Patrick Chappatte, Le Temps, Switzerland

Germany Awake, America Asleep?

Differing Views on Information Capital and Spying

Friday, July 25, 2014
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On a visit to Munich, Germany, wildly differing views between the European Union and the U.S.A. are immediately apparent on the frequently talked about (over here) subjects of information capitalism, NSA spying, and American “dominance.” They can teach a lot about ourselves. The German and French perspectives on issues pose genuine cognitive dissonance.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently wrote in the 125th anniversary issue of the International Wall Street Journal that if we can only bring “the other two-thirds of the world online … [and] connect everyone, all of our lives will improve dramatically.” However, most French and Germans strongly echo the words of Germany’s economy minister, Sigmar Gabriel, about Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google’s “brutal information capitalism”; they fear the EU will become “digitally hypnotized subjects of a digital rulership.”

These European views echo those of digital pioneer Jaron Lanier’s in his prescient book You Are Not a Gadget, in which he stressed how all the promise of the Internet and digital age pose equal threats to our personal freedoms and privacy rights: We are in real danger of becoming digital serfs to our Facebook and Google lords and masters. We cheerfully supply all our personal details to these overlords, who then charge us for the right to look at them and let others view them.

Most of the 500 million Europeans see things differently and nowhere more than here in Germany. Germans are particularly suspicious of government intrusion into their private lives, given their troubled past and especially the ways the feared East German security police probed into the innermost private details of ordinary citizens’ lives. This hyper-awareness is revealed in Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s terrific 2006 movie The Lives of Others.

And, of course, the story about our CIA spying on Germany’s very small military establishment is yet another case that highlights why German suspicion of government spying is indeed appropriate. We are close NATO allies with Germany, and Germany has supported our activities in Afghanistan and is one of our most valued partners in the struggle against international terrorism. (The French, by comparison, haven’t been nearly as cooperative.) After spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal phone for years, President Barack Obama offered her an apology. Merkel plaintively asked, “How can you spy on your trusted friends?”

But now, twice in the last two weeks, the German government has accidentally found two more instances of American spying. While the Germans were attempting to ferret out Russian spies, they instead found the CIA was turning some of their military employees into spies for the U.S.A. As finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble put it to der Spiegel: “Really stupid!”

Merkel asked again, “How can there be trust between us when you keep doing this to us?” Germany has again been restrained with her most vital ally, the U.S.A., and instead of expelling the U.S. ambassador to Germany, Merkel expelled the CIA station chief, who worked out of the U.S. embassy in Berlin. Although she runs a conservative government coalition, Merkel is under great pressure to do much more. Are we trying to push Germany into the hands of the Russians? President Obama as of July 12 has not offered a public apology for these intrusions into the private affairs of our most valued military ally in Europe. Official apologists in the U.S.A. have insisted “all the great powers do this,” a weak and thoughtless response.

How is this any different from the NSA spying on American citizens at home?

And then there’s Facebook’s infamous “stealth testing” of unsuspecting Americans’ news feed, which Jaron Lanier wrote scathingly about in the International New York Times. Facebook “researchers” secretly altered the news feed delivered to nearly 700,000 Americans for a week, never asking for their consent to be studied. The study — which used University of California and Cornell University researchers as “cover” — told us what most of us would already guess to be true: Social networks can indeed manipulate users’ emotions by tweaking the data they receive. How is this different than Big Brother telling us “War is peace” and “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Makes You Free)?!

As Europe attempts to take on the digital giants, and the German government rebuffs outrageous American spying, the tepid response by U.S. citizens to Silicon Valley’s assault on our own proud civil rights tradition is puzzling. Where are the proud Americans stating “Don’t tread on me”? What is also surprising is the lack of reaction to Facebook founder Zuckerberg’s insouciant arrogance (his WSJ statement was simply an ad for Facebook), and President Obama ignoring appropriate German complaints.

