Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
just like walnuts mccain in the next post down, all the various usaian govt organs just say whatever it is to their momentary advantage to say, regardless of whether it’s true or not
Homeland Security: No ISIS Threat at Border
Kurt Nimmo, Infowars, Sep 16 2014
The Dept of Homeland Security has countered warnings that terrorists from ISIS will cross Usaia’s southern border. Homeland Security officials declared in a written statement, according to the NYT:
There is no credible intelligence to suggest that there is an active plot by ISIS to attempt to cross the southern border.
Democrats are attempting to spin the warnings issued last month by government insiders. In August Judicial Watch cited high-level sources in the federal government stating ISIS would cross the border “very soon” and launch attacks. At the same time Judicial Watch released its report, the Texas Department of Public Safety issued a situational awareness report stating ISIS has expressed an interest in crossing the border. The bulletin warned:
A review of ISIS social media messaging during the week ending August 26 shows that militants are expressing an increased interest in the notion that they could clandestinely infiltrate the southwest border of US, for terror attack.
It also stated at the time there was no known or credible homeland security threats present on the border. Fears of potential terrorist activity along the porous border is not new. Magnus Ranstorp, director of the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, told the LA Times in 2004:
We are seeing a pattern of terrorist suspects exploring opportunities to get hold of Mexican passports and documents and infiltrating into Usaia through Mexico.
Democrats insist the border is not open to terrorists despite the fact thousands of illegal immigrants and drug smugglers cross the border on a weekly basis. Rep Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat from Texas, told the NYT:
There’s a longstanding history in this country of projecting whatever fears we have onto the border. In the absence of understanding the border, they insert their fears. Before it was Iran and AQ. Now it’s ISIS. They just reach the conclusion that invasion is imminent, and it never is.
walnuts also has a novel argument: if you haven’t met the nazis, like he has, you’re not entitled to have an opinion about them one way or the other
Angry Walnuts Admits Meeting With ISIS, Scolds Rand Paul For Not Knowing Them Like He Does
Steve Watson, Infowars, Sep 16 2014
In a weak effort to smear Rand Paul, Walnuts McCain attempted to argue that the Kentucky Senator doesn’t have the authority to disagree with US policies regarding ISIS because he hasn’t met up with members of the terror group, unlike Walnuts himself. In an appearance on Fox News Monday, Walnuts was asked to respond to Paul’s comments earlier in the day, when the libertarian-leaning Senator told CBS This Morning that arming Syrian rebels would only empower ISIS in the long run. And that’s when things got weird. Walnuts asked, clearly in reference to his own visit to Syria in 2013, where he was photographed with leaders of the FSA:
Has Rand Paul ever been to Syria? Has he ever met with ISIS? Has he ever met with any of these people? No, no, no.
Don’t attempt to look for any logic in Walnuts’ blathering, because there isn’t any. This is not the first time Walnuts has attempted to make this idiotic argument. When intelligence emerged that up to 40% of the “moderate” rebels are actually extremists, Walnuts argued that the claims were not true because he has personally met the rebels. Walnuts said at the time:
I know who they are. I was in Syria and I met them. There’s about 70% still who are Free Syrian Army.
This despite the fact that a study by defense consultancy IHS Jane’s found that only around 30% of rebels are fighting for secular values. Walnuts, who has long pushed to arm Syrian rebels, declared that it is “patently false” to claim that arms supplied to the so called “moderate” militants have actually wound up with ISIS in Iraq and Syria terrorists. He said:
We’re going to have a fight, because it’s patently false. This is the same Rand Paul that said we didn’t want to have anything to do with anything to do in the Middle East, by the way. I don’t want to get in a fight with him at all.
Of course, actual independent evidence and reports of arms winding up in ISIS hands do exist, and it is a real problem, even if Walnuts chooses to close his eyes and ignore it, or willfully lie about it. His scolding of Rand Paul for referencing such evidence is laughable. During Monday’s appearance, McCain also claimed that it is “not true” that the moderate Syrian rebels have agreed a non-aggression pact with ISIS, another factor Rand Paul brought up Monday. Walnuts did not, however, present any evidence to counter media reports based on intelligence shared by UK rights groups indicating this is indeed the case. Walnuts also claimed that no other Arab country has declared support for Usaian airstrikes on ISIS, despite a White House announcement claiming it has such support. It seems that walnuts just repeats whatever information it is that he wants to believe, regardless of what the rest of the planet is learning.
