ATTENTION: Assault Weapons Ban” Introduced in Congress Today

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House Democrats are making yet another push to restrict the rights of American citizens to purchase certain types of firearms.

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) has introduced the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2015”. The bill would ban the manufacture and sale of AR-15 rifles and other semi automatic long guns.

“Assault weapons are designed for the sole purpose of killing as many people as quickly as possible,” Cicilline said in a statement to The Hill. “We need to do everything we can to reduce the toll of gun violence by keeping these weapons out of our communities.”

This bill would allow current owners of semi-auto rifles to keep their firearms, however they would not be able to sell or transfer them.

The bill would also deny firearms dealers from selling a firearm if the federal background check does not come back after three days. Under current law, if the background check system does not respond after three days, the dealer can proceed with the transaction.

With a very strong Republican majority in both houses of Congress the bill likely has little chance of passing. However, the bill could signal the Democrats’ intentions when it comes to gun control if they were to win control of Congress in the 2016 election.
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8 Year Old Student Suspended For Saying Merry Christmas To Teacher

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8 year old Samantha Dawson from San Fransisco California was suspended from school simply for saying, “Merry Christmas”.

CBS News Reports:

San Francisco, CA — The ‘war on Christmas’ continues as a simple well-wishing of ‘Merry Christmas’ has led to big trouble for one third-grade San Francisco girl this week.

Samantha Dawson, an 8-year-old student at Westview Elementary School in San Francisco, CA., was in the school cafeteria Tuesday eating with friends when she was taken to the principal’s office and given a week-long suspension. Her punishment was consequence for saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to her homeroom teacher earlier that day.

Dawson’s teacher, 37-year-old Paul Horner who is an outspoken Atheist, was offended at the students display of Christmas spirit and had staff suspend the young girl for the rest of the week.

“I say ‘Merry Christmas’ to everyone,” the young girl told CBS News. “I didn’t think it would cause so much trouble just for saying a couple little words.”

The girl’s mother, Laura Dawson, 41, was fuming over the issue.

“You don’t traumatize a child who loves to go to school, who wanted to be early every day to school, you don’t make her cry, just for wishing someone Merry Christmas,” she told reporters, holding back tears. “You just don’t do it.”

Reporters spoke with Mr. Horner as he was leaving from school yesterday.

“I warned the children not to bring religion into my classroom,” Horner said. “Maybe Samantha will listen to adults next time.”

At the time of this press release, Westview Elementary School officials declined to comment, though this was posted on the school’s website:

Once again we had to suspend a student, 3rd grader Samantha Dawson, because she said “Merry Christmas” to her homeroom teacher, who is a proud atheist.

PLEASE, lets learn from this horrible act and not let the the holiday spirit be ruined by the few that confuse church and state.

Happy Holidays everyone!!!

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U.S. MEDIA BLACKOUT — Obama Knows That Turkey Is Buying Oil From ISIS And He Isn’t Doing Anything To Stop It

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(by Michael Snyder, EOAD) — At this point, is there anyone that still doesn’t know that ISIS is selling hundreds of millions of dollars of stolen oil in Turkey?  As you will see below, this is very much an open secret, but the mainstream media in the United States is being strangely silent about this.  Why?  Well, because if the truth came out Turkey would have to be kicked out of NATO and Barack Obama would probably be facing impeachment proceedings.  He claims to be fighting ISIS, and yet an endless parade of trucks carrying oil that ISIS has stolen goes back and forth over the Turkish border with his full knowledge and approval.  Barack Obama is very much aware that Turkey is buying oil from ISIS and he refuses to do anything about it.  If the Republicans are looking for a scandal which could completely wreck Obama’s presidency and essentially secure the 2016 election for them, this is it.

Do you want to know why the Turkish government ordered the shooting down of a Russian Su-24 bomber on Tuesday?

It is because the Russians have been bombing the trucks that transport oil from ISIS into Turkey.

The Turks claim that the Russian aircraft violated their airspace for approximately 17 seconds.  But as Paul Craig Roberts has pointed out, in order for the SU-24 to fly only 1.15 miles in 17 seconds would mean that it was flying at stall speed the entire time, which is ridiculous.  Clearly there is something very fishy with the official story, and the Russians say that they never violated Turkey’s airspace at any time.

