TBR News October 15, 2017

Oct 15 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., October 15, 2017:” We will be out of the office until October 16, ed”

Table of Contents

  • FM Kurz’s party leads in Austrian parliamentary election, right-wing FPO third – exit polls
  • Austria shifts to right as conservative star seals election win
  • Former friend Malaysia halts all imports from North Korea, data shows
  • Assassination as State Policy
  • Ten thousand US firefighters tackle 16 California wildfires
  • Iran: We will stick to nuclear deal if Europe does

 FM Kurz’s party leads in Austrian parliamentary election, right-wing FPO third – exit polls

October 15, 2017


The conservative Austrian People’s Party (OVP), led by the Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, is leading with 30 percent of the vote, according to exit polls. The Social Democrats are in second after overtaking right-wing Freedom Party (FPO).

Kurz announced his party’s victory soon after the release of the exit poll results. A “great responsibility has been placed” on the OVP, he tweeted, adding that his party accepts it “with great humility.”

He also said that his party’s victory is “not a triumph over others but a chance for a change.”

According to exit polls, Kurz’s OVP has taken a clear lead in the election with over 31 percent of the vote, with the 31-year-old set to become the youngest chancellor in Austrian history and would be Europe’s youngest leader.

The right-wing anti-immigrant FPO is neck and neck with the Social Democrats for second, as the gap between the two parties is slightly more than one percent.

The FPO, which scored high in the polls before the election and was even beating the Social Democrats for second place according to initial exit polls, eventually ended up in third.

However, the results for the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPO), which won the previous election and was the senior member of the ruling coalition before the snap election, are already being called by some analysts the worst in the party’s history.

In the view of the election results for the Social Democrats, SPO head and former Chancellor Christian Kern said that he will still hold the post of party chief. “We have a responsibility to our voters,” he told Austrian ORF broadcaster.

The FPO’s results are still regarded as a success for the right-wing populists, as they received almost six percent more of the vote than in the previous election, in which they garnered 20.5 percent. The right-wing populist party still has a good chance to enter a coalition government.

With 31 percent of the vote, the OVP is now expected to become the strongest force in the Austrian National Council, which has 183 seats. It still, however, lacks a majority in the legislature and could seek a coalition with the right-wing populists, as a revival of the OVP-SPO coalition seems unlikely.

Other parties have so far managed to secure only single digits. The liberal NEOS (The New Austria and Liberal Forum) received 5.3 percent of the vote, while the Pilz List received 4.4 percent.

The Greens suffered a crushing defeat and even fell short of clearing the four-percent hurdle needed to get into the parliament.

The final results will not be announced until the middle of the coming week, as absentee ballots and ballots cast by voters away from their homes will be counted first.

The election campaigns were dominated by the issue of migration. Kurz, 31, who has been Austria’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Integration since 2013, particularly focused on the refugee issue in his campaign.

Foreign Minister Kurz previously backed plans to block refugee routes into Europe and supported a ban on full-face veils, which came into force in Austria just weeks before the election. He also repeatedly spoke about the need to foster integration, particularly advocated shutting down Islamic kindergartens where children have little or no command of German.

Public support for the FPO, founded by a former Nazi SS member after the end of the World War II, saw a major boost during the refugee crisis, as the party proposed to stop immigration and criticized Islam.

Since 2015, Austria received around 150,000 asylum requests, which is equivalent to over one percent of the population.

In December 2016, FPO candidate Norbert Hofer fell short of being elected president after running neck and neck with left-leaning candidate Alexander Van der Bellen.

Ahead of the October 2017 parliamentary election, FPO candidate Heinz-Christian Strache managed to win significant public support by focusing on the issues of immigration, unemployment, the minimum wage, and pensions.

The OVP-SPO coalition was set to rule Austria until September 2018, but it collapsed in May after failing to agree on economic reforms for months. This prompted then-head of the OVP Reinhold Mitterlehner to resign.His successor, Sebastian Kurz, called for an early election, eventually scheduled for October 15.


Austria shifts to right as conservative star seals election win

October 14, 2017

by Shadia Nasralla, Kirsti Knolle


VIENNA (Reuters) – Young conservative star Sebastian Kurz is on track to become Austria’s next leader after an election on Sunday, but his party is far short of a majority and likely to seek a coalition with the resurgent far right.

Foreign Minister Kurz, who is just 31, managed to propel his People’s Party to first place by taking a hard line on immigration that left little space between it and the far-right Freedom Party (FPO).

Both parties increased their share of the vote from the last parliamentary election in 2013, projections showed, marking a sharp shift to the right in the wake of Europe’s migration crisis. Chancellor Christian Kern’s Social Democrats were in a close race with the FPO for second place.

“I am truly overwhelmed,” Kurz told cheering supporters at an election party after polls closed. “We made the impossible possible. Thank you very much for your commitment and this historic success.”

He was less effusive about his coalition plans. Kurz repeatedly declined to say which option he favored, adding that he wanted to await the count of postal ballots that will settle the race for second place.

The bulk of those ballots, which are roughly a sixth of those cast, will be counted on Monday.

“Let’s give it a couple of days. Then we will see what the result really looks like,” Kurz told broadcaster ORF when pressed on what he plans to do. He said he intended to talk to all parties in parliament and did not rule out forming a minority government.

Austria, a wealthy country of 8.7 million people that stretches from Slovakia to Switzerland, was a gateway into Germany for more than 1 million people during the migration crisis that began in 2015. Many of them were fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Austria also took in roughly 1 percent of its population in asylum seekers in 2015, one of the highest proportions on the continent. Many voters feel the country was overrun.

Kurz’s strategy of focusing on that issue appears to have paid off, despite economic growth on track to be the fastest in six years and falling unemployment touted by Kern, who depicted Kurz as the candidate of the rich.

A projection by pollster SORA showed Kurz’s People’s Party (OVP) winning the election with 31.6 percent of the vote, based on a count of all non-postal ballots. The OVP’s current coalition partners, Kern’s Social Democrats, were on 26.9 percent, just ahead of the FPO on 26.0 percent.

The projection had a margin of error of 0.7 percentage points, meaning the race for second place was too close to call.

Another projection by pollster ARGE Wahlen had the Social Democrats just 0.5 percentage points ahead of the FPO.


The FPO was short of its record score of 26.9 percent, achieved in 1999, but still has a good chance of entering government for the first time in more than a decade. The OVP and the Social Democrats are at loggerheads, meaning the FPO is likely to be kingmaker.

FPO leader Heinz-Christian Strache, who has accused Kurz of stealing his party’s ideas, declined to be drawn on his preferred partner.

“Anything is possible,” he told ORF. “We are pleased with this great success and one thing is clear: nearly 60 percent of the Austrian population voted for the FPO program.”

