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Russia won't lift the food embargo until EU shows it will play nice

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© Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that Russia will decide on lifting food embargo, which bans imports from countries that imposed sanctions on Moscow, taking into account both the European Union's actions and Russia's national interests.


Russia will decide on lifting food embargo, which bans imports from countries that imposed sanctions on Moscow, taking into account both the European Union's actions and Russia's national interests, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Saturday.

"We will make these decisions, if you will forgive me my pompous expression, going by our national interests," Medvedev told a Russian television channel.

Comment: The EU was willing to go along with the Ukrainian crisis, and all that followed from it. Russia bit back, and knows better than to let go before a lesson has been learned. Check out:


Quenelle - Golden

BRICS nations to kick Washington out of South America

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© Reuters / Sergio Moraes
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner arrive to the official photo session for the BRICS summit
It started in April with a rash of deals between Argentina and Russia during President Cristina Kirchner's visit to Moscow.

And it continues with a $53 billion investment bang as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits Brazil during the first stop of yet another South American commercial offensive - complete with a sweet metaphor: Li riding on a made in China subway train that will ply a new metro line in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2016 Olympics.

Where is the US in all this? Nowhere; little by little, yet inexorably, BRICS members China - and in a smaller measure, Russia - have been no less than restructuring commerce and infrastructure all across Latin America.

Comment: Washington continues to lose its grip on the world. The War on Terror, the market manipulations, financial warfare, and various color revolutions have been the "fun and games" for the psychopathic elite who thought they could control the world through chaos and deception. The delusions are nearly over, and the waves of chaos that Washington unleashed on the world are coming back home in a pretty big way. Check out:


Bad Guys

'US hunt for Russians': Moscow warns citizens traveling abroad

© Reuters/Jenevieve Robbins
Russia has urged its citizens to weigh all the risks before traveling abroad, warning that the US is on a global "hunt" for Russian nationals, according to the latest statement published by the Foreign Ministry.

Russian citizens abroad face a very "real" threat of being detained or arrested by US law enforcement and special services, especially when traveling to countries that have extradition treaties with Washington, the ministry said on its website.

There have been over a dozen cases demonstrating just that, the statement added. "The American authorities continue the unacceptable practice of 'hunting' for Russians all over the world, ignoring the norms of international laws and twisting the arms of other states."

American forces have in effect kidnapped Russians from other countries, the statement said, citing the case of Roman Seleznyov, who was abducted by American agents in the Maldives, and then forcibly transported to the US in July 2014. He is still being held in custody, awaiting trial.

"By believing that it is allowed to do all it wants, Washington goes as far as kidnapping our citizens," the ministry said.

Those who get detained by US services face prejudicial justice, including threats demanding confessions, despite lack of any evidence. Even if the American authorities fail to secure a confession, the detainees are slapped with huge prison terms, the ministry said.

Examples of such cases include Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko.

War Whore

To Israel with Love: Obama gifts $1.9 billion in new murderous weapons

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© Pete Souza
Rumors of a deterioration in US-Israel relations are very much exaggerated.
The Obama administration approved a $1.9 billion arms sale to Israel in recent days as "compensation" for the US nuclear deal with Iran, which the Israeli regime staunchly opposes.

Among the tens of thousands of bombs included in the weapons package are 3,000 Hellfire missiles, 12,000 general purpose bombs and 750 bunker buster bombs that can penetrate up to twenty feet, or six meters, of reinforced concrete.

This generous weapons gift comes in the wake of Israel's most ferocious attack on the Gaza Strip to date, in which the Israeli army deliberately targeted civilians, including children, as a matter of policy.

The degree of firepower Israel unleashed on Gaza was so extreme that senior US military officials who participated in the illegal invasion and criminal destruction of Iraq were left stunned.

Even the Pentagon and State Department were forced to acknowledge that Israel did not do enough to avoid civilian deaths. But this did not prevent the Obama administration from rushing to provide Israel with the means to carry out more atrocities.

Books

The US government told me Bin Laden read my book but what is it not telling us?

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© AP
I already knew that Osama bin Laden read my book before the headlines this week - but I'm still angry that he gave The Best Democracy Money Can Buy only four-and-a-half stars on his Amazon review. Obviously, something in the book pissed him off, because he never friended me on Facebook.

It was actually quite embarrassing to learn that Bin Laden was reading my tome - and a few by my homie Noam Chomsky. It's embarrassing because it's clear that Bin Laden was more well-read than our president of the time (though, in George W Bush's defence, there's much to be learned from My Pet Goat).

