“Putin said Monday that Snowden could stay in Russia on condition he stop leaking U.S. secrets. Putin’s spokesman later said Snowden had withdrawn his request for asylum after learning the terms”
MOSCOW — National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden arrived in Moscow on an Aeroflot flight from Hong Kong on June 23, according to the airline, but he has been out of the public eye and his circumstances and plans are murky. Snowden is believed to have remained in the airport’s transit zone, caught in legal limbo after his U.S. passport was annulled by Washington. Here is a look at some of the mysteries surrounding the case of the world’s most famous fugitive.
WHY DID SNOWDEN LEAVE HONG KONG?
The Hong Kong government was believed to be trying to persuade Snowden to leave in order to remove a major irritant in relations with the United States. And Snowden apparently feared that the government could hold him in custody if he stayed and fought a U.S. extradition request.
Albert Ho, a local legislator, said he inquired on behalf of Snowden whether he could remain free pending the outcome or leave Hong Kong if he chose to do so. Ho said officials never got back to him with an answer, but an intermediary who claimed to represent the government sent a message to Snowden saying he was free to leave — and should do so.
President Vladimir Putin relishes defying the United States, accusing Washington of trying to dominate global affairs. When Snowden was still in hiding in Hong Kong, Putin’s spokesman said Russia would consider granting him asylum if he asked for it.
Snowden could have seen Russia as a safe haven that would not send him to the U.S. under any circumstances. Putin so far has met his expectations, bluntly rejecting Washington’s expulsion request.
WHERE IS SNOWDEN NOW?
Putin says Snowden remains in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport and hasn’t crossed the Russian border, a statement repeated by other Russian officials. Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa told the AP that the country’s ambassador had seen Snowden once in Moscow. Hordes of journalists have besieged the airport, including a nearby hotel that has a wing for transit passengers, but none has seen Snowden or talked to him since his arrival and there have been no photographs of him.
Some security experts have speculated that Snowden could be in the hands of Russian intelligence agencies eager to learn the secrets he possesses. Putin has flatly denied that Russia’s special services have debriefed Snowden.
WHAT IS SNOWDEN’S RELATIONSHIP WITH WIKILEAKS?
Snowden didn’t turn to the secret-spilling website to warn the world of the NSA’s massive surveillance program, saying he wanted to deal with journalists whose judgment he trusted about what should be made public and what should be held back.
But it didn’t take long for WikiLeaks to adopt Snowden and his cause, jumping in to offer its assistance as a kind of renegade travel agency. WikiLeaks’ role as Snowden’s unofficial handler doesn’t sit well with some, including Snowden’s father, who has expressed frustration that the organization may not be giving his son the best advice.
WHO IS WITH HIM?
WikiLeaks says its legal adviser Sarah Harrison is with Snowden, “escorting him at all times.” Harrison has been equally elusive. WikiLeaks said that on Sunday she delivered Snowden’s request for asylum to 21 countries, including Russia, to the Russian consulate at the Moscow airport.
HOW DID HE GET STUCK?
WikiLeaks initially said Snowden was bound for Ecuador, where he has requested asylum. He booked an Aeroflot flight to Cuba — presumably as a transfer point — the day after his arrival in Moscow, but he didn’t show up and his seat remained empty. The U.S. annulment of Snowden’s passport, which has made it impossible for him to legally cross the Russian border or board a plane, could have been a reason behind the change in plans.
He also could have been concerned that the U.S. would force the plane to land while flying over U.S. airspace or felt uncertain about his final destination.
WHO MIGHT OFFER HIM SHELTER?
Putin said Monday that Snowden could stay in Russia on condition he stop leaking U.S. secrets. Putin’s spokesman later said Snowden had withdrawn his request for asylum after learning the terms.
Ecuador, which has sheltered WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in its embassy in London for more than a year, has given mixed signals about offering him shelter.
Bolivia, whose president attended a summit of gas exporters in Moscow this week, has been seen as a possible safe haven. The plane carrying President Evo Morales home from Moscow was rerouted and delayed in Austria. Bolivia says it is because of suspicions Snowden was on board, though Bolivian and Austrian officials both say Snowden was not on the plane.