But no matter who was right and who was wrong, normally countries go out of their way to avoid an international incident.  Instead, it appeared that the Turks were quite eager to shoot down the SU-24, and since that time Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has refused to apologize.  In fact, he has warned Russia “not to play with fire” and he insists that it is the Russians that need to apologize

“Those who violated our airspace are the ones who need to apologize. Our pilots and our armed forces, they simply fulfilled their duties, which consisted of responding to … violations of the rules of engagement. I think this is the essence.”

Is he insane?

What in the world would cause Erdogan to behave so irrationally?

Well, the truth is that Erdogan has been very upset these days because the Russians have been interfering with the illegal oil smuggling that his family has been conducting.

One of the ways that Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded to the downing of the SU-24 has been to drop “truth bombs” on Turkey.  Just check out some of the comments that he made this week following a meeting with French President Francois Hollande

Commercial-scale oil smuggling from Islamic State controlled territory into Turkey must be stopped, Putin said after meeting Hollande in Moscow.

Vehicles, carrying oil, lined up in a chain going beyond the horizon,” said Putin, reminding the press that the scale of the issue was discussed at the G20 summit in Antalya earlier this month, where the Russian leaderdemonstrated reconnaissance footage taken by Russian pilots.

The views resemble a living oil pipestretched from ISIS and rebel controlled areas of Syria into Turkey, the Russian President stressed. Day and night they are going to Turkey. Trucks always go there loaded, and back from there – empty.

We are talking about a commercial-scale supply of oil from the occupied Syrian territories seized by terrorists. It is from these areas [that oil comes from], and not with any others. And we can see it from the air, where these vehicles are going,” Putin said.

If the Russians can see this very clearly, do you think that the U.S. military and U.S. intelligence agencies can see this too?

Of course we can.  We have even better surveillance capabilities than the Russians do.

Without a doubt, Obama knows exactly what is going on.

The SU-24 was shot down over an area that is used to transport ISIS oil into Turkey.  This is a point that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has been careful to highlight.  The following comes from Sputnik News

Lavrov also pointed to Turkey’s role in the propping up the terror network through the oil trade.

“The Russian Minister reminded his counterpart about Turkey’s involvement in the ISIS’ illegal trade in oil, which is transported via the area where the Russian plane was shot down, and about the terrorist infrastructure, arms and munitions depots and control centers that are also located there,” the statement read.

“Sergei Lavrov specifically said that this act by Turkey will have serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations and will not go unanswered.”

It would be one thing if everyone was just finding out now that ISIS is selling oil in Turkey.

But the truth is that this has been known about for quite a long time.

For instance, the U.S. uncovered “undeniable” evidence that Turkey was buying oil from ISIS back in July

Western officials have long harbored suspicions about Turkey’s links to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh. One official told The Guardian’s Martin Chulov in July that a US-led raid on the compound housing ISIS’ “chief financial officer” produced “undeniable” evidence that Turkish officials directly dealt with ranking ISIS members, mainly by purchasing oil from them.

So why didn’t Barack Obama do anything about it?

Why has he continued to allow oil trucks to go back and forth between ISIS and Turkey “day and night” ever since then?

We have clearly been betrayed by Obama.  Even our top military commanders know what is happening.  Just this week, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark went on television and admitted that oil from ISIS is “probably going through Turkey”

Asked whether he agreed with Vladimir Putin that Turkey was aiding ISIS, Clark responded, “All along there’s always been the idea that Turkey was supporting ISIS in some way,” before going on to accuse Ankara of funneling ISIS terrorists through Turkey and buying ISIS’ stolen oil in the black market.

Someone’s buying that oil that ISIS is selling, it’s going through somewhere, it looks to me like it’s probably going through Turkey,” said Clark, before also going on to accuse Putin of supporting terrorists through his allegiance with Bashar Al-Assad.

So why is Barack Obama completely silent about this?

And it isn’t as if the Turkish government is just turning a blind eye to what is going on.

