LEADING CONTRARIAN ECONOMIST: “WE ARE COMING IN ON THE END GAME HERE”

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Debt is out of control and foreign holders of U.S. Treasury bonds are getting antsy

by MAC SLAVO | SHTFPLAN.COM | OCTOBER 21, 2014

To say that the U.S. economy is in trouble would be an understatement. According toShadow Stats economist John Williams, we may be on the very cusp of a crisis so severe that it promises to re-write the entire paradigm. Debt is out of control and foreign holders of U.S. Treasury bonds are getting antsy. Nowhere is this more obvious than in China and Russia, where leaders of the globe’s other super powers are feverishly working to distance themselves from the U.S. dollar by establishing new monetary relationships that completely bypass the world’s reserve currency.

A loss of confidence in America’s ability to manage its fiscal, economic and monetary policy coupled with a continued slowdown in growth could soon reveal what Williams calls “the end game.”

It’s coming sooner rather than later suggests Williams in a recent interview with Greg Hunter’s USA Watchdog:

“I can’t give you good reason for why the stock market is as high as it is. The fact you are seeing this volatility means there are a lot of people who are very nervous about what is going on and where things are in the market.It is probably one of the great bubbles of all time. It most likely will collapse along the lines of the U.S. dollar in response to the reality of no economic recovery. . . . I can’t think of a more vulnerable market than what we are seeing here.”

You are getting a confluence of extraordinary factors that are coming together that will cause the dollar to break. You’ll have a panic flight from the dollar along with dumping of U.S. Treasury bonds by foreign owners. We are coming in on the end game here.”

“I have been forecasting hyper-inflation in 2014 for some years now. We are coming to the end of 2014, and it hasn’t happened. A prerequisite is a collapse in the dollar. A collapse in the dollar can happen at anytime . . . and at this point, I am not looking to change the outlook.”

“I have had a lot of calls from clients recently to that effect, yes. I can tell you what they are seeing in terms of their business, after adjusting for inflation, and that’s using the government’s inflation number; they are not seeing any sales growth. How can you have no sales growth in 80% of the economy and have a booming economy? It’s not happening.”

Since 2010 John Williams has repeatedly warned of a coming hyperinflationary event that will leave the United States decimated. With the loss of purchasing power of the U.S. dollar will also come disruptions to the normal flow of commerce, including domestic supply chains.

As the dollar breaks down, you’ll also likely see disruptions in supply chains, including shipments of food to grocery stores. People should consider maintaining stockpiles of basic goods needed for living, much as they would for a natural disaster.

I have a supply of goods and basic necessities in case something terrible happens-natural or man-made-that will carry me for a couple of months. It may take that long for a barter system to evolve, which I think is what you’re going to end up with; at least until a new currency system is reorganized and you get a government that’s able to bring its fiscal house into order.
It’s an effect we saw happen in Greece several years ago when debt levels got to such levels that no one was willing to lend the collapsing nation any money. This led to a widespread breakdown – people were fighting for food, life-saving medicines were unavailable, power regulators almost shut down electricity to the entire country, andbarter networks sprung up because money was simply not available to the average person.

What became valuable in Greece is exactly what you might expect – physical assets.

The price of precious metals sky rocketed on the streets of Greece. Those with food were able to barter for other services. And those with specialized skills were able to trade their labor for essential goods.

The situation was dire, but with the U.S. and Europe eventually offering up billions of dollars in bailouts a complete collapse was averted.

This left many people with the impression that no matter how bad things get, there will always be a bailout.

But what happens when America experiences a similar crisis? Who will have enough money to bail us out? Which country will be willing to cough up trillions of dollars to support the U.S. financial system and economy?

Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, who presided over the collapse of 2008, has said that the United States was on the brink of collapse. At the time Congress was warned that failure to pass the bank bailouts would have led to tanks on the streets of America.

Considering we have yet to resolve the fundamental issues that plagued our economy then, how bad will it get when the next crisis unfolds?

As Greece was falling apart one of our contributors contacted us to share how desperate things had gotten.

“My shotgun is full and well equipped. I hope i don’t need to use it.”
This is coming to America. Ayn Rand once said that we can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of reality.