Another potential option is Venezuela, whose president attended the same energy summit in Moscow and made a stopover in neighboring Belarus on Wednesday.
ARE THERE MORE LEAKS COMING?
It’s quite possible. Snowden said his work as an NSA systems analyst allowed him to take in a huge range of material, and U.S. officials have given conflicting assessments of how much information he may have had access to. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she had been told Snowden had perhaps more than 200 sensitive documents.
Assange has promised more leaks, saying measures have been taken to prevent anyone from blocking publication of more NSA documents in Snowden’s possession.
Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist whose work has been central to breaking the story, suggested media organizations involved already had all the material Snowden wanted to make public. Greenwald indicated it was up to the newspapers what to publish and when.
Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong and Raphael Satter in London contributed to this report.
“The UK citizen Sarah Harrison passed on a request by Edward Snowden to be granted political asylum,” said Kim Shevchenko, of the airport’s consular department. He said he then called the foreign ministry, who sent a courier an hour later to pick up the request.
He declined to say where Ms Harrison or Mr Snowden, who have not been seen since landing in Sheremetyevo last week, were staying. “She didn’t say and I didn’t ask,” he said.
‘Our American partners’
In a move likely to enrage the US, Mr Putin said yesterday: “If he wants to go somewhere and someone will take him, go ahead. If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: he must stop his work aimed at bringing harm to our American partners, as strange as that sounds coming from my mouth.”
Mr Snowden has been in the airport since June 23rd, after flying in from Hong Kong, from where he leaked secret documents detailing US National Security Agency surveillance programmes.
Stripped of his US passport, he has been stuck in limbo since.
His attempts to get political asylum in Ecuador, whose London embassy is sheltering WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, appear to have dried up amid intense US lobbying and reported disagreements within the Ecuadorean government.
Snowden met Russian diplomats yesterday morning and handed them a list of 15 countries to which he would like to apply for political asylum, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing an unnamed source in the foreign ministry.
Mr Putin appeared to leave himself some latitude, noting Mr Snowden would be unlikely to meet his conditions for staying in Russia.
“Considering that he considers himself a human rights activist and a fighter for human rights, he probably doesn’t plan to stop this work, so he should choose a host country and head there,” Mr Putin said.
“When this will happen I, unfortunately, do not know.”
Speaking at a press conference after a meeting of gas exporting countries, he reiterated that Russia would not extradite Mr Snowden to the US.
“Russia never gives anyone up and doesn’t plan to give anyone up. And no one has ever given us anyone.”
‘Snowden is not our agent’
For the second time Mr Putin, unprompted, insisted Mr Snowden was not working with Russia’s secret services. “Mr Snowden is not our agent, never was and isn’t today. Our special services have never worked with him and are not working with him.”
Russia maintains one of the world’s most developed intelligence mechanisms and is widely believed to engage in snooping on its own citizens.
Nicolas Maduro, the Venezuelan president, is in Moscow for the two-day gas conference and it was believed he and Mr Putin would discuss Mr Snowden’s fate.
Mr Putin’s foreign policy advisor, Yury Ushakov, said the two had not discussed Mr Snowden yet.
A campaign calling for Mr Snowden to stay in Russia has gathered momentum since he first arrived in Moscow. Yesterday morning, several MPs and influential Russians floated the idea during a meeting of the Public Chamber, a body that advises the Kremlin.
“It’s not right that Snowden is sitting in this terminal like in a prison,” said Sergei Markov, a former MP with close ties to the Kremlin.
“Unlike prison, he can’t even go out and breathe fresh air. On humanitarian grounds, I think he should be presented with a way to enter Russian territory.”
– (Guardian service)
HAVANA — We’re waiting for you in Havana, Snowden. Are you on your way?
It’s still unclear what happened on Monday, June 24, the day after leaker Edward Snowden arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong. That day, Snowden was supposed to board a plane to Havana to then transfer to Ecuador, one of the very few places willing to shield him from the American officials who regard him as a traitor. He even had a boarding pass for the window seat in row F, in economy class. But he never showed up, and his seat stayed empty.
