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  “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil”

Alan Greenspan

War-for-oil, or more precisely, power projection to preserve the petrodollar, is realpolitik.

Per capita energy usage in the United States is the highest among all nations of the world. The USA consumes 25% of would energy resources while having only 5% of the population. Approximately half of the energy used in the US is electrical energy  generated by coal-fired power plants. The other part is oil that is mainly imported.

Securing uninterruptable supply of oil became the key task of the USA foreign policy since president Carter. The second important goal is maintaining  dollar as the world primary reserve currency, and, especially, the main currency you can buy oil with.  That includes maintaining the stability of client Arab regimes, such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Oil Wars

Recently the USA waged several "oil wars" (Iraq war, Libya war, Syria war, attempt of "color revolution" in Russia) with the most brutal being the Iraq war. The two main messages from the war in Iraq are:

Manipulating the facts became the norm for the Bush administration, which invaded Iraq on what we know now (and the administration almost certainly knew then) were utterly false pretenses. Thanks to these lies, Americans, including our soldiers and civilians serving in Iraq, were killed or injured.  Links to the 9/11 attacks and the claim that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, two of the ever-evolving reasons for getting into the war were blatantly false from the very beginning.  They were fabricated to achieve specific goals.  Engaging in mass deception in order to justify official policy both degrades the society, so the war has had a detrimental effect on the USA, as a society. It just has shown that elites now are audacious enough to throw out even attempt to present their actions as legitimate of serving national goals. Of course, by far, it is ordinary Iraqis who have suffered the most.

We know now beyond any doubt that Iraq was not involved in 9/11 and had no weapons of mass destruction. But as Paul Pillar, a former senior CIA analyst with the Iraqi portfolio, wrote on March 14,

 “Intelligence did not drive the decision to invade Iraq – not by a long shot, despite the aggressive use by the Bush administration of cherry-picked fragments of intelligence reporting in its public sales campaign for the war.”

Indeed, this was a war for oil from the very beginning, and any little lie would have worked.

It is very fortuitous for all those politicians, policy makers, and bureaucrats with Iraqi blood on their hands — Republicans and Democrats both — that the only courtroom they’ve been shuffled into is the court of public opinion, where most received light sentences. Bush II actually was reelected for the second term.

Indeed, the Iraq war boosters are still a fixture on our television screens.

Sure, there are pundits and reporters who admit they wrongly supported the war, but their regrets are usually reserved for their blind faith in the war planners and their own lack of inquisitiveness. For example, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius confessed in a March 21 column that Iraq was one of “the biggest strategic errors in Modern American history.” But the thrust of his own mea culpa was that he did not write enough “on the overriding question of whether the war made sense,” which would have allowed him to see that the U.S was not strong enough nor flexible enough to succeed.

Rarely do pundits apologize for the horrendous Iraqi losses inflicted by the war: more than a million deaths and millions more wounded with varying lifelong disabilities, including thousands of tortured prisoners, with an estimated 16,000 of them still unaccounted for. Twenty-eight percent of Iraqi children suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and 2.8 million people are still internally displaced or living as refugees outside the country. Add to that the complete destruction of the Iraqi infrastructure outside oil sector, as well as its transportation, education, and medical institutions. Don’t forget the countless people suffering from trauma and depression, sectarian war with daily killings, terrifying birth defects from toxic pollution, and a brain drain that has left the country illiterate.

Not since the American Civil War has the U.S citizenry had to endure such horrors. Yet discussion of these repercussions is noticeably absent as we still struggle to understand the scope of the Iraq war and what all of its lies have wrought.

Let us start with a sincere apology to the Iraqi people for the crimes the U.S. government has committed. A long-range plan for restitution is a second step. Empires decline due to moral decay from within. Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, our nation is looking at the moral abyss. If lies have delivered us to this place, then only the truth will begin our journey back.

From Foreign Policy in Focus

The Real Reason for the Iraq War VICE United Kingdom

Because it was marked "confidential" on each page, the oil industry stooge couldn't believe the US State Department had given me a complete copy of their secret plans for the oil fields of Iraq.

Actually, the State Department had done no such thing. But my line of bullshit had been so well-practiced and the set-up on my mark had so thoroughly established my fake identity, that I almost began to believe my own lies.

I closed in. I said I wanted to make sure she and I were working from the same State Department draft. Could she tell me the official name, date and number of pages? She did.

Bingo! I'd just beaten the Military-Petroleum Complex in a lying contest, so I had a right to be chuffed.

After phoning numbers from California to Kazakhstan to trick my mark, my next calls were to the State Department and Pentagon. Now that I had the specs on the scheme for Iraq's oil – that State and Defense Department swore, in writing, did not exist – I told them I'd appreciate their handing over a copy (no expurgations, please) or there would be a very embarrassing story on BBC Newsnight.

Within days, our chief of investigations, Ms Badpenny, delivered to my shack in the woods outside New York a 323-page, three-volume programme for Iraq's oil crafted by George Bush's State Department and petroleum insiders meeting secretly in Houston, Texas.

I cracked open the pile of paper – and I was blown away.

Like most lefty journalists, I assumed that George Bush and Tony Blair invaded Iraq to buy up its oil fields, cheap and at gun-point, and cart off the oil. We thought we knew the neo-cons true casus belli: Blood for oil.

But the truth in the Options for Iraqi Oil Industry was worse than "Blood for Oil". Much, much worse.

The key was in the flow chart on page 15, Iraq Oil Regime Timeline & Scenario Analysis:

"...A single state-owned company ...enhances a government's relationship with OPEC."

Gas wars

EuroMaidan can be considered to be a proxy "gas war" when the USA hides behind Ukraine far right  to fight Russia and EU.  See

Asia Times Online China News, China Business News, Taiwan and Hong Kong News and Business.

Well, there is a plan BRICS - or so the BRICS nations would like to think, at least. And when the BRICS do act in this spirit on the global stage, they quickly conjure up a curious mix of fear, hysteria, and pugnaciousness in the Washington establishment.

Take Christopher Hill as an example. The former assistant secretary of state for East Asia and US ambassador to Iraq is now an advisor with the Albright Stonebridge Group, a consulting firm deeply connected to the White House and the State Department. When Russia was down and out, Hill used to dream of a hegemonic American "new world order". Now that the ungrateful Russians have spurned what "the West has been offering" - that is, "special status with NATO, a privileged relationship with the European Union, and partnership in international diplomatic endeavors" - they are, in his view, busy trying to revive the Soviet empire. Translation: if you're not our vassals, you're against us. Welcome to Cold War 2.0.

The Pentagon has its own version of this directed not so much at Russia as at China, which, its think tank on future warfare claims, is already at war with Washington in a number of ways. So if it's not apocalypse now, it's Armageddon tomorrow. And it goes without saying that whatever's going wrong, as the Obama administration very publicly "pivots" to Asia and the American media fills with talk about a revival of Cold War-era "containment policy" in the Pacific, it's all China's fault.

Embedded in the mad dash toward Cold War 2.0 are some ludicrous facts-on-the-ground: the US government, with $17.5 trillion in national debt and counting, is contemplating a financial showdown with Russia, the largest global energy producer and a major nuclear power, just as it's also promoting an economically unsustainable military encirclement of its largest creditor, China.

Russia runs a sizeable trade surplus. Humongous Chinese banks will have no trouble helping Russian banks out if Western funds dry up. In terms of inter-BRICS cooperation, few projects beat a $30 billion oil pipeline in the planning stages that will stretch from Russia to India via Northwest China.

Chinese companies are already eagerly discussing the possibility of taking part in the creation of a transport corridor from Russia into Crimea, as well as an airport, shipyard, and liquid natural gas terminal there. And there's another "thermonuclear" gambit in the making: the birth of a natural gas equivalent to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that would include Russia, Iran, and reportedly disgruntled US ally Qatar.

The (unstated) BRICS long-term plan involves the creation of an alternative economic system featuring a basket of gold-backed currencies that would bypass the present America-centric global financial system. (No wonder Russia and China are amassing as much gold as they can.) The euro - a sound currency backed by large liquid bond markets and huge gold reserves - would be welcomed in as well.

It's no secret in Hong Kong that the Bank of China has been using a parallel SWIFT network to conduct every kind of trade with Tehran, which is under a heavy US sanctions regime. With Washington wielding Visa and MasterCard as weapons in a growing Cold War-style economic campaign against Russia, Moscow is about to implement an alternative payment and credit card system not controlled by Western finance.

An even easier route would be to adopt the Chinese Union Pay system, whose operations have already overtaken American Express in global volume.


Why Energy is Central to the Economy

BC, January 22, 2015 at 6:44 pm
Economics is politics. Politics is war by other means. War is the business of empire (hegemony). War is good business for imperialists.

Therefore, economics is the intellectual and political rationalization for the business objectives of imperial expansionism, expropriation, and co-optation of client-states’ elites by means of state violence when necessary, which is more often than not when resources become increasingly scarce and the hegemonic frontiers of expansionism are threatened.

Yet, most Americans do not yet perceive the US as an empire (successor to the British Empire), not surprisingly, which would necessarily require the inference that empires peak, decline, and eventually collapse, and we have been in relative decline since the 1970s-80s, which most of the working-class bottom 90% would have to concede were they honest with themselves and their fellows. And, no, McConnell, Romney, Rubio, Paul, et al., care not about the working-class bottom 90% but themselves and those deep-pocketed Republicans who cut the largest campaign finance checks.

But one suspects that the 80-90% of the population who were slaves during the Greek city-state dominance and later Roman Empire neither perceived themselves living in the context of imperial decline and incipient collapse, as their daily life experience was preoccupied with acquiescing to their imperial masters’ demands and the imperative to survive and thereafter subsist within their circumstances, if they/we’re luck . . ., or not.

Same as it ever was . . .

Coilin MacLochlainn, January 22, 2015 at 8:19 pm

Malthus was not wrong, he was right. The reason for that is, the Earth is finite and has limited resources. The human population has reached 7 billion. If it continues to grow, or even if it doesn’t, it will exceed the ability of the Earth’s remaining land base to support us.

In fact, it already has. Several of the Earth’s planetary limits have already been exceeded and we are cannibalising what remains of the Earth’s surviving natural resources just to keep going. What I mean is, we are using up the very resources that we rely on as a species to survive into the future. And at the same time, we are making it impossible for much of the rest of life on Earth to survive, which is why so many species are going extinct now and most will be wiped out before we are done.

For those of us living in the developed world, it is hard to picture this, because we are living off the exploitation of resources and labour in less well off countries.

There are also glaring examples of excessive exploitation in the developed world. For example, in California, which leads the world in the production of almonds, walnuts and pistachio nuts, there is not enough surface water available to supply the industry and so nut farmers are irrigating their crops using underground water. With the ongoing drought in California, the underground aquifer is not being recharged, so it won’t be long before the nut farmers run out of water and the industry goes bust. It will go bust and it will also leave the aquifer dry, with no possibility of refilling with water while the drought lasts, which could be for years or forever.

Jan Steinman, January 22, 2015 at 6:26 pm

“Capital is embodied energy.”

Are you talking about physical capital, such as factories, machines, and such?

A lot of very smart people seem to think “capital” is little bits of coloured paper, or even invisible magnetic bits on a spinning disk. But I think that’s where the second half of your essay (debt) comes into play.

It would be nice to have some simple term-of-art to distinguish between the two forms of “capital.” I agree that physical plant is capital. It may even be that, pre-Bretton Woods, money was an adequate symbol for capital. But it seems to me that there is way more money around than there is physical capital these days.

garand555, January 21, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Economics is a pseudo-science, at least the way it is practiced.

... ... ...

InAlaska, January 21, 2015 at 7:58 pm

Economists endorsed the idea of globalism after it became apparent that without it, national economies could no longer grow. Globalization is going to kill us because it removes from local control the basic production of necessities. Speaking of economics, here is part of a post on The Automatic Earth from yesterday concerning the Davos crowd and the World Economic Forum:

“When it comes to basic necessities, to food, water and shelter, we shouldn’t strive to compete with other economies. That is not good for us, or for our peers in those other economies; it’s good only for those who skim off the top. The larger and more globalized the top, the more there is to skim off. All the ‘reform’ is geared towards making our economies ever more dependent on the global economy. And that is not in our best interest.

It’s not all just even about money, it’s about our security, and independence. Everybody likes the idea of being independent, but at the same time few realize that globalization is the exact opposite of independence. Global trade is fine, as long as it’s limited to things we don’t need to survive, but it’s not fine if and when it takes away the ability of a community or a society to provide for itself.

Protectionism has acquired a really bad reputation, as if it’s inherently evil to try and protect your community from being gutted by economic ideas and systems it has no defense against, or to make sure it can generate and provide for its own basics at all times. But that’s just propaganda too.

If our societies are not designed and constructed to provide for themselves, they’ll end up with no choice but to go to war with each other. Along the same lines, if our societies don’t have strict laws in place that guarantee we can’t and won’t destroy the natural resources of the land we live on comes with, we’ll also end up going to war with each other.

We’re not going to solve the Gordian knot of the entire global economy and all the hubris and propaganda the present leading politicians, businessmen and ‘reporters’ bring to the table. And we probably shouldn’t want to. Our brains did not develop to do things on a global scale. The clowns will blow themselves up sooner or later. We should focus on what we can do, meanwhile, in our immediate surroundings.

And it’s pretty easy from there, really. The economic problems we have are mostly artificial. They have been induced by the broken economic model the Davos crowd, the central bankers and you know who else would have us believe is the one and only, and that they are busy fixing for our sake and greater glory. But they care only about their own glory.”

Gail Tverberg, January 22, 2015 at 8:38 pm

On the other hand, without the growth that was obtained from globalization, the financial system would have collapsed earlier. So in some sense, we are better off, even if it is not sustainable.

The US started hollowing out its manufacturing not too long after the oil problems of the 1970s. Japan came first in globalization, before the other Eastern countries.

InAlaska, January 21, 2015 at 7:24 pm

Liquid Assets,

Economists run the Federal Reserve Bank and all the central banks in the world. How has their “straight thinking” worked out? Has the world ever been in such a fiscal mess before? How have all of those over-educated PhDs in Economics done better than an Actuary could do?

Economics is the dismal “science” in part because it is predicated on the assumption that their can be infinite inputs into the system. Before you insult Gail and suggest she get a “real education,” consider that this whole edifice of “Economics” and endless growth is based on and within a finite world.

escravaisaurabr, January 22, 2015 at 7:33 am

Two perceptive posts you wrote. Thank you.

I would like to add this post. I think most of you will appreciate. I sure love this post….

By falak pema

Economics is a means to achieve an end, like language.

So linguists are capable of understanding the logic of communication for DECISION MAKING; whether it be in words and intellectual concepts or in numbers/statistics and algorithms.

The issue here is that perfect markets like perfect speech do not exist for themselves in society, except for the “initiated”, but have a different function as a VEHICLE for body politic; which defines the AIMS and uses the means, all the means : of language as of images and of statistics and mathematical constructs.

So the thesis of the Mises/Hayek type Shamans that Economia is the “be-all” of society is just wrong. No more than the works of Shakespeare or Hugo, or of Picasso etc.

They do not define politics and power in society. They may influence it but they don’t define it’s objectives.

Linguists like economists can add substance to a political construct that defines the power play in civilization. And in that respect markets are just a means and their perfection as important as a perfect face on the screen.

All imagery or conceptual work in life is virtual.

It becomes real when it faces the real world of power and its continual balancing act; facts and irreversible acts that define our future as they have our past.

Chomsky is more relevant today to society than Mises.

The first analyses real political acts and consequences the other confines himself to theoretical pontification about the real economy looked at through the lens which keeps referring to the mantra of perfect markets.

Not saying markets are not important just saying they are not ALL important.

For the Mises theory to become reality we would have to live in a perfect “anarchy” state without government. The last time they wanted the state to “shrivel away” it was called the “ultimate step of communism” and it parented Stalinism. So…you have to know what you wish for in the REAL world.

History says you are wrong. You keep harping about a system that has gone off the cliff twice because of market forces being spiraled into Vesuvian eruption under irrational exuberance and greed and thanks to lack of Government regulation : in 1929 and 2008.

You are into DEEP denial of historical FACTS.

The historical thread shows us neo-feudal oligarchs are just as destructive of wealth creation as are statist hegemonists.

The only realistic solution is to balance state power and private oligarchy power and make sure NEITHER is in dominant position by having transparent control of public and private spending and by ensuring due diligence and SANCTIONS.

Today we have a Mussolinian economy of crony collusion between statists and oligarchs. We have the worst of both worlds.

We need good state governance and non monopolistic private sector innovative investment, compatible with “general good”, that does not run us off the cliff in mad speculation nor poison the planet.

The GDP should be run on an equitable basis between both power structures.

Whether this divide is 30/70 or 50/50 between private and public and how its used and how its controlled and monitored is the role of the Republic. And it should be debated and then voted and then executed in a legal framework which is NOT CORRUPT.

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[Oct 24, 2020] The blockage of Nordstream 2 is about The Dark Heart of Europe not Russia

Oct 24, 2020 |

A123 , says: October 23, 2020 at 3:35 pm GMT


Take Nord Stream II. If Trump hadn't taken the oath, it would have been up and running years ago. Would that it were so that this was a gift to Russia and Germany, but it's much worse than that. Why isn't anyone else curious as to who got what in return?

The blockage of Nordstream 2 is about The Dark Heart of Europe not Russia...

This is one of Putin's few serious errors. He would be much better off pushing gas projects that flowed east...


AriusArmenian , says: October 23, 2020 at 4:47 pm GMT

Europe is a glove on the US hand and is easily led around by its nose by the CIA and MI6 that infest the MSM and run one false flag after another.

Politicians in the EU are mediocre creatures that crave the dollars stuffed into their pockets by the US. They are enjoying the ride while it lasts until they go down with the US.

[Oct 23, 2020] Oil Production Cuts Could Be Extended- Putin -

Oct 23, 2020 |

Submitted by

Russia does not rule out the possibility that OPEC+ could extend its current 7.7 million barrels per day of production cuts into next year, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin .

The comments could be merely jawboning to a market that is desperately seeking reassurances that oil production will not ramp up too quickly beyond demand. But Russia has in the past been reluctant to keep up its end of the oil production cuts, so any mention that it is even thinking about a slower tapering of the cuts is noteworthy.

In fact, Russia had failed to bring its own oil production down to the level it agreed to for most of the period of cuts in 2019 and early 2020.

Russia also was the spark that ignited the oil price war between it and Saudi Arabia-and by default the United States, when it refused to agree to additional cuts using the argument that as OPEC decreases its production, it opens the door for U.S. producers to increase theirs.

Vladimir Putin has had several discussions with Saudi Arabia and the United States on the state of the oil markets. "We believe there is no need to change anything in our agreements," Putin said. "We will watch how the market is recovery. The consumption is on the rise."

Putin added, however, that they did not "rule out" the possibility that OPEC+ could keep the current production cuts instead of removing them at the pace it had initially agreed upon.

But Putin didn't stop there. "If need be, maybe, we can take other decisions on further reductions. But we don't see such a necessity now," Putin said, intimating that more cuts were at least possible.

Russia's willingness to even consider additional cuts or waiting longer to ease the cuts than planned will be viewed positively by the markets, which has been struggling to break out of a rut where oil prices have traded in a relatively tight band for months.

[Oct 19, 2020] A joke circulating Russia internets today

Oct 19, 2020 |

BG , Oct 17 2020 20:24 utc | 46

A joke circulating Russia internets today:

"German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas:

"North Stream 2 will be built 100%!"

A journalist asks:

"But what about Navalny?"

Maas replies:

"Well, unfortunately Navalny doesn't produce 55 billion cbm of natural gas per year..."


[Oct 19, 2020] The USA had more than doubled its oil imports from Russia last year and is now the world's second largest importer of Russian heavy oil

Notable quotes:
"... "Maas added that Germany takes decisions related to its energy policy and energy supply 'here in Europe', saying that Berlin accepts ' the fact that the US had more than doubled its oil imports from Russia last year and is now the world's second largest importer of Russian heavy oil .'" [My Emphasis] ..."
Oct 19, 2020 |

karlof1 , Oct 17 2020 17:50 utc | 14

Heavy oil is needed for the chemical industry (as opposed to transport). The three biggest producers of heavy oil are Iran, Venezuella and Russia.

The US produces mostly light oil, thus it needs to import the heavy oil. Since the US sanctioned Iran and Venezuella, the only significant option remaining is Russia. It would be ironic if they are buying iranian oil sold to Russia.

winston2 , Oct 17 2020 18:09 utc | 20

karlof1 , Oct 17 2020 17:50 utc | 14

It appears Lavrov's saying we'll just ignore the EU and its major components for awhile got quick results as Germany's FM just announced "Nord Stream 2 will be completed" ; but he also said this:

"Maas added that Germany takes decisions related to its energy policy and energy supply 'here in Europe', saying that Berlin accepts ' the fact that the US had more than doubled its oil imports from Russia last year and is now the world's second largest importer of Russian heavy oil .'" [My Emphasis]

Now isn't that the interesting bit of news!! The greatest fracking nation on the planet needs to import heavy oil (likely Iranian, unlikely Venezuelan) from its #1 adversary. As for the end game, I've written many times what I see as the goal and don't see any need to add more.

Passer by , Oct 17 2020 17:58 utc | 16

[Oct 14, 2020] European Oil Companies Will Not Tolerate Poland's Attempt To Cancel Nord Stream 2 -

Oct 14, 2020 |

European Oil Companies Will Not Tolerate Poland's Attempt To Cancel Nord Stream 2 by Tyler Durden Wed, 10/14/2020 - 06:10 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Paul Antonopoulos via,

By handing out a €6.5 billion fine against Gazprom, Warsaw has obviously and massively miscalculated because it did not only antagonize the Russian energy company as was intended, but also European partners of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project , which the Polish government obviously had not considered.

Even leaders within the European Union were shocked at the huge fine that Poland is attempting to impose against Nord Stream 2.

It may very well be that the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has lost itself when deciding on the price of the fine against Gazprom. But regardless of that, UOKiK has apparently also exceeded its jurisdiction . As the Düsseldorf-based energy supplier Uniper reports, the existing agreements on Nord Stream 2 have nothing to do with a joint venture, which is why the Polish laws on merger controls do not apply to them. The initial plans were to finance the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline through the establishment of a joint venture. For this, however, the companies involved should have received a permit in all the countries in which they operate, as well as from Poland, the only EU state that blocked this decision. The decision for it not to be a joint venture was made without further ado so as not to waste time or money in a dispute with Polish authorities.

The pipeline partners designed an alternative financing model for Nord Stream 2 and instead of joining Nord Stream 2 AG (Company) as a co-partner, the European energy companies are participating in the project as lenders so that Polish antitrust laws do not apply to them. However, Gazprom, the majority shareholder of Nord Stream 2 AG, has given its European partners shares in the company as a mortgage for the financing provided. If the loans from the Russian side are not paid, the European corporations automatically become the owners of Nord Stream 2 AG. Referring to this fact, the Polish antitrust authorities have declared the European partner companies to be quasi-shareholders in the pipeline project.

With this UOKiK also justifies the exorbitant fine against Gazprom and the fines of around €55 million against Uniper (German), Wintershall (German), Engie (French), OMV (Austrian) and Shell (English-Dutch). Neither Gazprom nor Nord Stream 2 are financially at risk at the moment and the Russian group has already announced that it will take the fine to court.

Poland is of course now aware that their attempts to fine the Nord Stream 2 project will amount to nothing. The aim of the Polish government is not so much to force a large sum of money from Gazprom in the long term, but rather to bury the pipeline project entirely. And this is the part where Warsaw has grossly miscalculated, not only European reactions, but Russian determination.

The goal to cancel Nord Stream 2 also explains why Polish authorities published their decision last week. Relations between the EU and Russia are extra strained because of the Navalny case and the situation in Belarus. France and Germany are working on new sanctions against Russia for the Navalny case and continue to apply pressure against Belarus.

Another question is how effective these measures will be. Sanctions have long degenerated into ambiguity as it is the usual way the West deals with Moscow. Russia has learnt how to adjust their economy accordingly, meaning that sanctions have turned into a farce. The West is regularly expanding its blacklists of sanctioned companies and private individuals, but there has been no significant effect. Political forces with a keen interest in the failure of Nord Stream 2 are plentiful in the West and they are currently advancing the Navalny case in the hope that it will cut the EU from Russia more strongly or permanently. This will not occur as Europe desperately needs Russian energy, which is why Nord Stream 2 is such a critical project for all involved.

Poland plays the main role in trying to cancel Nord Stream 2 and the decision by UOKiK is just another push to finally get Europe to abandon the pipeline project. According to a joint declaration by France and Germany, measures are currently being prepared for those alleged to be responsible in the Navalny case and their participation in the so-called Novichok program.



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Despite these measures, Western Europe is bringing its energy project which is important for its own future out of the danger zone, while Poland is attracting even more displeasure from EU giants through its own operation. A penalty against Gazprom may be a Russian problem, but fines against leading corporations from Germany, France, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Austria are guaranteed to leave many of Europe's biggest capitalist angered. The effort Warsaw is making to thwart Nord Stream 2 is visibly turning opposite to what they expected as there is little doubt the Nord Stream 2 project will come to fruition and completion.

me name=

[Oct 11, 2020] MARK CHAPMAN

Oct 11, 2020 |

October 10, 2020 at 3:30 am

Yes, I straightaway notified John Helmer to see if he is aware of these developments, and he says they are incorporated in this story, which I am just now reading myself (early morning on the MAYNE QUEEN for 'frontline workers' such as I).

Like Reply

JENNIFER HOR October 10, 2020 at 11:39 am

The French must be envious: while they have to tolerate Pavlensky with his arson stunts and sinister blackmailing of their politicians, the Germans only have to put up with Navalny who can't stop shooting his mouth off in a different direction every time he opens it. Although the day must be fast approaching when Berlin might wish Navalny silenced forever before he embarrasses his hosts even more. The irony would certainly be rich and furthermore, whatever transpires next against Navalny could parallel what happened to the Skripals in 2018. The difference is that Navalny may be walking into a trap with all eyes (and mouth) open. He will have only himself to blame if his hosts decide to get rid of him permanently.

ET AL October 10, 2020 at 11:17 am

Playing the devil's advocate, it could be that the bottle(s) were exfiltrated in another manner which in itself raises other questions.

But I would like to know the serial number of the bottle(s). That way they could be traced to whom the producers sold them to, so a) we can check whether in fact the hotel did purchase them whether directly or by an intermediary store, or not; b) whether they were bought elsewhere, i.e. the brand was noted at the hotel (during the recorded video 'discovery' performance) .

MARK CHAPMAN October 10, 2020 at 7:20 pm

I think you mean lot number.

MARK CHAPMAN October 10, 2020 at 2:48 pm

It kind of sounds like they are lawyering up, or getting legal advice about what Pevchikh's actions and movements prove. And so far, they're correct – a picture of her apparently buying a bottle of water or some other beverage from a machine proves nothing. She could have bought something entirely different, or just been standing in front of the machine. She also could have drunk the water on the plane and left the bottle there; that's quite true as well.

However, what do we have on their side? Video allegedly taken at the hotel in which they are seen bagging up empty water bottles. They must have been quote sure that was the piece of evidence they were looking for, since they took nothing else. And then what? There's no chain of custody, and nobody who was not there has any idea what happened to these bottles, or whether the ones allegedly delivered to the Bundeswehr or whoever are the same bottles allegedly taken from the hotel. There must have been no end of opportunities to open the bags – which are not proper custody envelopes, simply zip-loc bags which can be opened or closed any number of times without any indication that this has happened – and tamper with the contents. Nobody from Team Navalny other than The Bullshitter himself went into a coma or even showed any symptoms although they allegedly handled evidence which was liberally dusted with a weapons-grade nerve agent, and wore no personal protective equipment (PPE) other than rubber gloves. Detective Nick Bailey, who allegedly spent weeks in the hospital after touching a doorknob allegedly contaminated with the same nerve agent although he was wearing leather gloves, proved that gloves are no defense against Novichok.

Mind you, this latest iteration was apparently specially engineered to be slow-acting. So perhaps in a couple of weeks Pevchikh and/or Alburov will fall over jerking and drooling in the middle of a sentence. We'll just have to wait and see.

[Oct 11, 2020] The USA found new allies in gas war

Oct 11, 2020 |

MOSCOW EXILE October 10, 2020 at 6:28 am

В МИД России назвали "Новичок" западным брендом

The Russian Foreign Ministry has called "Novichok" a Western brand
The chemical warfare agent called Novichok is a "purely Western brand" that has been synthesized and is present in Western countries in about 140 variants, Russia does not have it. This has been announced by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"We officially confirm that all chemical weapons in Russia were destroyed under the strictest international control. This time-consuming process was completed on September 27, 2017″, the foreign ministry has said in a statement.

They recalled that on October 11, 2017, the General Director of the OPCW's technical secretariat certified the final destruction of chemical weapons in the Russian Federation.

"As for the chemical warfare agent called "Novichok" in the West, its structure and mass spectrum were first presented in 1998 in the spectral database of the American Standards Institute (NIST 98). It is indicative that information on this substance came there from the research centre of the US Department of Defense", the ministry has stressed.

The ministry has added that subsequently, on the basis of this compound, a whole family of toxic chemicals had been formed that did not fall under the control of the CWC.

"They worked with it along with the Americans in no less than 20 Western countries". the statement says.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has noted that the studies of Aleksei Navalny's biomaterials conducted in Omsk did not reveal the presence of traces of his poisoning with a chemical warfare agent.

"And the Charité doctors did not find them either. But the German military found them. Almost a week later", the department has said.

Earlier, the OPCW said that its experts had confirmed the presence of toxic substances in the samples of urine and blood taken from Navalny. According to the report, a substance had been found in his body, similar in characteristics to Novichok, but not on the list of prohibited chemicals.

The Russian diplomatic department has noted that this story has continued according to a pre-planned scenario, and promised to provide a chronology of "behind-the-scene manipulations of the main characters of this performance."


In 1997, the United States ratified the United Nations International Chemical Weapons Convention treaty. By participating in the treaty, the United States agreed to destroy its stockpile of aging chemical weapons -- principally mustard agent and nerve agents -- by April 29, 2007. However, the final destruction deadline was extended to April 29, 2012, at the Eleventh Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention at The Hague on December 8, 2006 -- source .

The primary remaining chemical weapon storage facilities in the U.S. are Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado and Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky. These two facilities hold 10.25% of the U.S. 1997 declared stockpile and destruction operations are under the Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives. Other non-stockpile agents (usually test kits) or old buried munitions are occasionally found and are sometimes destroyed in place. Pueblo and Blue Grass are constructing pilot plans to test novel methods of disposal. The U.S. also uses mobile treatment systems to treat chemical test samples and individual shells without requiring transport from the artillery ranges and abandoned munitions depots where they are occasionally found. The destruction facility for Pueblo began disposal operations in March 2015. Completion at Pueblo is expected in 2019. Blue Grass is expected to complete operation by 2021 -- source .

MOSCOW EXILE October 10, 2020 at 6:42 am

Same story in Sputnik:

Moscow: Berlin Must Explain Situation With Navalny Under European Convention on Mutual Legal Aid
11:13 GMT 10.10.2020(updated 13:14 GMT 10.10.2020)

According to the ministry, the structure and mass spectrum of "Novichok," which is claimed to have been behind the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and opposition figure Alexey Navalny, were first revealed in the mass spectral database of the American Institute of Standards in 1998 (NIST 98).

And further:

The OPCW said on Tuesday that a substance similar to nerve agent Novichok, but not included on the lists of banned chemicals, had been found in Navalny's system. The German government believes the OPCW's statement actually confirmed the opposition activist's poisoning with a Novichok group substance but admits that the substance in question is not formally banned.

Russia has also said that the German Foreign Minister's address to lawmakers on the "Navalny case" shows that Moscow is still subject to propaganda attacks.

"As for Heiko Maas' thesis that Russia's claims against Germany and the OPCW are absurd, such remarks are outrageous and do not stand up to any criticism. All we want is to get legal, technical and organizational assistance both in the bilateral Russian-German format and via the OPCW in the interests of conducting a comprehensive, objective and unbiased investigation of all the circumstances of the incident that occurred with Alexey Navalny," the ministry said.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said earlier that Berlin will discuss with its OPCW and EU partners a general reaction to the incident with Navalny, adding that the EU may "very quickly" impose sanctions against those people who they believe are involved in the development of chemical weapons in Russia.

Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said earlier this week that the incident with Russian opposition figure Navalny was used just as a pretext for introducing sanctions against Russia that had long been in the works.

MARK CHAPMAN October 10, 2020 at 7:18 pm

But, as I probably need not mention again, the provocation has served its purpose already. The German Foreign Minister, who was once quite bellicose on the USA's bullying ways and, if not a friend of Russia, was at least telling America "You are not the boss of us" on the issue of energy projects with Russian partners, is now fighting with Russia and saying things that cannot be taken back. All thanks to that otherwise-useless grifter, the German-Russian relationship has suffered a serious blow. Merkel, the eternal pragmatist, will not be around forever and I would not be surprised at all to see her declining health take her out of politics altogether by the end of 2021, if she does not suffer a medical event which kills her. She is not a well woman. With her gone, the Atlanticists in the German government – who still constitute a significant influence – could well prevail, and dump Germany right back into Uncle Sam's lap. At the very best, in such an eventuality, Nord Stream II would be allowed to complete but the Germans would demand so much control over it that it would be just as if Washington was running it.

Time to complete it is not unlimited.

[Oct 07, 2020] Germany, France UK to propose sanctions on Russia over alleged poisoning of opposition figure Navalny -- RT Russia Former Soviet Union

Oct 07, 2020 |

Germany, France and the UK will push for EU sanctions on Russian individuals over the alleged poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny, saying they see no other "credible explanation" for the incident than Moscow's involvement.

The proposals will target "individuals deemed responsible for this crime and breach of international norms" as well as "an entity involved in the Novichok program," the French and German foreign ministries said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

"No credible explanation has been provided by Russia so far. In this context, we consider that there is no other plausible explanation for Mr Navalny's poisoning than a Russian involvement and responsibility," the statement reads. Berlin and Paris said they will share their proposals for sanctions with their EU partners shortly.

ALSO ON RT.COM UK says 'we haven't yet attributed' Navalny's alleged poisoning to Kremlin, but Moscow must 'ANSWER'

Later, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab added that the UK stands "side by side" with France and Germany, declaring that evidence against Moscow is "undeniable."

Navalny fell sick on a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow on August 20, forcing the plane to perform an emergency landing. The anti-corruption activist was put into an induced coma at a hospital in the city of Omsk and two days later was transferred to the prestigious Charité clinic in Berlin at the request of his family.

The German medics who treated Navalny said that their tests revealed that he had been poisoned with a substance from the Novichok group of nerve agents.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has also studied the samples provided by Berlin, confirming the presence of a toxic substance from the Novichok group in Navalny's blood and urine.

This contradicts the statements made by the Russian medics from Omsk, who insisted that they had discovered no traces of any known poison in the activist's system at the time of his admission to hospital.

ALSO ON RT.COM OPCW says it found traces of Novichok-class substance in blood & urine samples of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny

Navalny, who has since emerged from coma and been discharged from hospital, said that he blames Vladimir Putin for making an attempt on his life.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement in Navalny's alleged poisoning and has accused Berlin of failing to provide samples that would prove the use of the nerve agent.

'Novichok' became a household name after the chemical poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK city of Salisbury in 2018. Western powers were also quick to blame Moscow in that instance, slapping sanctions on Russia, before offering any solid evidence of the country's involvement.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story! 16

[Oct 05, 2020] Russian subsides for Easter Europe are now much less then in the past

Oct 05, 2020 |

Kooshy , Oct 4 2020 19:41 utc | 36

Before the fall of USSR most Eastern Europe USSR dependencies energy and security was subsidized by Russians /USSR. After the fall of USSR most so called independent Eastern European former Soviet allies are reviving their energy from Russia but subsidized by EU/US in form of loans and capital investments and their security is total subsidized by US/NATO. This was understood as such and cleverly corrected by the Russians

[Sep 28, 2020] Washington's Hybrid War On Russian Energy Targets Germany, Belarus, And Bulgaria -

Sep 28, 2020 |

Washington's Hybrid War On Russian Energy Targets Germany, Belarus, And Bulgaria

by Tyler Durden Sun, 09/27/2020 - 08:10 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Andrew Korybko via,

The US is ruthlessly waging an intense Hybrid War on Russian energy interests in Europe by targeting the Eurasian Great Power's relevant projects in Germany, Belarus, and Bulgaria, banking on the fact that even the partial success of this strategy would greatly advance the scenario of an externally provoked "decoupling" between Moscow and Washington's transatlantic allies.

The Newest Front In The New Cold War

The New Cold War is heating up in Europe after the US intensified its Hybrid War on Russian interests there over the past two months. This proxy conflict is being simultaneously waged in Germany, Belarus, and Bulgaria, all three of which are key transit states for Russian energy exports to the continent, which enable it to maintain at least some influence there even during the worst of times. The US, however, wants to greatly advance the scenario of an externally provoked "decoupling" between Moscow and Washington's transatlantic allies which would allow America to reassert its unipolar hegemony there even if this campaign is only partially successful. This article aims to explore the broad contours of the US' contemporary Hybrid War strategy on Russian energy in Europe, pointing out how recent events in those three previously mentioned transit states are all part of this larger plan.


From north to south, the first and largest of these targets is Germany, which is nowadays treating Russian anti-corruption blogger Navalny. The author accurately predicted in late August that "intense pressure might be put upon the authorities by domestic politicians and their American patrons to politicize the final leg of Nord Stream II's construction by potentially delaying it as 'punishment to Putin'", which is exactly what's happening after Berlin signaled that it might rethink its commitment to this energy project. America isn't all to blame, however, since Germany ultimately takes responsibility for its provocative statements to this effect. Dmitri Trenin, Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, published a thought-provoking piece titled " Russian-German Relations: Back To The Future " about how bilateral relations will drastically change in the aftermath of this incident. It's concise and well worth the read for those who are interested in this topic.


The next Hybrid War target is Belarus , which the author has been tracking for half a decade already. After failing to convince Lukashenko to break off ties with Russia after this summer's Wagner incident, a Color Revolution was then hatched to overthrow him so that his replacements can turn the country into another Ukraine insofar as it relates to holding Russian energy exports to Europe hostage. The end goal is to increase the costs of Russian resources so that the US' own become more competitive by comparison. Ultimately, it's planned that Russian pipelines will be phased out in the worst-case scenario, though this would happen gradually since Europe can't immediately replace such imports with American and other ones. "Losing" Belarus, whether on its own or together with Nord Stream II, would deal a heavy blow to Russia's geopolitical interests. Countries like Germany wouldn't have a need to maintain cordial relations with it, thus facilitating a possible "decoupling".




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That's where Bulgaria could become the proverbial "icing on the cake". Turkish Stream is expected to transit through this Balkan country en route to Europe, but the latest anti-government protests there threaten to topple the government, leading to worries that its replacement might either politicize or suspend this project. Azerbaijan's TANAP and the Eastern Mediterranean's GRISCY pipelines might help Southeastern Europe compensate for the loss of Russian resources, though the latter has yet to be constructed and is only in the planning stages right now. Nevertheless, eliminating Turkish Stream from the energy equation (or at the very least hamstringing the project prior to replacing/scrapping it) would deal a death blow to Russia's already very limited Balkan influence. Russia would then be practically pushed out of the region, becoming nothing more than a distant cultural-historical memory with close to no remaining political influence to speak of.

Economic Warfare

The overarching goal connecting these three Hybrid War fronts isn't just to weaken Russia's energy interests, but to replace its current role with American and other industry competitors. The US-backed and Polish-led " Three Seas Initiative " is vying to become a serious player in the strategic Central & Eastern European space, and it can achieve a lot of its ambitions through the construction of new LNG and oil terminals for facilitating America's plans. In addition, artificially increasing the costs of Russian energy imports through political means related to these Hybrid Wars could also reduce Russia's revenue from these sources, which presently account for 40% of its budget . Considering that Russia's in the midst of a systemic economic transition away from its disproportionate budgetary dependence on energy, this could hit Moscow where it hurts at a sensitive time.

The Ball's In Berlin's Court

The linchpin of Russia's defensive strategy is Germany, without whose support all of Moscow's energy plans stand zero chance of succeeding. If Germany submits to the US on one, some, or all three of these Hybrid War fronts in contravention of its natural economic interests, then it'll be much easier for America to provoke a comprehensive "decoupling" between Russia and Europe. It's only energy geopolitics that allows for both sides to maintain some sense of cooperation despite the US-encouraged sanctions regime against Russia after its reunification with Crimea and thus provides an opportunity for improving their relations sometime in the future. Sabotaging Russia's energy interests there would thus doom any realistic prospects for a rapprochement between them, but the ball's in Berlin's court since it has the chance to say no to the US and ensure that the German-Russian Strategic Partnership upholds Europe's strategic autonomy across the present century.



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Concluding Thoughts

For as much as cautiously optimistic as many in the Alt-Media Community might be that the US' Hybrid War on Russian energy in Europe will fail, the facts paint a much more sobering picture which suggests that at least one of these plots will succeed. Should that happen, then the era of energy geopolitics laying the foundation for Russian-European relations will soon draw to a close, thereby facilitating the US' hoped-for "decoupling" between them, causing budgetary difficulties for Moscow at the moment when it can least afford to experience such, and pushing the Eurasian Great Power's strategic attention even further towards Asia. The last-mentioned consequence will put more pressure on Russia to perfect its "balancing" act between China and India , which could potentially be a double-edged sword that makes it more relevant in Asian geopolitical affairs but also means that one wrong move might seriously complicate its 21st-century grand strategy .

Vegetius , 4 hours ago

If you look at the three countries mentioned Belarus will likely be absorbed by Russia sooner rather than later. The push for this is underway looking at meetings taking place. For Bulgaria the US is far away and has no power to stop the Turks. It is the Turks the Bulgarians fear, with a lot of reasons, their surest way of keeping out of the Turks clutches is to look to Russia for support. Unfortunately the USA has an appalling track record of betraying countries, ask Libya.

The Germans have no choice but take the Russian gas, economically, socially and for strategic reasons. The truly big fear for the US is a German/Russian bloc. German and Russian technology with unrivaled resources. That is the future super power if they are pushed together, something that is very likely if we see a major economic contraction in the next few years.

Mustahattu , 4 hours ago

The US fear of an Eurasian alliance. The US fear Europe will create a Silicon Valley of the future. The US fear the Euro will replace the dollar as a reserve currency. The US fear Russia will become a superpower. The US fear China. There's a lot to fear yankee dear...cos it's all gonna happen.

Hope Copy , 1 hour ago

RUSSIA is content with 45 and 25nm as it can be hardened.. 14 and especially 7nm is so that the **** will wear out..

Ace006 , 2 hours ago

Instead of fretting about how this or that country or bloc will become a/an _________ superpower the US could focus on regaining its former pre-eminence.

It's a crazy thought, I know, but

  1. moving a massive amount of industrial capacity to China and fueling the rise of a communist country just might have been a bad idea and
  2. thrashing about in the international arena like a rutting rhinoceros at huge expense makes us look foolish and, in the case of Syria, petty and vindictive.

Repairing the damage from the former and stopping the hemorrhage of money and reputation respectively would be a far better objective than playing Frankenstein in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Georgia, Serbia, Iran, Poland, N. Korea, and Venezuela, inter alia . Mexico is a failed state right on our border that contributes mightily to our immigration, cultural, and political problems. But, no, the puffed up, prancing morons who make US policy can summon the imagination to figure out how to help our very own neighbors deal with their hideous problems. No. Let's engage in regime change and "nation building" in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, and Belarus.

The words of the great Marcus Aurelius are on point: "Within ten days thou wilt seem a god to those to whom thou art now a beast and an ape, if thou wilt return to thy principles and the worship of reason."

Herodotus , 1 hour ago

Bulgaria must return to the protection of the Ottoman Empire.

yerfej , 4 hours ago

Easy solution, end NATO. Just have all US forces told to leave the EU and let them determine their own destiny. Then do the same with US forces in the ME, Japan, Korea, etc. EVERYONE would be better off, including US taxpayers which get nothing out of the useless overseas deployment of resources which could be better spent at home.

yojimbo , 3 hours ago

5% budget deficit, 5% military spending. Leave the world, drop 4.5% of the spending and either save money, or build infrastructure. It's so simple, I am disappointed Trump doesn't at least state it. I get he is limited by the system, and can't be a Cincinnatus, even if he wanted to, but he has his First Amendment.. though I grant him a personal fear of being Kennedied!

Bac Si , 2 hours ago

Howdy Yerfej. It sounds like you are all for Isolationism.

But Isolationism means different things to different people. Pre WW2, Isolationism in the US meant selling our products to hostile countries. In the case of Japan, oil to help them kill Chinese people. In the case of Germany and Italy, food and vehicles to help them conquer all of Europe.

Considering the ridiculous education that the US gives its children, it's no wonder that most Americans don't know much about history (I say that in general terms, not to you specifically). Henry Ford senior not only received the 'Grand Cross of the German Eagle' from Adolf Hitler in 1938, he also received a 'Congressional Medal' from the US Congress shortly after WW2 – and for the same reason. Selling trucks to help the war effort.

Even after Pearl Harbor, there were politically powerful Isolationists that did not want the US to get involved in WW2. Why? Because a lot of money was at stake. It still is. These same people will continue to argue for Isolationism even after we are attacked.

Two months AFTER Pearl Harbor, FDR made a speech that included this:

"Those Americans who believed that we could live under the illusion of isolationism wanted the American eagle to imitate the tactics of the ostrich. Now, many of those same people, afraid that we may be sticking our necks out, want our national bird to be turned into a turtle. But we prefer to retain the eagle as it is – flying high and striking hard. I know that I speak for the mass of the American people when I say that we reject the turtle policy and will continue increasingly the policy of carrying the war to the enemy in distant lands and distant waters – as far away as possible from our own home grounds." – FDR

This radical change in our foreign policy has never been explained or even referred to in US history books. Powerful economic forces will always love the idea of "Open Trade Isolationism". But if Isolationism is ever suddenly defined by not doing business with any hostile government – those powerful forces will go ballistic. They will strongly lobby against 'Economic Warfare'. In other words, they will always want to make lots of money by selling their products to hostile governments, no matter how many people die.

Want a great example?

Right after Loral Corporation CEO Bernard L. Schwartz donated a million dollars to the DNC, President Clinton authorized the release of ballistic missile technology to China so Loral could get their satellites into space fast and at low cost. Those same missiles, and their nuclear warheads, are now pointed at the US.

The argument has always been that if we trade with hostile governments, they will grow to like us. Does anyone out there believe that if the UK and France gave pre WW2 Germany an extra $20 billion in trade, Germany wouldn't have started WW2? Anyone with a brain would tell you that Germany would have put those resources into their military (like China has been doing) and WW2 would have started earlier.

Yerfej, if we brought back the Cold War organization called the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM), I would be all for Isolationism. President Clinton got rid of it in his first year, and Western weapons technology has been threatening us ever since.

BaNNeD oN THe RuN , 5 hours ago

You have to love the dynamic duo of "lie, cheat and steal" Pompeo and his "mob boss" Trump. There is absolutely no subtlety in their obvious shakedown tactics.

PrivetHedge , 4 hours ago

The mob had far more honor, and better morals.

PrivetHedge , 4 hours ago

Washington's transatlantic allies...

Hahahah, occupied vassals.
Washington has cost Germany a massive slice of GDP.

you_do , 4 hours ago

Yankee has plenty of problems at home.

Rest of the world can decide their own energy policy.