i actually reprinted the article he’s talking about, last weekend, so you could see the wapo talking about swastika-clad stormtroopers as “romantics”, but now r parry has caught up with it
Ukraine’s ‘Romantic’ Nazi Storm Troopers
Robert Parry, Consortium News, Sep 15 2014
While most civilized people view the Swastika and other Nazi symbols as abhorrent reminders of unspeakable evil, the WaPo trotted out a new way of seeing them, as “romantic,” a sign that apologists for Ukraine’s coup regime know no limits. The Usaian mainstream media’s deeply biased coverage of the Ukraine crisis, endlessly portraying the Usaia-backed coup regime in Kiev as “the good guys,” reached a new level of absurdity over the weekend as the WaPo excused the appearance of Swastikas and other Nazi symbols among a Ukrainian government militia as “romantic.” This curious description of these symbols for unspeakable evil, the human devastation of the Holocaust and WW2, can be found in the last three paragraphs of the lead story in the WaPo’s Saturday editions, an article about Ukraine’s Azov battalion, which has become best known for waging brutal warfare under Nazi and neo-Nazi insignia. However, if you didn’t know that reputation, you would have learned little about that grim feature of the Azov paramilitaries as you wound your way through the long story which began on Page One and covered half an inside page. WaPo’s Anthony Faiola portrayed the Azov fighters as “battle-scarred patriots” who were nobly resisting “Russian aggression,” so determined to fight for Ukraine’s freedom that they threatened to resort to “guerrilla war.” The article finds nothing objectionable about Azov’s plans for “sabotage, targeted assassinations and other insurgent tactics” against Russians, although such actions are often regarded as terrorism. Similar threats are directed even at the government of Petro Poroshenko if he agrees to a peace deal with the ethnic Russian east that is not to the militia’s liking. The article states:
If Kiev reaches a deal with rebels that they don’t support, paramilitary fighters say they could potentially strike pro-Russian targets on their own, or even turn on the government itself.
The WaPo, which has avidly supported a Cold War-style confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, portrays Kiev’s so-called “voluntary battalions” as the true heroes of this international morality play, incorruptible freedom fighters angry about a potential sellout by Poroshenko and other politicians far from the front lines. So you might have been a little unsettled to reach the inside jump of the story and see a photograph of a Swastika festooning one barracks of the Azov brigade. According to a variety of other news accounts, the Azov brigade also marches under the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel banner, a slight variant of a symbol used by the Nazi SS. But the WaPo offers an excuse for the Swastika in the barracks. In the last three paragraphs, Faiola reported:
One platoon leader, who called himself Kirt, conceded that the group’s far right views had attracted about two dozen foreign fighters from around Europe. In one room, a recruit had emblazoned a swastika above his bed. But Kirt, a former hospitality worker, dismissed questions of ideology, saying that the volunteers, many of them still teenagers, embrace symbols and espouse extremist notions as part of some kind of ‘romantic’ idea. He insisted the group’s primary goal is defending its country against Russian aggression.
Yet whatever excuses the WaPo and other Western media offer, or however much they try to downplay the key role played by neo-Nazi militias in the Usaia-backed Kiev regime, the ugly reality is that Nazism, deeply rooted in western Ukraine since WW2, has been an integral part of the story since the crisis erupted last winter. The putsch that ousted Yanukovych was spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias trained in western Ukraine, organized in 100-man brigades and dispatched to Kiev where they became the muscle behind the increasingly violent Maidan protests. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “NYT Discovers Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis at War.”] On Feb 21, Yanukovych agreed to set early elections (in a deal brokered by three European nations) and pulled back the police (at the request of Usaian officials). The next day, the neo-Nazi bands seized government offices and forced Yanukovych’s loyalists to flee for their lives. Far-right parties were then rewarded with four or more ministries in the new regime, including national security. Neo-Nazi leader Andriy Parubiy, who was commander of the Maidan “self-defense forces,” was elevated to national security chief and soon announced that the Maidan militia forces would be incorporated into the National Guard and sent to eastern Ukraine to attack ethnic Russians who had refused to accept the coup regime that replaced Yanukovych. As the Usaian government and media cheered this “anti-terrorist operation,” the neo-Nazi and other right-wing battalions waged brutal street-ighting as territory was gradually reclaimed from the Russian ethnic rebels. Only occasionally did the nasty reality slip into the major Usaian news media, often, as with the WaPo on Saturday, relegated to the last few paragraphs of long stories. For instance, an Aug 10 article in the NYT mentioned the neo-Nazi paramilitaries at the end of a lengthy story on another topic, saying:
The fighting for Donetsk has taken on a lethal pattern. The regular army bombards separatist positions from afar, followed by chaotic, violent assaults by some of the half-dozen or so paramilitary groups surrounding Donetsk who are willing to plunge into urban combat. Officials in Kiev say the militias and the army coordinate their actions, but the militias, which count about 7,000 fighters, are angry and, at times, uncontrollable. One known as Azov, which took over the village of Marinka, flies a neo-Nazi symbol resembling a Swastika as its flag.
