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Putin's power play: Why Russia's patience will pay off in the Ukraine crisis

Putin
© The Kremlin
A very cold winter in Eastern Europe may tilt its political balance in Russia's direction, And why the situation might go from bad to worse.

As winter approaches, Putin's hand is even stronger, as the crisis begins to transform from a military confrontation into a confrontation between Ukraine and Europe over the supply of Russian natural gas

Reports out of Milan regarding last Friday's much anticipated meeting between Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko indicate that little progress has been made toward resolving the nearly yearlong Ukraine crisis. This, given the broader political currents at play in Europe, is unsurprising.

To begin with, Mr. Poroshenko has, for all intents and purposes, lost the military battle over the Donbas in resounding fashion. While his bloc leads in the polls ahead of next Sunday's parliamentary election, Poroshenko faces a number of other challenges, not least of which is a collapsing economy (some estimates have the Ukrainian economy shrinking by 10 percent this year) and a burgeoning populist backlash over the government's handling of the crisis.

So what we saw play out in Milan is more or less a repeat of the last Putin/Poroshenko meeting that took place in Minsk on August 26, because the same logic applies. Mr. Putin, as I wrote then, is always going to be the party - regardless of whether he is facing sanctions or a chorus of international condemnation - who will be playing the stronger hand in negotiations with Ukraine.

Yet as we approach November, his hand is even stronger, as the crisis begins to transform from a military confrontation between Russia and Ukraine into a confrontation between Ukraine and Europe over the supply of Russian natural gas. Ukraine serves as the transit point for 50 percent of EU-bound Russian LNG, and Ukraine's siphoning off of LNG bound for southeastern Europe, which led to Russia cutting off the supply in January 2006 and January 2009, is still fresh in the minds of European leaders.

The Rada's recent passage of a lustration bill, widely publicized acts of violence against sitting MPs through "trash bucket challenges," a popular revival of Nazi-era symbols and the incorporation of far-right elements into Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's "People's Front" do not exactly augur well for the chances for a tranquil political environment in either Ukraine or in Eastern Europe, where the memory of Ukrainian collaboration against the Poles and the region's Jews is fresher there than it is here in the United States.

Comment: The psychopathic 'reality creators" in Washington have purged the government of those who might be able to offer sound advice. Putin, on the other hand, has surrounded himself with well-educated realists. The differences shows in nuanced statecraft vs. "bombing everything that moves." The EU seems to be finally waking up to the difference. The coming winter should reinforce it.

Megaphone

Attack on First Amendement Rights: 'Mumia Bill' in Pennsylvania lets prisoners be sued over speech

Prisoners serving time in the state of Pennsylvania can now be sued for speaking up from behind bars after Governor Tom Corbett signed into law this week the Revictimization Relief Act that legislatures rushed to approve only days earlier.

The bill, signed on Tuesday by Corbett, a Republican, allows victims of "a personal injury crime" to sue the perpetrator if that offender "perpetuates the continuing effect of the crime on the victim."

State Rep. Mike Vereb, a Republican and a co-author of the act, announced earlier this month that he'd be rallying lawmakers to support the bill after former death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal was allowed to record a commencement speech that was played for graduates of Goddard College during an October 5 ceremony.

Comment: Learn more about the activism of Mumia Abu-Jamal and why ridicules, unconstitutional bills, like the one above are obviously another attempt to silence anyone who has the courage to tell the truth!

The Unsilenced Voice of a 'Long-Distance Revolutionary'
Mumia Abu-Jamal was transferred in January to the general prison population after nearly 30 years in solitary confinement on death row and was permitted physical contact with his wife, children and other visitors for the first time in three decades. He had been sentenced to death in 1982 for the Dec. 9, 1981, killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. His sentence was recently amended to life without parole. The misconduct of the judge, flagrant irregularities in his trial and tainted evidence have been criticized by numerous human rights organizations, including Amnesty International.

During my four-and-a-half-hour conversation with Abu-Jamal I was not permitted a pencil or paper. I wrote down his quotes after I left the prison. My time with him mirrors the wider pattern of a society where the poor and the destitute are rendered invisible and voiceless.

The breadth of his reading, which along with his writing and 3,000 radio broadcasts has kept his mind and soul intact, is staggering. His own books are banned in the prison. In conversation he swings easily from detailed discussions of the Opium Wars between 1839 and 1860 to the Black Panthers to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to the series of legislative betrayals of the poor and people of color by Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.


Stock Down

Europe's economic panic inches ever closer

Frankfurt stock exchange
© Reuters / Stringer
Traders are pictured at their desks in front of the DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange October 22, 2014
European economic denial has reached the point where we are straddling the abyss, facing a code red moment of meltdown.

