887: Fact Checkmate

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 5m
December 18th, 2016
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How a TV Sitcom Triggered the Downfall of Western Civilization '' Medium
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 18:18
BY DAVID HOPKINS
I want to discuss a popular TV show my wife and I have been binge-watching on Netflix. It's the story of a family man, a man of science, a genius who fell in with the wrong crowd. He slowly descends into madness and desperation, lead by his own egotism. With one mishap after another, he becomes a monster. I'm talking, of course, about Friends and its tragic hero, Ross Geller.
You may see it as a comedy, but I cannot laugh with you. To me, Friends signals a harsh embrace of anti-intellectualism in America, where a gifted and intelligent man is persecuted by his idiot compatriots. And even if you see it from my point of view, it doesn't matter. The constant barrage of laughter from the live studio audience will remind us that our own reactions are unnecessary, redundant.
The theme song itself is filled with foreboding, telling us that life is inherently deceptive, career pursuits are laughable, poverty is right around the corner, and oh yeah, your love life's D.O.A. But you will always have the company of idiots. They will be there for you.
Don't I feel better?
Maybe I should unpack this, for the uninitiated. If you remember the 1990s and early 2000s, and you lived near a television set, then you remember Friends. Friends was the Thursday night primetime, ''must-see-TV'' event that featured the most likable ensemble ever assembled by a casting agent: all young, all middle class, all white, all straight, all attractive (but approachable), all morally and politically bland, and all equipped with easily digestible personas. Joey is the goofball. Chandler is the sarcastic one. Monica is obsessive-compulsive. Phoebe is the hippy. Rachel, hell, I don't know, Rachel likes to shop. Then there was Ross. Ross was the intellectual and the romantic.
Eventually, the Friends audience'Š'--'Šroughly 52.5 million people'Š'--'Šturned on Ross. But the characters of the show were pitted against him from the beginning (consider episode 1, when Joey says of Ross: ''This guy says hello, I wanna kill myself.'') In fact, any time Ross would say anything about his interests, his studies, his ideas, whenever he was mid-sentence, one of his ''friends'' was sure to groan and say how boring Ross was, how stupid it is to be smart, and that nobody cares. Cue the laughter of the live studio audience. This gag went on, pretty much every episode, for 10 seasons. Can you blame Ross for going crazy?
And like a Greek tragedy, our hero is caught in a prophecy that cannot be avoided. The show's producers, akin to the immutable voice of the gods, declared that Ross must end up with Rachel, the one who shops. Honestly, I think he could've done better.
Why such sympathy for Ross?
The show ended in 2004. The same year that Facebook began, the year that George W. Bush was re-elected to a second term, the year that reality television became a dominant force in pop culture, with American Idol starting an eight-year reign of terror as the No. 1 show in the U.S., the same year that Paris Hilton started her own ''lifestyle brand'' and released an autobiography. And Joey Tribbiani got a spin-off TV show. The year 2004 was when we completely gave up and embraced stupidity as a value. Just ask Green Day; their album American Idiot was released in 2004, and it won the Grammy for Best Rock Album. You can't get more timely. The rejection of Ross marked the moment when much of America groaned, mid-sentence, at the voice of reason.
Yes, my theory is that Friends may have triggered the downfall of western civilization. You might think I'm crazy. But to quote Ross: ''Oh, am I? Am I? Am I out of my mind? Am I losing my senses?'' Did you know the song that originally accompanied the Friends pilot episode was R.E.M.'s ''It's the End of the World as We Know (And I Feel Fine).'' A blissful song with an apocalyptic message that goes largely ignored.
I was a teacher in 2004. I coached our school's chess club. I saw how my students were picked on, bullied. I tried my best to defend them, but I couldn't be everywhere. My students were smart, huge nerds, and they were in hostile, unfriendly territory. Other students would be waiting outside my room to ambush the chess club members who met in my room every day at lunch. During my tenure as a teacher, I gained the reputation of being a slayer of bullies and defender of nerds. I promise you: bullies can be mean, but they knew Mr. Hopkins was much worse.
Maybe intellectuals have always been persecuted and shoved in lockers, but something in my gut tells me we're at a low point'Š'--'Šwhere social media interaction has replaced genuine debate and political discourse, where politicians are judged by whether we'd want to have a beer with them, where scientific consensus is rejected, where scientific research is underfunded, where journalism is drowning in celebrity gossip.
I see Kim Kardashian's ass at the top of CNN.com, and I am scared.
Maybe it's all harmless fun. Like the good-spirited laughter of a live studio audience? Maybe. But I am sincerely worried we have not done enough to cultivate intellectual curiosity within our culture.
Fortunately, there's a resistance forming. People with grit, who aren't afraid to begin a sentence with ''Did you know'...'' These are the Rosses of the world. I saw them in my chess club. And I see them in my city, hiding at the art museum, crouching at used book stores, exchanging sideways glances at the public libraries and coffee houses, and sneaking around at our schools, community colleges, and universities.
There was no hope for Ross. He went insane, and yeah, he did get annoying.
So, how do we retain our sanity in a dumb, dumb world? I wouldn't be a good teacher if I didn't come prepared with a few ideas.
No. 1: read a fucking book. Something special happens when you set aside the inane distractions of modern culture and immerse yourself in a novel. You open yourself up to new ideas, new experiences, new perspectives. It's an experiment in patience and mindfulness. The New School for Social Research in New York proved that reading literature improves empathy. It's true. Reading makes you less of a jerk. So, read often. Read difficult books. Read controversial books. Read a book that makes you cry. Read something fun. But read.
No. 2: learn something. Your brain is capable of so much. Feed it. Learn something new. The greatest threat to progress is the belief that something is too complex to fix. Poverty is permanent. Racism will always exist. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is too difficult to understand. The public education system is broken. Educate yourself, so you can be part of the conversation. Learn something scientific, something mathematic. Explore philosophy. Study paleontology. Try to learn a new language. You don't even have to make fluency your goal, just get a few more words in your head. Listen to an educational podcast. Professors from colleges'Š'--'Šsuch as Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Stanford'Š'--'Šare offering their lectures online for free. Think of what you could learn. One of my greatest challenges as a teacher was convincing students they were smart after someone had told them they were dumb.
No. 3: stop buying so much shit. This may seem like a non sequitur, but I'm convinced consumer culture and idiot culture are closely linked. Simplify your life. Idiocy dominates our cultural landscape because it sells more Nike tennis shoes and Big Macs. When we thoughtfully consider what we bring into our home, we are less likely to be manipulated by empty impulses.
And finally:protect the nerds. A computer programmer from Seattle is doing more to alleviate world poverty, hunger, and disease through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation than any other person in America right now. Nerds create vaccines. Nerds engineer bridges and roadways. Nerds become teachers and librarians. We need those obnoxiously smart people, because they make the world a better place. We can't have them cowering before a society that rolls their eyes at every word they say. Ross needs better friends.
An earlier version of this article was shared as a spoken essay forNaked Stagein Dallas, and then published on D Magazine'sFrontburnerblog.
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Hillary lost because the Russians "hacked" our election. Hillary won by almost 3 million votes. Please. Pick one and stick with it.
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Fake News
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Facebook rolls out plan to fight fake news '' Poynter
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 21:47
Facebook on Thursday unveiled a multi-part plan to fight fake news that includes teaming up with fact-checkers in the United States to cut down on the reach of bogus stories.
The plan (which Poynter's International Fact-checking Network is involved with) represents the first time Facebook has given fact-checkers the ability to verify news on its platform, and comes after months of public debate about the social media giant's role in spreading inaccurate information.
Beginning today, fact-checkers at ABC News, FactCheck.org, the Associated Press, Snopes and Politifact will be given access to a tool created by Facebook to evaluate stories that may be inaccurate. Only stories that have previously been flagged as fake by users will be submitted for consideration by fact-checkers.
If fact-checkers agree that the story is misleading, it will appear in News Feeds with a "disputed" tag, along with a link to a corresponding article explaining why it's false. Posts labeled this way will appear lower in Facebook's News Feed, and readers will receive a warning while sharing them.
Facebook's plan is a pilot program and will only be rolled out to a fraction of users in the United States.
Adam Mosseri'¨'¨, the vice president of product for News Feed at Facebook, explained the plan in an announcement Thursday, saying that the social network's employees could not "become arbiters of truth ourselves."
"'¨'¨We believe in giving people a voice and that we cannot become arbiters of truth ourselves, so we're approaching this problem carefully," Mosseri wrote. "We've focused our efforts on the worst of the worst, on the clear hoaxes spread by spammers for their own gain, and on engaging both our community and third party organizations."
Related: Facebook has a plan to fight fake news. Here's where we come in
To decide which news organizations should be given access to its fact-checking tool, Facebook is using the list of signatories to a code of principles outlined by the International Fact-checking Network, an alliance of fact-checkers hosted by Poynter. Being a signatory to the network's code of principles '-- which require transparency of sourcing and funding, among other things '-- is a minimum condition to be verified as a fact-checker on the platform.
The social network then determines which fact-checkers are admitted.
In addition to third-party fact-checking, Facebook is also taking several steps to disrupt the spread of fake information. As of today, users can click on the upper right hand corner of a post and flag it on Facebook. The social network is also experimenting with adjusting the News Feed rank of stories that are read but shared at a significantly lower rate, which is one indicator that an article might be misleading.
Facebook is also taking steps to disrupt the business model for spammers that pass themselves off as genuine news organizations. During the election, several news organizations, including BuzzFeed, The Washington Post and The New York Times, examined how fake news peddlers were turning falsehoods into income. Facebook has hampered tactics employed by those spammers, including cutting down on spoof domains and policing sites that consistently spread false information.
Mosseri concluded his note by restating Facebook's emphasis on providing stories that are "authentic and meaningful."
"It's important to us that the stories you see on Facebook are authentic and meaningful," Mosseri wrote. "We're excited about this progress, but we know there's more to be done. We're going to keep working on this problem for as long as it takes to get it right."
FaceBook to Start Filtering Fake News with ABC and Snopes
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 21:09
Facebook is going to start fact-checking, labeling, and burying fake news and hoaxes in its News Feed, the company said Thursday.
The decision comes after Facebook received heated criticism for its role in spreading a deluge of political misinformation during the US presidential election, like one story that falsely said the Pope had endorsed Donald Trump.
To combat fake news, Facebook has teamed up with a shortlist of media organizations, including Snopes and ABC News, that are part of an international fact-checking network led by Poynter, a nonprofit school for journalism in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Starting as a test with a small percentage of its users in the US, Facebook will make it easier to report news stories that are fake or misleading. Once third-party fact-checkers have confirmed that the story is fake, it will be labeled as such and demoted in the News Feed.
A company representative told Business Insider that the social network will also use other signals, like algorithms that detect whether a story that appears fake is going viral, to determine if it should label the story as fake and bury it in people's feeds.
"We've focused our efforts on the worst of the worst, on the clear hoaxes spread by spammers for their own gain, and on engaging both our community and third party organizations," Facebook News Feed chief Adam Mosseri said in a company blog post on Thursday.
Facebook's new label for fake news.Facebook
A team of Facebook researchers will also review website domains and send sites that appear to be fake or spoofed (like "washingtonpost.co") to third-party fact-checkers, a Facebook representative said. Of the 42 news organizations that have committed to Poynter's fact-checking code of ethics, Facebook is starting out with the following four: Snopes, Factcheck.org, ABC News, and PolitiFact.
The Associated Press will also be a fact-checking partner.
"We are only involved to the extent that Facebook relies on the list of signatories to our code of principles as a starting point for the organizations it chooses to verify," a Poynter representative told Business Insider. "Facebook is the only organization certifying third party fact-checkers on its platform."
Facebook has given its four initial fact-checking partners access to a tool that will let them label stories in the News Feed as fake, a Facebook spokesperson said. The person said Facebook is not paying the organizations to fact-check.
Facebook users will be able to report stories they think are fake news.Facebook
The websites that Facebook determines to be fake news organizations or spoofed domains will also not be able to sell ads on the social network. Owners of fake-news sitescan make thousands of dollars per monththrough internet ads.
Facebook has repeatedly said that it's not a media company, but rather an open technology platform that relies on media publishers and its users to share accurate information.
''We do not think of ourselves as editors," Patrick Walker, Facebook's head of media partnerships, said during a recent journalism conference in Dublin. "We believe it's essential that Facebook stay out of the business of deciding what issues the world should read about. That's what editors do.''
Facebook will show this warning before someone shares a story that has been labeled as fake.Facebook
Politicians such as President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have recently expressed concern about the prevalence of misinformation on social media, with Obama calling it a "dust cloud of nonsense" and Clinton calling it "an epidemic."Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has meanwhile gone so far as to say that it's "pretty crazy" for some to suggest that fake news on Facebook could have swayed the election in favor of either candidate.
But after facing significant backlash for its denial to fact-check stories on its network, Zuckerberg now calls Facebook a "new kind of platform" with a responsibility to "build a space where people can be informed."
"Facebook is a new kind of platform different from anything before it. I think of Facebook as a technology company, but I recognize we have a greater responsibility than just building technology that information flows through," the Facebook founder said in a Thursday post.
"While we don't write the news stories you read and share, we also recognize we're more than just a distributor of news. We're a new kind of platform for public discourse '-- and that means we have a new kind of responsibility to enable people to have the most meaningful conversations, and to build a space where people can be informed."
You can read Zuckerberg's full post below:
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International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers' code of principles '' Poynter
Fri, 16 Dec 2016 11:03
The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at Poynter is committed to promoting excellence in fact-checking. We believe nonpartisan and transparent fact-checking can be a powerful instrument of accountability journalism; conversely, unsourced or biased fact-checking can increase distrust in the media and experts while polluting public understanding.
The code of principles is for organizations that regularly publish nonpartisan reports on the accuracy of statements by public figures, major institutions, and other widely circulated claims of interest to society. It is the result of consultations among fact-checkers from around the world and offers conscientious practitioners principles to aspire to in their everyday work.
A COMMITMENT TO NONPARTISANSHIP AND FAIRNESSWe fact-check claims using the same standard for every fact check. We do not concentrate our fact-checking on any one side. We follow the same process for every fact check and let the evidence dictate our conclusions. We do not advocate or take policy positions on the issues we fact-check.A COMMITMENT TO TRANSPARENCY OF SOURCESWe want our readers to be able to verify our findings themselves. We provide all sources in enough detail that readers can replicate our work, except in cases where a source's personal security could be compromised. In such cases, we provide as much detail as possible.A COMMITMENT TO TRANSPARENCY OF FUNDING & ORGANIZATIONWe are transparent about our funding sources. If we accept funding from other organizations, we ensure that funders have no influence over the conclusions we reach in our reports. We detail the professional background of all key figures in our organization and explain our organizational structure and legal status. We clearly indicate a way for readers to communicate with us.A COMMITMENT TO TRANSPARENCY OF METHODOLOGYWe explain the methodology we use to select, research, write, edit, publish and correct our fact checks. We encourage readers to send us claims to fact-check and are transparent on why and how we fact-check.A COMMITMENT TO OPEN AND HONEST CORRECTIONSWe publish our corrections policy and follow it scrupulously. We correct clearly and transparently in line with our corrections policy, seeking so far as possible to ensure that readers see the corrected version.
By signing up to this code of principles, the fact-checking initiatives agree to produce a public report indicating how they have lived up to each of the five principles within a year from their signature, and once a year thereafter. The report will allow readers and others to judge to what extent the fact-checker is respecting the code of principles and will be linked to from this page.
Being a signatory to this code of principles and publishing a report in no way implies an endorsement from Poynter's IFCN or any of its members.
The signatories of the code on September 15th to December 15th are listed below.
In light of Facebook's decision that being a signatory to this code is a minimum condition for being accepted as a third-party fact-checker on the social network in its U.S.-based pilot project, we are currently rethinking the application and compliance process. Due to our limited staff, we won't be adding new signatories until the new process is concluded in the coming weeks. (More about that inthis Q&A)
It is important to note that not all signatories of this code are a part of the Facebook pilot; in fact the majority are not.
If you would like to become a signatory please register your interesthere. If you believe any of these organizations isn't respecting the code please reach out throughthis form.
ABC News (USA) Added Dec. 13thAfrica Check (South Africa, Senegal and Kenya)Agªncia Lupa (Brazil)Agªncia Pºblica - Truco (Brazil) Added Sept. 16thAos Fatos (Brazil)AP (USA) Added Dec. 15thBalkan Investigative Reporting Network Kosovo (Kosovo)Climate Feedback (USA) Added Dec. 5thColombiacheck (Colombia) Added Nov. 11thChequeado (Argentina)Demagog CZ (Czech Republic)Demagog PL (Poland)Doğruluk Payı (Turkey)El Deber Data (Bolivia)El Mercurio El Poligrafo (Chile)El Objetivo La Sexta (Spain)Factcheck.org (USA)FactCheck Georgia (Georgia)FactCheck Northern Ireland (UK)FactCheck-Ukraine (Ukraine)FactChecker.in (India)FactsCan (Canada)Faktabaari (Finland)Full Fact (UK)GKillCity.com (Ecuador)Internews Kosova (Kosovo)Istinomer (Serbia)Melu Detektors (Latvia) Added Sept. 26thMetamorphosis Foundation (Macedonia)Observador (Portugal)Ojo Publico (Peru)Pagella Politica (Italy)Pesa Check (Kenya)PolitiFact (USA)Snopes (USA)South Asia Check (Nepal)TheJournal.ie (Ireland)UY Check (Uruguay)Valheenpaljastaja (Finland)VERA Files Fact Check (Philippines) Added Sept. 19thVoxUkraine (Ukraine)The Washington Post Fact Checker (USA)ZaÅto ne Istinomjer (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
About the International Fact-Checking Network '' Poynter
Fri, 16 Dec 2016 11:02
The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) is a forum for fact-checkers worldwide hosted by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. These organizations fact-check statements by public figures, major institutions and other widely circulated claims of interest to society.
It launched in September 2015, in recognition of the fact that a booming crop of fact-checking initiatives could benefit from an organization that promotes best practices and exchanges in this field.
Among other things, the IFCN:
Monitors trends and formats in fact-checking worldwide, publishing regular articles on the dedicated Poynter.org channel.Provides training resources for fact-checkers.Supports collaborative efforts in international fact-checking.Convenes a yearly conference (Global Fact 1, 2, 3).Is the home of the fact-checkers' code of principles.The IFCN is led by Alexios Mantzarlis, who joined Poynter after co-founding and editing Pagella Politica, an Italian political fact-checking website.
Poynter's IFCN has received funding from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, the Duke Reporters' Lab, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Omidyar Network, the Open Society Foundations and the Park Foundation.
Soros-Funded 'Fact Check' Group Will Determine Which Facebook Stories are "Fake News"
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 03:17
Facebook announced on Thursday a Soros-funded ''fact check'' group will be used to determine which Facebook stories are ''fake news.''
George Soros is a billionaire funder of far left causes and groups like Black Lives Matter terrorists and Occupy Wall Street hoodlums.Breitbart.com reported:
The organization partnered with Facebook to help determine whether a certain story is ''disputed'' is financed by billionaire George Soros and a slew of other left-wing funders.
The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) drafted a code of five principles for news websites to accept, and Facebook yesterday announced it will work with ''third-party fact checking organizations'' that are signatories to the code of principles.
Facebook says that if the ''fact checking organizations'' determine that a certain story is fake, it will get flagged as disputed and, according to the Facebook announcement, ''there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why. Stories that have been disputed may also appear lower in News Feed.''
IFCN is hosted by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. A cursory search of the Poynter Institute website finds that Poynter's IFCN is openly funded by Soros' Open Society Foundations as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, and the National Endowment for Democracy.
Poynter's IFCN is also funded by the Omidyar Network, which is the nonprofit for liberal billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. The Omidyar Network has partnered with the Open Society on numerous projects and it has given grants to third parties using the Soros-funded Tides Foundation. Tides is one of the largest donors to left-wing causes in the U.S.
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Voice Of America's Independence Under Trump Questioned As Governance Changes : The Two-Way : NPR
Fri, 16 Dec 2016 12:47
Voice Of America Afghan Service broadcaster Daoud Sediqi listens to a caller in 2009 in a studio in Washington. The federally funded outlet and its affiliates broadcast news around the world in multiple languages. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Imageshide caption
toggle captionMandel Ngan/AFP/Getty ImagesVoice Of America Afghan Service broadcaster Daoud Sediqi listens to a caller in 2009 in a studio in Washington. The federally funded outlet and its affiliates broadcast news around the world in multiple languages.
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty ImagesA new law is raising concern that the journalistic independence of Voice of America and other federal broadcasters could be compromised by a future White House eager to market itself abroad.
The federally funded Voice of America '-- and its affiliated broadcasters such as Radio Mart­, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Free Asia '-- is intended to provide reliable news reports in multiple languages to countries that lack a viable independent media and to promote democratic values abroad.
The new law strips away the presidentially appointed bipartisan Broadcasting Board of Governors. The broadcasters instead would answer to a chief executive nominated by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
The Obama administration embraced the change, promoted by congressional Republicans before the November elections. It was passed earlier this month by the Republican-controlled House and Senate as part of a much larger and essentially unrelated bill, which awaits Obama's signature or veto.
The board was intended to insulate the broadcasters' journalists from political interference, but management by part-time, nonresident board members proved unwieldy; last year the board appointed a former Scripps executive, John Lansing, as CEO with day-to-day responsibilities.
The new law's formalization of the structural shift, to an advisory board with a CEO directly appointed by the president, was seen as a way to ensure the broadcasters could function more smoothly.
But the election of Donald Trump, whose attitude toward the press veers wildly depending on the favorability of the treatment he receives, has left some supporters of the venerable broadcaster worried. Critics, such as Democratic board member Michael Kempner, charge that the Obama administration and Congress are handing Trump new propaganda tools with a vast international reach.
For decades, the international U.S. broadcasters were not allowed to present their programs to the United States, but that ban was lifted in 2013, accentuating the concerns of what a Trump administration might bring.
"Congress unwittingly just gave President-elect Trump unchecked control of all U.S. media outlets," Kempner told Politico. "No president, either Democrat or Republican, should have that kind of control. It's a public jewel. Its independence is what makes it so credible."
The Washington Post's editorial board, suggesting Trump could appoint the head of Breitbart News as the broadcasting CEO, wrote, "If Congress's intention was for U.S. broadcasting to rival the Kremlin's, it may well get its wish."
The Two-WayBreaking News From NPR
The Two-WayBreaking News From NPR
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Now you can fact-check Trump's tweets '-- in the tweets themselves - The Washington Post
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 03:13
On Friday morning, President-elect Donald Trump took a new tack in his war on the Russia hacking issue.
As our Dave Weigel noted, this isn't really accurate. There was nothing illegal at play, and Donna Brazile wasn't the head of the Democratic National Committee at the time that she leaked town hall questions to the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Weigel wrote a whole post about the issue '-- but people who just click through to the link see only Trump's claim, and none of the context.
Unless, of course, they've installed our extension for Google Chrome.
We made a tool that slips a bit more context into Trump's tweets. It's still in the early stages, but our goal is to provide additional context where needed for Trump's tweets moving forward (and a few golden oldies). For example, here's what it shows in relation to that Trump tweet.
Still not perfect '-- but at least readers will see more information without having to read Weigel's full post (though they should, of course.)
Or, for example, here's what it says when you go to Trump's tweet about how there were ''millions of people who voted illegally,'' which is why he lost the popular vote:
[Get the extension]
Sometimes, we just add more context, like when Trump announced his pick of Rex Tillerson to serve as secretary of state. Curious for more info? It's right there in the tweet now.
It takes a little while for the Chrome extension to update, so we'll try to stay up to speed on fact-checking what Trump is tweeting, but it may take a few minutes. This is a work in progress, so don't hesitate to offer feedback and thoughts.
And don't hesitate to point to Trump tweets that could use a little explication. That's the goal, after all.
Philip Bump writes about politics for The Fix. He is based in New York City.
Follow @pbump
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Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Obama birth certificate forgery investigation - KGUN9.com
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 16:30
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Chief Investigator Mike Zullo present an update on the apparent forgery of outgoing President Barack Obama's birth certificate.
KGUN
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio stands in front of his county jail the day Arizona's immigration enforcement law SB 1070 went into effect on July 29, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
John Moore
Copyright 2016 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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Electoral College
Why I Will Not Cast My Electoral Vote for Donald Trump - NYTimes.com
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 16:43
DALLAS '-- I am a Republican presidential elector, one of the 538 people asked to choose officially the president of the United States. Since the election, people have asked me to change my vote based on policy disagreements with Donald J. Trump. In some cases, they cite the popular vote difference. I do not think presidents-elect should be disqualified for policy disagreements. I do not think they should be disqualified because they won the Electoral College instead of the popular vote. However, now I am asked to cast a vote on Dec. 19 for someone who shows daily he is not qualified for the office.
Fifteen years ago, as a firefighter, I was part of the response to the Sept. 11 attacks against our nation. That attack and this year's election may seem unrelated, but for me the relationship becomes clearer every day.
George W. Bush is an imperfect man, but he led us through the tragic days following the attacks. His leadership showed that America was a great nation. That was also the last time I remember the nation united. I watch Mr. Trump fail to unite America and drive a wedge between us.
Mr. Trump goes out of his way to attack the cast of ''Saturday Night Live'' for bias. He tweets day and night, but waited two days to offer sympathy to the Ohio State community after an attack there. He does not encourage civil discourse, but chooses to stoke fear and create outrage.
This is unacceptable. For me, America is that shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan envisioned. It has problems. It has challenges. These can be met and overcome just as our nation overcame Sept. 11.
The United States was set up as a republic. Alexander Hamilton provided a blueprint for states' votes. Federalist 68 argued that an Electoral College should determine if candidates are qualified, not engaged in demagogy, and independent from foreign influence. Mr. Trump shows us again and again that he does not meet these standards. Given his own public statements, it isn't clear how the Electoral College can ignore these issues, and so it should reject him.
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I have poured countless hours into serving the party of Lincoln and electing its candidates. I will pour many more into being more faithful to my party than some in its leadership. But I owe no debt to a party. I owe a debt to my children to leave them a nation they can trust.
Mr. Trump lacks the foreign policy experience and demeanor needed to be commander in chief. During the campaign more than 50 Republican former national security officials and foreign policy experts co-signed a letter opposing him. In their words, ''he would be a dangerous president.'' During the campaign Mr. Trump even said Russia should hack Hillary Clinton's emails. This encouragement of an illegal act has troubled many members of Congress and troubles me.
Hamilton also reminded us that a president cannot be a demagogue. Mr. Trump urged violence against protesters at his rallies during the campaign. He speaks of retribution against his critics. He has surrounded himself with advisers such as Stephen K. Bannon, who claims to be a Leninist and lauds villains and their thirst for power, including Darth Vader. ''Rogue One,'' the latest ''Star Wars'' installment, arrives later this month. I am not taking my children to see it to celebrate evil, but to show them that light can overcome it.
Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump's pick for national security adviser, has his own checkered past about rules. He installed a secret internet connection in his Pentagon office despite rules to the contrary. Sound familiar?
Finally, Mr. Trump does not understand that the Constitution expressly forbids a president to receive payments or gifts from foreign governments. We have reports that Mr. Trump's organization has business dealings in Argentina, Bahrain, Taiwan and elsewhere. Mr. Trump could be impeached in his first year given his dismissive responses to financial conflicts of interest. He has played fast and loose with the law for years. He may have violated the Cuban embargo, and there are reports of improprieties involving his foundation and actions he took against minority tenants in New York. Mr. Trump still seems to think that pattern of behavior can continue.
The election of the next president is not yet a done deal. Electors of conscience can still do the right thing for the good of the country. Presidential electors have the legal right and a constitutional duty to vote their conscience. I believe electors should unify behind a Republican alternative, an honorable and qualified man or woman such as Gov. John Kasich of Ohio. I pray my fellow electors will do their job and join with me in discovering who that person should be.
Fifteen years ago, I swore an oath to defend my country and Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. On Dec. 19, I will do it again.
Sole Republican elector Chrisd Suprun who plans to vote against Trump is a '9/11 faker' whose claim to be a first responder at the Pentagon is FALSE | Daily Mail Online
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 16:43
The Republican elector from Texas who refuses to cast his vote for Donald Trump at the Electoral College wrongly claimed to be a first responder during the September 11 attacks.
Chris Suprun, a Texas elector, said he was one of the first on scene after a third plane flew into the Pentagon on 9/11.
But in fact he was not employed as a firefighter at the Virginia department he often credits until a month after the attacks, according to an investigation by WFAA.
The fire department did not even attend the Pentagon on 9/11.
Suprun portrayed himself as a heroic firefighter in a widely-shared editorial this month for The New York Times, in which he declared he would not be voting for Trump, calling him unqualified, unfit and 'dismissive' of his own conflicts of interest.
The 42-year-old, from Dallas, is the sole Republican to publicly announce his ballot would not be cast for the president-elect.
He also co-signed a letter with nine Democratic electors which has been widely described as 'bipartisan' calling for briefings before the college voted from intelligence agencies on claims Russia hacked Hillary Clinton's emails in an attempt to tip the election in Trump's favor.
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Republican elector Chris Suprun, 42, who says he was a first responding firefighter during 9/11, made most of his story up, according to an investigation into his history. The Dallas, Texas, resident, portrayed himself as a heroic firefighter in an editorial this month for The New York Times about not voting for Trump
Suprun is just one of 38 electors in the Lone Star state, where Trump won by more than nine points.
The faithless elector detailed his criticism of Trump in the Times, writing: 'Fifteen years ago, as a firefighter, I was part of the response to the Sept. 11 attacks against our nation. That attack and this year's election may seem unrelated, but for me the relationship becomes clearer every day.'
Suprun claimed to be a first responder with the Manassas Park, Virginia, fire department and has made at least two appearances at Major League Baseball games where he was introduced as a 9/11 veteran and threw out the first pitch.
He also claims to have founded the nonprofit Never Forget, and says he is a licensed paramedic.
But a first responder who knows Suprun told WFAA a different story.
The responder, who spoke under anonymity, said: 'He claimed to be a first responder with the Manassas Park [Virginia] Fire Department on September 11, 2001 and personally told us stories "I was fighting fire that day at the Pentagon".
'No, I was on a medic unit that day at the Pentagon and you make a phone call to Manassas Park and you find out that he wasn't even employed there until October 2001.'
The City of Manassas Park confirmed that Suprun was hired on October 10, 2001, a month after the September 11 attacks.
The city's fire chief told WFAA that the department never even responded to the Pentagon or other 9/11 sites.
'It's no different than stolen valor for the military; dressing up and saying "Hey, I earned a Purple Heart" when you weren't even in combat,' the first responder told WFAA. 'There's a big difference between shopping at Old Navy and being a Navy SEAL.'
In his editorial, Suprun credits former President George W Bush for leading the nation through 9/11 in his New York Times op-ed.
Suprun is the sole Republican to publicly announce his ballot would not be cast for the president-elect
On December 19, the Electoral College will cast their votes following the election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Some electors, including Suprun, have come forward to say they will not be voting for President-elect Trump
'George W. Bush is an imperfect man, but he led us through the tragic days following the attacks,' he writes. 'His leadership showed that America was a great nation.
'That was also the last time I remember the nation united. I watch Mr. Trump fail to unite America and drive a wedge between us.
DID NEW YORK TIMES FACT CHECK HIM?Suprun's op-ed in the New York Times said: 'Fifteen years ago, as a firefighter, I was part of the response to the Sept. 11 attacks against our nation.'
But it is now clear that claim is untrue.
The Times, which prides itself on being the paper of record, has explained that it fact checks op-ed pieces.
In 2013, then Op-Ed Editor Trish Hall explained that all contributors whose pieces are accepted get a contract 'laying out some of your responsibilities'.
'We also need all of the material that supports the facts in your story,' she wrote.
'That's the biggest surprise to some people. Yes, we do fact check. Do we do it perfectly? Of course not.
'Everyone makes mistakes, and when we do we correct them.
'But the facts in a piece must be supported and validated.
'You can have any opinion you would like, but you can't say that a certain battle began on a certain day if it did not.'
DailyMail.com has not received a response to a request to the New York Times to explain what fact-checking they did and what supporting material Suprun supplied.
'Mr. Trump goes out of his way to attack the cast of 'Saturday Night Live' for bias. He tweets day and night, but waited two days to offer sympathy to the Ohio State community after an attack there. He does not encourage civil discourse, but chooses to stoke fear and create outrage.
'This is unacceptable. For me, America is that shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan envisioned. It has problems. It has challenges. These can be met and overcome just as our nation overcame Sept. 11.'
DailyMail.com has reached out to the New York Times to ask if they fact-checked the claims about his biography before publishing his op-ed online and in its print edition.
Other outlets have claimed that he was in lower Manhattan, including DemocracyNow.com and Bustle.com which said he 'was among the first responders to rush into the Twin Towers when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on Sept. 11'.
It is unclear who provided their information.
He has also offered an entirely different version of events, to Philly.com in 2012, that he was a 'volunteer paramedic at the Dale City fire company in Northern Virginia, and he was teaching emergency medical response at George Washington University'.
The paper said he was preparing to drive to New York when they heard about the Pentagon attack and drove there insread.
'It's not like the movies,' it quoted him as saying.
'People weren't screaming. But you could smell burning Jet A [fuel], burning paper, burning material. . . .'
The paper reported: 'He and his partner were put to immediate use. In a parking lot, they administered basic first aid until 6 that night, then were deployed to a recreation center, where they treated the first responders for six hours more.'
DailyMail.com is reaching out to Dale City authorities. Attempts to reach Suprun have been unsuccessful.
And a deeper look into Suprun's resume shows that his untruths go further than his 9/11 claims.
He says he was once a paramedic with Air Methods air ambulance service, and is currently a paramedic with Freedom EMS in Dallas.
Christina Brodsly, a spokeswoman with Air Methods said Suprun does not work for the company, and the Texas Department of State Health Services records show there's no company called Freedom EMS.
A company named Freedom EMS once existed in Houston, but it went out of business in 2008.
Suprun has also spent the last five years in bankruptcy, having just been released from bankruptcy supervision this month. He also collected unemployment during part of the process.
In his New York Times op-ed, Suprun attacked everything from Trump's demeanor to his White House picks, adding he 'could be impeached in his first year given his dismissive responses to financial conflicts of interest'.
Suprun has made at least two appearances at Major League Baseball games where he was introduced as a 9/11 veteran and threw out the first pitch. Pictured above, he throws the first pitch at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, on September 11, 2015
Suprun says he was one of the first on scene after a third plane flew into the Pentagon on 9/11 (pictured above)
'Mr. Trump lacks the foreign policy experience and demeanor needed to be commander in chief,' he writes. 'Mr. Trump urged violence against protesters at his rallies during the campaign.
'He speaks of retribution against his critics. He has surrounded himself with advisers such as Stephen K. Bannon, who claims to be a Leninist and lauds villains and their thirst for power, including Darth Vader.
'Rogue One, the latest Star Wars installment, arrives later this month. I am not taking my children to see it to celebrate evil, but to show them that light can overcome it.'
Suprun and nine other electors that includes Christine Pelosi (left, with mother Nancy), demanded a security briefing on government claims that Russia interfered in the election before they cast their votes
Suprun rallied his fellow electors behind a Republican alternative like John Kasich, Governor of Ohio, instead.
He said: 'I'm expecting backlash, but that has been par for the course this campaign. People are unhappy. They're angry. But I'm angry, too.'
In most states, electors are required by law to cast a vote for the winner of their state's popular vote.
But other states like Texas don't have a rule against electors going rogue, and at least six Democratic electors have already expressed their intentions to try to block Trump from securing 270 Electoral College votes on December 19.
So far, Suprun is the only Republican elector who has publicly said he will not cast his ballot for Trump.
Suprun and a group of nine other electors that includes the top-ranking House Democrat's daughter, Christine Pelosi, demanded a security briefing on government claims that Russia interfered in the election before they cast their votes.
Pelosi wrote an open letter titled 'Bipartisan Electors Ask James Clapper: Release Facts on Outside Interference in U.S. Election' on Medium earlier this week.
The open letter was signed by Pelosi and eight other electors, including Subpurn, but she said she didn't talk directly to Subpurn before including his name. Instead, she spoke to his representatives.
'What others are doing is really on them, because I've always been a Hillary Clinton voter,' Pelosi told DailyMail.com after news broke about Subpurn's past, adding that she's been 'staying in her own lane'.
'I haven't talked to the Republican electors other than them contacting me to say, "Yes I want to be included",' she said. 'I have reached out to make sure I had names and spellings correct for signatures.'
And Pelosi added that she believes that the focus should be on the CIA leaks.
'I think everyone who is an elector has a right to get some clarity from President Obama,' she said right before Obama held a press conference on Friday.
Hillary Clinton's campaign backed the the electors up on Monday, saying, 'The bipartisan electors' letter raises very grave issues involving our national security.'
'Electors have a solemn responsibility under the Constitution and we support their efforts to have their questions addressed,' campaign chairman John Podesta said.
DailyMail.com has reached out to Christine Pelosi to ask if she was aware her co-signatory's 9/11 claims were untrue.
F-Russia
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WikiLeaks operative claims Russia did NOT provide Hillary Clinton emails | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 05:34
A Wikileaks envoy today claims he personally received Clinton campaign emails in Washington D.C. after they were leaked by 'disgusted' whisteblowers - and not hacked by Russia.
Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and a close associate of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, told Dailymail.com that he flew to Washington, D.C. for a clandestine hand-off with one of the email sources in September.
