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Lavrov tells French media 'NATO is not Russia's enemy'

Lavrov
© Desconocido

Comment: Lavrov continues Putin's policy of gentlemanly comment on the actions taken against Russia by her adversaries and their lackeys. Russian has answered every aggressive step with calm language that gives opportunities for climbing down from extreme positions. Any reasonable person would welcome the opening. But the psychopathic elite, living in their fantasy world, simply can't go there.


The NATO military alliance is not Moscow's enemy, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov told French media that suggested the opposite. Lavrov also expressed disappointment over the fact that Russia had overestimated EU's independence from the US.

Speaking to France 24 in Moscow, Lavrov stated that the military doctrine of the country never mentioned that NATO is Russia's enemy, even though the French media suggested that there is such an impression in the Western world.

"What [Russia's military doctrine] says is that the security risks for Russia, among other things, are NATO expansion to the East and the movement of military infrastructure of NATO closer to the Russian borders - not NATO itself, but its militarized movement to the East is considered by the Russian military doctrine as a security risk and threat for Russia," he said.

Lavrov said that, due to Russia's stance in the Ukrainian crisis, NATO had cut off all ties with Russia, "severed all practical cooperative mechanisms, including on Afghanistan, including on counter-terrorism, some other specific things."
Bullseye

Paul Craig Roberts on the collapse of the ruble and the meaninglessness of markets


Paul Craig Roberts - Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
Former Assistant Treasury Secretary Dr. Paul Craig Roberts thinks the only thing that explains the plunge in the Russian ruble is that it is being attacked by America. Roberts contends, "It is not a currency crash in the sense there are no economic reasons for the ruble's fall. Unlike the United States, which has a massive trade deficit, and if the currency markets were not rigged, the dollar would be collapsing, the Russian economy has a trade surplus. Therefore, there is no pressure on its currency for economic conditions." Dr. Roberts goes on to say, "This is not some independent action of market forces. So, it's either hedge funds, currency speculators like Soros, or it's an Act of War on behalf of the United States government by the Federal Reserve or the Exchange Stabilization Fund. . . or possibly both hedge funds working with the federal government."

Manipulating the markets, any market, is supposed to be illegal, but don't count on the bankers going to jail. Dr. Roberts, who has a PhD in economics, thinks,
"The big banks, the big Wall Street money, are essentially agents of the government. This is why they don't get prosecuted. This is why they can break all kinds of laws, commit felonies and settle with a fine. This is what we've been watching in the financial arena. When these financial gangsters are caught, instead of being indicted and put on trial, they pay money."

Comment: Central control of World markets/economy has become so opaque that it impossible to discern the details of what is actually going on. The very word "market" has lost its traditional meaning with the explosive growth of paper derivatives which now control all "markets" in real goods and commodities.

For more on the recent omnibus spending bill and Elizabeth Warren's scathing assessment of the Citigroup attachment see:

Ron Paul: All I want for Christmas is a real Government shutdown

Magic Hat

Ukrainian Freedom Support Act - The Devil's in the details

© Unknown
The latest anti-Russian bill to come out of Washington does a lot more than simply arm Ukraine, although that's destabilizing enough as it is. Contained within the Act are powerful provisions that expand NATO's influence in Russia's backyard and continue the War on Syria.

The Ukrainian Freedom Support Act (UFSA) is essentially the actionable successor to the recently passed House Resolution 758, which itself has been referred to as the declaration of the New Cold War. It's exceptionally noteworthy for fulfilling John McCain's threat to arm Ukraine, but it's the other decrees within it that have gone unnoticed by the mainstream media, although they're just as troubling, if not more so. And unsurprisingly, Congress somehow found a way to group its War on Syria into the UFSA, showing that it truly exploits any opportunity to push through its agenda of regime change there even if it has absolutely nothing to do with the bill at hand.

The Three Amigos

The UFSA is just as much about Moldova and Georgia as it is about Ukraine, as all three countries are collectively grouped together except for when it comes to assisting with internally displaced persons. For example, when it comes to 'the three amigos', UFSA says that sanctions will be imposed if:
  • Russia (or any actor affiliated with it) sends "defense articles" to those countries without the consent of its government'
  • And Russia "withholds significant natural gas supplies from countries such as Ukraine, Georgia, or Moldova" and NATO members.
And that the three are to be 'rewarded' with:
  • Major non-NATO ally status (which allows them to purchase weapons only reserved for NATO allies);
  • And a prioritized information campaign run by Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, where these countries are given a greater focus than the other former Soviet states.
Putting it all together, it is clear that the US has strategically incorporated Moldova and Georgia into its legislation about Ukraine, providing proof that it is Washington and not Moscow which is 'widening the battlefield' of the New Cold War. This isn't the first time either, as all the amigos were first lumped together in May when the so-called Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014 was unveiled, which served as the predecessor of House Resolution 758.
Vader

Death threats, beatings and intimidation is daily life of Ukraine opposition: Former Ukrainian deputy Elena Bondarenko's open letter to the citizens of the world

Elena Bondarenko
© Unknown
Elena Bondarenko, silenced in the Ukrainian Parliament, published an open letter to the public. It's a voice nowhere to be heard in the Western press. Although it has been written a few months ago, it is still important today and will remain on the pages of history as a testimony to the situation of lawlessness perpetrated by those in the highest ranks of power in Ukraine:

My friends, here is my declaration. I ask that you share it to the extent possible. If you can translate it into other languages, please do!

