Tsipras Awakens Greece From the Neoliberal Nightmare

banknote-10000-greek-drachma-1995-georgios-papanikolaou Greek 10,000 Drachmae

Tsipras ends the neoliberal nightmare for Greece

failed revolution
by system failure
In his recent speech, the Greek PM, Alexis Tsipras, ignored all the threats by the bank-occupied eurocrats and clearly declared that he will focus on the programme announced by SYRIZA before the Greek elections. Tsipras actually confirmed that the Troika programme is over.
As expected, most of the global mainstream media opposed Tsipras’ declarations, saying that he is walking against the eurozone partners. Tsipras ignored the threats and chosen to show determination to support the initial line of the Greek government, which is to finish Troika and apply specific measures for the relief of the poorest parts of the Greek society heavily hit by the catastrophic measures in the Greek experiment.
Germans now are in a very difficult position because they don’t want to show that they retreat, they fear that the experiment may end for good since the other countries of the periphery will ask for further relief from the cruel austerity. The German leadership is being pressed also by the US leadership to retreat from the hard austerity line, as the Americans see a serious danger for Greece to slip towards the Sino-Russian bloc.
The German leadership is also in a difficult position because the public opinion in Germany understands that the cruel austerity is causing big problems and may be applied one day to themselves if the experiment in Greece end “successfully” for the plutocratic elites.
Merkel is not going to retreat easily, she seeks a decent exit from the dead end she caused. Meanwhile the Greeks appear determined to face all the consequences. The return to national currency is not a nightmare anymore. There are signs showing that the Greek government is making some moves to prepare for a Grexit. The war will be hard. European people should understand that this is a class war, not an ethnic one. The battle in Greece is just a crucial field right now.
Related:

General Philip “Strangelove” Blasts EU Peace Overtures As “completely unacceptable”

NATO top commander in Europe says ‘military option’ possible in Ukraine

Russia-Today 
U.S. General Philip Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko)
U.S. General Philip Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko)

NATO’s commander in chief says the West should not rule out arming Ukraine. General Philip Breedlove said no troops would be sent to the region, but providing Kiev with weapons and equipment was on the cards.

Speaking to reporters at a security conference in Munich on Saturday, Breedlove said: “I don’t think we should preclude out of hand the possibility of the military option.”

His strong comments come as the US is considering sending weapons to help Kiev in its fight against anti-government militias.

The chief commander of NATO said the proposal made by Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine was “completely unacceptable,” and added “there is no conversation about putting boots on the ground.”

The head of the Russian Duma committee on CIS affairs and Eurasian integration, Leonid Slutsky, slammed Breedlove’s comments as“absolutely cynical.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is expected to meet US Secretary of State John Kerry in Munich and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, while US Vice-President Joe Biden is also due to give a speech.READ MORE: 30,000 troops, 6 rapid units: NATO increases military power in Eastern Europe

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has already said the organization’s Response Force in Europe may increase to 30,000 troops – more than double the current 13,000 – with the majority to be posted near Russia’s borders.

However, there are reports that NATO and the US have been arming the Kiev forces. Russia’s ambassador to the organization, Aleksandr Grushko, says “there is a bulk of evidence that Western-made arms are being used in Ukraine,” mentioning lethal munitions such as NATO standard artillery shells. He has asked the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to investigate the claims.

READ MORE: US mulls providing Kiev forces with ‘defensive’ weapons – report

Moscow has urged Washington not to send weapons to Ukraine, which could include military hardware currently being pulled out of Afghanistan. The White House admitted on February 5 that arming Kiev could increase bloodshed in the region.

“They are telling us in NATO they aren’t supplying anything, that lethal weapons are not supplied [to Ukraine] … that NATO has no [standard] arms and all weapons are national and there are no NATO systems as such. In reality, this is not true,” Grushko said.

READ MORE: Kerry in Kiev: Shifting blame from Poroshenko govt as US mulls arms for Ukraine

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has asked the West to provide his country with weapons on numerous occasions. US President Barack Obama is expected to make his decision on the possibility of sending lethal aid to Ukraine next week, Secretary of State John Kerry announced during a visit to Kiev.

The secretary of state says Obama’s choice will be based on his [Kerry’s] comments and recommendations following his visit to the country, and will also take into account Angela Merkel’s visit to Ukraine.

