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Eye 1

Germany seeks to deter a rising 'sympathy for Russia' in the Balkans

© Sputnik/ Sergei Guneev
Russia has always enjoyed a special relationship with some Balkan nations and the West has never been happy about it. Western capitals seem to have finally decided it is time to act.

Of late the European Union and the United States have been trying to break the bond between Moscow and the Balkans by including the region in their sphere of influence.

For Brussels, driving a wedge between the two sides means accelerating the long stagnant process of the bloc's expansion. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia have all been promised that they will join the EU someday but the bureaucrats in Brussels have been notoriously vague on details.

Comment: Once again Germany is being maneuvered against Russia. Check out:


Eye 1

Ex-MI5 agent: US Freedom Act is a 'surveillance act in disguise'

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© Toby Melville / Reuters
The headquarters of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service.
The US is playing games with public trust by passing different versions of the same intrusive surveillance system, a modern day Panopticon. Any alleged changes to the bulk collection program are purely cosmetic, according to ex-MI5 agent Annie Machon.

The recently passed USA Freedom Act was hailed as a stepping stone on the way to renewed public trust after the highly controversial Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which expired in May. Under the new law, the practice of bulk data collection on US citizens will be entrusted to telecom companies, and the NSA will be able to obtain the records through seeking a warrant from the FISA court.

So what does this recent decision mean with regards to the NSA's bulk collection program, and can Americans feel more at ease about the security of their phone data with the introduction of the new Freedom Act? RT asked the former MI5 agent-turned-whistleblower for her take.

RT: Firstly, what's your take on this? It's an isolated court case, you could say, but does it have any big impact, do you think, on the NSA spying program.

Annie Machon: It's business as usual for them. I'm sure they're very happy to be told what they're doing is legal, now. I mean, there have been a number of challenges, where different levels of courts in the US have said bulk metadata collection is legal; it's illegal; it's legal again. But, actually, what they've been doing is just business as usual under the 215 Section of the Patriot Act, which I think Congress was due to re-ratify at the beginning of June, but it became a bit gridlocked in the whole system. So, you know, they will be very happy with this result.

Comment: The metaphor used in the article to describe the NSA's vast surveillance powers is the Panopticon. From here we read:
The Panopticon is a type of institutional building designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The concept of the design is to allow a single watchman to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) inmates of an institution without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. Although it is physically impossible for the single watchman to observe all cells at once, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched means that all inmates must act as though they are watched at all times, effectively controlling their own behaviour constantly. The name is also a reference to Panoptes from Greek mythology; he was a giant with a hundred eyes and thus was known to be a very effective watchman.

The design consists of a circular structure with an "inspection house" at its centre, from which the manager or staff of the institution are able to watch the inmates, who are stationed around the perimeter. Bentham conceived the basic plan as being equally applicable to hospitals, schools, sanatoriums, daycares, and asylums, but he devoted most of his efforts to developing a design for a Panopticon prison, and it is his prison which is most widely understood by the term.

Bentham himself described the Panopticon as "a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example."[1]Elsewhere, in a letter, he described the Panopticon prison as "a mill for grinding rogues honest".[2]
Now imagine the concept of the Panopticon translated into a world-wide apparatus that is literally millions of times more powerful than the following images would seem to suggest...

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Except for this last one...

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Eye 1

Thousands of British citizens demand Netanyahu's arrest while Cameron ennobles director of British Israel lobby

© Sebastian Scheiner / Reuters
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
The killings of over 2000 unarmed civilians in 2014 by Israeli forces in Gaza under the control of Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, are alleged to have been deliberate policy by a government intent on the illegal settlement of a half a million Israelis on occupied Palestinian land in an effort to abort the establishment of an independent state, in direct opposition to the will of the UN and the EU.

This is a policy apparently condoned by the Conservative Friends of Israel lobby of which David Cameron is a member, as are the majority of his cabinet, notwithstanding the official British government stance that supports a two state solution.

There is currently a petition on the House of Commons website that demands the arrest of Netanyahu should he try to visit the UK in September. This petition is now expected to reach 100,000 signatures within the next few days.

Георгиевская ленточка

Russian military begins arriving in Syria to clean up America's Middle East mess

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© Reuters
A formation of Russian Mig 31s
Russia has begun its military intervention in Syria, deploying an aerial contingent to a permanent Syrian base, in order to launch attacks against ISIS and Islamist rebels; US stays silent.

