New sanctions: US targets scores of Russian, Chinese, Syrian firms over Iran

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The US is set to impose sanctions on a number of Russian, Chinese, Syrian, Turkish, Sudanese and Iranian companies, thought to be involved in activities which, according to Washington, go against its Nonproliferation Act in regards to Iran and Syria.

According to the list, due to be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday and currently available on its website, such prominent Russian companies as Instrument Design Bureau (KBP), Rosoboronexport (ROE) and Russian Aircraft Corporation (RAC) MiG fall under the punitive measures, just to name a few.

The US has imposed a number of sanctions on Russia since August 2014 over the conflict in eastern Ukraine and Crimean reunification, accusing Moscow of being a protagonist and participant in the ongoing hostilities.

Russia has repeatedly denied Western allegations of any involvement in its southern neighbor’s internal affairs whatsoever. It responded with counter-measures, banning imports from the EU, US and others. In June, Moscow extended its embargo on food imports from Western countries until August 2016 due to the prolonged anti-Russia sanctions.

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Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that retaliatory measures will follow, noting that they won’t necessarily be identical. According to the Ministry, US sanctions contradict Washington’s own signals concerning interest in cooperating with Russia on solving a number of acute international problems.

Chairman of the Federation Council on Defense and Security, Viktor Ozerov, has slammed the new sanctions against Russia’s defense industry complex.

“This is a hidden form of competition, because today our weapons and military equipment are in demand on the international arms market, and thus the US wants to weaken the economy of these businesses,” TASS quoted him as saying.

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Among the Chinese and Iranian companies is China’s BST Technology and Trade Company, Tianjin Flourish Chemical Company, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods Force and Rock Chemie (Iran). Syrian Air Force, Turkey’s Multimat Ic ve Dis Ticaret Pazarlama Limited and Sudan’s Vega Aeronautics are also mentioned in the list.

“No department or agency of the United States Government may procure or enter into any contract for the procurement of any goods, technology, or services from these foreign persons, except to the extent that the Secretary of State otherwise may determine,” the notice on the behalf the US State Department states.

“No United States Government sales to these foreign persons of any item on the United States Munitions List are permitted, and all sales to these persons of any defense articles, defense services, or design and construction services under the Arms Export Control Act are terminated,” the document adds.

READ MORE: Russia in recession on back of cheap oil, sanctions

“No new individual licenses shall be granted for the transfer to these foreign persons of items the export of which is controlled under the Export Administration Act of 1979 or the Export Administration Regulations, and any existing such licenses are suspended.”

The measures are set to remain in place for two years, “except to the extent that the Secretary of State may subsequently determine otherwise.”

The Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000, which was signed into law on March 14, 2000, authorized the US president to take punitive action against individuals or organizations “known to be providing material aid to weapons of mass destruction programs in Iran.”
In November 2005, it expanded the scope of the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 to include Syria and a year later China. The law bans supply of goods, services and technology, subject to international control regimes and the corresponding lists, to these countries.

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Pentagon deploys drones to Latvia to maintain ‘security & stability’

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In a bid to show off how the US protects its allies, the Pentagon has deployed two MQ-1 Predator long-range unmanned surveillance drones and 70 airmen to Latvia on a training mission, the US Department of Defense said.

The deployment of the two unmanned MQ-1 Predators to Lielvarde Air Base over the weekend was the first time the US military sent a detachment of drones to Latvia to take part in what is referred to as partner training, a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Captain Jeff Davis, told Reuters.

The drones will be controlled from Lielvarde Air Base, and their mission is due to end on September 15, according to AFP.

Captain Davis said the deployment of the airmen, said to be members of the 147th Reconnaissance Wing of the Texas Air National Guard, was funded by the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI).

“This temporary deployment of aircraft and personnel will test the unit’s ability to forward deploy RPAs (remotely piloted aircraft) and conduct air operations in an effort to help assure our Latvian allies, NATO allies and European partners of our commitment to regional security and stability,” the US European Command reportedly said in a statement.

In May, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia jointly asked for permanent NATO bases, alleging that Russia has the capacity to invade them within four hours of ordering an attack. Moscow lashed out at the move, saying it contravenes the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act.
According to the United States European Command (EUCOM), the ERI was funded to the tune of $985 million. These monies are said to enable the Department of Defense to “continue its efforts to reinforce America’s solemn commitment to the safety and territorial integrity of our allies and to strengthen the security and capacity of our partners in the region.”

Among other things, the ERI enables the US Department of Defense (DoD) to continue its Operation Atlantic Resolve, a series of actions designed to “reassure NATO allies and partners of America’s dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine.”

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Since Russia’s reunification with Crimea and the outbreak of the military conflict in eastern Ukraine last spring, NATO has stepped up its military presence along the Russian border, including in the Baltic States and Eastern Europe. With relations between Russia and NATO plummeting to a Cold-War low, Moscow responded by increasing flights of its long-range ‘Bear’ or Tu-95 bombers near NATO members’ airspace and large-scale drills in Russia. Despite failing to provide any proof, the West blames Moscow for masterminding the Ukrainian unrest and supporting the rebels in the country’s eastern Donetsk and Lugansk Regions.

READ MORE: 49 NATO vessels, 5,600 troops gear up for major US-led drills in Baltics

One of the biggest series of drills this summer involved at least 49 vessels from 17 countries, with 5,600 troops taking part in the US-led BALTOPS exercises in the Baltic Sea in June. The war games took place just miles off the Russian coastal exclave of Kaliningrad, a gulf area sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly criticized NATO’s military buildup in neighboring states. It said they are taking place “under the false pretext of alleged ‘aggressive behavior’ by our country” and is accompanied by “unfriendly and malicious” rhetoric.

“We are not threatening anyone and we seek to resolve all conflict situations through political means, with respect toward international law and other nations’ interests,” Russian President Putin said in June.

In October, NATO will conduct its biggest military exercises in over 10 years, with a specific focus on battling Islamic State. Forces will be deployed across the Mediterranean.

NATO Begins Naval Drills Near Russia

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One of largest war games since the Cold War

Ukraine is hosting naval military exercise in the Black Sea with NATO forces, involving 2,500 troops and some 150 military vehicles, from warships and helicopters to armored cars.

The host nation of Sea Breeze 2015 has deployed 1,000 troops, nine warships and eight aircraft for the drill. The US has sent 1,000 troops as well as five warships, two submarines and six aircraft.

The remaining 500 troops, six warships, three submarines and six aircraft were provided by Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania, Turkey, the UK and the non-NATO nations Moldova and Sweden.

“The exercise is meant to boost trust and security in the region, [and to increase] the compatibility between the Ukrainian Navy and the navies of NATO members and partner countries,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Sea Breeze is held in Ukraine’s Odessa and Nikolaevsk region not far from Russia’s Crimea, which Kiev and its foreign sponsors consider to be Ukrainian. It will last till mid-September. Ukraine will participating in a total of 11 NATO drills in 2015.

NATO is also currently conducting another war game, called Swift Response, in Germany, Italy, Bulgaria and Romania. It is one of the largest such events since the Cold War and is planned to last until September 13. A separate exercise, called Simple Strike, is under way in the Baltic.

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Russia, which calls NATO exercises in Europe provocative, has just completed a joint naval drill with China, called Naval Cooperation. It was held in the Far East and has been described as unprecedented in scale.

23 NATIONS AROUND THE WORLD WHERE STOCK MARKET CRASHES ARE ALREADY HAPPENING

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by MICHAEL SNYDER | THE ECONOMIC COLLAPSE | AUGUST 18, 2015

Sounding the alarm about an imminent global financial crash

You can stop waiting for a global financial crisis to happen. The truth is that one is happening right now. All over the world, stock markets are already crashing. Most of these stock market crashes are occurring in nations that are known as “emerging markets”. In recent years, developing countries in Asia, South America and Africa loaded up on lots of cheap loans that were denominated in U.S. dollars. But now that the U.S. dollar has been surging, those borrowers are finding that it takes much more of their own local currencies to service those loans. At the same time, prices are crashing for many of the commodities that those countries export. The exact same kind of double whammy caused the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s and the Asian financial crisis of the 1990s.

As you read this article, almost every single stock market in the world is down significantly from a record high that was set either earlier this year or late in 2014. But even though stocks have been sliding in the western world, they haven’t completely collapsed just yet.

In much of the developing world, it is a very different story. Emerging market currencies are crashing hard, recessions are starting, and equity prices are getting absolutely hammered.

Posted below is a list that I put together of 23 nations around the world where stock market crashes are already happening. To see the stock market chart for each country, just click the link…

1. Malaysia

2. Brazil

3. Egypt

4. China

5. Indonesia

6. South Korea

7. Turkey

8. Chile

9. Colombia

10. Peru

11. Bulgaria

12. Greece

13. Poland

14. Serbia

15. Slovenia

16. Ukraine

17. Ghana

18. Kenya

19. Morocco

20. Nigeria

21. Singapore

22. Taiwan

23. Thailand

Of course this is just the beginning. The western world is going to feel this kind of pain as well very soon. I want to share with you an excerpt from an article that just appeared in the Telegraph entitled “Doomsday clock for global market crash strikes one minute to midnight as central banks lose control“. You see, the Telegraph is not just one of the most important newspapers in the UK – it is truly one of the most important newspapers in the entire world. When it speaks on financial matters, millions of people listen very carefully. So for the Telegraph to declare that the countdown to a “global market crash” is “one minute to midnight” is a very, very big deal…

When the banking crisis crippled global markets seven years ago, central bankers stepped in as lenders of last resort. Profligate private-sector loans were moved on to the public-sector balance sheet and vast money-printing gave the global economy room to heal.

Time is now rapidly running out. From China to Brazil, the central banks have lost control and at the same time the global economy is grinding to a halt. It is only a matter of time before stock markets collapse under the weight of their lofty expectations and record valuations.
I encourage you to read the rest of that excellent article right here. It contains lots of charts and graphs, and it discusses many of the exact same things that I have been hammering on for months.

When one of the newspapers of record for the entire planet starts sounding exactly like The Economic Collapse Blog, then you know that it is late in the game.

Others are sounding the alarm about an imminent global financial crash as well. For example, just consider what Egon von Greyerz recently told King World News…

Eric, I fear that this coming September – October all hell will break loose in the world economy and markets. A lot of factors point to that, both fundamental and technical indicators and this indicates that we could have a number of shocks this autumn.

Sadly, most investors will hold stocks, bonds and property and will see any decline in value as an opportunity. It will be a long time and a very big fall before they realize that the system will not help them this time because the central bankers have run out of ammunition to save the global financial system one more time. Yes, we will see more massive money printing, but it will just make things worse. And at some stage, which could be quite soon, real fear will set in, a fear of a magnitude the world has not experienced before.
Hmm – there is another example of someone talking about September. It is funny how often that month keeps coming up.

And of course most of the major stock market crashes in U.S. history have been in the fall. Just go back and take a look at what happened in 1929, 1987, 2001 and 2008.

The “smart money” has been pulling their money out of stocks for quite a while now, and at this point a lot of others have hopped on the bandwagon. The following comes from CNBC…

The flight of investor money from U.S. stocks has turned into a stampede.

In fact, the $78.7 billion leaving domestic equity-focused funds has been worse in 2015 than it was even during the financial crisis years, when the S&P 500 tumbled some 60 percent, according to data released Friday by Morningstar. The total is the highest since 1993.

Domestic equity funds surrendered $20.4 billion in July alone and have seen $158.6 billion in redemptions over the past 12 months. Even a strong flow of money into passively managed exchange-traded funds has been unable to offset the stream to the exit among retail investors, who generally focus more on mutual funds than ETFs.
A global financial crisis has already begun.

So those that were claiming that one would not happen in 2015 are already wrong.

Over the coming months we will find out how bad it will ultimately be.

Sometimes I get criticized for talking about these things. There are a few people out there that don’t like all of the “doom and gloom” that I discuss on my website. Apparently it is a bad thing to talk about the things that really matter and we should all just be “keeping up with the Kardashians” instead.

I consider myself just to be another watchman on the wall. From our spots on the wall, watchmen such as myself all over the nation are sounding the alarm about what we clearly see coming.

If we saw what was coming and we did not warn the people, their blood would be on our hands. But if we do warn the people, then we have done our duty.

Every day I just do the best that I can with what I have been given. And there are many others just like me that are doing exactly the same thing.

Those that do not like the warning message are going to feel really stupid when things start falling apart all around them and they finally realize how wrong they truly were.

Russian Bombers Fly Near U.S. on July 4th

PHOTO: Tupolev Tu-95 Bear, a large, four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber in Voronezh region, Russia, September 20, 2014.

As Americans were celebrating the Fourth of July holiday, four Russian long-range bomber aircraft flew close enough to the US shores that they were intercepted by military fighter jets. The first set of two bombers flew near Alaska and just 30 minutes later a separate set flew far off the west coast of California.

According to officials at NORAD the flights stayed within international airspace and at no time did any of the Russian bombers enter or get close to entering sovereign North American boundaries.

The first incident occurred at approximately 10:30 a.m. EDT on July 4, when Alaskan-based NORAD F-22 fighters intercepted and visually identified two Russian TU-95 “Bear” long-range bomber aircraft flying off the coast of the Aleutian Islands within the Air Defense Identification Zone (an area of international waters that stretches 200 miles from US coastline), officials at NORAD said in a statement to ABC News.

Then at approximately 11 a.m. EDT, NORAD F-15 fighters from the Continental NORAD Region intercepted and visually identified two additional Bear bombers flying off the central California coast, well away from U.S. sovereign airspace.

While Northcom is not saying precisely how far out the California intercept occurred, one official said it was on the outer lines of the ADIZ, meaning it could have been as far out as 200 miles. US airspace begins 12 miles from the coasts. The US asks military aircraft from other countries operating in that space to identify themselves and will make sure they’ve changed course away from US shores before backing away.

While intercepts of Russian aircraft off Alaska occur frequently, intercepts off California are less common. In June last year a two long-range Russian bombers flew within 50 miles of northern California.

US to pay salaries of Governor Saakashvili’s team in Odessa, Ukraine

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The US government will pay the salaries to the staff of Georgia’s former President Mikhail Saakashvili, who is now serving as a new governor of Odessa Region, Ukraine, Saakashvili said, adding that California police will also train Odessa’s officers.

“Within the framework of Odessa’s anti-corruption pressure, the US government agreed to provide funds for the salaries of the new team of [Mikhail] Saakashvili,” Saakashvili wrote on his Facebook page after the meeting with Geoffrey Pyatt, the US Ambassador to Ukraine.

He added that American police officers from California “will train new Odessa police.”

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READ MORE: US promises Ukraine help to become gas exporter

Pyatt has repeatedly voiced his support for Saakashvili. Earlier in July he said that Washington “fully supports Mikheil Saakashvili and his team, and we will do everything so that they can succeed.”

READ MORE: US military instructors deployed to Ukraine to train local forces

US authorities have recently been sending other instructors to train local forces in Ukraine. In April, paratroopers of the US 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, arrived in the western Ukrainian city of Lvov to provide training for Ukrainian government troops. Pyatt then posted on Twitter several pictures of the US paratroopers marching through the airport in the city.

READ MORE: Ex-Georgian president, wanted at home, becomes governor in Ukraine

Saakashvili became governor of Odessa Region back in May. He was personally appointed by President Petro Poroshenko.

He was also given Ukrainian citizenship under Poroshenko’s personal decree, published on his website, as the Ukrainian constitution says that only a citizen can become an official at governor level.

Saakashvili left Georgia in autumn 2013, days before his presidential term expired. He has been living abroad ever since.

In spring 2014, Georgia’s new ruling coalition accused Saakashvili of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the state budget. Georgia’s prosecutors have started an investigation into the case. However, Saakashvili denies the charges against him, saying the funds went towards attracting foreign investors to the country.

Apart from embezzlement, Saakashvili has several other cases ongoing against him. He is accused of abuse of power during the crackdown on anti-government protests in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, on November 7, 2007. He was also allegedly involved in the attack on the opposition TV station Imedi, which was seized by Georgian special forces on the same day, and the appropriation of the founder’s assets.

In February 2015, Tbilisi issued an extradition request for Saakashvili, but Kiev authorities rejected it.

Moscow summons Belgian envoy over seizure of state assets, threatens retaliation

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Moscow has summoned the Belgian ambassador to lodge a protest over the freeze of its state assets. It said that Moscow may consider retaliatory measures against Belgium if the assets are seized, including against Belgium diplomatic property in Russia.

This comes after Belgian bailiffs notified Belgian, Russian and other international companies of the seizure of assets belonging to Russia at the behest of the Isle of Man-based Yukos Universal Limited, a subsidiary of the Russian energy giant, which was dismantled in 2007. They have given the target companies a fortnight to comply.

READ MORE: Russian companies’ accounts in VTB French subsidiary frozen – CEO Kostin

Russia will appeal the court’s arrest of Russian property, Russian presidential aide Andrey Belousov said. According to the official, “the situation with the arrest of the property is politicized, [and] Moscow hopes to avoid a new escalation in relations.”

Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it could consider retaliatory measures against Belgium if the assets are seized.

Read more
Amsterdam court says Yukos International has legitimate compensation claim against Rosneft

A letter accompanying the notice, reportedly drafted by the law firm Marc Sacré, Stefan Sacré & Piet De Smet, accused Moscow of a “systematic failure to voluntarily follow” international legal judgments.

The addressees included not just local offices of Russian companies, but international banks, a local branch of the Russian Orthodox Church, and even Eurocontrol, the European air traffic agency headquartered in Brussels. Only diplomatic assets, such as embassies, were exempt.

The situation was not unexpected, and Russia is considering a number of measures to deal with possible asset seizures both in Belgium and in other countries, said Andrey Belousov, an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The situation is very politicized,” Belousov said. “Let’s hope that common sense prevails and we don’t sink deep in this story, that there won’t be a new round of retaliatory escalation.”

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Russia has not accepted the ruling, saying it disregards widespread tax fraud committed by Yukos, and constitutes a form of indirect retribution for Russia’s standoff with the West over Ukraine. Earlier this month, the Russian ministry of justice said it would take “preventative measures” to avoid property confiscation, and challenge each decision in national courts.

Read more
​Russia appeals $50bn Yukos verdict

A separate ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) last summer awarded Yukos shareholders €1.9 billion in compensation. Russia’s Dozhd channel quoted ECHR representatives as saying that the reported seizures are not related to its legal decision as several media reports have previously suggested.

Neither Belgium, nor Russia have yet released official statements about potential asset seizures.

Russia spent much of the 1990s embroiled in legal squabbles with several foreign creditors, who attempted to seize its property abroad, but each time the dispute was settled without asset confiscation.