The question of supplying Kiev with weapons seems to have split the EU-US alliance. France, Germany and Britain amongst others have already ruled out sending lethal aid to Ukraine, but the Baltic States and Poland are keen on the idea.

“More weapons in this area will not bring us closer to a solution, and will not end the suffering of the population,” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told reporters in Brussels.

READ MORE: Putin meets Merkel, Hollande behind closed doors in Moscow

NSA–“Your data is our data, your equipment is our equipment.”

The Digital Arms Race: NSA Preps America for Future Battle

der spiegel

By Jacob Appelbaum, Aaron Gibson, Claudio Guarnieri, Andy Müller-Maguhn, Laura Poitras, , Leif Ryge, and

Photo Gallery: 'Controlled Escalation' Photos
DPA

The NSA’s mass surveillance is just the beginning. Documents from Edward Snowden show that the intelligence agency is arming America for future digital wars — a struggle for control of the Internet that is already well underway.

Normally, internship applicants need to have polished resumes, with volunteer work on social projects considered a plus. But at Politerain, the job posting calls for candidates with significantly different skill sets. We are, the ad says, “looking for interns who want to break things.”

Politerain is not a project associated with a conventional company. It is run by a US government intelligence organization, the National Security Agency (NSA). More precisely, it’s operated by the NSA’s digital snipers with Tailored Access Operations (TAO), the department responsible for breaking into computers.Potential interns are also told that research into third party computers might include plans to “remotely degrade or destroy opponent computers, routers, servers and network enabled devices by attacking the hardware.” Using a program called Passionatepolka, for example, they may be asked to “remotely brick network cards.” With programs like Berserkr they would implant “persistent backdoors” and “parasitic drivers”. Using another piece of software called Barnfire, they would “erase the BIOS on a brand of servers that act as a backbone to many rival governments.”

An intern’s tasks might also include remotely destroying the functionality of hard drives. Ultimately, the goal of the internship program was “developing an attacker’s mindset.”

The internship listing is eight years old, but the attacker’s mindset has since become a kind of doctrine for the NSA’s data spies. And the intelligence service isn’t just trying to achieve mass surveillance of Internet communication, either. The digital spies of the Five Eyes alliance — comprised of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — want more.

The Birth of D Weapons

According to top secret documents from the archive of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden seen exclusively by SPIEGEL, they are planning for wars of the future in which the Internet will play a critical role, with the aim of being able to use the net to paralyze computer networks and, by doing so, potentially all the infrastructure they control, including power and water supplies, factories, airports or the flow of money.

During the 20th century, scientists developed so-called ABC weapons — atomic, biological and chemical. It took decades before their deployment could be regulated and, at least partly, outlawed. New digital weapons have now been developed for the war on the Internet. But there are almost no international conventions or supervisory authorities for these D weapons, and the only law that applies is the survival of the fittest.

Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan foresaw these developments decades ago. In 1970, he wrote, “World War III is a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation.” That’s precisely the reality that spies are preparing for today.

The US Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force have already established their own cyber forces, but it is the NSA, also officially a military agency, that is taking the lead. It’s no coincidence that the director of the NSA also serves as the head of the US Cyber Command. The country’s leading data spy, Admiral Michael Rogers, is also its chief cyber warrior and his close to 40,000 employees are responsible for both digital spying and destructive network attacks.

Surveillance only ‘Phase 0′

From a military perspective, surveillance of the Internet is merely “Phase 0″ in the US digital war strategy. Internal NSA documents indicate that it is the prerequisite for everything that follows. They show that the aim of the surveillance is to detect vulnerabilities in enemy systems. Once “stealthy implants” have been placed to infiltrate enemy systems, thus allowing “permanent accesses,” then Phase Three has been achieved — a phase headed by the word “dominate” in the documents. This enables them to “control/destroy critical systems & networks at will through pre-positioned accesses (laid in Phase 0).” Critical infrastructure is considered by the agency to be anything that is important in keeping a society running: energy, communications and transportation. The internal documents state that the ultimate goal is “real time controlled escalation”.

