Ukraine Says “Destabilization” Worse Than A Potential Invasion, Benefits Russia

Ukraine Says “Destabilization” Worse Than A Potential Invasion, Benefits Russia

Authored by Isabel van Brugen via The Epoch Times,

Internal destabilization is a bigger issue for Ukraine at present than a potential Moscow-led invasion, Ukraine’s national security secretary said on Tuesday.

According to state media outlet Ukrinform, Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov told reporters that Russia is benefiting from internal destabilization as tensions mount over a possible Moscow-led invasion.

“Today, according to all intelligence reports that coincide with those of the United States, Britain, and other partners, internal destabilization is No. 1 issue,” said Danilov, at a briefing after a National Security and Defense Council meeting, according to the news outlet.

“Without internal destabilization, the Russians have nothing to do here. They bet on the issue of internal destabilization,” said Danilov, according to the news outlet.

Destabilization within the country serves to sow panic among the population, which in turn, causes the national currency to plunge—further damaging Ukraine’s economy, he said.

Danilov’s comments come as tensions escalate over a potential invasion by Russia. Western officials estimate Russia has amassed about 100,000 troops near the Ukraine border, while Ukrainian officials have estimated as many as 127,000 Russian troops are stationed at the border.

On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said U.S. citizens in Ukraine should leave the country immediately, noting that there are no plans for a “departure or an evacuation” for American citizens and diplomats from Ukraine in the event of an invasion.

“We are conveying very clearly now that now is the time to leave and that there are means to do that,” Psaki said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday set out a diplomatic path to address sweeping Russian demands in Eastern Europe, as Moscow held security talks with Western countries and carried out military drills.

In a written response to Russia’s demands delivered in person by its ambassador in Moscow, the United States repeated its commitment to upholding NATO’s “open-door” policy, while offering a “principled and pragmatic evaluation” of the Kremlin’s concerns, Blinken said.

Blinken spoke to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi about Ukraine on Wednesday, highlighting the global security and economic risks that could stem from Russian aggression, the State Department said.

Russia has denied it is planning an invasion, but has demanded NATO pull back troops and weapons from Eastern Europe and bar its neighbor Ukraine, a former Soviet state, from ever joining the alliance. Washington and its NATO allies reject that position but say they are ready to discuss other topics such as arms control and confidence-building measures.

Russia seized control of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in 2014 and Ukraine’s Donbas region has since seen violence that has taken more than 14,000 lives. The region is now under de facto control by Russia-backed separatists.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 01/28/2022 – 03:30

via ZeroHedge News https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/ukraine-says-destabilization-worse-potential-invasion-benefits-russia Tyler Durden

Sweden Won’t Recommend Vaccinating Children Under 12 Due To Lack Of ‘Clear Benefit’

Sweden Won’t Recommend Vaccinating Children Under 12 Due To Lack Of ‘Clear Benefit’

Last week, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist admitted that there’s no evidence that healthy children need booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Now, the Swedish government has declined to recommend the vaccine for children under the age of 12 after concluding that there would be little medical benefit.

In a Thursday press release, Sweden’s Public Health Agency said that the medical benefit of the vaccine for those aged 5-11 years-old is “currently small,” and that while the benefits are “constantly” under assessment, they will have decided against a general recommendation for children under the age of 12 for spring 2022, according to Reuters.

With the knowledge we have today, with a low risk for serious disease for kids, we don’t see any clear benefit with vaccinating them,” said Health Agency official Britta Bjorkholm during a news conference.

The agency’s Director General, Karin Tegmark, said that guidance would be once again updated before the fall term.

“A general vaccination from the age of 5 is also not expected to have any major effect on the spread of infection at present, neither in the group of children aged 5–11 nor among other groups in the population,” reads the press release.

The Swedish government currently recommends vaccination for children over the age of 12, as well as for high-risk children between the ages of 5-11.

