TBR News June 28, 2016

Jun 27 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. June 28, 2016: “From the Deep Internet, a lengthy (234 page) report by the German BND on serious political problems in Europe has emerged.

Herewith a translation, from the German, of the opening paragraph:

‘It is established that the Saudi government, founders and supporters of IS, have been active in implementing the inclusion of radical IS personnel into the flood of Mid-Eastern refugees fleeing to Europe.

Their purpose is to develop active cells for the furtherance of the demoralization and disruption of Christian Europe.

These radicals are intermixed with genuine refugees and in such numbers as to preclude general detection by local law enforcement officials.

One of the goals of these agents is to commit numerous crimes of violence against members of their host country with the purpose of inflaming the population and causing retaliatory anti-Muslim measures on the part of the general populations.

For example, in Sweden, rapes by Muslims against Swedish women and girls has increased by 125% in one year alone, assaults and robberies by Muslims against Swedish persons and establishments has increased by 230% in one year alone.


The predictable rise in anti-Muslim groups within the EU, mostly of the right wing, is expected to give Brussels the excuse to suppress all such groups and to cite “fairness” as their excuse.

Such crimes of violence as rape, child molestation, destruction of private property leading to the proselytism of otherwise peaceful local Muslim populations is one of the IS/Saudi goals.

EU countries involved are Germany Sweden, France, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark.

Still-classified reports obtained by the EU command in Brussels, indicate that if these destructive programs prove to be as disruptive as projected, they then can be moved to the United States, now viewed by the Saudis as their chief potential enemy….’   


The Müller Washington Journals   1948-1951

At the beginning of December, 1948, a German national arrived in Washington, D.C. to take up an important position with the newly-formed CIA. He was a specialist on almost every aspect of Soviet intelligence and had actively fought them, both in his native Bavaria where he was head of the political police in Munich and later in Berlin as head of Amt IV of the State Security Office, also known as the Gestapo.

His name was Heinrich Müller.

Even as a young man, Heini Müller had kept daily journals of his activities, journals that covered his military service as a pilot in the Imperial German air arm and an apprentice policeman in Munich. He continued these journals throughout the war and while employed by the top CIA leadership in Washington, continued his daily notations.

This work is a translation of his complete journals from December of 1948 through September of 1951.

When Heinrich Müller was hired by the CIA¹s station chief in Bern, Switzerland, James Kronthal in 1948, he had misgivings about working for his former enemies but pragmatism and the lure of large amounts of money won him over to what he considered to be merely an extension of his life-work against the agents of the Comintern. What he discovered after living and working in official Washington for four years was that the nation¹s capital was, in truth, what he once humorously claimed sounded like a cross between a zoo and a lunatic asylum. His journals, in addition to personal letters, various reports and other personal material, give a very clear, but not particularly flattering, view of the inmates of both the zoo and the asylum.

Müller moved, albeit very carefully, in the rarefied atmosphere of senior policy personnel, military leaders, heads of various intelligence agencies and the White House itself. He was a very observant, quick-witted person who took copious notes of what he saw. This was not a departure from his earlier habits because Heinrich Müller had always kept a journal, even when he was a lowly Bavarian police officer, and his comments about personalities and events in the Third Reich are just as pungent and entertaining as the ones he made while in America.

The reason for publishing this phase of his eventful life is that so many agencies in the United States and their supporters do not want to believe that a man of Müller¹s position could ever have been employed by their country in general or their agency in specific.

Wednesday, 7. March, 1951

The Rosenbergs and their relation went on trial this week in New York. I am told, privately, that if they are convicted, they will be executed. Of course if they confess and ask pardon, Truman would grant it. Comments in Washington among my colleagues indicate that there is more anti-Semitism inherent in this business than appears on the surface. McCarthy’s attitude is that Jews are responsible for things that don’t work and as an admirer of Hitler, he thinks he can run off with this one now. I do not think that he will be allowed to do so. It is one thing to go after spies but quite another to stir up pogroms in Hollywood. I know that Truman is against this and I personally view it as counter-productive. If there is going to be a Cold War against the Russians, it is more effective to demonize them, both inside and outside the country, than to digress into attacks on Jews.

There have been rumblings about some of Truman’s people but so far, nothing has come of it. The war in Korea is doing well enough, as are my stocks, but there is the problem of MacArthur who is loudly insisting to have the right to drop atomic bombs on the Chinese! I personally think that he is either crazy or positioning himself for a run at the Republican nomination. If he had these weapons, I believe that he would use them. After all, he was the Great Leader in the Pacific War, the Great Leader in Japan after the war and now he wants to be the Great Leader in Korea.

Bunny and I are entertaining some of her relatives this weekend and I have suggested, rather firmly, that she cut back on her horseback riding now that she is pregnant. We have had some heated discussions on the subject but in the end, I think I will prevail.

Wednesday, 14. March, 1951.

A letter by Roosevelt has surfaced in a New York paper, which is not unexpected.

I have a copy of the article on the desk here. In this letter, which appeared in the papers of a Spanish diplomat and was reprinted in a French paper last month, Roosevelt is writing to a Jewish politician about wanting to give Stalin freedom of action in eastern Europe and a warm-water port. He asked this politician to broach the matter to Stalin.

Yesterday, the State Department alleged that this letter was a forgery but without any substantive argument.

I cannot see why anyone would bother to falsify something so obvious. Everyone knows that Roosevelt would have given Stalin anything he wanted and all Roosevelt wanted in return was Stalin’s full cooperation in his United Nations idiot project.

Roosevelt was far too stupid to have original thoughts and in this business, was only aping Wilson’s League of Nations. Roosevelt should have taken note of the opposition to this in America and the eventual defeat of the project.

The letter is probably genuine but at this point, no one cares except the leftovers of the New Deal and other Roosevelt-worshippers. And one can trust absolutely nothing coming out of the State Department who are a nest of fairies and proto-communists.