One NSA presentation proclaims that “the next major conflict will start in cyberspace.” To that end, the US government is currently undertaking a massive effort to digitally arm itself for network warfare. For the 2013 secret intelligence budget, the NSA projected it would need around $1 billion in order to increase the strength of its computer network attack operations. The budget included an increase of some $32 million for “unconventional solutions” alone.

In recent years, malware has emerged that experts have attributed to the NSA and its Five Eyes alliance based on a number of indicators. They include programs like Stuxnet, used to attack the Iranian nuclear program. Or Regin, a powerful spyware trojan that created a furor in Germany after it infected the USB stick of a high-ranking staffer to Chancellor Angela Merkel. Agents also used Regin in attacks against the European Commission, the EU’s executive, and Belgian telecoms company Belgacom in 2011.Given that spies can routinely break through just about any security software, virtually all Internet users are at risk of a data attack.

The new documents shed some new light on other revelations as well. Although an attack called Quantuminsert has been widely reported by SPIEGEL and others, documentation shows that in reality it has a low success rate and it has likely been replaced by more reliable attacks such as Quantumdirk, which injects malicious content into chat services provided by websites such as Facebook and Yahoo. And computers infected with Straitbizarre can be turned into disposable and non-attributable “shooter” nodes. These nodes can then receive messages from the NSA’s Quantum network, which is used for “command and control for very large scale active exploitation and attack.” The secret agents were also able to breach mobile phones by exploiting a vulnerability in the Safari browser in order to obtain sensitive data and remotely implant malicious code.

In this guerilla war over data, little differentiation is made between soldiers and civilians, the Snowden documents show. Any Internet user could suffer damage to his or her data or computer. It also has the potential to create perils in the offline world as well. If, for example, a D weapon like Barnfire were to destroy or “brick” the control center of a hospital as a result of a programming error, people who don’t even own a mobile phone could be affected.

Intelligence agencies have adopted “plausible deniability” as their guiding principle for Internet operations. To ensure their ability to do so, they seek to make it impossible to trace the author of the attack.

It’s a stunning approach with which the digital spies deliberately undermine the very foundations of the rule of law around the globe. This approach threatens to transform the Internet into a lawless zone in which superpowers and their secret services operate according to their own whims with very few ways to hold them accountable for their actions.

Attribution is difficult and requires considerable forensic effort. But in the new documents there are at least a few pointers. Querty, for example, is a keylogger that was part of the Snowden archive. It’s a piece of software designed to surreptitiously intercept all keyboard keys pressed by the victim and record them for later inspection. It is an ordinary, indeed rather dated, keylogger. Similar software can already be found in numerous applications, so it doesn’t seem to pose any acute danger — but the sourcecode contained in it does reveal some interesting details. They suggest that this keylogger might be part of the large arsenal of modules that that belong to the Warriorpride program, a kind of universal Esperanto software used by all the Five Eyes partner agencies that at times was even able to break into iPhones, among other capabilities. The documents published by SPIEGEL include sample code from the keylogger to foster further research and enable the creation of appropriate defenses.‘Just a Bunch of Hackers’

The men and women working for the Remote Operations Center (ROC), which uses the codename S321, at the agency’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, work on one of the NSA’s most crucial teams, the unit responsible for covert operations. S321 employees are located on the third floor of one of the main buildings on the NSA’s campus. In one report from the Snowden archive, an NSA man reminisces about how, when they got started, the ROC people were “just a bunch of hackers.” Initially, people worked “in a more ad hoc manner,” the report states. Nowadays, however, procedures are “more systematic”. Even before NSA management massively expanded the ROC group during the summer of 2005, the department’s motto was, “Your data is our data, your equipment is our equipment.”

The agents sit in front of their monitors, working in shifts around the clock. Just how close the NSA has already gotten to its aim of “global network dominance” is illustrated particularly well by the work of department S31177, codenamed Transgression.The department’s task is to trace foreign cyber attacks, observe and analyze them and, in the best case scenario, to siphon off the insights of competing intelligence agencies. This form of “Cyber Counter Intelligence” counts among the most delicate forms of modern spying.

 

Will Greece Nationalize Banks After Latest Bank-Run?

