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Tue, 31 May 2016
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Attention

Putin says Romania and Poland missile shield may now be in Russia's cross-hairs

© Reuters/Alexander Zemlianichenko
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday warned Romania and Poland they could find themselves in the sights of Russian rockets because they are hosting elements of a U.S. missile shield that Moscow considers a threat to its security.

Putin issued his starkest warning yet over the missile shield, saying that Moscow had stated repeatedly that it would have to take retaliatory steps but that Washington and its allies had ignored the warnings.

Earlier this month the U.S. military -- which says the shield is needed for protection from Iran, not threaten Russia -- switched on the Romanian part of the shield. Work is going ahead on another part of the shield, in Poland.

"If yesterday in those areas of Romania people simply did not know what it means to be in the cross-hairs, then today we will be forced to carry out certain measures to ensure our security," Putin told a joint news conference in Athens with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

"It will be the same case with Poland," he said.

Comment: And Romania is shocked:
According to a press release issued by the Romanian ministry, Putin's remarks "show ignorance toward the real situation that Romania and its allies have repeatedly explained, saying that the missile defense system has an exclusively defensive nature."

The ministry noted that the missile defense system "is not directed against Russia or any other country," adding that Putin's remarks are "surprisingly put in the framework of the regional security aspect."



Attention

Tapping strategic oil reserves: France still facing fuel crisis amid anti-labor reform rallies

© REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Jean-Pierre Mercier, CGT union representative (L) and Nathalie Arthaud (R), France's extreme-left Lutte Ouvriere political party (LO) leader and the party's candidate for the 2017 French presidential election march during a demonstration in protest of the government's proposed labour law reforms in Paris, France, May 26, 2016.
France says the fuel crisis caused by the recent wave of oil workers' strikes is still not over as angry demonstrations continue to sweep through the country in protest at the government-proposed labor reforms.

"In some regions the situation is almost back to normal. In other regions we remain attentive, but we cannot say that the crisis is over," Transport Minister Alain Vidalies said on Saturday following a meeting with Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

On Friday, the Transport Ministry announced that 15 fuel depots out of about 100 across the country had been opened by police.

"Blockades have been removed at all the depots, except for the depot at Gargenville (in the Paris area), which is on strike," the ministry's spokesperson said.

It added that about 20 percent of gas stations nationwide were still facing fuel shortages.

Comment: Valls is keeping a hardline stance on the labor reforms:
In an interview with French daily newspaper Le Parisien, Valls said he was determined to pass labor reforms and he felt the protests would not further escalate.

"When a text (of reform) has been discussed, when it has prompted a compromise with unions, when it has been adopted in the National Assembly, I consider it my responsibility to see this through," Valls said in an interview published on Saturday.

Valls said he respected trade unions, including the CGT, but he found it unacceptable to blockade ports, fuel depots and refineries, especially at a time when the economy was starting to recover.

The stand-off worsened this week as the country mobilized strategic oil stocks for the first time in 6 years and employers warned the protests were starting to hurt the economy.

"I do not think that the movement will escalate, but I remain cautious," Valls told Le Parisien.

Valls said he would not withdraw the text of the reform, which could make it easier for firms to hire and fire.

The government says the reform is crucial to fight unemployment which is at above 10 percent of the workforce. The CGT says the reform dismantles protective labor regulation.

The text may be modified when it goes to the upper house of parliament for approval, Valls said. But the government would not go back on core parts of the reform such as removing obstacles for hiring for small and mid-sized companies.



Eye 2

Killary: The Dems major gold-digging liability

© a katz/Shutterstock.com
Killary, Queen of Perma-Smirk
As much as the Clinton machine may welcome their stay at Hotel California in early June, they might check out any time they like only to find themselves never leaving the Trump-leads-the-national-average-poll syndrome.

This was never the original script, as Manifest Destiny was supposed to have - finally - fully entitled the Queen of the Perma-Smirk to the Presidency. What has she done to deserve this? Well, a myriad of factors come into play. Let's cut to the chase and follow the money.

Now that I found you I can't let you go

While still in the Senate, the Queen of Chaos manifested a vague interest in going after tax havens, as in "people who create a mailbox, or a drop, or send one person to sit on the beach in some island paradise and claim that it is their offshore headquarters." But - and that's a crucial "but" - no bills proposed by Hillary ensued. After all, what to do about the Clinton machine's virtually unlimited access to a pool of vast, non-transparent funds?

