Tag Archives: Mike Pompeo

Pompeo is right – WHO investigation will be completely ‘whitewashed’

Originally published by And Magazine

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is right — the World Health Organization’s (WHO) investigation into the origins of coronavirus will be “whitewashed.”

Despite receiving $2.4 billion per year to “safeguard world health,” the WHO has spent the 2020 pandemic covering for China instead of containing the outbreak, according to investigative journalist Claudia Rosett in a new book Defending Against Biothreats.

For months, China refused to participate in an international investigation. In May, President Trump told the WHO the U.S. would cut their $450 billion in funding unless the organization demonstrated independence from China. The next day, the European Union sponsored a resolution at the World Health Assembly (WHA) for an investigation by an “independent and impartial panel” on the origins of coronavirus and a review of the WHO response. 

Given that the resolution was supported by Russia and Turkey, in addition to European and African countries, it was hard for China to resist. China ended up supporting the resolution, likely because it makes them appear transparent and cooperative. But the resolution did not mention Wuhan or China and does not propose to review countries’ handling of the outbreak or that the virus was man-made in any way.

On July 9, the WHO announced the “independent and impartial” panel mandated by the resolution will be co-chaired by former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark and former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Clark headed the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for eight years and ran for Secretary-General in 2016, with Xi Jinping’s support. Sirleaf is a WHO Goodwill Ambassador, alongside Xi Jinping’s wife, Peng Liyuan.

On July 15, Clark said evaluating the WHO’s response is important, but it is ultimately up to the member states to follow WHO guidelines. This echoes WHO Director Tedros’ comments on July 13, blaming world leaders for failing to contain the virus.

While world leaders thought they were getting reliable WHO guidance, in fact, the WHO was merely echoing talking points produced by Beijing.  Perhaps most egregious is a January 14 tweet, where the WHO claimed the virus was not spread by human-to-human contact.

“Had China’s propaganda mills simply tweeted directly that the virus was not very contagious, they might have drawn more skepticism. But channeled via the WHO, China’s mortally dangerous malarkey carried a whiff of due diligence. As it turns out, that was wrong,”

Rosett writes.

Rosett notes the January 23 lockdown of 11 million people in Wuhan – only necessary for contagious diseases — would have been a good time for the WHO to warn the world. Instead, Tedros praised Xi’s handling of the epidemic. It was not until January 30 that the WHO declared a global health emergency.

After praising Beijing for brutal lockdowns, Tedros said President Trump’s ban on flights from China, was “unnecessary.” Tedros did not declare a global pandemic until March 11, which drastically changed how most countries were handling the virus.

Perhaps not following the WHO would have produced better results – currently, 591,000 have died and 13.8 million have been infected.

Taiwan, not a member of the WHO at China’s demand, took action in late December, months before the WHO encouraged other countries to do the same. Their efforts, informed by experience with the SARS outbreak in 2002, were highly effective – only 451 cases and 7 deaths. Taiwan tried to share their knowledge with the WHO but was ignored. When asked by a reporter if the WHO would reconsider Taiwan’s status, WHO official Bruce Alyward refused to answer and then hung up.

“Assuming the WHO’s top brass have any ability to distinguish fact from fiction – which they surely do – their priorities appeared to have less to do with disease control than with legitimizing the actions of China’s ruling Communist Party, whatever those might be,” Rosett writes.

If Rosett is right, we can expect the WHO investigators to continue to shift blame and ultimately exonerate both the WHO and China’s handling of the pandemic. Any and all failures cited will likely be blamed for a lack of funding. The Trump administration is right to be removing U.S. participation in a system rigged for China’s benefit, and other member states would be wise to do the same.

Keep squeezing the Chinese regime

Monitoring Chinese regime propaganda about the Wuhan Virus pandemic allows insights into the Communist Party leadership and can reveal vulnerabilities to guide American strategists.

That’s why we continue our extensive daily pandemic propaganda timeline.

Some of the most important conclusions to draw from the timeline to date have been the absurd lengths to which the Chinese government has covered up its role in unleashing the pandemic, insisted that the world praise the regime for its response, and attacked the United States government for insisting on holding the regime accountable.

We are now seeing fissures within the Chinese Communist Party leadership. That means the US should remain on the offensive to deepen those fissures and force the regime to take responsibility and be held accountable.

Even the propagandists say their propaganda has been a disaster

Now comes an unauthorized report out of China that the Party’s own Central Propaganda Department is struggling to avoid responsibility for the disinformation offensive it has unleashed worldwide.

The official propaganda has backfired so badly that the Department is trying to deflect blame for pushing the faulty Party line that it was instructed to push.

It reportedly issued an urgent notice recently – unusual in that the notice did not come in the name of Xi Jinping, which could indicate infighting or divisions within the CCP leadership. Chinascope has the story, translated and summarized from the original in Minghui. Highlights:

  • ‘Emergency notice’ to ‘suspend official CCP propaganda’ on virus immediately. “Minghui reported that, according to internal sources, the CCP Central Propaganda Department recently issued an ’emergency notice’ to media in mainland China to suspend the official CCP propaganda on the Wuhan virus immediately.”
  • Propagandists unwilling to take responsibility. “Analysts interpret the notice as an indication that the CCP Central Propaganda Department is not willing to assume responsibility for the previous CCP propaganda guidelines.”
  • International blame against CCP seen as trigger. “It is believed that the notice was due to the claims filed against China and to the increased advocacy from the international community to hold China accountable for the cover-up of the pandemic.”
  • ‘Brakes must be applied immediately.’ “According to the emergency notice, ‘brakes must be applied immediately’ on all propaganda that advertises how remarkable the Chinese anti-pandemic effort is and how ‘inferior’ the anti-pandemic efforts in foreign countries are. The notice also stated that this was ‘a painful decision made by its senior leadership based on the current situation.’”
  • Possible internal rift, but CCP not seen as changing. “Analysts believe that the CCP Central Propaganda Department is attempting to avoid being a scapegoat in the future. Some experts believe that this may be the result of an internal rift and that the CCP will not change.”
  • Anti-US finger-pointing and cover-up did more harm than good. “Since the outbreak of the Wuhan virus in January this year, the CCP has engaged in a major propaganda campaign setting off another anti-America wave, while doing everything it could possibly do to cover up that which allowed the coronavirus to become a global pandemic.”

