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'Treating us like garbage': New sanctions announced as many Iranian Americans feel fed up with Trump


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'Treating us like garbage': New sanctions announced as many Iranian Americans feel fed up with Trump

Kim Hjelmgaard and Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY 1 hr ago
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Jason Nazmiyal, a prominent Persian carpet dealer based in New York, is used to America's red tape when it comes to Iran. 

 
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For years, the Iranian American businessman has expertly navigated Washington’s sanctions and export rules to sell his pricey antique rugs – woven works of art – all over the world. But now, he says the Trump administration has so tainted any dealings with Iran that once simple business tasks have taken on a senseless and disorienting quality. 

© Getty Images A young U.S. citizen, originally from Iran, holds an American flag during a celebration where she received her citizenship papers, on July 9, 2018 in Los Angeles.

Nazmiyal, 60, was recently blocked from purchasing a carpet that was already in the U.S. and had not been anywhere near Iranian soil for decades. 

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"This is the nonsense we have to deal with," he said. "It's becoming so difficult for us in the U.S. and also it's hard to see how the sanctions harm Iran's government, as opposed to its people," said Nazmiyal, who left Iran for the U.S. in 1978, a year before the Islamic revolution.

While some Iranian Americans fully support President Donald Trump, Nazmiyal is among scores of Iranian Americans who have no loyalty to the repressive regime in Tehran, but who are fed up with a White House that has vilified their homeland, banned their family members from visiting the U.S., and stoked fears of a military conflict. From the Muslim ban to an endless stream of sanctions and saber-rattling, they hear about their relatives suffering in Iran and feel increased hostility in their adopted homeland.

© Nazmiyal Jason Nazmiyal in New York City.

New sanctions, maximum impact?

The human cost of the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran is most visible in Iran itself. After Trump withdrew the U.S. from a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers a little over two years ago, he has gradually reimposed crushing sanctions on vast swathes of Iran's economy, its diplomats and its intelligence and security entities.

The latest sanctions were unveiled Thursday by the U.S. Treasury Department targeting Iran's financial sector. They could completely sever Iran’s economy from the outside world except in extremely limited circumstances. They target 18 more banks, effectively placing Iran's entire financial sector off-limits and forcing it to rely even more on informal or illicit trade. 

Trump admin insists UN sanction restored on Iran: No, they're not, UN says

"Amid Covid19 pandemic, U.S. regime wants to blow up our remaining channels to pay for food & medicine," Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted, in reaction. "Iranians WILL survive this latest of cruelties."

Sanctions have hit Iran's economy hard. GDP has contracted sharply. Oil exports have plummeted. The value of Iran's rial currency has been cut in half and there has been runaway inflation alongside mass unemployment and skyrocketing living costs. 

The official U.S. policy is that it doesn't sanction humanitarian aid, but access to a range of critical health care drugs and products has become more difficult as imports have stalled. The sanctions have deterred many international banks from working with Iran over fears that they too could be caught up in so-called secondary U.S. sanctions. 

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"The Trump administration's blanket maximum pressure policy has made it so no bank in the world is going to even want to touch Iran, regardless of the reason," said Ali Scotten, 40, a second generation Iranian American who was born in Arizona and works as a consultant on Middle East issues. 

He worries about his relatives in Iran. "The daily cost of living has become astronomically higher," Scotten said, adding that Trump's punishing sanctions have soured Iranians' views toward the U.S.   

Trump and his advisers say their strategy is aimed at forcing Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions, curb its ballistic missile program, and end its support for militant proxy groups across the Middle East. 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump have repeatedly said these actions will eventually force Iran to seek a new agreement. 

"Our maximum economic pressure campaign will continue until Iran is willing to conclude a comprehensive negotiation that addresses the regime’s malign behavior," Pompeo said in a statement touting Thursday's sanctions. "The United States continues to stand with the Iranian people, the longest-suffering victims of the regime’s predations." 

Iran’s leaders have consistently rejected the president’s entreaties and pushed the U.S. to rejoin the existing agreement. Iran says it doesn't care whether it's Trump or his potential successor, Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, who does this.

Iran's nuclear material

Critics say Trump's policy has failed.

