Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians perfectly timed to be buried in media cycle

By ethan / February 17, 2018

The latest no-so-smoking gun in the ‘Mueller time’ saga – the indictment of 13 Russian nationals suspected of interfering with American democracy – comes at a time when it is certain to get the least media coverage.

FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller published the indictment on Friday evening – just two days after a high-profile school shooting in Florida. Both factors are likely to reduce the media coverage of the release, which apparently falls short of expectations of a smoking gun to take down the administration of Donald Trump, which many ‘Russiagate’ proponents have been hoping for.

Read more

© Jonathan Ernst

“The fact that Mueller dumped these indictments out today proves that he is kind of hoping to go undercover – as far as is possible – to go undercover with political news like that,” conservative radio host Dave Perkins told RT. “[Mueller] has indicted these Russians knowing that he will never actually have to bother to prosecute them. Which is why he indicted them for peculiar, almost not-named crimes, very low-level things.”

“What has happened is Mueller is setting himself up, having tossed red meat to the base on the left: here is your Russians, here is your conspiracy, see, they have tried to affect the outcome of the election. And then he can fade back into the hedge.”

The indictment targets Russian nationals allegedly involved in a campaign meant to sow discord in America through social media. The document does not mention the hack of the DNC server or the phishing attack on Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, which both resulted in leaks of sensitive emails. Nor does it indicate that any of the Russians colluded with the Trump campaign or any other individuals in the US. Nor does it claim that the persons indicted were acting on orders from the Russian government. The document says there was no evidence the alleged campaign had any impact whatsoever on the outcome of the election.

Friday afternoon is “a great time to release news if you want to bury the news,” Just Foreign Policy Group director Robert Naiman said, though he doubts this was done intentionally. He added that the new development in the Russia probe is unlikely to tip public perception of it in a significant way. “People who want to put forward the Russia story – many of them will see this as vindication. They won’t care really what the details are.”

“This is an indictment. In the US system this means that a threshold has been met for taking a case to trial. It doesn’t mean anything has been proved,” he said.

Read more

FILE PHOTO: Special Counsel Robert Mueller ©  Joshua Roberts

The details of the indictment make it a shaky case for trial, media analyst Lionel pointed out, arguing that most of the things the 13 Russians are alleged to have done are not even a crime and had been done by others during the election campaign.

“They were apparently Russian nationals that didn’t say, hey, we are Russian nationals” while conducting their election-related activities on social media, he told RT. “I have never seen an indictment so bereft of citation and case law… I would have loved to argue this one in a motion to dismiss.”

If the indictment was properly covered by the US media, Americans would realize there was not much to it, independent journalist, author, and former Wall Street Journal correspondent Joe Lauria believes, but this is unlikely the way the story will be remembered.

“If these things did happen – they may be guilty of identity theft and certainly didn’t register as foreign agents – but the idea that this had an impact on the election is farcical. And if it was seen that way in the United States, Trump would have nothing to worry about. But the corporate media is going to push this as the smoking gun.”

The reporting, he predicted “will put more fuel on the fire to create more smoke that somehow Russia helped Trump steal this election from Hillary Clinton, which this indictment does not show in any way.”

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

RT US News

Young snowboarder cheats death after tree falls on her at Russian ski resort (VIDEOS)

By ethan / February 17, 2018

A young female snowboarder miraculously survived after a massive 20-meter pine fell on her at Sochi’s Rosa Khutor ski resort in southern Russia. The eerie accident was caught on film.

The woman was going down the southern slope of the ski resort with her friends, when the 65ft tree collapsed all of a sudden, breaking the road fence and falling on top of her. The moment was caught on a go-pro camera by one of the skiers. 

Skiers and snowboarders around the woman rushed to help get her from under the tree, but were unable to lift the immense pine and had to wait for rescue workers to arrive.

To remove the tree, rescuers had to cut it into pieces with chainsaws. The woman was hospitalized with multiple fractures of her hands and feet, but none of the injuries were life-threatening, the press office of the local branch of the Emergencies Ministry told Komsomolskaya Pravda. 

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

RT World News

China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ is threat to US in Latin America – US commander

By ethan / February 17, 2018

Beijing’s decision to extend its ambitious multitrillion-dollar trade initiative to Latin America creates “security vulnerabilities” for the United States, said the chief of the US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), Kurt Tidd.

Read more

© Olaf Krüger / Global Look Press

Talking at a Senate Armed Services Committee meeting, he said China has already pledged $ 500 billion in trade funds with various Latin American countries and $ 250 billion in direct investment over the next decade.

