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US senators demand full White House investigation into shooting of Palestinian American journalist

“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>US senators demand full White House investigation into shooting of Palestinian American journalist

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen speaks to The World's host Marco Werman about a renewed call by himself and other Senate Democrats for a full inquiry into the killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh earlier this year.

The WorldSeptember 30, 2022 · 4:00 PM EDT

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen speaks during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 3, 2022.

Mariam Zuhaib/AP/File

US Congressional Democrats are calling on the White House to conduct and release the findings of a full investigation into the shooting death of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in May.

An investigator from the research group Forensic Architecture shared with The World a computer reconstruction, built by its team, of the spot in the West Bank where Abu Akleh was shot. It determined that she was shot by an Israeli marksman and that she was clearly identifiable as a journalist. 

Earlier this month, the Israeli military announced long-awaited results of its investigation into the deadly shooting of Abu Akleh, saying there was a “high probability” an Israeli soldier had mistakenly killed her during a raid in the occupied West Bank last May.

But the military provided no evidence to support its claim that a fierce gunbattle was under way at the time that Abu Akleh was shot.

Now, the US Congress is pushing for further accountability. Democrats Sen. Patrick Leahy and Sen. Chris Van Hollen and others have reached out to the State Department with a series of questions about the case.

Sen. Van Hollen joined The World's host Marco Werman to discuss why a US-led independent invesigation into the case matters. 

Marco Werman: I'd like to begin with what's known as the Leahy Laws, named after Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy. The law basically says the US government will not provide assistance to foreign security forces where there is a credible implication of gross violations of human rights. Does the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh activate the Leahy Laws? Sen. Chris Van Hollen: Well, that depends on all the facts. And we've been trying to get the facts so that we can have accountability in this case. The most recent analysis that you are reporting on is consistent with analysis done by The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post. And it's why we keep pushing the Biden administration to conduct an independent analysis of their own, reach their own conclusions, about what happened so that we can consider the next steps for accountability. But getting the facts is a prerequisite to applying any of those laws. What has been the response from the White House to your request?Well, so far, the White House and the State Department have not been responsive. As Sen. Leahy, myself and others wrote to Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken on July 12, with a series of questions trying to get the facts in this case. We have yet to get a response. And it's my view that the Biden administration has a duty to get to the bottom of the killing of an American citizen and a journalist — where the Biden administration says a high priority is to protect journalists in conflict zones — that we have to pursue the facts wherever they lead us. That's what Secretary Blinken himself said some time ago, and we're going to continue to hold the administration to that.You and Sen. Leahy have authored an amendment that would force the State Department to issue a report on Shireen Abu Akleh's killing. If the killing were found to be intentional, what would that mean for lawmakers?Well, again, I just don't want to jump to the conclusions of a report. This is why we keep pushing for the facts. And we are totally not satisfied at all with what the Biden administration has provided. As you probably know, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) issued a report claiming that the shooting was justified because there was an ongoing exchange of fire at that time between IDF forces and Palestinian militants. But this most recent evidence, along with the earlier evidence from independent news sources — again, like The New York Times, Washington Post and others — indicates that there was no such exchange of fire. And this is the key issue we have to resolve. And the Biden administration has a duty to work with us to get the facts.So, given all the sources you have, what other facts are lawmakers looking for?Well, what we're looking for is for the Biden administration to conduct this independent analysis, because they ultimately are the ones that have to make the determination under US law. So, this is why getting the facts is so important, and we're going to continue to push to do that. I also included an amendment in the State Department authorization bill that was passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the other day to require the administration to provide us with a copy of a report done by the United States security coordinator on the ground there. They have not provided that to us yet, despite the fact we asked for it back in July.If a State Department report showed her killing as intentional, would you press to cut funding to Israel?Well, again, I don't want to get ahead of the facts. Clearly, if that were the case, that would trigger the Leahy Laws. Sen. Leahy himself made that statement on the floor of the Senate. But that, obviously, is contingent on the finding of the facts. And this is why it's important that the administration not sweep this under the rug, and we're going to hold their feet to the fire so that they can't do that.Senator, with some exceptions, there has long been an overarching belief in Congress that the US bond with Israel is unbreakable. Are we at a moment where that's being questioned?I think it is unbreakable. I think we have a very strong partnership with Israel, which is why it is especially disappointing in this case that we can't get more facts and cooperation. Secretary Blinken asked the IDF to review their rules of engagement after this case. In other words, review when fire is appropriate and when it's not. He pressed that for a little while, but then he dropped that request when he got some pushback. So, we have a close partnership. So, this is a moment where we want the Israeli government to help us get to the bottom of the shooting death of an American citizen and a journalist. And we need the Biden administration to be very focused on getting the facts. Secretary Blinken, himself, originally called for an independent investigation. Those were his words. We said, "Yes, we agree." He's backed off. We haven't. We need the Biden administration to do its duty in this case of a killing of an American citizen and journalist.World leaders and human rights groups have pointed to what they see as a pattern of human rights violations over the years that Israel is responsible for. Why is the death of this Palestinian American journalist different for Senate Democrats?Well, all violations of human rights, wherever they happen in the world, are important. What we have here is a situation where you do have an American citizen — a Palestinian American. You also have a journalist. And the Biden administration has repeatedly said that protecting journalists in conflict areas is one of their top priorities. So, if that's true, if protecting journalists is a top priority and protecting American citizens is a top priority, this is a clear case where the Biden administration has to show that it means what it says.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity. AP contributed to this report. 

Zakharova saw in the comments of the White House the recognition of fascism in the United States

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, speaking about US President Joe Biden's attitude towards the Republicans, officially recognized the presence of fascism in the United States. This was stated in her Telegram channel by the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova.

Jean-Pierre earlier said that Biden is not shy about her assessment of the Republican supporters of former President Donald Trump as “fascists”. and will continue to fight them for the rights of Americans.

«Karine Jean-Pierre said out loud what many only guessed— Fascism is on the rise in the US. I wonder if some Israeli statesman will say (as they said about the Kiev regime) that “there are many Jews among the Republicans, so they cannot be fascists a priori”? Or shall we wait for the refutation of this revelation by the Americans themselves? Zakharova wrote.

Biden called some Trump supporters “fascists” August 27 during a performance in the city of Bethesda. “The extreme philosophy of MAGA (Make America Great Again) is similar to semi-fascism,” — he said then.

The slogan “Make America great again” Trump actively promoted before the 2016 presidential election, which he won. In the 2020 elections, he also used the slogan Keep America Great (“Let's keep America great”).

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White House calls violence like Dugin’s murder inappropriate

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Commenting on the murder of Russian journalist Daria Dugina, John Kirby, strategic communications coordinator at the National Security Council, said: such acts of violence are unacceptable.

The American official added that Washington is “closely watching” to investigate the incident.

“This kind of violence is inappropriate against anyone,” Kirby emphasized.

 

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Melania Trump does not rule out a return to the White House

Former “America's First Lady” Covers Her Husband's Rear

Melania Trump appears ready for a second White House appearance as first lady. Previously, ill-wishers claimed that she and her husband would part as soon as Donald left his presidency. Now, however, Trump is hinting that he will run for president again. And his wife, when asked if she wants to work as first lady again, replies: “Never say never.”

Photo: AP

Last week, Melania Trump was spotted leaving celebrity hairstylist Frederic Fekkay's salon in Manhattan with a flawless blow-dry. It was, writes the Daily Mail, just days after the FBI raided Trump's posh Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida (dubbed the “Winter White House” during his presidency), in searching for secret documents, presumably rummaging through Melania's underwear drawer.

But if the 52-year-old former first lady felt any anger or emotion over the Feds' raid on her home, as always, she didn't show it. She simply slid into a limo, flanked by Secret Service agents, and was whisked back to the three-story penthouse she shares with her 76-year-old husband and 16-year-old son Barron in New York's glittering Trump Tower. It's a familiar routine by now, notes the Daily Mail.

While many assumed Melania would leave her husband the moment the helicopter left the White House lawn at the chaotic end of his presidential term, this did not happen. Instead, the former first lady is slowly rebuilding her life away from the public eye.

For longtime friend and socialite Toni Holt Kramer, Melania's composure came as no surprise. “I get angry every time I read false stories about how she and Donald are going to divorce and how they live apart,” she told the Mail on Sunday.

“I have known Donald since 2010 when my husband and I joined the club in Mar-a-Lago. Soon I met Melania. Since then, I've been to more parties with them than I can count: Barron's birthdays. Thanksgiving Day. B-B-Q. The Melania I know is sweet, kind, natural, stylish and puts her family above everything else. She constantly gets a bad rap because people love to hate the Trumps. Who can blame her for wanting to stay in the background? She didn't hide. I saw her at the spa. She and Donald are always in Mar-a-Lago restaurants.”

With a focus on family and charitable causes that she cares about, Melania launched a website earlier this year to raise money for children's charities by selling $150 worth of digital art.

Friends say that for the most part she lived in a private residence of 3,500 square meters. ft. in Mar-a-Lago, which is also an exclusive private club offering carefully vetted members the opportunity to join for a one-time fee of $250,000 and annual fees of $16,000. Melania swims in an Olympic-sized pool, plays tennis on private courts three times a week, hosts parties at the ballroom, and gets facials and massages at the spa.

Tony Holt Kramer says: “Mrs. Trump has never made a secret of the fact that she considers her greatest achievement to be a wife and mother. Maybe that's why so many people attack her? I don't think it's fashionable to talk anymore.”

Yet, despite all the furious speculation from Trump's enemies, as he contemplates whether to run for president again in 2024, Donald and Melania are not only in many ways together, but she increasingly appears to be the power “behind the throne.” .

And Trump knows this well. Holt Kramer says she watched the couple on a candle-lit terrace in Mar-a-Lago earlier this year, and for two hours “Donald hung on his wife's every word.” For her part, Melania “seemed oblivious to everything else. He absolutely trusts her judgment about everything,” Another source said that as “Mrs. Trump,” she has a lot of power: “Conservative women admire her for being the perfect wife. She came to America from Slovenia with nothing, made a career as a model, and then married a billionaire. She is ambitious. She looks flawless. She supports her husband. She shows up when he needs her. Make no mistake, she knows how valuable she is to Trump. Melania is one of the few people he listens to and trusts implicitly. He always says: “She has my back.”

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The government has returned the mask regime in the White House

A mask regime will be introduced in the government building from August 22, face-to-face meetings will be limited, and the number of foreign and domestic business trips of members of the Cabinet of Ministers will be reduced /4/98/756607282597984.jpg 673w” media=”(max-width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi )” >

Enhanced quarantine measures have been reintroduced in the building of the Russian government in connection with the spread of COVID-19 in Russia. This was announced with reference to the relevant order of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Grigorenko, the Maysky Ukaz Telegram channel reported, the information was confirmed by RBC in the office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Among the imposed restrictions:

  • A mandatory mask regime is introduced.
  • The number of face-to-face meetings in the Government House building is limited, as well as the number of participants (it is recommended to hold most events in the teleconference mode).
  • The number of visitors to the Bely home— both employees of federal executive bodies and other organizations.
  • The number of foreign and domestic business trips will be reduced.

