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EU sanctions on Russia could cripple London

© AFP Photo / John D. Mchugh
The EU plans to widen economic sanctions against Russia, but London, already on rocky ground with the EU, would be hit the hardest if tougher restrictions are slapped on Russia's big state banks.

If agreed, EU sanctions would apply to all Russian banks that are more than 50 percent state-owned. Sberbank, VTB, the country's two largest lenders, are both listed on the London Stock Exchange and have offices there.

If Russian banks get hit the ripples will be felt across the English Channel and in the heart of the world's financial center- the City of London.

Between 2004 and 2008, Russia's top two lenders raised $16.4 billion in floatations, and a ban would cost London hundreds of millions of pounds, The Times reports.

"The real question is, why is so much of the burden - even if it is not a massive one - falling on the UK? France and Germany might be talking tougher, but they do not quite seem to be following through with actions," Raoul Ruparel, a senior analyst at Open Europe, a think-tank, told The Times.
Star of David

Israel takes 24-hour break from bombing Gaza as number massacred goes past 1,000

© @GarySpedding
A before and after shot of Al-Shahayeeh neighbourhood in Gaza
Over 1,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel started its military operation in Gaza, officials said. As world leaders called for a full truce, Israel extended the humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza for 24 hours.

The ceasefire has been prolonged until Sunday at midnight, the country's cabinet said late Saturday . However, Israel warned that it will retaliate if Hamas fires rockets from Gaza territory.

Comment: ...which means Israel will do what it always does: have some of its agents fire some shells into a field across the perimeter fence, then declare the 'ceasefire' broken and resume massive aerial bombardment of residential areas. Or just simply announce that 'some rockets were fired at us', and provide no evidence whatsoever.

The Palestinian death toll from Israel's 19-day operation has reached 1,032 people, Gaza's Health Ministry told AFP.

Despite the 12-hour cease-fire between Hamas and Israel set for Saturday, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has urged the Palestinians, who earlier left their homes in Gaza, to "refrain from returning."

"The IDF shall respond if terrorists choose to exploit this time to attack IDF personnel or fire at Israeli civilians," the military's spokesperson also said in a statement, adding that Israel will continue "the operational activities to locate and neutralize tunnels in the Gaza Strip" during the ceasefire.

Comment: Update July 27th:

As predicted, Israel has resumed massive aerial bombardment using the pretext that "rockets were fired from Gaza..."


Despite near-total pro-Israeli coverage, Israeli ambassador to Washington is 'outraged' that US media didn't cite IDF rationale for blowing up UN schools in Gaza

The Israeli ambassador to the United States is claiming that the "media is not connecting the dots" to Hamas following a story of 15 Palestinians killed when a United Nations school they sought shelter in was shelled.

Appearing on CNN Thursday evening, Ron Dermer chastised the network for not including in their coverage about how Hamas was using schools to hide rockets.

"It would be a disservice to your viewers for a reporter from Gaza not to mention that in the last week we had two different UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) schools where we had actually rockets found in the schools and handed over to Hamas," Dermer said.

He then added: "Do you not think that it's relevant to report on CNN that the secretary-general of the United Nations yesterday warned against the use of U.N. schools and shelter for rocket missile deposits of Hamas?"

Comment: Again we see the psychopathic trait of Israel blaming the victim for what they are responsible for. Only the truly blind can ignore the murderous and massively destructive force at the foundations of Zionism.

Light Sabers

Former UK Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott: 'Israel's bombardment of Gaza is a war crime'

The former UK Deputy Prime Minister says the reaction to Hamas' rockets is brutally disproportionate and grossly indiscriminate.
© Getty

Imagine a country claiming the lives of nearly three times as many as were lost in the MH17 plane tragedy in less than three weeks.

A nation which blasted a hospital, shelled and killed children from a gunboat as they played football on the beach and was responsible for 1,000 deaths, at least 165 of them children, in just two weeks.

Surely it would be branded a pariah state, condemned by the United Nations, the US and the UK. The calls for regime change would be ­deafening.

But these howls of protest are muted. The condemnation softened.

For this is Israel.

Israel's hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu trots out the same excuses. Hamas "militants" in Gaza fired their rockets first. Israel has a right to defend itself. It needs to protect its citizens.

And he's right on all three counts - but as always with Israel this is not the full story. The military action supposedly targeting Hamas is so brutally disproportionate and so grossly indiscriminate that it makes it impossible not to view Israel's actions as war crimes.

Comment: The original source for this article contained a reader poll, here are the results at the time of this publication.

gaza reader poll
© The Mirror


Israel seeks ethnic cleansing of Palestinians

Gaza Massacre
© Press TV
A political analyst says Israel's relentless onslaught against the Gaza Strip is aimed at ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, Press TV reports.

In an interview with Press TV on Saturday, Scott Rickard, a former American intelligence linguist, said the Tel Aviv regime seeks to wipe the entire Palestine of its native inhabitants.
"This is genocide. This is ethnic cleansing of the indigenous people of Palestine," Rickard said, adding that Israel's crimes against Palestinians amount to "war crimes."
"They're basically trying to wipe out the entire Gaza infrastructure and reoccupy Gaza," the analyst added.

He also lashed out at the Egyptian government for helping the Israeli regime with its crimes against Palestinians by keeping the Rafah border crossing closed.
Light Saber

Jon Snow: The (war on the) children of Gaza

Jon Snow recounts the scene in Gaza's al-Shifa hospital, where doctors struggle to treat adults and children wounded by Israeli attacks.