The conservative London Telegraph offered more details about the Azov battalion in an article by correspondent Tom Parfitt, who wrote:
Kiev’s use of volunteer paramilitaries to stamp out the Russian-backed Donetsk and Luhansk ‘people’s republics’ should send a shiver down Europe’s spine. Recently formed battalions such as Donbas, Dnipro and Azov, with several thousand men under their command, are officially under the control of the interior ministry but their financing is murky, their training inadequate and their ideology often alarming. The Azov men use the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel (Wolf’s Hook) symbol on their banner and members of the battalion are openly white supremacists, or anti-Semites.
Based on interviews with militia members, the Telegraph reported that some of the fighters doubted the Holocaust, expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and acknowledged that they are indeed Nazis. According to the Telegraph article:
Andriy Biletsky, the Azov commander, is also head of an extremist Ukrainian group called the Social National Assembly. A recent commentary by Biletsky declared: “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”
In other words, for the first time since WW2, a government had dispatched Nazi storm troopers to attack a European population, and officials in Kiev knew what they were doing. The Telegraph questioned Ukrainian authorities in Kiev who acknowledged that they were aware of the extremist ideologies of some militias but insisted that the higher priority was having troops who were strongly motivated to fight. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ignoring Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers.”] A rebel counter-offensive by ethnic Russians last month reversed many of Kiev’s gains and drove the Azov and other government forces back to the port city of Mariupol, where Foreign Policy’s reporter Alec Luhn also encountered these neo-Nazis. He wrote:
Blue and yellow Ukrainian flags fly over Mariupol’s burned-out city administration building and at military checkpoints around the city, but at a sport school near a huge metallurgical plant, another symbol is just as prominent: the wolfsangel (‘wolf trap’) symbol that was widely used in the Third Reich and has been adopted by neo-Nazi groups. Pro-Russian forces have said they are fighting against Ukrainian nationalists and ‘fascists’ in the conflict, and in the case of Azov and other battalions, these claims are essentially true. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Seeing No Neo-Nazi Militias in Ukraine.”]
Over the past several days, more evidence emerged about the presence of Nazis in the ranks of Ukrainian government fighters. Germans were shocked to see video of Azov militia soldiers decorating their gear with the Swastika and the “SS rune.” NBC News reported last week:
Germans were confronted with images of their country’s dark past on Monday night, when German public broadcaster ZDF showed video of Ukrainian soldiers with Nazi symbols on their helmets in its evening newscast. The video was shot in Ukraine by a camera team from Norwegian broadcaster TV2. ‘We were filming a report about Ukraine’s AZOV battalion in the eastern city of Urzuf, when we came across these soldiers,’ Oysten Bogen, a correspondent for the private television station, told NBC News. Minutes before the images were taped, Bogen said he had asked a spokesperson whether the battalion had fascist tendencies. ‘The reply was: absolutely not, we are just Ukrainian nationalists,’ Bogen said.
You might think it’s an extraordinary fact that a Usaia-backed government in 2014 has dispatched neo-Nazi storm troopers to lead street fighting in Ukrainian cities where seven decades ago the Nazi SS and its Ukrainian adjunct, the Galician SS, slaughtered Poles, Jews and Russians. But it’s an unpleasant fact that the Usaian media would prefer to ignore. When it does get mentioned it is typically buried deep in an article or surrounded by excuses, such as the WaPo’s novel idea that the Nazi Swastika is “romantic.”
the western powers have a strange attitude that treats some state leaders as pariahs, russia AFAIK doesn’t do this
Iraqi official briefs Assad on efforts against ISIS
Lebanon Daily Star, Sep 16 2014
BEIRUT: Iraq’s national security adviser briefed Syrian Pres Assad on efforts to counter ISIS on Tuesday, in the first such meeting since Usaia launched air strikes on ISIS in Iraq. Usaia and other Western governments have dismissed the idea of cooperating with Syria in the fight against ISIS. Western governments see Assad as part of the problem and say he must leave power. But the Shi’ite-led government in Baghdad, together with Iran and Hezbollah, have been important allies for Assad since the uprising against his rule erupted in 2011. Shi’ite Iraqi militias have fought on Assad’s side against the insurgency spearheaded by Sunni Islamists. The meeting between Faleh al-Fayad, the Iraqi national security adviser, and Assad indicated that the Iraqi government aims to maintain those ties. It also points to the scope for possible indirect cooperation between Syria and the West in the fight against ISIS via third parties such as Iraq. The Syrian state news agency SANA said:
Fayad put Assad in the picture of the latest developments in Iraq and the efforts that the Iraqi government and people are making to combat the terrorists. The meeting stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation and coordination between the two brotherly countries in the field of combating terrorism that is hitting Syria and Iraq and which threatens the region and the world.