RBC sent a request to the government press service.

The coronavirus incidence rate began to decline in Russia in February and reached the lowest values ​​since the beginning of the pandemic by June. A new rise in the incidence of COVID-19 began in mid-July. If at the beginning of the month about 3 thousand people infected with coronavirus were detected per day, then by August the incidence increased tenfold.

Over the past day, 33.1 thousand new cases of the disease were detected in the country, which was a record since March 18, and 63 more people died. The Kremlin called the dynamics of the incidence alarming, but noted that this situation is also observed in other countries. “The numbers are really growing. We see that the curve crept up. This is not only in our country, but in a number of countries such an alarming trend is observed, — Presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.

Read on RBC Pro Pro You have 8 seconds. How to pitch and sell an idea Summary Pro How American Walmart is paying the price for becoming too Chinese Case Studies Pro Video returns are overrated. How Pyaterochka came to this conclusion Pro cases It's time for factories to forget about development and learn to copy foreign products Articles Pro How to relax without guilt: 5 main principles Articles Pro Consumers cut costs. What niches make sense to open a business Instructions Pro x The Economist Bezos and Dorsey invest in African startups. What do they hope for? The last one started in January. At its peak, on February 11, almost 204 thousand cases of infection were detected in the country per day, but then the figure began to decline.

Amid the spread of COVID-19, Rospotrebnadzor recommended that parts of the regions return the mask regime. According to the agency, as of August 16, about 50% of newly detected cases were in three regions: Moscow, St. Petersburg and the Moscow region. The incidence rate for the whole country was 119.71 per 100,000 population, which is 49.2% higher than last week.

Earlier, the authorities of Buryatia announced the return of the mandatory mask regime in public places. Kalmykia has returned mandatory vaccination for vulnerable categories of citizens, including people over 60 and health workers.

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White House calls Chinese exercises off Taiwan coast irresponsible

The exercise of the People's Liberation Army of China (PLA) off the coast of Taiwan is an irresponsible provocation. This was stated in the press service of the White House, reports Reuters.

“These actions represent a significant escalation of China's efforts to change the status quo. They are provocative, irresponsible and increase the risk of miscalculation, — said in a statement.

The United States intends to continue to support peacekeeping efforts in the Taiwan Strait, the White House added.

China began the exercise in response to US Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taipei on Aug. 2. China considers Taiwan its own territory. The Chinese authorities sharply criticized Pelosi's visit, saying that she challenged the world, deliberately committed a provocation and violated the “one China” principle. Beijing suspended US cooperation in a number of areas and decided to impose sanctions on Pelosi.

The Taiwan Ministry of Defense announced today that at least 20 PLA ​​Air Force aircraft entered the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone. The defense department clarified that ten Su-30 fighters, four J-16 and J-11 each, as well as a Y-8 electronic reconnaissance aircraft and a Y-20 air tanker, entered the air defense zone. The Taiwanese military responded by issuing radio warnings and deploying anti-aircraft missile systems.

Washington insists that Pelosi's arrival does not contradict the principle of “one China” and does not mean a change in US policy towards China. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned that Beijing's suspension of US-China dialogue on some issues, including climate change, would have long-term consequences. He called the measures that China is taking as part of military exercises disproportionate to Pelosi's peaceful visit to Taiwan.

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Coronavirus-stricken Biden feels well – White House

The head of the United States, Joe Biden, who is now ill with coronavirus, is feeling well, said White House coordinator for combating COVID-19 Ashish Jha, RT reports.

Ja said that he spoke with the presidential team last night. The day before, according to him, Biden had a good day and felt much better.

It was previously reported that the US president maintains self-isolation and works by phone or through the Zoom platform. During a meeting on economic issues, in which he participated remotely, the president coughed, his voice sounded hoarse.

Biden is being treated with an antiviral drug, which is recommended for those at risk of developing a severe form of coronavirus.

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Named the reasons for the irritation of the White House by Erdogan: “Headache”

The Biden administration has been infuriated not only by the cadres of the NATO leader with colleagues from Russia and Iran

Despite helping to achieve a deal to export Ukrainian grain, Turkish President Erdogan remains a headache for Biden, alarming US officials on other fronts. This also applies to relations with Russia and Iran, and events in Syria, and the situation within NATO.

Photo: Global Look Press

When Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement on Friday to unblock Ukrainian grain exports, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan played the role of a benevolent statesman, writes The New York Times.

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Sitting next to the Secretary General of the United Nations in an Ottoman palace in Istanbul, Erdoğan said the deal Turkey helped broker would benefit “all mankind.”

The Biden administration has welcomed the agreement, which could ease the global food crisis exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine and the blockade of its ports. And while a White House spokesman has praised Erdogan for his efforts, in private the Turkish president remains a major annoyance to Biden administration officials.

Days before presiding over the grain deal, the Turkish autocrat, as The New York Times calls him, again warned that he could veto NATO plans to admit Sweden and Finland into its ranks in the coming months, which would the awkward position of the North Atlantic Alliance and the Biden administration while they work against Russia. And the US Congress this month expressed misgivings about Joe Biden's pledge at the NATO summit in Madrid last month to sell dozens of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey.

On Tuesday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan traveled to Tehran for meetings with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The footage of America's two main rivals, along with Erdogan, the leader of the NATO nation, runs counter to the Western narrative of “deeply isolated” countries, analysts say. Tehran and Moscow.

Then on Friday, a White House spokesman reiterated US concerns about Ankara's threats to launch a new invasion of northern Syria against US-backed Kurdish fighters whom Turkey considers terrorists.

In aggregate, The New York Times continues, the actions Erdogan — and Joe Biden's limited ability to contain them — underscore the Turkish leader's unique position as a military ally that is often at odds with the agenda of his Western allies. For US officials, this is often a maddening role.

“Erdogan — this is, in fact, Joe Manchin from NATO, — said Elizabeth Shackelford, a former Foreign Service official, referring to the conservative Democratic senator from West Virginia who stymied Biden in domestic politics. – He is in our team, but then he does things that are clearly not good for our team. And I just don't see it changing.

But Biden administration officials say writing off Erdogan entirely would be doomed to failure. The position of his country, located at the crossroads of East and West, is of strategic importance and allows him to be an interlocutor with even more problematic neighbors — as evidenced by the grain deal that created a demilitarized corridor across the Black Sea for Ukraine's agricultural exports.

A senior US official said Erdogan's problematic behavior was largely due to his political weakness in Turkey, where inflation rose to nearly 80 percent last month. Hoping to divert attention from his runaway economy, Erdogan turned to outright displays of nationalism and demagogy about the threat posed by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Kurdish groups in Syria.

Major NATO initiatives, such as the proposed expansion of the alliance from 30 members at the expense of Sweden and Finland, require the unanimous consent of all the countries included in the bloc. In May, Mr. Biden said he hoped the two northern European countries could “quickly” join the alliance, which will be a serious strategic blow for Russia.

But, The New York Times recalls, Erdogan raised objections, complaining that both potential new NATO members provided political and financial support to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which the United States has designated as a terrorist organization. US and NATO officials are concerned that the planned expansion of the North Atlantic Alliance could fail in what would be a major propaganda victory for the Russian leadership.

NATO leaders breathed a sigh of relief at their summit last month when Erdogan reached an agreement with the leaders of Sweden and Finland, who pledged to act against terrorist organizations and join extradition agreements with Turkey, which wants to prosecute PKK members living in those countries.

Biden looked particularly grateful for the breakthrough. “I want to especially thank you for what you have done to settle the situation regarding Finland and Sweden,” — he told the Turkish president in the presence of journalists.

The two-page agreement broadly stated that Sweden and Finland would consider “Turkey's pending requests for the deportation or extradition of terrorist suspects promptly and thoroughly.”

But Turkish officials said they were expecting more than 70 people to be extradited. It remains unclear whether Stockholm and Helsinki will agree to these demands and how Erdogan will react if they do not agree.

Last Monday, Erdogan warned that he could still “freeze” NATO expansion if its demands are not met.

John Biden also told Erdogan in Spain that he supported the sale of 40 American F-16 fighter jets that Ankara requested last fall, along with technological upgrades to dozens of fighter jets the Turks already own. Turkey needs the jets in part because the Trump administration canceled plans to sell the country advanced F-35 fighter jets in 2019 after Erdogan, in one of his most baffling recent moves, according to The New York Times, bought a Russian anti-aircraft gun. – the S-400 missile system, despite US protests.

Biden denied offering the planes to buy Erdogan's support for NATO expansion. “And there was no quid pro quo; we just had to sell, — he said. – But I need Congressional approval for that, and I think we can get it.

Congressional approval may not be a given, The New York Times notes. And it's not clear whether Erdogan will be able to block the proposed NATO expansion until he reaches an agreement on the F-16 aircraft.

This month, the House of Representatives approved an amendment to the annual military policy bill requiring President Biden to certify that any sale of fighter jets is in America's vital national interest and that Turkey will not use the jets to violate Greek airspace in the Aegean.

Rep. Chris Pappas, Democrat of New Hampshire and author of the amendment, also referred to Turkey's purchase of a Russian missile system and its ambiguous stance on the conflict in Ukraine. Erdogan called the Russian special operation “unacceptable”, but did not join the sanctions imposed by the US and its allies against Russia.

“Turkey played on both sides of the barricades in Ukraine, — said Congressman Pappas. – They have not proved to be the reliable ally we could count on. I think the Biden administration needs to take a tougher stance.

Once the White House formally asks Congress to approve the sale of the planes, President Biden will need the support of other powerful members who have been highly critical of Erdogan, including Democratic Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez.

Senator Menendez previously asked whether Turkey is a member of NATO at all. And at a hearing last month on the proposed expansion of the North Atlantic alliance, he said that the actions of Ankara, “standing in the way of this process, serve only the interests of Putin.”

Menendez also issued a statement last month along with fellow Republican on the Committee on Foreign Relations Senator Jim Rish. He sternly warned Erdogan against the threat of an invasion of northern Syria. In a statement, US lawmakers said a potential Turkish invasion would have “catastrophic consequences,” threatening local operations against Islamic State remnants. (ISIS – a terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation. «MK») and exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

A Pentagon spokesman recently joined the American warnings. “We strongly oppose any Turkish operation in northern Syria and have made our objections clear to Turkey,” — Dana Strowl, deputy assistant secretary of defense, told the Washington Institute for Near East Policy this month.

Some of Mr. Erdogan's harshest critics warn of an endless cycle in which the Turkish leader wrests concessions from the United States and other allies on NATO, such as new fighter jets and a harder line on Kurdish militias, only to tighten their demands for the future.

"These dances around the F-16 — it's jet fighter diplomacy and it's a mask for what's really going on here — says Mark Wallace, founder of the Turkish Democracy Project, a group that has been highly critical of Erdogan. – Good ally — all the more a good NATO ally — does not use blackmail to get what he wants at key moments in the history of the alliance.

