US Corporate Espionage

Glenn Greenwald documented yesterday that, last August, the US government announced that it:
… does ***not*** engage in economic espionage in any domain, including cyber. [emphasis original] Right after that, the US government was revealed to be, as Greenwald documents:
…spying on plainly financial targets such as the Brazilian oil giant Petrobras; economic summits; international credit card and banking systems; the EU antitrust commissioner investigating Google, Microsoft, and Intel; and the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. In response, the U. S. modified its denial to acknowledge that it does engage in economic spying…
And about 13 years earlier, in the year 2000, William Blum documented:
Like a mammoth vacuum cleaner in the sky, the National Security Agency (NSA) sucks it all up … if it runs on electromagnetic energy, NSA is there … Twenty-four hours a day. Perhaps billions of messages sucked up each day. No one escapes. Not presidents, prime ministers, the UN Secretary-General, the pope, the Queen of England, embassies, transnational corporation CEOs, friend, foe, your Aunt Lena … if God has a phone, it’s being monitored … maybe your dog isn’t being tapped. The oceans will not protect you. American submarines have been attaching tapping pods to deep underwater cables for decades.
Under a system codenamed ECHELON, launched in the 1970s, the NSA and its junior partners in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada operate a network of massive, highly automated interception stations, covering the globe amongst them.

This post was published at Washingtons Blog on September 6, 2014.

Understanding the 3 Faces of Nationalism

Nationalism is not unique to any country, yet it is a very important aspect to analyze in the field of political-economy. There are different types of nationalism and these types do not always fit together comfortably.
The first type of nationalism emerges from expanding a nation in what I call the Conquest-Model like the growth of Rome. This brand of nationalism was accomplished well by Rome only because it sought to create an economy building roads and expanding investment opportunity with a common language and monetary system. Others who have sought to create empire, such as Spain, failed to view its possessions as equals and instead sought to exploit their resources. Britain expanded around the world but it too did not actually embrace the different cultures as did Rome. Rome permitted its conquered states to retain their own religion and customs, but created a single economy through language that the EU has failed to even understand. The USA expanded from East to West building a common language and economy in the same manner as Rome.
The second type is often considered the only type that is defined very broadly to include all of the people and religious groups that have traditionally lived in a given the territory creating the image of one country v another. This is truly perhaps the most common for it is typically the one furthered by the state and political leaders for it supports greater power in their hands. The key desire of these nationalists is often inspired by the state for the goal is to reintegrate the territory after a fall, or defend it against the world when the economy declines such as Germany post-WWI. These two flavors within the second type provide subcategories that are distinct. This second form nationalism is also one of pride where a lot of Russians ascribe to this seeing the old empire as a dream and respond that taking Ukraine is good because Russia is getting bigger once again. They do not see the economic impact.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on September 6, 2014.

Lessons on Hornets and Bears; Ukraine Ceasefire a Victory for Common Sense

If you are looking for something to gag on today, please consider the Bloomberg View by Leonid Bershidsky Ukraine’s Cease-Fire Is Putin’s Victory.
…As for Russian President Vladimir Putin, he has secured a ringside seat and may settle down with a bowl of popcorn. Any outcome suits him as long as Ukraine struggles to get out of its impasse alone. He will be happy to see the Lugansk and Donetsk regions turn into a frozen-conflict zone, precluding Ukraine’s further integration into NATO and the European Union, and equally pleased to have them gain broad autonomy from Kiev and a veto on major political decisions. A military solution suits him, too, since the West has refused to engage him except in the form of ineffectual sanctions.
Make no mistake about it: The ceasefire is a victory for Putin, a vindication of his aggression and duplicity. I just hope it ends the bloodshed.
Victory for Common SenseWhile one can claim this is a victory for Putin, one should rightfully gag over Bershidsky’s comment regarding “aggression and duplicity.”The US and EU fomented this crisis and now apologists for failed US policy don’t like the results: Russia annexed Crimea and Ukraine may splinter.

This post was published at Global Economic Analysis on Friday, September 05, 2014.