'Neither of [the leaks] came from the Russians,' said Murray in an interview with Dailymail.com on Tuesday. 'The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks.'
His account contradicts directly the version of how thousands of Democratic emails were published before the election being advanced by U.S. intelligence.
Craig Murray (left), former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and a close associate of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (right), told the Dailymail.com that he flew to Washington, D.C. for a clandestine hand-off with one of the email sources in September
Murray is a controversial figure who was removed from his post as a British ambassador amid allegations of misconduct. He was cleared of those but left the diplomatic service in acrimony.
His links to Wikileaks are well known and while his account is likely to be seen as both unprovable and possibly biased, it is also the first intervention by Wikileaks since reports surfaced last week that the CIA believed Russia hacked the Clinton emails to help hand the election to Donald Trump.
Murray's claims about the origins of the Clinton campaign emails comes as U.S. intelligence officials are increasingly confident that Russian hackers infiltrated both the Democratic National Committee and the email account of top Clinton aide John Podesta.
In Podesta's case, his account appeared to have been compromised through a basic 'phishing' scheme, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
U.S. intelligence officials have reportedly told members of Congress during classified briefings that they believe Russians passed the documents on to Wikileaks as part of an influence operation to swing the election in favor of Donald Trump.
But Murray insisted that the DNC and Podesta emails published by Wikileaks did not come from the Russians, and were given to the whistleblowing group by Americans who had authorized access to the information.
'Neither of [the leaks] came from the Russians,' Murray said. 'The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks.'
He said the leakers were motivated by 'disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and the tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders.'
Murray said he retrieved the package from a source during a clandestine meeting in a wooded area near American University, in northwest D.C. He said the individual he met with was not the original person who obtained the information, but an intermediary.
Murray claims he met with the person who passed the emails over in a Washington, D.C. part near American University
His account cannot be independently verified but is in line with previous statements by Wikileaks - which was the organization that published the Podesta and DNC emails.
Wikileaks published the DNC messages in July and the Podesta messages in October. The messages revealed efforts by some DNC officials to undermine the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was running against Hillary Clinton.
Others revealed that Clinton aides were concerned about potential conflicts and mismanagement at the Clinton Foundation.
Murray declined to say where the sources worked and how they had access to the information, to shield their identities.
He suggested that Podesta's emails might be 'of legitimate interest to the security services' in the U.S., due to his communications with Saudi Arabia lobbyists and foreign officials.
Murray said he was speaking out due to claims from intelligence officials that Wikileaks was given the documents by Russian hackers as part of an effort to help Donald Trump win the U.S. presidential election.
'I don't understand why the CIA would say the information came from Russian hackers when they must know that isn't true,' he said. 'Regardless of whether the Russians hacked into the DNC, the documents Wikileaks published did not come from that.'
Murray was a vocal critic of human rights abuses in Uzbekistan while serving as ambassador between 2002 and 2004, a stance that pitted him against the UK Foreign Office.
He describes himself as a 'close associate' of Julian Assange and has spoken out in support of the Wikileaks founder who has faced rape allegations and is currently confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Assange has similarly disputed that charges that Wikileaks received the leaked emails from Russian sources.
'The Clinton camp has been able to project a neo-McCarthyist hysteria that Russia is responsible for everything,' Assange told John Pilger during an interview in November.
'Hillary Clinton has stated multiple times, falsely, that 17 US intelligence agencies had assessed that Russia was the source of our publications. That's false '' we can say that the Russian government is not the source.'
Murray suggested that John Podesta's emails might be 'of legitimate interest to the security services' in the U.S., due to his communications with Saudi Arabia lobbyists and foreign officials
The Washington Post reported last Friday that U.S. intelligence agencies had 'identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails.'
The paper said U.S. senators were presented with information tying Russia to the leaks during a recent briefing by intelligence officials.
'It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia's goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,' a senior U.S. official familiar with the briefing told the Post. 'That's the consensus view.'
The paper said U.S. senators were presented with information tying Russia to the leaks during a recent briefing by intelligence officials.
'It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia's goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,' a senior U.S. official familiar with the briefing told the Post. 'That's the consensus view.'
The Obama administration has been examining Russia's potential role in trying to influence the presidential election. Officials said Russians hacked the Republican National Committee, but did not release that information in a deliberate effort to damage Clinton and protect Donald Trump.
Several congressional committees are also looking into the suspected Russian interference.
While there is a consensus on Capitol Hill that Russia hacked U.S. political groups and officials, some Republicans say it's not clear whether the motive was to try to swing the election or just to collect intelligence.
'Now whether they intended to interfere to the degree that they were trying to elect a certain candidate, I think that's the subject of investigation,' said Sen. John McCain on CBS Face the Nation. 'But facts are stubborn things, they did hack into this campaign.'
President elect Donald Trump raised doubts about the reports and said this was an 'excuse' by Democrats to explain Clinton's November loss.
'It's just another excuse. I don't believe it,' said Trump on Fox News Sunday.
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Sweden warns it is 'preparing for war' as fear of Russian invasion grows | Daily Mail Online
Fri, 16 Dec 2016 11:39
Officials in Sweden have been ordered to ensure that they are ready for war as fears of a Russian invasion grow.
The country's Civil Contingencies Agency has sent out a letter to all local authorities telling them they must be better equipped to respond to the threat of war.
It is believed the letter was prompted by Sweden returning to their old Cold War-era 'Total Defence Strategy'.
Officials in Sweden have been ordered to ensure that they are ready for war as fears of a Russian invasion grow. Pictured are Swedish troops training
The strategy places emphasis on defending the nation from overseas threats by taking economic and civilian precautions as well as military ones.
It was ordered to be implemented last December citing a deterioration in the 'security situation'.
And according to Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, the letter sent out reads: 'This places a high demand on... operational speed, decision making, information sharing, crisis communication, flexibility, robustness and handling secret information.'
THE SWEDISH ARMED FORCES The size of the Swedish armed forces has been in decline since the Cold War in line with shrinking military budgets.
The Swedish army currently has only 20,000 men in comparison to as many as 180,000 men in the 1980s.
This is also reflected in the defence budget as spending on defence has reduced from 3.1 per cent in 1981 to 1.1 per cent in 2016.
Earlier this year it was revealed that Sweden's voluntary service had only attracted 2,500 recruits.
This means that is likely by 2018, that conscription will return in Sweden to plug the widening gap.
But despite the instructions, the MSB's information head Svante Werger said: 'There is nothing to indicate that war is likely, but we have the government's mandate to plan for it.'
However, there has been a backlash against the letter, with some local leaders saying the requirements placed on municipalities were unrealistic.
Meanwhile others have accused the Swedish government of using the excuse of Russian aggression to justify spending more on the country's military.
The letter comes as officials on Gotland, Sweden's militarily strategic island in the Baltic Sea, said they likely will turn down a Russian request to rent harbour space after the government warned it could harm the country's defense and political interests.
'Following the information we got from the government, we very likely will say 'no,'' Tommy Gardell, head of the island council's technical board, said. 'We will align with the government.'
Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said renting out harbor space on Gotland '-- considered of strategic importance for military control of the Baltic Sea '-- would 'negatively affect Sweden's defense and political interests.' He did not elaborate, citing security reasons.
Tensions in the region have grown between Baltic NATO members and Moscow, including reports of airspace violations by Russian military aircraft.
The strategy places emphasis on defending the nation from overseas threats by taking economic and civilian precautions as well as military ones. Pictured are Swedish troops training in the Baltic
Non-aligned Sweden and Finland have watched with increasing trepidation, stepping up their own military activity with cross-border exercises and drills with NATO countries.
In September, Sweden stationed permanent troops on Gotland, which Hultqvist described as sending a signal after Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and its 'increasing pressure' on the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Meanwhile in October Sweden's neighbours Finland accused the Kremlin of running a 'systematic lying campaign'.
It shares an 833 mile border with Russia, but questions over the legality of the country's independence have made Finnish leaders uneasy.
MILITARY HISTORY OF SWEDENSweden has fought in many historical wars including a two year conflict with Russia between 1788 and 1790.
It was provoked by the Swedes attacking St Peterburg prompting Denmark, Norway, Prussia and Great Britain to declare war on Sweden.
However, the Swedes suffered a heavy defeat during the Battle of –land, but months later they recorded a victory during the Seocnd Battle of Svenskund and soon after a treaty was signed to end the conflict.
During the Union Era of Sweden, the country then fought its last war with Norway, which ended in 1814 after Norway gained independence.
Sweden then declared neutrality during the First and Second World Wars and didn't take any part in either.
More recently, the country had been taking part in Nato exercises with countries such as Great Britain and the United States in the Baltic.
Russia's military escalation on Europe's border has triggered the West's biggest show of force in the region since the Cold War as Nato continues to square up to Vladimir Putin.
The moves are designed to stop Moscow taking over or undermining its former Eastern European satellites as it has with Crimea and Ukraine.
Meeting of Russian, Iranian, Turkish foreign ministers on Syria due Dec 20
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 14:37
The decision to reschedule the meeting depended on the situation in Syria, especially in Aleppo.
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A meeting of Russian, Iranian and Turkish foreign ministers on Syria is expected to be in Moscow on December 20, Iran's Foreign Ministry said on Dec. 18.
Earlier, the meeting was announced to be due on December 27.
The foreign ministry's statement explains that during a telephone conversation on Saturday Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif "agreed to have a trilateral meeting on Syria jointly with Turkey's Foreign Minister (Mevlut Cavusoglu) a week earlier - on December 20."
The ministry said the decision to reschedule the meeting depended on the situation in Syria, especially in Aleppo.
A source at the Turkish Foreign Ministry told TASS the meeting could be rescheduled from the 27th to the 20th of December. "However, we have not received any official confirmations," the source said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier, the foreign ministers had agreed to have a meeting "soon."
Source: Tass
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Juridisch document gelekt: NEE wordt JA, maar er verandert niets aan het associatieverdrag '' GeenPeil
Fri, 16 Dec 2016 12:44
Het juridische document dat door Rutte en de EU geheim werd gehouden tot n het Kamerdebat van woensdag over de EU-top van vandaag, is uitgelekt. We kunnen nu dus lezen wat we gisteren niet mochten weten '' en we begrijpen ook meteen waarom. Het document is een juridische tekst die bij het Memootje van Mark hoort, de bijlage met ''tegemoetkomingen aan de tegenstemmer'' die hij vermoedelijk vanavond bekend zal maken. Uit het juridische document (hier als .pdf te vinden) blijkt een aantal heldere zaken, die zijn samen te vatten tot: De tegenstemmer wordt genegeerd, de democratie een trap na, en NEE wordt gewoon JA.
In punt 3 van het juridische document staat dat het aankomende Memootje van Mark dat zijn bijlage bij het verdrag allemaal niet per se hoeft te voldoen aan de ''formaliteiten die normaal gesproken nodig zijn voor op zichzelf staande overeenkomsten''.Uit punt 5 van de juridische bijlage blijkt dat alleen de EU lidstaten het Memootje van Mark ondertekenen. Oekra¯ne zelf dus niet. Waarmee het dus een eenzijdig 'wij van de EU geven de EU gelijk'-karakter krijgt.Punt 7 is waar de Nederlandse kiezer de hardste klap krijgt: ''The draft Decision neither amends the contents of the agreement nor constitutes a reservation to it.'' Vertaling: Het Memootje van Mark wijzigt echt helemaal niets, geen letter, aan de inhoud en de intenties van het associatieverdrag.En zo zijn we ruim acht maanden na het GeenPeil-referendum van 6 april, waarin de Nederlandse kiezer in grote meerderheid van 61,1 procent TEGEN het associatieverdrag met Oekra¯ne stemde, aangekomen waar we nu zijn: NEE wordt JA, en het document waarmee dat geregeld wordt is juridisch onvolledig, politiek gezien een eenzijdige verklaring en inhoudelijk zonder enige gevolgen voor het associatieverdrag.
Plat gezegd: Mark Rutte en zijn vrienden in Brussel en Kiev steken hun middelvinger op naar de Nederlandse kiezer en de Nederlandse democratie. Bonus: wat in dit document staat, is in strijd met de uitleg die de premier woensdag in het debat gaf.
En het Memootje van Mark, wat op een later moment volgt op dit juridische document? Dat is woensdag door Pieter Omtzigt al aan flarden geanalyseerd als zijnde een waardeloos werkje.
Doe mee. Word lid. Het Leger des Peils heeft je weer nodig.
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How A Single Typo Led To The Unraveling Of Hillary Clinton's Campaign | The Huffington Post
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 16:08
One of the worst and most public email hacks in political history began with a typo, a report in The New York Times revealed on Tuesday.
An aide to Hillary Clinton's campaign chair, John Podesta, saw a warning email in his inbox back in March, claiming to be from Google. Podesta needed to change his Gmail password immediately, the email said.
Most adult internet users know by now never to click a link in emails like this '• phishing is fairly common. Even unsophisticated tech types are hip to the scam. So, before responding, Podesta's aide showed the email to another staffer, a computer technician.
And, well, what happens next should be a lesson to anyone who types and sends emails and texts without reading them first. (That's everybody who emails and texts.)
From the Times (bolding is HuffPost's):
''This is a legitimate email,'' Charles Delavan, a Clinton campaign aide, replied to another of Mr. Podesta's aides, who had noticed the alert. ''John needs to change his password immediately.''
With another click, a decade of emails that Mr. Podesta maintained in his Gmail account '-- a total of about 60,000 '-- were unlocked for the Russian hackers. Mr. Delavan, in an interview, said that his bad advice was a result of a typo: He knew this was a phishing attack, as the campaign was getting dozens of them. He said he had meant to type that it was an ''illegitimate'' email, an error that he said has plagued him ever since.
The email hack was a huge distraction at the end of the presidential campaign, serving as fodder for Republican attacks and diverting the attention of key players on Clinton's team. The Podesta email hack was separate from an equally damaging attack on the Democratic National Committee.
(There was some upside: Like getting a peek at Podesta's risotto recipe. And seeing what an honest badass Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden is.)
Any journalist who's ever accidentally published a story on pubic policy (sorry) knows that typos can be cruel. But this was beyond that, obviously. ''Most consequential typo in human history?'' Sahil Kapur asked on Twitter.
Others wondered if this was just someone crying typo instead of owning what is likely the biggest mistake of a career.
If he had meant to type ''an illegitimate'' email, why did he get the article wrong and write ''a legitimate'' email, one Twitter conspiracy theorist wondered. Others argued it's odd that Delevan would advise Podesta to change his password, since the phishing email was obviously bogus.
Still, the advice seems reasonable. If you're the chair of a U.S. presidential campaign and discover you're the target of hackers, it seems perfectly rational to immediately change your password. The attackers, after all, could be pursuing multiple ways into your account.
And the ''illegitimate email'' line could have been confused by the Times' phrasing. Delevan could've meant to write this is a ''legitimate attack.''
Also, he included the correct Gmail address to change a password. If Podesta or his aide had used that, no harm no fowl foul.
Obama should fire John Brennan - The Washington Post
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 15:39
In March, at the Council on Foreign Relations, CIA Director John Brennan was asked by NBC's Andrea Mitchell whether the CIA had illegally accessed Senate Intelligence Committee staff computers ''to thwart an investigation by the committee into'' the agency's past interrogation techniques. The accusation had been made earlier that day by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who said the CIA had ''violated the separation-of-powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution.'' Brennan answered:
As far as the allegations of, you know, CIA hacking into, you know, Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth. I mean, we wouldn't do that. I mean, that's '-- that's just beyond the '-- you know, the scope of reason in terms of what we would do. {'...}
And, you know, when the facts come out on this, I think a lot of people who are claiming that there has been this tremendous sort of spying and monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong.
(You can see the video of Brennan's answer here.)
Now we know that the truth was far different. The Post's Greg Miller reports:
CIA Director John O. Brennan has apologized to leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee after an agency investigation determined that its employees improperly searched computers used by committee staff to review classified files on interrogations of prisoners. {'...}
A statement released by the CIA on Tuesday acknowledged that agency employees had searched areas of that computer network that were supposed to be accessible only to committee investigators. Agency employees were attempting to discover how congressional aides had obtained a secret CIA internal report on the interrogation program.
''Some employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding reached'' between the CIA and lawmakers in 2009, when the committee investigation was launched, according to the agency statement, which cited a review by the CIA's inspector general. The CIA statement was first reported by McClatchy.
That committee's investigation is said to be sharply critical of the CIA, finding that it exaggerated the effectiveness of harsh interrogation measures and repeatedly misled members of Congress and the executive branch. The findings are expected to be released publicly within weeks.
After briefing committee leaders, Brennan ''apologized to them for such actions by CIA officers as described in the [inspector general] report,'' the agency statement said. Brennan also ordered the creation of an internal personnel board, led by former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), to review the agency employees' conduct and determine ''potential disciplinary measures.''
An apology and an internal review board might suffice if this were Brennan or intelligence leaders' first offense, but the track record is far from spotless. In 2011, Brennan claimed that dozens of U.S. drone strikes on overseas targets had not killed a single civilian. This remarkable success rate was not only disputed at the time by news reports '-- even supporters of the drone program called it ''absurd'' '-- but as the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the New York Times both reported later, President Obama received reports from the very beginning of his presidency about drone strikes killing numerous civilians. As Obama's top counterterrorism adviser at the time, Brennan would have received these reports as well, so either Brennan knew that his claim was a lie, or he is secretly deaf. Similarly, Brennan denied snooping on Senate computers six weeks after Feinstein first made the accusation to the CIA in private, which means either that he was lying, or he had ignored a serious charge against his agency for six weeks, then spouted off about it without any real knowledge '-- hardly the behavior expected of an agency director.
And last year, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied under oath to Congress when he told Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and the Senate Intelligence Committee that the National Security Agency did not collect any kind of data on millions of Americans, a claim later disproved by documents leaked by former NSA employee Edward Snowden. Despite Clapper receiving criticism from both sides of the aisle, the damage to Clapper's and the White House's credibility on intelligence and civil liberties issues and, well, the fact that lying to Congress is a crime (though one that's difficult to prosecute), Obama has not disciplined Clapper in any way.
Sadly, it's unlikely that this latest incident will encourage Obama to finally induce some accountability in the intelligence community: White House press secretary Josh Earnest called the CIA's illegal activities mere ''misunderstandings.'' But as Brennan said when he denied the allegations, ''if I did something wrong'...he is the one who can ask me to stay or to go.'' It's time for Obama to take that responsibility head-on and start to restore in U.S. intelligence agencies some semblance of responsibility to the Constitution and the public.
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James Downie is The Washington Post's Digital Opinions Editor. He previously wrote for The New Republic and Foreign Policy magazine.
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If Russia Hacked The Election To Favor Trump, Then How'd Hillary Win The Popular Vote?
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 15:14
The duplicity is wholly astounding.
On one hand, liberals are parading Hillary Clinton as the ''people's president,'' bragging about how she won the popular vote by 2.5 million votes (all thanks to California).
Then, on the other hand, they screech about unsubstantiated allegations that '-- somehow '-- Russia ''hacked'' the election to favor Trump.
So, which narrative is it? Because one can't argue both and not look like a walking contradiction.
They either need to stand with the final vote count of the election or say Hillary lost because of Vladimir Putin.
''Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card,'' Trump tweeted. ''It would be called conspiracy theory!''
Even Reuters just reported that ''the overseers of the U.S. intelligence community have not embraced a CIA assessment that Russian cyber attacks were aimed at helping Republican President-elect Donald Trump win the 2016 election,'' according to three U.S. officials.
Democrats can end their duplicity if they accept Donald Trump as their winner. End of story.
SHARE on Facebook and Twitter if you're tired of these unsupported, baseless claims and the media's promotion of it!
Vote on our poll!
FBI and CIA now agree that Russia hacked to help Trump win - The Verge
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 15:13
FBI director James Comey has signed on to a previously reported CIA assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin directly intervened in the US presidential election in aid of Donald Trump, according to an internal CIA memo obtained by the Associated Press and Washington Post. The report has also been endorsed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, giving it the unanimous support of US intelligence agencies.
The assessment focuses on the digital theft and subsequent publication of emails from the Democratic National Committee, an act that agencies publicly attributed to Russian agents in October. President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly questioned claims of Russian involvement in the hacks, saying in an interview last week, ''It could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.''
''Based on uniform intelligence assessments, the Russians were responsible for hacking the DNC.''
Notably, the reports do not suggest any direct tampering in election results, and there's no evidence that any such tampering took place. The report also doesn't suggest any direct coordination between Putin and the Trump campaign, which the FBI investigated and ultimately dismissed earlier this year.
President Obama concurred with the reported assessment in a press conference earlier today. ''We have said and I will confirm that this happened at the highest levels of the Russian government,'' the president said.
Other critics have joined Trump in doubting the conclusion and called for the intelligence community to release more public evidence '-- but in today's press conference, the President seemed skeptical that much of the evidence could be made public. ''We will provide evidence that we can safely provide that does not compromise sources and methods,'' he told reporters, ''but I'll be honest with you, when you're talking about cybersecurity, a lot of it is classified.''
FBI in agreement with CIA that Russia aimed to help Trump win White House - The Washington Post
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 14:47
FBI Director James B. Comey and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. are in agreement with a CIA assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election in part to help Donald Trump win the White House, officials disclosed Friday, as President Obama issued a public warning to Moscow that it could face retaliation.
New revelations about Comey's position could put to rest suggestions by some lawmakers that the CIA and the FBI weren't on the same page on Russian President Vladi­mir Putin's intentions.
Russia has denied being behind the cyber-intrusions, which targeted the Democratic National Committee and the private emails of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta. Trump, in turn, has repeatedly said he doubts the veracity of U.S. intelligence blaming Moscow for the hacks.
''I think it's ridiculous,'' Trump said in an interview with ''Fox News Sunday,'' his first Sunday news-show appearance since the Nov. 8 election. ''I think it's just another excuse. I don't believe it. .'‰.'‰. No, I don't believe it at all.''
At a ''thank you'' event Thursday night with some of her top campaign donors and fundraisers, Clinton said she believed Russian-backed hackers went after her campaign because of a personal grudge that Putin had against her. Putin had blamed Clinton for fomenting mass protests in Russia after disputed 2011 parliamentary elections that challenged his rule. Putin said Clinton, then secretary of state, had ''sent a signal'' to protesters by labeling the elections ''neither free nor fair.''
(Jason Aldag/The Washington Post)
[Moscow has the world's attention. For Putin, that's a win.]
The positions of Comey and Clapper were revealed in a message that CIA Director John Brennan sent to the agency's workforce Friday.
''Earlier this week, I met separately with FBI [Director] James Comey and DNI Jim Clapper, and there is strong consensus among us on the scope, nature, and intent of Russian interference in our presidential election,'' Brennan said, according to U.S. officials who have seen the message.
The CIA and the FBI declined to comment on Brennan's message or on the classified intelligence assessment that CIA officials shared with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month, setting off a political firestorm.
In the closed-door Senate briefing, CIA officials said it was now ''quite clear'' that electing Trump was one of Russia's goals, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.
CIA and FBI officials do not think Russia had a ''single purpose'' by intervening during the presidential campaign, officials said. In addition to the goal of helping elect Trump, Putin aimed to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, intelligence officials have told lawmakers.
A few days after the Senate briefing, a senior FBI counter­intelligence official briefed the House Intelligence Committee but was not as categorical as the CIA briefer about Russia's intention to help Trump, according to officials who were present. The FBI official's more cautious presentation of the intelligence to the House panel left some Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the room with the impression that the FBI disagreed with the CIA.
Officials close to the FBI and the CIA now say that lawmakers had misunderstood Comey's position. ''The truth is they were never all that different in the first place,'' an official said. Similarly, officials said, Clapper and Brennan saw the intelligence the same way.
Earlier this week, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a Trump supporter, wrote to spy chiefs to demand briefings on the Russian meddling.
But Clapper responded that he wanted to first complete a review of all available U.S. intelligence, as directed by Obama.
Brennan tried to talk to Nunes several times about the dispute. But officials said the congressman didn't take his calls until after he issued a statement Wednesday asking intelligence leaders to ''clarify press reports that the CIA has a new assessment that it has not shared with us.''
Officials disputed the statement, saying Nunes had been fully briefed on the intelligence.
''In recent days, I have had several conversations with members of Congress, providing an update on the status of the review as well as the considerations that need to be taken into account as we proceed,'' Brennan wrote in his message to CIA staffers. ''Many '-- but unfortunately not all '-- members understand and appreciate the importance and the gravity of the issue, and they are very supportive of the process that is underway.''
Brennan wrote to the CIA workforce, officials said, to reassure them in the face of accusations from Trump supporters that intelligence was being politicized.
Nunes did not respond to requests for comment, but in a statement, he said, ''We have not received any information from Intelligence Community (IC) agencies indicating that they have developed new assessments on this issue. I am alarmed that supposedly new information continues to leak to the media but has not been provided to Congress.''
In one of the last news conferences of his presidency, Obama defended his administration's response to the Russian hacking and vowed to ''send a clear message to Russia'' that its meddling was unacceptable.
''I think we handled it the way it should have been handled,'' he said of the hacking investigation and the lack of a formal accusation of blame until a month before the election. ''We allowed law enforcement and the intelligence community to do its job without political influence.''
Obama was referring to an Oct. 7 statement by Clapper and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson publicly blaming Russia for hacking political organizations, a clear reference to the Democratic National Committee and other Democratic officials.
U.S. officials said an earlier draft of the Clapper-Johnson statement singled out Putin by name for authorizing the influence operation. But before the final statement was made public, Putin's name was removed ''so it wouldn't be provocative,'' one official said. Instead, the statement blamed ''Russia's senior-most officials.''
At that time, Obama said, the U.S. intelligence community ''did not attribute motives'' to Russia's decision to intervene in the election.
''Imagine if we had done the opposite,'' he said Friday. ''It would have become immediately just one more political scrum. And part of the goal here was to make sure that we did not do the work of the leakers for them by raising more and more questions about the integrity of the election right before the election was taking place '-- at a time, by the way, when the president-elect himself was raising questions about the integrity of the election.''
At Friday's news conference, Obama did not directly point the finger at the Russian president. But he came close to doing so by saying: ''Not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin.''
[Putin wants revenge and respect, and hacking the U.S. is his way of getting it]
Some members of Clinton's campaign, Democrats in Congress and others have taken the Obama administration to task for not calling out Russian efforts to influence the election sooner, as well as for not taking retaliatory action against those responsible for the cyber-intrusions and leaks to WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group.
Obama said some possible retaliatory measures might not be seen by the public, although they would be seen or felt by Moscow. Obama, who has only a few weeks left in office, made clear any response to the hacks must be carefully thought through.
''The relationship between us and Russia has deteriorated, sadly, significantly over the last several years,'' Obama said. ''And so how we approach an appropriate response that increases costs for them for behavior like this in the future but does not create problems for us is something that's worth taking the time to think through and figure out.''
Abby Phillip and Greg Miller contributed to this report.
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Abe:Japan, Russia have unlimited opportunities for development of relations
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 18:33
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Russia and Japan have unlimited opportunities for development of relations in all spheres, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in an exclusive interview with TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman following visit of Russia's president to Japan.
"President Putin and I have come to the conclusion - in case of common effort, Japan and Russia have unlimited opportunities for development of relations in all spheres," Abe said.
Issues of economic cooperation between the countries are outlined in the plan, consisting of eight items, which the Japanese prime minister presented to Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Sochi on May 6. The plan includes improvement of relations in the spheres of energy, small and medium businesses, industrial development of the Far East, and expanding of the export base. Besides, it contains suggestions on cooperation in advance technologies, including the nuclear energy, and in humanitarian exchanges.
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Drone Wars
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U.S. Demands Return of Drone Seized by Chinese Warship - The New York Times
Fri, 16 Dec 2016 22:51
WASHINGTON '-- The Pentagon said on Friday that it had issued a formal protest to Beijing demanding the return of an underwater drone seized by a Chinese warship in the South China Sea, an incident that risked increasing tensions in a region already fraught with great-power rivalries.
A Defense Department official said that the unmanned underwater vehicle was discovered missing on Thursday when the crew of the United States Navy vessel Bowditch tried to retrieve it.
The Bowditch, an oceanographic ship, was operating in international waters and carrying out scientific research, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a potentially delicate international incident.
American officials said they were still trying to determine whether the seizure was a low-level action taken by Chinese sailors who spotted the drone or a strategic-level action ordered by more senior Chinese leaders.
Whatever the case, the Pentagon said that China had no right to seize the drone.
''This is not the sort of conduct we expect from professional navies,'' said Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.
The incident is the second this week in the South China Sea, coming just after China signaled on Thursday that it had installed weapons on disputed islands that it would use to repel threats. The latest moves complicate already testy relations between China and the United States, ties that have been further complicated by President-elect Donald J. Trump's phone call with the president of Taiwan.
Mr. Trump angered Chinese officials by holding a phone conversation with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, an island that Beijing deems a breakaway province of China. It had been nearly four decades since a United States president or president-elect had such direct contact with a Taiwanese leader.
In an interview broadcast on Sunday, Mr. Trump also criticized China over its trade imbalance with the United States, its military activities in the South China Sea and its ties to North Korea.
Defense officials said on Friday that they were trying to determine if the seizure of the underwater drone had anything to do with Mr. Trump's comments.
Continue reading the main story
China Agrees To Return Stolen Navy Drone'...
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 14:38
WASHINGTON DC '' Washington and Beijing have agreed to terms to return a Navy drone captured in the disputed waters of the South China Sea to the U.S., the Pentagon announced Saturday.
['...] China's decision to release the drone Saturday, came hours after President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter to slam Beijing's actions. (read more)
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USS Jimmie Carter: ''Conspiracy Theory'' Cover Up '' Stealth Sub Causes Tsunami | Veterans Today
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 14:36
Sea Wolf Stealth Subs - What do They Really Do?
The Pentagon, especially Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Chief of Naval Operations Vern Clark, were most concerned about the cause, scope, and consequences of the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean tsunamis because they were far bigger and more destructive than they had anticipated.
More important, it had no clear alibi that their most likely source of the disaster, the Multi-Mission Platform of the new stealth attack submarine, the USS Jimmy Carter, had not been the culprit.
Its behavior '' ever since Admiral Clark had given it a most spirited send-off during the previous September from its home base at Groton, Connecticut for its testing until it returned in February 2005 for the official commissioning '' had called for the most clumsy coverups, deceptions, and dishonesty.
USS Jimmy Carter Spy Submarine - All Decked Out
The earthquakes on the fatal day had confounded all expert opinion about such events. While it acted as if they were just the most destructive of natural disasters, there was nothing natural about them.
Most uncharacteristically, there had been no warnings of the massive collapses in the Sumatran Trench, once the Australian-Indian plate had been broken loose from its base on the Antarctic one.
This was the most stable one in the world, and breaking its connection to the one to the north with the 8.2 earthquake on December 24th by means apparently of air guns deposited on the bottom from the Carter, set off a shaking of the whole plate northwards which became so powerful '' the power of 25,000 Hiroshima-style atomic bombs '' that it was simply propelled through the Burmese one it was touching to the west of Sumatra.
The Australian-Indian plate had been converted into an underground, flying saucer.
To forestall any sensible conspiracy theories about this devastating plot, Joe Vialls immediately concocted a most intriguing but essentially wrong explanation of it all.
The Dambusters - Elbe River Dam
In it, ''Tsunami result of U.S, nuclear bomb?'', the king of conspiracy theories said that Wolfowitz had done it all, but it was not by causing an earthquake but by using a devastating wall of water with something like a 9-megaton W-53 thermonuclear bomb '' like what the British ''Dambusters'' had done during WWII -dropped probably from the stern of some oil rig supply vessel plowing the busy waters.
The purpose, as the covert behavior of two American battle groups, steaming to the area from Hong Kong and Guam, demonstrated, was simply to take over the oil rich province of Aceh.
While Vialls was totally wrong about the cause, unfolding, and purpose of the disaster, he rightly left little doubt about who was responsible for it: '''...it would seem that the only realistic candidates are Wolfowitz and company, striving as always to create a 'One World Government'.''
Vialls went on to accuse the Deputy Secretary of being behind an e-mail he received which claimed that Houston was going to be attacked by a nuclear bomb at the same time '' apparently to distract people from what was going on in the Indian Ocean.
This gross piece of disinformation had the desired effect of giving Wolfowitz an alibi for the disaster, and stopping all reasonable speculation about what really happened on December 26th.
There is no evidence of a nuclear explosion off Aceh, of the USA taking over territory in its imperial pursuits, or that it did so in this case.
The whole basis of American ambitions was to take over countries through bases at important points, get them to adopt trade policies which benefit Washington, and go along with its strategy of preventive wars to build the kind of world it wants.
The best example of this is the U. S. base in Diego Garcia, what the U. K. has allowed Washington to make into a full-blown naval base, being warned by the Pacific Warning Centre of the earthquakes and likely tsunamis.
USS Jimmy Carter - Begins Sea Trials
Wolfowitz and the Pentagon still had to be worried about blow back because of the Carter's activities.
When it was leaving Groton in September 2005, CNO Clark had dropped by to wish it well as it took off for its first tests, and operations south of Australia and New Zealand.
According to an official source, he told the excited but untested crew:
''This is what tomorrow is about for the U.S. Navy '' the ability to project credible combat power to the far corners of the earth, giving the president options, around the world and around the clock.'' (''Silent Service Ebbs Uncertainty In Groton Submarines: Role Being Reduced To Fit In With New, Leaner Military','' The Hartford Courant, May 22, 2005)
It could not have gotten a better endorsement for its risky, nail-biting mission.
Little wonder that when the Carter finally returned in triumph to Connecticut, probably in late January, it let it all hang out, sporting a new broom from the front of its conning tower, showing that it had swept the Indian Ocean clean of potential enemies.
Returning With the Broom Flying on the Tower
Showing the broom was the traditional way submarines showed that they had accomplished a ''clean sweep'' of enemy vessels during wartime when they returned to home base '' what had not been done in alleged peacetime until recently, it seems, and, anyway, America '' as President Bush had declared after the 9/11 attacks '' was at war.
Of course, its mixing of testing and missions completely wrecked its scheduled tests. making them occur later than SOP dictated, if they really occurred at all.
The biggest problem had been showing the broom, and admitting when it occurred, especially if it had happened before the scheduled Alpha Tests. Besides, showing the real photographs of the returning sub in triumph might just have been so celebratory and big to pass unnoticed.
So the Navy had another sub, quite possibly the USS Toledo '' showing that it too had made a ''clean sweep'' of the enemy aka Kursk when it returned to Groton back in 2000 '' stand in its stead for the official photos of its alleged completion of the Alpha ones on November 19th.
The USS North Carolina, the latest submarine in the Virginia class, later caused a fury of controversy when it followed apparently the precedent set by the Carter by showing a ''clean sweep'' with the broom when it just returned to Groton from its Alpha trials.
Was This Actually the USS Jimmy Carter ?
The photos show that the sub, showing the broom, is quite clearly not the Carter but a much smaller, quite used submarine '' what obliged the Navy to crop down one photo of the returning heroes so its quite used, smaller conning tower is seen as little as possible, and the other has a convenient tugboat hiding its much shorter length.
Also, note that these two photographs are conveniently separated from the ones actually of the Carter to make serious comparisons more difficult.
The other photographs, especially of the commissioning of the Carter, are just as disturbing with those actually of the submarine being taken so as to play down its size, especially its length, and those of the commissioning party, especially former President Carter, and Vice President Walter Mondale, and their wives being nowhere in sight.
As for officials of the previous Bush administration, none of them, it seems, attended. The Carter, apparently for the reasons indicated, had suddenly become something few wanted to acknowledge even the existence of, much less celebrate.
It was also on February 7th '' just between when the Carter finally went on its final sea trials, and its commissioning '' that CNO Clark surprisingly announced that he would be stepping down in July.
The normal term of a CNO is five years, and Clark had already been asked by Rumsfeld about a year and a half before '' when the most ambitious plans for the sub were being drawn up '' to extend his tenure at least until the end of 2006, cutting short his tenure by a year and a half.
The New Multi-Mission Platform Gave the New Subs Great Versatility
''It's really not about me,'' the Admiral most disingenuously explained, ''It's about the institution.'' To add to the disbelief, Clark said it was time for new blood to lead the Navy '' what would undoubtedly lead to an Annapolis graduate chief, officers Clark had no confidence in.
As Bob Woodward has explained in Bush at War, Part III: State of Denial, ''Clark was one of the most improbable men to lead the Navy. Unlike 25 of his 26 predecessors, he was not a 'ring-knocker,' a graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland'...He had gone to officer candidate school in 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War.
He had quit in 1972 after his first tour of duty because he did not respect most of the officers who were making the Navy a career, but he rejoined the following year, believing the Navy was something he should do for a while.'' (p. 39)
It was by bucking the system that Clark finally became CNO after Admiral Jay Johnson in 2000, thanks to the input provided by SOD William Cohen, his civilian superior. He had asked Clark why Navy affairs were so screwed up.
Admiral Vernon Clark - Chief of Naval Operations
''They picked the wrong people,'' (ibid., p. 60) Clark replied. Of the top five admirals in the Navy, only one had ever commanded a carrier battle group. The others were usual desk admirals.
When Clark was in the running to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he told Vice President Dick Cheney later: ''Whatever you do, don't let it get like that again.''
Things were so bad after Clark's tenure as CNO that the President did just this '' appointed Admiral Mike Mullen '' a desk admiral who was also connected to the long-running scandal at the Naval Academy, his alma mater '' as his successor.