The Clinton machine could not be savvier on onshore/offshore tax havens. Six years ago their home in Chappaqua, New York, of subterranean email fame, was conveniently placed in a "residence trust."

Bill Clinton for his part spent a wholesome five years as just a mere adviser to $3.2 billion-worth playboy Ron Burkle - now reduced to the status of former Clinton pal. While the friendship lasted, Burkle's investment fund registered in Dubai and the Cayman Islands added at least $15 billion to Bill's piggy bank.

Comment: Despite the "endless litany" of damning facts surrounding Killary, look to see them brushed away as she becomes the Democratic nominee. Money does talk.


Yoda

Putin visits Mount Athos, Greece, for second time

© Sputnik/ Alexey Druzhinin
Putin at Orthodox Christianity's most holy site

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived at the monastic center of Holy Mount Athos on his second and last day of his visit to Greece on Saturday to commemorate 1,000 years of Russian presence at the site.

Putin is expected to first visit Mount Athos' administrative center of Karyes, where he will visit the Protaton church under the ownership of the Holy Kinot, Athos' high governing council.

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos is expected to meet Putin alongside local religious dignitaries, followed by a short service at the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Putin will then address members of the Holy Kinot at its administrative building.

Info

First 'shocking' deposition in Clinton email scandal reveals she did not use a password, was computer illiterate

U.S. Ambassador Lewis Lukens's sworn testimony in the case of Hillary Clinton's privatization of the U.S. Secretary of State's email is the first evidence to be released in the Clinton email cases, and it was published on May 26th at the website of Judicial Watch, the organization that originally brought the suit. Headlining "First Deposition Testimony from Clinton Email Discovery Released", it reported that:
Judicial Watch today released the deposition transcript of Ambassador Lewis Lukens, former deputy assistant secretary of state and executive director of the State Department's executive secretariat. The transcript is available here. Amb. Lukens was deposed last week as part of the discovery granted to Judicial Watch by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in response to its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's unsecured, non-government email system (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-01363)).
Lukens is the first of seven depositions of former Clinton top aides and State Department officials that Judicial Watch has scheduled over the next four weeks. Also to be deposed are Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, as well as top State Department official Patrick Kennedy, and former State IT employee Bryan Pagliano.

Comment: In other words, Clinton was not only ignorant; she was also lazy. How's it like to work for Killary? This short excerpt from RT sums it up. Just read between the lines:
In the sworn testimony, Lukens, who was a State Department official responsible for logistics and management support during Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State, said he was advised that Clinton did not "know how to use a computer to do e-mail," only a Blackberry. Lukens offered to provide training to Clinton so she could access her email on a desktop computer but said he was told "the Secretary is very comfortable checking her e-mails on a Blackberry."
...
Clinton used Lukens revelation to justify her actions, telling ABC that the "report makes clear that personal email use was the practice for other Secretaries of State. It was allowed. And the rules have been clarified since I left."



Stock Up

Mystery of the Russian eurobond sale: How Western sabotage vastly improved Russia's financial system

© Wikimedia
Moscow City
The story of the floating of Russia's eurobond is a revealing tale of Western arrogance and Western blindness, not just about Russia but about the operation of the financial markets. In the process Western actions have achieved the opposite of what Western leaders intended.

On 5th January 2016, as the second oil price fall approached its lowest point, I wrote an article in which - amongst other things - I challenged the entire theory of a Russian budget crisis, which was at that time fashionable.

I said that if the fall in oil prices did cause a gap in Russia's budget that Russia would be unable to fill from its Reverse Fund, the Russian government would simply do what all other governments regularly do when they find themselves in the same situation, which is borrow the money to fill the gap. My precise words were as follows:
"If Russia ever were to find itself in a position where it had to finance a budget deficit of 4.4% of GDP after the Reserve Fund had run out, it would do so by raising the money by floating a bond on the international money markets - or conceivably in Russia - something which most governments do most of the time.

The sanctions do not prevent Russia from doing this and - since what we are talking about is a sovereign bond - it is legally doubtful they can be extended to prevent it."

Quenelle - Golden

Europe is in revolt against anti-Russia sanctions

From ministerial offices to barricades on the streets, Europe is in open revolt against anti-Russian sanctions which have cost workers and businesses millions of jobs and earnings. Granted, the contentious issues are wider than anti-Russian sanctions. However, the latter are entwined with growing popular discontent across the EU.

Germany's vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel is among the latest high-profile politicians to have come out against the sanctions stand-off between the European Union and Russia.