Draghi blackmails Greeks

failed revolution

… and we haven’t even reached the election day
globinfo freexchange
It appears that ECB decided that will not buy Greek bonds, after the systemic banks of the country reported having liquidity problems, only a week before the crucial national elections. It’s important to remind that the Leftist party, SYRIZA, which is determined to terminate austerity policies, precedes in all polls.
From ZH:
Der Spiegel reports after the European close that ECB QE will not include Greek bonds due to their low rating… but will see national central banks buying own-country debt.”
and
… following yesterday’s report that two Greek banks had suffered sufficiently material deposit withdrawals to force them to apply for the unpopular and highly stigmatizing Emergency Liquidity Assistance program with the ECB, now the other two of Greece’s largest banks have also succumbed to reserve depletion after the Greek bank run appears to have gone viral. As Greek Capital.gr reports, now all four Greek banks have requested ELA assistance from the same ECB president who earlier today is said to have unceremoniously kicked out Greece from the ECB’s QE program.”
As predicted, more than two years ago:
… the ECB becomes a corresponding Fed in the European area, “serving” the problematic economies that are excluded from the bond markets, through the print of new money. Therefore, the problematic economies will be loaded with more and more debt which the ECB, i.e. the largest private European banks will hold. Someone could argue that is not something new, since nations were facing huge debts in previous years, because they were indebted to banks through the excessive borrowing from the markets. But in this case, there is an important difference that makes things much worse: it is the cruel conditions imposed by the ECB to states that need to buy money. States that are excluded from markets, are now trapped within the neoliberal economic empire of the eurozone and will be forced to follow new austerity measures every time they need ECB to buy their bonds.
Meanwhile, the banking-media dictatorship in Greece has launched a new propaganda war against SYRIZA’s MP, Rachel Makri this time, who stated that Greece could “print” up to 100 billion euros in an emergency situation. The systemic parrots in the mainstream media and various governmental officials, as well as others from pro-austerity parties, rushed to blame Makri as being irresponsible, dangerous, etc. Systemic-friendly trolls flooded internet with ironic uploads and Samaras’ party, New Democracy, made some tv spots in less than 24 hours, to point the supposed “irresponsibility” of Marki. Another indication that the system acts under absolute panic.
However, the reality is that the country does have the possibility to print euros by itself. In fact, this has been done already by another country, being under a memorandum program, like Greece.
From the Irish Independent, date 15/01/2011: “… the Central Bank of Ireland is financing €51bn of an emergency loan programme by printing its own money. […] A spokesman for the ECB said the Irish Central Bank is itself creating the money it is lending to banks, not borrowing cash from the ECB to fund the payments. The ECB spokesman said the Irish Central Bank can create its own funds if it deems it appropriate, as long as the ECB is notified.” (http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/central-bank-steps-up-its-cash-support-to-irish-banks-financed-by-institution-printing-own-money-26614131.html)
Therefore, the systemic parrots either are lying, or, they should explain why wasn’t allowed to Greece to print its own euros. In any case, we know the answer: because Greece was chosen to be the “guinea pig” for the experiment of the most catastrophic neoliberal policies, and this experiment must be expanded throughout Europe at any cost.
We should wait to see how the ECB will react after the elections depending on the result. Under a specific scenario, already mentioned that “… the ECB will blackmail the government by threatening that will not purchase government bonds, therefore cut liquidity, in case that Greece choose a different path towards the reconstruction of the social state and labor rights, bringing minimum wage at pre-crisis levels, etc.”, and the only solution in this case, would be a fast reaction: “In case that SYRIZA has a secret agenda, and be pressed by the lenders beyond red lines, it could nationalize the central bank and return to the national currency, blowing up eurozone.” (http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2014/12/various-scenarios-for-national.html)
Otherwise, the officials of the European neoliberal economic empire may proceed to the last measure, which would be to remove the right of the eurozone countries to produce their own liquidity and be totally dependent on the ECB. Do they afraid SYRIZA that much? Probably not. What they afraid, is a domino of a rise of the Leftist parties in power in many European countries. As the old political system has been fully neoliberalized and has nothing to offer to the societies other than absolute destruction, the only way that was left, is blackmail. Maybe the time has come for the European people to fight and win the class war.
Read also:

Obama’s High-Stakes Gamble Handing Domination Of Global Oil Market To Saudis

Obama’s, Saudi Arabia’s beheading of U.S. oil will exact a heavy toll

pesonal liberty

oil pricesThe price of oil is sinking faster than the Titanic. The influence on it is Saudi Arabia, which has opened up the spigots, forcing down the price of oil to $50 per barrel compared to $110 last summer. The big winner in the crude sweepstakes is Saudi Arabia, which is increasing its world market share. The big losers are U.S. petroleum and shale oil producers who can no longer turn a profit. And the man with the sword in his hands is President Barack Obama.

