Vijay Prashad on the ‘Ruthless’ Bombing of Yemen and Palestine, How Libya Mirrors Iraq, and the U.S. Election

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez are joined by Vijay Prashad to discuss a number of issues covered in his latest book: The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution. Prashad briefly covers the conflicts in Yemen and Palestine, how the regime change operation in Libya mirrors what happened in Iraq, and whether there are any differences between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to the outside world. (Democracy Now!)

Why Celtic Fans Flew the Flag for Palestine

Kevin McKenna writes for The Guardian:

[…] During the fascist regime of General Franco in Spain, to display the Catalan flag was to risk death or imprisonment. The only place where the Catalans could safely fly these fags was Barcelona’s Nou Camp stadium. Barcelona FC now embodies Catalan identity and pride. Wherever there is oppression in the world, football, by its very nature, can provide a vehicle for expressing pride in a national cause. It was never only ever about football.

Celtic supporters know this too. Their club was founded in 1887 and played its first game in 1888 to raise funds for the relief of the poor Irish who had gathered in the East End of Glasgow. When they arrived in the city they initially faced resentment, discrimination and squalor. Every time Celtic won a game their suffering was eased a little.

In Scotland, those days are long departed. In Palestine, though, another oppressed people is suffering. Perhaps now because of a simple act of solidarity and generosity, they will know that they don’t suffer alone.

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TTIP: German Economy Minister Says EU-US Trade Talks Have Failed

Frank Jordans reports for AP:

Germany Europe US TradeFree trade talks between the European Union and the United States have failed, Germany’s economy minister said Sunday, citing a lack of progress on any of the major sections of the long-running negotiations.

Both Washington and Brussels have pushed for a deal by the end of the year, despite strong misgivings among some EU member states over the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP.

Sigmar Gabriel, who is also Germany’s vice chancellor, compared the TTIP negotiations unfavorably with a free trade deal forged between the 28-nation EU and Canada, which he said was fairer for both sides.

“In my opinion, the negotiations with the United States have de facto failed, even though nobody is really admitting it,” Gabriel said during a question-and-answer session with citizens in Berlin.

He noted that in 14 rounds of talks, the two sides haven’t agreed on a single common item out of 27 chapters being discussed.

 

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Nigel Farage: From Brexit Hero to Trump’s Little Helper

Marina Hyde writes for The Guardian:

What a thrill to see new life breathed into the buddy demagogue movie in Jackson, Mississippi, on Wednesday night. You only had to look at Nigel Farage’s little face to see how thrilled he was at the chance to play the Danny Glover to Donald Trump’s Mel Gibson. As for Trump, he was all over Nigel’s cheap suit like a cheap suit.

I still find it impossible to imagine Trump touching anyone except his daughter without pulling the full Mariah Carey and screaming for the hand sanitiser the second he’s offstage. But Mr Soon-They-Will-Be-Calling-Me-Mr-Brexit made an excellent fist of embracing Mr Brexit for his crowds of occasionally bemused supporters. A fanfare for the little people ensued.

I’m sure Farage’s life wants him back and everything, but duty calls.

This week found the outgoing Ukip leader shaving off his gap year moustache and going all the way to that America. He was joined by his backer, Arron Banks – still growing into the role of kingmaker, it must be said – though the pair left their immigrant wives at home, so we were denied the spectacle of a bilateral with Melania. (Incidentally, why do so many of our most frothingly anti-immigrant elite populists seem to have immigrant wives? I find all my non-scientific answers to be entirely unprintable. Perhaps an academic study could put it mildly.)

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Dave Zirin on Olympic Firsts, Treatment of Russian Athletes and Brazil’s Future

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez speak to Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation and author of Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy, who discusses some of the biggest issues surrounding the 2016 Olympics in Rio. You can view part one of this interview here(Democracy Now!)