The fear is that 1984 is already in the U.S.A., and our wallowing in sleazy digital pleasures resembles Huxley’s Brave New World or the idiots in the Hunger Games‘ Panem.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

I have to admit this article is correct that we offer ourselves up to our Government way too willingly and thus to everyone else in the information network, to include outside foreign influence.
FaceBook is really only an on-line advertising sham. They will connect you to other people who only share your spending habits, on-line clicking, and craving for recognition and vanity in as many self-portraying pictures and everyday activities.
I have drastically reduced my Facebook page and am happy to report that I no longer have well over 400+ spam emailing's in my Junk Mail box; I believe a direct indication that most of if not all SPAM came to me via Facebook.
NSA is the Federal Government's Spying leaders against "the largest threat to America" people; its own population of Americans!
I was on-line yesterday and my unused Cam was activated, watching me surf the internet and recording with sound my every move. I quick as can be shut down the Computer and restarted it, when the computer was active, a box popped-up telling me that. "A Government Agency had breached your Firewall and was monitoring your activity through webcam and internet interaction (Have screen shot of the box and its writings).
I have only one suspicion of what Agency that would be (NSA or Foreign Government) but have reported this activity to, who else, the Federal Government.

I do have to say, remote activation of your Iphone/cellphone is possible and plausible, as I have had it done to mine and others at my employers Facility by our employers (Federal Government) during a testing of breaching Personal Entertainment Devices (PED's), to prove that even if you have your Iphone, Tablet, Kindle, Smart phone is powered off, an offsite remote device, can activate (power-on) your PED and through your App's can track you (GPS), listen to you and (through your camera) monitor you and your surroundings, and record everything without signally you of the intrusion (Battery removal is the only way you can stop this). Just letting you all know I have seen this happen and it ain't a happy intrusion; your Federal Government is recording you...

dou4now (anonymous profile)
July 25, 2014 at 5:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Meanwhile people tell me I'm wasting my vote by voting Libertarian, and with all this stuff coming to light, us freedom lovers are being vindicated.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 25, 2014 at 5:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Good article. You may want to fix that first paragraph a bit. The syntax is rather garbled.
I agree with the points expressed: the Europeans are taking the lead on this one and "Zuckerberg’s insouciant arrogance" describes perfectly the main "attribute" of this supposed Wunderkind.
Jaron Lanier is well worth reading too. I think his essay, "Digital Maoism," can still be found online.

zappa (anonymous profile)
July 25, 2014 at 6:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

A review of Lanier's book, describing 'digital maoism', can be found here at the Indy (from 2010):

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 25, 2014 at 7:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

A government that is spying on it's people is protecting itself from the people. It is no longer our government. It is a self serving entity that is taking advantage of us. So how can we dismantle it?

random_kook (anonymous profile)
July 25, 2014 at 9:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Even though Germany has every right to be pissed at the USA concerning the current conduct of our Government, so should Americans.

Our ship of foreign policy that has no rudder, leaving the free world scratching its head, while Rome burns our Commander and Chief jets around hosting fundraisers instead of instilling the confidence our allies need and that we have a plan and more so are on the same Team.

All is not well in Germany and has not been for some time. Google "Deutsche Bank Suffers From Litany of Reporting Problems" and also look at the massive "Derivatives Exposure" of said bank.

Their balance sheet instead of being cleaned up has gotten worse, which could bring Germany to its economic knees very quickly. The EU is an economic mess, their eastern neighbors need a united front and their ally the USA is MIA.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
July 25, 2014 at 10:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"The Lives of Others" is a great movie.

I can certainly understand how Merkel feels. Russia and Israel both spy on the U.S. and I don't think they have our best interests in mind.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
July 25, 2014 at 11:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The entire financial system is on thin ice since the bailouts. The unsustainable debt was multiplied many times over. There aren't enough assets in the western world to secure it. That is why we are invading Ukraine to seize assets. Fuel costs will eventually collapse the western economies. Germany is especially vulnerable because of the amount of gas they import. It was stupid of Merkel to go off nuclear.

random_kook (anonymous profile)
July 25, 2014 at 1:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Meanwhile in East Ukraine :

Burisma, Ukraine’s oil and gas production holdings, also has the right to develop the shale gas fields in the Dnieper-Donetsk basin of Eastern Ukraine. The same Burisma where R. Hunter Biden, Vice-President Joseph's son, was appointed a director two months ago.

