negotiator Nicolas de la Riviere told reporters: “The mood was very good, but I don’t think we made a lot of progress.”[52] “If there is progress it is a very slow one and there are no guarantees that this progress will transform into a decisive shift, breakthrough, into a compromise,” Russian negotiator Sergei Ryabkov told journalists, adding that “major disagreements remain on the majority of disputed issues.” [53]

Thirteenth round: Geneva

Representatives of Iran and the P5+1 met on February 22 at the EU mission in Geneva. Nicolas de la Riviere said after the meeting: “It was constructive, we will know results later.”[54][55]

Bilateral and trilateral talks

U.S.-Iran bilateral talks

According to a statement of the U.S. State Department bilateral nuclear consultations between the U.S. and Iranian officials “will take place in the context of the P5+1 nuclear negotiations”. The talks were held August 7 in Geneva and only few details about them were provided. The U.S. delegation was led by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and included Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Jake Sullivan, national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden. The Iranian delegation included Deputy Foreign Ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-Ravanchi.[56][57]

Deputy Minister Abbas Araqchi said that the bilateral talks were useful and focused on “the existing differences” in the negotiations.[58] Deputy Minister Majid Takht-Ravanchi made it clear that Iran will not accept a weak enrichment programme, while saying “we will not accept that our uranium enrichment programme becomes something like a toy”.[59]

Mohammad Javad Zarif, John Kerry and Catherine Ashton at a trilateral meeting in New York, September 26, 2014

The second round of the bilateral talks between representatives from the USA and Iran took place in Geneva on September 4–5. The negotiations consisted of 12 hours long political talks and 8 hours long expert talks.[60] The third round of the bilateral talks between the two countries took place in New York on September 18, 2014.[61]

According to The Associated Press, the U.S. has turned negotiations with Iran into a series of bilateral talks between the two countries that “race to seal a deal”.[62] Gary Samore, former White House coordinator for arms control and WMD, participating in a panel, said: “Any deal will have to be struck between Washington and Tehran and then ratified by the P5+1 and ultimately the UN Security Council.”[63]

On October 14 Iranian negotiators headed by the deputy foreign minister held a bilateral meeting with Senior U.S. Officials William Burns and Wendy Sherman in Vienna. Among other issues the negotiators set the stage for the trilateral meeting with Secretary Kerry, Baroness Ashton, and Foreign Minister Zarif that was convened for the next day.[64][65]

The US and Iranian delegations met on December 15 to 16 in Geneva in preparation for the multilateral talks, led by the US Acting Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi. A member of Tehran’s team told IRNA that uranium enrichment and how to remove sanctions were sticking points in the bilateral talks.[49] [50]

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif met with Secretary of State John Kerry on January 14 in Geneva and on January 16 in Paris.[66] According to Al-Monitorthe negotiators have worked intensively to try draft a joint document called the Principles of Agreement. The document is supposed to be an element of the framework agreement between Iran and P5+1, which is to be completed by March.[67]

Two rounds of bilateral negotiations between Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif and Secretary of State John Kerry occurred on February 6 and 8 on the sidelines of the Security Conference in Munich.[68][69] During the conference, Mohammad Zarif gave an interview in which he claimed that IAEA inspected Iran for 10 years or more and found no evidence that Iran’s program wasn’t peaceful. He also claimed that JPA did not imply step-by-step removal of sanctions and the removal of sanctions has been “a condition for an agreement”. Foreign Minister Zarif stated: “I don’t think if we don’t have an agreement, it’ll be the end of the world. I mean, we tried, we failed, fine.”[70] IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, who also took part in the conference, pointed out that Iran must provide urgent clarification on key aspects of its nuclear program. Making this more specific Yukiya Amano said: “Clarification of issues with possible military dimension and implementation of the Additional Protocol and beyond is essential.”[71]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif held three bilateral meetings in Geneva on February 22 and 23.[72] The Associated Press reported progress on a deal that would freeze Iran’s nuclear activities for at least 10 years but then “ease restrictions on programs that could be used to make atomic arms.” After the talks Mohammad Zarif spoke about “a better understanding” between the parties and John Kerry said: “We made progress.”[73] The columnist Charles Krauthammer commented on the leaked “sunset clause” that an agreement, containing this and other concessions to Iran, will mean “the end of nonproliferation.”[74]

U.S.-EU-Iran trilateral talks

Iran, EU and U.S. held two trilateral meetings at the foreign minister level in New York in September 2014. The U.S. State Department has argued that there are points when it makes sense for the foreign ministers at the trilateral level to get together to talk. “In part because the majority of the sanctions are EU and U.S., the trilateral makes sense.”[65]

On October 15 Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Secretary of State John Kerry have met again, this time in Vienna. A senior U.S. Department of State official said at a briefing with reporters that the parties were focused on the November 24 deadline and had not discussed an extension of the talks. The negotiators were working on a full agreement – the understandings and the annexes to them. “This is a situation where unless you have the detail, you do not know that you have the agreement,” explained the official.[75][76]

Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif and former EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton have held talks on November 9–10 inMuscat seeking to bridge differences on a comprehensive nuclear agreement. Officials from all delegations have abstained from briefing reporters.[77] The talks ended without an imminent breakthrough.[78]

After arriving in Viena on 20 November John Kerry met for more than two hours with Mohammad Zarif and Catherine Ashton. It was not reported whether they made any headway.[79][80]

Main Points

Uranium stockpile and enrichment

Diagram of nuclear power and weapons cycle

Iran’s nuclear enrichment capacity is the biggest stumbling block in the negotiations on a comprehensive agreement.[11][59][81][82][83][84] The Security Council in its resolution 1929 has required Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program.[85][86] For many years the United States held that no enrichment program should be permitted in Iran. In signing the Geneva interim agreement the U.S. and its P5+1 partners shifted away from zero enrichment to limited enrichment objective.[87][88] Additionally, they have determined that the comprehensive solution will “have a specified long-term duration to be agreed upon” and once it has expired Iran’s nuclear program will not be under special restrictions.[89]

Limited enrichment would mean limits on the numbers and types of centrifuges. Shortly before the comprehensive negotiations began, Iran was estimated to have 19,000 centrifuges installed, mostly first generation IR-1 machines, with about 10,000 of them operating to increase the concentration of uranium-235. The Iranians strive to expand their enrichment capacity by a factor of ten or more while the six powers aim to cut the number of centrifuges to no more than a few thousand.[88][90]

Olli Heinonen, former deputy director general of the IAEA, said in a radio interview that the agency does not have a complete picture of Iran’s nuclear profile since inspectors have been kept out of some sites. In particular, IAEA has not been able to assess “how much uranium has been produced in Iran over these years” and to verify the completeness of Iran’s declaration about the number of its centrifuges. Heinonen also pointed out that Iran has an “unfortunate history of misleading and not disclosing all its nuclear material.”[91]

Western analysts argued there were two distinct paths to deal with Iran’s nuclear program: complete dismantling or allowing limited activities while preventing Iran from a nuclear “breakout capability”.[92][93] The measures that would lengthen breakout timelines include “limits on the number, quality and/or output of centrifuges”.[94] The former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Robert Joseph has argued that attempts to overcome the impasse over centrifuges by using a malleable SWU metric “as a substitute for limiting the number of centrifuges is nothing more than sleight of hand.” He has also quoted former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying “any enrichment will trigger an arms race in the Middle East.”[95]