Was Snowden trapped in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport against his will by the Russian security service, curious to see the data he had in his computers? Or was he afraid of flying in a plane that could be grounded while passing over the United States, where American courts were waiting to lock him up in jail for over 30 years? Until the very moment the Aeroflot crew closed the plane’s door, it looked like he was coming: Russian police surrounded Gate 28, patrolling outside and inside the airplane. The crew members on the plane looked tense and upset, as if they were facing a horrible trial. We still don’t know what happened at the last moment, but in the end Snowden stayed in Moscow.
I was on that plane, waiting for him along with several dozen other journalists from international news agencies and TV channels, all of us eager to quiz him about his claims. I wanted to ask Snowden about the evidence he had to prove his claims that the U.S. and British intelligence agencies, despite their governments’ public advocacy for freedom of the Internet, had been spying and stealing tons of personal data from people in their home countries.
For a long time, after we took off, we still could not believe that Snowden was not among us: After all, who knew what disguise he might be using? (This might seem a bit less crazy when you consider that we just saw an American spy wearing a wig last month.) Trapped on the flight for 12 hours, journalists walked around the plane looking into every passenger’s face. Other reporters were already waiting to greet Snowden in Cuba. They looked for him inside and outside Havana’s airport, asking every young blond male if he was Snowden. I’m still hoping to meet up with Snowden here in Havana, though Ecuadorean diplomats now say it may take months to issue him political asylum.
There’s one very specific reason Snowden may be having trouble finding a way out of the Moscow airport’s transit lounge, where he apparently is right now: his papers. Right now the only travel document he has is one of dubious status issued by the Ecuadoreans. After the American authorities canceled his U.S. passport on Monday, no airline wants to sell him another plane ticket. (He apparently managed to buy his ticket for Havana while his passport was still valid.)
There are other theories. “He got frightened that Americans would bring him down on that plane,” says Igor Bunin, a Moscow political analyst. “He’s a huge pain for the Kremlin, a Catch-22. Now that he’s turned into an anti-American government star, Russia can’t kick him out, but keeping him means even a bigger international scandal.” I’d love to ask Snowden about his days and nights in Russia if I ever get the chance to meet him.
My friend Olga Bychkova, a host from radio Echo of Moscow, described a scene she witnessed in the airport’s transit zone on the day of Snowden’s arrival on Sunday. “I saw about 20 Russian officials, supposedly FSB [security service] agents in suits, crowding around somebody in a restricted area of the airport,” Bychkova told me. “The Kremlin pretends they have nothing to do with him being stuck in Moscow, but in reality they’re all over him.”
What’s up Mr. Snowden? Do you really hate reporters? If you’re “a free man,” as President Vladimir Putin says, why hide from crowds of journalists waiting to talk to you in Sheremetyevo airport for three days? WikiLeaks claims that you — the biggest leaker in the history of the National Security Agency — are “in a safe place.” If you’re safe and free, why didn’t you use your ticket last Monday? You would have had a great chance to explain the reasons for renouncing your wealthy life with a beautiful girlfriend. Just imagine: 12 hours in front of the world’s major networks on the flight to Cuba! Russian commentators think that you’re not as free as the Russian leader claims, that somebody did not allow you to fly Monday. “Snowden will fly out of Russia when the Kremlin decides he can go,” says Moscow political analyst Dmitry Oreshkin. “He might not even be in the airport. The safest place would be a GRU [Russian military intelligence] apartment.” That would also explain why no one has seen your face in Moscow yet.
PUTIN by Jedimentat44
It’s always eye catching when Russian leaders and now the Chinese Peoples Daily newspaper, the official organ of the Beijing regime, make straight forward comments about certain U.S. government actions and behavior that precisely hit the mark.
Presently those comments are all connected to Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing of the NSA’s secret surveillance programs, the fallout over the U.S. extradition request to have him sent back to the U.S. to face espionage and theft charges and U.S. government officials making threats to both China and Russia for refusing to have Snowden extradited to the U.S.
Of course, neither China nor Russia have extradition agreements with the U.S., so on the face of it the U.S. is howling in the dark.
But with regard to the Chinese and Russian comments to the U.S. government about its behavior in the Snowden saga, from here they’ re considered priceless. Here are a few of those priceless gems:
From the Chinese Peoples Daily:
Regarding Snowden, “A young idealist who has exposed the sinister scandals of the U.S. government”.