They do not suffer from the 'Russia' propaganda.

geno-econ , 5 hours ago

Let Russia, the lowest cost energy producer win energy competition in Europe as China, the lowest cost manufacturing producer is winning in America. Only difference is retailers, shippers, assembly part importers such as auto, electronics and appliance makers are making a profit and consumer gets lower prices. We should let others decide for themselves and stop meddling----only result will be a bloody nose

you_do , 4 hours ago

Yankee has plenty of problems at home.

Rest of the world can decide their own energy policy.

They do not suffer from the 'Russia' propaganda.

geno-econ , 5 hours ago

Let Russia, the lowest cost energy producer win energy competition in Europe as China, the lowest cost manufacturing producer is winning in America. Only difference is retailers, shippers, assembly part importers such as auto, electronics and appliance makers are making a profit and consumer gets lower prices. We should let others decide for themselves and stop meddling----only result will be a bloody nose

free-energy , 4 hours ago

Notice how everything the US does around the world is a WAR. War on Energy, War on Drugs, War on Birth Control, War War War... America will fall after 2020 if nothing changes for the better. Every year the world grows more and more tired of the US bs and moves further away from it. Its so bad that they choose to deal with a communist country over us.

You reap what you've sowed.

Bobby Farrell Can Dance , 3 hours ago

The Anglo American parasite pirate gangsters keep barking on about Russia bad, China bad, but I look around and I see nothing but these trouble makers waging war on anything they cannot control. The US and UK are devil nations. They will deserve all the rot they have coming their way.

Unknown User , 5 hours ago

Trump wants a trade balance with all major economies like Germany and China. If they don't buy from us, he will have to raise tariffs. In case of Germany, they need nothing from us so he wants them to buy US LNG. Merkel's position is that "there is a cheap Russian gas", while Trump is telling her "no there isn't one".

Pumpinfe , 4 hours ago

So trump loves to deep throat Russia but give Germany a hard time to Nordstream 2? Wake up fanboys, your hero is a ******. I got so much money invested in gazprom. LNG is junk and gazprom (Russian owned) is gona crush LNG and trump and his idiot following can't do a damn thing. You trump idiots will believe anything. Let me enlighten you...gazprom is the lowest cost producer of natural gas in the world...go look at the difference between gazprom and LNG and then you will realize that orange dump is an idiot along with his army of empty heads. Oh and if you think China and Russia are not friendly, go look up the Power of Siberia pipeline. That will give you a good sense of the relationship between Russia and China. America is rotting from the inside and Russia and China are eating their popcorn watching it happen.

Dabooda , 3 hours ago

I don't see Trump deep-throating anyone but Netanyahu. Sans gratuitous insults, your comment about Gazprom is spot on

Lokiban , 5 hours ago

I doubt Merkel will give in. She would commit political suicide if she did that. She knows Navalny is a US effort to stop Nordstream 2.
What is the alternative? Buying gas from the US or US-controlled oilfields in Iraq and Syria? Putin might have a say in that.

Lokiban , 5 hours ago

I doubt Merkel will give in. She would commit political suicide if she did that. She knows Navalny is a US effort to stop Nordstream 2.
What is the alternative? Buying gas from the US or US-controlled oilfields in Iraq and Syria? Putin might have a say in that.

thurstjo63 , 3 hours ago

The main fault in Mr Korybko's thinking is that he believes that European countries will not just shoot themselves in the foot but in the head to appease the US. At a european and local level, those who wanted Nord Stream 2 to be suspended or killed have failed. The costs are way too high. For that we can thank, perversely, the agreements associated with protecting investments from political decisions pushed by the US itself!!! Given that there is no proof of Navalny being poisoned, Germany knows that there is no way that they could hope to win their case for stopping Nord Stream 2 in a tribunal with persons capable of rational thought. That is why they made the deal to buy some US liquified gas for a couple of billion dollars. Because that is the cheapest way of extricating themselves from this situation. Otherwise, they are looking at orders of magnitude more compensation to russian and european firms for stopping the pipeline.

As for Belarus, barring Lukashenko doing something profoundly stupid like reacting violently to protests, that ship has already sailed. Protests are smaller every week and mainly on the weekend as now the "opposition" has been publishing people's profiles accusing them of collaborating with the government without any proof, leading to innocent people and their families to be threatened. There will be a transition from Lukashenko over the next couple of years but you can be sure that the present "opposition" given their desire to break away from Russia will not be part of the group that comes to power in the future since their base of support diminishes every week.

Finally Bulgaria already shot themselves in the foot when they backed out of South Stream and had major problems securing energy resources to meet its needs during the intervening period. Radev as any politician wanting to stay in office knows, if he doesn't go through with connecting Turk Stream to the rest of Europe that he might as well resign. So unless the US has compromising information on him that can force him from office or the Radev's administration doesn't control the US attempts to create the conditions for a colour revolution in Bulgaria, it is definitely not going to happen.

I'm sorry but Mr. Korybko is wrong on all counts!

Savvy , 4 hours ago

When the US backed Georgia's violent incursion into S Ossetia it took Russia one day to send them back.

Russians are slow to saddle but ride fast.

Joiningupthedots , 2 hours ago

That was with the remnants of the old Soviet Army too.

The new Russian Army is an entirely different beast in both organisation, training, experience and equipment.

This guy has his finger on the pulse;

JeanTrejean , 5 hours ago

Are the USA really at war with Russia...and EU?

Decoupling Russia from EU, is re-enforcing the Eurasia bloc...where is the future of the world.

Russia belongs to Europa...not the USA.

BaNNeD oN THe RuN , 4 hours ago

Geographically Europe and Asia are one continent. It was "European exceptionalism" (the precursor to American Exceptionalism) that divided it as an ethno-cultural construct.

researchfix , 5 hours ago

Cancelling NS2 will chase the German industry into Russia. Cheap energy, moderate wages, Eurasian market at the front steps.

The sheep and their ex working places and Mutti will stay in Germany.

Bobby Farrell Can Dance , 3 hours ago

Do Germans want to be slaves of these abject Brits and Americans? Pffffft....gas from Russia is a NO BRAINER.

Only British and Americans rats do not like that idea. How un-selfish then, it is for these jealous, insecure morons to dictate to Germany how she should trade. That's called outright meddling. These imperialists are like entitled Karens, they think the world owes them favours at the snap of a finger.

Sandmann , 4 hours ago

Nordstream 2 has an add-on leg to UK. Germany is largest gas importer on earth and cannot run its industry without gas imports from Russia. LNG is simply too expensive unless US taxpayers subsidise it.

If US wants to destabilise Europe it will reap the consequences. Southern Europe depends on gas from North Africa - Portugal generates electricity from Maghreb Pipeline to Spain from Algeria via Morocco. Erdogan hopes to put Turkey in position of supplying gas to Europe.

Germany will not abandon Nordstream 2 but might abandon USA first.

Max21c , 3 hours ago

The US is ruthlessly waging an intense Hybrid War on Russian energy interests in Europe by targeting the Eurasian Great Power's relevant projects in Germany, Belarus, and Bulgaria, banking on the fact that even the partial success of this strategy would greatly advance the scenario of an externally provoked "decoupling" between Moscow and Washington's transatlantic allies.

It's a petty game and when it fails then the Washingtonians credibility and legitimacy just further erodes. The EU needs the energy supplies and the Russian Federation has the supplies. It's all just short term & small gain silliness by a pack of freaks in Washington DC and their freaks in the CIA, Thunk Tank freaks and freaks in the foreign policy establishment. It's just more of the Carnival sideshow/freakshow put on by Washingtonians. As usual if it's a Washingtonian (post Cold War) policy then there's little or no substance behind it and you can be sure it hasn't be thought through thoroughly and it'll eventually turn and boomerang back on the circus people in Washington, Ivy League circus people, and JudeoWASP elite circus people, CIA circus clowns and circus clowns in the Thunk Tonks and elites Fareign Poolicy ***-tablishment.

John Hansen , 3 hours ago

If all it takes is a Navaly hoax to cause this Europe isn't really worth dealing with.

propaganda_reaper , 3 hours ago

Once upon a time, a revolution occurred in a country through which passed a gas pipeline. The bad guys were vanquished. And the very good foreign guys who helped the local good guys defeat the tyrant said: "We got the same stuff, but liquid."

Any similarity with fictitious events or characters was purely coincidental.

_ConanTheLibertarian_ , 4 hours ago

Germany needs the gaz.

Obamanism666 , 49 minutes ago

Remember the Gas to Europe still flows through the Ukraine. Russia just needs to reduce the gas Pressure and blame the Ukraine and Europe goes cold and Dark.

German People will beg for Nordstream 2 to be switched on.

lucitanian , 31 minutes ago

That's not the way Russia works. But it's the kind of blackmail that the US uses. And that's why Russia is a more dependable partner for Europe for energy.

Hope Copy , 1 hour ago

This **** goes right back to the 'DeepState' pseudo-revolution that got the Nicky-the-weak killed ,because he financed his railroads and wanted to be rich as hell as he perceived the ENGLISH monarchy to be, with a parliamentary DUMA that he could over rule if need be. I have looked 'DeepState' right in the eyes when I was young and dumb and was told that I would never go to their masion.. Nicky had family enemies. and the Czech fighting force was never going to save him.. Stalin was also double-crossed, but was well informed.. it was in his sector if one reads and believes. Cunning fox Stalin was, always playing those under him to do his bidding.. and that lesson has been well learned by a couple of the world's leaders in this day-in-age...

Herodotus , 1 hour ago

German manufacturing costs must be driven higher to take the heat off of the UK as they emerge from the EU and attempt to become competitive.

novictim , 1 hour ago

When "War" is actually not war but trade policy and financial incentives then you know you are engaged in dangerous bloviations and hyperbole.

When the shooting starts, then you can talk of War.

SuperareDolo , 2 hours ago

Russia might not want to fight these attempts to isolate it from the western economy. The collateral damage will be that much less, once Babylon the great finally falls.

LoveTruth , 2 hours ago

And US claims to be a "Fair Player," caring for freedom and democracy, while twisting arms and supporting corrupted officials.

IronForge , 3 hours ago

PetroUSD, MIC, Colonial Control of Vassals. World Domination Play by the Hegemony.

Just like the Policies of NATO: Russians Out, Germans Down, Anglo-American-ZioMasons and Vatican_Vassals In.

Policies were like this - Sponsored by Anglo-ZioMasons from Pre-WWI, continued through WWII and the First Cold War, and onwards after the Collapse of the SUN and the ensuing NeoCon Wolfowitz Doctrine and PNAC7/Bush-Cheney PetroUSD Plans.

The Hegemony Control MENA Energy Producers. The IRQ-KWT War were mishandled; and KSA demanded for the USA to Smite IRQ. The Initial War and Occupation prompted Hussein to opt the EUR for Petroleum, which Brought about the End of Hussein through the 9-11/PNAC7 Long War.

LBY opted for the Au-Dinar for Petroleum; and were Fail-Stated. IRN and RUS remain the only Major Energy Producers not Controlled by the Hegemony.

IRN were Sanctioned since removing the Shackles of Hegemonic Occupancy via Shah Par Levi; and attempts for Energy Diversification via Nuclear means raised suspicions of Nuclear Weapons Development - prompting for heavier Sanctions and 5thColumn Regime Change Operations by the Hegemony. IRN circumvented Sanctions in part by selling their Petroleum via Major Currencies and Barter. Though many Countries have reduced or maintained their purchase of IRN Petroleum via Sanctions Protocols, CHN are involved in Purchasing IRN's Output.

RUS, another Target of Ruin, Plunder, and Occupational Exploitation by the Hegemony, were Too Large a Country with Standing Armed Forces for Direct Military Invasion by the Hegemony. After the Collapse of the SUN, The Harvard/Chicago led Economic Reforms ended in Plunder - which prompted the Selection and Rise of Putin, who drove out the Plunderers. The Hegemony continue their Geopolitical War of Influence Peddling around RUS while attempting Soft War NATO Membership Recruitment and Regime Change Coups within RUS, Ex-SUN Nation-States, and Trading Partners.

RUS have endured, became Militarily mightier, have become the Major Energy Producer for North/Western Europe and CHN. In addition to the Production, RUS now have begun Trading Petroleum+NatGas outside of the PetroUSD Exchange Mechanism, opting for Customer Currencies or RUB.

RUS and IRN are expected to be Key Providers of the PetroCNY-Au Exchange Mechanism.

The Hegemony and MENA Vassals can't Compete in Combined Petroleum+NatGas Volume and Price; and DEU - by Directly Importing from RUS - will most likely become more Independent from the Hegemon.

CHN, RUS, and DEU - Major Energy, Industrial, Natural Resource, and Military Powers Decoupling from the Influences of the Hegemony, with IND Slowly coming to their Own (IND are simply Too Large to remain Vassals to the Hegemon; and Vassal GBR did so much to Oppress them in the past).

Funny that the Anglo-American-ZioMasons and VAT have brought each of these 3 Powers to Ruin and Occupation in the Past 2 Centuries.

The Ironies being Played Out are that:

1) GBR Lost their Prime Colonies - America/USA, IND, and now Trade City Colony HKG - by their Oppressive and Exploitative Occupancy; and

2) USA, after Fighting Wars for Independence from such Occupations by GBR - Once Becoming a Major Military Power, Followed in the Anglo-ZioMason Tradition of Geopolitical Conquest and Control to the Scale of pursing not only in World Domination - but in Absolute Global Rule.

Maghreb2 , 2 hours ago

Problem is demographic shift . The previous modern system dominated by Zio-Masonry was GNP and GDP where currencies were measured against global output and floated against gold and each other. Now with high inflation and demographic decline knocking out the economy is easier leading to fights between zones of influence. Petro Ruble, Euro or dollar. Dangerous commodities like kilos of heroin, trafficked humans or weapons. Zio-Masonic system has fallen to gangsterism. Hybrid Warfare is the kind of thing we saw in Afghanistan or 80s Columbia . Militarized Russian mafia vs NATO backed militarized police forces.

Once the population reaches a certain age and consumption drops there isn't much to fight over besides social control systems of the young minority. Color revolutions in Central Europe are really only effecting the long term economy of the young . Hope would be Left wing Radicals stood up to the system and aligned with right wing groups to eliminate masonic and Zionist factions and take back the command and control systems before the continet is shut down permanently.

Precision strikes and hunting down their descendents . Easy to find because Hitler and Stalin had their ancestors massacred for loyalty to Rothschild. They won't bite the hands that feed.The Vatican vassal systems was built on knowing that a Zionist is Zionist and Masons is a Mason. They are cults simply teaching them the correct way to behave can avert these political problems.

In terms of Belarus and Russia they should consider the fact the birth rate rate rose after the Soviet collapse and exodus west means many of them shouldn't have even been born in Rothschilds plan. In their " system " economic planning starts at birth because color revolutions effect long term bond issuances they control.

Stalin and Hitler both knew this and used money linked to raw marterials and goods to beat the British gold standard system. If you knew what the Western Central banks were worth you would kill people for using their money.

[Sep 27, 2020] Looks like Washington is simply playing for time

Sep 27, 2020 |

Beckow , says: September 27, 2020 at 12:39 am GMT

@vot tak – Russia could stop transit through Ukraine tomorrow and switch to LNG and existing underwater pipelines. The fact that they have not done it and signed a limited 5-year deal for 2020-2024 suggests that either Russia doesn't want to do it or it is a political concession to its customers (Germany)

You are right that NS2 theatre by Washington is simply playing for time – they know that they can't really prevail. But it is larger than that: their whole strategy is to delay and postpone. They are trying to delay the inevitable or are hoping for a miracle. But strategically they have lost. Water flows downstream, it is only a question of how fast.

TG , says: September 26, 2020 at 3:01 pm GMT

A very interesting post. I might quibble with some of the finer points, but yes, the world has gone stark raving bonkers.

The Russians are NOT ten feet tall, and the Americans – for all of the idiocy of the ruling elites – still have many strengths, and no matter how badly employed, these strengths will not disappear in a day. Russia might yet get pulled down, if they are unlucky or the elites are corrupted by money.

But there is one difference between the Americans and the Russians that, long term, may be the single biggest factor: more than hypersonic missiles or all of that. It's that, for now at least, the Russian elites can learn from experience, and the Americans, can not (or will not, but same thing).

Consider: after the Soviet Union fell, Russian forces got their tails whipped by the Chechens. The Russians rethought their approach, and in a rematch Russia scored not just a military victory, but an enduring strategic victory: they accomplished their policy goals! A goal that was not just spreading chaos and instability! When was the last time the United States did something like that? Maybe Korea in the 1950's.

Realist , says: September 26, 2020 at 3:09 pm GMT
@Ann Nonny Mouse

I'm waiting impatiently for the collapse of the US dollar, hope to live to see it.

Me too the price of gold will go through the roof.

The Spirit of Enoch Powell , says: September 26, 2020 at 3:13 pm GMT
@Mustapha Mond

The Taliban in Afghanistan and the 'rag-tag' North Vietnamese who successfully fought the Vietnam War might disagree with you .

You can't really use those examples as a way of finalising the inferiority of the Western armed forces vis-à-vis Russia as the latter also did not manage to defeat the Afghans and would likely have been made a mincemeat of by the VC as well.

Russia's performance in Chechnya was also not that great considering the power differential.

[Sep 26, 2020] I see that the German Parliament has NOT TAKEN its red pills these days and is reluctant to swallow the BS.

Notable quotes:
"... On rules based disorder and the capitulation of Merkel and her BND lapdogs to the 'hate Russia' fulminations of the UKUSA morons. I see that the German Parliament has NOT TAKEN its red pills these days and is reluctant to swallow the BS. ..."
Sep 26, 2020 |

uncle tungsten , Sep 22 2020 22:53 utc | 36

On rules based disorder and the capitulation of Merkel and her BND lapdogs to the 'hate Russia' fulminations of the UKUSA morons. I see that the German Parliament has NOT TAKEN its red pills these days and is reluctant to swallow the BS. It would be satisfying to see the collective wisdom of the Parliament to exceed that of the BND. But then that is a low bar.

[Sep 24, 2020] Washington using Navalny situation as excuse to block Russian-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Russian intelligence chief says by Jonny Tickle

Notable quotes:
"... Discussion about ending Nord Stream 2 resumed last month, when EU politicians debated further sanctions, following the suspected poisoning of Navalny. Naryshkin believes that the US is using the accusations of poisoning as a pretext to sell more LNG to Europe. On Thursday, MEPs demanded that Germany cancel construction of the pipeline. ..."
Sep 22, 2020 |

The US is working hard to keep the spotlight on the case of Alexey Navalny as a way to help block construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, according to Sergey Naryshkin, head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (the SVR).

Naryshkin believes that Washington wants to block Nord Stream 2 so it can prevent Moscow from efficiently providing gas to the continent, thereby increasing demand for American liquefied natural gas (LNG) in other European states. As things stand, Russia delivers a large percentage of the continent's gas, and the pipeline would connect the country's gas supply directly to Germany, under the Baltic Sea. The project is more than 90 percent complete.

READ MORE: German FM links Nord Stream 2 to Navalny, threatens sanctions as Moscow accuses Berlin of dragging feet on alleged poisoning probe

"It is extremely important for Washington to end this project," Naryshkin said, explaining that the alleged poisoning of opposition figure Navalny has become an excuse to stop Nord Stream 2's construction.

The United States has long been opposed to the project, somewhat incredibly claiming that it would "undermine Europe's overall energy security and stability," but many believe that Washington's true motivations are economic.

Discussion about ending Nord Stream 2 resumed last month, when EU politicians debated further sanctions, following the suspected poisoning of Navalny. Naryshkin believes that the US is using the accusations of poisoning as a pretext to sell more LNG to Europe. On Thursday, MEPs demanded that Germany cancel construction of the pipeline.

Despite US pressure, Naryshkin has expressed hope that the EU will rely on common sense before the "cold winter" and likened the proposed halting of Nord Stream 2 to "cutting off the nose to spite the face."

Late last month, Russian anti-corruption activist Navalny was hospitalized in the Siberian city of Omsk after he became ill on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. Two days later, after a request from his family and associates, he was flown to Berlin for treatment at that city's Charité clinic. Following tests, German authorities announced that Navalny was poisoned with a substance from the Novichok group of nerve agents. After the diagnosis, Heiko Maas, the German Foreign Minister, told Berlin tabloid Bild that he hopes "the Russians don't force [the Germans] to change [their] stance on Nord Stream 2."

US aims for gas domination in Europe, Ukrainian MP says. Nord Stream 2 is 1st target, then existing European pipeline system

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[Sep 19, 2020] Who organized this provocation? Is this a part of gas war?

Were Khodorkovsky or Browder among people involved? To what extent Trump administration and MI6 were involved? Looks more and more line a bad replay of Skripals poisoning
Notable quotes:
"... Germans and "the whole world", to quote Pompeo, know the truth: Russians simply deny the truth, and the more they deny, the more truthful the accusations appear. And the elephant in the room: Why isn't the poisoned by "Novichok" bullshitting bastard of a US agent dead? And the answer given by the Germans, that is ironic in the extreme: because Russian doctors saved his life in Omsk. ..."
"... There are undeniable advantages to accusations for which no substantiation is offered – as we saw with the Skripals, you can await public comment, identify where you went wrong from scornful rejections of the narrative, and then modify it so that it makes more sense. ..."
"... I hope Germany offers residency to the Navalnys, and that they accept. Russia can't really refuse to let him back in, he's a citizen. But as long as he is there he will cause trouble, and he'll be recharged with all the PR he has received from this latest caper. ..."
"... But it is suggested that Russia is bargaining for his return; the story also expands on Lavrov's recent statements, and introduces a villain in the woodpile I would not have personally suspected: Poland. ..."
"... I recall Lavrov querying the other day Pevchikh's presence in Germany, her refusal to be interviewed by investigators in Omsk and how come she managed to fly to Germany with Navalny? He also said that other supporters of Navalny had also turned up in Germany. ..."
"... I lay a pound to a pinch of shit that Pevchikh is a British agent. ..."
"... Looking good for almost a corpse. COVID-19, a flu virus, is a deadly killer, and Novichok, a deadly nerve agent, is not a killer. ..."
"... I reckon Khordokovsky has a hand in this. He has the same moral compass as dead Berezovsky. None. And he has refused to stick to agreements (keep out of politics). If the British or someone else get fingered for this cunning plan , would they serve him up on a silver platter? Almost certainly so. ..."
"... We certainly did well to focus on Maria Pevchikh as soon as we discovered that in addition to being the one who evaded questioning by Russian authorities by flying out to Germany, she also had British residency. She certainly has become a "person of interest" and could well be the major individual in the plot to incapacitate Navalny and use him to pressure Germany over NSII and Russia over the Belarus unrest. ..."
"... It is still unknown whether Pevchikh is a British citizen. I think she is and probably must be, in fact, for if she is only a visa holder or an applicant for UK citizenship, she could be told by the Home Office to go take a hike if it is proven that she was instrumental in the poisoning plot. ..."
"... Ask Pevchikh! Only she is now probably undergoing debriefing in London at UK Secret Intelligence Services HQ, 85 Albert Embankment. ..."
"... There was considerable risk involved in the deception. I doubt that Navalny went into the deception willingly. There was a very real risk that he could have suffered some brain damage going into the first coma and that's sure to compromise his health in the long term in other ways. ..."
"... More likely it seems a lot of the deception was planned behind Navalny's back and people were waiting for an opportunity to carry it out. It may have been planned years ago for someone else and then switched to Navalny once he was in the Omsk hospital. Julia Navalnaya may have been pushed into demanding that Navalny be transferred to Berlin and while the Omsk hospital doctors were stabilising him for the transfer, the deception then started going into action in Germany. ..."
"... Lavrov smelt a rat several days ago -- last week, I'm sure -- when he stated that suspicions had been aroused by one of Navalny's gang refusing to answer investigators' questions in Omsk and then scarpering off to Germany. ..."
"... I'm quite sure the FSB already knew of Pevchikh's comings and goings between London and Moscow (over 60 flights there and back I read somewhere) and her activities with the Navalny organization. ..."
"... if Washington thinks it can actually halt Nord Stream II – with the understanding that the Russians would probably give up after such a stinging second rebuke – then the sky is the limit, and they will scornfully reject any other solution. The one who stands to get hurt the most is Europe. But I don't think they realize it. ..."
Sep 19, 2020 |

MOSCOWEXILE September 14, 2020 at 11:07 pm

Russian librag Vedomosti reports NYT:

NYT сообщила о планах Навального вернуться в Россию
15 сентября 2020

NYT has announced Navalney's to return to Russia
15 September 2020

Founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, Alexei Navalny, who is undergoing treatment in Germany, has discussed his poisoning with the German prosecutor and announced that he plans to return to Russia, The New York Times has reported, citing a source in the German security forces.

According to the source, Navalny is fully aware of his condition, of what happened and where he is. In a conversation with the prosecutor, he refused that his case be jointly investigated by Germany and Russia. Navalny said he planned to return to Russia immediately after his recovery and continue his mission, the newspaper notes.

Mission accomplished.

I notice that the Navalny fake story has gone off the radar in the Western MSM.

Now there just remain the lies and innuendos fixed in the minds of the sheeple.

Only an investigation by the Germans.

No investigation by the Russians.

Germans and "the whole world", to quote Pompeo, know the truth: Russians simply deny the truth, and the more they deny, the more truthful the accusations appear. And the elephant in the room: Why isn't the poisoned by "Novichok" bullshitting bastard of a US agent dead? And the answer given by the Germans, that is ironic in the extreme: because Russian doctors saved his life in Omsk.

Other elephants lurking in the shadows:

Why hadn't everyone who had been in contact with the piece of shit, including fellow passengers on the Tomsk-Moscow flight died?

Where were the hazmat-suit-wearing specialists that should have detoxified the aeroplane on board of which the Bullshitter threw a wobbler?

So many elephants, all ignored.

Total fabrication.

When the liar returns here, how about arresting him for breach of his bail conditions?

Not technically but absolutely legally he was not allowed to leave the country.

How about arresting him for perverting the course of justice? You can get life for doing that in the UK!

He refuses to allow the Russian state to investigate his case but he and his controllers and supporters maintain that the Russian state attempted to murder him with the most deadly nerve agent known to man -- but it didn't work.

ET AL September 15, 2020 at 1:32 am

Jesus has Risen!

And on the plus side he can sell expensive 'blessed' trinkets to his hamsters help subsidize his interesting lifestyle. Think holy relics, think Medjigorje, Lourdes etc.

MARK CHAPMAN September 15, 2020 at 8:58 am

Having survived Novichok poisoning, is he now immune?

MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 4:16 am

A long read:


Навальный, "Новичок" и "белая коробка"
13 сентября 2020

Navalny, "Novichok" and the "White Box"
13 September 2020

Why is not a single Berlin doctor ready to personally confirm the announced poisoning of Navalny?

A Russian patient is recovering in the "White Box" of the Charité hospital. During the three weeks of Navalny's stay within these walls, no one shouted at the doctors that they were murderers, no one demanded from them hourly reports on the patient's state of health. At the beginning of the week, the hospital's press service informs the press that the personal guest of the Federal Chancellor has been withdrawn from an artificial coma and is reacting to other people. A couple of days later, "Spiegel" magazine publishes encouraging information: "More progress has been made. If his health continues to improve, Navalny will begin to receive more visitors". According to "Bellingcat" and "Der Spiegel", Navalny can already speak and can probably recall the events that happened before he lost consciousness on an aeroplane flying from Tomsk to Moscow.

In general, the latest Charité press releases are in clear contradiction to the horror that the German press had been gathering all week. The already poisoned underpants have been forgotten, the newspaper "Die Zeit" returns the reader to a famous photograph: morning in a café at the Tomsk airport, a passenger for the flight to Moscow flight peers into a cup that he has raised in order to drink out of it. In it,, according to a "Die " source, is not just a chemical warfare agent from the "Novichok" group: in there is a "Novichok" on steroids.

"Before this assassination attempt, the world did not know about this poison, which is said to be even more deadly and dangerous than all known substances from the Novichok group. Scientists found corresponding traces on the Navalny's hands and on the neck of a bottle from which he had drunk. This "modified Novichok" allegedly acts more slowly than previous versions. The Germans assume that one of the FSB agents monitoring Navalny, or an undercover agent, added drops of poison to his tea or applied a substance to the surface of a cup. Navalny was supposed to die on board the aircraft", writes "Die Zeit".

Everything is just fine and dandy here: for example, about agents who had to perform the necessary manipulations with a super-poison in a crowded place. A remarkable and suddenly appeared bottle -- no bottle was seen in Omsk at all. The story goes on about the fact that, apart from tea, Navalny did not drink anything. It turns out that those accompanying the blogger took the bottle out of the plane, hid it, and then transported it to Germany and handed it to Bundeswehr chemists Concealing evidence is pure criminality. But the most interesting thing is the super-"Novichok".

After the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury (let us recount the usual version of events that happened there), about 50 more people sought medical help. Houses were taken apart, pets were destroyed. But here no one except Navalny was hurt: neither the people at Tomsk airport, nor the fellow travellers with whom he, having the terrible poison in his hands, took a selfie on a bus, nor the passengers on board the aircraft, and he also touched things there. Symptoms of poisoning should have appeared amongst the passengers, but they did not. This should raise questions from the authors of the serious newspaper "Die Zeit", but it does not. A weapon of mass destruction by any reasoning, but the longer the German press examines the Navalny case, the more mediaeval and grotesque it becomes. And it works -- you can see it even from the reaction of quite moderate politicians.

Already a week and a half ago, Merkel announced the results of a toxicological examination, allegedly carried out in a secret laboratory of the Bundeswehr (yes, Navalny was poisoned), opponents of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline have intensified their onslaught against the federal government in order to stop the construction, they say, this is the only way to punish Russia. At the head of the column are the party leaders of the Greens and those associates of Merkel who are friendly with Washington and have plans for higher party or administrative posts after the Chancellor leaves.

These voices were at least heard. In an evening talk show on ZDF, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas made it clear that the shutdown of Nord Stream 2 could be one response.

"We cannot say that since the sanctions do not work, then there is no need to introduce any. Sometimes we have to put up with the risk of the consequences, thereby saying that we do not want to live in a world without rules", Maas said.

Now Herr Maas, along with many members of the government and administration and the Chancellor, lives in a world of very strange rules. Merkel's press secretary Seibert reiterated that Germany will interact with Russia exclusively at the site of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), where all the documents allegedly have already been sent.

The OPCW Technical Secretariat informed our permanent representative, Alexander Shulgin, that Berlin had only sent a notification about Navalny's poisoning, a sheet of A4 paper, but there is still nothing that the experts could work on. But the Germans had to formulate a response to the proposal of the Russian Prosecutor General's Office on exchange of information: any information about the state of Navalny can be transferred to Russia only with his permission.

This was the case in 2004. The Charité clinic then diagnosed the presidential candidate of the Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko with dioxin poisoning -- no one ever saw documentary evidence. Yushchenko then for 4 years, while he was of interest he was to the public, promised to show everything, but he never did.

This trick can be repeated again, the main thing is to find the answer to an urgent task: to inflate the level of confrontation between Russia and Germany, and therefore the entire West, in order to force the Russian authorities to be as cautious as possible in their domestic and foreign policy, for example, in the Belarusian direction.

However, the fact that Nord Stream 2, for which the German federal government was ready to support unto death, suddenly became an instrument of blackmail -- admit the poisoning, otherwise we can close it down -- openly outraged German business and regional elites.

"It seems that the verdict has already been given -- there are demands that construction of the pipeline be stopped. I strongly oppose such measures", said Michael Kretschmer, Prime Minister of Saxony.

"We have had absolutely trusting cooperation with Russia in the energy sector for 50 years. And even in the most difficult political times, which were probably even more difficult during the Cold War, we managed to maintain this trust", emphasized Michael Harms, executive director of Eastern Committee of the German economy.

Even a true transatlantist, the president of the Munich Security Conference Wolfgang Ischinger, stood up for Nord Stream 2 (and Denmark had joined the renewed US incitement against it the day before).

Political games will not pass themselves of as force majeure. Investors will go to the German government for their money. Here you need to think ten times, because along with the demands of multibillion-dollar compensation, there will definitely be asked unpleasant questions about the reasons that made the German authorities abandon a project that was profitable to all sides. So you can go to Navalny's analyses. In a normal court, bureaucratic excuses will not work. And, by the way, in Germany there are politician-lawyers who can professionally draw up a claim and conduct a case.

"I want to investigate this. One of the developers of Novichok is in the US. It is known that many special services have this poison. Of course, the Russian have it as well, but if Putin did it, then why give Navalny to Germany? So that we can establish all this here? A crime must have some logic", says Bundestag deputy Gregor Gizi.

The logic that we now see is somehow not German. One gets the impression that the compassion and humanism of the German politician, brought up on the lessons of the past, are now being tried out by smart and cynical people who know how to competently fabricate, substitute and cover their tracks. And not too far away, we already had Britain.

At the end of May 2003, the BBC released material that Prime Minister Blair and his cabinet had made a decision to enter the war in Iraq based on falsified intelligence. The person who passed on this information to reporters was David Kelly, a leading chemical weapons specialist at the British Department of Defence. His speech at the parliamentary hearings threatened the prime minister, the military and the secret services with big problems, Hiwever, on July 18, 2003, Kelly was found dead in the woods near his home. Suicide, the investigation stated, but in 2007, a group of parliamentarians conducted an unofficial investigation -- there were no legal consequences, but now all British people know that Kelly was murdered in cold blood.

In 2015, Blair was forced to admit that he lied to citizens about Iraq, and escaped trial only because no one wanted to get involved with it. Nevertheless, Blair has gone down in history with this lie. And history is important to remember in order to do it right. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calls on the Germans to leave emotions and turn on their brains.

"I hope that these absurd actions will be stopped and Germany, at least for the sake of the reputation of German punctuality, will fulfill its obligations under the agreement with the Russian Federation. Moreover, they are demanding an investigation from us, but it turns out that all those who accompanied Navalny are slowly moving to Germany too. this is very unpleasant and leads to serious thoughts. Therefore, it is in the interests of our German colleagues to protect their reputation and provide all the necessary information that would somehow shed light on their so far absolutely unfounded accusations", Lavrov said.

Another proposal has gone from Moscow to Berlin: to send a Russian investigation team to Germany in order to jointly study the circumstances of the case, the victim of which is a Russian citizen. So far, there is no reason to believe that Berlin will respond with consent.

Some German politicians and almost all the SMS likes to moralize against Russia, periodically recalling the Stalinist repressions and the GULAG. But now Germany itself behaves like an investigator during interrogation in the dungeons of the NKVD. Confession is the queen of proof.*

Yeah, we got a confession in the end!

That's all the bastards demand of Russia: Confess and then we'll be pals.

*Признание -- царица доказательств

"Confession is the Queen of proof."

From Latin: Сonfessio regina probationum est)

Roman legal principle of criminal procedural law.

Слава России!

MARK CHAPMAN September 15, 2020 at 10:04 am

There are undeniable advantages to accusations for which no substantiation is offered – as we saw with the Skripals, you can await public comment, identify where you went wrong from scornful rejections of the narrative, and then modify it so that it makes more sense.

In this case, people wonder why such a potent nerve agent did not fell Navalny instantly like a poleaxed ox, before he ever left the terminal, instead of 40 minutes or so into the flight. Ahhh but this, we later learn, was a specially-modified Novichok, engineered to be slow-acting. Just what you want in a nerve agent. Hint – no, it isn't. Just like you don't want it specially engineered to be 'persistent', like that chemical-warfare expert tit for Bellingcat claimed was the reason the poison daubed on Skripal's doorknob did not wash away in the rain and was still deadly weeks afterward. You want a nerve agent to quickly and efficiently kill enemy troops caught in the open and unprotected, and then as quickly degrade and disperse so your own forces can move in and occupy the objective. The last thing you want is it hanging about for weeks, or being 'slow-acting' so those troops can come in and wax your ass and then later fall down dead. One of the first casualties of these silly stories must be that the agent is 'military grade'. The military would say, if you want to use that useless shite, spread it yourself – we want nothing to do with it.

MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 4:46 am

Just appeared, posted from Charité -- Bullshitter with statuesque wife and kiddie acolytes:

Another bungled FSB wet job!

MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 4:56 am

It reads:

navalny Hi, this is Navalny. I miss you all 😍. I still can hardly do anything, but yesterday I was able to breathe on my own all day. Generally myself. I did not use any outside help, not even the simplest valve in my throat. I liked it very much. An amazing, underestimated by many thing. Would totally recommend.

What, no tracheotomy scar?

Why aren't you dead, you wanker?

Thinking about thanking the Omsk doctors who "saved your life" after you had taken a dose of salts in the aircraft shithouse?

MARK CHAPMAN September 15, 2020 at 10:07 am

"I still can hardly do anything "

I'm still waiting for the difference to become evident. Navalny does perhaps less than any man in Russia who enjoys such a leisurely lifestyle.

MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 10:05 am

I take it that the kiddie Navalnyites in the above Instagram are all Russian citizens and part of the Bullshitter's entourage that turned up in Berlin, hot on the heels of their comatose hero.

So how did they get the documentation that enabled them to leave the Mafia State and enter Germany, the coronavirus shamdemic notwithstanding?

Are they all guests of Frau Kanzelerin Merkel?

MARK CHAPMAN September 15, 2020 at 10:34 am

I thought they were the Bullshitter's kids.

MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 10:49 am

Yes, they are his children. Navalnaya clearly got permission for their son to travel to Germany. His daughter has flown in from the USA.

However, the question still remains as regards those Navalnyites who rolled up in Germany following their leader's private flight there: how did they get the appropriate documentation to do so at such short notice, not to mention Pevchikh, who flew with the comatose Navalny to Berlin -- and then vanished?.

Seibert was asked about this and said he knew nothing about her.

MARK CHAPMAN September 15, 2020 at 11:22 am

Ah, yes; that's a good point. I just assumed the hamsters were blathering from a distance, as in Russia. I did not realize some of them had turned up in Germany, except for the mysterious Masha.

I hope Germany offers residency to the Navalnys, and that they accept. Russia can't really refuse to let him back in, he's a citizen. But as long as he is there he will cause trouble, and he'll be recharged with all the PR he has received from this latest caper.

But it is suggested that Russia is bargaining for his return; the story also expands on Lavrov's recent statements, and introduces a villain in the woodpile I would not have personally suspected: Poland.

MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 11:54 am

And get this:

Does he want to end his political ambitions? Top Eurocrat Borrell calls for Navalny's name to be attached to EU 'Magnitsky List'

MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 12:03 pm

I recall Lavrov querying the other day Pevchikh's presence in Germany, her refusal to be interviewed by investigators in Omsk and how come she managed to fly to Germany with Navalny? He also said that other supporters of Navalny had also turned up in Germany.

I lay a pound to a pinch of shit that Pevchikh is a British agent.

MOSCOWEXILE September 16, 2020 at 11:35 am

Note how the monitor in the Navalny Instagram above has been censored.

It's because, they say, it displays personal data about Putin's intended Novichok victim, such as body temperature, pulse, blood pressure etc.

Wouldn't like the world to know that there is nothing wrong with him, would they?


Эксперт объяснил ретушь прикроватного экрана на фото Навального
15 сентября 2020

An expert has explained the retouching of the bedside monitor in the Navalny photo
15 September 2020

MARK CHAPMAN September 16, 2020 at 12:26 pm

Too late to get smart now.

MOSCOWEXILE September 16, 2020 at 10:51 pm

Stalker Zone
September 16, 2020


Why on earth should one think that?

MOSCOWEXILE September 16, 2020 at 10:54 pm

Comment to the above C/Z article:

anymouse • 8 hours ago

Looking good for almost a corpse. COVID-19, a flu virus, is a deadly killer, and Novichok, a deadly nerve agent, is not a killer.

ET AL September 15, 2020 at 11:36 am


British and other international toxicological experts say that without technical reporting by the laboratory of the spectrometric composition of the chemical, and without identifying the compound by the international naming protocol there is no evidence at all;..

the US Army had recently manufactured its own Novichok types: "A230, A232 and A234 A232 has a CAS number of 2308498-31-7. A230 and A234 have no known CAS numbers."

A lot more at the link.

ET AL September 15, 2020 at 11:40 am

I reckon Khordokovsky has a hand in this. He has the same moral compass as dead Berezovsky. None. And he has refused to stick to agreements (keep out of politics). If the British or someone else get fingered for this cunning plan , would they serve him up on a silver platter? Almost certainly so.

MARK CHAPMAN September 15, 2020 at 3:29 pm

Helmer always delivers. It looks very much as if the Germans have stepped in the shit.

JEN September 15, 2020 at 7:10 pm

We certainly did well to focus on Maria Pevchikh as soon as we discovered that in addition to being the one who evaded questioning by Russian authorities by flying out to Germany, she also had British residency. She certainly has become a "person of interest" and could well be the major individual in the plot to incapacitate Navalny and use him to pressure Germany over NSII and Russia over the Belarus unrest.

MARK CHAPMAN September 15, 2020 at 7:17 pm

Agreed; she does indeed look to have played a far bigger part in the operation than she lets on.

MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 9:44 pm

It is still unknown whether Pevchikh is a British citizen. I think she is and probably must be, in fact, for if she is only a visa holder or an applicant for UK citizenship, she could be told by the Home Office to go take a hike if it is proven that she was instrumental in the poisoning plot.

When Berezovsky got cocky in the UK after a judge there had prevented his being forced to leave Misty Albion because Berzovsky had persuaded him that were he to return to Mordor, he would face an unfair trial and his life would be in danger -- the erstwhile "Godfather of the Kremlin" had arrived in the with a 6-month visitor's visa -- he started bragging to the "Guardian" that he was organizing with his chums still in the Evil Empire the overthrow of the tyrant Putin.

The Home Secretary at the time was none other than "Jack" Straw -- another odious pile of ordure -- who promptly summonsed Berezovsky to the Home Office for an official bollocking. He was told that if, while resident in the UK, he continued to engage himself with the overthrow of a foreign head of state, he was out.

Be that as it may, I am quite sure he was working with British state security, as was his once favoured acolyte Litvinenko.

Litvinenko was poisoned. Berezovsky committed suicide -- they say.


MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 1:32 pm

Россия задала ЕС девять вопросов об обвинениях в ситуации с Навальным

Постоянное представительство России при Евросоюзе указало на ключевые нестыковки в версии об отравлении Алексея Навального
15 сентября 2020

Russia has asked the EU nine questions about accusations in the situation with Navalny

The Permanent Representative of Russia to the European Union has pointed out the key inconsistencies in the version about the poisoning of Alexei Navalny
15 September 2020

In the eighth question, Russian diplomats drew attention to a bottle of water, on which, according to Germany, traces of poison had been found: "Not a single surveillance camera recorded how Navalny drank from a similar bottle at the Tomsk airport [before departure]. from this bottle earlier or on board the plane, how did this bottle get to Berlin? "

Ask Pevchikh! Only she is now probably undergoing debriefing in London at UK Secret Intelligence Services HQ, 85 Albert Embankment.

PATIENT OBSERVER September 15, 2020 at 4:41 pm

Navalny, if indeed he was close to death, must now realize he was set up by one of his own benefactors. What would be his next move? Going back to Russia would make the most sense as the Russians may actually protect him from another show-assassination and he would have freedom to prance around to his heart's content.

MARK CHAPMAN September 15, 2020 at 6:54 pm

I don't believe he was ever 'close to death', rather that he was an active part of the deception. He is a grifting idiot who puffs up like a toad upon being flattered. He could never win power in Russia legitimately, as he is mostly a figure of contempt in Russia save for the perennially-discontented children of the liberal elite and the few Americaphiles who don't know enough to keep their heads down. I believe he played his role by taking something that would nauseate him but not seriously hurt him, rolling about and screaming, and that the introduction of the phony 'poison bottle' was with his full knowledge. I wish Russia would just disown him and tell the Germans they can have him.

However, I could be wrong. We will know from the tone of his remarks when he feels he is strong enough to once again assume his president-in-waiting role, and starts spouting off about what happened to him. He is the most likely candidate to be selected to get the water-bottle narrative back on track, so if he comes out with an explanation for how he drank from the bottle somewhere there were no surveillance cameras, and noticed a sketchy-looking guy in a leather jacket and a "Vote For Putin!" T-shirt standing nearby just before he drank, it will be a pretty good indication that he is as full of shit as ever.

JEN September 15, 2020 at 10:53 pm

There was considerable risk involved in the deception. I doubt that Navalny went into the deception willingly. There was a very real risk that he could have suffered some brain damage going into the first coma and that's sure to compromise his health in the long term in other ways.

More likely it seems a lot of the deception was planned behind Navalny's back and people were waiting for an opportunity to carry it out. It may have been planned years ago for someone else and then switched to Navalny once he was in the Omsk hospital. Julia Navalnaya may have been pushed into demanding that Navalny be transferred to Berlin and while the Omsk hospital doctors were stabilising him for the transfer, the deception then started going into action in Germany.

MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 11:18 pm

Lavrov smelt a rat several days ago -- last week, I'm sure -- when he stated that suspicions had been aroused by one of Navalny's gang refusing to answer investigators' questions in Omsk and then scarpering off to Germany.

I'm quite sure the FSB already knew of Pevchikh's comings and goings between London and Moscow (over 60 flights there and back I read somewhere) and her activities with the Navalny organization.

Perhaps they allowed Navalny to leave for Germany -- with Pevchikh flying out with him, I may add -- because they knew what was afoot and would later expose the Germans for liars, or if not that, then for their falling to a sucker punch off the British secret service.

They certainly allowed Pevchikh to leave Russia: she didn't sneak on board Navalny's private flight.

Just Pevchikh, note, not Navalnaya, who is not a British agent, I'm sure.

MARK CHAPMAN September 16, 2020 at 8:49 am

Certainly possible – as I say, we will know more from his blabber once he starts giving interviews, which he lives to do. His tone will have changed considerably if he believes his erstwhile chums in politics intended to martyr him. Otherwise I read his expressed desire to return at once to Russia as simply remaining in character – the selfless hero risking all for freedom and democracy.

I wonder how he will thank the doctors in Omsk for saving his life, as it is generally acknowledged they did. He cannot go into transports of admiration for their professional skills, because they claimed to have found no trace of poisoning in his samples. He faces the choice, then, of simply passing over it without mention, or accusing the people who saved his life of 'being part of the machine'. Doing either will certainly not increase his popularity in Russia. And it makes no difference at all how popular he is in the west – something the west seemingly cannot be taught.


MOSCOWEXILE September 16, 2020 at 4:41 am

Die Zeit сообщила о предложении США от ФРГ по "Северному потоку -- 2"
RT на русском, 16 сентября 2020

Die Zeit announced the proposal of the USA from Germany for the "Nord Stream – 2
RT in Russian, September 16, 2020

The German government has offered the United States a deal in exchange for Washington's waiver of sanctions against Nord Stream 2.

This is reported by the newspaper Die Zeit, citing sources

It is noted that Berlin has expressed its readiness to invest up to € 1 billion in the construction of two terminals in Germany for receiving liquefied natural gas from the United States.

"In response, the United States will allow the unhindered completion and operation of Nord Stream 2", TASS quotes the text of a letter from German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, which was sent on August 7 to the head of the US Treasury, Stephen Mnuchin.

In early August, US senators sent a letter to the operator of the German port of Sassnitz calling for an end to work to support the construction of Nord Stream 2.

PAULR September 16, 2020 at 5:07 am

This would suggest that the Germans are not planning to cancel North Stream 2 themselves in response to the Navalny case.

MOSCOWEXILE September 16, 2020 at 5:57 am

The USA won't like the offer. Zero-Win for them -- always.

Americans have to be winners -- expect to be winners: it's their birthright and what made America great. To be a loser is un-American.

In my experience, the worst thing ever for many US citizens is to be accused of being a "loser".