“Increased economic cooperation – such as the extension of the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative to Latin America, one of the nodes to support China’s vision of a competing global economic initiative – and the continued provision of financing and loans that appear to have ‘no strings attached’ provide ample opportunity for China to expand its influence over key regional partners and promote unfair business and labor practices.”

Tidd added that “Increased reach to key global access points like Panama create commercial and security vulnerabilities for the United States, as do Chinese telecommunications and space ventures with dual-use potential, which could facilitate intelligence collection, compromise communication networks, and ultimately constrain our ability to work with our partners.”

According to the SOUTHCOM commander, China is intensifying its role as a US rival in Latin America.

“The larger strategic challenge posed by China in this region is not yet a military one. It is an economic one, and a new approach may be required to compete effectively against China’s coordinated efforts in the Americas. Some of the most critical elements needed in this effort are not ones that [SOUTHCOM] can bring to bear,” he said.

Read more

© Fan Peishen / Global Look Press

The US admiral explained Chinese operations in Latin America do not “yet” pose a military threat, but Beijing is increasingly recruiting Latin Americans who participate in the US International Military Education and Training program (IMET).

The program has facilitated the attendance of nearly 16,000 students from the region to various American war colleges, he noted.

“China, in particular, is increasingly aggressive in courting students from the region to attend Chinese military schools, offering to cover all expenses and salaries in return for increased student enrollment,” said Tidd.

Under the broader Belt/Road initiative announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, Beijing plans building a new ‘Silk Road’. It is aimed to connect China to Southeast and Central Asia by land and the Middle East and Europe by sea.

Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi has recently encouraged Latin American and Caribbean states to expand their trade with the country. Several states including Chile and Bolivia have already declared their readiness to integrate into the initiative.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

RT Business News

Russian icebreaker beats record for nuclear propulsion plant longevity

By ethan / February 17, 2018

The nuclear-propelled icebreaker Vaygach is now distinguished as having the longest-operating power plant on a civilian ship, the operating company reported.

The Vaygach was built in Finland in 1989 and was fitted with a KLT-40M nuclear reactor the same year at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg. The pressurized water reactor was initially rated for 100,000 hours of work, but sound engineering and proper maintenance allowed its safe lifetime to be doubled.

On Friday, the Vaygach beat the record of 177,204 hours of reactor operation, which was set 10 years ago when the Russian nuclear icebreaker Arktika was retired, Atomflot, which operates the Vaygach, reported.

READ MORE: Russia starts work on Arctic dock for 1st-ever floating nuclear power plant

The 21,000-ton ship is part of a two-vessel class along with its sister ship, the Taymyr. The reactor used by both ships was first tested by the nuclear-powered container ship Sevmorput, while its latest version is used by the Akademik Lomonosov, a floating nuclear power plant currently in construction.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

RT World News

No chance of cryptocurrencies replacing fiat money – JPMorgan

By ethan / February 17, 2018

Virtual coins fail to meet the major criteria of currency, according to JPMorgan Chase, which has called them a bad store of value and a bad form of money.

It may make sense for some investors to include digital currencies in their portfolios as a hedge, the bank said in a wide-ranging note to clients. The bank added, however, that it doesn’t view any cryptocurrency as a “legitimate competitor” to sovereign currencies.

Read more

JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon. © Larry Downing

“The huge volatility of the price of cryptocurrencies – with respect to either traditional currencies or to a basket of goods and services – has made use of cryptocurrencies as a unit of account impractical,” it said. “Only hobbyists are using cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange, at least for conventional transactions for goods and services.”

JPMorgan added that even if cryptocurrencies were to meet the criteria of cash, they still would have a very difficult time giving a national currency a run for its money because of the network effect of fiat.

“At any rate, even a hypothetically stable-value cryptocurrency is unlikely to compete with the dollar for transactions in goods and services, in say, Chicago, or to compete with the euro in Stuttgart.

“Economists have long viewed successful (i.e. relatively price-stable) currencies as natural monopolies in a given geographic area. This particular natural monopoly arises as a result of the inherent network externalities: pricing a New York meal in yen makes little sense, as almost all customers will be holding dollars,” said JPMorgan.

According to the Wall Street bank, the only area where cryptocurrencies could compete with national currencies as a medium of exchange is in the black market.

