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A Russian in search of Western values - none to be found!

© Pete Souza
President Obama talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a summit in 2014
The intensity of the Ukrainian conflict continues to rise. There's a non-stop flow of statements by high-level U.S. government officials suggesting Russia is the top threat to American national security or portraying Vladimir Putin as Saddam Hussein, Moammar Gadhafi and Osama bin Laden all rolled into one. (Some like Hillary Clinton also add Hitler to this pack.) And Russian bombers buzz American airspace with growing frequency.

For those of us who lived through the hardships of the Cold War, there is an uneasy feeling that the United States and Russia are quickly edging towards direct military confrontation.

This is why it is important to make brief historical excursion into the not-so-distant past.

Those who witnessed - and especially those who helped bring about - the momentous changes in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and in Russia in the early 1990s, remember only too well the overwhelming euphoria of those times.

The dark years of totalitarian communism were receding into the past, and the Russian people were ready and eager to join the great family of Western civilization and enjoy its basic values like human rights, the rule of law, democracy, freedom, a market economy and other real or imaginary benefits associated with them.

That was the time when fresh from the yoke of communism, the Russians were eager to embrace all of these ideals, and confidently expected them to materialize with the help, first and foremost, of the United States.

Comment: Every once in a while the Washington Times publishes something worth publishing: for example, they covered the prostitution ring scandal that engulfed the White House in the 80s, and which the Washington Post covered up. It's refreshing to see so many truths stated in a mainstream piece - as obvious and self-evident as they may be, it's a rare occurrence!


Smiley

Fake followers for fake candidates - Hillary Clinton revealed to have over a million fake Twitter followers, outstrips all other presidential contenders


"Fooled you!"
  • Hillary Clinton has over one million fake Twitter followers, more than any other presidential hopeful
  • Donald Trump also has more than one million fake followers, but a higher percentage of real followers on the social media platform
  • Almost half of Joe Biden's followers are fake
  • Among those running for president, Bernie Sanders has the highest percentage of real followers with 92%
  • Fake followers are a 'mix of inactive Twitter users , completely fake users that are created for the sole purpose of following people, and spam bots'
  • Clinton and Trump still have far more followers than anyone else running for president


  • Hillary Clinton
    and Joe Biden are not polling well when it comes to their social media fans.

    An analysis of the pair's Twitter accounts has revealed that over one million of Clinton's followers are fake, while only 53% of Biden's social media fans are real.

    Also polling poorly is Donald Trump, who like Clinton has over one million fake followers.

    Yahoo Tech analyzed the Twitter accounts of the presidential hopefuls, and while Clinton and Trump both have the highest number of fake followers, their percentage of real followers is comparatively good at 66% and 69% respectively.

    Comment: Social media as social engineering experiment:


    Light Sabers

    Dept. of Justice sued by Associated Press over FBI refusal to provide records on case where agency created fake news story to trap suspect

    Image
    © Wikipedia
    AP headquarters
    The AP has sued the US Department of Justice over the FBI's refusal to provide public records on a case when the agency created a fake news story to trap a suspect. A former FBI agent told RT that respect for the First Amendment is falling in the agency.

    The Associated Press filed the lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia along with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, AP reported on Thursday. It follows last year's disclosure, revealed by another Electronic Frontier Foundation request, of how the FBI had tricked a 15-year-old boy, who later pleaded guilty to making bomb threats, with the help of a fake article.

    The lawsuit concerns a 2014 Freedom of Information request to obtain documents in the case of a 15-year-old boy who was suspected of making bomb threats to his school in the state of Washington. The FBI decided to send a web link to the MySpace profile of the suspect which led to a fake article on a bogus Seattle Times website. By clicking on stories with headlines such as "Bomb threat at high school downplayed by local police department" and "Technology savvy student holds Timberline High School hostage," the teenager infected his computer with surveillance software that helped reveal his location and Internet address.

    Mr. Potato

    Poroshenko says no Minsk 3.0 - requests immediate ceasefire

    © Axel Schmidt / Reuters
    This man does not understand the meaning of words.
    The possibility of a new peace deal agreement that could improve the situation in Eastern Ukraine is off the table, says Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko, as a contact group meeting in Minsk ended with a proposal to ensure a stable ceasefire.