The FPO has an anti-immigration, anti-Islam agenda similar to its French sister party, the National Front, but is less eurosceptic. It has backed away from comments cheering Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, merely calling for Brussels to hand more power to member states.

Kurz supporters cheered when the FPO initially appeared to be ahead of the Social Democrats, which would have made an alliance between the FPO and the centre-left party unlikely.



Former friend Malaysia halts all imports from North Korea, data shows

October 13, 2017

by  A. Ananthalakshmi


KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia, which until recently had been one of Pyongyang’s closest friends, has halted all imports from North Korea, as part of global efforts to cut off funding over its nuclear and missile programs. Malaysia did not buy any goods from North Korea in June and July, after buying 20.6 million ringgit ($4.89 million) worth of goods in the first five months of the year, according to data from the Department of Statistics.

Malaysia’s ties with North Korea have deteriorated since the February assassination of Kim Jong Un’s estranged half brother at Kuala Lumpur international airport, which the United States and South Korea say was ordered by the North Korean leader.

Kuala Lumpur last month banned its citizens from traveling to North Korea, two weeks after Prime Minister Najib Razak met with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House. The visit gave Najib a political boost at home, with his popularity suffering over a massive scandal at a state investment fund, which the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating.

Trump told reporters after meeting with Najib at the White House last month that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak “does not do business with North Korea any longer, and we find that to be very important.”

Malaysia had been a key source of revenue for the North. Citizens from both countries enjoyed visa-free travel. Malaysia was host to hundreds of overseas workers. More importantly were operations that funneled money to the regime. Reuters reported earlier this year North Korea’s spy agency, the Reconnaissance Bureau, was running an arms operation out of Kuala Lumpur.


Malaysia’s halt to North Korean imports came ahead of drastic U.N. and U.S. sanctions last month that ramp up export bans and penalize companies and individuals doing business with North Korea.

The United Nations on Sept. 11 banned North Korea’s lucrative textile exports as well as all joint ventures with North Koran individuals or entities.

Trump issued an executive order 10 days later penalizing any company or person doing business with North Korea by cutting off their access to the U.S. financial system, freezing their assets or both.

Other Southeast Asian nations have similarly reduced imports from North Korea. The Philippines said last month it has suspended trade with North Korea to comply with sanctions.

Thailand’s imports from North Korea dropped to $400,000 between January and August, compared with $1.8 million in the same period last year, according to data from the commerce ministry.

Indonesia, on the other hand, increased its imports from North Korea to $1.8 million in January-July before the latest round of sanctions, versus $910,000 in the same period last year.

Secretary of state Rex Tillerson, on a swing through Southeast Asia in August, urged countries to do more to cut funding streams for North Korea.

For instance, North Korean front companies were using Bangkok as a regional hub, changing their names frequently, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton told reporters during Tillerson’s visit to Bangkok in early August


Malaysia’s past imports from North Korea ranged from big ticket items such as coal, medical devices and light emitting diodes to even crabs, noodles, cloth hangers and fire extinguishers.

A U.S. government official told Reuters Malaysia has assured the United States it does not import from Pyongyang anymore.

Malaysia’s trade ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

Malaysia had been one of the few countries increasing its imports from North Korea in recent years – from a mere 1,183 ringgit ($311) in 2012 to 8.2 million ringgit in 2016.

An unusual purchase this year was coal, which Malaysia bought right after China, the top buyer of the North’s minerals banned imports of the commodity in February. A U.N. report in September said North Korea had diversified its coal exports to other countries after the China ban.

Malaysia bought $3.4 million worth of coal in March and $16.6 million worth of coal tar products, data showed. The March purchase was the first time Malaysia had bought coal from North Korea since at least 2012.

While imports have stopped, Malaysia has continued exports to North Korea. Exports included palm oil, food and medical supplies worth 4.4 millionringgit between January and July.

Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Additional reporting by Orathai Sriring in Bangkok, Gayatri Suroyo and Bernadette Christina Munthe in Jakarta; Editing by Bill Tarrant


Assassination as State Policy

The Broken Encirclement Plan: Nato in Eastern Europe

October 15, 2017

by Christian Jürs

The first serious, and successful, U.S. direct interference in Russian leadership policies was in 1953.

An ageing Josef Stalin, suffering from arteriosclerosis and becoming increasingly hostile to his subordinates, was poisoned by Laverenti P. Beria, head of his secret police.

Beria, a Mingrelian Jew, very ruthless and a man who ordered and often supervised the executions of people Stalin suspected of plotting against him, had fallen out of favor with Stalin and had come to believe that he was on the list of those Stalin wished to remove.

With his intelligence connections, Beria was contacted by the American CIA through one of his trusted agents in Helskinki and through this contact, Beria was supplied dosages of warfarin

The first drug in the class to be widely commercialized was dicoumarol itself, patented in 1941 and later used as a pharmaceutical. potent coumarin-based anticoagulants for use as rodent poisons, resulting in warfarin in 1948. The name warfarin stems from the acronym WARF, for Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation + the ending -arin indicating its link with coumarin. Warfarin was first registered for use as a rodenticide in the US in 1948, and was immediately popular; although it was developed by Link, the WARF financially supported the research and was assigned the patent.

Warfarin was used by a Lavrenti Beria to poison Stalin. Stalin’s cooks and personal bodyguards were all under the direct control of Beria. He acknowledged to other top Soviet leaders that he had poisoned Stalin, according to Molotov’s memoirs, Nikita Khrushchev and others.

Warfarin is tasteless and colorless, and produces symptoms similar to those that Stalin exhibited.

Stalin collapsed during the night after a dinner with Beria and other Soviet leaders, and died four days later on March 5, 1953.

Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, in his political memoirs (published posthumously in 1993), claimed that Beria told him that he had poisoned Stalin. “I took him out,” Beria supposedly boasted. And after Stalin was found unconscious, medical care was not provided for many hours. Other evidence of the murder of Stalin by Beria associates was presented by Edvard Radzinsky in his biography of Stalin. It has been suggested that warfarin was used; it would have produced the symptoms reported.

After the fall of Gorbachev and his replacement by Boris Yeltsin, a known CIA connection, the Russian criminal mob was encouraged by the CIA to move into the potentially highly lucrative Russian natural resource field.

By 1993 almost all banks in Russia were owned by the mafia, and 80% of businesses were paying protection money. In that year, 1400 people were murdered in Moscow, crime members killed businessmen who would not pay money to them, as well as reporters, politicians, bank owners and others opposed to them. The new criminal class of Russia took on a more Westernized and businesslike approach to organized crime as the more code-of-honor based Vory faded into extinction.