Comment: Jon Snow is a well known reporter from one of the major news channels in the UK. After several days spent in Gaza this week reporting on the murderous attacks rained down upon the civilian population of Gaza by Israel, his horror and anger at the inhumanity he has been witness to is all too plain to see.

With conscience comes the courage to act.

Arrow Down

How the NSA is actively helping Saudi Arabia to crack down on dissent

Abdullah and Obama
© Ron Edmonds/AP
Barack Obama and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah in 2010.
It is not an exaggeration to say Saudi Arabia is one of the most oppressive, authoritarian regimes on the planet. Despite having been the main foreign instigator pushing for conflict in Syria, as well as its increasingly disturbing ties to the attacks on 9/11, it remains one of the U.S. government's closest allies.

I've covered some of the human rights abuses of the Saudi regime on several occasions due to the fact that it so clearly exposes the total hypocrisy of U.S. foreign policy. The most recent example was the recent sentencing of human rights lawyer and activist Waleed Abu Alkhair to 15 years in prison for "inciting public opinion," i.e., effectively utilizing free speech.

I covered this in detail in the post: Saudi Human Rights Lawyer and Activist Jailed for 15 Years for Free Speech Under New "Anti-Terror" Law.

Thanks to revelations from Edward Snowden, we now know that our taxpayer money is directly funding the ability of this autocratic regime to brutalize its citizenry.

U.S. orders evacuation of Libyan embassy after militia violence

tripoli violence

U.S. orders Americans to evacuate embassy
The United States evacuated its embassy in Libya on Saturday, driving diplomats across the border into Tunisia under heavy military escort after escalating clashes broke out between rival militias in Tripoli.

Security in the Libyan capital has deteriorated following two weeks of fighting between brigades of former rebel fighters who have pounded each other with rockets and artillery fire in southern Tripoli near the embassy compound.

The violence is the worst seen in Tripoli since the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi. Western governments fear Libya is teetering toward becoming a failed state just three years after the NATO-backed war ended his one-man rule.

Three F-16 fighters provided air support and Osprey aircraft carrying Marines flew overhead the U.S. convoy as a precaution, but there were no incidents during the five-hour drive from Tripoli to Tunisia, U.S. officials said.

"Security has to come first. Regrettably, we had to take this step because the location of our embassy is in very close proximity to intense fighting and ongoing violence between armed Libyan factions," a U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement.

Comment: Prior to the NATO invasion, Libyans enjoyed a high standard of living, free education and medical care and many other benefits rarely seen in other so-called Western 'democracies' . Now the country is devastated and violence rains uncontrolled, all of which as a result of NATO led 'regime change'.

The true goal of NATO: Three years after Gaddafi, Libya is imploding into chaos and violence‏
16 Things Libya Will Never See Again
The truth comes out about the Libyan War and Benghazi 2012 - Documentary


Authoritarian congressional delegate says public has no right to know what the government is up to!

Eleanor Holmes Norton

Eleanor Holmes Norton
Eleanor Holmes Norton, the non-voting congressional delegate for the District of Columbia, angrily sputtered during a congressional hearing Friday that the White House should not be held up to scrutiny, saying that there was no right to know what it was doing behind closed doors.

"You don't have a right to know everything in a separation-of-powers government, my friend. That is the difference between a parliamentary government and a separation-of-powers government," Norton said during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing.

It was, to put mildly, a significant departure from the more traditional liberal stance that openness and transparency are must to prevent abuses of power by government officials. Instead the leading advocate for statehood for the District of Columbia literally argued that even the congressional committee charged with oversight shouldn't be asking questions in the first place.

She made the comments while protesting the committee's Republican majority for voting to ignore a claim by the White House that David Simas, director of it's Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, was immune to a congressional subpoena to testify. Republicans believe the office is being used a political campaign operation, a violation of federal election law.

Comment: Authoritarians are highly submissive to established authority, aggressive in the name of that authority, and conventional to the point of insisting everyone should behave as their authorities decide. They are fearful and self-righteous and have a lot of hostility in them that they readily direct toward various outgroups. They are easily incited, easily led, rather un-inclined to think for themselves, largely impervious to facts and reason, and rely instead on social support to maintain their beliefs. They bring strong loyalty to their in-groups, have thick-walled, highly compartmentalized minds, use lots of double standards in their judgments, are surprisingly unprincipled at times, and are often hypocrites.

Eye 2

Congress surprised? CIA obtained access to confidential whistleblower emails

© Desconocido
The CIA obtained a legally protected, confidential email between whistleblower officials and Congress this spring, raising questions over whether the agency illegally has access to other communications regarding whistleblowers, McClatchy reported.

It is unclear how the CIA got hold of the email and other unspecified communications between Daniel Meyer - the intelligence community's top official for whistleblower cases - and lawmakers, people familiar with the matter told McClatchy.

The email was about allegations that the CIA's inspector general, David Buckley, failed to properly investigate potential agency retaliation against an official who was cooperating with the Senate Intelligence Committee on an investigation pertaining to the 'The Company's' use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques during the George W. Bush administration.

In December 2013, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who led calls for the swift publication of the report, revealed that the Intelligence Committee had become aware of an internal CIA report, which he said was "consistent with the Intelligence Committee's report" and "conflicts with the official CIA response to the committee's report." The report was not shared with the Committee investigators.

Comment: Considering the track record of the CIA and NSA, how surprised and concerned can Congress really be? These agencies will go to any lengths to protect themselves.