Friday, April 14, 2017

VOAvideo's YouTube Videos: US-Russia Relations by VOAvideo Friday April 14th, 2017 at 2:25 PM

VOAvideo's YouTube Videos: US-Russia Relations 

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From: VOAvideo
Duration: 08:41

Russia, Syria and Iran issue strong warnings to the United States against launching new airstrikes on Syria.
Originally published at -

 VOAvideo's YouTube Videos

World News Review: Russia and Iran Unite in Support of Syria's Assad

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Foreign ministers from Russia, Iran and Syria presented a unified front in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying the U.S. and international accusations of a chemical strike by the regime in Damascus were fabrications.

 World News Review

AFP's YouTube Videos: British woman stabbed to death in Jerusalem: police 

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From: AFP
Duration: 00:50

A 23-year-old British female tourist was stabbed to death in Jerusalem on Friday and her attacker arrested, police said.

 AFP's YouTube Videos

British Tourist Is Fatally Stabbed on Train in Jerusalem

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Emergency workers in Jerusalem evacuated an injured person from the commuter train where British woman was fatally stabbed on Friday.

World News Review: UN condemns reports of violence against gay men in Chechnya

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United Nations human rights experts are urging authorities to investigate reports about gay men allegedly being targeted and detained in the Russian republic of Chechnya.

 World News Review

Trumpism - Google News: There's no such thing as Trumpism - Dallas News (blog)

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Dallas News (blog)

There's no such thing as Trumpism
Dallas News (blog)
Think tankers may have hungered for entitlement reform and valued free trade, but a large group of Republican voters disagreed, and another large group had no strong views on these issues. When Donald Trump won the primaries and then the November ...
The Republican Party Has Defeated Donald TrumpNew Republic

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 Trumpism - Google News
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Page 2

Lawfare - Hard National Security Choices: Today's Headlines and Commentary 

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Foreign Policy informs us that the sixth, and likely most powerful, test of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities in a decade is expected to occur as soon as this weekend, and the Trump administration is ratcheting up its rhetoric against the rogue state. The missile tests have pushed the North Korean threat to the top of White House’s priority list, prompting a rash of tweets, statements and even diplomatic bargaining from Trump and members of his Cabinet. 38 North notes that commercial satellite imagery of North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site shows continued activity around the base where the missile is to be tested. CBS News adds that North Korea’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs answered “of course,” when asked whether North Korea would use nuclear weapons if it felt it would be attacked.
China warned this morning that tensions on the Korean Peninsula could run out of control, the New York Times tells us. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that “the United States and South Korea and North Korea are engaging in tit for tat, with swords drawn and bows bent, and there have been storm clouds gathering.” Wang urged all sides to “no longer engage in mutual provocation and threats,” and not to “push the situation to the point where it can’t be turned around and gets out of hand.” Wang’s comments were the bluntest yet from China, which has been trying to steer between the Trump administration’s demands and its longstanding reluctance to risk a rupture with North Korea. Channel News Asia notes that Air China has apparently stopped flights to Pyongyang.
Reuters writes that Vice President Mike Pence will travel to South Korea on Sunday as a sign of the U.S. commitment to its ally in the face of rising tensions over North Korea's nuclear program. Pence plans to celebrate Easter with U.S. and Korean troops on Sunday before talks on Monday with acting President Hwang Kyo-ahnm, and will land in Seoul the day after North Korea's celebration of the birth of its founder, Kim Il Sung.
Fox News reports that 36 ISIS militants were killed by the Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, nicknamed the “Mother of All Bombs,” dropped by the United States in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar yesterday, according to Afghan officials. The bomb was apparently dropped due to intensified fighting between ISIS militants and U.S. Special Forces embedded with Afghan ground troops, with the U.S. and Afghan forces unable to advance because ISIS had mined the area with explosives; the U.S. used the bomb to clear the tunnels. President Donald Trump refused to say whether he had signed off on the strike, saying instead "Everybody knows exactly what happens. So, what I do is I authorize our military,” and that "we have given them total authorization and that's what they're doing." Foreign Policyadds that there are between 600 to 800 ISIS fighters operating in Afghanistan. Last month Afghan troops, backed up by American Special Forces advisors, launched a major offensive against the group in Nangarhar.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denounced last week's U.S. attack on Syria and warned that any further such action would entail “grave consequences not only for regional but global security,according to the AP.
The Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Ahmet Uzumcu, said during a meeting at the group’s headquarters in The Hague that OPCW experts assess Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s involvement behind the chemical weapons attack on April 4 as “credible,” the Washington Post tells us. Assad has claimed that the attack was “100 percent” fabrication. Ambassador Kenneth D. Ward, the American envoy to the OPCW, used the hastily convened meeting of the organization’s executive council to launch a withering verbal attack on Assad and his allies in Moscow.
The Guardian writes that the evacuation of four Syrian towns besieged by rebels and government forces began on Friday under a deal brokered by opposition backer Qatar and regime ally Iran. The initial phase of the operation, which involves a coordinated population swap of tens of thousands of people, involved at least 80 buses. Critics say the population movements are permanently changing the ethnic and religious map.
Stars and Stripes reports that around 40 soldiers have been dispatched to Somalia to assist local forces fighting the militant Islamist group al-Shabaab. The April 2 deployment, planned months ago, comes as the White House granted expanded authorities to AFRICOM to carry out strikes against al-Shabaab.
As Turkey prepares to vote on an April 16th constitutional referendum that may significantly expand the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, The Times examines Turkey’s path toward authoritarianism.
Defense One writes that NATO troops have arrived on the Lithuanian border to guard against potentially hostile Russian actions, forming the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence. The move is the first deployment of substantial combat forces in NATO’s east, and is one of the first real signs that NATO is shaking off its expeditionary and counter-insurgency mindset, forged over more than two decades of operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan, and going back to defense and deterrence.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo called WikiLeaks a “hostile intelligence service” in his first public remarks since taking over the spy agencyaccording to Foreign Policy. Pompeo said “we at the CIA find the celebration of entities like WikiLeaks to be perplexing and deeply troubling,” citing the site’s “overwhelming” focus on the United States. Pompeo also seemed to threaten action against the Wikileaks, saying it can no longer hide behind “free speech” arguments. The Hill adds that Wikileaks responded by posting one of Pompeo's now-deleted tweets from 2016 praising the group's work publishing leaked documents from the Democratic National Committee.
Politico profiles how Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), the ranking member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is telling Virginia voters that the probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election is “the most important thing” he’s ever done.
Techcrunch informs us that Microsoft’s newly released transparency report included a copy of a National Security Letter it received in 2014 that it has now been permitted to release. The reports showed that in the first half of 2016, Microsoft received more surveillance requests for user data for foreign intelligence purposes than it has since it began revealing those figures in 2011.
Defense News notes that Trump’s potential nominee to be Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, has no experience working at the Pentagon, raising questions over his ability to fill the shoes of current Acting Deputy Secretary Bob Work. However, Shanahan’s work
The Hill writes that Trump’s pick to be the secretary of the Army will face a tough confirmation fight as LGBTQ groups prepare to oppose his nomination. Mark Green has said that “transgender is a disease” and that “armed citizens” should fight against efforts to allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice. The remarks could make supporting Green tough for centrist Democrats and Republicans alike. Green would succeed Eric Fanning, the first openly gay service secretary.
ICYMI: Yesterday, on Lawfare
Ammar Abdulhamid provided Part II to his analysis of Trump’s Syria conundrum.
Benjamin Wittes posted the Rational Security podcast: The “Battle to the Death Watch” Edition.
Kenneth Anderson examined Justin Fox’s “Bathtub Fallacy” and the risks of terrorism.
Suzanne Maloney analyzed the implications of former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's entrance into the Iranian 2017 presidential race.
Sven Herpig and Stefan Heumann discussed Germany’s crypto past and hacking future.
Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us onTwitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