The Izmaylovskaya gang was considered one of the country’s most important and oldest Russian Mafia groups in Moscow and also had a presence in Tel Aviv, Berlin, Paris, Toronto, Miami and New York City. It was founded during the 1980s under the leadership of Oleg Ivanov and was estimated to consist of about 200 active members (according to other data of 300–500 people). In principle, the organization was divided into two separate bodies—Izmailovskaya and Gol’yanovskaya  which utilized quasi-military ranks and strict internal discipline. It was involved extensively in murder-for-hire, extortions, and infiltration of legitimate businesses.

The gangs were termed the Oligarchy and were funded by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Israeli-owned Bank of New York all with the assistance of the American government.

The arrival of Vladimir Putin as the new leader of Russia was at first ignored in Washington. A former KGB Lt. Colonel who had been stationed in East Germany, Putin was viewed as inconsequential, bland and colorless by the purported Russian experts in both the Department of State and the CIA.

Putin, however, proved to be a dangerous opponent who blocked the Oligarchs attempt to control the oil fields and other assets, eventual control of which had been promised to both American and British firms.

The Oligarchs were allowed to leave the country and those remaining behind were forced to follow Putin’s policies. Foreign control over Russian natural resources ceased and as both the CIA, various foreign firms and the American government had spent huge sums greasing the skids, there was now considerable negative feelings towards Putin.

The next serious moves against Russia came with a plan conceived by the CIA and fully approved by President George W. Bush, whose father had once been head of the CIA.

This consisted of ‘Operation Sickle’ which was designed to surround the western and southern borders of Russia with states controlled by the United States through the guise of NATO membership. Included in this encirclement program were the Baltic States, Poland, the Czech Republic, Georgia and a number of Asiatic states bordering southern Russia. It was the stated intention of the NATO leadership to put military missiles in all these countries.

The so-called “Orange Revolution” funded and directed by the CIA, overthrew the pro-Moscow government in the Ukraine, giving the United States theoretical control over the heavy industrialized Donetz Basin and most importantly, the huge former Soviet naval base at Sebastopol.

The Georgia Train and Equip Program (GTEP) was an American-sponsored 18-month, $64-million program aimed at increasing the capabilities of the Georgian armed forces by training and equipping four 600-man battalions with light weapons, vehicles and communications. The program enabled the US to expedite funding for the Georgian military for Operation Enduring Freedom.

On February 27, 2002, the US media reported that the U.S. would send approximately two hundred United States Army Special Forces soldiers to Georgia to train Georgian troops. The program implemented President Bush’s decision to respond to the Government of Georgia’s request for assistance to enhance its counter-terrorism capabilities and addressed the situation in the Pankisi Gorge.

The program began in May 2002 when American special forces soldiers began training select units of the Georgian Armed Forces, including the 12th Commando Light Infantry Battalion, the 16th Mountain-Infantry Battalion, the 13th “Shavnabada” Light Infantry Battalion, the 11th Light Infantry Battalion, a mechanized company and small numbers of Interior Ministry troops and border guards.

Eventually, responsibility for training Georgian forces was turned over to the US Marine Corps in conjunction with the British Army. British and American teams worked as part of a joint effort to train each of the four infantry battalion staffs and their organic rifle companies. This training began with the individual soldier and continued through fire team, squad, platoon, company, and battalion level tactics as well as staff planning and organization. Upon completing training, each of the new Georgian infantry battalions began preparing for deployment rotations in support of the Global War on Terrorism

The CIA were instrumental in getting Mikhail Saakashvili, an erratic politician, pro-West, into the presidency of Georgia but although he allowed the country to be flooded with American arms and “military trainers” he was not a man easily controlled and under the mistaken belief that American military might supported him, commenced to threaten Moscow. Two Georgian provinces were heavily populated by Russians and objected to the inclusion in Georgia and against them, Saakashvili began to make threatening moves.

The 2008 South Ossetia War or Russo-Georgian War (in Russia also known as the Five-Day War) was an armed conflict in August 2008 between Georgia on one side, and Russia and separatist governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the other.

During the night of 7 to 8 August 2008, Georgia launched a large-scale military offensive against South Ossetia, in an attempt to reclaim the territory. Georgia claimed that it was responding to attacks on its peacekeepers and villages in South Ossetia, and that Russia was moving non-peacekeeping units into the country. The Georgian attack caused casualties among Russian peacekeepers, who resisted the assault along with Ossetian militia.

Georgia successfully captured most of Tskhinvali within hours. Russia reacted by deploying units of the Russian 58th Army and Russian Airborne Troops in South Ossetia, and launching airstrikes against Georgian forces in South Ossetia and military and logistical targets in Georgia proper. Russia claimed these actions were a necessary humanitarian intervention and peace enforcement.

When the Russian incursion was seen as massive and serious, U.S. president George W. Bush’s statement to Russia was: “Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century.” The US Embassy in Georgia, describing the Matthew Bryza press-conference, called the war an “incursion by one of the world’s strongest powers to destroy the democratically elected government of a smaller neighbor”.

Initially the Bush Administration seriously considered a military response to defend Georgia, but such an intervention was ruled out by the Pentagon due to the inevitable conflict it would lead to with Russia. Instead, Bush opted for a softer option by sending humanitarian supplies to Georgia by military, rather than civilian, aircraft. And he ordered the immediate evacuation of all American military units from Georgia. The huge CIA contingent stationed in the Georgian capital fled by aircraft and the American troops, mostly U.S. Marines, evacuated quickly to the Black Sea where they were evacuated by the U.S. Navy.

British and Israeli military units also fled the country and all of them had to leave behind an enormous amount of military equipment to include tanks, light armored vehicles, small arms, radio equipment, and trucks full of intelligence data they had neither the time nor foresight to destroy.

The immediate result of this demarche was the defection of the so-called “NATO Block” eastern Europeans from the Bush/CIA project who saw the United States as a paper tiger that would not, and could not, defend them against the Russians. In a sense, the Russian incursion into Georgia was a massive political, not a military, victory.

The CIA was not happy with the actions of Vladimir Putin and when he ran for reelection, they poured money into the hands of Putin’s enemies, hoping to reprise the Ukrainian Orange Revolution but the effort was in vain.

On September 6, 2016, Vladimir Putin’s state limousine, travelling on a Moscow highway, was slammed into by a car which jumped the median strip.

Putin’s driver was killed but Putin was not in the car at the time.

Shortly after this incident, a WikiLeaks release disclosed the CIA’s ability to get control of a car’s computer system and cause it to go out of control.



From a CIA manual on the subject


Assassination is a term thought to be derived from “Hashish”, a drug similar to marijuana, said to have been used by Hasan-Dan-Sabah to induce motivation in his followers, who were assigned to carry out political and other murders, usually at the cost of their lives.

