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When the going gets tough for Putin, there is one old, well tried, and effective trick: to push the flesh. 

When the going gets tough for Putin, there is one old, well tried, and effective trick: to push the flesh.

На совещании по ликвидации последствий пожаров в Бурятии и Иркутской области.

4 августа 2017 года Республика Бурятия, посёлок Танхой

TYVA REPUBLIC, RUSSIA – AUGUST 5, 2017: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (L) and Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on vacation. Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS (Photo by Alexei NikolskyTASS via Getty Images)

A pretty fish he caught, but how is he going to cook it? It looks almost dead, and with a lot of sharp bones…

This issue, “Google censorship”, has the enormous importance

Image result for google censorship

This issue, “Google censorship“, has the enormous importance, since the every aspect of our lives became so dependent on the Internet and the all thing digital, and became so interconnected with them. 

Google Search is potentially able to decide, what we should or should not read, learn, and know. With all the benefits that Google brings into our lives, there are the very real and the very far reaching dangers too, first of all in this hidden censorship, which can potentially become the object of various manipulations, and we should be fully aware of these dangers. 

google censorship – Google Search

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Story image for google censorship from Gatestone Institute

Silicon Valley Censorship

Gatestone InstituteJul 26, 2017
Google is not the only technology company enamored with censorship. In June, Facebook announced its own plans to use artificial intelligence …

Google’s chief search engineer legitimizes new censorship algorithm

World Socialist Web SiteJul 30, 2017
The focus of Google’s new censorship algorithm is political news and opinion sites that challenge official government and corporate narratives.
Story image for google censorship from World Socialist Web Site

RT interviews Andre Damon: Google becoming “censorship engine”

World Socialist Web SiteJul 31, 2017
Over the past week, the World Socialist Web Site has revealed that changes to Google’s search algorithm aimed at censoring “fake news” have …
Story image for google censorship from Washington Times

Washington Times

Google And YouTube Ban Prof Who Refused To Use Gender …

The Daily Caller19 hours ago
Google And YouTube Ban Prof Who Refused To Use … or that there’s something that’s political going on that is associated with censorship.”.

 

Analyst: Google Algorithm Has a Jewish Problem

Google has adopted Perspective API, which helps moderators identify and root out online comments that may be “toxic,” reports Liel Leibovitz at Tablet. It does so by reading various databases “and letting them figure out the likely patterns.” But in Google’s case, “the machines learned the comments sections of The New York Times, the Economist and the Guardian.” So the phrase “Jews control the banks and the media” was deemed only 10 percent toxic, while “Many terrorists are radical Islamists” was deemed 92 percent toxic. In other words, when the machines only “read the Guardian and the Times, they’re going to inherit the inherent biases of these publications.” So they’ve learned that “statements about Jews being slaughtered are controversial, addressing radical Islamism is verboten and casual anti-Semitism is utterly forgivable.”

The “German hypothesis” of the “Trump-Russia scandal”

The “German hypothesis” of the geopolitical developments and their drivers in 2010-2017: new rise of Germany as the “world power” and her role In “Trump-Russia scandal”

We are witnessing the inexorable and the most interesting rise of Germany as the world power, at the center of her old European Empire. At the same time the recent changes in the utterances, verbalizations, pronouncements, and probably the future policies of the European politicians, and first of all Ms. Merkel, suggest that these new developments, along with the conceptual historical lines of the German independence and assertiveness, might have benefited from the Trump Presidency and the circumstances around it. 

And, which is much more, that this pattern of events and involvements that we see so far, might be indicative of a certain, perhaps, the leading, the strategic, and the planning role, that Germany hypothetically played in the Trump-Russia “affair” and “scandal”, according to the arguments presented in this article and as a matter of exercise in building a hypothesis for the journalistic investigation of the “Trump-Russia connections“. 

It is Germany who wants to “divide and rule”, feeling that this is her turn, and feeling supremely confident and self-assured, probably more than ever, of her “superiority”: economic, political, and racial. Here is the example of the “diplomatic” hypocrisy par excellence: “German economy minister threatens counter-measures in response to US sanctions on Russia“: “There is an aggressive tone in the German media and among politicians towards Berlin’s closest ally in the post-war period that has not been heard for a long time… The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung even called for Germany to develop its own nuclear weapons [- GS – M.N.].

