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German supermarket chain busted airbrushing Greek cross from yogurt packaging

German supermarket chain, Lidl, edits Christian symbols from Greek product packaging.

Alex Christoforou

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Santorini’s beautiful blue domed Greek churches seem to offend German low cost supermarket chain Lidl.

The German discount chain has been busted airbrushing Christianity out of Greek churches.

According to The Gateway Pundit, the controversy arose when Belgian media outlet, RTL, was contacted by a Lidl customer annoyed that the brand would choose to erase, on its packaging, such an important part of the Greek landscape and culture.

Lidl responded to the negative publicity with the standard “respect for diversity” message. We wonder if Lidl would dare to airbrush crescent moons from photos of minarets.

A spokesperson for Lidl explained to RTL…

“We are a company that respects diversity and this explains the concept behind the packaging.’’

The spokesperson added that the company avoids the use of religious symbols on its packaging to remain neutral. The chain sells halal products, however, which bear Islamic symbols as part of their packaging.

Via The Gateway Pundit

The iconic image is known the world over; brilliant white stone buildings atop a cliffside village on the volcanic Greek Isle of Santorini, the bright blue domes of an orthodox church contrasting with the dark volcanic rock of this ‘’honeymoon’’ island in the Aegean Sea.

No surprise then that the emblematic image is used in the marketing of Greek tourism and products around the world, from cruise lines to Greek yogurt.

One such enterprise using the famed Santorini landscape to market its products is European supermarket giant, Lidl. The German discount chain uses the image on packaging for a range of Greek products, with one difference from reality – the crosses have been deliberately removed from the blue-domed church in Lidl’s version of the iconic image.

Known for its competitor-beating prices, the no-frills brand is a hit with bargain hunters, having become a staple of the retail landscape in recent years.

Operating 10,000 stores in Europe, Lidl has recently expanded to the United States, with supermarkets opening at multiple East Coast locations this summer. An initial 100 US stores are in the pipeline.

If the image of a tiny cross atop a church is so offensive that it would need to be erased by a marketing department, perhaps those who respect the cross – and its centuries old presence on the historical landscape – should start voting with their pocketbooks?

Contacted by The Gateway Pundit this afternoon, Lidl UK’s Press Office expressed regret for the controversy and stated that all feedback received on the matter would be taken into consideration ahead of future redesigns.

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Terry Ross
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Terry Ross

What about Christians who may be offended by “halal” marking on meat products signifying a cruel religious method of killing the animal?

christianblood
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christianblood

Christians are not offended by the name “halal” on products and they shouldn’t be. Did you ever see supermarkets rubbing the word “halal” off their products so as not to offend Christians??? The fault belongs to Germans and the rest of the politically-correct Western societies who sees the holy Cross as offensive while they are promoting all kinds of other religious symbols and other cultures and even glorifying the moral perversion they know as “LGBTQ”. The West is Evil and Anti-Christ to core!

Rastislav Veľká Morava
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Rastislav Veľká Morava

Čistá pravda. Sláva Bohu!

christianblood
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christianblood

Thank you! Glory to Christ!

Mr. Costelol
Guest
Mr. Costelol

In 1998, Klaus Kinkel told a Serbian religious delegating that they will continue chopping up Yugoslavia, and that Christianity has no role in future Europe. Today we bear the results of these elite scumbags.

schmenz
Guest
schmenz

Somehow I think that your average Muslim could care less if a cross was depicted on the package. I see two other possibilities at play here: one, the general hatred of global corporations against Christianity and, two, pressure from another powerful lobby that has been successfully erasing the Cross from the public square for over seventy years. One of those two, or both, would seem to be the main culprits.

christianblood
Guest
christianblood

Good point! I agree!

Tim Webb
Guest
Tim Webb

Please explain this reference to “another powerful lobby” for “Pantpurlais”‘s benefit, should he be reading. I wonder if Lidl’s will also erase the kosher sign from their products, so as to avoid offending EVERYBODY. Somehow, I doubt. For the avoidance of doubt, nothing bearing the “729” bar code should be bought, unless you agree with the murder and brutalization of Palestinians by this antichrist nation of thieves and liars. And I confirm that Lidl’s are hated by their employees; my friend who is a manager at the gym I go to started off working for them, and took more money… Read more »

DarkEyes
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DarkEyes

And maybe the way they are handling their employees, they might also handle their suppliers in a comparable way.

