10/29/14

Permalink For 23rd time, U.N. nations urge end to U.S. embargo on Cuba

The U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly for the 23rd time to condemn the decades-long U.S. economic embargo against Cuba, with many nations praising the island state for its response in fighting the deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa. In the 193-nation assembly, 188 countries voted for the nonbinding resolution, titled "Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial and Financial Embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba." As in previous years, the only countries that voted against the declaration were the United States and an ally, Israel. The Pacific island nations Palau, Marshall Islands and Micronesia abstained. The voting result was identical to last year's.


Permalink Who and What Is Causing the Decline in Oil Prices, and Where Will It Lead?

RIA Novosti With oil hovering around the $80-85 per barrel mark, down nearly 30 percent from a high of over $115 in mid-June, media and expert analysis about the causes and consequences of the price decline has been extensive. We present another, Russia-informed perspective. [...] There are high hopes among Russian experts and by many in Russian society that unstable energy prices, combined with Western sanctions, may drive a revival of the country as a major industrial, agricultural and technological power. Some industries have already seen growth in recent months as a result of the government’s push for import substitution, while the president noted the need for a “true industrial breakthrough” in the coming years, which would reduce the country’s natural resource dependency.


Permalink 100,000+ rally in Hungary over internet tax despite govt concessions - PHOTO, VIDEO

Tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Hungary despite the government's amendment of a controversial internet tax bill. The demonstrators say the country is turning anti-democratic and drifting away from the EU. The protest against the policies of Prime Minister Viktor Orban reignited on Tuesday night, as an estimated 100,000 people took to the streets, reports Reuters. The demonstration follows similar action on the weekend, at which protesters demanded that legislation imposing a tax on internet traffic be withdrawn within 48 hours. Instead, the government introduced an amendment on Monday that caps the proposed tax at 700 forints ($3) per month for individuals and 5,000 forints ($21) for companies. This wasn’t enough for the protesters, who accuse the government of authoritarian trends. Since taking power in 2010, Orban's center-right government has imposed taxes on the banking, retail, energy and telecommunications sector. The measures are designed to keep the budget deficit in check, but have hurt some foreign investors' profits.


Permalink CrossTalk: Ukraine's Free Fall

What was supposed to happen in Ukraine? Why has the Western media stopped talking about the blunders of the Ukrainian regime? Is Ukraine a failed state beyond repair? How long will Petro Poroshenko last as president of Ukraine? CrossTalking with Eric Kraus, Charles Bausman, and Alexander Mercouris.

Aljazeera America: Poroshenko claims victory in Ukraine presidential election


Permalink UK forced to admit GCHQ can access foreign-gathered data without warrant

The UK government has admitted for the first time that its spy agency, GCHQ, can access raw data mined by America’s NSA and others without a warrant. It was made to comply following post-Snowden legal action from rights organizations. The secrets leaked by the iconic former NSA contractor led Amnesty International, Liberty and Privacy International to compel the UK government to submit documents to government surveillance watchdogs revealing secret “arrangements” between GCHQ and foreign spy agencies, The Guardian reported. The documents reveal that such access to foreign partners’ bulk data is acceptable when it’s not “technically feasible” to acquire a warrant, and if the good that comes out of it is “necessary and proportionate” to the cause. British citizens are safeguarded from warrantless spying by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), but the document itself states there are exceptions.


Permalink Malice behind Putin misquotations? Russia to respond with full disclosure

It’s open season for Western media to bend the rules in their depiction of Russia. And with a little help from Western officials, they can quote President Putin speaking pretty aggressively – even when he actually said nothing of the kind.
In recent months, there have been two notable occasions when Vladimir Putin was misquoted. The first came when he apparently put on his conqueror’s hat while speaking about Ukraine. In September, La Repubblica newspaper reported the Putin had told then-European Commission president, Jose Manual Barroso, that he “could take Kiev in weeks.” The alleged bragging was revealed by the European official to a council meeting, but after Moscow said it would publish the transcript of the entire conversation, the EU admitted that the words were taken out of context. An arguably more scandalous incident was sparked by former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who told Politico magazine that he overheard Putin suggesting to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in 2008 that Ukraine be divided between the two nations. The official backpedalled on the accusations after a backlash both from Russia and at home, admitting that he never heard Putin actually voicing the Hitleresque plan. He also admitted that Putin and Tusk didn’t actually meet at the time the conversation was supposed to have taken place.