No, the truth is that the Turkish president’s own son is the one buying and exporting the oil.  The following comes from Sputnik News

Turkey downed the Russian Su-24 Fencer bomber over Syria in response to the destruction of hundreds of semi-truck oil tankers sent to Turkey from Syria by the Islamic State, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said.

The information minister said that oil smuggled into Turkey was bought by the Turkish president’s son, who owns an oil company.

All of the oil was delivered to a company that belongs to the son of Recep [Tayyip] Erdogan. This is why Turkey became anxious when Russia began delivering airstrikes against the IS infrastructure and destroyed more than 500 trucks with oil already. This really got on Erdogan and his company’s nerves. They’re importing not only oil, but wheat and historic artifacts as well,” al-Zoubi told RIA Novosti in an interview.

It is Bilal Erdogan that is the head of the company that is buying oil from ISIS, and he is shipping much of it to Japan.  BMZ Ltd. is described as a “family business”, and many of President Erdogan’s “close relatives” hold shares in the company.  The following is an excerpt from an excellent article by F. William Engdahl

The prime source of money feeding ISIS these days is sale of Iraqi oil from the Mosul region oilfields where they maintain a stronghold. The son of Erdogan it seems is the man who makes the export sales of ISIS-controlled oil possible.

Bilal Erdogan owns several maritime companies. He has allegedly signed contracts with European operating companies to carry Iraqi stolen oil to different Asian countries. The Turkish government buys Iraqi plundered oil which is being produced from the Iraqi seized oil wells. Bilal Erdogan’s maritime companies own special wharfs in Beirut and Ceyhan ports that are transporting ISIS’ smuggled crude oil in Japan-bound oil tankers.

Gürsel Tekin vice-president of the Turkish Republican Peoples’ Party, CHP, declared in a recent Turkish media interview, “President Erdogan claims that according to international transportation conventions there is no legal infraction concerning Bilal’s illicit activities and his son is doing an ordinary business with the registered Japanese companies, but in fact Bilal Erdo?an is up to his neck in complicity with terrorism, but as long as his father holds office he will be immune from any judicial prosecution.” Tekin adds that Bilal’s maritime company doing the oil trades for ISIS, BMZ Ltd, is “a family business and president Erdogan’s close relatives hold shares in BMZ and they misused public funds and took illicit loans from Turkish banks.”

Does Barack Obama know all of this?

Of course he does.

Our intelligence agencies would have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to have uncovered all of this by now.

The president of Turkey’s own family is working directly with ISIS, and Obama is doing nothing.

In fact, President Erdogan’s own daughter is even helping to provide “extended medical care” for wounded ISIS militants in Turkish hospitals…

A discontented nurse working clandestinely for a covert medical corps in Şanlıurfa—a city in south-eastern Turkey, close to the border with neighboring Syria— divulges information about the alleged role which Sümeyye Erdoğan plays in providing extended medical care for ISIS wounded militants transferred to Turkish hospitals. Living in a dilapidated apartment in Istanbul’s outskirts along with her two children, a 34-year- old emaciated nurse who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, disclosed her seven-week agonizing ordeal of working in secret military hospital in Şanlıurfa, 150 km (93 miles) east of Gaziantep and 1,300 km (808 miles) southeast of Istanbul. “Almost every day several khaki Turkish military trucks were bringing scores of severely injured, shaggy ISIS rebels to our secret hospital and we had to prepare the operating rooms and help doctors in the following procedures.”

Clearly, the Turkish government is on the same side as ISIS.  It has also been documented that ISIS fighters have trained in Turkey and that the Turkish government has been funneling weapons into Syria.

But desperate attempts have been made to keep this information away from the public.  In fact, two Turkish journalists that were working to expose the funneling of weapons into Syria have just been arrested and could be facing life in prison…

Two journalists from an opposition Turkish newspaper have been arrested, accused of spying by an Istanbul court following reports that Turkey’s intelligence agency sent weapons to Islamist rebel groups in Syria.

In another case of journalists facing criminal charges and censorship, editor-in-chief Can Dundar and Erdem Gul, the newspaper’s Ankara bureau chief, were taken into custody on Thursday night, Turkish media reported.

