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Vladimir Putin seeks Opec oil deal with direct appeal to Saudi in Vienna

November 25, 2014


Putin is desperately trying to save the failing Russian economy by falsely propping up oil prices.  #RussiaFail

Russian president hopes oil-producing nations will act collectively to cut production quota to halt a 28pc slide in prices since June

Vladimir Putin’s top oil lieutenants were locked in tense meetings in Vienna with Opec delegates on Tuesday in a last ditch effort to reach a deal with the cartel as Russia faces a deep recession from falling oil prices.

Igor Sechin, chief executive of Russia’s state-controlled oil giant Rosneft, and the country’s oil minister Alexander Novak held a second meeting with officials from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela this afternoon amid intense speculation over whether the group will act collectively to cut its production quota to halt a 28pc slide in prices since June.

However, the meeting held at the Hyatt Hotel appeared to have ended inconclusively with Mr Sechin and Opec officials leaving by a side entrance. A planned press conference was cancelled following the discussions.

Analysts say that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), which pumps a third of the world’s oil, would have to make deep cuts of up to 1.5m barrels per day (bpd) of crude to their existing 30m bpd quota levels in order to revive prices. However, that will require non-Opec producers such as Russia to also limit output.

Moscow currently pumps over 10m bpd of oil and provides Europe with the majority of its natural gas supplies but the country has been haemorrhaging revenue since the US and European Union imposed sanctions.

Venezuela’s main Opec delegate Rafael Ramirez told reporters in Vienna on Tuesday that the meetings with Russia would be key to the group of 12 producers reaching a consensus when they officially meet on Thursday.

“It’s likely the market is currently pricing in the nervous expectation that Opec won’t agree to cut production,” said Graham Martin, Managing Director at Optima Investment Management. “If Opec announced a co-ordinated cut of 500,000 barrels per day or more we would expect a rally in oil and oil related equities.”

“While core-Opec [Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait] will undoubtedly demand some output reductions from members such as Angola, Nigeria, Venezuela, Qatar, and Algeria, the main cuts will have to come from, and are more likely to be forthcoming from, the Persian Gulf States,” he added.

Today’s high-level meetings in Vienna come after Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, warned yesterday that the country faced an economic crisis from the loss of revenue incurred from falling oil prices.

“We are losing around $40bn [£26bn] per year due to geopolitical sanctions and we are losing some $90bn [£58bn] to $100bn [£64bn] per year due to oil prices falling 30 pc,” Mr Siluanov said in a speech in Moscow, reported by RIA Novosti news agency.

“Saudi Arabia, the most powerful member of the cartel, has continuously insisted that they will not take action unless there is a consensus,” wrote Helima Croft, head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets in a note to investors.

Bloomberg has reported that one proposal under consideration would be to exclude Iran, Iraq and Libya from any cuts that Opec may agree to. However, this proposal would potentially meet resistance from Gulf states who may be concerned of eventually losing market to both Tehran and Baghdad.

Although Iran sits on vast oil and gas reserves its production and exports are limited due to tough nuclear sanctions, which won’t be lifted until at least next year after the recent failure to reach an agreement with the US.

How NATO Could End

November 25, 2014

On an otherwise uneventful Sunday morning in late February, a small group of Russian protesters, residents of Narva, Estonia’s third largest city, took over the city hall demanding that the Estonian government either relax its naturalization requirements or grant the city autonomy. Reporters from RT, a Kremlin-funded international news network with one of the most popular news channels on YouTube, were already on the scene, as if forewarned, providing uninterrupted English language coverage of the event.

To the casual observer, the protesters demands seemed reasonable. Estonian law requires passing a language exam to become a naturalized citizen, which is ostensibly a difficult task for Narva’s Russian speakers who represent more than 80% of the city’s population. The protesters were making an emotional plea through RT’s cameras that their civil rights were being trampled.

The government of Estonia tried to calm the protests by offering to meet with its leaders and proposing an economic package to help the economically depressed city. As the days passed, protesters grew more intransigent. They now wanted Russian to be recognized as the second official language of the country. For most Estonians, who view the Soviet Union as an occupier, this would be unacceptable. Things were about to get worse, and they appeared to be following an eerily familiar script.

