Germany tapped John Kerry’s phone, spied on Turkey for years – report

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 10.51.44 AM

Germany’s foreign intelligence agency eavesdropped at least one telephone conversation of US Secretary of State John Kerry and spied on NATO ally Turkey since 2009, Der Spiegel newspaper revealed on Saturday.

Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) picked up the phone call “by accident” in 2013, the weekly newspaper reported in a pre-publication citing unnamed sources. Kerry was discussing the Middle East tensions between Israelis, Palestinians and Arab states in a satellite link, according to Der Spiegel.

The new revelation comes after German media – Daily newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and regional public broadcasters NDR and WDR – reported on Friday that BND intercepted at least one phone call made by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The date of the call was not given and the media said that it was also picked up “by accident”.

The German media retrieved the information of the hacking from documents that were passed to the CIA by one of its moles inside the BND.

On Saturday Der Spiegel reported that Clinton’s call recorded was intercepted in 2012. Clinton was in talks with former UN chief Kofi Annan, who had just returned from negotiations in Syria and wanted to brief the former Secretary of State.

The NDR added on Friday that Clinton wasn’t the only one spied on as “apparently, phone calls by US politicians and from other friendly nations have been repeatedly recorded and submitted to the respective BND President as instructed”.

“The fact that the recording wasn’t deleted immediately was called ‘idiocy’ by a member of the government in Berlin,” NDR reported.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

In another leak, Der Spiegel also learned that BND has been spying on its NATO ally Turkey since 2009. No further details on the scale of surveillance were given. Sources confirmed the wiretapping to the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, saying that it was essential for national security as there are many Turkish people living in Germany.

The government in Ankara says it intends to carefully investigate the Der Spiegel report.

“I am of the opinion that this needs to be taken seriously… Definitely, our government and foreign ministry will carry out the necessary research about the allegations in the magazine,” Mehmet Ali Sahin, deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), was quoted as saying by Agence France Presse.

According to Der Spiegel, the German government reviews its espionage program every four years but did not modify its priorities after the NSA scandal that deeply strained US-German relations last year.

The full version of the report will be published by Der Spiegel on Sunday.

In October, US whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked information that Washington had conducted intensive spying operations including tapping phones of at least 35 heads of state, including Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merkel called US President Barack Obama over the issue, saying that if the revelations were proven to be true it would be “completely unacceptable” and represent a “grave breach of trust,” Steffen Seibert, a German government spokesman, said at the time.

The issue was brought up again in July when two US agents were unmasked, suspected of acting as double agents within the state security apparatus, and passing secrets to US intelligence contacts. In response to the espionage scandal Germany promptly expelled the Berlin CIA chief.

The new reports may escalate the growing political tension between the two states, key partners in the NATO military alliance.

Last month in an interview to German broadcaster ZDF Germany’s Chancellor said that Washington and Berlin have different perceptions of the role of the intelligence service.

“For me it is a sign that we have fundamentally different conceptions of the work of the intelligence services.”

“I can’t say in advance if [the measures we took] will have an effect, of course I hope something will change. But the important thing is to show how we view things… and it is not a co-operative partnership when such things take place.”

Turnabout’s fair play? Germany intercepts Hillary Clinton phone call

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 11.24.47 AM

Germany’s foreign intelligence agency intercepted at least one phone call made by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to German media reports. Her phone was tapped “accidentally” while she was on a US government plane.

Daily newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and regional public broadcasters NDR and WDR said they learned of the hacking from documents that were passed to the CIA by one of its moles inside the German intelligence network. It is unclear when Clinton’s phone call was intercepted, as no date was given.

The Federal Intelligence Service, known by its German acronym BND, picked up the call “by accident,” government sources told the media outlets. But the German officials deny systematic spying on the United States, and claim they have never intentionally eavesdropped on their NATO ally. “The fact that the recording wasn’t deleted immediately was called ‘idiocy’ by a member of the government in Berlin,” NDR reported.