When Mike Boorda, the only other chief who had risen through the ranks to the top, was CNO, he became so involved in controversy and scandal that he ended by killing himself.
John Lehman, Jr., a former Navy Secretary in the Reagan administration, blamed Boorda's suicide upon the media, led by self-serving politicians in the Clinton administration. The Bush administration was so troubled by its affairs that it was willing to take the risk.
The Treasured Boat Ring
Things, though, got even worse in this regard a few months later when Clark called for the elimination of the whole submarine base at New London, and its residents were up in arms about the turnabout, as The Hartford Courant explained: ''Adm. Vern Clark found himself arguing last week for closing the base in Groton.''
But nine months earlier, the chief of naval operation stopped at the sub base and talked about the new roles for its submarines, 'to project more offensive punch with the Tomahawk (missile) capability and the surveillance capabilities the submarine forces bring to bear.' ''
While the CNO explained the switch in terms of the kind of changing mix of bases the service needed, it hardly sounded convincing, given his previous activities.
It was only after intense lobbying by those affected by the possible closing down of Groton that the submarine base was saved from the axe '' thanks to the efforts especially by Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman.
Another Sea Wolf Joins the Pacific Fleet
In doing so, though, Lieberman helped alienate his Democratic Party base in the state, losing his last party primary when he was up for re-election in November 2008, causing him to run successfully as an independent.
And Groton certainly lost its high-standing as a base when the Carter, the Navy's leading stealth submarine, finally took off from there permanently in October for its new base with the Pacific Fleet at Bangor, Washington.
Then, Clark's actual retirement services were even more embarrassing. On July 21st at the Naval Academy's Alumni Hall, of all places, Rumseld laid out the changing of the guard at the CNO in every way that would ruffle Clark's feathers.
''It is fitting we are here, in this special place in naval history,'' the SOD addressed the onlookers, ''to honor this officer who has led the Navy in historical times, as our country wages the global struggle against the enemies of freedom, the enemies of civilization.''
Then, instead of giving examples of how Clark had led the service in the fight, he went on about what everyone had been observing on the Academy's grounds during the change-over weekend ceremonies.
General Hugh Shelton
It was this unwillingness of Rumsfeld to speak candidly about Clark which intrigued Woodward to ask probing questions about his evaluation of him, and why he did not support his candidacy to become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs after General Henry ''Hugh'' Shelton.
From the outset of becoming SOD, Rumsfeld made it crystal clear that he would be in charge of all serious matters at the Pentagon, as he explained to Shelton himself after having been in office only three short weeks:
'' 'I'm the secretary of defense,' he said. 'I'm in the chain of command.' He '' not the generals, not the Joint Staff '' would deal with the White House and the president on operational matters.'' (Quoted from Woodward, p. 22.)
Rumsfeld was obviously obsessed with the problems that his predecessor Caspar Weinberger had had with Navy Secretary Lehman, CNO Admiral James Watkins, and his successor Admiral Carlisle ''Carl'' Trost.
By then, Lehman thought he was the independent operational head of the Navy who was free to consult with the President when he wanted, and without either the permission or the knowledge of Weinberger.
To consolidate this hold over the Navy, Lehman got rid of all admirals who thwarted his ambitions and plans, that is until he ran up against Trost during the operations after the assassination of Sweden's prime minister Olof Palme on February 28, 1986 '' what Lehman had planned as his maritime strategy to get rid of the Soviet Union with a short, non-nuclear war.
The showdown between Lehman and Trost occurred twice in March 1986 when the admiral refused to back NATO's Anchor Express Exercise across central Norway to the Kola Peninsula with his carrier battle groups in Operation Task Force Eagle.
In the process, many Norwegian engineers were killed in customary avalanches that the ill-informed planners had not anticipated, resulting in hectic negotiations by British SOD George Younger and others to arrange defensive maneuvers to cover the whole mess up. According to Lehman, Greg Vistica wrote in Fall From Glory, ''The secretary of the Navy was king of the empire.'' (p. 94)
When Lehman moved to continue the dangerous arrangements '' what would have probably resulted in nuclear annihilation if the Soviets had not taken the necessary countermeasures to the Swedish surprise, thanks to the spying by Rick Ames, Robert Hanssen, and others '' by replacing Watkins by toady Admiral Frank Kelso, Weinberger belatedly moved to replace Watkins with Trost, and see off Lehman in the process.
John Lehman During Navy Secretary Days
In the interim, Lehman had choice words for the seemingly mutinous Atlantic Fleet commander:
''You're just another fucking Boy Scout.''''You're insufficiently compliant.'' (Quoted from Vistica, p. 224.)
Rumsfeld wanted nothing of this from the likes of Clark, Wolfowitz, and others.
Of course, by this time, Wolfowitz had long departed the Pentagon as Deputy Secretary for the World Bank.
He had not only been too much a strategic supporter of Clark's ambitions, but also the wild disinformation about the Indian Ocean tsunamis by Joe Vialls was starting to break down.
In the March-April 2005 issue of New Dawn Magazine, Jason Jeffrey had an updated version of his 1999 article, ''Earthquakes: Natural or Man-Made?''
In it, he talked more about what could be done with compressed air, thanks to Nikola Tesla's experiments, and spoke of '''...a body of suppressed research pointing to a more insidious agenda'' than what official explanations of the tsunamis were contending.
George Younger - Margaret Thatcher's Secretary of Defense
He concluded by mentioning the air guns that people were suggesting oil researchers were using in their searches for it.
On March 16, 2005, President Bush announced to the shocked international community that Wolfowitz had been nominated to replace Clinton appointee James D. Wolfensohn as head of the World Bank, citing his management of the Pentagon, and the fact that he was a decent man to justify the appointment.
It had been rumored for about two weeks but no one took it seriously because of the administration's complaints about the Bank's performance. It seems that the Jeffrey article had triggered rumor into reality.
When Clark finally left, the Navy lost its official capability to change the oceans and atmosphere at least for now, leaving the task again to the Air Force, as we shall see.
'' End ''
Admiral Mike Boorda
[Editor's Note:] Admiral Mike Boorda was the only Chief of Naval Operations to have risen from the ranks. His suicide was a horrible tragedy for a family with two sons and a daughter-in-law as Naval Officers and three grandsons in the military.
The Staff of Veterans Today would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the Boorda extended family.
From Wikipedia:
Boorda died May 16, 1996 a suicide, having apparently shot himself in the chest.[9] The autopsy results were not released to the public.
He reportedly also left two suicide notes; neither was released publicly, but they were said to have been addressed to his wife and to his Public Information Officer.[10]
He was reported to have been disturbed over a news media investigation, led by David Hackworth of Newsweek, into Valor device enhancements he wore on his Navy Commendation Medal and Navy Achievement Medal (small bronze ''V'' devices, signifying valor in combat), which the media report claimed he was not entitled to wear.
He was said to be worried this issue would cause more trouble for the Navy's reputation.
'An Unnecessary Sad Ending Mike'
Former CNO Elmo Zumwalt, who was Boorda's commander in Vietnam, wrote a letter to the effect that Boorda's wearing of the devices was ''appropriate, justified and proper.''[11]
Wearing a ''V'' to denote that a medal was awarded for in combat actions applied only to medals that could be awarded for meritorious service or for valor in combat (e.g. Bronze Star or Commendation Medal), as opposed to medals inherently distinguishing valor in combat (e.g. Silver Star and higher), and wearing the ''V'' device on the ribbon was not authorized unless the ''V'' device was specifically noted in the award citation.
Boorda was survived by his wife, Bettie Moran Boorda, four children, and 11 grandchildren.
In 1998, one of Boorda's sons requested a review of his service record. The Board for Correction of Naval Records, the ultimate arbiter of whether Boorda was entitled to wear the Combat ''V'' on both medals, determined that he was not.[12]
Boorda's headstone at Arlington National Cemetery located at Section 64, Lot 7101, Grid MM-17.
Related Posts:The views expressed herein are the views of the author exclusively and not necessarily the views of VT, VT authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, technicians, or the Veterans Today Network and its assigns. LEGAL NOTICE - COMMENT POLICYPosted by Trowbridge Ford on October 2, 2011, With 18320 Reads Filed under Of Interest. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
USS Parche (SSN-683) - Wikipedia
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 17:36
For other ships with the same name, see USS Parche.USS Parche (SSN-683) off Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, sometime prior to October 1985. The structure on the after part of her casing is a permanently attached swimmer lock-out chamber, although described under its cover story as Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle. Her ship's insignia is at lower right.HistoryName:USS Parche (SSN-683)Namesake:The parche, a type of butterfly fishOrdered:25 June 1968Builder:Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, MississippiLaid down:10 December 1970Launched:13 January 1973Sponsored by:Mrs. Philip A. BeshanyCommissioned:17 August 1974Decommissioned:19 October 2004Struck:18 July 2005Motto:Par ExcellenceHonors andawards:Fate:Scrapping via Ship and Submarine Recycling Program completed 30 November 2006Badge:General characteristicsClass and type:Sturgeon-classattack submarineDisplacement:As built:3,978 long tons (4,042 t) light4,270 long tons (4,339 t) full292 long tons (297 t) deadLength:As built: 302 ft 3 in (92.13 m)After 1987''1991 lengthening: 401 ft (122 m)Beam:31 ft 8 in (9.65 m)Draft:28 ft 8 in (8.74 m)Installed power:15,000 shaft horsepower (11.2 megawatts)Propulsion:One S5Wnuclear reactor, two steam turbines, one screwSpeed:15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) surfaced25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph) submergedTest depth:1,300 feet (396 meters)As built: 112 (14 officers, 98 enlisted men)After 1987''1991 modifications: 179 (22 officers, 157 enlisted men)Armament:4 — 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubesUSS Parche (SSN-683), a Sturgeon-classsubmarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the parche , a small, coral reef butterfly fish. Parche was launched on 13 January 1973, sponsored by Mrs. Philip A. Beshany, and commissioned on 17 August 1974 with Commander Richard N. Charles in command.
Attributed as being a key resource of the National Underwater Reconnaissance Office, Parche is said to be "the most highly decorated vessel in U.S. history."[1][2]
Contents
1974''1979EditParche served as a unit of the United States Atlantic Fleet Submarine Force from 1974 until 1976, before transferring to the United States Pacific Fleet in October 1976. Once arriving at her new home port at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California, Parche received ocean engineering modifications. Parche deployed on a shakedown training cruise in August and September 1978.
Operation Ivy Bells, 1979EditIn the book Blind Man's Bluff, it is claimed that Parche successfully tapped into Soviet underwater military communication cables in the Sea of Okhotsk in 1979 as part of Operation Ivy Bells.[3]
1979''2004EditDuring her career, Parche was involved in recovering Soviet missile fragments from the seabed following test launches. Much of her operational history was spent undertaking missions of a clandestine nature, and as of late 2009, a vast majority of the missions undertaken remain classified.
Parche after the extension of her hull.From 1987 to 1991, Parche underwent an extended refueling overhaul at Mare Island Naval Shipyard during which she was modified for research and development work. An extension measuring 100 feet (30 m) was added to her hull just forward of her sail. The added section was flat-topped (looking somewhat like the missile deck of a ballistic missile submarine) and provided the space required to support a larger crew and additional equipment. These additions included an extensive array of signals-intelligence-collectingantennas, electronic gear, and other navigational and ocean engineering equipment. The overhaul also added many auxiliary navigational and maneuvering features, including both upward and forward-facing short-range sonars, and a suite of armored spotlights and closed-circuit television cameras for under-ice operations.[3]
Upon completion of her modifications in 1991, Parche began a new mission as part of Submarine Development Squadron 5. She resumed operations in the Pacific Fleet in 1992.
Parche was transferred to a new home port, Naval Base Kitsap at Bangor, Washington, in November 1994.
Parche may have recovered Chinese missile fragments. In 1995 and 1996, the People's Republic of China launched DF-21 and DF-15 ballistic missiles into the sea surrounding Taiwan to deter Taiwan from moving toward independence; Robert Karniol writes: "I suspect that "the Parche might have gone after these Chinese missile fragments", and "I suspect that Beijing gave away some useful missile secrets."[4]
Decommissioning and disposalEditParche's sail was preserved. During the summer of 2006 it was moved from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to a maritime park in downtown Bremerton.
Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage - Wikipedia
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 14:29
^Naftali, Timothy (December 20, 1998). "The Sonar War". New York Times. Retrieved 11 August 2012. Polmar, Norman (2001). "Book Review: Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 57 (5): 66. doi:10.1080/00963402.2001.11460496.
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Save HMS Onyx! | Submarine Diaryhttps://sundodgers.com/2013/09/06/save-hms-onyx/Sep 6, 2013 - Save HMS Onyx '' a guest post by John Tait on the diesel sub used by ... ''Under-hulling'' of new Soviet warships was also a strategic objective.Russia Launches A Red October Submarine..., page 1www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread913383/pg1&mem=Zaphod58
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Silent sub: Russian noiseless Borei class nuclear submarine immersed .... I think a 688 (II) would be adequate in under hulling the sub. Also, it's ...My AccountSearchMapsYouTubePlayNewsGmailDriveCalendarGoogle+TranslatePhotosMoreShoppingWalletFinanceDocsBooksBloggerContactsHangoutsEven more from Google
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Kursk submarine disaster - Wikipedia
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 17:46
Kursk submarine disasterWreck of K-141 Kursk in afloating dock at Roslyakovo
Time11:29:34 a.m. '' 11:31:48 a.m.DateAugust 12, 2000; 16 years ago (2000-08-12)LocationBarents SeaCoordinates69° 36'² 0'" N, 37° 34'² 0'" ECauseFaulty weld on a 65''76 "Kit" practice torpedo, leading to an explosion of high-test peroxide and detonation of 5 to 7 torpedo warheadsOutcomeLoss of the ship and crewDeaths118 (all)ConvictionsNoneLocation relative to Murmansk Oblast, RussiaThe Kursk submarine disaster that caused the sinking of the Oscar-classsubmarine (Russian: Project 949A Антей) Kursk took place during the first major Russian naval exercise in more than 10 years, in the Barents Sea on Saturday, 12 August 2000, killing all 118 personnel on board. Nearby ships registered the initial explosion and a second, much larger, explosion two minutes and 15 seconds later, which was powerful enough to register on seismographs as far away as Alaska. The Russian Navy did not recognize that the sub had sunk and did not halt the exercise or initiate a search for the sub for more than six hours. Because the emergency rescue buoy had been intentionally disabled, it took more than 16 hours for them to locate the sunken ship.
Over four days the Russian Navy used four different diving bells and submersibles to try to attach to the escape hatch without success. The navy's response was criticised as slow and inept. The government initially misled and manipulated the public and media about the timing of the accident, stating that communication had been established and that a rescue effort was under way, and refused help from other governments. The Russian Navy offered a variety of reasons for the sub's sinking, including publicly blaming the accident on a collision with a NATO submarine. On the fifth day, President Vladimir Putin authorized the navy to accept British and Norwegian offers of assistance. Seven days after the submarine went down, Norwegian divers finally opened a hatch to the escape trunk in the ship's ninth compartment, hoping to locate survivors, but found it flooded.
An official investigation after most of the wreck was raised along with analysis of pieces of debris concluded that the crew of the Kursk was preparing to load a dummy 65''76 "Kit" torpedo when a faulty weld in the casing of the practice torpedo caused high-test peroxide (HTP) to leak, which caused the highly volatile kerosene fuel to explode. The initial explosion destroyed the torpedo room, ignited a fire, severely damaged the control room, incapacitated or killed the control room crew, and caused the submarine to sink. The intense fire resulting from this explosion in turn triggered the detonation of between five and seven torpedo warheads after the submarine struck bottom. This second explosion was equivalent to between 2 and 3 tonnes (2.0 and 3.0 long tons; 2.2 and 3.3 short tons) of TNT. It collapsed the first three compartments and all the decks, tore a large hole in the hull, destroyed compartments four and five, and killed everyone still alive who was forward of the nuclear reactor in the fifth compartment. An alternative explanation to the faulty weld offered by critics suggested that the crew was not familiar with nor trained on firing HTP torpedoes and had unknowingly followed preparation and firing instructions intended for a very different type of torpedo. Combined with poor oversight and incomplete inspections, the sailors initiated a set of events that led to the explosion.
Following salvage operations, analysts concluded that 23 sailors in the sixth through ninth compartments had survived the two explosions. They took refuge in the ninth compartment and survived more than six hours before an oxygen cartridge contacted the oily sea water, triggering an explosion and flash fire that consumed the remaining oxygen. All 118 personnel'--111 crew members, five officers from 7th SSGN Division Headquarters, and two design engineers'--aboard the Kursk died. The investigation concluded the Russian navy was completely unprepared to respond to the disaster.[1] The following year, a Dutch team was contracted by the Russians to raise the hull. Employing newly developed lifting technologies, they recovered all but the bow of the vessel, including the remains of 115 sailors, who were buried in Russia.[2] More than two years after the sinking, the Russian government completed a 133-volume, top-secret investigation of the disaster. The government released a four-page summary to the public that was published in Rossiyskaya Gazeta. It revealed "stunning breaches of discipline, shoddy, obsolete and poorly maintained equipment," and "negligence, incompetence, and mismanagement." The report said the rescue operation was unjustifiably delayed.
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On the morning of 12 August 2000, Kursk was participating in the "Summer-X" exercise, the first large-scale naval exercise planned by the Russian Navy in more than a decade, and also its first since the end of the Soviet Union.[3] It included 30 ships and three submarines.[4]
The ship had recently won a citation for its excellent performance and been recognised as having the best submarine crew in the Northern Fleet.[1] Although it was an exercise, the Kursk loaded a full complement of combat weapons. It was one of the few ships authorised to carry a combat load at all times. This included 18 SS-N-16 "Stallion" anti-ship missiles and 24 SS-N-19/P-700 Granit "Shipwreck" cruise missiles that were designed to defeat the best Western naval air defences.[4]
The Kursk was reputedly unsinkable.[5] The submarine had a double hull with a 3.5-metre (11 ft) gap separating them, nine water-tight compartments, and was as long as two jumbo jets.[5] It had a mythical standing and it was claimed to be able to withstand a direct hit from a torpedo.[5]
At 08:51 local time, the Kursk requested permission to conduct a torpedo training launch and received the response "Dobro" ("Good").[1][6] After considerable delay, the submarine was set to fire two dummy torpedoes at the Kirov-classbattlecruiserPyotr Velikiy, the Northern Fleet's flagship. At 11:29 local time,[2] the torpedo room crew loaded a practice Type 65 "Kit" torpedo, (Russian: tolstushka, or "fat girl", because of its size),[7] without a warhead,[8] into Kursk's number 4 torpedo tube on the starboard side. It was 10.7 metres (35 ft) long and weighed 5 tonnes (4.9 long tons; 5.5 short tons).[9]
Initial seismic event detectedEdit
Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority seismic readings of the explosions on the submarine Kursk on 12 August 2000.At 11:29:34 (07:29:50 UTC), seismic detectors at the Norwegian seismic array (NORSAR) and in other locations around the world recorded a seismic event of magnitude 1.5 on the Richter scale.[10] The location was fixed at coordinates 69°38'²N37°19'²E>> / >>69.633°N 37.317°E>> / 69.633; 37.317, north-east of Murmansk, approximately 250 kilometres (160 mi) from Norway, and 80 kilometres (50 mi) from the Kola Peninsula.[11]
Secondary eventEditAt 11:31:48,[10] two minutes and 14 seconds after the first, a second event, measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale, or 250 times larger than the first,[9] was registered on seismographs across northern Europe[12] and was detected as far away as Alaska.[5] The second explosion was equivalent to 2''3 tons of TNT.[2]
The seismic data showed that the explosion occurred at the same depth as the sea bed.[10] The seismic event, triangulated at 69°36'²N37°34'²E>> / >>69.600°N 37.567°E>> / 69.600; 37.567Coordinates: 69°36'²N37°34'²E>> / >>69.600°N 37.567°E>> / 69.600; 37.567, showed that the ship had moved around 400 metres (1,300 ft) from the location of the initial explosion. It was enough time for the ship to sink 108 metres (354 ft) and remain on the sea floor for a short while.[10]
The crew of the submarine Karelia detected the explosion but the captain assumed that it was part of the exercise.[13] Aboard the Petr Velikiy, the target of the practice launch, the crew detected a hydro-acoustic signal characteristic of an underwater explosion and felt their hull shudder.[14] They reported the phenomena to fleet headquarters but their report was ignored.[13]
The scheduled time period for Kursk to complete the practice torpedo firing expired at 13:30 without any contact from the sub. Accustomed to the frequent failure of communications equipment, Fleet Commander Admiral Vyacheslav Alekseevich Popov aboard the Petr Velikiy was not initially alarmed.[15]:36 The ship dispatched a helicopter to look for the Kursk but it was unable to locate the sub on the surface which was reported to Popov.[16]
The Northern Fleet duty officer then notified the head of the fleet's search and rescue forces, Captain Alexander Teslenko, to stand by for orders. Toslenko notified the Rudnitsky's captain to be ready to depart on one hour's notice.[14] Toslenko's primary rescue ship was a 20-year-old former lumber carrier, the Mikhail Rudnitsky, which had been converted to support submersible rescue operations.[17] Berthed at the primary Northern Fleet base at Severomorsk,[18] the ship was equipped with two AS-32 and AS-34Priz-classdeep-submergence rescue vehicles, a diving bell, underwater video cameras, lifting cranes, and other specialised gear.[18] But she was not equipped with stabilisers capable of keeping the vessel in position during stormy weather and could only lower her rescue vessels in calm seas.[17]:72 The Russian Navy had previously operated two India-classsubmarines, each of which carried a pair of Poseidon class DSRVs that could reach a depth of 693 metres (2,274 ft), but due to a lack of funds the vessels had been waiting in a St. Petersburg yard for repairs since 1994.[18][19][20]
Early in the evening, more than six hours after the explosion, Kursk failed to complete a scheduled communication check at 18:00.[6] The Northern Fleet command became concerned and tried to contact Kursk. After repeated failures, at 18:30 they began a search and rescue operation, dispatching aircraft to locate the submarine, which again failed to locate the ship on the surface.[14][21] At 17:00, an Ilyushin 38 aircraft was dispatched and looked for the Kursk for three hours without spotting anything.[17]:74 At 22:30, the Northern Fleet declared an emergency, and the exercise was stopped.[14] Between fifteen and twenty-two vessels of the Northern Fleet, including about 3,000 sailors, began searching for the submarine. Captain Teslenko commanding the Mikhail Rudnitsky left port at 00:30.[6][14]
Official government responseEditThe Russian Navy initially downplayed the incident. Late on Saturday night, nine hours after the ship sank, Northern Fleet commander Admiral Popov ordered the first search for the submarine. Twelve hours after it sank, Popov informed the Kremlin, but Minister of Defence Igor Sergeyev did not notify Putin until 07:00 Sunday morning. Sergeyev "did not recommend" that Putin visit the disaster site.[18]
On Sunday, after Popov already knew that the Kursk was missing and presumed sunk, he briefed reporters on the progress of the exercise. He said the exercise had been a resounding success and spoke highly of the entire operation.[1]:149[15]:23
Rumors among family membersEditEarly on Sunday morning at the Vidyaevo Naval Base, rumours began to circulate among family members of the Kursk's crew that something was wrong. A telephone operator handled an unusual volume of calls and she overheard that a submarine was in trouble and then the submarine's name. The base was very small and news spread quickly. The wives and family members exchanged information, but nobody had the same news. The Kursk had previously been regarded as unsinkable and so family members could not believe the worst of the rumours. They hoped that the submarine was just temporarily unable to communicate. The deputy base commander reassured the women that the headquarters office was half empty and otherwise full of officers "passing the time."[17]:87
Foreign assistance refusedEditOn the afternoon of the explosion, even before the Kremlin had been informed of the submarine's sinking, U.S. National Security Adviser Sandy Berger and Defense Secretary William Cohen were told that the Kursk had sunk.[7] Once officially informed, the British government, along with France, Germany, Israel, Italy, and Norway offered help,[6] and the United States offered the use of one of its two deep submergence rescue vehicles, but the Russian government refused all foreign assistance.[22] Minister of Defence Igor Sergeyev told the American Embassy that the rescue was well under way.[1]:152 The Russian Navy told reporters that a rescue was imminent.[1]
Russian rescue efforts falterEditAt 04:50 on Sunday, personnel aboard the Petr Velikiy found two anomalies on the seabed.[14] At 09:00 the Rudnitsky arrived at the location. While setting anchor, its crew interpreted an acoustic sound as an SOS from the submarine, but Captain Toslenko commanding the Rudnitsky concluded this was produced by the anchor chain striking the anchor hole.[14] At 11:30 on Sunday, August 13, the crew of the Rudnitsky began preparing to lower the AS-34, which entered the water at 17:30. At 18:30, at a depth of 100 metres (330 ft) and at a speed of 2 knots (3.7 km/h; 2.3 mph), the AS-34 reported colliding with an object, and through a porthole the crew reported seeing a propeller and stern stabiliser. The AS-34 was damaged and surfaced, so the crew of the Rudnitsky began preparing the AS-32 for operations.[14]
At 22:40, the AS-32 entered the water and began searching for the Kursk but was given an incorrect heading by personnel aboard the Petr Velikiy and was unable to locate the submarine. Crew aboard the Rudnitsky tried to contact the Kursk and briefly thought they heard an acoustic SOS signal, but this was determined to be of biological origin. They reported the sounds to the Petr Velikiy. The AS-32 returned to the surface at 01:00 on Monday morning, 14 August.[14]
The salvage tug Nikolay Chiker (SB 131) arrived early in the rescue operation. It used its deep water camera equipment to obtain the first images of the wrecked submarine. Video camera pictures showed severe damage from the sub's bow[11] to its conning tower.[23] They also revealed that the Kursk was listing at a 60 degree angle and down 5''7 degrees by the bow.[6] The bow had ploughed about 22 metres (72 ft) deep into the clay seabed, at a depth of 108 metres (354 ft). The periscope was raised, indicating that the accident occurred at a depth of less than 20 metres (66 ft).[6]
The AS-34 was repaired and was launched at 05:00 on Monday. At 06:50, the AS-34 located the Kursk and attempted to attach to the aft escape trunk over the Kursk's ninth compartment, but its batteries were depleted and the crew was forced to surface to recharge the batteries. Winds increased, blowing 10''12 m/s to 15''27 m/s (22''38 mph), and the waves rose to 3''4 points (4''8 feet), forcing the Russians to suspend rescue operations.[14]
First official announcementEditThe first official announcement of the accident was made by the Russians on Monday, 14 August. They told the media that the Kursk had experienced "minor technical difficulties" on Sunday. They stated that the submarine had "descended to the ocean floor", that they had established contact with the crew, were pumping air and power to the ship, and that "everyone on board is alive."[3] The BBC reported that the Kursk crew "had been forced to ground" the submarine because it "[had] broken down during exercises" but rescue crews were "in radio contact with surface vessels."[24]
Collision initially blamedEditSenior officers in the Russian Navy offered a variety of explanations for the accident.[5] Four days after the Kursk sank, Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief and Fleet Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov stated the accident had been caused by a serious collision.[25] Klebanov said the submarine may have hit an old World War II mine.[25] He also said that almost all of the sailors had died before the vessel hit bottom.[26]
The Russian government convened a commission, chaired by vice-premier Ilya Klebanov, on 14 August, four days after the Kursk sank.[6] Nearly half of the commission members were officials with a stake in the outcome of the investigation, and independent investigators were not invited to take part, giving the appearance that their findings might not be impartial.[15]:32
Weather delays effortsEditBad weather, 3.7 metres (12 ft) waves, strong undersea currents, and limited visibility impaired the rescue crews' ability to conduct operations on Tuesday and Wednesday.[3] On Tuesday the Rudnitsky lowered a diving bell twice but were unable to connect to the sub. They then tried and failed to manoeuvre a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) onto the rescue hatch.[19]
At 20:00 Tuesday, AS-34 was launched again but was damaged when it struck a boom as it was being lowered into the sea. It was brought back aboard, repaired, and relaunched at 21:10. On Tuesday, August 15, three days after the sinking, the crane ship PK-7500 arrived with the more manoeuvrable Project 18270 Bester-type DSRV (AC-36).[27] But the weather prevented the PK-7500 from launching the DSRV, and the rescue team decided to launch the submersible near the coast and tow it to the rescue site with a salvage tug.[14]
On Wednesday, 16 August, at 00:20, AS-34 attempted to attach to the ninth compartment escape hatch twice but was unsuccessful. It surfaced and as it was being lifted onto the deck its propulsion system was seriously damaged. The crew of the Rudnitsky elected to cannibalise the AS-32 to repair the AS-34. Rescue operations were suspended while the repairs were made.[14] The PK-7500 arrived from the coast where it had launched its DSRV. It repeatedly lowered the rescue vessel 110 metres (360 ft) to the submarine but it was unable to latch onto an escape hatch. One of the rescue capsules was damaged by the storm.[28]
On Thursday at 12:00, Popov reported to the General Staff of the Navy that there had not been an explosion aboard the Kursk, the sub was intact on the seafloor, and that an "external influence" may have caused a leak between the first and second compartment.[14] On Thursday the Russian Priz DSRV made another attempt to reach the aft area of the submarine but was unable to create the vacuum seal necessary to attach to the escape trunk.[19] Western media criticised the Russian's 32-hour response time, however the standard for deploying a recovery vessel in 2000 was 72 hours.[29]
The rescue ship Altay attempted to attach a Kolokol diving bell[30] to the sub but was unsuccessful.[6] Russian Navy Headquarters in Moscow told media that rescuers had heard tapping from within the ship's hull, spelling "SOS ... water",[6] although the possibility of hearing tapping through the double hull was later discounted, and other reports said the sounds had been misinterpreted or even made up.[23]
Rescue divers did not attempt to tap on the hull to signal potential survivors acoustically.[29]
Fragments of both the outer and inner hulls were found nearby, including a piece of Kursk's nose weighing 5 metric tons (4.9 long tons; 5.5 short tons), indicating a large explosion in the forward torpedo room.[31][32]
The British deep submersible rescue vehicle LR5.British and Norwegian helpEditPrivate media and state-owned Russian newspapers criticised the navy's refusal to accept international assistance.[3] Five days after the accident on 17 August 2000, President Putin accepted the British and Norwegian governments' offer of assistance. Six teams of British and Norwegian divers arrived on Friday, 18 August.[11] The Russian 328th Expeditionary rescue squad, part of the Navy's office of Search and Rescue, also provided divers.[33] On 19 August at 20:00, the Norwegian ship Normand Pioneer arrived with the British rescue submarine LR5 on board, seven days after the disaster.[11][23]
On Sunday 20 August, the Norwegians lowered a ROV to the submarine. They found that the first 18 metres (59 ft) of the ship had been destroyed by the explosions. The entire bow of the ship was a mass of twisted metal and debris.[11]
Russian Navy officials imposed specific constraints that restricted the Norwegians divers to work on the stern of the ship, specifically the escape hatch over compartment nine and an air control valve connected to the rescue trunk.[11] The Norwegian deep-sea divers protested against the restrictions which they felt impeded their rescue operations.[10]
When the divers attempted to open the air control valve, it would not move. Russian experts on one of the most technologically advanced submarines in the Russian fleet told the divers that they must open the valve counter-clockwise or they would break it. The divers finally went against the experts' advice and tried turning it clockwise, which worked.[34]
The divers tried to use the arms of the ROV to open the hatch but were unsuccessful until the morning of Monday, 21 August, when they found the rescue trunk full of water.[10][11] That morning, they used a custom tool to open the internal hatch of the rescue trunk, releasing a large volume of air from the ninth compartment. Divers lowered a video camera on a rod into the compartment and found several bodies.[11]
The salvage companies agreed that the Norwegian divers would cut the holes in the hull but only Russian divers would enter the submarine. The Norwegian divers cut a hole in the hull of the eighth compartment to gain access,[35] using a cutting machine that shoots a high-velocity water-and-cutting-grit mix at 15,000 pounds per square inch (100,000 kPa) pressure.[36] The Russian divers entered the wreck and opened a bulkhead hatch to compartment nine.[37]
They found that dust and ashes inside compartment nine severely restricted visibility. As they gradually worked their way inside the compartment and down two levels, Warrant Officer Sergei Shmygin found the remains of Captain-lieutenant Dmitry Kolesnikov.[33] All of the casualties had clearly been badly burned.[11] The divers cut additional holes in the hull over the third and fourth compartments.[35] The Russian divers removed secret documents and eventually recovered a total of 12 bodies from the ninth compartment. This contradicted earlier statements made by senior Russian officials that all of the submariners had died before the submarine hit the bottom.[26] They also found the ship's log, but then had to suspend work because of severe winter weather.[23] The rescue teams conducted ongoing measurements of radiation levels inside and outside the submarine but none of the readings exceeded normal ranges.[11]
On 21 August, the Chief of Staff of the Russian Northern Fleet, Mikhail Motsak, announced to the public that the Kursk was flooded and the crew was dead.[19] Additional plans were made to continue to remove the bodies, but the Russian Navy could not agree on a contract with a foreign company, and the families of those who died on the submarine protested that they did not want additional lives put at risk to bring up the dead.[38]
After the Norwegian divers confirmed that no one was alive in the ninth compartment, Vice Admiral Mikhail Motsak, chief-of-staff of the Northern Fleet, officially confirmed at 5 p.m. on 21 August, nine days after it sank, that all of the Kursk's crewmembers had died. On 22 August, President Putin issued an executive order declaring 23 August a day of mourning.[39]
Claim of collision with NATO submarineEditOn Monday 14 August, Fleet Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov stated the accident had been caused by a serious collision with a NATO submarine,[25] although he gave no evidence to support his statement.[15] Senior commanders of the Russian Navy repeated this story for more than two years after the disaster. Conservative and right-wing politicians, along with many who wanted to sustain negative relations between Russia and the West, supported this scenario.[15]
During the exercise, the Russians required each of their submarines to stay within a specified area. This was designed to eliminate the possibility of a collision and to allow surface ships to detect the presence of a Western spy sub.
On 29 or 30 August 2000, an official government commission tasked with investigating the disaster announced that the likely cause of the sinking was a "strong 'dynamic external impact' corresponding with the 'first event'", probably a collision with a foreign submarine or a large surface ship, or striking a World War II mine.[3] They cited that the exercise had been monitored by two AmericanLos Angeles-class submarines'--USS Memphis and Toledo'--and the Royal NavySwiftsure class submarineHMS Splendid. When the exercise was cancelled due to the accident, they put in at European ports.[40]
Size and mass comparison of the Kursk and the USS Toledo, which is less than half of the Kursk's displacementUnited States Secretary of DefenseWilliam S. Cohen responded to Russian accusations of a collision with a submarine at a press conference in Tokyo on 22 September 2000.[41]
Q: Russians are suggesting that one of the possible reasons is a collision with a NATO or American submarine, they are asking to let them, well, have a look at a couple of United States submarines and the answer from the American side is no; so I ask, why not? And what is your own explanation of that particular accident. Thank you.
A: I know that all our ships are operational and could not possibly have been involved in any kind of contact with the Russian submarine. So frankly, there is no need for inspections, since ours are completely operational, there was no contact whatsoever with the Kursk.[41]
While the official inquiry was still under way, on 25 October 2000, Commander of the Northern Fleet Popov and his Chief of Staff Motsak were interviewed by the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.[42] They repeated the theory that the Kursk collided with a NATO submarine shadowing the exercise.[42] Fleet Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov stated once again on 25 October that he was 80 percent certain the accident was caused by a collision with a foreign submarine.[43]:22 There had been 11 collisions between submarines in the Barents Sea since 1967, and the Russian navy produced video footage of the wreck that they claimed showed evidence that this too was a collision.[5]
On 5 November, a representative of the Northern Fleet General Staff told the Russian NTV television station that the sinking was caused by a collision, and Motsak repeated this assertion on 17 November in an interview with the Russian newspaper Izvestia.[42] They insisted that an American submarine was closely shadowing the Kursk and had caused the collision by negligently getting too close. The Russian Navy produced satellite imagery of the U.S. submarine Memphis docked at a Norwegian naval base in Bergen just after the alleged collision and claimed this proved the submarine had surfaced for repairs,[5] but the authenticity of the photos was never proven.[44]
But geophysicists who analysed the seismic signals concluded that the initial sound recorded was triggered by an explosion and not a collision with another vessel.[45] The seismic waveforms of the second event, known to be from the explosion of several torpedo warheads, also generated a high-frequency bubble signature characteristic of an underwater explosion of approximately 3''7 tons of TNT. When they compared the second event with the first, they concluded that the first event was also the explosion of a torpedo. Britain's Blacknest seismic monitoring station, which studies seismic signals generated by underground nuclear explosions and earthquakes,[46] identified two distinct explosions. They determined that the two shockwaves were a perfect match and consistent with a torpedo explosion.[5]
Criticism of government responseEditWhile the rescue crews repeatedly failed to attach to the rescue trunk and to contact potential survivors aboard the submarine, President Putin was shown enjoying himself in casual dress on a summer holiday at a villa on the Black Sea. His seeming indifference outraged the families of the Kursk sailors and many other Russians.[23]
''For President Vladimir Putin, the Kursk crisis was not merely a human tragedy, it was a personal PR catastrophe. Twenty-four hours after the submarine's disappearance, as Russian naval officials made bleak calculations about the chances of the 118 men on board, Putin was filmed enjoying himself, shirtsleeves rolled up, hosting a barbecue at his holiday villa on the Black Sea."'''--'‰Amelia Gentleman, Fire down below, The Guardian[47]The Russian media was extremely critical of the government's handling of the sinking.[48] Images of angry family members demanding information or waiting anxiously at the dock for news were shown on media worldwide.[5] Some relatives said they only learned of the disaster from the public media[49]:108 or from conflicting rumours circulating on the navy base.[17]:87 They complained they did not receive any information from the government on the status of the disaster or rescue efforts until Wednesday, five days after the sinking. Some could not even confirm whether their family members were among the crew on board the ship.[3] The government refused to release a list of the missing sailors even to the families of those aboard until a Pravda reporter paid an officer
18,000 rubles for the list. Even then, the government tried to prohibit reporters from contacting family members.[15]:37
The continued problems the rescuers had reaching survivors and ongoing conflicting information about the cause of the incident inflamed Russian public opinion.[23] Media described the Russian government's response to the disaster as "technically inept" and their stories as "totally unreliable".[3]
Putin meets with familiesEdit
President Putin met with relatives of the dead sailors in Vidyayevo in a contentious meeting during which the families complained about the Russian Navy's response to the disaster.President Putin had been advised by the military from the start of the disaster that they had the situation under control and that he did not need to intervene.[1][50] He was told that there was a strong possibility that a foreign vessel had caused the accident and that Russia should not accept help from foreign powers.[1]:154 Only four months into his tenure as President, the public and media were extremely critical of Putin's decision to remain at a seaside resort, and his highly favourable ratings dropped dramatically.[50] The President's response appeared callous and the government's actions looked incompetent.[7]
On Tuesday, 22 August, 10 days after the sinking, Putin met at 8 p.m. in the Vidyayevo navy base officers' club and cultural centre with about 400''600[1]:154[49]:105 angry and grief-filled residents of the navy base and about 350 family members of the Kursk's crew.[1][49]:107 The meeting was closed and access was tightly controlled.[1] Two Russian journalists from Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Kommersant, who posed as family members, witnessed hysterical widows and mothers howling at Putin, demanding to know why they were receiving so much conflicting information and who was going to be punished for the deaths of their family members.[51] "Do you believe our men are still alive?" "Why have you murdered our lads?" "When would the bodies of the submariners be brought home?" "When will we get them back, dead or alive?" "Who are you going to punish for their deaths, and how?"[49]:107 The hostile, contentious meeting lasted for three[49] to six[52] hours.
