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Alternate Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas, “we can pay our obligations”

Alternate Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas said that the government was attempting to reach a deal in negotiations with its creditors but that, if one was not found, other solutions could be brought into play…like maybe Tsipras trip to Moscow?

Alex Christoforou

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In an interview with Skai TV, Alternate Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas said Athens was intent on meeting its debt obligations on time but also on retaining the required reserves. Regarding all the chatter about a possible Greek exit from the eurozone, Mardas described it as “a virtual reality” scenario.

Mardas…

  • The government would draft a new mid-term program which would adopt spending and revenue targets to the provisions of a new deal.
  • Rules out the possibility of the contents of safety deposit boxes at banks being opened to be taxed.
  • Greeks should declare their assets.
  • “On the basis of current data, we can pay our obligations.”
  • Conclusions being reached abroad about the state of the Greek economy “use other hypotheses and research than the ones we use.”
  • Only Greece’s General Accounting Office knows the real figures.”

And just in case things go from bad to worse with Greece’s creditors, their is always Moscow.

Ekathimerini reports…

The aides of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the Greek and Russian embassies in Moscow and Athens, are feverishly preparing for a scheduled visit by Tsipras to the Russian capital on April 8 and 9 which the Greek government hopes will serve to significantly upgrade bilateral ties.

According to a well-informed source, Tsipras is expected to seek agreement for a “road map” of initiatives on the political and economic levels.

Talks are expected to touch on several topics of bilateral interest, including “commercial and financial cooperation, investments, energy, tourism and cooperation in matters of education and culture,” according to Tsipras’s office. Other topics on the agenda include “the relationship between Russia and the European Union, as well as regional and international issues.”

Tsipras is expected to emphasize Greece’s respect for its commitments as a member of the European Union and NATO on the one hand while underlining his conviction that the European Union’s “security architecture” should include Russia. Amid European concerns about Greece’s position vis-a-vis EU sanctions against Russia, Greek officials have sought to offer reassurances, suggesting that Athens will not actively oppose the EU line. But sources close to Tsipras said the government will continue to express its disagreement with sanctions as a policy.

As for a likely bilateral cooperation in the energy sector, a high-ranking government source told Kathimerini that Greece “will reassure the Russians, not the Westerners.” According to sources, Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis has already agreed in principle to a proposal made by the head of Russian giant Gazprom, Alexey Miller, for a new gas pipeline through Turkey to be extended through Greek territory. The plan foresees the creation of a consortium in which Greece’s Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) would play a key role along with Russian funds and possibly also European clients of Gazprom, Kathimerini understands.

References:

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_03/04/2015_548786

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite2_1_03/04/2015_548792

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Trump Rips Steele For Using “Low Ratings” CNN ‘Citizen Journalist’ Article As Dossier Source

Trump also ripped the late Arizona Senator John McCain on Sunday.

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Via Zerohedge


President Trump ripped Christopher Steele after it was revealed that the former British spy used a ‘citizen journalist’ article from CNN’s now-defunct ‘iReports’ website as part of his research.

“Christopher Steele backed up his Democrat & Crooked Hillary paid for Fake & Unverified Dossier with information he got from “send in watchers” of low ratings CNN. This is the info that got us the Witch Hunt!”

Of note, it was actually Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos telling Australian diplomat Alexander Downer that Russia had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton which reportedly launched the “Witch Hunt.” That said, let’s also remember that it was Maltese professor and self-professed member of the Clinton Foundation, Joseph Mifsud, who told Papadopoulos of the supposed Russian intel in the first place. Some have referred to it as an entrapment scheme.

CNN iReport?

Steele made the awkward revelation during a deposition last year in a case involving Russian entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev, who claims his companies Webzilla and XBT Holdings were defamed by Steele after the dossier was published by BuzzFeed.

Steele was asked during the deposition how he verified allegations about Gubarev’s companies and whether he found “anything of relevance concerning Webzilla,” according to the newly released transcripts of the deposition.

“We did. It was an article I have got here which was posted on July 28, 2009, on something called CNN iReport,” Steele said. –Fox News

CNN iReport, which is long gone, was clearly disclaimed as a “user-generated site,” warning that “the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked or screened before they post.”

As Fox notes, even the site’s banner included the slogan “Unedited. Unfiltered. News.” and made clear that users who submit content do not work for CNN.

Except super-spy Steele apparently missed that fact, or didn’t care, as part of his ‘extensive’ research…

“Do you understand that CNN iReports are or were nothing more than any random individuals’ assertions on the internet?” an examiner asked Steele.

“No, I obviously presume that if it is on a CNN site that it may has [sic] some kind of CNN status. Albeit that it may be an independent person posting on the site,” Steele replied.

Trump rips McCain

Trump also ripped the late Arizona Senator John McCain (R) on Sunday, tweeting that it was “just proven in court papers” that “last in his class” McCain sent Steele’s dossier to media outlets in the hopes that they would print it prior to the 2016 US election.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted: “Spreading the fake and totally discredited Dossier “is unfortunately a very dark stain against John McCain.” Ken Starr, Former Independent Counsel. He had far worse “stains” than this, including thumbs down on repeal and replace after years of campaigning to repeal and replace!”

