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Connecting the Dates – US Media Used To Stop The ‘Threat’ of Peace

Connecting the Dates – US Media Used To Stop The ‘Threat’ of Peace

This is not a column defending Donald Trump.

Across my career I have said more positive words about the scolex family of intestinal tapeworms than I have said about Donald Trump. (Scolex have been shown to read more.)

No, this is a column about context. When The New York Times reports anonymous sources from the intelligence community say Russia paid Taliban fighters to kill American soldiers, context is very important.

Some of that context is that Mike Pompeo said, “I was the CIA director – We lied, we cheated, we stole. We had entire training courses.” So we know for certain that U.S. intelligence agencies lie to you and me. We saw it with WMD, and we might be seeing it again now.

But that’s not the context I’m referring to. 

We could talk about the context of the fact that the Taliban does not need to be paid to kill American soldiers because their entire goal for the past twenty years has been to kill American soldiers. Paying them a bounty would be like offering the guy sleeping with your wife twenty bucks to sleep with your wife.

But that’s not the context I’m referring to. 

We could talk about the fact that the U.S. has been funding the Taliban for years! Yes, we fund them, sometimes arm them, and then fight them. This is barely a secret. So for all intents and purposes, the U.S. does the same thing our corporate media is now accusing Russia of doing (with no proof).

But that’s not the context I’m referring to. 

No, the context I’m referring to is how our military industrial complex (with the help of our ruling elite and our corporate media) have stopped Trump from pushing us toward the brink of peace. …Yes, the brink of peace.

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

Seriously, Get The Hell Out Of Afghanistan

Seriously, Get The Hell Out Of Afghanistan

With overwhelming bipartisan support, the House Armed Services Committee has added a Liz Cheney-spearheaded amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which throws severe roadblocks in the Trump administration’s proposed scale-down of US military presence in Afghanistan and Germany.

As The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald notes, both parties advancing the amendment cited in their arguments the completely unsubstantiated intelligence leak that was recently published by credulous mass media reporters alleging that Russia has paid bounties to Taliban fighters for killing the occupying forces in Afghanistan. Yet another western imperialist agenda once again facilitated by unforgivably egregious journalistic malpractice in the mass media.

Every aspect of this development is enraging.

The mass media have continued to add to their mountain of Gish gallop fallacies promoting this narrative with a new Daily Beast report citing former senior Taliban figure Mullah Manan Niazi who asserts that “The Taliban have been paid by Russian intelligence for attacks on U.S. forces—and on ISIS forces—in Afghanistan from 2014 up to the present.” The Beast’s own article admits that its source has severe conflicts of interest and is believed to be a CIA asset by Taliban leadership, and that Niazi provided no evidence of any kind for his claim or any further details whatsoever.

These flimsy, poorly-sourced allegations are being hammered into mainstream liberal consciousness on a daily basis now in the exact same way the discredited Russiagate psyop was, and just like with Russiagate the narrative they are being used to shape helps advance military expansionism and new cold war escalations which just so happen to fit perfectly into pre-existing geostrategic agendas of planetary domination.

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

Russia Denies Causing Latest Radioactivity Over Europe; UN Agency Says Origin “Still Unclear”

Russia Denies Causing Latest Radioactivity Over Europe; UN Agency Says Origin “Still Unclear”

Last Friday monitors with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) issued an alarming report that its radiation sensors based in Scandinavia picked up abnormal radioactivity levels in the air over the Baltics and Scandanavia. Its ultra-sensitive networked sensors set up across Europe and the world are capable of picking up nuclear weapons testing or possible nuclear power plant leakage anywhere around the globe.Leningrad plant in the town of Sosnovy Bor. TASS/Getty Images.

The Stockholm monitoring station “detected 3 isotopes; Cs-134, Cs-137 & Ru-103 associated with Nuclear fission at higher than usual levels,”according to CTBTO chief Lassina Zerbo. The UN nuclear agency has been investigating the ‘mystery’ radioactivity, which while not considered in large enough concentrations to harm humans, still “are certainly nuclear fission products, most likely from a civil source,” according to the prior CTBTO statement. “We are able to indicate the likely region of the source, but it’s outside the CTBTO’s mandate to identify the exact origin.” 