The move comes roughly three weeks after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved booster shots for adolescents aged 12 to 17, while Israel is now offering boosters to children as young as 12.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 01/28/2022 – 02:45

via ZeroHedge News https://www.zerohedge.com/political/sweden-wont-recommend-vaccinating-children-under-12-due-lack-clear-benefit Tyler Durden

Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline Won’t Go Ahead If Russia Invades Ukraine: US State Department

Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline Won’t Go Ahead If Russia Invades Ukraine: US State Department

Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The major Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline connecting Russia to Germany won’t go ahead if Russian troops invade Ukraine, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told NPR on Wednesday.


Men work at the construction site of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in Lubmin, northeastern Germany, on March 26, 2019. (Tobias Schwarz/AFP via Getty Images)

Construction of Nord Stream 2 began in 2018, and by 2019, it was complete in Russian, Finnish, and Swedish waters, with the majority of the work also complete in German and Danish waters.

The pipeline stretches about 760 miles through the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany and would double Nord Stream’s capacity to ship Russian Arctic natural gas to the European country.

However, Germany’s energy market regulator announced in November that it had temporarily suspended the certification process for the pipeline after ruling that its operator within Germany doesn’t comply with conditions set by German law.

Nordstream has also been opposed by Ukrainian officials over fears it could be used by Russia as a weapon against it.

While gas is not currently flowing through the pipeline and it is not operational, Price told NPR that Nord Stream serves as “leverage” for both the United States and Germany as well as the trans-Atlantic community.

“To be clear, it is not leverage for [Russian President] Vladimir Putin,” Price said. “I want to be very clear: If Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward, and we want to be very clear about that.”

Price’s comments come amid growing concern among Western nations after Putin has reportedly amassed more than 100,000 soldiers near the Ukrainian border, sparking concerns of a possible invasion.

Russia has repeatedly denied the accusation.

In December 2021, Russia demanded NATO deny Ukraine and other former Soviet nations membership of the alliance, and also demanded NATO members scale back troop deployments in Central and Eastern Europe.

Washington and NATO allies have rejected Russia’s demands but have put forth a number of proposals and have repeatedly said they are open to dialogue with Moscow.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has also placed 8,500 troops on “heightened alert” to assist with the defense of NATO allies but noted that “no decision has been made to deploy” any troops at this time.

When asked whether the United States “actually has enough leverage” and whether its actions are likely to deter Russia during Wednesday’s interview with NPR, Price pointed to Putin as the only person who can decide whether “this is the path of dialogue and diplomacy that we pursue or it’s the path of defense and deterrence.”

We have done everything we can to signal in meaningful and sincere ways that dialogue and diplomacy is what we prefer just as we continue down that path of defense and deterrence,” Price said.

“We have provided in the last year more than $650 million in defensive security assistance. That’s almost 300 tons in defensive security assistance to the Ukrainians. More deliveries are on their way as we speak,” he added, “and we have talked extensively about the swift, the severe, the united response that the United States and our allies would enact were Russia to go forward with their aggressions.”

The United States and NATO Western security alliance provided Russia with written proposals on Wednesday to address Russia’s concerns while also enhancing the security of NATO member nations.

Meanwhile, Emily Haber, Germany’s ambassador to the United States on Wednesday said on Twitter that, “The US and Germany jointly declared last summer: if Russia uses energy as a weapon or if there is another violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, Russia will have to pay a high price.

She added that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock “stated clearly: nothing will be off the table, including Nord Stream 2.”

Tyler Durden
Fri, 01/28/2022 – 02:00

via ZeroHedge News https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/nord-stream-2-gas-pipeline-wont-go-ahead-if-russia-invades-ukraine-us-state-department Tyler Durden

Charles Breyer on Stephen Breyer’s Retirement: “I think it’s clear that politics played a role”

The Breyer family is very accomplished. Older brother Stephen Breyer was appointed to the First Circuit at the young age of 42, and was elevated to the Supreme Court when he was 56. Younger brother Charles Breyer was appointed to the U.S. District Court at the age of 56. He has served on that court for more than two decades.

Robert Barnes of the Washington Post asked Judge Charles Breyer about his brother’s retirement.

But Breyer’s decision to retire reflects another side of him, one often mentioned in descriptions of his time on the court: pragmatist.