Follow the Money, the 1% control both Political Parties.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
July 25, 2014 at 4:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

European news media have much less censorship than US, and most websitesI've seen have decent English translations. I think the US populations' approach to news media is restricted by low fluid intelligence; the ability to adapt to changing paradigms. Many of us know that mainstream news is heavily biased by political policy and highly censored, but it's still regarded as the "authority" on news events. There are alternative news websites that have superior and more accurate reporting, but aren't recognized as having greater credibility than mainstream media; they're not as "real".
A couple of the fluid intelligence experiments I've read are 1) a man runs into a classroom and shoots someone and runs out. Nearly everyone sees a gun, not the banana he was holding, because a gun fits the scenario, and a banana doesn't, and 2) a gorilla strolls across a basketball court in the middle of a game and isn't visible to most people, because it doesn't fit.
A lot of what we read in mainstream news is marginally believable or obviosly biased or wholly propaganda, but it's accepted as "real" because in our paradigm, mainstream news media is real, and news media that presents conflicting information doesn't fit in this scenario.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
July 25, 2014 at 8 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Crimea is where all the wealth is - that is why Russia took it over as quickly as possible, after the uprising (from a Russian visiting the US).

We are not invading the Ukraine - there are no troops there. The Ukraine was almost bankrupted by the corrupt, Russian-supported head of state that had to flee.

One of the strongest and smartest surveillance operations is by the Syrian Electronic Army. Russia and China are not too shabby either. And probably Germany does much the same as the US.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
July 25, 2014 at 8:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

dou4now - That's really scary. I knew they could do it, but that's very different from having it demonstrated on your cell. Does it make a difference if the cell's GPS is off? You can buy shielded cell sleeves and credit card and driver license sleeves to block attempts to track the imbedded RF chips, but I don't know if they use more than one frequency range. Another replay of Hitler; access to all information on citizens. My camera will look at a wall from now on; I don't ever want to see it watcing me - way over the top. I'd like to believe you're a special case due to recent access to classified info, but I don't believe there's much rational thinking involved in the type of broadcast monitoring going on; psychopathic domination and manipulation and control, including invasion of all private territory, and more of a psyop to disrupt the normal functioning of society than an info-gathering agenda, I think. 99.999% of us are just really dumb and boring, and I'm sure the NSA knows this.
But this isn't just a US NSA policy; I have no reason to believe that the USA has been governed by elected representatives of the US for many deacdes, and more likely, a couple of centuries.:

"Jimmy Carter is not the President of the United States. The Trilateral Commission is the President of the United States; I represent the Trilateral Commission."

Henry Kissinger's declaration to the head of state of Canada from his book "The Bilderberg Group" by Daniel Estulin

14noscams (anonymous profile)
July 25, 2014 at 9:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think this is an example of Russian surveillance.

random_kook (anonymous profile)
July 25, 2014 at 11:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

absolutely correct, 14no, which is one reason I have never had or utilized a cell phone [it makes for a tough life in several ways, though], and have my spouse remove the battery of hers when we travel together. People should have known about this surveillance since about 2003, the information was out there for those who check.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 25, 2014 at 11:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Whatever one's fears or concerns regarding cell phones and personal security(I don't share them, but to each his own and all that), Daniel Estulin is not exactly a reliable source for anything and his Bilderberg book is just more CT-inspired rambling.

zappa (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2014 at 6:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It's disheartening to read of Angela Merkel's weak, pathetic objections to the repeated revelations of US spying on her personally and on her country's businesses and government hearings.

I assume she believes, even though at present Germany may be in much better shape economically than we are,.that any effective retaliation would leave Germany "shut out of the loop" by US intelligence,

I would dearly love to see Germany offer asylum to Edward Snowden; that would shove the stick exactly where it ought to go.