Germany’s nuclear armament is promoted as the legitimate and timely subject for the public discussions: “The call for German nuclear weapons in one of the most powerful German daily newspapers two months before the Bundestag elections is a warning. In its plans to impose its imperialist interests a third time on the global arena, the German ruling class will shrink from nothing.” 

Image result for What does not kill us, makes us stronger

The way the American Democracy handles the “Trump Crisis”: measured, fair, truth and roots seeking, etc., etc.,  proves that it is a viable, strong, and self-sustaining institution, and I have no doubts that it will resolve and overcome this crisis and will come out of it stronger. In the end, it will enhance the security of the country and, do not be surprised, the global security. “What does not kill us, makes us stronger“. Hopefully, it will not kill us. 

But this crisis certainly raises a lot of interesting questions, and the role of Germany and her intelligence services in it should certainly be a part of these questions and a part of the Mr. Mueller’s, Intelligence bodies’, Congressional, journalistic, historical, and other investigations. 

“Cui bono?”

The set of issues and questions which have to do with and to deal with the motivations are always important for investigations, it is important for understanding of “what happenned”, but answers are often elusive and subjectively colored, skewed by our projective tendencies, which bring our own backgrounds, personalities, and experience into our attempts at interpretations and understanding. To put it simply, it comes to a question: “Why do you think, he (she, they, etc.) did it? 

Photo published for Opinion | The Russians Were Involved. But It Wasn’t About Collusion.

D. Hoffman claims, in his op-ed “The Russians Were Involved. But It Wasn’t About Collusion“, that in his “Operation Trump” Putin wanted to create turmoil and to prove that he is a worthy rival. I would argue that none of these goals would be as valuable to him as the genuinely good relations with the US, therefore this line of reasoning suggests the possibility of the third party or parties, who were just as interested in humiliating America as the Russians were, but were also interested, and maybe even more so, in humiliating and ridiculing the Russians themselves, by using them as their patsies and presenting them as the idiots, and also by re-planting and enhancing the level of hostility between US and Russia. 

Mr. Hoffman’s former colleagues, J. Sipher and S. Hall think that “maybe it was collusion”, the possibility of which “is impossible to rule out”. 

However, it is just as impossible “to rule out” the secret and overall directing role of the German intelligence in the case of the hypothetical German involvement, including the possible influence and manipulations of Putin’s and/or his intelligence services’ or other related structures’, the organized crime elements among them, thinking and plans. This staged, “probably innocent”, and “meant to be discovered” quality of the hypothetical or suspected “collusion incidents”, their unprofessional “loudness”, and their almost exhibitionistic character, only confirm this line of thought about the possible third party involvement. 

The candidates for this role of the secret Demiurge are not that many; and, in the order of probability, include the Germans, the Israelis, the Chinese, and the others; and all or none of the above. Go figure! 

However, all these possible attributional lines seem to intersect in its logical center (for the lack of better terminology available to a non-specialist) that seems to be Germany, which is connected with all the parties on her own terms and has especially close economic and geopolitical relations with Russia. To be somewhat schematic, this is the geopolitical US – Russia – Germany triangle in which economic sanctions on Russia became the geopolitical power tool and the important factor within the mutually competitive relations. This issue was addressed most bluntly and with a certain resonance by Friedman, among the others, who, I think, stated the axiomatic truths. 

‘Primordial’ US goal is to divide Russia and Germany: Stratfor Founder CEO George Friedman

“Published on Jul 15, 2016

He recognizes that Russia has legitimate interest for its sphere of influence. However, he doesn’t hide that US is trying to geopolitically defeat and humiliate Russia and limit its sphere of influence.
http://russia-insider.com/en/2015/03/…
Even though I fundamentally disagree with him about genuine American national and geopolitical interest in decades to come, his realpolitik gives us unique insight.

Friedman’s key points: The primordial interest of the United States for centuries (WWI, WWII and the Cold War) has been to stop a coalition between Germany and Russia.”