Bottom line: President Donald Trump and the rest of his team, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, are exactly correct in laying the blame squarely on the Chinese Communist regime. Beijing and its apologists here and abroad have been begging the administration to stop. Now is no time to slow down. It’s time to squeeze even harder.

Chinese Communist Party wants Pompeo out

Tracking official Chinese regime propaganda outlets shows that the Chinese Communist Party can’t stomach an American secretary of state with the guts to call it out.

Regime messaging is dropping hints in English that relations with the US will improve only if American diplomats defy Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Pompeo is removed.

With President Trump playing “good cop” with China, Pompeo is very much Trump’s “bad cop.” The CCP – shorthand for Chinese Communist Party –  wants him removed and replaced with a more traditionally compliant secretary of state.

At present, CCP outlets are suggesting that American professional diplomats rebel against Pompeo inside the State Department to render him ineffective – an important indicator that Pompeo is managing to roll back the influence of entrenched careerists who have been soft on Mao Tse-tung’s successors.

Pompeo has an effective team with interagency support, so he has to go. Pompeo has a capable interagency team to uproot aggressive Chinese regime influence operations and espionage inside the United States. He warned state governors in February about CCP political influence strategy aimed at compromising state- and local-level officials. He rallied America’s G7 trading partners – all military allies – to start countering CCP disinformation.

The CCP is now recycling accusations from the Washington Post that Pompeo is not only “ineffectual,” but is the worst secretary of state since the 1800s and “one of the worst secretaries of state” in history.

CCP will interfere in 2020 election if Pompeo doesn’t get out. The Chinese Communist Party is also hinting that it will (continue to) interfere in American elections. It is now stating through its English-language mouthpiece Global Times that America will “suffer” and President Trump won’t get re-elected unless Pompeo is removed.

Case study: How CCP twists American messages to knock out our secretary of state. A breakdown of an April 4 Global Times article shows how the CCP pounces on American government statements and hostile media comments and slingshots them into propaganda messages to undermine the US Secretary of State.

It started with an April 3 open letter that US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad published on the American Embassy in Beijing website and on China’s Weibo social media platform. It was what under other circumstances would have been an ordinary, mundane letter of light diplomatic niceties and expressions of cooperation on a common problem during a crisis.

The CCP weaponized Branstad’s letter and distorted it to attack Pompeo and to urge a rebellion within the State Department to force Pompeo’s removal. Any softened tone toward the Chinese regime is welcome – except from Pompeo, who must go, the CCP says. A Global Times article is representative of the theme to support the anybody-but-Pompeo soft line:

  • US Ambassador ‘surprisingly’ showed ‘appreciation’ for Chinese efforts. “The US Embassy in China on Friday posted an article on Weibo which surprisingly expressed its ambassador’s appreciation for Chinese efforts to assist the US government in the fight against the coronavirus, marking a sharp change in tone as less than a week ago, the embassy roiled Chinese netizens by using ‘Wuhan virus’ to refer to COVID-19.”
  • Accurately quotes US ambassador. “The article, penned by US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad titled ‘Moving Forward Together,’ said, ‘I underscored that now is the time to look forward, and relayed my appreciation for Chinese efforts to assist our government in the export of needed medical supplies to the United States.'”
  • A welcome ‘change of tone.’ “US Embassy in China’s change of tone came after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump administration’s most vocal China hawk, adopted a more restrained tone and dropped his use of ‘Wuhan virus,’ according to the New York Times.”
  • Pompeo ‘interfered with China-US cooperation.’ “Pompeo, however, did not immediately stop stigmatizing China even after Trump dropped the term ‘Chinese virus,’ which made the Chinese people suspect that the US is playing tricks. This seriously interfered with China-US cooperation to fight the disease, analysts said.”
  • CCP cites Washington Post to attack Pompeo. “Pompeo was derided by the Washington Post as the most ineffectual secretary of state since 1898.” [Note: It’s hard to sort out which derision is referenced here, though Washington Post deputy editorial page editor Jackson Diehl penned a piece accusing Pompeo of being the worst secretary of state since World War II because of his attempt to hold the CCP accountable.]
  • Branstad ‘is following Pompeo’s lead’ but Pompeo is still ‘the worst diplomat.’ “This time, the embassy is following Pompeo’s lead, but does not mean Pompeo has changed anything. His assessment as the worst diplomat will not change and Chinese people will continue to watch his actions, analysts noted.”
  • ‘US has finally realized’ that it needs PRC to defeat pandemic. Global Times paraphrases a professor who teaches CCP diplomats: “the shift shows that the US has finally realized that only through joint cooperation with China can it defeat the COVID-19 epidemic. . . . the US is in grave need of medical supplies and it knows that the biggest outside help [sic] must come from China. . . .” After this point, the CCP hints at blackmail to harm the United States, and to interfere in the 2020 elections.
  • If Pompeo prevails, Americans will ‘suffer’ and Trump won’t get re-elected. For CCP diplomatic rhetoric, the Global Times makes a very blunt statement: “If the US maintains the mentality of geopolitical competition with China instead of seeking help from China, the Americans would suffer ultimately and Trump’s reelection would be seriously affected. . . .”
  • CCP finds the new tone pleasing. “. . . the change of tone in the US Embassy’s social media account showed that the relevant parties from both countries are strengthening cooperation in the pandemic prevention and control work and are moving to the right direction after leaders of two countries spoke on the phone. 
  • . . . But the CCP will never believe Pompeo, ‘one of the worst Secretaries of State.’ “Even if Pompeo restrained his tone, the Chinese people [the CCP’s euphemism for itself] would not buy it. But we will continue to support and provide assistance to the US, Chinese analysts said, urging the ‘one of the worst Secretaries of State’ could be more sober-minded and that the US embassy in Beijing could better perform its role as a bridge to China-US relations.”
  • CCP urges ‘US embassy in Beijing’ to break with Pompeo. “The US embassy in Beijing cannot just fawn on Pompeo. it should take its responsibility at this critical moment.”
  • Looks like CCP is expecting Pompeo to leave office. “. . . the statement which was released under the name of the ambassador shows his intention, which is to facilitate cooperation between China and the US.”
  • If State Department takes a line pleasing to CCP, it will be a ‘very good thing.’ “If the ambassador’s attitude can fully represent the transformation of the US State Department and those politicians who kept stigmatizing China and politicizing the coronavirus, it will surely be a ‘very good thing’ that China and the international community will welcome.”
  • Softened US line on pandemic doesn’t mean softened position elsewhere. “However, befriending China on the COVID-19 issue does not mean that the US will start cooperating with China on other issues, such as the South China Sea, Taiwan or trade disputes. . . .”
  • ‘Don’t even think that China-US relations will improve after this.’ “The US’ hard-line approach toward China and its containment policy on China is nearly impossible to change over a short time, so don’t even think that China-US relations will improve after this,” a CCP analyst.
  • CCP unleashed trolls to attack US Embassy posts on Weibo. “Global Times noticed that the comments area under this embassy post in Weibo [CCP-authorized analogue to Twitter] was closed. Last week, the US embassy referred to COVID-19 as the ‘Wuhan virus’ in several of its Weibo posts which outraged many Chinese who called such posts racist provocation and stigma.”
  • Parting shot: US Embassy pushes ‘racist provocation and stigma.’ “However, the US embassy in Beijing did not respond directly to the questions raised by the Global Times on such posts and wide criticism from the Chinese public. It only said in the reply that diversity and equality are core values that drive American society, the constitution and legal system, and respect for diversity and equality is a choice Americans make every day in order to strengthen their society.”


Pompeo’s warning to governors puts White House China policy in context

The Trump Administration’s outspokenness against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is not to exploit the coronavirus pandemic, as some CCP sources allege. It began two years ago as it recognized the far greater strategic threat the Chinese regime presents to the United States and the world.

The CCP has been attacking the United States at the national, state, and local levels on a very systematic basis for years.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Attorney General Bob Barr, and others have given many well-prepared speeches, vetted at the interagency level, about the CCP’s dangers, but few in the media have really picked up on them.

Pompeo’s warning to state governors. One of several important speeches was Pompeo’s February 8 warning to state governors about how the Chinese Communist Party is targeting them personally, their teams, and everything possible in their own states. The coronavirus outbreak had not been declared a pandemic yet.

The speech is astonishing and of historic proportions. Pompeo carefully describes to the governors about what the CCP is doing in America at the state and local levels, and among businesses and universities, by getting Americans to toe the party line or suffer the consequences.

Pompeo’s warning to governors is part of a larger interagency effort that the Trump Administration began in 2018 and 2019. The entire speech is an excellent read – not only for its information, but on how a senior Trump administration official can give a speech to a bipartisan audience that includes powerful political rivals.

Here are Pompeo’s key points, and there are a lot of them:

  • Pompeo warns of US governors of CCP front activity on state level. “Last year, I received an invitation to an event that promised to be, quote, ‘an occasion for exclusive deal-making.’ It said, quote, ‘the opportunities for mutually beneficial economic development between China and our individual states [are] tremendous,’ end of quote.”
    • ‘Collaboration summit’ targets state governors. “Deal-making sounds like it might have come from President Trump, but the invitation was actually from a former governor. I was being invited to the US-China Governors’ Collaboration Summit. It was an event co-hosted by the National Governors Association and something called the Chinese People’s Association For Friendship and Foreign Countries. Sounds pretty harmless.”
      • Pompeo asks governors if they were approached. “What the invitation did not say is that the group – the group I just mentioned – is the public face of the Chinese Communist Party’s official foreign influence agency, the United Front Work Department. Now, I was lucky. I was familiar with that organization from my time as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
        • “But it got me thinking. How many of you made the link between that group and Chinese Communist Party officials?
        • “What if you made a new friend while you were at that event?
        • “What if your new friend asked you for introductions to other politically connected and powerful people?
        • “What if your new friend offered to invest big money in your state, perhaps in your pension, in industries sensitive to our national security?”
      • CCP rates American governors. “These aren’t hypotheticals. These scenarios are all too true, and they impact American foreign policy significantly.
        • “Indeed, last year, a Chinese Government-backed think tank in Beijing produced a report that assessed all 50 of America’s governors on their attitudes towards China. They labeled each of you ‘friendly,’ ‘hardline,’ or ‘ambiguous.’
        • “I’ll let you decide where you think you belong. Someone in China already has. Many of you, indeed, in that report are referenced by name.
      • CCP is targeting each state in America. “So here’s the lesson: The lesson is that competition with China is not just a federal issue. It’s why I wanted to be here today, Governor Hogan. It’s happening in your states with consequences for our foreign policy, for the citizens that reside in your states, and indeed, for each of you.”
        • Your teams have been targeted. “And, in fact, whether you are viewed by the CCP as friendly or hardline, know that it’s working you, know that it’s working the team around you.
        • National security implications. “Competition with China is happening inside of your state, and it affects our capacity to perform America’s vital national security functions.”
    • Xi Jinping is moving China backward. “. . . under Xi Jinping, the country is moving exactly in the opposite direction – more repression, more unfair competition, more predatory economic practices; indeed, a more aggressive military posture as well.”
    • US economic ties with China are good. Pompeo is not being isolationist: “these economic ties are powerful. They’re important and good. They’re good for your state; they’re good for America.”
    • Can’t ignore PRC’s ‘actions and strategic intentions.’  “. . . while there are places we can cooperate, we can’t ignore China’s actions and strategic intentions. If we do, we risk the important components of our relationship that benefit both countries.
      • Beijing has assessed our vulnerabilities at all levels & exploits them. “The Chinese Government has been methodical in the way it’s analyzed our system, our very open system, one that we’re deeply proud of. It’s assessed our vulnerabilities, and it’s decided to exploit our freedoms to gain advantage over us at the federal level, the state level, and the local level.
      • Pompeo is continuing a theme he began in 2019. “Last year, I announced that I would give a series of speeches on China, and this is part of that. It’s the context in which state and local government officials ought to think about the way they lead with respect to our relationship. It’s important. China matters. It’s been part of my mission at the State Department to mobilize all parts of the United States Government.”
    • China is pressuring state politicians, blackmailing governors & spying on state universities. Pompeo gives examples of how the PRC pressures state elected officials, blackmails governors with threats to pull investments out of their states unless they obey CCP policies, spies on state universities, sends Chinese students to spy at universities, and more. He speaks at length about Confucius Institutes on college campuses. Pompeo’s remarks are very detailed and beyond the scope of this chronology.
    • US wants Chinese students here, as long as they’re not working for CCP. “Make no mistake about it: We want talented, young Chinese students to come study in the United States of America. I see it at Wichita State University. These are wonderful young people. We ought to encourage them to be here. But they shouldn’t have to fear the long arm of Beijing, which often reaches out via groups like the Chinese Students and Scholars Association.”
    • Governors should not allow state pension funds to invest in CCP industries. “I know you all have power over pension funds or the people that run them. As of its latest public filing, the Florida Retirement System is invested in a company that in turn is invested in surveillance gear that the Chinese Communist Party uses to track more than 1 million Muslim minorities. California’s pension fund, the largest public pension fund in the country, is invested in companies that supply the People’s Liberation Army that puts our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines at risk.”
    • Governors can make deals in China, but should work with feds. “There are federal officials prepared to help you work your way through these challenges when they arise. Don’t make separate individual deals and agreements with China that undermine our national policy. I know none of you would do so intentionally. Let us help you make sure we’re getting it right.”
    • Reciprocity with China. “We have directed two Chinese propaganda outlets, the Chinese Global Television Network and Xinhua News Agency, to register as foreign agents. And we at the State Department have started to require Chinese diplomats to apply – comply with the same rules we comply with when we’re in China. Chinese diplomats now must notify the State Department in advance of official meetings with state and local officials. They must declare their official visits to U.S. educational and research institutions as well. This is just fairness, reciprocity, basic common sense. This is not an onerous restriction to put on China.”

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Pompeo rallies G7 to counter Chinese Communist Party disinformation

For the first time in a generation, an American secretary of state has worked with foreign leaders to aggressively coordinate a strategy against foreign state-sponsored disinformation. Secretary Mike Pompeo worked with six of America’s closest allies and economic partners to counter Communist China’s shrill disinformation campaign against the US over the coronavirus.

Pompeo told reporters on March 25 of his impromptu teleconference with his G7 counterparts. The G7 is the group of the world’s seven most advanced economies, all of which are military allies. In addition to the US, the members are Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

Pompeo left no room for doubt that the Trump Administration is targeting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The secretary of state had been building up the nation’s strategic response to CCP disinformation and propaganda as the Center for Security Policy described on March 22 and March 25.

Pompeo indicated that he is coordinating resistance to CCP disinformation among the G7 member nations. He repeatedly went after the “Communist Party” – not the Chinese government – and made a distinction between the CCP and the Chinese people. He went out of his way to say “Wuhan Virus” three times, showing the regime that he would not be cowed by its insistence that he not call it by its place of origin.

