VIDEOS: Russia and 2016 Elections – Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing

U.S. Capitol file photo

The Senate Intelligence Committee hears testimony from witnesses on cybersecurity, #Russian hacking capabilities and U.S. and European elections, in two sessions on March 30, 2017.









 

STRATFOR: Russia Stirs the Hornet’s Nest

Map of Kosovo and Environs

(Startfor.com – March 28, 2017)

In January, conflict almost erupted in the Balkans after the Kosovar government dispatched special police forces to stop a Serbian train headed into Kosovo’s majority-Serb northern territory, emblazoned with the slogan “Kosovo is Serbia” in 21 languages.

Forecast

Russia will keep trying to exploit divisions in the western Balkans, traditionally a theater of competition for many world powers.

Russian influence will continue to spread in some of the Balkans’ most turbulent areas, including Serbia, northern Kosovo, Montenegro and Macedonia.

By stoking tensions in the region, Moscow could engineer a series of crises too challenging for the West to contain.



Analysis

The Balkan Peninsula has long stood at the edge of empires. The region, with its jumble of ethnicities, religions and political movements, has been a playing field for competing world powers throughout its history. Russia began to vie with the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires for influence over the area in the 19th century. During the Cold War, Yugoslavia became a battleground between the Soviet Union and the West, despite its officially nonaligned status following World War II. While the West tried to woo the country with economic aid, the Soviets played to its ruling Communist Party, and the two sides continued in deadlock through the 1980s. Once the country dissolved in 1991, however, the tides turned. The collapse of the Soviet Union left Moscow in no position to see Yugoslavia’s constituent states through their transition to sovereignty, leaving that task to the European Union. The West has dominated the Balkan states’ economic and security relationships ever since.

Russia still maintained its footholds in the Balkans, though. And today, as the European Union’s divisions deepen and uncertainty prevails within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Moscow has turned its focus to the region once more. The Balkans’ stability has been such a hot topic in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s meetings with the Kremlin Security Council this year that the council’s chief even said it was a top priority for Moscow. Incidents of Russia’s meddling in the Balkans have been on the rise, meanwhile, raising questions about whether it will be the next theater in Moscow’s ongoing struggle against Western power and unity. After all, stoking tensions in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia offers the Russian government a convenient means to increase its influence and further distract the West.



Rattling Sabers in Serbia

Since the end of the Cold War, Serbia, unlike many of its Western-leaning neighbors, has stayed in the middle of the Russia-West dynamic. The country has drawn on its cultural and religious bonds to Russia to keep a strong relationship with Moscow while also pursuing membership in the European Union. Over the past two years, however, Russia’s influence in Serbia has grown noticeably. The number of Russian media outlets and nongovernmental organizations in the country has jumped from fewer than a dozen to more than 100 since 2015, according to the Belgrade-based Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies. The Kremlin’s two main news networks, Sputnik and RT (formerly Russia Today), have both begun offering television programming, online news and radio broadcasts in Serbian. In addition, Russian state newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta prints Nedeljnik, a widely read weekly, in Moscow before delivering it to Serbia. The publications make frequent use of anti-Western rhetoric, for instance through references to NATO’s 1999 bombing of Serbia and Moscow’s support for Belgrade during that conflict. And the strategy seems to be working: A poll conducted in February by Serbian weekly Vreme indicated that some 68 percent of Serbs prefer relations with Russia to ties with the European Union.

At the same time, Russia and Serbia have flaunted their military connections in recent months. A Russian plane carrying 40 metric tons of food, clothing and medical supplies from Serbia set off for Syria in October 2016. The following month, the Russian and Belarusian militaries held drills in Serbia to coincide with NATO exercises just across the border in Montenegro. The government in Belgrade, moreover, will receive six Mikoyan Mig-29 fighter jets and dozens of tanks and combat vehicles in the next few weeks as a gift from Moscow, which has also offered to sell it the Buk anti-aircraft missile systems. (The equipment will be a welcome update to the Soviet technology that the Serbian military still relies on.)