“Instead of apologizing, Washington is showing off its muscle by attempting to control the whole situation”.
“The voices of a few American politicians and media outlets surrounding the Prism scandal have become truly shrill. Not only do some of them lack the least bit of self reflection but they arrogantly find fault with other countries for no reason at all”.
The United States has gone from a model of human rights to an eavesdropper on personal privacy, the manipulator of the centralized power over the international internet, and the mad invader of other countries networks”.
It was “Snowden’s fearlessness that tore off Washington’s sanctimonious mask” revealing them as “The biggest villain in our age”.
From Russian President Putin:
“Assange and Snowden consider themselves human rights activists and say they are fighting for the spread of information. Ask yourself this: should you hand these people over so they will be put in prison?”
Compare those comments (coming from the authoritarian Chinese and Russian regimes) with these comments from Secretary of State John Kerry who said, “Russia is a repressive country” and few hours later said, “The U.S. is not looking for confrontation”. Ah it sounds a little like “double speak” there John.
Now in no way is this writer so naÃ¯ve to believe Russia and China are not themselves authoritarian regimes that do act with repression regarding their internal affairs.
And there’s no doubt that given the opportunity these two countries will stick it to the U.S. with straight forward critical comments as the Snowden saga has afforded them.
But we’re supposed to be a representative democracy, with a Constitution, follow the rule of law and a government that professes to be “of, by and for the people”.
Well those canards belong aside the hokum of “Manifest Destiny” and Nixon stating “I’m not a crook”, (the former a deceit and fallacious lie we were indoctrinated with during my public school days long ago and the latter spoken from the Oval Office on national T.V. about the cover up in the Watergate scandal).
So regarding the Snowden saga the two “repressive governments” comments are pretty much forthcoming with the truth.
As for the U.S. it’s the same bluster and hubris but what else is new.
LOUGH ERNE, NORTHERN IRELAND (The Borowitz Report)—The G8 summit ended today on a constructive note, with President Obama and Russia’s Vladimir Putin reaching a broad agreement never to speak to each other again.
“It’s better this way,” said Mr. Obama, frostily standing in the general vicinity of Mr. Putin for the last time ever. “We truly despise each other.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” said Mr. Putin, looking as though he had just smelled something bad. “My hatred of this man knows no bounds.”
According to the agreement, economic coöperation, cyber security, human rights, the war in Syria, and the New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s missing Super Bowl ring are among thirty-seven different topics that the two men will never again discuss.
Additionally, at all future summits, if either Mr. Obama or Mr. Putin enters a room the other man will be obligated to leave immediately.
The two men reached agreement on an unprecedented number of points, including never contacting each other via telephone or e-mail and keeping a minimum of five hundred feet away from each other’s residences.
After signing the agreement, the two men shook hands for the final time and scowled bitterly for photographers.
Syria tops agenda as G8 opens in Fermanagh
David Cameron embarrassed by revelations that British secret service spied on delegations at G20 meetings in London
Read more at
Obama, Putin face tough talks on Syria at G8 summit
At their first private face-to-face meeting in a year, Obama will try to find common ground with Putin on the sidelines of a G8 summit in Northern Ireland after angering the Kremlin by authorising U.S. military support for the Syrian president’s opponents.
Ventura County Star
Plans have also been drawn up for special courts and extra detention cells at locations in the republic, including counties Donegal and Monaghan, should disorder break out.
And despite UK authorities revealing the cost of the operation to its public purse, Irish taxpayers have been told they will have to wait until afterwards for details of the policing bill.
Garda Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny, who is in charge of the border counties, said the force is in close contact with security services in a number of countries as well as international agencies Interpol and Europol.
Daily intelligence briefings are being held on both home-grown and overseas threats.
“For an event of this magnitude, the what-ifs list is endless,” he said.
So, in so far as we can, plans will take account of worst case and best case scenarios
Garda Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny
Asst Commissioner Kenny said there are contingency plans to respond to a “mix” of threats, which includes the risk of local dissident republicans using the occasion for global publicity.
But the Garda chief said they had no estimate of numbers of protesters expected into the country at this stage. A large protest is expected in Dublin.