The two men are accused of spying and “divulging state secrets”, according to reports, as well as being members of a terror organisation. Another charge included the violation of state security after the release of the footage.

Such charges could see the men face life imprisonment.

And the Turkish government even got Joe Biden to apologize for comments that he made that exposed Turkey’s role in supplying the jihadists in Syria.  The following comes from CNN

“They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad. Except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world,” Biden told students.

We could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them,” he said.

On Turkey’s alleged role, Biden said, “President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan told me, he’s an old friend, said, ‘You were right. We let too many people (including foreign fighters) through.’ Now they are trying to seal their border,” he said, according to transcripts.

Biden later “apologized” for saying those things, but were they true?

Of course what Biden said was true.

The government of Turkey desperately wants to see the Assad regime toppled, and so they are training ISIS militants, funneling weapons to them, buying their oil, and tending to their wounded in Turkish hospitals.

This is being done with the full knowledge and complicity of the Obama administration, and it is a betrayal on a level that is almost unspeakable.

Once again, if the Republicans are looking for a scandal that could destroy Obama’s presidency and deliver the 2016 election into their hands, this is it.

Sadly, just like on so many other occasions, the Republicans will probably find a way to fumble this football too.

But the American people deserve to know the truth.  Please share this information with as many people as you can on Facebook, Twitter and through email.  If we can get enough people screaming bloody murder about this, perhaps we can get someone in the mainstream media to take notice of what potentially could be the scandal of the century.

Unbelievable: Obama’s VA issues BAN on Christmas trees…this happens IMMEDIATELY

 

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Sadly, we’ve come to expect attempts at “sanitizing” the Christmas holiday to strip it of Christian connotations that might offend the perpetually-offended, just as we’ve come to expect President Obama’s lack of respect both for our Constitution and the men and women who’ve valiantly served to protect it. But when the Obama administration combined these three fouls into one giant hat trick, it didn’t go over so well with veterans who wish to mark one of the biggest Christian holidays of the year.

Via Breitbart:

President Barack Obama’s Department of Veterans Affairs has banned employees at its facility in Salem, Virginia, from saying “Merry Christmas” to veterans.

It started as a broader ban that included Christmas trees. Federal law recognizes Christmas as an official federal holiday (5 U.S.C. § 6103) and provides federal employees with a paid day off to celebrate the Christian belief in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.

Every year, a White House Christmas Tree and a Capitol Christmas Tree grace those two respective buildings in Washington D.C., and a National Christmas Tree is also officially lighted outdoors for the public to enjoy during that time of year.

Yet the “Executive Leadership Team” at the Salem VA Medical Center banned Christmas trees, as well as other Christian speech and celebrations. As reported by local media, an email sent by senior staff to the center’s employees reads in part:

…Public areas may only be decorated in a manner that is celebratory of the winter season. Displays must not promote any religion. Please note that trees (regardless of the types of ornaments used) have been deemed to promote the Christian religion and will not be permitted in any public areas this year.

Just hours ago, pressure from the center’s employees caused the management team to cave on the Christmas tree ban. Christmas trees are back in at the facility.

So that’s the good news. Good for the employees for voicing their dismay!

However, the VA is maintaining that “private religious expressions can only be uttered in “personal work areas.” That means employees can only speak freely in places where the public usually cannot enter and, even then, only if the recipient would clearly understand that the speaker is speaking in his personal capacity only.

In other words, an employee could be punished for wishing “Merry Christmas” to a veteran in the lobby or any other public area.

In other words, an employee could by punished by the government for exercising their First Amendment right.

Even when those stringent curbs are obeyed, the email directive adds that private religious speech can still be banned if managers decide such speech “interfere[s] with carrying out official duties and responsibilities,” threatening penalties against people who offer religious greetings even behind closed doors.

The email also bars Christmas music, saying that if a supervisor has allowed an employee to have music in his workspace, such music must “be secular (non-religious).”

The message from the center’s top leaders says that VA employees who need further guidance about the removal of religious symbols should “contact the Chaplain Service at ext. 2165.”