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White House says Biden spoke to Saudi prince about Khashoggi

The White House insists that US President Joe Biden discussed the murder of The Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud at the very beginning of their meeting. This was stated at a briefing by the press secretary of the American administration, Karine Jean-Pierre, the broadcast was on the White House Twitter page.

“The President was asked this question, and he answered it directly. <…> So I will focus on what the president said when he was asked directly about it just recently, — she responded to a request to comment on reports from the Saudi side that there was no such conversation.

Biden visited Saudi Arabia in mid-July as part of a tour of the Middle East. There he held talks with the crown prince, whom, as he himself claimed, he made it clear that he was thinking about the murder.

“As for the murder of Khashoggi, I raised this issue at the very beginning of the meeting, making it clear what I thought about it then and what I think now, — said the head of the United States. Then Biden noted that he blamed Mohammed bin Salman for the death of a journalist.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who attended the meeting, told Fox News he “didn't hear that particular phrase.” Biden, in response to a journalist's question, later replied that al-Jubeir was telling a lie.

Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. Until his death, he criticized the authorities of the kingdom. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed the assassination order came from “the highest levels” Saudi government. Mohammed bin Salman has already acknowledged responsibility for the death of a journalist, but claimed that Khashoggi was killed without his knowledge. American intelligence believes that the crown prince personally approved the kidnapping and subsequent murder of the journalist. The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs denies this.

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White House announces Iran’s plans to transfer drones to Russia

US Presidential Adviser Sullivan: Iran Plans to Donate Drones to Russia /s0.rbk.ru/v6_top_pics/media/img/0/03/756575838352030.jpg” alt=”The White House announced Iran's plans to transfer drones to Russia” />

The United States has information that Iran plans to provide Russia with up to several hundred unmanned aerial vehicles. Jake Sullivan, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, told The Associated Press.

“Our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred unmanned aerial vehicles, including drones capable of carrying weapons, at an accelerated time,” he said.

According to Washington, Moscow is asking Tehran to provide it with weapon-capable drones for use in a special operation in Ukraine.

Iran is preparing not only to provide, but also train Russian troops to use their drones as early as July, Sullivan said.

In mid-June, Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov, who oversees the military-industrial complex, told RBC that the Russian Armed Forces “belatedly engaged” in introduction of unmanned vehicles.

At the same time, he stressed that Russia is developing dynamically in this direction. “We have almost all types of unmanned vehicles: reconnaissance, strike, tactical, operational and operational-tactical,” — said the Deputy Prime Minister.

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At the same time, in terms of their parameters, Russian drones are not inferior to Turkish ones and, in particular, the “widely advertised Bayraktar”, which the Ukrainian army purchased, he stressed.

According to Borisov, the defense industry will increase the mass production of drones.

Ukraine, in turn, uses American Switchblade and Phoenix Ghost drones in the combat area. Turkey supplies Bayraktar TB2 drones to Kiev, the cost of which, according to the publication , fluctuates between $1 million and $2 million, wrote Business Insider.

In addition, the United States was going to send MQ-1C Gray Eagle reconnaissance and strike drones to Ukraine, Reuters wrote, citing three sources. According to the agency, Kyiv requires the United States and its allies to supply the Ukrainian military with modern fighters instead of drones.

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Trump warns of risk of World War III due to White House decisions

Trump saw the risk of World War III due to US decisions on Ukraine He pointed to a small amount of EU assistance to Ukraine

Donald Trump

The decisions of the US administration regarding Ukraine could lead to the outbreak of World War III, the US authorities should be “careful”, said former President Donald Trump. Broadcast of his speech to supporters at the meeting “Faith and Freedom” hosted C-Span in Nashville, Tennessee.

“We have to be careful because the way we manage this could end up in the next world war,”— Trump said (quote from RIA Novosti).

Trump repeated the assertion that the crisis in Ukraine would not have happened if he remained the President of the United States. He expressed confidence that the situation could turn into a third world war due to the decisions of the White House, noting: “we are allocating 40 billion in addition to the other 16 billion, it turns out 56 billion.” In his opinion, the assistance provided by Europe to Ukraine is only a small part of the support of the United States.

Previously, Trump has repeatedly criticized the current President Joe Biden, his administration and other presidents of the country for their policies, including— on relations with Russia. In late April, he argued that the United States and the world as a whole were at the most dangerous moment in history, and in May he said that the White House did not know how to interact with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which could lead to the death of “millions of people.”

The ex-president also called the current US authorities “complete lunatics” who are leading to the Third World War. “Despite all the weakness, cowardice and incompetence of Biden, he still has the opportunity to end this tragedy in Ukraine without involving Americans in a terrible and bloody war,” & mdash; Trump said.

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Peskov said there was no contact between the Kremlin and the White House

According to Peskov, “all contacts are virtually absent.” The last time Putin and Biden spoke was two weeks before the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine .jpg” alt=”Peskov said there was no contact between the Kremlin and the White House” />

There are virtually no contacts between the Kremlin and the administration of US President Joe Biden, RIA Novosti reported. Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov.

“We can say that no, not now. Now all contacts are virtually absent,»,— he said, answering a question about contacts between the Kremlin and the White House.

Since the beginning of Russia's military operation in Ukraine, the United States has already imposed several packages of sanctions against Moscow, including against Russian President Vladimir Putin. In addition, at the end of February, Washington announced the expulsion of 12 employees of the Russian mission to the UN, and later— ten more employees of the Russian diplomatic mission.

At the same time, the number of bilateral meetings and negotiations between the first persons of Russia and the United States has decreased. In particular, the Russian president last called Joe Biden on February 12— two weeks before the announcement of the special operation in Ukraine.

On April 20, Peskov, answering a question about the possible date for the return of the US ambassador to Moscow, said that “the return of ambassadors after consultations is justified by expediency.” Relations between the two countries are now at a “low point”, he pointed out.

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John Sullivan left Moscow on April 22nd. He said that he would stay in the USA for several weeks, but did not name the exact date of return.

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Pentagon Press Secretary Kirby Moves to the White House

John Kirby has been with the US Department of Defense since 2021. Biden appointed him National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator />

John Kirby

U.S. President Joe Biden has appointed Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby as National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator, White House reports.

“In this position, Kirby will coordinate interagency efforts to clarify United States policy and will serve as the administration's senior representative on related matters,” Reuters cites an excerpt from the statement.

Kirby will report to the head of the National Security Council, Jake Sullivan.

Biden said that Kirby “possesses a unique qualification.” for this position and “understands the complexities of foreign and defense policy” United States.

The Washington Post and CNN previously reported that Kirby would be stepping down as Pentagon spokesman. According to the latter, he will not regularly hold briefings, but will speak with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre when necessary. 2017).

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Kirby served as a State Department spokesman from 2015-2017, then spent several years as a military analyst at CNN. He joined the Pentagon in 2021. According to WP, Kirby “impressed White House officials” with their briefings, especially in recent months, during the Russian military operation in Ukraine.

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CNN learns details of Pentagon Representative Kirby’s move to the White House

At the White House, John Kirby will take over the Foreign Policy Public Relations position at the National Security Council,

John Kirby

US Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby will move to the White House. This is reported by CNN, citing a source.

Despite the fact that the details of his transition to a new position are still being finalized, Kirby is expected to take the post of a senior foreign policy public relations specialist in the National Security Council (NSC ).

According to the channel, he will not regularly hold briefings, but will speak with White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre when necessary.

On the eve of The Washington Post, citing two sources, said that Kirby will move to the White House in a leadership position. The interlocutors of the publication then did not specify what position they were talking about, but suggested that he would actively participate in White House communications, including close cooperation with the NSS.

Earlier, CNN reported that John Kirby was also considered to replace Jen Psaki as White House Press Secretary.

Jen Psaki has been the White House Press Secretary since November 30, 2020. Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden announced that she would leave office on May 13. She was replaced by First Deputy Press Secretary and Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States Karine Jean-Pierre.

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Axios with a link wrote to sources that Psaki plans to go to work on the American television channel MSNBC and replace the presenter Rachel Maddow.

Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov wished success to Jen Psaki after information appeared about her departure from the post of press secretary of Bely home.

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Biden misspoke twice at White House speech

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US President Joe Biden was embarrassed twice while giving a speech at the White House.

The American leader has made two reservations, speaking about one person. So, announcing a candidate for the post of director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Biden mixed up the abbreviation of this department and said AFT instead of ATF.

Meanwhile, AFT is a completely different organization (American Federation of Teachers) .

Next, the head of state announced the name of the candidate – ex-prosecutor Steve Dettelbach, while managing to make a mistake in his name.

“I am proud to nominate Steve Dettelwood… Dettelbach. Sorry, I mispronounced your last name,” Biden corrected.

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Psaki responded to reports of her departure from the White House

Photo: Frame from video

Presidential press secretary Jen Psaki did not confirm reports that she would soon leave the White House for work in the media. The topic was raised at Friday's briefing for reporters.

She added that rumors of her departure did not prevent her from fulfilling her duties in the White House. Regarding her future, Psaki joked to reporters: “For now, you still won’t be able to get rid of me.”

However, the press secretary told what she would do for the first time after leaving the civil service – to sleep off and spend time with children . Earlier, Axios learned that Psaki could go to work at MSNBC this spring.

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Axios: Psaki to step down as White House press secretary

Photo: en.wikipedia.org

US White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki intends to leave her post. As early as this spring, she wants to move to work on MSNBC.

Axios reports that she could start working in a new place as early as May. While Psaki is negotiating with representatives of the White House about his departure.

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White House asks US Congress to allocate $6.4 billion to Ukraine

Of these, according to the agency, $ 2.9 billion will go to defense needs and assistance to neighboring states in Eastern Europe, another $ 3.5 billion will go to the Pentagon. The funds may be in addition to the $600 million that the United States has already allocated to Ukraine

The White House has asked the US Congress to provide $6.4 billion in financial assistance to Ukraine, Bloomberg reports, citing a representative of the presidential administration.

Funds will be directed to the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis. Also, money is needed to help neighboring states in Eastern Europe and support the Pentagon. Of these, $2.9 billion will go to humanitarian needs and ensuring the security of Ukraine, Poland and other neighboring countries. The US Department of Defense will receive another $3.5 billion to effectively respond to the crisis.

According to the agency, last year the United States provided Kiev with $650 million in security funds, and humanitarian aid— for $52 million

Earlier, US President Joe Biden instructed to allocate $600 million to Ukraine, of which $350 million should be spent on defense, Washington promised to provide the remaining $250 million free of charge. To do this, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken must determine whether such gratuitous assistance met the interests of the country's security.

Ukraine, in connection with the Russian military operation on its territory, applied to the International Monetary Fund for an emergency loan. On February 23, Great Britain announced its readiness to provide a loan in the amount of $500. London promised to give Kiev money to “mitigate the economic consequences of Russian aggression.”

The Russian military operation in Ukraine began on February 24 after a speech by President Vladimir Putin. The head of state emphasized that Moscow did not intend to occupy Ukrainian territory, and that its real goal— denazification and demilitarization of this country. Putin called the current Ukrainian leadership “a gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis” and urged military personnel to take power into their own hands. According to him, it will be “easier for Russia to come to an agreement” with them.