I do hope Osama made it to page 229. I talk about a guy who worked at my office, Clinton Davis. Before I left to write for the Guardian and Observer, my office was in Tower 2 of the World Trade Center. Davis, a cop, was safe at ground level, but he ran upstairs to save others - and disappeared, forever. Did Bin Laden get a little laugh out of that one? At least he got to know his victim's name.

Briefcase

Secret Bank of England taskforce investigates financial fallout of Brexit

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© Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
Bank of England officials are secretly researching the financial shocks that could hit Britain if there is a vote to leave the European Union in the forthcoming referendum.

The Bank blew its cover on Friday when it accidentally emailed details of the project - including how the bank intended to fend off any inquiries about its work - direct to the Guardian.

According to the confidential email, the press and most staff in Threadneedle Street must be kept in the dark about the work underway, which has been dubbed Project Bookend.

Comment: Oops, is the EU on the verge of breaking up?


Stormtrooper

Government witch hunt to eliminate Monsanto critics

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US Dept. of Agriculture scientists under the gun; explosive details

"Anybody can fake scientific results. But to be believed, you want a prestigious organization behind you with a billion-dollar budget and access to compliant reporters. You want to manipulate technical language. You want to keep saying how much you care about people. And then you also want to get down and dirty when you have to, and threaten and coerce your in-house scientific dissenters who won't go along with the fakery. Cut their pay, demote them, fire them, ruin their careers and lives. This is all standard procedure in the major leagues of science. I've watched it happen." (The Underground, Jon Rappoport)

Wonder how a federal agency as large as the USDA can keep claiming pesticides like Roundup are safe?

Wonder how the truth can be kept from leaking out?

Wonder how this agency, tasked with protecting the public from unsafe food, can turn fake science into "real science" like clockwork?

Wonder how, in Hawaii, Monsanto and Dow can defend their toxic, open-air, pesticide experiments as "approved by the USDA?"

Comment: It is becoming blatantly obvious that the USDA is not serving the public interest! Read more about why Monsanto hates democracy: Fascism seems to work best:
"Right now there's a growing movement to label genetically modified food," said Dave Murphy, executive director of Food Democracy Now!, who presented the labeling proposal at Monsanto's meeting Tuesday.
"Monsanto has chosen unfortunately to resist the rights of American people."
When it comes to getting the facts on GMOs, it all depends on whom you talk to. Many of the study's alleged shortcomings that boomed through the media following its release also exist in the industry studies - including Monsanto's own studies - that form the basis of approvals of genetically engineered crops in Europe. Some of the loudest critics of the study, such as the UK-based Science Media Centre, have received funding from agrichemical companies such as Bayer, BASF and - you guessed it - Monsanto.



Chess

How Russia is countering Western aggression in the Black Sea and beyond

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A previous article entitled Battlefield: Black Sea examined the development of US and NATO military deployment in the Black Sea region. This article focuses on the ways in which Russia is moving to counter what it perceives as an aggressive US-NATO strategy.

Russia's Counterstrategy

After the US-backed coup in Ukraine, the people of Crimea voted for reunification with Russia. While this was undoubtedly a politically and economically motivated move to secure their own safety and future amid the entirely predictable collapse of Ukraine, it would not have been possible without a clear military and strategic (and of course political and diplomatic) benefit for Russia. That such a benefit existed was plainly obvious. For Moscow, Crimea is more than a historic territory of Russia; it is a strategically vital region for Russia's navy and military generally.

The security and integrity of the Russian Black Sea fleet, based in Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula for more than two centuries, was of primary importance to Moscow. As such, since the accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation, and the chaos throughout Ukraine, the Kremlin has moved quickly to modernize and bolster its naval assets in the Black Sea. While this was necessary by any measure, the move was also to preempt any military escalation by US-NATO; Washington and Brussels have moved ahead with their military buildup regardless.

Within months of the Crimea referendum, Russia announced a massive upgrade of the Black Sea fleet, in order to make it, in the words of Russian military officials, "modern" and "self-sufficient." As Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral Viktor Chirkov explained, "The Black Sea Fleet must have a full complement of naval vessels to be capable of performing all assigned missions...This is not a provocative military buildup. This is something the Black Sea Fleet urgently needs as it has not been receiving new vessels for many years." As part of this modernization and upgrade, the fleet will receive 30 new ships by the end of the decade, including a full complement of modern warships, submarines, and auxiliary vessels. Additionally, Moscow intends for the fleet to be self-sufficient, meaning that it will expand bases, house troops year-round, and generally be able to support itself in Crimea without the need for special assistance from Moscow.