Competing While Black: The 2016 Rio Olympics and Racism

Kwame Rose speaks to Dr. Sheri Parks, author of Fierce Angels: The Strong Black Woman in American Life and Culture, who discusses the media’s depiction of black female athletes during the Rio Olympics and the social issues raised during the games in Brazil. (The Real News)

Ukrainian and Russian Elite Benefit From New Flare-Ups at the Border

Jaisal Noor speaks to Moscow-based political economist Aleksandr Buzgalin about how recent border confrontations distract from domestic policies as a source of internal social problems. (The Real News)

British Companies Are Selling Advanced Spy Tech to Authoritarian Regimes

Joseph Cox reports for VICE Motherboard:

Since early 2015, over a dozen UK companies have been granted licenses to export powerful telecommunications interception technology to countries around the world, Motherboard has learned. Many of these exports include IMSI-catchers, devices which can monitor large numbers of mobile phones over broad areas.

Some of the UK companies were given permission to export their products to authoritarian states such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Egypt; countries with poor human rights records that have been well-documented to abuse surveillance technology.

“At a time when the use of these surveillance tools is still highly controversial in the UK, it is completely unacceptable that companies are allowed to export the same equipment to countries with atrocious human rights records or which lack rule of law altogether. There is absolutely a clear risk that these products can be used for repression and abuses,” Edin Omanovic, research officer at Privacy International, told Motherboard in an email.

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The U.S. Army Lost Track of $6.5 Trillion

Matthew Gault reports for War Is Boring:

By congressional mandate, the Pentagon needs to be ready for an audit of its finances by Sept. 30, 2017. If what’s going on at the U.S. Army is any indication — and it is — then next fall’s audit will be a shit-show of broken promises, cooked books and bizarre accounting.

The Army made headlines in mid-August 2016 when a Defense Department Inspector General report landed with a heavy thud. The 75-page reportdetailed all the ways the Army screwed up its accounting of the Army General Fund in 2015.

According to the report, Army bookkeepers screwed up the budget to the tune of … $6.5 trillion dollars.

Yes, trillion.

That’s $6.5 trillion in accounting mistakes for the year 2015 alone. That’s such a huge number that it doesn’t even make a lot of sense. The annual budget for the entire U.S. military in the past few years has been around half-a-trillion bucks.

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Journalist Andrew Cockburn on the U.S. Role in Saudi Arabia’s War in Yemen

Amy Goodman speaks to Andrew Cockburn, the Washington editor for Harper’s magazine, about America’s role in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. His latest piece for Harper’s is headlined Acceptable Losses: Aiding and Abetting the Saudi Slaughter in Yemen. He is author of a number of books, his latest is Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins. (Democracy Now!)

Paul Wolfowitz: ‘I might have to vote for Hillary Clinton’

Louis Nelson reports for Politico:

140617_paul_wolfowitz_ap_328.jpgThe former George W. Bush administration official who is often referred to as the “architect” of the Iraq War says he will likely end up voting for Hillary Clinton for president this fall.

Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense under President Bush from 2001-2005, told the English-language version of the German newspaper Der Spiegel that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump represents a security risk for the U.S. and that his praise for strongmen like Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is “pretty disturbing.”

“The only way you can be comfortable about Trump’s foreign policy is to think he doesn’t really mean anything he says. That’s a pretty uncomfortable place to be in,” Wolfowitz said. “Our security depends on having good relationships with our allies. Trump mainly shows contempt for them.”

Because he is so uncomfortable with Trump, Wolfowitz said he would likely vote for Clinton, albeit grudgingly.

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A Guided Tour of the ‘Alt-Right’ by the Trump Campaign Chief’s Website

Jim Naureckas writes for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR):

“We’re the platform for the alt-right,” Donald Trump’s new campaign CEO, Stephen Bannon, told Mother Jones‘ David Corn (8/22/16)—”we” meaning Breitbart News, the online news outlet that Bannon headed until he was picked to run the turbulent Trump campaign.

And the “alt-right”? Well, Breitbart (3/29/16) tried to explain what that is in a 5,000-word piece last spring, written by Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos—perhaps best-known for being banned from Twitter for harassing actress Leslie Jones—and Allum Bokhari, who describes himself as the “resident kebab at Breitbart Tech” and “Milo’s deputy.”

Not that Bokhari and Yiannopoulos find it easy to explain the “alternative right.” When it comes time to sum it up in a nutshell, this is the best they can offer:

Young, creative and eager to commit secular heresies, they have become public enemy No. 1 to Beltway conservatives…. The alt-right has a youthful energy and jarring, taboo-defying rhetoric that have boosted its membership and made it impossible to ignore.