Robert Parry Treating Putin Like a Lunatic
Paul Craig Roberts Washington Is Defaming Putin


Permalink Half of Russians Want McDonalds Banned From Country: Poll

Almost half of the population in Russia have approved an idea to close all the McDonald's fast food restaurants in Russia, according to a poll conducted by VTSIOM, the leading and highly reliable Russian polling group. which released the results of the poll on Monday. The idea to close all the McDonald’s catering establishments has been more welcomed by the respondents who have never been to these restaurants, rather than regular visitors (53% against 44%, respectively). The main reason behind the suggested closure is that the food served at McDonald's is not tasty and is of poor nutrition value, said 41% of the respondents interviewed. 20% of the respondents said that the state should, above all, support Russia's own catering establishments. Nonetheless, almost every third out of ten respondents said that they are against shutting down the McDonald's restaurants.


10/28/14

Permalink ​‘Russian distress call’ prompting Swedish sub hunt never existed – sigint source

There was no Russian distress call. That’s the opinion of a Swedish signal intelligence (SIGINT) source after a massive $2.8mn military and media sub-hunt consumed the country for a week. Reports of a Russian distress signal and a grainy-picture were enough to deploy the navy while the media widely concluded the vessel had to be a Russian submarine spooking Stockholm. The proof of this was an alleged comms intercept, at distress call frequency, between the supposed sub and Kaliningrad base. But the Dagens Nyheter daily cited a Swedish Intel source who confessed there was no distress call.

Dagens Nyheter: Försvaret: Inget ryskt nödsamtal bakom ubåtsjakt || Försvarsmaktens operation i Stockholms skärgård utlöstes inte av ett nödsamtal på ryska. Det uppger Marinens underrättelsetjänst (MTS-M2) för DN. Försvarsmaktens operation i Stockholms skärgård utlöstes inte av ett nödsamtal på ryska. Det uppger Marinens underrättelsetjänst (MTS-M2) för DN. Lördagen den 18 oktober avslöjade Svenska Dagbladet att ett nödsamtal på ryska föregått ubåtslarmet i Stockholms skärgård. Tidningen berättade också att det förekommit krypterad radiotrafik mellan en sändare i skärgården och en sändare i Kaliningrad där stora delar av den ryska Östersjöflottan finns. Uppgifterna återgavs av i stort sett alla svenska medier, däribland Dagens Nyheter. Avslöjandet fick även stor uppmärksamhet internationellt. Redan i fredagens papperstidning erfor DN att ingen radiokommunikation mellan området och Kaliningrad avlyssnats under den sex dagar långa operationen. DN har nu med stöd av offentlighetsprincipen begärt ut en kopia av ljudupptagningen från Försvarsmakten, samt en översatt utskrift av densamma. [...] Försvarsmakten har tidigare uppgett sig sakna kännedom om att en nödsignal skulle ha skickats från Stockholms skärgård. Men när det gäller ett nödsamtal har myndigheten fram tills nu varken velat bekräfta eller dementera uppgiften om ett sådant uppfattats av den svenska signalspaningen.


Permalink MH17 might have been shot down from air – chief Dutch investigator

The chief Dutch prosecutor investigating the MH17 downing in eastern Ukraine does not exclude the possibility that the aircraft might have been shot down from air, Der Spiegel reported. Intelligence to support this was presented by Moscow in July. The chief investigator with the Dutch National Prosecutors' Office Fred Westerbeke said in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel published on Monday that his team is open to the theory that another plane shot down the Malaysian airliner. Following the downing of the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight in July that killed almost 300 people, Russia’s Defense Ministry released military monitoring data, which showed a Kiev military jet tracking the MH17 plane shortly before the crash. No explanation was given by Kiev as to why the military plane was flying so close to a passenger aircraft. Neither Ukraine, nor Western states have officially accepted such a possibility. MH17 Search on AWIP


Permalink Is the oil crash a secret US war on Russia?

Lower oil prices, reflected in falling petrol prices at the pump, have been a boon for Western consumers. Are they also a potent US weapon against Russia and Iran? That's the conclusion drawn by New York Times columnist Thomas L Friedman, who says the US and Saudi Arabia, whether by accident or design, could be pumping Russia and Iran to brink of economic collapse. Despite turmoil in many of the world's oil-producing countries - Libya, Iraq, Nigeria and Syria - prices are hitting lows not seen in years, Friedman writes. Analysts identify a number of possible reasons for the steep drop - increased US production, slowing economies in Europe and China and steady production from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec). Rather than look at the causes, however, Friedman says to look at the result - budget shortfalls in Russia and Iran - and what it means. Who benefits? He asks. The US wants its Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia to have more bite. Both the Saudis and the US are fighting a proxy war against Iran in Syria. "This is business, but it also has the feel of war by other means: oil," he writes. Paul Richter of the Los Angeles Times agrees that both Russia and Iran are starting to feel the squeeze of lower prices, although he doesn't go as far as Friedman in speculating about a secret war.