William Smithers

bilwil (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2014 at 7:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm glad we can all have this private discussion about how America is spying on people.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2014 at 7:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am sure that Germany spies on the US and other allies. This is a tempest in a teapot.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2014 at 7:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Don't agree here, H-G, Germany certainly doesn't have the balls to try it...recall we have several army (Grafenwoehr is a huge base with tanks, etc.) and air force (Ramstein, also huge) bases in Germany, and existing treaty rights... honestly, it would be stupid of them to do this, and they are hardly stupid. What isn't a "tempest" is that public opinion polls in Ger. show only 27% of Germans respect/like the USA, that Merkel is truly under huge pressure from her own party to expel the US Ambassador AND remove our spy gear from atop the US Embassy in Berlin, AND start tailing our operatives in Ger., AND move closer to Russia (despite Putin) since they need Russian natural gas more than our nuclear shield. There is strong sentiment in Germany to welcome Snowden there (agree bilwil) and they are pushing strongly for him to get the next Nobel Peace Prize, really! It isn't very smart to piss off reliable allies like the Germans.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2014 at 7:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

President NO OP isn't going to do anything but talk about income inequality he doesn't care about spying or breaking the law.

rocket625 (anonymous profile)
July 26, 2014 at 9:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

German intelligence is nothing to be sneezed at. Although they did not participate in the NATO Libyan action, they supplied the intelligence. I do not believe Merkel is a fool

"During the Libyan conflict in 2011 British forces had to use maps supplied by German intelligence because of cut backs in the Ministry of Defence, it has emerged."

As for Snowdon, he has frequently exaggerated and lied. If he wanted to blow the whistle, he should have done so within the US and not sought haven in a country that is worse than the US.

"So, once again, we see that as usual, just as he has done with examples of abuses where analysts were eavesdropping on Americans, Greenwald is taking a Bush-era abuse and trying to lay it at Obama's feet. The Bush Administration ran this program for 7-8 years, Obama takes office, begins a full review of the NSA, and upon completion of that review, shuts down the program within 2 years of taking office. So, who does Greenwald blame for the program? The Obama Administration, of course: "NSA collected US email records in bulk for more than two years under Obama" Good grief. Greenwald's bs never ends."

This is an OP from that Daily Kos, --- liberal blog.

I have little respect for either Snowdon or Greenwald, and certainly neither deserve a Nobel Prize. If they wanted to blow the whistle, they should have done so under Bush. Snowdon applied for the job with the express purpose of finding dirt. He also lied on his resume.

"According to Reuters, a source "with detailed knowledge on the matter" stated that Booz Allen's hiring screeners found some details of his education "did not check out precisely", but decided to hire him anyway; Reuters stated that the element which triggered these concerns, or the manner in which Snowden satisfied the concerns, were not known.[67] The résumé stated that Snowden attended computer-related classes at Johns Hopkins University. A spokesperson for Johns Hopkins said that the university did not find records to show that Snowden attended the university, and suggested that he may instead have attended Advanced Career Technologies, a private for-profit organization which operated as "Computer Career Institute at Johns Hopkins."[67] The University College of the University of Maryland acknowledged that Snowden had attended a summer session at a UM campus in Asia. Snowden's resume stated that he estimated that he would receive a University of Liverpool computer security master's degree in 2013. The university said that Snowden registered for an online master's degree program in computer security in 2011 but that "he is not active in his studies and has not completed the program.""

tabatha (anonymous profile)
July 27, 2014 at 7:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Also, I refuse to sign up for Facebook, because of their privacy problems.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
July 27, 2014 at 7:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Nice work Tabitha. Snowden is in many ways a fraud. Anyone who believes that Germany does not have a robust intelligence service that tries to get information about her allies is nor living on the real world. Germany needs th US more than we need them.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
July 27, 2014 at 9:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Regardless of his personal shortcomings, Snowden is a hero for the people of the USA. But he would be a martyr if he turned himself in. Who needs martyrs? We should make the best of it and show the world what freedom means. Absolve the charges against Snowden and give him journalistic protections. Then we can ask whistle blowers to come forth around the world and have a genuine positive effect on freedom and democracy, and maybe through that process, increase peace.

random_kook (anonymous profile)
July 27, 2014 at 11:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Snowden is the Kim Kardashian of the intelligence community. For him it is all about the fame and publicity.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
July 27, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Also, it would take the wind out of Putin's sails.