Obama opposed U.S. petroleum drilling even before he took office. Yet he eagerly bows to the Saudi monarch, the ailing King Abdullah. Obama has provided enormous military hardware to the Saudis even as Saudi Arabia continues to fund Sunni terrorists, including the Islamic State (ISIS). Equally startling is that Obama has set the stage for a commodity price collapse, which could cause the worst economic crisis in America since the Great Depression.

Oil insiders believe that the credit Obama has received for the stunning rebound in U.S. petroleum production is contemptible. While the president did promise to open up new areas for exploration, he also clamped down on the offshore drilling following the BP oil spill in April 2010. Obama suspended offshore drilling leases and authorized an investigation of 29 oil rigs in the Gulf. Later, his administration ordered a six-month offshore drilling moratorium enforced by the U.S. Department of the Interior. That ended only when a federal judge lifted the moratorium, finding it too broad, arbitrary and unjustified.

A Forbes headline in March 2012 declared, “President Obama Has An Oil Problem.” The writer, Robert Bradly Jr., wrote: “In addition to dragging its feet on existing oil sources, the Obama administration has taken blatantly anti-oil actions.”

At the same time, the Obama administration has provided enormous support to Riyadh. In 2010, the Obama administration pulled off the largest arms deal ever. It was a $60.5 billion sale to Saudi Arabia of weapons with offensive capabilities.

Now with Obama’s blessing, Saudi overproduction of crude is in full swing. Last year, petroleum prices underwent their second largest annual decline in history. That has been great news for American drivers. But the cost of Saudi oil dominance cannot simply be measured at the gas pump. ConocoPhillips, a major player in the U.S. shale industry, has announced that it will “defer significant investment” in U.S. shale oil until returns look more promising. That isn’t likely until oil prices recover to more than $65 per barrel.

 

Deflation: The coming collapse of commodity prices

The global impact of crashing crude is what worries me most. Last month, Goldman Sachs reported nearly $1 trillion in investments in future oil projects will not happen at today’s prices. That was after looking at what was to be the development of 400 of the world’s largest planned oil and gas fields, not including U.S. shale projects. Factor those, and thousands of good-paying American jobs will disappear.

Obama is playing a dangerous game conspiring with Saudi Arabia. If crude prices continue to fall, as I believe they will, to below $40 per barrel, it will have a crippling impact on the commodity markets. We are almost certain to see Obama’s trickle “down” economics to do far more than just cripple the budding U.S. oil shale industry. I predict that in 2015 every resource industry from agriculture to mining is going to begin a serious decline that may last until the end of this decade.

Last year, billionaire and Obama confidante Warren Buffet was purchasing up wind farms. Buffet is shrewd. In five years, wind farms may be the only farms worth owning. I witnessed it before in the early 1980s when crashing oil prices crippled not only oil-dependent states like Texas and Alaska but also farm and mining states like Nebraska, Iowa and Idaho.

I saw the farming crisis firsthand when I was 22 and writing for a cattle magazine. I already had a general understanding of the boon years of the 1970s and the enormous correction that was occurring then, in the early ’80s, because my uncle owned a 2,000-acre mixed farm. He was lucky to sell out near the top, but many of our family’s friends who knew of no other way of life were bankrupted.

During those first years as a young writer, I would sometimes be driving through farm country. I saw the devastation.

According to Neil E. Harl, an Iowa State economics professor, more than three percent of the 2.4 million farmers in the U.S. left the farm each year in the early 1980s. In 1985, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported net farm income fell by nearly one-third during the first half of that decade. As farm commodity values declined, farmland values plunged. And that broke the backs of tens of thousands of farmers and ranchers.

 

Saudi Arabia and Barack Obama: A sinister alliance?