In Ukraine, they believe that Moscow has unleashed a war against it. Kyiv has already offered Russia to start peace negotiations on a neutral status, in response, Putin agreed to send a delegation to Minsk for this. Press Secretary of the Ukrainian President Sergei Nikiforov said that Ukraine is ready for negotiations and is discussing the venue.

Western countries condemned the operation and imposed sanctions against Putin, Foreign and Defense Minister Sergei Lavrov and Sergei Shoigu, Washington has tightened restrictions on the export of microelectronics to Russia, and the EU has imposed sanctions against the banking sector. Australia and Japan are also studying the possibility of restrictions.

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White House announces Biden’s decree on sanctions against Russia

U.S. President Joe Biden, during a telephone conversation with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky, said that Washington strongly condemns Russia's decision to recognize the sovereignty of Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics.

Commenting on this conversation, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken added that Biden would sign a decree imposing additional sanctions on February 22.

The new sanctions, Blinken specified, are designed to prevent Moscow from extracting benefit from the recognition of the DNR and LNR. He also stressed that the US sanctions in the context of the DPR and LPR are not directed against the people of Ukraine and will allow the continuation of humanitarian assistance.

“Recognition by the Russian side of the so-called DPR and LPR as “independent” requires a firm response, and The US will take appropriate action in coordination with Western partners,” Blinken tweeted.

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White House abandons plans to disconnect Russia from SWIFT

The White House admitted that the shutdown of SWIFT will not be included in the package of sanctions against Russia The measures will also not affect energy exports, said the Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States for National Security. However, he promised, Russia would face “enormous consequences” for the economy if it invaded Ukraine

Duleep Singh

The package of US sanctions that would be imposed on Russia in the event of its invasion of Ukraine will most likely not include disconnecting the country from the SWIFT interbank information exchange system. This was stated at a briefing by Deputy Assistant to the US President for National Security Duleep Singh, Reuters reports.

According to him, the measures will also not be aimed at limiting Russian energy supplies to other countries.

However, Singh said that if Ukraine were attacked, Russia would face “tremendous consequences”; both for its economy and for its strategic position in the world. The financial sanctions that the United States has developed will have negative consequences for the largest Russian financial institutions and state-owned enterprises, he promised.

Singh said that the United States coordinated with allies and partners in developing sanctions. The measures will be applied “taking into account how Putin reacts”— depending on further escalation or de-escalation. According to Singh, they will not affect the citizens of Russia, and will not entail undesirable consequences for the American and global economy.

The fact that the US and the EU are no longer considering disconnecting Russia from SWIFT was previously reported by Reuters, citing US and European officials. According to them, European countries opposed such a move. The newspaper Das Handelsblatt, in turn, wrote that instead of this measure, the EU and the US decided to impose sanctions against the largest Russian banks in the event of an invasion.

The Wall Street Journal also wrote that in addition to abandoning plans to disconnect from SWIFT, the White House has not yet decided to impose restrictions on the export of Russian oil and gas.

The day before, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that Washington, together with the Europeans, is developing measures which could affect Russian individuals and companies in the event of an invasion and include export controls, these restrictions “would have serious consequences for the Russian economy.” However, she acknowledged concerns about the possible impact of sanctions on energy markets. Yellen said that the United States and the EU are working to provide Europe with oil and gas supplies.

On February 18, the heads of the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR announced the beginning of the evacuation of the population to Russia, explaining this as a threat from Kiev. The day before, the unrecognized republics and Ukraine accused each other of escalation and shelling. The Ukrainian authorities stated that they did not plan to attack the Donbass, and also said that they were trying to provoke Kiev into hostilities.

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White House allowed Russian invasion of Ukraine “at any time”

White House: Russia could invade Ukraine at any time, including this week U.S. administration deputy spokeswoman stressed that the situation can still be resolved through diplomacy

White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre

Russia could invade Ukraine “as early as this week,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a briefing.

“As we said, we are in a 'window' and an invasion could happen at any time,”— she said, noting that she would not reveal “details of intelligence information.”

“The path of diplomacy remains open,” — she emphasized. According to Jean-Pierre, the United States still does not know exactly “which road Russia will take.”

Earlier, some media wrote that the proposed invasion could begin as early as February 16, moreover, according to Politico, US President Joe Biden mentioned this date in a conversation with European partners. Bloomberg called February 15 as a possible date for the start of hostilities.

Presidential aide Jake Sullivan said that Washington could not give a specific date for the attack, but that it could begin “any day.” and “very soon.” According to him, the “window” for the invasion includes the period until the end of the Beijing Olympics (February 20). At the same time, Sullivan noted that Russia could also choose the path of diplomacy.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke about the possibility of an invasion during the Olympic Games.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a conversation with the head of the European Council On February 13, Charles Michel said that Kiev was ready “to develop any scenario,” but he called panic the main enemy of the country.

On February 12, a telephone conversation took place between the presidents of Russia and the United States. Joe Biden threatened Vladimir Putin with serious consequences in the event of an escalation in Ukraine, but pointed to Washington's readiness for a diplomatic solution to the situation.

The Russian side has repeatedly denied preparations for an invasion.

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The construction of a wall around the White House puzzled the Americans

The network is discussing a possible assault

The wound on the body of American statehood after the storming of the Capitol has not yet healed, as even more ominous news is coming from the States. In the unofficial US media, news began to appear about the construction of a concrete fence around the White House. Judging by the date of publication of the earliest video that could be found, work began on January 11.

Photo: Frame from video

The authors of the materials refer to videos from Yotube and a post by a Twitter user under the nickname Glen Lettenmaier dated January 12. ​​​​​​

In the earliest video, concrete panels in the shape of an inverted “U” can be seen being placed around the fountain on the lawn. It is logical to assume that armed people will have to stand in the gaps.

Glen's post contains a couple of screenshots from the video, where you can see two rows of walls. They are located on the North Lawn of the White House. However, here the voids in the blocks are covered with something similar to plywood. Perhaps they will also be filled with concrete.

The message is accompanied by the author's comment: “We are in trouble … right now they are putting a fence of factory-made concrete panels around the White House. I think it's suggestive… especially in light of the media's silence.”

Suggestions as to why the wall is being built range from riots to invasions of little green men. The last joke, but the most reasonable versions seem to be about the prospect of chaos in the city or about some event that will take place on the lawn.

It is noteworthy that on January 12 in Bulgaria, protesters against coronavirus restrictions broke into the Parliament building. As a result, they secured a promise to create a working group that will deal with questions about vaccinations and restrictions. But in the US, the situation is also not very good: the number of cases is growing, inflation is breaking records, people are buying less, there are interruptions in food supplies. Who knows, maybe they decided to play it safe in order to avoid such a development of events?

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Political scientists predicted adversity-2022: coronavirus, White House and rising prices

Next year, foreign policy will largely determine domestic policy

At the beginning of the New Year, 2022, we decided to find out how political scientists see it. It is clear that none of them traditionally wants to act as oracles, and therefore we asked them not what would happen, but which of the quite obvious events or trends could become decisive for domestic politics and the political situation around Russia next year.

Photo: pixabay.com

-The most important thing is negotiations with the US and NATO, which are related to foreign policy, but will certainly influence domestic policy too: this will concern Ukraine , security guarantees (for Russia – auth .), etc.

The second important event, it now determines everything, is the question of ending the pandemic: is Omicron a new wave of the pandemic, or is it its final act, what will be the mortality rate, will there be a need for more tightening (antikoid measures – auth .), etc. For a long time this issue did not play a big role in the domestic policy of Russia, but at Putin's press conference at the end of last year it became clear that this had already reached the highest level: protests of some part of the population, political forces, including against restrictive measures related to the pandemic.

The third is the issue of inflation, price increases, world price conditions, primarily for food. The fourth question is, of course, energy prices, the entire energy situation.

And there is no getting away from this, much will depend on what is happening in the United States. Therefore, the most important topic for all countries, and Russia in particular, is what will happen in November at the midterm elections, and whether they will be the threshold of some serious civil confrontation in the United States, as a result of which events that are important for all countries, without exception, may occur. This, of course, is the question of the dollar, the need to create some new reserve currencies, at least in the context of the crisis in the United States, and the general situation in the world, due to the fact that the question of power in the United States is suspended – in relation to 24- m year, and this will already be indicated in the 22nd.

It is difficult to say about other important circumstances. It is obvious that party life has come to a standstill a little (in Russia – auth .). It is there, but … “New people” only reveal their own face. It is clear that mainstream political life does not concern parties.

-The Geneva Treaty is designated as a starting point. Although I do not hope that there will be some kind of reset in relations with the United States and NATO. Given what has been said, it is clear that in relations with the United States and the collective West, much is determined by their reaction to Russia's demands for security guarantees. But since this story is unlikely to end with some kind of breakthrough, we will expect the concept of a besieged fortress, in which we all find ourselves, which means that we cannot expect some kind of democratization in the country, or neutralization.

Moreover, it is quite obvious that since the president's press conference was criticized against the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, related to the party's position on vaccination and quar-coding, it is clear that the Communist Party will remain under pressure.

There will be few elections this year. Probably the key and most noticeable ones are municipal in Moscow. But here pressure on the Communist Party of the Russian Federation can backfire, strengthen the position of the Communist Party, it can become a beneficiary, because here it looks like the main opposition party and the beneficiary of the protest vote.

From the point of view of the economy, the main question that may be asked this year is whether it will be possible to keep the price level and what will happen with the growth of incomes of the population. At the press conference, it was sounded that a stake is being made on three development tools: digitalization – I completely agree, increasing labor productivity – who is against it, and infrastructure projects. But they are troubling because these projects often do not create jobs for Russians. The infrastructure is being built by guest workers, who eventually transfer money abroad. That is, the allocation of money for infrastructure projects does not mean that there will be an increase in the income of the population. And the sounded positive assessment of the Central Bank's policy says that tough monetary policy is considered correct. This means that we are talking about curbing the growth of incomes or pensions, so as not to unwind inflation. I wish there was a middle ground.

With regard to politics. It is clear that it is important to implement the law on a unified system of organizing power. It is very interesting how effectively the new system will be built, how the regions will react to it, because the country is diverse, it is difficult to sew everyone using the same patterns or to heal according to the same recipes. In fact, we have completed the transition from federalism to a centralized unitary state. Now the federal authorities are responsible for everything. Relatively speaking, a power vertical has been built in which it is impossible to push everything onto bad mayors or bad governors, it is impossible to appoint switchmen, because this is a unified system of public power. At the head is the president. How this will affect the work of the authorities is an interesting question.

An equally interesting question is whether political competition will develop in our country. Or criticism of the Communist Party, etc. says that it is coming to an end, because it is not the time to compete with each other, when it is necessary to unite and unite in the face of pressure on Russia from outside. In addition, the regions were given the opportunity to abandon the proportional-majority system in favor of the majority system, and to reduce the proportion of party lists, or even abandon them altogether. That is, will it not finally finish off the party system of Russia.

