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Westlake Legal Group > Deaths (Obituaries)

Paul A. Volcker, Fed Chairman Who Waged War on Inflation, Is Dead at 92

Westlake Legal Group 00volcker-toppix-sub-facebookJumbo Paul A. Volcker, Fed Chairman Who Waged War on Inflation, Is Dead at 92 Volcker, Paul A United States Economy Federal Reserve Bank of New York Deaths (Obituaries)

Paul A. Volcker, who helped shape American economic policy for more than six decades, most notably by leading the Federal Reserve’s brute-force campaign to subdue inflation in the late 1970s and early ’80s, died on Sunday in New York. He was 92.

The death was confirmed by his daughter, Janice Zima.

Mr. Volcker, a towering, taciturn and somewhat rumpled figure, arrived in Washington as America’s postwar economic hegemony was beginning to crumble. He would devote his professional life to wrestling with the consequences.

As a Treasury Department official under Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon, Mr. Volcker waged a long, losing struggle to preserve the postwar international monetary system established by the Bretton Woods agreement.

As a senior Federal Reserve official from 1975 to 1987, in addition to battling inflation, he sought to limit the easing of financial regulation and warned that the rapid growth of the federal debt threatened the nation’s economic health.

In his last official post, as chairman of President Barack Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, formed in response to the 2008 financial crisis, he persuaded lawmakers to impose new restrictions on big banks — a measure known as the “Volcker Rule.”

Mr. Volcker interlaced his long stretches of public service with a lucrative career on Wall Street, most prominently as chief executive of the investment bank Wolfensohn & Company.

His reputation for austere integrity also made him a popular choice as an independent arbiter. In one instance he oversaw the reclamation of deposits that Swiss banks had failed to return to the families of Holocaust victims.

His defining achievement, however, was his success in ending an extended period of high inflation after President Jimmy Carter chose him to be the Fed’s chairman in 1979.

He prevailed by delivering shock therapy, driving the economy into a deep recession to persuade Americans to abandon their entrenched expectation that prices would keep rising rapidly.

The cost was steep. As consumers stopped buying homes and cars, millions of workers lost their jobs. Angry homebuilders mailed chunks of two-by-fours to the Fed’s marble headquarters in Washington. But Mr. Volcker managed to wring most inflation from the economy.

His victory inaugurated an era in which the leaders of both political parties largely deferred to the central bank, allowing technocrats to chart the course of monetary policy with little political interference.

Ben S. Bernanke, the Fed’s chairman from 2006 to 2014, kept on his bookshelf one of the chunks of wood that Mr. Volcker received during the anti-inflation campaign.

“He came to represent independence,” Mr. Bernanke said in an interview for this obituary. “He personified the idea of doing something politically unpopular but economically necessary.”

Proud, confident and 6-foot-7 in socks, Mr. Volcker struck many as remote and intimidating. Those who knew him well said the gruff exterior concealed a shy man with a puckish wit. His first wife told a biographer that she had waited vainly for a proposal before she finally asked him if he wanted to marry.

He was famously frugal, favoring drugstore cigars and ill-fitting suits. In the 1960s, when the driver’s seat in his Nash Rambler collapsed, Mr. Volcker propped it up with a chair and continued to drive the car. As chairman of the Fed, he lived in an apartment building populated by George Washington University students and took his laundry to his daughter’s house in the Virginia suburbs.

His time in the national spotlight began in August 1979. Mr. Carter, struggling to salvage public confidence in his administration, decided to reshuffle his cabinet, plucking the Fed chairman G. William Miller to serve as Treasury secretary. Mr. Volcker, who was then serving as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, was not Mr. Carter’s first choice as a replacement.

Mr. Volcker was known to be frustrated with the Fed’s halfhearted efforts to curb inflation, leading Mr. Carter’s aides to warn that he might drive the economy into recession.

Meeting Mr. Carter in the Oval Office, Mr. Volcker slumped on a couch, a familiar cigar in hand, and gestured at Mr. Miller, who was in the room. “You have to understand,” Mr. Volcker said he told the president, “if you appoint me, I favor a tighter policy than that fellow.”

In taking the job, Mr. Volcker strained his finances and his family life.

The job of chairman paid half as much as his post at the New York Fed, and Mr. Volcker’s wife at the time, Barbara Volcker, who struggled for much of her life from debilitating rheumatoid arthritis as well as diabetes, remained in New York to be near her longtime physician. (She died in 1998.) Their son, James, who was born with cerebral palsy, also remained in New York.

Mr. Volcker married Barbara Bahnson in 1954. After her death, he married Anke Dening, his longtime assistant, in 2010. Besides her, he is survived by his son, James; a daughter, Janice Volcker Zima; and four grandchildren.

When Mr. Volcker arrived in Washington, the national inflation rate was exceeding 1 percent a month. (By comparison, in 2017 inflation was less than 2 percent for the whole year.) Rapid and unpredictable inflation encourages spending while discouraging investment, a combination that creates economic instability and, often, political instability.

Henry C. Wallich, a Fed governor who had lived through the hyperinflation of Weimar Germany and often told of paying 150 billion marks to use a neighborhood swimming pool, was among those warning that the Fed was losing control.

Many economists still argued that the Fed could reduce inflation gently, without causing a recession, by raising interest rates just enough to slow economic activity. But Mr. Volcker said inflation had become a self-fulfilling prophecy. People had come to expect prices and wages to rise, so they borrowed and spent more and demanded larger pay increases, and prices and wages rose.

The Fed had been promising to crack down on inflation for more than a decade, but it had repeatedly caved in to intense political pressure so as to avoid a recession. Mr. Volcker decided a dramatic gesture was necessary to convince the public that this time would be different.

“I wanted to move the story at least to the front page,” he told a biographer.

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William Ruckelshaus, Who Quit in ‘Saturday Night Massacre,’ Dies at 87

Westlake Legal Group merlin_165114225_38423609-c2be-465b-9d1a-317da39a961e-facebookJumbo William Ruckelshaus, Who Quit in ‘Saturday Night Massacre,’ Dies at 87 Watergate Affair United States Politics and Government Ruckelshaus, William D Nixon, Richard Milhous impeachment Deaths (Obituaries)

William D. Ruckelshaus, who resigned as deputy attorney general rather than carry out President Richard M. Nixon’s illegal order to fire the independent special Watergate prosecutor in the constitutional crisis of 1973 known as the “Saturday Night Massacre,” died on Wednesday at his home in Seattle. He was 87.

His death was confirmed by his daughter Mary Ruckelshaus.

A lawyer and political troubleshooter, Mr. Ruckelshaus twice headed the United States Environmental Protection Agency, as its founding administrator from 1970 to 1973 under Nixon, and from 1983 to 1985 under President Ronald Reagan. He won praise for laying the new agency’s foundations, and later for salvaging an E.P.A. that had strayed from its mission and lost the confidence of the public and Congress.

Mr. Ruckelshaus was a champion of America’s natural resources in his home state of Indiana; in Washington State, where he lived; and while serving on presidential commissions and conservation groups. But he also worked for big business, was not an environmentalist of the Greenpeace and Sierra Club stripe, and in 50 years of public and private service was hailed and vilified by partisans on both sides as he tried to balance economic and ecological interests.

For many Americans, however, the deeds of Mr. Ruckelshaus’s varied career were all but eclipsed by his role in the events of a single night in the autumn of 1973, as the political dirty tricks and cover-up conspiracies of the Watergate scandal closed in on his boss, the beleaguered President Nixon.

The scandal had already forced some of Nixon’s closest associates to resign and face criminal charges, and Mr. Ruckelshaus, with his E.P.A. successes and reputation for integrity, was named acting head of the F.B.I. in April 1973, replacing L. Patrick Gray III, who had allowed Nixon aides to examine Watergate files and had even destroyed evidence in the case.

Mr. Ruckelshaus was soon named the top deputy to Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson. And on a night of high drama, as the nation held its breath and constitutional government appeared to hang in the balance, Nixon ordered his top three Justice Department officials, one after another, to fire the Watergate prosecutor, Archibald Cox, rather than comply with his subpoena for nine incriminating Oval Office tape recordings.

Mr. Cox’s complete independence had been guaranteed by Nixon and the attorney general during the prosecutor’s Senate confirmation hearings the previous May. He could be removed only for “cause” — some gross malfeasance in office. But none was even alleged. Nixon’s order to summarily dismiss Mr. Cox thus raised a most profound question: Was the president above the law?

Mr. Richardson and Mr. Ruckelshaus refused to fire Mr. Cox and resigned even as orders for their own dismissals were being issued by the White House. But Robert H. Bork, the United States solicitor general and the acting attorney general after the dismissal of his two superiors, carried out the presidential order, not only firing Mr. Cox but also abolishing the office of the special Watergate prosecutor.

The dismissals, all on Saturday, Oct. 20, labeled the “Saturday Night Massacre” by news media, set off a firestorm of protest across the country. Some 300,000 telegrams inundated Congress and the White House, mostly calling for Nixon’s resignation. The outcry was so ferocious that the White House said within days that it had decided to surrender the tape recordings after all.

Less than a month later, a federal judge ruled that Mr. Cox’s dismissal had been illegal and ordered him reinstated, but Mr. Cox indicated that he did not want the job back. After a protracted legal struggle, scores of tapes were eventually turned over to Mr. Cox’s successor, Leon Jaworski, and Mr. Nixon, facing certain impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate, resigned in August 1974.

Vice President Gerald R. Ford assumed the presidency, Mr. Cox returned to teaching at Harvard, Mr. Richardson was named Mr. Ford’s commerce secretary in 1976, and Mr. Bork became a federal judge whose nomination to the Supreme Court by President Reagan in 1987 was defeated in the Senate. Mr. Ruckelshaus, who joined a Washington law firm and soon moved to Seattle, said he had no regrets.