In order to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes, constraints should be put on its uranium enrichment. This should include the number and quality of centrifuges, research and development of more advanced centrifuges, the size of low-enriched uranium stockpile. The constraints are interrelated with each other – the more centrifuges Iran would have, the less stockpile the U.S. and P5+1 can accept, and vice versa. Colin Kahl, former Deputy Assistant U.S. Secretary of Defense for the Middle East, estimated in May 2014 that Iran’s stockpile was large enough to build 6 nuclear weapons and it had to be reduced.[96]Lengthening breakout timelines requires a substantial reduction in enrichment capacity and many experts talk about an acceptable range of about 2000-6000 first-generation centrifuges. But Iran stated that it wants to extend its capability substantially. In May 2014 Robert J. Einhorn, former Special Advisor on Non-Proliferation and Arms Control at the U.S. State Department, expressed confidence that if Iran will continue to insist on that huge number of centrifuges, there would be no agreement, since this robust enrichment capacity would bring the breakout time down to weeks or days.[97]

Plutonium production and separation

Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, testifying before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said that a good deal will be one that cuts off Iran’s uranium, plutonium and covert pathways to obtain nuclear weapon.[26] Secretary of State John Kerry has testified before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs and expressed great concerns about the Arak nuclear reactor facility. “Now, we have strong feelings about what will happen in a final comprehensive agreement. From our point of view, Arak is unacceptable. You can’t have a heavy-water reactor,” he said.[98] President Barack Obama, while addressing the House of Representatives and Senate, emphasized that “these negotiations do not rely on trust; any long-term deal we agree to must be based on verifiable action that convinces us and the international community that Iran is not building a nuclear bomb.”[99]

Arak Heavy Water Reactor (IR-40)

Despite these statements, some analysts have feared that Obama administration might accept dangerous concessions to achieve a deal with Iran. For example, Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst and Chief of Staff to Undersecretaries of State for Arms, believed that such concessions were being proposed, and, as he explained: “… most dangerous is that we are considering letting Iran keep the Arak heavy water reactor which will be a source of plutonium. Plutonium is the most desired nuclear fuel for a bomb, it has a lower critical mass, you need less of it which is important in building missile warhead.”[100]

The head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi said in an interview that the heavy water reactor of Arak was designed as a research reactor and not for plutonium production. It will produce about 9 kg of plutonium but not weapons-grade plutonium. Dr. Salehi explained that “if you want to use the plutonium of this reactor you need a reprocessing plant”. “We do not have a reprocessing plant, we do not intend, although it is our right, we will not forgo our right, but we do not intend to build a reprocessing plant.” Further in the interview Salehi expressed his opinion that the pressure on Iran has not been genuine, it has been just an excuse to put “political pressure” and the concern about developing nuclear weapons was “fabricated”.[101]

According to information provided by the Federation of American Scientists, a sizable research program involving the production of heavy water might raise concerns about a plutonium-based weapon program, especially if such program was not easily justifiable on other accounts.[102] Gregory S. Jones, a senior researcher and a defense policy analyst, warned that if the heavy-water-production plant at Arak was not dismantled, Iran would be granted a “plutonium option” for acquiring nuclear weapons in addition to the dangerous centrifuge enrichment program.[103]

Agreement’s duration

According to an editorial in the Washington Post, the most troubling part of the Geneva interim agreement has been the “long-term duration” clause. This provision means that when the duration expires, “the Iranian nuclear program will be treated in the same manner as that of any non-nuclear weapon state party” to the NPT. Thus, once the comprehensive agreement expires, Iran will be able to install an unlimited number of centrifuges and produce plutonium without violating any international accord.”[104] Many Western analysts have referred to the comprehensive agreement as a “final” nuclear agreement with Iran “but clearly it will only be a long-term interim agreement”.[89]

Iran wants any agreement to last for at most 5 years while the U.S. prefers 20 years.[105] The twenty years is viewed as a minimum amount of time to develop confidence that Iran can be treated as other non-nuclear weapon states and allow the IAEA enough time to verify that Iran is fully compliant with all its non-proliferation obligations.[106]

The Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said in May 2014: “Battle and jihad are endless because evil and its front continue to exist. … This battle will only end when the society can get rid of the oppressors’ front with America at the head of it, which has expanded its claws on human mind, body and thought.”[107] This and other declarations of jihadist principles by Ayatollah Khamenei[108] leave no doubt about Iran’s adoption of religiously-inspired combat against the U.S. and the West.[109] These principles include aramesh (hudna)[110] and such a truce cannot exceed 10 years.[111]

Some analysts suggested that if a single 20-year duration for all provisions of the agreement is too constraining, it would be possible to agree on different durations for different provisions. Some provisions could have short duration, and others could be longer. A few constraints, like enhanced monitoring at specific facilities, could be permanent.[112]

Possible covert paths to fissile material

Fordow Underground Fuel Enrichment Facility near Qom

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. “We have never pursued or sought a nuclear bomb and we are not going to do so,” Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani said, according to a translation of an interview with him.[113] Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has pronounced a fatwa forbidding the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons.[114] Some observers, however, have questioned the fatwa’s actual existence.[115]

The Iranian uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz (FEP and PFEP) and Fordow (FFEP) were constructed covertly and designed to operate in a similar manner. The facilities were declared by Iran only after they were revealed by other sources. Thus, only in September 2009, Iran notified the IAEA about constructing the Fordow facility.[116][117] The 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimateon Iran’s nuclear capabilities and intentions stated among the key judgments : “We assess with high confidence that until fall 2003, Iranian military entities were working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons.” Additionally the Estimate stated that after 2003 Iran has halted the covert enrichment for at least several years.[118][119]

The Estimate also stated: “We assess with moderate confidence that Iran probably would use covert facilities — rather than its declared nuclear sites — for the production of highly enriched uranium for a weapon.”[119] Despite this assessment some analysts have argued that negotiations between Iran and the P5+1, as well as most public discussions, were focused on Iran’s overt nuclear facilities while there existed alternative paths to obtain fissile material. Graham Allison, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, and Oren Setter, a research fellow at Belfer Center, compared this approach with Maginot’sfixation on a single threat “that led to fatal neglect of alternatives”. They have pointed out at least three additional paths to obtain such material:[120][121]

  • Covert make
  • Covert buy
  • Hybrid pathway (a combination of overt and covert paths)

William Tobey, former Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration, has outlined the possible ways to nuclear weapons as follows:[118]

  • Break out of the Nonproliferation Treaty, using declared facilities
  • Sneak out of the Treaty, using covert facilities
  • Buy a weapon from another nation or rogue faction

Some sources published recommendations for agreement provisions relating to monitoring and verification in order to prevent covert activities and to provide tools to react if needed.[122][123][124][118] One of the sources warned the P5+1 that “if the monitoring elements that we recommend are not pursued now to diminish the risks of deception, it is difficult to envision that Iran would be compliant in the future, post-sanctions environment.”[125] According to the recommendations the agreement with Iran should include:

  • A requirement to cooperate with the IAEA inspectors in compliance with the UN Security Council resolutions
  • Transparency for centrifuges, mines and mills for uranium ore and yellowcake
  • Monitoring of nuclear-related procurement
  • Obligation to ratify and implement the Additional Protocol[126] and to provide the IAEA enhanced powers beyond the Protocol
  • Adhering to the modified Code 3.1[127][128]
  • Monitoring of nuclear research and development (R&D)
  • Defining certain activities as breaches of the agreement that could provide basis for timely intervention