If you haven’t take steps to do so, it’s time to get prepared for the consequences.

FBI director wants access to encrypt Apple, Google users’ data, demands law ‘fix’

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The FBI director has slammed Apple and Google for offering their customers encryption technology that protects users’ privacy. “Deeply concerned” James Comey wants to push on Congress to “fix” laws to ensure police can still access private data.

“It’s the equivalent of a closet that can’t be opened. A safe that can’t be cracked,” Comey, speaking at the Brookings Institute in Washington DC, referred to the encryption technology calling the new service “a marketing pitch.”

“But it will have very serious consequences for law enforcement and national security agencies at all levels,” he warned.

Apple has recently presented its latest Mac OS X operating system for desktop and laptop computers, encouraging its customers to use FileVault disk encryption technology to keep their data secure. The tool would also prevent NSA or FBI from having access to phones and computers.

Google said it wanted to follow suit with its Android operating system and “encryption will be enabled by default.”

If a customer does not decline the encryption offer, his or her computer or phone will be locked.

This means that the companies will not be able to unlock a phone or a hard drive to reveal photos, documents, e-mail or recordings stored within.

“Criminals and terrorists would like nothing more than for us to miss out,” Comey said, adding that encrypted information on “a bad guy’s phone has the potential to create a black hole for law enforcement.”

“Justice may be denied because of a locked phone or an encrypted hard drive,” he said.

READ MORE: Mass internet surveillance is ‘corrosive of online privacy’ – UN report

While law enforcements would still be able to intercept conversations, it would be impossible to access call data, contacts, photos and emails.

Comey believes that “encryption threatens to lead all of us to a very dark place,” while the companies argue that it is a necessary option that will protect customers from unlawful surveillance and private data access.

Edward Snowden’s revelations have provoked the US tech companies to find better protection for personal information.

Comey acknowledged: “The post-Snowden pendulum has swung too far in one direction—in a direction of fear and mistrust.”

“Some believe that the FBI has these phenomenal capabilities to access any information at any time—that we can get what we want, when we want it, by flipping some sort of switch,” he said. “It may be true in the movies or on TV. It is simply not the case in real life.”

The FBI director would like to see changes made to the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA, “enacted 20 years ago—a lifetime in the internet age.”

Companies like Apple or Google, should be required to build lawful intercept capabilities for law enforcement, Comey says.

“We aren’t seeking to expand our authority to intercept communications,” he said. “We are struggling to keep up with changing technology and to maintain our ability to actually collect the communications we are authorized to intercept.”

CALEA only covers landline and cellphone companies, broadband services or internet phone services, which connect with traditional phones.

“We also need a regulatory or legislative fix,” Comey said, “so that all communication service providers are held to the same standard.”

Comey’s speech was not the first time he lashed out at Apple and Google for encrypting smartphones. In September, he told reporters in Washington that the encrypting technology offered by the companies, powering nearly 95 percent of the smart phones in the United States, severely hinder law enforcement operations.

NYFF: EDWARD SNOWDEN DOC ‘CITIZENFOUR’ REVEALS EXISTENCE OF SECOND NSA WHISTLEBLOWER

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At the end of the Laura Poitras doc, the famed informant registers shock over another who outranks him

A second National Security Agency whistleblower exists within the ranks of government intelligence.

That bombshell comes toward the end of Citizenfour, a new documentary from filmmaker Laura Poitras about NSA informant Edward Snowden that had its world premiere on Friday at the New York Film Festival.

In the key scene, journalist Glenn Greenwald visits Snowden at a hotel room in Moscow. Fearing they are being taped, Greenwald communicates with Snowden via pen and paper.
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While some of the exchanges are blurred for the camera, it becomes clear that Greenwald wants to convey that another government whistleblower — higher in rank than Snowden — has come forward.

The revelation clearly shocks Snowden, whose mouth drops open when he reads the details of the informant’s leak.

Also revealed by Greenwald is the fact that 1.2 million Americans are currently on a government watch-list. Among them is Poitras herself.