Tim Webb
Guest
Tim Webb

It will all be very brutal, behind the scenes.
But I see they are expanding with 1000 new stores to the US.

ubon thai massage
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ubon thai massage

I do not believe it is the “Germans”, but some “Germans” in management that have been
given a mandate.
If these self proclaimed “enlightened ones” wanted to show their diversity, they should
discard their Mercedes, Bentleys, Rolls Royces, Porsches and BMWs, and start driving to work and play in vehicle based on patents and engieering out of the Maghreb. They should
not be climbing into such Western Manufactured Vehicles. It is disrespectful to those in African lands that deliver products of an equal or even superior quality.

RR.

Tim Webb
Guest
Tim Webb

Most of those vehicles have green teeth, bad breath, and a very nasty attitude.

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

Religion, especially that of the Fatican, is straight out of hell. Christianity is an individual relationship betwixt man or woman and their Creator, not a man controlled, religious hierarchy, whose main aim is to make lots of money, by imposing man made doctrines and dogma, Spiritual slavery, on their congregations. It is suggested that the muslim religion was started by the Jesuits, only about 4-500 years ago. Homosexual acceptance, physically, which types the Spiritual, is portrayed through the evil increase of worship of Mary, rather than Jesus, and how the denominations have replaced Jesus Christ, God, man, with a female… Read more »

DarkEyes
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DarkEyes

IMO, not a religion but a big money exercise. The Fatican Company is the richest and one of the most powerful business organizations on this planet. I do not know the situation on the other planets but it is for sure on this one.
Buying your seat in “heaven”, or “make your reservation” for a place in “heaven”.

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

Absolutely accurate.
Religions, all of them, are power hungry control mechanisms, using FEAR of the afterlife as a means to subjugate ignorant masses, and has been utilized thus since the beginning of time.
People who buy “seats in Heaven”, may be in for a nasty surprise once they step out of this dimension, into the next, which is a faster frequency. The concept of Heaven, for many, is a state of mind, sold to the suckers, for cash, when, in fact, it is without price, made available to all who are predestinated, according to the Bible.

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

Much appreciated. Thanks, John

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

It is encouraging to see how many citizens are finally standing up, for Truth, who are realizing that ‘RELIGION’ is the enemy’s greatest weapon against Believers.
Historically, going back to the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, it was replacing God’s Word with doctrines of the Beast, through his hybrid crop, that caused all the problem.
One little word, NOT, which deceived Eve. Gen.3:1-4
One can’t add to God’s Word, nor take from It, Eccl.3:14-18; Rev.22:18-19.
Satan, through his hybrid son, Cain, replaced God’s Word with teachings of man, the son of the beast.

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

Appreciate your accurate, relevant thoughts here, and what we are witnessing is an attack on our society, which originally was Christian. America was invaded by Christians fleeing persecution, martyrdom, particularly in Europe, at the hands of the Fatican, who admits to killing over 68,000,000 Christians, during the dark ages. (Facts of Our Faith) These saints, who refused to accept the pope as head of the Church, instead of Jesus Christ, were slaughtered in horrific ways, and a reading of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, especially, will reveal that to the reader. Sadly, Christianity was quickly infiltrated by satan and his hordes,… Read more »

Le Ruscino
Guest
Le Ruscino

How many Christian Suicide Bombers have there been lately ?

Put simply there are two different levels of not being able to take a joke going on here……..offending Islam, “The Religion of Peace” is bad for your health.

ubon thai massage
Guest
ubon thai massage

Have you ever peeked under the orange robes of those Buddhist Monks???
The majority are carrying at least 10 kilos of explosives.
R.

Tim Webb
Guest
Tim Webb

You’re forgetting the kosher sign, Terry.
I am realising more and more that islam is simply the uneducated scion of judaism, from whence all evil springs.
All their attitudes are the same.
Dare one say; islam was created by the jew to foster ill-will between the Gentiles.
Which he has succeeded in doing, beyond his wildest dreams.

englishvinal
Guest
englishvinal

I do SO agree~!!!! There is about as much deep difference between the Muslims & the Jews as there is between Democrats & Republicans….
The INTENT is exactly the same…. pretend to fight each other and keep everybody occupied with the clashing of swords….. and undermine the REAL enemy of both ugly factions… those heritics, infidels, unbelievers…
And it is all about the “unbelievers”/infidels… not about “christianity”…

(As old Smirky Bush said “If you-all ain’t WITH us you-all is AGAINST us”….. )

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

Not bad!. And maybe very true.