IAEA inspection

According to multiple resolutions of the United Nations Security Council (resolutions 1737, 1747, 1803, and 1929), enacted under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, Iran is obligated to cooperate fully with the IAEA on “all outstanding issues, particularly those which give rise to concerns about the possible military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear programme, including by providing access without delay to all sites, equipment, persons and documents requested by the IAEA…” On 11 November 2013 the IAEA and Iran signed a Joint Statement on a Framework for Cooperation committing both parties to cooperate and resolve all present and past issues in a step by step manner. As a first step, the Framework identified six practical measures to be completed within three months.[129] The IAEA reported that Iran had implemented those six measures in time.[130] In February and May 2014[131][132] the parties agreed to additional sets of measures related to the Framework.[133] In September the IAEA continued to report that Iran was not implementing its Additional Protocol, which is a prerequisite for the IAEA “to provide assurance about both declared and possible undeclared activities.” Under those circumstances, the Agency reported it will not be able to provide “credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran”[134][126]

The implementation of interim Geneva Accord has involved transparency measures and enhanced monitoring to ensure the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. It was agreed that the IAEA will be “solely responsible for verifying and confirming all nuclear-related measures, consistent with its ongoing inspection role in Iran”. IAEA inspection has included daily access to Natanz and Fordow and managed access to centrifuge production facilities, uranium mines and mills, and the Arak heavy water reactor.[135][136][137] To implement these and other verification steps, Iran committed to “provide increased and unprecedented transparency into its nuclear program, including through more frequent and intrusive inspections as well as expanded provision of information to the IAEA.”[138]

Yukiya Amano and Mohammad Javad Zarif

Thus, there have been two ongoing diplomatic tracks — one by the P5+1 to curb Iran’s nuclear program and a second by the IAEA to resolve questions about the peaceful nature of Iran’s past nuclear activities. Although the IAEA inquiry has been formally separate from JPA negotiations, Washington said a successful IAEA investigation should be part of any final deal and that may be unlikely by the deadline of 24 November 2014.[139]

One expert on Iran’s nuclear program, David Albright, has explained that “It’s very hard if you are an IAEA inspector or analyst to say we can give you confidence that there’s not a weapons program today if you don’t know about the past. Because you don’t know what was done. You don’t know what they accomplished.” Albright argued that this history is important since the “infrastructure that was created could pop back into existence at any point in secret and move forward on nuclear weapons.”[140]

Iranian and IAEA officials met in Tehran on 16 and 17 August 2014 and discussed the five practical measures in the third step of the Framework for Cooperation agreed in May 2014.[141] Yukiya Amano, Director General of the IAEA, made a one-day visit to Tehran on August 17 and held talks with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani and other senior officials.[142] After the visit Iranian media criticized the IAEA while reporting that President Rouhani and the head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Salehi both tried “to make the IAEA chief Mr. Amano understand that there is an endpoint to Iran’s flexibility.”[143] The same week Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said that Iran will not give IAEA inspectors access to Parchin military base. Yukiya Amano has noted previously that access to the Parchin base was essential for the Agency to be in position to certify Iran’s nuclear programme as peaceful.[144] Tehran was supposed to provide the IAEA with information related to the initiation of high explosives and to neutron transport calculations until August 25, but it failed to address these issues.[145] The two issues are associated with compressed materials that are required to produce a warhead small enough to fit on top of a missile.[146] During its October 7–8 meetings with IAEA in Tehran, Iran failed to propose any new practical measures to resolve the disputable issues.[147]

Nuclear-related issues beyond the negotiations

There are many steps toward nuclear weapons.[148] However, an effective nuclear weapons capability has only three major elements:[149]

  • Fissile or nuclear material in sufficient quantity and quality
  • Effective means for delivery, such as a ballistic missile
  • Design, weaponization, miniaturization, and survivability of the warhead

Evidence presented by the IAEA has shown that Iran has pursued all three of these elements: it has been enriching uranium for more than ten years and is constructing a heavy water reactor to produce plutonium, it has a well-developed ballistic missile program, and it has tested high explosives and compressed materials that can be used for nuclear warheads.[150]

Some analysts believe that Iran’s nuclear program should be negotiated in its entirety — it must include not only fissile material discussions but also ballistic missile development and weaponization issues.[151][152]

Priorities in monitoring and prevention

Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State, has explained in his recent book (2014): “The best—perhaps the only—way to prevent the emergence of a nuclear weapons capability is to inhibit the development of a uranium-enrichment process …”

Joint Plan of Action[153] has not explicitly addressed the future status of Iran’s ballistic missile program. However, having been an interim agreement, it could not take into account all the issues that should be resolved as part of a comprehensive agreement. If a comprehensive agreement with Iran “does not tackle the issue of ballistic missiles, it will fall short of and may undermine … UN Security Council Resolutions.” Moreover, shifting “monitoring and prevention aims onto warheads without addressing Iran’s ballistic missile capacity also ignores U.S. legislation that forms the foundation of the sanctions regime against Iran”.[154]

Additionally, “monitoring warhead production is far more difficult than taking stock” of ballistic missiles and the U.S. government is far less good at detecting advanced centrifuges or covert facilities for manufacturing nuclear warheads.[154]

Anthony Cordesman, a former Pentagon official and a holder of the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), highlighted the view that the U.S. and other members of the P5+1, along with their attempts to limit Iran’s breakout capability and to prevent it from getting even one nuclear device, should mainly focus “on reaching a full an agreement that clearly denies Iran any ability to covertly create an effective nuclear force.”[155]

Ballistic missile program

Iran’s ballistic missiles have been tied to its nuclear-weapons program. Security Council Resolution 1929 “decides that Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”[156] In May–June 2014 a U.N. Panel of Experts submitted a report pointing to Iran’s engagement in ballistic missile activities. The Panel reported that over the last year Iran has conducted a number of ballistic missile test launches, which were a violation of paragraph 9 of the resolution.[157]

Shahab-3 estimated threat range

Director of U.S. National Intelligence James Clapper testified on March 12, 2013, that Iran’s ballistic missiles were capable of delivering WMD.[158] According to some analysts, the liquid-fueled Shahab-3 missile and the solid-fueled Sejjil missile have the ability to carry a nuclear warhead.[159] Iran’s ballistic missile program is controlled by IRGC Air Force (AFAGIR), while Iran’s combat aircraft is under the command of the regular Iranian Air Force (IRIAF).[160]

The United States and its allies view Iran’s ballistic missiles as a subject for the talks on a comprehensive agreement since they regard it as a part of Iran’s potential nuclear threat. Members of Iran’s negotiating team in Vienna insisted the talks won’t focus on this issue.[161]

A few days before May 15, date when the next round of the negotiations was scheduled,[162] Iran’s Supreme Leader AyatollahAli Khamenei told the IRNA news agency that Western expectations on limits to Iran’s missile program were “stupid and idiotic” and called on the country’s Revolutionary Guards to mass-produce missiles.[163]

In his testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services, Managing Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Michael Singh argued “that Iran should be required to cease elements of its ballistic-missile and space-launch programs as part of a nuclear accord.” This question was off the table since Iran’s Supreme Leader has insisted that Iran’s missile program is off-limits in the negotiations and P5+1 officials have been ambiguous.[151]