And the surprises don’t end there. Near the end of the film, which received a rousing standing ovation, it is revealed that Lindsay Mills, Snowden’s dancer girlfriend of 10 years, has been living with Snowden in Moscow.

When Poitras went to Moscow in July to show Snowden an early cut of the film, she shot footage of the two cooking dinner together, which appears in the final cut.

Snowden fled to Russia after the U.S. government revoked his passport and put pressure on other governments not to grant him asylum.

After spending 39 days in a Moscow airport, Snowden was granted a one-year asylum from President Vladimir Putin. He is now in the country on a three-year residency permit.

Poitras took the stage at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall following the screening, flanked by Greenwald, with whom she partnered on a pair of explosive stories in The Guardian and Washington Post about Snowden’s surveillance disclosures in June 2014.

Also joining them was Jeremy Scahill, their partner on the website The Intercept, and Snowden’s father and stepmother. Snowden’s father thanked Poitras for having made Citizenfour, which he deemed a “wonderful piece of work.”

Poitras kept her comments following the screening to a minimum, and thanked her crew and Snowden. Instead it was Greenwald and Scahill who did most of the talking, with Scahill at one point describing Poitras as “the most bad-ass director alive, period.”

Before the screening, Poitras told The Hollywood Reporter that she will never forget the moment when Snowden — who was so young Greenwald initially doubted his authenticity — said he was willing to go on the record with his allegations.

“One of the most intense moments was when Snowden told us his identity would not remain anonymous, and I knew that somebody was really, really putting their life on the line,” Poitras said.

MH17 victim found wearing oxygen mask – Dutch FM

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One of the passengers of the MH17 plane shot down over Ukraine was wearing an oxygen mask, Dutch Foreign Minister Franz Timmermans has said. This new revelation contradicts assumptions that all 298 people on board the plane died instantly.

Kiev seeks access to MH17 site to back ‘prefabricated’ crash version – Moscow

Timmermans’ comments suggest that the Boeing-777-200 shot down three months ago might not have fallen apart immediately after the aircraft was hit, killing all people aboard, if at least one passenger remained conscious and managed to pull an oxygen mask on.

“People hardly had time to notice the missile coming, but do you know that one of the victims was found with an oxygen mask over their mouth?” Timmermans said Thursday, HOC TV channel reported.

“This means that someone had time to do that,” he said. “At least, we cannot rule out this possibility.”

Dutch prosecutors have confirmed that one flight MH17 passenger, an Australian citizen, was found with the elastic strap of an oxygen mask around his neck.

It is not known “how or when the mask got around the victim’s neck,” AP quoted Wim de Bruin, a spokesman for Dutch prosecutors, as saying.

Dutch prosecutors said that no other MH17 victim was found with an oxygen mask on.

Members of the Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry gather and place bodies at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region (Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev)Members of the Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry gather and place bodies at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region (Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev)

Magomed Talboev, Russia’s former top test pilot, told Slon.ru that finding one MH17 victim with an oxygen mask on does not necessarily contradict previously assumptions about the immediate death of everyone aboard.

“A couple of seconds could pass before the plane disintegrated,” Talboev said. “This is enough to grab a mask that falls automatically in front of your face and put it on – this is [survival] instinct.”

The Malaysian Airlines plane was shot down on July 17, flying from Amsterdam in the Netherlands to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It crashed near Torez, a settlement 60 kilometers from the Russian border, in the warzone where Ukrainian troops were fighting Donetsk self-defense forces. All 283 passengers and 15 crewmembers died.

Because most of the victims, 196 passengers, were Dutch citizens, the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) is leading and coordinating the investigation of an international group of experts.

One month ago, on September 9, the DSB issued a preliminary report into the crash, saying that the plane “broke up in the air, probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.”

Everyone onboard died instantly because of immediate decompression, the report said, without mentioning any use of oxygen masks.

Because active military operations were continuing near the MH17 crash site, forensic experts were unable to recover evidence on the ground, and not all the bodies have been recovered three months on. After the Sept. 5 ceasefire agreement was reached between the warring parties, investigation activities at the crash site zone resumed.