Whether by bloody-minded obstinacy or a clear incapacity to understand the mess it has overseen, the EU now reaches another of those critical junctures where simply papering over the cracks and maintaining a demented agitprop that growth is around the corner won't do. Besides, the green shoots of recovery have once again evaporated for the umpteenth time. As the world grows, Europe stagnates.

The EU isn't working - as 12 percent of the continent's population know only too well (including that lost generation under 30 born near the Mediterranean). Meanwhile, former Communist-turned-totalitarian-Europhile Jose Manuel Barroso has been enjoying a typically bombastic pre-retirement tour demonstrating a majestic lack of understanding for the stagnancy which has resulted from his decade-long failure as EU president.

Having spent much of the past year blithely mouthing a mantra of recovery, the outgoing commission departs the Berlaymont as even greater political failures than they were in national office before being elevated to Brussels. The demented hubris which preached recovery without coherent reworking of broken economies has been rendered mute by economic reality. Even in Brussels there may be a realization that political fudges won't do - the European empire must be restructured if it is not to face oblivion. As it is, the pathetic political posturing of national interests led by France (bankrupt) and Germany (deeply disingenuously protectionist) at all times have inexorably weakened Europe in a decade of prolonged growth in the emerging markets of the east.

Thus we reach an abyss for Europe. Germany (as predicted) is a post-peak economic powerhouse. Ukraine has led the EU to self-defeating sanctions which have further trimmed the economy just as growth has proven a mirage.
Eye 2

Obama administration ordered to explain why they're withholding 2,100 graphic photos of torture

© Unknown
The Obama administration has until early December to detail its reasons for withholding as many as 2,100 graphic photographs depicting US military torture of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, a federal judge ordered on Tuesday.

By 12 December, Justice Department attorneys will have to list, photograph by photograph, the government's rationale for keeping redacted versions of the photos unseen by the public, Judge Alvin Hellerstein instructed lawyers. But any actual release of the photographs will come after Hellerstein reviews the government's reasoning and issues another ruling in the protracted transparency case.

While Hellerstein left unclear how much of the Justice Department's declaration will itself be public, the government's submission is likely to be its most detailed argument for secrecy over the imagery in a case that has lasted a decade.
Cowboy Hat

Using the Swedes to tar the Russians: The submarine farce continues

© Unknown
The anti-Russian hysteria is a symptom of NATO and Israel's continuing 'war of deception'
You have heard that Sweden is hunting a "submarine" and that it is "presumed to be Russian". Here is an example Financial Times of October 21 - which incidentally also announces that the Swedish Prime Minister vows to increase defense spending.

Not the slightest evidence

There are only three problems with this:

1) There is not the slightest evidence of there being anything military, neither that it is a submarine nor that, whatever the object might be, it is Russian.

2) Even with CNN, BBC and AlJazeera, this is nothing but speculative low-grade yellow press journalism.

Comment: The real criminals wage a "Cold War" and a "War on Terror" at the same time. Both are staged:

Gold Bar

Jim Rickards warns: Prepare for U.S. gold confiscation and Orwell's 1984


Microchips embedded in the arms of citizens to track their activities, the total destruction of the middle classes and a cashless economy where an authoritarian state can freeze the accounts of dissenting citizens excluding them from all economic activity..... These are all part of the cheery scenario painted by the highly respected author and IMF-insider with connections to the Pentagon, Jim Rickards in his most recent article for Agora Financial.

"In the year 2024″ as the article is called, capitalism and markets will have been abolished in favor of a Marxist dystopia managed by the "New World Order." The savings and assets of the middle classes will have been annihilated. This unfolds through a series of panics and shocks to the markets and hyper-inflation. As the hyperinflation takes hold there is a mass exodus out of paper currency and into gold. The G-20 arrange for the mass confiscation of gold, to be stored in an enormous vault in the Swiss Alps, in order to force the public back onto newly created digital currency. To ensure that the public cannot protect themselves from the profligacy of governments gold is taken out of circulation forever.

Comment: It might be safer to actually take delivery of gold and silver rather than storing it offsite.

An interview with Jim Rickards and Peter Schiff on currency wars.

Vader

Neocon masters of chaos creating catastrophic risks for global economy

neocons
America's neoconservatives, by stirring up trouble in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, are creating risks for the world's economy that are surfacing now in the turbulent stock markets, threatening another global recession, writes Robert Parry.