“I think it’s clear that politics played a role” in his decision to retire, Breyer’s brother Charles, a federal district judge in San Francisco, said Thursday. “He’s pragmatic and politics is a factor . . . that has to be considered.”

It’s not the only thing, Charles Breyer said. Only in the realm of the lifetime appointments the Supreme Court affords is an inquiry launched as to why an 83-year-old really wants to retire.

“Obviously his age is a factor,” the 80-year-old Breyer said. “And he did not want to terminate his service on the court by death — that’s not the exit he wanted.”

Some brotherly love, huh?

For more than a year, Justice Breyer insisted that his decision to retire will not be based on politics. And, as usual, his reasoning was muddled. Last August, I wrote:

Justice Breyer approaches his retirement the same way he approaches his judicial decisions: with an indeterminate, multi-factor balancing test.

Then, lo and behold, that multi-factor balancing test tilts left. Breyer retires with a Democratic President, who may lose his Democratic Senate majority at any minute. And he announces his retirement at the White House. Plus, his brother insists that the retirement was based in part on politics!

I don’t begrudge Justice Breyer. He saw what happened to his colleagues who died in office, including Justices Ginsburg, Scalia, and Chief Justice Rehnquist. And he knows how fleeting majorities are in the senate. Plus, the pressure from the Demand Justice crowd must be suffocating. So he made a pragmatic decision. But it was a decision, as Judge Breyer explained, in which “politics played a role.”

The post Charles Breyer on Stephen Breyer's Retirement: "I think it's clear that politics played a role" appeared first on Reason.com.

from Latest – Reason.com https://reason.com/volokh/2022/01/28/charles-breyer-on-stephen-breyers-retirement-i-think-its-clear-that-politics-played-a-role/
via IFTTT

SCOTUS Splits 5-4 on Capital Case

Thursday evening, the Supreme Court vacated an injunction entered by the district court in Hamm v. Reeves. This order allowed the execution of Matthew Reeves to proceed. The Court split 5-4. Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh were in the majority. Justice Barrett simply indicated that she would have denied the application, without a noted dissent. Justice Kagan wrote a three-page dissent, which was joined by Justices Breyer and Sotomayor.

I think this is the first case where the new Roberts Court split 5-4 on a capital case. How do we explain Barrett’s vote? I think she is simply opposed to issuing relief on the shadow docket–especially where the Supreme Court is vacating a lower-court injunction. Barrett made this point very clear in John Does 1-3 v. Mills.

Going forward, capital defendants can hope to pick off one more vote to get a favorable ruling.

The post SCOTUS Splits 5-4 on Capital Case appeared first on Reason.com.

from Latest – Reason.com https://reason.com/volokh/2022/01/27/scotus-splits-5-4-on-capital-case/
via IFTTT

Charles Breyer on Stephen Breyer’s Retirement: “I think it’s clear that politics played a role”

The Breyer family is very accomplished. Older brother Stephen Breyer was appointed to the First Circuit at the young age of 42, and was elevated to the Supreme Court when he was 56. Younger brother Charles Breyer was appointed to the U.S. District Court at the age of 56. He has served on that court for more than two decades.

Robert Barnes of the Washington Post asked Judge Charles Breyer about his brother’s retirement.

But Breyer’s decision to retire reflects another side of him, one often mentioned in descriptions of his time on the court: pragmatist.

“I think it’s clear that politics played a role” in his decision to retire, Breyer’s brother Charles, a federal district judge in San Francisco, said Thursday. “He’s pragmatic and politics is a factor . . . that has to be considered.”

It’s not the only thing, Charles Breyer said. Only in the realm of the lifetime appointments the Supreme Court affords is an inquiry launched as to why an 83-year-old really wants to retire.

“Obviously his age is a factor,” the 80-year-old Breyer said. “And he did not want to terminate his service on the court by death — that’s not the exit he wanted.”

Some brotherly love, huh?

For more than a year, Justice Breyer insisted that his decision to retire will not be based on politics. And, as usual, his reasoning was muddled. Last August, I wrote:

Justice Breyer approaches his retirement the same way he approaches his judicial decisions: with an indeterminate, multi-factor balancing test.