According to Debka.com, U.S. in its direct dialogue with Iran outside the P5+1 framework demanded to restrict Iran’s ICBM, whose 4,000 kilometers range places Europe and the United States at risk. This demand did not apply to ballistic missiles, whose range of 2,100 km covers any point in the Middle East. These medium-range missiles may also be nuclear and are capable of striking Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf.[164]

Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan stated at a press conference on August 2014 that Iran’s missile capability issue was not included in the comprehensive talks with the P5+1 countries and “will by no means be negotiated with anyone”.[165]

In a Senate committee hearing former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz has expressed believe that Iran’s missile program and its ICBM capability, as well as its support of the terrorism, should also be on the table.[166]

Possible military dimensions

Since 2002, the IAEA has become concerned and noted in its reports that some elements of Iran’s nuclear program could be used for military purposes. More detailed information about suspected weaponization aspects of Iran’s nuclear program – the possible military dimensions (PMD) – has been provided in the IAEA reports issued in May 2008 and November 2011. The file of Iran’s PMD issues included development of detonators, high explosives initiation systems, neutron initiators, nuclear payloads for missiles and other kinds of developments, calculations and tests. The Security Council Resolution 1929 reaffirmed “that Iran shall cooperate fully with the IAEA on all outstanding issues, particularly those which give rise to concerns about the possible military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear program, including by providing access without delay to all sites, equipment, persons and documents requested by the IAEA.”[116][167][168]

In November 2013 Iran and the IAEA have signed a Joint Statement on a Framework for Cooperation committing both parties to resolve all present and past issues.[129] In the same month the P5+1 and Iran have signed the Joint Plan of Action, which aimed to develop a long-term comprehensive solution for Iran’s nuclear program. The IAEA continued to investigate PMD issues as a part of the Framework for Cooperation. The P5+1 and Iran have committed to establish a Joint Commission to work with the IAEA to monitor implementation of the Joint Plan and “to facilitate resolution of past and present issues of concern” with respect to Iran’s nuclear program, including PMD of the program and Iran’s activities at Parchin.[153][169] Some analysts asked what happens if Iran balks and IAEA fails to resolve significant PDM issues. According to the U.S. Department of State, any compliance issues wouldn’t be discussed by the Joint Commission but would be dealt “at the expert level, and then come up to the political directors and up to foreign ministers if needed.” Thus, an unresolved issue might be declared sufficiently addressed as a result of a political decision.[170]

Prior to the signing of an interim nuclear agreement, it was commonly understood in Washington that Iran must “come clean about the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program,” as Undersecretary Wendy Sherman testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2011. The Iranians have refused to acknowledge having a weaponization program. Meanwhile, analysts close to the Obama administration begin to boost so-called limited disclosure option.[171]Nevertheless, 354 members of U.S. Congress were “deeply concerned with Iran’s refusal to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.” On October 1, they sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry stating that “Iran’s willingness to fully reveal all aspects of its nuclear program is a fundamental test of Iran’s intention to uphold a comprehensive agreement.”[172]

Some organizations have published lists of suspected nuclear-weaponization facilities in Iran.[173][174] Below is a partial list of such facilities:

  • Institute of Applied Physics (IAP)
  • Kimia Maadan Company (KM)
  • Parchin Military Complex
  • Physics Research Center (PHRC)
  • Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC)

In September 2014 the IAEA reported about ongoing reconstructions at Parchin military base. The Agency has anticipated that these activities will further undermine its ability to conduct effective verification if and when this location would be open for inspection.[175] A month later, The New York Times reported that according to a statement by Yukiya Amano, the IAEA Director General, Iran had stopped answering the Agency’s questions about suspected past weaponization issues. Iran has argued that what has been described as evidence is fabricated.[176] In his speech at Brookings Institution Yukiya Amano said that progress has been limited and two important practical measures, which should have been implemented by Iran two months ago, have still not been implemented. Mr. Amano stressed his commitment to work with Iran “to restore international confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme”. But he also warned: “this is not a never-ending process. It is very important that Iran fully implements the Framework for Cooperation – sooner rather than later.”[177]

Supreme leader’s Fatwa against nuclear weapon

Ali Khamenei, Iranian leader issued a Fatwa (religious edict) denouncing nuclear weapon and calling it as “Haraam” (Forbidden by religion). American officials noticed the topic several times and called it as a point to start discussions. In an interview in Jordan, Kerry said he respect the idea.[178]

Some observers, however, have questioned the fatwa’s actual existence.[115]

Ayatollah Jalal Ganje’i, a ayatollah based in Paris, has given a detailed explanation why it is “more than evident” that there is no fatwa to back up the regime’s officials when they claim that Iran has only peaceful intentions for its nuclear program. Ayatollah Ganje’i has concluded his comments as follows: “President Obama and other Western leaders cannot set policy according to non-binding and easily reversible remarks by Khamenei. Doing so would put the world in great peril on the basis of a fantasy.”[179] The Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has made “a clear-cut distinction between the notion of pure Islam of the Prophet Mohammad and the American-style Islam”, but ‘Paris-style’ Islam has not been declared illegal.[180]

Arak reactor

The head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi said in April 2014 that a dispute between world powers and Iran over its heavy water reactor at Arak had been “virtually resolved” and the reactor will be redesigned to produce one-fifth of the plutonium initially planned for it.[181]

In May 2014, after the fourth round closing, Abbas Araqchi announced on Iranian TV that Arak reactor will remain a heavy water facility and would continue its work with 40 megawatts of power.[182]

In June 2014, Salehi announced that Iran was redesigning the Arak reactor to produce less than 1 kg of plutonium per year, compared to 9–10 kg per year with the original design. Princeton University experts had proposed a redesign involving changing the reactor’s fuel and reducing its power level, with a similar effect on plutonium production. However, the concern remained that this redesign could be reversed.[183]

After the sixth round of negotiations Abbas Araqchi had made clear that “any agreement about Arak or Fordo nuclear facilities is denied”.[184]

Uranium enrichment

France’s foreign minister Laurent Fabius said on June 10, 2014 that the biggest point of disagreement in the talks is how many centrifuges Iran will be allowed. The six powers say Iran may keep some hundreds of centrifuges while the Iranians say they require hundreds of thousands of centrifuges.[185] “…what is the purpose of having thousands of centrifuges if we’re not heading towards an atomic bomb? So the question that will be asked in the coming weeks is whether Iran is really ready to accept to give up the atomic bomb or not,” Fabius said.[84]

Negotiating countries

Islamic Republic of Iran

The U.S. and Iran cut off diplomatic ties in 1979 after the Islamic Revolution and the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, where 52 Americans were held hostage for more than a year. After Barack Obama’s inauguration, he personally authorized talks with Iran in order to reach out to this country.[186]

The FATF has been “particularly and exceptionally concerned” about Iran’s failure to address the risk of terrorist financing. Iran was included in FATF blacklist.[187]In 2014 Iran remained a state of proliferation concern. Despite multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions requiring Iran to suspend its sensitive nuclear proliferation activities, Iran has continued to violate its international obligations regarding its nuclear program.[188]

Iran insists that its nuclear program is “completely peaceful and has always been carrying out under supervision of the IAEA”.[189] Some analysts argue that “Iranian actions, including the evidence of work on weaponization, the development of long-range ballistic missiles, and the placement of the program within the IRGC” indicate that Iran’s arsenal is not virtual.[190]