PATIENT OBSERVER September 16, 2020 at 9:05 am

Very true about the term "loser" being a harsh insult for Americans. The "loser" tag starts to be applied to kids in early grade school and only intensifies from that point. The glorification of success (defined by the level of conspicuous consumption) further sharpens the divide between losers and winners. Our "feel-good" stories are often about individuals who were able to transform themselves from "losers" to "winners". American culture is one-dimensional in that way.

PATIENT OBSERVER September 16, 2020 at 5:12 pm

Building an LNG terminal is one thing, buying US LNG is another thing. In addition, I believe that Russia could provide LNG to Germany as well and likely at a substantially lower price.

The US may settle for this gesture as it does hold the door open, however slightly, for future developments to be leveraged by the US to force Germany to reduce or stop gas purchases from Russia. Having the terminal in place could make a future change in suppliers more feasible and faster but nevertheless representing an economic disaster for Germany. Lets call it step 1 in Plan B.

MARK CHAPMAN September 16, 2020 at 10:49 pm

I'm pretty sure the Americans will not take this offer, but will instead – correctly – interpret it as weakness and increase their pressure.

ET AL September 16, 2020 at 11:56 pm

On the other hand any diplomatic/economic success plays well in this presidential erection year. So a) is it worth it?; b) can they reverse the decision the day after? I assume they can have their cake and eat it as Brussels is mostly spineless. Borrell can squeal about Russia, but that's because he can do f/k all about the USA's behavior, being spokeshole and all

MARK CHAPMAN September 17, 2020 at 8:51 am

That's what people seem not to get – the decision would not ever be 'reversible' once Nord Stream II is complete. That pipeline quad alone can carry all of Europe's gas supply that it receives from Russia. None through Ukraine, not a whiff, if that is Moscow's will, although the Russians have agreed to transit token amounts, which the Ukrainians say are not enough to make the system's continued operation viable – without the large volumes they are accustomed to handling, they will have to progressively begin shutting down, bypassing and dismantling sections they can no longer afford to maintain.

So long as the pipeline's future remains in doubt, Uncle Sam can sell the philosophical possibility of supplying Europe with large volumes of cheap LNG via tankers, made desirable – although it will cost a little more, no getting around that – for political reasons. Once Nord Stream II is complete, the reality of a reliable supply of cheap pipeline gas would have to be countered with a concrete offer from the USA; this many cubic meters times this many Euros. Any housewife can do a cost-benefit analysis at that level. Do you want to pay more for American gas just because it comes from America? Well, let me think about it – what are the benefits? Well, it comes from America! What, you mean, that's it? There would be no possibility the Americans would use their status as a major energy supplier as leverage to bring about economic or political changes in Europe that they desired, would there? Well I can't guarantee that.

You know what? I'm okay with Russian gas, thanks just the same. Maybe I'll use the money I save to buy a Ford – how's that?

MARK CHAPMAN September 16, 2020 at 9:20 am

Pathetic. After declaring forcefully that American extraterritorial sanctions are illegal – which, technically, they are, only America has a right to threaten to limit European trade in America if it wishes; although that, too is illegal under WTO rules – Germany is now cowering and trying to 'make a deal'. With Trump, in case anyone missed that, whose 'Art of the Deal' consists of destroying the opponent until he is happy to have escaped with his life, and will never publicly complain about a 'deal' which came out very much to his disadvantage. Put another way, offering America a 'deal' only highlights that you believe you are in a weak position, are looking for mercy, and are ripe for the plucking. Germany was already planning to build the heaviest concentration of LNG terminals in Europe; a far better strategy would have been to threaten to cancel them all if Uncle Sam did not back off. The Americans are certainly smart enough to figure out – in about 2.5 seconds – that more LNG terminals means diddly when Russia can also supply LNG far cheaper than the USA because it has teensy transport costs by comparison, being much closer. Two more LNG terminals buys America precisely zero advantage, but the willingness to 'deal' reveals vulnerability. The only American response to rolling on your back to expose your belly is to step on your head.

I swear, it is hard to recognize Germany as the country which once frightened the world.

A Trump counter-offer might be a commitment from Germany to buy X amount of American LNG at a locked-in price, said amount to be sufficient that extra Nord Stream capacity would not be utilized. It depends on whether the Americans really think they can actually stop Nord Stream II, because even that would ultimately be a loser strategy. Unless a term far into the future were specified, the Americans know that once the pipeline is finished, their product is no longer competitive and cannot ever be unless it is unprofitable to themselves. They could satisfy themselves with gutting the Germans for a year or two (if they accepted), but it would be short-term satisfaction at best. Might be enough to win Trump the election, though.

But if Washington thinks it can actually halt Nord Stream II – with the understanding that the Russians would probably give up after such a stinging second rebuke – then the sky is the limit, and they will scornfully reject any other solution. The one who stands to get hurt the most is Europe. But I don't think they realize it.

MOSCOWEXILE September 16, 2020 at 8:31 am

Stalker Zone
September 15, 2020

CORTES September 17, 2020 at 12:41 am

The Borgias are history. Well, obviously, they ARE history. But now they have been relegated to the Second Division/Championship (football joke) of Poisoners by Sergei Lavrov and his chef de cuisine:

Voici le mindfuck (pardon my French):

Contains a smidgeon of addled Navalny. Delish! REPORT THIS AD

MOSCOWEXILE September 17, 2020 at 12:53 am

Oh look! The Navalnyites have shown a video, shot in Tomsk, of Navalny drinking from the allegedly poisoned water bottle that earlier nobody had seen or made mention of before it turned up in Berlin and was sent to the Bundeswehr lab.

Recall that his loud-mouth spokeswoman had from the very start insisted that Navalny had been poisoned by laced-with-poison tea that he had drunk at Tomsk airport.

Change of story line -- as persistently happened in the Skripal fake.

Video Showing Water Bottle That 'Poisoned' Alexei Navalny Shared by His Team
17 September, 2020: 10:17

MOSCOWEXILE September 17, 2020 at 12:56 am

That Sputnik headline should read, I think, "shared with his team".

And if that is the case, why didn't his team also start howling and screaming and rolling around on the deck some time later on board the Tomsk-Moscow flight?

MOSCOW EXILE September 17, 2020 at 3:15 am

Соратники Навального сообщили, что забрали бутылки из номера в Томске
17.09.2020 | 10:57

Navalny's companions have reported that they took bottles from a hotel room in Tomsk

Alexei Navalny's companions have said that a bottle of mineral water, on which German experts had allegedly found traces of poison from the Novichok group, had been brought from a hotel room in Tomsk.

On an Instagram, they have posted a video in which, according to them, an hour after news of Navalny's deteriorating condition, they examine the room and seize all the items which he had been able to touch.

On August 20, the aeroplane in which Navalny was flying urgently landed in Omsk, from where the blogger was taken to hospital. On August 21, doctors announced that the main diagnosis was metabolic disorders.

At the moment, Navalny is in Germany, where he has been taken out of an artificial coma. German doctors announced that he had been poisoned with substances from the Novichok group, but did not provide any relevant evidence.

So why didn't the Navalny hamsters, who dutifully sought out the poison bottle and most certainly handled it, throw wobblers as did Navalny when performing what he thought were the effects of nerve agent poisoning?

And whom did the hamsters hand the bottle to -- Navalnaya or Pevchikh? And who handled the bottle after its arrival in Berlin and before the obliging Bundeswehr said it had been dosed with the most lethal nerve agent (weapons grade) known to man?

Why isn't there a trail of stiffs from Tomsk to Berlin and beyond?

Who's going to believe this shite?

"Why, the whole world knows it's true!" will Imperial Plenipotentiary Pompeus Fattus Arsus surely say.

MOSCOW EXILE September 17, 2020 at 3:36 am

One of the developers of Novichok, Leonid Rink, commented on reports that a bottle in the Tomsk hotel where Alexei Navalny had stayed could [have been] Novichok [contaminated] .

"This is a situation where no one would have been allowed to touch the bottle -- you would have died if you had done so. If this had really been the case, then there would have basically been a deceased person, and everyone who had carried this bottle without gloves and protection would also have died", he told RIA Novosti.

Ah, but . . . Rink is forgetting that it was a special, delayed action Novichok made to take effect on "Putin's Fiercest Critic" when he was on board the Tomsk-Moscow flight.

Rink's an old Soviet has-been and knows nothing about the latest developments in diabolical weaponry that issues forth from secret Orc laboratories.

Эксперт прокомментировал сообщения о бутылке с "Новичком"

Expert comments on statements about the bottle with "Novichok"

CORTES September 17, 2020 at 6:20 am

Maybe the cunning developers have produced a Novichok variant safe to those who have sinned but fatal (or liable, at least, to provoke a severe tummy upset, occasionally) to the purest of heart?

JENNIFER HOR September 17, 2020 at 12:43 pm

I like this idea of the special edition of Novichok with the delayed kick. Maybe we could call it Brawndo and speculate that the poison only goes into action when it does because the added electrolytes take time to work to release the poison.

MOSCOWEXILE September 17, 2020 at 7:56 am

Alexei Navalny's team immediately after his departure from Tomsk airport, went to the hotel room in that city where he had spent the night, and packed all the items (including water bottles) so as to deliver them for analysis (of course, not in Russia). A video about this was posted on the oppositionist's Instagram.

Everything in this story is beautiful. Navalny's supporters were collecting "evidence" on a case that had not yet happened -- but it was already supposed to have happened? Together with them, there went a lawyer to the hotel -- he was also at the ready. But why were none of the "trackers" hurt if on the "evidence", as is said, they found traces of the "Novichok" military poison? And how did the "people of Navalny" end up in a room where cleaning up should have been done after the guest's departure? There are other questions as well. Some of them "KP" asked FSB reserve general Alexander Mikhailov .

MARK CHAPMAN September 17, 2020 at 9:06 am

And the person shown handling the bottle is wearing gloves – they made sure to show that. But as others have pointed out, this was well before anyone knew 'an attempt had been made on the Opposition Leader's life'. What, all Lyosha's shit was still in his hotel room, towels on the floor, the next day, after he checked out? Pretty crappy service in those Russian hotels. He didn't even leave Russia for several days, and the first suggestions he had been poisoned came from his 'press agent', who claimed he had been poisoned with tea at the airport.

Skripals II.


MOSCOWEXILE September 17, 2020 at 7:26 am

Навального выдвинули на Нобелевскую премию мира

Navalny nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Sergei Yerofeyev, a professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA, has spoken about this.

According to Yerofeyev, Navalny has been nominated for the prize by "a number of professors from recognized universities who deal with Russia". He did not give specific names, but noted that there are "great people" amongst the scientists who have nominated Navalny.

A professor of any university in the world can nominate a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize: there are no specific requirements for a candidate. In addition, members of national governments and parliaments, heads of state and some other categories of persons can nominate candidates.

The oppositionist will have to fight for the main prize of the planet with venerable rivals.

This is, first of all, US President Donald Trump, who was nominated by Christian Tubring-Jedde, a member of the Norwegian parliament from the far-right Libertarian Progress Party. As the MP said in an interview with Fox News, Donald Trump should be awarded for his role in concluding an agreement on the full normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE.

And why not? O'Bummer was awarded the peace prize, wasn't he?

Same story in Yukie news:

Navalny nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Navalny nominated for Nobel Peace Prize – Kyiv Post

MOSCOWEXILE September 17, 2020 at 7:42 am

I wonder how the Kiev Post evaluates Navalny's position on the Crimea?

The status of the Crimea is a problem that a new democratic Russia will inherit from its former government. The Russian position on this problem will be determined by the recognition of the right of the citizens of the Crimea to determine their own destiny -- Navalny 20!8

TIMOTHY HAGIOS September 17, 2020 at 8:26 am

I say give it to him. Let him join the prestigious ranks of Obama, the OPCW, the EU.

I also propose starting a Nobel War Prize, to be awarded to whatever individual or organization is responsible for the highest body count in a given year. Although that may be redundant, considering that it would probably be given to the same people as the Peace Prize.

MARK CHAPMAN September 17, 2020 at 9:13 am

Ha, ha!! And it all descends into farce, again. Navalny has arrived – he has gone global, beyond his wildest dreams. The nothing from Wherever He Is From who could not even break 5% in presidential election polling is now a major star, glittering in the western firmament. As Saint Lily Tomlin once remarked, no matter how cynical you get, you can never keep up.

All the west is going to be able to get out of this is the satisfaction of showing its ass to the neo-Soviets, the way it does when it re-names the street the Russian Embassy is – or was – located on after some prominent Russian dissident. Beavis and Butthead level, at best.

MOSCOWEXILE September 18, 2020 at 9:17 am

On Navalny, a Russian blogger writes:

That's it! This is a farewell article. A real goodbye to the topic. More precisely, parting with Navalny as a topic. His political role has been played to the end. And even lethal doses of Novichok have not caused a mass movement. Furgal's arrest caused an explosion of civil consciousness in Khabarovsk. The poisoning of Navalny, sending him abroad, the discovery of Novichok, official accusations from Germany did not cause any rally, no procession, no movement. No excitement in civic consciousness has occurred and will never happen.

[Sep 18, 2020] Continued German Support for Nord Stream 2 Completion -- Towards a Shift in Russia-Germany Relations by Stephen Lendman

Sep 17, 2020 | 1

Construction of Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany is about 94% completed.

The project is all about supplying Germany and other European countries with readily available low-cost Russian natural gas -- around 30% cheaper than US liquified natural gas (LNG).

Both right wings of the US one-party state want the pipeline halted to benefit US producers at Russia's expense.

US sanctions on the project breach international law, Germany's Angela Merkel earlier saying "(w)e oppose extraterritorial sanctions (W)e don't accept" them.

"We haven't backed down (on wanting Nord Stream 2 completed) nor do we intend to back down."

Last December, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said "European energy policy is decided in Europe, not the United States. We reject any outside interventions and extraterritorial sanctions."

Did the novichok poisoning of Putin critic Alexey Navalny hoax change things?

During a September 24 – 25 summit of EU leaders, the future of Nord Stream 2 will be discussed. Ahead of the summit, Merkel's government offered to invest around one billion euros (about $1.2 billion) in construction of two terminals in Germany for US LNG.

According to the German broadsheet Die Zeit, by letter to Trump regime Treasury Secretary Mnunchin in August, German Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said the following:

"In exchange (for Berlin's proposed LNG investment), the US will allow unobstructed finalization and use of Nord Stream 2," adding:

"(E)xisting legal options for (challenging US) sanctions (on firms involved in the project) have not been exhausted yet."

The broadsheet added that Scholz first expressed Berlin's proposal verbally, confirming it by letter. Proposed German LNG terminals would be built in Brunsbuttel and Wilhelmshaven. Berlin's proposal also included a gas transit contract for Ukraine and financing of a terminal for Poland's use of US LNG.

Following the Navalny false flag, opinion on completing Nord Stream 2 in Germany is divided. Merkel still supports the project as evidenced by her government's offer to build two terminals for US LNG in exchange for dropping sanctions on the pipeline by the US.

Orchestrated Events Responsible for Alexey Navalny's Illness?

Last June, US Senate hardliners proposed legislation to expand Nord Stream 2 related sanctions.

It targets all nations and enterprises involved in the project, including underwriting, insurance and reinsurance companies.

At the time, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said Russia will complete construction of the project on its own -- expected to be operational in January or shortly thereafter. Last month, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass expressed "displeasure" to Pompeo about US sanctions on the project. Last week, Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller was quoted saying the following:

"Poland has from the very beginning emphasized that European solidarity (on Nord Stream 2) should be unambiguous."

"Therefore, if such a need is expressed by the German side, Poland is open to the idea of using the infrastructure which it is building for its own energy security."

His remark followed German media reports that Merkel said a decision by her government on Nord Stream 2 has not been made in light of the Navalny incident. German officials supporting the project stressed that the country will be the main beneficiary of its completion economically, environmentally and strategically. Construction on the proposed 800 – 950 km Baltic Pipe gas pipeline from Norwegian North Sea waters to Poland hasn't begun.

If completed in October 2022 as proposed, it'll be able to deliver about 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually -- less than 20% of Nord Stream 2's 55 billion annual cubic meter capacity.

Berlin earlier was skeptical about the project because of environmental concerns. Days earlier, Polish energy expert Jakub Wiech called it "pointless" to compare Baltic Pipe to Nord Stream 2, given the latter project's far greater capacity and ability to provide gas to other Western European countries. A day after the Navalny incident last month, Merkel said Nord Stream 2 will be completed regardless of threatened new US sanctions on firms involved in the project.

Separately on Wednesday, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Nord Stream 2's completion should not be raised in discussing the Navalny incident.

"It should stop being mentioned in the context of any politicization."

"This is a commercial project that is absolutely in line with the interests of both Russia and European Union countries, and primarily Germany."

No evidence links Russia to Navalny's illness. Whatever caused it wasn't from a novichok nerve agent, the deadliest know substance able to kill exposed individuals in minutes. Over three weeks after falling ill, Navalny is very much alive, recuperating in a Berlin hospital, and able to be ambulatory for short periods.

A Final Comment

On September 14, CNBC reported the following:

"Experts say Berlin is unlikely to (abandon Nord Stream 2 that's) over 94% completed after almost a decade's construction, involv(ing) major German and European companies, and is necessary for the region's current and future energy needs," adding:

"In this case, economic and commercial interests could trump political pressure" against Russia.

Chief eurozone economist Carsten Brzeski said he doesn't see "Germany pulling out of the project Many (in the country) are still in favor of it."

CNBC noted that

"Germany has been reluctant to link the fate of its involvement with Nord Stream 2 to the Navalny incident so far, and (FM Heiko) Maas conceded that stopping the building of the pipeline would hurt not only Russia but German and European firms."

"(O)ver 100 companies from 12 European countries" are involved in the project about half of them from Germany."


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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at . He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

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[Sep 17, 2020] Lies in the Navalny case

Was it BZ toxin again: Lavrov- Swiss lab says 'BZ toxin' used in Salisbury, not produced in Russia, was in US & UK service
Notable quotes:
"... German Chancellor Angela Merkel personally announced at a press conference last week that a chemical weapons laboratory of the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) had proved "beyond doubt" that Navalny was the victim of an attack using the Novichok nerve agent. She called on the Russian government to answer "very serious questions." ..."
"... At a special session of the Parliamentary Control Committee, which meets in secret, representatives of the German government and the secret services left no doubt, according to media reports, that the poisoning of Navalny had been carried out by Russian state authorities, with the approval of the Russian leadership. The poison was said to be a variant of the warfare agent -- one even more dangerous than that used in the Skripal case in Britain. It purportedly could enter the body simply through inhalation, and its production and use required skills possessed only by a state actor. ..."
"... Excerpt of an article by Peter Schwarz published by ..."
Sep 10, 2020 |

The relationship between Germany and Russia has reached its lowest point since Berlin supported the pro-Western coup in Ukraine six years ago and Russia subsequently annexed the Crimean Peninsula.

The German government is openly accusing the Russian state of poisoning opposition politician Alexei Navalny, who is currently in Berlin's Charité Clinic. He reportedly awoke from a coma on Monday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel personally announced at a press conference last week that a chemical weapons laboratory of the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) had proved "beyond doubt" that Navalny was the victim of an attack using the Novichok nerve agent. She called on the Russian government to answer "very serious questions."

At a special session of the Parliamentary Control Committee, which meets in secret, representatives of the German government and the secret services left no doubt, according to media reports, that the poisoning of Navalny had been carried out by Russian state authorities, with the approval of the Russian leadership. The poison was said to be a variant of the warfare agent -- one even more dangerous than that used in the Skripal case in Britain. It purportedly could enter the body simply through inhalation, and its production and use required skills possessed only by a state actor.

Germany and the European Union are threatening Russia with sanctions. The German government has even questioned the completion of the almost finished Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, which it had categorically defended against pressure from the US and several Eastern European states.

The German media has gone into propaganda mode, repeating the accusations against Russian President Vladimir Putin with a thousand variations. Seventy-nine years after Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union, which claimed more than 25 million lives, German journalists and politicians, in editorials, commentaries and on talk shows, speak with the arrogance of people who are already planning the next military campaign against Moscow.

Anyone who expresses doubts or contradicts the official narrative is branded a "conspiracy theorist." This is what happened to Left Party parliamentarian Sevim Dagdelen, among others, on Sunday evening's "Anne Will" talk show. The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) foreign policy expert Norbert Röttgen, the head of the Munich Security Conference Wolfang Ischinger and former Green Party Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin sought to outstrip one another in their accusations against the Russian government. When Dagdelen gently pointed out that, so far, no evidence whatsoever has been presented identifying the perpetrators, she was accused of "playing games of confusion" and "encouraging unspeakable conspiracy theories."

Read also: Russian Defense Minister held talks with Iran's Chief of Staff

The Russian government denies any responsibility in the Navalny case. It questions whether Navalny was poisoned at all and has called on the German government to "show its cards" and present evidence. Berlin, according to Moscow, is bluffing for dirty political reasons.

Contradictory and implausible

Evidence of the involvement of the Russian state is as contradictory as it is implausible.

For example, the German authorities have so far published no information or handed evidence to Russian investigators identifying the chemical with which Navalny was poisoned. Novichok is merely a generic term for several families of warfare agents.

No explanation has been given as to why no one else showed signs of poisoning from a nerve agent that is fatal even in the tiniest amounts, if touched or inhaled. Navalny had had contact with numerous people between the time he boarded the airplane on which he fainted, his entering the clinic in Omsk where he was first treated, and his transfer to the Charité hospital in Berlin.

This is only one of many unexplained anomalies in the German government's official story. Career diplomat Frank Elbe, who headed the office of German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher for five years and negotiated the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons as head of the German delegation in Geneva from 1983 to 1986, wrote on Facebook on Friday: "I am surprised that the Federal Ministry of Defence concludes that the nerve agent Novichok was used against Navalny."

Novichok, he wrote, belongs "to the group of super-toxic lethal substances that cause immediate death." It made no sense, he argued, to modify a nerve poison that was supposed to kill instantly in such a way that it did not kill, but left traces behind allowing its identification as a nerve agent.

There was something strange about this case, Elbe said. "Either the perpetrators -- whoever they might be -- had a political interest in pointing to the use of nerve gas, or foreign laboratories were jumping to conclusions that are in line with the current general negative attitude towards Russia."

The assertion that only state actors can handle Novichok is also demonstrably false. The poison was sold in the 1990s for small sums of money to Western secret services and economic criminals, and the latter made use of it. For example, in 1995, the Russian banker Ivan Kiwelidi and his secretary were poisoned with it. The chemist Leonid Rink confessed at the time in court that he had sold quantities to criminals sufficient to kill hundreds of people. Since the binary poisons are very stable, they can last for decades.

Read also: UK psyops bigwig pushed plan to 'mine Sevastopol Bay' during 2014 Crimea crisis – leaked documents

The Navalny case is not the reason, but the pretext for a new stage in the escalation of German great power politics and militarism. The media hysteria over Navalny is reminiscent of the Ukrainian crisis of 2014, when the German press glorified a coup d'état carried out by armed fascist militias as a "democratic revolution."

Social Democrat Frank-Walter Steinmeier, then foreign minister and now German president, personally travelled to Kiev to persuade the pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, to resign.

He also met with the fascist politician Oleh Tyahnybok, whose Swoboda Party glorifies Nazi collaborators from World War II. Yanukovych's successor, Petro Poroshenko, one of the country's richest oligarchs, was even more corrupt than his predecessor. He terrorised his opponents with fascist militias, such as the infamous Azov regiment. But he brought Ukraine into NATO's sphere of influence, which was the real purpose of the coup.

In the weeks before the Ukrainian coup, leading German politicians (including then-President Joachim Gauck and Steinmeier) had announced a far-reaching reorientation of German foreign policy. The country was too big "to comment on world politics from the sidelines," they declared. Germany had to defend its global interests, including by military means.

NATO marched steadily eastward into Eastern Europe, breaking the agreements made at the time of German reunification in 1990. For the first time since 1945, German soldiers today patrol the border with Russia. With Ukraine's shift into the Western camp, Belarus is the only remaining buffer country between Russia and NATO.

Berlin now sees the protests against the Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko as an opportunity to remove this hurdle as well. Unlike in Ukraine, where anti-Russian nationalists exerted considerable influence, especially in the west of the country, such forces are weaker in Belarus, where the majority speaks Russian. The working class is playing a greater role in the resistance to the Lukashenko regime than it did in Ukraine. But Berlin is making targeted efforts to steer the movement in a pro-Western direction. Forces that appeal for Western support, such as the presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, are being promoted.

Read also: Europe - "Green" Alliance with Russia or experimental field for genetic Monsters? Dispute over Nord Stream 2

The dispute over the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, whose discontinuation is being demanded by more and more German politicians, must also be seen in this context. It was a strategic project from the very beginning.

The natural gas pipeline, which will double the capacity of Nord Stream 1, which began operations in 2011, will make Germany independent of the pipelines that run through Ukraine, Poland and Belarus. These countries not only earn transit fees from the pipelines but have also used then as a political lever.

With a total capacity of 110 billion cubic metres per year, Nord Stream 1 and 2 together would carry almost all of Germany's annual gas imports. However, the gas is also to be transported from the German Baltic Sea coast to other countries.

In addition to Russia's Gazprom, German, Austrian, French and Dutch energy companies are participating in the financing of the project, which will cost almost €10 billion. The chairman of the board of directors is former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (Social Democratic Party), who is a friend of President Putin.

Nord Stream 2 is meeting with fierce opposition in Eastern Europe and the US. These countries fear a strategic alliance between Berlin and Moscow. In December of last year, the US Congress passed a law imposing severe sanctions on companies involved in the construction of the pipeline -- an unprecedented move against nominal allies. The nearly completed construction came to a standstill because the company operating the special ship for laying the pipes withdrew. Berlin and Moscow protested vehemently against the US sanctions and agreed to continue construction with Russian ships, which, however, will not be available until next year at the earliest.

Excerpt of an article by Peter Schwarz published by

[Sep 17, 2020] 'No evidence'- EU Parliament using Navalny's alleged poisoning to push for sanctions halt Nord Stream project German MEP

Germany in the past played important role is promoting Yushchenko's Poisoning false flag. Nothing new here.
If we ask "que bono?". it clearly looks like the USA ears protrude from the whole German part of Navalny poisoning saga.
Sep 17, 2020 |

That's according to Maximilian Krah, a member of the European Parliament from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. The "obscure" case involving the alleged poisoning of Navalny has been used by the EU establishment to launch another round of Moscow-bashing, he says.

The lawmaker explained that his fellow MEPs had not, in fact, seen a single piece of evidence suggesting the Russian government might have had a hand in what happened to Navalny.

We don't have the evidence... none of the members of parliament who today voted in favor of sanctions has seen any evidence.

Krah said it was "unrealistic" to expect that Navalny's case would not be politicized, arguing that it was "absolutely clear" it was being used to push an anti-Moscow agenda.

On Thursday morning, the EU Parliament passed a resolution calling on member states to "isolate Russia in international forums," to "halt the Nord Stream 2 project" and to prioritize the approval of another round of sanctions against Moscow.

The MEP also expressed skepticism about the prospects of the broader public ever getting to see any evidence linking the opposition figure's sudden illness to Russian foul play.

"Evidence will only get published and provided to Russia if there is public pressure," he said, adding that he does not see any such pressure building anywhere in the EU. Until that changes, Berlin is likely to continue demanding "answers" from Moscow while holding off on requests by Russian for cooperation, Krah believes.

ALSO ON RT.COM European Parliament calls for international probe into alleged Navalny poisoning & suspension of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

The German MEP also weighed in on the fate of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, suggesting that the alleged poisoning could work to Washington's benefit, given that the White House has been seeking to undermine the project, liking Russian gas to Germany, for months. Krah said it was "clear from the beginning" that the US would try to use the situation to scupper the project, which he says would make Germany "more independent from American influence."

The EU resolution, which is not legally binding but acts as an advisory for the bloc's leaders, was supported by 532 MEPs and opposed by 84, while 72 abstained. Fresh sanctions against Russia have been mulled by both the EU and US since news about Navalny's alleged poisoning was made public.

ALSO ON RT.COM Berlin struggles to answer RT's question on fate of mysterious Navalny aide who left Russia for Germany without being questioned

Moscow has repeatedly expressed its readiness to cooperate with Germany in the probe into the incident, while stressing that the Russian medics who first treated Navalny when he fell ill found no traces of any poison in his body. The Kremlin has also repeatedly approached Berlin for data possessed by the German side, but has so far received none.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Dachaguy 8 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 02:02 PM

Of course, the investigation is incomplete, but that doesn't stop the EU from levying "justice." We've seen this before in the Downing Street Memos, where the facts were, "being fixed around the policy. " Millions of innocent people died as a result. When will people learn?
Jeff_P 4 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 06:01 PM
There should be an international commission to look into this false flag. It should be comprised of Russia and Germany, of course, but no other NATO or European countries and no US vassal states other than Germany. Other members could be Cuba, China, Venezuela, and maybe India. And, of course, the US playbook of assignment of guilt without the benefit of evidence and the exacting of penalties without proving guilt won't fly. Russia might just tell Europe to go FO and leave PACE and the other organizations that it supports but which insist on abusing it.
perikleous 6 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 04:09 PM
If Russia was determined they would say you cannot delay NSII or we cut the Ukraine pipeline as well, its all or none! Tick Tock Tick Tok, winter is coming soon! Hopefully the Covid 19 won't delay the fuel ships your relying on or the workers who procure the fuel, you know a 2nd wave... is "Highly Likely" and its taking over in the rural areas where the fuel comes from! Present evidence to a poisoning directed by either the fuel company or the gov't and we will continue, or just tell your "handlers" go ***, because I do not recall the US severing weapons sales to Saudi Arabia after Admission to them Severing the head off of (J. Koshoggei) because the US profits/jobs are bigger than one WaPo Journalists life! Hypocracy in action!
Shelbouy 6 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 03:46 PM
Germany has offered to help pay for the construction of two LNG terminals in Germany to the tune of 1 billion plus to the US. to receive US LNG. The US in turn has said then they would not interfere with the completion of Nord Stream 2 if this were to take place. I am suggesting that Germany then would have 30% cheaper Russian gas than US LNG, blend these two prices, hi cost US LNG and low cost Russian gas of Nord Stream 2, and sell to the EU consumers at a price which would likely be higher than the current rate today, and who would be the wiser, and who would consumers blame when the price of gas goes up instead of down. This may, at least temporarily, appease the US while at the same time ensure the completion of the cheaper Russian supply line, and prevent the diversion of Russian gas to other customer nations like China, and Germany laughs all the way to the bank. This is only speculation on my part because I do not know if it would work that way or not. If it did then Germany would have their cake and eat it. The offer of Germany to the US is however, a fact. The reasons behind this offer are speculative. After all, it's really all about money anyway.
perikleous Shelbouy 5 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 04:16 PM
The US would demand a contract/commitment for the fuel based on your yearly usage currently, if you re neg, they still bill you for it! Then its handled in court while your bank accounts are frozen and none of the US debt to you is paid until this is resolved. You may win the hearing/court but the losses from not having access to that money will cost way more!
HimandI 4 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 05:47 PM
Just more proof that the EU rulers are bought and paid prostitutes.
Jayeshkumar 6 minutes ago 17 Sep, 2020 10:03 PM
May be EU is indirectly suggesting to use the 2nd Pipeline to be used Exclusively for Transporting the Hydrogen, in the Future!
Congozebilu 2 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 08:06 PM
From the first minute this Navalny story broke I knew it was aimed at Nordstream. Everyone who understands geopolitics and also US desperation to sell "freedom gas" knows that Nordstream was the intended target this Navalny clown show.
ivoivo 1 hour ago 17 Sep, 2020 09:00 PM
apparently there are evidence found in a trash can in his hotel room in omsk, they poisoned him with novichock in a water they gave it to him and discard a paper cup in a trash can, standard kremlins procedure, isn't it, what is happening to world intelligence, russians can't kill some dude that is actually not even important and americans can't stop russian hackers in meddling in us election

[Sep 12, 2020] Clearly abother case of Novichok poisoning

Sep 12, 2020 |

MOSCOWEXILE September 3, 2020 at 7:02 pm


Alexei Navalny: Two hours that saved Russian opposition leader's life

An open and shut case! Clearly Novichok poisoning, a deadly poison made only in Russia, and the Russians have already used it at least once. The most deadly nerve agent known to man and part of the brutal armament that Putin's thugs use on their murderous missions.

I rest my case, m'lud.

MOSCOWEXILE September 3, 2020 at 8:15 pm

Germany has denied allegation of falsification of the Navalny case
3 September 2020

MOSCOW, September 3 – RIA Novosti. The statement made by the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, about the falsification of data on the "poisoning" of Navalny is not true, the press service of the German Cabinet told RIA Novosti.
Earlier, at a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Lukashenko said that Minsk had intercepted a conversation between Warsaw and Berlin, which denied allegations of the blogger's poisoning. He promised that he would give the Russian side a transcript of this "interesting dialogue, which clearly indicates that this is falsification".

"Of course, Mr. Lukashenko's statement does not correspond to reality. Yesterday the Federal Chancellor, the Foreign Minister and the Defence Minister expressed their views on the new circumstances in the Navalny poisoning case There is nothing to add", the cabinet told the agency.

In Moscow, they noted that they had not yet received this evidence.

"Lukashenko hast just announced this. He said that the material would be transferred to the FSB. There is no other information yet", Peskov told RIA Novosti.

What a duplicitous creep Lukashenko is!

Always jumping to one side of the fence to the other and thinking he is so smart in doing so.

Then again, perhaps he has such damning evidence, but even if he had, nobody would believe it, because Germany, being a vassal state of the USA, is on the side of freedom and democracy.

"Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit für das deutsche Vaterland" as one sings there to a well known tune.

[Sep 12, 2020] Russia had jumped onboard the hydrogen train with a plan to use nuclear created hydrogen

Sep 12, 2020 |

ET AL September 3, 2020 at 10:27 am

A week or so ago it was reported that the EU's carbon tax would also apply to energy imports (Russian gas etc.) and in the Tass Press Review (?) 'shock' was apparently expressed, which is weird as de-carbonization (plus more recently a setting in place the necssary infrastcture for a hydrogen based economy) has been an open and long stated plan by Brussels. Norway has already invested significant resources in de-carbonizing its gas and is ready to go.

And in the last couple of days there was a report (RT?) that Russia had jumped onboard the hydrogen train with a plan to use nuclear created hydrogen (heat, innit?) and Norway style de-carbonization tech. Will post the links if I can re-find them. Still, interesting stuff.

[Sep 12, 2020] Novichok, Navalny, Nordstream, Nonsense

Sep 12, 2020 |

JAMES LAKE September 3, 2020 at 9:08 pm

Good article by ex Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray. Novichok, Navalny, Nordstream, Nonsense

" Once Navalny was in Berlin it was only a matter of time before it was declared that he was poisoned with Novichok. The Russophobes are delighted. This of course eliminates all vestiges of doubt about what happened to the Skripals, and proves that Russia must be isolated and sanctioned to death and we must spend untold billions on weapons and security services. We must also increase domestic surveillance, crack down on dissenting online opinion. It also proves that Donald Trump is a Russian puppet and Brexit is a Russian plot.

I am going to prove beyond all doubt that I am a Russian troll by asking the question Cui Bono?, brilliantly identified by the Integrity Initiative's Ben Nimmo as a sure sign of Russian influence.

I should state that I have no difficulty at all with the notion that a powerful oligarch or an organ of the Russian state may have tried to assassinate Navalny. He is a minor irritant, rather more famous here than in Russia, but not being a major threat does not protect you against political assassination in Russia.

What I do have difficulty with is the notion that if Putin, or other very powerful Russian actors, wanted Navalny dead, and had attacked him while he was in Siberia, he would not be alive in Germany today. If Putin wanted him dead, he would be dead.

Let us first take the weapon of attack. One thing we know about a "Novichok" for sure is that it appears not to be very good at assassination. Poor Dawn Sturgess is the only person ever to have allegedly died from "Novichok", accidentally according to the official narrative. "Novichok" did not kill the Skripals, the actual target. If Putin wanted Navalny dead, he would try something that works. Like a bullet to the head, or an actually deadly poison.

"Novichok" is not a specific chemical. It is a class of chemical weapon designed to be improvised in the field from common domestic or industrial precursors. It makes some sense to use on foreign soil as you are not carrying around the actual nerve agent, and may be able to buy the ingredients locally. But it makes no sense at all in your own country, where the FSB or GRU can swan around with any deadly weapon they wish, to be making homemade nerve agents in the sink. Why would you do that?

Further we are expected to believe that, the Russian state having poisoned Navalny, the Russian state then allowed the airplane he was traveling in, on a domestic flight, to divert to another airport, and make an emergency landing, so he could be rushed to hospital. If the Russian secret services had poisoned Navalny at the airport before takeoff as alleged, why would they not insist the plane stick to its original flight plan and let him die on the plane? They would have foreseen what would happen to the plane he was on.

Next, we are supposed to believe that the Russian state, having poisoned Navalny, was not able to contrive his death in the intensive care unit of a Russian state hospital. We are supposed to believe that the evil Russian state was able to falsify all his toxicology tests and prevent doctors telling the truth about his poisoning, but the evil Russian state lacked the power to switch off the ventilator for a few minutes or slip something into his drip. In a Russian state hospital.

Next we are supposed to believe that Putin, having poisoned Navalny with novichok, allowed him to be flown to Germany to be saved, making it certain the novichok would be discovered. And that Putin did this because he was worried Merkel was angry, not realising she might be still more angry when she discovered Putin had poisoned him with novichok

There are a whole stream of utterly unbelievable points there, every single one of which you have to believe to go along with the western narrative. Personally I do not buy a single one of them, but then I am a notorious Russophile traitor.

The United States is very keen indeed to stop Germany completing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will supply Russian gas to Germany on a massive scale, sufficient for about 40% of its electricity generation. Personally I am opposed to Nord Stream 2 myself, on both environmental and strategic grounds. I would much rather Germany put its formidable industrial might into renewables and self-sufficiency. But my reasons are very different from those of the USA, which is concerned about the market for liquefied gas to Europe for US produces and for the Gulf allies of the US. Key decisions on the completion of Nord Stream 2 are now in train in Germany.

The US and Saudi Arabia have every reason to instigate a split between Germany and Russia at this time. Navalny is certainly a victim of international politics. That he is a victim of Putin I tend to doubt.

MOSCOWEXILE September 3, 2020 at 9:50 pm

I do hope that Murray was writing cynically when he penned the following words above about Navalny:

He is a minor irritant, rather more famous here than in Russia

His popularity here is minimal and his political base statistically zilch, the incessant swamping of the Russian blogosphere with his praise by his hamsters notwithstanding.

I saw one of such hamster's nonsense only the other week in which the retard wrote that Navalny is the most well-known person in Russia and another post of yet another hamster who presented a list of policies that the bullshitter would follow "when he becomes president".

MOSCOWEXILE September 3, 2020 at 10:13 pm

The whole crock of Navalny -- Novichok shite neatly summed up by a comment to Murray's article linked above:

September 4, 2020 at 00:28
We're being asked to believe by people calling themselves serious journalists, that the Kremlin's thought process was thus :

Let's poison this guy with Novichok. Nobody will know it was us and there'll be no diplomatic fallout.

Completely illogical.

Logic has no part in this machination, dear chap: the people to whom these lies are directed are fucking stupid: uneducated, brain-dead, browser surfing, soap opera and "Celebrity Come Dancing" and "Reality TV" and porn watching morons.

Oh yes! And in the UK they're daily fed pap about "The Royals": every day without fail the UK media presents page after page of "stories" concerning "Kate and Wills" and "Harry and Megan".

And much of the rest of the UK media is full of shite about "football" and its prima donnas -- that's "Associated Football" or "soccer" as they prefer to say in North America, and not "Rugby Football" -- better said: not "Rugby League Football".

MOSCOWEXILE September 4, 2020 at 9:28 pm


It gets worse and worse:

Alexei Navalny: Nato says Russia must disclose its Novichok programme
Published 13 hours ago

Nato has called for Russia to disclose its Novichok nerve agent programme to international monitors, following the poisoning of activist Alexei Navalny.

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said members were united in condemning the "horrific" attack.
He added there was "proof beyond doubt" that a Novichok nerve agent was used against Mr Navalny.

Where is the proof????????

You just say so or some "guy" at Porton Down or some Bundeswehr Scheißkerl laboratories?

Get fucked Stoltenberg!

And Peskov, a word of advice: Shut the fuck up and say nothing.

Don't believe that silence from you will be taken as proof of guilt!

You and the Russian state are guilty of everything as charged by the very nature of the fact that you are Russian, "the other"!

Sound familiar?

It's what the Nazis said about every Jew: guilty of all accusations because of their ethnicity -- not their religion, note: Christianized Jews were still "Jews". They were guilty of all charges from the moment of each and every one's birth as a "Jew".

And the sickening thing is that "woke" arseholes the world over condemn racism, but racism directed against Russians is fair game.

The West stinks!

It is a vile sump of festering shite.

Thank Woden I live in Russia!

MOSCOWEXILE September 4, 2020 at 9:38 pm

Trump the moron:

Trump says he's seen NO PROOF of Russian opposition activist Navalny's poisoning – but has no reason to doubt Germany's conclusion
5 Sep, 2020 00:30 / Updated 26 minutes ago

Trump the believer!

It's called blind faith.

MOSCOWEXILE September 4, 2020 at 9:41 pm

From the above linked RT article:

The US president has received heavy criticism for his reluctance to immediately join NATO allies in pressing Russia over the Navalny incident, which CNN called "the latest instance of Trump failing to speak out and call for answers from the Kremlin on issues ranging from election interference to possible bounties on US troops in Afghanistan."

I presume that the concept of "burden of proof" is now a dead letter in the Free West.

MARK CHAPMAN September 4, 2020 at 11:16 pm

I thought that whole Russia-offered-bounties-for-dead-US-troops thing had been 'debunked' for good. Several western sources which are sometimes not snapping-turtle crazy said there was nothing to it. So why are they still citing it?

MOSCOWEXILE September 4, 2020 at 10:17 pm

Editorial Independent [wall]:

Alexei Navalny is one of the most important leaders of what passes for political opposition in President Putin's Russia. Some say he is, in effect, "the" leader of the opposition in Russia. He has just been the subject of an assassination attempt, and lies in an induced coma in a German hospital. It's worth repeating: the leader of the opposition to Vladimir Putin has been poisoned, perhaps fatally, using novichok, a chemical weapon banned by international treaty. There is little doubt that, in one form or another, formal or informal agents of the Russian state would have been part of the plot, especially given the evidence of novichok, and that the highest circles of the Russian establishment would either have knowledge of the attack, or made it apparent to any shady blah, blah. blah ..

Now don't you folks go and forget, BoJo recently made Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of that rag and who penned the above shite, a Baronet.

Lebedev has dual Russian/British citizen and has lived in the UK since he arrived there as an 8-year-old with his KGB papa, who had landed a cushy number at the Soviet Embassy.

Papa Lebedev went back to Russia, where in the immediate post-Soviet years of Russia he made a mint and became an "oligarch", namely an extremely successful thief who had pillaged Russia. His son became a UK citizen in 2010.

Evgeny Lebedev is now a life peer and may now plonk his arse (and get paid for doing so!) in one of the chambers of the British legislature, the one whose members are unelected: they are there either through their aristocratic "birthright" or are appointees, such as is Lebedev.

When BoJo appointed Lebedev as a life peer, the moronic Russophobes in the UK accused that fool of a British PM of being under the Evil One's control.

Just shows you how they know shag all about Russia and Russians.

That's because they are all tossers.

MOSCOWEXILE September 4, 2020 at 10:33 pm

Опубликована запись разговора Берлина и Варшавы по делу Навального
20:40 04.09.2020 (обновлено: 05:19 05.09.2020)

Recording of conversation between Berlin and Warsaw on Navalny case published
20:40 09/04/2020 (updated: 05:19 09/05/2020)

MOSCOW, September 4 – RIA Novosti. The state Belarusian media has published a recording of the negotiations between Berlin and Warsaw on the situation with Alexei Navalny, intercepted by Minsk .
RIA Novosti is publishing a transcript of this dialogue.

– Hello, good afternoon, Nick. How are we getting on?

– Everything seems to be going according to plan. The materials about Navalny are ready. They'll be transferred to the Chancellor's office. We'll be waiting for her statement.

– Has the poisoning been definitely confirmed?

– Look, Mike, it's not that important in this case. There is a war going on. And during a war, all sorts of methods are good.

– I agree. It is necessary to discourage Putin from sticking his nose into the affairs of Belarus. The most effective way is to drown him with the problems in Russia, and there are many of them. Moreover, in the near future they will have elections, voting day in the Russian regions.

– This is what we are doing. How are you doing in Belarus?

– To be honest, not that well, really. President Lukashenko has turned out to be a tough nut to crack. They are professional and organized. It is clear that Russia supports them. The officials and the military are loyal to the president. We are working on it. The rest [of this conversation] we'll have when we meet and not on the 'phone.

– Yes, I understand. See you then, bye.

MARK CHAPMAN September 4, 2020 at 11:21 pm

I find it hard to believe this is real. Lukashenko is 'a tough nut to crack'? The Belarusian government is 'professional and organized'? Well, you never know with the Poles. But it seems so perfectly to confirm western perfidy that it must be made up. Who would be stupid enough to say things like that on the phone?

MOSCOWEXILE September 5, 2020 at 12:17 am

Who would be stupid enough to say things like that on the phone?

"Fuck the EU!" said on the 'phone by Noodles to Ambassador Pietwat.

JEN September 5, 2020 at 4:13 am

And "Yats is our man!" Victory Noodles crowed to Pie-whacked.

Don't forget also that Jens Stoltenberg was dumb enough to think he could drive a taxi around Oslo and pick up paying passengers without their recognising him and commenting on his poor driving skills and knowledge of Oslo streets.

MOSCOWEXILE September 5, 2020 at 5:43 am

And on hearing off a Latvian (?) politician, who had been observing the "Revolution of Dignity" and was involved in an investigation into the deaths of the "Heavenly Hundred", that there were good grounds to believe that those martyrs for Ukrainian freedom had been martyred by being shot in the back by their fellow countrymen who were of a fascist bent, Lady Ashton said: "Gosh!""

Now that really was a dumb utterance to make on the phone, considering the circumstances.

MOSCOWEXILE September 5, 2020 at 7:32 am

Dejevsky in today's Independent [wall]:

It is also worth underlining that the Russian pilot who decided to make an emergency landing in Omsk, rather than proceed to Moscow, may have saved Navalny's life, as may the doctors in Omsk who – despite their professed doubts about poison – administered atropine, the closest treatment there is to a novichok antidote, early on. The claim, made by some, that this was a brazen attack, with the Kremlin's fingerprints all over it, designed to be found out and interpreted as a "two fingers up" to the west, does not stack up.

But the German findings that probably the most influential Russian opposition leader was poisoned and that the substance used was the same as the one identified in the Skripal case – a military-grade nerve agent, moreover, that is associated with Russia, even though it was developed in the Soviet-era and can be found outside Russia – means that the Kremlin has a case to answer. Yes, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and the Kremlin is all denials, but the onus is now squarely on Putin to make his case in the court of international opinion.

" the doctors in Omsk who – despite their professed doubts about poison – administered atropine, the closest treatment there is to a novichok antidote, early on."

That a fact, Doctor Dejevsky?

" everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and the Kremlin is all denials, but the onus is now squarely on Putin to make his case in the court of international opinion"

Burden of proof?

Russia has been accused! Russia is not obliged to prove its innocence, FFS!!!!

Where is the evidence to back up the accusation????

MOSCOWEXILE September 5, 2020 at 7:33 am

Link to above:

JENNIFER HOR September 5, 2020 at 1:19 pm

Of course the Omsk hospital doctors had to apply atropine because Navalny's groupies were squealing that he had been poisoned. They would have squealed again and accused the hospital of malpractice if the hospital had not used the drug.

