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Snakes in Suits

IRS testifies to Congress that even more computer crashes and lost emails exist

© AP
Lois Lerner
IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane said in transcribed congressional testimony that more IRS officials experienced computer crashes, bringing the total number of crash victims to "less than 20," and also said that the agency does not know if the lost emails are still backed up somewhere.

The new round of computer crash victims includes David Fish, who routinely corresponded with Lois Lerner, as well as Lerner subordinate Andy Megosh, Lerner's technical adviser Justin Lowe, and Cincinnati-based agent Kimberly Kitchens.

"You stated at the time that document was produced to Congress, the document, the white paper in Exhibit 3[the June 13 memo], that it was accurate to the best of your knowledge. Is it still accurate?," a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigator asked Kane.

"There is an issue as to whether or not there is a ‑‑ that all of the backup recovery tapes were destroyed on the 6‑month retention schedule," Kane replied.

"So some of those backup tapes may still exist?," the investigator asked.

"I don't know whether they are or they aren't, but it's an issue that's being looked at," Kane said.
Chess

Russia to cancel duty-free trade with Ukraine after Kiev's decision to sign economic pact with EU

Putin

Russia reported to be cancelling duty–free trade with Ukraine — RT Business
The duty-free trade deal between Russia and Ukraine is coming to an end. Russia says fundamental changes mean that it will invoke Article 62 of the Vienna Declaration to terminate the understanding.

The move comes as Russia insists it needs to protect domestic markets after Ukraine signed the Association Agreement on June 27, which gives Kiev duty-free trade status with the European Union.

The cancellation of the duty-free relationship with Ukraine will lead to higher import tariffs of around 7.8 percent.

"The circumstances that existed in the time when the CIS free trade area agreements were signed have significantly changed for Ukraine which is historically the main trade partner of Russia being deeply integrated in many areas of the economy," RIA quotes a source from the government familiar with the situation.

Comment: Russia previously warned the Ukrainian government that there would be significant economic consequences to signing this pact with the EU:

Ukraine trade agreement with EU will mean economic suicide says Putin's aide

To deal or not to deal? Ukraine's EU-Russia crossroads in facts and numbers

Eye 1

Britain does U-turn on ex-KGB spy Litvinenko murder inquiry

Litvinenko
© Unknown
poisoned former spy Alexander Litvinenko
Britain announced on Tuesday it would hold a public inquiry into the death of a former Russian spy who accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering his murder, but denied the decision was linked to the Ukraine crisis.

A year ago, the British government declined to order an inquiry into the killing of ex-KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko, who died after drinking tea poisoned with a radioactive isotope in a London hotel in 2006. That led to accusations Britain was appeasing the Kremlin, which has always denied involvement.

Tuesday's announcement comes as Prime Minister David Cameron leads calls for hard-hitting sanctions against Russia, including freezing the assets of Putin's close allies, after the downing of Malaysian airliner MH17 in a pro-Russian rebel-held part of Ukraine last week.

A spokesman for Cameron denied there was a connection between the decision to hold an inquiry and the Ukraine crisis.

"I can very clearly and firmly say there isn't a link," he told reporters.

Litvinenko's wife Marina said she too believed the decision had not been taken as a result of events in Ukraine.

"I am definitely sure it was not taken because of this (the Ukraine situation)," she told reporters. "I was waiting for this since February. I believed one day it would happen."

She told a news conference she did not expect the inquiry would lead to the extradition of her husband's suspected killers from Russia, but would reveal what happened to him.

"I do this not against Russia. I do this for justice, for truth," she said.

The inquiry will be chaired by Robert Owen, the judge in charge of the inquest into Litvinenko's death who has said there is evidence indicating Russian involvement in the murder, Home Secretary Theresa May said in a statement.

Owen himself had called for an inquiry, saying the inquest - a British legal process held in cases of violent or unnatural deaths - could not get to the truth because he could not consider secret evidence held by the British government.

Comment: With the current anti-Russia rhetoric in Westminster (and abroad), of course there "isn't a link" Mr Cameron!
see also:
Litvinenko - By Way Of Deception - Part 1
Litvinenko - By Way Of Deception - Part 2
Litvinenko And The Apartheid State Of Israel

Blackbox

Russia has 10 more questions to pose to Ukraine, U.S. over MH17 crash

Media conference in Moscow over mh17
© RIA Novosti / Vadim Savitsky
Head of General Staff of the Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Andrey Kartopolov ( left) and chief of the Air Force Main Staff Lt. Gen. Igor Makushev ( right) at a media conference in Moscow, July 21
Russia has released military monitoring data, which shows Kiev military jets tracking the MH17 plane shortly before the crash - and posed yet another set of questions to Ukraine and the US over the circumstances of the tragedy.

