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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Russia Accuses U.S. Of Plotting Overthrow Of Putin

Moscow: Russia's Security Council accused the United States of plotting to oust President Vladimir Putin by financing the opposition and encouraging mass demonstrations, less than a week after a protest leader was murdered near the Kremlin.

The US is funding Russian political groups under the guise of promoting civil society, just as in the "colour revolutions" in the former Soviet Union and the Arab world, council chief Nikolai Patrushev said on Wednesday. At the same time, the US is using the sanctions imposed over the conflict in Ukraine as a "pretext" to inflict economic pain and stoke discontent, he said.

More than 50,000 people turned out in central Moscow on Sunday to mourn the death of Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy premier turned Putin opponent who was gunned down on Friday in one of the most heavily guarded areas of the capital. That was the biggest rally Russia has seen since 2011-12, when Putin was preparing to return to the presidency for a third term.

"It's clear that the White House has been counting on a sharp deterioration in Russians' standard of living, mass protests," Patrushev said. Russia can withstand the pressure, though, thanks to its resilience and "decades of experience in combating color revolutions," he said.

The Russian-backed revolt in Ukraine has led to the worst standoff between the Kremlin and the US and its European allies since the end of the Cold War. The fighting has claimed at least 6000 lives, according to the United Nations. Putin has repeatedly blamed the US for inciting the protests in Kiev last year that toppled his ally, Viktor Yanukovych.

The combination of US and European sanctions over the fighting that ensued after Yanukovych's ouster and a plunge in oil prices is pushing the economy into recession for the first time in six years. The US this week extended by a year the targeted sanctions it imposed in March over Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. The EU has prolonged similar measures by six months, and more comprehensive penalties on the energy and banking industries come up for renewal in July.

President Barack Obama urged Russia to ensure that those responsible for the "vicious killing" of Nemtsov are brought to justice, saying he admired the politician's "courageous dedication" to fighting corruption.

While Putin has condemned the "brazen" murder and vowed to find the culprits, Russia's leading opposition figure, Alexey Navalny, accused the country's political leadership, including the president, of ordering the killing. Nemtsov had been planning to publish details about Russia's role in the conflict in Ukraine.

A prominent political analyst with ties to the Kremlin, Sergei Markov, blamed Ukraine's secret service and the US Central Intelligence Agency for the crime, saying on his Facebook page that the goal was to provoke a popular uprising.

Investigators say they're examining several possible motives for the murder, including that it was a "provocation" designed to destabilise the country by turning Nemtsov into a "sacrificial lamb". They've also said Islamist extremists may have carried out the killing as punishment for Nemtsov's support for the French magazine Charlie Hebdo after militants murdered five of its cartoonists over caricatures of Muhammad.

Russia has long maintained that the US and its allies were behind the 2003 and 2004 revolts in Georgia and Ukraine that brought to power governments seeking to break free of their neighbour's grasp.

Since the protests in Moscow in 2011-12, the largest of Putin's 15-year rule, the government has cracked down on non-governmental organisations, requiring those that get money from abroad to declare themselves "foreign agents."
Credit to SMH.com.au

Roaches controlled remotely via mini-computer

Syria conflict: Blast hits Aleppo intelligence HQ

Dozens of Syrian security personnel and rebels have been killed in an attack on an intelligence facility in the city of Aleppo, a monitoring group says.

The attack began when a bomb placed in a tunnel near Air Force Intelligence's headquarters was detonated, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Jihadist and Islamist rebels then launched an assault on the building.

Aleppo has been divided between rebel and government control since fighting erupted in the city in mid-2012.

But soldiers, backed by pro-government militiamen and fighters from Lebanon's Hezbollah movement, have made steady advances since launching an offensive to retake rebel-held parts of the city last year.

Residents said the blast shook most of Aleppo, after rebels set off a large quantity of explosives in a tunnel running underneath or near the headquarters of the much-feared Air Force Intelligence in the western district of Jamiat al-Zahra on Wednesday afternoon.

Some people said it had felt like an earthquake, and the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) reported a 2.3-magnitude tremor in the west of Aleppo at 17:31 local time (15:31 GMT).