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

Islam is not the enemy, it is the Fatican.
The muslim mercenaries, trained armies, are just doing what they are told, behind the limelight, by those planning the One World Religion, one world government, cashless society, the Beast who sits on seven hills, professing to be God.

Tim Webb
Guest
Tim Webb

Pre-dating the Vatican; of course, the eternal jew.
And post-dating it, the children of Ishmael, who spent a thousand years attacking its empire of darkness.

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

Correct, the children of Ishmael, who was of their father, the devil, through Cain.
Cain was of his father, the devil, not, as most believe, of Adam.
True Israel, the lineage genetic through Isaac, will number the 144,000 who make up the small remnant, all the rest are cannon fodder.

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

Just as a matter of interest, as we consider the end of Gentile time, how do you see the fulfillment of Mal.4:5-6?
Few ministers have been heard ministering on this Scripture, and most are confused about the difference betwixt Mal.3:1, which is fulfilled through John’s witness, of Jesus’ first coming, and the Angel who precedes His Second Coming?
It is to the Gentiles, not Israel, and how can such an important Scripture be ignored for so long?

Tim Webb
Guest
Tim Webb

You are way ahead of me on these things, John. My knowledge of scripture, especially prophetic scripture, is very poor, and I have never really got to grips with it, except in the simplest of ways. There seem to be as many interpretations of it as there are ministers elaborating upon it. But I adore Malachi 4, and in fact committed it to memory. All I get from this is that there is coming a great Judgement on the children of men, and the wheat will be separated from the chaff, and the chaff burned up with unquenchable fire. Dramatic… Read more »

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

We are all in a learning curve; there is none of us that can do more than encourage each other to observe and partake of the ever unfolding Word. As John the Baptist’s ministry preceded Christ’s First coming, Mal.3:1, the ministry of Mal.4:5-6 precedes His second coming. “Jesus the Christ, the same, yesterday, today and forever.” Heb.13:8 Mal.4:5-6 refers to the coming of a prophetic ministry, in the Spirit of Elijah, which will be used, of God, Amos3:7, to fore-run His Second coming. The Lord Jesus, identified John as fulfilling Mal.3:1, that John had the Spirit of Elijah on him.… Read more »

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

Yes, behind all the global grief we find the Fatican, and, even deeper, the children of Ishmael, the Kazarian Jews, who believe they are the chosen race, who should run the world. What will be interesting is how the K.Jews and the Fatican sort out who is really boss!

Tim Webb
Guest
Tim Webb

I think you will find that behind the cassocks and the Dagon fish hats, we have a collection of circumcisees.

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

Yes, that is some regard as Serpent Seed, the children of the devil, as the Lord Jesus described the Pharisees and Sadducees, to which they responded they were not illegitimate, which seems a strange response, unless they already knew who their father was?

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

Clever pun, bro. Tim, love it!

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

What we find is that the muslims are descendants of Abram, through his concubines, who have been striving to destroy the pure seed, the children of Isaac, ever since. Isaac was, by inheritance, the only one to receive the inheritance from Abraham. Gen. 21:12; 24:36; “But to the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave them gifts and sent them away from Isaac, his son.” 25:5 There can never be peace betwixt true Israel and the other children of Abraham, which explains why there is such a mess in the Middle East; it can never be resolved in… Read more »

Tim Webb
Guest
Tim Webb

It goes deeper. The promise was not to a worldly seed, but to a spiritual. The jews made the mistake of thinking that they were the true children of Abraham, through the flesh, as you say. But the Lord Jesus Christ told them that God was “able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” They didn’t like hearing this. This led them to understand that they were nothing special. Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, were none of them justified through their blood lineage, but through faith alone. Abraham is not spoken of as being the Father of the… Read more »

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

You display a depth of Revelation not common amongst many calling themselves Christians. Thank you for your lucid explanation of the separation betwixt the Spiritual Seed, through Isaac, and the children of the wicked one, who were fathered through Cain. Jesus told the Pharisees and Sadducees they were of their father, the devil, didn’t He? Yes, the true Church is the temple of the living God, clearly shown in Col.1:27, “Christ IN you, the hope of glory.” The Bride of Jesus Christ is the Word manifest in this day, called out for the catching away of 1Thes,4:15-16, before the Tribulation,… Read more »