German television channel RTL provided the Russian national daily newspaper Kommersant with an unedited transcript.[1]:155 The transcript revealed that Putin told the families that Admiral of the Fleet Vladimir Kuroyedov had agreed to accept foreign assistance as soon as it was offered on Wednesday, 16 August, but he was shouted down as soon as he offered this explanation. The family members knew from media reports that foreign assistance had been offered on Monday.[49]:108 Up to this point, family members had received
1000 rubles (about USD$37 in 2000) in compensation, and Putin offered the families additional compensation equivalent to ten years' salary, about USD$7,000 in 2000.[49]:108[53]
Mother forcibly sedatedEditThe Russian state channel RTR was the only media granted access. They broadcast a heavily edited version of the meeting that only showed the president speaking, eliminating many emotional and contentious encounters between the President and family members. Their single TV camera fed its signal to a satellite truck on loan to RTR from the German TV Company RTL, and RTL recorded the entire event.[1]:155 Two Russian journalists from Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Kommersant, who posed as family members, witnessed hysterical widows and mothers howling at Putin, demanding to know why they were receiving so much conflicting information and who was going to be punished for the deaths of their family members.[51] During the meeting, Nadezhda Tylik, the mother of Kursk submariner Lt. Sergei Tylik, was extremely emotional and interrupted the meeting. She harangued Putin and Deputy Prime Minister Klebanov, accusing them of lying to the family members. She told them, "You better shoot yourselves now! We won't let you live bastards!"[54] When she would not be quiet, a nurse in civilian apparel behind her forcibly injected her through her clothing with a sedative. She shortly thereafter lost the ability to speak and was carried out.[55] Immediately after his wife was given the injection, Tylik's husband said he had asked the woman to give his wife the drug "because she was prone to excessive emotions."[55][56] Four months later she revealed that her husband had lied about the injection to the public to "save my nerves" and that he, in fact, "did not ask for help." Tylik later stated, "The injection was done to shut my mouth. Immediately after it I just lost the ability to speak and was carried out."[7]
The whole scene was captured by the TV crew, although it was not televised within Russia. The rest of the world was able to see officials remove her from the meeting.[15]:36[57] Tylik later criticised President Putin because he "did not answer direct questions" at the meeting. "Maybe he did not know what to say. But we did not receive concrete answers to concrete questions," she said.[55][58] Tylik told the St. Petersburg Times that she will go to any lengths to learn the truth about the submarine disaster "They told us lies the whole time, and even now we are unable to get any information," she said.[55]
The sedation concerned people in Russia as well as the West that the former Soviet Union was returning to its Cold War-era methods of silencing dissent.[17] Tylik said that he had told her six days before the disaster that the submarine had " 'death onboard,' but he didn't explain what he meant." "I am sure that the commanders of the Northern Fleet knew that the torpedoes were not in order. Those who are guilty must be punished.[55] Navy officials in Vidyayevo later confirmed to The Times and to The St. Petersburg Times that she was given a sedative. "We've been giving sedatives to relatives since this began, and it is not such a big deal as you make it out to be in the West," said an officer who would not identify himself. "We are simply protecting the relatives from undue pain '' it was for her own protection."[59]
Journalist Andrey Kolesnikov, who had been present at Putin's meeting with the families, described his experience in a 2015 documentary titled President. He said when he watched Putin talk to the families, he had never felt such an intense atmosphere of pain and anger in his entire life.
I honestly thought they would tear him apart ... There was such a heavy atmosphere there, such a clot of hatred, and despair, and pain ... I never felt anything like it anywhere in my entire life ... All the questions were aimed at this single man ...[60]
Putin blames mediaEditIn response to the avalanche of criticism, Minister of Defence Sergeyev and senior commanders of the Navy and the Northern Fleet offered Putin their resignations, but he refused to accept them.[1]:160
Lashing back at the press who had been severely critical of his personal response and the entire government's handling of a national tragedy, Putin attacked the messengers.[51] During the meeting with the crew's relatives, he loudly blamed the oligarchs, who owned most of the country's non-government media, for the poor state of Russia's military. Putin told the family members, "There are people in television today who ... over the last 10 years destroyed the very army and fleet where people are dying now ... They stole money, they bought the media, and they're manipulating public opinion." When relatives asked why the government had waited so long before accepting foreign assistance, Putin said the media had lied. He shouted to the assembled families, "They're lying. They're lying. They're lying."[51][61] Putin threatened to punish the media owners and counter their influence through alternative "honest and objective" media.[51] He scornfully derided their ownership of property abroad. "They'd better sell their villas on the Mediterranean coast of France or Spain. Then they might have to explain why all this property is registered in false names under front law-firms. Perhaps we would ask them where they got the money."[51]
In a speech to the Russian people the day after his meeting with the families, Putin continued his furious attack on the Russian media, accusing them of lying and discrediting the country. He said they were trying to "exploit this misfortune ... to gain political capital."[51]
Family compensation announcedEditOn the same day as Putin's broadcast, Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matviyenko, head of a special commission, announced that the families of the Kursk sailors would receive not only 10 years' salary, but free housing in the Russian city of their choice, free college education for their children, and free counselling.[49]:114 With the addition of other donations received from across the world, the families received about USD$35,000 in payments, a relative fortune.[49]:114
Official inquiry resultsEditOn July 26, 2002, almost two years later, the government commission and Russia's Prosecutor General, Vladimir Ustinov, announced that the hydrogen peroxide fuel in the dummy torpedo inside the fourth torpedo launcher set off the initial explosion that sank the Kursk.[8][39]
Secret reportEditUstinov released a 133-volume top-secret report in August 2002, two years after the disaster. The government published a four-page summary in Rossiyskaya Gazeta that revealed "stunning breaches of discipline, shoddy, obsolete and poorly maintained equipment,"[15][62] and "negligence, incompetence, and mismanagement."[1] The report said the rescue operation was unjustifiably delayed.[1]
Initial blast damageEditThe bulkhead between the first and second compartment was penetrated by a circular 47-centimetre (19 in) air conditioning duct. The bulkhead should have arrested the blast wave,[63] but in keeping with common Russian submarine practice, the pressurised valve in the ventilation system that pierced the bulkhead was left open to minimise the change in pressure during a weapon's launch.[9] The initial blast set off a fire that was later estimated to have burned at 2,700 °C (4,890 °F).[64] The government report concluded that the initial explosion and fire in the torpedo room compartment immediately killed everyone within.[8][65]
The open valve in the ventilation system allowed the huge blast wave and possibly the fire and toxic smoke to enter the second and perhaps the third and fourth compartments as well. All of the 36 men in the command post located in the second compartment were immediately incapacitated by the blast wave and likely killed.[21] One sailor's body was found embedded in the ceiling of the second compartment.[9] Although the sub was at periscope depth with her radio antennas extended, no one in the command post was able to send a distress signal or press a single button that would initiate an emergency ballast tank blow and bring the submarine to the surface.[65][9]
Secondary explosionEditTwo minutes and 14 seconds after the first explosion in the torpedo compartment,[10] the fire set off a second explosion of 5''7 combat-ready torpedo warheads. Acoustic data from Pyotr Velikiy was later analysed and found to indicate an explosion of about 7 torpedo warheads in rapid succession.[2] A single Type 65 "Kit" torpedo carries a large 450-kilogram (990 lb).[66]
While the sub was submerged, 78 crew were normally assigned to the first four compartments and 49 to the rear five compartments.[11]:3 Although the Kursk was designed to withstand external pressure of depths of up to 1,000 metres (3,300 ft), the second internal explosion tore a 2-square-metre (22 sq ft) hole in the ship's hull, opening the first through fourth compartments to the sea. Water poured in at 90,000 litres (3,200 cu ft) per second.[9] The explosion collapsed the first three compartments and all of the decks. In addition to the crew in those compartments, there were five officers from 7th SSGN Division Headquarters and two design engineers on board to observe the performance of a new battery in the USET-80 torpedo, set to be launched second. Anyone who remained alive in those compartments was killed by the second explosion.[9]
Practice torpedo blamedEditThe government report confirmed that the Kursk had been sunk by a torpedo explosion caused when high-test peroxide (HTP), a form of highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide, leaked from cracks in the torpedo's casing.[1][66][67]
HTP is normally stable until it comes in contact with a catalyst. It then expands 5000 times in volume extremely rapidly, acting as an oxidiser, generating large volumes of steam and oxygen.[9][68] The oxygen is combined with kerosene fuel in the torpedo engine to propel the missile at a very high speed and greater range than conventional torpedoes.[15]:34 Investigators concluded that the leaking HTP had catalytically decomposed when it came in contact with copper commonly found in the bronze and brass used to manufacture the Kursk's torpedo tubes.[63] The resulting overpressure ruptured the torpedo's kerosene fuel tank and caused an explosion that was registered as a weak seismic event on detectors hundreds of kilometres away.[69] Once the HTP begins oxidizing, it is impossible to stop until the fuel is exhausted.[9]
Analysis revealed that when the 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb) of concentrated high-test peroxide and 500 kilograms (1,100 lb) of kerosene exploded, the internal torpedo tube cover and the external tube door were blown off, opening the torpedo room to the sea. Salvage crews located a piece of the number four torpedo hatch on the seabed 50 metres (160 ft) behind the main wreckage. Its position, distance, and direction relative to the rest of the submarine indicated that it was deposited there as a result of the first explosion in that tube.[63]
The fuel in the torpedoes carried by the Kursk was inexpensive and very powerful.[5] Torpedoes using HTP had been in use since the 1950s, but other navies stopped using them because of the danger inherent in their design.[5]HMS Sidon sank in 1955, killing 13 sailors, when an experimental torpedo containing HTP exploded as it was being loaded.[70]
According to an article that briefly appeared on Thursday 17 August 2000 on the website of the official newspaper of the Russian Defence Ministry, Krasnaya Zvezda, the Kursk had been refitted in 1998'--four years after it was commissioned'--to carry torpedoes fueled using the cheap HTP. The article reported that some specialists in the Russian Navy opposed use of the HTP-fueled torpedoes because they were volatile and dangerous. The story did not appear in the print edition on Friday 18 August. Instead, the article was replaced with another that speculated the submarine had collided with an "unidentified object". The change was likely due to political pressure.[43]:23 Vice-premier Ilya Klebanov, chair of the government commission investigating the accident, had a vested interest in suggesting the disaster had been caused by a collision with a NATO vessel. As head of the defence industries, over the objections of some officers, he had promoted use of the liquid-fueled torpedoes over safer, more-expensive silver-zinc battery-powered torpedoes.[43]:23[5][8]
Faulty weld identifiedEditThe government's final report found that the officers who had issued the order approving use of the HTP torpedoes did not have the authority to issue that order. The dummy torpedo was 10 years old and some of its parts had exceeded their service life. Several sources said that one of the practice torpedoes had been dropped during transport, possibly leading to a crack in the casing, but that the weapon was put aboard the submarine anyway.[15]:23 The crane that would normally have been used to load the missiles was, as usual, out of order, and another had to be brought in, delaying the loading process.[1] This also made the possibility of removing a damaged torpedo more difficult.[15]:23
Personnel who had loaded the practice torpedoes the day before the exercise noticed that the rubber seals were leaking fuel and notified junior officers of the issue, but they took no action because the exercise was so important to the Russian Navy.[1] Even though the leaks on the dummy torpedoes were detected, the rubber seals were not inspected before the exercise.[15]:35 The crew was also supposed to follow a very strict procedure while preparing the practice HTP torpedo for firing.[71]
Maintenance records revealed that the 65''76 "Kit" practice torpedo carried by the Kursk came from a batch of 10 manufactured in 1990, six of which were rejected due to faulty welding. An investigation revealed that because the torpedoes were not intended to carry warheads, the welds had not been inspected as carefully as welds on torpedoes carrying warheads. When salvage crews finally recovered the remains of the torpedo and the launch tube, analysis determined that both bore signs of distortion and heat damage that were consistent with an explosion near the middle of the torpedo, very close to an essential welded joint. The official conclusion of the commission was that a faulty weld had led to the explosion.[63]
Escape capsule inaccessibleEditIn an emergency, personnel in the rear compartments were to move forward to the third compartment along with those in the forward compartments and enter a detachable rescue capsule in the sail (or conning tower), which was capable of evacuating the entire crew.[72] Alternatively, there was also an escape trunk in the first compartment, but the explosion and fire rendered any possible use of it impossible.[6][29][73] The rescue capsule in the third compartment was inaccessible if it was still usable.[9]
Nuclear reactors shutdownEditThe fifth compartment that contained the ship's two nuclear reactors was built to withstand larger forces than other interior bulkheads. Like the exterior hull, these bulkheads were designed to withstand pressure up to depths of 1,000 metres (3,300 ft). The reactors were additionally encased in 13 centimetres (5.1 in) of steel and resiliently mounted to absorb shocks in excess of 50g. The bulkheads of the fifth compartment withstood both explosions, allowing the two reactors to automatically shut down and prevent a nuclear meltdown and widespread contamination of the sea.[2]
Later forensic examination of two of the reactor control room casualties showed extensive skeletal injuries which indicated that they had sustained explosive force of over 50g during the explosions. These shocks would have immediately incapacitated or killed the operators and possibly other sailors further aft.[2]
Rescue buoy failedEditThe Kursk was equipped with an emergency rescue buoy on top of compartment seven that was designed to automatically deploy when it detected any of a variety of emergency conditions like a fire or a rapid pressure change.[9] It was intended to float to the surface and send a signal that would help rescuers locate the stricken vessel.[11] Some reports said that the buoy had repeatedly malfunctioned and had been welded in place.[9] In fact, investigators learned that the Kursk had been deployed to the Mediterranean during the summer of 1999 to monitor the U.S. fleet responding to the Kosovo War. Russian navy officers feared that the buoy might accidentally deploy, revealing the submarine's position to the U.S. fleet. They ordered the buoy to be disabled and it was still inoperative when the sub sank.[9]
No blame assignedEditDespite the many lapses in procedures and equipment, Ustinov said no charges would be filed because the disaster was caused by a technical malfunction and blame could not be placed on specific individuals. He said that all of the sailors had died within eight hours and none of them could have been rescued in the time available. At a news conference announcing the end of the official inquiry, he absolved the torpedo's manufacturer of any fault. "Those who designed the torpedo couldn't foresee the possibility of its explosion." He also said there was no evidence that the torpedo had been damaged when it was loaded onto the Kursk.[74]
When Ustinov closed the criminal case without filing charges,[39] family members were angry. Retired Russian navy Captain Vladimir Mityayev lost a son on the Kursk. He said, "To me, this is a clear case of negligence."[74] In the end, no one was to blame for the disaster and no one was held responsible.[15]:34
Alternative explanationsEditWhile the official government commission blamed the explosion on a faulty weld in the practice torpedo, Vice-Admiral Valery Ryazantsev cited inadequate training, poor maintenance, and incomplete inspections that caused the crew to mishandle the weapon.[14] The internal tube door was designed to be three times as strong as the external torpedo door, so that any explosion inside the tube would be directed out into the sea.[63] Salvage crews eventually found the internal tube cover embedded in a bulkhead 12 metres (39 ft) from the tube. This led investigators to conclude that it was likely that the internal door was not fully closed when the explosion occurred.[63]
It was known that the electrical connectors between the torpedoes and the internal tube door were unreliable and often required the torpedo crews to open and re-close the door to clean the connection before an electrical contact could be established. The Kursk's crew had not fired a torpedo for three years, and that torpedo was a much simpler battery-powered type.[65] The crew had to complete specific maintenance steps on a regular basis and before firing a torpedo. This included cleaning the torpedo tube of lubricants, metal shavings, and dust that accumulate during long periods of inactivity.[65][71][75]
After the accident, investigators recovered a partially burned copy of the safety instructions for loading HTP torpedoes, but the instructions were for a significantly different type of torpedo and failed to include essential steps for testing an air valve. The 7th Division, 1st Submarine Flotilla never inspected the Kursks's crew's qualifications and readiness to fire HTP torpedoes.[65] The Kursk's crew had no prior experience with and had not been trained in handling or firing HTP-powered torpedoes. Ryazantsev believed that due to their inexperience and lack of training, compounded by incomplete inspections and oversight, and because the Kursk's crew followed faulty instructions when loading the practice torpedo, they set off a chain of events that led to the explosion.[15]:35[71] Ryazantsev asserted that signatures on the records documenting that the sailors had been trained in handling and firing HTP torpedoes had been faked.[65] He stated that the warhead fuses on combat torpedoes 1, 3, 5, and 6 were set off when the first compartment collapsed after striking the sea bottom.[65]
Accusations of cover-upEditThe Communist newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda published a report in June 2001 that senior officers in the Russian Navy had engaged in an elaborate deception to cover the actual cause of the disaster. This referred to statements that the ship's captain, Gennady Lyachin, had sent a message to headquarters immediately prior to the explosion, "We have a malfunctioning torpedo. Request permission to fire it,"[5] though it is unlikely as captain of the vessel that he would have requested permission under such circumstances.[14]
The Russian Navy was later criticised as misrepresenting facts and misleading the public.[1]:148 The navy feared that if it was revealed that the submarine blew up because of crew incompetence, Russia's status as a great power would be in doubt.[43]:22 Their response was compared to the Soviet style of cover up and stonewalling like that during the Chernobyl disaster.[1]:148 Minister of Defence Sergeyev said in interviews on March 21, 2000, that he had never refused any foreign help.[1]:148
The Guardian wrote in a 2002 review of two books, Kursk, Russia's Lost Pride and A Time to Die: The Kursk Disaster:
The hopelessly flawed rescue attempt, hampered by badly designed and decrepit equipment, illustrated the fatal decline of Russia's military power. The navy's callous approach to the families of the missing men was reminiscent of an earlier Soviet insensitivity to individual misery. The lies and incompetent cover-up attempts launched by both the navy and the government were resurrected from a pre-Glasnost era. The wildly contradictory conspiracy theories about what caused the catastrophe said more about a naval high command in turmoil, fumbling for a scapegoat, than about the accident itself.[47]
Conspiracy theoriesEditWhile most experts agreed that a torpedo had exploded, they differed on what caused the explosion. Many Russians did not believe that the Kursk could be so easily sunk. The tragedy spawned a number of wild conspiracy theories to explain the disaster.[5] One theory offered was an explosion located in the high-pressure air tanks used to blow the ballast tanks, located near the torpedo tubes.[25] Mainstream publications like Der Spiegel, Berliner Zeitung, and the Sunday Times claimed to possess documentation proving that the submarine was struck by a missile fired by the Pyotr Velikiy.[15]:33 This was the largest naval exercise that the Russian navy had conducted in more than a decade, which increased the chances of a friendly fire incident.[23] Other theories included Chechenespionage, human error, sabotage,[23] and that the Kursk was testing a new top-secret torpedo, Shkval (Squall), capable of speeds in excess of 200 knots (370 km/h; 230 mph),[76] for which the Western navies have no defence. Another theory was that the USS Memphis had fired a torpedo at the Kursk.[42]
Manufacturer disagrees on causeEditThe director of the Gidropribor Research Institute (ru) that designed the torpedo, Stanislav Proshkin, challenged the conclusion of the government's official report. He said the weapon could only have exploded after an external event like a fire. He said that the torpedoes are routinely tested during manufacturing and are dropped from a height of 10 metres (33 ft) without causing damage that could lead to an explosion.[77] He also said the Kursk was designed with two autonomous, independent control systems that would have detected a rise in temperature while the torpedo was stored on the racks. The sub was equipped with a special drain system that could rapidly drain hydrogen peroxide fuel from a torpedo into the sea. If a temperature rise was detected in the torpedo tube, the torpedo would have automatically been ejected into the sea. In addition, any fire in the torpedo compartment would have triggered a powerful fire-extinguishing system that would have dumped "tons of water" on the fire.[77]
Survivors in aft compartmentEdit
A portion of a note written by Captain-lieutenant Dmitri Kolesnikov, found on his body in the ninth compartmentThere were 24 men assigned to compartments six through nine towards the rear of the ship.[78] Of that number, 23 survived the two blasts and gathered in the ninth compartment, which had an escape hatch.[6]Captain-lieutenant Dmitri Kolesnikov, head of the turbine in the seventh department, and one of three surviving officers of that rank, apparently took charge.[79]
Kolesnikov wrote two notes,[29][80] parts of which were released by Vice Admiral Motsak to the media for the first time on 27 October 2000.[21] The first, written at 13:15, 1 hour and 45 minutes after the second explosion, contained a private note to his family and, on the reverse, information on their situation and the names of those in the ninth compartment. The handwriting appears normal, indicating the sailors still had some light.[78]
It's 13:15. All personnel from section six, seven, and eight have moved to section nine, there are 23 people here. We feel bad, weakened by carbon dioxide ... Pressure is increasing in the compartment. If we head for the surface we won't survive the compression. We won't last more than a day. ... All personnel from sections six, seven, and eight have moved to section nine. We have made the decision because none of us can escape.[23][29][81]
Kolesnikov wrote the second note at 15:15. His writing was extremely difficult to read.
It's dark here to write, but I'll try by feel. It seems like there are no chances, 10''20%. Let's hope that at least someone will read this. Here's the list of personnel from the other sections, who are now in the ninth and will attempt to get out. Regards to everybody, no need to despair. Kolesnikov.[82]
The newspaper Izvestia reported on 26 February 2001 that another note, written by Lt. Cmdr. Rashid Aryapov, had been recovered during the initial rescue operation.[43]:22 Aryapov held a senior position in the sixth compartment. The note was written on the page of a detective novel and wrapped in plastic. It was found in a pocket of his clothing after his body was recovered.[83]
Izvestia quoted unidentified naval officers who claimed that Aryapov wrote that the explosion was caused by "faults in the torpedo compartment, namely, the explosion of a torpedo on which the Kursk had to carry out tests". Izvestia also stated that Aryapov wrote that as a result of the explosions the submarine was tossed violently about, and many crew members were injured by equipment that tore loose as a result.[80][83] To the Russian public, it appeared that the Russian Navy was covering up its inability to rescue the trapped sailors.[43]
Escape hatch unusedEditAnalysis of the wreck could not determine whether the escape hatch was workable from the inside. Analysts theorise that the men may have rejected risking the escape hatch even if it were operable, and would have preferred to wait for a submarine rescue ship to attach itself to the hatch. The sub was relatively close to shore and in the middle of a large naval exercise. The sailors had every reason to believe that rescue would arrive quickly.[17]:90''92 Using the escape trunk was risky. The sailors were in a compartment that was initially at surface atmosphere pressure, so they did not risk decompression sickness ('the bends') if they used the rescue hoods to ascend to the surface. But the Arctic water was extremely cold and they could not survive long in the water. Also, water was slowly seeping into the ninth compartment, increasing the atmospheric pressure and thus the risk of decompression sickness and death when they ascended to the surface. In addition it was likely that some of the men were seriously injured and escape would have been very difficult for them.[17]:88''92
When the nuclear reactors automatically shut down, the air purification system would have shut down, emergency power would be limited, and the crew would soon have been in complete darkness and experienced falling temperatures.[17]:88''92
Death of survivorsEditThe official investigation into the disaster discovered that a large number of potassium superoxidechemical cartridges, used to absorb carbon dioxide and chemically release oxygen to enable survival, were found in the ninth compartment. But the level of carbon monoxide in the compartment exceeded what people can produce in a closed space.[6] Divers found ash and dust inside the compartment when they first opened that hatch, evidence of a fire. But this fire was separate from that caused by the exploding torpedo. This and other evidence found in the salvaged wreck suggested that the crew were killed when they accidentally dropped one of the chemical superoxide cartridges into the seawater slowly filling the compartment.[1]:143''145 When the cartridge came in contact with the oily sea water, it triggered a chemical reaction and flash fire.[29] The investigation showed that some men temporarily survived this fire by plunging under water, as fire marks on the bulkheads indicated the water was at waist level at the time. Captain-Lieutenant Kolesnikov's body was badly burned from below the waist up, and his head and neck were severely disfigured by severe burns.[1]:143 The fire consumed all remaining oxygen, so that the remaining survivors all died,[63] of burns, asphyxiation, or carbon monoxide poisoning.[29]
There was considerable debate over how long the sailors survived. Russian military officers initially gave conflicting accounts, that survivors could have lived up to a week within the sub, but those that died would have been killed very quickly. The Dutch recovery team reported that they thought the men in the least affected ninth compartment might have survived for two to three hours.[2] Kolesnikov wrote his last note at 15:15, indicating that he lived almost four hours after the explosion.[84] Other notes recovered later show that some sailors in the ninth compartment were alive at least 6 hours and 17 minutes after the ship sank.[29] Vice Admiral Vladislav Ilyin, first deputy chief of the Russian Navy's staff and head of the Kursk Naval Incident Cell, concluded that the men in the ninth compartment survived up to three days.[1]:143''145
The Russian rescue teams were poorly equipped and badly organised, while foreign teams and equipment were simply too far away and not given permission to assist until it was too late.[1]:143''145[57]
The Russian government committed to raising the wreck in a US$65M salvage operation.[85] They contracted with the Dutch marine salvage companies Smit International and Mammoet to raise the Kursk from the sea floor. It became the largest salvage operation of its type ever accomplished.[86] The salvage operation was very dangerous because of the risk of radiation from the reactor, along with the presence of unexploded torpedo warheads (about 225 kilograms (496 lb) TNT equivalent each), the 24 SS-N-19 Granit cruise missiles aboard (about 760 kilograms (1,680 lb) each), plus a missile ejection charge (about 7 kilograms (15 lb) TNT equivalent) in each silo.[2]
Salvage divers from Halliburton[87] first detached the bow from the rest of the vessel because it may have contained unexploded torpedo warheads and because it could break off and destabilise the lifting.[88] The divers installed two large hydraulic suction anchors into the seabed and attached a high-strength carbide tungsten abrasive saw that was pulled back and forth over the bow between the anchors. It took 10 days to detach the bow.[89]
While the hydraulic suction anchors cut the bow free, the salvage crews raised several smaller pieces of wreckage. This included a piece of a torpedo tube weighing about a ton which was analysed to try to learn if the explosion occurred inside or outside the tube. They salvaged a high-pressure compressed aircylinder weighing about half a ton,[90] to learn more about the nature of the explosion. They also brought up a part of the cylindrical section of the hard frame and part of the left forward spherical partition, to determine the intensity and temperature of the fire in the forward compartment. Finally, they raised a fragment of the sonar system dome.[91]
Mammoet converted the 24,000 long tons (24,000 t) 130 metres (430 ft) long, Giant 4 semi-submersible barge to carry the sub. The ship was designed to carry huge loads on its deck, but the Kursk would ride beneath the ship. Giant 4 had to be completely modified to retrieve and carry the sub underneath. To raise the remainder of the ship, the salvage team planned an extremely complex operation that required them to design and build custom lifting equipment and employ new technologies. They wrote custom software that would automatically compensate for the effects of wave motion due to the rough Barents Sea, which could sever the cables suspending the sub beneath the barge.
Workers fitted the hull of Giant 4 with large saddles shaped to fit the Kursk's outer hull. Divers cut a large hole in the barge's hull to allow room for the submarine's sail. Holes were cut through the barge to allow 26 hoisting cables to pass through. The team manufactured 26 giant cable reels to hold the more than 200 kilometres (120 mi) of cable to be used to raise the ship. The giant cable reels fed 26 huge hydraulic strand jacks, each mounted on a computer-controlled, pressurised pneumatic heave compensator powered by hydrogen gas that automatically adjusted for sea waves.[86]
The Mayo, a diving platform, was equipped with dive chambers to accommodate the dive teams. They worked in six hour shifts, and when they weren't in the water remained in the saturation chambers for the entire 28 days the operation took.[92] The divers used hydraulic abrasive water jets to cut 26 holes through both the outer and inner hulls. The salvage divers mounted custom guidance rings around the holes in the sub and lowered guide cables to each through the holes in Giant 4. The team then used the four guide cables to lower a custom-made giant gripper, similar to a toggle bolt, which were custom designed to fit each hole, and the divers maneuvered them through the guidance ring.[93]
The crew lowered 26 groups of hoisting cables, each capable of lifting 900 tons, to the submarine and attached them to the grippers. The strand jacks lifted the 26 hoisting cables and slowly raised the Kursk until it was beneath Giant 4. On 8 October 2001, fourteen months after the disaster, and only five months after the contract had been awarded to them, the salvage team raised the remainder of the ship in a 15-hour operation.