Surveillance of ports and airports across the republic and the movement of people throughout the island will form a major part of the security operation.
Eight temporary border checkpoints are to be manned by Garda units backed up by the Irish Army, alongside rolling checkpoints by mobile patrols.
Asst Commissioner Kenny warned people living along the border and others travelling across it to expect disruption in the run up to and during the summit.
The Garda has also been working with the Courts Service about the possibility of special sittings and custody arrangements, should public disorder break out or in the event of an attack.
Another 3,600 officers from forces around the UK will be drafted in for what is expected to be the biggest ever carried operation carried out by the PSNI.
As part of the huge security operation around the high profile event, a seven-mile stretch of Lough Erne is being closed down completely across three days while the Loughshore Road, Enniskillen, is closed until 26 June.
Authorities in the UK have already revealed they expect the event to cost around £50m.
Asst Commissioner Kenny said the Garda was still in the latter stages of planning and final costs, overseen by the Department of Justice and other Government departments, are not available for taxpayers in the Irish Republic.
“It is a fluid, moving plan. The finer detail of the plan is only coming to light in the latter stages of it, because the countries are voicing their requirements now.”
The Garda chief said the force would give a detailed account of costs after the event.
“Our spending and costs are being challenged on an ongoing basis,” he said.
The shocking minutes relating to President Putin’s meeting this past week with US Secretary of State John Kerry reveal the Russian leaders “extreme outrage” over the Obama regimes continued protection of global seed and plant bio-genetic giants Syngenta and Monsanto in the face of a growing “bee apocalypse” that the Kremlin warns “will most certainly” lead to world war.
According to these minutes, released in the Kremlin today by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation (MNRE), Putin was so incensed over the Obama regimes refusal to discuss this grave matter that he refused for three hours to even meet with Kerry, who had traveled to Moscow on a scheduled diplomatic mission, but then relented so as to not cause an even greater rift between these two nations.
At the center of this dispute between Russia and the US, this MNRE report says, is the “undisputed evidence” that a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically related to nicotine, known as neonicotinoids, are destroying our planets bee population, and which if left unchecked could destroy our world’s ability to grow enough food to feed its population.
So grave has this situation become, the MNRE reports, the full European Commission (EC) this past week instituted a two-year precautionary ban (set to begin on 1 December 2013) on these “bee killing” pesticides following the lead of Switzerland, France, Italy, Russia, Slovenia and Ukraine, all of whom had previously banned these most dangerous of genetically altered organisms from being used on the continent.
Two of the most feared neonicotinoids being banned are Actara and Cruiser made by the Swiss global bio-tech seed and pesticide giant Syngenta AG which employs over 26,000 people in over 90 countries and ranks third in total global sales in the commercial agricultural seeds market.
Important to note, this report says, is that Syngenta, along with bio-tech giants Monsanto, Bayer, Dow and DuPont, now control nearly 100% of the global market for genetically modified pesticides, plants and seeds.
Also to note about Syngenta, this report continues, is that in 2012 it was criminally charged in Germany for concealing the fact that its genetically modified corn killed cattle, and settled a class-action lawsuit in the US for $105 million after it was discovered they had contaminated the drinking supply of some 52 million Americans in more than 2,000 water districts with its “gender-bending” herbicide Atrazine.
To how staggeringly frightful this situation is, the MNRE says, can be seen in the report issued this past March by the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) wherein they warned our whole planet is in danger, and as we can, in part, read:
“As part of a study on impacts from the world’s most widely used class of insecticides, nicotine-like chemicals called neonicotinoids, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has called for a ban on their use as seed treatments and for the suspension of all applications pending an independent review of the products’ effects on birds, terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, and other wildlife.
“It is clear that these chemicals have the potential to affect entire food chains. The environmental persistence of the neonicotinoids, their propensity for runoff and for groundwater infiltration, and their cumulative and largely irreversible mode of action in invertebrates raise significant environmental concerns,” said Cynthia Palmer, co-author of the report and Pesticides Program Manager for ABC, one of the nation’s leading bird conservation organizations.