random_kook (anonymous profile)
July 27, 2014 at 11:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Obama is a fascist who has prosecuted more journalists under the 1917 Espionage Act than all other presidents combined. The mainline media is almost entirely propaganda and fiction, rather than news. Diane Feinstein's blatantly unconstitutional Media Shield law is the definition of fascist control of the media; only journalists employed by government-approved media would be granted 1st amendment protection. Fortunately, Alan Grayson's bill HR 4660 prohibited funding for requiring journalists' testimony regarding their protected sources.
random_kook: The attack on MH17 was another false flag attack blamed on Putin. Hacked emails received from “Anonymous Ukraine” show that Pentagon officials working in concert with extremist elements in the Ukraine have carried out and are planning more attacks in Ukraine.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
July 27, 2014 at 8:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I wouldn't be surprised if it was a false flag. I read somewhere that Ukrainian fighter jets may have intentionally drawn rocket fire to the Malaysian flight. Regardless of that, our government is supporting Nazi's in Ukraine so that their economy can be brought under IMF control. Proof that Obama is a Fascist.

This video will disgust you:

as will this:

Nuland calling the Nazi's "peaceful protesters" to congress:

random_kook (anonymous profile)
July 27, 2014 at 10:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Let me guess, you read it on some anonymous blog. Guess what dude, I read on an anonymous blog that you were responsible for the downing of the jet and the sinking of the Titanic. Putin is the Nazi who's supporting Fascism, you support Putin, you support Fascism. Get a clue.
Go chase some chemtrails.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 27, 2014 at 10:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

random, KV has a point, and there are recent articles showing how sophisticated Russian propaganda has become on social and info media...your emphasis on "false flag" comes out of .ru propaganda sites: here is one stating NATO is arming up vs. Russia, using "false flag" stuff:
Please consider this: YOU HAVE BEEN WORKED and tricked, random...
Obama is being hammered by our Right Wing for NOT moving armor and NATO military east toward Russia...don't you get it: Putin wants this, to strengthen his hand in Russia... just as Netanyahu NEEDS Hamas...

DrDan (anonymous profile)
July 27, 2014 at 11:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Either way, the solution is the same, staying out of Ukraine. But that's not whats happening. Whoever is in charge, they seem to want war.

random_kook (anonymous profile)
July 27, 2014 at 11:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow, does anyone do any research?

Western Ukraine is Western (Roman Catholic) Christian and Eastern Ukraine is Eastern (Orthodox) Christian even though they are both Slavs. The tribal differences go back centuries.

Europe gets NG (natural gas) from Russia via a pipeline through Ukraine. Russia wants a to build a new pipeline called the Southern Stream.

Russia needs the warm water port located in Crimea to do the Black Sea section and well as project influence in the area.

Germany since Fukushima has sworn off Nuclear Power, Coal is bad and NG is King but fracking is bad.

It has been said to break Russia all one has to do is drive Oil to $80.00 per barrel and Russia is on its knees.

The U.S. has been manipulating Ukraine.

EIA has stated that Eastern Ukraine may have 197 trillion cubic feet of NG in shale with 42 trillion cubic feet recoverable. Its the FRACK word again that will have to be used to recover it. Royal Dutch Petroleum (Shell) and Chevron have signed documents to go after the NG.

U.S. has been BUGGING Germany to find out if Merkel is making deals that the U.S. needs to know about.

Putin had enough and inflamed centuries old tribalism in order to secure his economic future and regional influence.

Energy and Water Diversion drive modern society for better or worse, mostly worse and this is what is going on.

We poked the Bear one too many times with our meddling and he has come out of his den, the gloves are off and we get to watch from the sidelines, as we always do, as the 1% as you like to call them play the game, Biden's son on the BOD of Ukraine NG company should tell you something.

Taylor Caldwell was a certified nut job but her book, "Captains and the Kings"

Illustrates that the 1% are non-political and we are just the Pawns, Right and Left Wing does not exist in the 1% world - Fools that is just opiate for you, so you think your opinion or mine matters - but it doesn't.