Here are the highlights of Pompeo’s historic comments as they concern China:

  • G7 is unified against CCP, Russia, Iran, North Korea. “First, we [in the G-7 meeting] spent a substantial amount of time on threats posed by authoritarian states.”
  • CCP a ‘substantial threat to our health and way of life.’ “The Chinese Communist Party poses a substantial threat to our health and way of life, as the Wuhan virus outbreak clearly has demonstrated.”
  • CCP is a subversive threat to freedom. “The CCP also threatens to undermine the free and open order that has underpinned our mutual prosperity and safety in the G7 countries.”
  • CCP is ‘malign influence’ in world organizations & will be resisted. “I urged every one of the [G7] countries to work together to protect the UN and other organizations from its malign influence and authoritarianism.”
  • G7 has shared values that CCP opposes. “We G7 countries must promote our shared values of freedom, sovereignty, good governance, transparency, and accountability, and push the UN to uphold these principles as well.”
  • USA tried to work with CCP to fight the virus. “We’ve wanted to work with the Chinese Communist Party throughout this crisis – this crisis that began in Wuhan, China.”
  • CCP would not permit US to help on the ground. “We tried – you’ll remember – from the opening days to get our scientists, our experts on the ground there so that we could begin to assist in the global response to what began there in China, but we weren’t able to do that.  The Chinese Communist Party wouldn’t permit that to happen.”
  • Chinese regime knew. But it delayed sharing lifesaving information. “You’ll recall, too, at the beginning of this, when it was clear that this was an issue, China knew about it, they were the first country to know about the risk to the world from this virus, and they repeatedly delayed sharing that information with the globe.”
  • US wants to help everyone, including China, recover from ‘Wuhan virus.’ “So yes, we desperately want to work with every country around the world.  This is a global pandemic; this is something the United States wants to work with every country, including China, to figure out how to resolve to keep as many people alive, as many people as healthy, and then to restore our economies that have been decimated by the Wuhan virus.”
  • And the US wants to help the Chinese people, too. “So we are – we are prepared to work with them, we’re prepared to assist them. We want good things for the Chinese people as well.”
  • US is coordinating G7 response to CCP disinformation. “There was a lot of discussion today amongst the G7 about the intentional disinformation campaign that China has been and continues to be engaged in.  You see it.  You see it in the social media.  You see it in remarks from senior people inside the Chinese Communist Party talking about whether this was a US – US brought to China.  I mean, this is crazy talk.  And every member of the G7 today saw that – this disinformation campaign.”
  • Chinese international aid isn’t very much. “China now making small sales of product around the world and claiming that they are now the white hat in what has taken place here.”
  • CCP disinformation diverted G7 from addressing pandemic. “This isn’t a time for blame; this is a time to solve this global problem. We are focused on that today.  It’s where the G7 members spent all of their time.  But every one of the nations that was at that meeting this morning was deeply aware of the disinformation campaign that the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in to try and deflect from what has really taken place here.”
  • G7 members may have tactical differences but are united on strategy. “And with respect to the statement, I always think about these meetings the right answer is to make sure we have the same message coming out of it.  I am confident that when you hear the other six foreign ministers speak, they will have a common understanding of what we talked about today and we will talk about the things that we have agreement on, and I’m sure they’ll express a handful of places – like the JCPOA [Iran nuclear deal] – where we have tactical differences about – to achieve our strategic outcomes.”
  • G7 is united on ‘Wuhan virus’ and economic recovery. “Make no mistake about it, everyone in that meeting this morning was very focused on making sure that we not only solve the health crisis associated with the Wuhan virus but also the economic challenges that face the globe as we confront it as well.”

The full text of Pompeo’s March 25 remarks appears here.

Administration takes the right position blaming Chinese Communist Party for pandemic

The Trump Administration is taking precisely the right position on placing blame on the Chinese Communist Party for the new coronavirus pandemic. As the virus spread around the world from Wuhan, China, the CCP began an aggressive disinformation and propaganda campaign to blame the United States, Italy, and other countries.

This is a historic moment. The Trump Administration is the first since President Ronald Reagan to mount an aggressive defense against foreign state sponsors of destructive disinformation and propaganda and to call them out by name.

In a March 24 interview with radio host Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo placed everything in its proper context and hinted at further US action. Here are the highlights:

  • ‘Chinese Communist Party covered this up and delayed its response.’ “this virus began in Wuhan, China.  There’s no doubt about where it began.  Indeed, the Chinese Communist Party itself acknowledged that that’s where the virus began.  And unfortunately, the Chinese Communist Party covered this up and delayed its response in a way that has truly put thousands of lives at risk.”
  • CCP’s delay in information sharing harmed slowing the disease. “every day, every week matters in terms of how this information is transmitted around the world.  That is, when you share this information, the best scientists around the world can begin to work on it.  You can start all the processes, not only vaccines and things that mitigate, but you can begin to put in place the things that will cause the spread to be decreased.”
  • CCP actions ‘put all of us around the world’ at ‘unnecessary risk.’ “And it’s multiplicative, and so every day that the Chinese Communist Party sat on this information and didn’t do the right thing, and instead punished doctors who were attempting to alert the world about what was taking place there in Wuhan, increased the number of people who would be exposed, and thereby put all of us all around the world – and the Chinese people as well – put them at unnecessary risk, too.”
  • Will comment later on World Health Organization responsibility. Secretary Pompeo chose not to answer about the role that the United Nations’ World Health Organization played in pushing CCP propaganda, but hinted that he might address it later. Here’s the dialogue between Perkins and Pompeo:
    • Perkins: “… you may not want to go here, but I certainly want to make this statement, because the World Health Organization really played cover-up for China, basically going along with the Chinese line, and that was troubling to me.  This is an organization that’s supposed to be looking out for the global health, but yet they were buying the line that China was feeding, the cover-up and misinformation.”
    • Pompeo: “When we go back and look at this, we will, I think, all find out who was transparent, who was straightforward in the course of this moving forward.”
  • ‘The cover-up effort continues.’ “We can see – and you referred to this earlier – the cover-up effort continues; the disinformation campaign from Russia and Iran as well as China continues.  They’re talking about it coming from the U.S. Army and they’re saying maybe it began in Italy, all things to deflect responsibility.”
  • ‘The time will come for recriminations.’ “And while the time will come for recriminations, we’ve got to work our way forward.”
  • Every country must be transparent. “It’s still important to have transparency even today.  This is an ongoing global crisis, and we need to make sure that every country today is being transparent sharing what’s really going on, so that the global community, the global health care, infectious disease community can begin to work on this in a holistic way.”
  • Chinese Communist Party is still covering up and pushing disinformation. “My concern is that this cover-up, this disinformation that the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in, is still denying the world the information it needs so that we can prevent further cases or something like this from recurring again.”
  • Chinese Communist Party ‘created’ this ‘global instability.’ “The importance of transparency to human health and the global instability that is created when you have a Chinese Communist Party behaving in the way that it did is really a risky thing.  And we can all see that now; we can see it coming into play.”
  • CCP disinformation harms the people of China. Here, Pompeo takes on the purported outrage of progressive pundits and the CCP who call the administration racist for having used terms like “Wuhan Virus” and “China Virus.” Says Pompeo,”The people most harmed by Chinese disinformation, the fact that they covered this up early, were the people of Wuhan and Hubei, China.”
  • Iran regime has harmed its own people by embracing CCP. “Similarly, today in Iran, the people who are most harmed by Iran’s failure to acknowledge the problem and to accept the fact that they – fact that they allowed Chinese flights to continue to come into the country from Tehran when they knew they shouldn’t have, but they didn’t want to upset their Chinese friends, the people most harmed by that are their own people.”
  • People of China and Iran will hold their leaders responsible. “I think the people in those countries know this.  I think the people in those countries will ultimately hold their leaders responsible for this.”
  • CCP and Iran leaders are disinforming in order to save themselves. “And I think this, too, is why this disinformation campaign is taking place.  They want to try and deflect responsibility from the poor decisions that those leaders undertook.”
  • CCP’s actions have exposed America’s supply-chain vulnerability. “President Trump, from the beginning of our administration, made clear that the trade relationship with China was fundamentally unfair, it wasn’t reciprocal.”
    • “I think you can see that some of the supply chain challenges that we’ve had are a result of the fact that companies were operating their supply chains out of China but not here in the United States.  I think that’s part and parcel of the reciprocity that the President demanded.”
    • “So I do think as we wind our way out of the coronavirus issue, as we wind our way through this, I think we’ll have to make some very important decisions about exactly how these relationships ought to be structured.”
  • Sympathy for Chinese people, not Chinese Communist Party. “We want the Chinese people to be successful.  We – I am saddened by all of the deaths that took place in China.  These are tragic things.  We don’t mean ill towards any of them.”
  • Important to get US relationship with China ‘right.’ “. . . it’s fundamentally the case that we have to make sure that we do right by the American people, that we get this relationship not only with China but with every country right, so that we can ensure that we do right to protect and keep safe the American people the way President Trump committed to do.”
  • ‘Nailed it’ – Big difference between Chinese people & CCP. Pompeo stresses that the United States makes a sharp distinction between the Chinese people and the CCP. He draws the same distinction between the Iranian people and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Here’s the dialogue between Perkins and the secretary:
    • Perkins: “Well, there’s also – it’s important to draw the line of distinction between the Chinese Communist party, that regime, and the Chinese people.  The same thing in Iran.  It is – the people are not being represented by their governments in the way that most of them would like to see their international relationships.”
    • Pompeo: “Tony, I think you nailed it.  As I said, the people most harmed by this failure in leadership during this difficult time are the people of their own countries.  It has now spread across to the world.  But transparency and good governance, and the fundamental things that we do here in the United States that says we’re going to treat every human being with the dignity and respect that they deserve because of the fact that they are God-made, those are things that fundamentally separate us from regimes like that in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Chinese Communist Party.”

See full text of interview here.

Mixed US messages on Iran aid the mullahs

“I don’t want to comment on that,” President Trump said. “The answer’s ‘no’.”

And with those words, the President of the United States dismissed a golden opportunity to offer even a word of encouragement to the courageous Iranian people who have stood up to an enemy regime to demand their freedom.

Trump was at the White House the morning of December 3, sharing a joint press conference with French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron, when a question came from a reporter about whether the US supports the demonstrators in the streets across Iran.

The President declined to take a stand. Abandoning his administration’s “New Iran Strategy” of 2018, Trump joined his predecessors back to Jimmy Carter who failed to implement any policy meaningful enough to actually threaten the Islamic Republic rulers who threaten and kill their own people and the entire region.

Trump added to the confusion later in the day by tweeting the opposite of what he had just told journalists: “The United States of America supports the brave people of Iran who are protesting for their FREEDOM. We have under the Trump Administration, and always will!”

The administration’s official policy of “maximum pressure” has proven just enough to infuriate the mullahs’ regime without actually threatening its continued grip on power.

Emboldened by the lack of a forcible US response to years of sponsorship of IED attacks on American and Coalition troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, repeated attacks against commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, the seizure of commercial vessels and holding crews hostage, the downing of a US drone, and attacks against the Saudi oil infrastructure launched from Iraq, Yemen, and finally Iran itself, that regime has formed a perception of the U.S. government as unwilling to take it on.

Whether accurate or not, it is perceptions that drive behavior for both allies and adversaries. The latest threat came from Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) General Alahnoor Noorollah in a November 29 speech in which he openly menaced US military bases in the Middle East, saying that Iran’s missiles are aimed at 21 of them.