Europol Chief Takes Instructions on Document Access from Americans

The head of the E.U. police agency Europol is taking instructions from the Americans on what EU-drafted documents he can and cannot release to E.U. lawmakers.
The issue came up over the summer when U.S. ambassador to the E.U. Anthony Gardner told E.U. ombudsman Emily O’Reilly she cannot inspect an annual Europol report drafted by the agency’s own internal data protection review board.
The report describes how data concerning E.U. citizens and residents is transferred to the US.

This post was published at EU Observer

Ukraine, Separatists Agree On Cease-Fire; EU May Suspend Sanctions

UPDATE: So far no good…*HEAVY ARTILLERY BLASTS HEARD IN UKRAINE’S MARIUPOL: RIA
While we had grown weary of trashed truces and snapped cease-fires in Israel, it appears, according to Interfax, that Ukraine and the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine (having gained notably over the army in recent days) have agreed a cease-fire:
*UKRAINE, SEPARATISTS AGREE ON CEASE-FIRE FROM 6PM TODAY: IFX *POROSHENKO: PRELIM. PROTOCOL TO CEASE-FIRE SIGNED IN MINSK: BBC Great news, especially for Merkel (and Hollande) who has already come out and noted that the cease-fire means EU could suspend sanctions (saving face and avoiding some further escalation). The question is – how much of Putin’s 7-point-peace-plan will Ukraine acquiesce to? If any?

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/05/2014.

Slovakia Asks EU to Cut Sanctions Some Against Russia

Slovakia speaks against some sanctions against Russia, proposed by the European Union, according to the Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico.
“We have addressed the EU, asking them to remove some clauses from the sanctions proposal. We want a number of products included in the list to be exempt from sanctions, so that we can continue exporting them to Russia,” Fico said during press conference after a special meeting dedicated to the discussion of new EU sanctions against Russia.
The ministers, who took part in a meeting, spoke against proposed export ban on goods that can have both military and civilian use, aimed for Russian private companies. According to the ministers, some Slovak machine-tool makers may become bankrupt if sanctions become effective.

This post was published at RAI Novosti

Finland Most Vulnerable to Russian Gas Cutoff

Finland would experience gas shortages even if Russia cut off exports just for one month, while other EU countries would last between three to nine months without Russian gas, according to a German study.
"A Russian gas export embargo during the winter of 2014/15 lasting for more than 6 months would cause supply shortfalls in many European countries, in particular, in central and eastern Europe, including Germany," according to a study published Wednesday (3 September) by the Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne.
Based on a computer simulation of European pipelines, storage facilities and liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure, the study explores what would happen if Russia would cut off the gas for one, three, six or nine months.

This post was published at EU Observer

EU Targets Bank Loans, World Cup in Russia Sanctions Talks

EU ambassadors are holding talks in Brussels on new proposals for Russia sanctions – seen by EUobserver – with ideas including “action” to block its 2018 World Cup.
The talks are taking place amid news of a “ceasefire process” agreed between Kiev and Moscow, which EU diplomats regard with caution.
According to an options paper tabled by the European Commission and the E.U. diplomatic service, "there are two possible avenues for stepping up economic pressure" to make Russia cease hostilities.

This post was published at EU Observer

Warning to the World: Washington and its NATO & EU Vassals are Insane – Paul Craig Roberts