MOSCOWEXILE September 5, 2020 at 9:42 am


Russian Doctors Suggest Setting up Joint Group With German Colleagues on Navalny Case
5 September 2020

Russian doctors have proposed to their German colleagues that they establish a joint group on the case of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, the president of Russia's National Medical Chamber, noted paediatrician Leonid Roshal, told reporters on Saturday.

Will the Germans agree?

I shouldn't imagine so. They and the rest of the West have crossed the Rubicon:

Alea iacta est!

[Sep 11, 2020] Will the alleged Alexey Navalny poisoning sink the Nord Stream 2 pipeline- It might, but it shouldn t -- RT Op-ed

Sep 11, 2020 |

Will the alleged Alexey Navalny poisoning sink the Nord Stream 2 pipeline? It might, but it shouldn't 11 Sep, 2020 17:39 / Updated 4 hours ago Get short URL © REUTERS/Stine Jacobsen/File Photo; © AFP/Vasily MAXIMOV 11 Follow RT on RT

By Dr. Karin Kneissl , who works as an energy analyst and book author. She served as the Austrian minister of foreign affairs from 2017-2019. In June, she published her book on diplomacy 'Diplomatie Macht Geschichte' in Germany through Olms, and in early September her book 'Die Mobilitätswende', or 'Mobility in Transition', was released in Vienna by Braumüller. The cacophony of noise generated in the wake of the attack on the Russian opposition figure is drowning out the reality. As Angela Merkel has always maintained, the German-Russian gas deal is purely a commercial project.

Nord Stream has always had the ingredients to drive sober-minded Germans emotional. I remember energy conferences in Germany back in 2006 when already the idea of such a gas pipeline as a direct connection from Russia to Germany provoked deep political rows, not just in Berlin but across the EU.

Conservatives disliked it for the simple reason that it was a "Schröder thing," the legacy of social democrat Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who lost the election of September 2005 to Angela Merkel. Schröder had negotiated the project with his good friend, President Vladimir Putin, and then chaired the company in charge of implementing it.

READ MORE Nord Stream 2 must be completed: Don't politicize Russian energy project over Navalny situation – Merkel Party politics and pipelines

Around that time, I was invited to an energy conference in Munich by the conservative think tank, the Hanns Seidel Foundation, managed by the Bavarian party CSU, the traditional junior partner of the ruling CDU in the government. The bottom-line of the debate on Nord Stream was negative, with the consensus being that the German-Russian pipeline would lead to the implosion of a European common foreign policy and damage the EU's energy ambitions.

I attended many other such events across Germany, from parliament to universities, and listened carefully to all the arguments. The feelings towards Nord Stream were much more benign at meetings held under the auspices of the SPD.

But over the years, the rift between different political parties evaporated, and a consensus emerged which supported enhanced energy cooperation between Berlin and Moscow. Politicians of all shades defended the first pipeline, Nord Stream 1, after it went operational in 2011, bringing Russian gas directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

They also enthusiastically supported the creation of the second, Nord Stream 2, better known by its acronym NS2. This $11bn (£8.4bn) 1,200km pipeline is almost finished and was due to go online next year.

But now, in the very final stage of construction, everything has been thrown in limbo thanks to the alleged poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny.

NS2 has always been controversial. Critics, such as the US and Poland, have argued that it makes Germany too reliant on energy from a politically unreliable partner. President Trump last year signed a law imposing sanctions on any firm that helps Russia's state-owned gas company, Gazprom, finish it. The White House fears NS2 will tighten Russia's grip over Europe's energy supply and reduce its own share of the lucrative European market for American liquefied natural gas.

These sanctions have caused delays to the project. A special ship owned by a Swiss company menaced with sanctions had to be replaced. And prior to that, various legal provisions were brought up by the European Commission that had to be fulfilled by the companies in retrospect.

Now the case of Navalny, currently being treated at a Berlin clinic after being awoken from a medically induced coma, has thrown everything up in the air again. It has triggered a political cacophony that threatens relations between Germany, the EU, Russia, and Washington. And at the center is the pipeline.

READ MORE 'Fraught with consequences for Russian-German relations': Moscow furious with Berlin over lack of cooperation on Navalny

Various German sources, among them laboratories of the armed forces, have alleged that Navalny had been poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) stated in an interview published on Sunday by Bild: " I hope the Russians don't force us to change our stance on Nord Stream 2 – we have high expectations of the Russian government that it will solve this serious crime ." He claimed to have seen " a lot of evidence " that the Russian state was behind the attack. " The deadly chemical weapon with which Navalny was poisoned was in the past in the possession of Russian authorities ," he insisted.

He conceded that stopping the almost-completed pipeline would harm German and broader European business interests, pointing out that the gas pipeline's construction involves "over 100 companies from 12 European countries, and about half of them come from Germany." Maas also threatened the Kremlin with broader EU sanctions if it did not help clarify what happened "in the coming days." Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded by labeling the accusations "groundless" and Moscow has staunchly denied any involvement in the affair.

The whole matter is complicated by domestic political considerations in Germany. CDU politician Norbert Röttgen, who heads up foreign affairs within the ruling party and has demanded that the pipeline should be stopped, is among those conservatives vying to lead the CDU in the run-up to Chancellor Angela Merkel's retirement next year. Meanwhile, Merkel is still trying to strike a balance between the country's legal commitments, her well-known mantra that NS2 is a " purely commercial project, " and what is now a major foreign policy crisis.

The chancellor had always focused on the business dimension. But most large energy projects also have a geopolitical dimension, and that certainly holds true with Nord Stream.

When I was Austria's foreign minister, I saw first-hand the recurring and very harsh criticism of the project by US politicians and officials. I remember the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, in a speech at the margins of the UN General Assembly in September 2018 that focused solely on NS2. I replied by pointing out to him that pipelines are not built to annoy others, but because there is demand. One thing was certain – the US opposition to Nord Stream would not wane and now the Navalny case has given it new impetus. What we are witnessing is a tremendous politicization of the pipeline with a wide range of people all shouting very loudly.

ALSO ON RT.COM Craig Murray: Opposition figure Navalny may possibly have been targeted by Russian state, but Western narrative doesn't add up Diplomatic confrontation instead of solution

So here we are, in a very poisoned atmosphere where it might be difficult to revise positions without losing face. The social democrat Maas, just like the conservative Röttgen and many others, have taken to the media for different reasons. In my observation, it might have to do with their respective desires to take a strong position in order to also mark their upcoming emancipation from the political giant Merkel (she is due to step down next year).

Due to her professional and empathetic handling of the pandemic, she is today much more popular than before the crisis. That makes it difficult for a junior partner, represented by Foreign Minister Maas, and for all those who wish to challenge her inside the party.

What is needed is to get the topic out of the media and out of the to-and-fro of daily petty politics. Noisy statements might serve some, but not the overall interests involved. And there are many at stake. It is not only about energy security in times of transition, namely moving away from nuclear, but much wider matters.

As a legal scholar, I deem the loss of trust in contracts. Vertragstreue, as we call it in German – loyalty to the contract – will be the biggest collateral damage if the pipeline is abandoned for political reasons. This fundamental principle of every civilization was coined as pacta sunt servanda by the Romans – agreements must be kept. Our legal system is based on this. Who would still conclude contracts of such volumes with German companies if politics can change the terms of trade overnight?

ALSO ON RT.COM German FM links Nord Stream 2 to Navalny, threatens sanctions as Moscow accuses Berlin of dragging feet on alleged poisoning probe Remember South Stream

In June 2014, construction sites on the coasts of the Black sea, both in Russia and Bulgaria, were ready for starting the gas pipeline South Stream. After pressure from the European Commission, the work never started. The political reason was the dispute on Ukraine – in particular, the annexation of the Crimea. However, the legal argument was that the tenders for the contracts were in contradiction with EU regulations on competition. Tens of thousands of work permits, which had been issued from Bulgaria to Serbia etc., were withdrawn. The economic consequence was the rise of China's influence in the region. South Stream was redirected to Turkey.

So here we are in the midst of a diplomatic standoff. It is a genuine dilemma, but it could also turn into a watershed. Will contracts be respected or will we move into a further cycle of uncertainty on all levels? Germany is built on contracts, norms (probably much too many) and not on arbitrariness.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

silvermoon 5 hours ago

All these weeks have passed and Germany has still not shown shared actual evidence of their Navalny tests with Russia though. That is the same as saying we found the gun with your finger prints on it but never showing it.

Count_Cash silvermoon 3 hours ago

Correct, Germany has only since 10th September (if confirmed) shared any 'evidence'. That is sufficient intervening time to concoct any test result and associated materials that they want - another Diesel scandal. Indeed people will ask why when you had the patient on 22nd of august, it took you so long to send samples to the OPCW, despite almost immediately yelling Poison!

gainwmn silvermoon 5 hours ago

U stupid sheep: Germany did show it to the OPCW, i.e. the organization RF is the member of, and therefore the latter gets the full access to all the data provided by Germany, as well as any other of 192 members. Kremlin lies and demands in this regard is more than ridiculous, they completely destroy any shred of trust left to all RF governmental structures and regime itself.

Teodor Nitu gainwmn 3 hours ago

Riiight!...Those Russians...not only their chemical weapons are no longer working, but they are no longer capable to choose the proper time to use them, or so the story goes. Think about it; they 'used' novichok to kill the Skripals and they are still alive and well (supposedly), now they (Russians) 'used' novichok again to kill Navalny and he is alive and getting better.

Besides, they chose the absolutely wrong time to do it. With Skripals it was just before the opening of the World Cup in Russia and now, just before the finishing of the North Stream 2 pipeline.

It sounds that they are sabotaging their own interests, aren't they? Are they (Russians) that stup!d? Some 'smart' posters here seem to believe it. But lets get real, one has to be able to see beyond the length of his nose, in order to understand what is really going on.

silvermoon Teodor Nitu 2 hours ago

Russia had all their chemical weapons legally destroyed. Along with hundreds of countries. The US, UK and Israel never did. Navalny the innocent anti Putin. Can't win one way try another.

Pro_RussiaPole gainwmn 2 hours ago

So why is Russia still asking for it? Clearly, something is being withheld. As for the OPCW, their credibility has been shot for years with all their fake Syrian chem weapon attack reports.

seawolf 6 hours ago

Even if there was not Navalny's story, they could invent another to stop the project.

Abraxas79 seawolf 4 hours ago

Exactly. I hope Russia is the one that abandons it. Let Germany be the one that decides to cancel it and go along with it. Concentrate on supplying China and other Asian nations and internal consumption. Forget about Europe. You don't have to turn off the current supply, just charge more for it when the market allows. Looks like the next German leader according to this article is quite the Russophobe, which means relations will only get worse.

Pro_RussiaPole Abraxas79 2 hours ago

If this navalny farce does end up cancelling the NS2 project, Russia should stop all gas transit to western Europe through Poland and Ukraine by spring of next year. Tell those countries that will be cut off that Russia can either sell them LNG, or that they will have to connect to other sources of gas. Because if certain countries are so against Russian gas, then why are they not doing anything against Russian gas going through Poland and Ukraine, and why isn't Trump threatening sanctions on these countries for doing so?

Blue8ball713 RTjackanory 3 hours ago

Its a far longer list and it have the fingerprints of GB secret services all over it.

Reply Gabriel Delpino seawolf 46 seconds ago It is not in the interest of Germany to stop de project. Reply

magicmirror 6 hours ago

Europe should have nothing to do with the USA ....... proved time and time again they cannot be trusted. All they want is markets, resources and consumers. They lie, they cheat, they steal...... (quoting mr Pompeo, I think). A big opportunity to win Europe's independence.

SmellLaRata 5 hours ago

All due respect for Mr. Navalny but since when does an individual fate of one person dictates the fate for millions ? And c' mon Germany. Your hypocrisy is so utterly laughable. You ignore the Assange and Snowden cases, the slaughter of Kashoggi, the brutal beating of yellow vests, the brutal actions against the Catalans ... but Navalni. Not even a hint of a proof of government involvemen. But it fits the agenda, does it? The agenda which is dictated by the deep state agitators who so much flourished under Obama.

gainwmn SmellLaRata 4 hours ago

Even being not a fan (to say the least) of the US foreign and some of the domestic policy, I have to point out that tried by U analogy is largely out of balance: first, the issue in Navalny (as well as in Scripals' and others cases acted on with poisons) case is not so much the assassination attempt on a person's life, as the banned use of chemical weapons, the ban RF's signature has been under since 1993. And that conclusion (Russia's guilt) has not been made by the UK or Germany or any other country alone, but the OPCW - the organization not only RF is the member of, but also 191(!) other countries, out of which not a single country (except RF) rejected that conclusion!; second, the US did not made attempt on either Snowden's or Assange's life, with any kind of weapon, not already mentioning the weapons banned by the international agreements American government(s) signed. This is a large - I would say - decisive difference! As far as Kashoggi's case or other cases sited by U, RF did not react with sanctions against the respective perpetrators either, thus demonstrating the same disregard for the law and order as the US did... therefore making all lies about innocent RF and evil US, foolish, at the least.

Pro_RussiaPole gainwmn 2 hours ago

The US and its lackeys are killing Assange. They are doing it slowly. And many voices going along with a lie does not make the lie true. Because these poisoning allegations are lies. The accused were never allowed to see the evidence or challenge it. And there is the whole issue of politicized reports coming out of the OPCW that contradicted evidence and reality.

Nathi Sibbs 4 hours ago

After completing the pipe and it start running Russia must turn off all Ukraine pipes. No more gas for free from Russia, Ukraine must start importing LNG from thier reliable partner USA. I think imports from USA will be good for Ukrainian Nazi people

Abraxas79 Nathi Sibbs 4 hours ago

How are they going to pay for it? Ukraine's only exports these days are its women to various brothels across Europe and North America.

Hilarous 5 hours ago

The German leaders know very well that the case of Navalny will never be resolved and exists for no other reason than to seize a pretext to demonize Russia and to end Nord Stream 2 in exchange for US freedom gas

magicmirror Hilarous 4 hours ago

freedom gas and handsome presents .....

SandythePole 3 hours ago

This is an excellent account by Dr Karin Kneissl. It is a genuine dilemma for 'occupied' Europe. Its occupying master does NOT want NS2 and will do anything to stop it. Russia suffers sanctions upon sanctions, but still gallantly tries to maintain friendly and honourable business relations with its implacable neighbours. For how much longer is this to continue? Surely there must be some limit to the endless provocations of occupied Europe and its Western master. Perhaps it is time to shut off the oil and gas and leave Germany to sail under its own wind.

dunkie56 3 hours ago

Perhaps Russia should disengage with Germany/EU totally and forge ahead in partnership with China and India and whoever wants to do business. let the EU tie it's ship to the sinking US ship and drown along with it's protection racket partner! Then Russia should build a new iron curtain between itself and all countries who want to align with the the long run Russia has tried to forge a partnership with the West but it just has not born any fruit and even as pragmatic as Russia is they must be coming to the conclusion they are flogging a dead horse!

Blue8ball713 dunkie56 2 hours ago With 146 million citizen Russia is too small to be a real partner to anyone like China or India. Best fit is the EU, but the EU is controlled or better said occupied by the USA. Its part of their hegemonial system. So Russia is left out in the rain..

micktaketo 5 hours ago

I am not sure if it is the right thing to do but I think Russia should sue the German authorities if this deal is withdrawn and if it is have nothing to do with Germany again along with other corrupt countries that cannot prove or at the least bring forth their evidence to be seen, to be transparent to all even Russia the first, because Russia is the one being accused. These countries must think we the people are all completely stupid and Russia more so. This corruption stinks to high heaven and is obvious to all sane people who love fairness. You cannot trust an entity that believes in getting what they want by hook or by crook. Russia learn your lesson ! So you countries that love whats good for you and your people do not cheat them for they voted for you to help them. Germany do not kick yourself, it will hurt your people. Saying, There is more than one way to skin a cat, they say.

Mutlu Ozer 3 hours ago

There is a simple concept to investigate a crime to find the criminals: Just look at whose benefit the crime is? EU politicians are certainly smart people to know this basic concept of criminal investigation. However, now they are playing a new strategy about how to domesticate(!) not only Russia China as well... Germans are the main actors in the stage of the WW-I and WW-II. I surely claim that Germans would be the main architect of the last war, WW-III.

[Aug 08, 2020] Saudi Arabia is insolvent- --- Foreign Affairs - Sic Semper Tyrannis

Aug 08, 2020 |

Saudi Arabia is insolvent? --- Foreign Affairs

"An ambitious leader never lets a crisis go to waste, and MBS is nothing if not ambitious. During the early days of the pandemic, he increased the kingdom's value-added tax from five percent to 15 percent, and the government earmarked $1 billion in stimulus payments to Saudi businesses struggling with the economic downturn. MBS directed his sovereign wealth fund to shop for bargains on global stock markets. He even went nose to nose with Russian President Vladimir Putin on oil prices: when Russia refused to respect production limits set in 2017, Saudi Arabia opened the spigot, driving the price of oil down, very briefly, into negative territory . Even with oil prices back around $40 per barrel, the Saudis are left with only half the revenue they need to balance the government's books. " FA


Well pilgrims, Trumpy and Jared may love the Saudis and the murderer MBS, but I do not. I was the Defense Attaché there for three years. It was one of the most unpleasant experiences of my army career. The level of social and legal restriction imposed by the theocracy was stifling. Normal life was simply impossible. Even as a diplomat I felt imprisoned in the embassy. For a foreigner to speak Arabic in public was most unwise because the immediate suspicion, often voiced, was that the foreigner was a SPY!

The one thing the Saudis have historically had "going for them" was the money that flooded the country from the ever flowing oil and gas stream. Now, that is largely finito. Good! That means less money to use in spreading the Wahhabi cult, and less money to spend on futile fantasies like the war against the Zeidi mountaineers in Yemen.

A million gastarbeiters have left the country? Good! Perhaps the Saudis will learn how to do actual work. Perhaps. pl

Jack , 07 August 2020 at 12:27 PM


What's your opinion on the dynamics that could lead to the fall of the House of Saud?

I'm sure in an insular country like that there must be much palace intrigue and suspicions on loyalty among those that bear arms. How does MbS insure his survival?

Linda , 07 August 2020 at 02:04 PM

It couldn't happen to better folks

BABAK MAKKINEJAD , 07 August 2020 at 03:37 PM

Col. Lang:

It will be decades before the identification of Salafi ideas as True Islam is discarded.

Decades of strife and bloodshed still lies ahead, in my opinion.

upstater , 07 August 2020 at 04:52 PM

With "friends" like KSA and Israel, who needs enemies? These two have driven US foreign policy for decades and the smouldering wreakage of MENA is the legacy of these miguided corrupt alliances. Between the fed and Treasury we'll be bailing out both of these monstrosities.

Unfortunately the 2 presidential candidates promise us of more of the same. I was so hopeful that Trump might make a break, but he seems to have been a weak leader with little follow through. Biden, of course, will put these misguided alliances on steroids administered by proven losers.

Richard Ong , 07 August 2020 at 07:14 PM

There's a positively classic scene at the beginning of the movie "A New Leaf." Walter Matthau's character is visited on the golf course by his accountant who's come to tell him that there's no more money in his trust account. Matthau is bewildered by this news uttering something along the lines of "But I still have plenty of checks." It's hilarious and someone in Saudi will also soon be visiting the Wahhabi loons to tell them the party is over. Life imitates art.

Polish Janitor , 07 August 2020 at 07:20 PM

Saudi Arabia has been in the news lately and none of them is good. One is WSJ's report on the quasi-secret China-Saudi nuclear cooperation and the 'Yellow-cake' production in a secret desert facility in the country's NW. I can already see the heat the Saudi's will be getting from this!

Two, is the story of the 'Tiger Squad' assassins who were ordered by MbS personally to pull off a Khashoggi on a former Saudi intelligence officer for his refusal to get back to the country.

The idea of the Saudi's march to nuclear weapons development is a terrifying idea, but the rumor is that they already have (at least) one in Pakistan. I particularly find it very strange that the Trump admin was positively 'nudging' the Saudis toward nuclear energy development until very recently, when Rick Perry was still in the administration! But a few days ago the official at the State Dep's arms control and non-proliferation desk poured cold water on Saudis and made it clear that the U.S. would not let them to do funny stuff wit uranium behind their backs.

Also of note is the part in the WSJ's report that caught my attention and where it mentions the involvement of an Argentinian energy firm that recently set up a nuclear reactor for the Saudis and that they were very keen on developing the enrichment cycle supposedly for 'research' purposes and under secrecy. This reminded me of the 'colorful' history of Israeli-Argentine secret nuclear weapons development cooperation in the 60's, in which Israel got its'yellow-cake' it needed from Argentina to develop its nukes. Which begs the question that are Saudis going the same route as Israel did back in the early 60s? Why not working with Japan, Germany, France, U.S. then if it is all peaceful?

I have had my fair share of interactions with the Saudi people. while the culture is pretty medieval with regards to social and religious matters, but when it comes to hospitality and alike they are welcoming, especially during the month of Ramadan and after Iftar, that is when they break their fasts at dusk. For the Saudis it is like a custom to be 'extra' generous and they donate free meals frequently to everyone.

nbsp; The Twisted Genius , 07 August 2020 at 09:09 PM

Years ago, I suggested a cyber operation to drain the royal family of their disposable wealth for the sole purpose of depriving the jihadists of further material support. Glad to see that the "invisible hand of capitalism" and the royal's own stupidity are doing just that. I don't want to see the royals toppled. Who knows what would replace them. But if they were weakened enough so that all their remaining resources and concentration are focused on keeping their people from rising up and ripping them to shreds, it would be fine by me. Let the jihadis be reduced to angry men in the mosque without the resources to turn their anger into meaningful action.

BTW, this idea of a cyber operation was from SST not from my time in DIA.

J , 08 August 2020 at 09:27 AM

While MBS's Tiger Squad assassins were denied entry into Canada to whack former Saudi Intel type/MBS critic Saad Aljabri, MBS succeeded in obtaining a fatwa directed against Saad Aljabri.

james , 08 August 2020 at 10:09 AM

pat - i think your personal experience of ksa reflects what most people in ksa probably feel on some level.. i can't know this for a fact, but i would say if there was any place where the usa was into doing a regime change, i would go along with this one.. anything would be better then what they have wrought.. the export of wahabbism - salafist ideology has also been a plague on the planet... at what point does this transfer of oil money into crazy religious ideology indoctrination bite the dust? it can't happen soon enough as i see it..

here is a link to one of the stories polish janitor refers to in their post above..

Babak makkinejad , 08 August 2020 at 12:55 PM


The Salafist approach to Islam is not crazy, i.e. insane. It is very much like Protestanism in as much as it rejects even the theoretical possibility of a Legitimate Central Religious Authority, it rejects Tradition, it rejects the possibility of sainthood - Olya allah -, it posits that any fool can read and interpret the Scriptures, and it rejects Theoretical Reason.

I think behind both Salafism and Protestanism appeals is a yearning for a simple moral and intellectual order that does not put too much strain on the believers' cognitive faculties; live under these black tents, follow these rules, and you are granted redemption in this life as well as the next.

"No need to trouble your pretty little brains to grapple with the world as you find it and not as you think it ought to be."

nbsp; turcopolier , 08 August 2020 at 01:48 PM


By "theoretical reason" you mean Kalaam?

Babak makkinejad , 08 August 2020 at 02:44 PM

I meant Philosophy.

Babak makkinejad , 08 August 2020 at 02:47 PM


I should have written:

" and understand...", rather than "read and interpret..."

nbsp; turcopolier , 08 August 2020 at 03:02 PM


Felsafa is not highly regarded among the Sunnis because of the ancient closure of the Gate of Ijtihad. Felsafa is much more highly regarded among you Shia because you still have widely and highly regarded mujtahideen. Khomeini was a philosopher.

james , 08 August 2020 at 03:06 PM

babak... thanks... i have a hard time understanding the distinctions... i don't know enough of protestant ideology to appreciate the comparison.. as i understand it salafist ideology adopts sharia and sharia is handed down from 'religious authorities'.. do you agree in general with the description wikpedia gives on the salafi movement?? or is this slanted too much from your point of view?

james , 08 August 2020 at 03:29 PM

is it too much to say that without philosophy there is just literalism? literalism seems to reflect the bare minimum of understanding when everything boils down to this...

nbsp; turcopolier , 08 August 2020 at 04:57 PM


Sunni Islam has been mostly about "literalism" since the defeat of the mu'tazila.

nbsp; turcopolier , 08 August 2020 at 05:03 PM


Sunni Islam does not admit of hierarchy except within consensus groups (Ijma'). Some are large and some are small. 12er Shiism effectively is hierarchical through mechanism of the "Hawza" schools of mujtahids (Ayatollahs). i will be surprised if you understand that. Ask for clarifications.

Babak makkinejad , 08 August 2020 at 06:22 PM


Sharia is just the Laws of Islam, the concept is common to all Muslim sects and schools, the content is common.

In my opinion, Seyyed Jamal Al Din Qazwini was not a Salafi as the worf is understood today. He was a Shia Muslim who was campaigning for a unified Muslim response to the ascendancy of the Western Diocletian civilization as well as the Russian Empire.

He was, in the final analysis, only partly successful in his effort, in as much as they could only make sense among the Seljuk Muslims.

Salafi ideas, in my opinion, are best understood as a response of Non-Seljuk Muslims to the Western Diocletian civilization. It reminds me of the Deobandis, another Muslim response to the Western Diocletian civilization, exemplified by Great Britain, in India.

Both Salafis and Deobandis consider Shia Muslims to be heretics. The Wiki omits that.

nbsp; turcopolier , 08 August 2020 at 08:13 PM

"the content is common" Untrue. There are many different collections of hadith and jurisprudence that make it obvious that the content is not common among the different sects.

james , 08 August 2020 at 10:15 PM

pat... thanks for the additional comments... yes, i am confused by it all and think i am in way over my head here! maybe i ought to just bow out of the conversation...

babak.. thank you as i said to pat, i believe i am in over my head on the topic... i have a viewpoint - a very subjective one again - generally all religion - the orthodox kind anyway - have all struck me as not all that religious.. it is more like a system where the so called authorities or leaders get to dictate how it is and the followers have to go along with it... the whole spirit of religion seems overlooked or upside down.. i was naive and thought religion was about love and kindness to others and basic tenets like that, but i believe in the upper echelons of these religious systems, it is one big power game... i don't know that chrisitianity is all that different from islam in this regard.. i don't know enough about buddhism to comment, but i have heard similar stories in this religion as well... call me agnostic...

i hope for the best for everyone, but in the case of saudi arabia - i personally think the ksa-uae and etc leadership exporting wahabbism and really whacked out ideologies around to places like pakistan and etc have not done the world or themselves any favours.. i hope it ends soon.. it reminds me of the christian evangelicals exporting christianity to far off places round the globe... it is a lot like that and i don't think it does much of any good.. all the generousity has serious strings attached as i see it..

and finally - i agree with pats comment at the top and would like to repeat that.. i can't see any good coming out of ksa and think it would be better gone, or replaced with something more tolerant..

[Jul 30, 2020] USA threatens German Nord Stream 2 contractors

Jul 30, 2020 |

MOSCOWEXILE July 27, 2020 at 2:17 am

USA drohen deutschen Auftragnehmern von Nord Stream 2
Stand: 08:32 Uhr

USA threatens German Nord Stream 2 contractors
Status: 08:32 a.m.

Die Welt: США угрожают европейским подрядчикам "Северного потока -- 2"
26 июля 2020

MOSCOW, July 26 – RIA Novosti. The US authorities are increasing pressure on German and European companies involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2, Die Welt newspaper writes, citing sources.

The newspaper notes that the American side has held two videoconferences with gas pipeline contractors from Germany and other European countries to "indicate the far-reaching consequences of their further participation in the project". The conferences were attended by representatives of the US Department of State, Treasury and Department of Energy.

Sources told the newspaper that American officials "have made it very clear that they want to prevent the completion of Nord Stream 2".

The Empire hath spoken!

MARK CHAPMAN July 27, 2020 at 1:35 pm

I suppose the Germans could crumble like cheese, but I personally think it is very unlikely, since doing so would mean total dependence on the United States, with its whims and its 'loyalty tests'. Not necessarily in energy, because Europe would still have to rely heavily on Russia; the United States would be satisfied – for the moment – with Russia continuing to supply its present amounts, provided they went through Ukraine as they do now, so that Russia has to help finance Ukraine's slow development as a US project dedicated to Russia's undoing. But America knows it cannot ever replace Russian supply, although it would ideally like to take more and more market share as its own production (theoretically) continues to increase. It just adamantly does not want Ukraine taken out of the equation, because Ukraine is like a rheostat that Washington can turn up or down as necessary.

No, the USA cannot replace Russian gas, but if Germany gives in now, Washington will run it as a wholly-owned subsidiary for as far as the eye can see. And I believe Germany knows it.

MOSCOWEXILE July 27, 2020 at 11:46 pm

The German foreign minister was making suitable noises for the USA yesterday, saying that in order to rejoin G7, Russia must firstly clean up its relations with Banderastan -- read: stop its "aggression" towards the Ukraine and return the Crimea to its rightful "owner".

The Kremlin responded that it has no intention of rejoining G7.

No mention off the German minister about the Ukraine not complying with the Minsk agreement, about the Ukraine government waging war against its citizens, its stopping the water supply to the Crimea etc., etc. just Big Bad Russia the "Aggressor State" that must learn how to behave itself according "International Law".

MOSCOWEXILE July 27, 2020 at 3:34 am


Russia beating United States in battle for China's huge energy market
July 27, 2020, 11:12 GMT

MOSCOWEXILE July 27, 2020 at 3:36 am


They're turning down "Freedom Molecules"?

MARK CHAPMAN July 27, 2020 at 3:37 pm

So it would appear. But it should not be at all surprising – except maybe to Washington – that you cannot shit on China day and night and call it all sorts of unpleasant names, and then expect the sun to come up on happy business partners China and the USA next day. China shares with Russia an imperative that it be respected; you don't have to like it, but you must speak respectfully and politely about it, and limit your accusations to what you can prove.

Washington likes to unload the mockery by the truckload, and then, when it's time to do business, say "Aw, shucks – I were just funnin'", and have business go forward as if the insults had never been voiced. Or, worse yet, insist that it is sticking to its positions, but you must do business with it anyway because it is the world leader and there is nowhere else to turn.

Natural Gas in the USA is at what is referred to as a 'messy bottom', and both production and sales are below year-over-year average. Yet it is plain – they say so, in so many words – that America expects sales growth to come from China and India.

"The International Energy Agency expects LNG, the main driver of international gas trade, to expand by 21% in 2019-2025, reaching 585 billion cubic meters annually. The growth will come from China and India, the IEA said in its Gas 2020 report published Wednesday. Trade will increase at a slower pace than liquefaction capacity additions, limiting the prospects of a tighter market, it said in the report."

I think he's probably right that the natural gas market will expand by a significant number. I'm just not sure the USA will play much of a part in it. And China is on solid ground, no matter how much America screams and roars; Russian gas is cheaper, and the logistics chain is short and reliable.

WARREN July 28, 2020 at 5:31 pm

MARK CHAPMAN July 28, 2020 at 6:06 pm

Obviously, for this group, 'bridging the gap' in 'threat perception' does NOT mean coaxing Poland and Lithuania to realize that Nord Stream II is just a commercial venture. It means coaxing France and Germany to accept and amplify Poland and Lithuania's paranoia and loathing of Russia. Equally obviously, America's determination to be Europe's Daddy with the LNG is just a commercial venture. Nothing political about it, and if the USA ever found itself in the position where it could leverage its energy sales to Europe to make Europe do things it otherwise would not do willingly, why, it would never use that power. Only the Russians weaponize energy.

The 'panel' is simply a parade of Atlanticists, a neoconservative wet dream. There are no realists there. Fortunately, US approval of the project is not required.

[Jul 28, 2020] Turkey On The Warpath

Putin decision to save Erdogan from the coup in retrospect looks like a blunder...
Jul 28, 2020 |

Authored by Uzay Bulut via The Gatestone Institute,

Turkey is currently involved in quite a few international military conflicts -- both against its own neighbors such as Greece, Armenia, Iraq, Syria and Cyprus, and against other nations such as Libya and Yemen. These actions by Turkey suggest that Turkey's foreign policy is increasingly destabilizing not only several nations, but the region as well.

In addition, the Erdogan regime has been militarily targeting Syria and Iraq, sending its Syrian mercenaries to Libya to seize Libyan oil and continuing, as usual, to bully Greece. Turkey's regime is also now provoking ongoing violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

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Since July 12, Azerbaijan has launched a series of cross-border attacks against Armenia's northern Tavush region in skirmishes that have resulted in the deaths of at least four Armenian soldiers and 12 Azerbaijani ones. After Azerbaijan threatened to launch missile attacks on Armenia's Metsamor nuclear plant on July 16, Turkey offered military assistance to Azerbaijan.

"Our armed unmanned aerial vehicles, ammunition and missiles with our experience, technology and capabilities are at Azerbaijan's service," said İsmail Demir, the head of Presidency of Defense Industries, an affiliate of the Turkish Presidency.

One of Turkey's main targets also seems to be Greece. The Turkish military is targeting Greek territorial waters yet again. The Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported :

"There have been concerns over a possible Turkish intervention in the East Med in a bid to prevent an agreement on the delineation of an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) between Greece and Egypt which is currently being discussed between officials of the two countries."

Turkey's choice of names for its gas exploration ships are also a giveaway. The name of the main ship that Turkey is using for seismic "surveys" of the Greek continental shelf is Oruç Reis , (1474-1518), an admiral of the Ottoman Empire who often raided the coasts of Italy and the islands of the Mediterranean that were still controlled by Christian powers. Other exploration and drilling vessels Turkey uses or is planning to use in Greece's territorial waters are named after Ottoman sultans who targeted Cyprus and Greece in bloody military invasions. These include the drilling ship Fatih "the conqueror" or Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, who invaded Constantinople in 1453; the drilling ship Yavuz , "the resolute", or Sultan Selim I, who headed the Ottoman Empire during the invasion of Cyprus in 1571; and Kanuni , "the lawgiver" or Sultan Suleiman, who invaded parts of eastern Europe as well as the Greek island of Rhodes.

Turkey's move in the Eastern Mediterranean came in early July, shortly after the country had turned Hagia Sophia, once the world's greatest Greek Cathedral, into a mosque. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan then linked Hagia Sophia's conversion to a pledge to "liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque" in Jerusalem.

On July 21, the tensions arose again following Turkey's announcement that it plans to conduct seismic research in parts of the Greek continental shelf in an area of sea between Cyprus and Crete in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.

"Turkey's plan is seen in Athens as a dangerous escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean, prompting Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to warn that European Union sanctions could follow if Ankara continues to challenge Greek sovereignty," Kathimerini reported on July 21.

Here is a short list of other countries where Turkey is also militarily involved:

In Libya , Turkey has been increasingly involved in the country's civil war. Associated Press reported on July 18:

"Turkey sent between 3,500 and 3,800 paid Syrian fighters to Libya over the first three months of the year, the U.S. Defense Department's inspector general concluded in a new report, its first to detail Turkish deployments that helped change the course of Libya's war.

"The report comes as the conflict in oil-rich Libya has escalated into a regional proxy war fueled by foreign powers pouring weapons and mercenaries into the country."

Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when an armed revolt during the "Arab Spring" led to the ouster and murder of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Political power in the country, the current population of which is around 6.5 million, has been split between two rival governments. The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), has been led by Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj. Its rival, the Libyan National Army (LNA), has been led by Libyan military officer, Khalifa Haftar.

Backed by Turkey, the GNA said on July 18 that it would recapture Sirte, a gateway to Libya's main oil terminals, as well as an LNA airbase at Jufra.

Egypt, which backs the LNA, announced , however, that if the GNA and Turkish forces tried to seize Sirte, it would send troops into Libya. On July 20, the Egyptian parliament gave approval to a possible deployment of troops beyond its borders "to defend Egyptian national security against criminal armed militias and foreign terrorist elements."

Yemen is another country on which Turkey has apparently set its sights. In a recent video , Turkey-backed Syrian mercenaries fighting on behalf of the GNA in Libya, and aided by local Islamist groups, are seen saying, "We are just getting started. The target is going to be Gaza." They also state that they want to take on Egyptian President Sisi and to go to Yemen.

"Turkey's growing presence in Yemen," The Arab Weekly reported on May 9, "especially in the restive southern region, is fuelling concern across the region over security in the Gulf of Aden and the Bab al-Mandeb.

"These concerns are further heightened by reports indicating that Turkey's agenda in Yemen is being financed and supported by Qatar via some Yemeni political and tribal figures affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood."



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In Syria , Turkey-backed jihadists continue occupying the northern parts of the country. On July 21, Erdogan announced that Turkey's military presence in Syria would continue. "Nowadays they are holding an election, a so-called election," Erdogan said of a parliamentary election on July 19 in Syria's government-controlled regions, after nearly a decade of civil war. "Until the Syrian people are free, peaceful and safe, we will remain in this country."

Additionally, Turkey's incursion into the Syrian city of Afrin, created a particularly grim situation for the local Yazidi population:

"As a result of the Turkish incursion to Afrin," the Yazda organization reported on May 29, "thousands of Yazidis have fled from 22 villages they inhabited prior to the conflict into other parts of Syria, or have migrated to Lebanon, Europe, or the Kurdistan Region of Iraq... "

"Due to their religious identity, Yazidis in Afrin are suffering from targeted harassment and persecution by Turkish-backed militant groups. Crimes committed against Yazidis include forced conversion to Islam, rape of women and girls, humiliation and torture, arbitrary incarceration, and forced displacement. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in its 2020 annual report confirmed that Yazidis and Christians face persecution and marginalization in Afrin.

"Additionally, nearly 80 percent of Yazidi religious sites in Syria have been looted, desecrated, or destroyed, and Yazidi cemeteries have been defiled and bulldozed."

In Iraq , Turkey has been carrying out military operations for years. The last one was started in mid-June. Turkey's Defense Ministry announced on June 17 that the country had "launched a military operation against the PKK" (Kurdistan Workers' Party) in northern Iraq after carrying out a series of airstrikes. Turkey has named its assaults "Operation Claw-Eagle" and "Operation Claw-Tiger".

The Yazidi, Assyrian Christian and Kurdish civilians have been terrorized by the bombings. At least five civilians have been killed in the air raids, according to media reports . Human Rights Watch has also issued a report , noting that a Turkish airstrike in Iraq "disregards civilian loss."

Given Turkey's military aggression in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Armenia, among others, and its continued occupation of northern Cyprus, further aggression, especially against Greece, would not be unrealistic. Turkey's desire to invade Greece is not exactly a secret. Since at least 2018, both the Turkish government and opposition parties have openly been calling for capturing the Greek islands in the Aegean, which they falsely claim belong to Turkey.

If such an attack took place, would the West abandon Greece?

Gaius Konstantine , 10 hours ago

If such an attack took place, it will get real messy, real fast. The Turkish military is only partially adept at fighting irregular forces that lack heavy weaponry while Turkey has absolute control of the sky. Even then, the recent performance of Turkish forces has been lacklustre for "the 2nd largest Army in NATO".

Turkey should understand that a fight with Greece will mean that the advantages she enjoyed in her recent adventures will not be there. Nor should Turkey look to the past and expect an easy victory, the Greek Army will not be marching deep into Anatolia this time, (which was the wrong type of war for Greece).

So what happens if they actually take it to war?

The larger Greek islands are well defended, they won't be taken, but defending the smaller ones is hard and Turkey will probably grab some of those. The Greeks, who have absolute control and dominance in the Aegean will do several things. Turkish naval and air bases along the Aegean coastline will be attacked as will the bosphorus bridges, (those bridges WILL go down). The Greek army, which is positioned well, will blitz into eastern Thrace and stop outside Istanbul where they will dig in and shell the city, thereby causing the civilians to flee and clogging up the tunnels to restrict military re-enforcement.

That's Greece acting alone, a position will be achieved where any captured islands will be traded for eastern Thrace. Should the French intervene, (even if it's just air and naval forces), it gets a lot more interesting.

The mighty Turkish fleet was just met by the entire Greek navy in the latest stand-off, it was enough to cause Turkey to reconsider her options. There will be no Ottoman empire 2.0

OliverAnd , 9 hours ago

The Greeks need their navy for surgically precise attacks against Turkey's navy. Every island, especially the large ones are unsinkable aircraft carriers. No one has mentioned in any article that Turkey's navy is functioning with less than minimum required personnel. No one has mentioned that their air force is flying with Pakistani pilots. The only way Turks will land on Greek uninhabited islands is only if they are ship wrecked and that for a very very short period of time. Turkey's population is composed of 25% Kurds... that will also be very interesting to see once they awaken from their hibernation and realize their great and holy goal of Kurdistan. Egypt will not waste the opportunity to join in to devastate whatever Turkish navy remains. Serbian patriots will not allow the opportunity to go to waste and will attack Kosovo and indirectly Albania composed primarily of Turkish descendants... realize the coverage lately of how the US did wrong for supporting these degenerate Muslim Albanians.

I have no doubt Greeks will make it to Aghia Sophia but will not pass Bosporus. The result will be a Treaty that is a hybrid of the Treaty of Lausanne and the Treaty of Sevron. If the Albanians decide to support the Turks by attacking Greeks in the North and in Northern Epeirus they should expect annexation of Northern Epeirus to Greece. Erdogan bases his bullying on Trump's incompetences and false friendship. This is why America is non existent in any of these regions. If Trump wins the election it will be a long war and very destabilized for the region. If Trump loses the war will be much much quicker. The outcome will remain the same. The Russians will not allow Turkey to dictate in the area. Israel will not allow Turkey to dictate in the area. Egypt will not allow Turkey to dictate in the area. Not even European Union. UK is the questionable.

bobcatz , 2 hours ago

And the US in the Middle East is not????????

ALL MidEast terrorism, shenanigans, and warmongering are for APARTHEID Israhell.

Joy Division , 7 hours ago

The West has Turkey's back otherwise the Turkish currency the Turkish Lira would have collapsed by now under attacks from the City of London Freemasonic Talmudic bankers.

Remember what happened to the Russian Rouble when Russia annexed Crimea?

The Fed and the ECB in cahoots with the usual Talmudic interests, are supporting the Turkish Lira and propping up the Erdogan regime.

There is NO OTHER explanation.

The Turks have NO foreign currency reserves, no net positive euro nor dollar reserves. Their tourism industry and main hard currency generator has COLLAPSED (hotels are 95 percent empty). The Turkish central bank has resorted to STEALING Turkish citizens' dollar-denominated bank accounts via raising Turkish Banks' foreign currency reserve requirements which the Turkish central bank SPENDS upon receipt to buy TLs and prop up the Turkish Lira.

This is utter MADNESS and FRAUD and LARCENY.

London-based currency traders would be all over the Turkish Lira and/or Turkish bonds and stocks by now UNLESS they had been instructed by the Fed and the ECB or the Talmudic bankers that own and control both, to lay off the Turkish Lira.

Despite the noise on TV or the press,


Erdogan and the Turks are only doing the bidding of the TRIBE hence Erdogan has the blessing and the protection of the people ZH censors the name.


You know how those parasites treat their host and what the inevitable outcome is, right?


Erdogan and the Turks are being set up to be thrown under the proverbial bus at the appropriate time.

The Neo-Ottoman Sultan has inadvertently set up his (ill begotten) country for eventual destruction and partition. The Kurds will get a piece of it. Who knows, maybe even the Armenians will be able to recover some bits of their ancient homeland.

Greeks in Constantinople? Nothing is impossible thanks to the hubris and chutzpah of Erdogan who is purported to have "Amish" blood himself.

Know thyself , 5 hours ago

Good for the UK that they have left the EU.

Apart from the Greeks, who would be fighting for their lives and homeland, the only EU forces capable of acting are the French. German does not have an operative army or navy; Italy, Spain and Portugal have neglected their armed forces for many years, and the Baltic and Eastern Nations are unlikely to want to get involved. The Netherlands have very good forces but not many of them.

MPJones , 7 hours ago

We can live in hope. Erdogan certainly seems to need external enemies to hold the country together. Let us also hope that Erdogan's adventurism finally wakes up Europe to the reality of the ongoing Muslim invasion so that the necessary Muslim repatriation can get going without the bloodshed which Islam's current strategy in Europe will otherwise inevitably lead to.

Know thyself , 5 hours ago

The Turkish army is a conscript army. They will need to be whipped up with religious fervour to perform. Otherwise they will look after their own skins.

But remember that the Turks put up a good defence in the Dardanelles in the First World War.

HorseBuggy , 9 hours ago

What do you expect? He killed Russian fighter pilots and he survived, this empowers terrorists like him. Those pilots were the only ones at that time fighting ISIS. May they RIP.

Max.Power , 9 hours ago

Turkey is in a "proud" group of failed empires surrounded by nations they severely abused less than 100 years ago.

Other two are Germany and Japan. Any military aggression from their side will be met with rage by a coalition of nations.

US position will be irrelevant at this point, because local historical grievances will overweight anything else.

monty42 , 10 hours ago

"Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when an armed revolt during the "Arab Spring" led to the ouster and murder of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Political power in the country..."

Kinda gave yourself away there. The coordinated assault on Libya by the US, Britain, France, and their Al-CiA-da allies on the ground resulted in the torture, sodomizing, and murder of Gaddafi, as well as his son and grandchildren killed in bombings by the US.

Also, let's not forget that Turkey is still in NATO, and their actions in Syria were alongside the US regime and terrorist proxies labeled "moderate rebels". The same terrorists originally used in Libya, then shipped to destroy Syria, now flown back to Libya. The attempt to paint all of those things as Turkey's actions alone is not honest.

When Turkey isn't in NATO anymore, let me know.

TheZeitgeist , 10 hours ago

Don't forget that Hiftar guy Turks are fighting in Libya was a CIA toadie living in Virginia for a decade before they gave him his "chance" to among other things become a client of the Russians apparently. Flustercluck of the 1st order everywhere one looks.

monty42 , 10 hours ago

Then they put on this whole production where it's the CIA guy or the terrorist puppet regime they installed, so that the rulers win regardless of the outcome. The victims are those caught up in their sick game.

GalustGulbenkyan , 9 hours ago

Turkish population has been recently getting ****** due to the economic contractions and devaluation of the Lira. Once Turkey starts fighting against a real army the Turks will realize that they are going to be ****** by larger dildos. In 1990's they sent thousands of volunteers to Nagorno Karabagh to fight against irregular Armenian forces and we know how that ended for them. Greeks and Egyptians are not the Kurds. Erdogan is a lot of hot air and empty threats. You can't win wars with Modern drones which even Armenians have learned how to jam and shoot down with old 1970's soviet tech.

Guentzburgh , 5 hours ago

Greece should be aligned with Russia, EU and USA are a bad choice that Greece will regret.

Greece needs to pivot towards Russia which will open huge opportunities for both countries

KoalaWalla , 6 hours ago

Greeks are bitter and prideful - they would not only defend themselves if attacked but would counter attack to reclaim land they've lost. But, I don't know that Erdogan is clever enough to realize this.

60s Man , 9 hours ago

Turkey is America's Mini Me.

currency , 3 hours ago

Erdogan is in Trouble at home declining economy and his radical conservative/Thug type policies. Turks are moving away from him except the hard core radicals and conservatives. He and his family are Corrupt - they rule with threats and use of THUGS. Sense his constant wars may be over stretched Time for a Turkish Spring.

Time for US, Nato and etc. to say goodbye to this THUG

OrazioGentile , 7 hours ago

Turkey seems to be on a warpath to imploding from within. Erdogan looks like a desperate despot with a failing economy, failing political clout, and failing modernization of his Country. Like any despot, he has to rally the troops or he will literally be a dead man walking.