Clinton wasn’t the only person whose phone calls the BND hacked. “[A]pparently, phone calls by US politicians and from other friendly nations have been repeatedly recorded and submitted to the respective BND President as instructed,” NDR wrote. The German Chancellery instructs such material to be deleted immediately, however. It’s an order dating back to last summer.

The CIA mole, identified only as Markus R., was arrested in July, the first of two suspected spies to be uncovered in Germany. The resulting scandal led Berlin to expel the US spy agency’s bureau chief from the country. The German double agent confessed to giving his American contact 218 secret documents over the course of two years. In return, he received more than $34,000.

Markus R. also passed along a copy of the Mission Statement of the Federal Government (APB) for the German Intelligence Service. The document specifies which topics the BND is to take care of and which countries are to be spied on. The 2009 mission statement does not list the United States, but does include another NATO country, according to NDR. Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière told Bild newspaper in July that Germany may scrap its decades-old policy of not spying on key NATO allies in response to the arrest of the 31-year-old double agent and the investigation into a second potential US spy. That man worked at the Federal Ministry of Defense, and the US has denied employing him.

One of the prime objectives for Markus R. was to gather information on Berlin’s investigation into the alleged spying by the US National Security Agency on Chancellor Angela Merkel and other German citizens.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama (R) (Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama (R) (Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)

In October, the Guardian newspaper published an internal NSA memo sourced from whistleblower Edward Snowden, which revealed that at least 35 heads of state, including Merkel, had their phones tapped by American intelligence officials. The German chancellor called President Barack Obama over the issue, and demanded an explanation. She made clear to him that, if the information proved true, it would be “completely unacceptable” and represent a “grave breach of trust,” Steffen Seibert, a German government spokesman, said at the time.

Clinton visited Germany in July, just after Markus R. was arrested. On that trip, she sat down for an interview with Der Spiegel news magazine, and answered questions about the strained relationship between the US and Germany over the various spying scandals.

“Clearly, the surveillance on Chancellor Merkel’s phone was absolutely wrong. The president said that. I think that he made it very clear it was unacceptable,” Clinton said.

“I’m not in the government anymore, but I’m sorry,” she added.

The former secretary of state also stressed the need to prevent further tensions between the two countries.

“[W]e have to do a much better job in working together between Germany and the United States to sort out what the appropriate lines of cooperation are on intelligence and security,” Clinton said. “I think the cooperation is necessary for our security, but we don’t want to undermine it by raising doubts again and again.”

US officials, including current Secretary of State John Kerry and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, have confronted Berlin over the tapping of Clinton’s cell phone, NDR reported. Kerry spoke with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, while McDonough broached the subject when visiting German Chancellery Minister Peter Altmaier.

The German government declined to comment to the three media outlets about the phone hacking, citing the ongoing investigations against Markus R.

Sanctions bite-back: Bickering, EU infighting over Russia retaliation

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 12.11.54 PM

There is growing dissent in the EU over policies that led to a de fact trade war with Russia. Meanwhile the countries not toeing the line are reaping the benefits, irritating those who jumped on the sanctions bandwagon.

China to start direct sales of fruit and vegetables to Russia

Poland asks US to buy apples banned by Russia

Greek members of the European Parliament demanded Sunday that the EU cancel sanctions against Russia. MEPs Kostantinos Papadakis and Sotiris Zarianopoulos said in a letter to some senior EU officials that Russia’s ban on food import from the EU, which was Moscow’s response to anti-Russian sanctions, was ruinous to Greek agriculture.

“Thousands of small- and middle-sized Greek farms producing fruit and vegetables and selling them primarily to the Russian market have been hit hard now as their unsold products are now rotting at warehouses,” the letter said.

The MEPs are representing the Communist Party of Greece and blame the EU leaders and their own government for supporting what they called “an imperialist intervention by the US, the EU and NATO” in Ukraine at the expense of good relations with Russia.

Greece is one of the EU members hit hardest by the Russian import ban, partially due to its economy still being in turmoil. Greek farmers stand to lose an estimated 200 million euro in direct damages due to Russia’s move, with more long-term consequences expected even if year-long ban is not renewed on expiry. The producers may find it very hard to win back the market share they had before the ban as non-affected countries would certainly weight in.