Once the sub was raised and joined to the barge, it was carried back under the barge to the Russian Navy's Roslyakovo Shipyard in Murmansk. Once there, two giant, custom-manufactured pontoons were floated under Giant 4 to lift the barge the 20 metres (66 ft) necessary for it to enter a floating dry dock with the Kursk attached underneath. Once in the dry dock, the pontoons were pumped full of more air, lifting Giant 4 and allowing crews to remove the lifting cables and detach the Kursk. Giant 4 floated out of the drydock and salvage crews began removing the weaponry and the remaining bodies of the crew from the hull.[2]
The hull of the ship was gradually opened and the bodies of all but three of the 118 personnel on board were recovered. Those three were so badly destroyed by the blast and fire that their bodies could not be identified or recovered.[26]
The Russians said it was too risky to raise the remainder of the bow'--possibly containing undetonated torpedoes'--from the sea floor. Some analysts theorised the Russians may also have wanted to prevent foreign countries from accessing the debris which had been classified as state secrets.[1][68] They decided to destroy the remains where they lay[68] and blew up the remnants of the bow in September 2002.[89]
The sinking of the ship, the pride of their submarine fleet, was a devastating blow to the Russian military.[5] The Kursk's participation in the exercise had been intended to demonstrate Russia's place as an important player on the international stage, but the country's inept handling of the crisis instead exposed its weak political decision-making ability and the decline of its military.[7] Finally recognising the hazard of the HTP-fueled torpedoes, the Russian Navy ordered all of them to be removed from service.[8][94]
Once the human remains had been removed and the hull had been thoroughly investigated, the remainder of the ship was transported to Sayda Bay on the northern Kayla Peninsula. The two nuclear reactors were defueled and the ship was cut up for scrap.[4]
Officers movedEditPutin accepted the resignation of Igor Sergeyev from his position as Minister of Defence on 28 March 2001 and made him his assistant on strategic stability. He replaced him with Sergei Ivanov, who had previously been secretary of the Security Council of Russia. The position of Minister of Defence had always been filled by a professional member of the military. Ivanov had retired from the military in 2000, so his appointment as Minister of Defence while a civilian shocked the Russian military.[95][96]
On 1 December 2001, Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov presented a preliminary report to Putin. Ustinov wrote that the entire exercise had been "poorly organized" and that the probe had revealed "serious violations by both Northern Fleet chiefs and the Kursk crew."[94] Shortly afterward, Putin transferred the Northern Fleet commander, Vyacheslav Popov, and his chief of staff, Admiral Mikhail Motsak.[50] As is common in such circumstances, both soon obtained equally prominent jobs elsewhere in the government. Popov became a representative for the Murmansk region in the Federation Council, and Motsak became deputy presidential envoy for the North-Western Federal District.[62] Popov and Motsak had championed the story that the accident had been caused by a collision with a NATO submarine. When Putin dismissed them, he made a point of repudiating the collision theory.[1]:163 In another example of a lateral transfer, Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov had been an outspoken advocate of the theory that the Kursk had collided with a foreign submarine. He had also been in charge of the rescue operation and follow-up inquiry. In February 2002, Putin removed him from his position as Deputy Prime Minister and made him Minister of Industry, Science, and Technology.[94]
Putin dismissed the Northern Fleet's submarine commander, Vice Admiral Oleg Burtsev,[1]:162 and in total removed 12 high-ranking officers in charge of the Northern Fleet. Paradoxically, he said their dismissal had nothing to do with the Kursk disaster,[8][62] but that they had been responsible for "serious flaws in the organizations of the service." However, all 12 had been involved with the exercise, the rescue operations, or the submarine itself.[15]:34 All were transferred to equal positions elsewhere in the government or in the business sector.[65]
A year later Putin commented on his response, "I probably should have returned to Moscow, but nothing would have changed. I had the same level of communication both in Sochi and in Moscow, but from a PR point of view I could have demonstrated some special eagerness to return."[97]
International cooperationEditAs a result of the disaster, Russia began participating in NATO search and rescue exercises during 2011. It was the first time a Russian submarine had taken part in a NATO-led exercise.[98] The Russian Navy also increased the number of deep-sea divers trained each year from 18''20 to 40''45.[99]
Awards to those killedEditPresident Putin signed a decree awarding the Order of Courage to the entire crew, and the title Hero of the Russian Federation to the submarine's captain, Gennady Lyachin.[100]
MemorialsEditOutside the port city of Severodvinsk where the submarine was built, a large granite slab was erected on the sand dunes. It is engraved, "This sorrowful stone is set in memory of the crew of the nuclear submarine Kursk, who tragically died on 12 August 2000, while on military duty."[18] Other memorials were built in Moscow,[101] Sevastopol, Nizhny Novgorod, and Severomorsk.[39][63] A memorial was erected in Serafimovskoye Cemetery in St. Petersburg, where 32 of the sailors were buried.[39] The city of Kursk, for which the vessel was named, erected a memorial made from fragments of its hull.[102]
On 17 March 2009, journalist Tatyana Abramova from the newspaper Murmanskiy Vestnik found the Kursk's sail in the yard of a scrap metal dealer. It had been left there after several years of negotiations had failed to raise the estimated '‚¬22,000 for a memorial. The discovery sparked an outcry among citizens in Murmansk and they demanded it be turned into a memorial to the men who died.[39][103] After considerable difficulty, the memorial was finally completed and dedicated on Sunday, 26 July 2009, Russia's Navy Day, in the submarine's home port, the Vidyayevo naval base. It lists the names of the crew members.[1]
On 31 July 2012, divers representing the relatives of the Kursk's crew and the Northern Fleet command placed an Orthodox cross on the floor of the Barents Sea at the site of the disaster.[39]
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St. Petersburg Times. 10 December 2004. Archived from the original on 23 August 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2015. ^ abcdef"Final report blames fuel for Kursk disaster". BBC News. 1 July 2002. Retrieved 1 February 2014. ^ abcdefghijklmUnderwood, Lamar, ed. (2005). The Greatest Submarine Stories Ever Told: Dive! Dive! Fourteen Unforgettable Stories from the Deep. Guilford, Connecticut: Lyons Press. pp. 208''220. ISBN 978-1-59228-733-8. ^ abcdefg"Russian Submarine Kursk Catastrophe". Retrieved 31 January 2014. ^ abcdefghijklAmundsen, Ingar; Lind, Bj¸rn; Reistad, Ole; Gussgaard, Knut; Iosjpe, Mikhail; Sickel, Morten (2001). "The Kursk Accident"(PDF). Norway: Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority. ^Andrew Alden. "Seismic Testimony from the Kursk". About.com Education. Retrieved 10 October 2015. ^ abHoffman, David E. (23 February 2003). "Uncovering The Kursk Cover Up". St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on 8 March 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2014. ^ abcdefghijklmnoRyazantsev, Valery. "The death of the "Kursk"" (in Russian). Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2014. ^ abcdefghijklmnopBarany, Zoltan (2007). Democratic Breakdown and the Decline of the Russian Military. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-4008-2804-3. ^"Helicopter takes off from "Pyotr Velikiy"". ticketsofrussia.ru. Retrieved 13 November 2015. ^ abcdefghiMoore, Robert (2002). A Time to Die: The Untold Story of the Kursk Tragedy. New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-0-307-41969-9. ^ abcdeBurleson, Clyde (2002). Kursk Down! The Shocking True Story of the Sinking of a Russian Submarine. New York: Warner Books. ISBN 978-0-446-55456-5. ^ abcd"K-141 Kursk Accident". Global Security. Retrieved 10 February 2014. ^"BS-257 Project 940" (in Russian). Retrieved 13 February 2014. ^ abcWines, Michael (27 October 2000). "'None of Us Can Get Out' Kursk Sailor Wrote". New York Times. Retrieved 2 February 2014. ^"Russian sub sinks with crew aboard". The Guardian. 31 August 2003. Retrieved 12 November 2015. ^ abcdefghiWilliams, Daniel (18 August 2000). "'Terrifying Hole' in Russian Sub". Washington Post Foreign Service. Archived from the original on 8 February 2005. ^"Russian nuclear sub crippled". BBC News. 14 August 2000. Retrieved 22 February 2014. ^ abcd"The Kursk Accident". 12 August 2000. Retrieved 13 February 2014. ^ abcGentleman, Amelia (26 October 2000). "Dead sailor sheds light on Kursk tragedy". Retrieved 19 February 2014. ^"Project 18270 Bester submarine rescue vehicle". Global Security. Retrieved 31 January 2014. ^Higgins, Christopher. "Nuclear Submarine Disasters". Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2015. ^ abcdefghLaPenna, Joshua J. (June 2009). "Surfacing Rescue Container Concept Design for Trident Submarines"(PDF). Retrieved November 12, 2014. ^Jackson, James O. (Aug 28, 2000). "Death Watch". Retrieved 4 February 2014. ^"James Oberg's Pioneering Space". Retrieved 10 October 2015. ^Russian navy salvage team recovers large fragment of Kursk's bow Associated Press Worldstream^ abЛюдмиÐ>>а БезÑукова (3 February 2001). 328-й Ð"отов к ÐоÐ"Ñужению! Ð' Ломоносове, что бÐ>>из ПетеÑбуÑÐ"а, ÑасÐоÐ>>ожен 328-й аваÑийно-сÐасатеÐ>>ьный отÑяд Ð'Ð'Ф (in Russian). ÐÑуд. Archived from the original on 9 April 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2015. ^Hoffman, David E. (23 February 2003). "Uncovering The Kursk Cover Up". St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on 2014-03-08. Retrieved 4 February 2014. ^ abÐ'Ð>>Ð°Ð´Ð¸Ð¼Ð¸Ñ ÐŸÐ°ÑÑÐºÐ¸Ð½ (March 2003). Ð'ужество: АнÐ"еÐ>>ы>> на КуÑске (in Russian). БÑатиÑка. Archived from the original on 27 March 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2013. ^GRAHAM, BILL (2 December 2000). "Parkville diver recalls opening underwater tomb of sunken Russian sub". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved 14 November 2015. ^"More Bodies Found in Sub as Russians Mourn". Associated Press. 30 October 2000. Retrieved November 11, 2015. ^"Kremlin attacked over Kursk recovery". BBC. 18 October 2000. Retrieved 13 November 2015. ^ abcdefg"Fifteen-Year Anniversary of Kursk Submarine Disaster". Sputnik News. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 10 September 2015. ^"Russia Identifies U.S. Sub". The New York Times. 31 August 2007. Retrieved 31 July 2007. ^ ab"Cohen Press conference at the U.S. Embassy, Tokyo". defenselink.mil. Archived from the original on 16 April 2007. ^ abcd"La Stampa: "КуÑск" взоÑваÐ>>и ÐодÐ>>одки ÐША, но Путин и КÐ>>интон доÐ"овоÑиÐ>>ись и скÑыÐ>>и ÐÑавду" [La Stampa: The "Kursk" was blown up by U.S. subs, but Putin and Clinton made an agreement and hid the truth] (in Russian). Newsru.com. 21 December 2004. Retrieved 15 February 2014. ^ abcdefSatter, David (2004). Darkness at Dawn: the Rise of the Russian Criminal State. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. pp. 21''22. ISBN 978-0-300-10591-9. ^"ФотоÐ"ÑаÑии субмаÑины Memphis, оÐубÐ>>икованные в Ð"азете "Ð'еÑсия", сдеÐ>>аны в ÐеÑиод с июÐ>>я 1999 Ðо октябÑь 2000 Ð"ода" [Photos of submarine Memphis, published in the newspaper "Versiya", made between July 1999 and October 2000] (in Russian). NewsRU.com. 22 November 2000. Retrieved 17 February 2014. ^Reed, Christina (February 2001). "Sinking the Kursk". GeoTimes. American Geological Institute. Retrieved 2 February 2014. ^"AWE Blacknest". Retrieved 19 February 2014. ^ abReview: Kursk and A Time to Die |Special reports, The Guardian, Saturday 24 August 2002^"Kursk salvage team sets sail". BBC News. 6 July 2001. Retrieved 31 January 2014. ^ abcdefghiTruscott, Peter (2005). Putin's Progress: A Biography of Russia's Enigmatic President, Vladimir Putin (First ed.). London: Pocket Books. ISBN 0-7434-9607-8. ^ abc"Kursk closure leaves questions unanswered". BBC News. 31 July 2002. Retrieved 1 February 2014. ^ abcdefgTraynor, Ian (24 August 2000). "Putin aims Kursk fury at media". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2014. ^Steen, Michael (8 July 2000). "Russia mourns Kursk". News24.com. Retrieved 13 February 2014. ^"Russia Mourns Loss of 118 Sailors". ABC News. 23 August 2000. Retrieved 11 February 2014. ^Raising of the Kursk at the Internet Movie Database^ abcdeBorisova, Yevgenia (23 Feb 2001). "Kursk Relatives Make a Plea for Facts and Justice". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 21 February 2011. ^"I was not silenced, says Kursk mother". Telegraph. 27 Aug 2000. Retrieved 9 October 2010. ^ ab"Kursk Relatives Make a Plea for Facts and Justice". St. Petersburg Times. 23 Feb 2001. Archived from the original on 25 October 2007. Retrieved 13 November 2015. ^"Sedated Kursk mother vows to fight on". CNN. August 25, 2000. Retrieved 9 October 2010. ^What Will Putin Learn From Media Circus?^"'His face was totally burned': Kursk submariner's widow speaks with RT". Russian Times. 12 August 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015. ^Chazan, Guy (31 August 2000). "Putin Lambastes Russian Media Over Coverage of Submarine Disaster". Retrieved 13 February 2014. ^ abcAldis, Anne C.; McDermott, Roger N., eds. (23 November 2004). Russian Military Reform, 1992''2002. Taylor & Francis. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-135-75468-6. ^ abcdefgh"Sinking of the Kursk (Russia's Nuclear Sub Nightmare)" (Video). Seconds from Disaster. National Geographic Channel. 18 April 2006. ^Faulconbridge, Guy (3 December 2004). "Nightmare at Sea". Moscow Times. Retrieved 22 February 2014. ^ abcdefghÐ'иÐ>>аÑина, ЕÐ>>ена (15 July 2010). Как ÐоÐ"иб КуÑск (in Russian). Retrieved 14 February 2014. ^ ab"Weapon". Weaponsystems.net. Retrieved 6 February 2013. ^Tony DiGiulian (19 November 2008). "Russia / USSR Post-World War II Torpedoes". Navweaps.com. Retrieved 6 February 2013. ^ abc"Russians blow up Kursk remnants". BBC News. 9 September 2001. Retrieved 1 February 2014. ^"Horizon Special: What Sank the Kursk?" (Transcript). BBC. 8 August 2001. Archived from the original on 5 January 2002. ^"Britain Torpedoes since World War II". 28 December 2013. ^ abcRyazantsev, Valery. "The death of the "Kursk"" (in Russian). Archived from the original on 20 November 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2014. ^"Divers Enter Third Compartment of Sunken Russian Submarine". People's Daily. 3 November 2000. Retrieved 2 February 2014. ^Nikolay Korolyoff. "Nuclear-powered K-141 Kursk submarine layout (project 949-A)". Archived from the original on 3 January 2004. Retrieved 1 February 2014. ^ ab"Kursk Enquiry Ends, No Charges Made". St. Petersburg Times. 30 July 2002. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2014. ^Как ÐоÐ"иб КуÑск (in Russian). 2010. ^"VA-111 Shkval Torpedo". www.militaryperiscope.com. Retrieved December 1, 2010. ^ abРазÑабочики тоÑÐеды считают ÐÑичиной взÑыва внеÑнее воздействие (in Russian). "Ð'ести" интеÑнет-Ð"азета. Retrieved 22 February 2014. ^ ab"Russia Publishes "Kursk" Sailor's Death Note". People's Daily. China. 3 November 2000. Retrieved 13 November 2015. ^Cockburn, Patrick (22 September 2011). "A note scribbled in the dark that proves 23 of these men survived the explosion on the 'Kursk'". The Independent. Retrieved 14 November 2015. ^ ab"Report: Note found on Kursk points to torpedo". USA Today. 19 June 2001. Retrieved 4 February 2014. ^Aris, Ben (27 Oct 2000). "Doomed sailor's letter from the Kursk". The Telegraph. Retrieved 12 March 2014. ^"Marks 12 Years Since Submarine K-141 Kursk Tragedy, Captain Kolesnikov Letter". August 2012. ^ abWines, Michael (27 February 2001). "Russian Sub's Officer Wrote Of Torpedo Blast, Izvestia Says". New York Times. Retrieved 19 February 2014. ^"Kursk Submarine Tragedy: Too Many Questions Left Ten Years After". Russia: English Pravda. 12 August 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2013. ^"Kursk reaches harbour". BBC News. 10 October 2001. Retrieved 19 February 2014. ^ ab"International Salvage Team Brings Home the Kursk Submarine Using a Simulation Developed in Simulink"(PDF) (pdf). The MathWorks. 2003. ^Graham, Bill (2 December 2012). "Parkville diver recalls opening underwater tomb of sunken Russian sub". The Kansas City Star. ^"Large fragment of Kursk sub recovered". The Russia Journal. 16 June 2002. ^ ab"Mysteries of the Deep. Raising Sunken Ships". Scientific American Frontiers. PBS. Retrieved 10 October 2015. ^"Part of Kursk's Bow Lifted From Sea". 18 August 2000. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2014. ^"The Kursk Mystery Has Been Solved. On June 29, The Government Commission into the Submarine Sinking Will Present a Report on the Examination and Its Results. However, It is Already Known That the Submarine Was Destroyed by The Detonation of a 650-Millimeter Torpedo on Board". CDI Russia Weekly. Washington D.C.: Center for Defense Information. 20 June 2002. Archived from the original on 27 June 2003. Retrieved 14 November 2015. ^"How Scots played key role in raising the Kursk". The Scotsman. 6 October 2004. Retrieved 13 November 2015. ^The Raising of the Kursk (TV 2002) at the Internet Movie Database^ abc"Kursk torpedo removed from service". 17 February 2002. Retrieved 5 February 2014. ^Finn, Peter. "Russian Leader Expands Powers of a Possible Successor". The Washington Post. ^"the Russia Index"(PDF). Archived from the original(PDF) on 19 June 2006. ^Dalziel, Stephen (12 August 2001). "Spectre of Kursk haunts Putin". BBC News. Retrieved 8 August 2007. ^"Russian Federation Navy Fully Integrated in Nato Submarine Rescue Exercise Bold Monarch"(PDF). Exercise Bold Monarch 2011 (Press release). Allied Maritime Command Headquarters Northwood (NATO). 7 June 2011. Archived from the original on 9 April 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2013. ^ФомиÑенко (Fomishenko), Роман (Roman) (25 March 2007). ЕсÐ>>и в океане беда ... [When there's distress in the ocean ...] (in Russian). Russia: КÑасная Звезда (Krasnaya Zvezda). Retrieved 3 March 2013. ^Felgenhauer, Pavel (1 September 2000). "Defense Dossier: Drowning Reality of Kursk". CDI Russia Weekly. Washington D.C.: Center for Defense Information. Archived from the original on 2 March 2003. Retrieved 7 August 2007. ^"Russia Marks 10th Anniversary Of 'Kursk' Disaster". 8 December 2010. Retrieved 20 February 2014. ^Truscott, Peter (2003). Kursk: Russia's Lost Pride. London: Pocket. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-684-02089-1. ^Savodnik, Peter (9 July 2009). "Remembering the Kursk in Murmansk". Time. Retrieved 11 February 2014. ^"Review: Kursk and A Time to Die". The Guardian. 24 August 2002. Retrieved 14 March 2016. ^"Matthias Schoenaerts talks about his next projects at ELLE Style Awards 2016". YouTube. 24 February 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2016. ^"Matthias Schoenaerts werkt opnieuw samen met Thomas Vinterberg" (in Dutch). Vertigoweb.be. 26 February 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2016. ^"Matthias Schoenaerts Starring in Submarine Disaster Movie 'Kursk'". Variety. 2 March 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2016. ^Kursk (2017) at the Internet Movie DatabaseRobert Moore (2002). A Time To Die: The Kursk Disaster. Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-81385-4. Barany, Zoltan (2004). The Tragedy of the Kursk: Crisis Management in Putin's Russia. Government and Opposition 39.3, 476''503.Truscott, Peter (2004): The Kursk Goes Down '' pp. 154''182 of Putin's Progress, Pocket Books, London, ISBN 0-7434-9607-8Timeline of Kursk DisasterSimons, Greg (2012): Communicating Tragedy and Values Through the Mass Media During Crises: The Lessons of Submarine Accidents in Russia in Porfiriev, Boris & Simons, Greg (editors), Crises in Russia: Contemporary Management Policy and Practice from a Historical Perspective, Farnham, Ashgate, pp. 139''174.
USS San Francisco (SSN-711) - Wikipedia
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 17:53
The contract to build her was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Virginia, on 1 August 1975 and her keel was laid down on 26 May 1977. She was launched on 27 October 1979 sponsored by Mrs. Robert Y. Kaufman, and commissioned on 24 April 1981, with Commander J. Allen Marshall in command.
Following an initial shakedown cruise, San Francisco joined Submarine Force, US Pacific Fleet and moved to her homeport at Pearl Harbor. San Francisco completed deployments in 1982, 1983, 1985, and 1986 with the U.S. Seventh Fleet and various independent operations in the Pacific in 1986 earning the Battle Efficiency "E" for Submarine Squadron Seven in 1985. She earned a Navy Unit Commendation, a second Battle Efficiency "E" for Submarine Squadron Seven and her crew was awarded the Navy Expeditionary Medal for independent operations in 1988.
San Francisco entered a Depot Modernization Period at Pearl Harbor from 1989 to 1990 and then went on to conduct deployments to the Western Pacific in 1992 and 1994. The submarine was awarded the 1994 Commander Submarine Squadron Seven "T" for excellence in tactical operations and a Meritorious Unit Commendation for the 1994 Western Pacific deployment.
On 18 December 2002 San Francisco arrived at her new homeport at Apra Harbor, Guam.
The submarine is homeported at Naval Base Point Loma, San Diego, California since 2009.[3]
Collision with seamountEditOn 8 January 2005 at 02:43 GMT, San Francisco collided with an undersea mountain about 675 kilometers (364 nautical miles, 420 statute miles) southeast of Guam while operating at flank (maximum) speed at a depth of 525 feet (160 m).[4] The collision was so serious that the vessel was almost lost'--accounts detail a desperate struggle for positive buoyancy to surface after the forward ballast tanks were ruptured. Ninety-eight crewmen were injured, and Machinist's Mate Second Class Joseph Allen Ashley, 24, of Akron, Ohio, died on 9 January from head injuries.[5] Other injuries to the crew included broken bones, lacerations, and a back injury. San Francisco's forward ballast tanks and her sonar dome were severely damaged, but her inner hull was not breached, and there was no damage to her nuclear reactor. She surfaced and, accompanied by the USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349), USNS GYSGT Fred W. Stockham (T-AK-3017), and USNS Kiska (T-AE-35), as well as MH-60S Knighthawks and P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft, arrived in Guam on 10 January. The U.S. Navy immediately stated that there was "absolutely no reason to believe that it struck another submarine or vessel." Later, an examination of the submarine in drydock showed unmistakably that the submarine had indeed struck an undersea mountain which had only vague references on the charts available to San Francisco.
San Francisco in drydock at Guam, January 2005.
Damage to bow sonar, 2005
Commander Kevin Mooney of USS San FranciscoCommander Kevin Mooney, San Francisco's captain, was reassigned to a shore unit in Guam during the investigation of this collision. As the investigation concluded, the Navy found that, despite Mooney's otherwise remarkably good record, "several critical navigational and voyage planning procedures" were not being implemented aboard San Francisco. Consequently, the Navy relieved Mooney of his command, and also issued a letter of reprimand to him. He was not charged with any crime, and he was not court-martialed. Six crew members were also found guilty at their own non-judicial punishment hearings ("Captain's Mast") of hazarding a vessel and dereliction of duty, and they were reduced in rank and given punitive letters of reprimand. For their actions in the crisis, twenty other officers and men received awards, including letters of commendation, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal.
The seamount that San Francisco struck did not appear on the chart in use at the time of the accident, but other charts available for use indicated an area of "discolored water", an indication of the probable presence of a seamount. The Navy determined that information regarding the seamount should have been transferred to the charts in use'--particularly given the relatively uncharted nature of the ocean area that was being transited'--and that the failure to do so represented a breach of proper procedures.
Since San Francisco had recently had her nuclear fuel replaced, and thus she was expected to remain in-service until 2017, the Navy determined that repair of this submarine was in its best interests. Temporary repairs were made in Guam to provide water-tight integrity and forward buoyancy, so that the boat could safely transit to another location for more extensive repairs. San Francisco steamed to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) in the State of Washington via Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where she arrived on 26 August 2005.[6]
In June 2006, it was announced that San Francisco's bow section would need to be replaced with that of the soon-to-be-retired USS Honolulu (SSN-718) at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Though San Francisco is four years older than Honolulu, she had been refueled and upgraded in 2000''2002. The cost of her bow replacement has been estimated at $79 million, as compared with the estimated $170 million to refuel and overhaul the nuclear reactor of Honolulu.[7]
On 10 October 2008, San Francisco undocked after a successful bow replacement at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. The dry-docking project involved cutting more than one million pounds of forward ballast tanks and sonar sphere off the former USS Honolulu and attaching them to San Francisco.[8] After the completion of repairs and sea trials in April 2009, San Francisco shifted homeport to Naval Base Point Loma, San Diego, California.
Save HMS Onyx! | Submarine Diary
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 19:22
HMS Onyx returns from the Falklands with special ops daggers on Jolly Roger
Save HMS Onyx '' a guest post by John Tait on the diesel sub used by the SBS during the Falklands war
Nothing quite prepares you for entering a submarine down the main access hatch. The common visitor catchcry is 'You would never have got me in one of those things!' or 'I couldn't believe there was so little room.'
Such statements sum up the general reaction of ordinary visitors as they clamber with difficulty through a succession of bulkhead openings and stare at the narrow bunks and peer into the cramped messes and wardroom, the tiny galley from which the cook fed upwards of sixty men, and the miniscule cabin that passed for the skipper's quarters. They pull faces at the cramped toilet facilities, look bewildered at the innumerable pipes, hand wheels, levers and gauges in the Control Room, and file past the huge diesels, now mercifully cold and silent '' all wondering how any crew could have coped with 6 to 8 weeks at sea in a steel coffin like this.
The visitors have never been privileged to see the boat ready to sail either, with every space crammed full of food, torpedoes and other stores, nor hear the order from the Coxswain for 'Diving Stations!' that precedes the shutting of the Conning Tower hatch to seal the crew in their narrow cylinder as the submarine submerged with the familiar smell of sweat, sewage, diesel, damp clothes and cabbage.
The submarine community is a great club, into which no one can buy his way. Membership can only be earned, and once a submariner you are always a submariner and they see themselves as a breed apart, an elite. Its characters, stories and personalities are legend. Winston Churchill described operational submarine life as the most dangerous of all occupations: ''Of all the branches of men in the armed forces there is none which shows more devotion and faces grimmer perils than submariners.''
HMS Onyx an Oberon Class submarine, was built in 1966 at Cammell-Laird in Birkenhead and was considered a leap forward from the previous Porpoise Class who were the first post-World War 2 submarine design. Noted for their clean welded hulls, and for the first time in a Royal Navy submarine, plastic and glass fibre was incorporated on part of the bridge superstructure and casing. She was fitted with improved detection equipment and the ability to fire homing torpedoes. This class of boat was known for their reliability and quietness and many Oberons were sold to overseas buyers including Australia, Chile and Canada.
Onyx was decommissioned and listed for disposal in 1992 after some 26 years service. She was purchased by the Warship Preservation Trust in Birkenhead and was on public display and ran at a profit. Then she was subsequently sold to a Barrow in Furness businessman Joe Mullens in 2006 as the basis for a Submarine Heritage Centre. This venture failed to get off the ground because of grant funding reasons and Onyx was then sold to a Mr Peter Davis and the boat has sat in Barrow awaiting towing to the scrapyard. However Maritime Coastguard authorities have not been happy with her sailing condition under tow, and she has therefore remained alongside in Barrow for the foreseeable future. Lying forlornly at Buccleuch Dock she looks externally a bit shabby and rusty, but internally it is good condition. With some tender, loving care it could be the centrepiece of a maritime museum.
Onyx saw active service when she was the only diesel submarine sent to the Falklands in 1982. The 116 day war patrol began with the 8,000 nautical mile trip from Portsmouth to the Falkland Islands. This was a feat in itself including what was probably the first submarine refuelling at sea from a tanker in forty years. A complete 'false deck' of canned food and stores throughout the submarine reduced the headroom from six to four feet in some places. Even the showers were full of stores. A 16-man team of Royal Marine Special Boat Service (SBS) plus a mountain of their equipment were also stored onboard. Onyx was deployed to undertake covert insertion and extraction of Special Forces plus intelligence gathering reconnaissance and SIGINT operations.
Because of their stealth, Oberon's like the Onyx were regularly used for ''sneakies'' or ''mystery trips'' as they were colloquially known. This was the trailing of Russian submarines leaving their bases in the Barents Sea and transiting the Iceland-Faroe Gap to their assigned patrol areas in the Atlantic. ''Under-hulling'' of new Soviet warships was also a strategic objective. Similarly, trailing Soviet AGI spy trawlers who were always a ubiquitous presence in NATO exercises and who loitered near operational ports was carried out. Cameras were fitted to the submarine periscopes to record close encounters with the enemy and communications monitoring equipment fitted to record radio traffic. Submarines were also deployed to follow the arms trail from Libyan sources to the IRA.
Boats like the Onyx would take over from patrolling RAF Nimrod aircraft in the SW Approaches and follow the gun-runner to its drop-off point off the coast of Ireland whilst reporting position and situation reports back to UK authorities. The most famous of these was the 'Claudia' incident in 1973 and the 'Casmara' and 'Villa' incidents' in mid 1980's. Covert and clandestine submarine surveillance was an ideal operational implementation in tracking the arms smugglers.
This is the secret work of Britain's submarine Fleet. HMS Onyx is one of the boats that undertook such deployments.
As she now languishes in Barrow with her future uncertain, a considerable number of former crew members have begun to lobby for her preservation. It is understood Onyx may be up for sale for $100K. From social media sources, it would appear that many former submariners are individually willing to contribute a considerable amount of money towards the purchase and ensure the preservation of this unique warhorse. It was considered by former crew members that she was always a ''happy boat''.
There are also rumours of a Naval Heritage Centre to be built on the Clyde in two years time commemorating submarine history in the UK under the stewardship of Inver Clyde Council. HMS Onyx would provide an appropriate centerpiece as she has operated from the Clyde Submarine Base in Faslane. It is essential that the profile of HMS Onyx be raised by the UK media. Preservation of this submarine offers a marketing opportunity to an enterprising organization that would be willing to protect a unique piece of British History. HMS Onyx needs to be rescued now and not turned into razor blades.
Source '' The Telegraph
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Operation Deep Freeze - Wikipedia
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 18:32
Operation Deep Freeze (OpDFrz or ODF) is the codename for a series of United States missions to Antarctica, beginning with "Operation Deep Freeze I" in 1955''56, followed by "Operation Deep Freeze II", "Operation Deep Freeze III", and so on. Given the continuing and constant US presence in Antarctica since that date, "Operation Deep Freeze" has come to be used as a general term for US operations in that continent, and in particular for the regular missions to resupply US Antarctic bases, coordinated by the United States military.
Contents
Prior to International Geophysical YearEdit
U.S. Navy R4D-5L "Dakota" making the first landing at the South Pole, 31 October 1956
Squadron patch for the Navy Antarctic Development Squadron SIX (VXE-6), known as the Puckered Penguins.The U.S. Navy already had a record of earlier exploration in Antarctica. As early as 1839, Captain Charles Wilkes led the first U.S. Naval expedition into Antarctic waters. In 1929, Admiral Richard E. Byrd established a naval base at Little America I, led an expedition to explore further inland, and conducted the first flight over the South Pole. From 1934''35, the second Byrd Expedition explored much further inland and also "wintered over". The third Byrd Expedition in 1940 charted the Ross Sea.
Byrd was instrumental in the Navy's Operation Highjump after World War II from 1946''47, which charted most of the Antarctic coastline. In 1948, Commander Finn Ronne led an expedition that photographed over 450,000 square miles (1.1 million km²) by air. Then in 1954''55, the icebreakerUSS Atka (AGB-3) made a scouting expedition for future landing sites and bays.
Operation Deep Freeze IEditThe impetus behind Operation Deep Freeze I was the International Geophysical Year 1957''58. IGY as it was known was a collaborative effort among forty nations to carry out earth science studies from the North Pole to the South Pole and at points in between. The United States along with New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Norway, Chile, Argentina, and the U.S.S.R. agreed to go to the South Pole, the least explored area on Earth. Their goal was to advance world knowledge of Antarctic hydrography and weather systems, glacial movements, and marine life. The U.S. Navy was charged with supporting the U.S. scientists for their portion of the IGY studies.
In 1955, Task Force 43 was formed to carry out this work.[1] Operation Deep Freeze I prepared a permanent research station and paved the way for more exhaustive research in later Deep Freeze operations. The expedition transpired over the Antarctic summer of November 1955 to April 1956.
The operation involved the following ships:
On 31 October 1956, US Navy Rear Admiral George J. Dufek [2] and others successfully landed an R4D Skytrain (Douglas DC-3) aircraft at the South Pole, as part of the expeditions mounted for the IGY. This was the first aircraft to land at the South Pole and the first time that Americans had set foot on the South Pole. The aircraft was named Que Sera, Sera after a popular song and is now on display at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. This marked the beginning of the establishment of the first permanent base, by airlift, at the South Pole (today known as the Amundsen''Scott South Pole Station) to support the International Geophysical Year.
The Operation Deep Freeze activities were succeeded by "Operation Deep Freeze II", and so on, continuing a constant US presence in Antarctica since that date.
Subsequent developmentsEditIn early 1996, the United States National Guard announced that the 109th Airlift Wing at Schenectady County Airport in Scotia, New York was slated to assume that entire mission from the United States Navy in 1999. The Navy's Antarctic Development Squadron Six had been flying the missions. The 109th operated ski-equipped LC-130s and had been flying some National Science Foundation support missions to Antarctica since 1988. It had flown scientific and military missions to Greenland and the Arctic since 1975. The Antarctic operation would be fully funded by the National Science Foundation. The 109th expected to add approximately 235 full-time personnel to support that operation.
The possibility of the Air National Guard assuming operational control of the mission had first emerged in 1988. The 109th Airlift Wing had been notified that, almost overnight, one of the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW) radar sites was going to be shut down that it supported in Greenland. The other sites would soon follow, and the 109th would be largely out of business because its primary mission had ended. The unit had been informally keeping tabs on Navy LC-130 operations supporting the National Science Foundation in Antarctica. Because of its aging aircraft fleet and extensive depot maintenance period, the United States Navy asked if the 109th could provide limited emergency search and rescue (SAR) capability for two years to support Operation Deep Freeze, which the Air Guard accepted. At that time, it had no thought of taking over the mission. The 109th believed it to be an exercise in futility for its aircraft to deploy to the Antarctic to merely wait for emergency SAR missions, so it asked if the Navy could help carry cargo to the South Pole. The Navy resisted at first because its procedures and cargo configurations differed from those of the Air Guard, but eventually it agreed. The main mission of the U.S. Navy and Air National Guard C-130s was to airlift fuel and supplies to the National Science Foundation's South Pole Station so that its personnel could survive the isolation of the long Antarctic winter, which lasted from February to October.
An Air National Guard working group had been formed to study the idea in 1990. The following year, a dialog began among the Air National Guard, the Air Staff, and the United States Navy. Among other issues, it was difficult at first for the Air Guard to convince the Air Staff to commit long term resources to an area of the world that had not been declared a warfighting region because of international treaties. The Air Guard had supported military operations in Greenland and the Arctic (including classified U.S. Navy operations) since the mid-1970s with the ski-equipped C-130s of the 109th Airlift Wing. It convinced Headquarters, United States Air Force that it was not in the nation's best interest to abandon the capability to achieve quick and reliable air access to both polar regions.
In March 1993, the U.S. Navy hosted a two-day workshop with representatives of the National Science Foundation, Air National Guard, and other interested parties to explore logistics support options for the operation. A draft concept of operations had been prepared by the Air Directorate of the National Guard Bureau in 1993. In February 1996, a commitment was made to transfer the Operation Deep Freeze mission and all LC-130H aircraft operating within the U.S. Department of Defense to the Air National Guard. In September 1996, senior officers from the 109th Airlift Wing briefed the National Guard Bureau on their concept of operations and the status of their preparations to implement Operation Deep Freeze.
Under the transition plan which they had developed, the Air National Guard would continue to augment the United States Navy during the October 1996 '' March 1997 operating season for the United States Antarctic Program. At the end of the October 1997 '' March 1998 season, the Air National Guard would assume command of the program. During the third year of the transition program (October 1998 to March 1999), the U.S. Navy would augment the ANG before the latter took over the entire program the following year. There would be seven LC-130s in theater. They would stage from Christchurch International Airport in Christchurch, New Zealand to McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Traditional Guardsmen, technicians, and the cadre of Active Guard Reservists specifically brought on board to support Operation Deep Freeze would all be involved in the mission. When fully transitioned to the Air National Guard, the 109th Airlift Wing would have ten LC-130s in its inventory. These would include upgrades of four LC-130 aircraft in-service with the unit plus three new aircraft and three that would be transferred from the U.S. Navy. Air National Guard estimates of the savings to be realized by consolidating the operation in the hands of the 109th Airlift Wing ranged from US $5 million to US $15 million a year. The actual transition to Air Guard control began in March 1996.
By 1999, the United States Navy had transferred military support operations for Antarctica over to the United States Air Force and its contractor Raytheon Polar Services. Operation Deep Freeze was managed by the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard members of Air National Guard Detachment 13, a subordinate unit which administratively reported directly to the Air National Guard Readiness Center (ANGRC) at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, and operationally reported to United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) in Honolulu, Hawaii. Upon its deactivation in 2005, the detachment consisted of a full-time officer (Commander) and four full-time non-commissioned officers (Logistics, Communications, Security Forces, and Information Management) which remained in New Zealand year-round.[3] Operational command now belongs to Commander, Thirteenth Air Force as part of USPACOM. In 2005, through the office of the Secretary of Defense, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command was designated to support the Joint Task Force Support Forces Antarctica, Operation Deep Freeze. CDRUSPACOM delegated this joint operation to the Commander, Pacific Air Forces, who then delegated primary responsibility for execution of the JTF SFA operation to the Commander, 13th Air Force.
Airmen saluting the last LC-130 to depart from Antarctica in 2010United States civilian and scientific operations on the Antarctic continent are overseen by the United States Antarctic Program as well as the National Science Foundation. Military support missions flown from Christchurch International Airport are conducted during the Antarctic summer (late September to early March) each year by The 109th Airlift Wing Scotia New York. The Ski equipped LC-130 Hercules is the backbone of OPERATION DEEP FREEZE. Without the unique capability of the 139th Air Lift Squadron most science and research would come to a grinding halt. LC-130 Hercules aircraft provide the logistical movement of cargo to remote operating locations on the continent. These aircraft are augmented by the United States Coast Guardicebreakers, the Air Force Materiel Command, and the Military Sealift Command. The United States Air Force 13th Air Expeditionary Group deploys to Christchurch, New Zealand during the operational season.
A documentary on the early missions, "Ice Eagles: An Account of American Aviation in Antarctica," is scheduled to be released in 2016.[4]
Lockheed Martin is currently the prime contractor for the National Science Foundation's United States Antarctic Program.[5] The contract award was announced via a NSF press release on 28 December 2011 after a bid solicitation process of almost four years. Support operations began on 1 April 2012.[6] The original contract synopsis indicated that the government was contemplating a contract period of eleven and a half years.[7]
Belanger, Dian Olson. Deep Freeze: The United States, the International Geophysical Year, and the Origins of Antarctica's Age of Science. Boulder, Colorado: University Press of Colorado, 2006. ISBN 0870818309OCLC 69594000Dufek, George J. Operation Deep Freeze. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1957. OCLC 41818128Ellery D. Wallwork, Kathryn A. Wilcoxson. Operation Deep Freeze: 50 Years of US Air Force Airlift in Antarctica 1956 - 2006. Scott Air Force Base: Office of History, Air Mobility Command, 2006. OCLC 156828085United States. Antarctic Highlights: Operation Deep Freeze. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 1969. OCLC 39250653
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Poppie$tan
DEA: Heroin Haul Largest Ever in Afghanistan, 'if Not the World' - ABC News
Fri, 16 Dec 2016 06:05
A joint U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, American Special Forces and Afghan counternarcotics operation in October resulted in an eye-popping seizure of 20 tons of drugs, which officials said was the "largest known seizure of heroin in Afghanistan, if not the world."
The operation was kept under wraps until today, when a DEA official confirmed the contents of a field intelligence report obtained by ABC News but did not explain why a successful "superlab" takedown '-- which agency veterans agreed is an unprecedented narcotics haul '-- was not officially announced.
"This drug seizure alone prevented not only a massive amount of heroin hitting the streets throughout the world but also denied the Taliban money that would have been used to fund insurgent activities in and around the region," DEA spokesman Steven Bell told ABC News yesterday.
He said a conservative estimated street value was about $60 million for the 12.5 tons of morphine base, 6.4 tons of heroin base, 134 kilograms of opium, 129 kilograms of crystal heroin and 12 kilograms of hashish seized in the Oct. 17 raid, which took place in the western Afghan province of Farah, on the border with Iran.
"If that was Pablo Escobar's stash, that would be considered a lot of frickin' heroin," said one combat veteran of the DEA's 11-year counternarcotics mission to blunt the country's heroin trade, referring to the Medellin, Colombia, narcotics kingpin killed two decades ago. "That's going to make a dent in the European market."
The operation's success is all the more extraordinary, given that the footprint of the U.S. military in Afghanistan is now below 10,000 service members and the DEA's numbers have diminished to a handful in-country, sources said. This downsizing has eliminated the DEA's Foreign-Deployed Advisory Support Teams (FAST) in Afghanistan, which target drug traffickers.
A joint U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, American Special Forces and Afghan counter-narcotics operation last October resulted in the seizure of 20 tons of drugs.A Green Beret A-team aided the agents in executing a warrant search in the western Afghanistan province. After a brief gunfight with insurgents near the compound outside a remote village, the teams also found tons of chemicals in what one report called a "superlab" used to process the poppy into heroin base.
The superlab was apparently a first of its kind seen by DEA agents in Afghanistan, who described the facility as "complex, sophisticated and well fortified" in the field report.
Besides the drugs and chemicals, they also seized nine motorcycles and five AK-47 rifles, a source said.
Throughout the 15-year U.S.-led war against insurgents from the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin and more recently ISIS, Afghanistan has remained the world's No. 1 supplier of heroin, which is refined from opium from poppies grown in fields that have commonly become battlegrounds. A United Nations report released in October said Afghanistan's opium harvest had increased 43 percent over last year's crop.
Most of the Afghan heroin ends up in Europe and some in the U.S., where officials are calling addiction and fatal overdoses an epidemic. The profits of heroin trafficking have funded large portions of the Taliban's seemingly bottomless reservoir of fighters and weapons since being toppled from power after the 9/11 attacks, experts say.
The DEA responded to this in 2005 by forming 12-man FAST units trained by U.S. Special Forces. The FAST units, made up of seasoned DEA agents, initially operated with British Special Air Service commandos to destroy small opium processing labs in remote areas of southern Afghanistan and eventually gained support from American Special Forces and SEAL Trident teams. The American agents and operators were often supported by Afghan Sensitive Investigative Unit and National Interdiction Unit officers, including in October in Farah.
The October operation targeted the obscure Hadimama drug trafficking network, led by Abdul Rahman, "a suspected Taliban commander," and Haji Janan, "a suspected Taliban facilitator and narco-trafficker." The two "were believed to be producing heroin in these labs to fund their insurgent activities," the DEA said.