Experienced Iran-watchers such as Barbara Slavin, director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington, D.C., point out that Iran is now enriching uranium at a higher level than at any point since the Obama administration brokered the nuclear agreement in 2015.

Iran may even soon have sufficient fissile missile material to produce a nuclear weapon. And it has become more, not less, aggressive in the Persian Gulf and Iraq. As U.S. and Iran tensions have spiked to dangerous levels, the U.S. policy has also deepened a divide between the U.S. and its closest allies in Europe, a point raised by Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris during her Wednesday night debate with Vice President Mike Pence.

'I'm speaking': Harris, Pence clash at vice presidential debate with body language

Trump's approach to Iran has been an "embarrassing mix of economic sanctions, botched diplomacy, and harsh rhetoric," Slavin wrote in a recent analysis. 

Some critics have suggested the Trump's administration true goal in Iran is to topple the regime. 

Sanctions part and parcel of U.S.-Iran relations

That would be just fine with Afshine Ash Emrani, a 52-year-old cardiologist in California and full-throated Trump supporter. 

Emrani came to the U.S. with his parents when he was 17 years old – fleeing the regime's persecution of Iranian Jews. He voted for Trump in 2016 and counts himself as an even stronger supporter of the president now, even though he doesn't like Trump's sometimes "crass" rhetoric. 

Iran’s Jewish community: The largest in Mideast outside Israel; many feel safe

 

Video: Expert: Militias shift focus to states since Trump (Associated Press)

 
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He views Trump's recent foreign policy victories – persuading the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to normalize ties with Israel – as a major step toward further isolating Iran.  

"It's going to take away a lot of the regime's power... because now the entire region will be against them," he said. "My hope is that it will be a stepping stone towards changing the regime in Iran" and making the government more friendly to both Israel and America.

But for Sahand Mirzahossein, a 39-year-old Chicagoan who works in the pharmaceutical industry, Trump's election has brought nothing but anxiety and fear. When Trump ordered a drone strike that killed Iran's most powerful military leader, "that was terrifying," he said. "I was like, well, this is war."

Iran claims revenge for Qasem Soleimani killing: The US Navy is still a target

 
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Mirzahossein's parents left Iran after the revolution, and he has few family ties there now.

"I feel torn about the direction America is taking because it is my home," he said. As a *** man, Mirzahossein said he also feels targeted by Trump's domestic policies, and he said it's "heartbreaking" to see the "open hostility" toward the LGBTQ community and people of color.

According to the U.S. Department of State, there are an estimated 500,000 to one million people of Iranian descent living in the U.S., the highest number of Iranians outside Iran. The biggest Iranian-American communities are in California, followed by the New York and Washington D.C. metropolitan areas.

A majority do not support Trump’s policies, according to a 2019 survey from the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), a non-partisan group that represents their interests. That survey found that two-thirds (66%) of Iranian-Americans feel that Trump has handled relations between the two adversaries "poorly."

More than 8 in 10 Iranian Americans said they have either directly been impacted by Trump's 2017 travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, or have friends and family who have been impacted. Iran visas have been routinely denied since the ban.

By contrast, when PAAIA's survey was conducted the year before Trump took office, in 2016, more than two-thirds (71%) of respondents rated the Obama administration's handling of U.S.-Iran relations as "excellent" or "good."

The survey revealed the expectation that the nuclear deal could serve as a path to improved U.S.-Iran relations – soured by decades of hostility that began when the CIA helped orchestrate the ouster of Iran's democratically elected leader in 1953. By 1979, amid the birth of the Islamic Republic, 52 Americans were held hostage in the former U.S. Embassy for 444 days.

Economic sanctions have been a regular part of the U.S.-Iran story ever since.   

Iran timeline: A history of democracy, U.S. and British intervention, and cleric-control

Fearing discrimination

But it is not just about the inconvenience of having to apply for visa waivers that has concerned Iranian Americans under the Trump presidency.

PAAIA's survey found that 71% of Iranian Americans are worried about increased discrimination and 63% have either personally experienced discrimination or know someone else who has because of their ethnicity or country of origin. A majority (62%) fear possible U.S. military strikes against Iran, where they have many friends and relatives and retain deep cultural connections.