According to policy documents published by the Obama administration, it believes in the efficacy of traditional Cold War deterrence as the remedy to the challenge of states acquiring nuclear weapons. Another assumption of the administration is that the Iranian regime is “rational” and hence deterrable. Dr. Shmuel Bar, former Director of Studies at the Institute of Policy and Strategy in Herzliya, has argued in his research that the Cold War deterrence doctrine will not be applicable to nuclear Iran. The inherent instability of the Middle East and its regimes, the difficulty in managing multilateral nuclear tensions, the weight of religious, emotional, and internal pressures, and the proclivity of many of the regimes toward military adventurism and brinkmanship give little hope for the future of the region once it enters the nuclear age. By its own admission, the Iranian regime favors revolution and is against the status quo in the region.[191] Shmuel Bar has characterized the regime as follows:

“Since its inception, it has been committed to ‘propagation of Islam’ (tablighi eslami) and ‘export of revolution’ (sudur inqilab). The former is viewed by the regime as a fundamental Islamic duty and the latter as a prime tenet of the regime’s ideology, enshrined in the constitution and the works of the Imam Khomeini. Together they form a worldview that sees Islamic Iran as a nation with a ‘manifest destiny’: to lead the Muslim world and to become a predominant regional ‘superpower’ in the Gulf, the heart of the Arab world, and in Central Asia.” [191]

A quite different approach to Iran has been proposed by The Economist:

“The disastrous presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the failed Green revolution—which sought to topple him in 2009—and the chaotic Arab spring have for the moment discredited radical politics and boosted pragmatic centrists. The traditional religious society that the mullahs dreamt of has receded… Although this hardly amounts to democracy, it is a political marketplace and, as Mr Ahmadinejad discovered, policies that tack away from the consensus do not last. That is why last year Iran elected a president, Hassan Rohani, who wants to open up to the world and who has reined in the hardline Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.”[192]

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has declared on September 4, 2014 that the way forward for his regime is to ramp up its “eqtedar” (might). Ayatollah Jalal Ganje’i has explained that Iranian regime intended to achieve this by one of two ways: to expand regional influence through the export of terrorism, officially described as “export of revolution” or to develop nuclear weapons.[179]

The fighters from Hezbollah and Quds forces have been publicly operating in several foreign territories. Iran and pro-Iranian proxies have been military involved inSyria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, and other regional nations. Iranian state TV has been showing the pictures of the commander of Quds force in foreign territories and pointing to the Islamic Republic’s indispensable power and influence in the Middle East. Iranian leaders have been attempting to reassert their power and supremacy in the region more publicly and sending the signal to other states that “Iran is in fact the sole regional power to rely on rather than the United States and Western allies.”[193]

Iran has developed a close and cooperative relationship with Cuba and Venezuela against the U.S. Having limited military capabilities and substantial distance from the region, Iran, in case of a conflict with the U.S., would be able to launch an asymmetrical offensive against the U.S. “through surrogate terrorist states and paramilitary organizations.”[194] Iran and Hizbullah also maintain a considerable presence in other countries of Latin America.[195]

On January 4, 2015 President of Iran Hassan Rouhani pointed out that the Iranians cause was not connected to a centrifuge, but to their “heart and willpower”. He added that Iran couldn’t have sustainable growth while it was isolated. So he would like some economic reforms passed by referendum. These words could be considered as willingness to work with international powers.[196] But a few days later Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who makes final and conclusive decisions on all matters of Iranian national security, warned that “Americans are impudently saying that even if Iran backs down on the nuclear issue, all the sanctions will not be lifted at once.” Iran should therefore “take the instrument of sanctions out of enemy’s hands” and develop “economic of resistance.”[197]

Former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz, testifying in January 2015 before the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, said about Iranian nuclear ambitions:

“They’re trying to develop nuclear weapons. There is no sensible explanation for the extent, the money, the talent they’ve devoted to their nuclear thing, other than that they want a nuclear weapon. It can’t be explained any other way.”
“They give every indication, Mr. Chairman, that they don’t want a nuclear weapon for deterrence, they want a nuclear weapon to use it on Israel. So it’s a very threatening situation.”[166]

P5+1

United States

In its Nuclear Posture Review in April 2010 the U.S. has stated that in Asia and the Middle East – where there were no military alliances analogous to NATO – it had mainly extended deterrence through bilateral alliances and security relationships and through its forward military presence and security guarantees. According to the Review Report: “The Administration is pursuing strategic dialogues with its allies and partners in East Asia and the Middle East to determine how best to cooperatively strengthen regional security architectures to enhance peace and security, and reassure them that U.S. extended deterrence is credible and effective.”[198] Since 2010 the U.S. position has been less clear and it seems “to be deliberately lowering its profile – either because it might interference with negotiations by the 5+1 or because it has less support within the Obama Administration.”[199]

Two weeks after the Geneva interim deal was achieved, President Barack Obama disclosed in an interview that while taking office, he decided to “reach out to Iran” and open up a diplomatic channel. He emphasized: “the best way for us to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapons is for a comprehensive, verifiable, diplomatic resolution, without taking any other options off the table if we fail to achieve that.” The President also expressed strong belief that an end state can be envisioned, where Iran will not have breakout capacity. Barack Obama, however, added: “If you asked me what is the likelihood that we’re able to arrive at the end state that I was just describing earlier, I wouldn’t say that it’s more than 50/50.”[200][201]

About fourteen months after the Geneva interim agreement was signed, President Barack Obama reiterated his assessment that the chances to “get a diplomatic deal are probably less than 50/50.”[202] Shortly afterwards, in his State of the Union presented to a joint session of the United States Congress, the President announced: “Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material.”[203] The accuracy of this statement has been challenged by some media sources. For example, based on experts’ assessments Glenn Kessler from the Washington Post has come to the conclusion that between 2013 and 2014 the amount of nuclear material, which could be converted by Iran to a bomb, has been increased. Olli Heinonen observed that the interim agreement “is just a step to create negotiation space; nothing more. It is not a viable longer term situation.” Jeffrey Lewis observed that Obama’s statement was an oversimplification, and that while Iran’s stockpiles of the “most dangerous” nuclear materials had declined, overall stocks had increased.[204] Right-wing publications The Federalist and The Washington Free Beacon have said that the Iranians have exploited loopholes in the interim agreement and made significant progress on all areas of their nuclear program. Right-wing commentator Fred Fleitz stated in The National Review Online that the “number of nuclear weapons Iran could make from its enriched uranium has steadily risen throughout Mr. Obama’s presidency”.[205][206][207]Both, the mainstream Washington Post and the conservative National Review Online, presented the Center for Security Policy’s chart that illustrates Iran’s build-up of nuclear material since 2009.[208]

United Kingdom

United Kingdom is interested in constructive relationship with Iran. For decades Iran has been regarded as a threat to the security of the UK and its regional partners in the Middle East and in the Persian Gulf. The UK believes that negotiations in Vienna are the most appropriate framework for coping with Iranian nuclear intentions. The British Government is satisfied with the convergence of UK and US policy on Iran and with a united front maintained by the P5+1 countries. It also assures that the agreement with Iran does not imply any diminution in the commitments to the alliances in the region and to the struggle against terrorism. Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons expressed opinion that the comprehensive agreement should include the issues of Parchin Military Complex.[209]

Non-negotiating countries’ positions

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia fears that a deal with Iran could come at expense of Sunni Arabs. President Barack Obama paid a visit to Riyadh in March 2014 and assured King Abdullah that he is determined to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and that USA will not accept a bad deal. However, an editorial in Al Riyadh newspaper claimed that the president did not know Iran as the Saudis did, and could not convince them that Iran will be peaceful.[210]