Then, lo and behold, that multi-factor balancing test tilts left. Breyer retires with a Democratic President, who may lose his Democratic Senate majority at any minute. And he announces his retirement at the White House. Plus, his brother insists that the retirement was based in part on politics!

I don’t begrudge Justice Breyer. He saw what happened to his colleagues who died in office, including Justices Ginsburg, Scalia, and Chief Justice Rehnquist. And he knows how fleeting majorities are in the senate. Plus, the pressure from the Demand Justice crowd must be suffocating. So he made a pragmatic decision. But it was a decision, as Judge Breyer explained, in which “politics played a role.”

The post Charles Breyer on Stephen Breyer's Retirement: "I think it's clear that politics played a role" appeared first on Reason.com.

from Latest – Reason.com https://reason.com/volokh/2022/01/28/charles-breyer-on-stephen-breyers-retirement-i-think-its-clear-that-politics-played-a-role/
via IFTTT

SCOTUS Splits 5-4 on Capital Case

Thursday evening, the Supreme Court vacated an injunction entered by the district court in Hamm v. Reeves. This order allowed the execution of Matthew Reeves to proceed. The Court split 5-4. Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh were in the majority. Justice Barrett simply indicated that she would have denied the application, without a noted dissent. Justice Kagan wrote a three-page dissent, which was joined by Justices Breyer and Sotomayor.

I think this is the first case where the new Roberts Court split 5-4 on a capital case. How do we explain Barrett’s vote? I think she is simply opposed to issuing relief on the shadow docket–especially where the Supreme Court is vacating a lower-court injunction. Barrett made this point very clear in John Does 1-3 v. Mills.

Going forward, capital defendants can hope to pick off one more vote to get a favorable ruling.

The post SCOTUS Splits 5-4 on Capital Case appeared first on Reason.com.

from Latest – Reason.com https://reason.com/volokh/2022/01/27/scotus-splits-5-4-on-capital-case/
via IFTTT

Sperry: What Did Clinton Know And When Did She Know It? The Russiagate Evidence Builds

Sperry: What Did Clinton Know And When Did She Know It? The Russiagate Evidence Builds

Authored by Paul Sperry via RealClearInvestigations,

As indictments and new court filings indicate that Special Counsel John Durham is investigating Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign for feeding false reports to the FBI to incriminate Donald Trump and his advisers as Kremlin agents, Clinton’s role in the burgeoning scandal remains elusive. What did she know and when did she know it?

Top officials involved in her campaign have repeatedly claimed, some under oath, that they and the candidate were unaware of the foundation of their disinformation campaign: the 35-page collection of now debunked claims of Trump/Russia collusion known as the Steele dossier. Even though her campaign helped pay for the dossier, they claim she only read it after BuzzFeed News published it in 2017.

But court documents, behind-the-scenes video footage and recently surfaced evidence reveal that Clinton and her top campaign advisers were much more involved in the more than $1 million operation to dredge up dirt on Trump and Russia than they have let on. The evidence suggests that the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory sprang from a multi-pronged effort within the Clinton campaign, which manufactured many of the false claims, then fed them to friendly media and law enforcement officials. Clinton herself was at the center of these efforts, using her personal Twitter account and presidential debates to echo the false claims of Steele and others that Trump was in cahoots with the Russians.

Although Clinton has not been pressed by major media on her role in Russiagate, a short scene in the 2020 documentary “Hillary” suggests she was aware of the effort. It shows Clinton speaking to her running mate, Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, and his wife, Anne, in hushed tones about Trump and Russia in a back room before a campaign event in early October 2016. Clinton expressed concerns over Trump’s “weird connections” to Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. She informed Kaine that she and her aides were “scratching hard” to expose them, a project Kaine seemed to be hearing about for the first time.

“I don’t say this lightly,” Clinton whispered, pausing to look over her shoulder, “[but Trump’s] agenda is other people’s agenda.”

“We’re scratching hard, trying to figure it out,” she continued. “He is the vehicle, the vessel for all these other people.”

The two then discussed “all these weird connections” between the Trump campaign and Russia. Kaine brought up former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, and Clinton expressed suspicion about Trump’s then-national security adviser, ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, “who is a paid tool for Russian television.”