Credit to BBC

European Central Bank Will Cut Rates To Minus 3%

A running theme here over the past several weeks has been that the ECB’s €1.1 trillion foray into quantitative easing will be severely hindered by a laundry list of constraints (some of which were unwittingly self-imposed). Another topic we’ve covered exhaustively is the idea that the world’s central banks will likely all, in relatively short order, run up against the natural limits of accommodative monetary policy (indeed, even some Japanese policy makers are starting to agree on this). 
Thinking about these two things in conjunction raises an interesting question for the ECB: if a tail event comes rearing its ugly head and the global central bank race to the bottom accelerates, will Mario Draghi, effectively fighting with one hand tied behind his back by virtue of Q€’s limitations, be able to fend off an outright collapse?
Here’s FT with more: 
...the ECB is now close to running out of ammunition. The true constraints on further ECB intervention lie in the 25 per cent issue limit and 33 per cent issuer limit on its sovereign bond purchases.

Except for Greek debt, the 25 per cent and 33 per cent caps should not prove binding in a scenario where the ECB keeps its monthly asset purchase pace of €60bn. However, the limits could be reached in worst-case scenarios where the ECB would have to boost the size of its QE programme or implement OMTs targeted on specific sovereigns.

The first type of worst-case scenario would be a new global deflationary shock. It might be triggered by faltering US growth or a sharper-than-expected slowdown in China. The consequence would be fiercer currency wars with balance sheet expansion races among central banks.

In this competition, the ECB would be handicapped: it would not have much room to significantly increase the size of its bond purchase programme. For instance, if monthly purchases had to be raised to €100bn, the 25 per cent issue limit would be reached after only eight months in the case of German government debt.

Given the narrow size of the eurozone corporate bond market, any substantial further expansion of the asset purchase programme would then have to include equities. But this could prove controversial within the ECB governing council.
It seems to us that this “first type of worst-case scenario” is not merely possible, but in fact likely. As we’ve shown time and again, QE’s ability to stoke inflation expectations and boost aggregate demand simply has not been proven — even after $5 trillion in asset purchases. Here’s what we had to say on the subject last week: 
And so, stuck as we are in what looks like a chronic condition of oversupply and as it increasingly appears, in Citi’s words, that “the decoupling between EM GDP growth and global trade growth over the past decade [now looks] less like a benign shift away from exports to domestic consumption, and more like a world where GDP was temporarily boosted by a surge in credit, where suppliers ramped up capacity in anticipation of 10% nominal EM/Chinese demand growth continuing indefinitely, but where the limits of such credit-fuelled demand are suddenly being exposed,” more QE simply won’t move inflation expectations and certainly can’t do much to further stimulate aggregate demand (assuming it’s done anything in that regard thus far).
And it really hasn’t done anything. In fact, by keeping borrowing costs artificially low, QE may well be contributing to deflation by allowing insolvent producers to stay alive via cheap debt, resulting in overcapacity everywhere you look. 
Furthermore, we now know that we will in fact get a sharper-than-expected slowdown in China as we just reported minutes ago (see here).
FT’s second type of worst-case scenario may be even more likely to manifest itself than the first: 
The second type of worst-case scenario would be the return of the redenomination risk premium in certain peripheral sovereign bonds, for instance in the event of a Greek exit from the euro becoming a serious threat.

There is little doubt that the introduction of an alternative currency in Greece would lead markets to reinterpret the euro as a fixed exchange rate arrangement rather than as an irrevocable monetary union.
If recent events have taught us anything, it’s that the return of redenomination risk can come almost overnight — just look at the past two months. Regarding sovereign bond yields, the ECB has thus far succeeded in driving periphery borrowing costs (sans Greece) to record lows as Spanish and Italian 10s trade nearly 70 bps tighter than 10-year Treasurys. Should markets begin to factor in the same kind of redenomination risk premia as they did in the summer of 2012, the ECB would be hard pressed to arrest the panic. Here’s why, via FT again: 
Mr Draghi [says] the QE programme does not alleviate the need to make recourse to OMTs in order to remove this redenomination tail-risk in specific stressed countries.

