While the White House has continually threatened further sanctions against Russia for non-de-escalation (even as it un-de-escalates itself), the specifics of the additional sanctions have been sparse. German CEO warnings over blowback from economic sanctions... the "nonsense" of replacing Russian gas with US gas... the Russian warnings of "interdependence" and "boomerangs"... all reduce the West's arsenal of financial sanctions. But, as The Times of London reports, perhaps the US has found a crucial pain point for Putin - a sanctions regime that would target Putin's personal wealth, which includes a reported $40 billion stashed in Swiss bank accounts.
As the audience went from laughter to applause, Vladimir Putin responded to the question that he had just read out on a televised debate in Russia. What was the question?
Over the past week the Obama administration leaked material information, in effect allowing and encouraging frontrunning of public data, when it told "asset managers last week that it was planning additional sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine."Bloomberg reports that the meeting, convened a week before talks with Russia in Geneva that ended yesterday, left managers grappling with the question of whether the government intended to follow through, or was trying to trigger asset sales through the threat of sanctions, said the person. Former administration officials have said forcing Russia out of global financial markets is the strongest tool President Barack Obama has at his disposal in trying to defuse the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine.
While the western media paints Vladmir Putin as some cross between Napoleon and Hitler marauding across Europe breaking international laws willy-nilly, there is one red line he is apparently unwilling to cross. In a somewhat surprising turn of events, none other than Edward Snowden called in to a Putin live telethon and asked the Russian President: "Does Russia intercept millions of citizens’ data?" Putin's response (whether true or not) is worth paying attention to by his opponent on the world stage: "Russia uses surveillance techniques for spying on individuals only with the sanction of a court order. This is our law, and therefore there is no mass surveillance in our country."
After years of being mocked by the establishment and the majority of the herd, today millions of "conspiracy theorists" can pat themselves on the back because this Pulitzer's for you. Well, technically it is for the Guardian and WaPo, since these were the media outlets that Edward Snowden picked to release his trove of whistleblowing treasures, which the Pulitzer committee decided were "worthy" of the prize for their "revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security."
- Three dead in shootings at Kansas Jewish centers; man to face charges (WSJ)
- Sanctions Blowback in Russia Targets Burgers to Movies (BBG)
- Deadly Virus's Spread Raises Alarms in Mideast (WSJ)
- China group buys $6bn Glencore Peru copper mine (BBG)
- Iran lodges complaint against United States over U.N. envoy ban (Reuters)
- Russian assets down sharply on Ukraine conflict fears (Reuters)
- ECB comments knock euro, but not much (Reuters)
- World-Leading $25 Hourly Wage Roils Swiss Businesses (BBG)
Ukraine Mobilizes Military, Gives Separatists Ultimatum; Russia Slams Escalation As "Criminal", Yanukovich Warns Of Civil WarSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/13/2014 21:29 -0400
If Russia's intention was to give Ukraine enough "escalation" rope with which to hang itself once again, it may have succeeded when a little over an hour ago acting president Oleksander Turchinov said in a televized address that Ukraine has mobilized its armed forces to launch a "full-scale anti-terrorist operation" against pro-Russian separatists. Furthermore, knowing the only real escalation Kiev can engage in is in the war of words department, Ukraine set an 0600 GMT Monday deadline for pro-Russian separatists to give up their weapons and leave buildings they have occupied in the east of the country, a presidential decree said. It is unclear if this would be the catalyst to launch the military operation, but should Kiev indeed bring in the army it is certainly clear that Russia will respond in kind.
Read Seymour Hersh’s devastating account of Obama’s Red Lines and Rat Lines and weep for the Republic. It is no more.
"Reports that NSA or any other part of the government were aware of the so-called Heartbleed vulnerability before April 2014 are wrong. The Federal government was not aware of the recently identified vulnerability in OpenSSL until it was made public in a private sector cybersecurity report. The Federal government relies on OpenSSL to protect the privacy of users of government websites and other online services. This Administration takes seriously its responsibility to help maintain an open, interoperable, secure and reliable Internet. If the Federal government, including the intelligence community, had discovered this vulnerability prior to last week, it would have been disclosed to the community responsible for OpenSSL."
It is one thing for the NSA to spy on everyone in the world, especially US citizens because all of them are obviously potential "terrorizers" just waiting for their opportunity to blow shit up (except for anything in close proximity to the Boston marathon - those things the NSA promptly filters out), but when the NSA itself is found to have not only known and itself abused the prevalent and widespread Heartbleed bug, but left consumers exposed, then it may be time to finally launch a class action lawsuit against Obama's favorite means to eavesdropping on the entire world.
Is the US or the World Coming to an End? It will be one or the other
2014 is shaping up as a year of reckoning for the United States. One of two things is likely: Either the US dollar will be abandoned and collapse in value, thus ending Washington’s superpower status and Washington’s threat to world peace, or Washington will lead its puppets into military conflict with Russia and China. The outcome of such a war would be far more devastating than the collapse of the US dollar.
Russia’s defense spending will increase by 18% in 2014, and another 33% over the next two years. Nonetheless, it’s far from clear that Russia will be able to meet its military modernization goals given the darkening economic outlook for the country. Already, the massive military rearmament program has elicited significant criticism from certain sectors of Russian society.
"The global financial landscape was evolving. Ever since World War II, US bankers hadn’t worried too much about their supremacy being challenged by other international banks, which were still playing catch-up in terms of deposits, loans, and global customers. But by now the international banks had moved beyond postwar reconstructive pain and gained significant ground by trading with Cold War enemies of the United States. They were, in short, cutting into the global market that the US bankers had dominated by extending themselves into areas in which the US bankers were absent for US policy reasons. There was no such thing as “enough” of a market share in this game. As a result, US bankers had to take a longer, harder look at the “shackles” hampering their growth. To remain globally competitive, among other things, bankers sought to shatter post-Depression legislative barriers like Glass-Steagall. They wielded fear coated in shades of nationalism as a weapon: if US bankers became less competitive, then by extension the United States would become less powerful. The competition argument would remain dominant on Wall Street and in Washington for nearly three decades, until the separation of speculative and commercial banking that had been invoked by the Glass-Steagall Act would be no more."
With all the hoopla about missing airplanes, renewed wars of the cold variety, and rigged markets, it is easy to forget that America is now officially a totalitarian state of the Orwellian kind, where the population has - involuntarily - ceded all of its privacy in exchange for... something. Because it certainly isn't security. So we are happy to provide a reminder of just this, especially since as BusinessWeek notes, it gets harder to keep track of all the bizarre ways the National Security Agency has cooked up to spy on people and governments. This may help.