Head of Austrian Freedom Party (FPOe) Heinz-Christian Strache (Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader)Head of Austrian Freedom Party (FPOe) Heinz-Christian Strache (Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader)

Similar sentiments came Sunday from Heinz-Christian Strache, Chairman of the right-wing Freedom Party of Austria, which has 20 percent of seats in the lower chamber of the national parliament and showed similarly strong results in this year’s European parliamentary election.

“In just a few days after the [Russian] sanctions came into force they hurt out agriculture. The EU is thinking on how to mitigate it. Instead of putting Russia on its knees, they drag our farmers to ruin with their senseless sanctions policy,” Strache said ac sited by Austria Presse Agentur.

He also lashed out at Kiev for considering a ban on the transit of Russian gas into Europe to hurt Russia, calling such statements “an affront to their own allies” and “a mockery of the EU,” which will have to save Ukraine from bankruptcy.

He called on the Austrian government to clearly state their policy on the situation.

Who is hit hardest by Russia’s trade ban?

Gregor Gysi, a German parliament member from the Left Party, criticized on Sunday the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel for supporting the sanctions policy, which he called “childish.”

“[US President Barack] Obama talks about economic sanctions all the time, but the response hits us, not the US,” the politician said in an interview with ARD television.

“If we isolate Russia, we will have no influence,” he added. “We must learn to talk to each other again.”

Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (AFP Photo/Ragio Pajula)Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (AFP Photo/Ragio Pajula)

The irritation with the damage caused by the sanctions confrontation in Europe comes amid anger towards those who chose not to confront Russia and so were not hit back. Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves lashed out at Switzerland for taking a neutral stance in the conflict, which allows its bankers and traders to profit in the Russian market.

“Switzerland must live with the criticism that it has only dispensed with its own sanctions to gain an advantage for its banking sector,” the Estonian leader said in an interview with Sonntags Zeitung newspaper published on Sunday.

Switzerland, not being an EU member, is not obliged to enforce all anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the union. It took measures last week to ensure that it does not serve as a route to bypass EU’s sanctions, but declined to impose its own.

Bern cited a need to remain neutral, especially since it is now chairing the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, a key mediator in the Ukrainian crisis.

“The concept of neutrality is for me as empty today as ever before,” said Ilves.

The US and its allies have been imposing increasingly tough sanctions against Russia as punishment for its stance in the Ukrainian crisis. They accuse Russia of supporting the armed militia in eastern Ukraine, which is fighting against the Kiev-loyal troops. Moscow accuses the Western countries of hypocrisy, saying they are turning a blind eye to any crimes committed by the Ukrainian regime, which they helped to take over power in the first place.

Russia bans agricultural products from EU, USA, Australia, Norway, Canada

Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree on the full ban for imports of beef, pork, poultry meat, fish, cheese, milk, vegetables and fruit from Australia, Canada, the EU, the US and Norway.

The ban will last a year, starting August 7.

READ MORE: Putin bans agricultural imports from sanctioning countries for 1 year

The Prime Minister also said Russia has stopped transit flights by Ukrainian airlines to such destinations as Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey, adding that the country was considering a ban of transit flights for European and US Airlines to the Asia-Pacific region.

Western sanctions were a “dead-end track”, but Russia has been forced to respond to the measures taken by the western countries, Medvedev added.

Alcohol imports from both the EU and the US will not be restricted.

“We are actually speaking of an embargo on imports of whole categories of products from countries which have introduced sanctions against Russian organizations and individuals,” Medvedev said.

Dmitry Medvedev instructed the Federal Customs Service (FCS) to see that the banned imports could not cross the Russian border.

The Russian PM has also warned against possible attempts to use the situation to drive up prices.

“I would like to warn that attempts to gain from price speculation in this situation will be roughly stopped,” Medvedev said.

The Russian PM added that Moscow still had a lot of trading partners abroad, which it had not placed on the retaliatory sanctions list.

