Puppet Masters


SOTT Exclusive: Nemtsov investigation: Suspects, revelations and speculation - Was 'opposition leader' actually working for the Kremlin?

Fort Russ has been following the Nemtsov murder and Russian commentary, offering daily translations of articles unavailable elsewhere in English. Here are a few highlights from the past couple days. First of all, the investigation is apparently focusing on a Chechen militant commander, Adam Osmayev, also named in a case involving an assassination attempt on President Putin. Chechen militants have been fighting with Kiev against DPR and LPR, and may have been working for Ukrainian secret services in an attempt to destabilize Russia politically, according to Vladimir Markin, spokesperson for the murder's Investigative Committee.
A law enforcement source had told the media that the investigating group has evidence that Ukrainian secret services played a role in Nemtsov's murder. ... The investigators are also working on other versions: political, extremist, business, and personal. However, judging by the quality of preparation and implementation, it was done by professionals. The Izvestiya source said that the killer shot Nemtsov only a few tens of meters from the Kremlin, and it since became known that the murder took place in a spot not covered by a surveillance camera. Moreover, they chose a time during which there are no traffic jams, but there is still heavy traffic in the center which allowed the killers' car to become lost among other vehicles.
Osmayev's predecessor as leader of the Dzhokhar Dudayev battalion, Isa Munaev, was killed on February 1 in Debaltsevo. In other words, they may have colluded with Kiev in the murder by taking a revenge of sorts against Russia, whom they see as the aggressor in Ukraine.

Mr. Potato

Bibi the Clown in Congress: Iran = most terrible, horrible, no good thing ever, in the universe

© AP Photo/ Andrew Harnik
"Silence, my subjects! I am not finished!"
During his speech before Congress, Prime Minister Netanyahu used a number of grand, rhetorical sound bites. It was all part of a concentrated effort to convince a foreign legal body to disregard their own president's policies in favor of his own. And judging by the standing applause, these ten lines may have been the most convincing - and baffling.

1. It was "never my intention" for speech to become political.

As anyone with even a cursory knowledge of American politics knows, anything and everything is political once it comes before Congress. A New York soda ban last year made buying Coca-Cola a radical statement. Even Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper" became a way for Republicans to show their bonafides. But sure, Netanyahu thought everyone would be cool with him circumventing the leader of the United States.

Comment: Bibi is more humble than Moses. He was obviously just magnanimously admitting that he's not that smart. Kudos for your honesty, Bibi.

Comment: See also:


Propaganda: Cousin of Gaddafi warns 'Europe will face a 9/11 within two years'

© Reuters/Asmaa Waguih
Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, cousin of Libya's former president Muammar Gaddafi

Comment: This man is spreading fear and disinformation. He appears to be working for Western intelligence that is intent on using signature fear tactics to install the total surveillance state in Europe.

Colonel Gaddafi's cousin predicts a "9/11 in Europe within two years," as Islamic State militants join thousands of migrants beating a path to Europe. His warning comes as Home Secretary Theresa May says Britain's terror threat is "grave and growing."

Ahmed Gaddafi al-Dam, formerly one of Gadaffi's most trusted security chiefs, estimates a minimum of 500,000 migrants will make their way from Libya to Europe in 2015, as the Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] increases its foothold in the North African state.

"There are many terrorists among them, between 10 and 50 in every thousand," he told the Mail Online. "They are going all throughout Europe [sic]. Within one year, two years, you will have another September 11."

The former security chief made the remarks in Cairo on Monday, during an interview with the newspaper. He has reportedly since fled.

Following his comments, Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May said Britons continue to face the risk of a terror attack. She added everyone in the UK needs to play their part to help fight the spread of radicalization.

Stock Up

Minnesota governor taxed the rich and increased minimum wage - now his state's economy is flourishing

The next time your right-wing family member or former high school classmate posts a status update or tweet about how taxing the rich or increasing workers' wages kills jobs and makes businesses leave the state, I want you to send them this article.

When he took office in January of 2011, Minnesota governor Mark Dayton inherited a $6.2 billion budget deficit and a 7 percent unemployment rate from his predecessor, Tim Pawlenty, the soon-forgotten Republican candidate for the presidency who called himself Minnesota's first true fiscally-conservative governor in modern history. Pawlenty prided himself on never raising state taxes -- the most he ever did to generate new revenue was increase the tax on cigarettes by 75 cents a pack. Between 2003 and late 2010, when Pawlenty was at the head of Minnesota's state government, he managed to add only 6,200 more jobs.