They can tell you what it’s not, though—racist! Despite the fact that everyone seems to think it is:

Some — mostly Establishment types — insist it’s little more than a vehicle for the worst dregs of human society: antisemites, white supremacists and other members of the Stormfront set. They’re wrong…. Lefties dismiss it as racist, while the conservative press, always desperate to avoid charges of bigotry from the Left, has thrown these young readers and voters to the wolves as well.

Rather than giving one definition of the alt-right, the Breitbart article chooses to describe it piece by piece. Let’s put the pieces together and see what kind of picture it makes.

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Why Did the Saudi Regime and Other Gulf Tyrannies Donate Millions to the Clinton Foundation?

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

As the numerous and obvious ethical conflicts surrounding the Clinton Foundation receive more media scrutiny, the tactic of Clinton-loyal journalists is to highlight the charitable work done by the foundation, and then insinuate — or even outright state — that anyone raising these questions is opposed to its charity. James Carville announced that those who criticize the foundation are “going to hell.” Other Clinton loyalists insinuated that Clinton Foundation critics are indifferent to the lives of HIV-positive babies or are anti-gay bigots.

That the Clinton Foundation has done some good work is beyond dispute. But that fact has exactly nothing to do with the profound ethical problems and corruption threats raised by the way its funds have been raised. Hillary Clinton was America’s chief diplomat, and tyrannical regimes such as the Saudis and Qataris jointly donated tens of millions of dollars to an organization run by her family and operated in its name, one whose works has been a prominent feature of her public persona. That extremely valuable opportunity to curry favor with the Clintons, and to secure access to them, continues as she runs for president.

The claim that this is all just about trying to help people in need should not even pass a laugh test, let alone rational scrutiny. To see how true that is, just look at who some of the biggest donors are. Although it did not give while she was secretary of state, the Saudi regime by itself has donated between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation, with donations coming as late as 2014, as she prepared her presidential run. A group called “Friends of Saudi Arabia,” co-founded “by a Saudi Prince,” gave an additional amount between $1 million and $5 million. The Clinton Foundation says that between $1 million and $5 million was also donated by“the State of Qatar,” the United Arab Emirates, and the government of Brunei. “The State of Kuwait” has donated between $5 million and $10 million.

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The NSA Is Putting Us All at Risk to be Hacked

Bruce Schneier, author of Data and Goliath, writes for Vox:

The National Security Agency is lying to us. We know that because of data stolen from an NSA server was dumped on the internet. The agency is hoarding information about security vulnerabilities in the products you use, because it wants to use it to hack others’ computers. Those vulnerabilities aren’t being reported, and aren’t getting fixed, making your computers and networks unsafe.

On August 13, a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers released 300 megabytes of NSA cyberweapon code on the internet. Near as we experts can tell, the NSA network itself wasn’t hacked; what probably happened was that a “staging server” for NSA cyberweapons — that is, a server the NSA was making use of to mask its surveillance activities — was hacked in 2013.

The NSA inadvertently resecured itself in what was coincidentally the early weeks of the Snowden document release. The people behind the link used casual hacker lingo, and made a weird, implausible proposal involving holding a bitcoin auction for the rest of the data: “!!! Attention government sponsors of cyber warfare and those who profit from it !!!! How much you pay for enemies cyber weapons?”

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CIA Psychologists Sue CIA for Docs to Prove Torture Program Wasn’t Their Idea

Jessica Schulberg reports for The Huffington Post:

The two CIA-contracted psychologists accused of crafting the spy agency’s so-called “enhanced interrogation program” want the U.S. government to turn over documents they hope will show the torture program wasn’t their fault.

The motion to compel the documents, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Monday, alleged that the CIA and Justice Department had been uncooperative in supplying James Elmer Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen with “documents critical to their defense.”

Their request is related to a separate ongoing lawsuit in Spokane, Washington, where the American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of three former CIA detainees, is suing Jessen and Mitchell for their alleged role in creating and implementing an interrogation program that used techniques now considered to be torture.