Permalink Treating Putin Like a Lunatic

Robert Parry When reading the New York Times on many foreign policy issues, it doesn’t take a savant to figure out what the newspaper’s bias is. Anything, for instance, relating to Russian President Vladimir Putin drips of contempt and hostility. Rather than offer the Times’ readers an objective or even slightly fair-minded account of Putin’s remarks, we are fed a steady diet of highly prejudicial language, such as we find in Saturday’s article about Putin’s comments at a conference in which he noted U.S. contributions to chaos in countries, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine. That Putin is correct appears almost irrelevant to the Times, which simply writes that Putin “unleashed perhaps his strongest diatribe against the United States yet” with his goal “to sell Moscow’s view that American meddling has sparked most of the world’s recent crises.”

Paul Craig Roberts Washington Is Defaming Putin


Permalink Swedish Neo-Nazi Sniper Dreams of Killing Russians

Italy's #1 newspaper interviews infamous Swedish sniper Mike Skillt. Recently Corriere della Sera (the most widely read daily in Italy) published an interview with the infamous Swedish sniper "Mike," who is fighting for the neo-Nazi Azov battalion in East Ukraine. As Mike's comments clearly illustrate, Azov fighters are fueled by a sense of racial superiority and a visceral hatred for Russia and all Russians.


Permalink France to Hand Over First Mistral to Russia in Coming Days or Weeks: STX Ship Company

France will hand over the first Mistral helicopter carrier to Russia in the coming days or weeks, a high-ranking representative from the STX shipbuilding company told RIA Novosti on Monday. "The transfer of the first Mistral helicopter carrier is a matter of several days or weeks," the representative said. In June 2011, Russia and France signed a 1.2 billion euro ($1.5 billion) deal for two Mistral-class helicopter carrier ships. The first carrier, the Vladivostok, was previously expected in Russia by the end of 2014. The second ship, the Sevastopol, is supposed to arrive in 2015. In September, French President Francois Hollande threatened to suspend the deliveries of the ships over Moscow's alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. Hollande later stated he would make a decision in late October, specifying that the delivery would depend on the observation of the ceasefire by warring sides in Ukraine's internal armed conflict and a political settlement of the crisis. Last week, Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov said Russia will sue France if it refuses to fulfill its contract obligations on the ships' delivery.

French Political Leader: "France Should Stop Being a US Lapdog" and Deliver Mistral to Russia


Permalink Mazal Tov - Jewish Leader Indicted For Calling Dieudonne 'Anti-Semite'

Gilad Atzmon The President of CRIF, France's largest Jewish Lobby that specializes in harassing and terrorising the French political elite was indicted on Monday for defamation. Roger Cukierman was cited for remarks he made in an interview on Europe 1 in which he called Dieudonne Mbla Mbla, - France’s No 1 comedian, a “professional anti-Semite.” On Monday, the elder Zionist announced the indictment himself on CRIF's website. “So I am being indicted for having stated on Europe 1 that Dieudonne is a professional anti-Semite. Isn’t that funny? For once, Dieudonne is actually comical.” It seems as if the people who imposed ‘correctness’ on the rest of us, may have to start policing their own language. This may be a positive development.

Maidhc Ó Cathail Using the Holocaust to Justify War || Since bursting onto the U.S. foreign policy stage in the 1980s, the neocons have been masters of “perception management,” devising emotional (and often false) messaging to justify aggressive war, as Maidhc Ó Cathail sees in recent Holocaust-themed propaganda against Syria’s government.


10/27/14

Permalink "People’s Front" leads in Ukraine parliamentary polls as 50% of votes counted

Arseniy Yatsenyuk's People’s Front with it's 21.61% is closely followed by the Petro Poroshenko Bloc with 21.45%. With 50.08% of the votes counted, the People’s Front led by Arseniy Yatsenyuk has a narrow lead in Sunday's parliamentary elections gaining 21.61% and is closely followed by the Petro Poroshenko Bloc with 21.45%. The Samopomich (Self-Help) party headed by mayor of Lviv Andriy Sadovy comes third with 11.10% of the ballots. The Opposition Bloc led by Yuriy Boyko has 9.82%, Oleh Lyashko’s Radical Party has 7.38% and the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has 5.69%. The voter turnout at the snap parliamentary elections, the first since February coup, was recorded at 52.42% In the previous elections, held in 2012, the turnout reached 57.98%.