At my next job as an investment writer, I saw the same havoc in the mining industry. The Idaho Silver Valley, which had provided so many jobs to miners in the ’70s, was abandoned in the ’80s. Those families that stayed on were mostly impoverished as mine upon mine shut down. Today, the region — including surrounding cities like Spokane, Washington, and Great Falls, Montana — is a remnant of what it was during the boon in the ’70s.

It seems Obama is providing too much to Saudi Arabia where Christianity is illegal and where weekly beheadings draw large audiences. Even more disturbing is that Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest financial backer of the worst jihadist groups, including ISIS. WikiLeaks disclosed a 2009 State Department communication by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton which read, “[D]onors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

So even as Obama promises to fight Islamic extremism, he is backing the very kingdom that is backing the crazies who want to kill Americans. Others agree, including Larry Klayman, whose article was published last Saturday by WND:

Indeed, under the “leadership” of our “Black-Muslim in Chief” — who favors all things African and Islamic over the rest of us — it is likely that the nation and the world is about to explode at any moment. Things have simply been simmering along for too long for this not to occur at some point.

Obama continues to put America more at risk each passing month. His close relationship with Saudi Arabia should alone have him impeached but of course he is almost untouchable because of his heritage and his powerful friends in and out of government. As we begin 2015, the nation faces an impending deflationary collapse.

Yours in good times and bad,

–John Myers

John Myers is editor of Myers’ Energy and Gold Report. The son of C.V. Myers, the original publisher of Oilweek Magazine, John has worked with two of the world’s largest investment publishers, Phillips and Agora. He was the original editor for Outstanding Investments and has more than 20 years experience as an investment writer. John is a graduate of the University of Calgary. He has worked for Prudential Securities in Spokane, Wash., as a registered investment advisor. His office location in Calgary, Alberta, is just minutes away from the headquarters of some of the biggest players in today’s energy markets. This gives him personal access to everyone from oil CEOs to roughnecks, where he learns secrets from oil insiders he passes on to his subscribers. Plus, during his years in Spokane he cultivated a network of relationships with mining insiders in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

EU Leadership Still Self-Blind To US Evil Intentions for Europe and Russia

[SEE:  West wants to end confrontation with Russia over Ukraine – EU foreign policy chief ]
European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini…rejected the idea that the EU’s position on the crisis differs from that of the US.
“It is not true that there is a soft Europe stance, which opposes the US hardline position.”
Mogherini said that Washington’s views on Russia match those of Europe…“everyone wants to get out of the logic of confrontation.”

‘F**k the EU’

Victoria Nuland: US-Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Geoffrey R. Pyatt: United States Ambassador to Ukraine

Biden says US ‘embarrassed’ EU into sanctioning Russia over Ukraine

Russia-Today
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

America’s leadership had to embarrass Europe to impose economic hits on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine – even though the EU was opposed to such a motion, US Vice President Joe Biden revealed during a speech at Harvard.

“We’ve given Putin a simple choice: Respect Ukraine’s sovereignty or face increasing consequences,” Biden told a gathering at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics on Thursday.

The consequences were the sanctions which the EU imposed on Russia, first targeting individual politicians and businessmen deemed responsible for the crisis in Ukraine, then switching to the energy, defense, and economic sectors.

“It is true they did not want to do that,” Biden admitted.

“It was America’s leadership and the president of the United States insisting, oft times almost having to embarrass Europe to stand up and take economic hits to impose costs,” the US vice president declared.

AFP Photo / Patrick Hertzog

AFP Photo / Patrick Hertzog

Those costs deemed behind the ruble’s historic plunge not only forced America’s ExxonMobil to retreat from Russia’s Arctic shelf, but also provoked counter-measures from Moscow, which suspended certain food imports from the EU.

Russia’s counter-sanctions have hit many of the EU’s agricultural states. EU members, particularly those close to Russia, were the most affected by the loss of the Russian market.

For instance, the Netherlands – the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products – is set to lose 300 million euro annually from canceled business with Russia, as it accounts for roughly 10 percent of Dutch exports of vegetables, fruit, and meat.

At the same time, Poland was hit hard by the Kremlin’s sanctions, as its food exports to Russia totaled $1.5 billion in 2013.