Well, as for the long-term planning, which the president spoke about. It seems to me that there is a big problem with the image of the future. And the next year could be devoted to finding or promoting an image of a real future that can be trusted, which will return people to the optimism lost during the pandemic.

And again, I would like to believe that the pandemic will end this year, because it affects literally everything. After all, for example, the pandemic was the reason for the introduction of three-day and electronic voting. At the same time, it is important to understand that people no longer believe so much in the value of stability, since some already have nothing to lose, and the demand for change, one way or another, is growing. The question is how the government will respond to this request. The nightingale is not fed with fables. How much money has been invested in raising wealth is interesting, but people are interested in how much money is in their wallets and what prices are in stores.

– Decisive actions by Russia to ensure its security in the direction of Ukraine. This will be the main event that will largely determine the future fate. This is an event on the scale of the one that happened in 2014. It is most likely that Russia will recognize the DPR and LPR, and will deploy its troops there as a guarantee of security. Will it recognize the DPR and LPR according to the version of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, or according to the version of Crimea – that is, recognition, and in a few days acceptance into Russia, will it recognize them within the current borders, or within the boundaries of the current Donetsk and Luhansk regions? But for this it will be necessary to defeat the grouping of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. But these are completely different events.

Either it will be only the DPR and LPR, or the North Crimean Canal will also be unblocked, which is quite logical: if the grouping of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is defeated, why not carry out the unblocking of Crimea. If control is taken not only over Mariupol, but also over Kherson, then the question arises why not take control over the entire coast (Ukrainian – auth .) Of the Black Sea and go to Transnistria in order to resolve this problem. And that means that Odessa goes to Russia one way or another. And if Odessa leaves, then why leave Kharkov? In which, if there is a free referendum, 80% will vote for reunification with Russia.

How much the armed forces will be used, how much the West will be included, how strong the sanctions will be, these are the main events that will determine the future fate of Russia. The lack of tough action, after such an ultimatum, which Putin presented, will also have serious consequences.

The influence of elections and party processes is 2-3 orders of magnitude less. The modern Russian party system functions normally, a small part of the opposition is fixed within the framework of the completely non-radical parties of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the SR, and the Liberal Democratic Party. Events will take place there. First, there is an attack on the Communist Party of the Russian Federation – a conflict has arisen with the leadership of the party. In addition, a new type of party has been created – New People. This is a cyborg party, an artificial education. Now, according to the version of such a cyborg, a combination of digital technologies and living people, they will try to reformat other parties as well. Now the reformatting of the SR is clearly taking place, a new group has been introduced there, mainly political strategists, with the help of which this will be done. The same is the Liberal Democratic Party, with Lebedev's departure they will try to seize the moment. Plus the Communist Party of the Russian Federation will also be reformatted. These processes will be very active. To what extent it will be possible, I do not know.

The influence of covid as a factor will increase. This is due to the fact that the antwaxers managed to defeat the authorities, they were forced to yield. Maria Shukshina has more subscribers than Margarita Simonyan, and almost like Vladimir Solovyov. The authorities wanted to introduce quar codes on transport, but there was such a powerful attack on the deputies that they broke down: spare us, this is another decision, like raising the retirement age, we will not be forgiven. I don’t know what they will do. Maybe the decoy Cossacks will lead the anti-Vasser movement, or maybe they will be banned, or they will establish a dialogue with them, create places for them in the Public Chambers. This is perhaps the first time that some social groups have been able to defeat the authorities in recent years. People are tired, the problem will be very difficult to solve.

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Swearing with the President: How the White House’s Journalism Pool Works

American freedom of speech

It hasn't been long since the White House press briefings resembled a real war between US President Trump and journalists. The head of state called the reporters “enemies of the people” and creators of fake news. In response, he was called a “liar.” However, the relations of the US presidents with the media have never been smooth. How the White House presidential pool is structured, what “pitfalls” accompany the work of journalists covering the activities of the head of the United States – this is our material.

Photo: Press Service of the White House

From the gates of the White House to the press center

Even people far from political spheres know that the White House has a press corps, a group of journalists and media representatives whose tasks include covering the activities of the US president, events at the presidential residence and information briefings. Hardly any film about big American politics today is complete without scenes of journalists asking uncomfortable questions to the president or his press secretary. But it wasn't always this way.

Historically, for much of the 19th century, newspaper reporters focused primarily on the work of Congress. Of course, sometimes American presidents gave interviews, or more often their secretaries could talk to journalists. For example, under President Grover Cleveland, William “Fatty” Price became the first reporter to visit the White House regularly for information – though he stood outside the gate and waited to ask outgoing visitors about the news.

In short, special there was no press group to cover what was happening in the White House.

The White House Press Service took up its first duties at the presidential residence in the early 1900s. Legend has it that President Theodore Roosevelt noticed a group of correspondents looking for commentators in the rain and invited them to the White House.

Since then, over the years, representatives of the press have expanded their presence and influence in the residence of the American head of state.

Teddy Roosevelt's main innovation in relations between the press and the president is believed to be that he often met with correspondents directly ( in addition to his secretary's daily briefings). Reporters gathered around him, and the President spoke to them – he said something not for recording, but something for publication.

These meetings were not like press conferences: the president “courted” specific reporters and played up their vanity by meeting small groups of journalists in an attempt to generate favorable press coverage for himself. And if the result was unacceptable for the president, then Roosevelt refused to give correspondents access. But time passed – and the press gradually won positions in the presidential residence.

Under another Roosevelt, Franklin Delano, a new room was allocated for reporters in the White House, equipped with desks, typewriters, direct dial telephone with offices of telegraph agencies, and also card and chess tables.

Today, press- the White House secretary or deputy usually gives a briefing to journalists on weekdays in the James S. Brady Hall, which seats about fifty reporters. Each seat there is assigned to a specific media outlet, with the most famous organizations occupying the first two rows. Reporters who are not assigned a specific seat may stand up to attend the briefing.

And the first presidential press conference was held in March 1913 in the Oval Office under Woodrow Wilson. Subsequently, until 1969, media communications with the head of the United States and general press conferences took place in various locations, including the State Department Hall and the East Hall of the White House.

More than a hundred years ago, in 1914 – after rumors began to circulate among reporters that a committee of the United States Congress would select journalists who might attend Wilson's press conferences – the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) was formed. This organization operates independently of the White House. Among the most important issues she deals with are the grading process, access to the president, and physical conditions in the White House press briefing rooms.

The most high-profile event of the Association is considered the annual dinner of the White House correspondents, which is traditionally attended by the president, which is widely covered in the media. Curiously, until 1962, this dinner was open to men only, although the WHCA included women. At the insistence of the famous journalist Helen Thomas, President Kennedy refused to attend the dinner unless the ban on women was lifted.

But Donald Trump, who fought with the press, not only skimped on participating in the White House Correspondents Association dinners, but even in April 2019, he ordered that no one from the administration should go there.

When a new US president is elected, some news organizations change their correspondents, most often for a reporter tasked with covering the new president during the election campaign. For example, after the 2008 presidential campaign, ABC News moved Jake Tupper, who had followed Barack Obama during his presidential campaign, to the position of White House correspondent.

And another interesting point: any person engaged in lobbying or PR activities is subject to exclusion from the Association. The same applies to those who have been hired directly or indirectly by any stock exchange, trading council or similar organization to buy or sell any securities or commodities.

The pool is a pool

When talking about journalists covering the activities of the President of the United States, the expression” press pool “is often used.

So, the pool (that is, translated into Russian “pool”) of the White House journalists got its name from the premises that used to be a swimming pool, built in the thirties for Franklin Roosevelt.

Under President Richard Nixon, due to the growing number of representatives of the media, the pool room was converted into a briefing room. This was seen as an acknowledgment of the essential role that the media play in the presidency of the United States.

In 2000, the facility was renamed the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in honor of a White House press secretary who was wounded in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.

And in December 2005, the White House announced its intention to renovate an inadequate briefing room and cramped press office premises. The journalists have concerns about this: whether they will be allowed to work in the presidential residence. But the White House convention center was used as a temporary venue for press conferences. As early as July 2007, President Bush Jr. reopened the refurbished hall and held his first official press conference in the new briefing hall the day after the release of the Iraqi situation report.

Photo: Press Service of the White House

The cost of modernizing the premises was about $ 8.5 million. Each reporter's place was estimated at $ 1,500. As for President Roosevelt's own former swimming pool, after renovation it was given over to a computer server room …

Reporters go through an approval process to enter the presidential briefing room. First of all, the reporter must be approved by the Standing Committee of Correspondents, the association of reporters that approves the press to enter Congress. Journalists must also certify the credibility of the media for which they work and be verified by the Secret Service. Once a reporter receives a pass, he can renew it every year without going through the approval process again.

White House journalists include a narrower group of reporters who travel wherever the president goes, relaying information on behalf of a wider media group This narrow pool of defenses must always be with the president to protect (as the name suggests) The media from missing unexpected important information about the president.

This pool typically includes two print reporters, one television producer, one radio reporter, three news agency reporters, a cameraman with a video camera, and several photographers. Journalists on duty in the “protective pool” report in turns and share their stories with other members of the broader pool. For example, a TV producer from ABC News, who is in the pool that day, sends reports and videos to all five TV channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and Fox News).

The fact is that due to for problems with a place or for security reasons, not all journalists who want to cover the president's activities can always do this. In addition, constant coverage of the president would be too costly for some media outlets.

As stated in Helen Thomas's book The Watchdogs of Democracy? The Waning Washington Press and How It Failed the Public ”, such a press pool was created under President Eisenhower by White House Press Secretary James Hagerty. And the sense in the work of such a group of journalists, who always accompany the president, is great. For example, when John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, it was the members of the “protective pool” who were able to quickly report the tragedy in Dallas. Reporters from this pool witnessed the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in 1981. And on September 11, 2001, the “protective pool” located next to George W. Bush was able to report on the president's reaction to the terrorist attack and the measures taken for his safety.

So when the US president goes on a trip, he is accompanied diverse “entourage”, which includes a group of his senior assistants, advisers, speechwriters and others. However, 13 members of the media, known as the “defensive press pool,” also occupy seats on the presidential board of Air Force One, representing the world of news agencies, print newspapers, news sites, broadcast television and radio, and photographers.

These journalists should send out a series of short, meaningful reports throughout the trip to those not involved. The White House Correspondents Association manages the rotation of news organizations that travel at their own expense. It is, however, clearly understood that pool members should share all the material they collect, without saving anything they saw or heard for their exclusive material. Competition by competition – but in this case, debt is above all.

Haste, stress and force majeure

Members of a narrow pool of journalists traveling with the President of the United States are expected to send their reports promptly from the scene (usually via iPhone) – and the accuracy of quotes and descriptions in these posts is of utmost importance.

“And it's often done in very difficult circumstances,” Mark Landler, who has been the White House correspondent since 2011, told The New York Times. “Get in and out of the motorcade, sometimes get in and out of helicopters, and rush to finish your message before being on board Air Force One.”