Added Clinton: “This is what scares me … the way that Putin has taken over the political apparatus, or is trying to — .” At that point, a media handler interrupted them over some staging issues, and they stopped discussing Trump and Russia.


Jake Sullivan: Promoted collusion — but denied under oath knowing details of the dossier project.

Both Manafort and Flynn had been cited in dossier reports submitted to the Clinton campaign before the two Democratic nominees had their October 2016 conversation. The dossier falsely accused Manafort, Flynn and other Trump advisers of participating in a Kremlin conspiracy to steal the election for Trump.

Dossier author Christopher Steele himself has suggested Clinton was briefed on his reports. On July 5, 2016 — the same day the FBI publicly exonerated Clinton in her email scandal — Steele handed off the first installments of the dossier to an FBI agent overseas who had handled him previously as an informant. In their London meeting, Steele noted that Clinton was aware of his reporting, according to contemporaneous notes Steele took of their conversation.

“The notes reflect that Steele told [his FBI handler Michael Gaeta] that Steele was aware that ‘Democratic Party associates’ were paying for [his] research; the ‘ultimate client’ was the leadership of the Clinton presidential campaign; and ‘the candidate’ was aware of Steele’s reporting,” Justice Department watchdog Michael Horowitz wrote in his 2019 report examining the FBI’s use of the dossier to justify spying on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Later that same month, during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the CIA picked up Russian chatter about a Clinton foreign policy adviser who was trying to develop allegations to “vilify” Trump. The intercepts said Clinton herself had approved a “plan” to “stir up a scandal” against Trump by tying him to Putin. According to handwritten notes, then-CIA chief John Brennan warned President Obama that Moscow had intercepted information about the “alleged approval by Hillary Clinton on July 26, 2016, of a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers to vilify Donald Trump.”

At the convention, Clinton foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan drove a golf cart from one TV-network news tent in the parking lot to another, pitching producers, anchors, correspondents and even some NBC network executives a story that Trump and his advisers were in bed with Putin and possibly conspiring with Russian intelligence to steal the election. He also visited CNN and MSNBC, as well as Fox News, to spin the Clinton campaign’s unfounded theories. Sullivan even sat down with CNN honcho Jeff Zucker to outline the opposition research they had gathered on Trump and Russia.

Sullivan’s title was misleading. He was far more than a foreign policy adviser to Clinton. His portfolio included campaign strategy.

“Hillary told Sullivan she wanted him to take over [her campaign],” journalists Amie Parnes and Jonathan Allen reported in their 2017 bestseller, “Shattered: Inside Hillary’s Doomed Campaign.” “You’re going to be my traffic cop and my rabbi, she told Sullivan, adding that he would be her de facto chief strategist.”

Sullivan was included in “every aspect of her campaign strategy,” they wrote, because “no one on the official campaign staff understood Hillary’s thought process as well as Sullivan.”

Now serving in the White House as President Biden’s national security adviser, Sullivan has denied under oath knowing details about the dossier project.


Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook (with Director of Communications Jennifer Palmieri, rear) went in front of cameras to echo essentially what Steele had reported back to the campaign. (AP)

Sullivan spread the anti-Trump rumors behind the scenes while Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook went in front of the cameras to echo essentially what Steele, a former British intelligence officer, had reported back to the campaign.

“Experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails, and other experts are now saying the Russians are releasing these emails for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump,” Mook told CNN’s Jake Tapper at the convention. He made the same allegations on ABC News’ “This Week,” anchored by George Stephanopoulos, who served as White House communication director during Bill Clinton’s presidency..

Hillary Clinton campaign Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri has acknowledged that they were all bent on casting a “cloud” of suspicion over Trump and seeding doubt about his loyalties by suggesting “the possibility of collusion between Trump’s allies and Russian intelligence.”

“We were on a mission to get the press to focus on the prospect that Russia had not only hacked and stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee, but that it had done so to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton,” Palmieri stated in a 2017 Washington Post column. “We wanted to raise the alarm.”