It is here used to describe the planned killing of a person who is not under the legal jurisdiction of the killer, who is not physically in the hands of the killer, who has been selected by a resistance organization for death, and who has been selected by a resistance organization for death, and whose death provides positive advantages to that organization. The Hashshashin (also Hashishin, Hashashiyyin or Assassins) had a militant basis as a religious sect (often referred to as a cult) of Ismaili Muslims from the Nizari sub-sect. They were thought to be active in the 8th to 14th centuries. This mystic secret society killed members of the Abbasid elite for political or religious motivations. The word “assassin” is derived from their name. Their own name for the sect was al-da’wa al-jadīda (الدعوةالجديدة) which means “the new doctrine.” They called themselves fedayeen from the Arabic fidā’ī, which means “one who is ready to sacrifice his/her life for a cause.”

During the Cold War, the United States attempted several times to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan issued Executive Order 12333, which codified a policy first laid down in 1976 by the Ford administration. It stated, “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.”

In 1986, the American air strikes against Libya included an attack on the barracks where Muammar Qaddafi was known to be sleeping. The attack resulted in the death of Qaddafi’s infant daughter.[ During the 1991 Gulf War, the United States struck many of Iraq’s most important command bunkers with bunker-busting bombs in hopes of killing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Since the rise of al-Qaeda, both the Clinton and Bush administrations have backed “targeted killings.” In 1998, in retaliation for the al-Qaeda attacks on U.S. embassies in East Africa, the Clinton administration launched cruise missiles against a training camp in Afghanistan where bin Laden had been hours before. Reportedly, the United States nearly killed the leader of Taliban, Mullah Omar, with a Predator-launched Hellfire missile on the first night of Operation Enduring Freedom. In May 2002, the CIA launched a Hellfire missile from a Predator drone in an effort to kill the Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

On November 3, 2002, a US Central Intelligence Agency-operated MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) fired a Hellfire missile that destroyed a car carrying six suspected al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen. The target of the attack was Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, the top al-Qaeda operative in Yemen. Among those killed in the attack was a US citizen, Yemeni-American Ahmed Hijazi

According to Bush administration, the killing of an American in this fashion was legal. “I can assure you that no constitutional questions are raised here. There are authorities that the president can give to officials. He’s well within the balance of accepted practice and the letter of his constitutional authority,” said Condoleezza Rice, the US national security adviser.

The key technique was infiltration, either physical concealment and stealthy movement or the attempt to gain access to a person’s guard or staff with the aim of replacing or subverting them. The actual assassination would be the same close-contact stabbing, quieter smothering or strangulation, poisons and poisonous creatures were also used, and disembowelment was also relished. The mushroom death cap has been the traditional choice of assassins: it cannot be distinguished as poisonous by taste, and the symptoms of the poisoning show out only after some days or a week

Assassination can also imitate suicide. If the hit is thought out correctly and the assassin is skilled enough to prepare for all possible out comes, he/she can make a murder look like a suicide. For example: If a Handgun was used, it can be deployed correctly by leaving the mark’s hand at the correct angle to complete the suicide illusion. Pushing someone from a great height can also have the same effect, a mark being thrown off a balcony can be posed as a “jumper” situation.


Assassination is an extreme measure not normally used in clandestine operations. It should be assumed that it will never be ordered or authorized by any U.S. Headquarters, though the latter may in rare instances agree to its execution by members of an associated foreign service. This reticence is partly due to the necessity for committing communications to paper. No assassination instructions should ever be written or recorded. Consequently, the decision to employ this technique must nearly always be reached in the field, at the area where the act will take place. Decision and instructions should be confined to an absolute minimum of persons. Ideally, only one person will be involved. No report may be made, but usually the act will be properly covered by normal news services, whose output is available to all concerned.


Murder is not morally justifiable. Self-defense may be argued if the victim has knowledge which may destroy the resistance organization if divulged. Assassination of persons responsible for atrocities or reprisals may be regarded as just punishment. Killing a political leader whose burgeoning career is a clear and present danger to the cause of freedom may be held necessary.

But assassination can seldom be employed with a clear conscience. Persons who are morally squeamish should not attempt it.


The techniques employed will vary according to whether the subject is unaware of his danger, aware but unguarded, or guarded. They will also be affected by whether or not the assassin is to be killed with the subject hereafter, assassinations in which the subject is unaware will be termed “simple”; those where the subject is aware but unguarded will be termed “chase”; those where the victim is guarded will be termed “guarded.”

If the assassin is to die with the subject, the act will be called “lost.” If the assassin is to escape, the adjective will be “safe.” It should be noted that no compromises should exist here. The assassin must not fall alive into enemy hands.

A further type division is caused by the need to conceal the fact that the subject was actually the victim of assassination, rather than an accident or natural causes. If such concealment is desirable the operation will be called “secret” ;; if concealment is immaterial, the act will be called “open”; while if the assassination requires publicity to be effective it will be termed “terroristic.”

Following these definitions, the assassination of Julius Caesar was safe, simple, and terroristic, while that of Huey Long was lost, guarded and open. Obviously, successful secret assassinations are not recorded as assassination at all. [Illeg] o f Thailand and Augustus Caesar may have been the victims of safe, guarded and secret assassination. Chase assassinations usually involve clandestine agents or members of criminal organizations.


In safe assassinations, the assassin needs the usual qualities of a clandestine agent. He should be determined, courageous, intelligent, resourceful, and physically active. If special equipment is to be used, such as firearms or drugs, it is clear that he must have outstanding skill with such equipment.

Except in terroristic assassinations, it is desirable that the assassin be transient in the area. He should have an absolute minimum of contact with the rest of the organization and his instructions should be given orally by one person only. His safe evacuation after the act is absolutely essential, but here again contact should be as limited as possible. It is preferable that the person issuing instructions also conduct any withdrawal or covering action which may be necessary.

In lost assassination, the assassin must be a fanatic of some sort. Politics, religion, and revenge are about the only feasible motives. Since a fanatic is unstable psychologically, he must be handled with extreme care. He must not know the identities of the other members of the organization, for although it is intended that he die in the act, something may go wrong. While the Assassin of Trotsky has never revealed any significant information, it was unsound to depend on this when the act was planned.


When the decision to assassinate has been reached, the tactics of the operation must be planned, based upon an estimate of the situation similar to that used in military operations. The preliminary estimate will reveal gaps in information and possibly indicate a need for special equipment which must be procured or constructed. When all necessary data has been collected, an effective tactical plan can be prepared. All planning must be mental; no papers should ever contain evidence of the operation.

In resistance situations, assassination may be used as a counter-reprisal. Since this requires advertising to be effective, the resistance organization must be in a position to warn high officials publicly that their lives will be the price of reprisal action against innocent people. Such a threat is of no value unless it can be carried out, so it may be necessary to plan the assassination of various responsible officers of the oppressive regime and hold such plans in readiness to be used only if provoked by excessive brutality. Such plans must be modified frequently to meet changes in the tactical situation.