“I thought what the president was doing was fundamentally wrong,” he told The New York Times years later. “I was convinced that Cox had only been doing what he had the authority to do; what was really of concern to the president and the White House was that he was too close. He hadn’t engaged in any extraordinary improprieties, quite the contrary.”

William Doyle Ruckelshaus was born on July 24, 1932, in Indianapolis, the second of three children of John K. and Marion (Doyle) Ruckelshaus. His father was a lawyer and Republican Party official who drowned at 60 in a fishing accident in Michigan. Mr. Ruckelshaus remembered him as deeply religious and called him “far and away the biggest influence” on his life.

“He not only was religious in the sense of being a regular churchgoer; he went to church every morning for the last 25 years of his life and took communion,” Mr. Ruckelshaus said in an interview for an E.P.A. publication. “But he lived it.”

William went to Roman Catholic parochial schools in Indianapolis and, midway through high school, transferred to Portsmouth Abbey, a school run by Benedictine monks in Portsmouth, R.I. After two years in the Army, he attended Princeton University and graduated with honors in 1957, then earned a law degree from Harvard in 1960.

In 1960 he married Ellen Urban, who died of complications of giving birth to twin girls in 1961. In 1962 he married Jill Elizabeth Strickland, who survives him along with their children, Jennifer and William Ruckelshaus and Robin Kellogg; his twin daughters, Catherine and Mary Ruckelshaus; a sister, Marion Ruckelshaus Bitzer; and 12 grandchildren.

As a deputy attorney general in Indiana in the early 1960s, Mr. Ruckelshaus helped write the state’s first air pollution control laws. A leader of the Young Republican organization, he won a seat in the Indiana House of Representatives in 1966 and became the first freshman legislator to be elected majority leader. In 1968 he lost a United States Senate race to the Democratic incumbent, Birch Bayh.

But he caught the eye of Attorney General John N. Mitchell and was brought to Washington in 1969 as an assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s civil division. He displayed exceptional finesse cooling anti-Vietnam War protests, civil rights confrontations and unrest on college campuses.

Nixon was impressed. In 1970 he appointed Mr. Ruckelshaus to lead the new E.P.A. He proceeded to consolidate 15 federal agencies with environmental duties into an organization with 8,800 employees and a $2.5 billion budget (about $15.6 billion in today’s money), hired new leaders, defined priorities, proposed laws and organized a national enforcement structure. He also ordered cities to curtail sewage discharges into rivers; demanded more air-pollution controls; accused paper and steel companies of water-quality violations; and banned the domestic use of DDT.

Environmental advocates were generally pleased, although Mr. Ruckelshaus was not a consistent ally. He permitted states to write business-friendly air quality plans and allowed increased emissions in areas where the air was relatively clean, a stand that federal courts later called a violation of the Clean Air Act of 1970.

By 1973, Mr. Ruckelshaus was needed back at the Justice Department. After his interim appointment at the F.B.I., he pursued charges that Vice President Spiro T. Agnew had taken kickbacks from contractors while governor of Maryland. The case led to Mr. Agnew’s no-contest plea on a tax-evasion charge and his resignation on Oct. 10, 1973.

After his own resignation in the Saturday Night Massacre 10 days later, Mr. Ruckelshaus returned to private law practice. He moved to Seattle in 1976 and became a senior vice president of Weyerhaeuser, one of the nation’s largest lumber companies. He explored a run for the presidency in 1980 but did not return to public life until 1983, when President Reagan asked him to take over the troubled E.P.A.

After 22 months under Anne Gorsuch Burford, who had resigned in a scandal over mismanagement of a $1.6 billion program to clean up hazardous waste sites, the agency was demoralized and its programs riddled with corruption. Its budget had been heavily cut, and critics said it had openly favored polluters and abandoned its mission to protect the nation’s air, water and land resources.

Mr. Ruckelshaus stabilized the agency, restored professional management and subdued the scandals. But he was unable to rebuild the budget, and many E.P.A. initiatives were mired in court or stifled by Congress or business interests supported by the administration. After Reagan’s second term began, Mr. Ruckelshaus resigned, returned to Seattle, joined a law firm and set up an environmental consulting business.

From 1988 to 1995, Mr. Ruckelshaus was chief executive of Browning-Ferris Industries, one of the nation’s largest waste-removal firms, whose rapid expansion had led to civil and criminal complaints and fines in the disposal of toxic substances. Mr. Ruckelshaus took the company out of hazardous wastes and built up its recycling operations. The company also expanded into New York City, where Mr. Ruckelshaus helped investigators infiltrate a Mafia-dominated carting conspiracy, leading prosecutors to obtain indictments.

President George W. Bush named Mr. Ruckelshaus to the United States Commission on Ocean Policy, which produced a 2004 report, “An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century.” In 2008, Mr. Ruckelshaus was named to the Washington State Puget Sound Partnership.

Late in life, Mr. Ruckelshaus brought his Watergate experience to bear on another president under investigation. This time it was President Donald J. Trump, who at the time was furious over the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election.

“Not only was that Saturday night the beginning of the end of the Nixon presidency,” Mr. Ruckelshaus wrote in The Washington Post in August 2018, referring to the “massacre,” “but it also accelerated the growing wave of political cynicism and distrust in our government we are still living with today. One manifestation of that legacy: a president who will never admit he uttered a falsehood and a Congress too often pursuing only a partisan version of the truth.”

Daniel E. Slotnik contributed reporting.

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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS Leader Known for His Brutality, Is Dead at 48

SAMARRA, Iraq — Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the cunning and enigmatic black-clad leader of the Islamic State, who transformed a flagging insurgency into a global terrorist network that drew tens of thousands of recruits from 100 countries, has died at 48.

His death was announced on Sunday by President Trump, who said al-Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest during a raid in northwestern Syria by United States Special Forces this weekend. Mr. Trump said preliminary tests had confirmed his identity.

There was no immediate confirmation from the Islamic States’s media arm, which typically is quick to claim attacks but generally takes longer to confirm the deaths of its leaders.

The son of a pious Sunni family from the Iraqi district of Samarra, al-Baghdadi parlayed religious fervor, hatred of nonbelievers and the power of the internet into the path that catapulted him onto the global stage. He commanded an organization that at its peak controlled territory the size of Britain, from which it directed and inspired acts of terror in over three dozen countries.

Al-Baghdadi was the world’s most-wanted terrorist chieftain, the target of a $25 million bounty from the American government. His death followed a yearslong, international manhunt that consumed the intelligence services of multiple countries and spanned two American presidential administrations.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_163389822_85b047bf-a206-4df4-be5b-8c45b3711706-articleLarge Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS Leader Known for His Brutality, Is Dead at 48 Terrorism Syria Muslims and Islam Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Iraq War (2003-11) Iraq Deaths (Obituaries) Baghdadi, Abu Bakr al-

The burnt-out home where al-Baghdadi was born in the village of Al Jallam, in central Iraq.Credit…Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

Al-Baghdadi evaded capture for nearly a decade by hewing to a series of extreme security measures, even when meeting with his most-trusted associates.

“They even made me remove my wristwatch,” recounted Ismail al-Ithawy, a top Baghdadi aide who was captured last year. He spoke from a jail in Iraq, where he has been sentenced to death.

After being stripped of electronic devices, including cellphones and cameras, Mr. al-Ithawy and others recalled, they were blindfolded, loaded onto buses and driven for hours to an unknown location. When they were finally allowed to remove their blindfolds, they would find al-Baghdadi sitting before them.

Meetings lasted between 15 and 30 minutes, and the ISIS chief would leave the building first. His visitors were required to stay under armed guard for hours after his exit. Then they were once again blindfolded and driven back to their original point of departure, according to aides who saw him in three of the past five years.

“Baghdadi’s concern was always: Who will betray him? He didn’t trust anyone,” said Gen. Yahya Rasool, a spokesman of the Iraqi Joint Operation Command.

Much of the world first learned of al-Baghdadi in 2014, when his men overran one-third of Iraq and half of neighboring Syria and declared the territory a caliphate, claiming to revive the Muslim theocracy that ended with the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

The move distinguished the Islamic State from Al Qaeda, the older Islamic terrorist group under whose yoke al-Baghdadi’s men had operated for nearly a decade in Iraq, before violently breaking away from it.

Although Osama bin Laden, the Qaeda leader, had dreamed of restoring the caliphate, he was reluctant to declare one, perhaps fearing the overwhelming military response that eventually cost al-Baghdadi his territory.

Yet it took five years before troops seized the last acre of land under al-Baghdadi’s rule, in March. And in the interim, the promise of a physical caliphate electrified tens of thousands of followers, who flocked to Syria to serve his imagined state.

At its peak, the group’s black flag flew over major population centers, including the Iraqi city of Mosul, with a population of 1.4 million. Its territory spread east into the plains of Nineveh, the biblical city where the extremists turned centuries-old churches into bomb factories. It reached north into the mountains of Sinjar, whose women were singled out for sexual enslavement. It extended south to the Syrian oil fields of Deir Azzour and the majestic colonnades of Palmyra.

Acting under the orders of a “Delegated Committee” headed by al-Baghdadi, the group known variously as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh imposed its violent interpretation of Islam in these territories.

Women accused of adultery were stoned to death, thieves had their hands hacked off, and men who had defied the militants were beheaded.

While some of those medieval punishments are also meted out in places like Saudi Arabia, the Islamic State shocked people around the world by televising its executions. It also offended Muslims by inventing horrific punishments that are not mentioned in Islamic scripture. A Jordanian pilot was burned alive in a scene filmed by overhead drones. Men accused of being spies were drowned in cages, as underwater cameras captured their last tortured gasp. Others were crushed under the treads of a T-55 tank, or strung up by their feet inside a slaughterhouse and butchered like animals.