So far it works the other way around: Russia and Germany take turns at driving wedges between the other two “partners”. If in 2012 – 2016 it was the “martial arts hero” Putin who responded to sanctions with kicks at Obama on the posters, now it is matronly Merkel who kicks Trump on the cover of Der Spiegel. 

“Der Spiegel, which appeared with a drawing of Chancellor Angela Merkel on the front page kicking a football with an outstretched leg at Donald Trump’s face. In the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Stefan Kornelius described the US as a country whose president produces a lot of filth and destroys “all standards of morals, ethics, decency and honesty.””

Image t-shirt in Russia about US sanctions

“OUR ANSWER TO USA SANCTIONS” (PHOTO: EVGENY GUSEV)

“The major impact of these proposed sanctions is on Russia’s gas and oil industries – the lifeblood of the Russian economy where Western nations and companies are prohibited from engaging with Russian oil and gas producers and prohibited from passing on technology to Russian firms. This interdiction will be a dramatic inhibitor of Russian advances in Arctic offshore, deep water, and shale projects, and the planned second Nord Stream pipeline.”

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel signaled Germany intends to take a firm line in defending German-Russian energy cooperation.

Source: Germany echoes Putin’s attack on US bill to sanction Russia

This is another example and the one more piece of evidence of Germany’s playing the hypocritical double game: by inserting herself in the US – Russia relations and deftly playing one side against the other, or rather playing her own tune, depending on the circumstances, and most definitely, playing her own side, and first of all minding her own interests. It’s “natural”, you might say. But not in these circumstances, when the object of the threat is nothing less but the fate and directions of the Western Civilization as we know it, and when these double games and the double dealings, evolved as the instruments of the historical survival, look and feel quite unnatural presently, and also quite pre-meditated, pre-planned, possibly pre-manufactured, and more than suspicious. 

Investigate the possible, the hypothetical role of Germany in the “Trump-Russia scandal” vigorously, objectively, and in-depth, this role might hold the key and provide the explanations. The strategic, long-term evaluation of the tensions within the US-Russia-Germany triangle also appears to be due and timely. 

Historically, from the ancient times, the attempts at the revolutions from above by the “subversion” and/or “co-optation” or “co-option” of the ruling elites, were, apparently, one of the most time-honored traditions, a part of the royal statecraft and entertainment, and highly thrilling and rewarding activities on the part of the states, statesmen, and their intelligence services.

Lenin was said to be, and very likely so, the German agent, for example. Did Mr. Putin decide to fill the Leader’s slippers and to continue this noble tradition and pursuit?

The Euro-Asiatic Roots Of Russian State and Russian Kleptocracy go far back for ages, they got encoded into the Russian society and culture on the “socio-genetic level“, tying together the plundering traditions of conquerors and rulers, from Vikings to Byzanthians, to Tatars.

“If you don’t deceive, you cannot sell”, the old Russian saying goes: “Не обманешь не продашь”.

Among these issues, some type of a political-financial love triangle can be traced.  

It is wedged between the Russian-Jewish Mafia and Putin’s Russia as the Mafia state on the one side, German Finance Capital – the Deutsche BankThe Laundromat to the Worldclosely connected with the German Intelligence Services on the other side, and the Trump’s political machine and his political environment, the “T people”, as he called them, on the third side.

To make the matters even more intriguing, apparently, there is some secret or semi-secret agreement between Russia and Germany on cooperation in intelligence matters, which opens up the whole slew of various security issues which should be the subjects of the separate discussions.

“According to the cited “confidential interview”, BND and the Russian Intelligence Services do maintain “a formal intelligence sharing agreement” (page 225)”:

I do not think that we know enough at this time to make the definitive impression if Putin is and/or was the “German agent”, or if Merkel is and/or was a “Russian agent”, both witting or unwitting, or at least the agents of influence, but the impacts of the US Elections of 2016 visibly appear to benefit and to enhance further the stature of the “right honorable” Germany, and to paint the Russian Intelligence Services (and possibly RISS among them), presumably involved in this “operation”, almost as some hapless idiots, which they are not. 