Russia’s agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor has announced plans to increase imports from Chile, which could include vegetables, fruit, fish, shellfish, meat and milk.

“Imports of fish, which last year amounted to 53,000 tons, may grow two or three times. Shellfish imports might increase from 3,000 tons to 15,000-20,000 tons,” the watchdog said in a statement.

Medvedev said he sincerely hoped”our partners’ economic pragmatism will prevail over bad political decisions, and they will think before trying to frighten Russia and impose restrictions on it. And mutual trade and economic partnership will be restored in the volumes which existed before. We would have liked that to happen.”

In 2013, Russia imported $6.7 billion of meat and meat products in total. The largest suppliers came from now-banned countries like Denmark (6.6% of total Russian meat products), Germany (6.4%), USA (5.3%), and Canada (3.8%).

Reuters / Ilya NaymushinReuters / Ilya Naymushin

Unique opportunity
Medvedev believes the year-long embargo Russia is imposing will boost domestic agriculture. He acknowledged that Russian farmers would have to come a long way, but said it was a unique opportunity to develop facilities to substitute for imports.

“We are only lagging behind in production of certain varieties of meat and milk. We have to catch up and our farmers are ready to do so, especially if we help them.”

Triggered by the ban, Russia’s domestic production of agricultural products could grow by about $10.8 billion in the next 18 months, Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolay Fyodorov, told ITAR–TASS.

The Governor of the Krasnodar Region, Aleksandr Tkachev has been quick to react to the news by saying farmers in the region will use the chance to replace imported goods with their own produce.

“I have spoken to the heads of agricultural enterprises, concerning the presidential decree on the ban of imports of Western agricultural goods,” Tkachev said, as cited by ITAR-TASS. “The mood is on the whole optimistic. Krasnodar farmers have received a strong stimulus to use all of their potential.”

Krasnodar is already a big agricultural player in Russia. The region is the third biggest producer of meat and eggs in the country and the fourth biggest producer of milk.

The Astrakhan Region in Russia’s south also said it was ready to increase agricultural production by 20–25 percent next year.

“There’s a real possibility that all the low quality goods, which have been imported, will not appear on the Russian market again. The country’s agriculture is now being given a historic chance for a breakthrough, to increase production, the variety of goods, and to improve processing technology,” the Governor of the Astrakhan Region Aleksandr Zhilkin, told ITAR-TASS.

Banning certain imports from the West will provide “historic opportunities” for Russia’s more distant territories in the Ural Mountains and in the Far East.

“Russia is the richest country in the world and has unique marine resources that unfortunately go abroad. However, the demand for these products on the international market are very high,” Irina Yarovaya, a Duma member from Kamchatka, said.

The new rule will help Russia develop its agriculture sector and make it easier for Russian farmers to market their products, Igor Rudensky, head of the Duma Committee on Economic Policy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship said.

EU on high alert as Germany agrees to accept Ebola patients

Capture

Capture

A German hospital has agreed to treat Ebola patients amid widespread fears of a possible outbreak of the deadly disease in Europe. Over 670 people have already been killed by the disease in West Africa with doctors struggling to control the epidemic.

A German hospital in Hamburg agreed to accept patients following a request from the World Health Organization (WHO), Deutsche Welle reports. Doctors assure that the utmost precautions will be taken to make sure the disease does not spread during treatment. The patients will be kept in an isolation ward behind several airlocks, and doctors and nurses will wear body suits with their own oxygen supplies that will be burned every three hours.

German authorities were expecting the arrival of Sheik Umar Khan, an Ebola expert who caught the disease while treating patients in Sierra Leone, but he died before he could be transported.

“We were actually anticipating the patient’s arrival over the weekend,” Dr. Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit, head of the viral diagnostic unit at Hamburg’s Bernhard-Nocht-Institute, told German public broadcaster NDR.