Joshua Landis, an expert on Syria at the University of Oklahoma in Usaia, said:
It’s likely that Washington and Damascus will use Iraq to communicate indirectly about ISIS. We talk to the government in Iraq, they are going to talk to the government in Syria, and it is only going to be a matter of seconds before it is communicated. I am sure Usaian intelligence officers will factor that in and send messages through the Iraqis.
Assad told Fayad that efforts to counter terrorism must start with pressure on the states that support and finance it, a reference to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which Damascus accuses of sponsoring hardline insurgent groups. Iraq has attended two conferences in recent days to rally international support to the cause of fighting ISIS, but Syria has not been invited. A Lebanese official with close ties to the Syrian government said Fayad had expressed Baghdad’s displeasure at Syria’s exclusion from international efforts against ISIS, echoing sentiments from Assad’s allies Russia and Iran. The official who was briefed on the talks said the Iraqis had told Assad that a new Baghdad administration of PM Abadi would continue the cooperation that existed when Maliki was PM, said. The official said:
That cooperation will remain as it was in Maliki’s era, or could be even closer given that Syria and Iraq are in one trench confronting the ISIS danger.
Russia on Monday urged Western and Arab governments to overcome their distaste for Assad and engage with him to fight ISIS. Iran has criticised Usaian efforts and its supreme leader has said he personally rejected an offer from Washington for talks with Tehran to fight the group. Citing discussions and observations on a recent trip to Tehran, Salem al-Zahran, a Lebanese journalist close to Damascus, said:
Assad’s allies are developing their own response. Hezbollah and some Assad supporters from Iran and Russia have been looking at new ways to work with Syria to counter the threat. Syrians, Lebanese, Russians were there, and there were foreign meetings about an actual confrontation strategy.
The IMF’s New Cold War Loan to Ukraine
Michael Hudson, ICH, Sep 16 2014
In Apr 2014, fresh from riots in Maidan Square and the Feb 22 coup, and less than a month before the May 2 massacre in Odessa, the IMF approved a $17b loan program to Ukraine’s junta. Normal IMF practice is to lend only up to twice a country’s quote in one year. This was eight times as high. Four months later, on Aug 29, just as Kiev began losing its attempt at ethnic cleansing against the eastern Donbas region, the IMF signed off on the first loan ever to a side engaged in a civil war, not to mention rife with insider capital flight and a collapsing balance of payments. Based on fictitiously trouble-free projections of the ability to pay, the loan supported Ukraine’s hernia currency long enough to enable the oligarchs’ banks to move their money quickly into Western hard-currency accounts before the hernia plunged further and was worth even fewer euros and dollars. This loan demonstrates the degree to which the IMF is an arm of Usaian Cold War politics. Kiev used the loan for military expenses to attack the Eastern provinces, and the loan terms imposed the usual budget austerity, as if this would stabilize the country’s finances. Almost nothing will be received from the war-torn East, where basic infrastructure has been destroyed for power generation, water, hospitals and the civilian housing areas that bore the brunt of the attack. Nearly a million civilians are reported to have fled to Russia. Yet the IMF release announced:
The IMF praised the government’s commitment to economic reforms despite the ongoing conflict.
A quarter of Ukraine’s exports normally are from eastern provinces, and are sold mainly to Russia. But Kiev has been bombing Donbas industry and left its coal mines without electricity. This loan is bound to create even more dissension among IMF staff economists than broke out openly over the disastrous $47b loan to Greece, at that time the largest loan in IMF history, prompted a 50-page internal document leaked to the WSJ acknowledging that the IMF had “badly underestimated the damage that its prescriptions of austerity would do to Greece’s economy.” Staff economists said eurozone banks applied pressure because they “held too much Greek government debt.” The IMF had originally projected Greece would lose 5.5% of its economic output between 2009 and 2012. The country has lost 17% in real gross domestic output instead. The plan predicted a 15% unemployment rate in 2012. It was 25%. The IMF’s Articles of Agreement forbid it to make loans to countries that clearly cannot pay, prompting its economists to complain at last year’s Oct 2013 annual meeting in Washington that their institution was violating its rules by making bad loans “to states unable to repay their debts.” In practice, the IMF simply advances however much a government needs to bail out its bankers and bondholders, pretending that more austerity enhances the ability to pay, not worsen it. Ukraine looks like a replay of the Greek situation with an exclamation mark! One official last year called its Debt Sustainability Analysis “a joke,” an Euian commission official described it as “a fairy tale to put children to sleep,” and a Greek finance ministry official said it was “scientifically ridiculous.” John Helmer calculates:
Of the $3.2b disbursed to the Ukrainian treasury by the IMF at the start of May, $3.1b had disappeared offshore by the middle of August.