It’s not known if their media blitz was coordinated with Glenn Simpson, the Clinton campaign’s opposition-research contractor who hired Steele for $168,000. But Simpson also attended the convention in Philadelphia, and at the same time Clinton’s top people were making the TV media rounds, Simpson and his Fusion GPS co-founder, Peter Fritsch, were meeting with the New York Times and other major print media outlets to pitch Russia “collusion” stories, focusing primarily on Manafort. Bad publicity from the planted stories would later pressure Trump to dump Manafort as his campaign manager.

That same week, Simpson worked with ABC News correspondent Brian Ross on a since-debunked story framing Trump supporter Sergei Millian as a Russian spy. Simpson also told Ross that Trump was involved in shady business deals in Moscow. Simpson set up Ross’ interview with Millian through ABC producer Matthew Mosk, an old Simpson friend.

Then in September 2016, ABC’s “Good Morning America,” which is co-hosted by Stephanopoulos, aired parts of the Millian report. Later that day, Hillary Clinton tweeted out a campaign video incorporating heavily edited quotes from Millian and suggesting they were more evidence Trump was “an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.” Above the video she posted on Sept. 22, Clinton personally tweeted: “The man who could be your next president may be deeply indebted to another country. Do you trust him to run ours?”

In effect, Clinton broadcast to her millions of followers a story her campaign had helped manufacture through a paid contractor.


Igor Danchenko: Clinton amplified his dossier falsehood about Sergei Millian as a key source.

Durham’s ongoing investigation has found that core parts of the dossier were fabricated and falsely attributed to Millian as their source, including the foundational claim of a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” between Russia and Trump. Durham reported  that Steele’s main collector of information – onetime Brookings Institution analyst Igor Danchenko – never even spoke with Millian, as he had claimed, but simply made up the source of the most explosive information in the dossier.

Durham recently indicted Danchenko for lying to the FBI about Millian.

The day after Clinton’s false tweet about Millian and Trump, her campaign released a statement by senior national spokesman Glen Caplin touting a “new bombshell report” by Yahoo News that revealed the FBI was investigating “Trump’s foreign policy adviser” for suspected links to the Kremlin.

“It’s chilling to learn that U.S. intelligence officials are conducting a probe into suspected meetings between Trump’s foreign policy adviser Carter Page and members of Putin’s inner circle while in Moscow,” according to the statement, which attached the Sept. 23, 2016, Yahoo article in full and noted the report came on the heels of ABC’s story about Millian.

“Just one day after we learned about Trump’s hundreds of millions of dollars in undisclosed Russian business interests,” Caplin’s statement continued, “this report suggests Page met with a sanctioned top Russian official to discuss the possibility of ending U.S. sanctions against Russia under a Trump presidency – an action that could directly enrich both Trump and Page while undermining American interests.”

“We’ve never seen anything like this in American politics,” the Clinton campaign statement added with alarm. “Every day seems to cast new doubts on what’s truly driving Donald Trump’s decision-making.”

But the Yahoo story about Page’s nefarious Kremlin meetings was apocryphal. Its main source was Steele, whose identity was hidden in the story. Yahoo reporter Michael Isikoff had interviewed Steele in a room at a Washington inn booked by Simpson. The FBI nonetheless cited the article to support its applications to a secret federal court for authority to spy on Page, claiming it corroborated the dossier’s allegations, even though they were one and the same.

Here again, Clinton’s team hyped as a “bombshell” Trump-Russia revelation a media report that it helped craft from opposition research it commissioned and from FBI interest it generated. All of this was hidden from voters.


The Clinton campaign planted the allegation of a “secret hotline” to Putin through a Russia-based bank.

It was also in September that then-Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann planted at FBI headquarters the manufactured allegation that Trump had set up a “secret hotline” to Putin through Russia-based Alfa Bank. Steele had filed a campaign report about the bank’s ties to Putin around the same time.

Durham last year indicted Sussmann for lying to the FBI, detailing how the lawyer and Simpson had collaborated with a team of anti-Trump, pro-Clinton computer researchers to draft a technical report for the FBI and media allegedly connecting Trump to Alfa Bank through email servers. Simpson, in turn, worked with Slate reporter Franklin Foer to craft a story propagating the allegation, even reviewing his piece in advance of publication.