American sanctions imposed following the May 2018 decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal indeed have caused widespread economic hardship—not on the mullahs, but on the Iranian people. This helps explain why so many Iranians poured into the streets across the country following an abrupt mid-November 2019 cut in subsidies on gasoline at the pump, which caused prices to jump at least 50% for the average impoverished Iranian family.

As the world watched (and did nothing), Iranians quickly moved from slogans about the economy and endemic corruption to demands for an end to the Velayat-e Faqih system of clerical domination in the Islamic Republic. Protesters filled the streets in at least 107 cities and all 31 Iranian provinces, calling for “Death to the Dictator” (the Supreme Leader of Iran, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) and even “Death to Rouhani” (the Iranian president).

The Iranian people again show a total rejection of the regime’s “Death to America” line. But the sentiment wasn’t reciprocated.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shot out a couple of empty “the United States is with you” tweets, but apart from that, the protesters were left to the brutality of the regime’s thugs in the IRGC, Bassij, and assorted Shi’ite terror militias. Some, like the Hashd-e Shaabi, had been imported from Iraq for the purpose. Others included elements of the Afghan Fatemiyoun Division of the Qods Force.

The regime understood that the US administration would do nothing to stand in the way of their massacre. The Iranian people in the streets understood it, too. Iranian security forces repeatedly opened live fire on unarmed protesters, often at point-blank range. Hundreds were killed, at least 2,000 injured, and some 7,000 detained.

To spare the West of ugly images that would cause it to change its non-interference policies, Iran shut down its Internet, across the entire country, for the better part of two weeks.

Only now, in the aftermath of the worst of the violence, has part of the Iranian Internet been brought back up; a flood of videos, taken by ordinary Iranian citizens, has come surging out, but, as the regime planned, too late to do any good.

The scope of the killing and destruction in cities across Iran is staggering. Protesters, desperate and frustrated, wreaked substantial damage, too: banks, gas stations, government offices, security force bases, and other symbols and instruments of the hated regime were attacked and burned.

In the end, none of it mattered: the Tehran regime remains firmly in power, its support for Islamic terror groups like HAMAS, Hizballah, the Houthis, Iraq’s Hashd’e Shaabi, Afghanistan’s Fatemiyoun and the Taliban unaffected, and its all-out drive for deliverable nuclear weapons, if anything, accelerated.

The one challenge that may be a harbinger of things to come is the popular uprisings against Tehran’s domination over satraps in Baghdad and Beirut. Current—and in Iraq, ongoing—protests are being ruthlessly crushed, under the direction of Qods Force commander, MG Qassem Suleimani.

But rising levels of discontent among a generation born well after the Iranian revolution of 1979 will not dissipate. And it’s not just about economic poverty or even anger at endemic regime corruption that are blamed for it. At least since the current waves of protests in Iran began in late December 2017, the fury has been directed at the very underpinnings of the Islamic Republic: the Velayat-e Faqih system itself, that is dominated by an unelected clergy-headed regime that enforces strict obedience to Islamic Law (shariah) on a population increasingly rebellious against all of it.

Similar sentiments are driving popular uprisings in both Iraq and Lebanon. Ever-larger segments of all three populations resent the distribution of government largesse based on nepotism, personal connections, regime loyalty, and unfair sectarian proportionality. In Iraq, the protests broke out, unexpectedly, in southern Iraq, in the Shi’ite strongholds of Baghdad, Basra, Nasiriyah, and south.

Demonstrators shut down bridges, streets, and even the critical oil export port of Umm Qasr for a time. Their anger was aimed directly at the Iranian regime that interferes in their countries: Iraqi protesters even burned the Iranian consulate in Najaf on November 28.

That’s when Suleimani stepped in and Iraqi security forces used live fire to break up the demonstrations. The death toll in Iraq has surpassed 400 and even with the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul al-Mahdi, protests continue.

Similarly, it would have been unthinkable in Lebanon in even the recent past, but anti-government protesters there were yelling “Terrorists, terrorists, Hizballah are terrorists” and “Here is Lebanon, not Iran.” In other words, they know who runs the country: it is Hizballah, on behalf of its masters in Tehran. Significantly, many of these protesters were from Hizballah-dominated poor Shi’ite areas, like the Dahiya neighborhood of southern Beirut. The Lebanese government collapsed, Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned (again), but thus far, brute force has prevailed. The late November 2019 release of $105 million in U.S. military assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces only ensures that the iron grip of Iran and Hizballah over that country will continue.

Whatever Secretary Pompeo’s hopes for a change in the Tehran regime’s ”malign behavior” might be, he must realize that no amount of cajoling, demands, or sanctions will induce behavior that essentially would result in a loss of power for it or its satellite regimes. Relinquishing any measure of power to the people of Iran, Iraq, or Lebanon would lead only to more demands for genuine reform and a truly representative system, instead of one based on Islam, regime loyalty, and sectarian identity.

Even were the mullahs and their Velayat-e Faqih system somehow to be overthrown, that would still leave the guns and economic might of the IRGC, Qods Force, Bassij, and other intelligence and security forces in charge. That is what must be confronted—preferably before they acquire the ability to deploy deliverable nuclear weapons.

Pompeo reverses obsolete US policy on Israeli settlements

Israeli settlements are no longer illegal under international law as a matter of US policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced.

Pompeo reversed a 1978 State Department legal opinion declaring that settlements violate international law. In his remarks, Pompeo said that the Carter administration ruling, after 40 years, failed to move the Israeli-Palestinian peace process forward.

“Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law has not advanced the cause of peace,” the secretary said on November 18. “The hard truth is that there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and who is wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace.”