Much of this saber rattling is political theater meant to appeal to Serbia’s nationalist voters ahead of the April 2 presidential election. But beneath Belgrade’s politicking runs an undercurrent of tension between the country and its neighboring states — particularly Kosovo, whose independence Serbia does not acknowledge. The two almost fell into conflict in January when Kosovo’s government deployed special police forces to stop a train headed from Belgrade to the state’s northern territory, home to mostly Kosovar Serbs, and emblazoned with the phrase “Kosovo is Serbia” in 21 languages. Responding to the incident, Kosovar President Hashim Thaci accused Serbia of attempting to use the “Crimean model” to take over the northern part of his country. Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, meanwhile, telephoned his Russian counterpart to ask for support, sparking fears that a new war was nigh.



How to Create a Crisis

Now that Kosovo is once again flirting with the idea of transforming its lightly armed security force into a bona fide army, relations between the two states are coming under further strain. The United States and its fellow NATO members have threatened to rescind their support and protection for Kosovo if it follows through with the plan. Even so, Thaci sent a draft law approving a regular army to the legislature during the week of March 20, citing Serbia’s recent military deals with Russia and Belgrade’s influence in northern Kosovo as grounds for the measure. The Kosovar government in Pristina is concerned that between the European Union’s internal divisions and the new administration in Washington, the West won’t have the time or attention to devote to keeping the nine-year-old sovereign state safe. And if tensions continue to mount between Kosovo and Serbia, Russia could use them to engineer a full-blown crisis down the line.

In fact, Moscow is currently facing allegations that it tried to do just that in Montenegro. The country’s government has accused Russian security forces of plotting to assassinate Milo Djukanovic, then the prime minister, just before parliamentary elections in October in an effort to thwart its bid for NATO membership. Russia’s former deputy military attache to Poland, who was ejected from Warsaw in 2014 for espionage, organized the plan, according to Montenegro’s chief special prosecutor. Adding to the intrigue, Djukanovic said Moscow poured money into the country’s parliamentary campaigns in the runup to the elections. Serbia detained and deported a group of Russians accused of planning the coup in the weeks after the vote, and another 21 suspects were arrested in Montenegro. Moscow, for its part, has denied involvement in the plot and accused the country’s government of falsifying events to cast it in a negative light. Regardless, a prospective new election in 2018 could give Russia another opportunity to sow seeds of discord in Montenegro’s fragile government.



A Referendum on Russia’s Influence?

A vote in Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska, likewise, could give Moscow a chance to increase its sway there. The republic’s president, Milorad Dodik, has called for a referendum next year on the independence of Republika Srpska, which is home primarily to Orthodox Serbs. (The proposal recalls the independence vote that Crimea held just before Russia annexed it.) Dodik, who first suggested the referendum during his campaign for the presidency in 2014, has made no secret of his ties to the Kremlin. Two weeks before the presidential vote, he traveled to Moscow to meet with Putin, and on election day itself, he liaised with Russian ultranationalist and propagandist Konstantin Malofeev at a posh hotel after casting his ballot. Malofeev is an agent of Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov; together, the two have reportedly organized and funded referendums in Ukraine’s restive Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk regions. What’s more, he arrived at the election day meeting with a group of Russian Cossacks later seen walking the streets near polling sites.

Dodik managed only a slim victory in the vote, limiting the amount of clout Russia has in Bosnia-Herzegovina through him. Nevertheless, more and more Russian media has been creeping into the country over the Serbian border for the past two years to spread Moscow’s word. Though voters in Republika Srpska are divided over the issue of secession, the Kremlin’s media campaigns will likely ramp up as the possible referendum approaches, perhaps igniting one of the largest political powder kegs in the Balkans today.

Disseminating Disinformation

The mostly Slavic state of Macedonia is already in the thick of a Russian disinformation campaign. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has accused the European Union and United States of supporting separatist movements among the inherently fragile country’s Albanian minority, which makes up 25 percent of the population. Over the past few weeks, Macedonians have taken to the streets to protest Macedonian Albanians’ demands for their own government. Moscow is stoking the unrest, claiming that the West is supporting calls for the creation of a so-called Greater Albania. According to a Stratfor source, the German and Austrian embassies in the country are trying to counter Russia’s propaganda, as is the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Even so, recent polls show that most Macedonians would sooner turn to Russia for help in the future than to the West because they doubt Western governments’ commitment. (Indeed, Washington is reportedly planning to cut funding for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, creating a vacuum in the Macedonian media for Russia to fill.)