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

FAITH, “We are saved through FAITH, not works, lest any man should boast.” Totally agree with you on that statement. Israel, who are under a different dispensation, are waiting still for their Messiah, but, what they get is two prophets, Moses and Elijah, who will preach Christ and Him crucified, to call out the Jewish elect. They will be martyred for their Faith, as the reality of Jesus being their Messiah, who they, for the sake of the Gentiles, murdered, and will weep, every family alone, as they realize they completely missed His first coming. Their eyes were blinded, that… Read more »

Tim Webb
Guest
Tim Webb

The problem is many-fold.
They may have a red heifer, but they do not have the Ark of the Covenant.
And even if they do have this, as Ron Wyatt implied they might; then they do not have the genealogies of the Levites, which were destroyed in 70 AD; so nobody is legally qualified to carry out the sacrifices; which as already stated, were ended with the perfect sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary anyway.
All is confusion, as we expect when we follow the traditions of men, instead of the eternal and abiding Word of God.

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

Appreciate your thoughts on the Word.
Yes, what you state here is spot on, but, fortunately, as a Gentile, a member of God’s very elect, according to His Word, I, as the others, will not be here to witness what happens once the catching away takes place.
For, then, the Word goes back to Israel, as God does not deal with Israel and the Gentiles at the same time.
That is what the Gentile dispensation is all about, and, once the Word goes back to Israel, there is no Grace available for the foolish virgin.

Tim Webb
Guest
Tim Webb

The theology, I feel, is quite confused on this matter. In God’s eyes, there is only one Elect, ie that of the believers. Now these can be either jew or Christian; all are one; and as such, I do not consider that a differentiation is made between them; either today, or indeed, during the OT times. “But he is a Jew that is one inwardly”. All were, and still are, judged entirely on their faith, or lack thereof. The old dispensation, which appeared to rest on blood and race and land; but never did, has been thrown aside. Paul also… Read more »

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

Some suggest that it is the theology, the scholars, the religious experts, which have really missed the mark, as did the Pharisees, and are the core of the problem, where man has striven to out think God, because, as the point was made by you, previously, we are saved by FAITH, not works, lest any man should boast. Check Rom.3:1-29 to see there are two, one under Law, the other under Grace. Scripture forbids personal interpretation, doesn’t IT, 2Pet.1:20? Has it not been changing the Word of God by which we have accumulated the grief, chaos, the coming Judgement? Eccl.3:14-18;… Read more »

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

One little aside on that statement, bro. Tim.
Each of the Gentile church ages had an elect, those called out to follow the freshly unfolding Word, in each of the six church ages.
But, in this, at the end of the Laodicean age, Christ returns, opens the seven seals on His Book, and here, in Mat.24:24, is the only Scriptural reference to the VERY Elect.
The bride for this day, are typed with Enoch, do not taste death, and is caught away, to meet our Lord, in the air, whilst the foolish virgin have to die for their Faith.

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

Well said, Mr. Ross. The barbaric methods of animal slaughter for meat is cruel, should not allowed in any nation, particularly one which is supposed to be “CIVILIZED”, and why are we, the citizens, letting such practices invade our nations? Talk about religious persecution, it is we, the Christian nations, which are being persecuted, victimized, perverted by those who are intent on forcing us all to accept and live under Sharia Law. Is that what you want for your children? Why, curiously, do we, the white fellas, allow any invading forces, of the muslim religion, to destroy our culture, our… Read more »

Dot
Guest
Dot

If one reads the reviews submitted by employees, this company is absolutely one of those you never want to work for. Not a single positive review from employees.

Luboš Motl
Guest

Here in Czechia, where the crosses were also erased during the Greek week – and they were actually missing at products’ packages at least since Summer 2013 (and at big photographs of Santorini in the fliers since 2014) – the revelation caused a huge scandal. All major media ran several stories about it, thousands of angry comments were posted. Search for “Lidl supermarket chain desecrated churches† in Greece” for some info, links, parodies etc.

ubon thai massage
Guest
ubon thai massage

Ahoj Luboš,
My daughter’s Czechish is much more fluent than her English.
(My daughter is from my last marriage. I also met my present wife in
Czechia) (Nemecke Doma)
a Dobry Vecer,
RR.

Constantine
Guest
Constantine

What the hell is wrong with these people? Political correctness has become a pathological mental condition. And the most ridiculous thing of all in this fiasco is that very few non-Christians who would buy the product would be bothered by the natural presence of crosses on top of a church.

Almost certainly a case of projection by PC freaks.

englishvinal
Guest
englishvinal

BOYCOTT… do not purchase. VOTE with the only thing that matters to these reptilian sods.. MONEY.