Herbert E. Meyer, a nutcase who was a special assistant to the CIA director for a period during the Reagan administration, has penned an article calling for Russian President Putin’s assassination. If we have ‘ to get him out of the Kremlin feet-first with a bullet hole in the back of his head, that would be okay with us.’ As the crazed Meyer illiustrates, the insanity that Washington has released upon the world knows no restraint. Jose Manual Barroso, installed as Washington’s puppet as European Commission President, misrepresented his recent confidential telephone conversation with Russia’s President Putin by telling the media that Putin issued a threat: ‘If I want to, I can take Kiev in two weeks.’
Clearly, Putin did not issue a threat. A threat would be inconsistent with Putin’s entire unprovocative approach to the strategic threat that Washington and its NATO puppets have brought to Russia in Ukraine. Russia’s permanent representative to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, said that if Barroso’s lie stands, Russia will make public the full recording of the conversation
Anyone familiar with the disparity between the Ukrainian and Russian militaries knows full well that it would take the Russian military 14 hours, not 14 days, to take all of Ukraine. Just remember what happened to the American and Israeli trained and equipped Georgian Army when Washington set its stupid Georgian puppets on South Ossetia. The American and Israeli trained and equipped Georgian army collapsed under Russian counterattack in 5 hours.
The lie that Washington’s puppet Barroso told was not worthy of a serious person. But where in Europe is there a serious person in power? Nowhere. The few serious people are all out of power. Consider the NATO Secretary General, Anders Rasmussen. He was a prime minister of Denmark who saw he could rise beyond Denmark by serving as Washington’s puppet. As prime minister he strongly supported Washington’s illegal invasion of Iraq, declaring that ‘we know that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction.’ Of course, the fool didn’t know any such thing, and why would it matter if Iraq did have such weapons. Many countries have weapons of mass destruction.

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on September 2, 2014.

Sanctions Against Russia ‘Unproductive’ – France’s National Assembly

EU sanctions against Russia are unfair and unproductive, according to Thierry Mariani, member of the National Assembly of France.
“I, and many of the other participants of today’s meeting, think that the sanctions imposed against Russia are unfair, unconstructive and unproductive,” Mariani said during a meeting between Sergei Naryshkin, Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) Speaker, with French political and social activists in Paris Monday.
Over the past few months, the United States and the European Union introduced several rounds of targeted sanctions against the Russian economy, unjustifiably blaming Moscow for meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs.

This post was published at RAI Novosti

Moldova Asks EU to Provide Its Farmers With Financial Assistance

Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca asked the European Union to provide Moldovan farmers with financial aid during a meeting with Stefan Fule, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, a spokesman for the Moldovan government told RIA Novosti Monday.
“European financial assistance was one of the main topics discussed by Leanca and Fule. The Commissioner stated that he would consider the possibility of Europe providing [Moldovan] farmers with financial help,” the spokesman said.
On July 18, Russia's agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor introduced temporary restrictions on fruit imports from Moldova.
On September 1, a law cancelling nullified duties for imports of certain Moldovan products to Russia, including wine, meat, vegetables, grain and fruit, came into effect. The law was drafted in order to protect the Russian market from an uncontrolled flow of European duty-free goods following Moldova’s signing of a free-trade agreement with the EU on June 27.

This post was published at RAI Novosti

Ebola becoming harder to treat -US experts: rapid mutation could ‘render treatment and vaccines ineffective’

August 2014 – AFRICA – As countries across the world battle to contain the spreads of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), the killer ailment appears to be devising means of circumventing efforts to stop it, researchers have said. Experts claim that the virus is ‘rapidly and continually mutating, making it harder to diagnose and treat.’ This is just as former President Olusegun Obasanjo declared, on Saturday, that the index case, Patrick Sawyer, in a ‘devilish’ connivance with some Liberian authorities, intentionally brought the disease to Nigeria. He also noted that the disease, which he said had become a global problem, had been taking a toll on Nigeria’s economy, charging the Federal Government to partner the World Health Organization (WHO), European Union (EU) and government of America in containing the virus. Sunday Tribune’s finding showed that result of a research by a team of American scientists indicates that the initial patients diagnosed with the virus in Sierra Leone revealed almost 400 genetic modifications, concluding that this could render current treatment ineffective and put vaccines that are being worked on for its cure in danger. According to reports, the team of researchers, under the Broad Institute in Massachusetts and Harvard University, analyzed more than 99 Ebola virus genomes which were collected from 78 patients diagnosed with the disease in Sierra Leona in the first 24 days of the current outbreak. Dr Pardis Sabeti, a senior associate member at the Broad Institute and an associate professor at Harvard University, who was among leaders of the research, said ‘by making the data immediately available to the community, we hope to accelerate response efforts.

This post was published at The Extinction Protocol on September 1, 2014.