The use of the term and the theme of (child) “adoption” as a code word and the semantic substitute for the US elites’ and specifically Mr. Trump’s and his circle’s “co-option” by the Russian rulers, and by Putin in particular, most likely reflects their psychology and their condescending attitude towards this subject, as if by the wise adults towards the immature, silly, misbehaving children.

The Russians, in turn, probably are viewed, perceived and rewarded with the same attitude by the Germans, who see the Russian actors in this tragicomedy as their own “useful idiots”, as their own “unwitting agents”, as their own tools, and as their own, masterfully deceived, “manipulated manipulators”. 

What do you see in this lady’s deep blue eyes?

Image result for Angela Merkel’s Humanity, Captured in an Elizabeth Peyton Oil - The New York Times

“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun… 

black wires grow on her head…

And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.”

I suspect, that the artist, whose style was described as “the idealization and stylization of known celebrities”, was well paid for her artistic mastery of disguise, which cannot really hide the crude, artificially over-sweetened, commercial, superficial, cheap, lying, showy sentimentality. It looks like the famed German propaganda machine is in a full up-swing mode. “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself”, Goebbels said. If you exaggerate the lie ad absurdum and artfully, they and you might eventually believe it too. 

Would you trust the person in this portrait? I wouldn’t. Is she really a person or a well tuned, calculating political mechanism, painted over, for her own political reasons, with these absurdly deep, incredible, helpless, domineering, loving, so feminine, and so mysterious German-Russian blue eyes? 

Some other interpretations of the same subject, just in case if you did not notice them, are here

By the way, do you think that with such the astonishing audacity, reach, breadth and depth of the German surveillance activities and penetration (the very important questions in these circumstances about the degree of the German infiltration of the US Intelligence and Security services, and the FBI first of all, remain essentially and quite conveniently unasked and unanswered), as they were described in these recent German spying episodes, the German Intelligence was not informed in details about Trump-Russia activities, affair, and scandal, especially given the situation with and around the Deutsche Bank
But the most intriguing questions are if the German Intelligence itself was involved in the planning and the execution of this affair from the beginning, using the Russians and the others as their unwitting patsies and laughing at them in the process. This is the more likely explanation for this tragicomedy, with all its funny incongruencies. It looks like the German historical revenge for their historical loss in the WWII, and the very convenient way to drive the wedge between two former allies and the Germany’s conquerors. 
And there are some signs that the German Intelligence (with its long standing and deep roots buried and alive within the American society) might have been very much involved in this affair, and still very much is. The traditional benefits of the “plausible deniability” were most likely provided to the Madam Chancellor by her faithful Intelligence servants. 

“Chancellor Angela Merkel, who took office in 2005, recently denied she had any knowledge of BND’s foreign spying operations.

“I assumed that the BND does not engage in such activities,” Merkel told a parliamentary enquiry Feb. 17. “It’s a waste of effort and energy.””

Apparently, some of her colleagues in the German Government and power structures have a directly opposite opinion on this subject. 

Doesn’t the whole situation remind you the old tale about the peasant and the snake that he saved? 
 Man and Snake
“In pity he brought the poor Snake
To be warmed at his fire. A mistake!
For the ungrateful thing
Wife & children would sting.
I’have known some as bad as the Snake.”
Mike Nova @mikenov Trump reads “The Snake” poem https://youtu.be/qSrOXvoNLwg via @YouTube

The fall of Trump might mean the eventual fall of Putin after the loss of his “last straw” and the non-delivery of the relief of sanctions and other goodies, which might be viewed as the “breach of contract” by the Russian ruling elites. That is why Putin might feel strongly committed to help Trump and to do everything he can to enhance Trump’s chances for political survival. They are the Siamese twins now, joined at the hip. The recent events only confirm this monstrosity, despite all their “pragmatic values”.

The antagonistic – competitive aspect is the part of their fledgling symbiotic relationship.

With the fall of Putin, the whole system of Putinism might collapse, despite its illusory stability, exposing all its ugly criminal Mafiosi underpinnings. This might lead to the major political repercussions inside Russia and on the global geopolitical scene.