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

Boycott? No problem. As I’ve said in my comment 5 minutes ago, their products are a sham and god knows what they are really selling you. I couldn’t eat a thing bought from there.

Tim Webb
Guest
Tim Webb

I always remember an amusing incident from a few years ago.
I said I shopped at Lidl; someone said they couldn’t possibly eat their products.
I had brought in a particularly good bar of chocolate they used to sell; it was dark chocolate with one side being coffee flavoured.
I left it on the desk, half eaten.
When I came back, the rest had gone.
Guess who.

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

Ah, that is not good enough. Their products is not the problem, they are according their German standards which are quite high in quality. It is the weakness of their management be oppressed by a CDU Green Red government to get away with chistian signs. It is the logical path of Merkel who is pretty busy to get rid of the nation “Germany” for SHE wants to merge the five EU Euro Zone countries (the more or less rich ones) as one nucleus european area. (NOT as a new State!), as a starter. Later on if this succeeds and she… Read more »

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

I visited a Lidl for the first and last time a few weeks ago, not to shop for myself. I am aware of the Lidl adverts on RT, that promote the very cheap prices of products. I was horrified to see that not one product I picked up disclosed where in the world it had been produced or grown. If you’re interested in the quality of what you eat and where it has come from, I wouldn’t shop there. The shop is a con. And much of their packaging is designed to look like well-known brands, which they are not.… Read more »

Tim Webb
Guest
Tim Webb

I buy their stuff all the time.
It is very good in every respect.
They have big instore bakeries now; and their croissants are particularly good.
But I despise them for erasing crosses from Greek churches.
This is really quite despicable.

Great Expectations
Guest
Great Expectations

Lidl is a heap of crap that sells rubbish and their PC rot isn’t going to affect me. I am devastated, however, to discover that John Lewis (which includes Waitrose) is to remove ‘boy’ ‘girl’ labels from children’s clothing to make them gender neutral! That boycott is going to affect me badly.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4845676/John-Lewis-ditches-boys-girls-labels-clothes.html#newcomment

DarkEyes
Guest
DarkEyes

About your excitement about the “Lidl”. IMO. a) First was the campaign against VW, Audi, Mercedes Benz and a little later against Porsche. This is obvious, isn’t it? Economical Warfare against Germany. b) We are in the middle of the Energy Warfare. This is obvious, isn’t it? Ecomical Warfare against Germany. c) Now it is time for the Evil Tongues to attack the German Food chain Lidl? Suddenly Lidl is “in a silence war” against christianity? Lidl is a billion Big Business, people. Do you think the Lidl Management is so stupid to use “taking away crosses from pictures” on… Read more »

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Airline wars heat up, as industry undergoes massive disruption (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 145.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the global commercial airline industry, which is undergoing massive changes, as competition creeps in from Russia and China.

Reuters reports that Boeing Co’s legal troubles grew as a new lawsuit accused the company of defrauding shareholders by concealing safety deficiencies in its 737 MAX planes before two fatal crashes led to their worldwide grounding.

The proposed class action filed in Chicago federal court seeks damages for alleged securities fraud violations, after Boeing’s market value tumbled by $34 billion within two weeks of the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX.

*****

According to the complaint, Boeing “effectively put profitability and growth ahead of airplane safety and honesty” by rushing the 737 MAX to market to compete with Airbus SE, while leaving out “extra” or “optional” features designed to prevent the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes.

It also said Boeing’s statements about its growth prospects and the 737 MAX were undermined by its alleged conflict of interest from retaining broad authority from federal regulators to assess the plane’s safety.

*****

Boeing said on Tuesday that aircraft orders in the first quarter fell to 95 from 180 a year earlier, with no orders for the 737 MAX following the worldwide grounding.

On April 5, it said it planned to cut monthly 737 production to 42 planes from 52, and was making progress on a 737 MAX software update to prevent further accidents.

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Via Zerohedge…

Step aside (fading) trade war with China: there is a new aggressor – at least according to the US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer – in town.

In a statement on the USTR’s website published late on Monday, the US fair trade agency announced that under Section 301 of the Trade Act, it was proposing a list of EU products to be covered by additional duties. And as justification for the incremental import taxes, the USTR said that it was in response to EU aircraft subsidies, specifically to Europea’s aerospace giant, Airbus, which “have caused adverse effects to the United States” and which the USTR estimates cause $11 billion in harm to the US each year

One can’t help but notice that the latest shot across the bow in the simmering trade war with Europe comes as i) Trump is reportedly preparing to fold in his trade war with China, punting enforcement to whoever is president in 2025, and ii) comes just as Boeing has found itself scrambling to preserve orders as the world has put its orderbook for Boeing 737 MAX airplanes on hold, which prompted Boeing to cut 737 production by 20% on Friday.