Photo: Press Service of the White House

In general, trips abroad with the President of the United States are only seemingly “an amazing privilege.” They often mean fatigue and a grueling struggle for correspondents to get information. Reporters – some with heavy equipment – sometimes have to rush from place to place to capture minutes, sometimes seconds of presidential meetings. Moreover, in order to gain access to presidential events, journalists have to compete with the foreign press and representatives of local authorities.

Mary Bruce of ABC spoke about the presidential pool experience during Barack Obama's trip to Panama. Not only did the American journalists who came to cover the president's visit had to elbow their elbows through aggressive media competitors, at some point they entered into a fierce clash with the Panamanian authorities. Pool journalists had just jumped out of the press vans at the end of the president’s long motorcade to the side door of the hotel where the president was about to deliver his civil society speech, and found the door slammed in front of us. Representatives of the American delegation shouted to the Panamanian colleagues inside to open the entrance – but to no avail. It was only after several phone calls that the correspondents from the pool were finally allowed in so that they could capture the last few minutes of Obama's speech.

Despite the fact that most of the day during the travels of the President of the United States for the members of the pool is a crazy rush and a rush, journalists also have to be patient and be able to wait until they launch to this or that event. And it also happens that the reporters who are hungry for the day are just getting ready to eat, as the team should rush back to the buses. You have to grab your equipment and run.

Such work itself is fraught with stress, and it happens that unforeseen circumstances arise “from above”.

During President Trump's trip to Paris in the summer of 2017, The New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman worked in the “defensive pool”. She sent 20 emails to the rest of the print media during the day and a half she spent with the president on the plane and in France.

As reported by The New York Times, during the air flight, the American president sometimes goes to the seated in the back parts of the plane to the press to chat with reporters. According to custom, such communication is usually carried out in the “off-record” mode and is mainly reduced to jokes, lasting no more than half an hour.

But on the way to Paris, Trump stayed with reporters much longer than expected, spending more than an hour talking to reporters before returning to his private office. The next day, during the first bilateral talks with French President Macron, Maggie Haberman tried to ask a question. In response, Trump asked the journalist why she did not use what he said the night before. Haberman explained that it was not for the record – to which the president said, “No, you can use it.”

Thinking that the president was speaking “off the record,” Maggie Haberman and her fellow pooling colleagues did not prepare reports on what Trump said. The White House, which had a stenographer on the plane, provided the pool with a transcript of the conversation with the president, but two important quotes were missing. After asking the White House to amend the transcript to include the missing comments, Haberman supplemented the news with her own notes. In general, the journalists of the pool cannot avoid force majeure circumstances.

“Rude, terrible person”

In general, as you know, President Trump did not have the best relations with the press. Moreover, this became obvious even before he came to the White House, during the election campaign.

“At first it was an open question how this would all work, because the Trump campaign had such an antagonistic relationship with the press,” White House reporter Mark Landler told The New York Times. “The press corps has been concerned about everything from the beginning: the weekly briefing, setting up the briefing room, the workspace we have in the White House, and the swap pool system. All these things were originally in the air. ”

The Trump administration was subject to more stringent conditions under the Trump administration than under his predecessors. For example, the president's frequent golf trips on weekends have become a problem for reporters. “The White House almost never tells the pool what it’s doing when you’re sitting four and a half hours in its own golf club, and they never publish a list of the people it plays golf with,” says Mark Landler. By contrast, the Barack Obama administration usually confirmed that the president was playing golf, and usually provided a list of his partners.

By the way, about golf and Trump. As USA Today wrote about the press covering the life of the head of state in 2018, “when you are on duty at the pool in Florida as part of the White House pool in Florida, most of the daily reports on the president's activities are connected with waiting in vans while President Trump moves between Mar-a- Lago and its own golf course.

One such day, a variety was introduced into the boring life of reporters – the driver of the Poole bus had a weapon. What he, however, himself informed the agents of the Secret Service, discovering that he had forgotten to leave the firearm in his private car. Although the driver legally owned a firearm, all the drivers were replaced – and a White House employee drove the car with the journalists.

But this is still nonsense. Fighting broke out between Trump and the media he did not like. The victim of this “war” was, for example, CNN's chief correspondent in the White House, Jim Acosta, who staged a fierce polemic with the head of state. The journalist first began to criticize Trump's use of the word “invasion” to describe a caravan of migrants heading to the United States from Central America. And when Acosta tried to ask a question about the investigation into alleged Russian “interference” in the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump tried to stop the correspondent by telling him several times “enough” and “put down the microphone.”

It was reported that the employee of Bely At home, she tried to snatch the microphone from the journalist's hands. Acosta refused to give it away, telling her at some point: “Forgive me, ma'am.”

Trump stepped down from the podium and then came back to say, “CNN should be ashamed that you work for them. You are a rude, awful person. ” When one of the journalists tried to defend Acosta, calling him a “diligent reporter,” Trump responded to the audience laughing: “Well, I'm not a big fan either.”

Hours after the press conference, the Trump administration suspended Acosta's access to the presidential residence. Press secretary Sarah Huckerby Sanders said access was denied because he “raised his hand against a young woman just trying to do her job.” The journalist himself called this statement a “lie.” Later, the Secret Service did not allow the journalist to enter the White House …

And in February 2017, Donald Trump staged a demarche by holding a closed press briefing, but did not invite representatives of the media that particularly annoyed him (CNN, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Buzzfeed and Politico).

In fairness, it is worth noting that there were conflicts between American presidents and the press before Trump. For example, Richard Nixon banned Washington Post journalists from entering the White House after the newspaper initiated the Watergate scandal. Nixon is said to have even threatened to fire his spokesman, Ron Ziegler, if he ever allowed a Washington Post reporter to attend a presidential briefing.

For a more recent example, in 2008, Barack Obama kicked three conservative newspaper reporters from his plane during the election campaign. Formally, this was motivated by the fact that there were a limited number of seats on board for representatives of the press, who were supposed to monitor the last four days of the politician's presidential campaign. True, at the same time, they were allowed to remain non-political media, such as Glamor magazine. In response to criticism from bypassed publications, the Obama team said they allowed other media outlets like Fox News and The Wall Street Journal to stay, even though they criticized Obama.

The rise to power of Trump's antagonist Democrat Biden has become a “healing balm” for many White House journalists. But he also did not provide an idyll. In early December 2021, the Washington Post published an article by columnist Dana Milbank entitled: “The media treat Biden just as badly, and even worse than Trump.” The author of the sensational column wrote: “My colleagues in the media are accomplices in the murder of democracy.”

In the White House, Milbank's article was met with approval at the highest level, writes the Daily Mail. Meanwhile, a few days later, it was revealed that the White House had dispatched a team of three officials to speak to the press and contribute to better coverage of the Biden administration. The work was prompted by concerns that Biden was being treated unfairly, CNN correspondent Oliver Darcy told CNN. The main argument that was put forward: the country's economy is in much better condition than last year. ”

Источник www.mk.ru

White House: telephone conversation between Putin and Biden lasted 50 minutes

The telephone conversation between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin has ended, AFP reports citing the White House.

It is noted that the conversation between the presidents of the United States and Russia lasted 50 minutes.

Earlier, the press secretary of the Russian leader Dmitry Peskov said that the telephone conversation began on time.

As previously reported, the beginning of the conversation was scheduled at 23:30 on December 30.

Источник www.mk.ru

White House reveals details of new talks between Putin and Biden

The conversation between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, which was announced on December 29, will take place at the request of the former, the United States is concerned about the presence of Russian forces near Ukraine, the presidents may also discuss Iran's nuclear program, Reuters reported, citing the official in the Biden administration.

The material is being supplemented.

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“The dead no longer resist”: how Russia gained freedom of speech

Mikhail Fedotov: “I would liken the law” On Mass Media “to a broken in many places and badly burnt banner on an undefeated barricade”

“Censorship of the mass media … as well as the imposition of a ban on the dissemination of messages and materials … is not allowed …” 30 years ago, on December 27, 1991, the Supreme Soviet of Russia adopted – and the President immediately signed – the law “On the Mass Media “. One of the authors of the law, ex-head of the HRC Mikhail Fedotov, tells in an interview with MK about how difficult the process of his birth was, what tests is being subjected to freedom of speech today.

Photo: Alexey Merinov

Fedotov Mikhail Alexandrovich, was born in 1949 in Moscow. In 1972 he graduated from the law faculty of Moscow State University. M.V. Lomonosov. In 1976-1990, he taught at the All-Union Correspondence Law Institute (now the OE Kutafin Moscow State Law University).

In September 1990, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Press and Information of Russia. From December 1992 to August 1993 – Minister of Press and Information of the Russian Federation. 1993-1998 – Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to UNESCO. 2010–2019 – Chairman of the Council under the President of the Russian Federation for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation.

From 1998 to the present – Secretary of the Union of Journalists of Russia. Doctor of Law, Honored Lawyer of Russia.

Photo: ru.wikipedia.org

” With this project, you will be kicked out of your job at best, and jailed at worst. “

– Alive! For one simple reason: the dead no longer resist. And alive still resists. I would liken the Law on Mass Media to a broken banner in many places and a badly burnt banner on an undefeated barricade. This barricade is freedom of the media. No matter how they squeeze it, no matter how they try to cut it, it continues to resist.

– Resistance is expressed in the fact that there are different-minded media. All attempts to destroy free media only end in more and more of them. As with a puddle, which they try to trample with boots: it splashes, and many small puddles turn out.

– Let's say right away that the Russian Law on Mass Media is a direct descendant of the USSR Law “On the Press and Other Mass Media”. A descendant who has surpassed his parent. Well, the authors of both laws are the same. All the same “three heroes” or a company “for three”: Yuri Baturin, Mikhail Fedotov, Vladimir Entin. This was our personal initiative. And the reason, as often happens in our life, was the barbecue.

It was the spring of 1988. Yura Baturin and I decided to make a barbecue at the dacha. And while cutting firewood, I say: “Yura, have you heard that a plan of legislative work has recently been approved and there is a line like this:“ The USSR Law “On the Press and Other Mass Media”?

He says, “Yes, I know. Moreover, I even wrote a review of the official draft of this law ”. “Well, how,” I ask, “do you have an official project?” – “Nightmare!”. I say: “I see. Maybe we'll write our own project? ” He says: “Let's try!” project. My wife warned: “With this project, at best, you will be kicked out of your job, and at worst, they will be jailed.” But, thank God, neither one nor the other happened.

Two years later, on June 12, 1990, our project became the USSR Law “On the Press and Other Mass Media”. And after another one and a half, the law of the Russian Federation “On the Mass Media” was adopted.

Russian law, of course, is much more democratic than the union one. And it is much more technologically advanced. Allied was to a large extent a declaration. When it was adopted, the power of the Communist Party was still preserved in all its might. There were both the KGB and Glavlit, the main Soviet censorship agency.