An entertaining lunch with Philby who was in a terrible state about some dinner he gave last January for important people. It seems that disgusting Burgess, who is living with Philby for some obscure reason, made an appearance and caused havoc with the guests with his drunken and aggressive behavior. Philby said that among the insulted were (William K. ed.) Harvey, the chief of the CIA counterintelligence section and his wife. Philby said that B. so insulted the wife that they all left and he is now afraid that Harvey is “very vindictive” towards him. And with reason. I asked P. why he had permitted this oafish fairy to disrupt his work and he had no answer at all.

I have been asked to “chat up” Harvey and find out just what he is up to.



From the FAS Project on Government Secrecy

Volume 2016, Issue No. 54

June 27, 2016



Between 1973 and 2016, Members of Congress introduced resolutions of censure directed against federal officials on 59 occasions, according to the Congressional Research Service. Of those, 14 were filed against the Obama Administration.

Such resolutions have little or no practical significance, though they may serve a limited political purpose.

“The adoption of a simple or concurrent resolution expressing the House’s or Senate’s ‘censure,’ ‘condemnation,’ or ‘no confidence’ in a particular officer of the federal government does not have any immediate or binding legal import, but does express a particular moral judgment and may have both symbolic as well as political implications,” the CRS report said. See Congressional Censure and “No Confidence” Votes Regarding Public Officials, June 23, 2016.

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

The European Union: Current Challenges and Future Prospects, updated June 21, 2016 (pre-Brexit)

Does Foreign Aid Work? Efforts to Evaluate U.S. Foreign Assistance, updated June 23, 2016

Salaries of Members of Congress: Recent Actions and Historical Tables, udpated June 21, 2016

Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes, 1990-2016, updated June 21, 2016

The State of Campaign Finance Policy: Recent Developments and Issues for Congress, updated June 23, 2016

U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production in Federal and Non-Federal Areas, updated June 23, 2016

Trade-Based Money Laundering: Overview and Policy Issues, June 22, 2016

Mileage-Based Road User Charges, June 22, 2016

Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP): History and Overview, updated June 22, 2016

Statements of Administration Policy, June 21, 2016

British Pound falls to 30-yr low against US dollar

June 27, 2016


European stocks extended their losses on Monday with the British pound falling to its lowest level in almost 31 years in the wake of the economic and political uncertainty following the UK’s historic vote to leave the European Union.

Sterling dropped almost four percent to $1.31 against the US dollar as of 12:00 GMT – the lowest level since September 1985. The euro is also under pressure, down more than one percent against the greenback.

“We are still looking for another 10 percent fall for the pound against the dollar in the coming months as data confirms the economic slowdown and monetary policy expectations increase,” said Jeremy Cook, chief economist at World First, as cited by the BBC.

Banking, airline and property shares plunged Monday on the London Stock Exchange.

Barclays shares were temporarily suspended after falling more than 10 percent, and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) stock plunged more than 14 percent.

EasyJet shares also plummeted – by 19 percent – following a statement from the airline saying Brexit would contribute to a fall in revenues of up to £28 million (about US$37 million).

Shares in housebuilders also took a dive. Taylor Wimpey fell 15 percent, Barratt Developments slumped almost 13 percent and Foxtons, which issues a Brexit profit warning, plunged 22 percent.

London’s FTSE 100 index was down over two percent, while the FTSE 250 index, which is mostly made up of UK-focused companies, fell 5 percent.

Before the markets opened on Monday, Chancellor George Osborne attempted to reassure investors, saying the UK economy was “still open for business” and is “about as strong as it could be to confront the challenge our country now faces.”

The FTSE 100 fell more than 8 percent on Friday before recovering some ground to close 3.2 percent lower. The pound at its lowest on Friday was $1.3221.

Osborne has also said an emergency post-Brexit budget is unlikely to happen until a new prime minister is in place in October.

He said there would still need to be an “adjustment” in the economy but said it was “perfectly sensible to wait for a new prime minister” before taking any action.

Leading ‘Leave’ campaigner Boris Johnson responded to Osborne’s statement, saying “Project Fear is over.”

“There’s not going to be an emergency budget, people’s pensions are safe, the pound is stable, the markets are stable, I think that’s all very good,” Johnson told reporters.

Meanwhile, pro-Brexit minister Chris Grayling said there would still be a place for Osborne in the new government, saying the new administration would represent both those who backed ‘Remain’ and ‘Leave’ in the referendum.

“Of course it will be a matter for whoever the new prime minister is,” Grayling added.

European stocks were also down on Monday, with the German DAX and the French CAC 40 index losing more than two percent as of 12:00 GMT.

Following Friday’s eight percent fall, Japan’s Nikkei closed 2.4 percent higher on Monday backed by warnings from Japanese officials they may intervene in the currency markets to stabilize the yen.

Demand for safe haven assets such as gold remains strong. The price of the precious metal rose half a percent on Monday to $1,330 per troy ounce.

Moody’s rating agency has cut UK’s credit outlook to negative, saying the referendum result would herald “a prolonged period of uncertainty”.

“In Moody’s view, the negative effect from lower economic growth will outweigh the fiscal savings from the UK no longer having to contribute to the EU budget,” said the rating agency. It added the UK had one of the largest budget deficits among advanced economies.

Standard and Poor’s has also threatened to downgrade the UK’s rating.

Northern Ireland left reeling after Brexit vote

Britain’s shock decision to leave the EU has raised questions about the future of the United Kingdom. Peter Geoghegan examines what it could mean for Northern Ireland and its future status.

June 27, 2016


Just like Scotland, Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU. Eleven of the country’s 18 constituencies wanted to stay, including all the border regions. The status of the border with the Republic of Ireland has become a major issue, leading to calls for a fresh referendum and fears about the economy and stability in the region.

In the immediate aftermath of Thursday’s vote, Irish republicans Sinn Fein called for a referendum on a united Ireland. Martin McGuinness, deputy first minister in the devolved parliament in Belfast, said it was unacceptable that the people of Northern Ireland were being dragged out of the EU against their wishes.