This latest outbreak of Ebola originated in Guinea in February and quickly spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria where the first case was reported last week. The disease has already claimed over 650 lives and has prompted authorities in Europe to take measures to prevent its spread.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond will chair a meeting of the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBRA) on Wednesday to discuss the government’s reaction to the outbreak of the deadly disease. On Monday, a man was tested for the virus at a Birmingham Airport following a flight from Nigeria via Paris. The Department of Health later confirmed that the tests were negative and said the UK authorities were prepared to deal with the threat of Ebola.

“Protecting the public from infectious diseases is a priority and we lead the world in this field. We are well prepared to identify and deal with any potential cases of Ebola,” a Department of Health official told reporters.

In Hong Kong, a woman has been hospitalized with a suspected case of Ebola. According to reports from China Daily, the woman had recently returned home from a trip to Africa.

In an effort to confine the spread of the disease, the International Civil Aviation Organization will consult with the World Health Organization.

“Until now [the virus] had not impacted commercial aviation, but now we’re affected,” WHO Secretary-General Raymond Benjamin told the media, referencing the death of a 40-year-old man who died of Ebola after traveling on Togo-based airline ASKY from Liberia to Nigeria via the Togolese capital of Lome.

“We will have to act quickly,” Benjamin said. “We will consult with the WHO to see what types of measures should be put in place.”

The Ebola virus spreads through direct contact of bodily fluids and is deadly in up to 90 percent of cases. Symptoms include fever, vomiting and internal bleeding.

COMPANY IN WHICH JOE BIDEN’S SON IS DIRECTOR PREPARES TO DRILL SHALE GAS IN EAST UKRAINE

Ukraine (or rather its puppetmasters) has decided to let no crisis (staged or otherwise) or rather civil war, go to waste..

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 3.50.20 PM

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 3.50.40 PM

by ZERO HEDGE | JULY 26, 2014

Recall what we said earlier today: the proxy Ukraine war just like that in Syria preceding it, “is all about energy.”

Recall also the following chart showing Ukraine’s shale gas deposits, keeping in mind that the Dnieper-Donets basin which lies in the hotly contested eastern part of the nation and where as everyone knows by now a bloody civil war is raging, is the major oil and gas producing region of Ukraine accounting for approximately 90 per cent of Ukrainian production and according to EIA may have 42 tcf of shale gas resources technically recoverable from 197 tcf of risked shale gas in place.

Dnieper Donetsk shale basin_0

Finally, recall our story from May that Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, just joined the board of the largest Ukraine gas producer Burisma Holdings. From the press release:

The youngest son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, has been appointed head of legal affairs at Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, Burisma Holdings.
Hunter Biden appointed head of legal affairs at Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, Burisma Holdings. / Burisma.com
R. Hunter Biden will be in charge of the Holdings’ legal unit and will provide support for the Company among international organizations. On his new appointment, he commented: “Burisma’s track record of innovations and industry leadership in the field of natural gas means that it can be a strong driver of a strong economy in Ukraine. As a new member of the Board, I believe that my assistance in consulting the Company on matters of transparency, corporate governance and responsibility, international expansion and other priorities will contribute to the economy and benefit the people of Ukraine.”

R. Hunter Biden is also a well-known public figure. He is chairman of the Board of the World Food Programme U.S.A., together with the world’s largest humanitarian organization, the United Nations World Food Programme. In this capacity he offers assistance to the poor in developing countries, fighting hunger and poverty, and helping to provide food and education to 300 million malnourished children around the world.

Company Background:

Burisma Holdings is a privately owned oil and gas company with assets in Ukraine and operating in the energy market since 2002. To date, the company holds a portfolio with permits to develop fields in the Dnieper-Donets, the Carpathian and the Azov-Kuban basins. In 2013, the daily gas production grew steadily and at year-end amounted to 11.6 thousand BOE (barrels of oil equivalent – incl. gas, condensate and crude oil), or 1.8 million m3 of natural gas. The company sells these volumes in the domestic market through traders, as well as directly to final consumers.
Now put it all together and what happens next should be rather clear.

* * *

Still confused? It’s very simple, really.