But in addition to brutality, the group also meted out services, running a state that was recognized by no one other than themselves, but which in certain categories outperformed the one it had usurped.

The Islamic State collected taxes and saw to it that the garbage was picked up. Couples who got married could expect to receive a marriage license printed on Islamic State stationery. Once children of those unions were born, their birth weight was duly recorded on an ISIS-issued birth certificate. The group even ran its own D.M.V.

For a group intent on re-establishing a theocracy from the Middle Ages, the Islamic State was very much a creature of its time. The militants harnessed the internet to connect with thousands of followers around the globe, making them feel as if they were virtual citizens of the caliphate.

The message of these new jihadists was clear, and many of those on whose ears it fell found it emboldening: Anyone, anywhere, could act in the group’s name. That allowed ISIS to multiply its lethality by remotely inspiring attacks, carried out by men who never set foot in a training camp.

In this fashion, ISIS was responsible for the deaths of thousands of people around the world. A shooting at an office party in San Bernardino, Calif. An attack on a Christmas market in Germany. A truck attack in Nice, France, on Bastille Day. Suicide bombings at churches on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka.

In many instances, the attackers left behind recordings, social media posts or videos pledging allegiance to al-Baghdadi.

“Baghdadi was central to giving voice to ISIS’ project in a manner that achieved startling resonance with vulnerable individuals globally,” said Joshua Geltzer, who was senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council until 2017.

“He will remain a singular figure in the group’s emergence and evolution,” Mr. Geltzer said.

Born Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi began life in a dry and desolate plain in the village of Al Jallam, in central Iraq. He was one of five sons and several daughters of a conservative Sunni man who eked out a living selling sheep.

Neighbors described the family as average, and the area as unremarkable.

But one detail stands out in al-Baghdadi’s early story, and it would later become a key element in his claim to be a caliph: Al Jallam is populated by members of the al-Badri tribe, which traces its lineage to the Quraysh people of the Arabian Peninsula — the tribe of the Prophet Muhammad. A hereditary connection to the Quraysh is regarded as a prerequisite for becoming a caliph, and pamphlets published by ISIS exhorting Muslims to pledge allegiance to al-Baghdadi trace his ancestry from the Badri community in Al Jallam to Fatima, the youngest daughter of the prophet.

By the time al-Baghdadi began elementary school, the family had moved to the nearby city of Samarra. He was a mediocre student. His high school transcript shows that his highest grade was in art (95 out of 100), while in core subjects like algebra, he mustered scores in the low 50s.

In interviews with 17 people who knew al-Baghdadi, including friends, classmates, neighbors, teachers and former pupils, he was described as “shy,” “reserved,” “isolated” and “quiet.” He found his place, they said, at the local mosque, where his father enrolled him in a Quranic memorization class.

“Yes, he had a spiritual gift,” said the owner of the Ahmed Ibn Hanbal mosque, Khalid Ahmed Ismael, adding, “His soul was connected to the mosque.”

Mr. Ismael recalled how, without being prompted, al-Baghdadi — a nom de guerre he adopted when he became a militant — would lead the other boys in cleaning the house of worship, dragging the carpets outside, hosing them down and placing them on the roof to dry.

And he quickly outdid the other boys in the memorization and recitation of scripture. By the time he was in high school, congregants began asking for the boy to lead the prayer in the imam’s place.

“That’s how sweet his voice was,” Mr. Ismael said. “It was so sweet that you could feel the sweetness and it would attract others into the mosque.”

But already there were signs that al-Baghdadi saw his conservative approach to faith as one that should be imposed on others.

When a neighbor got a tattoo of a heart on his arm, al-Baghdadi lectured him. Tattoos, the neighbor, Younes Taha, recalled him saying, are forbidden under Islamic law. Soon, he even felt comfortable reproaching his mentors. “When you stand up and recite the prayer, the smell of your breath will make the angels fly away,” he reportedly told Mr. Ismael, 53, when the mosque owner began smoking.

At age 20, in 1991, he enrolled in the Shariah college of Baghdad University, according to school records obtained by The New York Times from Iraq’s Mukhabarat intelligence agency.

He earned a bachelor’s degree, and then enrolled at Saddam University, an institution dedicated to Islamic studies, where he earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in topics related to Islamic scripture.

To pay for his studies, he taught Quranic classes at al-Haj Zaidan Mosque in the Topchi neighborhood of Baghdad, where his pupils referred to him as “Sheikh Ibrahim.” Those who interacted with him described him as taciturn and reserved, a quality that impressed his students.

“When I asked him, ‘Sheikh Ibrahim, I have a question for you,’ he would answer just the question and nothing more,” said the mosque’s current imam, Ahmed Rajab, who was al-Baghdadi’s pupil in the early 2000s. “We would try to get him to talk to us. He didn’t gossip. His reserve came from his self-discipline.”

But outside the mosque, some began to be bothered by his proselytizing.

On weekends, he coached a youth soccer team, using practices as an opportunity to hand out pamphlets advocating the ultraconservative Wahhabi strain of Islam.

“We were like: ‘Why? We’re here to play soccer.’ I just took it and threw it away,” recalled Faisal Ghazi Taih, one of the former players. His parents pulled him off the team when they found out, he said.

In 2003, as military jets sliced the sky over Baghdad and the American invasion to topple Saddam Hussein began, al-Baghdadi told his students at the mosque in Topchi that he was heading home.

Less than a year later, Mr. Taha was watching TV when he suddenly recognized his former neighbor in footage showing detainees arrested by American forces. They were lined up in orange jumpsuits, the same color that Western hostages of ISIS would later be forced to wear in their execution videos.

Security officials say that al-Baghdadi was arrested near Falluja at the home of his in-laws in January 2004.

The target of the raid was al-Baghdadi’s brother-in-law, who had taken up arms against the American occupation. Al-Baghdadi was swept up in the raid, considered little more than a hanger-on at that point, officials said. He spent 11 months in a detention center at Camp Bucca, according to declassified Pentagon records.

Some analysts have argued that it was his time in American custody that radicalized him. Those who were imprisoned alongside him, however, say he was already committed to violence when he entered the sprawling prison camp.

Talib al-Mayahi, now 54, met al-Baghdadi inside the tent where they were both assigned at Camp Bucca. Al-Baghdadi was in his 30s and went by the nom de guerre “Abu Dua,” recalled his fellow detainee, who is under a form of witness protection in Iraq and was interviewed in the presence of Mukhabarat intelligence agents.

The prisoners inside the camp were beginning to organize, appointing secret “emirs” of each tent, Mr. al-Mayahi said, and al-Baghdadi was chosen to lead his. He immediately set to work driving Shia prisoners from the tent, leaning on a gang of fellow Sunni prisoners, armed with shanks made from the metal mined from the camp’s air-conditioning units, Mr. al-Mayahi said.

Hatred of the Shia was a hallmark of the insurgency that was sweeping across Iraq. Their places of worship began to be targeted in a move that was criticized even by Al Qaeda. Later, it would become a hallmark of the Islamic State, whose followers began targeting the sect throughout the world, dispatching suicide bombers to Shia sites in Lebanon, in Afghanistan, in Iran and in Bangladesh.

“It got to the point where Shia prisoners would ask to be transferred to another tent,” Mr. al-Mayahi said. “Then when there were no Shia left, he began threatening fellow Sunnis: Why are you smoking? How come you didn’t show up to prayer? Why is your beard so short?”

Pentagon records indicate that Al-Baghdadi was released in late 2004, a failure of intelligence that would come to haunt American officials.

“It’s hard to imagine we could have had a crystal ball then that would tell us he’d become head of ISIS,” a Pentagon official told The Times a decade later.

For years, he disappeared from view. Then in 2009, security forces recovered a cache of documents in a safe house used by the militants and found the name “Abu Dua” on the group’s personnel list.

His clout inside the terrorist group did not become clear until months later, when security forces captured a senior leader of the insurgency, said Abu Ali al-Basri, the director general of Iraqi intelligence.

At a checkpoint in Baghdad in March of 2010, Iraqi agents arrested Manaf al-Rawi, believed to be one of the executioners of an American contractor, Nick Berg, whose videotaped beheading was posted on the internet. Under interrogation, Mr. al-Rawi named “Abu Dua,” as one of the group’s coordinators, tasked with passing secret messages between the insurgents.

“I directly sent word to the prime minister with the names of three people we deemed important based on the interrogation of Manaf al-Rawi,” Mr. al-Basri said. “One of the three was Baghdadi.”

Not long after, in May of 2010, the insurgents announced their new leader: It was Abu Dua, who now introduced himself to the world as “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”

The meaning of the new nom de guerre was not lost on his future followers: Abu Bakr was the first caliph after the Prophet Muhammad’s death in ancient Arabia and is credited with the wave of Islamic expansion that followed.

For the next three years, Mr. al-Basri’s agents hunted al-Baghdadi, setting up at least six stings to arrest him.

There were numerous near-misses, he claims, saying they came close to catching him in the Baghdad district of Mansour, then in Adamiya, where he was spotted driving. Yet on another occasion, they got a tip that he was driving to the town of Ghazaliya to meet with a Qaeda operative.

And finally in Topchi, near the mosque where his voice used to call the faithful to prayer, they laid an ambush. Somehow, he managed to get away.

“At that point, he was more lucky than he was smart,” Mr. al-Basri said.

But with each close call, al-Baghdadi became more circumspect, more obsessed with security and more untrusting. He is believed to have stopped using cellphones over a decade ago, relying exclusively on hand-delivered messages, Mr. al-Basri said.

In 2014, when he ascended the marbled pulpit of a mosque in Mosul to declare the caliphate, it was the first time a video appeared that showed his face uncovered.