I, Elena Bondarenko, People's Deputy from the Party of Regions, finding myself in opposition to the current power in Ukraine, wish to declare that this administration has resorted to direct threats of physical elimination of the opposition in Ukraine; has resorted to suspending the right of freedom of speech, in parliament and out, and is implicated in complicity in crimes not just against politicians, but even against their children. The everyday life of an opposition deputy is this: constant threats, unofficial ban from the airwaves, targeted persecution. Everyone who calls for peace is immediately branded as an enemy of the people, just as in 1930's Germany, or in McCarthyite US.

A few days ago, Arseniy Avakov, the Minister of the Interior, an ardent adherent of the so-called Party of War of the Ukraine, said the following: "When Elena Bondarenko comes to the podium to speak, my hand automatically reaches for my gun." This, I emphasize, are the words of a man entrusted with the supreme police power of the country. Further: exactly one week ago, Alexander Turchinov the Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, deprived me of the right to speak from the podium as a member of the opposition Party of Regions, only for this: I declared "Any power that commissions its army to bomb its peaceful cities, is criminal." After which, he magnanimously gave the radical parliamentarians the option to call for shooting the opposition. Considering that my car was shot at last year, when the extremists were already arming with weapons, [a fact on record with the police, on my complaint] such threats aimed at me must be taken seriously.


Comment: A question to all members of European national parliaments who support the current Kiev regime: How would you feel if the interior minister in your home parliament says to you?
"When you come to the podium to speak, my hand automatically reaches for my gun."
Would you vote to support such a guy and his colleagues with weapons and money and keep silent about war crimes, fascists terror groups, while putting sanctions on the countries that speak out against such practices?


Comment: The fascist junta in Kiev made sure by intimidation, threats and violence that most opposition members didn't get re-elected in the October election in Ukraine.

Info

On economic warfare and ruble exchange rate fluctuations

© RIA Novosti / Vladimir Sergeev
Russian ruble exchange rate changes have all the ingredients of success detective story. On Monday, 15.12. 2014 ruble weakened to a record low since 1998: the dollar cost 64 rubles and 79 rubles to the euro. In recent years, the price of an euro has been hanging around 50 rubles, or 5 000 rubles withdrawn from an ATM for a night of adventures in St. Petersburg would cost around 100 euros.

Last night, the Russian Central Bank raised its base rate drastically from 10.5 per cent to 17 per cent to curb currency speculation. The price of an euro during the day momentarily exceeded the limit of 100 rubles or 80 rubles for a dollar. Now at the end of the market day the ruble has slightly appreciated: $ 1= 72.60 rubles and 1 euro = 90 rubles. The official rates of the Russian Central Bank before tomorrow's market day are $ 1 = 61.15 rubles and 1 Euro = 76.15 rubles

What is this about?

The economic sanctions imposed by the US and the EU prevent granting of loans to Russian companies with a payment period of more than 30 days. As Russian companies have been borrowing money from the West the entire post-Cold War period at a lower rate of interest and the penalties now prevent loan restructuring and follow-up funding, these companies must now get euros and dollars to take care of their loans, thereby creating more demand for foreign currency in the Russian market and thus weakening the ruble.

Also, the fall in the price of oil reduces Russia's foreign exchange earnings, which in a situation of high demand for currency weakens the ruble.

The Eurasian Economic Union comes into force on January 1, 2015. Most likely at the same time the Russian ruble and foreign exchange markets will change drastically, and the Russian economy will take a distance to the dollar and the euro. Now the West is doing its best to weaken the ruble and thus destabilize the Russian economy and the political system before the end of the year. The maxima of the West is to prevent the emergence of the new economic union and closer cooperation within the BRICS. Taking into account the Christmas holidays, the West has little more than a week to succeed.

Comment: See: The biggest threat for Russia and for Putin
The Russian economy in general and the Ruble especially are both under direct attack, not only by official sanctions, but also by speculative operations. The price of oil is collapsing probably under a combination of objective reasons (the world recession) and deliberate US operations, yet Putin is not changing economic course in a fundamental way and he is even complimenting the Central Bank for its activities. Does that not remind you of something?