During his first four years in office, Gov. Dayton raised the state income tax from 7.85 to 9.85 percent on individuals earning over $150,000, and on couples earning over $250,000 when filing jointly -- a tax increase of $2.1 billion. He's also agreed to raise Minnesota's minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2018, and passed a state law guaranteeing equal pay for women. Republicans like state representative Mark Uglem warned against Gov. Dayton's tax increases, saying, "The job creators, the big corporations, the small corporations, they will leave. It's all dollars and sense to them." The conservative friend or family member you shared this article with would probably say the same if their governor tried something like this. But like Uglem, they would be proven wrong.

Between 2011 and 2015, Gov. Dayton added 172,000 new jobs to Minnesota's economy -- that's 165,800 more jobs in Dayton's first term than Pawlenty added in both of his terms combined. Even though Minnesota's top income tax rate is the 4th-highest in the country, it has the 5th-lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.6 percent. According to 2012-2013 U.S. census figures, Minnesotans had a median income that was $10,000 larger than the U.S. average, and their median income is still $8,000 more than the U.S. average today.

Stock Up

Russian media monitoring group releases first report on world media hostility to Russia

On Feb. 18 the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS), a think tank established by the Russian President in 1992, presented its new "World Mass Media Hostility Index," the main goal of which is to rank how friendly countries are to Russia by analyzing their mass media content. It aims to identify the states that exercise the most aggressive media policy towards Russia and threaten its "information security."

This analytical report is the result of detailed analysis of the media policies of different countries in 2014, when crucial shifts in the rhetoric employed by Western media about Russia occurred. The author of the mass media hostility index is a senior fellow at RISS, Dr. Igor Nikolaichuk. He suggests that, over the course of 2014, Western media started to "spread anti-Russian propaganda more actively than ever," which he calls the beginning of "the global information war" against Russia.

The RISS positions its index as the first-ever comprehensive analysis of the world's media content pertaining to Russia. The analysis is based on complex statistical data (provided by Russian news agency Rossiya Segodnya) that is examined via a new applied discipline known as "political mediametrics." A unit for analysis is a significant media publication that gives a reader certain assessments of Russia or its leadership. Ordinary news was excluded from the analysis.

Comment: Even ordinary news is slanted to paint a propagandistic image of Russia in the West. So keep that in mind when you see the results below.

Eye 2

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker proposes budget that eliminates requirement that colleges report sexual assaults

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's proposed budget would not merely cut nearly $300 million from the University of Wisconsin system, it would eliminate the requirement that campus employees report sexual assaults they have witnessed, as well as the requirement that campuses report the number of sexual assaults to the Department of Justice, Jezebel's Natasha Vargas-Cooper reports.

In light of the recently discredited Rolling Stone article about an alleged gang-rape at the University of Virginia, the reporting of sexual abuse on campus has become a politicized issue — especially among conservatives.

Fox News contributor Stacey Dash claimed that women who were sexually assaulted at fraternity parties were "bad girls" who "like to be naughty" and "might go out and play and get hurt."

Universities in the Wisconsin system are currently required to report the number of sexual assaults — regardless of whether the victims are "bad girls" or not — to the Department of Justice. The Walker budget not only removes that mandatory report, but also the requirement that any university employee "who witnesses a sexual assault on campus or receives a report from a student enrolled in the institution that the student has been sexually assaulted report the assault to the dean of students."

The new Walker budget would simply "delete" those requirements without offering any alternative policy recommendation, as outlined in a section of the budget titled "DELETE LANGUAGE RELATED TO SEXUAL ASSAULT INFORMATION AND REPORTING" — in which the first word of every sentence is "delete."

"Delete the requirement," the budget's language states, "that each institution report annually to the Department of Justice (DOJ) statistics on sexual assaults and on sexual assaults committed by acquaintances of the victims that occurred on the campus of that institution in the previous years, and that DOJ include those statistics in appropriate crime reports."


US: Electricity price index hit an all-time high for January

In contrast to the steep decline in the gasoline price index over the past year (which led to a decline in the overall Consumer Price Index), the seasonally adjusted electricity price index hit an all-time high in January, according to data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In January, the seasonally adjusted price index for electricity was 212.290. That was up from 210.489 in December, which was the record up until then. Before that, the high had been the 209.341 recorded in March of last year.

The annual electricity price index set a record in 2014 of 208.020 up from 200.750 in 2013.
In January, the average price for a kilowatthour (KWH) of electricity also hit an all-time high for that month of the year.