However, contrary to its initial design, the OMT programme could no longer be seen as “unlimited”. In the case of Portugal, for instance, the 25 per cent and 33 per cent limits leave barely any room for OMT purchases in addition to the planned QE purchases.

Indeed, Draghi himself is already playing down Q€'s potential, noting this afternoon in Cyprus that QE alone will not be sufficient to reignite eurozone growth.
Given all of this, it seems the only option for the ECB would be to plunge further into NIRP-dom. Here’s Robert Michele, JPM’s head of global fixed income, on just how crazy the new paranormal is about to get: 
Via Bloomberg, citing Handelsblatt: 
Eurozone on road to deflation, and bonds remain [an] attractive asset because high demand meets scarce supply

ECB will reduce interest for cash deposits to minus 3% and the dollar [will] appreciate by 20%, reaching parity with euro in 2015
There you have it Denmark. Draghi will see your minus 75 bps and raise you negative 225 on top. 
Credit to Zero Hedge

Hillary's Private Emails Show Saudi Arabia Funded Benghazi Attack

The 17 Elements of Martial Law

The “Martial Law” is thrown around with reckless disregard. Is America under martial law? This is a question that is most often discussed in the Independent Media.
Martial law occurs when the prevailing regime feels threatened by the message being offered by the loyal opposition. When normal means of censorship and marginalization fail, despotic regimes resort to martial law with all intended brutality of a violent crackdown on all of those being perceived as the “enemy”.

Seventeen Martial Law Characteristics

Most experts agree that hard core martial contains the following 17  essential elements:
1-Mass roundup and/or execution of political dissidents
2-Dusk to dawn curfews
3-Rationing of essential resources
4-The seizing of personal assets such as food and water
5-Control over all food and water
6-The prohibition of weapons of any kind including guns, knives or chemicals which can be turned into explosives
7-The confiscation of property, homes and businesses
8-Arrests without due process
9-Massive “papers please” checkpoints with intrusive searches
10-Forced relocation
11-Forced conscription into various labor camps and even into the military
12-Outlawing of free speech
13-The installation of massive surveillance programs and the establishment of snitch programs
14-The total control or elimination of religion
15-Control of the media
16-Executions without due process of law
17-Total suspension of the Constitution
Just how many of these intrusive government policies are in place in the following video?

From your personal observations, how many can you name?
A full spectrum analysis of how far America has been taken down the road to martial law will be offered and will soon be released.
Credit to Common Sense

Iranian president says Israel 'greatest danger'

Image result for Iranian president says Israel 'greatest danger'

Tehran (AFP) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday said Israel creates the "greatest danger" in the region, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned against a nuclear deal with the Islamic republic.

In a speech on Capitol Hill, Netanyahu said Tuesday the nuclear agreement US President Barack Obama wants with Tehran "is so bad... it paves Iran's path to the bomb" and "would spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet".

Rouhani hit back on Wednesday in remarks to his cabinet.

Israel "claims to speak of peace and warns of future threats while it is the creator of the greatest danger for the region," the Iranian leader said, quoted by ISNA news agency.

Iran and the so-called P5+1 group -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany -- agreed in November to reach a political agreement by March 31 and a final deal before July 1.

But Iran now wants a single agreement that includes both a political framework and technical details.

"The people of the world are content with the way negotiations with the P5+1 group are moving forward... but there is only this occupying regime that is enraged by these talks", Rouhani said in reference to Israel.

"Americans and the people of the world are more intelligent than to listen to advice from an ever-warmongering regime," he said.

Rouhani accused Israel of possessing "many atomic bombs" and refusing to submit its "nuclear installations... to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency".

Israel, the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear power, has said it will not rule out unilateral military action against Tehran to prevent it from developing atomic weapons.

The Jewish state is not a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which governs and restricts the development of nuclear technology, although it has IAEA membership.

Credit to Yahoo News

You can't make fun of terrorists at the U. of Minnesota

No student or student group at a public university should have to fight for their First Amendment rights. But as I’m preparing for graduation in a few short months, that’s exactly what I find myself doing—fighting for the rights of my student publication.

At the Minnesota Republic, we pride ourselves in standing up for freedom of speech on campus because we might not exist without it.