Personally, this reminds me of what happened during the last months of Anatolii Serdiukov when the Russian military was hit by one scandal after another, yet Putin continued to praise Serduikov and his work. Eventually, of course, Serdiukov was sacked and replaced by the truly outstanding Shoigu, but it took a lot of time and efforts to finally get him sacked (and even today Serdiukov has still not been sentenced by any court for his numerous criminal activities).

Does that mean that Putin is hesitant, weak or confused?

I don't think so. I think that this shows that one of the most difficult and dangerous tasks for Putin is to get rid of the saboteurs in the top echelons of power. The same Mikhail Khazin has recently declared that only now did the "Eurasian Sovereignist" group's power roughly match the one of the pro-US "Atlantic Integrationists" (though he did not quite use these expressions which are mine).

Hopefully Putin is setting up a Serdiukov-like sacking of Nabiulina, but this is not sure at all. The pressure is mounting for him to take dramatic action and to finally begin to de-couple the Russian economy from the western economic orthodoxy known as the Washington Concensus, but there is also a lot of resistance.

This is right now by far the biggest threat to Russia and Putin: the 5th column of saboteurs in the top echelons of power, especially the government. As long as these people will remain in power Russia will continue to remain weak and fragile and very susceptible to western economic warfare.
And it seems that it's not just the Russian currency that is being hit.
Most worryingly, Russia's problems are starting to spread. Ukraine has been in deep trouble all year and it is now teetering on the edge of collapse; its hard currency reserves dipped below $10bn earlier this month, or about 1.3 months' of import cover. The hryvna is down by some 40% since the start of the year and the only thing holding it up now is the promise of more international bailout money in the new year.

Kazakhstan devalued the tenge in February by 18%, but all the wiggle room it created has now been used up. Fears of another devaluation are mounting fast, as Kazakhstan's economy remains closely tied to Russia's as well as being a major oil exporter.

The falling currencies are no longer just hitting countries that are tied to Russia and the contagion is spreading out, leading some to start talking about a repeat of 1998 when oil prices fell to $10. Last week the Turkish lira sank to its lowest levels against the dollar for a year, despite the fact it is one of the big winners from falling oil prices, as it is heavily dependent on oil and gas imports. Likewise, China, another major energy importer. has watched its currency fall by 26% since May, and 7% since the end of October alone.

Collapsing currencies around the world, coupled with the "death spiral" of selling in the oil markets, is sparking worries that we are coming to the point where things could spin out of control - and not just for Russia.
See also: Economic warfare: The U.S. Empire of "Frack" versus Russia

Light Sabers

Torture blame game: CIA maybe went too far - Author of interrogation memo

John Yoo
© CNN
As former Vice President Dick Cheney argued on Sunday that the CIA's aggressive interrogation of terrorism suspects did not amount to torture, the man who provided the legal rationale for the program said that in some cases it had perhaps gone too far.

Former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo said the sleep deprivation, rectal feeding and other harsh treatment outlined in a U.S. Senate report last week could violate anti-torture laws.

"If these things happened as they're described in the report ... they were not supposed to be done. And the people who did those are at risk legally because they were acting outside their orders," Yoo said on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS".

As Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel in 2002, Yoo co-wrote a memo that was used as the legal sanction for what the CIA called its program of enhanced interrogation techniques after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Comment: This is simply part of the American political circus. Nothing will change, and soon, another circus will overcome it.

Megaphone

'Stupid' US sanctions won't undo my government: Venezuelan president

Nicolas Maduro
© AFP Photo/Miguel Angulo
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks during the broadcast of a TV programme at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on December 11, 2014 in this photo from the Presidencia
President Nicolas Maduro charged Saturday that tighter, "stupid" new US sanctions are just further straining to undermine military staff loyalty after Venezuela derailed a bid to oust him.

"These sanctions are a threat -- to see if they can break the morale of leaders of our armed forces ... in March, I announced that we put down an attempted coup d'etat, thanks to our brass' loyalty," Maduro said at a speech in Caracas.

The tighter US sanctions freeze assets and deny visas to Venezuelan authorities responsible for violence and political detentions triggered by the protests.

Comment: Can the psychopathic Western leaders who behave like buffoons, feel shame for being called "stupid" and "idiots"? Not likely. But it's nice to hear the truth told!

No Entry

Freedom of speech in Illinois? Not if you are an attorney

© Nationalreview.com
The Illinois Registration and Disciplinary Commission has just issued a recommendation for a three year suspension of the license to practice law of yet another activist attorney.

The prosecution of attorney JoAnne Denison by the IARDC goes to the heart of the amalgamation of the legal system in the US into one streamlined cruise missile. The weaponization of the legal system has been part and parcel of the general attack on the Bill of Rights and Constitutional protections which have resulted in such actions as President Obama placing kill orders on American citizens and the removal of citizenship from independent journalists.