Now there is none of this – neither the CPSU, nor the Glavlit, nor the Soviet Union. And the law “On Mass Media” exists. And I think this is a very important bridgehead that we must defend. As Yuri Baturin rightly noted, speaking at the HSE at a conference dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the law “On Mass Media”, freedom of the media is the most important freedom. If it is not there, then we will not even know about the infringement of other freedoms.

– In a sense, yes. I began to deal with this problem in my second year of the Faculty of Law of Moscow State University. Right from the middle of the second year I was kicked out of the day department for “standing near the building” of the Moscow City Court, where our fellow dissidents – Alik Ginzburg, Yuri Galansky, Alexei Dobrovolsky and Vera Lashkova were tried. It was the beginning of 1968.

I managed to get hooked on the evening department. But to study in the evening, you had to work. I was lucky: they hired me as a reporter for the information department in the newspaper Vechernyaya Moskva. Then I wrote a term paper on the topic: “Lenin on freedom of the press.” Then – “Lenin and the KPSS on freedom of the press”, then – “Actual problems of freedom of the press in the USSR.”

In 1976 I defended my Ph.D. thesis: “Freedom of the press – the constitutional right of Soviet citizens.” And in 1989 – his doctoral dissertation: “The Mass Media as an Institution of Socialist Democracy.” You can say that I am a singer of one song.

The interest of Baturin and Entin was also far from accidental. Both then worked at the Institute of State and Law. Yura dealt with, among other things, the history of tsarist censorship, Volodya specialized in legal regulation of the media in capitalist countries.

So the Law on Mass Media was written not by some profane, but by experts. We were – and still are – professionals in this area.

“We brought up to 50 brochures to the convention at one time”

– The miracle, firstly, was that such a law appeared for the first time in the history of Russia. Throughout our thousand-year history, there has been no law that would guarantee freedom of the media. I would not just proclaim – there were such declarations – but contained a mechanism for implementation: clearly explained how mass media are created, who journalists are, what their rights and obligations are, and so on.

It was also a miracle that the law was a draft written by three unknown jurists. Because the Central Committee of the CPSU prepared a completely different draft law of the USSR “On the press and other mass media”.

Another miracle is that we were able to publish our project as a separate brochure. We were lucky because it was at this time that Soviet publishing houses were allowed to publish books and brochures at the expense of the authors. Well, first of all, I meant literary works, of course. It never occurred to anyone that some crazy people would decide to publish the author's bill.

Glavlit was, of course, categorically against the publication of our project, but with the assistance of people who were good about our initiative – in particular, an assistant President of the USSR Shakhnazarov and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR Shevardnadze – managed to ensure that the censorship surrendered.

We were allowed to publish a brochure with a circulation of five thousand copies. Then such a circulation seemed scanty. And, as I understand it, our opponents thought: “Well, okay. Let them amuse their pride. ”

And we were not going to amuse our pride. We had a different, very specific goal. Yura and I had passes to the First Congress of People's Deputies (held from May 25 to June 9, 1989 in the Kremlin Palace of Congresses. – “MK” ). It was forbidden to carry any briefcases or bags there, but no one was searched. Therefore, my wife sewed additional inner pockets into our jackets. We carried up to 50 brochures at a time. And they handed out, handed out …

However, at that time it was impossible to name our project unknown to anyone. It has already been printed by many youth newspapers. It all started in October 1988 – with the Estonian newspaper Spordileht, “Sports News”.

– Yes, in Estonian. Spordileht belonged to the Union of Journalists of the Estonian USSR, and with these guys I had good, friendly relations. They immediately agreed to publish our project, explaining that censorship in relation to publications in national languages ​​is not so strict. And then the principle worked: that once Glavlit passed, other newspapers could easily reprint. Censorship permission was no longer required in this case.

– Quite right.

– We had many allies: Boris Yeltsin, Andrei Sakharov, Gennady Burbulis, Yuri Afanasyev, Mikhail Poltoranin … I name only those to whom we handed over our project from hand to hand. Nikolai Fedorov, whom we knew very well from graduate school, was appointed chairman of the working group on the law on the press. We were invited to join the working group – and things went well.

– The Union law passed with very great difficulties. In the working group, our opponents were representatives of the Central Committee of the CPSU, Glavlit, GLAVPUR (Main Political Directorate of the Soviet Army and the Navy of the USSR. – “MK” ), The KGB, the Ministry of Internal Affairs … All these were people for whom the word “democracy” was not, to put it mildly, unambiguously positive. Therefore, each position had to be defended with battle.

There were often situations when we got together, looked at the text that was discussed at the last meeting of the working group, and saw there norms that were not agreed upon. We say: “Wait a minute, we agreed on something else.” – “Oh yes? Well, it must have been confused by the typists. ” This is how we learned that “politically literate typists” were working behind our back.

And when the law passed the first reading, the deputies were given a different version altogether. It was pure forgery. The text repeated our project verbatim, with the exception of a few subtle amendments. But they changed the meaning of the bill 180 degrees.

I remember they asked me: “Does this project look like yours?” I replied: “Of course, like a dead person – to a living one.” For example, in our project it was said that the founders of the media, in addition to parties and public associations, can be “citizens of the USSR.” In the revised version, all the words were the same, but without the word “citizens.”

– No! There was a big scandal at the meeting of the Supreme Soviet. And as a result, the option was voted with a citizen as the founder of the media. There were many other intrigues, and petty scams, and funny stories … In fact, how this law was adopted is a good plot for a television series. And the fact that it all ended in the end with the victory of freedom over censorship was, of course, a real miracle.

Mikhail Fedotov, Vladimir Entin, Yuri Baturin, 1989. PHOTO: Journalist magazine, 1989, # 3

“When I rushed to the White House, half of the amendments had already been adopted”

– Yes, there were much fewer problems with him. We already had the “small land” we had conquered – the Union law. It was much easier to launch an offensive from this bridgehead. In addition, we wrote the Russian draft not on the balcony, but in my office at the Ministry of Press of Russia – I was then Deputy Minister.

That is, our initiative author's draft was almost official. No other simply existed. Therefore, we wrote it with great pleasure, realizing that we can count on the support of the parliament and the president.

The first reading of the law generally passed without a hitch, without a hitch. But when it was accepted in the second, final reading, problems still arose. The discussion was scheduled for December 19, at 4 pm. It was by this time that I planned to come to the White House for a plenary session of parliament.

However, Khasbulatov changed the agenda. Somewhere around noon, an alarmed Igor Eremin, chairman of the parliamentary committee on mass media, phoned me: “Come soon, there is a discussion of the draft law“ On mass media ”. I already spoke. We started voting on the amendments. ”

When I rushed to the White House, half of the amendments had already been adopted. And including very dangerous amendments. When the law passed through the parliamentary media committee, they were all rejected. And then suddenly they began to pass.

For example, the amendment introduced by the Prosecutor General Valentin Stepankov. According to our project, the journalist and the editorial office are obliged to keep the source of information secret – except for cases when the request to disclose the source came from the court. In the amendment, the court was supplemented by the prosecutor, the investigator and the person conducting the inquiry.

That is, the question was relegated practically to the level of a precinct. Imagine, a district police officer comes to the editorial office and says: “Well, quickly answer, where did you get this information from? Who gave it to you? ” Well, what then is the price of the secrecy of the source of information? A penny!

The second dangerous amendment concerned hidden audio and video recordings. We had an article that said under what conditions it is possible to distribute materials made with a hidden camera. There were certain requirements that had to be met.

But the deputy Viktor Veremchuk introduced an amendment, the meaning of which was reduced to the fact that the hidden recording is prohibited. Any. Video, audio, photo – you can't do anything. Forbidden – that's all. And this amendment also passed.

We, naturally, were outraged by these amendments. We published an open letter to the deputies and asked Yeltsin to veto the law. We were supported not only by the democratic community, but also by practically all our fellow journalists. It was that rare case when corporate solidarity worked.

Yeltsin then publicly stated that if the Supreme Soviet did not return the law to its original state, he would not sign it. Under this pressure, the Russian parliament returned to considering the law and removed these two amendments.

There were also amendments that were not dangerous, but rather stupid. For example, the one according to which erotic publications must be sold in sealed bags. This amendment was also adopted. But I managed to get the deputies to return to it and clarify: in transparent packages.

If it were not for the word “transparent”, a loophole would be created for fraudsters. You buy a Playboy magazine at a newsstand, get a sealed envelope, bring it home, open it, and there – the Pravda newspaper.

– Then there were also many guardians of morality. But society is diverse, people have different interests. Some people like Playboy magazine, some don't. If you don't like it, buy the Pravda newspaper and other publications. The choice should be free.

Parliament returned to discussing the media law on the last day of its autumn session, December 27, 1991. The agenda was huge, and the turn came to the law “On Mass Media” at about half past nine in the evening. The deputies were exhausted, everyone was in a suitcase New Year's mood … And this saved the freedom of the Russian press.

Mikhail Fedotov, Vladimir Entin, Yuri Baturin, 2019. A PHOTO from the personal archive of Mikhail Fedotov

“No one can be sure that they will not be recognized as a foreign agent”

– Let me remind you that, answering your first question, I compared the law “On Mass Media” with a flag pierced in several places. So, the rule about foreign agents is just one of these holes. Initially, there was nothing of the kind in the law. This amendment, which was introduced in 2017 and amended in 2019, shows that its authors were completely unaware of the law they amended.

– No, I have no information. But at our conference at the Higher School of Economics (dedicated to the anniversary of the law “On the Media.” >Generic concept here: “mass media”. Species – “foreign media”. What is “foreign media”? This is written in the law – however, it applies to print media. This is a periodical printed publication that is not registered in Russia and which is either financed from abroad, or the editorial office is located abroad.

Further: you take the concept of a foreign media and add a criterion there that allows you to single out from the whole multitude of foreign media those that we want to stigmatize. It is easy to do this, guided by Article 55 of the Law “On Mass Media”. It says here that if in some country discriminatory rules are applied against Russian journalists, then the Russian government has the right to impose retaliatory restrictions.

Let's remember how the history of foreign media agents began. It all started with the unfriendly actions of the American administration, which forced Russia Today to register as a foreign agent. In principle, in order to respond to this step, it was not even necessary to change the law “On Mass Media”. You could get off with a government decree or presidential decree.

And it was possible to make amendments and determine that a foreign media outlet will be recognized as performing the functions of a foreign agent if it is financed by a foreign state, on whose territory the Russian media are discriminated against.

That's all. It's very simple: they discriminate against the Russian media in the United States – we are retaliating against the American media funded from the state budget.

– No, this is the sphere of international relations. The principle of reciprocity is at work here. You expelled two diplomats from us – we expelled two diplomats from you. This principle has been established for millennia, no one has canceled it. You can use it, you can – not use it. Sometimes it is better not to use it. We can recall the story of Russian diplomats who were expelled from America by Obama. Putin reacted in a non-standard way: he invited the children of American diplomats to the Kremlin for the New Year tree. This is much more elegant than a mirrored answer.