However it’s clear that there was a release of “very low” levels of man-made radioactivity.

The UN watchdog said Tuesday that the small amounts of radioactive isotopes detected over a significant area spanning from western Russia to Baltic countries to parts of Scandinavia still have an unclear origin and cause.  

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) director general, Rafael Grossi, also sought to assure the public that “the levels reported to the IAEA are very low and pose no risk to human health and the environment.”

According to the AP, European countries are being asked to self-report any radiation releases. So far at least 29 have voluntarily reported no known incidents within their borders, including Russia. Map issues by the CTBTO showing a spike in radioactivity over Nordic countries. 

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

Europe On Alert After Unknown Radioactivity Spike Detected Over Baltic Sea

Europe On Alert After Unknown Radioactivity Spike Detected Over Baltic Sea

Almost a year ago Russia admitted to releasing significant amounts of radiation into the air that triggered warning alerts in the region of the far north Arctic Circle port cities of Arkhangelsk and Severodvinsk, after a failed weapons test involving a “small-scale nuclear reactor” that killed Russian scientists – which was believed connected to Russia’s hypersonics program. 

We can’t help but recall that incident now with new reports of radiation sensors based in Scandinavia again picking up abnormal radioactivity levels in the air. Perhaps there’s some further failed weapons tests happening somewhere in the region?: 

“Radiation sensors in Stockholm have detected higher-than-usual but still harmless levels of isotopes produced by nuclear fission, probably from somewhere on or near the Baltic Sea, a body running a worldwide network of the sensors said on Friday,” Reuters reports.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) confirmed the higher than normal activity.

Its ultra-sensitive networked sensors set up across Europe and the world are capable of picking up nuclear weapons testing when it occurs anywhere around the globe.

As Reuters reports further, the Stockholm monitoring station “detected 3 isotopes; Cs-134, Cs-137 & Ru-103 associated with Nuclear fission at higher than usual levels,” according to CTBTO chief Lassina Zerbo, who made the announcement on Friday. 

The additional particles were picked up by the sensors last Monday and Tuesday, and confirmed by the nuclear monitoring organization. Zerbo pointed out, however, that it wasn’t at levels harmful for human health.

Russian nuclear plant in Saint Petersburg, AFP via Getty. 

“These are certainly nuclear fission products, most likely from a civil source,” the CTBTO said in a statement. “We are able to indicate the likely region of the source, but it’s outside the CTBTO’s mandate to identify the exact origin.” 

The organization further speculated that the source could have come from anywhere spanning from western Russia to Baltic countries to parts of Scandinavia

Facebook Singles Out State Media of US Adversaries for a Warning

Facebook Singles Out State Media of US Adversaries for a Warning

Ignoring state-owned media in nations allied with the U.S., Facebook is attaching a warning label to state media from countries the U.S. doesn’t like.

Facebook has begun adding labels to news articles it publishes from “state media” to warn readers about where their news is coming from.

The warning reads: “This publisher is wholly or partially under the editorial control of a state. This is determined by a range of factors, including but not limited to funding, structure and journalistic standards.”

“The concern for us is state media combines the agenda setting power of a media entity with the strategic backing of a state,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy, told CNN Business. “If you’re reading coverage of a protest, it’s really important you know who is writing that coverage and what motivation they have. The goal of this is to ensure the public will see and understand who is behind it.” 

Facebook is so far labeling news from only two state media outlets. It’s hardly surprising who they are:  Russian government-owned Sputnik and RT, and Xinhua, China’s national news agency.

A government can choose its adversaries. But nowhere is it written that the news media, or Facebook, has to automatically go along.  Doing so makes one look like state-run media.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies to Congress, April 2018. (YouTube)

Facebook will also ban advertising on its platform from state media it doesn’t like. So far that’s only from Russia and China.