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Soviets Worried About Detente After Nixon Quit, Documents Show

AP reports:

FILE - In this Oct. 13, 1973 file photo, then-vice presidential nominee Gerald R. Ford, right, listens as President Richard Nixon, accompanied by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Overseas reaction to Nixon’s resignation in 1974 was mixed: The Soviets expressed worry about the future of detente. North Korea reacted brashly, calling Nixon’s exit the “falling out” of the “wicked boss” of American imperialists. South Vietnam put its forces on high alert because it feared the North Vietnamese would take advantage of the vulnerable U.S. political situation.  (AP Photo/Harvey W. Georges, File)Overseas reaction to President Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974 was mixed: The Soviets expressed worry about the future of detente. North Korea reacted brashly, calling Nixon’s exit the “falling out” of the “wicked boss” of American imperialists. South Vietnam put its forces on high alert because it feared the North Vietnamese would take advantage of the vulnerable U.S. political situation.

The international response to the Watergate scandal and Nixon’s fall is noted in 2,500 newly declassified intelligence documents the CIA released on Wednesday at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda. The 28,000 pages — many still with lengthy redactions — represent eight years of the top-secret President’s Daily Brief prepared for Nixon and his successor, President Gerald Ford.

At the start of Nixon’s tenure, the CIA delivered morning and afternoon intelligence briefs at the request of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who wanted timely intelligence on world events. By the end of 1969, the PDB was about 10 pages long. Ford sought even more analysis and his PDBs were sometimes close to 20 pages long with annexes.

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Baltimore Police Defend Secret Surveillance Program

Officials would not say why a private company using a plane to track city residents was hired and funded outside public purview. (The Real News)

The Ignorance Aimed at Caster Semenya Flies in the Face of the Olympic Spirit

Katrina Karkazis writes for The Guardian:

The image that will stay with me long after the last competitor leaves Rio this week is a decidedly un-Olympic one. Caster Semenya, the women’s 800m gold medallist, extends her arms to fellow competitors Melissa Bishop of Canada and Lynsey Sharp of Great Britain. Sharp, who came in sixth, holds a tearful Bishop, who took fourth, in a tight embrace. Rather than respond to Semenya they remain in their embrace ignoring her. The photo was a sad endnote to one of the most vitriolic media and social media uproars I can recall, one in which the athletes were the casualties. And the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) did nothing to quell it.

In the month leading up the to the race, a cacophonous and spurious alarm sounded unfairly on Semenya’s right to compete. She endured relentless hostility and a deluge of cruel harassment from both the traditional and online media, something she has been withstanding for the seven years since the IAAF confirmed it was investigating her. It was reported she was even provided with a security team in Rio due to concerns the hostility might turn violent.

Semenya’s athleticism was attributed to a single molecule – testosterone – as though it alone earned her the gold, undermining at once her skill, preparation and achievement. South Africa as a nation has pushed back with #handsoffcaster, coming to the defence of one of the world’s most scrutinised athletes despite her having done nothing wrong and competing with the support of the court of arbitration for sport (Cas).

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Weapons, Pipelines and Wall Street: Did Clinton Foundation Donations Impact Hillary’s State Department Decisions?

Amy Goodman speaks to David Sirota of the International Business Times, and Paul Glastris, editor-in-chief of the Washington Monthly and former chief speechwriter for President Bill Clinton from 1998 to 2001, about new questions that have arisen this week surrounding Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. (Democracy Now!)

Hillary Clinton’s Alt-Right Dilemma

Jeet Heer writes for New Republic:

Hillary Clinton has a troll problem. Her opponent is no ordinary politician but a troll king, who has energized an online army of covert mischief-makers. Clinton’s dilemma is how to respond.

There are no bigger trolls in American public life than the alt-right. It’s an amorphous movement, but is composed of break-away factions of the conservative movement that are most inclined to support Trump: protectionists, nativists, isolationists, with more than a dash of white nationalism. While the more public manifestations of the alt-right can be seen in publications like Breitbart, Taki, and VDare, most of the foot soldiers are trolls in the the most common sense of the word: anonymous internet pests, given to spreading Nazi-themed memes while hiding behind anime avatars.

Trump has gone out of his way to give winking approval to the alt-right by retweeting their memes and hiring Breitbart chief Steve Bannon, who once said his publication is “the platform of the alt-right.”

There’s a sensible adage online: “Do not feed the trolls.” Trolls live off attention, so if you respond to them, they get more energized. The problem is, if you leave trolls alone you run the risk of letting them poison public discourse unabated.