Only Responsible Oligarchs Welcome

The news that UK prime minister David Cameron wants to urge the EU to exclude Russia from the SWIFT system is a few days old by now. As an aside, we note the rebels in the Eastern Ukraine and by implication their ‘surplus military hardware store’ next door apparently aren’t worried overly much, as the rebels just attacked two Ukrainian military vessels in the Sea of Azov, one of which was reported to have gone up in flames as a result…


This post was published at Acting-Man on September 1, 2014.

Putin: If I Want, I take Kiev in Two Weeks

The cover story from the German newspaper Bild says it all:
This morning the news which is rattling European capitols and the leadership in the Ukraine has been provided by the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica (translated via Google Translate):
Ukraine, Putin’s blackmail on the European summit: ‘If I want to take Kiev in two weeks ‘ The following excerpt, also translated, provides a background into the fear of retaliation being felt in European Union members and how Putin has elected to deal with the threats of the EU and NATO at this point in the conflict:

This post was published at John Galt Fla on September 1, 2014.

More Sanctions: Europe Will Ban Purchase Of Russian Bonds; However Russian Gas Exports Remain Untouched

Over the weekend, insolvent, debt-dependent Europe thought long and hard how to best punish Russia and moments ago reached yet another milestone in deep projective thought: as Reuters reports, Europeans could be barred from buying new Russian government bonds “under a package of extra sanctions over Moscow’s military role in Ukraine that European Union ambassadors were to start discussing on Monday, three EU sources said.” This will be in addition to the ban on the debt funding of most Russian corporations. So as Europe’s 7-day ultimatum for the Kremlin to “de-escalate” counts down, Putin has a choice: continue operating under a budget surplus and ignore Europe’s latest and most amusing hollow threat which is merely a projection of Europe’s biggest fears, or spend himself into oblivion as Europe has done over the past decade and become a vassal state of the Frankfurt central bank.. Somehow we doubt Putin will lose too much sleep over this latest “escalation”…
Some more details on today’s latest threat by Europe, which if nothing else has sent the ruble to a fresh record low against the dollar, leaving Europe green with envy at such currency debasement, and boosting Russian exports even more:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who led the drive for a tougher EU response, said on Monday that Moscow’s behaviour in Ukraine must not go unanswered, even if sanctions hurt the German economy, heavily dependent on imported Russian gas. “I have said that (sanctions) can have an impact, also for German companies,” Merkel told a news conference in Berlin. “But I have to say there is also an impact when you are allowed to move borders in Europe and attack other countries with your troops,” she said. “Accepting Russia’s behaviour is not an option. And therefore it was necessary to prepare further sanctions.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/01/2014.

These Clowns Are Dragging Us Into War

These Clowns Are Dragging Us Into War
In 8 weeks, on October 26, there are – supposed to be – parliamentary elections in Ukraine. What’s that going to look like? Who’s going to vote? In the presidential elections a few months ago, most of east Ukraine did not vote. How many different ways are there to define democracy and still remain credible?
In an interview today on Russian Channel 1, Vladimir Putin commented on the upcoming elections: ‘All the participants in the electoral race will want to show how cool they are; Everyone will want to show they are strongmen or strongwomen, and as the political struggle sharpens it is hard to expect anyone to seek a peaceful resolution and not a military one.’ That would seem to be an accurate prediction.
The EU yesterday (in yet another definition of democracy) picked its new president. They chose Polish PM Donald Tusk, which may seem a bit strange since Tusk doesn’t speak a word of either English or French, and he comes from a nation that is not even in the Eurozone, yet he will now now get to chair meetings that concern the euro. But Tusk is a hawk on Russia, and therefore suspiciously convenient to the inner core of Washington and Brussels’ control apparatus. He’s said more bad and ugly things about Russia and Putin than just about anyone recently, and that’s saying something.
The US and EU have worked for years to see their desire to take over Ukraine come to fruition. They’ve come a long way, but they wanted Crimea and the Donbass region most of all, and those they still don’t have. Still, they’ve so far shown themselves more than willing to assist first in killing thousands of eastern Ukrainians to get what they want, and now they are prepared to start a war over it.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 08/31/2014.