Although the instability in Macedonia pales in comparison with that in Kosovo or Republika Srpska, the situation there offers yet another example of Russia’s activities in the Balkans. Of course, not all states in the region have accepted Moscow’s advances: Croatia, a member of the European Union as well as NATO, has actively worked to keep Russian or pro-Russian media from spreading inside its borders, according to a Stratfor source. A fellow NATO member, Albania, has also attempted to resist Russia’s influence as the Kremlin’s media outlets have expanded their coverage to include Albanian-language services. Still, the campaigns are sure to continue. For Moscow, meddling in the Balkans is a low-cost and high-yield endeavor. The Russian government has no illusions that it will be able to win the Balkan countries over to its side. Instead, it views the region as a hornet’s nest. By stirring it up, Moscow could create a series of crises too deep for the European Union or NATO to contain, thereby giving it another card to play in its negotiations with the West.



Article also appeared at stratfor.com/analysis/russia-stirs-hornets-nest bearing the following notice:

Reprinting or republication of this report on websites is authorized by prominently displaying the following sentence, including the hyperlink to Stratfor, at the beginning or end of the report.

NEWSWATCH: “Potential ‘smoking gun’ showing Obama administration spied on Trump team, source says” – Fox News

White House File Photo
“Republican congressional investigators expect a potential ‘smoking gun’ establishing that the #Obama administration spied on the #Trump transition team, and possibly the president-elect himself, will be produced to the House #Intelligence Committee this week …. Classified intelligence showing incidental collection of Trump team communications, purportedly seen by committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and described by him in vague terms … came from multiple sources …. The intelligence corroborated information about surveillance of the Trump team that was known to Nunes, sources said, even before President Trump accused his predecessor of having wiretapped him …. The intelligence is said to leave no doubt the Obama administration, in its closing days, was using the cover of legitimate surveillance on foreign targets to spy on President-elect Trump, according to sources. The key to that conclusion is the unmasking of selected U.S. persons whose names appeared in the intelligence, … the paper trail leaves no other plausible purpose for the unmasking other than to damage the incoming Trump administration. …”

Click here for: “Potential ‘smoking gun’ showing Obama administration spied on Trump team, source says” – Fox News







NEWSWATCH: “Exiled #Kremlin Critic Killed In Kyiv In Brazen Daylight Shooting” – RFE/RL

Map of Ukraine and Environs, Including Russia

“A former #Russian lawmaker who defected to #Ukraine and aired damning criticism of #Russia’s leadership has been gunned down in broad daylight in the heart of Kyiv in what Ukraine’s president called ‘An act of state #terrorism by Russia.’ … ex-#Duma Deputy Denis #Voronenkov was killed by a gunman as he and his bodyguard were approaching the five-star Premier Palace Hotel …. the attacker fired at least eight shots at the 45-year-old Voronenkov with an ‘old Soviet pistol.’ … caught on security cameras.  The attacker was shot in the ensuing gunbattle with Voronenkov’s lone bodyguard and apprehended by police on the street nearby. He later died in hospital … there was initially no word on his identity. … the bodyguard, who was wounded in the exchange of gunfire … was provided by Ukrainian authorities in the past month because there was ‘reason to fear’ that Voronenkov’s life might be in danger. … Voronenkov had become a vocal critic of Kremlin policy toward Ukraine, including its military invasion and annexation of Crimea. But the former communist lawmaker was also unpopular among Ukrainian nationalists, some of whom were dubious of his loyalties and critical of authorities fast-tracking a Ukrainian passport ….”