Clinton has decided to take the issue head on.

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How Donald Trump’s New Campaign Chief Created an Online Haven for White Nationalists

Sarah Posner reports for Mother Jones:

Last week, when Donald Trump tapped the chairman of Breitbart Media to lead his campaign, he wasn’t simply turning to a trusted ally and veteran propagandist. By bringing on Stephen Bannon, Trump was signaling a wholehearted embrace of the “alt-right,” a once-motley assemblage of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, ethno-nationalistic provocateurs who have coalesced behind Trump and curried the GOP nominee’s favor on social media. In short, Trump has embraced the core readership of Breitbart News.

“We’re the platform for the alt-right,” Bannon told me proudly when I interviewed him at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in July. Though disavowed by every other major conservative news outlet, the alt-right has been Bannon’s target audience ever since he took over Breitbart News from its late founder, Andrew Breitbart, four years ago. Under Bannon’s leadership, the site has plunged into the fever swamps of conservatism, cheering white nationalist groups as an “eclectic mix of renegades,” accusing President Barack Obama of importing “more hating Muslims,” and waging an incessant war against the purveyors of “political correctness.”

“Andrew Breitbart despised racism. Truly despised it,” former Breitbart editor-at-large Ben Shapiro wrote last week on the Daily Wire, a conservative website. “With Bannon embracing Trump, all that changed. NowBreitbart has become the alt-right go-to website, with [technology editor Milo] Yiannopoulos pushing white ethno-nationalism  as a legitimate response to political correctness, and the comment section turning into a cesspool for white supremacist mememakers.”

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Amy Goodman speaks to Mother Jones investigative journalist Sarah Posner (author of the above article) and Heather McGhee of Demos, about Donald Trump’s new campaign chief Stephen Bannon, the executive chairman of ‘alt-right’ media organisation Breitbart News. (Democracy Now!) 

Secret Cameras Record Baltimore’s Every Move From Above

Monte Reel reports for Bloomberg Businessweek:

Bloomberg Businessweek Surveillance Cover[…] The verdict trickled out of the courthouse in text messages: not guilty, all counts. Ralph Pritchett Sr., who’s spent each of his 52 years in Baltimore, stood on the sidewalk among the protesters. He chewed on a toothpick and shook his head slowly. In a city with more than 700 street-level police cameras, he wondered, shouldn’t the authorities have had video of Freddie Gray’s ride?

“This whole city is under a siege of cameras,” said Pritchett, a house painter who helps run a youth center in a low-income, high-crime neighborhood called Johnston Square. “In fact, they observed Freddie Gray himself the morning of his arrest on those cameras, before they picked him up. They could have watched that van, too, but no—they missed that one. I thought the cameras were supposed to protect us. But I’m thinking they’re there to just contradict anything that might be used against the City of Baltimore. Do they use them for justice? Evidently not.”

Pritchett had no idea that as he spoke, a small Cessna airplane equipped with a sophisticated array of cameras was circling Baltimore at roughly the same altitude as the massing clouds. The plane’s wide-angle cameras captured an area of roughly 30 square miles and continuously transmitted real-time images to analysts on the ground. The footage from the plane was instantly archived and stored on massive hard drives, allowing analysts to review it weeks later if necessary.

Since the beginning of the year, the Baltimore Police Department had been using the plane to investigate all sorts of crimes, from property thefts to shootings. The Cessna sometimes flew above the city for as many as 10 hours a day, and the public had no idea it was there.

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Drones: U.S. Law Enforcement’s Secret Eye In The Sky

Sam Richards reports for Think Progress:

[…] The county’s drone policy states that all drone operations will be consistent with federal law and the Constitution — but current federal law allows visual aerial surveillance to be conducted without a warrant due to a little known and arguably outdated Supreme Court ruling.

Lack of warrants for visual aerial surveillance is a hallmark of federal aerial surveillance operations, and a ruling on the police helicopter exemption is used to enforce this on a state level as well. Florida v. Riley (1989) is now used to justify warrantless aerial surveillance across the United States, but it originally considered such surveillance as encompassing only the naked eye of an officer inside a low flying helicopter. The law has not matured with advances in technology, like thermal imaging (which can peer through walls), wide area surveillance (capable of spying on an entire metropolitan area), or any of the other commonly utilized technologies of today. This means the use of drones, without first obtaining a warrant, is actually legal due to the lack of other precedent.