The “Invisible” Hand Of The Kremlin pulls the strings: force Sessions to resign, fire Mueller, suppress the investigation. 

The “Kremlin Playbook” plan apparently is to turn America into the Russian vassal, into the Putinist-Trumpist entity with the tight micromanagement directly from the Putin’s office. 

“It now seems that the Russians − by meddling in a presidential election and by downplaying such aggression − has achieved an intelligence coup beyond the dreams of the Soviet era. The result is an America strategically and morally disarmed.”

“And meanwhile, America’s global stock tumbles. Polls demonstrate that the respect in which the United States is held is falling around the world.”

Image result for hand of kremlin

Who and what are the culprits to point the finger at? The Russians, the Mob, the Germans, the Israelis, the Chinese, the Persian cats, any other cats, the excessive role of money in American politics, the fall in the standards of the moral-political values? All of these together, in various degrees, mixtures, combinations, and affiliations, imaginable and unimaginable? Can you picture this situation now? Is this a result of the irrational, sick, determined, aggressive, evil, malevolent, vicious hatred, envy, and the fear of America? The “soft power” concepts and the “understanding” diplomacy did not help much to diffuse these sentiments, despite the long, determined, and the sincere well-wishing efforts. This well intentioned, “eyes wide shut” blindness also paved the way to the present hell in which we find ourselves landed, now longing to keep our noses held.  

With all this, the serious and reasonable doubts about the “Russia only” hypothesis do persist, especially among the experts, and Mark Galeotti is considered to be among them. 
Pedestrians cross the street behind a billboard showing a pictures of President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. 
“Here’s the irony. Were the Russians running Trump, they probably would have been cautious, unwilling to burn an asset on anything less than a major score. But as is, they can sit back, enjoy the show, and watch his one-man Putin tribute act.”
This is the same quality of “excessive, inappropriate, unprofessional loudness” that was astutely observed and discussed at the Congressional Hearings and that became a puzzle for many observers, as it was discussed earlier. The peculiar position of Germany was also noted by the observers. 
“NATO members are scrambling to build up their own defenses, in part, because they are no longer certain that they can fully trust Washington, something Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged in May.” 
It might be somewhat premature to make any definitive impressions and conclusions before the Mueller Investigation is completed and its results are revealed. But the enormous, pivotal, trend setting importance of these issues are not doubted and disputed by anyone. 

Do perform and publish the historical-political study of the foreign interference into the American political processes and elections from the beginning of the past century: in-depth, objective, detailed and well researched. There are definitely the lessons to learn from all of this. The present episode is really unprecedented and “unpresidented“, it can be explained in part by the Putin’s and his criminal Mafiosi minions’ extraordinary chutzpah and cunning, but these endeavors were not built on an empty ground, they have “solid and venerable” KGB foundation going back decades.

File:Sergey Shoigu in GRU 05.jpg
Министр обороны России генерал армии Сергей Шойгу в Главном разведывательном управлении Генерального штаба Вооруженных Сил в День военного разведчика – 5 November 2013 Lt.Gen Igor Sergun presents what appears to be a 4 volume (secret?) history of Russian intelligence to Gen. Shoigu and Gen. Gerasimov

The Russians, just like the Germans and the others, love, preserve and study with diligence the historical traditions and the skills of their spycraft, especially if they worked, and worked well. As many people did say, it does encourage them to continue their pursuits unabated, especially if there is no resistance to them; just the bewilderment and confusion. 

“Congrats”, bros. And what are you going to do about it now? 

The self-assuring claims, including my own, that “it will never work” in America are not enough. 

“The question is, how much more damage will he do to America and the world in the meantime, and at what cost?”

Do you want a dangerous BS-er-In-Chief as your President? Donald Trump as the stimulus for “the Coming Fall of American Empire” is apparently in many “common and uncommon dreams” as well as in many “progressivists’ leftist hopes.

Trump is “married to the Mob”: literally, figuratively, or both? The question of motivation, difficult as always, apart, the couple apparently, got a nice dowry: a “yuuuge” big money washing machine, with a hair blow-dryer, included. We live in the age of the marriage equalities.   