If you're nervously watching the stock market gyrations and worrying about your declining portfolio or pension fund, part of the blame should go to America's neocons who continue to be masters of chaos, endangering the world's economy by instigating geopolitical confrontations in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Of course, there are other factors pushing Europe's economy to the brink of a triple-dip recession and threatening to stop America's fragile recovery, too. But the neocons' "regime change" strategies, which have unleashed violence and confrontations across Iraq, Syria, Libya, Iran and most recently Ukraine, have added to the economic uncertainty.
Network

Fake celebrity twitter endorsement for CIA backed presidential candidate in Brazil elections

Neves Lindsay Lohan
© Unknown
With just four days to go until Brazilians vote in a bitterly contested presidential election, an opinion poll published Wednesday suggests that the challenger, Aécio Neves, remains the underdog but still has a fighting chance of defeating President Dilma Rousseff.

If he is going to unseat Brazil's first female president, however, Mr. Neves will have to do so without the endorsement of the American actress Lindsay Lohan. A spokeswoman for the actress clarified on Wednesday that "a tweet declaring Ms. Lohan's support for a Brazilian presidential candidate," which had attracted wide attention in Brazil one day earlier, was posted on her Twitter account in error.

"While Ms. Lohan doesn't support any of the candidates," her publicist, Leslie Sloane, wrote in an email, "she encourages Brazilians to vote on Oct. 26."

Comment: CIA pressure in Brazilian elections

George Soros and the CIA banking on Aecio Neves to defeat Rousseff in Brazilian elections

Binoculars

Modern-day Gladio: 'Terror' attack wave in Canada

fbi

The FBI has an impressive portfolio of intentionally created, then foiled terror plots. Its methods include allowing suspects to handle both real and inoperable weapons and explosives. These methods allow the FBI to switch entrapment cases "live" at any moment simply by switching out duds and arrests with real explosives and successful attacks. Because the FBI uses "informants," when attacks go live, these confidential assets can be blamed, obfuscating the FBI's involvement.
As warned, after multiple staged incidents used to ratchet up fear and paranoia in the build-up to US and its allies' military intervention in Syria and Iraq, at least two live attacks have now been carried out in Canada - precisely as they were predicted.

The first attack involved a deadly hit-and-run that left one Canadian soldier dead. AP would report in its article, "Terrorist ideology blamed in Canada car attack," that:
A young convert to Islam who killed a Canadian soldier in a hit-and-run had been on the radar of federal investigators, who feared he had jihadist ambitions and seized his passport when he tried to travel to Turkey, authorities said Tuesday.
The second, most recent attack, involved a shooting in Ottawa injuring several and killing another Canadian soldier. RT in its article, "Ottawa gunman 'identified' as recent Muslim convert, high-risk traveler," would report that:
While the name of the Ottawa gunman is yet to be announced, a number of officials told numerous media that the shooter is believed to be Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a recent Muslim convert, allegedly designated as a high-risk traveler.
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was born in Quebec as Michael Joseph Hall north of Montreal, two US officials told Reuters, claiming that American law enforcement agencies have been advised that the attacker recently converted to Islam.
AP sources also identified the man to be Zehaf-Bibeau. A Twitter account associated with Islamic State militants tweeted a photo they identified as the Ottawa shooter. The Globe and Mail reports that the shooter was designated a "high-risk traveler" by the Canadian authorities with his passport seized.
Clearly, both suspects were under the watch of not only Canadian authorities, but also US investigators, before the attacks.

Comment: See also Niall Bradley's SOTT Focus on the Ottawa shooting: Ottawa under attack: 'ISIS' assault on Canadian capital another false-flag terror event

Top Secret

Top scientific journals reject Dr. Bronner's Ad

David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, presides over a company with famously wacky product labels. Sample sentence, from the 18-in-1 Hemp PEPPERMINT soap bottle: "Each swallow works hard to be perfect pilot-provider-teacher-lover-mate, no half-true hate!" But Bronner himself, grandson of the founder (the one with the elaborate prose style), has emerged as a serious, though fun-loving, activist, particularly around pesticides and genetically modified crops, as Josh Harkinson's recent Mother Jones profile shows.

But apparently, Bronner's writing on GMOs is too hot for the advertising pages of the English-speaking world's two most renowned science journals, Science and Nature -even though a slew of magazines, including Scientific American, The New Yorker, Harper's, The Nation, Harvard, and, yes, Mother Jones, accepted the Bronner ad. It consists of a short essay, known in publishing as an advertorial, that's nothing like the wild-eyed rants on his company's soap bottles. Bronner's ad (PDF) focuses on how GMO crops have led to a net increase in pesticide use in the United States, citing an analysis by Ramon Seidler, a retired senior staff scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Bronner wrote his essay in response to Michael Specter's recent New Yorker takedown of anti-GMO crusader Vandana Shiva. He first published his critique on Huffington Post, and then decided to publish it as an ad in a variety of high-profile magazines, because he felt that The New Yorker is highly influential among liberal elites, and he wanted to get his dissenting view out, he told me.

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