Scotten, the Iranian American from Arizona, said that just a few days after Trump's election in 2016, his mother and a friend were hiking.

"They were speaking Farsi and a lady started berating them for speaking a different language," he said. It was the first time in her 40 years in the U.S. that she’s been harassed. 

"It's a direct result of Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric" and efforts to make Americans afraid of immigrants, he said. 

For Nazmiyal, the Trump administration's Iran policy has brought a big economic hit, since 75% of his sales are in Persian rugs, and 40% of his business involves shipping these overseas. But for Iranian American and San Francisco-resident Delfarib Fanaie the prohibitions have hurt those who can least afford it: poor and vulnerable children.

© AFP via Getty Images A man walks past a mural painted on the outer walls of the former U.S. embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran, on September 29, 2020.

Fanaie runs Moms Against Poverty (MAP), an organization that sends humanitarian relief to Iran for underprivileged children. MAP has an official license from the U.S. Treasury Department that permits it to legally transfer funds to Iran from its bank in the U.S., via the banking system in Canada, and then onward to a bank in Tehran.

Since 2008, MAP has helped build more than 175 schools, orphanages, heath clinics and cultural centers in Iran.

Yet Fanaie said that while MAP itself has had little overt trouble from the U.S. Treasury Department, and in 2020 it actually saw the amount of humanitarian funds it is allowed to send under its export license to Iran increase because of the coronavirus pandemic, the problem is that the vast majority of international financial institutions are scared that if they do business with a U.S. entity sending money to Iran, they too will be sanctioned by Washington.

The result of all this, Fanaie said, is that her organization needs to be "in constant touch" with the U.S. Treasury Department to try to find obscure and mercurial banking channels to send MAP funds to Iran even though the U.S. government insists it has not created any barriers to these channels. 

"Every day I am worried that a (bank) available to us the day before won't be there in the morning," she said.

"I mean, what is the point of having humanitarian permission to help underserved children in Iran and then effectively make it nearly impossible for most organizations to transfer these funds?"

Some Iranian-Americans are conflicted about the Trump presidency.

Darius Massoudi, 32, a public policy advisor and lawyer for the state of Washington, said that in some respects Trump is "the best U.S. president ever" because he has taken such a hard line against a brutal regime. Human Rights Watch and other groups say Iran uses lethal force to crush political dissent and arbitrarily detains, tortures and kills protesters who demand freedom of expression and assembly. Iran denies this. 

At the same time, Massoudi says Trump's rhetoric has made him feel unwelcome.

"There's some of us who are like, well, we live in this country and Trump is treating us like garbage," said Massoudi, referring to the travel bans and his belief that Trump has disparaged minority groups. Massoudi said he briefly considered emigrating to Canada, which has a growing Iranian diaspora.

How would it change in a Biden presidency?

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Iran has sought to undermine Trump ahead of the U.S. presidential election. 

"Democrats are softer compared to Republicans," Iran's Sharq newspaper noted in a recent editorial, according the Atlantic council. 

“I’m really nervous about this election,” said Mirzahossein. “Four more years of Trump means … honestly who knows." 

But it's not clear that for Iranian Americans, a Biden presidency would be a panacea, despite his pledge that if elected he would work to get back in the nuclear deal that Trump abandoned. 

Biden may want to re-enter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (as the nuclear deal is known) as quickly as possible, but he may not be able to automatically lift all of the Trump administration's sanctions, as the Atlantic Council and others have pointed out. And Iran may consider that a sticking point before it restarts complying with the nuclear accord, which it stayed in while the U.S. dropped out. Iran's top diplomat Zarif also said recently that the country may insist on some form of compensation from the U.S. for its treatment by the Trump administration. 

"The question mark on Biden is going to be will he have the guts to re-enter the deal in a way that Iran feels necessary," said Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, founder of Bourse & Bazaar, a London based news and research group that focuses on Iran’s economy.

"Some of the folks around Biden have suggested that the U.S. might want to take advantage of the leverage that's been gained because of the Trump sanctions," he said.