However Theresa Villiers, the Northern Ireland secretary and a supporter of leaving the EU, rejected calls for a referendum on the region’s position inside the UK after Brexit.

Under rules set down by the 1998 Good Friday peace deal that ended the 30-year conflict, there cannot be a poll on Irish unity unless the majority of political representatives of both nationalist and unionist communities in Northern Ireland demand it. Irish prime minister Enda Kenny also dismissed calls for a so-called border poll.

Border controls?

The possibility of border controls, however, has emerged as a serious concern for many on both sides of the circuitous, 300-mile boundary between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland.

This border is largely invisible, recognizably only the different font on road signs and the mobile phone tariffs. People pass over and back at will, without any checks. But that could be about to change.

“Brexit changes things completely,” says Colum Eastwood, leader of the Irish nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) who hails from the city of Derry, just two miles from the Irish border.

Given that the successful leave campaign made border controls a central plank of its argument some form of border control is inevitable, says Eastwood. “They are going to want to control their borders. That is the basis on which the referendum was held. This means you need a border in Ireland,” he told DW.

Eastwood, like many, believes that the most likely outcome is not a border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, but the introduction of controls between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain at ports and airports.

“It is not clear whether there would be a border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland or some other solution,” says Michael Keating, professor of politics at Edinburgh University. “People in London might have thought a little about Scotland but they haven’t thought at all about Northern Ireland,” he told DW.

Brexit and the peace process

Concerns have been raised too about the effect that Brexit could have on the peace process. In the run-up to the vote, Hugh Orde, former chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, warned that leaving the EU would embolden Irish republicans opposed to the peace process.

The SDLP’s Colum Eastwood believes that Brexit in itself will not undermine the peace, but “it could have a serious impact on the economy and that could in turn have an impact on the peace process.”

Northern Ireland receives substantial grants from the EU, including fund for peace-related projects. Two of the three bridges that span the River Foyle in Derry were built in part with European funds. Almost 90 percent of Northern Irish farmers’ income comes from Europe.

The European Union played an important role in mediating between British and Irish interests in Northern Ireland. Duncan Morrow, director of community engagement at the University of Ulster, says that Brexit has “terminally damaged” the diplomatic structure underpinning Northern Ireland.

“For most of the UK, the EU was represented as a meddling bureaucracy, for us it was a diplomatic infrastructure. Taking that away is seismic for us, it takes away the fundamental underpinning of what we have,” Morrow told DW.

Political divisions

Brexit and its aftermath has also created unique political problems in Northern Ireland. Although a majority voted to remain, the Democratic Unionist Party, the largest party in the devolved government, supported leave. Their coalition partners, Sinn Fein, are still widely distrusted by many given their associations with the Irish Republican Army.

“There is nobody articulating the view of the 56 percent (that voted to remain),” says Morrow. “The first minister sees herself as the leader of the leave campaign and the deputy first minister won’t engage with British politics. It is incredibly difficult when neither party in government is willing to speak up for the majority.”

One possibility is that the overwhelmingly pro-EU Irish government will increasingly articulate the views of the nationalists and liberal unionists in Northern Ireland that want to remain. A growing role for Dublin in Northern Irish affairs could change the political dynamic, possibly leading to greater cross-border co-operation.

Writing over the weekend, Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, said that in the wake of Brext “quite possibly all or part of Northern Ireland will join Ireland.” Haass is no stranger to Northern Ireland. Less than three years ago, the diplomat led peace talks in Belfast.

A referendum on Irish unification is unlikely in the short term. But the future of Northern Ireland is far more uncertain now than it has been for many years.

Brexit: A Glorious Victory

The globalists have been defeated, and they are furious

June 27, 2016

by Justin Raimondo


As the results of the British referendum on remaining in the European Union rolled in, and the victory of “Brexit” became apparent, UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage summarized its meaning:

“Dare to dream that the dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom!

”This, if the predictions now are right, this will be a victory for real people, a victory for ordinary people, a victory for decent people.

”We have fought against the multinationals, we have fought against the big merchant banks, we have fought against big politics, we have fought against lies, corruption and deceit.

”And today honesty, decency and belief in nation, I think now is going to win.

”And we will have done it without having to fight, without a single bullet …”

As ordinary British people celebrated, the London elite – and their international comrades – reacted with fury. The ignorant masses – whom, they rather stupidly claimed, were Googling “What is the EU” after voting to rid themselves of it – were “racist,” “reactionary,” and – of course – “isolationist” Know-Nothings who had thrown away a glorious future for an “uncertain” although supposedly much “darker” withdrawal into “Little England.”

There has been much discussion in these circles about who’s to “blame” for the Brexit vote – the assumption being, naturally, that it’s a Bad Thing, a disaster for which someone must take responsibility. The best of these head-scratchers comes courtesy of Glenn Greenwald, who writes:

“The decision by UK voters to leave the EU to leave the EU is such a glaring repudiation of the wisdom and relevance of elite political and media institutions that – for once – their failures have become a prominent part of the storyline. Media reaction to the Brexit vote falls into two general categories: (1) earnest, candid attempts to understand what motivated voters to make this choice, even if that means indicting one’s own establishment circles, and (2) petulant, self-serving, simple-minded attacks on disobedient pro-leave voters for being primitive, xenophobic bigots (and stupid to boot), all to evade any reckoning with their own responsibility. Virtually every reaction that falls into the former category emphasizes the profound failures of western establishment factions; these institutions have spawned pervasive misery and inequality, only to spew condescending scorn at their victims when they object.”

You’ll note that this is all about the self-described “elites,” and their alleged failure to educate the inchoate insensate proles, who don’t know what’s good for them. After all, don’t British fishermen realize that EU rules forbidding them to fish in British waters for all but 90 days a year are for the Good of Humanity? And why don’t they get it that pizza ovens must be kept at a certain temperature Because Of The Children?