Al-Baghdadi’s reclusiveness fed rumors of his demise, with many news outlets carrying speculative reports of his death, all of which proved to be untrue. Each time, he resurfaced in audio recordings, and later videos, thumbing his nose at the world.

American officials who worked in the Obama administration say that for all of 2014, 2015 and 2016 there was not a single time when they believed they had solid intelligence about al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts, even as numerous other senior Islamic State leaders were hunted down and killed, including al-Baghdadi’s No. 2.

But unlike Osama bin Laden, al-Baghdadi was no recluse.

Bin Laden walled himself off from the world in a compound in Pakistan in an effort to avoid detection and operated as a distant manager. Al-Baghdadi, by contrast, was directly involved in some of his group’s most notorious atrocities, including the organized rape of women considered to be nonbelievers.

One of them was D, who was just 15 years old when she was kidnapped alongside other Yazidi women and girls from her village at the foot of Mount Sinjar a few weeks after the declaration of the caliphate. Interviewed after her escape, she asked to be identified by only her first initial because of the stigma of rape, and described how the women and girls were transported to a building in Raqqa, which acted as a viewing gallery for the men wishing to enslave them.

The first man to come in was al-Baghdadi, she said, information that was confirmed by two other girls who were held at the same facility.

“I noticed right away that he was important — everybody stood up when he walked in,” D said.

She and the other girls he chose were moved from house to house, eventually ending up in the same villa as 26-year-old American aid worker Kayla Mueller of Prescott, Ariz. All of them were taken out and raped by al-Baghdadi, including Ms. Mueller, who returned to their shared room sobbing unconsolably, according to the account of survivors that was confirmed by American officials and Ms. Mueller’s mother.

Al-Baghdadi took pleasure in brutality, the women held captive said.

One day in August 2014, D was summoned to see him. Fearing she was about to be raped again, she was surprised when al-Baghdadi took her into the living room, not the bedroom, and asked her to sit next to him on a couch.

“He had a big, black laptop,” she said, recalling how he hit “play” on a video on the screen. It showed the execution of an American journalist, James Foley.

“He told us, ‘We killed this man today,’” she said. “He was laughing at our reaction.”

Some who knew al-Baghdadi the longest wondered if it was his very nature that accounted for his ability to evade capture for so long, and not just his extreme security measures.

Hussam Mehdi, an ISIS member who first met al-Baghdadi at Camp Bucca and is now in jail in Baghdad, said his enduring memory of the man who would become one of the world’s most powerful terrorists was of him walking back and forth along the fence line — by himself.

“It’s something I have wondered about: a man who was totally alone, a person who doesn’t socialize, just ‘salaam alaikum,’ and then moves on,” Mr. Mehdi said. “I wonder if it’s because he likes to be alone that isolation came easily to him.”

Mr. Mehdi thought back to the men who had come before al-Baghdadi at the helm of the Islamic State.

“Abu Musab was killed,” he said. “Abu Omar was killed. But Abu Bakr lasted.”

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Mark Hurd, Co-Chief Executive of Oracle, Is Dead at 62

Westlake Legal Group 18HURD-01-facebookJumbo Mark Hurd, Co-Chief Executive of Oracle, Is Dead at 62 Oracle Corporation Hurd, Mark V Deaths (Obituaries)

SAN FRANCISCO — Mark Hurd, who was known for both success and scandal at Hewlett-Packard and most recently served as co-chief executive at Oracle, died on Friday. He was 62 years old.

Mr. Hurd had taken a medical leave of absence in September; the medical reason was not disclosed. His death was confirmed in an announcement by Larry Ellison, Oracle’s chairman and chief technology officer.

“Oracle has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle,” Mr. Ellison wrote. “Mark was my close and irreplaceable friend, and trusted colleague.”

Mr. Hurd spent 25 years at the business technology company NCR before moving to Silicon Valley last decade to become chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, the giant computer and technology company. He led Hewlett-Packard for five years before he was ousted in 2010 after a high-profile scandal over his relationship with a consultant to the company.

He was swiftly hired by Oracle, which he helped lead with Mr. Ellison and Safra Catz, who was also given a co-chief executive title that she still holds.

Mr. Ellison wrote that Mr. Hurd is survived by his wife, Paula, and two daughters.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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Elijah E. Cummings, Powerful Democrat Who Investigated Trump, Dies at 68

Westlake Legal Group 00Cummings1-sub-facebookJumbo Elijah E. Cummings, Powerful Democrat Who Investigated Trump, Dies at 68 United States Politics and Government House of Representatives Democratic Party Deaths (Obituaries) Cummings, Elijah E Congressional Black Caucus Baltimore (Md)

Representative Elijah E. Cummings, a son of sharecroppers who rose to become one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress and a key figure in the impeachment investigation of President Trump, died on Thursday in Baltimore, his spokeswoman said. He was 68.

His death resulted from “complications concerning longstanding health challenges,” the spokeswoman, Trudy Perkins, said in a statement, without elaborating on the cause.

As chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Mr. Cummings, of Maryland, had sweeping power to investigate Mr. Trump and his administration — and he used it.

A critical ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mr. Cummings spent his final months in Congress sparring with the president, calling Mr. Trump’s effort to block congressional lines of inquiry “far worse than Watergate.” He was sued by Mr. Trump as the president tried to keep his business records secret.

With his booming voice and a speaking cadence with hints of the pulpit, Mr. Cummings was a compelling figure on Capitol Hill. For more than two decades, he represented a section of Baltimore with more than its share of social problems. He campaigned tirelessly for stricter gun control laws and help for those addicted to drugs.

He grabbed the national spotlight in 2015 when he took to the streets of Baltimore, where, bullhorn in hand, he pleaded for calm after riots erupted in his neighborhood after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died in police custody. Hours earlier, Mr. Cummings had delivered Mr. Gray’s eulogy.

In July, after Mr. Cummings attacked President Trump for the conditions seen in immigrant detention centers on the southern border, Mr. Trump struck back, calling the congressman’s district a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.” Mr. Cummings vociferously defended his hometown.

Mr. Cummings had been ailing recently, and was sometimes seen using a wheelchair and an oxygen tank. He was away from Congress for nearly three months following heart surgery in the fall of 2017. Soon afterward, he was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for what his office described as a bacterial infection in his knee.

A hulking, bear-like man, Mr. Cummings had served in Congress since winning a special election in 1996 to fill the seat vacated by Kweisi Mfume, who resigned to become president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Mr. Cummings’s Seventh District includes most of West Baltimore and suburbs west of the city, as well as Howard County.

Since his initial victory in 1996, Mr. Cummings had not been seriously challenged in either a primary or general election, according to The Almanac of American Politics. In 2003 and 2004, he was chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. He was an early supporter of Barack Obama for president and was co-chairman of Mr. Obama’s campaign in Maryland in 2008.

Elijah Eugene Cummings, the son of sharecroppers from South Carolina who moved north to improve prospects for themselves and their children, who would eventually number seven, was born in Baltimore on Jan. 18, 1951, and grew up in the city.

He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Howard University in Washington, where he was student government president, with a degree in political science. He earned a law degree from the University of Maryland and was a practicing attorney while serving for 14 years in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he was the first African-American in the state’s history to be named speaker pro-tem.

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Johnson & Johnson Lawsuits Raise Fears Over Baby Powder

You’d recognize that distinctive fragrance anywhere. It’s the smell of innocence. Johnson & Johnson has touted its signature baby powder as gentle enough for a baby’s bottom for more than a century. And though its talcum powder represents only a fraction of the pharmaceutical and cosmetic giant’s modern business, it’s been a cornerstone of the company’s reputation.

That reputation — and Johnson & Johnson’s stock price — has been threatened by thousands of lawsuits claiming that the talc the company uses is contaminated with cancer-causing asbestos. Johnson & Johnson denies the presence of carcinogens in its talc, saying the plaintiffs’ tests are flawed and their results inaccurate.

“The Weekly” talks to a former teacher who claims in a lawsuit that her cancer may have been caused by asbestos in the talcum powder she used daily for years. Our reporters examine her case and others, and they comb through decades of company documents revealed during litigation.

[Join the conversation about @theweekly on Twitter and Instagram. #TheWeeklyNYT]

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Roni Caryn Rabin covers health for The New York Times, where she wrote for the Well section before joining the Science desk. Roni focuses on women’s health, and has written investigative stories about faulty medical devices and conflicts of interest in medical research. Follow her on Twitter at @RoniNYTimes.

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Tiffany Hsu is a business reporter for The Times, where she has written about deceptive marketing, dubious branding and corporate strategies for dealing with controversy. Before joining The Times in 2017, she covered the California economy for The Los Angeles Times and earned an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School. Follow Tiffany on Twitter at @tiffkhsu.

  • Johnson & Johnson insists its baby powder is safe. But company documents show executives worried for decades about the possible presence of cancer-causing asbestos in talc used to make one of Johnson & Johnson’s signature products.

  • The company is pressing its appeal of a case in Missouri, where a jury awarded nearly $4.7 billion to 22 women who blamed their ovarian cancer on the company’s talc products. Johnson & Johnson is appealing nearly all of the cases it lost, including a $37 million judgment last month in New Jersey and a $40 million verdict in California. The company successfully defended several cases and others ended in mistrials.

  • The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Johnson & Johnson over possible asbestos contamination of its products, and the company said it is cooperating with government subpoenas. News reports and lawsuits have weighed on the company’s stock price.


Senior Story Editors Dan Barry, Liz O. Baylen, and Liz Day
Director of Photography Jenni Morello
Video Editor Marlon Singleton
Associate Producers Abdulai Bah and Wesley Harris

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Cokie Roberts, Veteran Broadcast Journalist, Is Dead at 75

Cokie Roberts, the pioneering broadcast journalist known to millions for her work with ABC News and NPR, died on Tuesday in Washington. She was 75.