– Yes, with the media it turned out not at all elegant. The norms on foreign media-foreign agents are vague, contradictory, legally illiterate. Among other things, the principle of administrative discretion applies here, that is, administrative discretion: whoever they want is recognized as a foreign media outlets performing the functions of a foreign agent. This is the very same legal uncertainty that has been repeatedly condemned by the Constitutional Court.

The muse of legislation requires mathematical precision and does not tolerate fuss. Here everything is subject to the logic of law. If you construct a rule from vague or inappropriate legal concepts, then it will not work properly. In this case, our entire institution of foreign agents – and even more so foreign media-foreign agents – is a legal gibberish.

I know how the head of state understands the task of this institution: to prevent foreign interference in internal affairs. But the execution turned out to be inadequate to the goal. As a result, no one can be sure that they will not be recognized by the foreign media performing the functions of a foreign agent. And this is lawlessness, arbitrariness.

– For, in my opinion, a whole year, if not more, these norms were applied adequately, as planned, in relation to the American media, financed from the state budget: Voice of America, Radio Liberty and all its projects … Everything is clear and logical here, including from the point of view of Article 55 of the Law on Mass Media. But then the dimensionlessness of the norm affected, and the circle of foreign media-foreign agents began to expand and expand … Why, where?

– Absurd, of course. Could it have been done normally, competently? Can. I have already named one of the options. It is also important to note that neither a legal entity nor an individual can be recognized as a foreign media-inotent, since the media, according to the law, is a form of periodic dissemination of mass information.

For example, Lev Ponomarev (recognized as a foreign media, acting as a foreign agent. – “MK” ) well, it cannot be a form of dissemination of mass information. He is an individual, he is a subject of law, and form is always an object. For a qualified lawyer, these are elementary things.

If all this is observed, you can make a completely worthy law. The same applies to the institution of NPOs performing the functions of a foreign agent. Here, too, everything can be done reasonably. Take the Civil Code – those rules that describe agency relationships, which define what an agent is, what a principal is. Link this with political activity – and you will get a completely operational concept in which there will be no uncertainty.

When individuals or organizations lobby for the interests of a foreign state, receiving monetary reward for this, they are certainly agents of this the state. And when, for example, an organization defends the rights of Russian prisoners who are beaten and raped in colonies, then, even if it receives foreign funding, what kind of a foreign agent is it?

Is it acting in the interests of a foreign power? No, she acts in the interests of the citizens of our country. Albeit with foreign money. Let's say thanks to those who give this money.

– Of course. Everything should be built in a single legal logic. And now all this is absolute legal nonsense.

Cover of the brochure with the text of the draft law, published by its authors in 1989.

“No country should be proud of the destruction of freedom of the media”

– A lot, that's right. But besides that, there is also preliminary censorship. For example, videos posted on YouTube video hosting are checked for copyright compliance, for compliance with community rules, that is, the internal rules of the Network. If the resource algorithm concludes that you have violated these rules, your video will be blocked.

I can tell you that I myself suffered from this. I wanted to post a video on my YouTube account of how the whole family bathed our newborn grandson. The first bath is a very important thing in the life of every person. But YouTube blocked this video.

– As they say, there are two big differences. A social network is not a newspaper, but a fence on which we hang our ads, posters, pictures, notes. Yes, the owner of the fence may require that they do not write on it with obscenities. But as for everything else, he cannot interfere. In any case, it shouldn't.

Answering your question, I will say that the concept of censorship, which is given in the Law on Mass Media, certainly needs to be adjusted. But I ask our deputies not to rush into this. I can guess how they will clarify. No, if so, then you better not.

– You know, here is the same story about which Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy wrote in his novel “Anna Karenina”: “All happy families are alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” All unhappy media are unhappy in their own way. Everyone has their own problems, their own Achilles' heels, their own scores with the authorities. I don't see any universal solution to this problem.

But the fact that the state is objectively interested in protecting independent media is quite obvious to me. Therefore, I would very much like the respected Roskomnadzor in his annual public reports to talk about how it protects freedom of the media in our country, how it defends the rights of journalists, how it helps independent media.

Today, to Unfortunately, nothing is written about it there. But the predecessor of Roskomnadzor was called the State Inspectorate for the Protection of Freedom of the Press and Mass Media.

– Well, if we allow our legislator to further worsen the law “On Mass Media”, he will do it. And if we force him to act in the opposite direction, then maybe we will succeed. In any case, I remember the behest of Bulat Shalvovich Okudzhava: “Do not give up your efforts, maestro.” I don’t know if we are a maestro or not, but we don’t give up our efforts.

I don’t remember the Turkmen law right away, but I remember the Belarusian one quite well: there are much fewer guarantees of freedom of the media than in the Russian one. Unfortunately, almost nothing is left of freedom of the media in Belarus. And it was destroyed, including on the basis of this law. Russian law is much more liberal.

– Yes, despite all the “holes”. By the way, I would like to recall the words of Putin, said by him in the mid-2000s. He then proudly said that the Russian law “On Mass Media” is considered one of the most liberal in the world. I would very much like our law to regain this status. To be proud of democratic institutions is a legitimate pride. No country should be proud of the destruction of freedom of the media, especially a country that calls itself in the Constitution a democratic rule-of-law state.

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White House approves sale of Javelin ATGM system to Lithuania

The US authorities have approved a contract for the supply of Javelin anti-tank missile systems to Lithuania in the amount of $ 125 million. As specified in the agency for cooperation in the field of defense and security (part of the Pentagon), Vilnius sent additional requests for these systems, in total the country will receive 341 FGM-148F missiles and 30 Javelin ATGM command and launch units.

It is specified that the package will also include battery charging units, simulators and technical materials.

Javelin is an American portable anti-tank missile system (ATGM). Designed to destroy armored vehicles and low-flying low-speed targets (helicopters, UAVs, propeller-driven aircraft approaching landing).

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White House confirms Biden’s next term plans with Harris

White House: US President Joe Biden plans to run with Kamala Harris in 2024 By the 2024 elections, Biden will be 81 years old, but he does not intend to give up his intention to be re-elected

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

President of the United States Joe Biden still intends to run for the next presidential term, paired with Vice President Kamala Harris. According to CNN, this was stated by Deputy Press Secretary of the White House Karin Jean-Pierre.

“ I can't talk about the kind of conversations the vice president and the president have, I can only say & lt; … & gt; about what the president himself said: that he plans to participate in the presidential elections in 2024. I have nothing more to add to this', & mdash; said a spokesman for the presidential administration.

Jean-Pierre commented on an interview with Harris The Wall Street Journal, in which the Vice President of the United States said that she and Biden had not yet discussed whether he planned to run again. Harris explained that it is too early to think about it now, since only the first year of Biden's tenure in power is nearing the end. When asked, she suggested that Biden would run again, she replied, “I’ll be very honest: I don’t think about it, and we didn’t talk about it.”

Biden, 78, won the fall 2020 election, paired with Kamala Harris, a former California senator. Biden announced his plans to run for a second term back in March. By the 2024 elections, Biden will be 81. If he takes part in them and wins, he will renew his record, becoming the oldest US president in history for the second time. The Washington Post noted that not everyone in the Democratic Party supports Biden's new nomination due to a noticeable decrease in his rating, as well as his age.

Former President Donald Trump may become his potential rival in the 2024 elections. He has not yet stated unequivocally that he intends to again participate in the elections as a candidate for the highest office, but he said that he did not exclude such a possibility. In July, Trump, speaking about whether he plans to participate in the new presidential elections, said that he had already decided, but he would not disclose his decision yet. “ I know the answer, but I am not yet able to disclose it as it may affect campaign funding and other things. But I definitely know my answer, & raquo;, & mdash; said the ex-president then.

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Academician Rogov explained the results of the meeting between Putin and Biden: the tension will subside

Research Director of the Institute of the USA and Canada assessed the results of the Russian-American online summit

The first online summit in the history of Russian-American relations, talks between Vladimir Putin and Joseph Biden via videoconference, completed. Initially, they did not expect a breakthrough from them, but they expected that this conversation would at least slightly defuse the current tense international situation to the limit – especially, of course, the situation around Ukraine. To what extent has this hope been justified? The scientific director of the Institute of the USA and Canada, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Sergey Rogov answers the questions of “MK”.

photo Council.gov.ru commons.wikimedia.org

The first information about the course and results of the meeting came from Washington. “President Biden expressed deep concern of the United States and our European allies about Russia's escalation of forces around Ukraine and made it clear that the United States and our allies will respond with decisive economic and other measures in the event of a military escalation,” the White House said in a statement. “President Biden reiterated his support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and called for de-escalation and a return to diplomacy. The two presidents instructed their teams to take follow-up action in this direction, the United States will do so in close coordination with allies and partners.

“The President of Russia, with specific examples, illustrated the destructive line of Kiev, aimed at the complete dismantling of the Minsk agreements and agreements reached in the” Normandy format “, expressed serious concern about Kiev's provocative actions against Donbass, – the Kremlin press service reported in turn. – Vladimir Putin … stressed that the responsibility should not be shifted onto the shoulders of Russia, since it is NATO that is making dangerous attempts to conquer Ukrainian territory and is building up its military potential at our borders. “

Sergei Mikhailovich, according to your feelings , did the Doomsday clock hand swing back today? Are there any reasons for optimism?

– Well, maybe not for optimism, but there is reason to conclude that there will probably be no further escalation of military tension. True, the wording regarding the instructions given by the two presidents to their subordinates is not very clear. What question? Here you can guess.

Speech, as far as one can judge, is one way or another about the Ukrainian crisis.

– But what exactly? About the Minsk Agreements, which Kiev refuses to fulfill? Is the US taking on the responsibility of pushing Kiev to implement these agreements? If so, then what do the Americans want in return? Well, maybe the withdrawal of part of the Russian troops. There is not yet enough information to understand what is hidden behind these phrases. But this kind of negotiations, when two leaders conduct a one-on-one conversation, do not always end with the disclosure of their content. It was hard to expect another option.

However, the very fact that instructions have been given to the teams is a positive sign. This means that the presidents did not quarrel, did not disperse like ships at sea, but decided to launch some kind of negotiation process. It is not a fact, of course, that this process will necessarily end successfully and will lead to the signing of some agreements. But this is in any case better than quarreling with each other.

Well, does the duration of the negotiations – more than two hours – say something? Or is he not talking about anything?

– Well, if the conversation was short, less than an hour, it would mean that there was nothing to talk about, that they were not going to discuss specific details. In two hours, you can talk about specifics. This is a good sign.

It is somewhat surprising that the Kremlin was in no hurry with its interpretation of the negotiations – unlike the White House, which spoke out almost instantly. Could it indicate that the conversation, shall we say, did not completely satisfy the Russian side?

– I don’t know. In principle, from an informational point of view, we generally tend to take our time. And sometimes we are just late. But I understand why Biden's team was in a hurry. This is geared towards an American audience. They were faced with the prospect of leaks that could lead to a scandal, to accuse Biden of retreating, capitulating, “blinking”. Consider, for example, what happened after the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki. Then Trump his opponents almost gobbled up with bones. Apparently, given the bitter experience, Biden's entourage decided to forestall the “roll-forward”.

Источник www.mk.ru