"In the future, close attention may be paid to the content published by Students for a Conservative Voice to ensure that any material that is produced with student fee funds does not compromise the cultural harmony of the campus." Tweet This

Our publication, derived from the University of Minnesota’s Students for a Conservative Voice (SCV), allows students on campus to share their viewpoints no matter what—even if they are considered offensive.

And no other publication on campus can say that.

When Vice Provost of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Danita Young Brown apologized to students for a student group throwing a fiesta on the grounds that it might offend the Chicano and Latino students, we printed Goldy Gopher with a sombrero on the front cover. After the Charlie Hebdo attacks, we put a drawing of Muhammad on the cover, asking for speech over terror.

We do these things to show support for students’ right to say what they want on campus.

But the Student Service Fees Committee (SSFC) is now putting our rights in danger.

Every year student groups apply for funding from this committee, which is responsible for allocating millions of dollars. And while it’s a fight every year to secure the funding needed to print the Minnesota Republic, this year we were faced with a new challenge—the right to publish what we want.

At SCV’s budget presentation to the committee, we were asked about a back cover from an issue published in 2011 that pictured a man with a gun burning an issue of the Minnesota Republic with the words, “Terrorists hate the Minnesota Republic.”

Other than the protection afforded by the First Amendment to print such things, the SSFC even has its own rule that protects students’ rights to print content without hurting their request for funding.

And if the fees committee was following its own rules, a four-year-old newspaper cover would not have been questioned.

“While reviewing one of the sample publications, committee members came across material that demonstrated an overt lack of sensitivity to the portrayal of members of the Arab world,” SSFC’s funding recommendation to the Minnesota Republic said. “When pressed for information on how this piece made it into print, representatives informed the committee that, based on the date of this particular publication, the members responsible for that work are no longer in the organization and that this particular piece is not representative of the work produced by the organization today.”

“After assessing this information, the Student Service Fee Committee would like to emphasize for the group the significance of culturally sensitive discourse on a campus like the University of Minnesota, which prides itself on being home to a wide range of values and beliefs held by members that originate from countless cultures across the globe,” the recommendation continued. “In the future, close attention may be paid to the content published by Students for a Conservative Voice to ensure that any material that is produced with student fee funds does not compromise the cultural harmony of the campus and to ensure that the material that is produced is not at odds with the criteria in place for receiving this funding.”

I am shocked that not one person in the room during these deliberations questioned the committee’s flagrant disregard for our right to free speech as it was questioning whether or not our publication disrupts the “cultural harmony” on U of M’s campus.

It’s clear that their statement is meant to scare students on campus from publishing or saying anything that the committee might not like.

Students should be encouraged to share their views at a public university, not threatened when they do so.

Sadly, this is not the first time that the Minnesota Republic has had to deal with censorship issues at the U of M. Earlier this year, a stack of our publication was found in the garbage next to our newsstand. Our newsstands have also been vandalized and signs promoting the Minnesota Republic have been ripped up and thrown on the ground.

The Minnesota Republic has dealt with all of this, while the U of M has stood by and allowed it to happen. Whether it is offensive speech or not, all speech on a public university campus should be protected.

Students on campus should not have to feel as though the university is spying on them, waiting for a chance to strip them of their First Amendment rights. Instead, students—especially on a public campus—should be undeterred in their discourse and dialogue on any issue.

Credit to Allison Maass

New Chinese Aircraft Carriers Ahead of US

This is quantum leaps above anything we even have on the drawing board, way “outside the
box” here: better speed, larger capacity, much more stable, ‘Cat hull takes out the yaw… and much, much more..

Definitely a “blue-water” long reach vessel. Plus they can service their nuke sub fleet in-between the twin hulls ( sight unseen ) or even launch amphibious opps from same.

It will be launched in half the time it takes the US at just one-third the cost (they don’t outsource their labor).

Add the new Chinese naval version stealth fighter bomber already in flight-testing to the mix and you have the makings of a formidable weapons system indeed.

Also look at that extra ”parking and readiness” station between both hull structures. And of course the launching and landing capabilities from the utilization of two flight decks at once.