The essential point of assassination is the death of the subject. A human being may be killed in many ways but sureness is often overlooked by those who may be emotionally unstrung by the seriousness of this act they intend to commit. The specific technique employed will depend upon a large number of variables, but should be constant in one point: Death must be absolutely certain. The attempt on Hitler’s life failed because the conspiracy did not give this matter proper attention.

Techniques may be considered as follows:

  1. Manual.

It is possible to kill a man with the bare hands, but very few are skillful enough to do it well. Even a highly trained Judo expert will hesitate to risk killing by hand unless he has absolutely no alternative. However, the simplest local tools a re often much the most efficient means of assassination. A hammer, axe, wrench, screw driver, fire poker, kitchen knife, lamp stand, or anything hard, heavy and handy will suffice. A length of rope or wire or a belt will do if the assassin is strong and agile. All such improvised weapons have the important advantage of availability and apparent innocence. The obviously lethal machine gun failed to kill Trotsky where an item of sporting goods succeeded.

In all safe cases where the assassin may be subject to search, either before or after the act, specialized weapons should not be used. Even in the lost case, the assassin may accidentally be searched before the act and should not carry an incriminating device if any sort of lethal weapon can be improvised at or near the site. If the assassin normally carries weapons because of the nature of his job, it may still be desirable to improvise and implement at the scene to avoid disclosure of his identity.

  1. Accidents.

(‘It is not difficult to arrange a killing but arraigning a suicide is much more difficult’ ..J.V. Stalin)

For secret assassination, either simple or chase, the contrived accident is the most effective technique. When successfully executed, it causes little excitement and is only casually investigated.

The most efficient accident, in simple assassination, is a fall of 75 feet or more onto a hard surface. Elevator shafts, stairwells, unscreened windows and bridges will serve. Bridge falls into water are not reliable. In simple cases a private meeting with the subject may be arranged at a properly-cased location. The act may be executed by sudden, vigorous [excised] of the ankles, tipping the subject over the edge. If the assassin immediately sets up an outcry, playing the “horrified wit ness”, no alibi or surreptitious withdrawal is necessary. In chase cases it will usually be necessary to stun or drug the subject before dropping him. Care is required to insure that no wound or condition not attributable to the fall is discernible after death.

Falls into the sea or swiftly flowing rivers may suffice if the subject cannot swim. It will be more reliable if the assassin can arrange to attempt rescue, as he can thus be sure of the subject’s death and at the same time establish a workable alibi.

If the subject’s personal habits make it feasible, alcohol may be used [2 words excised] to prepare him for a contrived accident of any kind.

Falls before trains or subway cars are usually effective, but require exact timing and can seldom be free from unexpected observation.

Automobile accidents are a less satisfactory means of assassination. If the subject is deliberately run down, very exact timing is necessary and investigation is likely to be thorough. If the subject’s car is tampered with, reliability is very lo w. The subject may be stunned or drugged and then placed in the car, but this is only reliable when the car can be run off a high cliff or into deep water without observation.

Arson can cause accidental death if the subject is drugged and left in a burning building. Reliability is not satisfactory unless the building is isolated and highly combustible.

  1. Drugs.

In all types of assassination except terroristic, drugs can be very effective. If the assassin is trained as a doctor or nurse and the subject is under medical care, this is an easy and rare method. An overdose of morphine administered as a sedative will cause death without disturbance and is difficult to detect. The size of the dose will depend upon whether the subject has been using narcotics regularly. If not, two grains will suffice.

If the subject drinks heavily, morphine or a similar narcotic can be injected at the passing out stage, and the cause of death will often be held to be acute alcoholism.

Specific poisons, such as arsenic or strychine, are effective but their possession or procurement is incriminating, and accurate dosage is problematical. Poison was used unsuccessfully in the assassination of Rasputin and Kolohan, though the latter case is more accurately described as a murder.

  1. Edged Weapons

Any locally obtained edged device may be successfully employed. A certain minimum of anatomical knowledge is needed for reliability.

Puncture wounds of the body cavity may not be reliable unless the heart is reached. The heart is protected by the rib cage and is not always easy to locate.

Abdominal wounds were once nearly always mortal, but modern medical treatment has made this no longer true.

Absolute reliability is obtained by severing the spinal cord in the cervical region. This can be done with the point of a knife or a light blow of an axe or hatchet.

Another reliable method is the severing of both jugular and carotid blood vessels on both sides of the windpipe.

If the subject has been rendered unconscious by other wounds or drugs, either of the above methods can be used to insure death.

  1. Blunt Weapons

As with edge weapons, blunt weapons require some anatomical knowledge for effective use. Their main advantage is their universal availability. A hammer may be picked up almost anywhere in the world. Baseball and [illeg] bats are very widely distributed. Even a rock or a heavy stick will do, and nothing resembling a weapon need be procured, carried or subsequently disposed of.

Blows should be directed to the temple, the area just below and behind the ear, and the lower, rear portion of the skull. Of course, if the blow is very heavy, any portion of the upper skull will do. The lower frontal portion of the head, from th e eyes to the throat, can withstand enormous blows without fatal consequences.

  1. Firearms

Firearms are often used in assassination, often very ineffectively. The assassin usually has insufficient technical knowledge of the limitations of weapons, and expects more range, accuracy and killing power than can be provided with reliability. Since certainty of death is the major requirement, firearms should be used which can provide destructive power at least 100% in excess of that thought to be necessary, and ranges should be half that considered practical for the weapon.

Firearms have other drawbacks. Their possession is often incriminating. They may be difficult to obtain. They require a degree of experience from the user. They are [illeg]. Their [illeg] is consistently over-rated.

However, there are many cases in which firearms are probably more efficient than any other means. These cases usually involve distance between the assassin and the subject, or comparative physical weakness of the assassin, as with a woman.

(a) The precision rifle. In guarded assassination, a good hunting or target rifle should always be considered as a possibility. Absolute reliability can nearly always be achieved at a distance of one hundred yards. In ideal circumstances, t he range may be extended to 250 yards. The rifle should be a well made bolt or falling block action type, handling a powerful long-range cartridge. The .300 F.A.B. Magnum is probably the best cartridge readily available. Other excellent calibers are . 375 M.[illeg]. Magnum, .270 Winchester, .30 – 106 p.s., 8 x 60 MM Magnum, 9.3 x 62 kk and others of this type. These are preferable to ordinary military calibers, since ammunition available for them is usually of the expanding bullet type, whereas most ammunition for military rifles is full jacketed and hence not sufficiently lethal. Military ammunition should not be altered by filing or drilling bullets, as this will adversely affect accuracy.