As the police threatened to remove protesters by force, armed men brandishing Kalashnikovs began to appear in the crowds. The leader of the protest movement, a local underworld figure with murky connections to Russia, warned Estonian authorities that people were ready to die for their cause. By now, the flags of the Narva People’s Republic were flying above the city hall, and western journalists were flocking to the city. News coverage, even by the more objective media outlets, gave the fledgling republic de facto recognition in the public discourse, and centered on the plight of Russians in Estonia. The sovereignty of this small democratic republic was now simply “one side of the story.”

Up until this point, the government tried to avoid a repeat of the fatal 2007 riots when more than 1000 ethnic Russians in the capital city, Tallinn, took to the streets over the relocation of a WWII memorial. Now, after an emergency meeting, Estonian security officials drew up a plan to storm Narva’s city hall and restore order. It was too late.

“Little green men” armed with machine guns and portable anti-tank missiles had arrived in Narva. The leader of the protest movement said these were local gun owners who would protect unarmed Russians from Estonian Nazis who were coming after them. As the number of Russian special forces masquerading as local rebels rapidly grew, there was little the tiny Estonian military could do. After all, Narva is, geographically speaking, practically in Russia — it lies on the Narva River on the Russian border and is closer to St. Petersburg than to Tallinn.

As the crisis escalated, and the media coverage grew more hysterical, the EU urged restraint from all sides. RT showed millions of viewers worldwide footage of elderly Russian women crying and begging Russia to help them. Western journalists who dutifully passed on the statements of both sides — but who also noted that some of the rebels seemed new to Narva — were attacked by well-coordinated mobs forcing most of them to leave.

That a silent majority of the residents of Narva were against separatism was now irrelevant. RT interviewed only the most vocal pro-Russia activists and when that was not enough, actors were brought in from Moscow to artfully portray a disenfranchised minority standing up for its rights. Dissenting voices were silenced, sometimes violently.

Finally, the US, against the wishes of many European leaders, came out and declared that Russia had launched an “incursion” into, although not an invasion of, Estonia. The Russian government denied this and vetoed the UN Security Council resolution that named it a party to the conflict. Estonia invoked Article 5 of the NATO founding treaty, hoping that member states would be compelled to come to its defense. And then the international order completely collapsed.

As western political leaders debated what steps to take, experts offered their opinions. Stephen F. Cohen, a prominent Russian studies scholar, opined on the pages of The Nation that the situation was much more nuanced than the foreign policy hawks would have you believe. Did the average American who had never heard of Estonia realize that the Baltics had once been part of Russia, or that Estonia once had a Nazi connection? Were Americans — or for that matter Europeans — ready to die for a tiny country far away on the eastern edge of Europe so that it could prevent a single city with an ethnic Russian majority from exercising its political will?

The military experts painted a similarly complicated picture. Retaking Narva would be close to impossible without causing severe collateral damage and killing a large number of civilians. Moreover, Russia’s quiet and bloodless invasion would make any western military operation look terrible by comparison. Public opinion polls indicated that boots on the ground would be political suicide for any western leader.

Continued at

Putin’s Approval Rating Plummets

November 25, 2014

Here is a graphic showing the truth about Putin’s approval rating.  Another Russian lie.

US Calls for Release of Nadiya Savchenko

November 25, 2014

The US Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, today called on Russia to release Nadiya Savchenko from jail in Russia. Nadiya means “Hope” in Ukraine.

“We call on Russia to Release Nadia Savchenko and All Hostages Held WHO are being illegally. #FreeSavchenko

According to RFE/RL:

Savchenko was captured by pro-Russian separatists on June 18 near the eastern Ukrainian village of Metalist before turning up in Russian custody in early July.

Ukraine and the West contend that Savchenko was illegally taken from Ukraine to Russia, where she has supposedly been held in a psychiatric facility.

Defiant Nadiya Savchenko, a captured Ukrainian navigator, inspires her country“, say the Washington Post.