Ben Feist, the legislative director for ACLU of Minnesota, told ThinkProgress that in “exceptional circumstance operations” requiring police agencies to apply for a search warrant even after a drone flight is “too onerous.” For routine patrols, the ACLU tried to meet their counterparts halfway by suggesting law requiring something less than a warrant, such as a court order. That proposal was also rejected by police lobbyists.

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The Federal Reserve’s Trickle-Down Problem

Jeff Spross reports for The Week:

[…] It all comes back to the simple goal of fiddling with interest rates.

That matters because interest rates, simply put, are the price of money. If you’re trying to start a small business, but don’t have the upfront capital to get it off the ground, the interest rate is what it costs you to get the money from someone else. Like all other economic trades, it’s about supply and demand: When lots of people want money for potential new economic ventures, but there’s not much money available, interest rates are high. When the supply of money exceeds the demand for it, interest rates are low.

But this causality can also flow in the opposite direction: If the Fed drives down interest rates, it lowers the hurdle to getting capital. That can open up new demand for money, from people who want to do something but couldn’t afford the previous rates. That’s really the whole idea behind Fed policy: When we have a recession, the Fed lowers the hurdle, new job creation takes off, and the economy snaps back. When it looks like the economy is overheating and inflation might take off, the Fed raises the hurdle and slows things down.

But that raises the question: What happens if the Fed lowers the hurdle all the way to the ground and… nothing happens? What if interest rates hit zero and stay at zero, and the demand for capital and new job creation doesn’t sprint ahead?

That’s basically the situation we’re in now.

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ECB Secretly Hands Cash to Select Corporations

Don Quijones reports for Wolf Street:

In June, the ECB began buying the bonds of some of the most powerful companies in Europe as well as the European subsidiaries of foreign multinationals. This pushed the average yield on euro investment-grade corporate debt to 0.65%. Large quantities of highly rated corporate debt with shorter maturities are trading at negative yields, where brainwashed investors engage in the absurdity of paying for the privilege of lending money to corporations. By August 12, the ECB had handed out over €16 billion in freshly printed money in exchange for corporate bonds.

Throughout, the public was given to understand that the ECB was buying already-issued bonds trading in secondary markets. But the public has been fooled.

Now it has been revealed by The Wall Street Journal that the ECB has also secretly been buying bonds directly from companies, thus handing them directly its freshly printed money.

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U.S. Army Pulls Training Slide Listing Hillary Clinton and David Petraeus as Examples of Insider Threats

Kevin Lilley reports for the Army Times:

A PowerPoint training slide listing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and retired Gen. David Petraeus among “insiders” who threatened national security was in use for 18 months at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, before Army officials pulled it out of circulation.

The image includes photos of Clinton and Petraeus along with Maj. Nidal Hasan (who shot and killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009), Aaron Alexis (who shot and killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard in 2013), Chelsea Manning (convicted in 2013 for leaking documents while an active-duty soldier) and Edward Snowden (who leaked classified National Security Agency surveillance information in 2013). It was posted Sunday on the U.S Army W.T.F! moments Facebook page.

The slide came to the attention of Army Training and Doctrine Command on Monday, TRADOC spokesman Maj. Thomas Campbell said, and it was pulled from the presentation, which is part of a quarterly training requirement, “promptly.”

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Rise of the Nazi-Grave Robbers

Thomas Rogers reports for Bloomberg Businessweek:

IMAGE TITLE[…] During the final months of World War II, Latvia was the site of especially bloody battles between German and Soviet forces. Approximately 350,000 Nazis were cut off here from the rest of the German line in the autumn of 1944, in what became known as the Courland Pocket. In the months that followed, about 100,000 of them were killed.

After Latvia came under Soviet control in 1945, authorities had little interest in exhuming dead soldiers, and today, 26 years after independence, numberless bodies are still buried in the country’s forests and fields. That has left well-meaning volunteers like Esmits’s group to exhume, identify, and rebury dead soldiers.