Greenwald gets it at least in part: elite journalists, he rightly says, naturally sympathize with the status quo, since they are instrumental in framing and justifying it. Yet what he doesn’t get is the most important part of what has happened and will continue to happen, much to the Establishment’s consternation: for ordinary people in the English-speaking world and beyond, national sovereignty isn’t an archaic remnant of a bygone era, it’s something they assume is a rational and desirable part of life. They are patriotic not because they want to elevate themselves above everyone else but because they have a sense of place. Unlike the transnational jet-setters of the political class, they see themselves as citizens of Britain, France, the United States – not “citizens of the world.”

This is why the European project – initiated by a gaggle of Marxist intellectuals and the Central Intelligence Agency in the wake of World War II – has never taken hold. As Gertrude Stein said of Oakland, California, “There is no there there.” “Europe” isn’t really a place, it’s a floating abstraction, with no common language, history, or real meaning aside from being a geographical convenience. There is no real “European” patriotism except in the editorial boardrooms of the Guardian and the bought-and-paid-for mobs in Ukraine that drove a democratically elected President from office.

The European Union is a political construct meant to complement the NATO military alliance: as an institution it was created and continues to function for the sole purpose of keeping Russia out of the European continent. And now that it has been repudiated in Britain, the globalists of the West are nervous that NATO itself may be coming apart – as indeed it is. With the Republicans’ presumptive presidential nominee calling it “obsolete,” and its mounting costs – borne, of course, by the US – a drain on an increasingly squeezed economy, this pillar of US hegemony is cracking at its very foundations. And that has the War Party scared.

Which is why the elite backlash against Brexit is taking on such a viciously antidemocratic tone: British Labor MP David Lammy is outright calling for Parliament to defy the electorate and nullify the referendum. A largely faked petition calling for a second vote is being promoted by the Remainers. And former International Monetary Fund chief economist Kenneth Rogoff reflects elite opinion by averring that “The idea that somehow any decision reached anytime by majority rule is necessarily ‘democratic’ is a perversion of the term.” Now that the people have rejected Rogoff and his claque of economic planers, “It’s time to rethink the rules of the game.”

This makes perfect sense: after all, the EU bureaucracy is an unelected oligarchy, and so it stands to reason that its partisans should employ undemocratic means to preserve it. These people are inveterate authoritarians, and their battle to impose a socialist United States of Europe on the unwilling masses naturally utilizes the same means that the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics deployed against the peoples of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It’s the same chorus singing the same old song.

I would not be in the least surprised if the David Lammys have their way and a second referendum is called, or the first is simply nullified: Britain, as I have said in the past, is today a profoundly authoritarian state in spite of its glorious classical liberal heritage.

Such a move would simply put the globalists in an even worse position than they are now, but it’s no use telling them that: these, after all, are the same people who launched the Iraq war and learned nothing from the disaster that is still unfolding.

The globalists never imagined that their carefully constructed campaign to erase national boundaries would meet with such opposition – a global rebellion against globalism. They’ve been caught off guard, and it’s glorious to witness their panic and fear as the peasants with pitchforks demolish their tyrannical abstractions one after the other. That rebellion is spreading to every corner of the world, and most importantly it is rising up right here in the United States. The British people have declared for “Britain First,” and what the “elites” fear most of all is that the victory of America First can’t be far behind.

One final point needs to be made: the more “understanding” anti-Brexiters on the left blame the vote results on the way the elite have overlooked the suffering of the poor downtrodden proles outside of London who supposedly been trampled on by “neoliberalism” (i.e. capitalism), while the pro-EU yuppies are living on Easy Street. This framing of the issue in purely economic terms is typical of Marxists and other leftists, but in this case it makes no sense.

Prime Minister David Cameron and the rest of the pro-EU camp openly threatened pensioners – the electoral core of the Brexiters – with draconian cuts if Brexit succeeded. Yet the pensioners overwhelmingly voted to leave the EU in spite of this – because some things are more important than money. The left – and the ostensibly “free market” right – see ordinary people as little more than economic constructs without spiritual, non-material interests that might possibly trump their stomachs. The belief that the “proles” are little more than eating machines is yet another measure of the elite’s contempt for those they consider beneath them.

However, it turns out that, for ordinary British citizens, there are values higher than a full stomach, namely: love of country, national sovereignty, and the traditional culture in which they were born. The victory of Brexit shows that they will fight to preserve it.

EU governments pile pressure on UK to leave as soon as possible

Six founding member states demand earliest start to Brexit process, but they cannot compel UK to invoke article 50

June 25, 2016

by Philip Oltermann in Berlin, Jon Henley and Jennifer Rankin in Brussels, Angelique Chrisafis in Paris and Julian Borger

The Guardian

EU governments have piled pressure on the UK to leave the union as soon as possible, saying talks on the exit must begin promptly and urging that a new British prime minister is installed quickly.

As Europe scrambled on Saturday to limit the damage from the momentous Brexit vote, however, there seemed little it could immediately do to force Britain to speed up the pace of its departure from the 60-year-old bloc.

Meeting for emergency talks in Berlin, foreign ministers from the EU’s six founding member states demanded the earliest possible start to the Brexit process.

France’s foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, said Britain must trigger article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, the procedure for leaving the EU.

There was “a certain urgency”, Ayrault said after the meeting with his counterparts from Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, adding that David Cameron should step aside soon for a new leader to manage the transition out of the union.

“A new prime minister must be designated, that will take a few days,” he said, adding that it would “not be respectful” to delay the process.

On Friday, Cameron had said he would delay the start of Brexit negotiations until his successor was in place in the autumn.

The German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said the ministers “join together in saying that this process must begin as soon as possible, so we don’t end up in an extended limbo period”.

Steinmeier told a press conference at the German foreign ministry guesthouse on the outskirts of Berlin that Cameron had a “responsibility beyond the UK” to initiate formal steps for Britain’s exit and “give us a chance to engage with the European Union’s future … we call on Britain to trigger article 50 as soon as possible.”

Earlier, the president of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said the British had voted to leave and “it doesn’t make any sense to wait until October to try to negotiate the terms of their departure”.

Juncker, who said Britain’s departure would not be “an amicable divorce” but observed it was never “a tight love affair anyway”, said he would “like to get started immediately”.

Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, said he hoped “we won’t get into a cat and mouse game over this. That would neither be fitting for Britain nor the European Union.”

Emmanuel Macron, the French economy minister, said at a Paris debate on Europe that the top priority was to arrange a “smooth, rapid and very well-organised” UK exit, adding: “We have to be organised, and we don’t have to wait for months and months. Now we need a quick fix on this situation.”

In Brussels, the office of Donald Tusk, president of the European council, said Didier Seeuws, a Belgian aide to Tusk’s predecessor, Herman Van Rompuy, would head the union’s taskforce to negotiate Britain’s exit from the union and had started on the preparatory work.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, speaking separately at a news conference in Potsdam, saidit “shouldn’t take forever” for Britain to deliver formal notification that it wants to leave the EU, but she “would not fight over a short period of time”.

Making it clear that the matter was ultimately in London’s hands, Merkel said there was “no need to be particularly nasty in any way in the negotiations. They must be conducted properly.”

Much as the EU might like Britain to go fast, there are few legal means to compel it to start the process of leaving.

“There is no mechanism to compel a state to withdraw from the European Union,” said Kenneth Armstrong, professor of European law at Cambridge University.

“Article 50 is there to allow withdrawal, but no other party has the right to invoke article 50, no other state or institution. While delay is highly undesirable politically, legally there is nothing that can compel a state to withdraw.”

Article 7 of the Lisbon treaty can be used to suspend a member state for breaching fundamental EU rights, but it is considered a “nuclear option”, and Britain has done nothing to warrant it.

The shock waves from Thursday’s vote continue to spread, having already driven sterling down to its lowest level for 30 years and wiping more than $2tn (£1.5tn) from the value of world stock markets.

Britain’s European commissioner, Jonathan Hill, announced on Saturday that he would resign, saying he did not “believe it is right that I should carry on as the British commissioner as though nothing had happened”.

Italy’s prime minister, Matteo Renzi, was expected in Paris to meet the French president, François Hollande, who said on Saturday that Europe had to offer people “a perspective” in the face of mounting populism.

“It is always easier to unmake than make, but the consequences are extremely serious,” he said on a visit to the eastern French city of Colmar.

The flurry of diplomatic activity came ahead of a key meeting in Berlin on Monday between Merkel, Hollande, Renzi and Tusk.

The EU’s 28 commissioners are also due to meet on Monday, in Brussels, with a two-day summit of national leaders following on Tuesday and Wednesday.

With Euroscepticism on the rise across the continent, many have said the Brexit vote must be seen as a wake-up call for a union increasingly losing touch with its people.

Cameron will attend the first day of the summit and is expected to explain Britain’s position at a dinner on Tuesday evening. He will then return to London and will not take part in the second day of the proceedings, according to Tusk’s invitation letter released on Friday night.

Cameron’s position is that it would be up to his successor, expected to be appointed before the Conservative party conference in October, to trigger article 50. Once that is done, the clock starts running on two years of negotiations.

Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London and a leading leave campaigner, said there should be “no haste” in the preparations for the exit of Britain, the first sovereign country to vote to leave the union.

The president of the European parliament, Martin Schulz, told the Guardian that EU lawyers were studying whether it was possible to speed up the triggering of article 50.

He said it was difficult to accept that “a whole continent is taken hostage because of an internal fight in the Tory party”, adding that he doubted the timing of article 50 was down to the UK alone.

“We have to take note of this unilateral declaration that they want to wait until October, but that must not be the last word,” he said.

Britain Exits The European Union: Will The EU Survive And Should America Care If It Does?

June 24, 2016

by Doug Bandow


The United Kingdom will exit the European Union. Nigel Farage of the United Kingdom Independence Party had declared: “Win or lose this battle, we will win this war. We will get our country back.” Average voters won both the battle and war against most of their nation’s political, business, cultural, and media elites.

The shock waves first hit home. Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said another Scottish independence vote is “highly likely.” She said she would “take all possible steps” to keep Scotland in the EU. Nearly two-thirds of Scots voted to stay in the EU, far more than supported remaining in the UK in 2014. Then loss of EU access was a prime argument against independence. Next time a majority of Scots might see no reason to stay.

Northern Ireland, which also backed remain, will be left in an even more difficult position. Sharing a separate island with the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland will end up in a separate trading system. Although the largely Protestant north is unlikely to leave the UK for the mostly Catholic republic, calls have begun for an exit vote.

Both the Conservative and Labour Parties face bitter, internecine strife. Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn only tepidly supported the “remain” side, a position he was thought to privately oppose. The triumph of Brexit added to his parliamentary colleagues’ case against him, and calls have begun for his resignation. A leadership challenge seems likely.

Prime Minister David Cameron, his authority dissipated, did not wait to be pushed. Although 84 MPs who backed Brexit had affirmed their support for him, his position was untenable and he announced his resignation. The rest of his government is likely to be swept away as well. There will be pressure for a new election with the change in premier. All the while the government will be attempting to manage the complex process of disentangling the UK from the EU.

Unlike the EU, which makes people in member states vote as often as necessary to achieve its ends, London is likely to accept the result and begin to implement the non-binding referendum. The UK and EU must plan a process never before undertaken. Most important will be early negotiations over London’s future economic and political association with the rest of Europe.

Other non-member European states have taken various approaches, though Britain might seek a status sui generis. The UK possesses the world’s 5th and continent’s 2nd largest economy, so Europe wants to trade with the UK as much as the latter wants to trade with the continent. The U.S., too, should welcome London as an independent trading partner.

Brexit casts doubt over new EU and NATO defense strategy

June 27, 2016

by Robin Emmott


BRUSSELS-Britain’s departure from the European Union risks undermining Europe’s new defense strategy, days before NATO and EU governments sign a landmark pact to confront a range of threats from Russia to the Mediterranean, officials say.

The European Union and the United States plan to use two separate EU and NATO summits in the coming days to push reforms of the West’s two main security pillars, aimed at reducing Europe’s reliance on Washington in its own neighborhood.