Batmanghelidj said Iran's difficulties in importing foods and life-saving medicines have been made worse by COVID-19, but he did not believe Iran would be "coerced into new negotiations" and let the U.S. "dictate the terms" of its own re-entry to the nuclear deal and that even though Iran's economy is in bad shape it will be able to "limp along."

Scotten, the consultant on Middle East issues from Arizona, said supporting Biden is a "no-brainer" for him, because he has promised to return to the nuclear deal and lift the Muslim ban. 

"Obviously there's 40 years of mistrust and rivalry between the U.S. and Iranian governments, so there's not going to be normalization of relations overnight," he said. 

Inside Iran: America’s contentious history in Iran leads to mix of anger, wonderment and weariness

"(But) there's an absolute night-and-day difference between the two candidates," he said. "And just like on a personal level, the Muslim ban being rescinded (would mean) my family can come visit us again," he added, recounting that his mother's sister was unable to attend his father's funeral in 2018 because of the ban. 

For Nazmiyal, who has a collection of 4,000 antique and vintage rugs, the last few years have been about weathering frustrations, economic and political. He believes that no matter who wins the election on Nov. 3 the Iranian people will still continue to suffer. He has also devised a new strategy of sorts for dealing with the sanctions on Iran. After months of trying to figure out a workaround to purchase the carpet that had not set foot in Iran for more than 100 years: He gave up.  

 

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Sunday, October 11, 2020 03:38 AM

 

From President Trump to the "mullahs of Iran": Beware messing with the United States, we will respond 1,000 times stronger to any clumsy actions.

Trump threatens Iran
 
 

 

Experts: President Trump is waiting for the opportunity to crush Khamenei and his gang in case he makes any mistake

in a warning described as stronger than him throughout his presidency.
Observers said, it is the beginnings of an American storm that will uproot Iran if it does not back down from its clumsy actions here and there.
US President Donald Trump warned Iran against manipulating the United States, promising a strong response. And during a radio interview, he delivered a strong threatening message to Tehran saying if Iran messes with us, if it does something bad for us, we will respond with things that have not been done before.

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And the US President had said recently that any Iranian attack on the United States would face a response 1000 times stronger. He wrote in tweets on Twitter, according to press reports, Iran may be planning an assassination or attack against the United States in retaliation for the killing of the terrorist leader Qassem Soleimani, which was carried out for planning a future attack, killing American forces, and increasing the death and suffering that he caused over many years.
Iran sent a protest letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, in response to Trump's recent threats . In this letter, Iran's permanent ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanji considered Trump's threats a violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter, including Article 2 that explicitly prohibits the threat or use of force.
The American Politico newspaper quoted government officials as saying, according to a report published by Al-Arab newspaper, that the Iranian regime has planned to try to assassinate the American ambassador in South Africa since the spring, adding that "news of the conspiracy comes at a time when Iran continues to search for ways to respond to a decision. President Donald Trump killed the powerful Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
The US President expected in his radio interview that Iran would conclude a new nuclear agreement with the United States if he wins the elections on November 3. "If I win, we will have a big deal with Iran within one month," he said. He added, “And they know that if they do anything against us, they will pay a thousand times the price.”
The Trump administration decidedImposing new sanctions on the Iranian financial sector, in defiance of European allies who have warned that this step may have devastating humanitarian consequences for a country suffering from Corona virus and a financial crisis. Officials revealed to the Washington Post that the measures will target the few remaining banks that are not currently subject to secondary sanctions, in a move European governments say is likely to reduce the channels Iran uses to import humanitarian goods, such as food and medicine.
Experts considered the Trump administration the most powerful in the face of Iran, and it was the one that was able to significantly curtail its terrorist acts and became all its thinking about how to deal with sanctions.
Which

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Clinton's Letters Reveal Shocking Facts ... Qatar's Involvement In Supporting Terrorist Factions

Last updated Oct 11, 2020

Al-Mustaqillah / - A postal letter from former US Secretary of State Hillarious Clinton, who was released, revealed the role of Qatar to destabilize Libya and plot a plot to topple Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011.

Former Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril accused Doha of trying to play a greater role than necessary in the affairs of his country and supporting terrorist factions he did not name, in statements that were broadcast during that period.