Image result for money laundering

Whatever way it is, it appears that the Deutsche Bank was a happy and very satisfied “interested party”, or maybe even the main witness in this “marriage”, and also the matchmaker, and the dealmaker with a lot of paper, water, and soap

“Russia isn’t delivering for Trump”, and “Trump isn’t delivering for Russia”. So, what’s the deal, who is delivering what for whom, and who are the dealers?! Ask the Germans, they know but won’t tell you, even if they promise. Because they are so proper, so goody-goodies, and so absolutely innocent of “all zis nonzinz”. Until investigated properly, and until and if proven guilty, of course… 

Germany appears to be the only real-time political beneficiary of “Trump-Russia scandal”, not Russia or Israel as if the scenarios were known, played out, and planned by them, with skillful masking. 

Weak Trump means weak Putin because at this point they appear to derive their political and geopolitical strength from each other, and the one who shines on this backdrop is Merkel. 

As for Russia, “ultimately, “despite all the euphoria in Moscow after Trump’s election and commentary about Putin as a great strategist, the end result is a more aggressive U.S. sanctions regime doing more damage to Russia,” said Timothy Ash, a senior strategist at Bluebay Asset Management in London…

The legislation is “a declaration of fully-fledged economic war on Russia” that could last for “decades,” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev wrote on Facebook.”

With regard to the hypothetical but very important, maybe pivotal aspect of the role of Germany in Trump-Russia Affair and their Investigations, it is logical to ask a question: “What did the FBI know, when did they know it, and what did they do about it, including the use of this information?” 

Michael Novakhov

7.14 – 8.3.17 

_________________________________

It is Germany who wants to “divide and rule”, feeling that this is her turn, and aware of her “superiority”: economic, political, and racial. The example of the “diplomatic” hypocrisy par excellence: “German economy minister threatens counter-measures in response to US sanctions on Russia.” See also other posts on Germany: the most amazing story! 

It is Germany who wants to “divide and rule”, feeling that this is her turn, and aware, as ever, of her “superiority”: economic, political, and racial. 

The example of the “diplomatic” hypocrisy par excellence:  

German economy minister threatens counter-measures in response to US sanctions on Russia :

“According to EurActiv, “Germany, the main backer of Nord Stream II, [is] the driving force behind the hardline stance towards the US.”

The energy issue, however, is only one reason for the growing tensions between Berlin and Washington. The bitter struggle for markets, raw materials and strategic influence is bringing the two opponents in two world wars ever more frequently into conflict. There is an aggressive tone in the German media and among politicians towards Berlin’s closest ally in the post-war period that has not been heard for a long time.

One example of this is the latest edition of Der Spiegel, which appeared with a drawing of Chancellor Angela Merkel on the front page kicking a football with an outstretched leg at Donald Trump’s face. In the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Stefan Kornelius described the US as a country whose president produces a lot of filth and destroys “all standards of morals, ethics, decency and honesty.” The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung even called for Germany to develop its own nuclear weapons [- GS – M.N.]

In the federal election campaign, the parties are competing to see which can most aggressively uphold “the independent interests of Germany and Europe” against the “corrupt goals of US policy,” to use of the words of the Left Party’s Oscar Lafontaine.

Yet Trump only appears on the surface to be the cause for the deepening of transatlantic tensions. This is shown by the latest sanctions against Russia, which were passed virtually unanimously by the Democrats and Republicans in the face of initial opposition from Trump. The real cause is the irresolvable contradiction between private property relations and the nation state, on which capitalism rests, and the world economy and the globalised character of production. As in the last century, the tensions among the major imperialist powers arising from this threaten once again to provoke a world war.”

See also my other posts on Germany: it re-a-h-l-ly is the most amazing story! 