Russian fighter pilots are expected to begin arriving in Syria in the coming days, and will fly their Russian air force fighter jets and attack helicopters against ISIS and rebel-aligned targets within the failing state.

According to Western diplomats, a Russian expeditionary force has already arrived in Syria and set up camp in an Assad-controlled airbase. The base is said to be in an area surrounding Damascus, and will serve, for all intents and purposes, as a Russian forward operating base.

In the coming weeks thousands of Russian military personnel are set to touch down in Syria, including advisors, instructors, logistics personnel, technical personnel, members of the aerial protection division, and the pilots who will operate the aircraft.

Gold Seal

Accept responsibility already! The current decline in US stock market is the US' fault, not China's

© AP Photo / Richard Drew
In The Matrix in which Americans live, the current decline in the US stock market is not their fault because years of excessive liquidity supplied by the Federal Reserve have created a bubble so overblown that a mere six stocks accounted for more than all of the gain in market capitalization in the S&P 500 prior to the current disruption.

In our Matrix existence, the stock market decline is not due to corporations using their profits, and even taking out loans, to repurchase their shares, thus creating an artificial demand for their equity shares.

The decline is not due to the latest monthly reporting of durable goods orders falling on a year-to-year basis for the sixth consecutive month.

Comment: Also see: Washington's financial currency war on China and the Yuan's eclipse of the US dollar


Bad Guys

Marching towards martial law in Turkey: Erdogan is on the warpath with the Kurds

© AFP 2015 / Bulint Kulic
Turkey is undergoing the most severe domestic political crisis of recent years. In previous years, R. Erdogan and his moderately Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) managed to consolidate Turkish society with neo-ottoman foreign policy slogans, iron out conflicts between secularists and Islamists, balance the role of the army in Turkish politics, bring to the end armed resistance of KWP (Kurdistan Workers' Party) fighters and evolve to finding a peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem. The current situation, however, has once again become severely strained.

The Turkish parliamentary elections in June 2015 fell short of Erdogan and his supporters' expectations. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) couldn't poll enough votes in order to form a single-party government for the first time since 2002. As compared to the 2011 elections, it lost 10% of the vote. Erdogan's plans to make amendments to the constitution, with the help of the new National Assembly (medzhlis), in order to transform Turkey from a parliamentary into a presidential republic and push through a series of radical reforms in Turkish politics have been put on hold indefinitely.

AKP's attempts to make a coalition in the National Assembly with opposition parties also failed. Erdogan was forced to announce new parliamentary elections on November, 1st 2015 and entrusted the current Prime Minister to form an interim government.

Comment: It looks like Erdogan and the neo-ottoman interests he represents might have gotten too big for their britches. With Obama insisting that he remain 'focused' on Washington's goals in the region, he's gone off against the Kurds, an important ethnic group for the Balkanization of Iraq. The Zionist-Washington axis may be getting ready to put him in his place.


Bad Guys

You cannot pass! France wants to shut borders to immigrants; Sweden's far-right calls for vote on immigration

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© Regis Duvignau/Reuters
Migrants stand near a highway overpass near the makeshift camp called "The New Jungle" in Calais, France.
Marine Le Pen, leader of France's right-wing National Front party, declared that immigration should be brought to a halt, calling for the country's borders to be closed. Meanwhile, the far-right Sweden Democrats say a referendum should be held on the issue.

"It's time for a referendum in Sweden on our immigration policy," party leader Jimmie Akesson told supporters during an annual summer speech, AFP reported. His party, the Sweden Democrats, has recently come in at the top of a Swedish opinion poll for the first time.

Having accepted 80,000 refugees last year, Sweden has taken on the burden of accommodating the largest number of migrants in the EU as a percentage of the native population. Sweden's migrant-friendly policies have long made it one of the most favored destinations among asylum-seekers.

"What is it that makes people risk their lives and those of their children to come here? I dare say it is the other parties' lax policies that cause many of these tragic fates. That cause death," Akesson said.


Comment: Policies that allow them to have a better life is their cause of death? Do Swedes really buy this crap?


In France, criticism of the "migrants wave" that has swept over Europe was one of the key points of Marine Le Pen's speech at the Brachay commune in northeastern France on Saturday.

"The immigration situation today in France is completely out of control," the political leader declared both on Twitter and in her speech ahead of regional French elections. The leader of France's National Front claimed that 99 percent of rejected asylum seekers remain in France, stressing that "this figure must be reduced to zero." She also asserted that "national borders are needed for France."