Military officials - chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Andrey Kartopolov and chief of the Air Force Main Staff Lt. Gen. Igor Makushev - posed a number of questions to Kiev and Washington concerning the possible causes of the catastrophe in Eastern Ukraine that killed almost 300 people last Thursday.

1. Why did the MH17 plane leave the international corridor?

"Please note that the plane stayed within the corridor until it reached Donetsk but then it deviated from the route to the north," said Kartopolov.

2. Was MH17 leaving the route a navigation mistake or was the crew following instructions by Ukrainian air traffic controllers in Dnepropetrovsk?

"The maximum deviation from the left border of the corridor was 14 km. Following that, we can see the plane maneuvering to return to the corridor, yet the Malaysian crew did not get a chance to complete the maneuver. At 17.20, the plane began to lose speed, and at 17.23 it disappeared from Russian radars."

Comment: 10 questions the Russians have for Ukraine after crash of MH17

Stop

Accusations Israel using flechette weapons on Palestinian civilians

Israeli tanks firing
© rt.com
Israeli tanks firing on Gaza, stand accused of using flechette weapons on civilians.
The Israeli military has been accused of using flechette shells during its offensive in Gaza, which can cause widespread harm and death to civilians. The weapons, though legal in Israel and internationally, have been slammed as inhumane by rights groups.

Flechette shells
© www.scmp.com
Flechette dart weapons
The munitions are normally fired by tanks and contain thousands of small darts, which are released when the shell explodes in midair. The flechette shells are only four centimeters in length.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) reported that Israel has already used six shells, which were fired towards the village of Khuzaa in the Gaza Strip. Nahla Khalil Najjar, a 37 year-old women, suffered injuries to her chest, it said. PCHR provided a picture of flechettes taken by a fieldworker last week, the Guardian reported.

The Israel Defense Forces have not denied using the shells during the two week long conflict. "As a rule, the IDF only employs weapons that have been determined lawful under international law, and in a manner which fully conforms with the laws of armed conflict," a spokesman for the Israeli army stated.

The shells are not illegal under international humanitarian law, while the internet site, electronicintifada, which champions the Palestinian cause, reports that Israel has been using the munitions since March 2000. Flechette shells were declared legal by the Israeli Supreme Court in 2002.

Comment: Otherwise known as "deadly metal rain," armor-piercing steel flechettes inflict wounds indiscriminately. As a Direct Injection Antipersonnel Chemical Biological Warfare Agent, microflechette projectiles deliver toxins in addition to ballistic wounds. They were air-dropped in WWI by Allied forces and used in the Vietnam War by the U.S. infantry and tank divisions. Claims that flechette shells were used in the Russia-Georgia war are still under investigation. They can be fired from rocket launchers or hand-held firearms and a variety of shapes can increase wounding capacity.

Black Magic

Poroshenko ceasefire doesn't stop Ukraine air force striking 30km from plane crash site

Wreckage of flight mh17
© AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic
Ukrainian State Emergency Service employees search for bodies amongst the wreckage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Grabove, in the region of Donetsk on July 20, 2014.
The Ukrainian air forces have carried out a missile strike in 30 kilometers from the Malaysian MH17 plane crash site - despite the 40-kilometer ceasefire, Ria Novosti news agency reported.

About 11.30 local time (8.30 GMT), two Ukrainian military planes, thought to be Su-25s, were spotted in the skies above the town of Shakhtersk, which is 30 kilometers from the crash site.

Missiles hit a field near the town - one of them exploded 200 meters from a check-point, according to a Ria Novosti correspondent.

A crater was seen at the spot of the explosion. As yet, there have been no reports of any victims.

On Monday Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ordered a ceasefire within a radius of 40km from the crash site of Malaysian Airways flight MH17 in Donetsk Region.

Comment: All that comes out of Kiev is just lies! A ceasefire is double-speak for ceasefire for the federalists only. The junta is seeing this ceasefire as an opportunity to hit back agressively at the federalists and take this area over. There is also a lot pointing to that Poroshenko is not in control of the nazis in control of the Ukrainian army.

And the U.S. is only blaming and blaming with no evidence forthcoming, just like in the Syria gas attack and further back with the non-existing WMD of Saddam Hussein.

MH17: Putin's missile? Nope
10 questions the Russians have for Ukraine after crash of MH17
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 downed over warzone Ukraine. Who was behind it? Cui Bono?

Heart - Black

The slaughter continues: 600 deaths in Gaza, Israeli military hits mosques, stadium, homes, hospital

Gaza bombed
© Agence France-Presse/Said Khatib
Palestinian boys walk past debris, including Korans and other items from a mosque destroyed in an overnight Israeli military strike, on July 22, 2014, in Rafah the southern Gaza Strip
Israel kept up attacks on Gaza on Tuesday, killing three Palestinians and hitting over 70 targets, including five mosques, a sports stadium and the home of the deceased Hamas military chief.

The latest casualties in the fortnight-long violence have brought the Palestinian death toll to 570, according to AP.

Almost 100 of them are children and many others are civilians.

Comment: I doubt that the murdered children agree with Ismail Haniyeh on that one, or that the blockade will ever come to an end, unless he means the blood of every single one of them. Because the Israeli government has shown repeatedly that this is exactly what they mean.

Heart

Another reporter breaks down on air while reporting on the 87 Palestinians who lost their lives Sunday

Shijaiyah
© Mohammed Abed/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images
Shijaiyah: Civil defense workers remove the body of a little girl.
Covering the violent scene in Gaza has proven difficult for even the most seasoned reporters.

Al Jazeera's Gaza correspondent Wael Al-Dahdouh walked off camera on Sunday while reporting on the dozens of people killed and thousands of Shijaiyah residents forced to flee their homes as Israeli aircraft continued to target the area. Al-Dahdouh is an award-winning journalist and has covered the conflicts in his hometown for years.

Despite his experience, he could not hide his emotions while reporting on the 87 Palestinians who lost their lives Sunday.

Watch the video to see an emotional Al-Dahdouh unable to finish his coverage.

Comment: Press TV's Gaza correspondent breaks down while covering Israeli killing of Palestinian children

Briefcase

The implosion is near: Signs of the bubble's last days

Janet Yellen

The Fed's Janet Yellen, world's leading money printer.
The central banks of the world are massively and insouciantly pursuing financial instability. That's the inherent result of the 68 straight months of zero money market rates that have been forced into the global financial system by the Fed and its confederates at the BOJ, ECB and BOE. ZIRP fuels endless carry trades and the harvesting of every manner of profit spread between negligible "funding" costs and positive yields and returns on a wide spectrum of risk assets.

Moreover, this central bank sponsored regime of ZIRP and money market pegging contains a built-in accelerator. As carry trade speculators drive asset prices steadily higher and fixed income spreads steadily thinner - - fear and short interest is driven out of the casino, making buying on the dips ever more profitable and less risky. Indeed, the explicit promise by central banks that the money market rate will remain frozen for the duration and that ample warning of any change in rate policy will be "transparently" announced is the single worst policy imaginable from the point of view of financial stability. It means that the speculator's worst nightmare - - suddenly going "upside down" due to a sharp spike in funding costs - -is eliminated by central bank writ.

Comment: At the end of the day, this is just a continuation of the move to strip wealth from the 99% and transfer it to the 1%

Attention

A new study predicts 2 billion dead, 25-year winter after a 'limited' nuclear war

Nuclear War_1
© news.com.au
Blast effect ... Forget the shock wave. The change in weather induced by billions of tons of ash and dust in the atmosphere from even a “small” nuclear war between India and Pakistan will kill 2 billion people, a new study says.
IT'S a horrifying scene burned into our collective conscious: A flash of light, a blast of hot air and a ballooning mushroom cloud. But there's much more to a nuclear war, as a new study reveals.

Nuclear War_3
© news.com.au
Grim reality ... The morbid, confronting scenes of the movie “Threads” sets an accurate scene for the effects of a “small” nuclear war.
Filmmakers and novelists have been tackling the subject for decades. Some have been somewhat sanitised in their approach (Jericho, 2006).

Others have been brutally confronting (Threads, 1984, and The Road, 2009).

All have simply speculated about the fate of life on Earth after an apocalyptic nuclear exchange.

Now, a team of US atmospheric and environmental scientists have taken a detailed look at exactly what all that dust, ash and debris in the air means.

Specifically, they ran computer models on a fight between Pakistan and India through advanced climate predicting software developed to study pollution-based climate change.

The outcome?

It's bad.

Even for this "limited, regional nuclear war", it means a one-to-two degree plunge in global temperatures and a nine-per cent cut in worldwide rainfall.
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