Itar-Tass: EU politicians not unanimous over Ukraine's future after parliamentary elections
Stephen Lendman MSM Misinformation on Ukraine's Parliamentary Elections
Stephen Lendman Farcical Ukrainian Parliamentary Elections
Anders Romelsjö EU men också CIA och USA vinnare i Ukraina
Pål Steigan Ustabilt valgutfall i Ukraina


Permalink Hungarians revolt against internet tax - PHOTOS, VIDEO

Furious with the government plan to impose tax on Internet data traffic, thousands of Hungarians rallied in front of the Economy Ministry in Budapest to protect the freedom of the internet from the 'anti-democratic' measure. Tens of thousands gathered in front of the Economy Ministry building on Sunday, urging the politicians to scrap the plan that will see internet service providers (ISPs) pay 150 forints ($0.62) for every gigabyte of data traffic transferred over their networks. Although the draft suggests that ISPs would be able to offset corporate income tax against the new levy, the protesters believe that eventually the new tax burden will end up pinned on common users. The Association of IT, Telecommunications and Electronics Companies has already said the tax would force them to raise prices, Reuters reports. The rally organized via Facebook group with over 210,000 followers said that the move “follows a wave of alarming anti-democratic measures by [Prime Minister Viktor] Orban that is pushing Hungary even further adrift from Europe.”


Permalink Met police to pay more than £400,000 to victim of undercover officer

Female activist who was traumatised after discovering that the father of her son was a spy is to receive compensation. The Metropolitan police are to pay more than £400,000 to a woman who has been profoundly traumatised after discovering by chance that the father of her son was an undercover police officer. It is the first time the police have made a payment to settle any of the legal claims brought by women who were deceived by undercover officers sent to spy on political and activist groups. The woman has been receiving psychiatric treatment and has contemplated suicide since she read a newspaper in 2012 and found out the true identity of the man who had fathered her son before abandoning her and the child 24 years previously. The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous and is known by the name Jacqui, said the out-of-court settlement in which the Met would pay her £425,000 would not bring closure for her as the force had not admitted wrongdoing. She also criticised the police for dragging out the legal action by refusing to concede for two years that the father, Bob Lambert, was one of their undercover officers, even though he himself had already publicly admitted his covert role.

The Guardian: Britain: Undercover police had children with activists [20 January 2012]


10/26/14

Permalink How to start a war and lose an empire

Dmitry Orlov A year and a half I wrote an essay on how the US chooses to view Russia, titled The Image of the Enemy. I was living in Russia at the time, and, after observing the American anti-Russian rhetoric and the Russian reaction to it, I made some observations that seemed important at the time. It turns out that I managed to spot an important trend, but given the quick pace of developments since then, these observations are now woefully out of date, and so here is an update. At that time the stakes weren't very high yet. [...] But what a difference a year and a half has made! Ukraine, which was at that time collapsing at about the same steady pace as it had been ever since its independence two decades ago, is now truly a defunct state, with its economy in free-fall, one region gone and two more in open rebellion, much of the country terrorized by oligarch-funded death squads, and some American-anointed puppets nominally in charge but quaking in their boots about what's coming next.

Paul Craig Roberts Vladimir Putin Is The Leader Of the Moral World || Vladimir Putin’s remarks at the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club are worth more than a link in my latest column. These are the remarks of a humanitarian political leader, the like of which the world has not seen in my lifetime. Compare Putin to the corrupt war criminal in the White House or to his puppets in office in Germany, UK, France, Japan, Canada, Australia, and you will see the difference between a criminal clique and a leader striving for a humane and livable world in which the interests of all peoples are respected.


10/24/14

Permalink Putin lashes out at US, West for destabilizing world

Vladimir Putin has lashed out at the United States for destabilizing the world order of checks and balances for its own gains. He also accused the West of inflaming the situation in Ukraine and said Russia was not interested in building an empire. The Russian President delivered a fierce broadside aimed at the United States at a speech for the Valdai Club in Sochi, which is an informal group of scholars. He hit out at Washington for behaving without regard to the rest of the world's interests. “The system of international relations needed some changes, but the USA, who believe they were the winners of the Cold War, have not seen the need for this.” He added that the US has been trying to create the world “for their own gains." The Russian President added that because of this, regional and global security had been weakened.