But in recent years, the often illicit market in Nazi memorabilia has intensified, creating a new class of diggers across eastern Europe that is at odds with Esmits’s work. Of particular interest are relics—items dug up from the ground. “When we first started, the market for relics was a local one—you couldn’t even call it a market,” Esmits said. “Then the internet appeared, and Europe and the world opened up, and many things changed.”

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Deutsche Bank’s $10-Billion Scandal

Ed Caesar reports for the New Yorker:

The bank, beset by scandals and mismanagement, is in a precarious state.Almost every weekday between the fall of 2011 and early 2015, a Russian broker named Igor Volkovcalled the equities desk of Deutsche Bank’s Moscow headquarters. Volkov would speak to a sales trader—often, a young woman named Dina Maksutova—and ask her to place two trades simultaneously. In one, he would use Russian rubles to buy a blue-chip Russian stock, such as Lukoil, for a Russian company that he represented. Usually, the order was for about ten million dollars’ worth of the stock. In the second trade, Volkov—acting on behalf of a different company, which typically was registered in an offshore territory, such as the British Virgin Islands—would sell the same Russian stock, in the same quantity, in London, in exchange for dollars, pounds, or euros. Both the Russian company and the offshore company had the same owner. Deutsche Bank was helping the client to buy and sell to himself.

At first glance, the trades appeared banal, even pointless. Deutsche Bank earned a small commission for executing the buy and sell orders, but in financial terms the clients finished roughly where they began. To inspect the trades individually, however, was like standing too close to an Impressionist painting—you saw the brushstrokes and missed the lilies. These transactions had nothing to do with pursuing profit. They were a way to expatriate money. Because the Russian company and the offshore company both belonged to the same owner, these ordinary-seeming trades had an alchemical purpose: to turn rubles that were stuck in Russia into dollars stashed outside Russia. On the Moscow markets, this sleight of hand had a nickname: konvert, which means “envelope” and echoes the English verb “convert.” In the English-language media, the scheme has become known as “mirror trading.”

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Italy Could Be the ‘Cataclysmic Event’ That Leads to the Fall of the Eurozone, Says Joseph Stiglitz

Will Martin reports for Business Insider:

Joseph Stiglitz portraitEurope is heading towards a “cataclysmic event” that could lead to the collapse of the euro and the end of the European project as we know it, according to Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.

In an interview with Business Insider following the launch of his latest book “The Euro: How A Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe” — which argues that the European single currency will inevitably cease to be at some point in the future unless drastic changes are made — Stiglitz said that a “disastrous” political event similar to the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union could trigger such a collapse.

“I think the most likely thing is something along the lines of a political cataclysmic event like Brexit. In other words, the eurozone’s member countries are democracies and one sees increasing hostility to the euro, which is unfortunately spilling over to a broader hostility to the broader European project and liberal values,” Stiglitz told BI from his office in New York.

Stiglitz continued: “That’s going to be the end. What’s going to happen is that there will be a definite consensus that Europe is not working. The diagnosis will be to shed the currency and keep the rest, or that Europe is not working and a broader rejection — like in the UK.

“So my worry that this is precisely that kind of political event [something like Brexit] is that is what will be the catalyst for change.”

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Evidence Points to Another Snowden at the NSA

James Bamford, author of The Shadow Factory, writes for Reuters:

In the summer of 1972, state-of-the-art campaign spying consisted of amateur burglars, armed with duct tape and microphones, penetrating the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. Today, amateur burglars have been replaced by cyberspies, who penetrated the DNC armed with computers and sophisticated hacking tools.

Where the Watergate burglars came away empty-handed and in handcuffs, the modern- day cyber thieves walked away with tens of thousands of sensitive political documents and are still unidentified.

Now, in the latest twist, hacking tools themselves, likely stolen from the National Security Agency, are on the digital auction block. Once again, the usual suspects start with Russia – though there seems little evidence backing up the accusation.

In addition, if Russia had stolen the hacking tools, it would be senseless to publicize the theft, let alone put them up for sale. It would be like a safecracker stealing the combination to a bank vault and putting it on Facebook. Once revealed, companies and governments would patch their firewalls, just as the bank would change its combination.

A more logical explanation could also be insider theft. If that’s the case, it’s one more reason to question the usefulness of an agency that secretly collects private information on millions of Americans but can’t keep its most valuable data from being stolen, or as it appears in this case, being used against us.

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