Comment: See also:


Eye 1

House of Frauds? Cameron dishes out peerages to expenses scandal MP, City banker & Tory cronies

© Alastair Grant/pool / Reuters
A disgraced Tory embroiled in an expense scandal, a multimillionaire donor, and a slew of political cronies have been handed peerages by Prime Minister David Cameron, sparking fresh demand for drastic reform of the House of Lords.

Cameron was accused of an assault on democracy on Thursday after he gave peerages to 26 Conservatives, and offered knighthoods and a string of other honors to political friends.

Public frustration over mounting costs in a climate of austerity had previously forced him to pledge to tackle the size of the House of Lords.

However, critics warn he has handed out new peerages at a faster rate than any prime minister since Harold McMillan in 1958.

Comment: Last month, Lord Sewel, 'former' deputy speaker of the House of Lords provided an insight as to just what calibre of peer this 'Establishment' chamber covets.

British House of Lords deputy speaker Baron John Sewel resigns after leaked video shows him snorting coke off prostitutes


Chess

The real problem is American, not Russian, aggression

© america.aljazeera.com
US propaganda in full bloom and spreading...
Russia didn't want a new Cold War. The myth of a "revanchist Russia" is convenient spin. The real issue is American interventionism.

Ordinary Russians generally like and admire American culture. They consume American TV and movies. Teenagers in Siberia follow the street fashion of New York. Even in isolated Yakutia you will find people who can rap along to Kanye West or Jay Z. Many older people can manage a few bars of Elvis or Sinatra.

The reverse is not true in the States. Few Americans could quote a bit of Pushkin. In fact, most US citizens have probably not even heard of him. Or Pasternak. Or Tolstoy. Regrettably, if you ask an average American for an opinion on Russia, the current likely answer is something that depicts the nation as their enemy.


Comment: It is no longer an advantage for the American public to be educated or think for themselves. An isolated and ignorant public is controllable.


This is very, very sad. Especially when Russia has no desire to be an enemy of the US and is not a threat to any genuine American interests. Actually, Russia is not even much of a danger to most of the things it's supposed to be a danger to. Like the Baltic States, for instance. Or the EU project.

However, relentless anti-Russia propaganda in the US corporate media has brought us to this point. American elites are now more united in their disdain for Russia than they ever were during the Cold War. During that period, dissenting voices were heard. Now, they are completely frozen out.

Indeed, anybody with any real knowledge of Russia is condemned as "Putin's shill" these days. Even academic heavyweights like Stephen Cohen. Thus, we have the bizarre situation where most American mainstream media commentators on Russia are people who have either never lived in the country or haven't been there for years. Or both. If old Joe McCarthy himself was around, he'd be on CNN every five minutes.

Comment: The US is spinning its wheels into a deep rut but not without temporary and peripheral success. Many of its "friends and allies" support the blame game where none is indicated. Duped? Cajoled? Rewarded? Fear-induced? Historically, when the sh-t is about to hit the fan, the US knows the best distraction is aggression framed as martyr/victimism. America seems to have a lock on this concept and quite the expertise at using it. How long can Russia backpedal and "keep its cool?" In some respects, the longer it holds out, the farther and deeper the US is allowed to go.


Eye 2

Den of vipers: 2 ultra-radical Ukrainian MPs face investigation for kidnappings, torture

© Stringer / RIA Novosti
Radical Party leader Oleg Lyashko
A new criminal case has been reportedly opened against the leader of the Ukrainian Radical Party, Oleg Lyashko, and his fellow party member Igor Mosiychuk. The two are accused of organizing a criminal group, kidnappings and torture.

Mosiychuk reported the news on his Facebook page: "Yesterday it became known that the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office had opened new criminal cases against me and the leader of the Radical Party, Oleg Lyashko."

The proceedings were approved by Ukraine's prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, Mosiychuk added. The two ultra-radical MPs stand accused of "organizing a criminal group, kidnapping, illegal detention as well as torture," Mosiychuk wrote.

The information about the violent incidents the two were involved in allegedly came from Sergey Malnichuk, the commander of Ukraine's most infamous volunteer squad, the Aidar battalion, which has been condemned by Amnesty International for its brutality in eastern Ukraine.


Comment: Looks like the psychopaths are at each others' throats! Aidar is just as bad.


Ukrainian authorities have yet to confirm the information.

Comment: Small justice... Each and every member and supporter of the various volunteer battalions should be investigated: Ukraine war crimes report: Torture and inhumane treatment of civilians