CEO of JPMorgan Jamie Dimon, who once denounced bitcoin as a fraud that was bound to fail, said last month he regrets the comment, but remains uninterested in digital currencies.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

RT Business News

Libyan crisis festers, but media has moved on – Red Cross president to RT

By ethan / February 17, 2018

Although Libya has fallen out of headlines and been replaced by conflicts in Syria and Yemen, it is still plagued by fighting and a humanitarian crisis, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) told RT.

Fighting is continuing,” ICRC president Peter Maurer said. “Libya is one of the countries with the largest percentage of displaced populations and therefore the humanitarian needs are important – particularly in health services, water, and economic support for displaced populations.

Although news coverage of the situation in Libya has dwindled in favor of conflicts in other countries throughout the region, Maurer stressed the importance of keeping Libya in the media, as locals and migrants are facing an “appalling” situation in the country.

For me there is an unquestioned necessity to put Libya much more in the center of international attention comparable to the attention the international community has on other crises in the Middle East.

When it comes to working towards a solution in the country, Maurer said “we are certainly of the opinion that it is important to talk about the situation in Libya, we are of the opinion that more needs to be done to support the different authorities in Libya, more of course has to be done also to find a political solution in Libya.”

He was hopeful, however, that the future could be brighter for the country. “I think Libya has some assets which we shouldn’t forget which gives us hope. It’s a population that knows how to help themselves, I think they have resources, they have capacities – we need to strengthen these capacities. I think there is a realistic perspective that once there is a political agreement in Libya, things will become better.

Meanwhile, footage from RT’s Ruptly agency has shown the devastating aftermath of US airstrikes in Sirte. The Libyan city was targeted for several months in 2016, but remains in ruins to this day.

READ MORE: Chaos unrelenting: 6 years since Arab Spring started, no democracy in sight for Libya

Displaced residents have finally been making their way back into the city, greeted by awful scenes of destruction, including skeletons of buildings and neighborhoods resembling ghost towns.

Al Manara district is completely destroyed because of US strikes on this region. All residents of this area are now displaced…and life is completely nonexistent in this area,” one resident told Ruptly.

He went on to say that “there is no local or international assistance” being offered to locals, and feared that Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) could return to the area.

That fear was echoed by local resident Ghaloud, who said that “everyone knows that…IS possibly advocates returning at any moment to the city of Sirte because this city was the incubator of this organization.” He added that the city is “sprawling with mountains and valleys and Islamic State is hiding in these mountains and valleys,” and that it can return at any moment “if the state does not protect the city well.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

RT World News

Watch first commercial LNG tanker cross Russia's Arctic route without icebreaker escort (TIMELAPSE)

By ethan / February 17, 2018

The liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier ‘Eduard Toll’ has become the first commercial ship to travel the Arctic’s northern sea route in winter.

The 300-meter-long vessel set out from South Korea in December for Sabetta terminal in northern Russia, cutting through 1.8-meter-thick ice. The tanker, which is owned by Teekay shipping company, completed the route last month, delivering an LNG load to France. Its voyage was captured by the crew in a timelapse video.

“This marked a major milestone for shipping in the Arctic as this was the first time a shipping vessel made independent passage, without the support of an icebreaker, during this time of year,” said Teekay, which is investing in six ships to serve the Yamal LNG project in northern Russia.

Located in the Russian Arctic, Yamal LNG is a joint project of Russia’s Novatek, France’s Total, China National Petroleum Corporation and the Silk Road Fund. Novatek holds a 50.1 percent share in the project. Its partners own 20 percent, 20 percent, and 9.9 percent respectively.

At the end of December, Russian tanker ‘Christophe de Margerie’ brought the first batch of LNG from Yamal to the United Kingdom.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

RT Business News

Mueller indicted 13 Russians to drag probe out and keep his position – State Senator Black

By ethan / February 17, 2018

By indicting Russian nationals and entities for meddling in the 2016 US election, FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller seeks to drag the probe out for his own gain, Virginia State Senator Richard Black told RT.

Thirteen Russian individuals and three entities, were accused of attempting to advance the presidential bid of Donald Trump and tarnish the reputation of Hillary Clinton with the ultimate goal to “spread distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.” However, none of the activities described in the indictment were able to sway the vote, US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told media.

Read more

Shannon Stapleton

According to Black, the lackluster outcome of the ever-widening investigation invokes suspicion that although Mueller knows there’s nothing substantial to uncover, he and his team will continue feeding the media headline-grabbers to keep his rather lucrative job.

To a certain extent, I think, Robert Muller is struggling to keep alive his position of a special counsel. The special counsel has already earned 7 million dollars. When you become a special counsel, you have an open checkbook for the US Treasury and you are guaranteed to become a mega-millionaire if you simply can drag out the proceedings,” Black told RT.