In a nutshell Ukraine (or rather its puppetmasters) has decided to let no crisis (staged or otherwise) or rather civil war, go to waste, and while the fighting rages all around, Ukrainian troopers are helping to install shale gas production equipment near the east Ukrainian town of Slavyansk, which was bombed and shelled for the three preceding months, according to local residents cited by Itar Tass. The reason for the scramble? Under peacetime, the process was expected to take many years, during which Europe would be under the energy dictatorship of Putin. But throw in some civil war and few will notice let alone care that a process which was expected to take nearly a decade if not longer while dealing with broad popular objections to fracking, may instead be completed in months!

“Civilians protected by Ukrainian army are getting ready to install drilling rigs. More equipment is being brought in,” they said, adding that the military are encircling the future extraction area.

The people of Slavyansk, which is located in the heart of the Yzovka shale gas field, staged numerous protest actions in the past against its development. They even wanted to call in a referendum on that subject. Environmentalists are particularly concerned with the consequences of hydrofracing, a method used for shale gas extraction, because it implies the use of extremely toxic chemical agents which can poison not only subsoil waters but also the atmosphere. Experts claim that not a single country in the world has invented a method of utilization of harmful toxic agents in the process of development of shale gas deposits.

Countries like the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and France have given up plans to develop shale gas deposits in their territories.
Not only them but also all-important Germany, which two weeks ago announced it would halt shale-gas drilling for the next seven years over groundwater pollution concerns.

Which clearly makes Ukraine, potentially the last place with massive shale gas deposits and no drilling ban, quite valuable to those who want to develop a major source of shale gas, one which reduces Europe’s reliance on Russian gas even more, yet one whose future depends on one simple question: who controls East Ukraine?

Because what better way to accelerate “next steps” than to start drilling for gas in the middle of the Donetsk republic as a civil war is waging in all directions, and where public mood has shifted decidedly against the local “separatists” in the aftermath of the MH-17 tragedy.

The punchline: who will develop the gas field in conjunction with Shell (jointly owned by the Netherlands and the UK: the two countries that loathe Putin the most in the aftermath of the MH-17 disaster) which in May 2012 announced a tender for the right to develop the Yuzovka shale gas deposit?

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, Joseph’s son, was appointed a director two months ago.

ANALYST: GERMANY SECRETLY PLANNING TO JOIN BRICS

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 7.37.30 PM

NSA surveillance controversy centered on U.S. fear that Europe’s economic powerhouse will dump the dollar

by PAUL JOSEPH WATSON | JULY 24, 2014

Financial analyst Jim Willie sensationally claims that Germany is preparing to ditch the unipolar system backed by NATO and the U.S. in favor of joining the BRICS nations, and that this is why the NSA was caught spying on Angela Merkel and other German leaders.

In an interview with USA Watchdog’s Greg Hunter, Willie, a statistical analyst who holds a PhD in statistics, asserted that the real reason behind the recent NSA surveillance scandal targeting Germany was centered around the United States’ fear that Europe’s financial powerhouse is looking to escape from an inevitable dollar collapse.

“I think they are looking for details on assisting Russia on dumping the dollar. I think they are looking for details for a secret movement for Germany to get away from the dollar and join the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.) This is exactly what I think they are going to do,” said Willie.

Earlier this month, the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), announced the creation of a new $100 billion dollar anti-dollar alternative IMF bank to be based in Shanghai and chaired by Moscow.

Putin launched the new system by saying it was designed to, “help prevent the harassment of countries that do not agree with some foreign policy decisions made by the United States and their allies,” a clear signal that Russia and other BRICS countries are moving to create a new economic system which is adversarial to the IMF and the World Bank.

Offering an insight into the attitude of the western elite towards Russia, comments made by the likes of former US ambassador to Iraq Christopher R. Hill suggest that Moscow is increasingly being viewed as a rogue state. Back in April, Hill said that Russia’s response to the Ukraine crisis meant that Moscow had betrayed the “new world order” it has been a part of for the last 25 years.