“Things are going to be a lot harder,” said a senior Western defense official involved in EU-NATO cooperation. “NATO planned on linking itself up to a stronger European Union, not being the default option for a weakened, divided bloc.”

Facing a more aggressive Russia, a migrant crisis and failing states on its borders, the European Union needs to “act autonomously if and when necessary”, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini will tell EU leaders on Tuesday as she unveils a five-year global strategy plan seen by Reuters.

That symbolic step, which urges governments to coordinate defense spending, has strong support from Germany and France. But it could look hollow without Britain, which has the largest military budget in the EU, diplomats say.

One of five EU countries with the resources to command an overseas military mission for the bloc, Britain has been a big contributor to EU-led operations, paying about 15 percent of the costs and providing assets.

Britain also leads the EU’s counter-piracy “Operation Atalanta” mission off the Horn of Africa, has ships patrolling the Mediterranean and is committed to providing troops for EU battle groups, although they have never been deployed.

Mogherini’s proposals to EU leaders will include a call for EU-led missions to work with a new EU border guard to control migrant flows. That could be harder without British ships.

“What Britain does matters,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. “Britain is the biggest security provider in Europe.”

But fearing plans for an EU army, Britain has resisted closer European defense cooperation. British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told Reuters this month: “Nobody wants to see their troops controlled from Brussels.”

Some hope that, without London blocking EU plans, France and Germany could lead what Berlin calls a “common defense union” to develop and share assets. France has pushed the idea of an EU military headquarters, independent of NATO, to run missions.


After financial crises that have cut defense spending and Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, EU governments have said they will do more to guarantee their own security and cannot rely on the United States indefinitely.

As part of that, NATO and the European Union will cement their growing cooperation from the Baltics to the Aegean at a NATO summit in Warsaw in July. At the EU level, governments are discussing a common defense fund to pool resources to develop helicopters, drones, ships and satellites.

Until Britain’s referendum vote to leave the EU, the United States had been looking to Britain, its main ally in Europe, to act as a bridge between NATO and the EU in the process.

That was designed to allow Washington to focus on other worries, including a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan and China’s militarization of islands in the South China Sea.

Such concerns were underscored by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday, who flew to Brussels to meet Mogherini and Stoltenberg.

“The United States cares about a strong EU,” Kerry said.

Immediately after Britain’s referendum last week, Stoltenberg said Britain had assured him it remained committed to upholding Western stability.

Stoltenberg said Britain’s Fallon had told him London would not jeopardize joint EU-NATO efforts to counter potential Russian cyber attacks, joint naval operations in the Mediterranean to stem an influx of migrants into Europe or plans to soon begin enforcing a U.N. arms embargo on Libya.

Britain could also join EU missions, even outside the bloc, as Canada and non-EU member Norway have done, although it would not be able to shape long-term strategy.

For now, the United States’ focus appears to be urging Britain to take an even bigger role in NATO and avoid isolation. The alliance’s summit in Warsaw will be London’s first chance to reaffirm its Atlanticist credentials.

“NATO becomes even more important to keep Britain engaged internationally,” the senior Western official said. “We don’t want Britain to become a Little England.”

(Additional reporting by Paul Taylor; editing by Andrew Roche)

Financial stocks reel under Brexit impact

June 27, 2016

by Yashaswini Swamynathan


Financial stocks led Wall Street sharply lower on Monday in the aftermath of a shock vote by Britons to leave the European Union.

The S&P financial index .SPSY fell 1.55 percent, leading the decliners for the second-straight day, as uncertainty over London’s future as the region’s finance capital lingered.

JPMorgan (JPM.N) fell 2 percent, while Bank of America (BAC.N) was down 3 percent. The stocks were among the top losers on the S&P 500.

European stocks were hammered for a second day and the sterling fell more than 2 percent. The European banks index .SX7P on Monday hit its lowest since July 2012.

The selloff on Friday eroded $2.08 trillion in market capitalization globally – the biggest one-day loss ever, according to Standard & Poor’s Dow Jones Indices, trumping the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy during the 2008 financial crisis.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, however, said the market impact from Brexit had been orderly so far and there were no signs of a financial crisis arising from the vote.

“There is a crisis of confidence in the markets,” said Todd Morgan, Chairman at Bel Air Investment Advisors in Los Angeles, California. “But there is a lot of cash lying around and interest rates are low, the world will survive.”

At 9:41 a.m. ET (1341 GMT) the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 216.06 points, or 1.24 percent, at 17,184.69. The S&P 500 .SPX was down 24.47 points, or 1.2 percent, at 2,012.94. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 62.16 points, or 1.32 percent, at 4,645.82.

Nine of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower. The utilities sector .SPLRCU was the only one in the black.

The Brexit vote, which Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen had said would have significant repercussions on the U.S. economic outlook, is expected to scuttle the Fed’s ability to raise short-term interest rates.

Traders have priced a meager 1.9 percent bet on an interest rate increase in November, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

Yellen pulled out from the ECB Forum on Central Banking summit starting on Monday.

Cruise operator Carnival Corp’s (CCL.N) shares fell 4 percent to $44.02 after Susquehanna cut price target.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,285 to 487. On the Nasdaq, 1,969 issues fell.

The S&P 500 index showed one new 52-week high and 18 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 7 new highs and 53 new lows.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

 Why Brexit Fears Are Far from Over for Investors

June 27, 2016

by Anthony Mirhaydari

The Fiscal Times

Friday’s post-“Brexit” market wipeout was one for the record books: The $2.08 trillion decline was the worst single day ever.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), Wall Street’s “fear gauge,” posted its fifth largest gain after trading in U.S. equity futures was halted overnight. The Nasdaq Composite suffered its largest rout since 2011 and is now down nearly 6 percent for the year. The plunge at the open was the U.S. market’s worst since 1987, a sign of fragility and lack of liquidity. Gold’s 4.7 percent surge was its biggest day since Lehman Brothers failed in 2008.