What is really happening is clear enough if you look for it.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 9:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you green valley. I have read up and came across much of the same information. Also, Russia has been organizing a trade union that includes Kazakhstan and Belarus and was supposed to include Ukraine.

There is a great deal of evidence (boldly illustrated by the Nuland phone call) showing that the US has been active in Ukraine in recent years bolstering protest against Russia. The opposition that the US has been supporting tend to be of the neo-nazi bent. I guess that's just what they had to work with.

Victor Yanukovych was the elected president of Ukraine. Nobody, not even the US, disputes the fairness of his election. But the US and Europe were threatened economically by the impending trade union. So the US operatives stoked the protests to attain a violent coup in which Yanukovych was ousted by the neo-nazi extremists.

As heard in the Nuland phone call, the US selected the new government which was chosen to be partial to a European trade agreement. Putin responded by annexing Crimea, which was easy because it already contained a Russian military base. Russian sympathizers in the East took control of their own towns, and voted in a referendum to go along with Crimea. The US labeled them terrorists and backed the proxy government in attacking them.

Because the East had separated, it was possible to hold an election in the West and "democratically" install a favorable president, since the East wasn't voting.

So here we are on the brink of war with Russia. We should all recognize the blatant truth that we were brought here by economic interests in which we take no part. And we should ask the question whether we have any say in the actions of our government in taking part in this war.

If the answer is no, then we should ask, who is it that is waging this war on our behalf, and in the course of which, disseminating anti Russian propaganda, and stirring international unrest? Who is this government that is spying on US and militarizing our police forces? Would we recognize Fascism when it comes from our own government, or would we rationalize it into our normal state of denial?

random_kook (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 10:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I believe YOU have been duped, HGWMV. E.g., you try some research, under treaty between 1989/91 the Russian Federation already HAD Crimean seaports, duh! Taylor Caldwell was a fine novelist, but her work is fictional and very dated, poor source. We are hardly on the brink of war with Russia [what, you're rattled, Putin WANTS you rattled], although we do need to press back against his bluffing. Obama, in case you didn't know, is being pressed hard to activate NATO troops to get 'em move EAST (e.g. recent John McCain warlike calls for this -- do your research HGWMV), but he is resisting. We all know about the natural gas situation.
The western 2/3 of Ukraine wants to join the EU, they haven't applied to NATO. Sheesh, man, YOU do some research and stop relying on Taylor Caldwell, certainly a nutjob as you admit.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 10:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The fact is the US caused the airliner to go down one way or another.

If your neighborhood looked like this, you might shoot at airplanes flying over you as well:

We supported the government that bombed them for trying to become independent of NATO/EU.

But the fact is there is no evidence they shot them down, but even if they did the chance that the plane was guided over the area so that it would be shot down or that it was a false flag type of operation is much greater. Shooting down that plane did nothing for Russia but it gives the US free reign to possibly attack territories that are friendly to Russia.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 12:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here's a good article on the gas pipeline politics.

random_kook (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 1:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm not much into the conspiracy theory thing but it sure seems as though the media is trying to get the U.S. riled up by inference in order to get it involved in (yet) another conflict.

The U.S. can't solve the mass killings that go on in its inner cities, so how will it be able to solve the conflicts of others?

Pick a place: North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Ukraine, many potential battlegrounds.

Meanwhile people here are killing each other, our culture is dumbing down, homeless people are freezing to death, but people are more concerned about foreign entanglements...Great.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 6:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The Financial Times article on the $50 billion, Yukos Award.

"One person close to Mr Putin said the Yukos ruling was insignificant in light of the bigger geopolitical stand-off over Ukraine.

“There is a war coming in Europe,” he said. “Do you really think this matters?”

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 6:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Totally agree with your view point, the foreign entanglements are manufactured distractions but very profitable for some.

I had the opportunity of spending 3 years with a history teacher in the 1960's that spoken fluent Russian. He made it his goal to learn Russian in college as a way of getting out of Vietnam without going to Canada. He taught every summer at the then U.S. Navy Language School in Monterey California.

We did learn our history but more importantly, during the cold war, had many many hours of Russia centric discussion concerning then current world events, so little has really changed.