So far, the bodies of 251 MH17 victims have been identified by Dutch officials in The Hague.

PANETTA: OBAMA AN INCOMPETENT LIAR

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Former CIA director criticizes president

October 8, 2014 by Joe Saunders

It’s not often that a former defense secretary calls a sitting president an incompetent liar on national television.

But that’s exactly what Leon Panetta did Tuesday night in a wide-ranging interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.

oreillypanetta1008And the results were “utterly devastating” for President Obama.

That was the take from conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, who summed up Panetta’s sometimes carefully worded responses bluntly.

“He was basically saying this president cannot lead,” Krauthammer said. “He’s indecisive and he’s weak.’

And he’s driven more by the Democrat politics of his liberal base than by the national security of the country.

“It’s not just indecisiveness and how tentative Obama is,” Krauthammer said. “But also about how political he is. “

As usual, Krauthammer nailed it.

During the interview, part of a promotional tour for Panetta’s insider memoir “Worthy Fights,” O’Reilly hammered on the disastrous developments on the world stage in the two years since Obama’s re-election. Panetta offered weak defenses for the president that were barely defenses at all.

Do our enemies fear us? O’Reilly asked at one point.

“The last two years have been a lot of mixed messages,” Panetta answered.

He all but admitted the administration’s response to the Benghazi terror attack in 2012 (an allegedly spontaneous reaction to a video almost nobody saw) was a lie to the American people. The contrast between Panetta’s responses and the president’s during his Super Bowl interview with O’Reilly was particularly damaging to Obama.

He acknowledged the White House had been caught by surprise by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the rise of the Islamic State terrorist army in Iraq and Syria – even the summer’s border crisis that saw tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from Central American overwhelm American border facilities in the Southwest.

And he offered possibly the most damning judgment possible of a man entrusted to lead the world’s superpower: Incompetence verging on cowardice.

“Barack Obama has the guts to do the right thing, the real question is, will he make the decision to do so?” Panetta said. “He knows what needs to be done. What he’s got to do is develop the will to fight – to get into the ring, in order to make it happen.”

There’s no way for Democrats to sugar coat that kind of judgment about a man they once hailed as the savior of the country – not when it comes from another man Krauthammer called “an icon of the Democratic Party.”

11 Important Headlines From the Past Week That Are Not About 2016, Fence Jumpers or Ebola

By Katrina Jorgensen 22 hours ago

IJ Review brings you “just the facts” from the top international headlines of last week, in 11 quick, easy-to-read bits.
1) ISIS Beheads Aid Worker