Joanne Denison's case is one which deserves enormous media attention (which it has not yet received) as well as howls of indignation (a bit muted, those). For the recommendation to suspend Denison's license did not occur due to any act she committed as an attorney. She was not tried for misrepresenting a client, misappropriating funds or even courtroom misbehavior.

Rather, Denison was on trial for running a blog about corruption in probate court. The blog, marygsykes.com, focuses on a particular adult guardianship case in Cook County Court in Illinois and is critical of a number of highly placed individuals in the Cook County legal system. According to the opening statements by IARDC attorney Melissa Smart, attorneys don't have the same First Amendment rights that the rest of us do. Stated attorney Smart:

"This case is not about the Constitution or the First Amendment. You will see, precedent is abundantly clear, as an officer of the court, Ms. Denison cannot just say whatever she wants about judges and judicial officers because attorneys are held to a higher standard. We are held to a different standard."

Last time I checked, the First Amendment to the US constitution stated that free speech in the United States was a God-given right. I didn't see anything about attorneys, doctors, journalists or any other profession having restrictions on those rights to free speech.

Comment: The U.S. public is intentionally being kept in ignorance of corruption at the highest levels of government. A State court is no different.
"In a pathocracy, all leadership positions, (down to village headman and community cooperative managers, not to mention the directors of police units, and special services police personnel, and activists in the pathocratic party) must be filled by individuals with corresponding psychological deviations, which are inherited as a rule."

Andrew M. Lobaczewski, author of Political Ponerology (A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes)


Arrow Down

Ignorance is no excuse for wrongdoing, unless you're a cop

"[I]f the individual is no longer to be sovereign, if the police can pick him up whenever they do not like the cut of his jib, if they can 'seize' and 'search' him in their discretion, we enter a new regime." - U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, dissenting in Terry v. Ohio (1968)
US Cops
© AP Photo/Ben Margot
With Orwellian irony, the U.S. Supreme Court chose December 15, National Bill of Rights Day to deliver its crushing blow to the Fourth Amendment. Although the courts have historically held that ignorance of the law is not an excuse for breaking the law, in its 8-1 ruling in Heien v. State of North Carolina, the Supreme Court gave police in America one more ready excuse to routinely violate the laws of the land, this time under the guise of ignorance.

The Heien case, which started with an improper traffic stop based on a police officer's ignorance of the law and ended with an unlawful search, seizure and arrest, was supposed to ensure that ignorance of the law did not become a ready excuse for government officials to routinely violate the law.

It failed to do so.

In failing to enforce the Constitution, the Court gave police the go-ahead to justify a laundry list of misconduct, from police shootings of unarmed citizens to SWAT team raids, roadside strip searches, and the tasering of vulnerable individuals with paltry excuses such as "they looked suspicious" and "she wouldn't obey our orders."

When police handcuffed, strip-searched and arrested a disabled man for no reason other than he sounded incoherent, it was chalked up as a mistake. Gordon Goines, a 37-year-old disabled man suffering from a Lou Gehrigs-type disease, was "diagnosed" by police and an unlicensed mental health screener as having "mental health issues," apparently because of his slurred speech and unsteady gait, and subsequently handcuffed, strip searched, and locked up for five days in a mental health facility against his will and with no access to family and friends. This was done despite the fact that police had no probable cause to believe that Goines had committed any crime, was a danger to himself or others, nor did they have any other legitimate lawful reason to seize, arrest or detain him. When Goines was finally released, police made no attempt to rectify their "mistake."

"I didn't know it was against the law" was the excuse police used to justify their repeated tasering of Malaika Brooks. Eight-months pregnant and on her way to drop her son off at school, Brooks was repeatedly tasered by Seattle police during a routine traffic stop simply because she refused to sign a speeding ticket. The cops who tasered the pregnant woman insisted they weren't aware that repeated electro-shocks qualified as constitutionally excessive and unreasonable force. The Supreme Court gave the cops a "get out of jail" card.
Hardhat

Go West, Young Han

© Bloomberg via Getty Images
As Washington "Pivots" to Asia, China Does the Eurasian Pirouette.

November 18, 2014: It's a day that should live forever in history. On that day, in the city of Yiwu in China's Zhejiang province, 300 kilometers south of Shanghai, the first train carrying 82 containers of export goods weighing more than 1,000 tons left a massive warehouse complex heading for Madrid. It arrived on December 9th.

Welcome to the new trans-Eurasia choo-choo train. At over 13,000 kilometers, it will regularly traverse the longest freight train route in the world, 40% farther than the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway. Its cargo will cross China from East to West, then Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, France, and finally Spain.

You may not have the faintest idea where Yiwu is, but businessmen plying their trades across Eurasia, especially from the Arab world, are already hooked on the city "where amazing happens!" We're talking about the largest wholesale center for small-sized consumer goods -- from clothes to toys -- possibly anywhere on Earth.
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