Pompeo clarified that this decision was not intended to consent to the building of future settlements, recognizing that the US government defers to the jurisdiction of Israeli courts. To date, Israeli courts consider 132 settlements as legal and the rest as illegal.

The historic decision is not surprising. President Trump has continuously demonstrated strong support for Israel since he took office. Last year, the Trump administration cited the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 to recognize Jerusalem as the rightful capital of Israel. Earlier this year, the United States recognized Israel’s 1981 annexation of the strategic Golan Heights, supporting the Jewish state’s right to defend itself against military and terror attacks launched from the area when it was under Syrian control.

Opponents of Pompeo’s announcement fixated on the conclusions of a four-page 1978 State Department memo written by legal advisor Herbert Hansell. The memo labels Israel as an “occupier” in the West Bank and concludes any movement of civilian population past the Green Line of demarcation is illegal.

Occupation, according to established international law, is considered a form of armed conflict that arises when one country takes over the sovereign territory of another country. However, Jordan’s claims to the West Bank following its 1949 seizure were never internationally recognized, and Israel seized the land in a defensive war.

Using the same definition under international law, armed conflict or war is a necessary component in defining an “occupier.” In this case, Israel would need to be engaged in active war with the country it supposedly “occupied” or from which it wrested territory, in this case, Jordan. However, in 1994 – years after the Carter-era memo calling Israel an “occupier” – Jordan and Israel signed a joint peace treaty which settled relations between the two countries.

Opponents of the Trump administration’s decision also suggest that settlement construction is the key obstacle to peace between Israel and its neighboring Arab states. However, the results of the Gaza Strip situation prove otherwise. Israel’s withdrawal of all military personnel and settlers from Gaza in 2005 was succeeded by a Palestinian civil war, the rise of the terrorist group Hamas, and countless terror attacks and human rights abuses at the hands of the Palestinians’ own leadership.

Israel and its largest Arab neighbor, Egypt, share many concerns over the chaos in Palestinian-run Gaza, and have worked together closely to contain extremist activity there. Clearly, settlements alone do not qualify as hindrance to peace.

The Trump Way to Neutralize The Iranian Threat

Today, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered one of the most important speechesof this century.  In its course, he drew the starkest possible contrast between President Trump’s approach to the threat posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran and that of his predecessor. Whereas the latter was defined by a fraudulent “deal” that focused on a single part of the mullahs’ malevolence – and did so ineffectively at that, the former is a clear-eyed and courageous blueprint for actually and comprehensivelyneutralizing that threat.

Mr. Pompeo spoke forcefully about the defects of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or, as I prefer to call it, the Obamabomb deal.  He explained that: the Iranians had entered into it “in bad faith”; that they had lied about never wanting nuclear weapons and “continue to lie”; and that the resulting accord (which his predecessor acknowledged was nothing more than a “political understanding”) “merely delayed the inevitable…[Iran’s] quick sprint to the Bomb.”

The Secretary went on to condemn the JCPOA for being unverifiable, for providing many billions of dollars that have been spent on Iranian-sponsored terrorism and regional instability, for allowing continued nuclear enrichment, and for leaving untouched Iran’s ballistic and cruise missile systems designed to deliver nuclear weapons over ever-longer distances.  He aptly described the bet President Obama made on his approach to Iran “a loser with massive costs” for America, Europe and the entire world.

Mr. Pompeo spoke directly to the Iranian people at several points in his remarks, observing that such outcomes were neither in their interest nor what they want.  He assured them that the United States agrees and that they “deserve better.”

To that end, Secretary Pompeo mapped out a set of twelve requirements that will guide U.S. policy towards Iran going forward. As he pointed out, “The length of the list is simply a scope of the malign behavior of Iran. We didn’t create the list, they did.”

Taken together, these requirements will ensure the Iranians have “no path to nuclear weapons, not now, not ever.”  No enrichment.  No sites off-limits to inspectors. No more missile testing and production. And a cessation of other threatening Iranian activities that are destabilizing the Middle East and endangering the vital interests of the civilized world.

To advance this agenda, the United States will employ the heaviest sanctions in history against the ayatollahs and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the other instruments of state repression that keep them in power.  It will enlist all like-minded partners around the world – a critical departure from relying on the unreliable European nations that were party to the JCPOA, Britain, France and Germany. And, unlike Barack Obama, President Trump will explicitly reach out to and work with the people of Iran against a regime that is now “running scared.”

To those who contend these demands are unrealistic, the Secretary of State called to mind the fact that such requirements enjoyed widespread international support prior to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.  And, in light of the intensifying threat that misbegotten “deal” has enabled, civilized nations have no choice but to demonstrate “steely resolve,” reinstitute sanctions, hold any that violate them to account and work with the people of Iran to “strangle the capacity to do harm” of those like IRGC Quds Force Commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

The Center for Security Policy has long advocated these sensible policies.  It is gratifying to see them embraced by President Trump, now supported by two of the Center’s most revered colleagues, his estimable Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton.  We look forward to helping this superb team deliver on its commonsensical and strategically necessary alternative to the Obamabomb fraud.

Mike Pompeo Nomination: Frank Gaffney’s Letter to Senators Corker and Menendez

In the following letter to Senators Bob Corker and Robert Menendez of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Center President Frank Gaffney corrects the record regarding the mischaracterization of his views during Secretary of State-designate Mike Pompeo’s confirmation hearing by Senator Corey Booker, as well as in a letter Booker submitted on behalf of Reps. Keith Ellison and Andre Carson.

Gaffney Corker Menendez Pompeo Hearing Letter