The fear was palpable ­— and it’s set to continue as Britain’s repudiation of top-down economic elitism cuts to the core of what’s been sustaining financial markets over the last seven years: Low volatility and relative political stability. With a contentious U.S. presidential election ahead — and GOP contender Donald Trump’s anti-immigration tendencies closely aligned with Brexit sentiments — the turbulence could well last through November.

The political fallout is just beginning, with pro-remain British PM David Cameron resigning and “Article 50” — the EU’s exit clause — yet to be invoked by the British government. The Brexit process is likely to take years.

The only example we have was Greenland’s 1982 decision to exit the EU’s predecessor after a popular referendum voted for independence. After much wrangling over fishing rights (an industry responsible for the vast majority of the country’s economy), the island nation finally left in 1985 under the Greenland Treaty.

It took more than 100 meetings and three years to extricate a frozen island of 56,000. What of a well-developed island of 65 million?

In the years to come, nervousness, uncertainty and copycat independence movements in other countries will reign. Anti-EU politicians in Italy, France and the Netherlands have already called for referendums while similar calls were made by anti-immigration parties in Sweden and Denmark.

Should Brussels take a hard line in the trade negotiations to come, the British economy and the pound sterling will suffer as traders price in a larger economic drag from Brexit, destabilizing markets. Should Brussels make the process as painless as possible, it will embolden pro-independence movements elsewhere and hasten the collapse of the EU project altogether.

It’s a no-win situation for the European Union elites. Deutsche Bank analysts noted the difficultly in a note to clients, saying policymakers must strike the right balance in exit negotiations between preserving existing trade and investment links with Britain while sending a strong signal to other EU countries that an exit isn’t going to be easy or desirable.

No wonder then that it wasn’t British stocks that were hit hardest on Friday (although British banks suffered their largest one-day decline on record) but peripheral Euro area stocks. Greek stocks lost nearly 16 percent, while Italian stocks were down 12.5 percent. A breakdown in the European Union would threaten Greece’s bailout programs, since a smaller Euro area would put the rescue burden on a smaller number of countries. In Italy, the euro-sceptic Five Star Movement recently won a decisive victory in the second round of municipal elections.

As for financial market volatility, keep an eye on the currency markets. By virtue of the sheer volume of trading in foreign exchange, and the buildup of popular currency carry trade positions in which investors borrow currencies at low rates to buy up stocks and other risky assets they expect will bring a higher return, volatility here will spill into other areas of the financial system. Remember the selloff last August? That was driven by Chinese currency volatility.

Consider that another area of the global financial system that was hit hardest on Friday was Japan — half a world away from Europe — as safe haven inflows into the yen forced the closure of yen carry trades. The yen ended the day up 6.6 percent against the euro, slamming the Nikkei average down 7.9 percent on worries over the impact on export competitiveness.

Another drag will come from the surge the U.S. dollar is enjoying in all this.

The greenback surged to levels not seen since March in mid-day trading on Friday. A strong dollar has been one of the main reasons for an ongoing corporate earnings recession, with S&P 500 earnings down four quarters in a row. Expect the strong dollar to be blamed for another batch of weak results when the second quarter earnings season starts in a couple of weeks.

In an example of a classic negative feedback loop, a stronger dollar will also unwind some of the recent strength in crude oil prices — which, in turn, was one of the main motivators for the powerful stock market rally out of the February low. West Texas Intermediate fell 5.1 percent after testing below its 50-day moving average for the first time in four months.

For the bulls, all hope rests in the rising odds of an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve later this year. But as experiments with negative interest rates in Europe and Japan have revealed, at this point, lower interest rates are doing more damage (by weakening bank profitability) than anything else.

In short: The three years of low volatility investors have enjoyed since the Dow Jones Industrial Average first hit the 18,000 level in 2014 is ending. And thus, allocations to safe havens like cash and gold should be reconsidered.

UK Muslim group calls for reconciliation amid Brexit hate crimes surge

The head of the group has described the rising societal tensions in the UK as “shocking.” The Brexit referendum has polarized the country after the “Leave” camp claimed a tight victory at the polls.

June 27, 2016


The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) on Monday called for political and civil leaders to “deal with the division” prompted by the UK’s referendum on its future in the EU, commonly referred to as the “Brexit.”

The organization compiled over 100 reported incidents of hate crimes after the results of the historic in-or-out referendum were released on Friday, showing a tight win for the “Leave” camp.

The incidents included a “racist demonstration” outside a Birmingham mosque and “racist graffiti” being painted on a Polish center.

“As the results of the referendum became known, I called for our politicians to come together and heal the divisions that have emerged as a result of the campaign,” said MCB Secretary General Shuja Shafi in a statement.

“Now we are witnessing the shocking extent of this with reports around the country of hate speech and minorities being targeted,” Shafi added.

The “Leave” camp partially framed the referendum as a vote on migration to the UK, with the right-wing United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP) using an image of refugees in Slovenia with the words “breaking point” as a campaign advertisement.

Shafi said she will be writing to the Home Secretary and Communities Secretary to “ensure that the government states clearly that intolerance against minorities is not acceptable.”

The UK government reported in 2015 that hate crimes in England and Wales were on the rise.

“In 2014/15, there were 52,528 hate crimes recorded by the police, an increase of 18 percent compared with 44,471 hate crimes in 2013/14,” the Home Office said in its report.

Supreme court strikes down strict Texas abortion law aimed at closing clinics

Major victory for reproductive rights activists paves way to overturn dozens of measures that curtail access to abortion providers across the country

June 27, 2016

by Molly Redden

The Guardian

The US Supreme Court on Monday struck down one of the harshest abortion restrictions in the country and potentially paved the way to overturn similar measures in other states that curtail access, in what might be the most significant legal victory for reproductive rights advocates since the right to abortion was established in 1973.