Kids turn violent as parents battle 'digital heroin' addiction | New York Post
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 03:38
On August 28, The Post published a piece by Dr. Nicholas Kardaras,''The Frightening Effects of Digital Heroin,'' that was based on his book ''Glow Kids.'' In it, he argued that young children exposed to too much screen time are at risk of developing an addiction ''harder to kick than drugs.'' The response was overwhelming, generating more than 3.3 million views on The Post's website and hundreds of letters from anxious parents. Now Dr. Kardaras writes about this parental revolt against digital heroin and reminds readers of the worst effects of the obsession.
Experienced sailors, Barbara McVeigh and her husband exposed their children to the natural beauty near their home in Marin County, Calif. '-- boating, camping and adventuring in the great outdoors. None of this stopped her 9-year-old son from falling down the digital rabbit hole.
His first exposure to screens occurred in first grade at a highly regarded public school '-- named one of California's ''Distinguished Schools'' '-- when he was encouraged to play edu-games after class. His contact with screens only increased during play dates where the majority of his friends played violent games on huge monitors in their suburban homes.
The results for Barbara's son were horrific: Her sweet boy, who had a ''big spirit'' and loved animals, now only wanted to play inside on a device.
''He would refuse to do anything unless I would let him play his game,'' she said. Barbara, who had discarded her TV 25 years ago, made the mistake of using the game as a bargaining tool.
Her son became increasingly explosive if she didn't acquiesce. And then he got physical. It started with a push here, then a punch there. Frightened, she tried to take the device away. And that's when it happened: ''He beat the s''t out of me,'' she told me.
When she tried to take his computer away, he attacked her ''with a dazed look on his face '-- his eyes were not his.'' She called the police. Shocked, they asked if the 9-year-old was on drugs.
Barbara McVeighHandoutHe was '-- only his drugs weren't pharmaceutical, they were digital.
In August, I wrote a piece about ''digital heroin'' for the New York Post, and the response was explosive. More than 3 million readers devoured and shared the piece '-- though not everyone agreed on its message. Some readers felt that the notion of comparing screens and video games to heroin was a huge exaggeration.
I understand that initial response, but the research says otherwise. Over 200 peer-reviewed studies correlate excessive screen usage with a whole host of clinical disorders, including addiction. Recent brain-imaging research confirms that glowing screens affect the brain's frontal cortex '-- which controls executive functioning, including impulse control '-- in exactly the same way that drugs like cocaine and heroin do. Thanks to research from the US military, we also know that screens and video games can literally affect the brain like digital morphine.
In a series of clinical experiments, a video game called ''Snow World'' served as an effective pain killer for burned military combat victims, who would normally be given large doses of morphine during their painful daily wound care. While the burn patient played the seemingly innocuous virtual reality game ''Snow World'' '-- where the player attempts to throw snowballs at cartoon penguins as they bounce around to Paul Simon music '-- they felt no pain.
I interviewed Lt. Sam Brown, one of the pilot participants in this research who had been injured by an IED in Afghanistan and who had sustained life-threatening third-degree burns over 30 percent of his body. When I asked him about his experience using a video game for pain management, he said: ''I was a little bit skeptical. But honestly, I was willing to try anything.'' When asked what it felt like compared to his morphine treatments, he said, ''I was for sure feeling less pain than I was with the morphine.''
Getty ImagesSure enough, brain imaging research confirmed that burn patients who played ''Snow World'' experienced less pain in the parts of their brain associated with processing pain than those treated with actual morphine.
The Navy's head of addiction research, Cmdr. Dr. Andrew Doan calls screens ''digital pharmakeia'' (Greek for pharmaceuticals), a term he coined to explain the neurobiological effects produced by video technologies.
'I feel like there is a war going on against our children. And it's come so fast that we're not even questioning it.'
While this is a wonderful advance in pain-management medicine, it begs the question: Just what effect is this digital drug '-- a narcotic more powerful than morphine '-- having on the brains and nervous systems of 7-year-olds addicted to their glowing screens?
If screens are indeed digital drugs, then schools have become drug dealers. Under misguided notions that they are ''educational,'' the entire classroom landscape has been transformed over the past 10 years into a digital playground that includes Chromebooks, iPads, Smart Boards, tablets, smartphones, learn ing apps and a neve r-ending variety of ''edu-games.''
These so-called ''edu-games'' are digital Trojan Horses '-- chock-full of the potential for clinical disorders. We've already seen ADHD rates explode by over 50 percent the past 10 years as a whole generation of screen-raised kids succumb to the malaise-inducing glow. Using hyper-stimulating digital content to ''engage'' otherwise distracted students creates a vicious and addictive ADHD cycle: The more a child is stimulated, the more that child needs to keep getting stimulated in order to hold their attention.
Dr. Nicholas KardarasLuz Rojas CarderasResearch also indicates that retention rates are lower on screens than on paper and that schools without electronics report higher test scores. And then there's Finland. A standard bearer of international excellence in education, Finland rejected screens in the classroom. According to Krista Kiuru, their minister of education and science, Finnish students didn't need laptops and iPads to get to the top of the international education rankings and aren't interested in using them to stay there.
Yet in the US, there is a national effort to give kids screens at younger and younger ages as parents worry that their little ones may somehow be ''left behind'' in the education technology arms race '-- the data be damned.
But not all parents are drinking the screens-are-wonderful Kool-Aid '-- some are fighting back.
Cindy Eckard, a Maryland mother of two, is launching a grass-roots campaign to create legislation to limit screen time in schools and is testifying in front of a state Senate subcommittee hearing this month.
''I was shocked to learn that the Maryland State Department of Education had no medically sound health guidelines in place before they put so many of our children in front of a computer every day .'‰.'‰. The schools keep encouraging more screen time in the classroom without any regard for our children's well-being,'' Eckard told me. ''Our children are owed a safe classroom environment, and right now they're not getting one.''
Some parents are opting out of public schools for less technology-dependent schools. Many Silicon Valley engineers and executives, for example, put their kids in non-tech Waldorf schools.
Others, like longtime educator and consultant Debra Lambrecht, have decided to create new tech-free school models. Debra has created the Caulbridge School, a distinctly ''Finnish-style'' school that is intended to serve as a template for future schools throughout the country.
''The argument for technology in the earlier grades is often rooted in the fear of children falling behind. It is true that most children will use technology in their jobs and everyday life. It is also true that most children will learn to drive a car,'' Lambrecht said. ''Certainly we would not give a 7-year-old child the car keys to give them a jump-start to be a more skillful driver. In the same way, we want to ensure children can effectively use technology as a tool and will bring all of their best thinking, creativity and innovation to bear.''
A Long Island mother recently contacted me because her 5-year-old son in kindergarten was going to be forced by the school to use an iPad. When she complained and threatened to pull her son out of school, her school district threatened to call child-protective services. I spoke to her school's superintendent, and he agreed to let her son opt out of using an iPad. But all the other kindergartners still need to use iPads for standardized-testing purposes. That Long Island mother has already reached out to her local legislators.
That seems to be the key. Parents need to educate themselves, find their voices and speak up. If enough parents organize, push for legislation and put pressure on their schools to limit screen time in school '-- as well as to delay the grade levels that screens are introduced into the classroom '-- then we might have a chance to slow down this digital epidemic.
Indeed, even the respected AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) has just this month modified their screen recommendations suggesting more tech-cautious guidelines: Children younger than 18 months '-- no digital media; ages 2 to 5 no more than one hour daily to be ''co-viewed'' with parents.
But many, myself included, think these recommendations still don't go far enough. Because of what we know about screens as ''digital heroin,'' I believe that kids below the age of 10 should have no interaction with interactive screens (iPads, smart phones, Xbox). There should be warning labels on such interactive screens that read: ''Excessive Screen Usage by Children May Lead to Clinical Disorders.''
Meanwhile, back in Marin County, Barbara pulled her son out of his suburban tech-filled public school and enrolled him in a more rural, less tech-oriented school. So far, she's seen huge improvements in his behavior.
She just found out last week that all fourth-graders in her son's new school will begin learning the increasingly popular skill of ''coding'' to design video games. Even in this rural hamlet school, kids were allowed to play violent video games indoors rather than having to go outside to play during recess.
She is now hoping to get political about this issue and to reach out to legislators to end the digital madness in elementary schools. ''I am prepared to go to war with our public education over technology use. This is wrong,'' Barbara said with the determined voice of a mother fighting for her child's life.
''I feel like there is a war going on against our children,'' Barbara said. ''And it's come so fast that we're not even questioning it.''
Dr. Nicholas Kardaras is executive director of The Dunes East Hampton, one of the country's top rehabs. His book ''Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids '-- and How to Break the Trance'' (St. Martin's Press) is out now.
Rate of babies going through opiate withdrawal skyrockets - CNN.com
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 03:38
The babies also shake, vomit and suffer from diarrhea. But it is their shrill screams that caretakers find so heart-wrenching.
"When they are born, because they're no longer being exposed to an opiate, they're going to go through withdrawal. That is what we deal with. We deal with babies going through withdrawal," said Dr. Sean Loudin, the medical director of a neonatal therapeutic unit at Cabell Huntington Hospital and a separate facility called Lily's Place.
He has seen firsthand the tragic fallout of the nation's opiate epidemic, with addicted women giving birth to babies going through withdrawal -- known as neonatal abstinence syndrome -- at skyrocketing rates.
New research released Monday underscores the problem. The research found that rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome have increased nearly fivefold across the country over the past decade.The proportion of babies suffering withdrawal was especially pronounced in rural counties, increasing from 12.9% in 2003 to 2004 to 21.2% in 2012 to 2013, according to research published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
In addition, incidence of babies going through withdrawal increased from 1.2 to 7.5 per 1,000 hospital births among rural infants and from 1.4 to 4.8 per 1,000 hospital births among urban infants.
The frequency of hospital deliveries complicated by maternal opioid use also increased during the same period from 1.3 to 8.1 per 1,000 hospital deliveries among rural mothers and from 1.6 to 4.8 per 1,000 hospital deliveries among urban mothers, according to the report.
"The most alarming thing to me was the growing disparity that we are seeing between rural and urban areas," said Dr. Nicole Villapiano, the study's lead researcher and a pediatrician from C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan.
The study included all neonatal and obstetric deliveries between 2004 and 2013 as compiled by the National Inpatient Sample database. Just 10 years ago, there were no differences between the rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome in rural and urban areas, but the new research, Villapiano noted, "saw that in rural areas, it was nearly a sevenfold increase over the last decade."
"The diverging trend was the most striking thing we found."
Babies going through withdrawal, she said, have difficulty sleeping and are irritable and uncomfortable. More serious side effects can include seizures and growth delays, according to Villapiano.
For rural hospitals, that can put a significant strain on already tight resources. Villapiano and her co-authors said the dramatic increase between rural and urban areas "highlights the urgent need of policymakers to appropriate funding for clinicians and programs that could improve access to opioid prevention and treatment services for rural women and children."
"That in rural areas is where the real challenge lies," Villapiano said.
In Huntington, Loudin is on the front lines. Though the latest research shows that 7.5 per 1,000 babies born in rural areas nationwide suffer from withdrawal, Loudin is seeing nearly 13 times that rate, with about one out of every 10 children born dependent on heroin or some other opiate.
"What this trend tells us is the country faces an addiction crisis. Many Americans face hopelessness, despair, economic hardship and very little appropriate coping mechanisms to deal with that," he said of Monday's research. "We need to focus on helping Americans deal with their problems of addiction. If we can help the adults who face the disease of addiction, then that will eventually trickle down and reduce the number of babies born exposed to drugs."
Loudin said lawmakers did an extremely good job of shutting down the pill mills that fed the nation's prescription opiate abuse, but since that supply was cut off in recent years, "there's been a seemingly endless supply of heroin."
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"I've talked with parents who literally have to use heroin because they can't get anything else," Loudin said. "They have no other place to turn except to heroin. And that is a scary thing to think about -- that just to avoid withdrawal and getting sick, they go out and buy heroin and inject it into their bodies just to function through the day.
"That is a dramatic story, and it is scary to me and shows the unfortunate and desperate circumstances that many Americans face."
Orphaned by America's opioid epidemic | The Washington Post
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 03:37
''I want you to see the place that saved my life,'' said Scott Hudson. He was taking Zaine to a weekly meeting of about 100 addicts at a rehab facility in Huntington, an hour down the highway. ''These guys have stories you should hear, and they should hear from you, too,'' Scott said.
''That's good if somehow I can help them, but it's not like I need to be scared straight,'' Zaine said. ''I've already seen what happens. I would never put a needle in my arm.''
''I know, buddy,'' Scott said. ''That's exactly what I said. That's what everyone says.''
They drove to Huntington down a winding road known to some locals as the heroin highway, passing chemical plants and coal towns where opioid pain pills had first become popular as a salve for workers enduring long days in the mines. But, during the last decade alone, 65,000 of those mining jobs had disappeared from the West Virginia economy, and now there was so much more poverty, pain and hopelessness to chase away. Drug companies had bombarded West Virginia's rural towns with record numbers of narcotics, according to court records: 300,000 tablets of hydrocodone to the mom-and-pop pharmacy in the town of War, population 808; half a million oxycodone pills to Kermit, population 400. During a five-year period ending in 2013, a single drug company had shipped more than 60 million doses of hydrocodone into a state with fewer than 1 million working-age adults.
Though hydrocodone was essentially the same drug as heroin, heroin was stronger and also cheaper to buy on the street. Now the heroin highway had billboards advertising rehab programs, suicide hotlines, clean needle exchanges and budget funeral homes.
''It's the West Virginia disease,'' Scott said as he drove. ''You don't even know you've started and you're already spiraling down.''
Scott often talked about his own spiral, which had continued for much of his adult life, from meth to pills to heroin. Only after his 34th arrest had he finally ended up at Recovery Point, a rehab facility run by former addicts in a converted elementary school. He had stayed for a year and remained clean for more than four years since.
Now he led Zaine into the meeting a few minutes late. The room was packed, so they grabbed extra chairs and squeezed in near the back. A recovering addict was telling a story about begging for money in his coal miner clothing. ''I promised myself I wouldn't ever use a needle,'' he said. He finished his speech and then Scott walked to the front of the room. Everyone already knew who he was. After he had gotten clean, he had walked around South Charleston in a shirt that read ''Neighborhood Hope Dealer'' and persuaded dozens of addicts to enter treatment. He had spoken at these meetings several times. ''I lit myself on fire twice while I was high and kept using,'' he said. ''I lost my kid. I got high around her. I thought she'd be better off without me. How many people have lost their kids to this?''
About half of the people in the room raised their hands.
''Come on. Don't lie to yourselves,'' Scott said, and another 20 hands lifted into the air.
How will Trump address heroin epidemic? - Chicago Tribune
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 03:37
President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to curb America's heroin epidemic by cracking down on the Mexican border. That sounds terrific to DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin, who has seen the drug ravage his suburban jurisdiction.
"(The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration) is seizing more and more, but the reality is there's more that can be done," he said. "If we can reduce the amount that comes into the country, we'll limit the supply and, I think, reduce the number of users. That's a public safety win."
But Trump has also promised to repeal Obamacare, the federal health insurance program many people have used to access treatment. That sounds awful to Chelsea Laliberte, leader of an Arlington Heights-based nonprofit dedicated to combating heroin.
"I truly believe this could be a disaster," she said. "I'm an optimistic person but I'm having a hard time being optimistic here."
Trump frequently mentioned the opioid crisis during his campaign, and according to some post-election analyses, he performed especially well in Rust Belt counties devastated by the drugs. But his policy prescriptions remain vague, and to some observers, contradictory '-- a grab bag of tactics alternately embraced by the right and the left.
It has left some treatment specialists, anti-heroin advocates and law enforcement professionals in the Chicago area unsure of exactly what to expect from the Trump administration.
"(Trump's strategy) is both sides of the coin," said Dan Bigg of the Chicago Recovery Alliance, which does outreach work with people with addictions. "It's not just (a law and order approach). It says some of the most enlightened stuff, too. I don't know what to think of it. It's all over the place."
Representatives of Trump's transition team did not return requests for comment, but in an October campaign speech in New Hampshire, Trump laid out what he called a plan "to end (the) opioid epidemic in America."
He started by saying he would stop the flow of drugs into the country by building a wall at the Mexican border. But author Sam Quinones, whose book "Dreamland" chronicles how small-time Mexican drug dealers brought heroin to Middle America, said a draconian crackdown on the already heavily-secured border would likely be ineffective.
"We have walls and they're still smuggling that stuff in," he said. "They're smuggling it in because we have millions of trucks every year crossing back and forth, and heroin is the easiest drug to smuggle. '... You can smuggle in a very, very significant amount of heroin in a backpack or a purse."
He said a more productive approach would be to forge close ties with Mexican law enforcement rather than treat the country as "a wayward child." Given the antagonism Trump displayed toward Mexico during the campaign, though, Quinones doubts that will happen.
Trump also pledged to fight the opioid crisis by deporting illegal immigrants taking part in the drug trade. Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim said federal officials have always been cooperative when his office has sought a person's expulsion.
His larger concern is getting help for those who fall prey to the drugs.
"My opinion is that the new way we need to deal with this epidemic is not only reducing supply but reducing demand," he said. "While I certainly support being aggressive with trafficking, I also support being aggressive with getting people into treatment."
Trump addressed that, too, saying he plans to "dramatically expand access to treatment slots" without providing many details on how that would happen. Some, such as Kathie Kane-Willis, director of the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy, question his sincerity, pointing to what they call the outdated thinking of some of his appointees.
Jeff Sessions, Trump's choice for attorney general, has advocated harsher punishment for drug sellers, a step that runs counter to policies pursued by President Obama's administration. Tom Price, a Georgia congressman who is the nominee to head the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is an Obamacare foe and has voted to block funding for needle exchange programs.
And Vice President-elect Mike Pence, whom Trump credited for being a strong leader on the opioid crisis, has been criticized for being slow to act last year after Indiana was struck by an outbreak of HIV infections tied to drug use.
"If you're going to say this is a health crisis, then holding up Mike Pence as a hero is probably not the best way (to earn trust)," Kane-Willis said.
Others like some of what they see in Trump's promises. Sheriff Mike Downey of Kankakee County, which has seen more than two dozen overdose deaths this year, said Trump's pledge to reduce the amount of prescription painkillers sold in America was an overdue step.
"I agree wholeheartedly," Downey said. "I've talked to a number of heroin users who've ended up in jail who are hardworking people (but) were prescribed painkillers. The addiction to that is what brought them to where they are. I've seen it ruin families and relationships and everything else."
Harold Pollack, the Helen Ross Professor at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, approved of Trump's pledge to lift the cap on the number of patients a doctor can treat with buprenorphine, a habit-forming medication used to curb opioid cravings.
"Right now we have people who are addiction specialists who should be able to prescribe buprenorphine to lots of patients," Pollack said. "There are lots of ways to monitor the quality of that, but we have a real access problem."
While Pollack also found plenty to criticize, he said Trump's thinking appears to reflect the growing bipartisan consensus that drug addiction should be treated with compassion. That trend has given Pamela Rodriguez of Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, a Chicago-based nonprofit that helps people in the criminal justice system who have drug problems, confidence that the federal government will pursue humane solutions.
"The opioid epidemic and criminal justice reform are such powerful forces, even in a new administration, that we can look forward with hope for resources for our clients," she said.
Trump Transition
Available to the Highest Bidder: Coffee With Ivanka Trump - NYTimes.com
Fri, 16 Dec 2016 10:58
WASHINGTON '-- Ozan M. Ozkural, a London-based investment manager, found a creative way to gain one-on-one access to the new first family: He bid nearly $60,000 to have a cup of coffee with Ivanka Trump for a charity event she was hosting.
Mr. Ozkural wanted to meet with Ms. Trump '-- who is considering playing an informal role in her father's administration '-- to gain insight into topics like President-elect Donald J. Trump's possible future dealings with Turkey and other nations where Mr. Ozkural invests, he said.
''The nature of my business, we talk to a lot of different governments, a lot of politicians and lawmakers across the world,'' Mr. Ozkural said in an interview on Thursday, adding that he recently had a conversation with the president of Argentina. ''You end up getting a better sense of what the modus operandi will be.''
The Run-UpThe podcast that makes sense of the most delirious stretch of the 2016 campaign.Mr. Ozkural is one of several high-profile bidders in a feverish competition to win time with one of Mr. Trump's children. Other bidders include the owner of a Tex-Mex restaurant chain from Houston who wants to press Mr. Trump, through his daughter, about immigration policy, and a real estate executive and fringe presidential candidate from Florida who wants to send a message to Mr. Trump about election fraud.
Now they may not get a chance to ''Enjoy Coffee with Ivanka Trump in NYC or DC,'' by winning the auction on LOT #:1182106, hosted by a New York company called Charitybuzz. The money was to go to a foundation led by Ms. Trump's brother Eric to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital of Tennessee.
But Eric Trump told The New York Times on Thursday that he was considering shutting down the bidding '-- 10 days after it started '-- about an hour after The Times raised questions about the auction.
The charitable fund-raising by Mr. Trump's children is problematic, ethics lawyers said, because of the unusual role they are playing in the transition process, with Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, attending meetings the president-elect had with executives from major technology companies and with the prime minister of Japan, and Mr. Trump's oldest son, Donald Jr., helping to select the nominee for interior secretary.
The Obama administration prohibited any member of the first family from directly soliciting charitable donations, said Norm Eisen, who served as an ethics lawyer early in President Obama's tenure. Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, have attended occasional charitable fund-raising events, including the Congressional Black Caucus annual dinners. The Obamas also allowed their daughters' high school to auction off magazines they had signed, Mr. Eisen said, but they did not auction off access to themselves.
''You never, ever want to have government officials using their public office for the private gain, even for a worthy charity,'' Mr. Eisen said. ''That was how we did it.''
The circumstance with the Trumps is not an exact parallel; all of the incoming first family will not live in the White House.
In a brief telephone interview about the auction, Eric Trump '-- who is expected to remain at the Trump Organization '-- said that he was trying to navigate the ''new world'' he is in since his father's win.
''We've done this every year,'' he said, referring to his foundation, which typically raises about $5 million annually, has a single paid staff member and gives almost all its revenues to St. Jude's. ''We utilized Charitybuzz to raise significant funds. Every single year we've auctioned off a lunch with one of ourselves. It's nothing more than an effort to raise a lot of money in an effort to help sick children.''
In a statement, Ms. Trump said it was an ''honor'' to raise ''additional money to benefit terminally ill children through the donation of my personal time.''
Charity auctions by celebrities and others are not uncommon, and Charitybuzz is a website that celebrities use to help raise money through auctions. (On the same site that listed Ms. Trump's auction, a former New York Times editor raised money for a children's charity by auctioning off a tour of The Times.)
The possible cancellation of the auction would be the second concession by Ms. Trump that she might have overstepped ethical bounds. A jewelry company she owns apologized last month after a senior executive there sent out a notice to reporters promoting a $10,800 gold bracelet Ms. Trump had worn during a television interview with her father.
Interactive Feature | Rules for an Auction Here are a few of the terms for having coffee with Ivanka Trump, as listed on Charitybuzz:
Officials in Washington have long accepted donations to charities from special interests pursuing favors. The charity of Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, accepts hundreds of thousands of dollars from the pharmaceutical industry, and the Congressional Black Caucus takes in millions of dollars annually from corporate donors that are pushing legislation in Congress.
Even with the coffee auction in doubt, the Trump family is pushing other charitable events. Eric Trump has scheduled a charitable fund-raiser in late February at the family's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where $25,000 ''Gold Level'' sponsors will be given special access.
Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a nonprofit organization that promotes limiting the influence of special interests, said the role of Ms. Trump and her brother in the fund-raising effort seemed ''highly inappropriate'' because they were offering access in exchange for money.
Federal employees have strict restrictions on charitable solicitations, but the provision does not apply to the president.
''This is just wrong,'' Mr. Wertheimer said of the auction to have coffee with Ms. Trump. ''The president's family should not be out raising money for whatever cause, in exchange for a potential influence buyer who wants to get his views to the president.''
Time with Ms. Trump clearly comes at a premium. Tony Podesta, a lobbyist and the brother of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John D. Podesta, also happens to be on the same Charitybuzz website offering lunch in exchange for a charitable donation.
The Podesta auction closed on Thursday with Tony Podesta, whose firm calls itself ''A King of K Street,'' having drawn just four bids, reaching $1,750 a couple of hours before it closed. The final bidding price is not public.
''Not a surprise that more people want to meet her than me,'' Tony Podesta said in an interview Thursday. ''She is sort of priceless right now. She is a great businesswoman. She is a really interesting person, and she is right in the middle of what is the biggest political change the United States has gone through since Roosevelt.''
Interactive Feature | Get the Morning Briefing by Email What you need to know to start your day, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.
Ms. Trump, who is disengaging from the Trump Organization where she is executive vice president, has signaled a desire to be involved in policy, working on pay equity for women and talking to her father about climate change.
She has interviewed candidates to work for her as chief of staff as she prepares for a possible role in the administration. She also plans to lobby members of Congress, in conjunction with the Republican Main Street Partnership, to expand child care, said Sarah Chamberlain, the partnership's president. ''We are thrilled to have her,'' Ms. Chamberlain said Thursday.
She and Mr. Kushner have examined how he could join the administration without violating anti-nepotism laws. He is looking at having a staff and an office in the White House, although no final decisions have been made.
A number of the transition team's executive committee meetings have been on the 25th floor of Trump Tower, where all three of Mr. Trump's adult children have offices, according to two people present for the briefings.
The president-elect said in a Twitter message this week that Donald and Eric would run the business going forward.
As of Thursday evening, the highest bid for the coffee auction '-- $67,888 '-- had come from Russell Ybarra, the Tex-Mex restaurant-chain owner, who said in an interview Thursday that he wanted to urge Ms. Trump to persuade her father not to go too far in restricting immigration laws. Many of the employees at his 14 restaurants are immigrants, and he said he already had a hard time finding workers.
''I believe Ivanka is more open-minded a person you can reason with,'' Mr. Ybarra said, just before he went back on the website and increased his bid.
''I'm sure it will go MUCH higher,'' he wrote in an email, unaware that the Trump family was considering canceling the auction. ''Either way, it keeps it exciting.''
By early Friday, the high bid had risen to $72,888.
The contest to have coffee with Ms. Trump comes with strict rules. A background check by the Secret Service is required, according to Charitybuzz, and the Trump Organization retained the right to shut down the meeting, which was to be held sometime after January at the Trump Tower in New York or the Trump International Hotel, near the White House.
''All winning bidders and their guests to conduct themselves appropriately,'' the contest rules say. ''Polite manners and respect for the generous donor and adherence to any rules or parameters are a must.''
It's Official: Clinton's Popular Vote Win Came Entirely From California | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis - IBD
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 16:55
Outside California, Hillary Clinton lost the popular vote by 1.4 million to Donald Trump. (ZUMAPRESS.com/Newscom)
Democrats who are having trouble getting out of the first stage of grief '-- denial '-- aren't being helped by the fact that, now that all the votes are counted, Hillary Clinton's lead in the popular vote has topped 2.8 million, giving her a 48% share of the vote compared with Trumps 46%.
To those unschooled in how the United States selects presidents, this seems totally unfair. But look more closely at the numbers and you see that Clinton's advantage all but disappears.
As we noted in this space earlier, while Clinton's overall margin looks large and impressive, it is due to Clinton's huge margin of victory in one state '-- California '-- where she got a whopping 4.3 million more votes than Trump.
California is the only state, in fact, where Clinton's margin of victory was bigger than President Obama's in 2012 '-- 61.5% vs. Obama's 60%.
But California is the exception that proves the true genius of the Electoral College '-- which was designed to prevent regional candidates from dominating national elections.
In recent years, California has been turning into what amounts to a one-party state. Between 2008 and 2016, the number of Californian's who registered as Democrats climbed by 1.1 million, while the number of registered Republicans dropped by almost 400,000.
What's more, many Republicans in the state had nobody to vote for in November.
There were two Democrats '-- and zero Republicans '-- running to replace Sen. Barbara Boxer. There were no Republicans on the ballot for House seats in nine of California's congressional districts.
At the state level, six districts had no Republicans running for the state senate, and 16 districts had no Republicans running for state assembly seats.
Plus, since Republicans knew Clinton was going to win the state '-- and its entire 55 electoral votes '-- casting a ballot for Trump was virtually meaningless, since no matter what her margin of victory, Clinton was getting all 55 votes.
Is it any wonder then, that Trump got 11% fewer California votes than John McCain did in 2008? (Clinton got 6% more votes than Obama did eight years ago, but the number of registered Democrats in the state climbed by 13% over those years.)
If you take California out of the popular vote equation, then Trump wins the rest of the country by 1.4 million votes. And if California voted like every other Democratic state '-- where Clinton averaged 53.5% wins '-- Clinton and Trump end up in a virtual popular vote tie. (This was not the case in 2012. Obama beat Romney by 2 million votes that year, not counting California.)
Meanwhile, if you look at every other measure, Trump was the clear and decisive winner in this election.
***
Number of states won:Trump: 30Clinton: 20_________________Trump: +10
Number of electoral votes won:Trump: 306Clinton: 232_________________Trump: + 68
Ave. margin of victory in winning states:Trump: 56%Clinton: 53.5%_________________Trump: + 2.5 points
Popular vote total:Trump: 62,958,211Clinton: 65,818,318_________________Clinton: + 2.8 million
Popular vote total outside California:Trump: 58,474,401Clinton: 57,064,530_________________Trump: + 1.4 million
RELATED:
Sorry, Democrats, But Putin Didn't Steal The U.S. Election For Trump
Trump Is Right '-- Millions Of Illegals Probably Did Vote In 2016
Why Hillary Clinton Lost: An Election Post-Mortem
Is Donald Trump Mentally Ill? 3 Professors of Psychiatry Ask President Obama to conduct "a full medical and neuropsychiatric evaluation" | The Huffington Post
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 00:58
President Barack ObamaThe White House1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NWWashington, DC 20500
We are writing to express our grave concern regarding the mental stability of our President-Elect. Professional standards do not permit us to venture a diagnosis for a public figure whom we have not evaluated personally. Nevertheless, his widely reported symptoms of mental instability -- including grandiosity, impulsivity, hypersensitivity to slights or criticism, and an apparent inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality -- lead us to question his fitness for the immense responsibilities of the office. We strongly recommend that, in preparation for assuming these responsibilities, he receive a full medical and neuropsychiatric evaluation by an impartial team of investigators.
Judith Herman, M.D.Professor of PsychiatryHarvard Medical School
Nanette Gartrell, M.D.Associate Clinical Professor of PsychiatryUniversity of California, San Francisco (1988-2011)Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School (1983-87)
Dee Mosbacher, M.D., Ph.D.Assistant Clinical ProfessorDepartment of Community Health SystemsUniversity of California, San Francisco (2005-2013)
Trump's Sec. of State Rex Tillerson Lobbied For Gay Youth in Boy Scouts
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 05:11
ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who
is President-elect Donald Trump's
nominee for Secretary of State. (AP)
President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of State, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, lobbied for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to change its rules on youth membership and allow homosexuals to join the organization, according to theDallas Morning News.
That rule change, which Tillerson spoke about in a speech at the May 2013 National Annual Meeting of the BSA, states, ''No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.''
Two years after that rule change, the BSA changed its rules again to allow homosexual men to work in the organization as Scout Masters and in other positions.
''Tillerson was instrumental in lobbying the Scouts' board to accept openly gay youths,' said John Hamre, president of the Washington think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies [CSIS], of which Tillerson is a board member,'' reported the Dallas Morning News on Sept. 6, 2014. (Tillerson has served on the CSIS Board of Trustees since 2005.)
'''I can't get into the intimacy of these conversations,'' said Hamre. '''But he agonized over this. He prayed on it, and ultimately he came to the conclusion the only thing that can guide him here is what's best for the young boys. I think he became a key leader in helping the group come to a consensus.'''
Tillerson grew up with Scouting and earned the rank of Distinguished Eagle Scout. The BSA was a defining influence on him, according to friends and news reports.
On May 23, 2013, at the Gaylord Texas Hotel in Grapevine, Texas, nearly 1,400 volunteer voting members of the BSA voted to allow openly gay youth to join the organization. Sixty-one percent of the volunteers voted for the change, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.
Tillerson spoke the day after the vote, according to Scouting Magazine.
''So we've made the decision, we're going to change,'' said Tillerson. ''Now what? Now what?... What really is ahead of us now is the hard work of helping every one who wasn't here, understand it.
''Most of the reasons that organizations fail at change is pretty simple,'' said Tillerson. ''People don't understand why. They don't understand the mission. They don't understand what does this mean for them. They don't understand their role. What's happening to me? What's happening to my colleagues'.... So now what we're really about is going to be a lot of communication.''
(AP)
''Regardless of where you were on this decision, it's also very normal for people to feel like there are winners or losers,'' he said. ''I'm here to tell you that's not true'.... There are neither winners nor losers. What's left after we made the decision to change is the mission, and the mission has not changed. But how are we going to implement the change?''
Commenting on Tillerson as Trump's nominee for Secretary of State, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said, ''The Left, which doesn't usually need a reason to oppose Trump's choices, won't find many here, since the ExxonMobil executive may be the greatest ally liberals have in the Cabinet for their abortion and LGBT agendas.''
''That should be particularly alarming to conservatives, who've spent the last eight years watching the State Department lead the global parade for the slaughter of innocent unborn children and the intimidation of nations with natural views on marriage and sexuality,'' said Perkins.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. (FRC)
''FRC knows Tillerson all too well,'' he said, ''having worked for years to put the brakes on his reckless agenda for a scouting organization that was already dealing with staggering numbers of sexual abuse cases."
"Unfortunately, the BSA, under Tillerson, ultimately caved to the pressure of the far-Left, " said Perkins, "irreparably splitting the Scouts and destroying a proud and honorable American tradition.''
''Under his chairmanship, ExxonMobil's score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate 'Equality' Index has also skyrocketed to 87 percent,'' said Perkins. (ExxonMobil's current rating is 85.)
''Still, Trump calls Rex a 'world class player and dealmaker,''' said Perkins. ''[B]ut if these are the kinds of deals Tillerson makes -- sending dollars to an abortion business that's just been referred for criminal prosecution and risking the well-being of young boys under his charge in an attempt to placate radical homosexual activists -- then who knows what sort of 'diplomacy' he would champion at DOS?''
Rex Tillerson - Wikipedia
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 05:10
Rex Wayne Tillerson (born March 23, 1952) is an American engineer and businessman. Tillerson is the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Exxon Mobil Corporation, the world's sixth largest company by revenue.[2][3] He holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Tillerson joined Exxon in 1975 and by 1989 had become general manager of the Exxon USA central production division. He became President of Exxon Yemen Inc. and Esso Exploration and Production Khorat Inc. in 1995. In 2006, Tillerson was elected chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon.
Tillerson was the national president of the Boy Scouts of America from 2010 to 2012.[4][5]
On December 13, 2016, President-elect Donald Trump announced that Tillerson would be his nominee for Secretary of State.[6][7] He is a longtime contributor to Republican campaigns. Tillerson has close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Tillerson will reach Exxon's mandatory retirement age of 65 in March 2017, but is retiring effective December 31, 2016, and will be replaced by Darren Woods effective January 1, 2017.[8]
Early life and educationTillerson was born on March 23, 1952, in Wichita Falls, Texas, the son of Patty Sue (n(C)e Patton) and Bobby Joe Tillerson.[9] Active in the Boy Scouts of America for most of his life, he earned the rank of Eagle Scout[10] in 1965.
Tillerson received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1975.[11] During his time at UT Austin, he was involved with the Tejas Club,[12] the Longhorn Band,[12] and Alpha Phi Omega.[13] In 2006, he was named a Distinguished Engineering Graduate.[11]
Business careerExxonTillerson joined The Exxon Company in 1975 as a production engineer.[14] In 1989, Tillerson became general manager of the central production division of Exxon USA. In 1995, he became President of Exxon Yemen Inc. and Esso Exploration and Production Khorat Inc.[14]
In 1998, he became a vice president of Exxon Ventures (CIS) and president of Exxon Neftegas Limited with responsibility for Exxon's holdings in Russia and the Caspian Sea. In 1999, with the merger of Exxon and Mobil, he was named executive vice president of ExxonMobil Development Company. In 2004, he became president and director of ExxonMobil. On January 1, 2006, Tillerson was elected chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), following the retirement of Lee Raymond.[14]
Tillerson re-established his position of chairman and chief executive officer during a shareholder meeting on May 28, 2008. The Rockefeller family sponsored a non-binding resolution to separate the CEO and chairman positions to maintain a system of checks and balances. The Rockefeller family also wanted Exxon Mobil to invest more in alternative energy, with Neva Goodwin saying in a public statement that the company "needs to reconnect with the forward-looking and entrepreneurial vision of my great-grandfather."[15] However, the resolution did not obtain the necessary majority and Tillerson held on to both the chairman and chief executive officer job titles.[16]
In 2009, Exxon Mobil acquired XTO Energy, a major natural gas producer, for $31 billion in stock. Some writers have stated that "Tillerson's legacy rides on the XTO Deal."[17]
Ties with RussiaTillerson has close ties with President Vladimir Putin of Russia.[18] They have been associates since Tillerson represented Exxon's interests in Russia during President Boris Yeltsin's premiership.[19]John Hamre, the President and CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, of which Tillerson is a board member, states that Tillerson "has had more interactive time with Vladimir Putin than probably any other American, with the exception of Dr. Henry Kissinger."[19]
Tillerson is a friend of Igor Sechin,[20] the leader of the Kremlin's Siloviki (security/military) faction,[21] who is "widely believed to be Russia's second-most powerful person" after President Putin.[22]
In 2011, on behalf of ExxonMobil, Tillerson signed an agreement with Russia for drilling in the Arctic that could be valued up to $300 billion.[23] The company began drilling in the Kara Sea in the Summer of 2014, and a round of sanctions against Russia introduced in September that year due to the Ukrainian crisis was to have brought the project to a halt in mid-September.[24][25][26] Nevertheless, the company was granted a reprieve that stretched the window to work until October 10, which enabled it to discover a major field with about 750 million barrels of new oil for Russia.[27]
In 2013, Tillerson was awarded the Order of Friendship by President Putin along with Claudio Descalzi, the head of the Italian oil major Eni, for their contribution to developing cooperation in the energy sector.[28]
Ties with KurdistanIn 2011, Tillerson, on behalf of ExxonMobil, signed a deal to develop oil fields in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan. The agreement was in defiance of Iraqi law, which forbids companies from dealing directly with Iraqi Kurdistan.[29]
CompensationIn 2012, Tillerson's compensation package was $40.5 million.[30] It was $28.1 million in 2013, $33.1 million in 2014, and $27.2 million in 2015.[1]
Other affiliationsTillerson is also a trustee for the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the American Petroleum Institute. He is also a member of the Business Roundtable.[14]
He was a member of the executive committee of The Business Council for 2011 and 2012.[31]
Tillerson is a longtime volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America, and from 2010 to 2012 was the BSA's national president, its highest non-executive position.[5] Tillerson is an Distinguished Eagle Scout, and his father was a BSA executive. Tillerson is a long time supporter of the Boy Scouts of America and has said, "I think the highlight of my youth and adolescent years were my achievements in Scouting." In 2009, Tillerson was inducted into the Eagle Scout Hall of Fame of the Greater New York Councils.[32] Ray L. Hunt, a close friend and the Chairman of Hunt Consolidated, told the Dallas Morning News, "To understand Rex Tillerson, you need to understand Scouting."[33]
After the end of his term as as BSA president, he remained on the organization's National Executive Board. There he played a significant role in the board's 2013 decision to rescind the long-standing ban on openly gay youth as members. According to Center for Strategic and International Studies president John Hamre, Tillerson was instrumental in the change and "a key leader in helping the group come to a consensus."[5][34]
Political involvementPolitical viewsOpposition to sanctionsTillerson has stated that "We do not support sanctions, generally, because we don't find them to be effective unless they are very well implemented comprehensively and that's a very hard thing to do."[35]
Climate change and carbon taxingIn 2010, Tillerson said that while he acknowledged that humans were affecting the climate through greenhouse gas emissions to some degree, it was not yet clear "to what extent and therefore what can you do about it."[36][37]
Tillerson also stated, "The world is going to have to continue using fossil fuels, whether they like it or not."[38]
Tillerson stated in 2009 that he favors a carbon tax as "the most efficient means of reflecting the cost of carbon in all economic decisions'--from investments made by companies to fuel their requirements to the product choices made by consumers."[39]
Support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)In 2013, Tillerson outlined his support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), stating at the Global Security Forum: "One of the most promising developments on this front is the ongoing effort for the Trans-Pacific Partnership... The 11 nations that have been working to lower trade barriers and end protectionist policies under this partnership are a diverse mix of developed and developing economies. But all of them understand the value of open markets to growth and progress for every nation.''[40]
Free tradeSpeaking in March 2007 at a Council on Foreign Relations event, Tillerson said
Should the United States seek so-called energy independence in an elusive effort to insulate this country from the impact of world events on the economy, or should Americans pursue the path of international engagement, seeking ways to better compete within the global market for energy? Like the Council's founders, I believe we must choose the course of greater international engagement ... The central reality is this: The global free market for energy provides the most effective means of achieving U.S. energy security by promoting resource development, enabling diversification, multiplying our supply channels, encouraging efficiency, and spurring innovation.[41]
Government regulationIn an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Tillerson expressed his impatience with government regulation, stating "there are a thousand ways you can be told 'no' in this country."[42]
EducationIn September 2013, Tillerson wrote an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal defending Common Core.[43]
Republican campaign fundraising and donationsTillerson is a longtime contributor to Republican campaigns. According to the FEC records available online, he has given $442,284.50 in direct contributions since 2003, $72,200 in "joint fundraising contributions" and $5000 to a Super PAC. FEC records do not show any contributions by Tillerson to Democrats during this period.[44]
He has contributed to the political campaigns of George W. Bush,[45] as well as Mitt Romney in 2012, and Mitch McConnell.[46] He did not donate to Donald Trump's campaign.[45] He donated to Jeb Bush's campaign during the 2016 Republican primaries.[45][47]
Center for Strategic and International StudiesTillerson serves on the board of trustees of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.[48]
Secretary of State considerationRex Tillerson was first recommended to Trump for the Secretary of State role by Condoleezza Rice, during her meeting with Trump in late November.[49] Rice's recommendation of Tillerson to Trump was backed up by Robert Gates, three days later.[50] Media speculation that he was being considered for the position began on December 5, 2016.[51] On December 9, transition officials reported that Tillerson was the top candidate for the position surpassing Mitt Romney and David Petraeus.[52] His nomination was reportedly being advocated by Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner.[53]
On the evening of December 10, the BBC cited NBC reports that "sources close to Mr Trump [were] ... saying that Mr Tillerson is likely to be named next week" and that former UN ambassadorJohn Bolton "will serve as his deputy".[54] On December 12, The New York Times reported that he had been chosen.[6] On December 13, 2016, President-elect Donald Trump announced that Tillerson would be his nominee for Secretary of State.[6][55]
Personal lifeTillerson is married to Renda St. Clair, and they have four children.[56][10] He resides in Irving, Texas.[10]
ReligionTillerson is a Christian.[57][page needed] He and his wife donated $5,000''$10,000 to the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches in 2012.[58]
MiscellaneousOn February 20, 2014, news outlets reported that Tillerson and his wife joined opponents of a proposed water tower that could lead to fracking-related traffic near their homes. Plaintiffs included former U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Dick Armey and his wife.[59][60] The Tillersons dropped out of the lawsuit after a judge dismissed their claim in November 2014.[61]
References^ ab"Profits are down at ExxonMobil, but don't cry for CEO Rex Tillerson". The Washington Post. April 29, 2016. Retrieved December 11, 2016. ^"ExxonMobil Biography of Rex W. Tillerson, Chairman and CEO". ExxonMobil Corporation. December 13, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2016. ^Schaefer, Steve (May 25, 2016). "The World's Largest Companies 2016". Forbes. Retrieved December 13, 2016. ^"CEO of Exxon Mobil Named National Boy Scouts of America President". scoutingnews.org. Retrieved December 13, 2016. ^ abcJames, Osbourne (September 1, 2014). "Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson an Eagle Scout to the core". Dallas News. ^ abcMICHAEL D. SHEAR and MAGGIE HABERMAN (December 12, 2016), "Trump Picks Rex Tillerson, Exxon C.E.O., as Secretary of State", The New York Times ^Pace, Julie; Lucey, Catherine (December 13, 2016). "Donald Trump Picks Exxon Mobil's Rex Tillerson to Lead State Department". Time. Associated Press. Retrieved December 13, 2016. ^"Rex Tillerson to Retire, Darren Woods Elected Chairman, CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation". ExxonMobil Corporation. December 14, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2016. ^"Texas Birth Index, 1903''1997". " FamilySearch Database. December 5, 2014. Retrieved December 15, 2016. ^ abcKirdahy, Matthew (September 4, 2007). "Teaching Leadership: Scouts Honor". Forbes. Retrieved September 5, 2007. ^ ab"2006 Distinguished Engineering Graduate: Rex W. Tillerson, B.S.C.E. 1975, Chairman and CEO, Exxon Mobil Corporation". Cockrell School of Engineering, University of Texas. ^ abBarnhill, Ted. "Distinguishing Features: The Distinguished Alumni of 2007". The Alcalde. Texas Exes. Retrieved January 22, 2012. ^"Torch Talk"(PDF). Torch & Trefoil. Alpha Phi Omega. Retrieved January 22, 2012. ^ abcd"ExxonMobil: Rex Tillerson". ExxonMobil. ^Krauss, Clifford (May 27, 2008). "Rockefellers Seek Change at Exxon". The New York Times. Retrieved December 13, 2016. ^Krauss, Clifford (May 29, 2008). "Exxon Rejects Proposals Backed by Rockefellers". The New York Times. Retrieved December 13, 2016. ^Corkery, Michael (December 14, 2009). "King Rex Tillerson's Legacy Rides on the XTO Deal". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 26, 2010. ^Scheck, Justin; Marson, James; Gold, Russell (December 13, 2015). "Deals With Putin Helped Fuel Rise of Tillerson at ExxonMobil". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 13, 2016. ^ abBradley Olson, Rex Tillerson, a Candidate for Secretary of State, Has Ties to Vladimir Putin, The Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2016.^Ioffe, Julia (December 10, 2016). "What It Really Means to Be a 'Friend of Putin'". Politico Magazine. Retrieved December 11, 2016. ^Hahn, Gordon (July 21, 2008). "The Siloviki Downgraded. In Russia's New Configuration of Power". Archived from the original on December 31, 2010. Retrieved December 11, 2016. ^Peleschuk, Dan. "Think it's just Putin who runs Russia? Guess again". CNBC. Archived from the original on December 25, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2016. ^Trefgarne, George (August 31, 2011). "Vladimir Putin plays for high stakes in the oil game". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on October 24, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2016. ^Musa, Anthony. "With Tillerson pick, oil profits would Trump geopolitics". Russia Direct. Retrieved December 13, 2016. ^Reed, Stanley & Clifford Krauss (September 12, 2014). "New Sanctions to Stall Exxon's Arctic Oil Plans", The New York Times. Retrieved December 10, 2016.^Williams, Cara (September 19, 2014)"ExxonMobil said to halt drilling in $700-million project in Russia", Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 10, 2016.^"Rex Tillerson's Company, Exxon, Has Billions at Stake Over Sanctions on Russia". The New York Times. December 12, 2016. Retrieved December 12, 2016. ^"Meeting with energy company heads". Kremlin. June 21, 2013. ^"ExxonMobil is accused of flighty bets, but look at these numbers and judge for yourself". Quartz. April 9, 2013. ^"Jamie Dimon's Big Pay Raise '' and the Minimum Wage". The Huffington Post. February 4, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2014. ^"The Business Council : Executive Committee 2015''2016". Thebusinesscouncil.org. Retrieved December 11, 2016. ^Boy Scouts of America (October 28, 2009). "Boy Scouts Inducts Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, Into Eagle Scout Hall of Fame" (Press release). Boy Scouts of America. ^James Osborne (September 2014). "Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson an Eagle Scout to the core". Dallas Morning News. ^Krauss, Clifford (December 11, 2016). "Rex Tillerson, an Aggressive Dealmaker Whose Ties With Russia May Prompt Scrutiny". The New York Times. ^"How Exxon CEO Tillerson feels about sanctions (and other Secretary-related matters)". Biz Journals. December 6, 2016. ^"THE EXXONMOBIL-XTO MERGER: IMPACT ON U.S. ENERGY MARKETS"(PDF). Gpo.gov. Retrieved December 11, 2016. ^Schwartz, John (August 19, 2016). "Exxon Mobil Fraud Inquiry Said to Focus More on Future Than Past". The New York Times. Retrieved August 23, 2016. ^Schlanger, Zoe (May 26, 2016). "Is Exxon Waiting for the Paris Climate Agreement to Fail?". Newsweek. ^"ExxonMobil and the carbon tax". ExxonMobil.com. December 2, 2015. ^Trump's Secretary of State Favorite Rex Tillerson Praised TPP BETSY WOODRUFF, 12.12.16, The Daily Beast^Denning, Liam (December 7, 2016). "Mr. Exxon Goes to Washington (Maybe)". Bloomberg L.P. ^Coll, Steve (April 9, 2012). "Gusher: The Power of ExxonMobil". The New Yorker. ^Tillerson, Rex (September 5, 2013). "How to Stop the Drop in American Education". The Wall Street Journal. ^[1][dead link]^ abcMitchell, Andrea. "Rex Tillerson of ExxonMobil Expected to Be Named Trump's Secretary of State: Sources". NBC News. Retrieved December 10, 2016. ^"Where CEO political dollars go '' Rex Tillerson (2)". Fortune. Retrieved December 10, 2016. ^Lavelle, Marianne (July 22, 2016). "Fossil Fuel Money Still a Dry Well for Trump Campaign". InsideClimate News. Retrieved December 10, 2016. ^"Rex W. Tillerson '' Center for Strategic and International Studies". csis.org. Retrieved December 11, 2016. ^ExxonMobil CEO Tillerson emerging as frontrunner for secretary of state By Henry C. Jackson, Josh Dawsey and Eliana Johnson, Politico, 12/09/16^ExxonMobil CEO Tillerson emerging as frontrunner for secretary of state By Henry C. Jackson, Josh Dawsey and Eliana Johnson, Politico, 12/09/16^"Exxon CEO Now a Contender for Donald Trump's Secretary of State". The Wall Street Journal. December 5, 2016. ^"Exxon's Rex Tillerson Is Top Candidate for Secretary of State". The Wall Street Journal. December 9, 2016. ^Sanger, David E., Maggie Haberman & Clifford Krauss, "Rex Tillerson, Exxon Chief, Is Expected to Be Pick for Secretary of State", The New York Times, December 10, 2016.^"Trump presidency: Exxon's Rex Tillerson for top diplomat?", BBC, December 10, 2016.^Pace, Julie; Lucey, Catherine (December 13, 2016). "Donald Trump Picks Exxon Mobil's Rex Tillerson to Lead State Department". Time. Associated Press. Retrieved December 13, 2016. ^Cordon, Matthew C. "Rex W. Tillerson biography". Encyclopedia of Business, 2nd ed. Advameg. Retrieved January 23, 2012. ^Coll, Steve (2012). Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power. Penguin '' via Google Books. ^Profile, congregationalist.org, September 2013, page 7.^"Exxon Mobil CEO welcomes fracking, but not water tower in his backyard". Reuters. February 26, 2014. ^"Exxon CEO Joins Suit Citing Fracking Concerns". The Wall Street Journal. ^"Rex Tillerson drops out of water tower lawsuit in Bartonville". The Business Journals. April 21, 2014. Retrieved November 28, 2014. Further readingExternal links
Big Pharma
US drops bold warning from anti-smoking pills Chantix, Zyban - The Washington Post
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 03:17
By Matthew Perrone'‰|'‰APDecember 16 at 4:59 PM
WASHINGTON '-- U.S. health regulators on Friday removed a bold-letter warning from Pfizer's anti-smoking drug Chantix about risks of dangerous psychiatric side effects.
The Food and Drug Administration action follows nearly a decade of scrutiny into the neurological effects of the smoking-cessation pill, which received the agency's most stringent warning in 2009 after reports of suicidal tendencies, hostility and depression among some patients.
The FDA decision stems from an 8,000-patient study of smokers that found no elevated risk of psychiatric problems among Chantix users who had no prior history of mental illness. European regulators previously removed their own warning from the drug based on the same data.
The study was jointly funded by Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline PLC, which markets a competing smoking-cessation drug, Zyban. The FDA also removed similar warning language about psychiatric events from Zyban's label, according to an agency statement.
Chantix and Zyban will still list reports of psychosis, paranoia, anxiety and other problems on their labels. But those problems will not be highlighted in a so-called black box warning, a prominent warning displayed at the top of FDA drug labels.
''The risk of these mental health side effects is still present, especially in those currently being treated for mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders, or schizophrenia, or who have been treated for mental illnesses in the past,'' the FDA stated in an online post.
Quitting smoking, with or without medication, can cause significant withdrawal symptoms, including irritability, mood swings and depression. In addition, psychiatric conditions are more common in smokers than nonsmokers.
Many doctors and smokers trying to quit were scared off by warnings on Chantix and Zyban, about ''changes in behavior, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, and suicidal thoughts or actions'' in some patients.
Pfizer's drug works by binding to the same spots in the brain that are activated by nicotine when people smoke. The drug, known generically as varenicline, blocks nicotine from binding to those spots and prevents the release of ''feel-good'' brain chemicals that make smoking so addictive.
Zyban is known generically as bupropion, an antidepressant drug long available in lower-cost versions.
Shares of New York-based Pfizer Inc. rose 9 cents to close at $32.84.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Lucy and Ethel lorazepam Specialist different drug first.
Ovumphobia
Here's Why Egg Prices are Insanely Low Right Now - Modern Farmer
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 03:19
If you've bought a carton of eggs, especially your garden-variety commodity supermarket eggs (the irony being of course that no gardens are involved), you might have noticed something: eggs are insanely cheap right now.
In fact, as Quartz notes, eggs haven't been as cheap as they are now for a full decade, after adjustment for inflation. The average price, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, is down to $1.46 per dozen, and there are deals much lower than that; it isn't unheard of for eggs to sell for a nutso $0.99 per dozen.
What's especially notable about this price is how dramatic a drop it is from the same time last year, when the average price of a dozen eggs spiked to over $3 per dozen. Admittedly, the price last year was unusually high, due to avian flu. Last year's outbreak of avian flu disproportionately affected egg-laying hens, compared with, say, broiler chickens, and tons of millions of hens had to be euthanized to stem the epidemic. That drove prices sky-high.
But with things relatively back to normal on the illness front, egg producers in 2016 found themselves with a surprisingly large haul, producing more eggs than expected thanks to favorable weather and low fuel costs. Those same conditions have, actually, produced low costs for all kinds of food: Bloomberg notes that, aside from eggs, beef is also pulling in fewer dollars than last year. But nothing compared to a whopping 52 percent price reduction for our old friend, the egg.
We should note, of course, our favorite way to source eggs: the farm-fresh way.
Out There
NASA Isn't Getting Back Its Priceless Moon Bag
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 03:19
A bag used to collect lunar samples during the first manned mission to the moon legally belongs to an Illinois woman who bought it for $995 when it was mistakenly sold during a government auction, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Judge J. Thomas Marten, of the U.S. District Court in Wichita, said he doesn't have the authority to reverse the sale of the bag used during the Apollo 11 moon mission in July 1969, even though it shouldn't have gone up for auction.
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The white bag, which has lunar material embedded in its fabric and which the government considers "a rare artifact, if not a national treasure," was mistakenly sold as part of a criminal case against Max Ary, the former director of the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, a museum in Hutchinson. Ary was convicted in November 2005 of stealing and selling museum artifacts, including some that were on loan from NASA.
Investigators found the Apollo 11 lunar bag in 2003 during a search of Ary's garage. The government contends that due to a mix up in inventory lists and item numbers, the bag was mistakenly thought to be a different bag that the government recovered. Ary had auctioned off that bag, which was used during the 1972 Apollo 17 lunar landing, for $24,150 in 2001.
The U.S. Attorney's Office wanted Marten to set aside the final forfeiture order and rescind the Apollo 11 bag's sale to Nancy Carlson in Inverness, Illinois, saying that NASA hadn't been properly notified of its forfeiture because the bag was misidentified. When she bought the bag, Carlson only knew that it had been used in a space flight, but not which one.
But Marten ruled that he didn't have the authority to do that. The government obtained title to the bag and sold it to a good faith purchaser in a sale according to law, he noted.
NASA learned that the Apollo 11 bag had been sold without notice or permission when Carlson sent it to NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston for authentication. Carlson separately sued NASA in June in a federal court in Illinois, seeking the return of the bag.
Marten stopped short of ordering NASA to return the bag, noting that such a motion must be filed in the district where the property was seized.
The judge said NASA was a victim in this case, and that the importance and desirability of the bag stems solely from the efforts of the men and women of NASA whose "amazing technical achievements, skill and courage in landing astronauts on the moon and returning them safely have not been replicated in the almost half a century since the Apollo 11 landing."
How NASA Lost And Found An Apollo 11 Lunar Bag
"Perhaps that fact, when reconsidered by the parties, will allow them to amicably resolve the dispute in a way that recognizes both of their legitimate interests, including Ms. Carlson's legitimately acquired interest in the bag," the judge wrote.
It unclear how much the Apollo 11 bag might fetch if auctioned off again and with the full knowledge of its significance.
Migrants
USCIS Fee Changes 2016 | NAFSA
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 04:51
A final USCIS fee rule was published in the Federal Register on October 24, 2016 [81 FR 73292]. The new fees will become effective 60 days later, on December 23, 2016.
"Applications or petitions mailed, postmarked, or otherwise filed on or after December 23, 2016 must include the new fee."
Quick-Reference of Changes to Fees for Frequently Used FormsForm # Form TitleCurrentEffective 12/23/2016% ChangeI-102
Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document
$330
$ 445
35%
I-129
Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker
$325
$ 460
42%
I-140
Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
$580
$ 700
21%
I-290B
Notice of Appeal or Motion
$630
$ 675
7%
I-485
Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
$985
$ 1,140
16%
I-539
Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status
$290
$ 370
28%
I-765
Application for Employment Authorization
$380
$ 410
8%
Table of All Changes to USCIS Fees Effective December 23, 2016Form # Form TitleCurrentEffective 12/23/2016% ChangeG-1041
Genealogy Index Search Request
$20
$ 65
225%
G-1041A
Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Microfilm)
$20
$ 65
225%
G-1041A
Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Textual Record)
$35
$ 65
86%
I-90
Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card
$365
$ 455
25%
I-102
Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document
$330
$ 445
35%
I-129
Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker
$325
$ 460
42%
I-129F
Petition for Alien Fianc(C)(e)
$340
$ 535
57%
I-130
Petition for Alien Relative
$420
$ 535
27%
I-131/I-131A
Application for Travel Document
$360
$ 575
60%
I-140
Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
$580
$ 700
21%
I-290B
Notice of Appeal or Motion
$630
$ 675
7%
I-360
Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant
$405
$ 435
7%
I-485
Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
$985
$ 1,140
16%
I-526
Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur
$1,500
$ 3,675
145%
I-539
Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status
$290
$ 370
28%
I-600/600A/ 800/800A
Orphan Petitions
$720
$ 775
8%
I-687
Application for Status as a Temporary Resident under Section 245A of the Immigration and Nationality Act
$1,130
$ 1,130
0%
I-690
Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility
$200
$ 715
258%
I-694
Notice of Appeal of Decision
$755
$ 890
18%
I-698
Application to Adjust Status From Temporary to Permanent Resident (Under Section 245A of the INA)
$1,020
$ 1,670
64%
I-751
Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
$505
$ 595
18%
I-765
Application for Employment Authorization
$380
$ 410
8%
I-800A Supp. 3
Request for Action on Approved Form I-800A
$360
$ 385
7%
I-817
Application for Family Unity Benefits
$435
$ 600
38%
I-824
Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition
$405
$ 465
15%
I-829
Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions
$3,750
$ 3,750
0%
I-910
Application for Civil Surgeon Designation
$615
$ 785
28%
I-924
Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program
$6,230
$ 17,795
186%
I-924A
Annual Certification of Regional Center
$0
$ 3,035
N/A
I-929
Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U- 1 Nonimmigrant
$215
$ 230
7%
N-300
Application to File Declaration of Intention
$250
$ 270
8%
N-336
Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings
$650
$ 700
8%
N-400
Application for Naturalization
$595
$ 640
8%
N-470
Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes
$330
$ 355
8%
N-565
Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document
$345
$ 555
61%
N-600/ N-600K
Application for Certificate of Citizenship
$600
$ 1,170
95%
I-191, I-192, I-193, I-212, I-601, I-601A, I-612
Waiver Forms
$585
$ 930
59%
USCIS Immigrant Fee
$165
$ 220
33%
Biometric Services
$85
$85
0%
Background on the 2016 USCIS fee ruleOn May 4, 2016, USCIS published a proposed rule [81 FR 26903] to change filing fees for USCIS applications and petitions. Public comments on the proposal were due on or before July 5, 2016.NAFSA commented on the proposed fee rule on June 28, 2016. Read NAFSA's comment letter.On September 20, 2016, USCIS sent the final fee rule to OMB for review, after having taken into consideration comments received on the May 4, 2016 proposed fee rule. The final fees, however, remain unchanged from the fees DHS originally proposed on May 4, 2016.OMB finished its review on October 12, 2016.USCIS filed the final rule with the Office of the Federal Register, and the public inspection version of the rule became available on Friday, October 21, 2016.The final rule will be published in the Monday, October 24, 2016 issue of the Federal Register. The Federal Register notice's preamble contains DHS' responses to the comments it received on the proposed rule. You can view and download the final rule here.The new fees will become effective on December 23, 2016 (60 days from the October 24, 2016 publication date of the final rule).
War on Ca$h
Why are Turks disposing of $1 bills?
Fri, 16 Dec 2016 12:52
US $1 bills are seen on a light table at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, DC, Nov. 14, 2014. (photo by REUTERS/Gary Cameron)
Author: Tulay Cetingulec Posted August 18, 2016
What is $1 wortharound the world? An unlimited rice meal in India, a cup of coffee in Portugal and an hour of street parking in some places in the United States. A bottle of cheap wine is what you get in Italy, a lottery ticket in Australia and half an hour of foot massage in the Philippines. In Turkey, you can treat yourself to a simit and tea'-- and, as it turns out, you can stage a coup.
Summary'Ž Print The discovery of $1 bills on Turkish soldiers involved in the July 15 putsch suggest the greenback has been used as a secret code of communication.One-dollar bills have been found on high-ranking officers involved in the July 15 coup attempt, in what is perhaps the most bizarre of the many oddities to emerge from the massive crackdown on the Gulen community, the accused culprit in the putsch. The $1 bills have been found also on policemen, judges, academics, businessmen, teachers and other civilians linked to the Gulen community, the government's former ally, which it now calls the Fethullah Gulen Terror Organization (FETO).
The bills are said to denote membership in the secretive group, and their serial numbers are believed to have coded meanings. Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag has said the $1 bill ''is undoubtedly of some important function within FETO,'' while Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has vowed to defeat ''the lowlifes who sell their souls for $1.''
Ordinary Turks are also angry, protesting the dollar in various ways. In Istanbul, for instance, a group of shopkeepers threw $1 bills in the sewage, pledging not to deal with dollars again. In the most prevalent reaction, however, the greenback is now banished from wedding parties, where the bride and the groom as well as the musicians entertaining the guests are often sprayed with banknotes. Two days before the coup attempt, for instance, a wedding in Sanliurfa made the headlines for the ''shower of dollars'' that hailed down on the newlyweds. But, as the media report, ''Weddings have ushered in a Turkish lira-era'' after July 15.
Spraying dollars at wedding parties may convey an air of affluence and largesse, but it is actually a cost-cutting measure devised by crafty Turks. One dollar is worth roughly 3 Turkish lira, while the smallest Turkish banknote is 5 liras '-- more expensive while at the same time less cool than the greenback. So, to make a real impression with Turkish currency, one has to be prepared to sacrifice banknotes of at least 10 or 20 Turkish lira.
Others prefer to sacrifice probity instead, using fake $1 bills to reduce further the cost of showing off. This seems to have become a widespread practice, judging by a report from the western town of Nazilli, just a day before the coup attempt. A group of wedding musicians felt so exasperated and humiliated by the rising trend that they called a press conference to display '-- and then burn '-- the fake dollars they had been thrown at recent parties, which totaled $5,000 in face value. The musicians said fake dollars were being sold openly at city bazaars and urged police to take action.
Now the main usage area of the $1 bills in Turkey seems to be gone, as no one wants to be associated with the putschists. In currency exchange offices, no one is asking for $1 bills, while those with leftovers from oversea trips are said to be tearing the bills up or throwing them away, with only the bravest turning up for exchange.
One of the exchange offices Al-Monitor visited had accumulated hundreds of $1 bills, with one employee grumbling, ''It's not like before. People are afraid to both buy and sell them.'' Another currency dealer said the demand for $1 bills ended ''at a stroke'' after Gulenists were reported to use them for secret communication. ''People have come to see them as criminal tools,'' he added. A third shop had done away with the $1 bill altogether. ''No $1 bills here,'' the dealer said. ''Neither buying nor selling.''
Yet, not all $1 bills are of an ''incriminating'' nature. The serial number matters. According to media reports, a serial number that begins with the letter F denotes that the holder is a top Gulenist leader, while C is for lower-level managers and J for ordinary members. Other reports claim the $1 bills were blessed personally by Fethullah Gulen, the US-based cleric heading the sect, before being distributed to members, and that the serial numbers serve as a sort of ID number, the records of which Gulen keeps at his mansion in Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, others who disposed of the greenback after the putsch did so not out of fear but to make profits. The Turkish currency plunged sharply over the coup attempt, leading many to sell their dollars to buy more of the cheapened lira before it recovered.
Yildirim and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for their part, have praised the sell-off as a display of patriotism, a vantage point that meshes with a widespread conviction among Turks that the United States colluded with the putschists.
In an Aug. 9 speech in parliament, Yildirim said Turks had exchanged $11 billion in 10 days, which helped to fend off a potential crisis at the markets amid fears of an exodus by panicked foreign investors. ''The people not only averted the coup but also funneled money to the markets. A nation like this can only be applauded. By converting $11 billion to Turkish lira in the 10 days after the coup, you gave [the country] lifeblood and strength,'' Yildirim said.
So the prime minister seems confident that Turks have grown more loyal to their national currency, atop banishing the $1 bill. This should be great news for the wedding bands in particular. The musicians in Nazilli could have never imagined their protest would bear fruit so soon.
Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/08/turkey-gulen-movement-one-dollar-fear.html
Switzerland
Just listening to that section of show.
In Switzerland I often had CHf1000.00 note and even the ATM dispensed them. Not sure what the limit on ATM is but in one withdraw I took out the CHf12,000.00.
Peter Rouse, Ph.D.
Agenda 2030
Guardian : Europe To Drown By 2020
Fri, 16 Dec 2016 13:26
The Guardian has specialized in fake climate news for generations, with imminent ice ages being one of their favorite topics.
Major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020
Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us | Environment | The Guardian
Page 16 '' The Cincinnati Enquirer
BREXIT
Martin Durkin (television director) - Wikipedia
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 06:04
Martin Richard Durkin (born 23 January 1962, in UK)[1] as a television producer and director, most prominently of television documentaries for Channel 4 in Britain. He is managing director of Wag TV, an independent television production company.
He has produced, directed and executive-produced a wide variety of programmes covering the arts, science, history, entertainment, features and social documentaries. Closely connected with the defunct Revolutionary Communist Party, a number of his documentaries have caused controversies, most notably those critical of environmentalism. He has been described as "the scourge of the greens"[2] and "one of the environmentalists' favourite hate figures".[3]
Documentaries[edit]Against Nature[edit]In 1997, Channel 4 broadcast Durkin's documentary series Against Nature, which criticized the environmental movement for being a threat to personal freedom and for crippling economic development.
The UK's then broadcasting regulator the Independent Television Commission received 151 complaints from viewers and interviewees featured in the programme with four complaints upheld.[4][5] In its report on the series, the ITC rejected 147 complaints that mainly were concerned with fairness and misrepresentation, stating that "the programmes' line that green ideologies were, at least in some respects, open to criticism on both scientific and humanitarian grounds, was a legitimate approach". It stated that environmentalists had been permitted a fair chance to air their side of the story in the televised debates that followed the broadcast.[citation needed]
The ITC stated that four complaints were upheld because: "the programmes breached the Programme Code in respect of the failure to make the four interviewees adequately aware of the nature of the programmes, and the way their contributions were edited."[6] For these reasons, Channel 4 later issued a public apology on prime time television.[7] According to The Independent, Durkin "accepts the charge of misleading contributors, but describes the verdict of distortion as 'complete tosh'".[3]
Equinox[edit]Durkin also produced 2 documentaries for Channel 4's science strand Equinox. In 1998 he produced "Storm in a D-Cup", which argued - before some national health authorities- that the medical dangers of silicone breast implants had been exaggerated for political reasons and highlighting evidence that implants may even carry medical benefits; and in 2000 he produced The Rise and Fall of GM.
The 1998 documentary on breast implants was originally developed for the BBC but was eventually produced for Channel 4 after the BBC declined to commission it; the BBC's in-house researcher concluded that Durkin had ignored evidence contradicting his claims in the programme.[5] Criticising the programme, environmental activist and writer George Monbiot wrote "Neither Martin Durkin nor, extraordinarily, Charles Furneaux, the commissioning editor of the science series Equinox, has a science background. They don't need one, for science on Channel 4 has been reduced to a crude manifesto for corporate libertarianism."[5]
The Rise and Fall of GM[edit]This documentary, which argues in favour of genetic modification, was broadcast on Channel 4 on March 20, 2000, also met with complaints.[8] Environmentalist activists organised a campaign in an effort to discredit the film. A joint letter signed by a number of scientists from the Third World was issued in protest of Durkin's claims in this documentary.[9] Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, a scientist featured on the programme, later said of her participation in the programme: "I feel completely betrayed and misled. They did not tell me it was going to be an attack on my position."[5] However, although broadcasting regulator Ofcom received 17 complaints about the programme none was upheld; Ofcom concluded that 'although the programme set out to be a critical analysis of the case against GM, it nevertheless gave opportunity for a number of anti-GM speakers to explain their views clearly and fairly.' Ofcom review of complaints against Martin Durkin, ofcom.org.uk; accessed 20 December 2015.
The Great Global Warming Swindle[edit]The Great Global Warming Swindle was a 2007 documentary film that premiered on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom on March 8, 2007 and was subsequently criticised by the British media regulator Ofcom. The film features scientists and others who are skeptical that global warming is caused by human activity. The second part of the programme examines the conditions under which one of the current theories was developed. It focuses on political pressures on those who speak out against the supposed anthropogenic causes of global warming, some of the reasons for the wide adoption of this view and the factors leading to its original development. The film also interviews sceptics who are critical of environmental policies they view as holding back developing nations from industrialising. The film has drawn widespread complaints [10][11] from some in the scientific community, citing numerous errors and misleading claims.
Professor Carl Wunsch who appeared on the programme has since repudiated the film, and described it "as close to propaganda as anything since World War II".[12] Durkin responded that Wunsch had been told very explicitly the nature of the programme and now appeared to be back-tracking.