And this: 

Source: counter-measures in response to US sanctions on Russia – Google Search

Source: counter-measures in response to US sanctions – Google Search 

counter-measures in response to US sanctions on Russia – Google Search

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New Russia Sanctions ‘Illegal’ Says Germany, Urging Europe to …

Newsweek21 hours ago
Europe is ready to adopt short-term countermeasures in other parts of the … The sanctions are a response to claims that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. … American intelligence agencies believe that attempts to do so were …
Germany Urges EU To Fight Back Against Russia Sanctions Bill
RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty6 hours ago
Germany calls for EU countermeasures against US following …
InternationalDeutsche Welle16 hours ago

counter-measures in response to US sanctions – Google Search

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Germany calls for EU countermeasures against US following …

Deutsche Welle16 hours ago
Brigitte Zypries has said the US sanctions end up affecting German firms. … The move came in response to a new US sanctions package …
Germany Urges EU To Fight Back Against Russia Sanctions Bill
RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty6 hours ago

Source: Germany threatens retaliation if U.S. sanctions harm its firms – 6.16.17

Germany threatens retaliation if U.S. sanctions harm its firms

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June 16, 2017 / 6:19 AM / 2 months ago

BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Germany threatened on Friday to retaliate against the United States if new sanctions on Russia being proposed by the U.S. Senate end up penalizing German firms.

The Senate bill, approved on Thursday by a margin of 98-2, includes new sanctions against Russia and Iran. Crucially, it foresees punitive measures against entities that provide material support to Russia in building energy export pipelines.

Berlin fears that could pave the way for fines against German and European firms involved in Nord Stream 2, a project to build a pipeline carrying Russian gas across the Baltic.

Among the European companies involved in the project are German oil and gas group Wintershall, German energy trading firm Uniper, Royal Dutch Shell, Austria’s OMV and France’s Engie.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman described the Senate bill, which must be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by President Donald Trump before it becomes law, as “a peculiar move”.

He said it was “strange” that sanctions intended to punish Russia for alleged interference in the U.S. elections could also trigger penalties against European companies.

“That must not happen,” said the spokesman, Steffen Seibert.

In an interview with Reuters, German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries said Berlin would have to think about counter-measures if Trump backed the plan.

“If he does, we’ll have to consider what we are going to do against it,” Zypries said.

The sharp response from Berlin comes at a time of deep strains in the transatlantic relationship due to shifts in U.S. policy and a more confrontational rhetoric towards Europe under Trump.

The new U.S. president has lambasted European partners for not contributing more to NATO, slammed Germany for running a large trade surplus with the United States and broken with allies on climate change with his decision to exit the landmark Paris agreement on combating greenhouse gas emissions.

Ironically, the part of the Senate bill that targets Russia was introduced by some of the president’s top critics, including Republican hawk John McCain.

They are intent on limiting Trump’s ability to forge warmer ties with Russia, a key foreign policy pledge during his campaign for the presidency, but one he has been unable to deliver on amid investigations into alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election.

Dialogue Breaks Down

Under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, Washington and Europe coordinated closely as they ramped up sanctions against Moscow for its 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

But the dialogue has broken down under Trump, who considered easing sanctions against Russia when he first came into office, according to U.S. officials.

“I regret that the joint approach of Europe and the United States on Russia and sanctions has been undermined and abandoned in this way,” Zypries told Reuters.

France and the European Commission also urged the United States to coordinate with its partners on such matters.

“For several years, we have underlined to the United States the difficulties that extraterritorial legislation spark,” a French foreign ministry spokesman told reporters.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, due to start pumping gas from Russia to Europe from 2019, has been dogged by controversy.

Eastern European and Baltic states fear it will make them hostage to Russian gas and undercut Ukraine by depriving it of transit fees for Russian gas supplies to Europe.

Nordic nations, meanwhile, have security concerns over the pipeline running through territorial waters, where Russia has bolstered its military presence in recent months.

Some EU diplomats fear the threat of new measures out of Washington may harden Germany’s defense of Nord Stream and complicate already difficult talks among EU nations over whether to seek joint talks with Russia over the pipeline.

“This is not helpful now. It tends to stir up desires to protect our territorial space,” one EU diplomat said.

The House of Representatives is expected to debate the Senate bill in the coming weeks but it is unclear whether it will come up for a final vote before lawmakers leave Washington at the end of July for their summer recess.

Additional reporting by Michael Nienaber; Writing by Noah Barkin; Editing by Andrew Roche

 

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