The 5-3 ruling will immediately prevent Texas from enforcing a law that would have closed all but nine abortion clinics. But in a coup for abortion rights supporters, the court also in effect barred lawmakers from passing health measures backed by dubious medical evidence as a way of forcing large numbers of abortion clinics to close.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose support was key to determining if the liberal or conservative bloc of the court would prevail, cast his key vote with the four liberal justices.

The case began in 2013, when Texas Republicans, on the heels of an 11-hour filibuster by state senator Wendy Davis, passed one of the most expansive abortion restrictions in the country. The bill, known as House Bill 2, requires abortion providers to have staff privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic and requires clinics to meet expensive, hospital-like building and equipment standards.

Lawmakers claimed these were critical safety measures. But abortion providers argued that HB 2 was a gambit designed to shut clinics down in large numbers. On the day the admitting privileges requirement took effect, in November 2013, the number of Texas abortion clinics plummeted from 41 to 22. Today, there are 18. Had the requirement for clinics to meet hospital-like rules gone into effect, another nine would have shut down. Last year, the four liberal justices plus Justice Anthony Kennedy blocked that requirement until the court could resolve the case.

Around the country, highly similar laws in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin threatened to shutter another 13 abortion clinics.

Monday’s ruling could give abortion providers in those states ammunition to have those laws struck down in the lower courts.

At the heart of this case was a two-decade old dispute over how strictly states can regulate abortion, so long as they claim to be doing so for health purposes. A 1992 Supreme Court decision, Planned Parenthood v Casey, gave states the right to restrict abortion to protect women’s health as long as it didn’t create an “undue burden” for women seeking abortion. “An undue burden exists,” that decision reads, “and therefore a provision of law is invalid, if its purpose or effect is to place substantial obstacles in the path of a woman seeking an abortion.”

But the court never fully clarified the meaning of “undue burden”. Texas abortion providers argued that a law is an undue burden if it is medically unnecessary. Attorneys for Texas argued that courts should defer to the legislature’s knowledge of what is medically unnecessary, and a law is only an undue burden if it significantly impacts abortion access.

In 2014, US district judge Lee Yeakel sided with Whole Woman’s Health and ruled key parts of HB 2 unconstitutional. A three-judge panel from the fifth circuit court of appeals, the most conservative circuit in the US, overturned his decision in June 2015. The Supreme Court agreed to take up the case in November and heard oral arguments on 2 March 2016.

Abortion clinics and their allies have mounted significant evidence that HB 2’s restrictions were both medically unnecessary and “devastating” to abortion access, in the words of Amy Hagstrom Miller, who runs the group of abortion clinics, Whole Woman’s Health, that led the charge to overturn Texas’s law.

Briefs to the court from leading medical groups, such as the American Medical Association, emphasized that hospital admitting privileges are generally reserved for doctors who treat patients in an inpatient setting. Because abortion is an outpatient procedure with a low complication rate – the risk of a serious complication is between 0.05% and 0.2% – abortion providers rarely meet a hospital’s particular requirements.

In March, researchers with the Texas Policy Evaluation Project at the University of Texas-Austin found that with parts of HB 2 in effect, the average number of miles that many women traveled to get an abortion nearly quadrupled.

If the law were fully in effect, Texas’s nine remaining clinics would have been clustered in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio, and there wouldn’t have been a single clinic for 500 miles between San Antonio and the border with New Mexico.

Following the death of Justice Anontin Scalia, who likely would have voted to uphold the law, many observers expected the court to deadlock in this case along ideological lines. A split would have upheld the fifth circuit court of appeals decision of June 2015 and forced all but nine clinics in Texas to close.

A split also would have sent strong signals that abortion providers would lose their ongoing case against an admitting privileges law in Louisiana, which is also in the fifth circuit with Texas. That law threatens to close two out of four Louisiana abortion clinics; the provider with admitting privileges at a third abortion clinic has said he would quit and leave the state with only one clinic.

‘US right- and left-wing violence fabricated to manipulate public opinion’

June 27, 2016


Most of the violence occurring between extremist groups in the US is “planned” by FBI informants to “manipulate public opinion” on the upcoming US elections, geopolitical analyst Patrick Henningsen told RT.

“The FBI has infiltrated all major and mid-major activist and movements in the United States over the last 60 years. Every single one whether a right-wing or a left-wing,” Henningsen said, adding that many of the groups have had “FBI informants in the top positions.

“If you look at the history [of] the FBI from the 1950s till the present [they] have infiltrated hundreds of groups – from civil rights groups to…the Ku Klux Klan (KKK)… The FBI has a history of gangs and counter gangs where they infiltrate and [foment] violence on both the right and left and then…arrests will be made and this will be politicized.”

What is more, almost none of the trials in the US that come following the arrests happen without intelligence service involvement, he maintained.

“If you go to any trial… normally half the cases on the prosecution are basically comprised of FBI informants testimonies…including the terrorist cases in the United States,” he said.

The latest violent scuffles in Sacramento, ahead of the Republican National Convention, are no exception and were also organized to “manipulate public opinion” on the US elections, Henningsen believes.

“In terms of groups battling in public it has happened before in the history in the US… The timing of this is no coincidence. We have the Republican National Convention right around the corner and… anti-fascist groups will be there as will the so-called right-wing extremist groups. There will be pitched battles maybe in the streets of Cleveland and all throughout the campaign should Donald Trump become Republican nominee,” he said.

The analyst said it was quite “extraordinary” that police were just “standing around, taking photos not arresting anyone” amidst clear signs of violent threat in Sacramento. Doubting the “authenticity” of the clash, Henningsen was “struck” by the fact that there was no mention of any arrests whatsoever.

“It makes me wonder how authentic this clash was in Sacramento,” he pointed out. On the whole, he said that he did not buy the reports the mainstream media as there is much “more going on behind the scenes.”

According to the analyst, what is actually happening in the US is no more than “a political game” and “drama being played out.”

“I really don’t put a lot of capital in the stories because a lot of this is done for political manipulation,” Henningsen explained saying it is unclear “who is actually pulling the strings” in the extremist groups.

He noted incidents such as the one in Sacramento would only benefit radical groups and “build them up.”

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