These are purely political decisions made by Facebook under direct pressure from the U.S. government in open Congressional hearings. It has nothing to do with maintaining accuracy in media. 

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

Not A Deterrent, But Massive Provocation: Russia Blasts US Ambassador’s ‘Move Nukes To Poland’ Remarks

Not A Deterrent, But Massive Provocation: Russia Blasts US Ambassador’s ‘Move Nukes To Poland’ Remarks

The deeply contentious issue of US and NATO nuclear weapons right on Russia’s European doorstep of Poland is front and center once again, as the redeployment of US nuclear weapons from Germany to Poland is said to actually be on the table following an ongoing fierce debate inside Germany’s coalition government over the possible removal of US nuclear weapons from their soil.   

It started with a hugely provocative statement from Rick Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany who is also the acting director of National Intelligence, who wrote last week, “The purpose of NATO’s nuclear share is to keep non-nuclear member states involved in the planning of NATO’s deterrence policy. Germany’s participation in nuclear share ensures that its voice matters.”  He followed up with what appears a threatening ultimatum to the allied country:

“Will Germany bear this responsibility, or will it sit back and simply enjoy the economic benefits of security provided by its other allies?”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell in Meseberg, Germany, July 6, 2018. WSJ/Reuters

Amb. Grenell’s words were posted the US Embassy in Germany’s website. On the heels of these statements came a Saturday tweet by US Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher, who went so far to boldly suggest that America’s European nuclear arsenal could be hosted in Poland

Needless to say this is about the most outlandishly hawkish take proposed in years, even by Cold War standards:


Georgette Mosbacher✔@USAmbPoland

If Germany wants to diminish nuclear capability and weaken NATO, perhaps Poland – which pays its fair share, understands the risks, and is on NATO’s eastern flank – could house the capabilities here: https://cutt.ly/SyWQERl A credible nuclear deterrent remains needed | U.S. Embassy & Consulates in GermanyBy Richard A. Grenell US Ambassador to Germany   Before the fall of the Iron Curtain, Germany sat on the front lines of a possible nuclear conflict. So Germany and its NATO Allies came together to…de.usembassy.gov


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Second Wave? China Orders ‘Partial Lockdown’ Of Border City; Seoul’s Newest Cluster Explodes To 120 Cases: Live Updates

Second Wave? China Orders ‘Partial Lockdown’ Of Border City; Seoul’s Newest Cluster Explodes To 120 Cases: Live Updates

Summary:

  • VW ‘pauses’ manufacturing of VW Golf, SUVs
  • China imposes ‘partial lockdown’ on northeastern border city
  • SK’s ‘Itaewon’ cluster climbs to 120
  • Germany, Austria agree to reopen mutual border
  • Global cases: 4.22 million
  • Global deaths: 291,519
  • Poland reports record jump in new cases
  • Russia sees numbers start to slow after shocking record run of confirmations

*          *           *

Update (0745ET): After reopening the largest auto factory in the world, Volkswagen is reportedly ‘pausing’ production of the Volkswagen Golf (a compact model more popular in Europe), as well as its SUVs, due to ‘poor sales’.

What, exactly, was the point of reopening factories and potentially exposing workers to SARS-CoV-2, just to shut down operations again? Also, given that VW is the world’s largest carmaker, this is just the latest headline to undermine the “V-shaped” thesis/“fantasy”.

*          *           *

As we reported last night, news that LA County suspects its reopening will take up to 3 months – a month longer than previously expected – sent markets lower into the close. That news, combined with Dr. Fauci’s warning about states rushing to reopen, cemented the impression that the reopening of the American economy would probably be much more fraught with delays. And for a brief moment, it seemed like fun-durr-mentals almost mattered again…

Anyway, European markets wobbled Wednesday following reports that the latest cluster of cases in Seoul had climbed to 119, the latest increase of dozens of cases as contact-tracers scramble to test as many people as possible. More than 14k people have been tested so far. To be sure, investigators have made some discoveries that undermined the theory that all of these cases are connected to one “super-spreader”. Rather, it’s believed that most of these cases were likely individuals who were asymptomatically infected elsewhere. The cases have been linked to multiple cases.

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

Fourth Turning Accelerating Towards Climax

FOURTH TURNING ACCELERATING TOWARDS CLIMAX

“At some point, America’s short-term Crisis psychology will catch up to the long-term post-Unraveling fundamentals. This might result in a Great Devaluation, a severe drop in the market price of most financial and real assets. This devaluation could be a short but horrific panic, a free-falling price in a market with no buyers. Or it could be a series of downward ratchets linked to political events that sequentially knock the supports out from under the residual popular trust in the system. As assets devalue, trust will further disintegrate, which will cause assets to devalue further, and so on. Every slide in asset prices, employment, and production will give every generation cause to grow more alarmed.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

Economists Predict Great Depression II for US Economy: Fast or V ...

I’ve been writing articles about the Fourth Turning for over a decade and nothing has happened since its tumultuous onset in 2008, with the global financial collapse, created by the Federal Reserve and their Wall Street co-conspirator owners, that has not followed along the path described by Strauss and Howe in their 1997 book – The Fourth Turning.

Like molten lava bursting forth from a long dormant (80 years) volcano, the core elements of this Fourth Turning continue to flow along channels of distress, long ago built by bad decisions, corrupt politicians and the greed of bankers. The molten ingredients of this Crisis have been the central drivers since 2008 and this second major eruption is flowing along the same route. The core elements are debt, civic decay, and global disorder, just as Strauss & Howe anticipated over two decades ago.

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

Futures Plunge As WTI Crashes By Most On Record, Tumbling To $11 Per Barrel

Futures Plunge As WTI Crashes By Most On Record, Tumbling To $11 Per Barrel

Oil prices crashed the most on record with the May WTI futures contract hitting its lowest level since 1999, plunging as low as $11 or down 38%, as nobody wants to take actual physical storage amid widespread fears crude storage will soon be full; meanwhile companies prepare to report the worst quarterly earnings since the financial crisis, while tens of thousands of people continue to get sick every day with the coronavirus.

While Brent was only down $1.12, or 4%, at $26.96 a barrel on Monday morning, the carnage took place in the landlocked WTI, whose May contract fell $5.70 to its lowest since March 1998 though the sell-off was exaggerated by the contract’s Tuesday expiry because no one wants to be left long to take delivery as there is nowhere to put the physical product. In any case, the 37% drop was the biggest one-day drop on record!

“The May contract is set to expire tomorrow and the bulk of the open interest and volume is already in the June contract,” said ING’s head of commodities strategy, Warren Patterson.  To be sure, the June contract, which is more actively traded, fell only $2.18, or 8.7%, to $22.85 a barrel, sending the prompt spread to a record $11/barrel.

Not helping oil was an interfax report that Russia increased oil output by almost 1% in the last 3-days. While the OPEC+ deal comes into effect on May 1st, Russia is not bound by the pact to reduce its output until then; and – it appears – Moscow is looking to make the most of the next 10 days, even if it means sending the front-end to zero.

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

Meanwhile, WW3 May Be Brewing While We’re Distracted

Meanwhile, WW3 May Be Brewing While We’re Distracted

Those who are paying close attention to the pandemic may have missed that another potential killer is brewing across the ocean. In Syria today, there is the real and looming threat of a third world war. Not only is Syria fighting Western-backed terrorists on its territory, there are many more players involved on Syrian soil – from the Russians and Iranians to the Americans, Turks, and Israelis and, with the recent Turkish actions, all of those players could very well come to blows.

It’s well-known to geopolitical scholars that the world is already in global conflict. With the United States, NATO, Israel, EU, and the Gulf States loosely united against the “multi-polar” world of Russia, China, Iran and a growing host of “target” nations that prefer the carrot over the stick, the globe is already in a quiet world war, though the major powers have yet to publicly declare it on one another. As it stands currently, the global conflict is more akin to the Cold War where color revolutions and proxy wars are the order of the day. However, the quiet war can only remain quiet for so long, until one side begins to see that it is the inevitable loser. Then the quiet war becomes loud.

When the Western powers initiated the war against Syria in 2011, it was largely expected and intended to go the way of the Libyan disaster that just ended. However, with the unity of Syrian culture, Syrian government leadership and, most importantly, Russia entering into the war on the side of the Syrian government, the quick destruction of the Syrian state has resulted in a nine year war that has seen Syria turn the tide on the largest and most effective military state in the world.

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

The Saudi-Russian oil price war tag team: Are things what they seem?

The Saudi-Russian oil price war tag team: Are things what they seem?

To the casual observer Saudi Arabia and Russia, two of the top three producers of oil in the world, have been having a spat about what to do about low oil prices. (See here and here.) Each has accused the other of bad faith and counterproductive behavior. But is that merely what the two oil powers want you to believe?

We’ve been here before. Throughout most of 2016 Saudi Arabia and Russia put on a two-person show for the entire world, pretending time after time to move close to an agreement to lower production in order to prop up oil prices, only to back away or delay at the last minute. The two kept this up for most of 2016. They incited periodic spikes in the oil price without ever having to cut one barrel of production, spikes that kept prices higher for weeks until they drifted back down to levels that reflected reality.

But I believe the most important thing they were trying to achieve then was to create an atmosphere of continuing uncertainty. That uncertainty was supposed to scare investors and lenders away from U.S. shale oil producers who were still hurting from an oil price collapse that began at the end of 2014. Saudi Arabia and Russia wanted to prevent those producers from resurrecting U.S. production and undermining oil prices again. Simply stated, Saudi Arabia and Russia wanted the shale oil industry to go bust in a way that would prevent a recovery for many years. 

But investors and lenders could not be frightened away, and they resumed financing shale oil operations in the United States.

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

In Late Thriller, OPEC Production Cut Deal Collapses After Mexico Gives Crown Prince The Finger

In Late Thriller, OPEC Production Cut Deal Collapses After Mexico Gives Crown Prince The Finger

Earlier today we reported that following a dramatic objection to the OPEC+ production cut which was agreed upon by Russia and Saudi Arabia (but few other OPEC members), Mexico had initially threatened to quit OPEC as it refused to comply with the imposed 23% cut forced on all members, but less than an hour later the southern US neighbor reportedly had changed its mind as Reuters reported that Mexico had in fact agreed to the OPEC+ production cut deal after all.

Well, scratch all that because it appears the Reuters “news” was fake, sourced from some conflicted Saudi minister who wanted to put Mexico in a position where it had no choice but to accept the reality that had been imposed upon it. Unfortunately for the Saudis, this “plan” was laughable and late on Thursday, Mexico logged off the OPEC+ alliance’s videoconference emergency meeting after nine hours of talks Thursday, without agreeing to the landmark 10 million b/d production cut accord that members were hoping could stem a bruising rout in oil prices caused by the coronavirus pandemic and send the price of oil surging, S&P Global Platts reported, whose sources we can now confirm are far more credible than those of Reuters.

The rest of the coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, were in discussions over how to proceed, with many ministers angry over the potential blow-up of the deal.  The coalition will likely try to convince Mexico again Friday at a G20 energy ministerial that was originally scheduled to seek the participation of the US, Canada, Brazil and other key producers outside of OPEC+ to join its efforts.

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

Oil Spikes After Russia Says Ready For “Substantial Output Cut”, But Warns 10MMb/d Cut Not Enough

Oil Spikes After Russia Says Ready For “Substantial Output Cut”, But Warns 10MMb/d Cut Not Enough

Over the weekend, following the biggest ever oil short-squeeze in history following rampant hopes that Saudi Arabia and Russia were considering putting their differences aside and cutting up to 10mmb/d in oil output, we said that in a world where oil demand has plunged by as much as a quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic, or as much as 26mmb/d, such a cut would “not be nearly enough to balance the oil market but at least it was a start.”

Then, moments ago, oil which had been drifting in Monday’s session after the report that a new burst of animosity between Saudi Arabia and Russia has pushed back today’s virtual R-OPEC meeting to later in the week, oil spiked after a Reuters rehash of headlines over the past 3 days, namely that Russia is ready to discuss very substantial oil output cuts “due to global demand collapse“, but – just as we warned over the weekend – Russia dded that “global oil output cuts of 10mmbpd might not be enough to balance the market.”

Well, yeah: with demand down 26mmb/d, supply would have to drop by a similar amount to balance the market.

As a result, Dow Jones reported separately that Saudi Arabia has also invited non-OPEC member Norway, UK and Brazil to the summit in hopes of getting everyone nation to agree to cut output, not just R-OPEC and potentially US shale producers. And as DJ also added citing sources, according to OPEC Plus – which now hopes to hold its summit on Friday – the output cuts would be contingent on G-20 cooperation. In short, while Saudi Arabia destroyed OPEC when it flooded the world with oil last month, it now hopes to not only recreate the oil producing cartel to include every single oil producing nation in the world but to convince said cartel to ease production.

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

The OPEC Meeting Could Send Oil Prices Crashing Below $10

The OPEC Meeting Could Send Oil Prices Crashing Below $10

OPEC Meeting

The current optimism of analysts and the media that an end to the ongoing OPEC+ oil price spat is near is entirely unjustified. The ongoing oil market volatility, the battle between leading producers for market share, the logistical impossibility of enforcing U.S. production cuts, and the continued demand destruction caused by COVID-19 are not issues that can be solved by an OPEC meeting. Immediately after Trump’s latest OPEC twitter offensive, Saudi Arabia and Russia came out with critical statements about the impact and influence of the US president on the matter. While Putin and Mohammed bin Salman are reluctant to bash Trump, the real power when it comes to the oil market does not lie with the U.S. President. The tweet by Trumpclaiming that MBS and Putin would agree to a 10+ million bpd production cut shows not only his overestimation of his own power over the two countries, but also shows a lack of knowledge about the underlying market fundamentals and the current demand destruction worldwide.  As former US president George W. Bush stated during his election campaign, which did not end well as we know, “it’s the economy stupid” that matters in the end. Trump’s tweets and general approach to this matter suggests he and his administration are out of touch with reality. Even if a Saudi-Russian combination would cut 10 million bpd, the oil price reaction would be minimal and very short-lived. At present, leading oil market experts such as Vitol, Trafigura and Goldman Sachs are warning of a total demand destruction of 20 million bpd or more.

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

Crude Crashes Over 10% After OPEC+ Meeting Delays

Crude Crashes Over 10% After OPEC+ Meeting Delays

Crude prices are plunging early in Asian trading with Brent down 12% following a delay to the much-hoped-for OPEC+ meeting (due tomorrow, Monday, but now pushed off until Thursday).

As Ransquawk details, an OPEC+ call that was scheduled for Monday has been delayed until Thursday, amid an intensifying dispute between Russia and Saudi Arabia over who is to blame for falling crude prices.Participants are to discuss the demand hit to crude from COVID-19. Analysts do not seem to be convinced that the group will make sufficient progress; the Saudis and Russia have called for other global producers – namely US, Canada and Mexico – to share the burden of cuts, while Norway has also said it would consider cutting production in any coordinated global effort.

LEVEL OF CUTS: Ahead of the now notorious March OPEC meeting, there was a recommendation to cut an additional 1.5mln BPD from April 2020 through the end of 2020, with a review in June. The deal was conditional on support from OPEC+, and OPEC said any deal could only be applied on a pro-rata basis, and proposed core members cut by 1mln BPD, and non-OPEC by 500k. Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, a figure of 10mln BPD cut to output has been floated (around 10% of global supply), although following a call with Saudi Arabia, US President Trump last week indicated that it could be as much as 15mln BPD. A source has suggested that the 10mln should be slashed from current levels of output. Either way, Goldman Sachs thinks that the demand hit might actually be more like 26mln BPD, and a cut of 10mln BPD may prove to be insufficient.

…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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