As Iran continues to negotiate with world powers over its controversial (but purely for peaceful purposes, of course) nuclear program - with hard-liners demanding more concessions from the West - The Telegraph reports that a brief video, which aired on the Arabic-language Al-Alam TV, shows what the channel says are parts of an Israeli drone, scattered in an unidentified desert area. Text accompanying the footage says the drone was downed on Saturday and identifies it as a Hermes 450, a known Israeli model. The Iranian TV station also says the model is dubbed "Spy Goddess." However, as The Telegraph adds, there were no visible Israeli markings in the footage and Israel's military has declined comment on the matter... and Iran will sue Israel legally over its alleged violation of Iran's air space.
This one is almost too sensational to be real. Almost. Jon Corzine (of MF Global) walks the streets a free man. Yet FinCEN is wasting taxpayer resources sending undercover agents to entrap some offshore casino, and they act as if they’ve infiltrated a major terrorist organization. Amid all the debt, graft, and incompetence that’s so prevalent today in government, this is another sad testament to the direction that things are headed.
India, Pakistan Intensify Shooting Across Border; Iran Downs Israel Drone; ISIS Seizes Military AirportSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/24/2014 12:07 -0400
Since in the New Normal no geopolitical events appear to have any adverse impact on risk and asset prices (because the central banks are always there to protect investors should the market "plunge" by say 5%) with general newsflow completely irrelevant on what has been a straight line up in the S&P since the announcement of QE4 in December 2012, one might as well see how much further geopolitical events can be pushed further before it all crashes. In other words, time for this weekend's geopolitical update which covers everything from India, Pakistan, Iran, Israel, Iraq, Syria and Qatar.
Communist China. Nazi Germany. Cambodia. Guatemala. Uganda. The list goes on and on. Pacification of the citizens is almost always a prerequisite to totalitarianism. There have been a lot of attempts to disarm, or at least partially disarm, people in the US throughout history as well. Each time there’s a major shooting somewhere, the chant to ban firearms grows louder. But the latest proposal is especially telling. H.R. 5344 is a bill currently going through Congress that would ban the purchase of body armor.
Pakistan Opposition Leader Slams US: "You Like Only Those Governments In Muslim Countries That Are Your Slaves"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/21/2014 21:50 -0400
It is no secret that of all geopolitical crises in the past 5 years, the US has been the instrumental puppetmaster in virtually all of them: from Libya, to Egypt, to Syria, to Ukraine ("US Revealed As Alleged Mastermind Behind Ukraine Unrest"), even the ISIS insurrection in Iraq whose success would have been impossible without prior US weaponizing of al-Qaeda splinter groups in neighboring Syria. And now it appears the US has found yet another country for its "intelligence services" to alienate. According to go the WSJ, the leader of protests against Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lashed out at the U.S. Thursday, accusing Washington of interfering in the country's political crisis. "You like only those governments in Muslim countries that are your slaves," Mr. Khan said in remarks directed at the U.S. "Is there another democracy for you, and another for us?"
About a year after it was first revealed that the US had spied not only on Angela Merkel but on virtually every German citizen, in a remarkable NSA-CIA tag-team joint venture, many were wondering why Germany is taking things so calmly (aside, of course, for the whole "Fed may need to bail out Deutsche Bank at any moment" bit). Turns out the answer is that Germany was doing the same all along and as the German press reveals today, the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) has tapped at least one phone call of then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
Back in February we observed, with some surprise, when Soros Fund Management, the investment vehicle of the famous Hungarian billionaire investor revealed in its Q4 13F that the firm had taken its bearish S&P 500 ETF - aka SPY - put exposure to a then record $1.3 billion notional, prompting us and many others to ask if Soros was preparing for a market crash. Fast forward to today when following the latest 13F disclosure from the same fund, we note, with double the surprise that a quarter after the same ETF put was lowered to "only" $299 million notional, Soros has once again increased his total SPY Put to a new record high of $2.2 billion, or nearly double the previous all time high, and a whopping 17% of his total AUM.
Even though government surveillance is becoming more and more invasive, there are ways to shield yourself from prying eyes. If you agree with the premise that every person has the right to protect their personal matters and privacy from the Big Brother, there are free options to use out there that can ensure your communications, your digital presence and activity, and your data remain secure and private.
Curious what (long) positions hedge funds bought, sold, initiated or liquidated in the second quarter? Then the following summary, courtesy of RanSquawk is for you. And while these 13F reports are far less relevant than they used to be when central-planning wasn't the rule of the land, keep a close eye on these most frequently mentioned stocks: AAPL, DG, AAL, MNK, FB, PCLN, GM, VZ, AGN, AIG, DTV, CMCSA, WMB, QCOM, APC, and CBS.
For everyone curious how the market's favorite "balls to the wall" barometer did in the second quarter (which ended 45 days ago), here is the full breakdown.
"The U.S. government has grown strangely quiet on the accusation that it was Russia or her allies that brought down the Malaysian airliner with a buk anti-aircraft missile... When evidence contradicts our government’s accusations, the evidence is never revealed to the public—for national security reasons, of course... Too bad we can’t count on our government to just tell us the truth and show us the evidence. I’m convinced that it knows a lot more than it’s telling us."
In an unbelievable display of arrogance and self-importance, the Australian government recently announced the most sweeping changes to their national security legislation since 9/11. Basically they’re telling everyone that they should just be afraid… and that the government must spy on citizens in order to protect them. This is how it always happens... and we can watch yet another country slide rapidly into a police state.
Pentagon Confirms Russia Violated US Airspace 16 Times In Last 10 Days, "Not Just Training Missions"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/07/2014 12:47 -0400
Having admitted that a Russian fighter jet flew within 30 meters of a US spy plane (on the border of Russia) a month ago, The Washington Times reports defense officials confirming Russian strategic nuclear bombers conducted at least 16 incursions into northwestern U.S. air defense identification zones over the past 10 days - an unusually sharp increase in aerial penetrations.
We are all Obama's "folks" now...
A day after Malaysian Airlines MH-17 was shot down on July 17 over east Ukraine (still to be determined by who thanks to epic amounts of fact-free propaganda) the new cold war between Russia and the US nearly heated up quite substantially, after a U.S. Air Force spy plane closely evaded an encounter with the Russian military on July 18 in what may potentially have escalated into a live fire tragedy that could have unleashed something far worse. According to CNN, the U.S. plane had been flying in international airspace, conducting an electronic eavesdropping mission on the Russian military, when the Russians took the unusual action of beginning to track it with land-based radar. The Russians then sent at least one fighter jet into the sky to intercept the aircraft, the U.S. official said Saturday.