ABC commissioned world renowned environmental toxicologist Dr. Pierre Mineau to conduct the research. The 100-page report, “The Impact of the Nation’s Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds,” reviews 200 studies on neonicotinoids including industry research obtained through the US Freedom of Information Act. The report evaluates the toxicological risk to birds and aquatic systems and includes extensive comparisons with the older pesticides that the neonicotinoids have replaced. The assessment concludes that the neonicotinoids are lethal to birds and to the aquatic systems on which they depend.
“A single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid can kill a songbird,” Palmer said. “Even a tiny grain of wheat or canola treated with the oldest neonicotinoid — called imidacloprid — can fatally poison a bird. And as little as 1/10th of a neonicotinoid-coated corn seed per day during egg-laying season is all that is needed to affect reproduction.”
The new report concludes that neonicotinoid contamination levels in both surface- and ground water in the United States and around the world are already beyond the threshold found to kill many aquatic invertebrates.”
Quickly following this damning report, the MRNE says, a large group of group of American beekeepers and environmentalists sued the Obama regime over the continued use of these neonicotinoids stating: “We are taking the EPA to court for its failure to protect bees from pesticides. Despite our best efforts to warn the agency about the problems posed by neonicotinoids, the EPA continued to ignore the clear warning signs of an agricultural system in trouble.”
And to how bad the world’s agricultural system has really become due to these genetically modified plants, pesticides and seeds, this report continues, can be seen by the EC’s proposal this past week, following their ban on neonicotinoids, in which they plan to criminalize nearly all seeds and plants not registered with the European Union, and as we can, in part, read:
“Europe is rushing towards the good ol days circa 1939, 40… A new law proposed by the European Commission would make it illegal to “grow, reproduce or trade” any vegetable seeds that have not been “tested, approved and accepted” by a new EU bureaucracy named the “EU Plant Variety Agency.”
It’s called the Plant Reproductive Material Law, and it attempts to put the government in charge of virtually all plants and seeds. Home gardeners who grow their own plants from non-regulated seeds would be considered criminals under this law.”
This MRNE report points out that even though this EC action may appear draconian, it is nevertheless necessary in order to purge the continent from continued contamination of these genetically bred “seed monstrosities.”
Most perplexing in all of this, the MRNE says, and which led to Putin’s anger at the US, has been the Obama regimes efforts to protect pesticide-producer profits over the catastrophic damaging being done to the environment, and as the Guardian News Service detailed in their 2 May article titled “US rejects EU claim of insecticide as prime reason for bee colony collapse” and which, in part, says:
“The European Union voted this week for a two-year ban on a class of pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, that has been associated with the bees’ collapse. The US government report, in contrast, found multiple causes for the collapse of the honeybees.”
To the “truer” reason for the Obama regimes protection of these bio-tech giants destroying our world, the MRNE says, can be viewed in the report titled “How did Barack Obama become Monsanto’s man in Washington?” and which, in part, says:
“After his victory in the 2008 election, Obama filled key posts with Monsanto people, in federal agencies that wield tremendous force in food issues, the USDA and the FDA: At the USDA, as the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy, former director of the Monsanto Danforth Center. As deputy commissioner of the FDA, the new food-safety-issues czar, the infamous Michael Taylor, former vice-president for public policy for Monsanto. Taylor had been instrumental in getting approval for Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone.”
Even worse, after Russia suspended the import and use of an Monsanto genetically modified corn following a study suggesting a link to breast cancer and organ damage this past September, the Russia Today News Service reported on the Obama regimes response:
“The US House of Representatives quietly passed a last-minute addition to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill for 2013 last week – including a provision protecting genetically modified seeds from litigation in the face of health risks.
The rider, which is officially known as the Farmer Assurance Provision, has been derided by opponents of biotech lobbying as the “Monsanto Protection Act,” as it would strip federal courts of the authority to immediately halt the planting and sale of genetically modified (GMO) seed crop regardless of any consumer health concerns.
The provision, also decried as a “biotech rider,” should have gone through the Agricultural or Judiciary Committees for review. Instead, no hearings were held, and the piece was evidently unknown to most Democrats (who hold the majority in the Senate) prior to its approval as part of HR 993, the short-term funding bill that was approved to avoid a federal government shutdown.”