Spain, a large exporter of oranges to Russia, is estimated to miss out on 337 million euro ($421 million) in food and agriculture sales, while Italy has estimated its losses at nearly 1 billion euro ($1.2 billion).

Following pressure from local farmers, a 125 million euro EU Commission Common Agricultural Policy fund was established, from which the growers are expected to get some cash, while Amsterdam is willing to cover the cost of transporting excess produce to eight food banks across Holland.

Overall, Moscow’s one-year food embargo against the EU, the US, Norway, Australia, and Canada will block an estimated $9 billion worth of agricultural exports to Russia.

With European countries now at a loss with apple and dairy surplus, it is not exactly clear whether EU producers will be able to return to the Russian markets after the one-year ban expires.

However, this is no secret to the US, as Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland remarked on Thursday.

“Implementing sanctions isn’t easy and many countries are paying a steep price. We know that. But history shows that the cost of inaction and disunity in the face of a determined aggressor will be higher,” Nuland said.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland (R) and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt (2nd R) distribute bread to riot police near Independence square in Kiev December 11, 2013. (Reuters / Andrew Kravchenko)

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland (R) and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt (2nd R) distribute bread to riot police near Independence square in Kiev December 11, 2013. (Reuters / Andrew Kravchenko)

Nuland’s reference to necessary action against the “aggressor” might be taken with a grain of salt by the Europeans, as the “F**k the EU” leak is still fresh in their memory.

The four-minute video – titled ‘Maidan puppets,’ referring to Independence Square in Ukraine’s capital – was uploaded by an anonymous user to YouTube.

Nuland was recorded as saying the notoriously known phrase during a phone call with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, as the two were seemingly discussing a US-preferred line-up of the Ukrainian government. It apparently referred to Washington’s policy differences with those of the EU on ways of handling the Ukrainian political crisis, with Nuland suggesting to “glue this thing” with the help of the UN and ignore Brussels.

The US State Department did not deny the authenticity of the video and stressed that Nuland had apologized for the “reported comments.”

Exec. Order for U.S. Department of Hasbara

[SEE: A Guide To HASBARA TROLLS ]

white house

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Executive Order 13584 –Developing an Integrated Strategic Counterterrorism Communications Initiative

EXECUTIVE ORDER

DEVELOPING AN INTEGRATED STRATEGIC COUNTERTERRORISM COMMUNICATIONS INITIATIVE AND ESTABLISHING A TEMPORARY ORGANIZATION TO SUPPORT CERTAIN GOVERNMENT-WIDE COMMUNICATIONS ACTIVITIES DIRECTED ABROAD

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 2656 of title 22, United States Code, and section 3161 of title 5, United States Code, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. The United States is committed to actively countering the actions and ideologies of al-Qa’ida, its affiliates and adherents, other terrorist organizations, and violent extremists overseas that threaten the interests and national security of the United States. These efforts take many forms, but all contain a communications element and some use of communications strategies directed to audiences outside the United States to counter the ideology and activities of such organizations. These communications strategies focus not only on the violent actions and human costs of terrorism, but also on narratives that can positively influence those who may be susceptible to radicalization and recruitment by terrorist organizations.

The purpose of this Executive Order is to reinforce, integrate, and complement public communications efforts across the executive branch that are (1) focused on countering the actions and ideology of al-Qa’ida, its affiliates and adherents, and other international terrorist organizations and violent extremists overseas, and (2) directed to audiences outside the United States. This collaborative work among executive departments and agencies (agencies) brings together expertise, capabilities, and resources to realize efficiencies and better coordination of U.S. Government communications investments to combat terrorism and extremism.

Sec. 2. Assigned Responsibilities to the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications.

(a) Under the direction of the Secretary of State (Secretary), the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (Center) that has been established in the Department of State by the Secretary shall coordinate, orient, and inform Government-wide public communications activities directed at audiences abroad and targeted against violent extremists and terrorist organizations, especially al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents, with the goal of using communication tools to reduce radicalization by terrorists and extremist violence and terrorism that threaten the interests and national security of the United States. Consistent with section 404o of title 50, United States Code, the Center shall coordinate its analysis, evaluation, and planning functions with the National Counterterrorism Center. The Center shall also coordinate these functions with other agencies, as appropriate.