In response Meghan McCain fired back with her own Tweet, saying “no one will ever love you the way they loved my father.”

Which is interesting, because it seems that McCain was generally disliked – particularly by Democrats – until he came out against Trump.

After Trump’s Sunday tweet, McCain replied “My father lives rent free in your head.”

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Even a Vacuous Mueller Report Won’t End ‘Russiagate’

Too many reputations and other interests are vested in the legend for it to vanish from American politics anytime soon.

Stephen Cohen

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Authored by Stephen Cohen via The Nation:


Russiagate allegations that the Kremlin has a subversive hold over President Trump, and even put him in the White House, have poisoned American political life for almost three years. Among other afflictions, it has inspired an array of media malpractices, virtually criminalized anti–Cold War thinking about Russia, and distorted the priorities of the Democratic Party. And this leaves aside the woeful impact Russiagate has had in Moscow—on its policymakers’ perception of the US as a reliable partner on mutually vital strategic issues and on Russian democrats who once looked to the American political system as one to be emulated, a loss of “illusions” I previously reported.

Contrary to many expectations, even if the Mueller report, said to be impending, finds, as did a Senate committee recently, “no direct evidence of conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia,” Russiagate allegations are unlikely to dissipate in the near future and certainly not before the 2020 presidential election.

There are several reasons this is so, foremost among them the following:

  1. The story of a “Kremlin puppet” in the White House is so fabulous and unprecedented it is certain to become a tenacious political legend, as have others in American history despite the absence of any supporting evidence.
  2. The careers of many previously semi-obscure Democratic members of Congress have been greatly enhanced—if that is the right word—by their aggressive promotion of Russiagate. (Think, for example, of the ubiquitous media coverage and cable-television appearances awarded to Representatives Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, and Maxine Walters, and to Senators Mark Warner and Richard Blumenthal.) If Mueller fails to report “collusion” of real political substance, these and other Russiagate zealots, as well as their supporters in the media, will need to reinterpret run-of-the-mill (and bipartisan) financial corruption and mundane “contacts with Russia” as somehow treasonous. (The financial-corruption convictions of Paul Manafort, Mueller’s single “big win” to date, did not charge “collusion” and had to do mainly with Ukraine, not Russia.) Having done so already, there is every reason to think Democrats will politicize these charges again, if only for the sake of their own careers. Witness, for example, the scores of summonses promised by Jerrold Nadler, the new Democratic chair of the House Judiciary Committee.
  3. Still worse, the top Democratic congressional leadership evidently has concluded that promoting the new Cold War, of which Russiagate has become an integral part, is a winning issue in 2020. How else to explain Nancy Pelosi’s proposal—subsequently endorsed by the equally unstatesmanlike Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, and adopted—to invite the secretary general of NATO, a not-very-distinguished Norwegian politician named Jens Stoltenberg, to address a joint session of Congress? The honor was once bestowed on figures such as Winston Churchill and at the very least leaders of actual countries. Trump has reasonably questioned NATO’s mission and costs nearly 30 years after the Soviet Union disappeared, as did many Washington think tanks and pundits back in the 1990s. But for Pelosi and other Democratic leaders, there can be no such discussion, only valorization of NATO, even though the military alliance’s eastward expansion has brought the West to the brink of war with nuclear Russia. Anything Trump suggests must be opposed, regardless of the cost to US national security. Will the Democrats go to the country in 2020 as the party of investigations, subpoenas, Russophobia, and escalating cold war—and win?

Readers of my new book War With Russia?, which argues that there are no facts to support the foundational political allegations of Russiagate, may wonder how, then, Russiagate can continue to be such a major factor in our politics. As someone has recently pointed out, the Democrats and their media are now operating on the Liberty Valance principle: When the facts are murky or nonexistent, “print the legend.”

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The Surrealism of the Information War

It is money that shapes the global mainstream discourse in television, radio, newspapers and social media.

Gilbert Mercier

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Authored by Gilbert Mercier, via News Junkie Post…


The flow of knowledge and information is commonly considered the main vector of humanity’s progress through history. One would think that in our era, which is rightly called the time of the information super-highway, the sheer mass of information available to all humans, anywhere at any given time, would have exponentially increased our understanding of our world and each other. This is, however, not the case. As a matter of fact, paradoxically, one can easily argue that an overload of information has made the majority of people not more but less knowledgeable, less critical, more isolated, and more alienated from themselves and each other. The control and manipulation of narrative in the era of the information war has created a universal malaise that reaches even basic human issues such as masculine-feminine identities.