The film was praised by critics of the scientific consensus on global warming, including Andrew Bolt,[13]Dominic Lawson[14] and Steven Milloy,[15] and Durkin's work has been defended in an interview in Spiked.[16]
It later emerged that Durkin had fallen out with geneticist Armand Leroi (whom Durkin was due to make a documentary with), after Leroi questioned the accuracy of the data used in the film in an email to Durkin. Leroi copied the e-mail to various colleagues including Guardian journalist and Bad Science columnist Ben Goldacre and science writer and mathematics expert Simon Singh.[citation needed] Durkin replied to Leroi copying in the others with the single sentence: "You're a big daft cock." Singh then sent an email to Durkin that said: "I have not paid the same attention to your programme as Armand has done, but from what I did see it is an irresponsible piece of film-making. If you can send me a copy of the programme then I will examine it in more detail and give you a more considered response...it would be great if you could engage in the debate rather just resorting to one line replies."[citation needed]
Durkin responded: "The IPCC's own figures show the hottest year in the past ten was 1998, and the temp has been flat-lining now for five years. If it's greenhouse gas causing the warming the rate of warming should be higher in the troposphere than on the surface. The opposite is the case. The ice core data shows that temperature change causes the level of atmospheric CO2 to change - not the other way round. Why have we not heard this in the hours and hours of shit programming on global warming shoved down our throats by the BBC?", and concluded with, "Never mind a bit of irresponsible film-making. Go and fuck yourself."[17] Durkin later apologised for his language, saying that he had sent the e-mails when tired and had just finished making the programme, and that he was "eager to have all the science properly debated with scientists qualified in the right areas."[18]
The film was awarded the Best Documentary trophy at the Io Isabella film festival[19] and was shortlisted for the Best Documentary prize in the British television industry's 2008 Broadcast Awards. An official judgement issued on 21 July 2008 by the British media regulator Ofcom found that the programme "did not fulfill obligations to be impartial and to reflect a range of views on controversial issues". It upheld complaints by Sir David King that his views had been misrepresented, and Carl Wunsch, on the points that he had been misled as to its intent, and that the impression had been given that he agreed with the programme's position on climate change. However, the regulator said that because "the link between human activity and global warming... became settled before March 2007" the audience was not "materially misled so as to cause harm or offence". Ofcom declined to rule on the accuracy of the programme, saying: "It is not within Ofcom's remit or ability in this case as the regulator of the 'communications industry' to establish or seek to adjudicate on 'facts' such as whether global warming is a man-made phenomenon".[20]
Britain's Trillion Pound Horror Story[edit]In 2010 Durkin made a programme called Britain's Trillion Pound Horror Story for Channel 4. Ostensibly about Britain's national debt, the film makes a case for lower taxes, a smaller public sector and a free-market economy.[21] The film argues that Hong Kong's social and economic success is attributable to the positive non-interventionism implemented in 1971 by John James Cowperthwaite.[22] In the film, Durkin argued that increasing public spending would stunt the economy instead of reviving it. The film featured Nigel Lawson, Geoffrey Howe, Brendan Barber and Alastair Darling.[citation needed]
Brexit: The Movie[edit]In 2016 Durkin made a documentary film called Brexit: The Movie, about that year's referendum on EU membership, arguing for a vote to Leave. The film had a budget of £100,000, funded by crowdfunding.[23]
As executive producer[edit]Martin Durkin has also executive produced a wide range of programmes. Notable productions include: The Naked Pilgrim, an architectural travelogue that followed art critic Brian Sewell's pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela; produced for UK's Channel Five it won the Sandford St. Martin Trust award for best programme in 2004; Face of Britain for Channel 4, a 3 part series presented by Neil Oliver, which looked at the Wellcome Trust's DNA project profiling the ancestry of various British communities; How Do They Do It?, an engineering series for Discovery Channel; Secret Intersex, a 2-part series about intersexuality for Channel 4, which was short listed for Best Science Programme in the 2004 Royal Television Society awards.[24]
References[edit]^"Martin Durkin". IMDb.com. Retrieved 19 August 2016. ^Walker, Tim (12 October 2008). "The climate change unbelievers". The Independent. Retrieved 11 September 2009. ^ abLean, Geoffrey (4 March 2007). "Global warming: An inconvenient truth or hot air?". The Independent. Retrieved 11 May 2009. ^Programme Complaints & Interventions Report, ofcom.org.uk; accessed 20 December 2015.^ abcdGetting your science from charlatans George Monbiot, The Guardian, 16 March 2000.^Independent Television Commission ruling on "Against Nature", ofcom.org.uk; accessed 20 December 2015.^"Why would Channel 4 attempt to discredit the environmental movement?". Greenpeace UK. Retrieved 2014-07-02. ^Profile of Durkin, gmwatch.org; accessed 20 December 2015.^Joint letter to Channel Four Television and the Times newspaper Dr. Tewolde Gebre Egziaber^Durkin, Martin (17 March 2007). "'The global-warmers were bound to attack, but why are they so feeble?'". London, UK: Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 13 January 2008. ^McKie, Robin (4 March 2007). "Why Channel 4 has got it wrong over climate change". London, UK: The Guardian. Retrieved 13 January 2008. ^Goldacre, Ben; David Adam (11 March 2007). "Climate scientist 'duped to deny global warming'". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 13 January 2008. ^"The global warming film you mustn't watch". The Herald Sun. 12 March 2007. ^Lawson, Dominic (2 March 2007). "Dominic Lawson: Here is another inconvenient truth (but this one will infuriate the Green lobby)". London, UK: The Independent. Retrieved 20 December 2015. ^Milloy, Steven (18 March 2007). "Must-See Global Warming TV". Fox News. Retrieved 18 March 2007. ^O'Neill, Brendan (9 March 2007). "'Apocalypse my arse'". Retrieved 16 March 2007. ^Email correspondence between Armand Leroi, Simon Singh and Martin Durkin, ocean.mit.edu; accessed 20 December 2015.^Coates, Sam; Mark Henderson (15 March 2007). "C4's debate on global warming boils over". London, UK: Times Online. Retrieved 13 January 2008. ^"Kodikara and Smith and SKY Network Television Ltd - 2008-077". Broadcasting Standards Authority. 25 November 2008. Retrieved 26 May 2015. ^Ofcom comments regarding Durkin, monbiot.com, 21 July 2008.^Last night's TV: Britain's Trillion Pound Horror Story and Misfits, The Guardian, 12 November 2010^Rallying cry, James Delingpole, The Spectator, 13 November 2010^Haslett, Emma (26 February 2016). "Brexit: The Movie crowdfunding campaign hits its target". ^Royal Television Society - Programme, rts.org.uk; accessed 20 December 2015.External links[edit]Martin Durkin official websiteMartin Durkin at the Internet Movie DatabaseWag TV at the Internet Movie DatabaseGeoffrey Lean, "Global Warming: An inconvenient truth or hot air?", The Independent, 4 March 2007.Britain's Trillion Pound Horror Story · Watch on 4OD · Play on 4OD PlayerRobin McKie,"Why Channel 4 has got it wrong over climate change", The Observer, 4 March 2007.Profile of Martin Durkin on GMWatch.org Profile of Martin Durkin, GMWatch.org; accessed 20 December 2015."More digs at Durkin", The Guardian, 22 March 2000.Friends of the Earth press release, foe.co.uk, 2 April 1998.Independent Television Commission ruling on "Against Nature", ofcom.org.uk; accessed 20 December 2015."Why does Channel 4 seem to be waging a war against the greens?"The Guardian, 22 July 2008.Brexit - The Movie web site
CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO - Brazile Refuses to Say If She is Disappointed in Obama - YouTube
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 15:03
VIDEO - Maricopa Co. Sheriff's Office: '9 points of forgery' in Obama's birth certificate | KSAZ
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 05:54
Sheriff's officials in Maricopa County said their investigations into President Barack Obama's birth certificate found "nine points of forgeries" in the document.
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Officials with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office have released new findings in their investigation into President Barack Obama's birth certificate.
For years, Obama has been dogged by allegations that he is not qualified to take office, due to a provision in the United States Constitution that only allows "natural born citizens" to be eligible for election as President of the United States.
In 2011, President Obama released his birth documents, in response to the lingering allegations. On Thursday, officials with the Sheriff's Office said, in a statement, that "the overwhelming forensic evidence shows the posted document is nothing more than a "created" document - pieced together using another source document."
According to officials, the forensic evidence was verified by two different digital document experts who live on two different continents, and neither of the two knew each other.
According to officials, there are allegedly nine "points of forgery" on Obama's birth certificate, and words letters and dates, according to officials, were digitally copied and pasted.
VIDEO - Julian Assange Special: Do Wikileaks have the email that'll put Clinton in Prison? (EP 376) - YouTube
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 05:17
VIDEO - CBS Channels Watergate: 'What Did Donald Know and When Did He Know It?' | MRCTV
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 05:05
[See NewsBusters for more.] Rampant speculation abounded on Thursday's CBS This Morning. Co-host Charlie Rose on Thursday channeled Watergate with a question about Donald Trump and Russian hacking. Talking to John Heilemann of Bloomberg Politics, Rose wondered, ''What did Donald know and when did he know it?'' This, of course, was meant to echo Senator Howard Baker's 1973 famous question during the Watergate hearings: ''What did the President know wand when did he know it?'' Heilemann responded, ''And what did Vladimir know and when did he know it?'' Co-host Norah O'Donnell also jumped to conclusions, wondering, ''I guess the question to me is... why would Putin want Trump as president? And what are the implications of that?''
VIDEO - WOW: Forbes Ranks Trump #2 Most Powerful, President Obama is #48!! - YouTube
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 05:00
VIDEO - Anti-Trump Texas Elector Caught in a Big Lie!! - December 16, 2016 - YouTube
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 04:46
VIDEO - Senator Feinstein "Not The 9/11 BOMBING But The One That Took Place Earlier" - YouTube
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 04:32
VIDEO - WikiLeaks Says "DISGUSTED" DNC Insider Source Of Leaked Emails NOT The Russians! - YouTube
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 04:28
VIDEO - Presstitue Says Alex Jones Is Putting Innocent Lives At Risk With His FAKE NEWS! #PizzaGate - YouTube
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 04:23
VIDEO - Schwarzenegger To Americans: 'Stop Whining' About Trump Presidency - YouTube
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 04:18
VIDEO - VIDEO: MEP Tells EU Bureaucrats They're Responsible For Migrant Rapes, Freak Out Ensues
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 03:44
Dutch politician Marcel De Graaff went off on Martin Schulz and other EU bureaucrats for letting migrants come to Europe and "rape our women and our children.""You are refusing to recognize that you are in part responsible for allowing this to happen," he said, "because you won't recognize we need a structural solution to migration in our countries and our cities."
"Nothing is being done to stop these illegal immigrants... you're working effectively with people who represent Al-Qaeda and Al-Nusra," De Graaff said.
An epic freak out ensued.
Watch and enjoy:
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VIDEO - Bank Of England quietly removing £50 notes from circulation (17Dec16) - YouTube
Sun, 18 Dec 2016 03:34
VIDEO - Obama Admits There Was No Russian Hack | The Deplorable Climate Science Blog
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 19:17
At his press conference yesterday, Obama admitted that the Wikileaks E-mails came from leakers, not hackers. At 1:03:50
Obama confirmed the statement of a former British ambassador a day earlier.
WikiLeaks operative claims Russia did NOT provide Hillary Clinton emails | Daily Mail Online
DNC staffer Seth Rich was set to testify about the E-mails, and was murdered.
Seth Rich: Inside the Killing of the DNC Staffer
The Democratic Party is led by hard core criminals, and the sooner we can send them off to Guantanamo, the better.
VIDEO - WATCH: Journalist Faints During Obama Press Conference | Heavy.com
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 19:09
A press conference at the White House was interrupted this afternoon when a journalist passed out and President Obama had to call for his personal doctor.
This occurred as the president was discussing the refugee crisis currently unfolding in Aleppo, saying that he feels some personal responsibility for what's happening there. Obama stopped speaking about Syria when he noticed that something was going on in the back of the briefing room. He was told that a reporter was feeling ill, and he asked if someone could take care of the situation, but it took several minutes to be resolved.
''Does somebody want to go to my doctor's office'...Can somebody help out please and get Dr. Jackson in here,'' Obama asked.
Obama then had to provide directions to his doctor's office.
''Go through the Palm doors. It's right next to the Map Room,'' the president said.
President Obama's doctor is Ronny L. Jackson, a rear admiral who officially holds the title of physician to the president. Most White House doctors are chosen by the president himself, and many of them are military officers.
It was not immediately clear which member of the press fainted, but the White House Briefing Room was far more packed than usual on Friday afternoon, as this was President Obama's final press conference of the year and his comments about Donald Trump were widely anticipated.
According to The Hill, the woman who fainted was helped into a chair after falling to the ground, and she regained consciousness after about a minute.
This instantly became the subject of hundreds of jokes on social media, with Republicans and Democrats offering alternate explanations for the incident.
the reporter passed out bc they realized this will be the last presidential press conference there will be for the next 4 years
'-- jomny sun, authoer (@jonnysun) December 16, 2016
If you like Obama's doctor, you can keep Obama's doctor.
'-- James Ledbetter (@jledbetter) December 16, 2016
It's also one of a number of instances of a person fainting while President Obama was giving remarks. In 2013, while Obama was delivering a speech about the launch of the Affordable Care Act, a pregnant woman standing behind him passed out, and the president helped stop her from falling over. This sparked numerous wild, baseless conspiracy theories that the woman was planted by the administration.
At Friday's press conference, Obama spoke for over an hour, with one of the major topics being Russia's role in the recent presidential election. The president said that Ronald Reagan would be rolling over in his grave if he could see the way that many Republicans are now defending Vladimir Putin.
All in all, though, Obama was rather calm throughout the entire conference, once again not seeming too bothered by the fact that in one month, a president-elect will take office who promises to undo Obama's entire legacy.
VIDEO - Calif. Prof. Who Unloaded on Trump Voters Hit with Hate After Basically Calling Half of Country Terrorists, Flees State
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 16:40
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A California professor who became infamous after a classroom rant in which she called President-elect Donald Trump a ''terrorist'' has received so much blowback from her rant that she's had to leave the state, the Orange County Register reported.
Olga Perez Stable Cox, a professor of human sexuality at Orange Cost College in Costa Mesa, California, became a national flashpoint after a student recorded her rant against the president-elect.
According to reports, Cox called for students who voted for Trump to stand up in class. She then assailed students with a brutal rant against the president-elect.
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''One of the most frightening things for me and most people in my life is that the people creating the assault are among us,'' she said. ''It is not some stranger from some other country coming and attacking our sense of what it means to be an American and the things that we stand for, and that makes it more painful because I'm sure that all of us have people in our families and our circle of friends that are part of that movement and it is very difficult.''
''We are way beyond Republicans and Democrats and we're really being back to being at civil war '-- I don't mean that in a fighting way, but our nation is divided as clearly as it was in Civil War times,'' she continued.
Cox's rant was recorded by a student '-- who, according to the U.K. Daily Mail, faced possible disciplinary action for recording his teacher.
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You can see that video here:
Cox, meanwhile, has fled California because of the anger her statements have created.
''You want communism, go to Cuba '... try to bring it to America and we'll put a (expletive) bullet in your face,'' one alleged email to her read.
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''This faculty member is known for her open and engaging ways in class, open to all sides of the issues,'' said Rob Schneiderman, president of the Coast Federation of Educators. ''It's unfortunate that this student chose to not engage in an open dialogue, which she encourages.''
Unfortunately, a teacher mocking and intimidating students is far from an open dialogue, and that's exactly what Cox was doing. Anyone who listened to the video should have been crystal clear on the fact that she not only looked down upon anyone who voted for Donald Trump, but viewed them with open contempt.
Attorney Shawn Steel, representing the College Republicans at Orange Coast College, agreed.
''She's using her power as a teacher who gives grades, with a captive audience, to basically scare and shame students,'' he said, according to the Orange County Register. ''It's alarming. It's scare-mongering. It's irrational. It's a rant. And it doesn't belong in the classroom.''
While we totally disagree with anyone threatening Cox '-- although only one threat has been substantiated '-- we agree that the video was the only way in which her mephitic views on those who oppose her could be safely challenged by conservatives in that classroom.
She needs to be terminated, and she needs to be terminated now.
H/T Yahoo News
Please like and share on Facebook and Twitter if you agree this rant was absolutely out of place in a classroom environment.
VIDEO - Michelle Obama says America is entering a time of hopelessness '' Women in the World in Association with The New York Times '' WITW
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 16:00
First lady Michelle Obama. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
With fewer than 40 days remaining as first lady, Michelle Obama is continuing to reflect on the legacy she and President Obama will leave after having occupied the White House for the last eight years. In a new interview with Oprah Winfrey, the first lady addressed the election outcome and suggested that the U.S. is entering a time of hopelessness.
''We are feeling what not having hope feels like,'' Obama told Winfrey in response to a question about whether President Obama had achieved the ''hope and change'' he promised while campaigning in 2008. As she often did while campaigning for Hillary Clinton, she didn't mention President-elect Donald Trump by name. But she alluded to the contrast many in the country are feeling since he won the election last month. ''We feel the difference now,'' she said, noting that her husband had succeeded in keeping his campaign promise of fostering hope. ''Hope is necessary. It's a necessary concept,'' she elaborated. ''And Barack didn't just talk about hope because he thought it was a nice slogan to get votes. He and I and so many believed that '... what else do you have if you don't have hope? What do you give your kids if you can't give them hope?''
Those are philosophical questions that the nation will no doubt begin to grapple with in earnest over the coming months. And they're not the first contemplative remarks the first lady, who has earned a special place in Americans' hearts, has made recently. Last week, she reportedly left White House staffers in tears after a heartfelt thank you speech at a holiday party. And in an interview that appears in the December issue of Vogue, she expressed mixed feelings about leaving the White House, ultimately concluding, ''I'm going to miss waking up to this, having access to this anytime I want. But on the flip side '... it's time.'' Watch a portion of her interview with Oprah Winfrey below.
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Michelle Obama: Who she was before the White House
VIDEO - Obama says 'we will' retaliate against Russia for election hacking - The Washington Post
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 15:23
President Obama said in an interview with NPR on Dec. 15, that, "we need to take action and we will, at the time and place of our own choosing," against Russia for its involvement in cyberattacks during this year's election. (Reuters)
President Obama said the United States will retaliate against Russia over its malicious cyber-activity during this year's election, in an interview that aired Friday on NPR.
''I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections .'‰.'‰. we need to take action,'' the president said. ''And we will '-- at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be.''
Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman responded by suggesting that the president and his aides were casting aspersions on Russia without offering any proof.
In a statement carried by Russian news agencies, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the U.S. government should ''either stop talking about it or finally produce some evidence, otherwise it all begins to look unseemly.''
In the interview with ''Morning Edition'' host Steve Inskeep the president did not comment on last week's Washington Post report, later confirmed by other outlets, that the CIA has concluded with high confidence that Russia intervened in the election specifically to help Donald Trump win the White House. Seventeen U.S. intelligence agencies publicly announced in October that they had concluded the theft of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign manager John Podesta was undertaken by hackers working for Russia.
[Everything you need to know about Russia's election hacking]
Obama said that ''there are still a whole range of assessments taking place among the agencies'' and that he is waiting for the report on cyberattacks he has ordered to be delivered by Jan. 20.
''And so when I receive a final report, you know, we'll be able to, I think, give us a comprehensive and best guess as to those motivations,'' Obama said. ''But that does not in any way, I think, detract from the basic point that everyone during the election perceived accurately '-- that in fact what the Russian hack had done was create more problems for the Clinton campaign than it had for the Trump campaign.''
''There's no doubt that it contributed to an atmosphere in which the only focus for weeks at a time, months at a time were Hillary's emails, the Clinton Foundation, political gossip surrounding the DNC,'' he added.
Hillary Clinton told donors Thursday night that she believes the "unprecedented" combination of FBI Director James B. Comey notifying Congress he was still looking into her private email server and the "attack against our country" that Russia waged through the hacking of the DNC and Podesta's email tipped the election in Trump's favor, according to an audiotape of the remarks obtained by The New York Times. Putin, she explained, had "a personal beef" against her stemming from when as Secretary of State in 2011 she called Russian parliamentary elections "neither free nor fair."
Putin responded by suggesting that Clinton had galvanized thousands of protesters. ''She set the tone for some of our public figures inside the country, sent a signal to them," he said. "They heard this signal and launched active work with the U.S. State Department's support."
[Putin lashes back at Clinton criticism]
Three years later, after stepping down as Secretary of State, Clinton said that Russia was behaving in Eastern Europe like Hitler in the 1930s.
''You know, it's best not to argue with women, it's better not to get into a dispute with them," Putin told a group of French reporters at the time. "But Mrs. Clinton has not exactly distinguished herself with grace of expression'.... When people cross a certain line of decency, that doesn't speak of their strength, that speaks of their weakness. But for a woman, weakness is not the worst quality. ''
In an interview Friday Boris Chernyshev, a Russian member of parliament from far-right LDPR party, said politicians in Moscow were "unanimously" unconcerned about the allegations that Russia had interfered with the election because they considered them untrue.
"She's simply trying to justify why she lost the election , blaming some Russian hackers for her own mistakes, and for why she is headed for the political graveyard," Chernyshev said of Clinton, when reached by telephone Friday evening.
The president said he had raised the issue of Russia's cyberattacks during a lengthy meeting with Putin in September on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in China. Russian officials have previously denied any hacking activity aimed at influencing this year's presidential race. Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said the Russian president gave Obama a "very clear answer" during their talk at the G-20.
Andrew Roth contributed to this report.
Read more:
U.S. intelligence officials say Russian hacks 'prioritized' Democrats
Trump denies CIA report that Russia intervened to help him win election
Trump, CIA on collision course over Russia's role in U.S. election
VIDEO - Obama, tired, gets lost in a sentence and knows it. - YouTube
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 14:58
VIDEO - Red Skelton's Pledge of Allegiance - YouTube
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 14:45
VIDEO - Obama Is An Embarrassment To The Black Community Says Bishop - YouTube
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 03:21
VIDEO - Aleppo Twitter Girl Bana al-Abed, Mom Plea to Michelle Obama: 'Help Us' - NBC News
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 03:20
LONDON '-- Bana al-Abed and her mother, Fatemah, whose plight in Aleppo has captured the world's attention through Twitter, have appealed to First Lady Michelle Obama in a video message sent to NBC News.
"I talk to you as a mother," Fatemah says in the message. "I implore you to help us ... because we are so afraid."
The message ends with a plea from seven-year-old Bana: "Hello, Mrs. Obama. Please help us."
The girl and her mom have become known around the world after posting regular updates on the war raging around them.
However, Syria's President Bashar Assad has called the Twitter account propaganda promoted by terrorists or their supporters.
Speaking with NBC News via Skype late Thursday, Fatemah confirmed that she and Bana remain in the shrinking rebel-held pocket of devastated eastern Aleppo.
The evacuation of civilians to the relative safety of opposition areas in Idlib and the Aleppo countryside began Tuesday.
More were waiting Friday to be taken out of eastern Aleppo by bus, but World Health Organization officials said evacuations had been aborted. Rebel sources told Reuters that the operation stalled after pro-government militias opened fire on buses carrying civilians. A Syrian official told the news agency that the rebels had tried to smuggle out captives who they had abducted during the conflict, as well as weapons, something the rebels denied.
Related: Bana al-Abed Shares Daily Battle to Stay Alive
Posts on Bana's Twitter account Friday morning said the cease-fire between rebels and Syrian forces had been broken.
"Civilians are in danger. I beg [the] world ... [you] do something now to get us out," it read.
"Please save us now," another said.
Speaking overnight, Fatemah told NBCNews she was fearful of being targeted by victorious Syrian regime forces and was likely to leave.
Related: Behind the Grim Numbers '-- How These 9 Kids Died in Aleppo
Fatemah said: "I think I will go out. I don't know where and how and what is the guarantee that I can have to go safely with my children and my family," Fatemah said. "I'm afraid."
Reflecting on her tweets from Aleppo, which have attracted more than 300,000 new followers, Fatemah said she had no regrets.
"I am grateful and that I made .. we made, me and Bana, [this Twitter account]. This is our duty because this [is] our country, because this [is] our children," she said.
"I feel that I am a mother of all the children here in Aleppo, not for my kids. So, I must be strong and have this courage to talk to all the world about what happening in here in Aleppo."
VIDEO - Explosive Tucker Carlson Sit Down with Infowars - YouTube
Sat, 17 Dec 2016 03:15
VIDEO - Former Secretary Of State Madeleine Albright And Former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley On The U.S. Role In The World - The Diane Rehm Show
Fri, 16 Dec 2016 15:03
What role the U.S. should play in Syria has been one of the most vexing foreign policy challenges for the Obama administration. The enormity of the crisis is playing out right now in Aleppo as the Syrian government, backed by Russia and Iran, take back the city from rebel forces. It's a problem President-elect Donald Trump now inherits, and it's one of many complex foreign policy challenges he'll face. High on the list is Russia, following reports that the country interfered in U.S. elections in support of Trump, as well as the future of the U.S.'s ''One China'' policy. Diane sits down with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former national security adviser Stephen Hadley to discuss U.S. foreign policy and risks for the new administration.
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VIDEO - Franklin Graham: Pray for Trump to succeed because there's no 'pride' in computer programming
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VIDEO - Muslim student filed bias crime report to avoid curfew punishment - NY Daily News
Fri, 16 Dec 2016 10:49
A Muslim student who said she was harassed on the subway by drunken, hate-spewing white men shouting ''Donald Trump!'' lied to police because she broke her curfew, law enforcement sources said Wednesday.
Yasmin Seweid, 18, joined a growing list of local and national alleged hate-crime victims when she told cops she was taunted Dec. 1 on the No. 6 train by three men who called her a terrorist and tried to snatch her hijab off her head while straphangers did nothing.
But Seweid finally broke down Wednesday and was arrested after she admitted to detectives that it was all a big lie.
''Nothing happened, and there was no victim,'' a police source said.
Drunk men screaming 'Trump' attack Muslim straphanger, cops say
Police sources say Seweid made up the story because she didn't want to get in trouble for breaking her curfew after being out late drinking with friends.
Her strict, Muslim parents allegedly forced Seweid to shave her head over the incident and were upset that she was dating a Christian, sources said.
The bareheaded Baruch College student, not wearing her hijab, was charged with filing a false report and released after her arraignment early Thursday in Manhattan Criminal Court. A relative covered Seweid's face with a black down jacket as she was escorted into a waiting SUV following her brief court appearance.
She faces up to a year in jail for each charge.
L.I. Muslim student who was harassed at MTA station is missing
Seweid claimed a white trio mocked her and tried to tear the religious garb from her head.
She provided police a description of the suspects, one of whom cops at one point thought they spotted on video following her when she got off the subway at Grand Central Terminal.
''She had numerous opportunities to admit nothing happened and she kept sticking by her story,'' a police source said.
The New Hyde Park, L.I., teen even posted an emotional account of the attack on Facebook.
Cops find missing Muslim student harassed by Trump supporters
''I was harassed on the subway last night,'' she wrote. ''And it was just so dehumanizing I can't speak about it without getting emotional.''
For a while, police believed inconsistencies in her story to be nothing more than typical lapses by someone who was traumatized.
But the doubts increased when detectives could not find witnesses or any significant video. Then she left home and was reported missing on Thursday '-- only to turn up safe and sound on Friday. Suspicion went through the roof.
On Wednesday, after again being confronted with questions from detectives, she said she had made it all up, citing family problems.
Muslim student allegedly harassed by Trump supporters safely home
Seweid admitted that she lied to throw off her parents, who are Egyptian immigrants, because they disapproved of her boyfriend, a source said.
Seweid's father, Syeed, 55, said he didn't know why his daughter made up the story.
''I have no idea,'' he said. ''She's the one that can speak for herself.''
In a bizarre twist, Seweid's older brother, Abdoul, was also charged with falsely reporting an incident back in 2012.
Cops said Abdoul, then 17, claimed a pal was ''assaulted by three unknown males,'' according to a Newsday story at the time.
He and four other teens were charged with grand larceny and conspiracy for allegedly breaking into parked cars and stealing any valuables they found.
Albert Cahn, an attorney for the New York Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the twist in Seweid's case shouldn't take away from the legitimate claims of bias and harassment against Muslims.
''We're very disturbed by these distressing developments, but we hope that they do not detract from the numerous reports coming from the Muslim community,'' Cahn said.
''Clearly this has been a trying time for her and her family. We hope that they receive all possible support in this moving forward. We still believe that anti-Muslim attacks are underreported.''
Days after Seweid's false report, police say an MTA worker wearing her uniform and a hijab was harassed by a passenger who called her a terrorist, and told her to ''go back to your country.''
That same week, a man allegedly threatened to kill an off-duty cop after she confronted him over pushing her 16-year-old son on a Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, street. The man is accused of calling the Muslim woman ''ISIS,'' cursing at her and saying he would slit her throat.
Officials say there's been a spike in the number of hate-inspired crimes in New York since Trump was elected President.
According to police statistics, reported hate crimes in the city more than doubled last month '-- with more than 43 cases, compared with just 20 in November 2015.
With Andy Mai, Laura Dimon, John Annese, Denis Slattery
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VIDEO - Remarks on Syria
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 22:23
SECRETARY KERRY: Hello, everybody. I just wanted to bring you all up to date on what we've been trying to do with respect to the tragic situation in Syria, and obviously mostly focused or especially Aleppo.
I don't think I have to elaborate, but I'm going to certainly focus on the anger and the anguish that everybody feels '' or most people feel '' about the continued relentless and inexcusable attacks that have been directed at the civilian population in Aleppo, including women, children, humanitarian workers, and medical personnel. And there is absolutely no justification whatsoever for the indiscriminate and savage brutality against civilians shown by the regime and by its Russian and Iranian allies over the past few weeks, or indeed for the past five years.
Now, the position of the United States remains clear, and I have personally reiterated that position in conversations over the past weeks and especially over the past 24 hours, with the UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, who I talked with earlier today who was in Paris meeting now with Jean-Marc Ayrault, and with senior officials from Russia, Qatar, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other countries in the region.
What the United States is working toward, and has been working towards for some period of time now, under difficult circumstances, where, if some parties do not want to move in that direction, it remains very difficult to secure, obviously, a ceasefire; but what we want in Aleppo right now, which is the precursor to any ability to move to other things, is an immediate and verifiable, durable cessation of hostilities, and that includes all attacks by the regime, its allies, and other combatants in Aleppo '' all combatants in Aleppo.
And we've been working very hard on that. We worked on that in Hamburg, in my meetings with Foreign Minister Lavrov, where we reached some measure of agreement '' in fact, a considerable measure of agreement '' but weren't able to secure every component of what was needed in order to move forward. We want safe passage, corridors of evacuation, which we're beginning today to see perhaps take shape. But we want to see those for both civilians and fighters who choose to evacuate the city. We want full access for the delivery of humanitarian supplies to people in need throughout Syria. And with these steps, we are convinced that the killing and the suffering in Syria could stop, and it could stop very, very quickly, if Russia and the regime made the decision to do so.
This morning, I was encouraged by reports that, after a number of fits and starts, what we worked on in Paris and then got picked up on in continued conversations '' which, by the way, we were informed of by Russia and Turkey were going to take place '' to build out on what we'd talked about, actually using the same template that we had created. There are individual ceasefires being worked out, individual arrangements with armed opposition group commanders. And it appears, for some period of time at least '' we don't know yet if it will hold or where it is '' that airstrikes and shelling have stopped and that the ceasefire may '' I emphasize may '' be taking hold.
Buses, some of them in convoys, are beginning to move. And my understanding is that the first group of 21 buses and 19 ambulances reached its checkpoint at Khan al-Assal. Now, this convoy includes more than 1,000 people who are on their way to the Turkish border. However '' and this is a big however '' we also heard reports that a convoy of injured people was fired on by forces from the regime or its allies. And we remain deeply concerned as well that we are hearing reports of Syrian men between the ages of 18 and 40 who have apparently been detained or conscripted into military service when trying to pass through government checkpoints and that some who '' of these actually went missing days or even weeks ago, and we still don't have, the families don't have, their loved ones don't have accountability for what has happened to them. Obviously, these actions are despicable and they're contrary to the laws of war and to basic human decency.
Now, more positively, we have finally received pledges from Russia that it will assist in the monitoring of evacuations, that the International Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Crescent, Red Arab Crescent, will also be allowed access in order to be able to try to help with the monitoring. The UN is prepared to receive evacuees in numerous sites, and emergency relief kits have been pre-positioned to try to help people. Medical assistance is also going to be available. The Government of Turkey is prepared to accept more evacuees for aid and treatment. So it appears that the necessary preparations have been made for the evacuation process that will eventually save lives, but the implementation of that process continues to be dependent on the actions of the regime and its allies on the ground.
Let me emphasize, we're going to continue to do our part. The United States of America is going to continue to try to push the parties towards a resolution. As President Obama said the other day, in giving us all both his impressions as well as instructions about these next days, we're going to be trying every way we can to try to save lives and push this to where it needs to get to. To date, we've provided more than $6 billion in food, water, medicine, and other supplies to people who've been affected by the violence in the region.
And let me be clear '' I said it once; I'm going to say it again '' what has happened already in Aleppo is unconscionable, but there remains tens of thousands of lives that are now concentrated into a very small area of Aleppo, and the last thing anybody wants to see '' and the world will be watching '' is that that small area turns into another Srebrenica. It is imperative that key actors step up and do their part, and I call on the entire international community to join in exerting pressure on all parties to go forward with the process that has been laid out for some period of time now, to abide by the cessation of hostilities, and to bring the killing and the cruelty, particularly starting with Aleppo, which lays the groundwork to be able to take the next steps particularly in Aleppo.
Now, all of you know that we've been engaged in a lot of talks over the period of '' an extended period of time now. And all of those talks have been geared towards trying to end the war in '' the civil war in Syria. In September, after months of very tough negotiation, Foreign Minister Lavrov and I were able to stand up late at night and make an announcement in Geneva that we had arrived at an agreement, September 9th. And that agreement required a number of days, as everybody knows, of calm in order to indicate the seriousness of purpose, and then we were going to have joint cooperation in order to move forward.
Regrettably, for a number of different reasons '' Syrian troops that were accidentally bombed, and a humanitarian convoy that was not accidentally but purposefully destroyed by Assad regime to start with and then by others who joined in '' it fell apart. And everybody feels the pain of the lost moment, of a lost opportunity, for externalities that we did not have, apparently, control over.
More than a year ago, we agreed on a series of steps that could have and should have produced a lasting ceasefire and direct negotiations. But the process has not succeeded mostly, in my judgment, because of the continued, constant unwillingness of the Assad regime to live by those agreements, to always press it, to always break out, to always try to gain more territory, and to go out publicly not reaffirming its willingness to go to Geneva and negotiate but always affirming publicly in one brash statement after another its readiness to take back the whole country, to crush the opposition, and to do everything without regard to the real underlying concerns of many people who want to be part of a legitimate government, part of a legitimate process, but fear that Assad is not going to be their leader and that he will never be able to unite the country. That's what's fueled this and kept it going.
So we have arrived now at another critical point, another critical juncture. If Aleppo falls completely and people are slaughtered in that small area, it will be even harder to be able to bring people around. And it will not end the war. The fall of Aleppo, should it happen, does not end the war. It will continue. There still is the challenge of governing and the challenge of reuniting the country and the challenge of rebuilding the country. And how many countries will step up and rebuild it for the policies that are being executed today?
So provided we are able to stabilize the situation in Aleppo, it is essential that we move forward at the earliest possible moment with a Syrian-led political process aimed at ending the war and transitioning to a new and more representative government. And without that meaningful transition of power in which the voices of the Syrian people are heard, the opposition will continue to fight, terrorists will continue to be drawn to the country, and millions of Syrians will continue to be forced to flee their homes.
So here I want to emphasize that every single party I've spoken to in recent days '' in Paris last week and from here in Washington this week, as recently as this morning '' every stakeholder tells me they are ready and willing to get back on the path to Geneva '' and that includes the legitimate Syrian opposition, it includes Turkey and Qatar and the Arab states. The only remaining question is whether the Syrian regime, with Russia's support, is willing to go to Geneva, prepared to negotiate constructively, and whether or not they're willing to stop this slaughter of their own people.
So let's be crystal clear about who bears responsibility for what we have seen and what we are seeing, and continue to see in Syria. We are seeing the unleashing of a sectarian passion, allowing the Assad regime '' not allowing; the Assad regime is allowing, and the Assad regime is aiding and abetting, and the Assad regime is actually carrying out nothing short of a massacre. And we have witnessed indiscriminate slaughter '' not accidents of war, not collateral damage, but frankly, purposeful, a cynical policy of terrorizing civilians.
So we believe this is a moment where the Syrian regime and the Russian military have an opportunity to make the decision to '' a strategic decision, I might add '' for peace '' one that will make it possible for a cessation of hostilities all across Syria which could flow right out of this. Every minister I've talked to said, ''We're for a ceasefire countrywide.'' But you have to be able to deal with Aleppo to legitimize getting to a countrywide effort. In addition to that, everyone has reconfirmed to me their readiness to go to Geneva for discussions aimed at putting an end to this horrific war.
So that's the only way that anybody I've talked to with any common sense and with any strategic vision says you can end this war. It will take negotiations, and they haven't taken place in all of these years '' any real negotiations. But all of the parties have now told me, with the exception of what we haven't heard from Assad himself and his willingness to go out and actually negotiate in good faith and try to bring Syria back together. That is the only way to make progress towards a united and peaceful Syria that is reflected in Resolution 2254 as well as in the ISSG statements, which include Russia and Iran. So hopefully people will put actions where the words have been.
MR KIRBY: Thank you, sir.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
MR KIRBY: Thank you very much, folks. Thank you, sir.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, do you have any response to reports that Putin himself was directly involved in election-related attacks? Do you think the Administration should have come out before the election more boldly about '' with hard intelligence about these attacks?
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, let me '' look. I am not going to start making comments at this point. I haven't commented on this publicly because of the job I do. But let me say today that I'm not going to comment on anonymous reports from intelligence officials that are not identified, that have quotes around the concept of intelligence officials. I just am not going to comment on that. But let me comment very specifically on your sort of question about earlier.
Folks, we sat in the Situation Room, I remember, in the White House with the President of the United States, and the President made the decision based on the input that was carefully, carefully vetted by the intelligence community and presented to everybody that he did have an obligation to go out to the country and give a warning. And he did so. Back in October, the President authorized the director of national intelligence to '' and the Department of Homeland Security together '' to make a very clear statement to this nation, to our nation. And they said unequivocally that they assessed with high confidence '' it's what we said in October '' with high confidence that the Russian Government directed compromises of emails from U.S. institutions, including political organizations, and that these thefts and disclosures were intended to interfere with our election process.
So the President understood and made clear it's a serious matter. It was a serious matter then, it's a serious matter now as even more information comes out. I'm not going to comment on it further except to say that people need to remember that the President issued a warning, but he had to be obviously sensitive to not being viewed as interfering on behalf of a candidate or against a candidate or in a way that promoted unrealistic assessments about what was happening. I think the President did that and now we have to get out the facts and I'm confident we will in the months ahead. Thank you all very much.
MR KIRBY: Thank you, sir.
QUESTION: Thank you, Secretary.
VIDEO - Jerry Brown: 'We will persevere' on climate change action | The Sacramento Bee
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 21:49
Jerry Brown: 'California will launch its own damn satellite' if Trump stops climate data collection
Vigil for missing Yolo teens at Woodland church
Jerry Brown says he has to be cautious in state worker contract deals
Boxer filibusters a bill rider she calls 'awful'
Explaining California's new assault weapon ban
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer
Activists protest Trump presidency at the Capitol
Jerry Brown on climate change: 'I think Washington will come around'
Mark DiCamillo on how presidential polls got it wrong
Powerful message about texting while driving

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Jerry Brown- 'We will persevere' on climate change action.mp3

Brexit

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F-Russia

ABC-Radditz-Brazile Refuses to Say If She is Disappointed in Obama-russian hacks.mp3
julian assange rt underground pdf russian....mp3
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Obama final presser-1-Wikileaks already had the leaks before the hack WTF.mp3
Obama final presser-2-blame the media podesta recipe-pizza pizza.mp3
Obama final presser-3-chiners but still hard to prove-duh.mp3
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JCD Clips

Against democracy One ignorance.mp3
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Italy rundown One.mp3
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Italy rundown Two.mp3
Katy Yur hosting.mp3
NBC final Obama lets it rip.mp3
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poy in MA.mp3
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Ovumphobia

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TODAY

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Trump Transition

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War on Ca$h

Bank Of England quietly removing £50 notes from circulation.mp3
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