While the first may be purely a coincidence, the second – which is expected to not only slam Boeing’s financials for Q1 and Q2, but may also adversely impact US GDP – had at least some impact on the decision to proceed with these tariffs at this moment.

We now await Europe’s angry response to what is Trump’s latest salvo in what is once again a global trade war. And, paradoxically, we also expect this news to send stocks blasting higher as, taking a page from the US-China trade book, every day algos will price in imminent “US-European trade deal optimism.”

Below the full statement from the USTR (link):

USTR Proposes Products for Tariff Countermeasures in Response to Harm Caused by EU Aircraft Subsidies

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has found repeatedly that European Union (EU) subsidies to Airbus have caused adverse effects to the United States.  Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) begins its process under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to identify products of the EU to which additional duties may be applied until the EU removes those subsidies.

USTR is releasing for public comment a preliminary list of EU products to be covered by additional duties.  USTR estimates the harm from the EU subsidies as $11 billion in trade each year.  The amount is subject to an arbitration at the WTO, the result of which is expected to be issued this summer.

“This case has been in litigation for 14 years, and the time has come for action. The Administration is preparing to respond immediately when the WTO issues its finding on the value of U.S. countermeasures,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.  “Our ultimate goal is to reach an agreement with the EU to end all WTO-inconsistent subsidies to large civil aircraft.  When the EU ends these harmful subsidies, the additional U.S. duties imposed in response can be lifted.”

In line with U.S. law, the preliminary list contains a number of products in the civil aviation sector, including Airbus aircraft.  Once the WTO arbitrator issues its report on the value of countermeasures, USTR will announce a final product list covering a level of trade commensurate with the adverse effects determined to exist.

Background

After many years of seeking unsuccessfully to convince the EU and four of its member States (France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom) to cease their subsidization of Airbus, the United States brought a WTO challenge to EU subsidies in 2004. In 2011, the WTO found that the EU provided Airbus $18 billion in subsidized financing from 1968 to 2006.  In particular, the WTO found that European “launch aid” subsidies were instrumental in permitting Airbus to launch every model of its large civil aircraft, causing Boeing to lose sales of more than 300 aircraft and market share throughout the world.

In response, the EU removed two minor subsidies, but left most of them unchanged.  The EU also granted Airbus more than $5 billion in new subsidized “launch aid” financing for the A350 XWB.  The United States requested establishment of a compliance panel in March 2012 to address the EU’s failure to remove its old subsidies, as well as the new subsidies and their adverse effects.  That process came to a close with the issuance of an appellate report in May 2018 finding that EU subsidies to high-value, twin-aisle aircraft have caused serious prejudice to U.S. interests.  The report found that billions of dollars in launch aid to the A350 XWB and A380 cause significant lost sales to Boeing 787 and 747 aircraft, as well as lost market share for Boeing very large aircraft in the EU, Australia, China, Korea, Singapore, and UAE markets.

Based on the appellate report, the United States requested authority to impose countermeasures worth $11.2 billion per year, commensurate with the adverse effects caused by EU subsidies.  The EU challenged that estimate, and a WTO arbitrator is currently evaluating those claims

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Mueller report takes ‘Russian meddling’ for granted, offers no actual evidence

RT

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Via RT…


Special counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ report has cleared Donald Trump of ‘collusion’ charges but maintains that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Yet concrete evidence of that is nowhere to be seen.

The report by Mueller and his team, made public on Thursday by the US Department of Justice, exonerates not just Trump but all Americans of any “collusion” with Russia, “obliterating” the Russiagate conspiracy theory, as journalist Glenn Greenwald put it.

However, it asserts that Russian “interference” in the election did happen, and says it consisted of a campaign on social media as well as Russian military intelligence (repeatedly referred to by its old, Soviet-era name, GRU) “hacking” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the DNC, and the private email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta.

As evidence of this, the report basically offers nothing but Mueller’s indictment of “GRU agents,” delivered on the eve of the Helsinki Summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in what was surely a cosmic coincidence.

Indictments are not evidence, however, but allegations. Any time it looks like the report might be bringing up proof, it ends up being redacted, ostensibly to protect sources and methods, and out of concern it might cause “harm to an ongoing matter.”