This raises the question of whether the IMF’s loan is legally an “odious debt,” being made to a military junta and stolen by government insiders. The IMF acknowledged that the central bank was simply turning money over to the kleptocrats who run the country’s banks as part of their conglomerates, as well as funding the government’s military attack on the East, largely on behalf of the leading kleptocrats behind the Maidan coup. It write:
The proportion of government securities and loans to banks increased from 28% of NBU total assets at end-2010 to 56% at the end of Apr 2014.
The financial situation is getting so much worse that to stave off insolvency, Ukraine’s leading banks are reported to need another $5b over and above the IMF’s $17b commitment. In preparation for October’s scheduled elections, the eastern provinces are in no condition to vote, and the junta has banned the Communist party as well as TV and media reporting that it does not like, mainly in the Russian language. As of early September, the leading pro-war parties are polling very low even in the West, prompting warnings of a coup by the Right Sector and allied neo-Nazi Ukrainian nationalists, headed by the oligarch Igor Kolomoysky, who fields his own private army. A defeat in war frequently leads to regime change. The spectre of a coup is once again roaming the streets and squares of Kiev. Surviving National Guard fighters are threatening to turn their weapons on Poroshenko. A third Maydan is taking shape, which is to sweep aside the present regime. The instigators of this Maydan are militants from the punitive battalions created with Kolomoysky’s money. It is obvious that the oligarch is playing his game against Poroshenko. Subordinate to him Kolomoysky has quite a strong private army, capable of carrying out a coup. (See Marina Perevozkina and Artur Avakov, Moskovskiy Komsomolets, Sep 4 2014, from Johnson’s Russia List, Sep 6 2014, #14. They add that Putin has ordered Kolomoysky’s property in Crimea and Moscow to be sequestered.)
Ukraine’s main problem is that its debt is denominated in dollars and euros. There seems only one way for Ukraine to raise the foreign exchange to repay the IMF: by selling its natural resources, headed by gas rights and agricultural land. Here the shadowy figure of Kolomoysky resurfaces, with support from Usaia. Recent Senate Bill 2277 “directs USAID to guarantee loans for every phase of the development of oil and gas” in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. Vice Pres Biden’s son Hunter was recently appointed to the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian oil and gas company registered in Cyprus, long a favorite for post-Soviet operators. The firm has enough influence over Kiev politics to make prospective gas-fracking lands a military objective. The Novorossiya news agency reported, citing local residents:
Ukrainian troopers help installing shale gas production equipment near the east Ukrainian town of Slavyansk, which they bombed and shelled for the three preceding months. Civilians protected by the Ukrainian army are getting ready to install drilling rigs. More equipment is being brought in, they said, adding that the military are encircling the future extraction area.
The PEU report of Jul 27 2014 cites an Economic Policy Journal article and adds:
Further supporting the ‘natural gas motive’ is the fact that it was Vice Pres Biden who demanded that Pres Yanukovych pull back his police on Feb 21, a move that opened the way for the neo-Nazi militias and the Usaia-backed coup. Then, just three months later, Ukraine’s largest private gas firm, Burisma Holdings, appointed Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, to its board of directors.
One report notes the extent to which “pro-Russian” means opposing a gas grab:
The people of Slavyansk, which is located in the heart of the Yzovka shale gas field, staged numerous protest actions in the past against its development. They even wanted to call in a referendum on that subject. Countries like the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and France have given up plans to develop shale gas deposits in their territories. Not only them but also all-important Germany, which two weeks ago announced it would halt shale-gas drilling for the next seven years over groundwater pollution concerns.
Usaian and IMF backing seems intended to help reduce Euian dependence on Russian gas so as to squeeze its balance of payments. The idea is that lower gas revenues will squeeze Russia’s ability to maneuver in today’s New Cold War. But this strategy involves a potentially embarrassing Usaian alliance with Kolomoysky, reportedly the major owner of Burisma via his Privat Bank. Robert Parry writes:
Kolomoisky was appointed by the coup regime to be governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, a south-central province of Ukraine. Kolomoysky also has been associated with the financing of brutal paramilitary forces killing ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.
The term “ethnic Russian” is a kakaism for local protest against fracking by kleptocrats privatizing the economy’s natural resource wealth. It will be expensive to restore power and water facilities that have been destroyed by the Kiev forces in Donetsk, which faces a cold dark winter. Kiev has stopped paying pensions and other revenue to the Eastern Ukraine, all but guaranteeing its separatism. Even before the Maidan events the local population sought to prevent gas fracking, just as Germany and other European countries have opposed it. Also opposed is the appropriation of land and other properties by Ukrainian kleptocrats and especially foreigners such as Monsanto, which has invested in genetically-engineered grain projects in Ukraine, seeing the country as Europe’s Achilles Heel when it comes to resisting GMOs. A recent report by the Oakland Institute describes IMF-World Bank pressure to deregulate Ukrainian agricultural land use and promote its sale to Usaian and other foreign investors. The World Bank’s Investment Finance Corporation (IFC) has “advised the country to ‘delete provisions regarding mandatory certification of food in the listed laws of Ukraine and Government Decree,’” and “to avoid ‘unnecessary cost for businesses’” by regulations on pesticides, additives and so forth. Yet neither Russia nor many Euian countries accept genetically engineered foods. It would seem that the only way Ukraine can export GMO crops is if Usaian diplomats pressure Euia to drop its GMO labeling. This would drive yet another wedge between Usaia and Euian NATO members, much as Usaian pressure to impose sanctions on Russia (“Let’s you and him fight”) has done.
The “inner contradiction” in the IMF loan is that Ukraine owes the entire amount to Russia for gas arrears and current needs as winter nears, and also for the euro loan by Russia’s sovereign wealth fund on strictly commercial terms with cross-defaults if Ukrainian debt rises above 60% of GDP. The Usaian Cold War response is to try to craft a legal argument to minimize payments to Russia out of IMF and NATO “reconstruction” lending. The Peterson Institute for International Economics has floated a proposal by former Usaian Treasury official Anna Gelpern to deprive Russia of legal means to enforce its claims on Ukraine:
A single measure can free up $3b for Ukraine. Britain’s Parliament might pass a law declaring the $3b bond negotiated by Russia’s sovereign wealth fund to be foreign aid, not a real commercial loan contract worthy of legal enforcement. Britain can refuse to enforce English-law contracts for the money Russia lent, thereby taking away creditor remedies for default on this debt.
The problem with this ploy is that Russia’s sovereign wealth fund lent Ukraine euros with strict financial protection aimed at limiting the country’s overall debt to just 60% of its GDP. If debt rises above this level, Russia has the right to demand full immediate payment, triggering cross-default clauses in Ukraine’s foreign debt. As recently as the end of 2013, Ukraine’s public debt amounted to just over 40%, a seemingly manageable $73b. But in view of the fact that Ukraine had only a B+ rating, below Russian sovereign fund normal limits of requiring at least an AA rating for bond investments, Russia acted in a prudent financial way by inserting protection clauses precisely to distinguish its investment from general-purpose aid:
Unlike foreign aid, Russia’s loan gives it power to trigger a cascade of defaults under Ukraine’s other bonds and a large block of votes in any future bond restructuring. This is because all of the government’s bonds are linked among themselves. When one bond defaults, the rest can do the same.
What the Usaian Government classifies as foreign aid also typically takes the form of loans to be repaid, and insists on matching funds in local currency, e.g. for Public Law 480 food exports. Congress insisted already during the Kennedy Administration that the Usaian balance of payments, and specifically its farm exports, must benefit from any such “aid.” Gelpern accuses Russia of seeking to keep Ukraine “on a short leash,” as if this is not what the IMF and indeed most financial investors do. Usaia/NATO anti-Russian policy is filled with such double standards, and it is reflected in IMF support for Ukraine. Waging civil war is expensive, and Ukraine’s currency is rupturing. The black market exchange rate already is reported to have plunged by one-third. If recognized officially, once the kleptocrats have moved their money out at IMF-supported hernia rates, this would raise the country’s debt/GDP ratio to the 60% threshold making the debt to Russia payable immediately. Gelpern points out:
Governments do not normally sue one another to collect their debts in national courts. But if this should occur, the pari passu rule would prevent some debts from being annulled selectively.
She therefore raises another possibility for how to prevent IMF and NATO credit from being paid to Russia for its bondholdings and gas arrears. Ukraine may claim that its debt to Russia is “odious.” This applies to situations where “an evil ruler signs contracts that burden future generations long after the ruler is deposed.” She adds:
Repudiating all debts incurred under Yanukovich would discourage lending to corrupt leaders.