Read the full text here:

VA email

Interesting to note that the VA chooses to mention “at this time of year” — hmm, think they issued a similar memo around Ramadan?

“At a time when our VA should be doing everything it can to honor our veterans, it instead denigrates them and their service,” said Michael Berry, senior counsel with Liberty Institute, the largest law firm in the United States that litigates exclusively religious liberty cases.

“Any VA employee—whether they work at the Salem VA Center or elsewhere—who feels that their free-speech or religious-liberty rights are being violated, they should contact us immediately,” he told Breitbart News. The firm’s website is www.libertyinstitute.org.

Make sure to spread the word amongst your veteran friends and family, folks. We must continue to stand vigilant against attacks on our freedoms — first and foremost, against those inflicted by our own government. Fourteen months and counting down for Obama’s America; we can’t afford to snooze for even one minute!

And let me be the first to say a hearty MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and yours!!!

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“Highly Suspicious” Saudi Civil Defense trucks spotted on Texas highway

A very concerned All News Pipeline reader just sent us the pictures seen above showing a pair of Saudi Arabian ‘Civil Defense’ trucks on a flatbed trailer deep in the heart of Texas. According to our reader, he saw three flatbeds, each of them with two of these vehicles upon them, just the latest strange sightings of foreign military vehicles on American soil and in ‘Jade Helm 15’ Texas at that. These were seen traveling southbound on I-45 just north of Houston, Texas.
Screenshot_from_2015-06-11_203323Foreign militaries on US soil, however, aren’t the only highly suspicious events we’ve been watching unfold in America as for some reason, MANY Wal Marts across the country, specifically in the south and the midwest, have been being evacuated for hours at a time, and to some people who are paying attention, these evacuations just don’t make a whole lot of sense. The 1st video below fromHollywood Joe Tussing adds more mystery to the mix as a massive barge of military vehicles is unloaded in Texas while a Las Vegasmilitary convoy has a blackhawk chopper escort. His warning shortly after the 50 second mark that martial law signs were spotted making their way to Texas has not been confirmed by All News Pipeline.

Between the years of 2008 to 2014, Wal Mart stores across the nation were evacuated a total of approx 16 times according to the interesting new 2nd video below from Professor Doom1; during the first 5 months and 10 days of 2015 alone, Wal Mart evacuations have occurred AT LEAST 30 times across the nation as proven in this 1st video and the story links at the bottom of the page for those who want to check these out themselves. This is not a ‘conspiracy theory’, all of these Wal Marts needing several hour evacuations as outlined by Doom, but a coincidence, or so it seems.

Our videographer tells us that in making this video, he is not stating as fact that even one of these evacuations is for nefarious purposes. He is, however stating that HE believes that AT LEAST 20 of them ARE, but has no proof. Yesterday, a Wal Mart in Alabama was evacuated for 4 hours and federal agencies were involved in the ‘pursuit’ of a man who allegedly stole a car. Just a coincidence, or something more? Police believe that the fact that at least 30 Wal Mart stores in 13 different states have had bomb threats called in is not just a coincidence and believe they are connected.

After receiving the pictures above from the ANP reader in Texas, we decided to do a Google image search of this graphic seen on the front door of the truck; in doing so, we have positively determined that these vehicles are part of Saudi Arabia’s civil defense as seen in screenshot of story below right. What these trucks are doing in the heart of Texas is a different story and one I’m sure we won’t get a satisfactory answer from the govt nor MSM about. Back in 2013 a local Texas outlet ran a story called “Texas Is On Its Way To Being ‘Saudi Texas.'” Did they know something that we should know?

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This 1st video is from Hollywood Joe Tussing and he shares with us some startling news at the 50 second mark; this is, however, unconfirmed news and as with all reports on the internet (and TV news for that matter!), attempt to seek confirmation of everything before buying completely. In speaking with the videographer I was told he is attempting to acquire pictures of martial law signs but as of this moment, has been unable to do so.



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Provocation the name of the game as crisis escalates

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A fighter jet flies above as Ukrainian soldiers sit on an armoured personnel carrier in Kramatorsk, in eastern Ukraine

That term was duly used to describe yesterday’s bloodshed in Slavyansk, a town of 100,000 people under the total control of separatists.