Click here for: “Exiled Kremlin Critic Killed In Kyiv In Brazen Daylight Shooting” – RFE/RL







NEWSWATCH: “Denis Voronenkov: ex-#Russian MP who fled to #Ukraine killed in Kiev; Vladimir #Putin’s spokesman dismisses claims that Moscow is linked to the killing of #Kremlin critic who left #Russia last year and renounced citizenship.” – The Guardian (UK)

Map of European Portion of Russia and Environs

“A former #Russian MP who had fled to Ukraine was shot dead on a busy street in central Kiev …. Denis #Voronenkov, who had spoken out against … #Putin and #Kremlin policies, was shot three times outside the upmarket Premier Palace hotel. #Ukraine’s president, Petro #Poroshenko, quickly pointed the finger at Russian authorities, calling the killing an act of ‘state #terrorism’. …”

Click here for: “Denis Voronenkov: ex-Russian MP who fled to Ukraine killed in Kiev; Vladimir Putin’s spokesman dismisses claims that Moscow is linked to the killing of Kremlin critic who left Russia last year and renounced citizenship.” – The Guardian (UK)







Neil Gorsuch Supreme Court Nomination Marred by Association With Pro-Abortion Anthony Kennedy

Supreme Court Facade with Parkland and Blossoming Trees, adapted from image at supremecourt.gov

“… Justice Kennedy was incredibly welcoming and gracious … he taught me so much. I am forever grateful. … These judges brought me up in the law. Truly, I would not be here without them. Today is as much their day as it is mine. …” — Judge Neil Gorsuch, at the White House, Jan. 31, 2017

Neil Gorsuch was willing to clerk for pro-abortion Anthony Kennedy within roughly a year after Kennedy’s aggressive pro-abortion stance manifested itself in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), in which Kennedy was one of multiple coauthors of the Court’s decision. Kennedy apparently was the only active Justice that Gorsuch actually clerked for, part-time while Gorsuch used his status as a token clerk for retired Justice Byron White as a back door into the world of Supreme Court clerkships.

Even just last year, Kennedy abused his power on the Supreme Court to tip the balance in favor of attacking Texas requirements aimed at protecting women’s health, with Kennedy acting in favor of looser access to abortion instead.

Not only has Gorsuch failed to repudiate his past association with Kennedy, he spoke favorably of Kennedy, within the past two months, when accepting Donald Trump’s nomination of Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.



All of these facts raise serious questions about Gorsuch’s moral compass, judgment, analytical capacity and overall lack of suitability for a judicial position in the United States.

The issue is not simply how to parse some of Gorsuch’s words, in a dry, static, narrowly construed legalistic manner; the issue is what his words, posture and failure to speak, say about his thinking, abilities and character, past and present, against the backdrop of an underperforming, morally questionable legal profession and wholesale slaughter of vulnerable Americans in the womb.

Interestingly enough, the White House does not seem to make it easy to find Gorsuch’s full comments from January in text, even though they are included on the White House video.  According to a transcript from the Denver Post, Gorsuch asserted:

“‘I began my legal career working for Byron White, the last Coloradan to serve on the Supreme Court, and the only justice to lead the NFL in rushing. [Laughter] He was one of the smartest and most courageous men I’ve ever known. When Justice White retired, he gave me the chance to work for Justice Kennedy, as well. Justice Kennedy was incredibly welcoming and gracious, and like Justice White, he taught me so much. I am forever grateful. And if you’ve ever met Judge David Sentelle, you’ll know just how lucky I was to land a clerkship with him right out of school. [Waves] Thank you. These judges brought me up in the law. Truly, I would not be here without them. Today is as much their day as it is mine. …'”

The comments seem somewhat manipulative from the beginning, given the seeming implication that Gorsuch was trying to portray himself as having started out as a regular Supreme Court law clerk, only to scramble to continue helping the institution after his employer retired.  The facts seem to indicate that he actually started out, from the beginning, working for a retired Justice as a kind of token retirement benefit accorded the retired Justice, and, having inserted himself onto the scene, also took part-time work with Kennedy, as his only work for an active Justice.  Left out is whether Gorsuch even attempted to work for a more conservative or moderate Justice, or why it is he ended up with a human rights violator like Kennedy.  Additionally concerning is whether, with Trump failing to appoint a non-lawyer to the Supreme Court, he has ended up a lawyer so neck-deep in the artificial world of the legal profession that he “cannot see the forest for the trees.” One is left to wonder whether a status-hungry, resume-filling Gorsuch, lost in the arcane world of lawyers, decided that the pedigree of working for an active Justice was more important than the millions of American lives being snuffed out, and Rule of Law being undermined, by the anti-constitutional human rights violator that he was associating with when he worked for Kennedy.