I suspect that this is just a case of dragging out the proceedings, throwing some indictments on some silly things – not registering as a foreign agent – that typically is not prosecuted, but they are prosecuting it in this case because they are running out of ideas.”

The latest twist of the Russia probe saga, which has so far failed to provide any proof of Trump’s collusion with Moscow, indicates that “there is simply nothing there to go after,” Black said. He noted that since both sides appear to agree that the alleged meddling could not have changed the outcome of the election, the probe is essentially “irrelevant.”

Read more

FILE PHOTO: Federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann

The record of US intelligence, which is no stranger to providing “completely fabricated” intel, does not lend much credibility to the “intelligence assessments” over the Kremlin’s alleged role in the election, Black said.

I’m not really impressed, I want facts; I don’t want some generalized conclusions from these intelligence agencies,” he said, noting that if he were Trump, he would ask them to “show precisely” what evidence they have in their hands.

Back believes that what is really on the agenda is to rein in Trump so he will not oppose the hawks in their pursuit of hostile foreign policy towards Russia.

One of the things they wanted to do is to undermine Donald Trump and to keep him constantly on the defensive against Russia so he cannot do the rational thing, which is to reduce the tensions with Russia, to draw back from the Russian borders,” he said, noting that the “deep state” seeks confrontation with Russia as it allows them to “sell weapons and increase the size of the military.

Speaking about the claims that Russia-linked operatives spent $ 100,000 on Facebook ads to promote divisive social and political issues to stir up American voters, Black compared it with “throwing a penny to a beggar,” arguing that by “creating chaos” in the election, nobody could have achieved anything, “no matter who they are.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

RT US News

Russia ‘no threat,’ NATO expansion ‘dilutes effectiveness’ of bloc – ex-US defense secretary to RT

By ethan / February 17, 2018

NATO’s rapid expansion has not necessarily strengthened the alliance and the US should rethink its hostility towards Russia, former US Secretary of Defense William Perry said on RT’s SophieCo program.

Perry, who has previously stated that NATO’s eastward expansion during his tenure as defense secretary was a mistake and largely responsible for the current confrontation between Moscow and Washington, told RT’s Sophie Shevardnadze that he was sceptical that incorporating Macedonia or Montenegro into NATO would benefit the “defensive” alliance.

“You can argue that you dilute the effectiveness of the organization if you get too many countries in it. So I think we’re probably either in the end or very nearly to the end of the expansion,” Perry said. He added that he was almost certain that NATO has abandoned any ideas of expanding to Ukraine. Urging Washington and Moscow to “stop seeing the worst” in each other, Perry told Shevardnadze that he “doesn’t see Russia as posing a threat to the US and threatening a war with the US.” 

Read more

Former US Secretary of Defense William Perry

Although he recognized that the two countries do not see eye-to-eye on a number of key issues, including Crimea’s reunification with Russia, Perry nonetheless argued that Washington and Moscow share common interests which would be better served through bilateral cooperation. “I understand that it’s difficult to have diplomacy when you deal with those areas where you fundamentally disagree. But there are also many issues that we have in common,” Perry said.

“Neither the US nor Russia want a nuclear war. Neither the US nor Russia want nuclear terrorism. Neither the US nor Russia want nuclear proliferation. So we have areas where we have strong and important agreements. We ought to be working together in those areas to solidify points on which we agree. So that’s a potential that we’re not exploiting.”

Although Russia and China were recently singled out by the US government as the greatest challenge to US national interests, Perry said that he did not agree with the Pentagon’s “judgment” and thought Washington should focus instead on strengthening its relationship with Russia.

READ MORE: The Russians are coming! Send money quickly!

“There’s no reason why the American and the Russian people should be hostile to each other. There’s a history of friendship and working together. During the period I was the secretary of defense, we had troops working together in Bosnia. We had American and Russian soldiers going together on foot patrols in Bosnia and it worked very well. We also worked together with the Russian nuclear establishment in dismantling nuclear weapons. During that period of time we dismantled 8,000 nuclear weapons: 4,000 – the US and 4,000 – the former Soviet Union,” said Perry.

“So we worked together for the benefit. It can be done, it should be done, and I would like to get back [to that]. Instead of worrying what could happen 10 years from now, what could happen if Russia gets hostile to the US, we should be focusing on how do we continue to build on that positive and cooperative relationship.”

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

RT World News

Page 2 of 536
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons