August 30th, 2014
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August 30th, 2014
August 29th, 2014
By Greg Botelho and Laura Smith-Spark
Don't mess with Russia.
That was President Vladimir Putin's message on Friday, the same day a British government source claimed that Russian troops had significantly ratcheted up their military incursion into Ukraine.
Moscow doesn't want or intend to wade into any "large-scale conflicts," Putin insisted at a youth forum, state-run Itar-Tass reported. A few breaths later, he made the point that Russia is "strengthening our nuclear deterrence forces and our armed forces," making them more efficient and modernized.
"I want to remind you that Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations," the President said. "This is a reality, not just words."
He later warned, "We must always be ready to repel any aggression against Russia and (potential enemies) should be aware ... it is better not to come against Russia as regards a possible armed conflict."
The comments came the same day that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused NATO of using "images from computer games" to -- in his view -- falsely make the case that Russian troops are in Ukraine. Lavrov said "hiding the evidence is an outstanding characteristic of the U.S. and many EU countries" with regard to Ukraine.
The thing is, many in the West don't believe much of anything coming out of Russia.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday that -- whatever the Kremlin says -- the reality is Russian troops are inside the Ukraine and have fired on Ukrainian military positions.
"Those denials are completely without credibility," Earnest said.
And Russia's military may be getting digging in deeper in Ukraine. The British government source told CNN on Friday that Russia has moved 4,000 to 5,000 military personnel -- a figure far higher than one U.S. official's earlier claim of 1,000 troops.
The soldiers are aligned in "formed units" and fighting around Luhansk and Donetsk, said the UK source. And they may soon have company: Some 20,000 troops are on border and "more may be on the way," the source adds.
So what's Russia's endgame? Does it simply want to protect civilians or ethnic Russians in Ukraine? Or does it endeavor to develop a land bridge between Crimea -- which split from Ukraine to become part of Russia months ago, amid the unrest following President Viktor Yanukovych's ouster -- and the Russian border? Or perhaps take over all of Ukraine now?
The UK source, giving his government's analysis of Russian troop movements, surmised that right now "the primary role of the current Russian deployments inside Ukraine is probably to assist, support and take the pressure off the separatist forces in order to maintain pressure on Kiev to decentralize.
"However, we are not ruling out more ambitious plans, including a land corridor from the Russian border to Crimea."
Continue reading: NATO chief blasts Russia's 'hollow denials'
August 29th, 2014
This is becoming truly sad....but typical of an authoritarian regime.
Next comes a Maginot line-like wall in order to block illegal border crossings.....by US citizens seeking to escape
Robert W. Wood Contributor
Over the last two years, the U.S. has had a spike in expatriations.
It isn’t exactly Ellis Island in reverse, but it’s more than a dribble. With global tax reporting and FATCA, the list of the individuals who renounced is up. For 2013, there was a 221% increase, with record numbers of Americans renouncing. The Treasury Department is required to publish a quarterly list, but these numbers are under-stated, some say considerably.
The presence or absence of tax motivation is no longer relevant, but that could change. After Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin departed for Singapore, Senators Chuck Schumer and Bob Casey introduced a bill to double the exit tax to 30% for anyone leaving the U.S. for tax reasons.
That hasn’t happened, but taxes are still a big issue for many.
To leave America, you generally must prove 5 years of U.S. tax compliance. If you have a net worth greater than $2 million or average annual net income tax for the 5 previous years of $157,000 or more for 2014 (that’s tax, not income), you pay an exit tax. It is a capital gain tax as if you sold your property when you left. At least there’s an exemption of $680,000 for 2014. Long-term residents giving up a Green Card can be required to pay the tax too.
Now, the State Department interim rule just raised the fee for renunciation of U.S. citizenship to $2,350 from $450. Critics note that it’s more than twenty times the average level in other high-income countries. The State Department says it’s about demand on their services and all the extra workload they have to process people who are on their way out.
1. Consular officers must confirm that the potential renunciant fully understands the consequences of renunciation, including losing the right to reside in the United States without documentation as an alien.
2. Consular officers must verify that the renunciant is a U.S. citizen and they must conduct a minimum of two intensive interviews with the potential renunciant. Consular officers must even review at least three consular systems before administering the oath of renunciation.
3. The final approval of the loss of nationality must be done within the Directorate of Overseas Citizens Services in Washington, D.C. After that, the case is returned to the Consular officer overseas for final delivery of the Certificate of Loss of Nationality to the renunciant.
4. These steps add to the time and labor be involved in the process. Accordingly, the Department is increasing the fee for processing such requests from $450 to $2,350.
Apparently, dual citizens in Canada trying to shed their U.S. citizenship have created a backlog at the U.S. consulate in Toronto that stretches into the third week of January 2015. A decision to expatriate should never be taken lightly. Taxes or not, it can be a big step. And around the world, more people are talking about taking it.
More from Forbes
August 29th, 2014
Social media chatter shows Islamic State militants are keenly aware of the porous U.S.-Mexico border, and are “expressing an increased interest” in crossing over to carry out a terrorist attack, according to a Texas law enforcement bulletin sent out this week.
“A review of ISIS social media messaging during the week ending August 26 shows that militants are expressing an increased interest in the notion that they could clandestinely infiltrate the southwest border of US, for terror attack,” warns the Texas Department of Public Safety "situational awareness" bulletin, obtained by FoxNews.com.
The three-page bulletin, entitled “ISIS Interest on the US Southwest Border” and dated Aug. 28 was released to law enforcement on Thursday.
“Social media account holders believed to be ISIS militants and propagandists have called for unspecified border operations, or they have sought to raise awareness that illegal entry through Mexico is a viable option,” states the law enforcement bulletin, which is not classified.
It notes no known credible homeland threats or specific homeland attack plot has been identified. That assertion was underscored by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who said Friday that DHS and the FBI are "unaware of any specific, credible threat to the U.S. homeland" from Islamic State.
Despite assurances that no threat to American soil is imminent, the watchdog group Judicial Watch said Friday that Islamic State operatives are in Juarez, just across the border from Texas, and are planning to attack the United States with car bombs.
"Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat," Judicial Watch stated on its website.
The Texas law enforcement bulletin cites suspected fighters from the terrorist group previously known as ISIS and based in Syria and Iraq as eyeing a border crossing.
“The identities of persons operating these accounts cannot be independently verified; however the accounts were selected for monitoring based on several indications that they have been used by actual ISIS militants for propaganda purposes and collectively reach tens of thousands of followers,” states the bulletin. “One account was verified as belonging to an individual located in Mosul, Iraq.”
Some 32 Twitter and Facebook posts monitored by law enforcement over one recent week reflected interest in the southern border, according to the bulletin. The messages, which were forwarded thousands of times, included calls for jihadists to cross over from Mexico to carry out attacks and even alluded to a recent video by U.S. activist James O’Keefe, who was recorded coming across the Rio Grande valley in an Usama bin Laden costume.
The bulletin details numerous “calls for border infiltration” on social media, including one from a militant confirmed to be in Mosul, Iraq who explicitly beckons the “Islamic State to send a special force to America across the border with Mexico.”
“This Twitter account holder, who is the administrator of an ISIS propaganda trading group, stated that the time was right for such an action because ‘the US-Mexican border is now open large numbers of people crossing,’” the bulletin said.
Another message sent out via Twitter suggested that Islamic State fighters have already entered the U.S. via the border, warning that, as a result, “Americans in for ruin (sic).”
The Texas DPS bulletin comes on the heels of a federal Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice Joint Intelligence bulletin dated August 22, a copy of which was also obtained by FoxNews.com.That bulletin, entitled “Online Reaction but No Known Credible Homeland Threats from ISIL and Its Supporters Following US Air Strikes,”addresses potential threats to the Homeland in response to recent US air strikes on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets in Iraq and the murder of journalist James Foley.
This bulletin notes that while the FBI and DHS are unaware of specific credible threats against the U.S. from homegrown violent extremists, ISIL or other violent extremist groups overseas “we continue to assess that violent extremists who support ISIL have demonstrated the capability to attempt attacks on US targets overseas with little-to-no warning.”
The report also says that “because of the individualized nature of the radicalization process—it is difficult to predict triggers that will contribute to [homegrown violent extremists] attempting acts of violence…lone offenders present law enforcement with limited opportunities to detect and disrupt plots, which frequently involve simple plotting against targets of opportunity.”
“FBI and DHS assess that civilian deaths reportedly associated with these US military air strikes will almost certainly be used as further examples of a perceived Western war against Islam in English-language violent extremist messaging that could contribute to [homegrown violent extremist] radicalization to violence,” the report notes.
The FBI and DHS bulletin includes a section titled "ISIL Supporters Increasingly Using Social Media to Encourage Violent Acts against US Interests."
"ISIL and its online supporters have employed—and will almost certainly continue—Twitter “hashtag” campaigns that have gained mainstream media attention and been able to quickly reach a global audience of potential violent extremists, highlighting ISIL’s supporter message and encouraging individuals to commit acts of violence, in Iraq or in the West," the bulletin states.
"Several of the Tweets in response to the air strikes featured original and creative use of graphics—including a photo of the ISIL flag in front of the White House—and graphically rendered images depicting desecration of US monuments and landmarks."
More from Fox News