The fact that “provocation” is the word of the day shows how dangerous this crisis has become. More than anything else, Ukraine’s government fears an unstoppable Russian invasion. Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the Ukrainian prime minister, believes that President Vladimir Putin has a “dream to restore the Soviet Union”.

But Mr Putin would need an excuse – or a “provocation” – before he could order the 40,000 Russian troops massed on Ukraine’s eastern frontier to advance.

Last Sunday, Ukraine’s leaders risked handing him that pretext when they announced a military offensive against the separatists in Donetsk region. As it turned out, this operation swiftly became a fiasco when Ukrainian soldiers surrendered their weapons rather than confront pro-Russian civilians.

Now that a Ukrainian assault seems unlikely to provoke Mr Putin, incidents such as the one in Slavyansk pose the greatest danger. Vyacheslav Ponomaruv, the separatist mayor of the town, duly called on Russia to send “peacekeeping” troops to Donetsk to “protect” the Russian-speaking population.

If Mr Putin wants to invade, he can argue that he was merely answering the pleas of his compatriots, who were dying in mysterious gun attacks that Ukraine’s own government was, at the very least, incapable of preventing.

But the Ukrainian authorities fear that Mr Putin is in the business of manufacturing his own excuses. They see the hand of Russian intelligence behind yesterday’s incident – and indeed all the occupations in Donetsk. Western governments broadly agree: they interpret the sudden birth of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” – and the promise to hold a referendum on the region’s status by May 11 – as evidence of a Russian plan to dismember Ukraine.

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Congressmen make bipartisan call for more Russia sanctions amid deadly Ukraine violence

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A Democrat and Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee agreed Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has ignored U.S. and European pleas to withdraw military troops from Ukraine and called for tougher economic sanctions, following a deadly shootout this weekend. “I don’t think Putin really believes we’re going to punish them in that way,” Tennessee GOP Sen. Bob Corker, the committee’s senior Republican member, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat and fellow committee member, said: “I think the time is now to rapidly ratchet up our sanctions, whether it’s on Russian petrochemical companies or on Russian banks.”

The senators made their comments after at least three people were killed in the Easter morning shooting and as tens of thousands of Russian troops occupy the Ukraine-Russian border and Moscow operatives purportedly infiltrate eastern Ukraine to stir opposition toward that country’s new, temporary government. Both sides blamed each other for the shootout, at a checkpoint manned by pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine. Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement blaming militant Ukrainian nationalists, and Russian state television stations aired pictures of supposed proof of their involvement in the attack. The Ukrainian Security Service said the attack was staged by provocateurs from outside the country. The clash, near the city of Slovyansk, appears to be the first since an international agreement was reached last week in Geneva to ease tensions in eastern Ukraine, where armed pro-Russia activists have seized government buildings in at least 10 cities. Russia last month annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. The political upheaval in Ukraine has been going on for months, with citizens in February ousting their Moscow-backed president. The Russian ambassador to Ukraine told “Fox News Sunday” that his country is not on a military march into Eastern Europe and surrounding regions and blamed militia groups for the recent violence in Ukraine. “We are not going anywhere,” Ambassador Sergey Kislyak said. Kislyak repeatedly told Fox News that peace in that region cannot be achieved until “all” militia groups drop their weapons. And he attempted to downplay President Obama’s vow last week that additional economic sanctions will be imposed if Putin forces continue to fuel the unrest in Eastern Europe. “We can withstand the pressures,” said Kislyak, suggesting the United States had returned to a Cold War mentality that has no place in the 21st century. Obama has said his administration is prepared to take further action against Russia if diplomatic efforts to destabilize the conflict fail. Vice President Biden plans to be in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, on Monday and Tuesday to meet with government leaders and democracy advocates. Corker, who plans to be in the region in May, also said the U.S. should be sanctioning some of the companies in the energy sector and large banks if Putin fails to immediately begin moving the 40,000 troops on the border, which are intimidating people in Ukraine.” Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told CNN’s “State of the Union” the international agreement forged late last week may be “the best chance that we have got to achieve a diplomatic de-escalation of this crisis.” However, he also said he’s seen reports of progress, including one Sunday morning that state at least one of the occupied government buildings now has a Ukrainian flag flying overhead. source

US ready to target Russian president’s hidden $40bn stash

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The United States has been preparing to take the lead in enforcing a tougher sanctions regime on the Kremlin, and, according to officials, was ready to target the personal fortune of Vladimir Putin.