According to BLS, a KWH of electricity cost an average of 13.8 cents in January 2015, which was less than the 14.3-cent cost in June, July and August of 2014 (and 14.1-cent cost of September 2014) but more than the average cost of a KWH in any month—including the summer months—of 2013. In that year, the average price of a KWH peaked at 13.7 cents in the months from June to September.

The price of electricity tends to follow an annual pattern--rising in the spring, peaking in the summer, and declining in the fall.
The rise in the electricity price index ran counter to the gasoline price index, the overall energy price index, and the overall Consumer Price Index, all of which declined in January as well as over the past twelve months.

"The energy index fell 9.7 percent in January, its seventh consecutive decline and the largest 1-month decrease since November 2008," said the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its press release on the CPI.

Comment: Food prices are up. Power prices are up. Living wages are down. It's best not to rely on the government for support when things take a turn for the worse.


The West's whole case for sanctions against Russia is pure lies

U.S. President Barack Obama has stated many times his case against Russia — the reason for the economic sanctions. In his National Security Strategy 2015, he uses the term "aggression" 18 times, and 17 of them are referring specifically to only one country as "aggressive": Russia. However, not once does he say there what the "aggression" consisted of: what its target was, or what it itself was. He's vague there on everything except his own target: Russia.

For those things (what Russia's "aggression" consists of), Obama's only statement that has been even as lengthy as moderately brief — since he has never presented it at any more length — was his interview with Fareed Zacaria of CNN on 1 February 2015, which happened to be a statement given only three days short of the first anniversary of his agent's, Victoria Nuland's, having selected, on 4 February 2014, whom the next leader of Ukraine would be, Arseniy Yatsenyuk (she called him "Yats") after the democratically elected and sitting Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, would become overthrown, which happened 18 days later, on 22 February 2014. (It was nothing like Czechoslovakia's "Velvet Revolution". This wasn't democratic; it was a coup.)

Obama said there, in this CNN interview, that the reason for the sanctions against Russia was that,
"since Mr. Putin made this decision around Crimea and Ukraine — not because of some grand strategy, but essentially because he was caught off-balance by the protests in the Maidan and Yanukovych then fleeing after we had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine — since that time, this improvisation that he's been doing has getting — has gotten him deeper and deeper into a situation that is a violation of international law, that violates the integrity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, has isolated Russia diplomatically, has made Europe wary of doing business with Russia, has allowed the imposition of sanctions that are crippling Russia's economy at a time when their oil revenues are dropping. There's no formula in which this ends up being good for Russia. The annexation of Crimea is a cost, not a benefit, to Russia. The days in which conquest of land somehow was a formula for great nation status is over."


Russian FM: Moscow will not give in to blackmail and threats - Will choose any option to respond to sanctions

© Sputnik/ Evgeniya Novozhenova
Moscow reserves the right to respond to Western sanctions in any way it sees fit, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told RIA Novosti.

Washington, Brussels and a number of their allies have introduced several rounds of economic sanctions toward Russia, accusing the country of interfering in the Ukrainian crisis. Moscow has dismissed the accusations and responded with a one-year ban on certain food imports from sanctions-imposing nations.

"We reserve to ourselves the maximum freedom of action in this regard. We cannot give in to blackmail and threats, we cannot stay apathetic amid off-handed attempts to pressure Russia with the goal of changing its foreign policy line," the official said.

Ryabkov also pointed out that US diplomats often resort to the phrase "all options remain on the table" to describe a situation in which the president or a high-ranked official considers different approaches to a given situation.

"This is said at different levels and is not considered discreditable... We are saying exactly the same, we are saying that all options remain on the table, and which one will be chosen depends on a variety of factors," the diplomat said.

Last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry suggested that the United States would likely expand sanctions against Moscow in the near future, despite the brokering by Russia two weeks earlier of a ceasefire agreement between Kiev forces and East Ukraine's independence supporters.

Snakes in Suits

Fugitive Saakashvili calls for 'a second Maidan' in Georgia

© Sputnik/ Alexey Kudenko
The party led by Georgia's fugitive ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, United National Movement (UNM), has announced that it is planning massive anti-government protests in Tbilisi, the country's capital, as the country faces economic issues following a devaluation of its national currency.

In a communique to his supporters, which has been circulated Georgian media, Saakashvili calls for mass protests similar to the 2013-2014 Euromaidan protests in Ukraine.
"Create a second 'Maidan,' cause chaos... there will be money and support."

Comment: Does this guy really think he has much support from the people?