There reportedly have been roughly 59 million surgical abortions in the United States since the Supreme Court began blocking prosecutions for abortions in 1973.

The Supreme Court’s decisions obstructing abortion prosecutions, seeking to enshrine prenatal child-killing as a would-be “right,” are illegal and an abuse of power.

The Constitution provides an explicit mechanism for amending the Constitution, including to account for shifts in public values.  A simple majority vote by an aggressive Supreme Court is not that mechanism.

Kennedy’s actions promoting abortion are an shockingly overt attack on, and violation of, the Constitution.

Under centuries of political theory, the core duty of any government, and any government’s core justification for existing, is the defense of innocent human life.

A democracy, in particular, rests its government’s legitimacy on serving the will and interests of its people, including protecting the rights of minority portions of the population, including safeguarding and respecting the rights of all persons living within the nation.  The most fundamental right, recognized since the founding of the republic, is the right to live and not be killed.



Kennedy and his pro-abortion confederates essentially have declared a civil war against an enormous, and most vulnerable, portion of the American population.  In the process Kennedy and his pro-abortion confederates have launched an assault on human life, an assault on Rule of Law, an assault on the American Way of Life and Americans themselves, and a relentless drive to arrogate to mere lawyers with political connections a fanciful self-proclaimed status of philosopher king.

Moreover, a key element of pro-abortion Supreme Court judicial ideology is to define, condemn and doom the victims precisely because of their helplessness, saying that it is because a victim is helpless (or lacking so-called independent “viability”) that members of that class of persons may be killed, on a massive scale, without cause, without due process, using methods that are almost unimaginably vicious and painful.  There are methods by which abortion is death by torture, ripping apart the bodies of living persons who can feel pain, while they are defenseless in their mothers’ wombs.

There are, of course, other issues of concern surrounding the troubled tenure of Anthony Kennedy.  However, so-called abortion is numerically the biggest threat to American lives, and, by that measure, on that basic level, the country’s biggest de facto national security threat.

Given that abortion is killing millions of Americans, Kennedy and his pro-abortion confederates are also essentially guilty of de facto domestic treason, and conspiracy to murder or conspiracy to become accessories to murder. Even if the mechanism for the mass-killing includes intermediate steps by a multitude of others, by comparison, if Kennedy simply issued a decree requiring sticks of dynamite to be made available to terrorists, to suggest that Kennedy would not share responsibility for the resulting deaths would be absurd.  The same is true of his efforts to “tee up” millions of abortions.

Kennedy and his pro-abortion confederates should be impeached and removed on that basis.  Congress has been remiss in failing to carry its duty in that regard, as a last line of defense placed upon Congress by the Constitution and the many Americans who have laid down their lives over two centuries to defend that Constitution and the American Way of Life, sacrifices for which Kennedy and the weak-willed Congress have demonstrated repeated contempt.



Additionally, abortion is racist and sexist, with a disproportionate impact on racial minorities and females, giving rise to concern over other severe moral and constitutional defects.  There also have been charges of abortion being used to cover up evidence of other crimes.

Yet instead of repudiating his association with Kennedy, Gorsuch observes:

“‘… Justice Kennedy was incredibly welcoming and gracious … he taught me so much. I am forever grateful. … These judges brought me up in the law. Truly, I would not be here without them. Today is as much their day as it is mine. …'”

There is a stark backdrop formed by the Kennedy ideology, and the horrific nature and mind-boggling magnitude of the harms Kennedy has helped impose upon America. Against that backdrop, one should call into question Gorsuch’s moral compass, judgment, intelligence, analytical ability and honesty, when observing Gorsuch’s lapse into a lassitude of “go along to get along, let’s celebrate the superficial feel-good status-building bullet-points in my resume,” given the irrational, unlawyer-like evils of Kennedy and Gorsuch’s recent ratification of his association with Kennedy.