ABC News, in a posting on its website Tuesday morning, said the cause was breast cancer, which was first diagnosed in 2002.

Ms. Roberts started her career at CBS, then began working for NPR in 1978, covering Capitol Hill. She joined ABC in 1988. Her three decades at the network included anchoring, with Sam Donaldson, the Sunday morning news program “This Week” from 1996 to 2002.

“Cokie’s kindness, generosity, sharp intellect and thoughtful take on the big issues of the day made ABC a better place and all of us better journalists,” James Goldston, president of ABC News, said in a statement.

Ms. Roberts was both reporter and commentator during her career and was widely respected both by her fellow journalists and by those she covered. Representative Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat, recalled on Twitter a 2001 talk in which she “encouraged all of us, Republicans and Democrats, to always seek consensus where we could.”

“I’ll never forget how moving she was,” he added.

Danielle Kurtzleben, an NPR reporter, praised Ms. Roberts as an example for younger generations of journalists.

“I’m proud as hell — proud as hell — to work at a news organization that has ‘Founding Mothers’ whom we all look up to,” she said on Twitter. “God bless Cokie Roberts.”

Michelle and Barack Obama, in a statement, called Ms. Roberts “a trailblazing figure; a role model to young women at a time when the profession was still dominated by men; a constant over 40 years of a shifting media landscape and changing world, informing voters about the issues of our time and mentoring young journalists every step of the way.”

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Ms. Roberts, right, with NPR colleagues Nina Totenberg, left, and Linda Wertheimer in 1979.CreditNPR

[Read about Ms. Roberts’ marriage, which lasted for more than half a century.]

If Ms. Roberts brought deep knowledge and keen insight to her work, that was in part because she was a child of politicians and first walked the halls of Congress as a girl. Her father was Hale Boggs, a longtime Democratic representative from Louisiana who in the early 1970s was House majority leader. After he died in a plane crash in 1972, his wife and Ms. Roberts’s mother, Lindy Boggs, was elected to fill his seat. She served until 1991 and later became United States ambassador to the Vatican.

Her background gave Ms. Roberts a deep respect for the institutions of government that she covered, and she didn’t hold herself or her journalism colleagues blameless for the problems of government.

“We are quick to criticize and slow to praise,” she said in a commencement address at Boston College in 1994.

“But,” she told the crowd, “it’s also your fault.” Constituents, she said, needed to allow members of Congress to make the tough votes and “let that person live to fight another day.”

In an oral history recorded for the House of Representatives in 2007 and 2008, she expanded on the impact of her childhood experiences in shaping her admiration for America’s institutions.

Ms. Roberts with the ABC News anchor Peter Jennings in 1996.CreditGetty Images

“Because I spent time in the Capitol and particularly in the House of Representatives, I became deeply committed to the American system,” she said. “And as close up and as personally as I saw it and saw all of the flaws, I understood all of the glories of it.”

“Here we are, so different from each other,” she added, “with no common history or religion or ethnicity or even language these days, and what brings us together is the Constitution and the institutions that it created. And the first among those is Congress. The very word means coming together. And the fact that messily and humorously and all of that, it happens — it doesn’t happen all the time, and it doesn’t always happen well, but it happens — is a miracle.”

Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs was born on Dec. 27, 1943, in New Orleans. She said that her brother, Tommy, invented her nickname because he couldn’t say “Corinne.”

She, her brother and her sister, Barbara, were immersed in political life, accompanying their father on campaign trips, attending ceremonial functions and witnessing the discussions when other political leaders would come to dinner.

“Our parents did not have the children go away when the grown-ups came,” Ms. Roberts said. “In retrospect, I’ve sometimes wondered, ‘What did those people think to have all these children around all the time?’ But we were around, and it was great for us.”

Although her father had considerable influence on her, so did her mother, who was active in furthering her father’s career, along with other women she came to know, like Lady Bird Johnson.

“I was very well aware of the influence of these women,” she said, adding, “I very much grew up with a sense, from them, that women could do anything, and that they could sort of do a whole lot of things at the same time.”

The author of eight books, Ms. Roberts explored in many of them the role of women in shaping the country, with titles like “We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters” (1998) and “Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation” (2008).

She attended Catholic schools in New Orleans and Bethesda, Md., and graduated from Wellesley College in Massachusetts in 1964 with a degree in political science. In 1966 she married Steven V. Roberts, who was a correspondent then for The New York Times. Journalism was a largely male world at the time, something driven home to her when she went job hunting.

“In 1966 I left an on-air anchor television job in Washington, D.C., to get married,” she told The Times in 1994. “My husband was at The New York Times. For eight months I job-hunted at various New York magazines and television stations, and wherever I went I was asked how many words I could type.”

She eventually became a radio correspondent for CBS before joining NPR in 1978. With fellow newswomen Nina Totenberg and Linda Wertheimer she began to change the journalistic landscape.

“As a troika they have succeeded in revolutionizing political reporting,” The Times wrote in that 1994 article. “Twenty years ago Washington journalism was pretty much a male game, like football and foreign policy. But along came demure Linda, delicately crashing onto the presidential campaign press bus; then entered bulldozer Nina, with major scoops on Douglas Ginsberg and Anita Hill; and in came tart-tongued Cokie with her savvy Congressional reporting. A new kind of female punditry was born.”

A more complete obituary will appear soon.

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Cokie Roberts, Journalist and Commentator, Is Dead at 75

Cokie Roberts, the longtime journalist and commentator for ABC News and NPR, died on Tuesday in Washington. She was 75.

ABC News announced her death. The cause was complications of breast cancer.

Ms. Roberts, a winner of three Emmy Awards, co-anchored ABC’s “This Week” with Sam Donaldson from 1996 to 2002. She was also a political commentator, chief congressional analyst and a commentator for “This Week” over three decades at ABC.

Inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame, she was also named one of the 50 greatest women in broadcasting history by the American Women in Radio and Television. In 2008 she was named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress.

[Read about Ms. Roberts’ marriage, which lasted for more than half a century.]

Ms. Roberts came from a prominent Louisiana political family, the daughter of Hale Boggs, a former House majority leader, and Lindy Boggs, who took her husband’s place in the House after he died in a plane crash in Alaska.

A full obituary will appear soon.

Cokie and Steven Roberts: A Half-Century of Changing Together

Dec. 26, 2017

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Robert Frank, Pivotal Figure in Documentary Photography, Is Dead at 94

Robert Frank, one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, whose visually raw and personally expressive style was pivotal in changing the course of documentary photography, died on Monday in Inverness, Nova Scotia. He was 94.

His death was confirmed by Peter MacGill of Pace-MacGill Gallery in Manhattan.

Mr. Frank, who was born in Switzerland, came to New York at the age of 23 as an artistic refugee from what he considered to be the small-minded values of his own country. He was best known for his groundbreaking book, “The Americans,” a masterwork of black and white photographs drawn from his cross-country road trips in the mid-1950s and published in 1959.

“The Americans” challenged the presiding midcentury formula for photojournalism, defined by sharp, well-lighted, classically composed pictures, whether of the battlefront, the homespun American heartland or movie stars at leisure. Mr. Frank’s photographs — of lone individuals, teenage couples, groups at funerals and odd spoors of cultural life — were cinematic, immediate, off-kilter and grainy, like early television transmissions of the period. They would secure his place in photography’s pantheon. The cultural critic Janet Malcolm called him the “Manet of the new photography.”

But recognition was by no means immediate. The pictures were initially considered warped, smudgy, bitter. Popular Photography magazine complained about their “meaningless blur, grain, muddy exposures, drunken horizons, and general sloppiness.” Mr. Frank, the magazine said, was “a joyless man who hates the country of his adoption.”

Mr. Frank had come to detest the American drive for conformity, and the book was thought to be an indictment of American society, stripping away the picture-perfect vision of the country and its veneer of breezy optimism put forward in magazines and movies and on television. Yet at the core of his social criticism was a romantic idea about finding and honoring what was true and good about the United States.

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“Trolley — New Orleans,” 1955.CreditRobert Frank, via Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

“Patriotism, optimism, and scrubbed suburban living were the rule of the day,” Charlie LeDuff wrote about Mr. Frank in Vanity Fair magazine in 2008. “Myth was important then. And along comes Robert Frank, the hairy homunculus, the European Jew with his 35-mm. Leica, taking snaps of old angry white men, young angry black men, severe disapproving southern ladies, Indians in saloons, he/shes in New York alleyways, alienation on the assembly line, segregation south of the Mason-Dixon line, bitterness, dissipation, discontent.”

“Les Americains,” first published in France by Robert Delpire in 1958, supplicated Mr. Frank’s photographs as illustrations for essays by French writers. In the American edition, published the next year by Grove Press, the pictures were allowed to tell their own story, without text — as Mr. Frank had conceived the book.

It was only after completing the cross-country trips chronicled in “The Americans” that Mr. Frank met Jack Kerouac, who had written about his own American journeys in the 1957 novel “On the Road.” Kerouac wrote the introduction to the American edition of Mr. Frank’s book.

“That crazy feeling in America,” Kerouac wrote, “when the sun is hot and music comes out of the jukebox or from a nearby funeral, that’s what Robert Frank has captured in tremendous photographs taken as he traveled on the road around practically forty-eight states in an old used car (on Guggenheim Fellowship) and with agility, mystery, genius, sadness, and strange secrecy of a shadow photographed scenes that have never been seen before on film.”

Twenty years later, Gene Thornton, writing in The New York Times, said the book ranked “with Alexis de Tocqueville’s ‘Democracy in America’ and Henry James’ ‘The American Scene’ as one of the definitive statements of what this country is about.”