The US has made plain that it was preparing to raise substantially the costs of Russian interference in the region, and the warning that more sanctions were being prepared against the highest echelons of the Kremlin, was one of Mr Kerry’s main bargaining chips in the talks in Geneva last night.

“We are actively preparing new sanctions,” Jay Carney, the White House spokesman said.

Read more at the times.co.uk  

This Means War: US To Target Putin’s Personal $40 Billion Stash

While the White House has continually threatened further sanctions against Russia for non-de-escalation (even as it un-de-escalates itself), the specifics of the additional sanctions have been sparse. German CEO warnings over blowback from economic sanctions… the “nonsense” of replacing Russian gas with US gasthe Russian warnings of “interdependence” and “boomerangs”… all reduce the West’s arsenal of financial sanctions. But, as The Times of London reports, perhaps the US has found a crucial pain point for Putin – a sanctions regime that would target Putin’s personal wealth, which includes a reported $40 billion stashed in Swiss bank accounts.

As The Hill reports,

The White House on Friday refused to comment on reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal wealth could be targeted if the West were to move ahead with additional sanctions over Ukraine.

I’m not going to get into foreshadowing particular individuals or entities that the United States may target,” national security adviser Susan Rice told reporters at the White House. “But let me just say we’ve been clear that there are additional individuals, officials, close associates of senior leadership, oligarchs and those entities that they are associated with that remain very much potential targets of additional sanctions.”

The Times of London reported Friday that the U.S. was preparing a sanctions regime that would target Putin’s personal wealth, which includes a reported $40 billion stashed in Swiss bank accounts.

Putin’s actual holdings are a tightly held secret, and the extent of his holdings are difficult to estimate. But a threat of trying to freeze the Russian president’s personal assets could have played a role in a deal brokered Thursday by foreign ministers from the U.S., Ukraine, Russia and European Union.

Perhaps it is worth remembering Putin’s response from last week’s Q&A

 Putin was asked why the US can do whatever it wants and no one punishes them, while attempts are being made to punish Russia.

“The US is certainly one of the world’s leaders. At some point it seemed that it was the only leader and a uni-polar system was in place. Today it appears that is not the case. Everything in the world is interdependent and once you try to punish someone, in the end you will cut off your nose to spite your face,” he said.

Though we are sure Obama and his team have considered all the intended and unintended consequences of any such actions.

Zerohedge

Warrantless bag searches become ubiquitous for Boston subway, bus travelers

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BOSTON, MA — Warrantless bag searches at have become commonplace at travel checkpoints in Boston as concerns for Homeland Security have overridden citizens’ right to be free of unreasonable searches.  Travelers are forced to “security inspections” of their handbags, briefcases, and other personal possessions.

Large signs indicate that public spaces under the authority of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) are void of privacy rights.  The first bullet point on one of the signs displayed the following:

For the protection and the security of the riding public, all persons choosing to use the MBTA transit system will be subject to security inspections of their handbags, briefcases, and/or other carry on items.

The signage goes on to claim that all persons will be stopped and searched and that declining a search will result in an order to leave the station.  Those who object will be arrested and charged with trespassing — on public property — which could result in a $100 fine and up to 30 days in jail.

A handout indicates "MBTA property" to be a 4th Amendment Free Zone.  (Source: Bay State Examiner)

The Bay State Examiner published a video of one of the checkpoints, located in the Chinatown area, which was staffed by approximately half a dozen armed, badge-carrying checkpoint officers.  Individuals from a group called “Defend the 4th” [Amendment] entered the subway station and asked the officers a few questions.

When an individual asked the checkpoint sentries whether they had warrants to conduct any of the bag searches, the leader grew annoyed and insisted that searching bags was legal and had been accepted as legal by the SJC (Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts).  The officer then insisted he citizens move along or leave the station — located on public property.

