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The Italian people must understand that their country is at war

The Italian people must understand that their country is at war

The conflict between the European Union and Italy is a full-blown financial war. Euro countries cannot print their own money and for that reason they cannot have an endless deficit. Countries within the eurozone have to live within their means or else, without the intervention of the ECB, they will go bankrupt. Nobody knows the consequences of an Italian default and debt restructuring, but it can lead to the end of the euro.

To make the euro sustainable, the European financial elites want the Italians to reduce their spending and turn a budget deficit into a budget surplus. However, due to the country’s shrinking population the Italian budget deficit — as we have argued many times – can only increase. The European commission rejects the Italian budget because Rome wants to increase its debt far beyond the limit allowed by the ECB. “This is the first Italian budget that the EU doesn’t like,” wrote Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio on Facebook. “No surprise: This is the first Italian budget written in Rome and not in Brussels!”1)Matteo Salvini added: “This (the rejection of the Italian budget plan by the EU) doesn’t change anything.”. “They’re not attacking a government but a people. These are things that will anger Italians even more,” he said.2)

The country has entered a demographic winter3)and sustainable economic growth is simply impossible, at least for the foreseeable future. As is the case with the whole of Europe, the continent needs a plan to support an ageing and declining population. As if not aware of it, the Brussels-Frankfurt establishment only wants Italy to stick to their austerity program, i.e. decrease public spending and do away with the current Italian administration, which refuses to comply.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A new flashpoint in the Mediterranean deepens the conflict between Turkey, Cyprus and Greece

A new flashpoint in the Mediterranean deepens the conflict between Turkey, Cyprus and Greece

The conflict over gas in the eastern Mediterranean is intensifying. In February, the first case of intervention by the Turkish navy took place in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus. Last month, two more flashpoints have appeared.

The dispute concerns gas blocks, i.e. areas into which waters around Cyprus have been divided. Turkey does not recognize the government in Nicosia or its agreements regarding EEZ. Ankara thinks that the right to extract gas should also be exercised by the Turkish Cypriots and also by Turkey in the case of Blocks 4, 5, 6, and 7, through which – according to Ankara – passes the Turkish maritime border (the map below).

At the beginning of October, Cyprus put gas extraction in the disputed Block 7 out to tender,1) which the Gefira Team has informed about.2) In response to this, in the middle of the same month, Turkey sent an exploration ship assisted by four naval vessels and began exploration in the area of 44 thousand km2, including blocks 4 and 5.3) Nicosia and Athens consider it a violation of the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus.4) On October 18, another event took place. Greece reported that the Turkish ship had entered the Greek continental shelf, which provoke Athens to send the frigate Nikiforos to drive the Turks out.5)

[Location of the Turkish research ship Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa in October 2018 in the disputed area in the Eastern Mediterranean. Source: Marine Traffic]
In the vicinity of the disputed waters, exploration is carried out by, among others, Italian Eni, French Total and American ExxonMobil. When the Turkish Navy stopped an Eni research vessel in the EEZ of Cyprus in February, Rome decided to send a frigate.6)…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The European financial establishment has just declared war on Italy

The European financial establishment has just declared war on Italy

This week in a CNBC interview Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the former Dutch minister of finance who served as the President of the Eurogroup, declared war on the Italian government. The European financial establishment is prepared to destroy the banking system and cause the Italian economy to implode. Like a Mafia boss, Dijsselbloem warned that Italy could run into trouble if it does not comply with Brussels’ directives. Of course, his statement was cloaked in diplomatic language:

“If the Italian crisis becomes a major crisis, it will mainly implode into the Italian economy … as opposed to spreading around Europe,” he said. “Because of the way that the Italian economy and the Italian banks are financed, it’s going to be an implosion rather than an explosion.”

For a man of this format it is unusual to publicly expose Italy as a state in a weak negotiating position or try to act as a scaremonger. We have never seen anything remotely like that, so we think that the utterance could only serve the purpose of giving the green light to the financial markets to orchestrate an attack on Italian bonds so as to drive Italian yield up.

“And there is gonna be a role for the markets, I mean if you look at what Italy needs in funding next year alone we are talking about over 250 billion Euro, refinancing part of the stock of their debt and also, of course, these new spending plans. So markets will really have to look at that very critically.”

Italy’s situation is ‘pretty worrisome’: Dijsselbloem from CNBC.

He reminded the Italian government that Italian banks are a sitting target for the European financial authorities. In order to destabilize a country’s economy, one must break its backbone i.e. banks.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Does the United States strive for a new Cold War?

Does the United States strive for a new Cold War?

Donald Trump’s administration regularly increases military presence in Central Europe. The currently discussed idea is to create an American permanent military base in Poland, that is to say, a further shift of the US military presence towards the Russian border. The question arises whether, through the constant presence of the US Army in Poland, Donald Trump wants to improve the defense of the Old Continent or strives to play against each other the interests of individual members of the European Union. The weaker Europe is, the stronger is the United States.

Although the idea of American permanent military presence in Central Europe is not new, it gained much publicity after the September meeting at the White House between Polish President Andrzej Duda and Donald Trump. Warsaw suggested not only building a base but also a name for it: Fort Trump. After initial doubts, Washington, noting the benefits which it might derive, accepted this proposal.1)That’s why a few days later, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis reported that certain areas are already being evaluated whether they are suitable for this purpose.2)Leaving aside the issue of allegedly improving the security of NATO’s eastern flank, there is more to see than meets the eye in the permanent presence of Americans in Poland. Warsaw perceives the United States as an ally in an ongoing dispute with the EU. Relations between Brussels and Washington have also deteriorated. Therefore, by relocating its troops to the east, the United States would be putting pressure on Germany to increase defense spending, import US LNG or veto Nord Stream II.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Déjà vu: the gas conflict around Cyprus is getting worse

Déjà vu: the gas conflict around Cyprus is getting worse

In early October, the Cypriot government invited tenders for gas extraction in Block 7.1)Ankara believes that this step impairs the interests of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots and announced that remedial measures will be taken, which might entail an escalation of tensions in this region of the Mediterranean.

Turkey neither recognizes Cyprus’s maritime borders nor the agreements its exclusive economic zones. Nicosia manages the gas exploration in the waters it considers its own. This leads to a conflict about which the Gefira Team is reporting on a regular basis. In February we described the complex situation in connection with the gas blocks around Cyprus.2)Then the Turkish navy stopped the exploration ship of Italian Eni from entering Cyprus’ territorial waters by threatening to sink it.3)In response, Rome sent its own ships to the region.

So far, the dispute concerned the southern and eastern basin around Cyprus. Last week Nicosia invited tenders for gas exploration in Block 7, which could be another casus belli, because Blocks 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7 are crossed by the Turkish-Egyptian border, recognized by Turkey. Cyprus, however, in 2003 concluded an agreement with Egypt regarding the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which Ankara does not honour.
The Turkish government is of the opinion that both the Turkish authorities and North Nicosia (the capital of Northern Cyprus) have the right to decide on the exploitation of these sectors.

Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement,4)in which it says that:

  1. mining in Block 7 cannot take place without Turkey’s consent due to the sea border passing there;
  2. Cypriot Turks are co-owners of the island and hence of its natural resources at the bottom of territorial waters;
  3. unilateral invitation of tenders by Nicosia violates the interests of Northern Cyprus and Turkey;
  4. Ankara will take steps to protect its rights and those of Turkish Cypriots, including the blocking of the third party’s exploration5)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Italian debt; a financial disaster waiting to happen

Italian debt; a financial disaster waiting to happen

The new Italian government will increase public spending and public debt. It promised to reduce taxes, introduce basic security and reform pensions. Italy’s Northern League’s leader Mateo Salvini surged in the polls and the party is now the strongest in Italy. A couple of years ago it was inconceivable that this regional group could become Italy’s leading political party. We should expect more to come. As the saying goes, it just could not happen till it happened. The financial establishments in North European countries like Germany and the Netherlands assume that the politicians of M5S and Lega Nord will follow the Greek script and will backtrack on their promises. But Mateo Salvini and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte know that if they do not live up to the expectation of the voters, they will be voted out of office. They are also aware of it that the Italian voter has still another alternative called “CasaPound”, a much more radical, if for the time being insignificant, social and anti-migration movement.

The planned reforms could burden the state budget with an additional 125 billion euros per year. Can the Italian government afford such a thing?1)

The question is rhetorical when you look at Italy’s growing debt mountain.

It amounts to €2300 billion, of which 1900 billion are government bonds. What should worry investors, however, is the structure of this debt. Ten years ago, when the last financial crisis broke out, 51% of these government bonds were hold by foreign investors. When the climate for investment in a country deteriorates, they sell these bonds immediately. When in 2011 the Berlusconi government threatened to withdraw from the eurozone budget rules because of the huge budget deficit, German and French banks sold Italian government bonds BTP (Buoni del Tesoro Poliennali) worth a total of €150 billion. In the following years, foreigners bought Italian debt instruments again for around €100 billion, but their share is now very low at 36%.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Perfect Storm for 2020: Weidmann at the ECB, Trump’s trade war, Macron’s failure, Italy’s turmoil

The Perfect Storm for 2020: Weidmann at the ECB, Trump’s trade war, Macron’s failure, Italy’s turmoil

Clouds are gathering: Weidmann will end QE while Macron’s reform will not solve any problem whatsoever. It’ll be the final push for a Eurosceptic Italy, where plans for parallel currencies are popping up. Add Trump’s trade war to the soup and 2020 promises to turn nasty.

It is becoming increasingly clear that at the end of 2019 Jens Weidmann, current President of the Bundesbank, will replace Mario Draghi at the helm of the European Central Bank. The change in terms of economic beliefs will be radical and, combined with the other developing issues in Italy and the US, which will be discussed later in the text, might as well put an end to the misery of the Eurozone.

What does Jens Weidmann believe in?
As a typical post-Weimar German, he believes in strong currency and low inflation. The Financial Times carried an interesting interview with him a few weeks ago,1)in which the German financier expressed his opposition to everything that Mario Draghi has stood for in the last few years and made known his wish to stop the quantitative easing program and replace it with raised interest rates. What happens when interest rates increase? If they go up too fast, markets crumble. Low interest rates offered for too long have contributed to the subprime mortgages debacle of 2007-8. In 2012, at the peak of the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, Draghi promised to do ”whatever it takes” to preserve the European common currency. Weidmann was the only one on the board of the ECB who was opposed to this too. Draghi’s statement had a therapeutic effect on financial markets which quickly calmed down after it. Once he’s gone, however, Weidmann is unlikely to show the same resolve to indeed do whatever it might take to keep the currency together. Finally, just like most Germans, he is not a fan of Emmanuel Macron’s idea of creating a Eurozone budget because the money transfer is seen as too much of a concession towards “lazy Southerners”. Maybe in the end Weidmann will opt to preserve the status-quo, but if he sticks to his beliefs, rates will increase, markets will fall and it’ll be the end of the Eurozone.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Natural gas sets the stage for an armed conflict in the East Mediterranean

Natural gas sets the stage for an armed conflict in the East Mediterranean

The efforts of individual countries to access the gas fields in the south-eastern part of the Mediterranean make the area very vulnerable to new conflicts and war and can also lead to a dispute within NATO and affect Europe’s energy security, putting the EASTMED pipeline in question. The war for natural resources is looming large.

The first problem is the relationship between Cyprus and Turkey. Ankara, the only capital which recognizes North Cyprus, says that all activities related to the extraction of gas in the Cypriot area are an encroachment on the interests of North Cyprus. While Turkey does not recognize agreements between Cyprus and other countries on the issue of economic exclusive zone (EEZ) or licenses for gas exploration in Cypriot territorial waters, Nicosia holds the opposite opinion. Ankara, through the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) puts forward claims that it is entitled to look for gas and oil in Cypriot waters and has the right to defend its interests there. Cyprus issued a number of concessions to various mining companies on more than half of the blocks (i.e. parts of the economic exclusive zone on which companies could explore gas or oil) located within the Cypriot EZZ. President Erdoğan warned Cyprus and international gas exploration companies that the violation of Turkish interests would have bad consequences.1)In the middle of February 2018 the warning was made good and so the Saipem 1200 mining vessel operating for Italian company – Eni was blocked by Turkish ships. Italy responded by sending a military ship to the area.2)This shows how explosive the situation is now that two NATO member states want to pursue economic goals without backing them with diplomacy.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Soros and the EU Commission are now against the free Internet

Soros and the EU Commission are now against the free Internet

With his investments, Soros has become a billionaire. Unfortunately, for many years he has been interfering in the political and demographic developments in Europe and has been financially promoting ethnic replacement. Now he is turning against CSU, Facebook and Twitter because they are endangering his leftist revolution.

Like every year, Soros gave his speech on the state of the world at the World Economic Forum in Davos (see movie).1)The neo-liberal quasi self-made sage spoke to his heart’s content, while the open, freedom-loving society he invited soaked in each of his words like a sponge. Now hardly anyone noticed that Soros was trying to take away their freedoms.

In the beginning Soros spoke about Russia, which he describes as a mafia state, which adopted nationalist ideology and then he said that the US under Trump’s presidency will become similar in this respect. He now also included Hungary in the axis of evil. It is nothing new because he has always been hostile towards governments that are trying to protect their citizens from the consequences of open borders policies and the idea of an open society. What was new was that he scourged social networks. Soros maintains that since they have grown into powerful monopolies, they influence our behaviour and consciousness (especially during election time) too much.

They deceive their users by manipulating their attention and directing it towards their own economic interests and (…) making them dependent on their services (…) The platforms resemble casinos (…) and force people (…) to renounce what John Stuart Mill called the freedom of thought. Is that why Facebook and Twitter are banned in countries like China, Afghanistan and North Korea? Are people really allowed to think freely without access to the internet and the opportunity to post their opinions?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Euro – a disaster – failed monetary unions past and present

Euro – a disaster – failed monetary unions past and present

A glance at history

The beginnings of monetary union can be traced back to attempts to unify the coin standard. Emperor Augustus successfully unified the coins in the Roman Empire – for over 400 years the gold coins were minted almost exclusively with the seal of the Roman Emperor. The fall of the Roman Empire, caused among other things by its multiculturalism and multinationality, led to the disintegration of the state and to the deterioration of the coin value through a lower proportion of gold or silver. Until the 19th century, the fragmentation of the right to mint coins to the regional rulers led to the fact that the profit resulting from the creation of money from the difference between metal value and production costs and the value of the coins issued was no longer allocated only to a feudal ruler. In the 19th century, completely new methods of creating money emerged for the ruling classes – paper standards were gradually introduced. The paper standard should no longer be based on gold or silver parity, but should be secured by appropriate policy of the central bank, especially by influencing interest rates. In the 19th century, monetary unions were developed, on which the idea of the euro was based. All failed.

In 1865, the Latin Monetary Union unified the currencies of France, Italy, Belgium, Greece and Switzerland. A French franc corresponded to an Italian lira, which corresponded to a Belgian franc, etc. Greece and Italy were then as now debtor countries. The Union’s objectives were similar to those of the euro zone today: to simplify trade and make countries more competitive on world markets.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

World War in Syria and Iraq (MAP)

World War in Syria and Iraq (MAP)

For some time now Syria and Iraq have been a place where interests of many players are clashing. The region is being devastated by civil war or a war by proxy, fought by a number of participants, where the borderline between friend and foe is sharp or vague as the case may be.

The military sorties, airstrikes and other activities are taking place on a day-to-day basis. Conflicting pieces of information that can be gleaned from a variety of sources may reflect both the factual status or the propaganda of the powers that be, hidden behind the media outlets. It is not easy to see the forest for the trees, to filter valuable data in this informational noise. Still, our readers deserve to be informed. With all this in mind, the Gefira team has made an effort to present the current situation in Syria and Iraq in an accessible graphic and textual way according to the best of our ability.

Australia
The Australian Defence Forces have an estimated 780 personnel in Iraq. At Camp Taji and other bases they have trained more than 20 000 of the Iraqi Security Forces and 3 000 federal policemen.1)2) Australia has 3 kinds of Task Groups in Iraq:

1) Task Group Taji – which is a training mission – 300 personnel;
2) Australian Air Task Group (ATG), operating within a US-led international coalition assembled to disrupt and destroy ISIL. The ATG consists of six Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornets, an E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft and a KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT);3)
3) Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) – about 80 personnel.4)
[see map below]

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Egypt Is On The Edge Of Full Blown Civil War

Egypt Is On The Edge Of Full Blown Civil War

Via GEFIRA,

In the last few days there were dozens of separate attacks in Egypt from the Sinai up to Cairo. Probably more than 60 people died while the Egyptian army used F16 attack plains to protect itself against it disgruntled population. It is clear that the Egyptian rulers will not be able to contain the current situation, today could be marked as the start of Egypt’s civil war.

Democratic elected governments were violently overthrown, in Algeria, Egypt and  Palestinian territories.In Algeria the FIS  had won the first held elections with a convincing majority in 1990 and 1992. It has been removed from power in 1992 by a coup d’etat that was highly approved by the West. Probably 150.000 people died in the civil war that followed these events up.

HAMAS winning the 2006 elections in the Palestinian territories resulted in a war among Palestinians and ended up with a split of Gaza and the West Bank

In 2011 Morsi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood won the first free elections in Egypt.

In 2013 the first elected president of Egypt was removed by the army. There are clear signs that anti-democratic forces were deliberately destabilizing Egypt before the coup d’etat in 2013. In the running up of the July 3th coup by General Sisi an artificial oil shortages was created that contributed to the mass protest against the elected president of Egypt.

The new army coup was financially supported by the Saudi rulers while the West was mute, the only vocalized opposition came from Turkey’s ruler MrErdo?an.

Washington was silent about Egypt’s coup and even resumed the delivery of military hardware to the Egyptian rulers, at the same moment Morsi received the dead penalty during a mock process.  The situation in Egypt will be much worse than the situation that we saw in Algeria in 1992.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

 

 

 

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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