HorseBuggy , 9 hours ago

The world fears loud obnoxious tyrants and Erdogan is the loudest tyrant since Hitler. Remember how countries pandered to Hitler early on? Same thing is happening with Erdogan.

This terrorist will do a lot more damage than he has already before the world wakes up.

By the time Hitler was done, 70 million people were dead, what will Erdogan cause?

OliverAnd , 9 hours ago

Turkey is not Germany. Not by far. Erdogan may be a bigger lunatic than Hitler, but Turkey is not Germany of the 30's. Without military equipment/parts from Germany, Italy, Spain, France, USA, and UK he cannot even build a nail. Economies are very integrated; he will be disposed of very very quickly. He has been warned. He is running out of lives.

NewNeo , 9 hours ago

You should research a lot more. Turkey is a lot more power thank Nazi Germany of the 1930's. Turkey currently have brand new US made equipment. It even houses the nuclear arsenal of NATO.

You should probably look at information from stratfor and George Friedman to give you a better understanding.

The failed coupe a few years ago was because the lunatic had gone off the reservation and was seen as a threat to the region. Obviously the bankers thought it in their benefit to keep him going and tipped him off.

OliverAnd , 8 hours ago

Clearly the lockdown has hindered your already illiteracy. Turkey has modern US equipment. Germany did not need US equipment. They made their own equipment; in fact both the US and USSR used Grrman old tech to develop future tech.

The coup was designed by Erdogan to bring himself to full power. When this is all done he will be responsible for millions of Turkish lives; after all he is not a Turk but a Muslim Pontian.

[Jul 26, 2020] 'Very serious threats'- US reportedly ramps up pressure on Nord Stream 2 contractors -- RT Business News

Jul 26, 2020 |

'Very serious threats': US reportedly ramps up pressure on Nord Stream 2 contractors 26 Jul, 2020 08:12 Get short URL © Nord Stream 2 / Axel Schmidt 123 Follow RT on RT The US government has made further attempts to force European firms to ditch the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, Welt am Sonntag reported, citing people familiar with talks on the issue.

According to the newspaper, officials from US Department of State, the Treasury Department, as well as the Department of Energy approached European contractors to make sure they fully understand the consequences of staying in the project. Up to a dozen officials reportedly held at least two online conferences with representatives of the firms in recent days.

ALSO ON RT.COM Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline will significantly cut gas prices in Europe, energy consultancy says

Speaking in a "friendly" manner, the US side stressed that it wanted to prevent completion of Nord Stream 2, observers of the online talks said. "I believe the threat is very, very serious," one of them revealed to the German outlet.

Those threats are consistent with comments by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week, in which he warned that companies involved in the project had better "get out now" or risk facing penalties under Section 232 of the notorious Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

READ MORE 'Attempted extortion': Germany reaffirms commitment to Russian gas project despite US threats

Apart from Russia's energy major Gazprom, which is developing the project, five European companies have joined. Those are France's Engie, Austria's OMV, the UK-Dutch company Royal Dutch Shell, as well as Wintershall and Germany's Uniper.

Speaking to Welt am Sonntag, the latter called US attempts to undermine the "important infrastructure project" a clear intervention into European sovereignty.

Earlier this week, the US House of Representatives approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, meant to expand US sanctions on companies involved in installing Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. According to one of the sponsors of the bill, the measures can target companies facilitating or providing vessels, insurance, port facilities, or tethering services for those vessels, as well as to those providing certification for Nord Stream 2.

Both European businesses and government officials have repeatedly decried US attempts to meddle in European energy policy by sanctioning Nord Stream 2, with some even calling on Brussels to work on countermeasures.

Moscow has also lambasted Washington's move, calling it unfair competition. Earlier this week, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia will develop a new strategy for completion of the project if Washington proceeds with new punitive measures.

[Jul 16, 2020] The Danes have set August 3rd as the restart date

Jul 16, 2020 |

MOSCOWEXILE July 6, 2020 at 3:38 am

Дания разрешила использовать новые суда для прокладки "Северного потока – 2"

STOCKHOLM, July 6. / TASS /. At the request of Nord Stream 2 AG, the Danish Energy Agency (DEA) has given permission that vessels with anchor positioning be used on an unfinished section of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline southeast of Bornholm Island. This was announced on Monday in a departmental press release.

MARK CHAPMAN July 6, 2020 at 8:41 am

Ha, ha! I expect the Danes had their wetted finger to the wind, and were reasonably quick to observe Merkel's kiss-off of the United States when it did the inadvisable, and went ahead with more sanctions to try to prevent completion of the pipeline. Might be too late to start construction this summer, though – we're into the cod-spawning season now. Maybe they could do part of it at the other end, or something.

MOSCOWEXILE July 6, 2020 at 11:58 am

The Danes have set August 3rd as the restart date because that's when the Baltic cod stop doing their thing.

MOSCOWEXILE July 6, 2020 at 12:10 pm

No, not after the spawning season has stopped -- I think that must have just been a load of bollocks of an excuse for blocking further work -- but when the time allowed for an appeal against the Danish govt decision has elapsed:

К достройке газопровода приступят после истечения срока обжалования обновленного разрешения Дании -- 3 августа.

The completion of the gas pipeline will begin after the expiration of the appeal period for the renewed Denmark permit -- August 3./

MOSCOWEXILE July 6, 2020 at 3:41 am

Send in the a United States Navy!!!

Europe must be saved from Russian gas weaponization!

Let the US freedom gas molecules ring!

[Jul 16, 2020] If Pompeo has a functioning brain, he should realize that all these blatant efforts to reserve markets for America by sanctioning all its competitors out of the picture is having the opposite effect, and frightening customers away from becoming dependent on American products

Jul 16, 2020 |

MOSCOWEXILE July 15, 2020 at 7:58 am

Fat bully boy speaks for Bully Boy state:

"Today the Department of State is updating the public guidance for CAATSA authorities to include Nord Stream 2 and the second line of TurkStream 2. This action puts investments or other activities that are related to these Russian energy export pipelines at risk of US sanctions. It's a clear warning to companies aiding and abetting Russia's malign influence projects and will not be tolerated. Get out now or risk the consequences".

Pompeo speaking at a press conference today.

CAATSA -- Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act

So Russia and Turkey are "adversaries" of the USA?

In what way?

Do these states wish to wage war against the USA?

Is it adversarial to United States interest to compete economically with the hegemon?

MOSCOWEXILE July 15, 2020 at 7:59 am

Link to above:

MARK CHAPMAN July 15, 2020 at 3:51 pm

Who cares? Really, is Pompeo still scary? If he has a functioning brain, he should realize that all these blatant efforts to reserve markets for America by sanctioning all its competitors out of the picture is having the opposite effect, and frightening customers away from becoming dependent on American products which might be withheld on a whim when America wants political concessions. 'Will not be tolerated' – what a pompous ass. Sanction away. The consequence is well-known to be seizure of assets held in the United States or an inability to do business in the United States. That will frighten some into submission – like the UK, which was threatened with the cessation of intelligence-sharing with the USA (sure you can spare it?) if it did not drop Huawei from its 5G networks. But others will take prudent steps to limit their exposure to such threats, in the certain knowledge that if they work, they will encourage the USA to use the technique again.

[Jul 13, 2020] The Danish Energy Agency (DEA) has announced a deadline after which it will be possible to begin work on completing the Russian Nord Stream-2 gas export pipeline

Jul 13, 2020 |

MOSCOWEXILE July 6, 2020 at 8:05 am

The Danish Energy Agency (DEA) has announced a deadline after which it will be possible to begin work on completing the Russian Nord Stream-2 gas export pipeline, RIA Novosti reported with reference to the regulator's statement.

Over to you Uncle Sam!

MOSCOWEXILE July 6, 2020 at 10:52 pm

Apart from this below, I have found nothing in the UK and German media about Denmark's giving the go-ahead for the final stage of NS2 construction:

NATURAL GAS 06 Jul 2020 | 09:44 UTC London
Denmark approves use of ships with anchors to lay Nord Stream 2 gas link

I wonder why?

If you search through the web, you find reports in the Western media about Denmark giving its approval in 2019. It reneged on that decision. . But nothing on the Danish decision the other day.

Because the USA must never appear as a "loser".?

[May 21, 2020] The 'Clean Break' Doctrine OffGuardian

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm ..."
"... "the right to plunder anything one can get their hands on" ..."
"... "the UK and France in March 2011 which led the international community to support an intervention in Libya to protect civilians from forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi" ..."
May 21, 2020 |

n 1996 a task force, led by Richard Perle, produced a policy document titled A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm for Benjamin Netanyahu, who was then in his first term as Prime Minister of Israel, as a how-to manual on approaching regime change in the Middle East and for the destruction of the Oslo Accords.

The "Clean Break" policy document outlined these goals:

Ending Yasser Arafat's and the Palestinian Authority's political influence, by blaming them for acts of Palestinian terrorism Inducing the United States to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. Launching war against Syria after Saddam's regime is disposed of. Followed by military action against Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

"Clean Break" was also in direct opposition to the Oslo Accords, to which Netanyahu was very much itching to obliterate. The Oslo II Accord was signed just the year before, on September 28th 1995, in Taba, Egypt.

During the Oslo Accord peace process, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu accused Rabin's government of being "removed from Jewish tradition and Jewish values." Rallies organised by the Likud and other right-wing fundamentalist groups featured depictions of Rabin in a Nazi SS uniform or in the crosshairs of a gun.

In July 1995, Netanyahu went so far as to lead a mock funeral procession for Rabin, featuring a coffin and hangman's noose.

The Oslo Accords was the initiation of a process which was to lead to a peace treaty based on the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and at fulfilling the "right of the Palestinian people to self-determination." If such a peace treaty were to occur, with the United States backing, it would have prevented much of the mayhem that has occurred since.

However, the central person to ensuring this process, Yitzak Rabin, was assassinated just a month and a half after the signing of the Oslo II Accord, on November 4th, 1995. Netanyahu became prime minister of Israel seven months later. "Clean Break" was produced the following year.

On November 6th, 2000 in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, Israeli Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, who was the chief negotiator of the Oslo peace accords, warned those Israelis who argued that it was impossible to make peace with the Palestinians:

Zionism was founded in order to save Jews from persecution and anti-Semitism, and not in order to offer them a Jewish Sparta or – God forbid – a new Massada."

On Oct. 5, 2003, for the first time in 30 years, Israel launched bombing raids against Syria, targeting a purported "Palestinian terrorist camp" inside Syrian territory. Washington stood by and did nothing to prevent further escalation.

"Clean Break" was officially launched in March 2003 with the war against Iraq, under the pretence of "The War on Terror". The real agenda was a western-backed list of regime changes in the Middle East to fit the plans of the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Israel.

However, the affair is much more complicated than that with each player holding their own "idea" of what the "plan" is. Before we can fully appreciate such a scope, we must first understand what was Sykes-Picot and how did it shape today's world mayhem.

Arabian Nights

WWI was to officially start July 28th 1914, almost immediately following the Balkan wars (1912-1913) which had greatly weakened the Ottoman Empire.

Never one to miss an opportunity when smelling fresh blood, the British were very keen on acquiring what they saw as strategic territories for the taking under the justification of being in war-time, which in the language of geopolitics translates to "the right to plunder anything one can get their hands on" .

The brilliance of Britain's plan to garner these new territories was not to fight the Ottoman Empire directly but rather, to invoke an internal rebellion from within. These Arab territories would be encouraged by Britain to rebel for their independence from the Ottoman Empire and that Britain would support them in this cause.

These Arab territories were thus led to believe that they were fighting for their own freedom when, in fact, they were fighting for British and secondarily French colonial interests.

In order for all Arab leaders to sign on to the idea of rebelling against the Ottoman Sultan, there needed to be a viable leader that was Arab, for they certainly would not agree to rebel at the behest of Britain.

Lord Kitchener, the butcher of Sudan, was to be at the helm of this operation as Britain's Minister of War. Kitchener's choice for Arab leadership was the scion of the Hashemite dynasty, Hussein ibn Ali, known as the Sherif of Mecca who ruled the region of Hejaz under the Ottoman Sultan.

Hardinge of the British India Office disagreed with this choice and wanted Wahhabite Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud instead, however, Lord Kitchener overruled this stating that their intelligence revealed that more Arabs would follow Hussein.

Since the Young Turk Revolution which seized power of the Ottoman government in 1908, Hussein was very aware that his dynasty was in no way guaranteed and thus he was open to Britain's invitation to crown him King of the Arab kingdom.

Kitchener wrote to one of Hussein's sons, Abdallah, as reassurance of Britain's support:

If the Arab nation assist England in this war that has been forced upon us by Turkey, England will guarantee that no internal intervention take place in Arabia, and will give Arabs every assistance against foreign aggression."

Sir Henry McMahon who was the British High Commissioner to Egypt, would have several correspondences with Sherif Hussein between July 1915 to March 1916 to convince Hussein to lead the rebellion for the "independence" of the Arab states.

However, in a private letter to India's Viceroy Charles Hardinge sent on December 4th, 1915, McMahon expressed a rather different view of what the future of Arabia would be, contrary to what he had led Sherif Hussein to believe:

[I do not take] the idea of a future strong united independent Arab State too seriously the conditions of Arabia do not and will not for a very long time to come, lend themselves to such a thing."

Such a view meant that Arabia would be subject to Britain's heavy-handed "advising" in all its affairs, whether it sought it or not.

In the meantime, Sherif Hussein was receiving dispatches issued by the British Cairo office to the effect that the Arabs of Palestine, Syria, and Mesopotamia (Iraq) would be given independence guaranteed by Britain, if they rose up against the Ottoman Empire.

The French were understandably suspicious of Britain's plans for these Arab territories. The French viewed Palestine, Lebanon and Syria as intrinsically belonging to France, based on French conquests during the Crusades and their "protection" of the Catholic populations in the region.

Hussein was adamant that Beirut and Aleppo were to be given independence and completely rejected French presence in Arabia. Britain was also not content to give the French all the concessions they demanded as their "intrinsic" colonial rights.

Enter Sykes and Picot.

... ... ...

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s violent confrontations between Jews and Arabs took place in Palestine costing hundreds of lives. In 1936 a major Arab revolt occurred over 7 months, until diplomatic efforts involving other Arab countries led to a ceasefire.

In 1937, a British Royal Commission of Inquiry headed by William Peel concluded that Palestine had two distinct societies with irreconcilable political demands, thus making it necessary to partition the land.

The Arab Higher Committee refused Peel's "prescription" and the revolt broke out again. This time, Britain responded with a devastatingly heavy hand. Roughly 5,000 Arabs were killed by the British armed forces and police. Following the riots, the British mandate government dissolved the Arab Higher Committee and declared it an illegal body.

In response to the revolt, the British government issued the White Paper of 1939, which stated that Palestine should be a bi-national state, inhabited by both Arabs and Jews.

Due to the international unpopularity of the mandate including within Britain itself, it was organised such that the United Nations would take responsibility for the British initiative and adopted the resolution to partition Palestine on November 29th, 1947.

Britain would announce its termination of its Mandate for Palestine on May 15th, 1948 after the State of Israel declared its independence on May 14th, 1948.

A New Strategy for Securing Whose Realm?

Despite what its title would have you believe, "Clean Break" is neither a "new strategy" nor meant for "securing" anything. It is also not the brainchild of fanatical neo-conservatives: Dick Cheney and Richard Perle, nor even that of crazed end-of-days fundamentalist Benjamin Netanyahu, but rather has the very distinct and lingering odour of the British Empire.

"Clean Break" is a continuation of Britain's geopolitical game, and just as it used France during the Sykes-Picot days it is using the United States and Israel.

The role Israel has found itself playing in the Middle East could not exist if it were not for over 30 years of direct British occupation in Palestine and its direct responsibility for the construction of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which set a course for destruction and endless war in this region long before Israel ever existed.

It was also Britain who officially launched operation "Clean Break" by directly and fraudulently instigating an illegal war against Iraq to which the Chilcot Inquiry, aka Iraq Inquiry , released 7 years later, attests to.

This was done by the dubious reporting by British Intelligence setting the pretext for the U.S.' ultimate invasion into Iraq based off of fraudulent and forged evidence provided by GCHQ, unleashing the "War on Terror", aka "Clean Break" outline for regime change in the Middle East.

In addition, the Libyan invasion in 2011 was also found to be unlawfully instigated by Britain.

In a report published by the British Foreign Affairs Committee in September 2016, it was concluded that it was "the UK and France in March 2011 which led the international community to support an intervention in Libya to protect civilians from forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi" .

The report concluded that the Libyan intervention was based on false pretence provided by British Intelligence and recklessly promoted by the British government.

If this were not enough, British Intelligence has also been caught behind the orchestrations of Russia-Gate and the Skripal affair .

Therefore, though the U.S. and Israeli military have done a good job at stealing the show, and though they certainly believe themselves to be the head of the show, the reality is that this age of empire is distinctly British and anyone who plays into this game will ultimately be playing for said interests, whether they are aware of it or not.

Originally published by Strategic Culture

Almondson ,

Yossi B said:

Zionism was founded in order to save Jews from persecution and anti-Semitism

Ever heard of Dumbo? He's a flying elephant.

The crusade in the ME will continue, with Israel the top dog until America's military support is no longer there. Even without the Israeli eastern european invaders, the area is primed for perpetual tribal warfare because the masses are driven by tribalist doctrines and warped metaphysics dictated by insane and inhumane parasites (priests). It is the epicenter of a spiritual plague that has infected most of the planet.

paul ,

There is complete continuity between the activities of Zionist controlled western countries and those of the present day.

In the 1930s, there were about 300,000 adult Palestinian males. Over 10% were killed, imprisoned and tortured or driven into exile. 100,000 British troops were sent to Palestine to destroy completely Palestinian political and military organisations. Wingate set up the Jew terror gangs who were given free rein to murder, rape and burn, in preparation for the complete ethnic cleansing of the country.

We see the same ruthless, genocidal brutality on an even greater scale in the present day, serving exactly the same interests. Nothing has ever come of trying to negotiate with the Zionists and their western stooges – just further disasters. It is only resolute and uncompromising resistance that has ever achieved anything. Hezbollah kicking their Zionist arses out of Lebanon in 2000 and keeping them out in 2006. Had they not done so, Lebanon would still be under Zionist occupation and covered with their filthy illegal settlements.

They have never stopped and they never will. The objective is to create a vast Zionist empire comprising the whole of Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and parts of Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. This plan has never changed and it never will. The Zionist thieves will shortly steal what little is left of Palestine. But the thieving will not end there. It will just move on to neighbouring countries.

The prime reason they have been able to get away with this is not their control of British and US golems. It is by playing the old, dirty colonial games of divide and rule, with the Quisling stooge dictators serving their interests. They have always been able to set Sunni against Shia, and different factions against others. The dumb Arabs fall for it every time. Their latest intrigues are directed at the destruction of Iran, the next victim on their target list after Iraq, Libya and Syria. And the Quisling dictators of Saudi Arabia are openly agitating for this and offering to pay for all of it. Syria sent troops to join the US invasion of Iraq in 1991, though Iraqi troops fought and died in Syria in 1973 against Israel. Egypt allows Israel to use its airspace to carry out the genocidal terror bombing of Gaza.

All this is contemptible enough and fits into racist stereotypes of Arabs as stupid, irrational, corrupt, easily bought, violent and treacherous. This of course does not apply to the populations of those countries, but it is a legitimate assessment of their Quisling dictators, with a (very) few honourable exceptions.

Seamus Padraig ,

Of course, Arab rulers who don't tow the Zionist line generally get overthrown, don't they? And that usually requires the efforts/intervention of FUKUS, doesn't it? So you can't really pretend that 'Arab stupidity' is the main factor.

Richard Le Sarc ,

The fact that, as the Yesha Council of Rabbis and Torah Sages declared in 2006, as Israel was bombing Lebanon 'back to the Stone Age', under Talmudic Judaism, killing civilians is not just permissible, but a mitzvah, or good deed, explains Zionist behaviour. Other doctrines allow an entire 'city' eg Gaza, to be devastated for the 'crimes' of a few, and children, even babies, to be killed if they would grow up to 'oppose the Jews'. Dare mention these FACTS, seen everyday in Israeli barbarity, and the 'antisemitism' slurs flow, as ever.

Julia ,

" is that this age of empire is distinctly British"

.it takes some balls to make such an absurd statement and still expect to be taken seriously. The US of course with its 800 military bases around the world and gifts of 40 billion a year to Israel has no opinion on the future of the Middle East. You would have us believe that they are just humble onlookers, as a small bankrupt country tells them what to do. We are being told that the CIA, the most formidable spy agency and manipulator of countries in history, sits quietly by as the British and Israel tells the US what to do.
Absurd isn't it., Clearly the truth is that Israel is just another military base for the US in the Middle East, easily the most important geopolitical region in the world. They fund it, arm it, and protect it from all attacks, Israel does as it is told by the US for the most part despite the pantomime on the surface.
Many on the far right like to hide US interests behind a wall of antisemitism that likes to paint 'the jews' as an all powerful enemy but this is just cover for Israel's real geopolitical roll as a US puppet.
Time and time again all we are seeing is attempt to write the US, the largest empire in the history out of the news and out of the history books, like it is some invisible benign force that has not interests, no control and does noting to forward it's interests and it's empire.

''To find out who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise."

I don't know about you, but I'm not 10 years old and I know I am looking at Empire and it's power being flexed every day in every part do the world, especial in the parts of the world that it funds with trillions of dollars.

Julia ,

" is that this age of empire is distinctly British"

.it takes some balls to make such an absurd statement and still expect to be taken seriously. The US of course with its 800 military bases around the world and gifts of 40 billion a year to Israel has no opinion on the future of the Middle East. You would have us believe that they are just humble onlookers, as a small bankrupt country tells them what to do. We are being told that the CIA, the most formidable spy agency and manipulator of countries in history, sits quietly by as the British and Israel tells the US what to do.
Absurd isn't it., Clearly the truth is that Israel is just another military base for the US in the Middle East, easily the most important geopolitical region in the world. They fund it, arm it, and protect it from all attacks, Israel does as it is told by the US for the most part despite the pantomime on the surface.
Many on the far right like to hide US interests behind a wall of antisemitism that likes to paint 'the jews' as an all powerful enemy but this is just cover for Israel's real geopolitical roll as a US puppet.
Time and time again all we are seeing is attempt to write the US, the largest empire in the history out of the news and out of the history books, like it is some invisible benign force that has not interests, no control and does noting to forward it's interests and it's empire.

''To find out who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise."

I don't know about you, but I'm not 10 years old and I know I am looking at Empire and it's power being flexed every day in every part do the world, especial in the parts of the world that it funds with trillions of dollars.

Richard Le Sarc ,

The antithesis of the truth. It is US politicians who flock to AIPAC's meeting every year to pledge UNDYING fealty to Israel, not Israeli politicians pledging loyalty to the USA. It is Israeli and dual loyalty Jewish oligarchs funding BOTH US parties, it is US politicians throwing themselves to the ground in adulation when Bibi the war criminal addresses the Congress with undisguised contempt, not Israeli politicians groveling to the USA. The master-servant relationship is undisguised.

Pyewacket ,

In Daniel Yergin's The Prize, a history of the Oil industry, he provides another interesting angle to explain British interest in the region. He states that at that time, Churchill realised that a fighting Navy powered by Coal, was not nearly as good or efficient as one using Oil as a fuel, and that securing supplies of the stuff was the best way forward to protect the Empire.

BigB ,

Yergin would be right. The precursor of the First World War was a technological arms race and accelerated 'scientific' perfection of arsenals – particularly naval – in the service of imperialism. British and German imperialism. The full story involves the Berlin to Cairo railway and the resource grab that went with it. I'm a bit sketchy on the details now: but Churchill had a prominent role, rising to First Lord of the Admiralty.

Docherty and Macgregor have exposed the hidden history. F W Engdahl has written about WW1 being the first oil war.

Andreas Schlüter ,

And don´t forget which of the US Military command regions into which the US Military divided the WHOLE World is named "US CENTCOM"!
„One Thing Must be Clear to the World: The US Power Elite Regards the Whole Globe as Their Colony!":

Antonym ,

In 1996 a task force, led by Richard Perle, produced a policy document titled A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm for Benjamin Netanyahu

No source link for this!

By the way 1996 was during the Clinton administration. Warren Christopher was secretary of state and John Deutch was the Director of Central Intelligence . George Tenet was appointed the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence in July 1995. After John Deutch's abrupt resignation in December 1996, Tenet served as acting director.

Reg ,

Here you go, sonny boy

Richard Le Sarc ,

Antsie, what are you going to deny next? The USS Liberty? Deir Yassin? The Lavon Affair? Sabra, Shatilla? Qana (twice)? The Five Celebrating Israelis on 9/11?Does not impress.

[May 20, 2020] Trump administration behaviour is the byproduct of having too much money and not enough brain

May 07, 2020 |

bevin , May 7 2020 19:17 utc | 13

"..all of these tin pot dictatorship oil rich countries are really a sick bunch.... i guess it is the byproduct off having too much money and not enough brains..

@james@ 3

karlofi beat me to it james - or were you referring to Alberta?

[May 20, 2020] A huge fleet of 117 tankers is bringing super cheap crude to China

May 20, 2020 |

vot tak , says: Show Comment May 20, 2020 at 5:01 am GMT

A huge fleet of 117 tankers is bringing super cheap crude to China

"At present, a total of 117 very large crude carriers (VLCCs) -- each capable of shipping 2 million barrels of oil -- are traveling to China for unloading at its ports between the middle of May and the middle of August. If those supertankers transport standard-size crude oil cargoes, it could mean that China expects at least 230 million barrels of oil over the next three months, according to Bloomberg. The fleet en route to China could be the largest number of supertankers traveling to the world's top oil importer at one time, ever, Bloomberg News' Firat Kayakiran says.

Many of the crude oil cargoes are likely to have been bought in April, when prices were lower than the current price and when WTI Crude futures even dipped into negative territory for a day.

Last month, emerging from the coronavirus lockdown, China's oil refiners were already buying ultra-cheap spot cargoes from Alaska, Canada, and Brazil, taking advantage of the deep discounts at which many crude grades were being offered to China with non-existent demand elsewhere. ( )

China was also estimated to have doubled the fill rate at its strategic and commercial inventories in Q1 2020, taking advantage of the low oil prices and somewhat supporting the oil market amid crashing demand by diverting more imports to storage, rather than outright slashing crude imports.

China's crude oil imports jumped in April to about 9.84 million barrels per day as demand for fuels began to rebound and local refiners started to ramp up crude processing, according to Chinese customs data cited by Reuters."

Well, now we know who was taking advantage of those pindo negative oil price sales ;-D

The Chinese are at the advantage here, not being neocon/likud bottom rungers. The desperation of zionazia is expressed in choosing the neocon lowlife to run things in the western colonies. Yes, their extremism provides the initiative in getting extreme capitalist policies through and continues the push to the extreme far right in the zionazi-gay colonies. But it is at the cost of intelligent long term strategy. Short term imaginary gain at the cost of real gain. The fast food, face feeding, bum bandit approach. The quick fixers.

[May 15, 2020] NATO v. Nord Stream 2 caucus99percent

May 15, 2020 |

NATO v. Nord Stream 2

gjohnsit on Thu, 05/14/2020 - 3:54pm After a five month delay, Russia is ready to complete the Nord Stream 2 pipeline .

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, built to increase the flow of Russian gas into Europe's biggest economy, was thwarted five months ago after U.S. President Donald Trump imposed sanctions that forced workers to retreat. Now, after a three-month voyage circumnavigating the globe, the Akademik Cherskiy, the Russian pipe-laying vessel that's a prime candidate to finish the project, has anchored off the German port where the remaining pipeline sections are waiting to be installed...
Satellite images captured by Planet Labs inc. on May 10 show that sections of pipeline have been moved to a jetty equipped with a crane for loading. Ship-tracking data shows that a dredging vessel operated by a Nord Stream 2 contractor, as well as a Russian pipe-laying-crane ship are also in the vicinity and that the Akademik Cherskiy had moved as of Wednesday next to the jetty loaded with pipes.

In order to complete the final 100-mile stretch of Nord Stream 2, Russia effectively needs to use its own vessels due to U.S. sanctions.
The U.S. still thinks that it can stop Gazprom from finishing the pipeline, but that's insane.

Tens of billions of dollars, along with Putin's reputation as a savvy geopolitical chess master, have been invested in the pipeline project. However, Moscow is now running out of viable options. The only move left is to proceed in defiance of sanctions that will adversely affect many in the higher echelons of the Russian establishment.

This is checkmate.

Yes, this is checkmate...for Putin.
After investing billions of dollars, Gazprom would go bust if they don't finish this pipeline. So do you really think that more U.S. sanctions will give them even a moment's pause?
Sanctions are pointless now.

The question here is, why was this pipeline such a big deal?
To give you an idea, consider the recently completed Turkstream pipeline .
The Turkstream pipeline network isn't even fully integrated yet, and it's already having an impact. Who it's impacting is the key.

Although Ukraine has not been importing any Russian gas for its domestic needs since November 2015, it has signed a five-year transit contract with Gazprom for a minimum 65bcm in 2020 and 40bcm/year from 2021.

However, transit volumes have fallen 47% year on year in the first four months of 2020, amounting to 15.5bcm. The steep drop has been linked to European oversupply and low demand, but also to the lack of transit to the Balkan region after Russian exports to Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece were diverted to the new TurkStream pipeline from January 2020.

"Our transmission system can transit 110bcm of gas [annually] but this year we expect only 50-55bcm of transit," Makogon added, pointing out that volumes would drop even lower if Russia commissions Nord Stream 2 , a 55bcm/year subsea pipeline designed to link Russia directly to Germany via the Baltic Sea.

Ukraine stands to lose $3 Billion a year in transit fees from Russia once Nord Stream 2 is completed this year. This will devastate Ukraine's budget and economy.
Before you feel any sympathy for Ukraine, consider the situation that Ukraine put Russia in.

Ukraine's NATO membership ambitions were written into the Ukrainian Constitution in February 2019 via an amendment that also confirmed the goal of eventually joining the European Union.

NATO integration has remained official Ukrainian policy following the April 2019 election of President Zelenskyy. In early 2020, the country was said to be on track to secure NATO Enhanced Opportunity Partner status later in the year if the pace of reforms was maintained.

NATO's mission continues to be "destroy Russia". So you can see why Russia would feel the need to, at the very least, not help fund an enemy nation.
Plus the potential consequences of Ukraine entering NATO are terrible.

There are ongoing concerns that membership would allow Ukraine to immediately invoke Article 5 of the NATO treaty, the stipulation that an armed attack against one member state is an attack against them all.

Fortunately, the new Ukraine government of President Zelensky doesn't appear nearly so eager for a military confrontation with Russia. Plus public support for joining NATO is dropping.

If I was to make a prediction, I would say that NATO was about to experience a political setback.

[May 05, 2020] German Regulator Plans to Deny Nord Stream 2 Waiver from New Gas Directive

May 05, 2020 |


Handelsblatt newspaper reported, citing the draft decision of the Federal Network Agency of Germany (BNA), that the BNA intends to reject an application filed by Nord Stream 2 for an exemption of the pipeline project from the requirements of the updated EU gas directive.

The agency announced in mid-January that it had accepted applications from the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 operators to exempt the gas pipelines from the requirements of the EU gas directive. According to Handelsblatt, the agency earlier on Friday sent a draft decision to the parties involved in the process. The newspaper added that the BNA will accept replies from them until 8 May, after which it will "promptly" make a final decision .

The reason for the rejection of the Nord Stream 2 application was the fact that in order to exempt the gas pipeline from the updated directive, the pipeline must have been completed before May 2019. Nord Stream 2 insisted that it was necessary to not proceed from the "construction" point of this requirement, but to take into account the fact that "billions of investments had already been made in accordance with the previous legal regime by the time the new directives of the domestic gas market came into force".

The spokesman for Nord Stream 2, Jens Mueller, said in January that the project meets all the requirements for its exemption from the rules of the updated EU gas directive in Germany and that this also applies to the completion date of the project.

[May 02, 2020] Special Report Trump told Saudis Cut oil supply or lose U.S. military support - sources

May 02, 2020 |

WASHINGTON/LONDON/DUBAI - As the United States pressed Saudi Arabia to end its oil price war with Russia, President Donald Trump gave Saudi leaders an ultimatum.

In an April 2 phone call, Trump told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that unless the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) started cutting oil production, he would be powerless to stop lawmakers from passing legislation to withdraw U.S. troops from the kingdom, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The threat to upend a 75-year strategic alliance, which has not been previously reported, was central to the U.S. pressure campaign that led to a landmark global deal to slash oil supply as demand collapsed in the coronavirus pandemic - scoring a diplomatic victory for the White House.

Trump delivered the message to the crown prince 10 days before the announcement of production cuts. The kingdom's de facto leader was so taken aback by the threat that he ordered his aides out of the room so he could continue the discussion in private, according to a U.S. source who was briefed on the discussion by senior administration officials.

The effort illustrated Trump's strong desire to protect the U.S. oil industry from a historic price meltdown as governments shut down economies worldwide to fight the virus. It also reflected a telling reversal of Trump's longstanding criticism of the oil cartel, which he has blasted for raising energy costs for Americans with supply cuts that usually lead to higher gasoline prices. Now, Trump was asking OPEC to slash output.

A senior U.S. official told Reuters that the administration notified Saudi leaders that, without production cuts, "there would be no way to stop the U.S. Congress from imposing restrictions that could lead to a withdrawal of U.S. forces." The official summed up the argument, made through various diplomatic channels, as telling Saudi leaders: "We are defending your industry while you're destroying ours."

Reuters asked Trump about the talks in an interview Wednesday evening at the White House, at which the president addressed a range of topics involving the pandemic. Asked if he told the crown prince that the U.S. might pull forces out of Saudi Arabia, Trump said, "I didn't have to tell him."

"I thought he and President Putin, Vladimir Putin, were very reasonable," Trump said. "They knew they had a problem, and then this happened."

Asked what he told the Crown Prince Mohammed, Trump said: "They were having a hard time making a deal. And I met telephonically with him, and we were able to reach a deal" for production cuts, Trump said.

[May 02, 2020] MBS's doomed attempt to play with the big boys over oil,

May 02, 2020 |

Cortes April 26, 2020 at 2:55 pm

After riffing on the theme of MBS's doomed attempt to play with the big boys over oil, Andrei Martyanov goes on to suggest a possible way for superpowers to cooperate:

The intersection of great power Noblesse Oblige and The Final Frontier?

[May 02, 2020] Gazprom ramps up its export capacity to China via the Power of Siberia line, plans to add a second compressor station this year

May 02, 2020 |

Mark Chapman April 27, 2020 at 3:59 pm

Gazprom ramps up its export capacity to China via the Power of Siberia line, plans to add a second compressor station this year. Drill rigs at the Kovykta Field are expected to go from 7 this year to 18 next year, and the extraction flows added to the Power of Siberia capacity.

[May 02, 2020] The servants of Washington in the EU will try to extract every last concession they can before the pipeline is completed, but they absolutely want it and will back down if they think Russia would actually give up on completing it

May 02, 2020 |

Mark Chapman May 1, 2020 at 1:41 pm

The servants of Washington in the EU will try to extract every last concession they can before the pipeline is completed, but they absolutely want it and will back down if they think Russia would actually give up on completing it. Their strategy all along was to let Russia build it, but ensure its operation fell under the control of EU regulators so that they could get plenty of gas when they needed it, but use it as a negotiating tool when they had lots in reserve, start complaining about the price and try to get more pipeline volume for competitors, variations on the ideal where the Russians would absorb all the costs of building it, but would yield all advantages of the completed pipeline to the EU. Right up until the moment the first volumes go through the pipeline, the EU is going to act as a spoiler on a project they absolutely want to be completed.

If Russia said, all right then, fuck you; Get your gas from the Americans, if that's what you want, two things would happen – one, The Donald would come in his pants, and two, Brussels would go wait wait wait wait hold on. No need to be hasty.

But they think they are in a super-strong position now, because their American pals stopped it when it was just a whisker away from completion, and gave them breathing space to renegotiate a deal that was already set, and make up a bunch of new rules using that was then, this is now for a rationale. I hope Russia does the same to them once it's complete, and says yeah, you THOUGHT that was the price, but that was then, and charges them just enough under the American price that dropping them in favour of the Americans is not feasible, but still much more than they thought they would pay.

karl1haushofer May 1, 2020 at 12:40 pm
Another setback for Nord Stream 2: -- reports/

[May 02, 2020] It'd be nice to think Russia is going to complete Nord Stream II right away just to spite Washington and its endless meddling, but as we have discussed before, there really is no hurry

May 02, 2020 |

Mark Chapman April 27, 2020 at 9:27 am

That's funny; I just checked her position last night, and it said she was bound for Nakhodka, due early in July.

Yeah; making 10 knots for Nakhodka, due there July 1st. That's where she left from originally, but so far as I could make out there is nothing in Nakhodka which might lead to the belief she will be there undergoing updates and tweaks for her employment finishing Nord Stream II.

It'd be nice to think Russia is going to complete Nord Stream II right away just to spite Washington and its endless meddling, but as we have discussed before, there really is no hurry. Russia is locked into a new medium-term transit contract with Ukraine, the Russian state has reduced income available due to the oil-price mess and low demand owing to the 'pandemic', and would be forging ahead with work that would cost it just as much money to do now as it would later, when it likely will have more cash available. I've read the AKADEMIK CHERKSIY needs a short refit and a little updating to ready her for Nord Stream work, since being principal pipelayer for that line possibly requires some different equipment or at least some adjustments. It likely would require crewing by some more specialists, as well, and there's no reason to believe they have been aboard all this time. I suppose they could meet the ship in Nakhodka, but there is nothing at this point to suggest that.

The only thing that argues for Russia pressing ahead now is the weather, which should be entering the season when it would be best for that kind of work. Otherwise, nothing suggests Russia is in a tearing rush to get on with it. Certainly the partners have not been told anything, and they don't appear to be unduly alarmed at the lack of immediate progress.

[Mar 11, 2020] Saudi's budget requires $85//bbl and flooding the market on no demand is stupid.

Mar 11, 2020 |

Likklemore , Mar 10 2020 19:38 utc | 13

Posted by: Michael Droy | Mar 10 2020 18:34 utc | 8

" Oil. Saudi has 92 years of reserves.

No. There is no independent third party certification letter with respect to the balance of the kingdom's proven oil equivalent reserves. Could be near 40 years and that figure is with heaping generosity.

Poor Matt:
Twilight in the Dessert by Matt Simmons
he was found in his swimming pool. Tut, tut.

With tiny production costs, doubling output at half the price makes sense.

if you think they can, I have two acres of oceanfront at a fair deal --- priced in cents.

Saudi's budget requires $85//bbl and flooding the market on no demand is stupid.

karlof1 , Mar 10 2020 20:22 utc | 18

Can't completely agree with Tyler Durden here on his wide-ranging postulation, "Putin Launches 'War On US Shale' After Dumping MbS & Breaking Up OPEC+" mainly because it consists of too much speculation and not enough on facts and statements of those involved in the decisions. The Bloomberg story on which this is mostly based is almost 100% speculation. IMO, this is yet another attempt to bash Russia for the massive mistakes made by the Outlaw US Empire--for years, fracking's been known as a Ponzi Scheme to those closely watching, and it was already set to implode. This Sputnik article calls the Bloomberg item Bantha Pudu and offers a completely different explanation that looks at Saudi behavior which all the Western BigLie Media outlets omitted from their coverage.

Additional opinions and analyses were provided in this Sputnik article that tend to back the analysis from the previous article. But with the internal turmoil within Saudi over what's clearly an ongoing power struggle surly contributed to Saudi's choices. As with almost all reports coming from the West about anything Russian or Chinese, they must be treated with much skepticism. This makes at least the third time lowering the price of oil through increased production aimed to harm Russia and is likely the genuine reason at work again.

As for the Outlaw US Empire's fracking corps, we shall see if today's rebound is merely a dead cat bounce, as it's now close to impossible to further hide their Enron Accounting as their bonds descend to Junk status.

J Swift , Mar 10 2020 21:06 utc | 31
karlof1 @ 18

Alexander Mercouris at the Duran also recently posted his take, saying he felt the oil market meltdown was almost entirely the doing of MbS. Essentially he posits that MbS was getting more and more panicky, and Russia was in effect so preoccupied with the antics of Erdogan that they weren't paying MbS the attention he thought he deserved...and it isn't impossible that there was indeed a CIA plot to take him out. At any rate, Mercouris believes he was basically just firing one across the bow of Russia to get their attention, but of course by taking a demanding tone with Putin he almost guaranteed that he would receive the lesson in manners for which the Russians are becoming more and more well known. Mercouris feels after letting him sweat it a bit to learn his lesson, they will work out something with the Saudis, but their return demands may be stiff.

While I do tend to agree this was probably all precipitated by MbS and his mental instability, I can easily see the Russians long-range planning having long known that this day--for one reason or another-- would eventually come, and deciding to bask in the glow for just a bit more than Mercouris anticipates. After all, US fracked gas prices will now be massively greater than Russia can provide its gas for, which with Merkle on the ropes anyway Putin might feel is a very good time to send the Germans a reminder of what they risk if they don't consummate the Nordstream 2 project. And after the years of illegal sanctions, it must feel very good to be in Russia's position, where they know they can weather the storm far better than their antagonists. So while I don't think this was Russia's doing, I can easily see them taking their sweet time to come to a new deal, and even then at a price level that will keep the Saudis and US frackers on their back foot...and maybe try to put more distance between MbS and the US, too.

Peter AU1 , Mar 10 2020 22:17 utc | 39
Regarding Putin and MBS on the oil. Who funds and supports HTS al qaeda in Idlib. I am guessing the Saudi's have a big input there. Reports some time back that the drones AQ was using to attack the Russian airbase used high tech US components.
Tuyzentfloot , Mar 10 2020 22:23 utc | 41
I recall ex UK ambassador Peter Ford saying somewhere last year that the Saudis were outspent by an order of magnitude by Qatar in Syria. That Qatar is funding like 80% of it all. Things may have shifted a bit since.
Abe , Mar 10 2020 23:58 utc | 51
Regarding KSA and their oil gamble - if I were Houthi strategist, I would wait for a while for KSA to get knee deep into this experiment, then launch missile attack on their biggest refineries and pipes. With one salvo whole KSA statehood could be shattered. Sweet sweet revenge and guarantee not to get oppressed by KSA genocidal maniacs in future.
ARN , Mar 11 2020 0:43 utc | 57
and regarding how much oil is left in Saudi even here they are calling them liers..

"the Kingdom will desperately need another primary energy source in the relatively near future because it has nowhere near the amount of oil remaining that it has stated since the early 1970s"

[Mar 11, 2020] KSA will need another energy source in the relatively near future because they have much less oil remaining that it has stated since the early 1970s

Mar 11, 2020 |

ARN , Mar 11 2020 0:43 utc | 58

and regarding how much oil is left in Saudi even here they are calling them liers..

"the Kingdom will desperately need another primary energy source in the relatively near future because it has nowhere near the amount of oil remaining that it has stated since the early 1970s"

[Mar 10, 2020] Oil war between KSA and Russia

Mar 10, 2020 |

timbers , March 9, 2020 at 8:04 am

It could crash Mr Market oil stocks and wipe out fracking and such, creating possible liquidity issues and bankruptcies which could spread. But honestly I'm not up on the details if this could even cause any domino affects with bankruptcies, or not.

But to the Fed, Mr Market is the whole economy and nothing but the economy, Fed job #1 being to make stocks always go up.

Saudi Arabia is far more dependent on oil and tourism (also being hit) than Russia. Hence Russia's reserves I think would last far longer that SA's can.

The Rev Kev , March 9, 2020 at 8:37 am

Saudi Arabia is already in the hurt locker and has run down their financial reserves under Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud. In addition, their little expedition to Yemen is costing them billions of dollars per month which is not helping. With international tourism fading away, the threat of some two million pilgrims not being able to travel to Mecca and spending their money there as well as plummeting oil prices, 2020 is not going to be a good year for Saudi Arabia. Just to make things worse, they have their own problems with Coronavirus which may knock out important links in the Royal family.

timbers , March 9, 2020 at 8:58 am

Indeed. A pattern with Salman seems to be emerging, of him rashly starting wars or policies he can't win/finish. Makes you wonder if others in the royal family are seeing this and noticing SA is burning thru it's reserves and the solution might be a change in leadership?

The Rev Kev , March 9, 2020 at 9:06 am

I was just reading an article saying how Saudi Arabia need $60 a barrel for their budget but that now it is heading towards $20 a barrel. If they wanted to achieve a massive cost-saving, they could give their Royal Family the chop – perhaps literally so. Last I heard there were over 6,000 of them-

vlade , March 9, 2020 at 9:16 am

SA would have more problems with reserves than Russia, that's definite – if nothing else, Russia exports/has other things than oil, SA doesn't.

Oil stock crash would not cause Western recession. It could well cause recession in Texas and similar, but I very much doubt it would cause even US recession, as the problems in Texas & co would be offset by the much lower prices at the pump.

Oil debt crash would be much worse, but still I suspect brunt of it would be borne by investors, not banks.

farmboy , March 9, 2020 at 10:01 am

best energy writer Gregor McDonald breaks it down

barefoot charley , March 9, 2020 at 12:21 pm

Thanks for this excellent analysis! When oil consumption permanently plateaus, as it's about to, the stock and debt value of the industry . . . flatlines.
That's the good news from Grow or Die.

[Mar 09, 2020] Russia's 2020 federal budget assumes a price of $42.4 per barrel of Urals crude oil blend (

Mar 09, 2020 |

S , Mar 9 2020 6:19 utc | 73

@Likklemore #26:
Russia will be fine all the way down to $20//bbl

Russia's 2020 federal budget assumes a price of $42.4 per barrel of Urals crude oil blend (the prices of other oil & gas exports, such as other crude oil blends, natural gas, LNG and petroleum products, are converted into Urals blend prices using statistical formulas). If the market price turns out to be higher, the surplus goes into the National Wealth Fund ($124 bn as of December 1, 2019; currency composition is 45% U.S. dollars, 45% euros, 10% pound sterling); conversely, if the price is lower, the deficit is financed from the NWF. This is known in Russia as "the budget rule" ( бюджетное правило ).

You can see the prices of various crude oil blends at the 's Oil Price Charts page, but note that the Urals blend prices shown are lagging by three days as of the time of this comment. Generally, Urals blend price is somewhere between WTI and Brent blend prices, so it should be around $32/bbl at the moment. Meaning, Russia will now have to start taking money from the NWF.

If the low prices persist for a long period of time, Russia can balance the budget by devaluing the ruble, as its foreign debt is one of the lowest in the world -- no budget cuts are necessary. Russia's foreign exchange reserves currently stand at $570 bn (77.1% foreign currencies, 1.2% SDR, 0.7% reserve position in the IMF, 21.0% gold).

[Feb 10, 2020] Location, location, location Why Russian LNG can beat competition from US Australia

Feb 10, 2020 |

Russia's geographical position makes its exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) more profitable and competitive with American and Australian supplies, according to Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak. Russia ships most of its LNG (around 69 percent) to Asian markets, where the bulk of global LNG supplies are sent. The country could also export its LNG via traditional Russian pipeline gas European routes, due to low cost and short transportation distance, the minister wrote, in an article for the Energy Policy journal.

Also on Trump urges Europe to buy American natural gas to ensure their energy security

"Russia's convenient geographical position between Europe and Asia allows our LNG to be profitable at current prices and to win competition from the US and Australia," Novak said. "If necessary, we can deliver liquefied gas to any European country, and it will be faster and cheaper than many other suppliers."

The Northern Sea Route (NSR) could be a key transport link to connect massive Arctic energy projects Russia is currently developing with target markets. The route, which lies in Arctic waters and within Russia's Exclusive Economic Zone, could cut the transportation time by a third, compared to shipments via the Suez Canal.

Also on India could become first non‑Arctic state to develop Russia's Arctic resources

Russia is one of the world's leading exporters of natural gas. Last year, it produced more than 40 billion cubic meters of LNG – a nearly 50 percent increase from 27 billion cubic meters it had in 2018. By 2035, Novak expects the country to boost production to 120 million tons, amounting to around a fifth of the forecasted global LNG production.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

[Feb 09, 2020] US troops have stolen tens of millions in Iraq and Afghanistan

Many of these crimes grew out of shortcomings in the military's management of the deployments that experts say are still present: a heavy dependence on cash transactions, a hasty award process for high-value contracts, loose and harried oversight within the ranks, and a regional culture of corruption that proved seductive to the Americans troops transplanted there.
Notable quotes:
"... "this thing going on" ..."
"... a regional culture of corruption that proved seductive to the Americans troops transplanted there. ..."
May 09, 2015 |

The Fraud of War: U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have stolen tens of millions through bribery, theft, and rigged contracts.

U.S. Army Specialist Stephanie Charboneau sat at the center of a complex trucking network in Forward Operating Base Fenty near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border that distributed daily tens of thousands of gallons of what troops called "liquid gold": the refined petroleum that fueled the international coalition's vehicles, planes, and generators.

A prominent sign in the base read: "The Army Won't Go If The Fuel Don't Flow." But Charboneau, 31, a mother of two from Washington state, felt alienated after a supervisor's harsh rebuke. Her work was a dreary routine of recording fuel deliveries in a computer and escorting trucks past a gate. But it was soon to take a dark turn into high-value crime.

She began an affair with a civilian, Jonathan Hightower, who worked for a Pentagon contractor that distributed fuel from Fenty, and one day in March 2010 he told her about "this thing going on" at other U.S. military bases around Afghanistan, she recalled in a recent telephone interview.

Troops were selling the U.S. military's fuel to Afghan locals on the side, and pocketing the proceeds. When Hightower suggested they start doing the same, Charboneau said, she agreed.

In so doing, Charboneau contributed to thefts by U.S. military personnel of at least $15 million worth of fuel since the start of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. And eventually she became one of at least 115 enlisted personnel and military officers convicted since 2005 of committing theft, bribery, and contract-rigging crimes valued at $52 million during their deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a comprehensive tally of court records by the Center for Public Integrity.

Many of these crimes grew out of shortcomings in the military's management of the deployments that experts say are still present: a heavy dependence on cash transactions, a hasty award process for high-value contracts, loose and harried oversight within the ranks, and a regional culture of corruption that proved seductive to the Americans troops transplanted there.

Charboneau, whose Facebook posts reveal a bright-eyed woman with a shoulder tattoo and a huge grin, snuggling with pets and celebrating the 2015 New Year with her children in Seattle Seahawks jerseys, now sits in Carswell federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, serving a seven-year sentence for her crime.

[Feb 09, 2020] Trump demand for 50% of Iraq oil revenue sound exactly like a criminal mob boss

Highly recommended!
Jan 21, 2020 |

Tucker , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 12:27 pm GMT

I've heard and read about a claim that Trump actually called PM Abdul Mahdi and demanded that Iraq hand over 50 percent of their proceeds from selling their oil to the USA, and then threatened Mahdi that he would unleash false flag attacks against the Iraqi government and its people if he did not submit to this act of Mafia-like criminal extortion. Mahdi told Trump to kiss his buttocks and that he wasn't going to turn over half of the profits from oil sales.

This makes Trump sound exactly like a criminal mob boss, especially in light of the fact that the USA is now the world's #1 exporter of oil – a fact that the arrogant Orange Man has even boasted about in recent months. Can anyone confirm that this claim is accurate? If so, then the more I learn about Trump the more sleazy and gangster like he becomes.

I mean, think about it. Bush and Cheney and mostly jewish neocons LIED us into Iraq based on bald faced lies, fabricated evidence, and exaggerated threats that they KNEW did not exist. We destroyed that country, captured and killed it's leader – who used to be a big buddy of the USA when we had a use for him – and Bush's crime gang killed close to 2 million innocent Iraqis and wrecked their economy and destroyed their infrastructure. And, now, after all that death, destruction and carnage – which Trump claimed in 2016 he did not approve of – but, now that Trump is sitting on the throne in the Oval office – he has the audacity and the gall to demand that Iraq owes the USA 50 percent of their oil profits? And, that he won't honor and respect their demand to pull our troops out of their sovereign nation unless they PAY US back for the gigantic waste of tax payers money that was spent building permanent bases inside their country?

Not one Iraqi politician voted for the appropriations bill that financed the construction of those military bases; that was our mistake, the mistake of our US congress whichever POTUS signed off on it.

melpol , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:41 pm GMT
...Trump learned the power of the purse on the streets of NYC, he survived by playing ball with the Jewish and Italian Mafia. Now he has become the ultimate Godfather, and the world must listen to his commands. Watch and listen as the powerful and mighty crumble under US Hegemony.
World War Jew , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:42 pm GMT
Right TG, traditionally, as you said up there first, and legally too, under the supreme law of the land. Economic sanctions are subject to the same UNSC supervision as forcible coercion.

UN Charter Article 41: "The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations."

US "sanctions" require UNSC authorization. Unilateral sanctions are nothing but illegal coercive intervention, as the non-intervention principle is customary international law, which is US federal common law.

The G-192, that is, the entire world, has affirmed this law. That's why the US is trying to defund UNCTAD as redundant with the WTO (UNCTAD is the G-192's primary forum.) In any case, now that the SCO is in a position to enforce this law at gunpoint with its overwhelmingly superior missile technology, the US is going to get stomped and tased until it complies and stops resisting.

Charlie , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 7:53 pm GMT
@Tucker This idea that the US is any sort of a net petroleum exporter is just another lie.

In 2018 total US petroleum production was under 18 million barrels per day, total consumption north of 20 mmb/d. What does it matter if the US exports a bunch of super light fracked product the US itself can't refine if it turns around and imports it all back in again and then some.

The myths we tell ourselves, like a roaring economy that nevertheless generates a $1 trillion annual deficit, will someday come back to bite us. Denying reality is not a winning game plan for the long run.

Christophe GJ , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:00 pm GMT
I long tought that US foreign policies were mainly zionist agenda – driven, but the Venezuelan affair and the statements of Trump himself about the syrian oil (ta be "kept" (stolen)) make you think twice.

Oil seems to be at least very important even if it's not the main cause of middle east problems

So maybe it's the cause of illegal and cruel sanctions against Iran : Get rid of competitor to sell shale oil everywhere ?( think also of Norstream 2 here)

Watch out US of A. in the end there is something sometimes referred to as the oil's curse . some poor black Nigerians call oil "the shit of the devil", because it's such a problem – related asset Have you heard of it ? You get your revenues from oil easily, so you don't have to make effort by yourself. And in the end you don't keep pace with China on 5G ? Education fails ? Hmm
Becommig a primary sector extraction nation sad destiny indeed, like africans growing cafe, bananas and cacao for others. Not to mention environmental problems
What has happened to the superb Nation that send the first man on the moon and invented modern computers ?
Money for space or money for war following the Zio. Choose Uncle Sam !
Difficult to have both

OverCommenter , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:24 pm GMT
Everyone seems to forget how we avoided war with Syria all those years ago It was when John Kerry of all people gaffed, and said "if Assad gives up all his chemical weapons." That was in response to a reporter who asked "is there anything that can stop the war?" A intrepid Russian ambassador chimed in loud enough for the press core to hear his "OK" and history was averted. Thinking restricting the power of the President will stop brown children from dying at the hands of insane US foreign policy is a cope. "Bi-partisanship" voted to keep troops in Syria, that was only a few months ago, have you already forgotten? Dubya started the drone program, and the magical African everyone fawns over, literally doubled the remote controlled death. We are way past pretending any elected official from either side is actually against more ME war, or even that one side is worse than the other.

The problem with the supporters Trump has left is they so desperately want to believe in something bigger than themselves. They have been fed propaganda for their whole lives, and as a result can only see the world in either "this is good" or "this is bad." The problem with the opposition is that they are insane. and will say or do anything regardless of the truth. Trump could be impeached for assassinating Sulimani, yet they keep proceeding with fake and retarded nonsense. Just like keeping troops in Syria, even the most insane rabid leftoids are just fine with US imperialism, so long as it's promoting Starbucks, Marvel and homosex, just like we see with support for HK. That is foreign meddling no matter how you try to justify it, and it's not even any different messaging than the hoax "bring democracyhumanrightsfreedom TM to the poor Arabs" justification that was used in Iraq. They don't even have to come up with a new play to run, it's really quite incredible.

Just passing through , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:44 pm GMT
@OverCommenter A lot of right-wingers also see military action in the Middle East as a way for America to flex its muscles and bomb some Arabs. It also serves to justify the insane defence budget that could be used to build a wall and increase funding to ICE.

US politics has become incredibly bi-partisan, criticising Trump will get you branded a 'Leftist' in many circles. This extreme bipartisanship started with the Obama birth certificate nonsense which was being peddled by Jews like Orly Taitz, Philip J. Berg, Robert L. Shulz, Larry Klayman and Breitbart news – most likely because Obama was pursuing the JCPOA and not going hard enough on Iran – and continued with the Trump Russian agent angle.

Now many Americans cannot really think critically, they stick to their side like a fan sticks to their sports team.

Weston Waroda , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 9:11 pm GMT
The first person I ever heard say sanctions are acts of war was Ron Paul. The repulsive Madeleine Albright infamously said the deaths of 500,000 Iranian children due to US sanctions was worth it. She ought to be tried as a war criminal. Ron Paul ought to be Secretary of State.

[Feb 09, 2020] The Oil War by Jean-Pierre Séréni

Notable quotes:
"... The Iraq war was about oil. Recently declassified US government documents confirm this ( 1 ), however much US president George W Bush, vice-president Dick Cheney, defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and their ally, the British prime minister Tony Blair, denied it at the time. ..."
Mar 06, 2013 |

Source: Le Monde Diplomatique

The Iraq war was about oil. Recently declassified US government documents confirm this ( 1 ), however much US president George W Bush, vice-president Dick Cheney, defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and their ally, the British prime minister Tony Blair, denied it at the time.

When Bush moved into the White House in January 2001, he faced the familiar problem of the imbalance between oil supply and demand. Supply was unable to keep up with demand, which was increasing rapidly because of the growth of emerging economies such as China and India. The only possible solution lay in the Gulf, where the giant oil-producing countries of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq, and the lesser producing states of Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, commanded 60% of the world's reserves.

For financial or political reasons, production growth was slow. In Saudi Arabia, the ultra-rich ruling families of the Al-Saud, the Al-Sabah and the Zayed Al-Nayan were content with a comfortable level of income, given their small populations, and preferred to leave their oil underground. Iran and Iraq hold around 25% of the world's hydrocarbon reserves and could have filled the gap, but were subject to sanctions -- imposed solely by the US on Iran, internationally on Iraq -- that deprived them of essential oil equipment and services. Washington saw them as rogue states and was unwilling to end the sanctions.

How could the US get more oil from the Gulf without endangering its supremacy in the region? Influential US neoconservatives, led by Paul Wolfowitz, who had gone over to uninhibited imperialism after the fall of the Soviet Union, thought they had found a solution. They had never understood George Bush senior's decision not to overthrow Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf war in 1991. An open letter to President Bill Clinton, inspired by the Statement of Principles of the Project for the New American Century, a non-profit organisation founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan, had called for a regime change in Iraq as early as 1998: Saddam must be ousted and big US oil companies must gain access to Iraq. Several signatories to the Statement of Principles became members of the new Republican administration in 2001.

In 2002, one of them, Douglas Feith, a lawyer who was undersecretary of defense to Rumsfeld, supervised the work of experts planning the future of Iraq's oil industry. His first decision was to entrust its management after the expected US victory to Kellog, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of US oil giant Halliburton, of which Cheney had been chairman and CEO. Feith's plan, formulated at the start of 2003, was to keep Iraq's oil production at its current level of 2,840 mbpd (million barrels per day), to avoid a collapse that would cause chaos in the world market.

Privatising oil

Experts were divided on the privatisation of the Iraqi oil industry. The Iraqi government had excluded foreign companies and successfully managed the sector itself since 1972. By 2003, despite wars with Iran (1980-88) and in Kuwait (1990-91) and more than 15 years of sanctions, Iraq had managed to equal the record production levels achieved in 1979-1980.

The experts had a choice -- bring back the concession regime that had operated before nationalisation in 1972, or sell shares in the Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC) on the Russian model, issuing transferrable vouchers to the Iraqi population. In Russia, this approach had very quickly led to the oil sector falling into the hands of a few super-rich oligarchs.

Bush approved the plan drawn up by the Pentagon and State Department in January 2003. The much-decorated retired lieutenant general Jay Gardner, was appointed director of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, the military administration set up to govern post-Saddam Iraq. Out of his depth, he stuck to short-term measures and avoided choosing between the options put forward by his technical advisers.

Reassuring the oil giants

The international oil companies were not idle. Lee Raymond, CEO of America's biggest oil company ExxonMobil, was an old friend of Dick Cheney. But where the politicians were daring, he was cautious. The project was a tempting opportunity to replenish the company's reserves, which had been stagnant for several years, but Raymond had doubts: would Bush really be able to assure conditions that would allow the company to operate safely in Iraq? Nobody at ExxonMobil was willing to die for oil. (Its well-paid engineers do not dream of life in a blockhouse in Iraq.) The company would also have to be sure of its legal position: what would contracts signed by a de facto authority be worth when it would be investing billions of dollars that would take years to recover?

In the UK, BP was anxious to secure its own share of the spoils. As early as 2002 the company had confided in the UK Department of Trade and Industry its fears that the US might give away too much to French, Russian and Chinese oil companies in return for their governments agreeing not to use their veto at the UN Security Council ( 2 ). In February 2003 those fears were removed: France's president Jacques Chirac vetoed a resolution put forward by the US, and the third Iraq war began without UN backing. There was no longer any question of respecting the agreements Saddam had signed with Total and other companies (which had never been put into practice because of sanctions).

To reassure the British and US oil giants, the US government appointed to the management team Gary Vogler of ExxonMobil and Philip J Carrol of Shell. They were replaced in October 2003 by Rob McKee of ConocoPhilips and Terry Adams of BP. The idea was to counter the dominance of the Pentagon, and the influential neocon approach (which faced opposition from within the administration). The neocon ideologues, still on the scene, had bizarre ideas: they wanted to build a pipeline to transport Iraq's crude oil to Israel, dismantle OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and even use "liberated" Iraq as a guinea pig for a new oil business model to be applied to all of the Middle East. The engineers and businessmen, whose priorities were profits and results, were more down-to-earth.

In any event, the invasion had a devastating impact on Iraq's oil production, less because of the bombing by the US air force than because of the widespread looting of government agencies, schools, universities, archives, libraries, banks, hospitals, museums and state-owned enterprises. Drilling rigs were dismantled for the copper parts they were believed to contain. The looting continued from March to May 2003. Only a third of the damage to the oil industry was caused during the invasion; the rest happened after the fighting was over, despite the presence of the RIO Task Force and the US Corps of Engineers with its 500 contractors, specially prepared and trained to protect oil installations. Saddam's supporters were prevented from blowing up the oil wells by the speed of the invasion, but the saboteurs set to work in June 2003.

Iraq's one real asset

The only buildings protected were the gigantic oil ministry, where 15,000 civil servants managed 22 subsidiaries of the Iraq National Oil Company. The State Oil Marketing Organisation and the infrastructure were abandoned. The occupiers regarded the oil under the ground as Iraq's one real asset. They were not interested in installations or personnel. The oil ministry was only saved at the last minute because it housed geological and seismic data on Iraq's 80 known deposits, estimated to contain 115bn barrels of crude oil. The rest could always be replaced with more modern US-made equipment and the knowhow of the international oil companies, made indispensible by the sabotage.

Thamir Abbas Ghadban, director-general of planning at the oil ministry, turned up at the office three days after the invasion was over, and, in the absence of a minister for oil (since Iraq had no government), was appointed second in command under Micheal Mobbs, a neocon who enjoyed the confidence of the Pentagon. Paul Bremer, the US proconsul who headed Iraq's provisional government from May 2003 to June 2004, presided over the worst 12 months in the oil sector in 70 years. Production fell by 1 mbpd -- more than $13bn of lost income.

The oil installations, watched over by 3,500 underequipped guards, suffered 140 sabotage attacks between May 2003 and September 2004, estimated to have caused $7bn of damage. "There was widespread looting," said Ghadban. "Equipment was stolen and in most cases the buildings were set on fire." The Daura refinery, near Baghdad, only received oil intermittently, because of damage to the pipeline network. "We had to let all the oil in the damaged sections of the pipeline burn before we could repair them." Yet the refinery continued to operate, no mean achievement considering that the workers were no longer being paid.

The senior management of the national oil company also suffered. Until 1952 almost all senior managers of the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) were foreigners, who occupied villas in gated and guarded compounds while the local workforce lived in shantytowns. In 1952 tension between Iraq and Muhammad Mossadegh's Iran led the IPC to review its relations with Baghdad, and a clause of the new treaty concerned the training of Iraqi managers. By 1972, 75% of the thousand skilled jobs were filled by Iraqis, which helped to ensure the success of the IPC's nationalisation. The new Iraq National Oil Company gained control of the oilfields and production reached unprecedented levels.

Purge of the Ba'ath

After the invasion, the US purged Ba'athist elements from INOC's management. Simply belonging to the Ba'ath, Iraq's single political party, which had been in power since 1968, was grounds for dismissal, compulsory retirement or worse. Seventeen of INOC's 24 directors were forced out, along with several hundred engineers, who had kept production high through wars and foreign sanctions. The founding fathers of INOC were ousted by the Deba'athification Commission, led by former exiles including Iraq's prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, who replaced them with his own supporters, as incompetent as they were partisan.

Rob McKee, who succeeded Philip J Carrol as oil adviser to the US proconsul, observed in autumn 2003: "The people themselves are patently unqualified and are apparently being placed in the ministry for religious, political or personal reasons... the people who nursed the industry through Saddam's years and who brought it back to life after the liberation, as well as many trained professionals, are all systematically being pushed to the sidelines" ( 3 ).

This purge opened the door to advisers, mostly from the US, who bombarded the oil ministry with notes, circulars and reports directly inspired by the practices of the international oil industry, without much concern for their applicability to Iraq.

The drafting of Iraq's new constitution and an oil law provided an opportunity to change the rules. Washington had decided in advance to do away with the centralised state, partly because of its crimes against the Kurds under Saddam and partly because centralisation favours totalitarianism. The new federal, or even confederal, regime was decentralised to the point of being de-structured. A two-thirds majority in one of the three provinces allows opposition to veto central government decisions.

Baghdad-Irbil rivalry

Only Kurdistan had the means and the motivation to do so. Where oil was concerned, power was effectively divided between Baghdad and Irbil, seat of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which imposed its own interpretation of the constitution: deposits already being exploited would remain under federal government control, but new licenses would be granted by the provincial governments. A fierce dispute arose between the two capitals, partly because the KRG granted licenses to foreign oil companies under far more favourable conditions than those offered by Baghdad.

The quarrel related to the production sharing agreements. The usual practice is for foreign companies that provide financial backing to get a share of the oil produced, which can be very significant in the first few years. This was the formula US politicians and oil companies wanted to impose. They were unable to do so.

Iraq's parliament, so often criticised in other matters, opposed this system; it was supported by public opinion, which had not forgotten the former IPC. Tariq Shafiq, founding father of the INOC, explained to the US Congress the technical reasons for the refusal ( 4 ). Iraq's oil deposits were known and mapped out. There was therefore little risk to foreign companies: there would be no prospecting costs and exploitation costs would be among the lowest in the world. From 2008 onwards, Baghdad started offering major oil companies far less attractive contracts -- $2/barrel for the bigger oilfields, and no rights to the deposits.

ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Total, and Russian, Chinese, Angolan, Pakistani and Turkish oil companies nevertheless rushed to accept, hoping that things would turn to their advantage. Newsweek (24 May 2010) claimed Iraq had the potential to become "the next Saudi Arabia." But although production is up (over 3 mbpd in 2012), the oil companies are irritated by the conditions imposed on them: investment costs are high, profits are mediocre and the oil still underground is not counted as part of their reserves, which affects their share price.

ExxonMobil and Total disregarded the federal government edict that threatened to strip rights from oil companies that signed production-sharing agreements relating to oilfields in Kurdistan. Worse, ExxonMobil sold its services contract relating to Iraq's largest oilfield, West Qurna, where it had been due to invest $50bn and double the country's current production. Baghdad is now under pressure: if it continues to refuse the conditions requested by the foreign oil companies, it will lose out to Irbil, even if Kurdistan's deposits are only a third of the size of those in the south. Meanwhile, Turkey has done nothing to improve its relations with Iraq by offering to build a direct pipeline from Kurdistan to the Mediterranean. Without the war, would the oil companies have been able to make the Iraqis and Kurds compete? One thing is certain: the US is far from achieving its goals in the oil sector, and in this sense the war was a failure.

Alan Greenspan, who as chairman of the US Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006 was well placed to understand the importance of oil, came up with the best summary of the conflict: "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil" ( 5 ).

[Feb 09, 2020] Myths, Lies and Oil Wars (9783981326369) F. William Engdahl Books

Feb 09, 2020 |

J. Montz , October 29, 2012

Engdahl is Concise, Relevant, & Thought-provoking

"Myths, Lies, and Oil Wars" by William F. Engdahl is a must read for anyone struggling to make sense of U.S. foreign policy. Why are U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan? Why did NATO take out Gaddafi? Why are we going after Iran and Syria? Is there a grand strategy? Was the "Arab Spring" uprisings really grassroots revolutions or just a second round of color revolutions?

"Control the food and you control the people. Control the oil and you control the nations" is a statement that has been attributed to Henry Kissinger. The premise of the book is summed up by the latter part of Kissinger's statement, the control of oil or more generally the control of energy.

Engdahl maintains that the geopolitical events we have been witnessing is part of the Pentagon's "Full Spectrum Dominance" plan. A cornerstone of the plan is the control of oil at the source. Much of the world's proven oilfields are in the Middle East. For the next two decades the Mideast oilfields is expected to provide Asia with most of its oil.

Engdahl begins laying out the history of conflicts over oil and provides insightful revelations into conflicts that benefited the Oil majors by reducing the world supply of oil. Case in point the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980's. The oil exports from these two nations was drastically reduced during wartime leading to higher prices.

Another example Engdahl lists is the fact that David Rockefeller lobbied the Carter Administration to allow the Shah of Iran into the U.S. for medical treatment knowing that it would cause a crisis with the Ayatollah Khomeini's Iranian government and how Rockefeller's Bank was able to benefit after the U.S. froze the assets of Iran.

Other topics covered include:

The "Peak Oil Fraud" and the pseudo-science of its creator King Hubbert.

The fact that in Russia the Abiotic theory of oil formation is accepted as the leading theory for the last fifty years resulting in Russian Geoligist finding oil in places that western dogma says it shouldn't be.

The rapid rise of China is a source of much concern in Washington. The economic rise of China must be contained and in no way can Russia and China be allowed to join forces. Many tacticians have emphasized the importance of not allowing the rise of a unified Eurasian power. A Eurasian power would be in a position to challenge the dominance of the Anglo-American Empire.

According to the info the Engdahl provides China's weakness is its lack of oil. Engdahl illustrates how the Pentagon has been encircling Russia and China and the events we are seeing is Washington's attempt to knock China out of Africa where China was making steady inroads signing economic alliances with African nations that the Anglo-Americans were exploiting.

Engdahl makes the case that the Iraq war was about control of the oil at the source.

The invasion of Afghanistan was about a controlling Caspian sea oil and gas.

Engdahl offers an explanation for NATO alliances with the former Soviet States of Ukraine and Georgia.

What really was behind the Russian invasion of Georgia? The consequences for Russia.

The establishment of joint ventures between U.S. oil companies and former state run oil enterprises in Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan.

Why did the U.S. move Afghani Mujahideen into Chechnya and start a proxy war along a vital Russian pipeline?

Engdahl provides the information needed to connect the "dots" of seemingly unrelated conflicts to form a vivid picture of the "New World Order" being assembled in the 21st Century.

I highly recommend this book along with all of Engdahl's other works. Engdahl wrote two other books that are especially pertinent to "Myths, Lies, and Oil Wars"

The first is "A Century of War, Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order" which I consider as a prequel to "Myths, Lies, and Oil Wars"

The second is "Full Spectrum Dominance, Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order" which describes the encircling of Russia, the color revolutions, and much more.

These three books together will surely enlighten the lay person to the machinations of the U.S. Empire. Another point I should mention is, Engdahl's works are concise and thoughtful hitting on the important points while remaining entertaining and not overwhelming the reader with a thousand plus page tome.

A Century of War: : Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order
Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order

[Feb 09, 2020] The Real Reason for the Iraq War

Notable quotes:
"... Like most lefty journalists, I assumed that George Bush and Tony Blair invaded Iraq to buy up its oil fields, cheap and at gun-point, and cart off the oil. We thought we knew the neo-cons true casus belli ..."
"... But the truth in the Options for Iraqi Oil Industry was worse than "Blood for Oil". Much, much worse. The key was in the flow chart on page 15, Iraq Oil Regime Timeline & Scenario Analysis: "...A single state-owned company ...enhances a government's relationship with OPEC." ..."
Feb 09, 2020 |

Because it was marked "confidential" on each page, the oil industry stooge couldn't believe the US State Department had given me a complete copy of their secret plans for the oil fields of Iraq.

Actually, the State Department had done no such thing. But my line of bullshit had been so well-practiced and the set-up on my mark had so thoroughly established my fake identity, that I almost began to believe my own lies.

I closed in. I said I wanted to make sure she and I were working from the same State Department draft. Could she tell me the official name, date and number of pages? She did.

Bingo! I'd just beaten the Military-Petroleum Complex in a lying contest, so I had a right to be chuffed.

After phoning numbers from California to Kazakhstan to trick my mark, my next calls were to the State Department and Pentagon. Now that I had the specs on the scheme for Iraq's oil -- that State and Defense Department swore, in writing, did not exist -- I told them I'd appreciate their handing over a copy (no expurgations, please) or there would be a very embarrassing story on BBC Newsnight .

Within days, our chief of investigations, Ms Badpenny, delivered to my shack in the woods outside New York a 323-page, three-volume programme for Iraq's oil crafted by George Bush's State Department and petroleum insiders meeting secretly in Houston, Texas.

I cracked open the pile of paper -- and I was blown away.

Like most lefty journalists, I assumed that George Bush and Tony Blair invaded Iraq to buy up its oil fields, cheap and at gun-point, and cart off the oil. We thought we knew the neo-cons true casus belli : Blood for oil.

But the truth in the Options for Iraqi Oil Industry was worse than "Blood for Oil". Much, much worse. The key was in the flow chart on page 15, Iraq Oil Regime Timeline & Scenario Analysis: "...A single state-owned company ...enhances a government's relationship with OPEC."

[Feb 09, 2020] Who's Turning Syria's Civil War Into a Jihad? by Philip Giraldi

The West, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia all have their own angles in the conflict -- but Salafism and anarchy may be the big winners.
Feb 28, 2013 |
The tale of what is going on in Syria reads something like this: an insurgency active since March 2011 has been funded and armed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and allowed to operate out of Turkey with the sometimes active, but more often passive, connivance of a number of Western powers, including Britain, France, Germany, and the United States. The intention was to overthrow the admittedly dictatorial Bashar al-Assad quickly and replace him with a more representative government composed largely of Syrians-in-exile drawn from the expat communities in Europe and the United States. The largely ad hoc political organization that was the counterpart to the Free Syrian Army ultimately evolved into the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (Syrian National Coalition) in November 2012, somewhat reminiscent of Ahmad Chalabi and the ill-starred Iraqi National Congress. As in the lead-up to regime change in Iraq, the exiles successfully exploited anti-Syrian sentiment among leading politicians in Washington and Europe while skillfully manipulating the media narrative to suggest that the al-Assad regime was engaging in widespread atrocities and threatening to destabilize its neighbors, most notably Lebanon. As in the case of Iraq, Syria's possession of weapons of mass destruction was introduced into the indictment of al-Assad and cited as a regional threat.

If there was a model for what was planned for Syria it must have been the invasion of Iraq in 2003 or possibly the United Nations-endorsed armed intervention in Libya in 2010 , both of which intended to replace dictatorial regimes with Western-style governments that would at least provide a simulacrum of accountable popular rule. But the planners must have anticipated a better outcome.

Both Libya and Iraq have become more destabilized than they were under their autocrats, a fact that appears to have escaped everyone's notice. It did not take long for the wheels to fall off the bus in Syria as well. As in Iraq, the Syrian exiles had no real constituency within their homeland, which meant that the already somewhat organized resistance to al-Assad, consisting of the well-established Muslim Brotherhood and associated groups, came to the fore. Al-Assad, who somewhat credibly has described the rebels as terrorists supported by foreign governments, did not throw in the towel and leave.

The Turkish people, meanwhile, began to turn sour on a war which seemed endless, was creating a huge refugee and security problem as Kurdish terrorists mixed in with the refugees, and was increasingly taking on the shape of a new jihad as foreign volunteers began to assume responsibility for most of the fighting.

The proposed alternative government of the Syrian National Coalition was quickly recognized by Washington and the Europeans, primarily because it promised some kind of democratic and pluralistic future for Syria and control over the disparate and sometimes radical elements in the Free Syrian Army. The supporters of the rebellion in the West were willing to hold their collective noses and endorse the enterprise even though it was dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists rather than by Western-educated liberals and other secularists. But the painstakingly arrived at distribution of power provided no real solution as the Coalition had no authority over most of the actual rebel combatants and little ability to enforce standards on the cadres who were fighting the Syrian Army in Aleppo and Damascus. Emphasizing its political divisions and also its essential powerlessness, on January 21, 2013 the Coalition was unable to agree on who might be part of a transitional government to run the areas controlled by the insurgents, largely because the Muslim Brotherhood was unwilling to cede authority to other groups. Since that time it has failed to agree on possible conditions for initiating peace negotiations with the al-Assad government.

There will be plenty of finger-pointing in Washington and in the European chanceries over what went wrong, but one issue that will probably not be confronted directly is the competing objectives of the various supporters of the insurgents, which should have been visible right from the beginning. The U.S. and the Europeans clearly envisioned some kind of humanitarian intervention which would lead to a new, more representative government, but that was not the goal of Turkey, which sought a pliable replacement regime that would clamp down on the activities of groups like the separatist Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), Ankara's primary geopolitical security concern.

Perhaps even more important, people in Washington should have also been asking why Saudi Arabia and Qatar wanted to overthrow al-Assad and what kind of government they had in mind to replace him . Saudi Arabia's rival as regional hegemon, Iran, is viewed in Riyadh as ascendant due to the rise to power of a friendly Shia regime in Iraq as a result of the American invasion and regime change. This has permitted the development of a geographically contiguous Arab bloc closely tied to Tehran and its regional interests, running through Iraq, across Syria, and connecting with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. To break up that de facto coalition, the Saudis, who see Syria as the weak link in the chain, have sought to replace Assad's Alawite-led government with a Sunni regime. But there is also a second agenda. Because the ruling minority Alawites are considered to be heretics similar to Shi'ites, a change in religious orientation would be necessary, with the Saudis serving as protectors of the Sunni majority. The Riyadh-backed Sunni regime would of course be expected to conform with the particularly Saudi view of proper religious deportment -- the extremely conservative Wahhabism that prevails in the Kingdom, which is closer to the views of the more radical insurgents while hostile to the secularists. It would also make the country's significant numbers of Christians, Alawites, Shi'ites, and Kurds potential victims of the arrangement.

All of which means that the Saudis and their allies Qatar believe in change in Syria, but on their own terms, and they actually oppose enabling a populist or democratic evolution. In fact, Riyadh has been actively engaged regionally in doing what it can to contain the unrest resulting from the Arab Spring so that the populism does not become untidy and spill over into Saudi Arabia itself. This has meant that from the beginning Saudi and Qatari objectives in Syria have differed from the goals of either Turkey or the Western powers, which should have been seen as a recipe for disaster.

And it gets even more complicated. In spite of their tendency to support religious groups rather than secular ones, Saudi Arabia and its ally Qatar view the Muslim Brotherhood's "political Islam" as one of the divisive elements that has destabilized countries like Egypt, unleashing forces that could ultimately threaten the Saudis and Qataris themselves. As a result, working through their surrogates in Lebanon and in Turkey as well as in Jordan, they have systematically and deliberately starved most of the Free Syrian Army of money and weapons, instead diverting their assistance to the militant Jabhat al-Nusra, a Salafist group alleged to have links to al-Qaeda. Al-Nusra is generally regarded as the most effective insurgent group when it comes to fighting, but it advocates a strict Sunni religious state as part of a worldwide Caliphate under Sharia law when the fighting is concluded. It has also become a magnet for the foreign jihadis who have been drawn into the rebellion, an issue that has raised concerns in Washington because of the likelihood that any successor regime to al-Assad could easily be dominated by a well-armed and disciplined Salafist minority.

Ironically, the Saudis are acutely aware that aid to groups like al-Nusra could easily blowback and feed a new wave of jihadi-led violence -- with al-Nusra playing a similar role to that of al-Qaeda after it cut its teeth in Afghanistan -- but they are unfortunately locked into their own rhetoric regarding what is necessary to take down al-Assad and break the coalition of Arab states aligned with Iran. What it means for the other players in the tragedy is that Syria is de facto in a bloody civil war that is approaching stalemate, while the United States and Europeans have no good options and the Turks are increasingly playing damage control. If there is a solution to the conflict it is not readily discernible, and it is now doubtful whether some kind of resolution by force could be imposed even if Washington and the Europeans were inclined to do so, which they are not.

Syria is in danger of ceasing to exist as a nation-state. Its collapse could inspire a new global jihad and provoke violence throughout the Middle East, while its chemical weapons could easily fall into dangerous hands. Well-armed bands of the most radical of the insurgents taking the lead in the conflict without any political direction or control cannot be what anyone envisioned two years ago, but that is what has emerged, with the United States again looking on like a helpless giant.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

collin says:

February 28, 2013 at 8:47 am

I coming to sad conclusion that the Syria civil war is following the steps of the Lebanon civil war and turning into a Spaghetti (Italian) Western. What we have now a whole bunch of warring sides with guns that are fight until everybody is too exhausted to continue fighting.

Sean Gillhoolley says:

February 28, 2013 at 9:09 am

The problem with taking a hands-off approach to Syria is that we have no say in how things turn out. I am not so sure that we should care one way or another how it turns out. We dont do business with them, I doubt many of our people travel there for vacation, and they are not a direct threat to us. We can have an opinion, but shouldnt get too worked up over the outcome.

EliteCommInc. says:

February 28, 2013 at 9:26 am

If this article is accurate, this Admin. justified the case for the Iraq and Afghanistan Invasions.

Regime change

And it is folly. So we assist via the back door to overthrow President Assad and replace his government with those who have not lived the country for ten to twenty years.

Hmmm . . . I think I have seen this game plan before.

John Thacker says:

February 28, 2013 at 12:38 pm

This article makes the Syrian civil war sound most like the Afghanistan revolt followed by civil war against the Soviets after their invasion.

Of course, there limited US attention after the Soviets left meant that Saudi, Iranian, and Pakistani backed militias fought against one another. Instead of being exhausted, the ultimate winner decided that they still hated the USA.

Thomas O. Meehan says:

February 28, 2013 at 12:41 pm

The parallel that falls to mind is the Spanish Civil War in which various powers were willing to fight right down to the last Spaniard. Spain emerged from that civil war with a stable, non-interventionist regime under Franco but I doubt Syria will be so lucky.

As to "It has also become a magnet for the foreign jihadis who have been drawn into the rebellion, an issue that has raised concerns in Washington because of the likelihood that any successor regime to al-Assad could easily be dominated by a well-armed and disciplined Salafist minority." I can only say that this is an excellent opportunity for the West to discretely fund some vermin control. The more of these jihadis Assad kills the better off we all are. We should remember that our defeat of Communist subversion in the Europe of 1946-7 was made easier by the fact that so many leftist trouble makers were buried in Spain in 1936-8.

One mystery remains. Why on earth are the neo-cons agitating for war with Assad? Surely Israel is better off with the relatively ineffective Assad regime than they would be under what would follow.

spite says:

February 28, 2013 at 12:49 pm

"Syria is in danger of ceasing to exist as a nation-state". That is the problem right there, Syria never was a nation state, no different than Yugoslavia which could only be kept together by a Tito, so is the case with the Assads.

If this author could go beyond his PC thinking, this simple fact would easily explain why Syria is facing such an intractable problem.

James Canning says:

February 28, 2013 at 1:34 pm

I feared the unrest in Syria would lead to a vicious civil war in which irreplaceable historical and archaeological treasures are destroyed.

I thought the Saudis were promoting civil war in order to weaken Iran, due in part to Iran's reckless decision to treble production of uranium enriched to 20 percent.

I also thought "the West" blundered in Libya by making a negotiated resolution of the unrest more difficult. Same blunder has taken place with Syria.

James Canning says:

February 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Thomas O. Meehan – - Neocon warmongers want to hurt Iran, and they see the overthrow of Assad as achieving this object.

Jim Evans says:

February 28, 2013 at 2:01 pm

What is the percentage of foreign fighters? I hear various percentages thrown about, some over 50%.

The Assad government conducted a constitutional referendum and parliamentary elections, as well (but that is studiously ignored by western press).

Syria, in its current makeup, is an obstacle to western power & control. Humanitarian concerns have little to do with it.

In 2007, Seymour Hersh had a New Yorker article, The Redirection, where U. S. government plans for the destabilization of Syria was reported.

And, as reported by the present author, Mr. Giraldi, the United States has been significantly involved in facilitating weapons into Syria. What has happened presently is much like what Hersh reported was planned to happen in his 2007 New Yorker article.

But obviously it didn't go according to plan.

Some analysts submit the United States is the spider in the center of the web, the prime mover, as far as Syria goes. Would Saudi Arabia act against a strong U. S. objection?

Syria is potentially also a stepping stone to Iran.

Israel is fine with balkanized neighbors who are weak (maybe a little more land can be taken down the road).

There is no doubt the fighters use terrorist tactics of indiscriminate large scale bombing, summary execution, and infastructure destruction (including religous and historical sites).

The U. S. vetoed a U. N. Security Council resolution submitted by Russia condemning last week's Damascus bombing where over 50 died and hundreds were wounded. The U. S. wanted a condemnation focusing on Assad with passing reference to the Damascus bombing (subsequently the al-Nusra front claimed responsibility for the bombing).

So, implicitly, the U. S. government is condoning terrorist acts of al Quaeda linked terror groups who are on the state department terrorist watch list.

The U. S. government is condoning large-scale terrorism in Syria, plain and simple. It's immoral. Is that what the U. S. has come to?

It would be easy to turn off the weapons and terrorist supply into Syria, but it would take political will to change the inertia and an implicit aknowledgement of failure.

That acknowledgement of failure might be the biggest political stumbling block of all.

Joe the Plutocrat says:

February 28, 2013 at 2:09 pm

very much a 'devil you know vs. devil you don't' with the understanding that we pretty much 'know' both devils; we just don't 'know' what Syria (or Iraq, Libyia, etc.) would be like with the latter. that said; I think the real question is not so much is it wise to back rebels; which inevitably invites or at the very least encourages/nurtures jihadists? rather; is it possible to anticipate the "jihad card" and somehow use it to serve our interests? even if "our interests" are best served by, as Michael Corleone observed (to Frank Pantangeli re: a turf war in NYC); " do(ing) nothing ". the truth is; many of these revolutions (Arab Spring movements, more than Iraq) are as genuine as the 13 colonies revolting against King George. at this point in our history; you would think we'd be pretty good at "playing" others, when the sad fact is; we seem to be the ones being played. no doubt the neocon enablers of the military-insustrial complex certainly act to server their interests, which is probably a good place to look for an answer.

niccolo and donkey says:

February 28, 2013 at 3:28 pm

The great debate that I've been having for years with friends on and offline is whether American foreign policy planners and officials are idealists or are actively assisting certain types of Sunni Islamist forces to fill the vacuum when secularist regimes are toppled (or being attacked, as in Syria's case).

We've seen the exodus of Christian communities and the rise of Sunni extremists in every one of these countries either invaded by the USA or that have been part of this "Arab Spring".

What do you guys think?

niccolo and donkey says:

February 28, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Thomas O. Meehan asks:

"One mystery remains. Why on earth are the neo-cons agitating for war with Assad? Surely Israel is better off with the relatively ineffective Assad regime than they would be under what would follow."

Israel was actually one of the last to get onside with regime change in Syria, long after the French, British and the GCC got the ball rolling. Many in Israel prefer Assad as "the devil you know", but the plus side of a removal of the Ba'athist regime is that the route from Iran to Hezbollah is cut off, leaving them isolated and surrounded by the IDF and Sunni Islamist forces in Syria, with Sunni proxies in Lebanon itself.

I guess that the Israelis did the calculus and figured that a degrading of Hezbollah supply routes is a livable option.

No Sunni forces have been able to challenge the IDF in decades, but Hezbollah gave them a bloody nose and their entire foreign policy environment is clouded by Iran, Hezbollah's sponsor.

Rossbach says:

February 28, 2013 at 8:01 pm

By what authority does the Washington regime use our nation's money and prestige (what remains of it) to meddle in the internal affairs of Syria or any other country? This government is tottering on the edge of bankruptcy and does not even have control its own borders; and it's trying to bring "stability" to a country halfway around the world. Incredible imbecility!

Scott McConnell says:

February 28, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Really the most comprehensive short analysis I've seen anywhere. Hard to believe though that it's passing out of Turkey's hands; it seems to me in terms of proximity, interest, toughness, Ankara should be the strongest actor.

H. Zigy says:

February 28, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Syria's war is one of the most irrational and thus criminal Westren wars. Assad is way closer to an ideal/practical government than any future State would be. Assad government includes all factions of society, allows market, controls radicals and is less corrupt and more representative than US allies.

Wesley says:

February 28, 2013 at 9:23 pm

"Well-armed bands of the most radical of the insurgents taking the lead in the conflict without any political direction or control cannot be what anyone envisioned two years ago, but that is what has emerged, with the United States again looking on like a helpless giant."

Well this is partly the result of Obama's policy of passivity and timidity in Syria. The CIA director, the Secretary of State, the Defense Secretary, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs all pushed and supported a plan to train and arm moderate, pro-Western rebel groups in Syria. But Obama unfortunately was too risk-averse and too worried about domestic politics to approve the plan. Obama's policy carries at least as many risks as the alternative does. At least the Obama administration has now decided to send non-lethal aid to the armed rebel groups. Maybe weapons will come next. But with Kerry and Hagel at State and Defense, I'm not holding my breath.

EliteCommInc. says:

February 28, 2013 at 10:34 pm

I don't think it is possible to segregate out the jihadists. Better to have the iissue resolved amongst themselves minus a US foot print

Escher says:

February 28, 2013 at 11:09 pm

The US is less dependent on middle Eastern oil than in the past, and this dependence will reduce further thanks to fracking and shale oil. As long as the navy has a secure base in Doha from which to control the Straits of Hormuz, the strategic interests of the country are secure.

Fran Macadam says:

March 1, 2013 at 1:28 am

One, it isn't "terrorism" when it's done by "our" sons of bitches. "Ours" is an increasingly loose definition.

Chaos serves the purpose of weakening rivals for the politically focused, and driving up war equipment profits for the financially focused. There are no humanitarian considerations among either of those groups who make policy in our name.

James Canning says:

March 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm

niccolo and donkey – - And let's remember that Turkey very nearly brokered a peace deal between Israel and Syria in 2008.

James Canning says:

March 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Jim Evans – - Didn't Obama intend to improve US relations with Syria, when he entered the White House?

Roarke's Drift says:

March 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Scott McConnell wrote "Ankara should be the strongest actor"

Yes, Phil thinks Turkey is "playing damage control", but its military strength, self-interest and 500 mile shared border shuts down nearly all arguments as to who should (and will) take the lead in handling this among the various candidate state actors.

God knows we could use a break from contemplating disasters resulting from our own blundering meddling.

TGGP says:

March 2, 2013 at 12:38 am

Kurds are an ethnic group, rather than a religious one (though the majority happen to be Sunni). I don't see how they are clear losers if the Saudis are more influential. Maybe the variety of Sunni Islam they prefer isn't Wahabbist, and in that case you should have made that explicit.

PeaceAndProsperity says:

March 2, 2013 at 9:29 am

I appreciate Mr. Giraldi's invaluable contribution to shedding some true light on the war against Syria, especially in early stages of the conflict where his reporting on the influx of terrorists and weapons through Turkey and on their training there stood out from the deluge of vicious hypocritical, lying and outrageous war propaganda in the Western and GCC media.

But it is beyond me why Mr.Giraldi is leaving out form his analysis two crucial issues:

1) the pivotal change in regional energy security puzzle related to the world largest South PARS gas field shared by Iran and Qatar discovered in 2007

2) the collapse of the oil-backed Petro-dollar also sustain mainly by the the US quest for full spectrum global dominance since the end of the Soviet Union.

You cannot understand the whole picture without these two factors. To learn more read Thierry Meyssan et. al. at VoltairNet and Christof Lehmann et. al at Also Veterans Today is very informative with broad spectrum of perspectives on global and domestic issues.

[Feb 09, 2020] The only message our children will take away from the war in Iraq is that if you repeat a boldfaced lie enough, it will someday become accepted truth

Notable quotes:
"... The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Rarely do pundits apologize for the horrendous Iraqi losses inflicted by the war: more than a million deaths and millions more wounded with varying lifelong disabilities, including thousands of tortured prisoners, with an estimated 16,000 of them still unaccounted for . Twenty-eight percent of Iraqi children suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and 2.8 million people are still ..."
Feb 28, 2013 |

The only message our children will take away from the war in Iraq is that if you repeat a boldfaced lie enough, it will someday become accepted truth. And as a corollary, saving face is much more important than admitting a mistake, no matter how destructive the outcome.

Unfortunately for our children, manipulating the truth became the norm for the Bush administration, which invaded Iraq on what we know now (and the administration almost certainly knew then) were utterly false pretenses. Thanks to these lies, Americans, including our soldiers and civilians serving in Iraq, were convinced Saddam Hussein was linked to the 9/11 attacks and had weapons of mass destruction, two of the ever-evolving reasons for getting into the war. Many still believe this. Engaging in mass deception in order to justify official policy both degrades and endangers democracy. But by far, it is ordinary Iraqis who have suffered the most.

We know now beyond any doubt that Iraq was not involved in 9/11 and had no weapons of mass destruction. But as Paul Pillar, a former senior CIA analyst with the Iraqi portfolio, wrote on March 14, "Intelligence did not drive the decision to invade Iraq – not by a long shot, despite the aggressive use by the Bush administration of cherry-picked fragments of intelligence reporting in its public sales campaign for the war." Indeed, this was a war in search of a justification from the very beginning, and any little lie would have worked.

It is very fortuitous for all those politicians, policy makers, and bureaucrats with Iraqi blood on their hands -- Republicans and Democrats both -- that the only courtroom they've been shuffled into is the court of public opinion, where most received light sentences.

Indeed, the Iraq war boosters are still a fixture on our television screens. Dan Senor , who served as a spokesman for the U.S occupation authorities and willfully misrepresented events on the ground during that time, is a regular commentator on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," a veritable roundtable of Washington establishment punditry. Kenneth Pollack, a longtime Brookings fellow and CIA analyst who wrote the 2002 book The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq (which is barely mentioned today on the Brookings website), is a familiar face on the commentary circuit and among think tank salons. Ex-Generals David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal, who each left their most recent posts in disgrace, are raking in thousands of dollars for speeches, lectures, and consulting work.

Sure, there are pundits and reporters who admit they wrongly supported the war, but their regrets are usually reserved for their blind faith in the war planners and their own lack of inquisitiveness. For example, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius confessed in a March 21 column that Iraq was one of "the biggest strategic errors in Modern American history." But the thrust of his own mea culpa was that he did not write enough "on the overriding question of whether the war made sense," which would have allowed him to see that the U.S was not strong enough nor flexible enough to succeed.

Rarely do pundits apologize for the horrendous Iraqi losses inflicted by the war: more than a million deaths and millions more wounded with varying lifelong disabilities, including thousands of tortured prisoners, with an estimated 16,000 of them still unaccounted for . Twenty-eight percent of Iraqi children suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and 2.8 million people are still internally displaced or living as refugees outside the country. Add to that the complete upheaval of the Iraqi economy, as well as its transportation, education, and medical institutions. Don't forget the countless people suffering from trauma and depression, sectarian strife, terrifying birth defects from toxic pollution, and a brain drain that has left the country illiterate.

Not since the American Civil War has the U.S citizenry had to endure such horrors. Yet discussion of these repercussions is noticeably absent as we still struggle to understand the scope of the Iraq war and what all of its lies have wrought.

Let us start with a sincere apology to the Iraqi people for the crimes the U.S government has committed. A long-range plan for restitution is a second step. Empires decline due to moral decay from within. Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, our nation is looking at the moral abyss. If lies have delivered us to this place, then only the truth will begin our journey back.

This has been cross-posted with permission from Foreign Policy in Focus .

[Feb 08, 2020] 'Gas Wars' In The Mediterranean by Mike Whitney

Feb 08, 2020 |

Authored by Mike Whitney via The Unz Review,

The unexpected alliance between Turkey and Libya is a geopolitical earthquake that changes the balance of power in the eastern Mediterranean and across the Middle East.

Turkey's audacious move has enraged its rivals in the region and cleared the way for a dramatic escalation in the 9 year-long Libyan civil war. It has also forced leaders in Europe and Washington to decide how they will counter Turkey's plan to defend the U.N-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) , and to extend its maritime borders from Europe to Africa basically creating "a water corridor through the eastern Mediterranean linking the coasts of Turkey and Libya."

Leaders in Ankara believe that the agreement "is a major coup in energy geopolitics" that helps defend Turkey's "sovereign rights against the gatekeepers of the regional status quo." But Turkey's rivals strongly disagree. They see the deal as a naked power grab that undermines their ability to transport natural gas from the East Mediterranean to Europe without crossing Turkish waters. In any event, the Turkey-Libya agreement has set the stage for a broader conflict that will unavoidably involve Egypt, Israel, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Europe, Russia and the United States. All parties appear to have abandoned diplomatic channels altogether and are, instead, preparing for war.

On November 27, Turkey and Libya signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that commits Turkey to providing military assistance to Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA). The MoU also redraws Turkey's maritime boundaries in a way that dramatically impacts the transport of gas from the East Mediterranean to Europe. Israel is particularly worried that this new deal will undermine its plans for a 1,900-kilometer EastMed pipeline connecting the Leviathan gas field, off the coast of Israel, to the EU. YNET News summarized Israel's concerns in an ominously titled article: "Turkey's maneuver could block Israel's access to the sea". Here's an excerpt:

"Two of Israel's wars (1956 Sinai campaign and 1967 Six-Day War) broke out over navigation rights. Israel must take note of a new reality taking hold in the Mediterranean. It must regard Turkey's actions as a substantial strategic threat and consider what it may do to respond to it

This EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zones) designation essentially carved up much of the energy-rich Eastern Mediterranean between Turkey and Libya, prompting a wave of international condemnations first and foremost from Greece, Egypt, and Cyprus, who may be directly or indirectly affected ..Turkey's disregard for the economic waters of Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt.

Ankara is in effect annexing those areas pending an appeal to international tribunals, which can take many years to resolve. In practical terms, Turkey created a sea border the width of the entire Mediterranean ." ( "Turkey's maneuver could block Israel's access to the sea" , ynet news )

The analysis from America's premier Foreign Policy magazine was no less foreboding. Check it out:

"Turkey is meshing together two Mediterranean crises in a desperate bid to reshape the region in its own favor, with potentially nasty implications both for the ongoing civil war in Libya and future energy development in the eastern Mediterranean.

This month, Turkey's unusual outreach to the internationally recognized government of Libya has resulted in a formal agreement for Ankara to provide military support, including arms and possibly troops, in its bid to hold off an offensive from Russian-backed rebels in the eastern part of the country. The military agreement came just weeks after Turkey and that same Government of National Accord reached an unusual agreement to essentially carve up much of the energy-rich eastern Mediterranean between them -- threatening to cut out Greece and Cyprus from the coming bonanza ." ("Newly Aggressive Turkey Forges Alliance With Libya", Foreign Policy )

While these new developments are likely to intensify the fighting on the ground in Libya, they also portend a deepening of divisions within the region itself where new coalitions are forming and battle-lines are being drawn. On the one side is the Turkey-Libya Axis, while on the other is Greece, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, France, Germany, UK and probably the United States although the Trump administration has not yet clarified its position. In any event, the war between Libya's internationally-recognized government and Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) is just a small part of a much larger struggle over vital hydrocarbons in a strategically-located area of the Mediterranean. Here's a clip from an article at War On The Rocks that helps to underscore the stakes involved:

"The discovery of significant deposits of natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean beginning in 2009 was a game-changer that upended regional geopolitics. It prompted new and unexpected alliances between Israel, Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt to maximize their chances of energy self-sufficiency. The bulk of the gas lies in Egypt's Zohr field, the Leviathan and Tamar fields in Israeli waters, and the Aphrodite near the island of Cyprus. With recoverable natural gas reserves in the region estimated at upward of 120 trillion cubic feet, the strategic implications could not be bigge r. This is about the same amount as the proven gas in the whole of Iraq, the 12th largest reserve globally .(Israel's gas field) Leviathan is estimated to hold 22 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, and a potential half a million barrels of oil." ("Hydrocarbon Diplomacy: Turkey's Gambit Might Yet Pay a Peace Dividend",

Turkey's ambitious gambit makes it more likely that its rivals will increase their support for the Libyan warlord, Haftar, who is, by-most-accounts, a CIA asset that was sent to Libya in 2014 to topple the government in Tripoli and unify the country under a US puppet. Haftar's forces currently control more than 70% of the Libyan territory while almost 60% of the population is under the control of the GNA led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. According to Turkish news: "More than half of Haftar's troops are mercenaries from Russia and Sudan, who are mainly paid by the Gulf states."

In April, 2019, Haftar launched an offensive on the government in Tripoli but was easily repelled. In recent days, however, Haftar has resumed his attacks on the city of Misrata and on the Tripoli airport in clear violation of the Berlin ceasefire agreement. He has also received shipments of weapons from the UAE despite an arms embargo that was unanimously approved two weeks ago at the same Berlin Conference. We expect that support for Haftar will continue to grow in the months ahead as Berlin, Paris and particularly Washington settle on a plan for reinforcing proxies to prosecute the ground war and for blunting Turkey's power projection in the Mediterranean.

The Turkey-Libya agreement is a clumsy attempt to impose Turkey's preferred maritime boundaries on the other countries bordering the Mediterranean. Naturally, Washington will not allow this unilateral assertion of power to go unchallenged.

And while Washington's strategy has not yet been announced, that merely indicates that the foreign policy establishment was caught off-guard by Turkey's November 27 announcement . It does not mean that Washington will accept the status quo. To the contrary, US war-planners are undoubtedly putting the finishing touches on a new strategy aimed at achieving their objectives in Libya while at the same time dealing a stinging blow to a NATO ally that has grown closer to Russia, caused endless headaches in Syria, and is now disrupting Washington's plans for controlling vital resources in the East Mediterranean.

Washington sees Turkey's assertive foreign policy as a sign of "defiance" which requires a iron-fisted response. But any attack on Turkey or Turkish interests will only intensify the bad blood between Ankara and Washington, it will only put more pressure on the threadbare NATO alliance, and it will only push Turkish president Erdogan further into Moscow's corner. Indeed, the Trump team should realize that an overreaction on their part could trigger a fateful realignment that could reshape the region while hastening the emergence of a new order.

[Jan 29, 2020] The New Kremlin Stooge

Jan 29, 2020 |

Moscow Exile January 25, 2020 at 12:15 pm

На форуме в Давосе заявили об остановке "Северного потока-2" минимум на 2 года
Лилия Караева, 24 января 2020

At the Davos forum an at least 2-year long shutdown of Nord Stream-2 has been announced
Liliya Karayeva, January 24, 2020

The launch of the Russian gas pipeline "Nord Stream-2", which is needed to supply Europe with gas that bypasses the Ukraine, will take place not earlier than after 2 years. It is not ruled out that the project will cease to exist if Western sanctions continue.

Former US ambassador to the Ukraine John Herbst said this at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He noted that there is no possibility of Russia completing the gas pipeline.

For the construction, it is necessary to have a company that will ensure the laying of pipes on the sea bed. However, US sanctions do not allow foreign firms to do this, Eadaily reports.

Herbst stressed that the Russians "can beat themselves on the chest," but under current conditions the project may not be completed.

Earlier the pipe-layers of the Swiss company Allseas left the Baltic Sea because of US sanctions. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia can complete the gas pipeline, but it will take more time.

Cue you know who.

That former US ambassador to Banderastan certainly knows a lot about the technological incapabilities of the gas station with missiles, doesn't he?

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Mark Chapman January 25, 2020 at 4:26 pm
Amazing; at the time sanctions were applied, the Russian Energy Minister claimed that the Russian Federation had the ships and the capability to complete the pipeline in only two months. Therefore it would have opened only a month late.

Was he lying? Jeez; no wonder the government was dissolved. Similar claims were made in Deutche Welle.

In fact, a joint statement just after the sanctions were announced to great fanfare said that the remainder of the pipeline could be completed using divers, although it would be slow. But Russia is known to have pipe-laying vessels in its inventory which would surely require little modification to finish the remaining work. Russia simply does not seem to be in any hurry to complete the project.

I personally think Russia is just approaching completion of the pipeline in a leisurely fashion, now that there is a new gas-transit agreement with Ukraine and there is no particular rush to get it done. Russia is committed to transit 60 BCm through Ukraine this year, so what's the hurry to get a pipeline done which bypasses Ukraine? According to the Energy Minister – who must be speaking under advisement from field professionals – Russia could finish it in about 2 months. It would not be in Ukraine's interests to provoke a transit crisis now, the winter is over and demand will slacken, and there just is no compelling reason to hurry. But if there were, it would not take long to finish.

The current cocky attitude which assumes the project has been stopped cold with a wave of Washington's mighty hand and now may never be completed is, however, pure and classic Ukie nationalist. The Ukrainians seem fated to slobber lovingly all over America whenever it makes a gesture, and start up again with the tough talk toward Russia. Nord Stream II is dead in the water, and now it might never be completed – Russia might have to transit gas through Ukraine until the infants of today are grandparents! It is so much more pleasant to put your faith in something which sounds like you are going to have an easy life without doing much of anything; just loll in bed all day on cushions of goose-down, and let the Russians pay to use your pipes to transit their gas – so easy! It's a wonder there are any realists left. Keep in mind that those are the same people who will scream that they were betrayed when the pipeline is completed, and that the dirty Russians took advantage of Ukraine's frank and open nature.

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Moscow Exile January 25, 2020 at 11:35 pm
This US sanctions business often confuses me. I work at ExxonMobil twice a week -- right next to the Exceptional Nation's embassy are the Exxon offices situated -- and they tell me there that the project they were undertaking in the Barents Sea, I think, was stopped and is now on hold because of sanctions, whereas the Exxon activity in Sakhalin is still in operation. The reason why? Sakhalin is on dry land, the Russian woman whom I teach there told me. "So?" I asked. She reckons it's because at Sakhalin they use Russian gear and technology, whereas the offshore Barents Sea rig is US operated.
Mark Chapman January 26, 2020 at 9:16 am
For Russia, at least, it will serve as an object lesson to not ever again be reliant on US technology for anything, and be to the least extent possible reliant on technology of its close allies. That would likely mean Asian drilling technology. Despite what American media would have you believe, Americans are not the only people on earth capable of developing and using extraction technology. Russia is also perfectly capable of engineering its own production methods and equipment. Sanctions are only effective, to the limited degree they are effective at all, where you as the sanctioner can get all available sources to deny their use. Arm-twisting to go along with the American sanctions has cost European business billions, but the important thing to remember about employment of sanctions and successful work-arounds is that business will not bounce back to its previous arrangements once sanctions are lifted unless their duration is very short. The sanctions against Russia, quite apart from the Americans having supplied their own justification for employing them in the first place (so that the Russians as a whole have a sense of having been unjustly punished, which taints the American brand), have had the effect of forcing Russia to seek other suppliers and to develop domestic industry. It has survived the sanctions regime quite well, and is much stronger for it. It also serves as a reminder to other countries which are not ideologically aligned with the United States that a dependence on American products could constitute an unacceptable vulnerability for them as well.

China is the biggest producer in Asia, with an output of nearly 4 million barrels per day. Although its production has been stagnant or even declining in recent years, that is about to change; the national government announced last year a 20% increase in capital investment in production, with the goal of increasing its output by 50% to 6 million BPD by 2025. I think it would be safe to bet that none of that technology will be American or owned by its closest allies, since a key platform of the increased expenditure is energy independence.

Jen January 25, 2020 at 8:21 pm
Looks like two former ministers in the previous Medvedev government got bumped upstairs: Vladimir Medinsky (Culture Minister) and Maxim Oreshkin (Economic Development Minister) have become Presidential aides.

Alexander Novak is back in as Minister of Energy so he must have been telling the truth back in December about Russia being able to finish the Nordstream II pipeline construction in two months.

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Mark Chapman January 25, 2020 at 9:19 pm
Either that or his lies are so reliable that the Kremlin knows immediately to believe the opposite of what he says. But that's not likely, because an Energy Minister who started a massive project like that and had no prospects at all of completing it would not likely be reappointed.

Another potential reason for Russian relaxation toward pipeline completion might well be the global collapse of LNG prices due to overproduction: according to the new (ish) CEO of Gunvor Group (remember them? The energy company that Putin owned 75% of its shares?), US LNG exporters are 50 cents away from shutdowns.

"LNG prices are on track to hit an all-time low in Asia later this summer. Gas is also at its weakest seasonally in the U.S. and Europe since the late 1990s. "There's a surplus already in the U.S. and Europe. And the mild winter in Asia means another surplus is building up there," Marco Dunand, chief executive officer of trading house Mercuria Energy Group Ltd., told Bloomberg. Torbjorn Tornqvist, chief executive officer of Gunvor Group Ltd., said U.S. LNG exporters are 50 cents away from shutdowns."

Under such conditions, it's unlikely the Kremlin is overly concerned at the thought of American LNG carriers steaming into European ports and snatching the energy rug from underneath them. Think what a great time this would be to have an energy-extraction empire in which – thanks to western sanctions – your production costs were in rubles and your selling price was in Euros. Why, you'd still be able to take a profit no matter how low prices went!

Oh wait

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[Jan 19, 2020] US strategy and what the gas pipeline war is costing us by Manlio Dinucci

Jan 19, 2020 |

30 December 2019

After having forbidden the Chinese company Huawei to compete in the calls for tender for the 5G network, the United States are now forbidding the Europeans to increase their supplies of Russian gas. While the first decision was aimed at maintaining the coherence of NATO, the second is not a result of Russophobia, but of the 1992 " Wolfowitz doctrine " - preventing the EU from becoming a competitor of the " American Empire ". In both cases, the point is to infantilise the EU and keep it in a situation of dependence.

Although they were locked in a convoluted struggle concerning the impeachment of President Trump, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate laid down their arms in order to vote, in quasi-unanimity, for the imposition of heavy sanctions on the companies participating in the construction of North Stream 2, the doubling of the gas pipeline which delivers Russian gas to Germany across the Baltic Sea. The main victims were the European companies which had helped finance the 11 billion dollar project with the Russian company Gazprom. The project is now 80 % finished. The Austrian company Omy, British/Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, French Engie, German companies Uniper and Wintershall, Italian Saipem and Swiss Allseas are also taking part in the laying of the pipeline.

The doubling of North Stream increases Europe's dependence on Russian gas, warn the United States. Above all, they are preoccupied by the fact that the gas pipeline – by crossing the Baltic in waters belonging to Russia, Finland, Sweden and Germany – thus avoids the Visegrad countries (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary), the Baltic States and Ukraine. In other words, the European countries which have the closest ties to Washington through NATO (to which we must add Italy).

Rather than being economic, the goal for the USA is strategic. This is confirmed by the fact that the sanctions on North Stream 2 are included in the National Defense Authorization Act , the legislative act which, for fiscal year 2020, hands the Pentagon the colossal sum of 738 billion dollars for new wars and new weapons (including space weapons), to which must be added other posts which bring the US military expenditure to approximately 1,000 billion dollars. The economic sanctions on North Stream 2 are part of a politico-military escalation against Russia.

An ulterior confirmation can be found in the fact that the US Congress has established sanctions not only against North Stream 2, but also against the Turk-Stream, which, in its final phase of realisation, will bring Russian gas across the Black Sea to Eastern Thrace,the small European area of Turkey. From there, by another pipeline, Russian gas should be delivered to Bulgaria, Serbia and other European countries. This is the Russian riposte to the US action which managed to block the South Stream pipeline in 2014. South Stream was intended to link Russia to Italy across the Black Sea and by land to Tarvisio (Udine). Italy would therefore have become a switch platform for gas in the EU, with notable economic advantages. The Obama administration was able to scuttle the project, with the collaboration of the European Union.

The company Saipem (Italian Eni Group), once again affected by the US sanctions against North Stream 2, was severely hit by the blockage of South Stream – in 2014, it lost contracts to the value of 2.4 billion Euros, to which other contracts would have been added if the project had continued. But at the time, no-one in Italy or in the EU protested against the burial of the project which was being organised by the USA. Now German interests are in play, and critical voices are being raised in Germany and in the EU against US sanctions against North Stream 2.

Nothing is being said about the fact that the European Union has agreed to import liquified natural gas (LNG) from the USA, an extract from bituminous shale by the destructive technique of hydraulic fracturation (fracking). In order to damage Russia, Washington is attempting to reduce its gas exports to the EU, obliging European consumers to foot the bill. Since President Donald Trump and the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, signed in Washington in July 2018 the Joint Statement of 25 July: European Union imports of U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) , the EU has doubled its importation of LNG from the USA, co-financing the infrastructures via an initial expenditure of 656 million Euros. However, this did not save European companies from US sanctions. Manlio Dinucci

Pete Kimberley

Il Manifesto (Italy)

[Jan 18, 2020] Importance of Cyprus is gas wars

Jan 18, 2020 |

Jon_in_AU , Jan 18 2020 15:35 utc | 140


I can't say that I've dug into that in detail, although I do recall reading the post.

What I would like to say, however, is that the Cyprus question is one of the pivotal pieces in the current geopolitical situation.

A few points warranting further investigation to try and tie into a coherent whole:

1) The Cyprus banking crisis c. 2012-2013. This includes Russian oligarch/mafia money, and whether it was squirreled out of there before the buy-in orchestrated collapse of Laiki Bank of Cyprus as well as who was behind this push (IMF/NATO/GER/etc)

2) The Turkstream (1 & 2) gas projects (from which Turkey will extract considerable transit fees for decades to come). This also supports one of the main pillars of the Russian Federations' economy. Links also to US hegemon trying to kill off Nordstream 2.

3) The plans/MOU for Israel, Cyprus and Greece to build an undersea gas pipe network. This will effectively by-pass Turkstream, and is probably behind the push to have Israeli claims over the Golan Heights crystallise (along with the US staying put in Syria and Iraq). I also recall reading about ISIS shipments of stolen Syrian oil taking a cross-country route through Turkey to end up being refined in Israel, and on-sold to Greece (and others). This points at another whole behind-the-scenes dynamic.

4) Recent attempts by Turkey to get involved in Libya, create a new exclusive maritime zone, develop gas of the coast of Cyprus, and now military involvement. This is drawing rebuke from Israel, as it will scupper their planned pipe network. Greece likewise is now trying to send in troops (as observers/peace-keepers, LOL).
Cyprus is also rallying around to try and stop the Turkish plan from going ahead.

5) Recent arrests of Israeli intel assets in Cyprus of late also adds further heat to the situation.

I would really need to dedicate months of my life to try and untangle all of this, and by the time I did the situation would have moved on. (reminds me of the quote from Wagelaborers' blog: "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
Karl Rove)

[Jan 18, 2020] Lukashenko wants the prices for oil and natural gas for Belarus to be the same as for Russian regions, but refuses to behave like a Russian region.

Jan 18, 2020 |

AnonFromTN , says: January 15, 2020 at 6:42 pm GMT

@Shitposter him some fighter planes for free and he will build an airbase of the Belarus army.
6. Belarus makes gasoline and other products from Russian oils and resells them at a huge profit. Besides, he wants to export it all via Baltic statelets, providing their ports business that Putin is taking away from them by building Russian deep-sea ports, like Ust-Luga.
7. Not to mention that he talks about 10 times more than is wise, saying mostly BS (the latter is natural for a moron).
There are many more, but these are enough to explain how most Russians feel about him. Belarus either gets rid of that idiot, or suffers because of his stupidity.

[Jan 18, 2020] Germany behaviour in Naftogas-Gasprom conflict makes zero sense unless you believe that Germany was acting as a proxy on behalf of a greater power

Jan 18, 2020 |


Thulean Friend , says: Show Comment December 23, 2019 at 5:34 am GMT
About this whole Ukraine-Russia gas transit thing that Felix is panicking about. It seems Germany had a key role in facilitating the deal.

However, that risk receded this week after Moscow and Kyiv concluded a landmark agreement that will ensure Russian gas continues to transit through Ukraine even after Nord Stream 2 is completed. Germany played a critical role in brokering the agreement and pressuring Russia to maintain Ukraine's transit status.

Why would Germany spend all this time and resources to construct these pipelines and then suddenly pressure Russia to maintain the transit fees? That makes zero sense unless you believe that Germany was acting as a proxy on behalf of a greater power. My pet theory: Germany most likely caved to US pressure and tried to triangulate at the last minute in a bid to stave off a larger German-US conflict.

Thulean Friend , says: Show Comment December 24, 2019 at 4:43 am GMT
@Swedish Family

What Germany wants, it seems to me, is (1) cheap energy for German industry, (2) a maximally weak Russian hand visavi Ukraine (which is now in effect a NATO/EU dependency), and (3) good enough relations with the Kremlin for Russia not to go rogue. Goals (1) and (3) obviously sit uneasily with goal (2), which is why we see so much back and forth.

I agree with (1) and (3) but I'd disagree over (2). I am not convinced Germany cares much about Ukraine's well-being. It is a very small economy (barely over 100 billion USD) and Germany's trade exposure to Ukraine is minimal. It isn't part of NATO, EU or any other major Western framework.

If Ukraine collapsed it would create significant refugee streams but Ukrainians are very easily assimilated into Western European countries, unlike Syrians or Turks, so even in a worse-case scenario the fallout would not be a major problem. If Croats or Serbs can mix into Germany easily, I don't see why Ukrainians would be a problem. Germany's shrinking work force would in fact even need such an influx. The only kink would be Russia's expanding borders if both Belarus+Ukraine was swallowed up but Germany probably would calculate that Russia wouldn't attack a NATO ally (and they wouldn't be wrong). I'm not saying Germany would want such an outcome, only that the worst-case scenario wouldn't be a big problem for them.

I think this has the fingerprints of the US all over it. Trump personally hates Ukraine, which has been documented in leaked documents during the impeachment process and major personalities of the Trumpist movement like Tucker Carlson openly cheers for Russia. So it wasn't Trump or his people who pushed for this but rather the permanent national-security state that was behind it and they are obsessed with keeping Russia down, or inventing fake Russiagate hoaxes to justify their paranoia. Germany made a 180 and suddenly pressured Russia to do something which Germany itself had no interest in keeping for the longest time. That suggests Germany caved to US pressure and tried to do a compromise. The US interest would be for NS2 to be scrapped completely. This was a German attempt at triangulating.

Either way, Ukraine got a big win purely because of Great Power politics over which they had no direct control.

[Jan 12, 2020] The petrodollar is the way in which the US gets the rest of the world to fund its wars

Notable quotes:
"... Economic growth is more about financialising goods and services that were previously free or are/were social goods. There is no real growth; just taxing the living. ..."
"... So, in my view, the only restraint on destroying Iran is capability, is the cost and the risk of retaliation (not just from Iran) - not the destruction of Iran's capital - better for Iran's capital to be destroyed than for Iran to be independent or a competitor. ..."
Jan 12, 2020 |

ADKC , Jan 12 2020 2:10 utc | 359

vk @334

My comment @342 should have read: "The petrodollar is the way in which the US gets the rest of the world to fund its wars,"


Your comment about capitalist accumulation doesn't hold (as a motivator for the US) when we have a capitalist monopolist situation. Rate of profit is not about growth (of real goods); it is about reducing competition and scarcity. When you are the monopolist you can charge what you like but profit becomes meaningless - the monopolist power comes from the control of resources - the monopolistic capitalist becomes a ruler/monarch. You no longer need ever-increasing customers so you can dispense with them if you so chose (by reducing the population). One bottle of water is far more valuable and a lot less trouble to produce that 100 millions bottles of water. There is no point in AI to provide for the needs of "the many"; AI becomes a means to dispense with "the many" altogether.

Economic growth is more about financialising goods and services that were previously free or are/were social goods. There is no real growth; just taxing the living.

So, in my view, the only restraint on destroying Iran is capability, is the cost and the risk of retaliation (not just from Iran) - not the destruction of Iran's capital - better for Iran's capital to be destroyed than for Iran to be independent or a competitor.

[Jan 12, 2020] Luongo Fears "An Abyss Of Losses" As Iraq Becomes MidEast Battleground

Highly recommended!
Jan 12, 2020 |

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog,

The future of the U.S.'s involvement in the Middle East is in Iraq. The exchange of hostilities between the U.S. and Iran occurred wholly on Iraqi soil and it has become the site on which that war will continue.

Israel continues to up the ante on Iran, following President Trump's lead by bombing Shia militias stationed near the Al Bukumai border crossing between Syria and Iraq.

The U.S. and Israel are determined this border crossing remains closed and have demonstrated just how far they are willing to go to prevent the free flow of goods and people across this border.

The regional allies of Iran are to be kept weak, divided and constantly under harassment.

Iraq is the battleground because the U.S. lost in Syria. Despite the presence of U.S. troops squatting on Syrian oil fields in Deir Ezzor province or the troops sitting in the desert protecting the Syrian border with Jordan, the Russians, Hezbollah and the Iranian Quds forces continue to reclaim territory previously lost to the Syrian government.

Now with Turkey redeploying its pet Salafist head-choppers from Idlib to Libya to fight General Haftar's forces there to legitimize its claim to eastern Mediterannean gas deposits, the restoration of Syria's territorial integrity west of the Euphrates River is nearly complete.

The defenders of Syria can soon transition into the rebuilders thereof, if allowed. And they didn't do this alone, they had a silent partner in China the entire time.

And, if I look at this situation honestly, it was China stepping out from behind the shadows into the light that is your inciting incident for this chapter in Iraq's story.

China moving in to sign a $10.1 billion deal with the Iraqi government to begin the reconstruction of its ruined oil and gas industry in exchange for oil is of vital importance.

It doubles China's investment in Iraq while denying the U.S. that money and influence.

This happened after a massive $53 billion deal between Exxon-Mobil and Petrochina was put on hold after the incident involving Iran shooting down a U.S. Global Hawk drone in June.

With the U.S balking over the Exxon/Petrochina big deal, Iraqi Prime Minster Adel Abdul Mahdi signed the new one with China in October. Mahdi brought up the circumstances surrounding that in Iraqi parliaments during the session in which it passed the resolution recommending removal of all foreign forces from Iraq.

Did Trump openly threaten Mahdi over this deal as I covered in my podcast on this? Did the U.S. gin up protests in Baghdad, amplifying unrest over growing Iranian influence in the country?

And, if not, were these threats simply implied or carried by a minion (Pompeo, Esper, a diplomat)? Because the U.S.'s history of regime change operations is well documented. Well understood color revolution tactics used successfully in places like Ukraine , where snipers were deployed to shoot protesters and police alike to foment violence between them at the opportune time were on display in Baghdad.

Mahdi openly accused Trump of threatening him, but that sounds more like Mahdi using the current impeachment script to invoke the sinister side of Trump and sell his case.

It's not that I don't think Trump capable of that kind of threat, I just don't think he's stupid enough to voice it on an open call. Donald Trump is capable of many impulsive things, openly threatening to remove an elected Prime Minister on a recorded line is not one of them.

Mahdi has been under the U.S.'s fire since he came to power in late 2018. He was the man who refused Trump during Trump's impromptu Christmas visit to Iraq in 2018 , refusing to be summoned to a clandestine meeting at the U.S. embassy rather than Trump visit him as a head of state, an equal.

He was the man who declared the Iraqi air space closed after Israeli air attacks on Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) positions in September.

And he's the person, at the same time, being asked by Trump to act as a mediator between Saudi Arabia and Iran in peace talks for Yemen.

So, the more we look at this situation the more it is clear that Abdul Madhi, the first Iraqi prime minister since the 2003 U.S. invasion push for more Iraqi sovereignty, is emerging as the pivotal figure in what led up to the attack on General Soleimani and what comes after Iran's subsequent retaliation.

It's clear that Trump doesn't want to fight a war with Iran in Iran. He wants them to acquiesce to his unreasonable demands and begin negotiating a new nuclear deal which definitively stops the possibility of Iran developing a nuclear weapon, and as P atrick Henningsen at 21st Century Wire thinks ,

Trump now wants a new deal which features a prohibition on Iran's medium range missiles , and after events this week, it's obvious why. Wednesday's missile strike by Iran demonstrates that the US can no longer operate in the region so long as Iran has the ability to extend its own deterrence envelope westwards to Syria, Israel, and southwards to the Arabian Peninsula, and that includes all US military installations located within that radius.

Iraq doesn't want to be that battlefield. And Iran sent the message with those two missile strikes that the U.S. presence in Iraq is unsustainable and that any thought of retreating to the autonomous Kurdish region around the air base at Erbil is also a non-starter.

The big question, after this attack, is whether U.S. air defenses around the Ain al Assad airbase west of Ramadi were active or not. If they were then Trump's standing down after the air strikes signals what Patrick suggests, a new Middle East in the making.

If they were not turned on then the next question is why? To allow Iran to save face after Trump screwed up murdering Soleimani?

I'm not capable of believing such Q-tard drivel at this point. It's far more likely that the spectre of Russian electronics warfare and radar evasion is lurking in the subtext of this story and the U.S. truly now finds itself after a second example of Iranian missile technology in a nascent 360 degree war in the region.

It means that Iran's threats against the cities of Haifa and Dubai were real.

In short, it means the future of the U.S. presence in Iraq now measures in months not years.

Because both China and Russia stand to gain ground with a newly-united Shi'ite Iraqi population. Mahdi is now courting Russia to sell him S-300 missile defense systems to allow him to enforce his demands about Iraqi airspace.

Moqtada al-Sadr is mobilizing his Madhi Army to oust the U.S. from Iraq. Iraq is key to the U.S. presence in the region. Without Iraq the U.S. position in Syria is unsustainable.

If the U.S. tries to retreat to Kurdish territory and push again for Masoud Barzani and his Peshmerga forces to declare independence Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will go ballistic.

And you can expect him to make good on his threat to close the Incerlik airbase, another critical logistical juncture for U.S. force projection in the region.

But it all starts with Mahdi's and Iraq's moves in the coming weeks. But, with Trump rightly backing down from escalating things further and not following through on his outlandish threats against Iran, it may be we're nearing the end of this intractable standoff.

Back in June I told you that Iran had the ability to fight asymmetrically against the U.S., not through direct military confrontation but through the after-effects of a brief, yet violent period of war in which all U.S., Israeli and Arab assets in the Middle East come under fire from all directions.

It sent this same message then that by attacking oil tankers it could make the transport of oil untenable and not insurable. We got a taste of it back then and Trump, then, backed down.

And the resultant upheaval in the financial markets creating an abyss of losses, cross-asset defaults, bank failures and government collapses.

Trump has no real option now but to negotiate while Iraq puts domestic pressure on him to leave and Russia/China come in to provide critical economic and military support to assist Mahdi rally his country back towards some semblance of sovereignty

* * *

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MalteseFalcon , 3 minutes ago link

OK kids,

Play time is over.

China needs Iraqi oil to build the BRI.

Last one into Africom is a rotten egg!!!!

daveeemc2 , 14 minutes ago link

This is the most delicious of irony

The american imperial style of intervention is dead.

China debt trap model of belt and road is the path forward.

They will win hearts and minds, and not a single shot fired.

USA gets debt from paying war machine and killed and maimed soldiers whose personal psychiatry will haunt them for an entire lifetime.

In the end, Americans get nothing but debt and risk their own soverignty as a population ages and infrastructure crumbles....kinda like now.

MalteseFalcon , 1 minute ago link

The last 30 years of American foreign policy has been an unmitigated disaster.

yerfej , 26 minutes ago link

How about "what is the goal?" There is none of course. The assholes in the Washington/MIC just need war to keep them relevant. What if the US were to closed down all those wars and foreign bases? THEN the taxpayer could demand some accounting for the trillions that are wasted on complete CRAP. There are too many old leftovers from the cold war who seem to think there is benefit to fighting wars in shithole places just because those wars are the only ones going on right now. The stupidity of the ****** in the US military/MIC/Washington is beyond belief. JUST LEAVE you ******* idiots.

Rusticus2.0 , 22 minutes ago link

Your comment should have been directed at Trump, the commander in chief.

I guess that's still a bridge too far, but sooner than later you're going to have to cross it.

BobEore , 29 minutes ago link

Excellent Smithers, excellent:

Sometimes, in treading thru the opaque, sandstorm o ******** swept wastes of the ' desert of the really real '...

one must rely upon a marking... some kind of guidepost, however tenuous, to show you to be still... on the trail, not lost in the vast haunted reaches of post-reality. And you know, Tommy is that sort of guide; the sort of guy who you take to the fairgrounds, set him up with the 'THROW THE BALL THRU THE HOOP... GUARANTEED PRIZE TO SCOOP' kiosk...

and he misses every time. Just by watching Tom run through his paces here... zeroing in on the exact WRONG interpretation of events ... every dawg gone time... one resets their compass to tru course and relaxes into the flow agin! Thanks Tom! Let's break down ... the Schlitzy shopping list of sloppy errors:

Israel continues to up the ante on Iran, f ollowing President Trump's lead by bombing Shia militias stationed near the Al Bukumai border crossing between Syria and Iraq. Urusalem.. and its pathetically obedient dogsbody USSA ... are busy setting up RIMFISTAN Tom.. you really need to start expanding your reading list; On both sides of that border you mention .. they will be running - and guarding - pipeline running to the mothership. Shia miitias and that project just don't mix. Nobody gives a frying fluck bout your imaginary 'land bridge to the Med'... except you and the gomers. And you and they aren't ANYWHERES near to here.

  • Abdul Madhi, the first Iraqi prime minister since the 2003 U.S. invasion push for more Iraqi sovereignty, is emerging as the pivotal figure in what led up to the attack on General Soleimani and what comes after Iran's subsequent retaliation.
  • Ok... this is getting completely embarrassing. The man is a 'caretaker' Tom... that's similar to a 'janitor' - he's on the way out. If you really think thats' being pivotal... I'm gonna suggest that you've 'pivoted' on one of your goats too many times.

Look, Tom... I did sincerely undertake to hold your arm, and guide you through this to a happier place. But you... are underwater my man. And that's quite an accomplishment, since we be traveling through the deserts of the really real. You've enumerated a list of things which has helped me to understand just how completely distorted is the picture of the situation here in mudded east.. is... in the minds of the myriad victims of your alt-media madness. And I thank you for that. But its time we part company.

These whirring klaidescope glasses I put on, in order to help me see how you see things, have given me a bit of a headache. Time to return to seeing the world... as it really works!

simpson seers , 14 minutes ago link

says the yankee chicken ******......

Fireman , 32 minutes ago link

Like Ukraine, everything the anglozionazi empire of **** smear$...turns to ****.

BGO , 39 minutes ago link

The whole *target and destroy* Iran (and Iraq) clusterfuck has always been about creating new profit scenarios, profit theaters, for the MIC.

If the US govt was suddenly forced to stop making and selling **** designed to kill people... if the govt were forced to stopping selling **** to other people so they can kill people... if the govt were forced to stop stockpiling **** designed to kill people just so other people would stop building and stockpiling **** designed to kill people... first the US then the world would collapse... everyone would finally see... the US is a nation of people that allows itself to be propped up by the worst sort of people... an infinitesimally small group of gangsters who legally make insane amounts of money... by creating in perpetuity... forever new scenarios that allow them to kill other people.

Jesus ******* Christ ZeroHedge software ******* sucks.

Fireman , 40 minutes ago link

Understanding why Agent Orange is a meat puppet.

The following has been known to cure T.D.S.

Wantoknow , 44 minutes ago link

Why has Trump no real option? What do you believe are the limits of Trump's options that assure he must negotiate? Perhaps all out war is not yet possible politically in the US, but public sentiment has been manipulated before. Why not now?

One must not yet reject the idea that the road to Moscow and Beijing does not run through Iran. Throwing the US out of the Middle East would be a grievous failure for the deep state which has demonstrated itself to be absolutely ruthless. It is hard to believe the US will leave without a much more serious war forcing the issue.

So far Trump has appeared artless and that may continue but that artlessness may well bring a day when Trump will not back down.

Fireman , 39 minutes ago link

Why has Trump no real option?

Ask the towel girls at Maralago and Jeffrey Pedovore.

Rusticus2.0 , 49 minutes ago link

The motivation behind Trump pulling out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action wasn't because, after careful analytical study of the plan, he decided it was a bad deal. It was because Israel demanded it as it didn't fit into their best interests and, as with the refreezing of relationships with Cuba, it was a easier way to undo Obama policy rather than tackling Obamacare. Hardly sound judgement.

The war will continue in Iraq as the Shia majority mobilize against an occupying force that has been asked to leave, but refuse. What will quickly become apparent is that this war is about to become far more multifaceted with Iraqi and Iranian proxies targeting American interests across numerous fronts.

Trump is the head of a business empire; Downsizing is not a strategy that he's ever employed; His business history is a case study in go big or go bust.

not-me---it-was-the-dog , 32 minutes ago link

so it will work like this....

trump's zionist overlords have demanded he destroy iran.

as a simple lackey, he agreed, but he does need political cover to do so.

thus the equating of any attack or threat of attack by any group of any political persuasion as originating from iran.

any resistance by the shia in iraq will be considered as being directed from iran, thus an attack on iran is warranted.

any resistance by the currect governement of iraq will be considered as being directed from iran, thus an attack on iran is warranted.

any resistance by the sunni in iraq will be considered subversion by iran, or a false flag by iran, thus an attack on iran is warranted.

trump's refusal to follow the SOFA agreement, and heed the call of the democratic government we claim to have gone in to install, is specifically designed to lead to more violence, which in turn can be blamed on iran's "malign" influence, which gives the entity lackeys cover to spread more democracy.


Brazen Heist II , 55 minutes ago link

America is a nation of imbeciles. They have meddled in Iraq since the 1980s and still can't subdue the place to their content.

Dey hate us for our freedumbs!

Ghost who Walks , 54 minutes ago link

I'm more positive that Iraq can resolve its issues without starting a Global War.

The information shared by the Iraqi Prime Minister goes part way to awakening the population as to what is happening and why.

Once more information starts to leak out (and it will from those individuals who want to avoid extinction) the broad mass of the global population can take action to protect themselves from the psychopaths.

new game , 1 hour ago link

This is what empires in decline do. Hubris...

meanwhile China rises with Strategic economic investment.

And the econ hitmen aren't done yet...

moar war...

Arising , 1 hour ago link

China moving in to sign a $10.1 billion deal with the Iraqi government to begin the reconstruction of its ruined oil and gas industry in exchange for oil is of vital importance.

Come on Tom, you should know better than that: the U.S will destroy any agreements between China and the people of Iraq.

The oil will continue to be stolen and sent to Occupied Palestine to administer and the people of Iraq will be in constant revolt, protest mode and subjugation- but they will never know they are being manipulated by the thieving zionists in D.C and Tel aviv.

Ms No , 1 hour ago link

Agreed. It will take nothing short of a miracle to stop this. Time isnt on their side though so they better get on it. They will do something big to get it going.

RoyalDraco , 14 minutes ago link

This isn't "humanity." Few people are psychopathic killers. It is being run by a small cliche of Satanists who are well on their way to enslaving humanity in a dystopia even George Orwell could not imagine. They control most of the levers of power and influence and have done so for centuries.

Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

- Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring's testimony before the Nuremberg tribunal on crimes against humanity

[Jan 11, 2020] America's Other Dark Legacy In Iraq by Joy Gordon

Mar 25, 2013 |
coalition-provisional-authority-cpa-iraq-oil-looting-contracts-corruptWhen the United States, the United Kingdom, and the "coalition of the willing" attacked Iraq in March 2003, millions protested around the world. But the war of "shock and awe" was just the beginning. The subsequent occupation of Iraq by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority bankrupted the country and left its infrastructure in shambles.

It's not just a question of security. Although the breathtaking violence that attended Iraq's descent into sectarian nightmare has been well documented in many retrospectives on the 10-year-old war, what's often overlooked is that by far more mundane standards, the United States did a spectacularly poor job of governing Iraq.

It's not that Iraq was flourishing before the occupation. From 1990 to 2003, the UN Security Council imposed economic sanctions on Iraq that were the harshest in the history of global governance. But along with the sanctions, at least, came an elaborate system of oversight and accountability that drew in the Security Council, nine UN agencies, and General Secretary himself.

The system was certainly imperfect, and the effects of the sanctions on the Iraqi people were devastating. But when the United States arrived, all semblance of international oversight vanished.

Under enormous pressure from Washington, in May 2003 the Security Council formally recognized the occupation of Iraq by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Resolution 1483. Among other things, this resolution gave the CPA complete control over all of Iraq's assets.

At the same time, the Council removed all the forms of monitoring and accountability that had been in place: there would be no reports on the humanitarian situation by UN agencies, and there would be no committee of the Security Council charged with monitoring the occupation. There would be a limited audit of funds, after they were spent, but no one from the UN would directly oversee oil sales. And no humanitarian agencies would ensure that Iraqi funds were being spent in ways that benefitted the country.

Humanitarian concerns

In January 2003, the UN prepared a working plan anticipating the impact of a possible war. Even with only "medium impact" from the invasion, the UN expected that humanitarian conditions would be severely compromised.

Because the Iraqi population was so heavily reliant on the government's food distribution system (a consequence of international sanctions), the UN anticipated that overthrowing the Iraqi regime would also undermine food security. And because the population already suffered from extensive malnutrition, this disruption would be quite lethal, putting 30 percent of Iraqi children under five at risk of death. The UN noted that if water and sewage treatment plants were damaged in the war, or if the electrical system could not operate, Iraqis would lose access to potable water, which would likely precipitate epidemics of water-borne diseases. And if electricity, transportation, and medical equipment were compromised, then the medical system would be unable to respond effectively to these epidemics.

During the occupation, much of this came to pass. A June 2003 UN report noted that the postwar water and sewage systems for Baghdad and other central and southern governorates were "in crisis." In Baghdad alone, the report estimated that 40 percent of the city's water distribution network was damaged, leading to a loss of up to half of the city's potable water through leaks and breaks in the system. And direr still, the UN reported that neither of Baghdad's two sewage treatment plants was functional, leading to a massive discharge of raw sewage into the Tigris River.

The food situation was similar. The UN found that farming had collapsed due to "widespread insecurity and looting, the complete collapse of ministries and state agencies -- the sole providers of essential farming inputs and services -- together with significant damages to power supplies."

Likewise, the health system deteriorated dramatically. Less than 50 percent of the Iraqi population had access to medical care, due in part to the dangers associated with travel. Additionally, the report estimated that 75 percent of all health-care institutions were affected by the looting and chaos that occurred in the aftermath of the war. As of June 2003, the health system as a whole was functioning at 30-50 percent of its pre-war capacity. The impact was immediate. By early summer, acute malnutrition rates had doubled, dysentery was widespread, and little medical care was available. In August, when a power outage blacked out New York, the joke going around Baghdad was "I hope they're not waiting for the Americans to fix it."

The CPA gave responsibility for humanitarian relief to the U.S. military -- not to agencies with experience in humanitarian crises -- and marginalized the UN's humanitarian relief agencies. Over the 14-month course of the CPA's administration, the humanitarian crisis worsened. Preventable diseases like dysentery and typhoid ran rampant. Malnutrition worsened, claiming the lives of ever more infants, mothers, and young children. All told, there was an estimated 100,000 "excess deaths" during the invasion and occupation -- well above and beyond the mortality rate under Saddam Hussein, even under international sanctions.

The CPA's priorities were clear. After the invasion, during the widespread looting and robbery, occupation authorities did little to protect water and sewage treatment plants, or even pediatric hospitals. By contrast, they provided immediate protection for the oil ministry offices, hired a U.S. company to put out oil field fires, and immediately provided protection for the oil fields as well.


In addition, the U.S.-led CPA was deeply corrupt. Much of Iraq's revenues, from oil sales or other sources, went to contracts with U.S. companies. Of contracts for more than $5 million, 74 percent went to U.S. companies, with most of the remainder going to U.S. allies. Only 2 percent went to Iraqi companies.

Over the course of the occupation, huge amounts of money simply disappeared. Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR), a subsidiary of Halliburton, received over 60 percent of all contracts paid for with Iraqi funds, although it was repeatedly criticized by auditors for issues of honesty and competence. In the last six weeks of the occupation, the United States shipped $5 billion of Iraqi funds, in cash, into the country, to be spent before the Iraqi-led government took over. Auditor reports indicated that Iraqi funds were systematically looted by the CPA officials: "One contractor received a $2 million payment in a duffel bag stuffed with shrink-wrapped bundles of currency," read one report . "One official was given $6.75 million in cash, and was ordered to spend it one week before the interim Iraqi government took control of Iraqi funds."

U.S. officials were apparently unconcerned about the gross abuses of the funds with which they were entrusted. In one instance, the CPA transferred some $8.8 billion of Iraqi money without any documentation as to how the funds were spent. When questioned about how the money was spent, Admiral David Oliver, the principal deputy for financial matters in the CPA, replied that he had "no idea" and didn't think it was particularly important. "Billions of dollars of their money?" he asked his interlocutor. "What difference does it make?"

In the end, none of this should be terribly surprising -- the corruption, the indifference to human needs, the singular concern with controlling Iraq's oil wealth. It was obvious from the moment that the Security Council, under enormous pressure from the United State, passed Resolution 1483.

By systematically removing nearly every form of oversight from their self-imposed administration of Iraq, the United States and its allies laid the foundation for the looting of an entire nation's wealth, abetted by their own wanton indifference to the needs and rights of Iraqis. Ten years after the start of the war, the CPA's disastrous governance of Iraq stands alongside the country's horrifying descent into violence as a dark legacy in its own right.