Mr. Frank may well have been the unwitting father of what became known in the late 1960s as “the snapshot aesthetic,” a personal off-hand style that sought to capture the look and feel of spontaneity in an authentic moment. The pictures had a profound influence on the way photographers began to approach not only their subjects but also the picture frame.

“View From Hotel Window – Butte, Montana,” 1956.CreditRobert Frank, via Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

Mr. Frank’s approach — as much about his personal experience of what he was photographing as about the subject matter — was given further definition and legitimacy in 1967 in the seminal exhibition “New Documents” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The show presented the work of Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander and Garry Winogrand, at the time relatively little known younger-generation beneficiaries of Mr. Frank’s pioneering style. The show established all three as important American artists.

Robert Louis Frank was born in Zurich on Nov. 9, 1924, the younger son of well-to-do Jewish parents. His mother, Regina, was Swiss, but his father, Hermann, a German citizen who became stateless after World War I, had to apply for Swiss citizenship for himself and his two sons.

Safe in neutral Switzerland from the Nazi threat looming across Europe, Robert Frank studied and apprenticed with graphic designers and photographers in Zurich, Basel and Geneva. He became an admirer of Henri Cartier-Bresson, who co-founded the photo-collective Magnum in 1947 and whose photographs set the standard for generations of photojournalists.

“New York City, 7 Bleecker Street,” September, 1993.CreditRobert Frank, via Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York
“City of London,” 1951.CreditRobert Frank, via Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

Mr. Frank would later reject Cartier-Bresson’s work, saying it represented all that was glib and insubstantial about photojournalism. He believed that photojournalism over-simplified the world, mimicking, as he put it, “those goddamned stories with a beginning and an end.” He was more drawn to the paintings of Edward Hopper, before Hopper was widely recognized.

“So clear and so decisive,” Mr. Frank told Nicholas Dawidoff in 2015 for a profile in The New York Times Magazine. “The human form in it. You look twice — what’s this guy waiting for? What’s he looking at? The simplicity of two facing each other. A man in a chair.”

Early on, Mr. Frank caught the eye of Alexey Brodovitch, the legendary magazine art director, who gave him assignments at Harper’s Bazaar. Over the next 10 years, Mr. Frank worked for Fortune, Life, Look, McCall’s, Vogue and Ladies Home Journal.

Restless, he traveled to London, Wales and Peru from 1949 to 1952. From each trip he assembled spiral-bound books of his pictures and gave copies to, among others, Brodovitch and Edward Steichen, then the director of photography at the Museum of Modern Art.

Walker Evans’s book “American Photographs,” which was not well known in the 1950s, may have been the greatest influence on Mr. Frank’s landmark “Americans” project.

“Charleston, South Carolina,” 1955. (From “The Americans.”)CreditRobert Frank, via Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

“When I first looked at Walker Evans’ photographs,” he wrote in the U.S. Camera Annual in 1958, “I thought of something Malraux wrote: ‘to transform destiny into awareness.’ One is embarrassed to want so much of oneself.”

Evans, then the picture editor at Fortune, as well as Brodovitch and Steichen, wrote recommendations for Mr. Frank when he applied for a 1955 Guggenheim Fellowship to finance the project. Carrying two cameras and boxes of film in a black Ford Business Coupe, he traveled more than 10,000 miles and wound up taking, by his count, more than 27,000 pictures, from which he culled 83 for “The Americans.”

“The Americans,” published in 1959, was a masterwork of black and white photographs drawn from Mr. Frank’s  cross-country road trips in the mid-1950s.CreditAperture

In 1949, he met the artist Mary Lockspeiser, nine years his junior, and gave her, too, a hand-made book of photographs, which he had taken that year in Paris. They married the following year and settled in Manhattan, in the East Village, in the heart of a vibrant Abstract Expressionist art scene. (She is now known as Mary Frank.)

Mr. Frank remembered seeing through a window Willem de Kooning, paint brush in hand, pacing his studio in his underwear. At the Cedar Tavern, a legendary neighborhood bar, he would drink and argue with the artists of the period. Their son, Pablo (named after the cellist Pablo Casals), was born in 1951, and his daughter, Andrea, in 1954.

“Parade – Hoboken, New Jersey,” 1955. (from “The Americans.”)CreditRobert Frank, via Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

After “The Americans” was published, Mr. Frank’s artistic energies shifted to film, and, although he continued to work in photography and video, he would never again reach the same level of recognition for his work. Mr. MacGill, of Pace-MacGill gallery in Manhattan, which has represented Mr. Frank’s work since 1983, posited that Mr. Frank would eventually be remembered as a filmmaker more than as a photographer.

His first film, “Pull My Daisy” (1959), is a cornerstone of avant-garde cinema. Made in Alfred Leslie’s art studio loft in the East Village, it was co-directed by Leslie, narrated by Kerouac and featured, among others, Ginsberg, Mary Frank, Gregory Corso, David Amram, Larry Rivers and Mr. Frank’s young son, Pablo.

Adapted by Kerouac from his play “The Beat Generation,” the film, 28 minutes long, follows in grainy black and white the antics of a merry band of bohemians who show up unannounced at a Lower East Side loft, where a painter, the wife of a railway brakeman, has invited a respectable bishop over for dinner. The film became a cult favorite as an expression of the Beat philosophy of improvisation and spontaneity even though, as Leslie later revealed, it was planned and rehearsed.

“San Francisco,” 1956. (from “The Americans.”)CreditRobert Frank, via Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

In 1960, Frank, along with Jonas Mekas (who died in January), Peter Bogdanovich and other independent filmmakers, founded the New American Cinema Group, the same year he began filming “The Sin of Jesus,” based on an Isaac Babel story.

He made his first feature-length film in 1965, “Me and My Brother,” about Julius Orlovsky, brother of Peter, who was Ginsberg’s lover. With this film, Mr. Frank began to blur the line between documentary filmmaking and staged narrative scenes.

The break-up of his marriage to Mary in 1969 coincided with “Conversations in Vermont,” the film he made about his children, Andrea and Pablo. The next year, he bought a house in Mabou, Nova Scotia, with the artist June Leaf, whom he married in 1975 and who survives him. Andrea died in a plane crash in Guatemala in 1974, and Pablo died in 1994.

In the early 1970s, Mr. Frank was commissioned to make photographs for the cover of the Rolling Stones album “Exile on Main Street,” and then asked by the band to shoot a documentary film about its 1972 concert tour. The film chronicled not only the group’s performances but also the violence of the crowds, the drug use and the naked groupies. It was not what the Stones had in mind, and the band obtained a restraining order, which put limits on where and how often the film could be shown.

That same year, Frank published “Lines of My Hand,” a book of photographs he had made before and after “The Americans.” His work was becoming more autobiographical, diaristic.

While the photographs in “The Americans” are the most widely acknowledged achievement of Mr. Frank’s career, they can be seen as a prelude to his subsequent artistic work, in which he explored a variety of mediums, using multiple frames, making large Polaroid prints, video images, experimenting with words and images and shooting and directing films, like “Candy Mountain” (1988), an autobiographical road film directed with Rudy Wurlitzer.

“Movie premiere, Hollywood,” 1955. (from “The Americans.”)CreditRobert Frank, via Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

Still, it is “The Americans” that will probably endure longer than anything else he did. In 2007 he consented to hang all 83 of the book’s photographs at the Pingyao International Photography Festival in China, in celebration of the book’s 50th anniversary. And in 2009, the National Gallery of Art in Washington mounted “Looking In: Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans,’” an exhaustive and comprehensive retrospective of his masterwork, organized by Sarah Greenough. The show traveled to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Mr. Frank acknowledged that in photographing Americans he found the least privileged among them the most compelling.

“My mother asked me, ‘Why do you always take pictures of poor people?’ Mr. Frank told Mr. Dawidoff in The Times Magazine. “It wasn’t true, but my sympathies were with people who struggled. There was also my mistrust of people who made the rules.”

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Robert Mugabe, Strongman Who Cried, ‘Zimbabwe Is Mine,’ Dies at 95

Westlake Legal Group 06mugabe-obit-promo-facebookJumbo Robert Mugabe, Strongman Who Cried, ‘Zimbabwe Is Mine,’ Dies at 95 Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) Zimbabwe Politics and Government Mugabe, Robert Mnangagwa, Emmerson Defense and Military Forces Deaths (Obituaries) Africa

Robert Mugabe, the first prime minister and later president of independent Zimbabwe, who traded the mantle of liberator for the armor of a tyrant and presided over the decline of one of Africa’s most prosperous lands, died on Friday. He was 95.

The death was announced by his successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe,” he wrote on Twitter on Friday, using the abbreviation for comrade. “Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten.”

In August, Mr. Mnangagwa had said that Mr. Mugabe had spent several months in Singapore getting treatment for an undisclosed illness.

Mr. Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state before his ouster in 2017, was the only leader Zimbabweans had known since independence, in 1980. Like many who liberated their countries, Mr. Mugabe believed that Zimbabwe was his to govern until the end. In a speech before the African Union in 2016, he said he would remain at the helm “until God says, ‘Come.’”

Throughout, Mr. Mugabe remained inscrutable, some would say conflicted. Remote, calculating, ascetic and cerebral, a self-styled revolutionary inspired by what he once called “Marxist-Leninism-Mao-Tse-tung thought,” he affected a scholarly manner, bespectacled and haughty, a vestige of his early years as a schoolteacher. But his hunger for power was undiluted.

In an interview with state-run television on his 93rd birthday, in February 2017, Mr. Mugabe indicated that he would run again in presidential elections in 2018.

“They want me to stand for elections; they want me to stand for elections everywhere in the party,” he said. “The majority of the people feel that there is no replacement, successor, who to them is acceptable, as acceptable as I am.”

He added, “The people, you know, would want to judge everyone else on the basis of President Mugabe as the criteria.”