Six of these vessels (two pacific, two Atlantic, one Indian ocean and one on the Med) would ‘carry’ pretty good big stick diplomacy.

BTW, the Chinese are already drilling for oil off Cuba , Brazil and Venezuela . Can they build a fleet of these things?

Also BTW, the Chinese have completed the world’s biggest dam (three gorges), the world’s longest over-water bridge (65 times as much steel as in the Eiffel tower), constructed a 15,000 ft. High railroad into Tibet (all considered major engineering feats).

China is the only nation other than Russia that can launch men into outer space (our capability ended with the last space shuttle launch . They have also shot down a surveillance satellite (one of their own) from the ground. Plus, they own us in the international debt game.

China ‘s new carrier could be twice as fast as anything we have, plus the stability of a catamaran type hull will greatly reduce the pitching, yawing and swaying common to our present designs.

Oh, and we can thank Wal-Mart and our lust for stuff cheap for this. as well as a billion Chinese who live in miserable life styles to satisfy a government that exploits their labors.
Credit tp Before its¨news

Ex-Navy SEAL: WWIII Is Here and World Must Admit It

By Bill Hoffmann

Jordan's King Abdullah is right on the money — World War III has broken out, former Navy SEAL and FBI agent Jonathan Gilliam says.

But unfortunately, according to Gilliam, the world has yet to acknowledge it's in a life-or-death struggle with terror groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS).

"This is the first unconventional world war we've ever had. It is World War III. Unfortunately, the world hasn't figured that out yet," Gilliam said Monday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

Gilliam said he agreed with Abdullah, who on Sunday said the fight to defeat ISIS is a "third World War by other means."

"If [terrorists] keep going the way they're going, the roots are going to be able to spread all around the globe to a much greater extent than they are right now," Gilliam said.

A prime example, Gilliam added, is the fact that terror group Boko Haram is now producing its own propaganda videos and posting them on the Internet, just like ISIS with its gruesome beheading videos.

"Before, none of these groups thought about videos and high production stuff," Gilliam said. "Now, they see with this World War, [they can use the] same 1,400-year-old tactics, but now they can launch this terror across the World Wide Web."

Gilliam — president of United States Continued Service, which helps employ military veterans — believes terrorism grows through "our lack of forward thinking and our lack of aggressive stance when it comes to battling this war."

Credit to Newsmax

Who's Isolated Now? Kazakhstan Authorities Announce Plans To De-Dollarize Economy

Image result for Kazakhstan

Following the approval of the government,Kazakhstan's Central Bank has announced it plans to de-dollarize its economy by the end of 2016. The goal is to avoid the macroeconomic instability that the USD creates and to give priority to Tenge in trade agreements (banning price designations in foreign exchange). Coming just 2 weeks after the ratification of the $100 billion BRICS bank, and Russia's creation of a SWIFT-alternative, one wonders - as one by one foreign nations agree non-dollar trade and swap agreements - who is becoming 'isolated' now?

Full Zazakhstan Central Bank Statement (via Google Translate):
On measures to reduce dollarization of the economy

March 4, 2015 in Almaty

National Bank jointly with the Government to develop a plan to reduce the level of dollarization of the economy of Kazakhstan for 2015 - 2016 years, which was approved at a meeting of the Government of February 17, 2015. In addition, the plan approved at the meeting of the Board of the National Bank February 25, 2015.

The plan includes three main strategic directions:
  1. Ensuring macroeconomic stability;
  2. The development of non-cash payments and reduce the shadow turnover;
  3. Priority over foreign currency.
In the first direction in the plan includes measures to diversify the economy and increase the local content in goods, works and services.

The second area includes measures for the development of non-cash payments.

In the third direction is provided to increase the size guarantee on deposits in the national currency with 5 million. Tenge to 10 million. Tenge, reducing interest rates on deposits in foreign currency up to 3% annual, providing liquidity to banks and recovery of the banking sector, a ban designation on prices in foreign currency (including in arbitrary units).

Reducing the level of dollarization of the economy is a long process, whose progress is possible with constant and systematic work with a set of interrelated measures and joint efforts not only of the Government and the National Bank, but also of all economic actors.

Credit to Zero Hedge

China Pursuing World Reserve Currency