The double standard here is that instead of labeling Ukraine’s entire series of post-1991 kleptocratic governments odious, she singles out only Yanukovich, as if his predecessors and successors are not equally venal. But an even greater danger in trying to declare Ukraine’s debt “odious”: It may backfire on Usaia, given its own support for military dictatorships and kleptocracies. In contrast to IMF loans to support the kleptocrats’ banks and new Cold War asset grabs from the Eastern border provinces with Russia, Ukraine’s sale of bonds to Russia’s sovereign debt fund and its contracts signed for gas purchases were negotiated by a democratically elected government, at prices that subsidized domestic industry and also household consumption. Unlike the case with Greece, there was no removal of a national leader to prevent a public referendum from taking place over whether to approve the loan or not. If the Ukrainian debt is deemed odious, what of Eurozone loans to Ireland and Greece, or Usaian loans to Argentina’s generals installed under Operation Condor? Gelpern acknowledges that Ukrainian refusal to pay the bonds by invoking the odious debt principle “is fraught with legal, political and market risks, all of which would play into Russia’s hands.” Indeed! This leaves the most promising solution to hurt Russia to be the above-mentioned ploy for Britain’s Parliament to pass a sanctions law invalidating “the Yanukovich bonds.” Such a sanctions law would reduce Russia’s “ability to profit from selling the debt on the market” simply by denying Russia legal rights to grab Ukrainian assets. It also would destroy London as a leading global financial center. Gelpern concludes her paper by suggesting a universal principle:
Contracts used to advance military and political objectives … should lose their claim to court enforcement.
I love this suggestion! It certainly would open a can of worms in view of this fact:
Usaia & Ukia have both used military force in the past to collect debts and influence weaker countries. Is it legitimate for them to punish Russia for doing the same?
Are not the vast majority of inter-governmental debts either military or political in character? On this logic, shouldn’t most inter-governmental debts be wiped out? Do not Gelpern’s arguments cited for not paying Russia serve even more to provide a legal basis for nullifying Ukraine’s debt to the IMF and subsequent NATO loans on terms that force it to forfeit its natural resource rights for gas and land to foreign investors? Gelpern’s legal review is ostensibly seeking reasons to isolate Russia economically. It thus has the seemingly ironic effect of showing the legal and political difficulties in trying to achieve this. If Ukraine borrows from the IMF and/or Euia, and then breaks up, with the East becoming independent, who will be obliged to pay? Certainly not the East, attacked by the military coup leaders. So we are brought back to this month’s financial news in preparation for next month’s IMF annual meeting: Where then does the Ukrainian loan leave the IMF’s credibility?
CBS: ‘We Have No Choice’ but to Attack ISIS ‘Before We All Get Killed’
Peter Hart, FAIR, Sep 15 2014
If there’s one thing that animates the discussion of Obama’s war plan against ISIS, it is the idea that the group could attack Usaia. There is no evidence of such danger right now, a point that is certainly covered by the press (eg WaPo, 9/13/14), but the array of voices in the media saying otherwise can seem to overwhelm any reasonable discussions. After the release of another gruesome beheading video, CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer (9/14/14) had this exchange with White House chief of staff Denis McDonough:
SCHIEFFER: Seeing this video yesterday leads me to believe that if we ever had any doubt about these people posing a threat to Usaia, these videos would remove that. Are they a threat to our national security?
MCDONOUGH: There’s no question that they are a threat to our national security. What we have said is that we are not aware of any credible threats to the homeland right now.
Aside from asking a guest to answer a question you’ve already removed “any doubt” about in your own mind, it is strange to consider these execution videos evidence that the group poses a threat to Usaia. They have executed people they have taken hostage in violent, war-torn countries. This is criminal behavior, to be sure, but the idea that they constitute a danger to “national security” doesn’t add up. McDonough doesn’t exactly clarify matters either, since he appears to be arguing that a group can pose such a threat without having intelligence about any particular threat. But for Schieffer, the point is that there should be more of a sense of panic, which he made clear later on in the show during an interview with a Republican Congress crittur:
SCHIEFFER: You know, your colleague, Republican Sen Lindsey Graham, showed extreme frustration this morning. Here is just a bit of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: There’s no way in hell you can form an army on the ground to go into Syria to destroy ISIS without a substantial Usaian component. This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIEFFER: So should there be more of sense of urgency about meeting this threat? We haven’t had any airstrikes in it seems like a week. And there have been three of these beheadings.
Clearly Schieffer was not playing a clip from a different Sunday show as an example of irresponsible fear-mongering. Instead, Graham’s nonsensical claim that failing to “destroy ISIS” could result in us “all getting killed here back home” was presented as evidence that there should be “more sense of urgency about meeting this threat.” As for “we haven’t had any airstrikes in it seems like a week,” actually, CBS Evening News (9/11/14) had reported on airstrikes against ISIS three days earlier in a broadcast that Schieffer himself appeared in. AP (9/13/14) reported more attacks on ISIS the following day, two days before Face the Nation. No airstrikes in a week or a day, what’s the difference when you’re trying to generate a sense of urgency? And then Schieffer explained in his commentary where he’s coming from:
What kind of people kill the innocent, in the hope of impressing their enemies? These kind of people, barbarians, psychopaths. And who are they trying to impress? The video’s title page leaves no doubt. It says, ‘A Message to the Allies of Usaia.’