Paul Craig Roberts Washington Is Defaming Putin
The Saker Is the CIA Running a Defamation Campaign Against Putin?


Permalink Norway's 'killer robot' technology under fire

The Norwegian government is set to develop a new controversial robot-controlled missile for its fighter jets, but faces opposition from MPs and peace organizations claiming the technology may break international law. The partially autonomously controlled missiles, or so-called "killer robots", will be used for airborne strikes for its new fighter jets and have the ability to identify targets and make decisions to kill without human interference. The Norwegian Peace League, for one, believe the technology may violate international law, wanting a parliamentary debate about the move. Alexander Harang of the Norwegian Peace League (Norges Fredslag) demands discussion . He is also a member for the international “Campaign to stop killer robots”.


10/23/14

10/22/14

Permalink Kerry in Berlin to Honor Fall of Berlin Wall, Talk With Chancellor, Foreign Minister

US Secretary of State John Kerry is in Berlin to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and take part in talks with Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel, the US Department of State said Wednesday. "Secretary John Kerry is on travel to Berlin," the US Department of State confirmed via Twitter on Wednesday. The German Foreign Office later tweeted a photo of Steinmeier and Kerry visiting the Berlin Wall this morning. Kerry is scheduled to visit the Berlin Wall memorial and meet with children to discuss the meaning of the fall of the wall, according to a US Department of State briefing. Kerry is also to hold a press conference.

Itar-Tass: Russia to continue resistance to attempts at revival of Nazism — Lavrov
Liam Halligan Why the West will surrender in its new cold war with Russia


Permalink Human Rights Watch documents Ukrainian military’s use of cluster rockets

Barry Grey Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a report Monday documenting the widespread use of banned cluster munitions rockets by the Ukrainian military against heavily populated civilian centers in eastern Ukraine, including central Donetsk city. The detailed account, based on an on-the-spot investigation by the New York-based organization, working with a New York Times reporter, is a damning exposure of the brutal and illegal methods being used by the US- and European Union-backed regime in Kiev against Ukrainians in the pro-Russian east of the country. The report includes video interviews with victims of the cluster rocket attacks. It charges the Kiev regime with firing the weapons into Donetsk city, the center of the separatist rebellion against the fascist-backed, pro-Western government that was installed last February in a putsch orchestrated by the CIA and German intelligence. HRW also released photos showing sections of the cluster munitions rockets in and around Donetsk, unexploded submunitions and remnants of exploded submunitions released by the rockets, and other physical proof of the regime’s use of the weapons. The report focuses on attacks launched October 2 and October 5 against Donetsk, a month after the signing of a ceasefire agreement between the pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. HRW writes that these cluster munitions attacks, along with ten others it documented, were responsible for at least six deaths and dozens of injuries. The October 2 attack killed a 37-year-old International Committee of the Red Cross administrator stationed in Donetsk. [...] “Ukrainian government forces used cluster munitions in populated areas in Donetsk city in early October 2014. The use of cluster munitions in populated areas violates the laws of war due to the indiscriminate nature of the weapon and may amount to war crimes,” the report states.

Russia Insider: Video: What Shelling of Civilians Looks Like Up Close
Eric Zuesse Our ‘Enemies’ in Ukraine Speak (Atrocities documented)
Vera Graziadei Kiev's War Crimes Are Not in Doubt. Why the Silence?
Robert Parry Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis Demand Respect
Carla Stea The War in East Ukraine: US-NATO’s Paranoid Falsification of Reality


Permalink British Spy Chief Calls For Crackdown On Internet Freedom

The outgoing head of the GCHQ, the NSA’s UK equivalent, has slammed proponents of a free internet as ‘dreamers’, and defended those who spy on the communications of everyday people, saying they do “an extraordinary job.” In a farewell speech at the Churchill War Rooms in Whitehall, Sir Iain Lobban demanded that GCHQ needs the power to “access the Internet at scale” and “dissect it with surgical precision”. He said that the internet has become home to the “worst aspects of human nature,” and that spies need to be given unfettered power to govern the internet, to weed out “plotters, proliferators and paedophiles.”

Itar-Tass: Russian speaker against tighter rules on Internet access || The speaker of the Federation Council upper house of the Russian parliament, Valentina Matviyenko, said on Wednesday she was against tighter rules on Internet access and government control over the Internet. “We are against restrictions on access to the Internet or a total control over it, against restrictions on legitimate interests and possibilities of the citizens,” Matviyenko said in an interview with the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily on Wednesday.


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