    The existing peace deal is good enough and simply needs to be implemented, said Poroshenko at a press conference in Brussels accompanied by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.


    Comment: Rich, coming from the guy who has yet to implement any of the terms of the Minsk agreements. It's deja vu all over again!


    The Trilateral Contact Group for Ukraine came to agreement to end all military operations and ensure a ceasefire along the whole contact line by September 1 at a meeting in Minsk on Wednesday. The matter is especially important now with the new school year just around the corner.

    Information on the location of all educational facilities close to the contact line will be available to both sides, OSCE special envoy Martin Sajdik told journalists in Minsk. Moscow hailed the proposal.

    Binoculars

    Ex-mayor of Russian Dagestan sentenced to life for terrorism

    © ITAR-TASS/Dmitriy Rogulin
    Said Amirov
    The North Caucasus district military court on Thursday sentenced the former mayor of Dagestan's capital Makhachkala, Said Amirov, to life in jail for terrorism, a TASS correspondent reported from the courtroom.

    "Amirov's guilt has been proved. On several counts, by applying cumulative punishment the court finally ruled to sentence Amirov to life imprisonment," the judge said.

    The judge said Amirov will serve his sentence in a high-security penal colony. The other defendants were jailed to between 9 and 22 years, the judge said. Among them is Amirov's nephew Yusup Dzhaparov and also Magomed Akhmedov. The court ruled to increase the time they will spend in jail to 18 and 11 years, respectively.

    Amirov, who had been the mayor of Dagestan's capital for 15 years, was arrested in June 2013 on suspicion of having organized a contract killing. In July 2014, the court sentenced him to 10 years behind bars for a plot to assassinate his political rival by shooting down the man's plane with a Strela 2M anti-aircraft missile.

    According to investigators, the defendants were involved in organizing a terrorist attack, attempt at life of an acting head of a territorial investigative authority and also other severe crimes.

    Comment: Yep, there are shady politicians in Russia too. But when was the last time an American politician, for example, was publicly exposed, arrested, and charged with crimes of a similar caliber? Not because they aren't just as bad - they are - but because American society is nourished by a steady stream of induced ignorance. Crimes are covered up. Favors are traded in. Blackmail keeps secrets secret and policies 'on track'. In other words, truth and justice are nowhere to be found. At least Russia takes some action against crooks like Amirov.


    Eye 1

    Bye bye privacy: Federal court rules NSA bulk data collection constitutional

    Image
    © Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters
    Despite the opposition of the US public and lawmakers to NSA surveillance, the courts keep handing the Obama administration the license to snoop. A US appeals court just threw out a 2013 verdict against the NSA, to White House approval.

    The decision vindicates the government's stance that NSA's bulk surveillance programs are constitutional, the White House said Friday.

    Three judges at the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the plaintiffs, Larry Klayman and Charles Strange, had no standing to file the original claim, since they could not prove the NSA actually collected any of their records. While Klayman and Strange objected that the NSA refused to provide the evidence, the judges said that was working as intended.


    Comment: Again the backwards logic of the U.S. government laid bare. The government refuses to provide evidence, and the judges throw out the claim. The fact that the NSA refuses to provide evidence is enough of a sign that what they are doing is unconstitutional. Yet the judges seem to not have a problem with that. Welcome to the surveillance state!


    "Plaintiffs complain that the government should not be allowed to avoid liability simply by keeping the material classified. But the government's silence regarding the scope of bulk collection is a feature of the program, not a bug," Judge Stephen F. Williams wrote.

    Stock Down

    Weak ruble won't be forever: The dollar will come down

    © Unknown
    Dollar is over-valued and has to come down. Look for the market to wake up to that when the Fed doesn't raise interest rates as expected and inevitably sends the US currency tanking

    Everyone expects an interest raise in 3-6 months time. It's not happening

    Seeing how at this very moment ruble is getting hammered by the dollar predicting a ruble appreciation seems like a very bold statement indeed. However, if one contrarian investor is right that is exactly what we should expect.

    Peter Schiff is a financial analyst who made his fame and fortune by going against the grain. He is most known for having predicted and warned about the housing bubble and the financial crisis of 2008. Broadly speaking he is bearish on US economy and the US dollar and bullish on commodities, gold, foreign stocks and foreign currencies.