Executive branch efforts undertaken through the Center shall draw on all agencies with relevant information or capabilities, to  prepare, plan for, and conduct these communications efforts.

(b) To achieve these objectives, the Center’s functions shall include:

(i) monitoring and evaluating narratives (overarching communication themes that reflect a community’s identity, experiences, aspirations, and concerns) and events abroad that are relevant to the development of a U.S. strategic counterterrorism narrative designed to counter violent extremism and terrorism that threaten the interests and national security of the United States;

(ii) developing and promulgating for use throughout the executive branch the U.S. strategic counterterrorism narratives and public communications strategies to counter the messaging of violent extremists and terrorist organizations, especially al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents;

(iii) identifying current and emerging trends in extremist communications and communications by al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents in order to coordinate and provide thematic guidance to U.S. Government communicators on how best to proactively promote the U.S. strategic counterterrorism narrative and policies and to respond to and rebut extremist messaging and narratives when communicating to audiences outside the United States, as informed by a wide variety of Government and non-government sources, including nongovernmental organizations, academic sources, and finished intelligence created by the intelligence community;

(iv) facilitating the use of a wide range of communications technologies, including digital tools, by sharing expertise among agencies, seeking expertise from external sources, and extending best practices;

(v) identifying and requesting relevant information from agencies, including intelligence reporting, data, and analysis; and

(vi) identifying shortfalls in U.S. capabilities in any areas relevant to the Center’s mission and recommending necessary enhancements or changes.

(c) The Secretary shall establish a Steering Committee composed of senior representatives of agencies relevant to the Center’s mission to provide advice to the Secretary on the  operations and strategic orientation of the Center and to ensure adequate support for the Center. The Steering Committee shall meet not less than every 6 months. The Steering Committee shall be chaired by the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy. The Coordinator for Counterterrorism of the Department of State shall serve as Vice Chair. The Coordinator of the Center shall serve as Executive Secretary. The Steering Committee shall include one senior representative designated by the head of each of the following agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Treasury, the National Counterterrorism Center, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Counterterrorism Center of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Broadcast Board of Governors, and the Agency for International Development. Other agencies may be invited to participate in the Steering Committee at the discretion of the Chair.

Sec. 3. Establishment of a Temporary Organization.

(a) There is established within the Department of State, in accordance with section 3161 of title 5, United States Code, a temporary organization to be known as the Counterterrorism Communications Support Office (CCSO).

(b) The purpose of the CCSO shall be to perform the specific project of supporting agencies in Government-wide public communications activities targeted against violent extremism and terrorist organizations, especially al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents, to audiences abroad by using communication tools designed to counter violent extremism and terrorism that threaten the interests and national security of the United States.

(c) In carrying out its purpose set forth in subsection (b) of this section, the CCSO shall:

(i) support agencies in their implementation of whole-of-government public communications activities directed at audiences abroad, including by providing baseline research on characteristics of these audiences, by developing expertise and studies on aspirations, narratives, information strategies and tactics of violent extremists and terrorist organizations overseas, by designing and developing sustained campaigns on specific areas of interest to audiences abroad, and by developing expertise on implementing highly focused social media campaigns; and

(ii) perform such other functions related to the specific project set forth in subsection (b) of this section as the Secretary may assign.

(d) The CCSO shall be headed by a Director selected by the Secretary, with the advice of the Steering Committee. Its staff may include, as determined by the Secretary: (1) personnel with relevant expertise detailed on a non-reimbursable basis from other agencies; (2) senior and other technical advisers; and (3) such other personnel as the Secretary may direct to support the CCSO. To accomplish this mission, the heads of agencies participating on the Steering Committee shall provide to the CCSO, on a non-reimbursable basis, assistance, services, and other support including but not limited to logistical and administrative support and details of personnel. Non-reimbursable details shall be based on reasonable requests from the Secretary in light of the need for specific expertise, and after consultation with the relevant agency, to the extent permitted by law.

(e) The CCSO shall terminate at the end of the maximum period permitted by section 3161(a)(1) of title 5, United States Code, unless sooner terminated by the Secretary consistent with section 3161(a)(2) of such title.

Sec. 4. General Provisions.

(a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) authority granted by law to an agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,
September 9, 2011.