 Lawfare - Hard National Security Choices
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euronewsru's YouTube Videos: Студентка из Великобритании убита в Иерусалиме 

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From: euronewsru
Duration: 00:49

В Иерусалиме 23-летняя студентка из Великобритании стала жертвой нападения жителя восточной части города. Вооруженный ножом преступник нанес ей несколько ударов, от которых девушка скончалась в больнице. Она приехала в Иерусалим как туристка. Также легкие ранения получила беременная женщина и 50-летний мужчина.
Нападавший был задержан на месте преступления. Им оказался 57-летний Джамиль Тамими. Он известен полиции, поскольку ранее был осужден за домашнее насилие и растление дочери. В заключен…
euronews: самый популярный новостной канал в Европе.
euronews доступен на 13 языках:

 euronewsru's YouTube Videos
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U.S. defense chief to visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel next week

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Qatar and Djibouti starting on Tuesday, the Pentagon said in a statement on Friday.

Top Stories - Google News: Trump Isn't George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, or Obama—He's Trump - The Atlantic

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The Atlantic

Trump Isn't George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, or Obama—He's Trump
The Atlantic
Subscribe to The Atlantic's Politics & Policy Daily, a roundup of ideas and events in American politics. In honor of Passover, let us pose a question: Why is this president different from all other presidents? What if, in fact, he is not? After a ...

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 Top Stories - Google News

World News Review: Fugitive who mailed manifesto to Trump captured in Wisconsin

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Joseph Jakubowski allegedly stole 18 firearms from a gun store on April 4.

 World News Review

Trump administration won't release White House visitor logs - The Hill

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The Hill

Trump administration won't release White House visitor logs
The Hill
The Trump administration will not voluntarily disclose logs of visitors to the White House complex, it announced Friday, breaking with the practice started under former President Obama. The White House cited “the grave national security risks and ...
Trump to discontinue Obama policy of voluntarily releasing White House visitor logsWashington Post
Trump Isn't George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, or Obama—He's TrumpThe Atlantic
Trump WH to keep visitor logs privateCNN

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Top Stories - Google News: Doctor Dragged Off United Flight Stands to Gain in a Lawsuit, Experts Say -

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Doctor Dragged Off United Flight Stands to Gain in a Lawsuit, Experts Say
That's essentially what the passenger dragged from a United Airlines flight this week in a scuffle with security that went viral could do if the carrier decides to settle with him out of court, legal experts say. And yes, the airline would want to ...

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 Top Stories - Google News

trump russian money - Google News: Former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove says Donald Trump borrowed money from Russia during 2008 financial crisis - The Independent

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The Independent

Former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove says Donald Trump borrowed money from Russia during 2008 financial crisis
The Independent
Richard Dearlove told Prospect Magazine that “what lingers for Trump may be what deals – on what terms – he did after the financial crisis of 2008 to borrow Russian money” when other banks and lenders would not risk the money, given Mr Trump's history ...

 trump russian money - Google News

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty: Russia Hosts Afghanistan Meeting Boycotted By Washington

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Russia opened meetings with top diplomats from Afghanistan, China, and several Central Asian countries in talks that are aimed at bringing peace to Afghanistan but are being boycotted by the United States.

 Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

former FBI agents power influence - Google News: Lobbying by Trump Associates Highlights Foreign Agent Law - U.S. News & World Report

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U.S. News & World Report

Lobbying by Trump Associates Highlights Foreign Agent Law
U.S. News & World Report
The Podesta Group, a Washington lobbying firm, has already retroactively registered for its part in the Ukrainian influence campaign. The firm was one of two that worked under the direction of Manafort and his former deputy, Rick Gates. The other firm ...
Paul Manafort's Activities Arouse Interest Of Ukrainian ProsecutorsKALW

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 former FBI agents power influence - Google News

US Takes Sharper Tone on Russia's Role in Syria - New York Times

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New York Times

US Takes Sharper Tone on Russia's Role in Syria
New York Times
President Trump met with Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general, in the Oval Office on Wednesday. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times. WASHINGTON — President Trump and Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson sought on Wednesday to ...
This is how the Russian media covered the missile strikes in SyriaWashington Post
8 times Russia blocked a UN Security Council resolution on SyriaCNN
Russia vetoes UN resolution to condemn Syria chemical attackCNBC
Los Angeles Times -Yahoo News -Reuters
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China is suddenly leaning on North Korea — and it might be thanks to Trump - Washington Post

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Washington Post

China is suddenly leaning on North Korea — and it might be thanks to Trump
Washington Post
Something interesting is happening in China and perhaps President Trump deserves some credit. For the first time, the Chinese government appears to have laid down a bottom-line with North Korea and is threatening Pyongyang with a response of ...

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Assad Says Videos of Dead Children in Syria Chemical Attack Were Faked - New York Times

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New York Times

Assad Says Videos of Dead Children in Syria Chemical Attack Were Faked
New York Times
President Bashar al-Assad of Syria in an interview from Damascus on Wednesday. Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty Images. Vilified by accusations of using a chemical bomb, Syria's president intensified his counterpropaganda campaign on Thursday, ...
The Great Reversal — for nowWashington Post

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Will Trump's late honeymoon last? - Fox News

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Fox News

Will Trump's late honeymoon last?
Fox News
**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**. On the roster: Will Trump's late honeymoon last? - A whole new Trump: President revamps worldview - I'll Tell You What: Hungry for change? - The Judge's Ruling: Holy Week ...

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Canada is poised to approve a law legalizing marijuana nationwide - Washington Post

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Washington Post

Canada is poised to approve a law legalizing marijuana nationwide
Washington Post
The government of Canada on Thursday released a plan to legalize recreational marijuana use across the country by July 2018. With a solid Liberal majority in government, the plan is widely expected to become law, but it would leave the details of ...
Canada unveils official marijuana legalization planThe Cannabist

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The CIA Director Split With Trump Over Wikileaks In His Public Debut - BuzzFeed News

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BuzzFeed News

The CIA Director Split With Trump Over Wikileaks In His Public Debut
BuzzFeed News
Mike Pompeo has kept a low-profile since taking office. In his first public remarks, he aligned himself with his agency's staff over the White House and slammed Wikileaks. posted on Apr. 13, 2017, at 2:10 p.m.. Ali Watkins. BuzzFeed News Reporter. Tweet.
CIA director calls WikiLeaks Russia-aided "non-state hostile intelligence service"CBS News
Pompeo jabs Conway on microwave surveillance claimPolitico
CIA chief calls WikiLeaks 'non-state hostile intelligence service'Los Angeles Times

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Fugitive who mailed antigovernment manifesto to Trump has been captured, authorities say - Washington Post

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Washington Post

Fugitive who mailed antigovernment manifesto to Trump has been captured, authorities say
Washington Post
A man accused of stealing numerous guns in connection with a possible plan for an attack has been captured in Wisconsin following a 10-day manhunt, authorities said. Joseph Jakubowski, 32, was taken into custody early Friday morning after authorities ...
Joseph Jakubowski, wanted in weapons thefts, threatening manifesto, is arrestedFox News
The Latest: Gun theft fugitive caught in southwest WisconsinNew York Daily News
Wisconsin Fugitive Joseph Jakubowski, Who Allegedly Mailed Manifesto to Trump, Is
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel -KHOU
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Hospital: 4 students hurt in explosion are in good condition

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By Associated Press By Associated Press April 14 at 12:45 PM
MOSCOW, Idaho — Four University of Idaho students were upgraded to good condition Friday morning following an explosion in a school parking lot where people had gathered to test an experimental rocket.
The four were injured when the device exploded after they ignited the fuel just before 10 p.m. Thursday. The parking lot is located outside the steam plant of the northern Idaho university.
The four injured students were transported to Gritman Medical Center in Moscow, Idaho. Hospital spokesman Eric Hollenbeck reported that all were in good condition. Initially hospital officials had said one student was in critical condition and the others were stable.
Their names haven’t been released.
There will be no interruption of classes Friday on the campus of about 12,000 students, Vice President Daniel Ewart said.
“The buildings are safe,” Ewart said. “The campus is safe.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating the incident, but it is not a criminal investigation, Moscow Police Chief James Fry said.
The people involved were not intending to launch the experimental rocket. Instead they were using a device made up of a galvanized pipe, which measured about a foot (0.3 meter) in length and an 1 inch and a half (27 millimeters) in diameter, to test the fuel, Ewart said.
“There was no intention to launch a rocket,” Ewart said.
Ewart did not know how many people were in the vicinity of the explosion.
He said all four injured people underwent surgery after the explosion.
The school said the students were alert and communicating with school officials early Friday morning, and that their parents had been notified.
Grant Thurman, a student and member of the Northwest Organization of Rocket Engineers, said the club was attempting to test the rocket fuel, but when one of the club’s co-presidents ignited the fuel, it exploded.
“We were testing a new fuel design for the rocket engine and we didn’t have reason to believe it would blow up or anything because it was a slow-burning fuel,” Thurman said. “But as soon as it was lit, it blew up.”
Thurman said the man igniting the fuel wore face protection, but the others wore only eye protection.
The club is made up of students and faculty who design and test rockets. It’s not clear if any faculty were present at the time of the explosion.
The school said there’s no damage to the steam plant, which heats most of the campus.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Page 5

The Republican Party Has Defeated Donald Trump

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Before Trump even took office, there were those who predicted this transformation. In November, when the president-elect sat down with the New York Times editorial board, columnist Ross Douthat asked Trump about his ideological divergence from Republican Party:
[H]ow much do you expect to be able to both run an administration and negotiate with a Republican-led Congress as a different kind of Republican. And do you worry that you’ll wake up three years from now and go back to campaigning in the Rust Belt and people will say, well, he governed more like Paul Ryan than like Donald Trump.
Trump insisted he wouldn’t let down the Rust Belt, which had “proven ... to love Donald Trump, as opposed to the political people.” Now more than ever, though, “the political people” are steering his agenda. Chief strategist Steve Bannon—the white nationalist pushing an “America first” philosophy in the administration—is reportedly on the outs, potentially a casualty of conflict with more establishment figures like senior adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law. Moreover, Bannon’s waning influence coincides with Trump moving in a more establishment direction on a myriad of issues.
Increasingly, Trump is validating voices like Tamara Draut, the vice president of policy and research at the progressive group Demos Action, who published a piece in The Hill last week titled “Don’t call Trump a populist: ‘Trumpism’ is just ‘Republicanism’.” Despite his populist campaign rhetoric, Draut writes, “He’s president, and his policy decisions and proposals are, for the most part, ripped straight out of the Republican Party’s playbook of tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation and attacks on government.”
Healthcare is a perfect example. As I wrote on Wednesday morning, Trump could have pushed an infrastructure plan at the start of his presidency, pressing the populist case for putting Americans to work and rebuilding America. But he caved to House Speaker Paul Ryan, a conventional conservative, for whom repealing Obamacare was the top priority. Trump’s proposed budget is further proof that this supposed populism is nowhere to be found. And despite Trump’s fanciful claims that Mexico will ultimately pay for his proposed border wall with Mexico, he’s now asking Congress—and ultimately taxpayers—to fund it.
On Wednesday, Trump said America’s relationship with Russia, a nation he’d long supported, “may be at an all-time low.” He embraced NATO after disparaging it during his campaign. He said he wouldn’t label China a currency manipulator after famously pledging to do just that. “Trump also made a full reversal from the campaign by stating his support for the U.S. Export-Import Bank,” The Wall Street Journal observed. In an interview with the newspaper, he even changed his tune about Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, whom he’d called “obviously political” during the Obama administration. He said she’s “not toast” when her term ends in 2018, and that he does “like a low interest-rate policy” at the Fed.
These about-faces stunned the media. CNN marveled at Trump’s “extraordinary political shape-shifting,” with which he “abandoned stances that were at the bedrock of his establishment-bashing campaign.” Commentators said Trump was abandoning what distinguished him from traditional Republicans in the election. MSNBC devoted multiple segments to the topic.
But even as pundits continued to invoke “Trumpism” this week, few grasped the reality that Coaston nailed in her article: “Trumpism has still been largely defined by its observers and adherents rather than by its purported creator. Perhaps that’s because there was never any such thing as true Trumpism to begin with.” One clear-eyed conservative commentator was National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru, who wrote in Bloomberg View:
Intellectuals, whether they are for or against Trump, want to construct an “ism into which they can fit his politics: an “ism” that includes opposition to free trade, mass immigration, foreign interventions that aren’t necessitated by attacks on us, and entitlement reform. But Trumpism doesn’t exist. The president has tendencies and impulses, some of which conflict with one another, rather than a political philosophy.
Some of Trump’s intellectual defenders say it’s refreshing that he’s not wedded to a philosophy, arguing the president isn’t imprisoned by dogma. “I think it’s better if he doesn’t become too ideological,” Julius Krein, editor of the pro-Trump journal American Affairs, told me. “I don’t think the philosophy or ideology exists,” he added. “It does need to be created.... We do need to have a vehicle and a way to think through these issues on the intellectual plain.”
For now, though, Krein acknowledges Ryanism and other conventional conservative forces are winning out on certain issues. “Healthcare was definitely a disappointment to me,” he said, “and it could be called a deviation from various suggestions Trump made during the campaign.” A supporter of universal health care, Krein sees the GOP’s failed American Health Care Act as an attempt to fulfill Trump’s campaign promise of repealing Obamacare without proper preparation. “I’m glad there is at least time to try to come up with something better and hopefully move away from the failures of Ryan conservatism,” he added, “but I would certainly admit that there’s a long way to go on that one.”
For all the talk last year of the Republican Party’s death at the hands of Trump, current evidence suggests it’s very much alive. The ultimate outsider president is already playing the insider game. When the Times’ Douthat asked Trump in November if he worried about the consequences of doing so, the president-elect replied: “No, I don’t worry about that.” For now, it seems he was right not to fear the fallout. The Times reported Friday that “many conservatives say they do not think Mr. Trump will suffer much as he abandons some of his policy stances.”
No matter how many people try to tell them they have been played for fools, much to their annoyance, that is not a conclusion they seem likely to reach before Mr. Trump even marks his 100th day in office.
They knew all along that they were not voting for a man with concrete convictions. And they continue to see that lack of rigidity—his preference for the transactional over the dogmatic—as a quality they want in a chief executive.
But it’s early yet. Trump may become more conventional, or reverse his positions anew, putting him at odds with conservative orthodoxy again. David Brooks may have been wrong about Trumpism, but he was right when he wrote, “We’re in a state of radical flux.” What Trump does next is anyone’s guess. His decisions, though, won’t be guided by a unique, coherent ideology—because it doesn’t exist. He cares only about winning, and his best hope of doing so is to continue to cave to the Republican Party.
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Don't let Russia profit from election meddling

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Russia attacked our democracy, and now we must make sure it’s not rewarded for having done so.
Our intelligence community concluded months ago that Russia interfered with our free and fair elections last year, and did so to benefit Donald Trump’s campaign. Now the FBI is conducting criminal and counterintelligence investigations into whether the extensive personal, political and financial ties between Russia and the Trump campaign team converged with this attack.
As congressional investigations inch forward – temporarily hamstrung in the House by the Intelligence Committee chairman’s terrible judgment in sharing information with the Trump Administration before his own committee’s members – we continue to call for an independent, bipartisan commission to give the American pubic the full accounting it deserves.
But until those investigations are complete and that accounting is reckoned, we must maintain a firm stance against Russia’s aggression – and not allow Russia to thrive from its attack.
This is why I and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on April 5 proposed our resolution expressing Congress’ sense that the President and his Administration should hold off on any changes to sanctions, treaties, military aid, or diplomatic relations that might benefit Russian President Vladimir Putin or his government.
Russia is not our friend. Its aggression in Ukraine, its saber-rattling in the Baltics, its support of the murderous Assad regime in Syria, its possible support of the Taliban, its suppression of or violence against political opponents and journalists – all of these things and more paint a portrait of a foreign adversary with interests contrary to ours.
Bank on this: Russia will attack us again. It is not a question of “if,” but of “when.” All of our intelligence has led us to understand that Russia is using the lessons learned in its attack in planning for its next interference campaign.
We must ensure that Russian influence – around the globe and within our own government – is kept in check. If the White House won’t do so on its own, Congress must exercise bipartisan pressure.
Russia’s influence on this Administration already is producing a confusing foreign policy. Syrian dictator and Putin ally Bashar al-Assad’s monstrous chemical attack upon his own people cannot go unanswered, nor should it be answered with a unilateral U.S. response. It requires a strategy, congressional authorization, and help from allies, but the Trump team’s ties to Russia have complicated a successful execution of any of these.
United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley rightfully called out Russia for its support of Assad, while President Trump himself stays mostly mum about Russia’s role as Assad’s lifeline. And U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson bewilderingly voiced polar-opposite policies last week – first that the U.S. does not support regime change, and then that Assad can’t stay – before traveling to Moscow this week.
It’s also unclear how the U.S. can successfully prosecute any campaign against Syria while tipping off Russia before strikes occur. Of course, not tipping off Russia risks other grave consequences. But Assad is nothing without Russia’s help, and any warning to Russia is likely passed to Assad.
It’s not reassuring that Tillerson has publicly described his “very close relationship” with Putin and in 2013 was awarded the Order of Friendship, Russia’s highest state honor for a foreigner. Nor is it reassuring that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort proposed more than a decade ago that he would work to influence American politics, business deals, and media to benefit Putin, or that Manafort received $12.7 million between 2007 and 2012 from Ukraine’s pro-Russian former president, Viktor Yanukovych.
And it’s unsettling that J.D. Gordon, the Trump campaign’s national security advisor, met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak – as did Trump campaign advisor Carter Page, reportedly under counterintelligence investigation, and then-Senator Jeff Sessions, now Trump’s attorney general – during the Republican National Convention even as Gordon advocated for a change to the GOP national platform to ease its Russia policies.
These and many more dots are connecting in an increasingly pro-Russia picture. Recent months’ cascade of deflections, diversions, evasions and outright lies imply a consciousness of guilt – but implication is no substitute for investigation, and the investigations are only just getting started.
The Syrian situation changes nothing about Russia’s interference in our election. Until Americans know the full facts, the Trump White House should not be changing our nation’s policies to benefit the Russian government.
As our resolution notes, even the appearance of any conflict of interest concerning a well-resourced, committed, and dangerous foreign adversary and the institutions of United States government primarily responsible for national defense and the conduct of foreign policy weakens our national security and erodes confidence between the United States and our allies.
Put more simply: Cheaters should never prosper. America’s policies must be in America’s best interests, not Putin’s.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15) is the Ranking Member of the CIA Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Follow him on Twitter: @RepSwalwell. He wrote this for the Bay Area News Group. 
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The Latest: Syria Says Will Restore...

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The Latest: Syria Says Will Restore Rule in Evacuated Towns

U.S. News & World Report - ‎2 hours ago‎
A Syrian official says the government will restore its control over the two towns evacuated of opposition and rebel fighters, as part of a swap deal that also freed residents of two pro-government areas. | April 14, 2017, at 10:32 a.m.. MORE.

Russia, Iran and Syria issue warning to U.S.

Newsday - ‎1 hour ago‎
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, center, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, left, greet each other after a shared press conference following their talks focused on Syria in Moscow ...

Russia Says Evidence Growing Syria Chemical Attack Was Staged

Bloomberg - ‎4 hours ago‎
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a chemical-weapons attack in Syria that provoked U.S. missile strikes on the Middle Eastern country may have been orchestrated. “There's growing evidence that this was staged,” Lavrov said at a Moscow news ...

Trump Got Syria and China Right Last Week. That's a Start.

Asharq Al-awsat English - ‎1 hour ago‎
The Trump administration's foreign policy has been a dizzying spectacle of mixed messages and policy reversals during its first three months. But in last week's crucial tests, President Trump made good decisions about Syria, Russia and China — moving ...

Russia, Iran, Syria denounce US 'act of aggression'

euronews - ‎2 hours ago‎
Russia has once again denounced what it called 'an act of aggression', after the US missile strike on a Syrian airbase in retaliation to a reported use of chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the statement alongside ...
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Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Russian mafia - Google Search

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Great Eurasian Tiger - Google Search

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Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Russian mafia and Russian Intelligence Services - Google Search

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Story image for Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Russian mafia and Russian Intelligence Services from New York Times

Killers on a Shoestring: Inside the Gangs of El Salvador

New York Times-Nov 20, 2016
Leaders of the MS-13 street gang in the Ciudad Barrios prison in 2012. ... Mexican, Japanese and Russian syndicates with which they are grouped. ... They use them to pay for lawyers and funeral services, for weapons and .... status in the branch of Mara Salvatrucha that had sprouted in El Salvador.
Story image for Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Russian mafia and Russian Intelligence Services from Business Insider

The strange way one of Latin America's largest street gangs got its ...

Business Insider-Dec 17, 2016
One of Latin America's largest and most powerful street gangs has come to be known by a simple moniker: Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13.
Story image for Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Russian mafia and Russian Intelligence Services from Daily Mail
Daily Mail

MS-13 Gang Members Indicted in Brutal Deaths of High School ...

KTLA-Mar 3, 2017
More than a dozen members of the MS-13 gang were indicted ... According to the FBI members of La Mara Salvatrucha, better known as ... Police have collected intelligence on MS-13 members and created a list of ... Harrington: This Meal Service is Cheaper Than Your Local S… (Home Chef)(Home Chef).
Story image for Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Russian mafia and Russian Intelligence Services from Monitor

DPS reports could have more weight under Trump

Monitor-Feb 20, 2017
It lists Tango Blast, the Latin Kings, the Texas Mexican Mafia and the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS13, as the top four gangs allied with the cartels.
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September | 2010 | Once Upon a Time in the West

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>Red Terror File: British tabloid: Murder of GCHQ officer linked to SVR ring in USA, celeb Russian spy “Red Anna”; Williams liaised with CIA, NSA

>The British tabloid Daily Star, citing a “high-level source,” alleges that murdered spy Gareth Williams was involved in a joint MI6-NSA counter-intelligence probe that busted a Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) ring in the USA back in June. Williams was employed by the United Kingdom’s signals intelligence agency, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), but was on secondment to the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) at the time of his disappearance after August 15. The Daily Star’s source alleges:
Mr. Williams’ work in America is forming part of the inquiry. We need to know what he was working on during his visits there. MI6 and CIA code crackers played a vital part in outing Chapman and the Russian spy ring. Any evidence he did play a part will be treated as a possible motive for his killing.
The way the SIM [phone] cards were found carefully placed next to the [Williams’ mobile] phone is of particular interest to detectives. Early indications are that it is some sort of message, someone saying, ‘I know who your contacts are and I’m coming for them.’
Williams is reported to have frequently travelled to the USA, where he liaised with counterparts in the National Security Agency. Conversely, admitted SVR agent Anna Vasil’evna Kushchenko (a.k.a. Anna Chapman) previously lived in the UK, before moving across the Atlantic Ocean with orders from the Kremlin to infiltrate Washington’s political decision-making clique and send information back to Moscow via Wi-Fi on a laptop computer. After the US Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Chapman and her comrades, they were deported in July.
Celebrity spy-socialite Chapman is known as “Red Anna” because of her red hair. However, two facts about this spy ring suggest another connotation for “red” that exposes the continuing Soviet deception strategy: 1) at least two SVR agents, Vicky Pelaez and her husband Mikhail Anatolyevich Vasenkov (a.k.a. Juan Lazaro), were outspoken pro-Castro, pro-Shining Path communists and 2) Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, an “ex”-KGB officer, admitted he sang “patriotic Soviet songs” with the spies after their repatriation during a superpower spy swap in Vienna, the first since 1986.
The CIA refuses to comment on the possibility that Williams was assassinated, but we believe this story has legs. For this reason, we will be following it closely and posting as circumstances permit.
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Mara Salvatrucha: The New Face of Organized Crime?

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By Fred Burton
Several newspaper reports in recent weeks have documented the spread of the Mara Salvatrucha criminal organization to places such as Calgary, Canada, and Maui, Hawaii. The media reports often carry sinister headlines ("Feared Gang Hits Calgary") or, as in Maui, note that suspects are "part of a Hispanic gang known for violence." With immigration reform a hot topic in the U.S. Congress — and anti-immigration sentiment high on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border — such news pieces are particularly provocative.
The face of organized crime in the United States is indeed changing, but what is occurring now with the Mara Salvatrucha is not a new phenomenon but rather part of an identifiable cycle in the realm of criminal groups. Since the 1800s, the impoverished inner cities of the United States have been fertile breeding grounds for tough, violent criminal gangs. Latin "maras" (the word "mara" is Spanish for "gang") are merely the latest in a long line of immigrant gangs — including Irish, Chinese, Jewish, Italian and, more recently, Vietnamese and Russian — to spring up in American slums. It is important to understand that the widely discussed Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) is a product of this American gang culture and not, as it is sometimes portrayed, a Central American export.
Though most street gangs eventually fade into obscurity, some are able to mature over time into sophisticated organized crime syndicates — entities with a much longer lifespan and a greater reach than average gangs. These organized crime syndicates can become powerful and dangerous, especially if they are not aggressively checked by law enforcement. MS-13 appears to be making the transition, at this point, from a loosely organized gang to a highly organized crime syndicate.
The Origins of MS-13
MS-13 was spawned during the 1980s in the gang-dominated Pico Union neighborhood of Los Angeles. During El Salvador's civil war, hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans (approximately one-fifth of the country's population) sought refuge in the United States. Since the end of the war, even more Salvadorans have come to the United States to escape the poverty of their home country: Of the 1 million Salvadorans estimated to be living in the United States today, 90 percent arrived after 1979. The vast majority of these immigrants have been poor, and those who settled in places like Pico Union often were hustled, extorted and abused by both the average members of the many other ethnic groups living there and by the local gangs. In response, some Central American immigrants formed gangs of their own. The most notable of these groups were MS-13 and the 18th Street gang (Calle 18). Over the past two decades, MS-13 "cliques," as the gangs are called, have cropped up in nearly every U.S. city that has a large Hispanic population: It is estimated that 8,000 to 10,000 hard-core MS-13 members now live in the United States.
Although it was formed in the United States, MS-13 and the American gang culture now have spread from the United States back to El Salvador and to other Central American states, as gang members return voluntarily or are deported to their home countries following arrests. This contributes to geographic swathes of criminal activity and to national and regional instability in Central America, where law enforcement's inability to control these groups amplifies the threat they pose.
A Defense Mechanism
The history of MS-13 is very similar to that of the gangs that developed in the United States near the turn of the 20th century. The Italian and Jewish kids who were picked on by Irish street gangs such as the Whyos and the Dead Rabbits, for example, formed their own gangs, including the well-known Five Points Gang and its rival, the Monk Eastman Gang. The Five Points Gang, which took its name from its home turf in Manhattan's 6th Ward (near today's Columbus Park), became known for violent, brutal behavior: One battle in 1903 against the Monk Eastman Gang involved more than 50 gunmen on each side and reportedly was so intense that police kept clear until it was over.
The Five Points Gang nurtured young criminals who later became some of the most infamous personalities of the gangster era. One of them, Johnny "The Fox" Torrio, rose to prominence in La Cosa Nostra after building a large criminal empire in Chicago. That empire was inherited and expanded by Torrio's deputy, another Five Points alumnus by the name of Al Capone. Other notable graduates included Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel. Torrio, Lansky and Luciano were instrumental in establishing the National Crime Syndicate, which united the largest organized crime families in the United States and established The Commission to allocate territories and resolve disputes between the families. One chapter of the National Crime Syndicate was "Murder Incorporated," the syndicate's enforcement arm, which specialized in contract killings.
Many of the recent reports on MS-13 focus on the violence associated with the group. But as a review of gang history shows, MS-13 is no more violent than organized crime groups of the past — such as Chicago's Cardinelli Gang, which conducted more than 800 bombings from 1915 to 1918, killing more than 20 people and wounding hundreds. MS-13 attacks against rivals like the Calle 18 are no more brazen than the wars between the Five Points and the Monk Eastman gangs in New York or the Chicago gang wars of the 1920s, which led to the 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre. When it comes to street gangs, violence is simply part of the package.
The Parallels
Beyond their proclivity for violence and penchant for bestowing colorful nicknames on members, there are numerous parallels between the New York street gangs of the early 1900s and today's maras. Perhaps the most important of these is the ability to expand operations beyond their place of origin to other parts of the United States and back to members' home countries.
Members of the Five Points Gang went on to control organized crime activity in Chicago, Las Vegas, Havana and elsewhere. In the mid-1950s, after being deported to Sicily from the United States, Lucky Luciano helped bring the American style of organization to the Sicilian Mafia and reportedly was even responsible for forging an alliance between the Sicilians and the Corsican Mafia — the so-called "French Connection." Similarly, MS-13 has been able to establish operational nodes not only across the United States but also throughout Central America and in Mexico and Canada as well.
Along the same lines, Five Points members like Johnny Torrio, Frankie Yale and Al Capone moved from New York to Chicago to serve as muscle in gang wars there between various organized crime factions. Their friends and associates went on to form Murder Incorporated and act as the mob's executioners. Today, Mexican drug cartels are waging a violent war in northern Mexico, battling over lucrative distribution networks into the United States. Mexican cartels, fully aware of MS-13's penchant for violence, reportedly have begun using its members as muscle in their war. In turn, MS-13 apparently has used this involvement to establish a foothold along the border and get a piece of the smuggling action there.
Like the Italian gangs before them, MS-13 started out operating in its own ethnic enclaves, with involvement in petty crimes such as extortion, robbery, burglary, drug dealing and prostitution. As MS-13 has matured, however, operations have expanded to include large-scale smuggling of narcotics, weapons and humans. MS-13, along with the Mexican drug cartels, has functioned as a middleman in the United States between the Colombian drug cartels and La Cosa Nostra. The Colombians apparently prefer to work through these trusted intermediaries rather than deal directly with an organization that supposedly has ripped them off on several occasions.
An Al Qaeda Connection?
Many reports have claimed that MS-13 somehow has entered into an alliance with al Qaeda, though we believe there are too many ideological and practical obstacles for an actual al Qaeda/MS-13 confederation ever to be established. For one thing, MS-13 is a criminal organization dedicated to making money, and helping al Qaeda would bring unnecessary attention to its members — putting a big dent in the bottom line. Doing business with al Qaeda would simply be bad business. Of course, al Qaeda could make use of MS-13's human-smuggling network to try to cross operatives into the United States. In that case, MS-13 might enter into a simple business transaction without knowing that its client is a terrorist organization.
Like the National Crime Syndicate before it, MS-13 has been evolving in recent years from a disparate group of loosely federated cliques to a more formalized crime syndicate. During this evolution, it has divided the United States (and other countries) into operational areas, which then are placed under the control of specific cliques. Also like the National Crime Syndicate, MS-13 clique leaders — referred to as "shot callers" — reportedly have begun to stage multiclique meetings during which they assign territory, coordinate criminal activity, share intelligence on law enforcement efforts, resolve disputes and mete out punishment. The institution of this type of organizational scheme, the geographic diversity of their operations and the transition from petty crime to more substantial — and more lucrative — crimes are all telling signs that MS-13 is well on its way toward making the leap from a street gang to major organized crime syndicate. It lacks only the development of a strict hierarchy or naming one pre-eminent boss. With no John Gotti-type figure to target, however, law enforcement must be content with taking out various key players, one at a time.
The Counterterrorism Focus
MS-13's transition to a syndicate has occurred in the post-Sept. 11 environment, as federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies have focused almost exclusively on the counterterrorism mission. Over the past year, the FBI has begun to devote more attention to counterespionage investigations, but cases that are not part of the counterterrorism or counterespionage program do not receive the same level of attention and resources. Certainly, the FBI has created the MS-13 National Gang Task Force, but the resources at the task force's disposal are not sufficient to combat an organization this size.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) also has recognized the threat posed by MS-13 and launched Operation Community Shield in an effort to stem its advance. Like the FBI, however, ICE also is focused primarily on counterterrorism efforts. A number of local and regional task forces are devoted to fighting MS-13, but regional efforts are not likely to have a significant impact on a transnational criminal syndicate of this type. Likewise, authorities in Central America and Mexico lack the resources, professionalism and training to make much of an impact on MS-13: Harsh measures used in Latin America have caused the maras to challenge the authority of governments in the region directly by threatening to kill heads of state and carrying out bloody retaliatory strikes against civilians.
As failed efforts to wipe out La Cosa Nostra have demonstrated, nothing can be done to totally obliterate a large and sophisticated international crime syndicate. The U.S. government and its state, local and foreign allies can take out key players, but more tough guys will be waiting in the wings to take their places. Taking a realistic view of the situation, MS-13 cannot be destroyed, but it can be kept under control if the federal government makes a serious and prolonged effort to do so. It also will require the use of big hammers like the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) and Violent Crimes in Aide of Racketeering (VICAR) statutes, which were developed to deal with the problem of organized crime syndicates.
The face of organized crime in the United States is changing indeed, but the threat posed by MS-13 to American society is no greater than that posed by La Cosa Nostra. It is too late to destroy MS-13, but there are tried-and-true ways to control it.
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What is MS-13? The 'transnational' street gang on the FBI's radar