At stake is not just a crisis in the economy, of which the anti-Russian sanctions are symptomatic. It is further manifesting in a political crisis that is challenging the very legitimacy of EU governments and the bloc's institutional existence. The issue is not so much about merely trying to normalize EU-Russian relations. But rather more about preserving the EU from an existential public backlash against anti-democratic and discredited authorities.

Gabriel, who also serves as Germany's economy minister, said that relations between the EU and Moscow must be quickly normalized. And he called for the lifting of sanctions that have been imposed since early 2014 as a result of the dubious Ukraine conflict. The EU followed Washington's policy of slapping sanctions on Russia after accusing Moscow of "annexing" Crimea and interfering in Ukraine's internal affairs. The charges against Russia are tenuous at best and are far removed from the mundane pressing concerns of ordinary EU citizens, who are being made to bear a heavy economic price for a stand-off that seems unduly politicized, if not wholly unwarranted.

Comment: As the expression goes: With friends like these, i.e. The United States... well, you know the rest. But do the ruling circles in Europe really understand that by continuing to support the imperial whims of Team America they will be sinking their people - and themselves - into an ever deeper quagmire of economic, political and martial woes? They have to see this by now, and as they most probably do, they must be either too cowed, too corrupted or too compromised (read blackmailed) to do a darn thing in contravention of U.S. dictates. This means that we will most likely see a far greater intensification of ALL the problems we now currently see facing Europe. Russia is smart and constructive and working hard to solve some major geopolitical problems, but it can only do so much to help the European psychos, sycophants and ninnies in power to help themselves.


Take 2

Balanced viewpoint? BBC ignores Moscow comments while making MH17 documentary

© chiefmoamba
When working on their documentary about the crash of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, the BBC chose not to ask for comments and opinions from the Russian Foreign Ministry, spokesperson Maria Zakharova said.

The BBC aired the documentary titled "Conspiracy Files: Who Shot Down MH17?" which covered various theories of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17's crash in eastern Ukraine. The documentary took evidence from eye witnesses, experts and secret intelligence sources, as well as studied satellite photographs, wire taps and videos in an attempt to divide facts from fiction in many conspiracy theories, involving Ukraine, Russia and the CIA.

Stock Up

Turkey turns blind eye to Israeli weapons flow into Azerbaijan; Turks gradually shifting support from U.S. to Israel

© ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev review the guard of honor during a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Jan. 15, 2015.
In early April, as renewed fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region made headlines in Turkey, there was little talk of the crucial role of Israeli weapons in the clashes. Only the daily Hurriyet reported on Azerbaijan's use of the Israeli Harop armed drone, which generated Armenian protests.

Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Omer Celik summarized why the issue should be important to the press: "Azerbaijan's battle is our battle; their martyrs are our martyrs." Indeed, Azerbaijan consistently scores as Turkey's closest friend in Turkish public opinion polls, while Israel maintains its status as a serious threat in the same polls.

Intriguingly, Israel is Azerbaijan's main arms supplier, a situation that poses a puzzle: Why have Turks remained silent as Azerbaijan, their closest friend, and Israel, their greatest rival — if not necessarily enemy — have grown closer? The silence of two sections of Turkish society is particularly noteworthy: One is Turkish ultra-nationalists, whose commitment to Azerbaijan is near-absolute; the other is Islamists, who miss no opportunity to bash Israel. Why are these two groups, whose protests are rarely if ever curtailed by the police in Turkey, ignoring this development?

Comment: In other words, almost back to normal? According to Sibel Edmonds, there's been a long history of Turkish/Israeli intrigue tied to the nuclear black market, drugs and weapons smuggling, and Islamic terrorism.


Stop

Rampant conflicts-of-interest: Report shows "respected" National Research Council scientists bound to Big Ag

On the day before the National Research Council was scheduled to release its "multi-year research report" regarding GMO food and GM crops, Food and Water Watch has released its own report revealing numerous conflicts of interest at both the NRC and the National Academy of Sciences.

The report entitled, "Under the Influence: the National Research Council on GMOS," details millions of dollars of donations by biotech companies and Big Ag companies like Monsanto to the NRC and provides evidence of a pact-panel of scientists enlisted by the NRC to conduct studies on GMOs. Food and Water Watch describes what is essentially a revolving door of staff directors at the NRC who move back and forth between the federally chartered organization and Big Ag corporations.

Comment: Additional evidence of how critics are shunned when it comes to blatant conflicts of interest regarding GMO's and Big Ag: Biosafety and the 'Seralini affair': Systemic corruption of science and regulation