To put it simply, to celebrate ties to Kennedy does not just mean Gorsuch is unfit for the bench, and should not have been confirmed for a federal court of appeals.  It means Gorsuch lacks leadership, is a weak figure and is not a very good thinker.

The scandal should be regarded as an embarrassment to Donald Trump.  Trump embarrassed himself by picking Gorsuch and by himself, Trump, praising Gorsuch’s past without caveats.

Even worse, Trump was supposed to be a highly capable outsider who was going to “play things straight” and “drain the swamp,” including giving a top priority to his duties as Commander-in-Chief to defend American lives.

Yet, instead of picking a non-lawyer who would help correct the low intellectual and moral standards of the legal profession, Trump picked a legal profession insider with an apparent “go along to get along attitude” even in the face of 59 million American dead.

Already Trump, the wealthy businessman who never really built much more than resorts, casinos and TV rating, is watering himself down.



There is the curious fact that the abortion issue had tipped the balance in recent presidential elections, with the prolife, traditional values majority apparently having a reflex to be tepid in the face of the Republican Party’s attempt to water down its nominees’ credentials.

In contrast, George W. Bush, despite not really being thoroughly prolife, managed to put together a prolife agenda with a specific big-picture focus, pulling in the prolife majority.  He did so largely by focusing on Supreme Court nominations, banning partial-birth infanticide and banning funding for prenatal killing, building a common ground on all those major points.  For example, while a majority of Americans are prolife, a vast super-majority support a ban on partial-birth infanticide.

John McCain and Mitt Romney, already raising questions and causing the traditional values majority to step back and wonder about their political fiber, failed to articulate the same kind of focus (and as a running mate Paul Ryan even allowed himself to articulate a modified pro-abortion view, openly admitting that his ticket supported abortion in some circumstances, an offensive and unbelievably impractical act that undoubtedly weakened the resolve of his potential base to expend greater energy in his behalf).

Trump, however, despite questions about his past views or values credentials, started to regain some focus on the specific practical major themes of the abortion issue and the big-picture steps he would need to take as President.  And Trump even drove his opponent to openly expose herself as an extreme radical on abortion and infanticide, out of step with all but a small portion of the electorate.

With Gorsuch, however, Trump begins to lose that focus.  He has failed to find the right nominee.  That Gorsuch could serve for three decades or more makes the situation even worse.

In the face of the Gorsuch nomination, there is, indeed, a need to avoid lassitude and complacency among the majority of Americans who consider themselves prolife.  One of the reasons four decades of mass-killing has rolled on is the willingness of portions of the prolife majority to tolerate weak efforts and compromised, watered down values posing as something more.

Americans who love their country and want to rebuild respect for Rule of Law should oppose Gorsuch, seek the impeachment and removal of Kennedy and his confederates and demand that Trump step up, do a better job and “get it right.”



Links & Resources

“Neil Gorsuch the Law Clerk” – SCOTUSblog

“Transcript: Neil Gorsuch’s full remarks after accepting the U.S. Supreme Court nomination; President Donald Trump introduced Gorsuch, a judge for the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, on Tuesday” – Denver Post 1.31.17

“President Donald J. Trump Nominates Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court” – White House 1.31.17

“BIO: Judge Neil Gorsuch” – Fox News

Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992) – FindLaw

Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992) – IIT Chicago-Kent School of Law

Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992) – Justia

“Anthony Kennedy on Abortion” – OnTheIssues

“Supreme Court Strikes Down Modest Abortion Restrictions, Highlights 2016 Election Stakes” – Breitbart 6.27.16



 

NEWSLINK: “Neil Gorsuch the Law Clerk” – SCOTUS Blog

File Photo of Neil Gorsuch and U.S. Flag, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… White had retired from the court in the spring of 1993. According to some accounts at the time, White had not hired a full slate of law clerks for the term that would start in the fall of 1993 because he had an inclination to retire. It is unclear whether #Gorsuch was aware of this when White hired him.