The rifle may be of the “bull gun” variety, with extra heavy barrel and set triggers, but in any case should be capable of maximum precision. Ideally, the weapon should be able to group in one inch at one hundred yards, but 21/2″ groups are adequate. The sight should be telescopic, not only for accuracy, but because such a sight is much better in dim light or near darkness. As long as the bare outline of the target is discernable, a telescope sight will work, even if the rifle and shooter are in total darkness.

An expanding, hunting bullet of such calibers as described above will produce extravagant laceration and shock at short or mid-range. If a man is struck just once in the body cavity, his death is almost entirely certain. (mercury bullet here)

Public figures or guarded officials may be killed with great reliability and some safety if a firing point can be established prior to an official occasion. The propaganda value of this system may be very high.

M107 .50 Caliber Special Application Scoped Rifle SASR

Long Range Sniper Rifle (LRSR)

The M107 .50-caliber long range rifle is semi-automatic and is being fielded to infantry soldiers. It can engage targets to 2,000 meters with precision. At 29 inches long, the frame mounted, bolt-action XM107 weighs 28.5 pounds with optics. It is manufactured by Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, Inc. The XM107 is a rapid-fire; man portable, shoulder-fired, recoil operated semi-automatic system utilizing military standard .50 caliber ammunition. The primary components of the system consist of a rifle, day optical sighting system and hard carrying case(s).

Army snipers deliver precision fire against enemy targets that are outside a rifleman’s limitations of range, size, location, mobility and visibility. The M107 is derived from the M82A1 commercial version of the weapon that is manufactured by Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, Inc. of Murfreesboro, TN. It can defeat materiel targets located at distances beyond the range of the standard M24 7.62mm Sniper Weapon System, Galeazzi said. In the hands of a trained sniper, the M107 can surgically take out strategic targets while minimizing collateral damage. It is capable of hitting personnel targets as far away as 1500 meters and materiel targets out to 2000 meters.

The complete system includes the .50 caliber semi-automatic rifle, detachable 10-round magazine, variable-power day optic sight, transport case, tactical soft case, cleaning /maintenance equipment, detachable sling and adjustable bi-pod and manuals. It fires standard caliber .50 ammunition. The new rifle provides Army snipers a much needed solution that is tactically superior to other capabilities against materiel and personnel targets.

The M107 .50 caliber long range sniper rifle is a new Category I weapon being fielded to infantry snipers, with 700 in service in FY2003. The Category II M82A1 remains in service. The Army’s new .50 caliber sniper rifle design was initially designated the XM-107. At least two manufacturers of .50 caliber sniper rifles were in competition for the contract — Barrett and EDM Arms — and Barrett won the contract.

The M107 is the Barrett Model 95, a smaller, lightweight .50 caliber rifle with emphasis on accuracy and durability. The bullpup design results in a compact rifle with no sacrifice on accuracy or velocity thanks to its cryogenically treated 29-inch (73.7 cm) barrel, the same length as the Model 82A1. Recoil is reduced by the dual-chamber muzzle brake and specially designed recoil pad.

The 3-lug bolt of the M107 locks rigidly into the barrel extension, to accommodate the widest variety of factory ammunition loads. The adjustable bipod may be detached by removing a single quick-release pin. The M107 is set up to mount a variety of telescopic sights and with good ammunition this combination usually produces minute of Angle (MOA) accuracy. The M107 may be disassembled for cleaning without tools. 10 round magazines are available.

Barrett .50 caliber rifles are in service world-wide for EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) use. Users have found that mounting the Barretts on vehicles is a rapid and cost-effective method of clearing military airport runways from unexploded ordnance. Others have found the Barrett as an effective means of detonating land mines once they have been detected.

The M107 Long Range Sniper Rifle (LRSR) candidate weapon was DA approved for Urgent Requirement procurement (without night sight capability) in October 2001. The night sight capability for the XM107 LRSR was TBD. With an armorer- level modification, the Rail Quick Release System would allow the AN/ PVS- 10 Sniper Day/ Night sight currently used with the M24 Sniper Weapon System to be used with the XM107 LSRS. The cost: $1,180 per set, with a BOIP of: One Sniper Team Set: Weapon base (2); Scope Rings/ base (2); PVS-10 base (1) per XM 107 LRSR / M24 SWS.

Two Picatinny organizations, PMSW and the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, teamed up to buy, test and field the system to US troops in both countries. In November 2004 Picatinny continued to field the M107 .50 Caliber Long Range Sniper Rifle to US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. By the end of 2004r, the Picatinny team expected to issue more than 700 of the new systems to deployed Soldiers. Production and fielding were scheduled through 2007.

In January 2003 the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (TACOM-ARDEC), Picatinny Arsenal, NJ announced an interest in acquiring information on commercially available or non-developmental item (NDI) suppressors that will reduce the baseline muzzle flash, blast and sound signatures of the Army’s XM107 Caliber .50 rifle system (also commercially available as the Barrett M82A1-M). Potential contractors must be able to produce a minimum of 60 systems per month, with a production surge capability to 90 systems per month. The suppressor must be able to reduce the baseline signatures of the XM107 without adversely affecting or degrading weapon performance/accuracy, functionality, recoil, safety and reliability. It must also be modular enough to be quickly and easily installed and removed by the operator without requiring the use of special tools not readily available to the operator.

The .50 caliber Barrett Model 82A1/XM107 produces modest recoil energy. The weapon operating mechanism combined with an efficient muzzle brake reduce recoil energy to about 36 foot-pounds. The 25mm XM109 fires ammunition with essentially the same impulse as .50 caliber ammunition. However, the 25mm launches a much heavier projectile and uses much less propellant. The small amount of propellant limits the muzzle brake effects. The recoil energy of the XM109 exceeds 60 foot pounds. The suppressed version of the Model 82A1/XM107 produces significantly greater recoil energy than the muzzle brake variant of the 82A1/XM107, and is also a good candidate for recoil reduction efforts.

According to Operation Iraqi Freedom PEO Soldier Lessons Learned [LTC Jim Smith 15 May 2003] “The Barrett 50 cal Sniper Rifle may have been the most useful piece of equipment for the urban fight – especially for our light fighters. The XM107 was used to engage both vehicular and personnel targets out to 1400 meters. Soldiers not only appreciated the range and accuracy but also the target effect. Leaders and scouts viewed the effect of the 50 cal round as a combat multiplier due to the psychological impact on other combatants that viewed the destruction of the target.

(b) The Machine Gun.

Machine guns may be used in most cases where the precision rifle is applicable. Usually, this will require the subversion of a unit of an official guard at a ceremony, though a skillful and determined team might conceivably dispose of a loyal gun crow without commotion and take over the gun at the critical time.