Israel

After the meetings between Western foreign ministers and Iranian counterpart on 13 July 2014 Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu in an interview with Fox News warned that “a bad deal is actually worse than no deal.” He explained that allowing Iran to stockpile nuclear material or to preserve the capability of uranium enrichment in return for the presence of international inspectors would lead to a “catastrophic development”.[211] At his meeting with Barack Obama in Washington in October 2014, Benjamin Netanyahu warned U.S. President not to accept any Iran deal that would allow Tehran to become a “threshold nuclear power.” Netanyahu’s remark highlighted the long-standing disagreement between Israel and the Obama administration on the nuclear talks with Iran.[212]

In his speech presented to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on March 3, 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized that the negotiated deal was bad because of its two major concessions: leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program and lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. “It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb,” said the Prime Minister. Netanyahu also urged the leaders of the world “not to repeat the mistakes of the past” and expressed his commitment that “if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.”[213]

What-if analysis

Oil prices

Iran needs oil at $136 a barrel to finance its spending plans. In 2013 it spent $100 billion on consumer subsidies, about 25% of GDP. “Sanctions mean it cannot borrow its way out of trouble”.[214]

Collapse of negotiations]

Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman warned that a failure of the nuclear negotiations with Iran will lead to a dangerous escalation by both Tehran and the West. “That is why I say the stakes are quite high here,” she said on October 23, 2014. “The alternatives are quite terrible.”[215]

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius has supposed that if the parties don’t reach an agreement by the June 30, 2015, the United States may turn on its ability “to use cyberweapons to attack Iranian nuclear facilities” and Iran may turn on its ability “to wage covert war through its proxies in the Middle East.”[216]

Cutting a bad nuclear deal with Iran

A deal “that removes the most important sanctions but does not extend Iran’s breakout scenario to at least six months, that does not address the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear work, that does not allow for rigorous monitoring and transparency, that places only short duration constraints that are easily reversible, and that unravels sanctions against Iran’s support for terrorism and gross human rights violations as well” is a bad deal. This definition has been given by a former senior analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense J. Matthew McInnis at his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on November 18, 2014.[217]

A bad deal will leave everyone in the region uncertain about Iran’s intentions and potential nuclear weapons capabilities. It will lead other countries to take potentially dangerous decisions, such as acquiring nuclear weapons or making strategic accommodation with Iran. According to McInnis, “In the worst case scenario, we could eventually face a nuclear Iran, for whom classic containment and deterrence approaches are unlikely to be effective.”[217]

Testifying before the Committee David Albright said that in order to avoid a bad nuclear deal with Iran “the P5+1 must hold strong on achieving an agreement that limits Iran’s nuclear program to a reasonable civilian capability, significantly increases the timelines for breakout to nuclear weapons, and introduces enhanced verification that goes beyond the IAEA’s Additional Protocol.”[218]

Albright also highlighted at his testimony that a “sound deal” will require Iran to address IAEA’s concerns about PMD of its nuclear program before a deal is finalized or the economic or financial sanctions are relieved. To achieve a “verifiable solution” Iran will have to significantly reduce the number of its centrifuges and uranium stocks, as well as to limit its centrifuge R&D programs.[218]

U.S. President vs Congress

The president remains in overall control of foreign policy and defence. “Mr Obama would probably veto any bill that tightened sanctions against his wishes.”[219]

According to Jack Goldsmith, Harvard Law School professor and a former Bush administration official, President Obama has the authority to “waive most if not all sanctions against Iran for the remaining two years of his term.” If he does so, the deal with Iran “will be tenuous”. The President believes that Congress will not cooperate on this issue now. “So if he wants a deal with Iran (which he clearly does), Obama must strike the deal on his own.”[220] If President Obama suspends sanctions the entire sanctions regime will probably collapse. “The end result would be a deal that expires when Obama leaves and a sanctions regime in tatters. Iran will then have exactly what it wants — relief from sanctions, a deal that doesn’t block it from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability … and a revived economy,” has argued Jennifer Rubin, a lawyer and a columnist for The Washington Post.”[221]

The lawyer Alan Dershowitz is of the view that if “Congress chooses to assert its constitutional power to participate in foreign policy decisions”, Obama would not have a completely free hand in making a deal with Iran. In case of a constitutional conflict between these branches of government, the Supreme Court may resolve the conflict but it is unclear how the judges would deal with it.[222]

Next Supreme Leader Appointment

The Supreme Leader is the most powerful man in Iran. He has the ultimate say on Iran’s foreign policy and nuclear programme. Iran’s Supreme Leader is appointed by the Assembly of Experts in the event of the death, resignation, or dismissal of the leader. While the Assembly of Experts has the formal role in the appointment, in practice the decision will be influenced by powerful lobbies. The most powerful political organization is Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) that has control over the military, politics, economy, and nuclear program. The IRGC and the office of the current Supreme Leader will be the key selecting players. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American scholar at Harvard University, has argued that the IRGC will attempt to choose an individual who serves its objectives: “obtaining nuclear capabilities, having a monopoly over economic and political affairs, having power in foreign policy and having the capability to intervene in other countries’ affairs without hurdles from any political figures including the Supreme Leader.”[223][224]

Clifton W. Sherrill, an assistant professor of international relations at Troy University, has come to the conclusion that with “no consensus successor and with concerns that dividing power among a council may diminish the strength of the regime, the conditions are ripe for an IRGC power grab.” Explaining the role of the IRGC, Sherrill has written (2011): “Today, it has its own air force, navy, and infantry; maintains its own intelligence service; runs strategic think tanks, defense research and development programs, and its own universities; coordinates Iranian support for Islamist terrorist groups abroad; and holds primary responsibility for the regime’s nuclear weapons program.”[225]

See also

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Brian Williams The Leading Likeable Liar News Anchor Suspended Without Pay by NBC for Six Months — Damaged Goods — Toast — NBC And Williams Will Terminate Contract For Breach of Trust — Williams Lied — Viewers Do Not Trust Him — Fire Him Now And NBC Staff and Executives That Hid The Truth — Video

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Story 1: Brian Williams The Leading Likeable Liar News Anchor Suspended Without Pay by NBC for Six Months — Damaged Goods — Toast — NBC And Williams Will Terminate Contract For Breach of Trust — Williams Lied — Viewers Do Not Trust Him — Fire Him Now And NBC Staff and Executives That Hid The Truth — Video

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Kelly File: Brian Williams Suspended By NBC For 6 Months Without Pay

Brian Williams suspended for 6 months without pay

DONALD TRUMP FIRES BRIAN WILLIAMS FOR LIE lying liar lied – never shot down in helicopter suspended

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Brian Williams

Born Brian Douglas Williams
May 5, 1959 (age 55)
Elmira, New York, U.S.
Residence New Canaan, Connecticut
Education Brookdale Community College
George Washington University

The Catholic University of America
Occupation News Anchor and Managing Editor of NBC Nightly News
Years active 1981–present
Notable credit(s) NBC News reporter
(1993–2004)
NBC Nightly News weekend anchor (1993–1999)
NBC Nightly News anchor (2004–2015)
Salary $10 million annually[1]
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Jane Gillan Stoddard Williams (m. 1986)[2]
Children Allison Williams
Douglas Williams
Website
Profile on NBC News