This comes after the US State Department, yesterday, Saturday, lifted the secrecy of a number of e-mails to Hillarious Clinton, during the term of former President Barack Obama.

According to an email dated October 2011, Qatar played a role in an international coalition that helped oust leader Muammar Gaddafi after more than 40 years in power.

"I think now that Qatar is trying to play a role greater than its true potential," said Jibril, who resigned in October 2011 after Gaddafi was arrested and killed, in an interview broadcast on Al Arabiya TV at the time.

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According to the email sent to Hillarious Clinton, Libyan officials and Western diplomats believe that Qatar, one of the smallest countries in the Arab world, is providing funds and technical assistance to militant Islamist military leaders in Libya.

He also revealed its participation with NATO in the bombing of Libya, and the approval of the head of the executive office of the former transitional council, Mahmoud Jibril, of Qatar's support for the February revolution, and its endeavor to spend the money of the Libyans to support the factions and parties in Libya.

The documents stated that the FBI was also complicit in not activating the investigation into Clinton’s plan to take advantage of the unrest that occurred in Libya in 2011, and the events that followed.
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Battered by Trump, Robert Redfield of the C.D.C. Faces Pressure to Speak Out

Sheryl *** Stolberg 15 hrs ago
 
 
 
 
 

Battered by Trump, Robert Redfield of the C.D.C. Faces Pressure to Speak Out
 
 
 
 
 
 

WASHINGTON — Pressure is mounting on the leaders of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — from inside and outside the agency — to speak publicly against the White House’s manhandling of C.D.C. research and public health decisions, with career scientists so demoralized they are talking of quitting if President Trump wins re-election.

© Al Drago for The New York Times The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under Dr. Robert R. Redfield has proved more susceptible to the administration’s will. © Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images A drive-through coronavirus testing site in Los Angeles. Over the objections of its own scientists, the C.D.C. was forced to post guidelines that said asymptomatic people should not be tested.

The situation came to a boiling point this week when William H. Foege, a giant in public health who led the C.D.C. under Democratic and Republican presidents, called for its current director, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, to “stand up to a bully” — he meant Mr. Trump — even at the risk of being fired.

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“Silence becomes complicity,” he said in an interview, after a private letter he wrote to Dr. Redfield leaked to the news media.

Dr. Redfield further infuriated public health experts by issuing a memo, released by the White House, that cleared Vice President Mike Pence to participate in the vice-presidential debate on Wednesday, even as the White House became a coronavirus hot spot. Nearly a dozen current and former C.D.C. officials — including six who still work there — called the letter highly inappropriate.

And Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the ranking Democrat on the Senate health committee, said she told Dr. Redfield in a private telephone conversation before he testified on Capitol Hill last month that he had to take a stand.

“What I said to him was that my concern was about the agency’s credibility today — and the agency’s credibility that we need as a country in the future,” Ms. Murray said in an interview. “This isn’t just about right now. If we lose all the really good scientists there, if people don’t believe the C.D.C. when they put out guidance, what happens in the next flu outbreak? What happens in the next public health crisis?”

No federal health agency has been beaten up quite like the C.D.C., which is based in Atlanta and prides itself on avoiding Washington partisanship. The Food and Drug Administration did buckle to White House demands to grant emergency approvals for two unproven Covid-19 therapies, but more recently, the F.D.A. withstood enormous pressure — including from Mr. Trump — and issued tough new guidelines for emergency approval of a coronavirus vaccine that almost certainly pushes any vaccine release past the election.

© Pete Marovich for The New York Times Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has become a symbol of scientific defiance to President Trump.

The National Institutes of Health has remained above the political fray, and one of its top officials, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has become a symbol of scientific defiance to Mr. Trump. On Friday, Dr. Fauci called the White House ceremony announcing Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court a “superspreader event.”

But the C.D.C. leadership has proved far more malleable to the president’s will. The White House successfully pressured the agency to revise guidelines on matters like school reopenings, church gatherings and whether cruise ships can sail.

The C.D.C. was forced, over the serious objections of its own scientists, to post coronavirus testing guidelines that suggested asymptomatic people should not be tested. (Dr. Redfield later walked that back after the resulting uproar, and it was ultimately reversed.) And the White House thwarted a plan, laid out in a directive drafted last month by Dr. Redfield, to require individuals to wear masks on all commercial transportation in the United States.