Following a tradition among retired justices, who are assigned one law clerk, White agreed to share his clerk with an active justice. Gorsuch thus became a part-time member of Justice Anthony #Kennedy’s chambers.

The #SupremeCourt heard arguments in 99 cases during Gorsuch’s clerkship, issuing 93 full opinions.The most high-profile merits cases that term involved protest buffer zones around abortion clinics, the use of gender-based peremptory challenges in jury selection and whether a rap song incorporating parts of a Roy Orbison song constituted fair use under copyright law.

Whether Gorsuch played any significant role in advising Justice Kennedy on the term’s merits cases remains a private matter. And the amount of time he devoted to the needs of the newly retired Justice White isn’t widely known. …”

NEWSLINK: “BIO: Judge Neil Gorsuch” – Fox News

Supreme Court Facade with Parkland and Blossoming Trees, adapted from image at supremecourt.gov

“CURRENT POSITION: U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit, from 2006-present

LEGAL EXPERIENCE:

  • Clerk for Judge David Sentelle of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 1991-92.
  • Clerk for United States Supreme Court Justice Byron White and Justice Anthony Kennedy, 1993-94.
  • Attorney at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel in Washington, D.C., 1995-2005; partner.
  • Deputy associate attorney general, Department of Justice, 2005-06 …”

NEWSLINK: “#Iran, #Turkey leaders agree to defuse tensions” – Reuters/Daily Star (Lebanon)

Iran Map

“#Iranian President Hassan #Rouhani and #Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip #Erdogan agreed Wednesday to improve ties, including in the fight against terrorism, Iran’s state news agency IRNA said, following some angry exchanges between the regional rivals. Tehran and Ankara support opposite sides in the conflict in #Syria. Largely #Shiite Iran backs the government of President Bashar #Assad, while Turkey, which is majority #Sunni, has backed elements of the Syrian opposition. Last month Erdogan and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu both accused Iran of trying to destabilize Syria and Iraq and of sectarianism, prompting Tehran to summon Ankara’s ambassador. …”

NEWSLINK: “#Syria conflict: All parties committed #warcrimes in #Aleppo – #UN” – BBC

Syria Map

“#UN #humanrights investigators say #Syrian civilians fell victim to #war crimes committed by all parties during the battle for #Aleppo last year. Daily air strikes by #Syria’s government and its ally #Russia claimed hundreds of lives, according to a new report. Government forces also dropped chlorine bombs, resulting in hundreds of civilian casualties, it alleges. Rebels are meanwhile accused of firing shells indiscriminately at government-held areas and of using human shields. The evacuation of the rebel enclave in eastern Aleppo in December, which brought the battle to an end, also amounted to forced displacement, the investigators say. …”

NEWSLINK: “Both sides of #Aleppo siege guilty of war crimes: #UN report” – Fox News

“Both #Syrian rebels and their enemies, the #Assad regime along with its #Russian allies, are guilty of committing #warcrimes in #Aleppo, #Syria, the #UN said Wednesday.
The U.N. Commission of Inquiry (UNCI) released an assessment of developments in the five-year war that occured between July and December of last year. …”

 

NEWSWATCH: “Deterring Russian Aggression in the Baltic States; What it Takes to Win” – RAND/David A. Shlapak/Congressional Testimony

Map of Baltics, Eastern Europe, Russia, Environs

Testimony presented before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces on March 1, 2017.

“… the United States and … NATO[] confront three related challenges in deterring Russian aggression in the Baltics (and, more generally, wherever NATO territory may be threatened). Solving all three of these is vital to achieving core American objectives in Europe … since 1945: ensure peace and stability, support democratic and market forces, and prevent the use of armed force to coerce the free people of Europe or to alter established borders. … ‘winning’ means putting in place the wherewithal to effectively deter any Russian adventurism aimed at NATO member states by being prepared to deny Moscow its objectives without escalating to the first use of nuclear weapons. …”