You are right so much is happening and so little being done about it.

The lack of Leadership scares the hell of me.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 7:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

loon: Ukraine has never been in NATO nor in the EU; your facts are loony as well as your conspiracy theories.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 8:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

can't agree BC when you write, "Meanwhile people here are killing each other, our culture is dumbing down, homeless people are freezing to death, but people are more concerned about foreign entanglements." No one took der Fuehrer seriously in early 30s, such a bizarre strutting little man from Austria who couldn't even speak proper Hoch Deutsch... HGWMV worries "we've poked the Bear too often" but it seems like HE's poking the Germans and the EU for attracting western Ukraine into inclining westward (NOT joining NATO, that's fantasy). After Sochi, after successfully taking Crimea in contravention of int'l law, Putin's been emboldened... he OWNS the Germans via the natural gas supply they need & which he controls...EU increased sanctions are still too feeble... My concern is that Obama will continue to be "played" by Putin, Putin will set EU vs. USA, Ger. vs. UK inside EU, Putin is a bluffer who will take what he can get. E.g., after the Malaysian airliner crash, which the separatists caused (a terrorist crime), while talking nice Putin sends more heavy stuff into separatists hands...testing our nerve, hoping we'll be like BC and wanna become isolationist and work on our own many problems... he openly takes e. Ukraine, then Ukraine... ever heard of appeasement? We should hammer Russia with much tougher sanctions, really hurt Putin's inner circle of oligarchs and hurt their money, slow them down... we exhibit terrific failure of nerve.. look how frightened HGWMV has been. In a three to five year scenario...if we do not fend Putin off, then there will be open war for all of Europe....

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 8:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Merkel never should have shut down those nuclear reactors. Gas wouldn't be an issue otherwise. Meanwhile, the sanctions are BS. It's only directed at personal attacks. Meanwhile the US buys all its enriched Uranium from Russia while they test cruise missiles and threaten to reduce the US to radioactive ash on TV.
Of course this makes sanctioning Iran a joke. They don't even have nuclear weapons to threaten us with. Maybe we should buy our enriched Uranium from Iran.

random_kook (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 9:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Besides causing WWIII with their gas deficit, Germany is also destroying the atmosphere faster than any other European nation:

Germany needs to turn those reactors back on.

random_kook (anonymous profile)
July 28, 2014 at 9:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

W. Europe is about 1/3 dependent on Russian natural gas, and they're getting off it as fast as possible. Germany has shut off half of its reactors, and plans to shut off the other half in about 8 years, I'm not sure they can simply "turn on" the ones they shut off after Fukushima. Germany IS over-reliant on coal, and they're kidding themselves about "new generation" coal plants...
W.W. III isn't necessarily in the cards, esp. if Obama keeps ratcheting up non-military ways of confronting Putin's obvious aggression: now it looks like the EU WILL enact much tougher sanctions and these will hurt the billionaire Russian oligarchs, THEY will pressure Putin, or have him removed.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 3:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Here's another e.g. of ways to press Putin, yet without going "military" as McCain and others would like: -- Putin illegally wrecked "Yukos" and stole money from shareholders, now a court in the Netherlands awarded $50 billion to shareholders, and Russia will have to pay up...or, if Putin gives "the West" the finger as is likely, good, the EU will begin to see what it is they now have to deal with. Mikhail Khadorovsky [spelled wrong, I know], once Russia's richest man, was also a victim in this,and he will NOT profit from this finding.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 3:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I read the link, and then read the comments, where I clicked on a link to a Youtube video titled "What you are not being told about the Ukrainian conflict." And could only shake my head in disbelief.

Obama/US who have dug in their heels at any thought of more military conflict, somehow set up the downing of the MH17 by getting it to fly over a war torn area (and getting into the head of a rebel and causing him to shoot the missile) to start WWIII.