Of course the courts have upheld warrantless searches in public; no one ever believed that a police state could be erected without the complicity of all three branches of government.  The courts have tolerated a constant erosion of essential rights for a long time.  The enforcers bypass critical questions about their oaths by passing off their constitutional responsibilities to another branch of government.

But we must ask, if the 4th Amendment isn’t applicable on public property, where is it applicable?

A sign in a Boston metro warns travelers that they have no rights on public property. (Source: Bay State Examiner / YouTube)

The signs and the literature explain that the checkpoints have been installed because of concerns raised by Department of Homeland Security.  Searching purses and luggage is the government’s solution to combating terrorism.

Yet isn’t the subversion of liberty exactly what a true terrorist would wish upon his enemies?  Isn’t the existence of checkpoints across the USA an indication that the “terrorists” have won?

And what effectiveness do these checkpoints have at stopping an attack?  Would any committed terrorist be imbecilic enough to walk up to a bunch of cops in yellow vests and hand over evidence that would lead to his conviction? 

Here is the video of the Boston checkpoint for “Defend the 4th”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqjAHkmwVG8&feature=player_embedded

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Shots Fired As Troops Land At Ukraine Airport

Ukrainian troops defy pro-Russian separatists and take control of an air base in the eastern city of Kramatorsk.

Airborne troops have landed at an airport in the eastern city of Kramatorsk as Ukraine launches an “anti-terrorist operation” against pro-Russian separatists.

Shots rang out from inside the air base after Ukrainian troops disembarked from two military helicopters.

Ukraine’s Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov says troops have taken control of the facility.

Reuters reported that the troops withdrew into barracks at the airport following a “scuffle” with several hundred pro-Russian protesters.

Russian news reports initially said up to 11 people were in clashes at the base, however Ukraine’s defense ministry says none of its troops were killed or injured.

An Ukrainian soldier aims his rifle at pro-Russia protesters gathered in front of an Ukrainian airbase in Kramatorsk
Armed soldiers gather at the airport in Kramatorsk

The Ukrainian state security service announced that a similar operation was launched in the town of Slaviansk, some 12 miles away.

The two cities are among 10 locations in the Russian-speaking east where separatist rebellions have broken out.

Video footage emerged on Tuesday of a group of separatists stopping a Ukrainian tank and questioning its crew near the village of Rodinskoye.

Mr Turchynov has accused Russia of harboring “brutal plans” to destabilize the region by backing separatists and refusing to force them to stand down.

“The plans of the Russian Federation were and remain brutal,” he said.

“They want not only for Donbass (Donetsk region), but for the whole south and east of Ukraine to be engulfed by fire.”

Pro-Russian separatists seize buildings
Unrest has broken out in several cities across eastern Ukraine

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Ukraine was on the verge of civil war.

“I will be brief: Ukraine is on the brink of civil war, it’s frightening,” he said.

The White House is “seriously considering” new sanctions against Russia and says its supports Ukrainian efforts to restore law and order in the country’s east.

“The Ukrainian government has the responsibility to provide law and order and these provocations in eastern Ukraine are creating a situation in which the government has to respond,” spokesman Jay Carney said.

He added that the Washington continues to plan to participate in talks scheduled for Thursday between the Russian and Ukrainian governments, the US and the European Union, Mr. Carney added.

UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CRISIS-POLITICS-SLAVYANSK
Armed men stand guard outside a seized building in Slavyansk

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has welcomed the talks, but said any Ukrainian military action in the east could jeopardize the negotiations.

“You can’t send in tanks and at the same time hold talks, and the use of force would sabotage the opportunity offered by the four-party negotiations in Geneva,” he said.

Meanwhile, two pro-Russian politicians have been attacked by pro-Western activists as tensions remain high.

Oleh Tsaryov, a candidate in the presidential elections on May 25, was pelted with eggs and beaten as he left a TV studio in Kiev on Tuesday.

Mikhaylo Dobkin, another Russian-leaning politician, was sprayed with a green disinfectant on Monday night.

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