© T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times Dr. Redfield with Mr. Trump and the health secretary, Alex M. Azar II,  during a tour of the C.D.C. headquarters in Atlanta in March. Dr. Redfield has rarely been in Atlanta during the pandemic.

Supporters of the agency fear the C.D.C.’s reputation will be irrevocably damaged if Dr. Redfield does not start more vigorously defending its science.

“What has happened at C.D.C. has been horrifying to see,” said Dr. Mark Rosenberg, who pioneered public health research into gun violence at the C.D.C. but was pushed out after Republicans in Congress effectively cut off funding for his work. “It’s been terribly demoralizing to people who have been working 16 and 17 hour days for weeks or months at a time while taking on Covid-19.”

Dr. Redfield declined to comment. Ms. Murray said he had given her his assent in their conversation, acknowledging without saying much that he agreed with what she said. A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, the C.D.C.’s parent agency, said, “The American people are fortunate to have Dr. Redfield leading the C.D.C.”

The agency’s scientists know that their work will invariably collide with politics; they make decisions and do research on hot-button issues like abortion, teenage pregnancy and gun violence. But they have never seen anything quite like what is happening under Mr. Trump.

“We’ve all learned a terrible lesson,” said one C.D.C. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of being fired. “As much as we want to believe we can operate independently of politics and it’s all about the science, it took just a few months to hobble our ability to steer the course of this pandemic. So we can pretend that the politics don’t matter, but we have been kneecapped.”

Political appointees of the president meddled in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, regarded as the “holiest of the holy” in medical literature. Equally troubling, agency officials say, is that the White House has muzzled the C.D.C., refusing to allow the nation’s leading public health experts to talk directly and regularly to the American people — a critical component of any successful infectious disease response.

The C.D.C. has made its own missteps. Sloppy laboratory practices caused the botched introduction of coronavirus tests early in the pandemic. More recently, the agency withdrew a notice on its website acknowledging for the first time that the coronavirus spreads mainly by air, saying that it had been “posted in error” on the agency’s website. The weaker version was later published.

Dr. Redfield has at times offered lukewarm statements in defense of the C.D.C., like when he told the Senate health committee that suggestions that the agency was a “deep state” were “offensive.” In an internal email last month summing up his testimony, he told agency employees that he had “shared my sadness over misperceptions regarding the scientific integrity” of the reports, and pledged that they would “not be compromised under my watch.”

The agency’s scientists say that is not enough. Current C.D.C. employees contacted would not speak on the record for fear of reprisal, but the sense of despair is clear. Many view public health as a calling, and remain at the agency knowing that they could earn much higher salaries working in industry.

One longtime C.D.C. scientist said it was time not only for Dr. Redfield to speak out, but also for senior career scientists in the agency to do so. Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the C.D.C.’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, has hardly been seen since late February, when she enraged Mr. Trump by presciently telling reporters that day-to-day life in the United States was about to change drastically: “It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen.”

Another C.D.C. veteran scientist said he and colleagues were planning to look for new jobs if Mr. Trump wins re-election.

Dr. Redfield’s memo about Mr. Pence — addressed to Marc Short, the vice president’s chief of staff — is a particular sore spot because Dr. Redfield has not examined Mr. Pence, and the C.D.C. is not involved in contact tracing to track the extent of the White House outbreak. In addition, federal law bars most executive branch employees from engaging in political activities, and some say Dr. Redfield crossed a red line.

“It sounds very manipulative,” said Dr. Foege, who served as C.D.C. director under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, adding that while he sometimes had to fend off pressure from Washington, he “was never faced with having to do something like that.”

Most current and former C.D.C. officials acknowledge that Dr. Redfield is in a terrible position, working for a president who has declared all-out war on his agency and who regards its scientists as members of a so-called deep state out to get him. Unlike Dr. Fauci, he is a political appointee and lacks Civil Service protections. And unlike the F.D.A. commissioner, he cannot turn to a powerful industry constituency like pharmaceuticals to back him up.

Some say it would be unwise for him to step down, for fear of his successor.