She is charged with complicity in the deaths of a Russian TV correspondent and a sound producer on June 17. They were killed during a mortar attack on a rebel checkpoint near Luhansk, where Savchenko was helping train a volunteer Ukrainian militia. Prosecutors say she pinpointed coordinates for the attack. She says she didn’t know how to do that.

According to ITAR-TASS:

Detectives found that during hostilities near the city of Luhansk in June being the navigator-operator of a helicopter gunship Mil Mi-24 Savchenko joined battalion Aidar. Finding the coordinates of a group of Russian journalists from the VGTRK central television company and other civilians near Luhansk she transmitted it to a mortar battery. Then the mortar battery fired at the spot according to these coordinates, killing VGTRK journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin.

There is no corroboration of this evidence or these charges and many believe it has been manufactured.

This would not be the first time Russia has lied.  #RussiaLies

Russia signs deal with Abkhazia, becomes commander of military in that region

November 25, 2014

Russia President Vladimir Putin and the leader of Abkhazia have signed an agreement under which Putin will become the commander of a joint military force in the breakaway region.

“I’m sure that cooperation, unity and strategic partnership between Russia and Abkhazia will continue to strengthen,” stated Putin after signing the agreement Monday.

Russia already has a military presence in the territory. Russian troops have served in Abkhazia since it broke away from Georgia in a separatists war in the early 1990s.

The United States issued a statement in response to the deal. “The United States will not recognize the legitimacy of any so-called ‘treaty’ between Georgia’s Abkhazia region and the Russian Federation,” read a press release issued by the US State Department.

The US and other nations strongly suspect Russia is stepping up its attempt to expand in the region, which recently had a change in leadership after the former leader was forced to step down and a former Soviet KGB officer was elected president.

The deal was signed by this president, Raul Khadzhimba.

“The United States’ position on Abkhazia and South Ossetia remains clear,” wrote Jeff Rathke, Director of the Bureau of Public Affairs at the Office of Press Relations for the State Department, “these regions are integral parts of Georgia, and we continue to support Georgia’s independence, its sovereignty, and its territorial integrity.

“We once again urge Russia to fulfill all of its obligations under the 2008 ceasefire agreement, to withdraw its forces to pre-conflict positions, to reverse its recognition of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, and to provide free access for humanitarian assistance to these regions.

Continued at

Russian Minister: Russia to lose $140 billion

November 25, 2014

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov and Vladimir Putin will discuss the G-20 meeting. Photo: Epa / Alexei Drudzhinin

Russia is getting kicked, hard, by Western sanctions.

According to the Finnland site YLE, Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov stated that Russia will lose $140 billion dollars due to Western sanctions, made worse by falling oil prices.

- What is happening to our economy? We are losing at least 40 billion dollars a year because of geo-political sanctions, and in addition 90 – $ 100 billion a year due to the decline in oil prices, Siluanov said, held in Moscow Economic Forum in his speech.

Furthermore, the sanctions are having a desired effect.

Russian State Duma Chairman Sergei Naryshkin sharply criticizes Western countries imposed sanctions, says Sputnik News news agency .

- Sanctions are nothing more than extortion, and a way to set us financial pressure, Naryshkin exclaimed Parliament and President of the joint meeting.

Well, duh. Get out of Ukraine.

Fortune 500 Cyber Attacks Timeline

November 25, 2014

Originally posted on

For the Infosec professionals, this troubled 2014 will be remembered for the trail of gigantic breaches unleashed nearly exactly one year ago, when the real outcome of the infamous Target breach became to emerge. The real extent of the breach was yet to be known, like also the fact that it would not have been an isolated case, but just the beginning of a nightmare.

However this is not the only example of a Fortune 500 company deeply hit, and thanks to a very smart hint by @bufferzone, I took the opportunity to collect in this timeline all the main cyber incidents involving Fortune 500 and Fortune 500 Global companies since 2011 to nowadays.

The adopted selection criteria take into considerations only incidents involving a direct impact on end users, so defacements have not been taken into consideration.

Fortune 500 Global companies are characterized by a blank value in…

View original 104 more words


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