‘Active measures’ on social media

Mueller’s report leads with the claim that the Internet Research Agency (IRA) ran an “active measures” campaign of social media influence. Citing Facebook and Twitter estimates, the report says this consisted of 470 Facebook accounts that made 80,000 posts that may have been seen by up to 126 million people, between January 2015 and August 2017 (almost a year after the election), and 3,814 Twitter accounts that “may have been” in contact with about 1.4 million people.

Those numbers may seem substantial but, as investigative journalist Gareth Porter pointed out in November 2018, they should be regarded against the background of 33 trillion Facebook posts made during the same period.

According to Mueller, the IRA mind-controlled the American electorate by spending “approximately $100,000” on Facebook ads, hiring someone to walk around New York City “dressed up as Santa Claus with a Trump mask,” and getting Trump campaign affiliates to promote “dozens of tweets, posts, and other political content created by the IRA.” Dozens!

Meanwhile, the key evidence against IRA’s alleged boss Evgeny Prigozhin is that he “appeared together in public photographs” with Putin.

Alleged hacking & release

The report claims that the GRU hacked their way into 29 DCCC computers and another 30 DNC computers, and downloaded data using software called “X-Tunnel.” It is unclear how Mueller’s investigators claim to know this, as the report makes no mention of them or FBI actually examining DNC or DCCC computers. Presumably they took the word of CrowdStrike, the Democrats’ private contractor, for it.

However obtained, the documents were published first through DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 – which the report claims are “fictitious online personas” created by the GRU – and later through WikiLeaks. What is Mueller’s proof that these two entities were “GRU” cutouts? In a word, this:

That the Guccifer 2.0 persona provided reporters access to a restricted portion of the DCLeaks website tends to indicate that both personas were operated by the same or a closely-related group of people.(p. 43)

However, the report acknowledges that the “first known contact” between Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks was on September 15, 2016 – months after the DNC and DCCC documents were published! Here we do get actual evidence: direct messages on Twitter obtained by investigators. Behold, these “spies” are so good, they don’t even talk – and when they do, they use unsecured channels.

Mueller notably claims “it is clear that the stolen DNC and Podesta documents were transferred from the GRU to WikiLeaks” (the rest of that sentence is redacted), but the report clearly implies the investigators do not actually know how. On page 47, the report says Mueller “cannot rule out that stolen documents were transferred to WikiLeaks through intermediaries who visited during the summer of 2016.”

Strangely, the report accuses WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange of making “public statements apparently designed to obscure the source” of the materials (p.48), notably the offer of a reward for finding the murderer of DNC staffer Seth Rich – even though this can be read as corroborating the intermediaries theory, and Assange never actually said Rich was his source.

The rest of Mueller’s report goes on to discuss the Trump campaign’s contacts with anyone even remotely Russian and to create torturous constructions that the president had “obstructed” justice by basically defending himself from charges of being a Russian agent – neither of which resulted in any indictments, however. But the central premise that the 22-month investigation, breathless media coverage, and the 448-page report are based on – that Russia somehow meddled in the 2016 election – remains unproven.

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Rumors of War: Washington Is Looking for a Fight

The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote.

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


It is depressing to observe how the United States of America has become the evil empire. Having served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and in the Central Intelligence Agency for the second half of the Cold War, I had an insider’s viewpoint of how an essentially pragmatic national security policy was being transformed bit by bit into a bipartisan doctrine that featured as a sine qua non global dominance for Washington. Unfortunately, when the Soviet Union collapsed the opportunity to end once and for all the bipolar nuclear confrontation that threatened global annihilation was squandered as President Bill Clinton chose instead to humiliate and use NATO to contain an already demoralized and effectively leaderless Russia.

American Exceptionalism became the battle cry for an increasingly clueless federal government as well as for a media-deluded public. When 9/11 arrived, the country was ready to lash out at the rest of the world. President George W. Bush growled that “There’s a new sheriff in town and you are either with us or against us.” Afghanistan followed, then Iraq, and, in a spirit of bipartisanship, the Democrats came up with Libya and the first serious engagement in Syria. In its current manifestation, one finds a United States that threatens Iran on a nearly weekly basis and tears up arms control agreements with Russia while also maintaining deployments of US forces in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and places like Mali. Scattered across the globe are 800 American military bases while Washington’s principal enemies du jour Russia and China have, respectively, only one and none.