“What happens if 50 of the top scientists at C.D.C. say, ‘We’ve had it, we’re leaving?’ Does that leave the country better off or worse off?” asked Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, who served as the C.D.C. director under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and regularly met Dr. Redfield for lunch before the pandemic. “I suspect that Dr. Redfield is asking himself the same question.”

Dr. Foege’s letter to Dr. Redfield, dated Sept. 23 and first published by USA Today, made clear that he and Dr. Redfield had talked about the prospect of resignation. Dr. Foege helped lead the effort to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s and is a giant in the world of public health.

“As I have indicated to you before, resigning is a one-day story and you will be replaced,” he wrote. Instead, he urged Dr. Redfield to describe the administration’s failures, and his own, in a letter to the agency’s employees. Then, he concluded, “when they fire you, this will be a multiweek story and you can hold your head high.”

As pressure on him intensified this spring and summer, Dr. Redfield did not tell top aides that he was considering resigning, a former federal health official said. Instead, he would make versions of the same comment: “As long as I’m here, with the time I have left, which may not be long, we’re going to try to do x, y and z,” the official recalled.

Known as “R3” by his staff — a reference to his initials — Dr. Redfield has rarely been in Atlanta during the pandemic, with top aides seeing him only a dozen or so times. Often summoned to coronavirus task force meetings and congressional hearings, he instead has stayed at his home in Baltimore, where he helped found and run a virology institute at the University of Maryland before becoming C.D.C. director in 2018.

He was named to the job by Mr. Trump’s health secretary, Alex M. Azar II, replacing Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, who resigned after six months on the job amid disclosures that she had bought tobacco stocks.

When he arrived at the C.D.C., one scientist there said, many in the agency were relieved. They had feared Mr. Trump might appoint someone openly hostile to science, or an opponent of vaccines. But Dr. Redfield had no experience in public health or in running a large government agency like the C.D.C., with 11,000 employees. Nor is he an especially good communicator.

“I don’t think he was the leader for this agency at this point in time,” said Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, the executive director of the American Public Health Association, who has known Dr. Redfield since they served together in the Army decades ago. “I don’t know if anybody could have been.”

Now, less than a month from the election, the question is whether the C.D.C. can recover. Dr. Foege refused to allow the possibility that it could not.

“They have to recover,” he said. “The world needs a gold standard in public health.”

Noah Weiland contributed reporting.

Noah Weiland contributed reporting.

 

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/battered-by-trump-robert-redfield-of-the-cdc-faces-pressure-to-speak-out/ar-BB19TpV9?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=U453DHP

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The New York Times: Trump's companies made $ 12 billion during his presidency

19:25 - 11/10/2020
 
  
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Information / follow-up.

More than 200 companies and many foreign governments have concluded agreements with President Donald Trump's resorts and hotels in exchange for services and facilities provided by the US President's administration.

According to the "New York Times" newspaper, the newspaper confirmed in an investigation titled "The Swamp That Trump Built", that since he took office, the companies owned by the Trump family have made about 12 billion dollars in return for services to them by the president or his administration.

The newspaper confirmed that Trump's actions come in contrast to his 2016 electoral promises to drain the swamps of power abuse, as he described it.

According to the newspaper, among those who support Trump's holdings are corporate executives, billionaires, foreign government officials and high-profile lawyers, who have won federal contracts, changes to the law, and appointments to the positions of ambassadors or federal task forces.

They pay for playing golf, meals and drinks at Trump's clubs, and the newspaper also confirmed that some of them were able to meet the president, discuss their business with him, and obtain services.

More than 70 foreign organizations, companies and governments have reserved places for events on Trump's properties, which were held in other places before he took office.

On the other hand, White House spokesman Jude Derry said in response to the newspaper that President Trump entrusted his business to his two sons, Donald Jr. and Eric.

"The president keeps his promises every day to the American people to fight for them, drain the swamp, and always put America first," said Derry.

For its part, the newspaper responded that in its investigation it had used information from Trump's tax returns, public records requests and published reports to create a database of interest organizations that supported Trump's possessions, as well as interviewing about 250 executives, club members, current and former administration employees and officials. 25 S.

https://www.almaalomah.com/2020/10/11/499493/

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