Brian Douglas Williams (born May 5, 1959) is an American journalist who was the anchor and managing editor ofNBC Nightly News, the evening news program of the NBC television network. Williams assumed the position on December 2, 2004.[2] In 2005, NBC News was awarded the Peabody Award for its coverage of the Hurricane Katrina story, the award committee stating that Williams and the NBC staff displayed the “highest levels of journalistic excellence” in their reporting.[3]

In 2015, Williams recanted and apologized for telling an inaccurate story on the Nightly News about personal experiences on board a military helicopter during the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.[4] Williams was widely criticized and on February 10, 2015, NBC News president Deborah Turness announced he would be suspended for six months without pay.[5]

Early life

Born in Elmira, New York, Williams was reared in a well-to-do Irish Catholic home.[6] He is the son of Dorothy May (née Pampel) and Gordon Lewis Williams, who was an executive vice president of the National Retail Merchants Association, in New York.[7][8] He is the youngest of four siblings.[9] He lived in Elmira for ten years before moving toMiddletown, New Jersey, when he was in junior high school.[10]

He graduated from Mater Dei High School, a Roman Catholic high school in the New Monmouth section of Middletown.[11] While in high school, he was a volunteer firefighter for three years at the Middletown Township Fire Department. His first job was as a busboy at Perkins Pancake House.[12]

After high school Williams attended Brookdale Community College, after which he transferred to The Catholic University of America, and then The George Washington University.[13] He did not graduate, and instead interned with the administration of President Jimmy Carter. He now calls leaving college one of his “great regrets”.[14]Williams completed a total of 18 college credits.[15]

Early broadcast career

Williams first worked in broadcasting in 1981 at KOAM-TV in Pittsburg, Kansas. The following year he covered news in the Washington, D.C. area at TV station WTTG, then worked in Philadelphia for WCAU, then a CBS affiliate.[16] Beginning in 1987 he broadcast in New York City at WCBS. Williams joined NBC News in 1993, where he anchored the national Weekend Nightly News and was chief White House correspondent before serving as anchor and managing editor of The News With Brian Williams, broadcast on MSNBC and CNBC.[17]

Nightly News

Williams became anchor of NBC Nightly News on December 2, 2004, and his first year in that post was marked by coverage of two disasters: the Asian tsunami andHurricane Katrina. His and NBC’s Katrina coverage was widely praised, and Williams in particular was applauded “for venting his anger and frustration over the government’s failure to act quickly to help the victims.”[18] NBC News was awarded a Peabody Award for its coverage, the Peabody committee concluding that the staff of NBC Nightly News “exemplified the highest levels of journalistic excellence in reporting on Hurricane Katrina.”[3] NBC Nightly News also earned the George Polk Award[19] and the duPont-Columbia University Award for its Katrina coverage.[20]

In 2009, Williams was awarded the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism by Arizona State University.[21] At the announcement of the award, Cronkitesaid he was one of Williams’s “ardent admirers” and described him as a “fastidious newsman” who brought credit to the television news reporting profession.[21]

Since he began anchoring the ‘’Nightly News’’, Williams has received 12 News & Documentary Emmy Awards. For “outstanding” work as anchor and managing editor of the ‘’Nightly News’, he received one Emmy in 2006 (for ‘’Nightly News’’ coverage of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina),[22] two in 2007,[23] one in 2009,[24] two in 2010,[25] one in 2011,[26] one in 2013,[27] and one in 2014.[28] He also received a 2012 Emmy for his interview program ‘’Rock Center’’,[29] a 2013 Emmy for being one of the executive producers and editors of a documentary on the JFK Presidential Library & Museum,[27] and also shared a 2014 Emmy awarded for an NBC News Special on the Boston Marathon bombings.[28]

Based on the Nielsen ratings, from late 2008 Williams’ news broadcast consistently won more viewers than its two main rivals, ABC‘s World News Tonight and CBSEvening News.[30] In fact, from late 2008 to late 2014, NBC Nightly News beat the other two network programs in the Nielsen ratings all but one week.[30]

NBC pays him $10 million per year.[31] His recent scandal for inaccurate reporting will cost him $5 million in lost income according to CBS.[32]

Inaccurate Iraq war recollections

In February 2015 Williams recanted a story he had told about being aboard a helicopter hit by RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) fire and forced to land on March 24, 2003, during the U.S. invasion of Iraq.[33] His initial and subsequent reportings of the incident indicated that a helicopter in front of his was hit by the RPG. However, in a 2013 interview[34] and during the NBC Nightly News broadcast on January 30, 2015 Williams inaccurately recounted the incident, stating that it was the helicopter he was on that was “hit and crippled by enemy fire”.[35] His story was soon criticized by Lance Reynolds, a flight engineer who was on board one of the three helicopters that had been attacked.[36] Reynolds and other crew members said they were forced to make an emergency landing, and that it was a half hour to an hour later that Williams’ Chinook helicopter arrived on the scene.[33][37] Williams’ retelling of the helicopter incident in 2007 also differs from the recollections of on-site military personnel.[38] Williams said in the interview, “… I looked down the tube of an RPG that had been fired at us, and it hit the chopper in front of us.”[38]The statement varies with the recollections of crew on the helicopter that sustained RPG damage, that it was at least a half hour ahead of Williams’ craft, making it impossible for him to “look down the tube” of the RPG that damaged the other helicopter.[38]

On the February 4 broadcast of Nightly News, Williams apologized and said he had “made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago.”[39] NBC News President Deborah Turness announced on February 6 that there would be an internal probe into Williams’ Iraq reporting.[40] The next day Williams announced that he would step aside from anchoring the Nightly News broadcast for “several days” to remove a distraction during an NBC investigation of his actions.[41] The New York Times reported that Williams’ credibility dropped after he acknowledged the false recollections.[42]

On February 10, 2015, NBC News president Deborah Turness announced Williams’ suspension from NBC for six months without pay.[5] NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke stated that Williams’ actions were inexcusable and the suspension “severe and appropriate,” but that Williams also “deserves a second chance” to win back trust.[5]

Hurricane Katrina reporting questioned

Williams’ comments made in a 2006 interview concerning Hurricane Katrina have received critical scrutiny.[43][44] Williams said he stayed at a French Quarter hotel, the Ritz-Carlton on Canal Street, according to an ‘’NBC’’ source.[40] Williams said he looked out his hotel window and saw a dead body floating by face down.[40][43][44] The hotel manager at the time has said neither she nor her staff saw any floating bodies, though such bodies were seen elsewhere on Canal Street.[40][43][44][45] The French Quarter in fact received little flooding, but a New Orleans geographer states that Canal Street in front of the hotel was flooded.[46] AnAssociated Press news photographer also reported that flood waters in front of the Ritz could accommodate a flat-bottomed boat and that he photographed, a few blocks from the hotel, a dead body floating on Canal Street.[40]

Williams also said that he accidentally ingested flood water and came down with dysentery.[43][44] A 2005 study of the Katrina disaster by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that there were documented reports of “clusters of diarrheal disease” among those in evacuation centers, but no cases of dysentery.[47] Shortly after the storm a hotel guest said doctors at a makeshift clinic had treated what they believed was dysentery.[47][48]

According to a CNN news report, Williams also referred inconsistently to a suicide that took place inside the New Orleans Superdome at the time of Katrina.[49] It reported that in a 2005 television documentary Williams indicated he was not a witness to the suicide, stating, “We heard the story of a man killing himself, falling from the upper deck.”[49] In a 2014 interview Williams said, “We watched, all of us watched, as one man committed suicide.”[49]