There are too many in this world who need to have a course in sanity and logic.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 6:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

and lately there's been more evidence of Russian (and Chinese) false manipulations of social media sites.... honestly, well-meaning dweebs like loonpt and others ASSUME everything they're told is a lie, a "false flag", and Putin's slick people play them like the conspiracy-seeking know-nothings they are. See, Tabatha, good solid courses in history, with critical assessment of sources, are lacking today and this is what we get.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 7:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)

from Martha Bayles at the Boston Globe 7/28, how the Russians manipulate their people and ours (loon, JohnTieber,...):
Martha Bayles 7/28
“…the Big Confusion. Faced with an event that threatens your Big Lie, start a disinformation campaign. Fill the domestic airwaves with so many bizarre rumors, conspiracy theories, and paranoid fantasies that a cynical public stops caring what really happened.
Russia’s propaganda effort also has a global dimension. In the last few years, the Kremlin has launched a slick, fast-paced satellite TV channel, Russia Today (RT), which pays top salaries to British and American broadcast journalists willing to repeat the same messages in English. A surprising number of viewers are tuning in.”

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 8:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The Russian propaganda machine is catching up. We need to refine the effectiveness of our own propaganda machine. How should we pitch Joe Biden's son and John Kerry's in-laws involvement in Ukrainian gas companies? Maybe they're taking the role of energy barons and oligarchs for the love of Christ or democracy?
It doesn't sound like democracy, otherwise the Ukrainian people might have a say in the ownership of their resources, so it must be Christ.

random_kook (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 9:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Mean while in Germany:

"Deutsche Bank reported a fall in second-quarter net profit to 237 euros ($318.5 million), compared with 334 million euros in the same period last year, hurt by lower revenue and higher taxes.

The profit figure missed analysts' expectations of a 545 million euro profit, according to a poll by The Wall Street Journal."

This is not good, because Germany is all the EU really has.

What I worry about is Obama is like Jimmy Carter, doesn't have a clue.

Now I admire Jimmy Carter as a man and the fine work he has done for Habitat for Humanity and other humanitarian causes, a true idealist. But Jimmy Carter as a leader, total failure.

Obama is playing checkers and Putin is playing chess. Having had the opportunity to study the Russian Mind, I wonder is Obama realizes this guy will scorch the earth rather than give-in to the West.

As noted today, the sanctioning countries have a $30 trillion GDP vs Russia's $2 trillion GDP but Russia is already placing sanctions of it's own.

I don't see Russia blinking and they still have Nukes, unlike Ukraine.

Merkel has a much better understanding but I don't think Obama will listen to her, I see his arrogance and that of his whole administration a real problem in international politics.

Merkel should be listened to, but won't be, this will lead us down the wrong path.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2014 at 9:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

There's a great deal of talk about sanctions in the news. It's all BS. The US and Europe are still buying up Russian oil, gas, and uranium. The so-called sanctions do nothing. It's a bunch of talk to get people riled up.

Besides, Hillary has a huge crush on Putin.

random_kook (anonymous profile)
July 31, 2014 at 9:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

CIA also spying on the Senate:

random_kook (anonymous profile)
July 31, 2014 at 1:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm so glad we were recently able to find out that famous US sniper Chris Kyle was a lying, murdering scumbag, afterall.

I remember when Chris Kyle's book came out, he was all over the media talking about his incident with Jesse Ventura that never happened, using it to help promote and sell his book. He made $10-15 million off of book sales and claimed over and over that the proceeds all went to families of fallen soldiers and he didn't want to make any money off of the book... Turns out he only gave away $52k of the $10-15 million to families of fallen soldiers!!

On top of that, we had lots of upset people in various comment sections yesterday claiming that Chris Kyle had a dozen witnesses who testified of the incident in court... turns out he only had ONE witness who claimed to have actually seen the incident and even then it was a bit hazy. The other witnesses merely claimed they had heard about what happened. Jesse Ventura claims it never happened at all and never would have said the things Chris Kyle claimed he had.

On top of that, Jesse Ventura was on blood thinning medication, so if he'd been punched by Chris Kyle like Kyle claimed he had, he would have had a bruise on his face the next day. Fortunately Jesse Ventura had a graduation event he was attending the next day, and photographic evidence showed no bruising or evidence of being hit.

More lies coming from the military industrial complex and their ilk.

Never trust people who believe in war and violence.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
July 31, 2014 at 2:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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