The area fire capacity of the machine gun should not be used to search out a concealed subject. This was tried with predictable lack of success on Trotsky. The automatic feature of the machine gun should rather be used to increase reliability by placing a 5 second burst on the subject. Even with full jacket ammunition, this will be absolute lethal is the burst pattern is no larger than a man. This can be accomplished at about 150 yards. In ideal circumstances, a properly padded and targeted ma chine gun can do it at 850 yards. The major difficulty is placing the first burst exactly on the target, as most machine gunners are trained to spot their fire on target by observation of strike. This will not do in assassination as the subject will not wait.

(c) The Submachine Gun.

This weapon, known as the “machine-pistol” by the Russians and Germans and “machine-carbine” by the British, is occasionally useful in assassination. Unlike the rifle and machine gun, this is a short range weapon and since it fires pistol ammunition, much less powerful. To be reliable, it should deliver at least 5 rounds into the subject’s chest, though the .45 caliber U.S. weapons have a much larger margin of killing efficiency than the 9 mm European arms.

The assassination range of the sub-machine gun is point blank. While accurate single rounds can be delivered by sub-machine gunners at 50 yards or more, this is not certain enough for assassination. Under ordinary circumstances, the 5MG should be used as a fully automatic weapon. In the hands of a capable gunner, a high cyclic rate is a distinct advantage, as speed of execution is most desirable, particularly in the case of multiple subjects.

The sub-machine gun is especially adapted to indoor work when more than one subject is to be assassinated. An effective technique has been devised for the use of a pair of sub-machine gunners, by which a room containing as many as a dozen subjects can be “purifico” in about twenty seconds with little or no risk to the gunners.

While the U.S. sub-machine guns fire the most lethal cartridges, the higher cyclic rate of some foreign weapons enable the gunner to cover a target quicker with acceptable pattern density. The Bergmann Model 1934 is particularly good in this way. The Danish Madsen SMG has a moderately good cyclic rate and is admirably compact and concealable. The Russian SHG’s have a good cyclic rate, but are handicapped by a small, light protective which requires more kits for equivalent killing effect.

(d) The Shotgun.

A large bore shotgun is a most effective killing instrument as long as the range is kept under ten yards. It should normally be used only on single targets as it cannot sustain fire successfully. The barrel may be “sawed” off for convenience, but this is not a significant factor in its killing performance. Its optimum range is just out of reach of the subject. 00 buckshot is considered the best shot size for a twelve gage gun, but anything from single balls to bird shot will do if the range is right. The assassin should aim for the solar plexus as the shot pattern is small at close range and can easily [illeg] the head.

(e) The Pistol.

While the handgun is quite inefficient as a weapon of assassination, it is often used, partly because it is readily available and can be concealed on the person, and partly because its limitations are not widely appreciated. While many well known assassinations have been carried out with pistols (Lincoln, Harding, Ghandi), such attempts fail as often as they succeed, (Truman, Roosevelt, Churchill).

If a pistol is used, it should be as powerful as possible and fired from just beyond reach. The pistol and the shotgun are used in similar tactical situations, except that the shotgun is much more lethal and the pistol is much more easily concealed.

In the hands of an expert, a powerful pistol is quite deadly, but such experts are rare and not usually available for assassination missions.

.45 Colt, .44 Special, .455 Kly, .45 A.S.[illeg] (U.S. Service) and .357 Magnum are all efficient calibers. Less powerful rounds can suffice but are less reliable. Sub-power cartridges such as the .32s and .25s should be avoided.

In all cases, the subject should be hit solidly at least three times for complete reliability.

(f) Silenced Firearms

The sound of the explosion of the proponent in a firearm can be effectively silenced by appropriate attachments. However, the sound of the projective passing through the air cannot, since this sound is generated outside the weapon. In cases w here the velocity of the bullet greatly exceeds that of sound, the noise so generated is much louder than that of the explosion. Since all  powerful rifles have muzzle velocities of over 2000 feet per second, they cannot be silenced.

Pistol bullets, on the other hand, usually travel slower than sound and the sound of their flight is negligible. Therefore, pistols, submachine guns and any sort of improvised carbine or rifle which will take a low velocity cartridge can be silenced. The user should not forget that the sound of the operation of a repeating action is considerable, and that the sound of bullet strike, particularly in bone is quite loud.

Silent firearms are only occasionally useful to the assassin, though they have been widely publicized in this connection. Because permissible velocity is low, effective precision range is held to about 100 yards with rifle or carbine type weapons, while with pistols, silent or otherwise,are most efficient just beyond arms length. The silent feature attempts to provide a degree of safety to the assassin, but mere possession of a silent firearm is likely to create enough hazard to counter the advantage of its silence. The silent pisto l combines the disadvantages of any pistol with the added one of its obviously clandestine purpose.

A telescopically sighted, closed-action carbine shooting a low velocity bullet of great weight, and built for accuracy, could be very useful to an assassin in certain situations. At the time of writing, no such weapon is known to exist.

  1. Explosives.

Bombs and demolition charges of various sorts have been used frequently in assassination. Such devices, in terroristic and open assassination, can provide safety and overcome guard barriers, but it is curious that bombs have often been the implement of lost assassinations.

The major factor which affects reliability is the use of explosives for assassination. the charge must be very large and the detonation must be controlled exactly as to time by the assassin who can observe the subject. A small or moderate explosive charge is highly unreliable as a cause of death, and time delay or booby-trap devices are extremely prone to kill the wrong man. In addition to the moral aspects of indiscriminate killing, the death of casual bystanders can often produce public reactions unfavorable to the cause for which the assassination is carried out.

Bombs or grenades should never be thrown at a subject. While this will always cause a commotion and may even result in the subject’s death, it is sloppy, unreliable, and bad propaganda. The charge must be too small and the assassin is never sure of: (1)reaching his attack position, (2) placing the charge close enough to the target and (3) firing the charge at the right time.

Placing the charge surreptitiously in advance permits a charge of proper size to be employed, but requires accurate prediction of the subject’s movements.

Ten pounds of high explosive should normally be regarded as a minimum, and this is explosive of fragmentation material. The latter can consist of any hard, [illeg] material as long as the fragments are large enough. Metal or rock fragments should be walnut-size rather than pen-size. If solid plates are used, to be ruptured by the explosion, cast iron, 1″ thick, gives excellent fragmentation. Military or commercial high explosives are practical for use in assassination. Homemade or improvised explosives should be avoided. While possibly powerful, they tend to be dangerous and unreliable. Anti-personnel explosive missiles are excellent, provided the assassin has sufficient technical knowledge to fuse them properly. 81 or 82 mm mortar shells, or the 120 mm mortar shell, are particularly good. Anti-personnel shells for 85, 88, 90, 100 and 105 mm guns and howitzers are both large enough to be completely reliable and small enough to be carried by one man.

The charge should be so placed that the subject is not ever six feet from it at the moment of detonation.