Critics have also been skeptical about a 2014 Williams statement that the Ritz-Carlton was “overrun with gangs” when he stayed there.[50] Also, based on interviews conducted with Williams and other NBC News employees, Douglas Brinkley wrote that “armed gangs” broke into the hotel, “brandishing guns and terrorizing guests.”[51] Richard Rhodes, a Seattle business executive staying at the Ritz-Carlton at about the same time as Williams, said he saw no “criminal gangs” there but that “a kind of criminal element” had gotten inside. He said that “two off-duty police officers were running around keeping the peace,” and that there were “scary moments” during his time at the hotel.[52] News reports at that time described the area around the hotel as unsafe. In a September 2, 2005 report, CNN paraphrased a hotel guest about the security there as follows: “Off-duty police officers were guarding the hotel with shotguns to protect [guests] from bands of looters outside, she said.” An August 30, 2005 USA Today report describes looters ransacking jewelry and clothing stores on Canal Street near the Ritz-Carlton.[53]In addition, the city’s director of homeland security described some of the looting in the city as being done by “large groups of armed individuals.”[54] In contrast, on September 26, 2005 the New Orleans Time-Picayune reported that Katrina-related violence in the city had been overblown, and provided a representative anecdote involving the Ritz-Carlton.[55] New Orleans Police Chief Eddie Compass, whose daughter stayed at the hotel during the storm, had heard from “civilians” that “a band of armed thugs had gotten into the Ritz-Carlton hotel and started raping women,” including his daughter. Compass rushed to the Ritz, “only to find that although a group of men had tried to enter the hotel, they weren’t armed and were easily turned back by police.”[55]

Rock Center with Brian Williams

On Tuesday, October 4, 2011, it was announced that Williams would be the host of Rock Center with Brian Williams, a newsmagazine program premiering on Monday, October 31, 2011, at 10:00 pm Eastern, replacing the cancelled drama series The Playboy Club.[56] Named after the nickname of Rockefeller Center, theNew York City landmark where NBC Radio City Studios are located, the program would become the first new NBC News program to launch in primetime in nearly two decades.[57]

NBC cancelled Rock Center on May 10, 2013, after low ratings and having trouble finding a permanent time slot for the program. The last show aired on June 21, 2013.[58] Williams reportedly felt “insulted” by the program’s cancellation.[59]

Other programs

Williams frequently appears on The Daily Show as a celebrity guest interviewed by Jon Stewart. He appeared on the Weekend Update segment of Saturday Night Live on the season 32 premiere hosted by Dane Cook before hosting a season 33 episode on November 3, 2007, the last episode to air before the show went on a three-month hiatus due to the 2007-08 Writers’ Guild strike. With this episode, Williams is now the first and (so far) only network news anchor to host SNL.[60]

On February 22, 2010, while providing coverage of the Winter Olympics, Williams did a skit with Brian Williams, the Canadian sportscaster of CTV‘s on the CTV Olympic set.[61][62] Some in the media dubbed this the new “Battle of the Brians,” as NBC’s Williams compared his own modest set to CTV’s expensive Olympic studio.[63]

Williams regularly appears on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, where he slow jams the news of the previous week as Fallon sings and reiterates what Williams says, with The Roots providing the musical backing. A mash-up video created by Fallon, where he appears to rap to hip-hop instrumentals, became viral within a few hours.[64] He has also made numerous appearances on Late Show with David Letterman despite it being on CBS, a competing network. During an appearance on July 26, 2011, Williams demonstrated a skilled vocal impersonation of TV personality Regis Philbin. Williams has also appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brienwhere he took part in numerous skits and interviews.

… And then I pull off my mask, and I’m alizard person, too. Blackout. End of episode.
—Williams on 30 Rock, proposing a new NBC show to Jack Donaghy[65]

Williams also frequently made guest appearances on NBC’s television comedy 30 Rock as a caricatured version of himself. In the episode “The Ones“, he’s seen at home receiving proposition calls meant for Tracy Jordan. In “Audition Day“, he auditions to be a new TGS cast member. He also is seen once on the show taunting Tina Fey’s character Liz Lemon. In April 2012, on the West Coast installment of the 30 Rock season 6 live show, Williams portrayed a news anchor covering the Apollo 13 story.

Williams appeared on Sesame Street in a 2007 episode, announcing the word of the day, squid, in a special broadcast. Williams appeared on Sesame Street again in a 2008 episode reporting for Sesame Street Nightly News about the Mine-itis outbreak where he becomes a victim of it. He also was the host of the 2009 Annual Sesame Workshop Benefit Gala.

In May 2012, Williams spoke at the George Washington University commencement on the National Mall.

He was the commencement speaker for Elon University‘s graduating class of 2013 of which his son Douglas was a member.

Personal life

Williams married his wife, Jane Gillan Williams (née Stoddard) at the First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan, Connecticut on June 7, 1986.[66] He currently lives in New Canaan, Connecticut with his wife.[67] His daughter Allison is an actress who currently stars in HBO‘s Girls. He received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Bates College in 2005.[68]

Television

Year Title Role First episode Notes
2009-12 30 Rock Himself The Ones As Himself
2013 Family Guy Himself Space Cadet voice only
2013 The Soup Himself Himself As Himself

Career timeline

References

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  35. Jump up^ Ravi Somaiya (February 4, 2015). “Brian Williams Admits He Wasn’t on Copter Shot Down in Iraq”. The New York Times. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  36. Jump up^ Johnathan Mahler, Ravi Somaiya, Emily Steel (February 5, 2015). “With an Apology, Brian Williams Digs Himself Deeper in Copter Tale”. The New York Times. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  37. Jump up^ Tritten, Travis J. (February 5, 2015). “Brian Williams’ apology draws mixed reviews from mission vets”. Stars and Stripes. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
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  42. Jump up^ Brian Williams Suspended From NBC for 6 Months Without Pay By EMILY STEEL and RAVI SOMAIYA; The New York Times; FEB. 10, 2015
  43. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Simerman, John (February 6, 2015). “NBC News anchor Brian Williams’ comments about dead bodies, Hurricane Katrina starting to gain attention, draw scrutiny”. The New Orleans Advocate (New Orleans). Retrieved February 6,2015.
  44. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Calamur, Krishnadev (February 6, 2015). “More Questions Emerge About Brian Williams’ Comments”. National Public Radio (Washington, D.C.). RetrievedFebruary 6, 2015.
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  47. ^ Jump up to:a b McCarthy, Tom (February 6, 2015). “Brian Williams’ reports on Katrina called into question by New Orleans residents”. The Guardian (UK). RetrievedFebruary 7, 2015.
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  50. Jump up^ “The duPont Talks: Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams – Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism”. columbia.edu. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
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  59. Jump up^ Stelter, Brian (June 21, 2013). “Disappointing Fall for ‘Rock Center,’ a News Program With Big Ambitions”. The New York Times.
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  61. Jump up^ “Williams skit lights up dull morning show”. The Toronto Sun (torontosun.com). February 22, 2010.
  62. Jump up^ *Upload of “The Summit: Brian Williams and Brian Williams” video on YouTube
  63. Jump up^ Vlessing, Etan (February 22, 2010). “Olympics has new Battle of the Brians”. Hollywood Reporter.
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  68. Jump up^ Bates Magazine-Degrees of Separation, received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree

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