He goes on to explain what should be done:
There are still those who say all this has nothing to do with Usaia, that ISIS does not really pose a threat to us. Sadly, ISIS does not seem to see it that way. And these videos make it clear. Yes, Usaia is wary of war, but when fires break out, we fight them before they spread, not when it is convenient. We have no choice now. Whatever it takes and, as the president said, however long it takes, this evil must be eradicated. These forces must be destroyed.
When the host of a discussion show says, “We have no choice now,” that doesn’t bode well for the show having a discussion that presents a full range of choices.
it’s absolutely comical the way fisk goes on, year in, year out, blaming poor little assad for all the world’s ills
Assad lures Obama into his web
Robert Fisk, ‘Independent’ (UK), Sep 16 2014
Syria has asked Washington to engage in military and intelligence collaboration to defeat their mutual enemy ISIS, inviting Usaian Congress critturs to visit Damascus to discuss joint action against the Jihadis who threaten both Usaia and the regime of Pres Assad. It’s an offer that Obama will have to refuse, but not without some embarrassment. After deciding to bomb the forces of ISIS in Syria as well as Iraq, Obama was confronted by Vladimir Putin’s warning that any such unilateral action in Syria would be “an act of aggression.” The Usaian President will now have to explain yet again why he cannot collaborate against Usaia’s “apocalyptic” enemies with a Syrian regime which he has also sworn to overthrow, even though this regime is fighting exactly the same enemies. The Syrian letter to the US Congress critturs pointedly invites them to collaborate “to save Syrian and Usaian lives from a possible dirty bombing terror attack” by ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other groups. The Syrian offer, contained in a letter yesterday from Mohamed Jihad al-Laham, the Speaker of the Syrian parliament, also claims that the “moderate” Syrian opposition which Usaia has promised to aid and train is identical to the Jihadi groups supporting ISIS. Assad’s parliamentary Speaker writes:
What was called the “moderate opposition” sold the innocent, beheaded Usaian journalist to ISIS. There is nothing to prevent those groups from selling Usaian weapons to ISIS, as is their proven common practice. Arming “non-state Islamic Jihadi individuals is a clear violation of UNSCR 2170, which says that any co-operation to combat terrorism should be among the member states.
UNSCR 2170, passed last month, calls on member states “to suppress the flow of foreign fighters, financing and other support to Islamist extremist groups in Iraq and Syria,” identified in the UN document as ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, and “to prevent fighters from travelling from their soil to join the groups.” Syria, of course, insists no “moderate” opposition now exists in the country, a statement which carries the mark of truth, and that all opponents of Assad’s rule were from the start Wahhabi-inspired Sunni Jihadis, which was not in fact the case. Laham’s letter, which could not have been sent without the approval of the regime, accuses Saudi Arabia, which funds Assad’s enemies, of sponsoring schools which are “teaching the ideology of hate, takfir and Jihad as holy duty.” Re-emphasising its own loathing of the Saudi regime, the Syrian letter says all “terrorists” are the product of “this Wahhabi Salafi-Jihadi ideology, from 9/11 to the Boston bombing to the beheading of the two Usaian journalists – beheading which is a governmental legal practice in Saudi Arabia.” Obama, it says, should not form any coalition outside UNSCR 2170, “especially with states that have a conflict of interest due to their practised ideology.” The letter may have been influenced by Khaled Mahjoub, a Usaian citizen and Syrian businessman who is also a personal confidant of Bashar al-Assad, for it repeats Mahjoub’s oft-quoted observation that only re-education of “terrorists’” families and communities through “loving Sufism” can rehabilitate those who use violence. Sufism is regarded by many Syrians as the very opposite of “Jihadism.” All of which is a far cry from the titanic civil war in Syria, where “moderate” schools of Sufism take third place to military hardware and the Russian-Iranian alliance in the regime’s battle against ISIS. In truth, Western intelligence agents have for many months now been in contact with their Syrian opposite numbers to secure the kind of collaboration in secret which the regime is now offering in public, though it has to be said, without much success. Come into my parlour, says the spider to the fly. For the Syrian regime’s web has proven far tougher than Usaia & Euia imagined, and the principal fly has exhibited all the characteristics of weakness, fear and indecision which the Syrian spider understands. Only just over a year ago, Usaia was planning to smash the Syrian regime with bombs and missiles, and now that it wants to smash the ISIS regime with bombs and missiles, Syria will exact a price for any assistance Washington seeks.