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The Islamic State has continued its campaign of fear by beheading Alan Henning, a British humanitarian aid worker. The terrorists have also threatened the life of American Peter Kassig, another aid provider.
Kassig’s family responded with a YouTube video asking ISIS to spare their son’s life, and encouraging the world to pray for Henning’s family and everyone held captive including their son.
A new report from the UN about the Islamic State says massive human rights crimes have been committed by the organization. At least 26,000 Iraqis have died this year.
2) Brazil’s Election Outcome Uncertain
Dilma Rousseff receives Presidential sash
Dilma Rousseff receives Presidential sash
Brazilians are heading to the polls today in one of the most exciting elections of the year. President Dilma Rousseff has faced a tough race from dark horse candidate and environmentalist Marina Silva, who suddenly began winning voters in August when she joined the race.
But just yesterday a poll showed Aecio Neves, a former governor, ahead of [correction] Silva in the polls. A run-off between Rousseff and one of these opponents is expected.
3) Bulgarians Head to the Polls Today
Boyko Borisov, former PM of Bulgaria may win again this weekend
Boyko Borisov, former PM of Bulgaria may win again this weekend
Bulgaria has parliamentary elections today. A transitional government has been in place since fall 2013, due to political gridlock and tough economic issues. The center-right GERB party is expected to win, putting former prime minister Boyko Borisov back in charge.
Borisov resigned in February 2013 due to massive anti-corruption protests. Then a socialist-led government took over, but also resigned in August of last year.
4) Palestine Seeks Greater Recognition at Israel’s Expense
The U.S. still does not recognize Palestine as a state at the UN.
The U.S. still does not recognize Palestine as a state at the UN.
The Palestinians have drafted a U.N. resolution that is not formalized yet, but would end what the resolution calls the Israeli occupation by 2016. The UN Security Council would need to unanimously approve the resolution.
Additionally, this week Sweden became the first EU country to recognize Palestine as a state and has begun pressuring other EU countries, particularly the UK, to follow suit. Israel has summoned the Swedish envoy over the issue.
5) Russia Ends Student Exchange with U.S.
FLEX (Future Leaders Exchange) has given thousands of students in Eurasia the opportunity to visit the U.S.
FLEX (Future Leaders Exchange) has given thousands of students in Eurasia the opportunity to visit the U.S.
The Kremlin has halted a student exchange program that sends Russian high-schoolers to the U.S. for a year. The Kremlin claimed they wanted to stop the influence of homosexual couples that applied to act as guardians.
More than 8,000 Russian students have participated in the program in the last 21 years. Alumni of the program and students hoping to be selected have protested the move. The U.S. has expressed disappointment in Moscow’s decision.
6) New Opposition for Putin
The guilt verdict against Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 2005 was more than 600 pages long
The guilt verdict against Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 2005 was more than 600 pages long
New on the scene in internal Russian politics, former Russian oil-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has announced plan to lead an anti-Kremlin movement. Khodorkovsky was pardoned by Putin after spending 8 years in prison for what is seen as trumped-up charges connected to privatizing his business.
7) Suicide Boming in the Capital of Chechnya
Grozny, the capital of Chechnya
Grozny, the capital of Chechnya
Grozny, the capital of Russia’s Chechnya, celebrated its 196th “City Day” today. But the celebration was marred by a suicide bomber, who blew himself up when questioned by police outside of a concert venue. Four police officers were killed and four more wounded in the explosion.
Chechnya has a history of violence and Islamic terrorism but the current Moscow-backed leader has sought to crack down on militants. The last, major suicide attack happened in 2011.
8) Latvia’s Center-Right Coalition Retains Power
Laimdota Straujuma will stay as Prime Minister of Latvia
Laimdota Straujuma will stay as Prime Minister of Latvia
After elections this weekend, Latvia’s center-right coalition government has managed to retain power. However, Harmony, a pro-Russia party still has significant power, winning 24 seats in the Latvian parliament. Harmony is made up of mostly ethnic Russians favoring closer ties with Moscow.
9) Syria’s Border Towns Under Heavy Attack
Anti-Assad demonsration in Kobani
Anti-Assad demonstration in Kobani
As the U.S. and allies turn their air power on the ISIS militants in Syria, the city of Kobani has been under heavy attack from all sides. Kobani is only one of many Syrian cities experiencing increased violence, but the city’s unique location on the edge of Turkey makes it militarily significant.
Kobani has been defended on the ground by Kurdish forces and bombed from the air by Americans and British, but has remained under siege by the Islamic State. Turkey has recently made promises to work against the militants on the border, despite threats from Syria’s President Assad.
10) Ukraine’s Ceasefire Fails to Hold
ViceNews reports on non-Ukrainian fighters in Donetsk
ViceNews reports on non-Ukrainian fighters in Donetsk
Pro-Russian separatists have made a renewed effort to take back the government-held airport in Donetsk. Twelve have died in clashes over the weekend as the ceasefire continues to be broken. On Friday, Ukraine’s government accused Russia of helping the separatists in the most recent assault on the areas.
11) Hong Kong Protests Still Ongoing
Protest in Hong Kong being nicknamed the Umbrella Revolution
Protest in Hong Kong being nicknamed the Umbrella Revolution
After a week of protests that halted both government and business in Hong Kong, protesters continue to stand their ground, seeking greater independence from China through democracy. Both protesters and the government have expressed a willingness to start a dialogue, but neither side will agree to the other’s preconditions.
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive C.Y. Leung has ordered the protesters to disperse by Monday. The protesters have been calling for his resignation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

READ MORE: ‘F**k the EU': Snr US State Dept. official caught in alleged phone chat on Ukraine

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

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