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Here is some background on the gang that caused the FBI to start a task force to tackle the criminal enterprise.
Salvadoran immigrants fleeing the country's civil war started MS-13 decades ago in Los Angeles. Its members are also immigrants from Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and other Central and South American countries, according to an 
FBI Threat Assessment
 of the gang.
The gang has expanded its reach through recruitment and migration, the FBI said. Members often move to get jobs and be near family members. MS-13 recruits new members through the internet and absorbs rival street gangs.

'Transnational criminal' enterprise

In 2012, MS-13 became the first, and remains the only street gang designated by the United States government as a "transnational criminal organization," according to the US. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts.
MS-13 is one of the largest criminal organizations in the country, with more than 6,000 members in at least 46 states and the District of Columbia, the US Attorney's Office said. In addition, more 30,000 members operate internationally, mostly in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, the US Attorney's Office said.
In Massachusetts, MS-13 is largely composed of immigrants and descendants of El Salvador.

MS-13's criminal footprint

MS-13 perpetrates violence to intimidate rival gangs, using every weapon from firearms to machetes, according to a 2008
 FBI Threat Assessment
Gang members have severed the fingers of rivals with machetes, killed suspected informants and committed rapes, assaults and other crimes, 
the FBI 
Two students -- a 15-year-old girl and a 16-year-old girl -- were beaten to death with bats and a machete, federal officials said. The third victim -- an 18-year-old -- was an MS-13 member. He was killed because gang members believed he was cooperating with authorities and had violated other MS-13 rules, federal authorities said.
Four months after his death, his skeletal remains were found in a wooded area that served as an MS-13 burial ground, authorities said.
In Houston, Texas, two alleged MS-13 members -- Diego Rivera, 18, and Miguel Angel Alvarez-Flores, 22, -- appeared in court Thursday on allegations of kidnapping a young girl and killing another woman in a satanic ritual.
Prosecutors said the two held a 14 year-old girl for several days. The girl, who was sexually assaulted, told, authorities the men had a satanic statue they worshiped.
The girl also told police that Alvarez-Flores, the gang's leader, ordered Rivera to shoot the other woman held captive who had made derogatory remarks about the statue because the "beast" wanted a human sacrifice, according to authorities.
Authorities are trying to identify the victim who was fatally shot on February 16. Her body was found in South Houston.
The two men smiled and waved to
 CNN affiliate KTRK
 before the charges were read against them, the station reported. A bond was set at $150,000 for each.
University of Houston Sociology professor Luis Salinas 
told KTRK
 that MS-13 gang members tend to be very young, some even still teenagers.
"They're just extremely violent," Salinas said. "They're so violent that their activities get a lot of attention. Even drug cartels hire them as their muscle."
Alleged MS-13 members face charges in other states.
In Massachusetts, 
56 alleged MS-13 members
 were indicted in January 2016 on federal racketeering charges, including charges related to murder and conspiracy to commit murder, the US Attorney's Office in Massachusetts said.
The indictment alleged that several defendants were responsible for at least five killings since 2014 in Chelsea and East Boston, as well as the attempted murder of at least 14 people, federal authorities said.

Deportations of MS-13 members

Over the years, authorities have deported many MS-13 members. Those deportations have fueled the growth of the gangs overseas.
In 2005, Rodrigo Avila, El Salvador's vice minister of security told the 
Los Angeles Times
 that deportations have helped start an "unending chain" of gang members shuttling between the United States and Central America.
A deportation policy intended to break up the gang backfired, helping to expand it across Central America and in other parts of the United States, the LA Times reported.
CNN's Jamiel Lynch and Chris Boyette reported from Atlanta. Darran Simon reported and wrote from Atlanta.
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