Events proved him wrong. In November 2017, army officers, fearing that Mr. Mugabe would anoint his second wife, Grace Mugabe, as his political heir, moved against him. Within a dramatic few days he was placed under house arrest and forced by his political party, ZANU-PF, to step down.

The military insisted that the ouster did not amount to a coup, although it had all the trappings of one, with armored vehicles patrolling the streets. The officers took control of the state broadcaster to announce their action.

Yet remarkably in a continent where deposed leaders often meet grisly fates or flee into exile, Mr. Mugabe and his wife were allowed to remain in their sumptuous 24-bedroom home in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital.

His replacement, Mr. Mnangagwa, had been a longstanding aide and close ally. At his presidential inauguration in November 2017, Mr. Mnangagwa described Mr. Mugabe as “one of the founding fathers and leaders of our nation.”

“To me personally, he remains a father, mentor, comrade in arms and my leader,” Mr. Mnangagwa said of the man he had helped bring down.

In his final years in power, Mr. Mugabe presided over a shattered economy and a fractured political class that was jockeying for influence in anticipation of his death. Though often viewed in the West as a pariah, he was, in many corners of Africa, considered an elder statesman thanks to his liberation pedigree, his longevity and his eloquence in articulating a broad resentment of Western powers’ past and present policies toward the continent.

If Nelson Mandela of South Africa, his contemporary, won universal admiration for emphasizing reconciliation, Mr. Mugabe tapped into an equally powerful sentiment in Africa: that the West had not sufficiently atoned for its sins and had continued to bully the continent.

Mr. Mugabe had in his early days belonged to a generation of African nationalists whose confrontation with white minority rule fomented guerrilla warfare in the name of democracy and freedom.

But once he won power in Zimbabwe’s first free elections, in 1980, after a seven-year war, he turned, with a blend of guile and brutality, to the elimination of adversaries, real and imagined.

He found them in many places: among the minority Ndebele ethnic group and the clergy; in the judiciary and the independent news media; in the political opposition and other corners of society pushing for democracy; and in the countryside, where white farmers were chased off their land from 2000 onward.

Always able to outwit and coerce political opponents, he was re-elected to a seventh term in office in 2013.

Electoral triumph was not the end of the story, however. In late 2014 Mr. Mugabe purged his governing party, replacing his vice president, Joice Majuru, with Mr. Mnangagwa, a hard-line loyalist, and elevating his second wife, Grace Mugabe, a former typist some four decades his junior, to high office in the party.

There were even suggestions that he sought to establish her as the head of a dynasty, or at least to assure her of a place in the eventual succession.

It was precisely that stratagem that brought his downfall. Grace Mugabe’s maneuvers and ambitions unsettled the very people in the military and security elite who had backed Mr. Mugabe in return for a share of the spoils. The army officers who pushed him from office had once helped solidify his hold on it.

If his political instincts at home had finally deserted him, his grasp of continental diplomacy had not. To the annoyance of his adversaries at home and in the West, his stature across Africa seemed only to rise in his 90s, even as he grew frail and was given to mental lapses. (In one instance he read the same speech to Parliament twice.)

In 2014 he assumed the rotating, one-year presidency of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community. Then, in early 2015, the African Union, the continent’s main representative body, appointed him chairman for the year.

Mr. Mugabe continued to display an uncanny ability to divide African and Western opinion of him. In October 2017, the World Health Organization, led by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia, its first African director general, stunned Western donors and human rights groups by naming the despotic Mr. Mugabe as a “good-will ambassador.”

The appointment drew an outcry; Mr. Mugabe’s critics accused him of presiding in Zimbabwe over the ruin of what was once one of Africa’s most efficient public health services. Moreover, they pointed out that he traveled abroad frequently for his own medical treatment, often to Singapore. Within days, Mr. Tedros was forced to rescind the appointment.

Later, at a time when the election of President Trump had stirred consternation among America’s European and NATO allies, the usually anti-Western Mr. Mugabe surprised them when, speaking of Mr. Trump, he urged global leaders to “give him time.”

He also endorsed one of Mr. Trump’s core electoral promises.

“Well, America for America, America for Americans — on that we agree,” Mr. Mugabe said, reprising one of his oldest slogans: “Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans.”

The refrain reflected his relationship with Zimbabwe’s onetime British colonial masters, whom he reviled in public while adopting the dress and mannerisms of the English upper crust, which he seemed secretly to admire.

Ruling in the name of the African masses, he was uneasy with those same ordinary people, whose lives descended into destitution as a gaudy elite accumulated mansions, Mercedes-Benzes and millions of American dollars.

Unemployment exceeded 80 percent. At one point, inflation ran at an almost incomprehensible 230 million percent: When a bank note with a face value of 10 trillion dollars was introduced in early 2009, it was worth only about $8 on the black market. Zimbabwe’s money became so worthless that it was effectively replaced by outside currencies, including the South African rand, the United States dollar and China’s yuan.

Mr. Mugabe morphed into a caricature of dictatorship: vain and capricious, encircled by the flashy spending of his second wife and other family members, who lived in luxury at home and went on shopping sprees and long annual vacations in the Far East. (That wife, the former Grace Marufu, had been his secretary and mistress, and Mr. Mugabe, despite a strict Roman Catholic upbringing, fathered two children with her while still married to his first wife, Sally Hayfron.)

Ms. Mugabe survives him, as do his daughter, Bona; two sons, Robert Jr. and Bellarmine Chatunga; and a stepson, Russell Goreraza.

Mr. Mugabe’s public policy campaigns could be quixotic; he inveighed, for instance, against homosexuals as “worse than dogs.” And as his country became more isolated, his achievements — victory over white minority rule, a vast expansion of secondary education, health care for the black majority in the 1980s — were eclipsed by corruption and his quest to crush dissent.

“His real obsession was not with personal wealth but with power,” the British writer Martin Meredith observed in his book “Our Votes, Our Guns: Robert Mugabe and the Tragedy of Zimbabwe” (2002). As Mr. Mugabe declared in June 2008, referring to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change: “Only God, who appointed me, will remove me, not the M.D.C., not the British. Only God will remove me!”

Mr. Mugabe’s enduring public revulsion toward Britain, his country’s erstwhile colonial ruler, found a counterpoint in his close relationship with China, which had backed his guerrilla forces during the pre-independence war, when the Soviet Union swung its support behind nationalist rivals.

Decades after the end of British rule, China came to play an increasingly important role in Zimbabwe’s failed economy as the authorities in Beijing sought to exploit African raw materials. And in 2015, China awarded Mr. Mugabe its Confucius Prize — a rejoinder to the Nobel committee, which had angered Beijing by awarding its 2010 Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, a dissident and imprisoned Chinese writer. (He died in 2017.)

To many, it seemed a bizarre commentary on a violent and capricious reign that contributed little to peace, certainly not among Zimbabweans.

Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born on Feb. 21, 1924, in Kutama, northwest of Harare, in an area set aside by the white authorities for black peasants. Educated by Catholic missionaries, he was a studious, earnest child who later recalled being happy with solitude as he tended cattle, so long as he had a book under his arm.

His father abandoned the family when Robert was 10, leaving him to deal with a mercurial and emotionally scarred mother, according to “Dinner With Mugabe” (2008), a biography by Heidi Holland.

“The color bar sliced through every domain of society,” he said of his childhood.

His political thought, like Nelson Mandela’s, took shape in South Africa at Fort Hare Academy, which he attended on a scholarship from 1950 to 1952, earning the first of a string of degrees in education, law, administration and economics.

“The impact of India’s independence, and the example of Gandhi and Nehru, had a deep effect,” Mr. Mugabe said in an interview with The New York Times before Zimbabwe’s independence. “Apartheid was beginning to take shape. Marxism-Leninism was in the air.”

“From then on I wanted to be a politician,” he said.

Mr. Mugabe taught in Northern Rhodesia, as Zambia was then called, and Ghana, where he met Ms. Hayfron, who would be his first wife. In Ghana, he experienced African independence for the first time and was impressed by the African socialism of that country’s first leader, Kwame Nkrumah.

Mr. Mugabe returned to Southern Rhodesia — the legal name of his country then, when it was still a self-governing British colony — in 1960. He was soon invited to address a rally organized by the National Democratic Party, led by his future ally, rival, mentor and enemy, Joshua Nkomo. Four months later he became the party’s publicity secretary, and his career in the fractious world of nationalist politics had begun.

In 1963, Mr. Mugabe sided with the Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole in a revolt by the more militant Shona-speaking clans, who made up a majority, against Mr. Nkomo, leader of the Ndebeles, who accounted for only 18 percent of the population. They formed a breakaway party, the Zimbabwe African National Union, or ZANU.

A year later, in a crackdown by the white authorities, Mr. Mugabe, Mr. Sithole and many other activists were arrested and began prison terms that would last 11 years.

The first seeds of bitterness were sown.

While Mr. Mugabe was in detention, his only child died in Ghana. The white authorities of Rhodesia, who had unilaterally declared independence in 1965, refused to let him attend the funeral. He was enraged. But many years later, he said, he lost that anger because “suffering had been rewarded with victory.” Some people, however, questioned whether the bitterness and resentment had ever completely dissipated.

His years of detention were a time of great political and intellectual activity. In prison, Mr. Mugabe, like Mr. Mandela in South Africa, advanced his education, enhancing his reputation for book learning. It was, he told friends, a time of preparation for the struggle to come. It was also a time of upheaval within the Zimbabwe African National Union.

In the early 1970s, a group of leading aides who had been incarcerated with Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Sithole accused Mr. Sithole of “selling out” to the white authorities during those years in return for prison privileges. Mr. Sithole was ousted as party leader, and Mr. Mugabe inherited a party split into clan factions, each given to internecine bloodshed.

In 1975, he and an aide, Edgar Tekere, slipped out of Rhodesia to Mozambique.

It was from Mozambique, with its long and porous frontier with Rhodesia, that Mr. Mugabe conducted his war while Mr. Nkomo fought from Zambia. Mr. Mugabe struggled to win the allegiance of his party’s guerrillas, even as the propaganda of the white minority in Rhodesia depicted him as a bloodthirsty Marxist — the incarnation of the minority’s atavistic fears of black domination.

Though he was the political voice of the guerrillas, he was never seen to bear arms or fight in battle during the war against white minority rule, from 1972 to 1980, in which about 27,000 people died, most of them black.

To the outside world, he was an enigma. When Henry A. Kissinger, the American secretary of state, toured southern Africa in late 1976 in an inconclusive quest for a settlement of the Rhodesia crisis, many of those accompanying him had only a vague sense of who Mr. Mugabe was.

In October 1976, under pressure from black African leaders, Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Nkomo were forced into an alliance — a marriage of convenience, actually — called the Patriotic Front. It dissolved in late 1979, when a British-brokered peace agreement was signed at the Lancaster House conference in London, seven years to the day after the war had started.

The British hailed the pact, establishing the independent state of Zimbabwe, as a triumph for their diplomacy. But Mr. Mugabe had been a reluctant signatory; his African backers, most notably Mozambique and Tanzania, had pushed him to abandon a war that he thought his guerrillas were winning. The agreement left ambiguities that would haunt the new country throughout his rule.

For all that, Mr. Mugabe, returning home from exile early in 1980, offered friendship and reconciliation to his foes. Many whites believed that somehow the former Rhodesian authorities, or white-ruled South Africa, or Britain, would thwart his rise to power, and indeed there were many reports of frustrated conspiracies by the white-led military.

But in the first election Mr. Mugabe won convincingly, securing 57 of the 100 parliamentary seats and capturing the prime ministry. The victory was attributed in part to a tribal vote among the majority Shona, in part to Mr. Mugabe’s following as a liberation hero, and in part to intimidation of voters by guerrillas loyal to him.

“Remain calm,” Mr. Mugabe told the nation after an electoral process that some British Foreign Office strategists had hoped, as they acknowledged much later, would deny him victory. “Respect your opponents and do nothing that will disturb the peace. We must now all of us work for unity, whether we have won the election or not.”

For all who witnessed the speech, it seemed a remarkable display of conciliation and magnanimity.

But the honeymoon was short-lived. Mr. Mugabe’s guerrilla followers battled those of Mr. Nkomo in 1980 and 1981. Determined to create a one-party state — the model then for many African countries — Mr. Mugabe dismissed Mr. Nkomo from the cabinet in February 1982 after an arms cache was found at a farm owned by a company controlled by Mr. Nkomo and some of his followers.

It was the prelude to a much bloodier time, from 1983 to 1985, when Mr. Mugabe sent his North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade into the western area of Zimbabwe known as Matabeleland, Mr. Nkomo’s political power base, to hunt down so-called dissidents. Most of the estimated 10,000 people who died in the campaign were civilians.

Less remembered was the election in 1985, when the white minority voted to award Ian D. Smith, the last white prime minister of Rhodesia, all 20 parliamentary seats that had been guaranteed for whites at Lancaster House. Mr. Smith, who had waged war to keep whites in power, had once vowed that majority rule would never come to Rhodesia, “not in a thousand years.”

For Mr. Mugabe, the vote in favor of his white nemesis was an affront, a rejection of all his conciliatory gestures that had permitted the white minority to enjoy its sunlit African idyll, almost as if the government had not changed at all. It was from that moment, some of his biographers have said, that his commitment to conciliation weakened.

In 1987 oversaw an uneven merger of his party with Mr. Nkomo’s ZAPU, which was dissolved. His rival’s power base was now eliminated. Then, later that year, Mr. Mugabe engineered constitutional amendments that scrapped the figurehead presidency enshrined at independence and permitted him to take the title of executive president, combining the roles of head of state, head of government and military commander-in-chief.

The changes also abolished the constitutional provisions for the white minority to be guaranteed 20 parliamentary seats.

On Jan. 1, 1988, Prime Minister Mugabe became Zimbabwe’s first executive president.

For much of the 1980s, Mr. Mugabe’s control was never really challenged. Enormous spending on education and health had produced a prosperous and increasingly urbanized country, and he had basked in acclaim — the model leader for postcolonial Africa. That changed in 1990, when Nelson Mandela, finally free after 27 years in prison, became Africa’s global statesman.

Mr. Mandela exuded a gravitas and natural authority that Mr. Mugabe could never match, and many believed that his resentment of Mr. Mandela’s easy dominance of the global stage turned Mr. Mugabe inward, to nurse his grievances.

But time bombs were ticking. They exploded in 2000.

A new generation of Zimbabweans, the so-called born frees, who had grown up since independence benefiting from expanded education, were now clamoring for jobs that were not there.

In a referendum in February 2000 on a new Constitution, which would have entrenched Mr. Mugabe’s power even more, the Movement for Democratic Change, an upstart party supported mainly in the towns and cities, scored a huge upset, defeating Mr. Mugabe’s plans.

Stunned by the challenge to his monopoly hold on the political process, Mr. Mugabe accused his black opponents of being lackeys of the white farmers who had openly helped bankroll the Movement for Democratic Change, which was led by a former labor leader, Morgan Tsvangirai (who died in February). And he accused the farmers and many others in the white minority — whose numbers had fallen to about 70,000 from a peak of 210,000 after World War II — of being agents of British colonialism.

Parliamentary elections in June 2000 further weakened his grip. The opposition won 57 of the 150 parliamentary seats, mainly in urban districts. At the same time, Mr. Mugabe faced increasingly restive veterans of the independence war, a volatile constituency whose state-run pension funds had been looted by government officials.

When the so-called war vets began invading and seizing farms, Mr. Mugabe, wary of losing even more political support, not only did little to stop them; he actually encouraged them, even though most were too young to have fought in the independence struggle.

The post-independence effort to redistribute land had gone slowly, with neither Britain nor Mr. Mugabe nor the white farmers pushing to resolve the issue. Twenty years after independence, a white minority, accounting for less than 2 percent of the population, still controlled more than half the arable land. By 1998, although Mr. Mugabe had promised new land for 162,000 black families, only 71,000 white households had been resettled. Then came a dramatic turn.

Starting around 2000, Mr. Mugabe’s lieutenants sent squads of young men to invade hundreds of white-owned farms and chase away their owners. The campaign took a huge toll.

Over two years, nearly all of the country’s white-owned land had been redistributed to about 300,000 black families, among them 50,000 aspiring black commercial farmers and many of Mr. Mugabe’s loyalists. By late 2002, only about 600 of the country’s 4,500 white farmers had kept parts of their land.

The violent agricultural revolution had come with a heavy price: The economy was collapsing as farmland fell into disuse and peasant farmers struggled to grow crops without fertilizer, irrigation, farm equipment, money or seeds. Food shortages, at first ascribed to drought, only worsened as farmers were forced to stop farming. When food aid arrived, people who had opposed Mr. Mugabe said government officials had denied them handouts to punish them.

As his nation’s misery came to infect the rest of southern Africa, Mr. Mugabe offered other African leaders a quandary: How could they oppose his policies or pressure him toward change without being seen by their own followers as traitors to the anticolonial cause?

For his part, Mr. Mugabe was in no mood to cooperate with them. “I am not retiring,” he said in early 2003. “I will never, never go into exile. I fought for Zimbabwe, and when I die I will be buried in Zimbabwe, nowhere else.”

It was not mere rhetoric. Mr. Mugabe sensed that few if any African leaders would publicly oppose him, any more than Western powers, including the United States, would seek to force him out militarily. In other words, no one knew how to make him leave.

Regional powers appointed Thabo Mbeki, then president of South Africa, to mediate a political rapprochement, but Mr. Mugabe, the elder statesman and liberation hero, outmaneuvered his younger neighbor. South Africa effectively shielded Zimbabwe against Western and African pressure for political and economic reform, and Mr. Mbeki refused to flex his country’s muscle against a comrade in arms who had once provided critical refuge in the apartheid era for South Africa’s exiled African National Congress.

For years, people spoke of potential “endgames” by which Mr. Mugabe would be offered some kind of escape route. But the electoral season of 2008 showed just how determined he was to cling to power.

In March of that year, Mr. Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, outpolled Mr. Mugabe in a presidential vote and claimed victory. But after weeks of procrastination, the official vote counter said there had been no outright victor, even though Mr. Tsvangirai had won the most votes.

The authorities scheduled a runoff, but in the wake of beatings and killings of opposition supporters, Mr. Tsvangirai, taking refuge in the Dutch Embassy in Harare, withdrew from the ballot. Mr. Mugabe won with an official tally of 85 percent of the vote in a one-horse race.

Months of tortuous negotiation followed before Mr. Mugabe, as president, was able to swear in a reluctant Mr. Tsvangirai as his prime minister. It was the first time since the postelection government of 1980 that Mr. Mugabe had admitted an adversary into his cabinet. But the reality was that he was still very much in charge, retaining control of the military, the intelligence services and other tools of power.

Once again he had emasculated his opponents, and while he was partly restricted by international travel bans and sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States, he nonetheless maintained an international presence, attending the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly and the inauguration of Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Back home, his aides and generals were accused of profiting from diamond fields in the east, and outsiders feared that the proceeds would be used to finance more political malfeasance.

In the disputed 2013 elections, Mr. Mugabe was again declared the clear winner, ending the power-sharing arrangement with Mr. Tsvangirai. Many Zimbabweans seemed resigned to this display of Mr. Mugabe’s thirst for power.

“I will never, never sell my country,” he declared in 2008. “I will never, never, never surrender. Zimbabwe is mine, I am a Zimbabwean, Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans.”

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