In another sign that BRICS nations are moving to create an entirely new multi-polar model adversarial to the west, the five countries are also constructing an alternative Internet backbone which will circumvent the United States in order to avoid NSA spying.

Willie also ties the Germany’s move into last week’s shoot down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which has been exploited by the U.S. and Britain to push for more stringent sanctions on Russia despite the fact that they have had little effect so far and only appear to be harming the trade interests of countries in mainland Europe.

“Here’s the big, big consequence. The U.S. is basically telling Europe you have two choices here. Join us with the war against Russia. Join us with the sanctions against Russia. Join us in constant war and conflicts, isolation and destruction to your economy and denial of your energy supply and removal of contracts. Join us with this war and sanctions because we’d really like you to keep the dollar regime going. They are going to say were tired of the dollar. . . . We are pushing Germany. Don’t worry about France, don’t worry about England, worry about Germany. Germany has 3,000 companies doing active business right now. They are not going to join the sanctions—period.”

Obama’s ratings tumble in Germany, Russia in wake of NSA spying, Ukraine crisis

obama20shhhh3-300x225

Capture

Revelations of the National Security Agency’s global spy program, together with civil strife in Ukraine has severely damaged Barack Obama’s popularity among Brazilians, Germans and Russians, a major US polling agency reported.

Thanks to a series of global scandals, the United States in general, and its commander-in-chief in particular, have suffered a drop in favorability among the majority of countries polled by Pew Research.

“In 22 of 36 countries surveyed in both 2013 and 2014, people are significantly less likely to believe the US government respects the personal freedoms of its citizens,” the report said.

Spring 2014 Global Attitudes Survey, Pew ResearchSpring 2014 Global Attitudes Survey, Pew Research

Among privacy-loving Germans – many of whom have even refused to allow the Google Maps car to film their homes – Obama’s reputation nosedived when it was revealed that the NSA was collecting communication metadata not only on average Germans, but also on Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose personal mobile phone had been hacked by US intelligence.

Germans’ confidence in Obama sunk to 71 percent, 17 points down from 2013.

Tensions between NATO’s two biggest members escalated this month German authorities arrested a Defense Ministry official suspected of passing secrets to the US. This shocking incident came just one week after the arrest of a German intelligence officer who worked as a double agent for the Americans.

German authorities took the unprecedented step of ordering the expulsion of the Berlin CIA station chief.

“Revelations that Washington systematically reads both Americans’ and some foreigners’ emails and listens in on their telephone conversations appears to have significantly damaged Obama’s approval in only one European Union country: Germany,” Pew reported.

Brazilians’ confidence in the first black American leader dropped from 69 percent in 2013 to 52 percent presently.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who was also the victim of NSA snooping on her personal communications, expressed her anger at those revelations by canceling an official visit to Washington in October.

Finally, Russia, which is watching neighboring Ukraine teeter on the edge of full-blown civil war, sees an American hand provoking the situation behind the scenes, especially after former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich decided against signing as association agreement with the European Union in favor of stronger ties with Moscow.

The decision by sparked a violent showdown in the capital Kiev, which has led to nationwide civil strife that continues today.

“Russian faith in Obama, already quite low in 2013, is down 14 points (to 15 percent), a likely casualty of the Ukraine confrontation,” Pew said.

Meanwhile, America’s once invincible reputation for protecting individual liberties has suffered a major reality check following damning revelations about the extent of NSA surveillance from whistleblower Edward Snowden, presently living in Russia, where he has been granted asylum.

Belief that the US government respects personal freedoms plummeted 25 points in Brazil to 50 percent over the last year; 23 points in Germany to 58 percent; 20 points to 40 percent in Russia; and 11 points to 69 percent in France. Meanwhile, even the United Kingdom, a trusted ally, appears to have experienced a chilling effect by America’s recent naughtiness, dropping 10 points to 65 percent.

Germany expels Berlin CIA chief

US drone strikes have also struck a negative chord among allies and enemies alike, including in NATO member states like Britain, France and Spain. In 37 of 44 surveyed countries, half or more of the public expressed disapproval of drone attacks.