    He would sum up his position something like this:

    The much vaunted US recovery since the 2008 crash has not been real. Economy and disposable income of most people have not improved significantly, or at all, since then.

    As such the gains made by US stock markets are not based on the state of the US economy. They are the outcome of loose money policies of the US Federal Reserve.

    Comment: While it's good to keep an eye on international developments, best to look after oneself by becoming as independent as possible. There are many thing you can do to prepare for an economic disaster which will inevitably bring civil unrest.


    Eye 2

    Libya: The results of the West's 'most successful' mission

    Image
    © AP Photo/ Mohamed Ben Khalifa
    More than 200 people are feared dead after two boats full of migrants sank in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya.

    The tragic scenes have become commonplace in the country, which western governments only four years ago claimed was a striking example of successful foreign intervention.

    Authorities are continuing their efforts to retrieve bodies from the water after the vessels capsized shortly after leaving Libya's coastal city of Zuwara, en-route to Italy.

    Comment: Also see: It's official: The U.S. used Al Qaeda to destroy Libya


    Bad Guys

    A primer for understanding the 'divide and conquer' in Turkey-Kurdish relations

    © AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic
    A demonstrator runs away after throwing a projectile toward riot police spraying tear gas during a demonstration against corruption in the Kadikoy district of Istanbul on December 25, 2013
    The political and security situation in Turkey is becoming increasingly worrying as it deteriorates behind a jumble of acronyms that few could possibly hope to understand. Were it not for the associated terror facing millions of Turks, Kurds and Syrians, it might seem comical. Sadly, however, there is nothing remotely amusing about this particular alphabet soup.

    A prime example of how misleading headlines, confusing language and loosely employed acronyms was evident on August 12, 2015, when the UK Newspaper The Telegraph published the following:
    "Turkey suffered one of its bloodiest days in recent weeks on Monday as Kurdish insurgents launched deadly attacks in different parts of the country, including the US consulate in Istanbul, killing nine people and leaving 11 wounded in ensuing clashes with Turkey security services."

    Extinguisher

    Russian boots on the ground in Syria? Middle East mayhem intensifies

    © spioenkop.blogspot
    Purported Russian contractors in Syria.
    Last month, in a task almost as difficult as Diogenes' search for one honest man, the U.S. allegedly found a staggering 60 'moderate rebels' in Syria to train in its interventionist program to oust Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad 'war against the Islamist terrorists'. This crack team of 'moderate' fighters, trained by the U.S. amid thousands of similarly-motivated terrorists of the Islamic State/al-Nusra/Free Syrian Army variety, demonstrated their valor by immediately refusing to fight Al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front in Syria, a dangerous hesitation because they were subsequently attacked by al-Nusra fighters anyway.

    As news of the group's uselessness reached Washington at the beginning of August, Obama then pledged airstrikes in Syria to defend said 'rebels', even from 'attacks' carried out by the legitimate authorities in Syria. The airstrikes began a couple weeks ago, launched from NATO bases in Turkey, thus opening a second front of air raids against Syria from the north, following over a year of NATO airstrikes from Iraq 'against Islamic State targets' in both Iraq and Syria's southern flanks. The massive bomb attack in late July at a Kurdish political youth meeting in Suruc, southern Turkey - allegedly carried out by 'ISIS' from Syria - the day before the Turkish air force joined in US bombing raids against targets in northern Syria, is also extremely suspect. I think we can reasonably suggest that internal political opponents were targeted by Erdogan's neo-Ottomanist regime, and their deaths used to justify cross-border air raids against Kurds in northern Syria.

    Turkey's perfidy in all this needs to be underscored. Syria-based analyst Thierry Meyssan reckons the Russian alternative gas pipeline route to Mediterranean Europe - 'Turkish Stream', signed between Putin and Erdogan last December - is dead in the water. Indeed, Gazprom suspended related construction contracts in early July, before halving the gas transit capacity slated in the original deal. Turkey's official stance regarding Crimea's secession to Russia is that it "will never recognize Russia's annexation." Ankara has also been dangling massive loans to the Kiev regime and hosting a Crimean Tatar lobby group convention, attended by Kiev's foreign minister, and calling for Russia to 'return Crimea to Ukraine'.