[Jan 11, 2020] Commentary: Why Peak Oil Threatens the International Monetary System

Jan 11, 2020 |

ASPO-USA | January 6, 2013

Commentary: Why Peak Oil Threatens the International Monetary System

(Note: Commentaries do not necessarily represent the position of ASPO-USA. )

By Erik Townsend


Having spent the last several years of my life engineering investment strategies to profit from the inevitability of Peak Oil, I've become obsessed with understanding the ramifications of radically different energy supply dynamics on the global economy. There are many facets to this, some obvious and some not so obvious. So when ASPO-USA Executive Director Jan Mueller approached me at the end of this year's conference in Austin and asked for an article discussing the less obvious economic impacts of Peak Oil, I knew instantly that the topic should be the threat Peak Oil poses to the International Monetary System (IMS). This connection is critically important, but far from obvious.

I assure you that this story is very much about Peak Oil, but please bear with me, as I'll need to start by reviewing what the IMS is and how it came about in the first place. Then I'll explain the role energy has already played in shaping the present-day IMS, and finally, I'll tie this back to Peak Oil by explaining why rising energy prices could very well be the catalyst that will cause the present system to fail.

What is the International Monetary System?

At the end of World War II, many countries were literally lying in ruin, and needed to be rebuilt. It was clear that international trade would be very important going forward, but how would it work? World leaders recognized the need to architect a new monetary system that would facilitate international trade and allow the world to rebuild itself following the most devastating war in world history.

A global currency was out of the question because the many countries of the world valued their sovereignty, and wanted to continue to issue their own domestic currencies. In order for international trade to flourish, a system was needed to allow trade between dozens of different nations, each with its own currency.

A convention was organized by the United Nations for the purpose of bringing world leaders together to architect this new International Monetary System . The meetings were held in July, 1944 at the Mt. Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, and were attended by 730 delegates representing all 44 allied nations. The official name for the event was the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference , but it would forever be remembered as The Bretton Woods Conference .

To this day, the system designed in those meetings remains the basis for all international trade, and is known as the Bretton Woods System. The system has evolved quite a bit since its inception, but its core principles remain the basis for all international trade. I'm going to focus this article on the parts of the system which I believe are now at risk of radical change, with Peak Oil the most likely catalyst to bring about that change. Readers seeking a deeper understanding of the system itself should refer to the Further Reading section at the end of this article.

Why is an International Monetary System needed?

It simply wouldn't be practical for all countries to sell their export products to other countries in their own currencies. If one had to pay for wine from France in French Francs (there was no Euro currency in 1944), and then pay to import a BMW automobile in German Marks, then pay for copper produced in Chile in Pesos, each country would face an overwhelming burden just maintaining reserve deposits of all the various world currencies. The system of trade would be very inefficient. For centuries, this problem has been solved by using a single standard currency for all international trade.

Because a standard-currency system dictates that each nation's central bank will need to maintain a reserve supply of the standard currency in order to facilitate international trade, the standard currency is known as the reserve currency . At various times in history, the Greek Drachma, the Roman Denari, and the Islamic Dinar have served as de-facto reserve currencies. Prior to World War II, the English Pound Sterling was the international reserve currency.

Throughout history, reserve currencies came into and out of use through happenstance. The Bretton Woods conference marked the first time that a global reserve currency was established by formal treaty between cooperating nations. The currency chosen was, of course, the U.S. Dollar.

How does the IMS work?

The core of the system was the U.S. Dollar serving as the standard currency for international trade. To assure other nations of the dollar's value, the U.S. Treasury would guarantee that other nations could convert their U.S. dollars into gold bullion at a fixed exchange rate of $35/oz. Other nations would then "peg" their currencies to the U.S. dollar at a fixed rate of exchange. Each nation's central bank would be responsible for "defending" the official exchange rate to the U.S. dollar by offering to buy or sell any amount of currency bid or offered at that price. This meant each nation would need to keep a healthy reserve of U.S. dollars on hand to service the needs of domestic businesses wishing to convert money between the local currency and the U.S. dollar.

By design, the effect of the system was that each national currency was indirectly redeemable for gold. This was true because each nation's central bank guaranteed convertibility of its own currency to U.S. dollars at some fixed rate of exchange, and the U.S. Treasury guaranteed convertibility of U.S. dollars to gold at a fixed rate of $35/oz. So long as all of the governments involved kept their promises, each nation's domestic currency would be as good as gold, because it was ultimately convertible to gold. United States President Richard Nixon would break the most central promise of the entire system (U.S. dollar convertibility for gold) on August 15, 1971. I'll come back to that event later in this article.

Triffin's Dilemma

In 1959, three years after M. King Hubbert's now-famous Peak Oil predictions, economist Robert Triffin would make equally prescient predictions about the sustainability of the "new" IMS, which was then only 15 years old. Sadly, Triffin's predictions, like Hubbert's, would be ignored by the mainstream.

The whole reason for choosing the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency was that without a doubt, the U.S.was the world's strongest credit in 1944. To assure confidence in the system, the strongest, most creditworthy currency on earth was chosen to serve as the standard unit of account for global trade. To eliminate any question about the value of the dollar, the system was designed so that any international holder of U.S. dollars could convert those dollars to gold bullion at a pre-determined fixed rate of exchange. Dollars were literally as good as gold.

Making the USD the world's reserve currency created an enormous international demand for more dollars to meet each nation's need to hold a reserve of dollars. The USA was happy to oblige by printing up more greenbacks. This provided sufficient dollars for other nations to hold as foreign exchange reserves, while at the same time allowing the spend beyond its means without facing the same repercussions that would occur were it not the world's reserve currency issuer.

Triffin observed that if you choose a currency because it's a strong credit, and then give the issuing nation a financial incentive to borrow and print money recklessly without penalty, eventually that currency won't be the strongest credit any more! This paradox came to be known as Triffin's Dilemma.

Specifically, Triffin predicted that as issuer of the international reserve currency, the USA would be prone to over consumption, over-indebtedness, and tend toward military adventurism. Unfortunately, the U.S. Government would prove Triffin right on all three counts.

Triffin correctly predicted that the USA would eventually be forced off the gold standard. The international demand for U.S. dollars would allow the USA to create more dollars than it otherwise could have without bringing on domestic inflation. When a country creates too much of its own currency and that money stays in the country, supply-demand dynamics kick in and too much money chasing too few goods and services results in higher prices. But when a country can export its currency to other nations who have an artificial need to hold large amounts of that currency in reserve, the issuing country can create far more money than it otherwise could have, without causing a tidal wave of domestic inflation.

Nixon proves Triffin right

By 1970, the U.S.had drastically over-spent on the Vietnam War, and the number of dollars in circulation far outnumbered the amount of gold actually backing them. Other nations recognized that there wasn't enough gold in Fort Knox for the back all the dollars in circulation, and wisely began to exchange their excess USDs for gold. Before long, something akin to a run on the bullion bank had begun, and it became clear that the USA could not honor the $35 conversion price indefinitely.

On August 15, 1971, President Nixon did exactly what Triffin predicted more than a decade earlier: he declared force majeure , and defaulted unilaterally on theUSA's promise to honor gold conversion at $35/oz, as prescribed by the Bretton Woods accord.

Of course Nixon was not about to admit that the reason this was happening was that the U.S. Government had abused its status as reserve currency issuer and recklessly spent beyond its means. Instead, he blamed "speculators", and announced that the United Stateswould suspend temporarily the convertibility of the Dollar into gold. Forty-two years later, the word temporarily has taken on new meaning.

Exorbitant Privilege

With the whole world conducting international trade in U.S. dollars, nations with large export markets wound up with a big pile of U.S. dollars (payments for the goods they exported). The most obvious course of action for the foreign companies who received all those dollars as payment for their exported products would be to exchange the dollars on the international market, converting them into their own domestic currencies. What may not be obvious at first glance is that there would be catastrophic unintended consequences if they actually did that.

If all the manufacturing companies in Japan or China converted their dollar revenues back into local currency, the act of selling dollars and buying their domestic currencies would cause their own currencies to appreciate markedly against the dollar. The same holds true for oil exporting countries. If they converted all their dollar revenues back into their own currencies, doing so would make their currencies more expensive against the dollar. That would make their exports less attractive because, being priced in dollars, they would fetch lower and lower prices after being converted back into the exporting nation's domestic currency.

The solution for the exporting nations was for their central banks to allow commercial exporters to convert their dollars for newly issued domestic currency. The central banks of exporting nations would wind up with a huge surplus of U.S. dollars they needed to invest somewhere without converting them to another currency . The obvious place to invest them was into U.S. Government Bonds.

This is the mechanism through which the reserve currency status of the dollar creates artificial demand for U.S. dollar-denominated treasury debt. That artificial demand allows the United States government to borrow money from foreigners in its own currency, something most nations cannot do at all. What's more, this artificial demand for U.S. Treasury debt allows the USA to borrow and spend far more borrowed foreign money than it would otherwise be able to, were it not the world's reserve currency issuer. The reason is that, if not for the artificial need to hold dollar reserves, foreign lenders would be much less inclined to purchase U.S. debt, and would therefore demand much higher interest rates. Similarly, the more that international trade has grown as a result of globalization, the more the United States' exorbitant privilege has grown.

Have you ever wondered why China, Japan, and the oil exporting nations have such enormous U.S. Treasury bond holdings, despite the fact that they hardly pay any interest these days? The reason is definitely not because those nations think 1.6% interest on a 10-year unsecured loan to a nation known to have a reckless spending habit is a good investment. It's because they have little other choice. The more their own economies rely on exports priced in dollars, the more they need to keep their own currencies attractively priced relative to the U.S. dollar in order for their exports to remain competitive on the international market. To achieve that outcome, they must hold large reserves denominated in U.S. dollars. That's why China and Japan – major export economies – are the biggest foreign holders of U.S. debt.

The net effect of this system is that the USA gets to borrow money from foreigners at artificially low interest rates. Moreover, the USA can become over-indebted without the usual consequences of increasing borrowing cost and declining creditworthiness. Other nations have little choice but to maintain a large reserve supply of dollars as the international trade currency. But the U.S. has no need to maintain large reserves of other nations' currencies, because those currencies are not used in international trade.

By the mid-1960s, this phenomenon became known as exorbitant privilege : That phrase refers to the ability of the USA to go into debt virtually for free, denominated in its own currency, when no other nation enjoys such a privilege. The phrase exorbitant privilege is often attributed to French President Charles de Gaulle, although it was actually his finance minister, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, who coined the phrase.

What's important to understand here is that the whole reason the U.S. can get away with running trillion-dollar budget deficits without the bond market revolting (a la Greece) is because of exorbitant privilege. And that privilege is a direct consequence of the U.S. dollar serving as the world's reserve currency. If international trade were not conducted in dollars, exporting nations (both manufacturers and oil exporters) would no longer need to hold large reserves of U.S. dollars.

Put another way, when the U.S. dollar loses its reserve currency status, the U.S.will lose its exorbitant privilege of spending beyond its means on easy credit. The U.S. Treasury bond market will most likely crash, and borrowing costs will skyrocket. Those increased borrowing costs will further exacerbate the fiscal deficit. Can you say self-reinforcing vicious cycle?

But wait Wasn't Gold convertibility the whole basis of the system?

If the whole point of the Bretton Woods system was to guarantee that all the currencies of the world were "as good as gold" because they were convertible to U.S. dollars, which in turn were promised to be convertible into gold And then President Nixon broke that promise in 1971 Wouldn't that suggest that the whole system should have blown up in reaction to Nixon slamming the gold window shut in August of '71?

Actually, it almost did. But miraculously, the system has held together for the last 42 years, despite the fact that the most fundamental promise upon which the system was based no longer holds true. To be sure, the Arabs were not happy about Nixon's action, and they complained loudly at the time, rhetorically asking why they should continue to accept dollars for their oil, if those dollars were not backed by anything, and might just become worthless paper. After all, if U.S. dollars were no longer convertible into gold, what value did they really have to foreigners? The slamming of the gold window by President Nixon in 1971 was not the only cause of the Arab oil embargo, but it was certainly a major influence.

What's holding the IMS together?

Why didn't the rest of the world abandon the dollar as the global reserve currency in reaction to the USA unilaterally reneging on gold convertibility in 1971? In my opinion, the best answer is simply "Because there was no clear alternative". And to be sure, the unmatched power of the U.S.military had a lot to do with eliminating what might otherwise have been attractive alternatives for other nations.

U.S. diplomats made it clear to Arab leaders that they wanted the Arabs to continue pricing their oil in dollars. Not just for U.S.customers, but for the entire world. Indeed, U.S. leaders at the time understood all too well just how much benefit the USA derives from exorbitant privilege , and they weren't about to give it up.

After a few years of tense negotiations including the infamous oil embargo, the so-called petro-dollar business cycle was born. The Arabs would only accept dollars for their oil, and they would re-invest most of their profits in U.S. Treasury debt. In exchange for this concession, they would come under the protectorate of the U.S. military. Some might even go so far as to say that the U.S. government used the infamous Mafia tactic of making the Arabs an "offer they couldn't refuse" – forcing oil producing nations to make financial concessions in exchange for "protection".

With the Arabs now strongly incented to continue pricing the world's most important commodity in U.S. dollars, the Bretton Woods system lived on. No longer constrained by the threat of a run on its bullion reserves, the U.S. kicked its already-entrenched practice of borrowing and spending beyond its means into high gear. For the past 42 years, the entire world has continued to conduct virtually all international trade in Dollars. This has forced China,Japan, and the oil exporting nations to buy and hold an enormous amount of U.S. Treasury debt. Exorbitant privilege is the key economic factor that allows the run trillion dollar fiscal deficits without crashing the Treasury bond market. So far.

There's a limit to how long this can last

But how long can this continue? The U.S.debt-to-GDP ratio now exceeds 100%, and the U.S.has literally doubled its national debt in the last 6 years alone. It stands to reason that eventually, other nations will lose faith in the dollar and start conducting business in some other currency. In fact, that's already started to happen, and it's perhaps the most important, under-reported economic news story in all of history.

Some examples China and Brazil are now conducting international trade in their own currencies, as are Russia and China. Turkey and Iran are trading oil for gold, bypassing the dollar as a reserve currency. In that case,U.S.sanctions are a big part of the reason Iran can't sell its oil in dollars. But I wonder if President Obama considered the undermining effect on exorbitant privilege when he imposed those sanctions. I fear that the present U.S. government doesn't understand the importance of the dollar's reserve currency role nearly as well as our leaders did in the 1970s.

The Biggest Risk We Face is a U.S. Bond and Currency Crisis

To be sure, Peak Oil in general represents a monumental risk to humanity because it's literally impossible to feed all 7+ billion people on the planet without abundant energy to run our farming equipment and distribution infrastructure. But the risks stemming directly from declining energy production are not the most imposing, in my view.

Decline rates will be gradual at first, and it will be possible, even if unpopular, to curtail unnecessary energy consumption and give priority to life-sustaining uses for the available supply of liquid fuels. In my opinion, the greatest risks posed by Peak Oil are the consequential risks. These include resource wars between nations, hoarding of scarce resources, and so forth. Chief among these consequential risks is the possibility that the Peak Oil energy crisis will be the catalyst to cause a global financial system meltdown. In my opinion, the USA losing its reserve currency status is likely to be at the heart of such a meltdown.

A good rule of thumb is that if something is unsustainable and cannot continue forever, it will not continue forever. The present incarnation of the IMS, which affords the United States the exorbitant privilege of borrowing a seemingly limitless amount of its own currency from foreigners in order to finance its reckless habit of spending beyond its means with trillion-dollar fiscal deficits, is a perfect example of an unsustainable system that cannot continue forever.

But the bigger the ship, the longer it takes to change course. The IMS is the biggest financial ship in the sea, and miraculously, it has remained afloat for 42 years after the most fundamental justification for its existence (dollar-gold convertibility) was eliminated. How long do we have before the inevitable happens, and what will be the catalyst(s) to bring about fundamental change? Those are the key questions.

In my opinion, the greatest risk to global economic stability is a sovereign debt crisis destroying the value of the world's reserve currency. In other words, a crash of the U.S. Treasury Bond market. I believe that the loss of reserve currency status is the most likely catalyst to bring about such a crisis.

The fact that the United States' borrowing and spending habits are unsustainable has been a topic of public discussion for decades. Older readers will recall billionaire Ross Perot exclaiming in his deep Texas accent, "A national debt of five trillion dollars is simply not sustainable!" during his 1992 Presidential campaign. Mr. Perot was right when he said that 20 years ago, but the national debt has since more than tripled . The big crisis has yet to occur. How is this possible? I believe the answer is that because the U.S. dollar is the world's reserve currency and is perceived by institutional investors around the globe to be the world's safest currency, it enjoys a certain degree of immunity derived from widespread complacency.

But that immunity cannot last forever. The loss of reserve currency status will be the forcing function that begins a self-reinforcing vicious cycle that brings about a U.S. bond and currency crisis. While many analysts have opined that the USA cannot go on borrowing and spending forever, relatively few have made the connection to loss of reserve currency status as the forcing function to bring about a crisis.

We're already seeing small leaks in the ship's hull. China openly promoting the idea that the yuan should be asserted as an alternative global reserve currency would have been unthinkable a decade ago, but is happening today. Major international trade deals (such as China and Brazil) not being denominated in U.S. dollars would have been unthinkable a decade ago, but are happening today.

So we're already seeing signs that the dollar's exclusive claim on reserve currency status will be challenged. Remember, when the dollar loses reserve currency status, the U.S.loses exorbitant privilege. The deficit spending party will be over, and interest rates will explode to the upside. But to predict that this will happen right now simply because the system is unsustainable would be unwise. After all, by one important measure the system stopped making sense 42 years ago, but has somehow persisted nonetheless. The key question becomes, what will be the catalyst or proximal trigger that causes the USD to lose reserve currency status, igniting a U.S. Treasury Bond crisis?

Elevated Risk

It's critical to understand that the USA is presently in a very precarious fiscal situation. The national debt has more than doubled in the last 10 years, but so far, there don't seem to have been any horrific consequences. Could it be that all this talk about the national debt isn't such a big deal after all?

The critical point to understand is that while the national debt has more than doubled, the U.S. Government's cost of borrowing hasn't increased at all. The reason is that interest rates are less than half what they were 10 years ago. Half the interest on twice as much principal equals the same monthly payment, so to speak. This is exactly the same trap that subprime mortgage borrowers fell into. First, money is borrowed at an artificially low interest rate. But eventually, the interest rate increases, and the cost of borrowing skyrockets. The USA is already running an unprecedented and unsustainable $1 trillion+ annual budget deficit. All it would take to double the already unsustainable deficit is for interest rates to rise to their historical norms.

This all comes back to exorbitant privilege. The only reason interest rates are so low is that the Federal Reserve is intentionally suppressing them to unprecedented low levels in an attempt to combat deflation and resuscitate the economy. The only reason the Fed has the ability to do this is that foreign lenders have an artificial need to hold dollar reserves because the USD is the global reserve currency. They would never accept such low interest rates otherwise. Loss of reserve currency status means loss of exorbitant privilege, and that in turn means the Fed would lose control of interest rates. The Fed might respond by printing even more dollars out of thin air to buy treasury bonds, but in absence of reserve currency status, doing that would cause a collapse of the dollar's value against other currencies, making all the imported goods we now depend on unaffordable.

In summary, the U.S. Government has repeated the exact same mistake that got all those subprime mortgage borrowers into so much trouble. They are borrowing more money than they can afford to pay back, depending solely on "teaser rates" that won't last. The U.S. Government's average maturity of outstanding treasury debt is now barely more than 5 years. This is analogous to cash-out refinancing a 30-year fixed mortgage, replacing it with a much higher principal balance in a 3-year ARM that offers an initial teaser rate. At first, you get to borrow way more money for the same monthly payment. But eventually the rate is adjusted, and the borrower is unable to make the higher payments.

The Janszen Scenario

When it comes to evaluating the risk of a U.S. sovereign debt and currency crisis, most mainstream economists dismiss the possibility out of hand, citing the brilliant wisdom that "the authorities would never let such a thing happen". These are the same people who were steadfastly convinced that housing prices would never crash in the United States because they never had before, and that Peak Oil is a myth because the shale gas boom solves everything (provided you don't actually do the math).

At the opposite extreme are the bloggers on the Internet whom I refer to as the Hyperinflation Doom Squad. Their narrative generally goes something like this: Suddenly, when you least expect it, foreigners will wise up and realize that the U.S. national debt cannot be repaid in real terms, and then there will be a panic that results in a crash of the U.S. Treasury market, hyperinflation of the U.S. dollar, and declaration of martial law. This group almost always cites the hyperinflations of Zimbabwe and Argentina as "proof" of what's going to happen in the USA any day now, but never so much as acknowledges the profound differences in circumstances between the USA and those countries. These folks deserve a little credit for having the right basic idea, but their analysis of what could actually happen simply isn't credible when examined in detail.

Little-known economist Eric Janszen stands out as an exception. Janszen is the only credible macroeconomic analyst I'm aware of who realistically acknowledges just how real and serious the threat of a U.S.sovereign debt crisis truly is. But his analysis of that risk is based on credible, level-headed thinking complemented by solid references to legitimate economic theory such as Triffin's Dilemma. Unlike the Doom Squad, Janszen does not rely on specious comparisons of the USA to small, systemically insignificant countries whose past financial crises have little in common with the situation the USA faces. Instead, Janszen offers refreshingly sound, well constructed arguments. Many of the concepts discussed in this article reflect Janszen's work.

Janszen also happens to be the same guy who coined the phrase Peak Cheap Oil back in 2006, drawing an important distinction between the geological phenomenon of Hubbert's Peak and the economic phenomenon which begins well before the actual peak, due to increasing marginal cost of production resulting from ever-increasing extraction technology complexity.

"But there's no sign of inflation " (Hint: It's coming)

Janszen has put quite a bit of work into modeling what a and currency crisis would look like. He initially called this KaPoom Theory , because history shows that brief periods of marked deflation (the 'Ka') usually precede epic inflations (the 'Poom'). He recently renamed this body of work The Janszen Scenario . Briefly summarized, Janszen's view is that the U.S. has reached the point where excessive borrowing and fiscal irresponsibility will eventually cause a catastrophic currency and bond crisis. He believes that all that's needed at this point is a proximal trigger , or catalyst, to bring about such an outcome. He thinks there are several potential triggers that could bring such a crisis about, and chief among the possibilities is the next Peak Cheap Oil price spike.

How Peak Oil could cause a Bond and Currency Crisis

There are several ways that an oil price spike could trigger a and currency crisis. Energy is an input cost to almost everything else in the economy, so higher oil prices are very inflationary. The Fed would be hard pressed to continue denying the adverse consequences of quantitative easing in a high inflation environment, and that alone could be the spark that leads to higher treasury yields. The resulting higher cost of borrowing to finance the national debt and fiscal deficit would be devastating to the United States.

A self-reinforcing vicious cycle could easily begin in reaction to oil price-induced inflation alone. But we must also consider how an oil price shock could lead to loss of USD reserve currency status, and therefore, loss of U.S.exorbitant privilege. In the 1970s, the USA represented 80% of the global oil market. Today we represent 20%, and demand growth is projected to come primarily from emerging economies. In other words, the rationale for oil producers to keep pricing their product in dollars has seriously deteriorated since the '70s. The more the global price of oil goes up, the more the U.S. will source oil from Canadian tar sands and other non-OPEC sources. That means less and less incentive for the OPEC nations to continue pricing their oil in dollars for all their non-U.S. customers.

Iran and Turkey have already begun transacting oil sales in gold rather than dollars. What if the other oil exporting nations wake up one morning and conclude "Hey, why are we selling our oil for dollars that might some day not be worth anything more than the paper they're printed on?" Oil represents a huge percentage of international trade, so if oil stopped trading in dollars, that alone would be reason for most nations to reduce the very large dollar reserves they now hold. They would start selling their U.S. treasury bonds, and that could start the vicious cycle of higher interest rates and exploding borrowing costs for the U.S. Government. The precise details are hard to predict. The point is, the system is already precarious and vulnerable, and an oil price shock could easily detonate the time bomb that's already been ticking away for more than two decades.

What if U.S. Energy Independence claims were true?

There's another angle here. Peak Oil just might be the catalyst to cause the loss of U.S. exorbitant privilege, even without an oil price shock.

Astute students of Peak Oil already know better than to believe the recently-popularized political rhetoric claiming that the USA will soon achieve energy independence, thanks to the shale oil and gas boom. To be sure, the Bakken, Eagle Ford, and various other U.S. oil and gas plays are a big deal. The most optimistic forecasts I've seen show these plays collectively ramping up to as much as 4.8 million barrels per day of production, which is equivalent to about ½ of Saudi Arabia's current production.

But the infamous "wedge of hope" chart from the EIA projects production declines from existing global resources of 60 million barrels per day by 2030. By the most optimistic projections, all the exciting new plays in the U.S. will replace less than 5 million barrels per day. Where the other 55 million barrels per day will come from remains a mystery! And of course the politicians never bother to mention such minor details when they make predictions of energy independence.

But let's just pretend for a moment that hyperbole is reality, and that the USA will achieve energy-independence in just a few years' time. Now consider the consequences to the IMS. The oil-exporting nations would lose the USA as their primary export customer, and would no longer have an incentive to price their oil in dollars, or to maintain large dollar reserves. They would start selling off their U.S. treasury bonds, and pricing their oil in something other than dollars. Large oil importers like China and Japan would stop paying for oil in dollars, and would no longer need to maintain present levels of U.S. dollar reserves. So they too would start selling U.S. treasury bonds, pushing up U.S. interest rates in the process. Once again, we have the ingredients for a self-reinforcing vicious cycle of increasing U.S. interest rates causing U.S. Government borrowing costs to skyrocket.

Without the artificial demand for treasury debt created by exorbitant privilege, the U.S. would be unable to finance its federal budget deficit. The Federal Reserve might respond with even more money printing to monetize all the government's borrowing needs, but without the international demand that results from the dollar's reserve currency status, the dollar would crash in value relative to other currencies as a result of excessive monetization by the Fed. The resulting loss of principal value would cause even more international holders of U.S. Treasury debt to panic and sell their holdings. Once again, a self-reinforcing vicious cycle would develop, with consequences for the United States so catastrophic that the 2008 event would pale in contrast.

Rambo to the Rescue?

Let's not forget that the USA enjoys virtually unchallenged global military hegemony. China is working hard to build out its "blue water navy", including strategic ballistic missile nuclear submarine capability. But the USA is still top dog on the global power stage, and if the USA was willing to use its nuclear weapons, it could easily defeat any country on earth, except perhaps China and Russia.

While the use of nuclear weapons in an offensive capacity might seem unthinkable today, the USA has yet to endure significant economic hardship. $15/gallon gasoline from the next Peak Cheap Oil price shock coupled with 15% treasury yields and a government operating in crisis mode just to hold off systemic financial collapse in the face of rampant inflation would change the mood considerably.

All the USA has to do in order to secure an unlimited supply of $50/bbl imported oil is to threaten to nuke any country refusing to sell oil to the U.S. for that price. Unthinkable today, but in times of national crisis, morals are often the first thing to be forgotten. We like to tell ourselves that we would never allow economic hardship to cause us to lose our morals. But just look at the YouTube videos of riots at Wal-Mart over nothing more than contention over a limited supply of boxer shorts marked down 20% for Black Friday. What we'll do in a true crisis that threatens our very way of life is anyone's guess.

If faced with the choice between a Soviet-style economic collapse and abusing its military power, the USA just might resort to tactics previously thought unimaginable. Exactly what those tactics might be and how it would play out are unknowable. The point is, this is a very complex problem, and a wide array of factors including military capability will play a role in determining the ultimate outcome.

I certainly don't mean to predict such an apocalyptic outcome. All I'm really trying to say is that the military hegemony of the USA will almost certainly play into the equation. Even if there is no actual military conflict, the ability of the U.S. to defeat almost any opponent will play into the negotiations, if nothing else.


The current incarnation of the International Monetary System, in which the USA enjoys the exorbitant privilege of borrowing practically for free, and is therefore able to pursue reckless fiscal policy with immunity from the adverse consequences that non-reserve currency issuing nations would experience by doing so, cannot continue indefinitely. Therefore, it will not continue indefinitely. How and when it will end is hard to say, especially considering the fact that it's already persisted for 42 years after it stopped making sense. The system will continue to operate until some catalyst or trigger event brings about catastrophic change.

The next Peak Cheap Oil price spike is not the only possible catalyst to bring about a U.S. bond and currency crisis, but it's the most likely candidate I'm aware of. I don't believe that U.S. energy independence is possible, but if it were, the end of oil imports from the Middle East would also be the catalyst to end exorbitant privilege and bring about a and currency crisis. To summarize, the music hasn't stopped quite yet, but when it does, this will end very, very badly. I'm pretty sure we're on the last song, but I don't know how long it has left to play.

Further Reading

Time Magazine's overview of the Bretton Woods system at,8599,1852254,00.html offers an excellent discussion which anyone can understand.

For those seeking a more detailed discussion, Iowa State University's Professor E. Kwan Choi offers excellent course notes on the subject at .

Wikipedia also offers articles on both the Bretton Woods system and the actual conference held there in 1944.

Erik Townsend is a hedge fund manager based in Hong Kong.

[Jan 10, 2020] Who controls the Iraq oil and occupies Iraq. It is still the USA

Jan 10, 2020 |

juliania , Jan 8 2020 19:35 utc | 212

First, thank you b for presenting the 'knowns' as you always do, succinctly and with your usual clarity. "Iran's missile launch...calls...bluff." That is what it did do, and effectively.

It should be very clear to all which country defines its own terms and which does not.

Some are pointing to the red flag for confirmation as to who has 'won' this challenge. Not necessary. A simple comparison of statements before and after, the witness of Iran's solidarity in the face of atrocity, and now, I think we simply watch and wait.

I will take from Michael Hudson's piece at the Saker site what will be a clear sign, and that will be who controls the oil? Someone did say on a previous thread that an oilfield near one of the bases attacked has been relinquished. And for those wondering about 'minimal damage' it ought to be pointed out that the airfields in question are on Iraq soil, and the less harm to them the better if Iraq is to be able to recover its assets. So too for Syria - it should not be forgotten that the problem that was arising was with the protection of terrorists on the Syria/Iraq border, and the boast that the US had control over the oil fields in that vicinity.

Also, dominion over the air space is crucial. As I understand it, that is now free of US planes and drones. How far that extends would be very important to all those who have shuddered at the sound of approaching engines for weddings and funerals these many years. What a sorry legacy this empire has left! And, may it have left it!

[Jan 10, 2020] Turkey discovered how dependent its economy had become on Russia including Russian gas during the trade embargo that ensued upon the shootdown of SU-24

Jan 10, 2020 |

karlof1 , Jan 8 2020 20:09 utc | 228

Walter @215--

Thanks for your reply! Some years ago prior to Russia's Syrian intervention, I examined where genuine Turkish national interests lay and concluded they weren't in the EU given the numerous repulses when attempting membership but rather they lay to the North and East in rekindling relations with longtime rivals Russia and Iran. Putin noted this rekindling's been ongoing for awhile:

"I would like to note that Russia has been exporting gas to Turkey for 30 years, even though not everyone knows about it. It was initially shipped through the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline, then through the direct, transit-free Blue Stream pipeline. Last year alone, 24 billion cubic metres of fuel was delivered to our Turkish partners."

Turkey discovered how dependent its economy had become on Russia during the trade embargo that ensued upon the shootdown of the Mig, which IMO is the main reason a spiteful Erdogan released the torrent of refugees into the EU as he finally realized Turkey's been used for decades by the West with no real tangible benefits to show. And yes, IMO he was returning to sender Terrorists to Libya, and it was no small number as it was several thousand.

IMO, Qatar and Turkey have Seen the Light when it comes to sponsoring terrorist affiliated organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood; That all they've done is contribute to the Evil Outlaw US Empire's plan for continuous destabilization of the Persian Gulf region as part of its strategy to interdict Eurasian Integration, the latter of which is in both Qatar's and Turkey's genuine national interest.

[Jan 10, 2020] The Saker interviews Michael Hudson

Highly recommended!
Looks like Iran is Catch22 for the USA: it can destroy it, but only at the cost of losing empire and dollar hegemony...
Notable quotes:
"... The United States is now turning on the screws demanding that other countries sacrifice their growth in order to finance the U.S. unipolar empire. In effect, foreign countries are beginning to respond to the United States what the ten tribes of Israel said when they withdrew from the southern kingdom of Judah, whose king Rehoboam refused to lighten his demands (1 Kings 12). They echoed the cry of Sheba son of Bikri a generation earlier: "Look after your own house, O David!" The message is: What do other countries have to gain by remaining in the US unipolar neoliberalized world, as compared to using their own wealth to build up their own economies? It's an age-old problem. ..."
"... The dollar will still play a role in US trade and investment, but it will be as just another currency, held at arms length until it finally gives up its domineering attempt to strip other countries' wealth for itself. However, its demise may not be a pretty sight. ..."
"... Conflict in the ME has traditionally almost always been about oil [and of course Israel]. This situation is different. It is only partially about oil and Israel, but OVERWHHEMINGLY it is about the BRI. ..."
"... The salient factor as I see it is the Oil for Technology initiative that Iraq signed with China shortly before it slid into this current mess. ..."
"... This was a mechanism whereby China would buy Iraq oil and these funds would be used directly to fund infrastructure and self-sufficiency initiatives and technologies that would help to drag Iraq out of the complete disaster that the US war had created in this country. A key part of this would be that China would also make extra loans available at the same time to speed up this development. ..."
"... "Iraq's Finance Ministry that the country had started exporting 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to China in October as part of the 20-year oil-for-infrastructure deal agreed between the two countries." ..."
"... "For Iraq and Iran, China's plans are particularly far-reaching, has been told by a senior oil industry figure who works closely with Iran's Petroleum Ministry and Iraq's Oil Ministry. China will begin with the oil and gas sector and work outwards from that central point. In addition to being granted huge reductions on buying Iranian oil and gas, China is to be given the opportunity to build factories in both Iran and Iraq – and build-out infrastructure, such as railways – overseen by its own management staff from Chinese companies. These are to have the same operational structure and assembly lines as those in China, so that they fit seamlessly into various Chinese companies' assembly lines' process for whatever product a particular company is manufacturing, whilst also being able to use the still-cheap labour available in both Iraq and Iraq." ..."
"... Hudson is so good. He's massively superior to most so called military analysts and alternative bloggers on the net. He can clearly see the over arching picture and how the military is used to protect and project it. The idea that the US is going to leave the middle east until they are forced to is so blind as to be ridiculous. ..."
"... I'd never thought of that "stationary aircraft carrier" comparison between Israel and the British, very apt. ..."
"... Trump et al assassinated someone who was on a diplomatic mission. This action was so far removed from acceptable behavior that it must have been considered to be "by any means and at all costs". ..."
"... This article, published by Strategic Culture, features a translation of Mahdi's speech to the Iraqi parliament in which he states that Trump threatened him with assassination and the US admitted to killing hundreds of demonstrators using Navy SEAL snipers. ..."
"... This description provided by Mr Hudson is no Moore than the financial basis behind the Cebrowski doctrine instituted on 9/11. ..."
"... "The leading country breaking up US hegemony obviously is the United States itself. That is Trump's major contribution The United States is now turning on the screws demanding that other countries sacrifice their growth in order to finance the U.S. unipolar empire." ..."
"... The US govt. have long since paid off most every European politician. Thusly, Europe, as separate nations that should be remain still under the yolk of the US Financial/Political/Military power. ..."
"... In any event, it is the same today. Energy underlies, not only the military but, all of world civilization. Oil and gas are overwhelmingly the source of energy for the modern world. Without it, civilization collapses. Thus, he who controls oil (and gas) controls the world. ..."
"... the link between the US $$$ and Saudi Oil, is the absolute means of the American Dollar to reign complete. This payment system FEEDS both the US Military, but WALL STREET, hedge funds, the US/EU oligarchs – to name just a few entities. ..."
Jan 09, 2020 |

[this interview was made for the Unz Review ]

Introduction: After posting Michael Hudson's article " America Escalates its "Democratic" Oil War in the Near East " on the blog, I decided to ask Michael to reply to a few follow-up questions. Michael very kindly agreed. Please see our exchange below.

The Saker

-- -- -

The Saker: Trump has been accused of not thinking forward, of not having a long-term strategy regarding the consequences of assassinating General Suleimani. Does the United States in fact have a strategy in the Near East, or is it only ad hoc?

Michael Hudson: Of course American strategists will deny that the recent actions do not reflect a deliberate strategy, because their long-term strategy is so aggressive and exploitative that it would even strike the American public as being immoral and offensive if they came right out and said it.

President Trump is just the taxicab driver, taking the passengers he has accepted – Pompeo, Bolton and the Iran-derangement syndrome neocons – wherever they tell him they want to be driven. They want to pull a heist, and he's being used as the getaway driver (fully accepting his role). Their plan is to hold onto the main source of their international revenue: Saudi Arabia and the surrounding Near Eastern oil-export surpluses and money. They see the US losing its ability to exploit Russia and China, and look to keep Europe under its control by monopolizing key sectors so that it has the power to use sanctions to squeeze countries that resist turning over control of their economies and natural rentier monopolies to US buyers. In short, US strategists would like to do to Europe and the Near East just what they did to Russia under Yeltsin: turn over public infrastructure, natural resources and the banking system to U.S. owners, relying on US dollar credit to fund their domestic government spending and private investment.

This is basically a resource grab. Suleimani was in the same position as Chile's Allende, Libya's Qaddafi, Iraq's Saddam. The motto is that of Stalin: "No person, no problem."

The Saker: Your answer raises a question about Israel: In your recent article you only mention Israel twice, and these are only passing comments. Furthermore, you also clearly say the US Oil lobby as much more crucial than the Israel Lobby, so here is my follow-up question to you: On what basis have you come to this conclusion and how powerful do you believe the Israel Lobby to be compared to, say, the Oil lobby or the US Military-Industrial Complex? To what degree do their interests coincide and to what degree to they differ?

Michael Hudson: I wrote my article to explain the most basic concerns of U.S. international diplomacy: the balance of payments (dollarizing the global economy, basing foreign central bank savings on loans to the U.S. Treasury to finance the military spending mainly responsible for the international and domestic budget deficit), oil (and the enormous revenue produced by the international oil trade), and recruitment of foreign fighters (given the impossibility of drafting domestic U.S. soldiers in sufficient numbers). From the time these concerns became critical to today, Israel was viewed as a U.S. military base and supporter, but the U.S. policy was formulated independently of Israel.

I remember one day in 1973 or '74 I was traveling with my Hudson Institute colleague Uzi Arad (later a head of Mossad and advisor to Netanyahu) to Asia, stopping off in San Francisco. At a quasi-party, a U.S. general came up to Uzi and clapped him on the shoulder and said, "You're our landed aircraft carrier in the Near East," and expressed his friendship.

Uzi was rather embarrassed. But that's how the U.S. military thought of Israel back then. By that time the three planks of U.S. foreign policy strategy that I outlined were already firmly in place.

Of course Netanyahu has applauded U.S. moves to break up Syria, and Trump's assassination choice. But the move is a U.S. move, and it's the U.S. that is acting on behalf of the dollar standard, oil power and mobilizing Saudi Arabia's Wahabi army.

Israel fits into the U.S.-structured global diplomacy much like Turkey does. They and other countries act opportunistically within the context set by U.S. diplomacy to pursue their own policies. Obviously Israel wants to secure the Golan Heights; hence its opposition to Syria, and also its fight with Lebanon; hence, its opposition to Iran as the backer of Assad and Hezbollah. This dovetails with US policy.

But when it comes to the global and U.S. domestic response, it's the United States that is the determining active force. And its concern rests above all with protecting its cash cow of Saudi Arabia, as well as working with the Saudi jihadis to destabilize governments whose foreign policy is independent of U.S. direction – from Syria to Russia (Wahabis in Chechnya) to China (Wahabis in the western Uighur region). The Saudis provide the underpinning for U.S. dollarization (by recycling their oil revenues into U.S. financial investments and arms purchases), and also by providing and organizing the ISIS terrorists and coordinating their destruction with U.S. objectives. Both the Oil lobby and the Military-Industrial Complex obtain huge economic benefits from the Saudis.

Therefore, to focus one-sidedly on Israel is a distraction away from what the US-centered international order really is all about.

The Saker: In your recent article you wrote: " The assassination was intended to escalate America's presence in Iraq to keep control the region's oil reserves ." Others believe that the goal was precisely the opposite, to get a pretext to remove the US forces from both Iraq and Syria. What are your grounds to believe that your hypothesis is the most likely one?

Michael Hudson: Why would killing Suleimani help remove the U.S. presence? He was the leader of the fight against ISIS, especially in Syria. US policy was to continue using ISIS to permanently destabilize Syria and Iraq so as to prevent a Shi'ite crescent reaching from Iran to Lebanon – which incidentally would serve as part of China's Belt and Road initiative. So it killed Suleimani to prevent the peace negotiation. He was killed because he had been invited by Iraq's government to help mediate a rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia. That was what the United States feared most of all, because it effectively would prevent its control of the region and Trump's drive to seize Iraqi and Syrian oil.

So using the usual Orwellian doublethink, Suleimani was accused of being a terrorist, and assassinated under the U.S. 2002 military Authorization Bill giving the President to move without Congressional approval against Al Qaeda. Trump used it to protect Al Qaeda's terrorist ISIS offshoots.

Given my three planks of U.S. diplomacy described above, the United States must remain in the Near East to hold onto Saudi Arabia and try to make Iraq and Syria client states equally subservient to U.S. balance-of-payments and oil policy.

Certainly the Saudis must realize that as the buttress of U.S. aggression and terrorism in the Near East, their country (and oil reserves) are the most obvious target to speed the parting guest. I suspect that this is why they are seeking a rapprochement with Iran. And I think it is destined to come about, at least to provide breathing room and remove the threat. The Iranian missiles to Iraq were a demonstration of how easy it would be to aim them at Saudi oil fields. What then would be Aramco's stock market valuation?

The Saker: In your article you wrote: " The major deficit in the U.S. balance of payments has long been military spending abroad. The entire payments deficit, beginning with the Korean War in 1950-51 and extending through the Vietnam War of the 1960s, was responsible for forcing the dollar off gold in 1971. The problem facing America's military strategists was how to continue supporting the 800 U.S. military bases around the world and allied troop support without losing America's financial leverage. " I want to ask a basic, really primitive question in this regard: how cares about the balance of payments as long as 1) the US continues to print money 2) most of the world will still want dollars. Does that not give the US an essentially "infinite" budget? What is the flaw in this logic?

Michael Hudson: The U.S. Treasury can create dollars to spend at home, and the Fed can increase the banking system's ability to create dollar credit and pay debts denominated in US dollars. But they cannot create foreign currency to pay other countries, unless they willingly accept dollars ad infinitum – and that entails bearing the costs of financing the U.S. balance-of-payments deficit, getting only IOUs in exchange for real resources that they sell to U.S. buyers.

This is the situation that arose half a century ago. The United States could print dollars in 1971, but it could not print gold.

In the 1920s, Germany's Reichsbank could print deutsche marks – trillions of them. When it came to pay Germany's foreign reparations debt, all it could do was to throw these D-marks onto the foreign exchange market. That crashed the currency's exchange rate, forcing up the price of imports proportionally and causing the German hyperinflation.

The question is, how many surplus dollars do foreign governments want to hold. Supporting the dollar standard ends up supporting U.S. foreign diplomacy and military policy. For the first time since World War II, the most rapidly growing parts of the world are seeking to de-dollarize their economies by reducing reliance on U.S. exports, U.S. investment, and U.S. bank loans. This move is creating an alternative to the dollar, likely to replace it with groups of other currencies and assets in national financial reserves.

The Saker: In the same article you also write: " So maintaining the dollar as the world's reserve currency became a mainstay of U.S. military spending. " We often hear people say that the dollar is about to tank and that as soon as that happens, then the US economy (and, according to some, the EU economy too) will collapse. In the intelligence community there is something called tracking the "indicators and warnings". My question to you is: what are the economic "indicators and warnings" of a possible (probable?) collapse of the US dollar followed by a collapse of the financial markets most tied to the Dollar? What shall people like myself (I am an economic ignoramus) keep an eye on and look for?

Michael Hudson: What is most likely is a slow decline, largely from debt deflation and cutbacks in social spending, in the Eurozone and US economies. Of course, the decline will force the more highly debt-leveraged companies to miss their bond payments and drive them into insolvency. That is the fate of Thatcherized economies. But it will be long and painfully drawn out, largely because there is little left-wing socialist alternative to neoliberalism at present.

Trump's protectionist policies and sanctions are forcing other countries to become self-reliant and independent of US suppliers, from farm crops to airplanes and military arms, against the US threat of a cutoff or sanctions against repairs, spare parts and servicing. Sanctioning Russian agriculture has helped it become a major crop exporter, and to become much more independent in vegetables, dairy and cheese products. The US has little to offer industrially, especially given the fact that its IT communications are stuffed with US spyware.

Europe therefore is facing increasing pressure from its business sector to choose the non-US economic alliance that is growing more rapidly and offers a more profitable investment market and more secure trade supplier. Countries will turn as much as possible (diplomatically as well as financially and economically) to non-US suppliers because the United States is not reliable, and because it is being shrunk by the neoliberal policies supported by Trump and the Democrats alike. A byproduct probably will be a continued move toward gold as an alternative do the dollar in settling balance-of-payments deficits.

The Saker: Finally, my last question: which country out there do you see as the most capable foe of the current US-imposed international political and economic world order? whom do you believe that US Deep State and the Neocons fear most? China? Russia? Iran? some other country? How would you compare them and on the basis of what criteria?

Michael Hudson: The leading country breaking up US hegemony obviously is the United States itself. That is Trump's major contribution. He is uniting the world in a move toward multi-centrism much more than any ostensibly anti-American could have done. And he is doing it all in the name of American patriotism and nationalism – the ultimate Orwellian rhetorical wrapping!

Trump has driven Russia and China together with the other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), including Iran as observer. His demand that NATO join in US oil grabs and its supportive terrorism in the Near East and military confrontation with Russia in Ukraine and elsewhere probably will lead to European "Ami go home" demonstrations against NATO and America's threat of World War III.

No single country can counter the U.S. unipolar world order. It takes a critical mass of countries. This already is taking place among the countries that you list above. They are simply acting in their own common interest, using their own mutual currencies for trade and investment. The effect is an alternative multilateral currency and trading area.

The United States is now turning on the screws demanding that other countries sacrifice their growth in order to finance the U.S. unipolar empire. In effect, foreign countries are beginning to respond to the United States what the ten tribes of Israel said when they withdrew from the southern kingdom of Judah, whose king Rehoboam refused to lighten his demands (1 Kings 12). They echoed the cry of Sheba son of Bikri a generation earlier: "Look after your own house, O David!" The message is: What do other countries have to gain by remaining in the US unipolar neoliberalized world, as compared to using their own wealth to build up their own economies? It's an age-old problem.

The dollar will still play a role in US trade and investment, but it will be as just another currency, held at arms length until it finally gives up its domineering attempt to strip other countries' wealth for itself. However, its demise may not be a pretty sight.

The Saker: I thank you very much for your time and answers! ­

Col...'the farmer from NZ' on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:19 pm EST/EDT

What a truly superb interview!

Another one that absolutely stands for me out is the below link to a recent interview of Hussein Askary.

As I wrote a few days ago IMO this too is a wonderful insight into the utterly complicated dynamics of the tinderbox that the situation in Iran and Iraq has become.

Conflict in the ME has traditionally almost always been about oil [and of course Israel]. This situation is different. It is only partially about oil and Israel, but OVERWHHEMINGLY it is about the BRI.

The salient factor as I see it is the Oil for Technology initiative that Iraq signed with China shortly before it slid into this current mess.

This was a mechanism whereby China would buy Iraq oil and these funds would be used directly to f