Never before in my lifetime has the United States been so belligerent, and that in spite of the fact that there is no single enemy or combination of enemies that actually threaten either the geographical United States or a vital interest. Venezuela is being threatened with invasion primarily because it is in the western hemisphere and therefore subject to Washington’s claimed proconsular authority. Last Wednesday Vice President Mike Pence told the United Nations Security Council that the White House will remove Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro from power, preferably using diplomacy and sanctions, but “all options are on the table.” Pence warned that Russia and other friends of Maduro need to leave now or face the consequences.

The development of the United States as a hostile and somewhat unpredictable force has not gone unnoticed. Russia has accepted that war is coming no matter what it does in dealing with Trump and is upgrading its forces. By some estimates, its army is better equipped and more combat ready than is that of the United States, which spends nearly ten times as much on “defense.”

Iran is also upgrading its defensive capabilities, which are formidable. Now that Washington has withdrawn from the nuclear agreement with Iran, has placed a series of increasingly punitive sanctions on the country, and, most recently, has declared a part of the Iranian military to be a “foreign terrorist organization” and therefore subject to attack by US forces at any time, it is clear that war will be the next step. In three weeks, the United States will seek to enforce a global ban on any purchases of Iranian oil. A number of countries, including US nominal ally Turkey, have said they will ignore the ban and it will be interesting to see what the US Navy intends to do to enforce it. Or what Iran will do to break the blockade.

But even given all of the horrific decisions being made in the White House, there is one organization that is far crazier and possibly even more dangerous. That is the United States Congress, which is, not surprisingly, a legislative body that is viewed positively by only 18 per cent of the American people.

A current bill originally entitled the “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA) of 2019,” is numbered S-1189. It has been introduced in the Senate which will “…require the Secretary of State to determine whether the Russian Federation should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism and whether Russian-sponsored armed entities in Ukraine should be designated as foreign terrorist organizations.” The bill is sponsored by Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado and is co-sponsored by Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

The current version of the bill was introduced on April 11th and it is by no means clear what kind of support it might actually have, but the fact that it actually has surfaced at all should be disturbing to anyone who believes it is in the world’s best interest to avoid direct military confrontation between the United States and Russia.

In a a press release by Gardner, who has long been pushing to have Russia listed as a state sponsor of terrorism, a February version of the bill is described as “…comprehensive legislation [that] seeks to increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation in response to Russia’s interference in democratic processes abroad, malign influence in Syria, and aggression against Ukraine, including in the Kerch Strait. The legislation establishes a comprehensive policy response to better position the US government to address Kremlin aggression by creating new policy offices on cyber defenses and sanctions coordination. The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote. It also increases sanctions pressure on Moscow for its interference in democratic processes abroad and continued aggression against Ukraine.”

The February version of the bill included Menendez, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as co-sponsors, suggesting that provoking war is truly bipartisan in today’s Washington.

Each Senator co-sponsor contributed a personal comment to the press release. Gardner observed that “Putin’s Russia is an outlaw regime that is hell-bent on undermining international law and destroying the US-led liberal global order.” Menendez noted that “President Trump’s willful paralysis in the face of Kremlin aggression has reached a boiling point in Congress” while Graham added that “Our goal is to change the status quo and impose meaningful sanctions and measures against Putin’s Russia. He should cease and desist meddling in the US electoral process, halt cyberattacks on American infrastructure, remove Russia from Ukraine, and stop efforts to create chaos in Syria.” Cardin contributed “Congress continues to take the lead in defending US national security against continuing Russian aggression against democratic institutions at home and abroad” and Shaheen observed that “This legislation builds on previous efforts in Congress to hold Russia accountable for its bellicose behavior against the United States and its determination to destabilize our global world order.”

The Senatorial commentary is, of course, greatly exaggerated and sometimes completely false regarding what is going on in the world, but it is revealing of how ignorant American legislators can be and often are. The Senators also ignore the fact that the designation of presumed Kremlin surrogate forces as “foreign terrorist organizations” is equivalent to a declaration of war against them by the US military, while hypocritically calling Russia a state sponsor of terrorism is bad enough, as it is demonstrably untrue. But the real damage comes from the existence of the bill itself. It will solidify support for hardliners on both sides, guaranteeing that there will be no rapprochement between Washington and Moscow for the foreseeable future, a development that is bad for everyone involved. Whether it can be characterized as an unintended consequence of unwise decision making or perhaps something more sinister involving a deeply corrupted congress and administration remains to be determined.

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