But Russia of course recognizes that the growing political conflict with the West, with all the attendant military and strategic implications, requires partners and allies. With that in mind, Moscow has worked diligently to foster military cooperation with China generally, and in the Black Sea specifically.

Star of David

Pro-Israel bias: BBC admits editorial breach in interview with Israeli defense chief

© Reuters / Amir Cohen
Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Yaalon.
The BBC has reached a "provisional finding" to uphold complaints made by Palestinian activists that the broadcaster breached its editorial guidelines in a "soft" interview with the Israeli defense minister.

Complaints focused on BBC journalist Sarah Montague's alleged failure to challenge controversial claims made by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon.

Journalist Amena Saleem, who works with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), wrote on Electronic Intifada that she received an email last week from the BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU) indicating grievances lodged by the PSC would be upheld.

However, a BBC spokesperson said the finding was "provisional" and the outcome was yet to be finalized.

According to a PSC transcript of the interview, broadcast on BBC Radio 4's flagship news program "Today" on March 19, Ya'alon said that Palestinians enjoy political independence.

If the complaint is upheld, it is the second time in recent months the ECU has censured the state-run corporation for its pro-Israel bias.


BBC News Online was found to have breached its editorial guidelines last July when it described the author of an article about Gaza's hidden tunnels as an "independent defense analyst."

The author, Dr Eado Hecht, is a lecturer in military doctrine at Bar Ilan University, an institution described by the ECU as being "explicitly pro-Israeli."

The complaints board also acknowledged the author had "published articles written from a clearly pro-Israeli perspective."

In Montague's interview with Ya'alon, the senior BBC journalist failed to address misleading statements by the Israeli defense minister.

According to a transcript, Ya'alon said Palestinians "enjoy already political independence. They have their own political system, government, parliament, municipalities and so forth. And we are happy with it. We don't want to govern them whatsoever."

Comment: "The result was that the output fell below the BBC's standards of impartiality,"

The BBC is Washington's 'ministry of propaganda - UK branch'

For more examples of 'impartial' reporting from the BBC on Israel / Palestine, see:

Israel's lies go unchallenged on BBC's flagship current affairs show

Israel apologist BBC, facing accusations of bias, admits coverage of Israel/Palestine is "tough"

Hail also to Ken Loach who slams BBC's pro-Israel coverage of Gaza war

'Israel under renewed Hamas attack' says the BBC. More balance is needed

How the BBC whitewashed Israel's war crimes from the ceasefire in Gaza

As Israel assaults Gaza, BBC reporting assaults the truth


Snakes in Suits

Obama's proposed police reforms an empty diversion tactic

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President Obama's "ban" on certain military hardware and gear is both fraudulent and a diversion from the real issue: the oppressive mission of the police in Black America. The cops who killed Michael Brown and Freddie Gray and countless others "weren't wearing battlefield outfits, firing automatic rifles, or riding around in tanks. They murder quite efficiently with handguns, batons and their hands and feet, as cops always have done."
"It is the MISSION of the police that is lethal, racist, oppressive and unacceptable to Black America; the equipment and clothing is incidental."
President Obama took his police "reform" shell game to Camden, New Jersey, this week, announcing a ban on the sale of some types of military equipment to local police departments, and restrictions on other weapons, gear and equipment. As with all of the administration's responses to the nine-month-old Black Lives Matter movement, it was an exercise in public relations and calculated diversion, crafted to camouflage the essential nature of the Mass Black Incarceration State - what Michelle Alexander calls the New Jim Crow.

Obama is the true Mad Man, an impresario of "impressions." He told a crowd at a Salvation Army center in Camden, "We've seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there's an occupying force, as opposed to a force that's part of the community that's protecting them and serving them." To soothe such "feelings" in Black communities, Obama claimed his executive order would halt the use of federal funds to purchase tracked armored vehicles, the highest-caliber guns and ammo, bayonets, grenade launchers and camouflage uniforms, and put controls on wheeled armor vehicles, certain kinds of explosives and flares, manned aircraft, drones, battering rams and riot gear - and, of course, require more training for police officers in the use of such ordnance and equipment. Presumably, communities that have been under siege by police for generations will now feel much better.