Well-compensated propagandists package information and ideas like products for mass consumption. The advance of technology was supposed to free mankind; instead it has created invisible chains. The fact of being constantly wired is an assault on our free will and cognitive functions, which behavioral information warriors study and harvest, to put them in giant blenders where all comes out inoffensive and predictable. The goal is to turn the rich and diverse human experience into a tasteless and colorless intellectual mush, and then make it palatable with artificial additives. Foie gras is considered a French gastronomic delicacy. It is nevertheless a form of cultural perversity. In the process, the geese are force-fed, to provoke a cirrhosis of their liver. In many ways, the gatekeepers of mainstream information use the same force feeding technique with people’s brains.

Unless people tightly lock themselves mentally into the delusions of dogmas, either religious or ideological, and seek comfort in a universe of magical thinking, the truth is never an absolute. This being said, in order to allow an acceptable level of conviviality in human society, thinkers should seek truth in the subjective reality while knowing that the holy grail of pure truth is the ultimate lie. If one would be so naive or foolish enough to think he has found the absolute truth, looking at it would be like staring straight into the sun at midday, without shields and with eyes wide open, for a full hour. In the process, the believer of absolute truth would go blind.

For anyone who is neither blind nor fully color blind, the distinction between a red object and a green one is not only instantaneous but also unquestionable. The difference between green and red is not open to interpretation or debate. It is in the rare realm of tangible facts.

Staying in the field of the color spectrum: all hues of green in the natural world are a secondary color that can be obtained by mixing the primary colors yellow and blue. Green can be argued endlessly to contain more yellow than blue, or vice versa, as well as a fraction of black, white, or brown to alter the shades and tones. In nature or on an artist’s palette, there are countless shades of green and our perception of these shades, while it can be analyzed and quantified scientifically, is largely subjective.

Colors, just like words, have an emotional impact. Hospital walls and other medical facilities are often painted in light tones of greenish-blue, for their soothing effect on people. Bright red has the opposite impact. It is used to attract maximum attention either from traffic lights, bull fights or firetrucks. And so greens are the calming hues of nature and relaxation, whereas reds are synonymous with alarm, blood, excitement, and sometimes the anger and urgency of an adrenaline rush, as illustrated by the popular expression “seeing red.”

The near-infinite range of the color spectrum is similar to the countless narratives expressed by languages. In linguistics, words and their clumsy or astute associations are used to convey information or emotions. Like colors, words carry messages, fragments of information that impact people differently and cannot be objectively quantified. It’s all “in the eye of the beholder.”

One can make an analogy between the false notion of an absolute truth and the vanishing point in a perspective drawing. A vanishing point is an optical illusion, just like the concept of pure truth is a cognitive illusion. In our surreal predicament of fake-news for some, which are true-news for others, it is as if we have moved into an absurd and nightmarish three-dimensional drawing with a multitude of vanishing points designed by the generals of the global information wars.

The people who conduct the information war are numerous. They can be the global media moguls like Rupert Murdoch; the journalists employed by corporate entities or governments; the policymakers who build a considerable influence within countless so-called think-tanks; the elected politicians and their cohorts of advisers and lobbyists; the super-rich businessmen, philanthropists in their own eyes, such as Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Bob Mercer, George Soros and Pierre Omidyar, who want to impact world affairs; and even show-business celebrities. All have deep pockets and want maximum impact in the fight to shape the discourse and steer public opinion, often globally, in the directions that suit their specific needs.

Unless they are ideologues, the information warriors are mercenaries. Therefore it is money that shapes the global mainstream discourse in television, radio, newspapers and social media. Independent or dissident narratives are generally squashed by a lack of public exposure. The money talks and writes as the viewer-readers, hypnotized by a multitude of screens, become mere consumers to be sold, convinced, or subliminally seduced into a specific mindset. The job of the information warriors is to observe, condition, and predict behaviors. In this massive brainwash of the public, big money is at the same time the washing machine and laundry detergent.

Gates and Soros openly sponsor the prime fake-left publication, The Guardian; Bezos owns The Washington Post; and the Murdoch press empire’s crown jewel is Fox News. Other information warriors who claim to know the truth are on the fringe, at least in appearance. This is the case for media provocateur Alex Jones, who has claimed in court to be a performance artist, but who is nonetheless adulated by millions worldwide and treated like a Guru of truthful information. Jones runs, with his trademark manic energy, the raucous populist far-right conspiracy-theory laced Infowars. Mercer’s money gave birth to the populist far-right site Breitbart. Meanwhile Omidyar sponsors the soft-left, so-called progressive publication, The Intercept. All these lead information warriors want to take as many people as will follow them to their own vanishing points, on a journey towards their illusionary truth.

In their confusion and thirst for truth, people get caught like flies on tasty propaganda glue. The intricate labyrinths built by the information warriors prevent the real discourse, which should be about how to survive the imminent systemic collapse of global capitalism. It cannot be otherwise when global corporate imperialism itself controls the discourse worldwide. Hypnotized by a myriad of vanishing points, humans might be on a course to vanish.


Editor’s NotesGilbert Mercier is the author of The Orwellian Empire. Composites one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and ten by Ube; composite eight by Jared Rodriguez; lithograph nine from the archive of Monceau.

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