On 26 March, Obama quietly signed this “Monsanto Protection Act” into law thus ensuring the American people have no recourse against this bio-tech giant as they fall ill by the tens of millions, and many millions will surely end up dying in what this MRNE report calls the greatest agricultural apocalypse in human history as over 90% of feral (wild) bee population in the US has already died out, and up to 80% of domestic bees have died out too.
Goldman Sachs: Regulation is Good for Others, Not Us. Human Rights Group Lambasts Goldman Sachs Over Russia
Goldman Sachs: Regulation is Good for Others, Not Us.
Goldman Sachs suggests regulation is needed in Russia in order to attract investors to that country. Strange that what is good for others is staunchly lobbied against at home; namely, regulations.
The Human Rights Foundation last week slammed Goldman Sachs for their ongoing relationship with the Russian government, saying the bulge bracket bank was basically aiding and abetting a criminal enterprise.
They argued for Goldman Sachs to cease accepting payments from Russia, payments that go towards helping the bank make Russia look good to potential investors and international rating agencies. Russian officials last month announced that they will pay the Wall Street firm $500,000 over the next three years to help the Putin regime lure foreign cash.
“Goldman Sachs has a reputation for knowing global finance, but it has behaved abhorrently when it comes to human rights and assessing investment risk in Russia,” said HRF president Thor Halvorssen in a press release dated Feb. 6.
“By striking this deal with Vladimir Putin, Goldman Sachs is abetting one of the world’s most corrupt governments that’s been repeatedly cited by independent monitoring groups for ignoring human rights, property rights, and sound corporate governance practices. The Putin government shoots at students, tortures whistleblowers to death, and detains and expropriates its enemies—and Goldman is helping them attract investors. It’s mind-boggling,” the HRF president said.
For its part, Goldman Sachs said in a statement that, “We believe it is in the long term interest of Russia and its people to attract foreign investments; we are pleased to play a role to facilitate this process in making Russia more open to foreign investors.”
Russia ranks 133 out of 176 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, alongside Iran and Kazakhstan and below Uganda and Nicaragua. International courts, human rights groups across the political spectrum, and investment analysts have decried the political and economic toll on Russia over recent high profile arrests and even, in some cases, deaths in Russian prisons.
“Why would Goldman Sachs put its credibility on the line and attempt to encourage investors to put their money at risk in Russia when everyone from the smallest entrepreneur to the greatest private equity titan faces the very real chance that they will lose everything given the Putin regime’s abysmal record of midnight raids, commercially inspired arrests, targeted tax probes and outright asset thefts?” Halvorssen said in the release. “Even aggressive and savvy operators like BP, Hewlett-Packard, Ikea, Microsoft and Starbucks have run afoul of Putin and his corrupt regime. How can Goldman be so short-sighted?”
Since Putin reassumed the presidency in May 2012, Russia has prosecuted and jailed members of the punk band Pussy Riot for protesting in front of a church. Putin also cracked down on pro-democracy and foreign non-profits critical of Russian democracy.
“Goldman Sachs’ deal with Putin ranks among the worst examples ever of a company seeking to bolster its profits by laundering the financial reputation of a country led by a corruptly elected despot,” said HRF chairman Garry Kasparov. “It’s appalling that Goldman Sachs sees nothing wrong with defending a regime that has made a farce of the legal system, ignored property rights and murdered and imprisoned brave men and women who have sought to promote economic freedom. Save the obvious moral issues, Goldman Sachs is ignoring its fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders and risking prosecution of its executives and board members under the U.S. Foreign Corruption Practices Act by asking investors to risk their capital in Russia before much-needed reforms are put in place.”
Goldman Sachs says that in its new role it will seek to highlight Russia’s commitment to increasing government transparency. “But the truth is transparency and corruption won’t take hold as long as the regime flouts the rule of law and uses Russia’s financial system as its personal piggy bank,” Kasparov said. “Virtually every NGO warns that the human rights situation in Russia is at its worst since the fall of the Soviet Union over two decades ago. By doing business with Putin, Goldman Sachs is acting as an enemy of free enterprise and economic freedom.”
The propaganda of the USSR was working hard to inspire the people with pride in their country and confidence in the future.