A large, shaped charge with the [illeg] filled with iron fragments (such as 1″ nuts and bolts) will fire a highly lethal shotgun-type[illeg] to 50 yards. This reaction has not been thoroughly tested, however, and an exact replica of the proposed device should be fired in advance to determine exact range, pattern-size, and penetration of fragments. Fragments should penetrate at lea st 1″ of seasoned pine or equivalent for minimum reliability. Any firing device may be used which permits exact control by the assassin. An ordinary commercial or military explorer is efficient, as long as it is rigged for instantaneous action with no time fuse in the system. The wise [illeg] electric target can serve as the triggering device and provide exact timing from as far away as the assassin can reliably hit the target. This will avoid the disadvantages of military or commercial high explosives are practical for use in assassination. Homemade or improvised explosives should be avoided. While possibly powerful, they tend to be dangerous and unreliable. Anti-personnel explosive missiles are excellent, provided the assassin has sufficient technical knowledge to fuse them properly. 81 or 82 mm mortar shells, or the 120 mm mortar shell, are particularly good. Anti-personnel shells for 85, 88, 90, 100 and 105 mm guns and howitzers are both large enough to be completely reliable and small enough to be carried by one man.

The charge should be so placed that the subject is not ever six feet from it at the moment of detonation.

A large, shaped charge with the [illeg] filled with iron fragments (such as 1″ nuts and bolts) will fire a highly lethal shotgun-type [illeg] to 50 yards. This reaction has not been thoroughly tested, however, and an exact replica of the proposed device should be fired in advance to determine exact range, pattern-size, and penetration of fragments. Fragments should penetrate at lea st 1″ of seasoned pine or equivalent for minimum reliability. (casting sand, dimes, carpet tacks)

Any firing device may be used which permits exact control by the assassin. An ordinary commercial or military explorer is efficient, as long as it is rigged for instantaneous action with no time fuse in the system.

The wise [illeg] electric target can serve as the triggering device and provide exact timing from as far away as the assassin can reliably hit the target. This will avid the disadvantages of stringing wire between the proposed positions of the assassin and the subject, and also permit the assassin to fire the charge from a variety of possible positions.

The radio switch can be [illeg] to fire [illeg], though its reliability is somewhat lower and its procurement may not be easy.

Ten thousand US firefighters tackle 16 California wildfires

Wildfires in California have left at least 40 people dead and hundreds missing in the US state with 100,000 people evacuated as the fires burned for a sixth day. Most of the fires are in the northern part of the state.

October 15, 2017


Wildfires that have now been raging for six days in parts of California have killed at least 40 people and destroyed some 5,700 homes, officials say.

State fire services said 20 of the deaths occurred in Sonoma County, a wine-producing region. Most of the deceased — many of them elderly — are believed to have died shortly after the fires first broke out on October 8, having been taken by surprise as the blazes erupted in the middle of the night.

An estimated 10,000 firefighters are battling 16 large wildfires, most of them in the northern part of the state. Their task has been made more difficult by strong winds and high temperatures, with gusts of up to 64 kilometers per hour (40 miles per hour) reported on Saturday.

‘Unimaginable horror’

Californian governor Jerry Brown, who visited some burnt-out neighborhoods in the badly hit city of Santa Rosa, said on Saturday that the fires were one of the greatest tragedies his state had ever faced.

“It’s a horror that no one could have imagined,” he said after his visit. He has declared a state of emergency in several counties, including Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake and Napa.

‘Gray destruction’

Williams Chalmers is one Santa Rosa resident who received a knock on his door from firemen in the pre-dawn hours of Friday morning telling him he had to leave his home immediately.

“We are safe,” he said of himself and his wife, child and dog in a phone interview with DW. “We are running for our lives.” Chalmers has had no news of his home since fleeing, but described a scene of total devastation in the area where he lives.

“It is a war zone. It is a moonscape of absolute gray destruction. The only thing standing from people’s whole lives are chimneys,” he said. “On the other hand, it is equal opportunity. It is laying waste to trailer homes, housing developments, mountaintop mansions, wineries, ranches, parks, schools. Needless to say, to people’s lives.”

Officials fear the death toll may rise as they search through thousands of damaged houses and vehicles.

Phone interview by Andy Valvur


Iran: We will stick to nuclear deal if Europe does

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif has indicated that the nuclear agreement Iran signed with world powers may still have a future. European countries’ continued support for the accord may determine if it lasts, he said.

October 15, 2017


Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday that Iran would adhere to the 2015 nuclear deal so long as European signatories also remain committed to the agreement.

“The resistance of the Europeans (against the US) will show whether the nuclear agreement can be carried forward or not,” Zarif said.

US President Donald Trump said on Friday he would not “re-certify” the deal that dropped sanctions against Iran in exchange for Tehran halting its nuclear program. US Congress now has 60 days to decide whether to reapply US sanctions against the country.

Zarif was optimistic that European leaders would continue to support the deal given their geopolitical and economic interests in Iran. He also said an abiding commitment would also show whether Europe “could play its own role independent of the US in the world.”

Zarif’s comments echo those of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani who earlier said Iran  would not withdraw Iran warns US against imposing new sanctions from the agreement if the remaining signatories — the four UN Security Council members Russia, China, France and Britain plus non-council member Germany – also remained committed

Britain and Germany pledge support

British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday said their governments would not withdraw from the nuclear deal.

During a call, “they agreed the UK and Germany both remained firmly committed to the deal,” a British government spokeswoman said.

“They also agreed the international community needed to continue to come together to push back against Iran’s destabilizing regional activity, and to explore ways of addressing concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile program,” the spokeswoman added

New Iranian threats

On Saturday, Zarif said Trump’s speech had violated the terms of the nuclear agreement.

According to the Iranian minister, the US had not implemented the deal “in good faith” and had not “refrained from reintroducing or reimposing” sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program.

“I have already written nine letters [to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini] listing the cases where the United States has failed to act on or delayed its commitments under the JCPOA,” Zarif said, referring to the name of the nuclear agreement by its official acronym.

Mogherini had negotiated the deal along with representatives from the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany.

Zarif warned that Tehran would respond to any new US sanctions with a “reciprocal measure.”

If deal collapses, renewed enrichment?

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (IAEA), Ali Akbar Salehi, on Saturday warned that Tehran would stop allowing unannounced UN nuclear inspections if the agreement fell apart.

He said Iran’s adherence to the Additional Protocol of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which allows the IAEA inspections, would be “meaningless” without the wider agreement.

He also warned that Iran would restart production of highly enriched uranium at 20 percent if the US reintroduced sanctions, which he said the country could do “within four days.”

Nuclear weapons require 90 percent enriched uranium, but 20 percent enriched uranium can be converted into 90 percent in a short period of time.

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