Libya May Be Focus Of Major Rift Between US And Regional Allies

Submitted by Defense & Foreign Affairs via OilPrice.com,
It had become clear by late August 2014 that Libya could no longer be seen as a unified state; at best it was in two parts, even with the communal leaderships of both sides professing a desire to resume national unity. By late August 2014, the country had two parliaments: one elected by the Libyan people, and the other given legitimacy solely by foreign support.
The situation seemed so intractable by that point that it was possible that a full military intervention by regional states, perhaps spearheaded by Egypt, could be attempted, with the goal of stabilizing the country and eliminating the foreign-funded and foreign-armed jihadis who were using Libya as a springboard for a proposed pro-Islamist war against the current Egyptian Government.
The proxy forces of the 2011 unilateral intervention by Qatar, supporting jihadis and the Muslim Brothers (Ikhwan), and by Turkey and the US, into the Cyrenaican revolt against Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi, were still dominating the Libyan political scene, much to the frustration of Libyan tribal forces.
Qatar was creating a ‘Free Egyptian Army’ in the Cyrenaica desert, and patterned on the ‘Free Syrian Army’ which Qatar, Turkey, and the US had built to challenge Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.
Significantly, while the US and European Union (EU) continued in August 2014 to promote the concept of a unified Libya, they were basing their approach around what was essentially a modification of the mode of governance practiced by Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi, who seized power by a coup in 1969, and held it until 2011. Widespread Libyan calls for a return to the 1951 Constitution – drafted by the United Nations and the 140 or so Libyan tribes – have been consistently ignored by Washington and Brussels.
By August 2014, the foreign jihadist fighters – mainly linked to salafist groups and either directly or indirectly working with the Muslim Brothers (Ikhwan) – were still entrenched in Cyrenaica, in Eastern Libya (where the local moderate. anti-salafist Senussiyah sect of Islam predominates), supported by Qatar, Turkey, and the US Government. As well, they were entrenched around Tripoli.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 08/31/2014.

More Mindless Sanctions? Merkel a Liar or a Fool?

As the tide in the Ukraine civil war turns, the EU threatens Russia with more mindless sanctions.
Bloomberg reports EU Vows More Russia Sanctions If War in Ukraine Worsens.
European Union leaders agreed to impose tougher sanctions on Russia, possibly targeting energy and finance, if the war in Ukraine worsens.
Leaders early today gave the European Commission a week to deliver proposals for the penalties. The EU left open the precise trigger for further sanctions, contrasting with a four-point ultimatum issued to Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 27 that preceded the latest curbs.

This post was published at Global Economic Analysis on Saturday, August 30, 2014.

Russia warns E.U. of Ukraine gas shortage

Russia says there is a risk that gas shortages this winter could force Ukraine to siphon off supplies of Russian gas meant for EU customers.
Ukraine's gas reserves have reached a "critical" state, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said.
He was speaking after talks in Moscow with EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger. The EU is anxious to ensure secure gas supplies for the winter.
Ukraine needs to store much more gas underground, Mr Novak said.

This post was published at BBC

Kick Russia Out Of SWIFT, UK Demands; But Beware The Retaliation…

UK Prime Minister David Cameron came out swinging this morning; not only at ISIS but in calling for European leaders to block Russia from the SWIFT banking transaction system. European leaders have already (via unnamed sources) denied any actual new sanctions will take place (though they will be discussing them at the NATO Summit) but – as we have noted previously – this is yet another unintended consequence-driven nail in the coffin of USD hegemony…
Bloomberg reports that the U. K. Said to Press EU to Block Russia From Banking Network
The U. K. will press European Union leaders to consider blocking Russian access to the SWIFT banking transaction system under an expansion of sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine, a British government official said. The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, known as SWIFT, is one of Russia’s main connections to the international financial system. Prime Minister David Cameron’s government plans to put the topic on the agenda for a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels Aug. 30, according to the official, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.
This has consequences…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 08/29/2014.