Foer’s story broke on Oct. 31, 2016. That same day, Sullivan hyped the story on Twitter, claiming in a written campaign statement that Trump and the Russians were operating a “secret hotline” through Alfa Bank and speculating “federal authorities” would be investigating “this direct connection between Trump and Russia.” He portrayed the discovery as the work of independent experts — “computer scientists” — without disclosing their connections to the campaign.

“This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow,” Sullivan proclaimed.

‘October Surprise’ That Wasn’t

Clinton teed up that statement in an Oct. 31 tweet of her own, which quickly went viral. She warned voters: “Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank.”

Also that day, Clinton tweeted, “It’s time for Trump to answer serious questions about his ties to Russia,” while attaching a meme that read: “Donald Trump has a secret server. It was set up to communicate privately with a Putin-tied Russian bank called Alfa Bank.”


October 31, 2016

At the same time that Simpson was working Slate, he leaked to a friend at the New York Times that the FBI had evidence of the Trump-Alfa link, providing the Times and other friendly media outlets a serious news hook to publish the unfounded rumors on the eve of the November election.

The Alfa smear was meant as an “October surprise” that would rock the Trump campaign and take media focus off the probe of Clinton’s emails, which then-FBI Director James Comey had been pressured by a New York agent to revive in the final week of the campaign. Clinton’s team had even “prepared a video promoting the Trump-Alfa Bank server connection and was poised to make an all-out push through social media,” according to Isikoff and David Corn in their book, “Russian Roulette.” But “that plan was canned,” they wrote because the Oct. 31 Times story noted that the FBI had not been able to corroborate the claims of a cyber-link. The skepticism cooled the media firestorm the campaign had hoped for.

“We had been waiting for the Alfa Bank story to come out,” Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta told Isikoff and Corn. “Then — boom! — it gets smacked down.”

In congressional testimony, Podesta has largely claimed ignorance about the campaign’s opposition-research efforts. 


Marc Elias: A focus of Durham, he briefed Clinton campaign leaders about the Alfa smear, emails show. 

In Durham’s indictment of Sussmann for lying to the FBI about his work for the Clinton campaign while feeding them the Alfa Bank story, prosecutors revealed that Sussmann’s partner Marc Elias kept Clinton campaign bigwigs in the loop about the project to manufacture a Trump-Russian bank conspiracy, which the FBI months later completely debunked. Emails obtained by Durham’s investigators show the lawyer had briefed top Clinton campaign officials Sullivan, Palmieri and Mook about the Alfa smear in September 2016. Elias, the campaign’s general counsel, engaged with “individuals acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign to share information about the Russian bank data,” the indictment stated.

Sullivan, who now serves as President Biden’s national security adviser, maintained in December 2017 congressional testimony he didn’t even know that the politically prominent Elias worked for Perkins Coie, a well-known Democratic law firm representing the Clinton campaign. Major media stories from 2016, however, routinely identified Elias as “general counsel for the Clinton campaign” and a “partner at Perkins Coie.”

“To be honest with you, Marc wears a tremendous number of hats, so I wasn’t sure who he was representing,” Sullivan testified. “I sort of thought he was, you know, just talking to us as, you know, a fellow traveler in this – in this campaign effort.”

Veteran FBI investigators doubt Sullivan or his boss were in the dark about the campaign-funded work of Elias, Sussmann, Simpson or Steele and other campaign operations designed to make Trump look compromised by a foreign adversary.

“Durham is telling us that this Alfa Bank hoax – and probably related matters – were Clinton campaign ops at the very highest level,” former FBI counterintelligence agent and lawyer Mark Wauck noted. “How credible is it to suppose that Hillary herself wasn’t in the know?”

Durham’s investigators have been questioning Elias under subpoena. A new court filing in the Sussmann case reveals that Elias has given testimony before a criminal grand jury impaneled by Durham in Washington, D.C.

Grand jury testimony is sealed and it’s not known what Elias told prosecutors. But In 2017, he testified in a closed-door session of Congress that Mook was his campaign contact for opposition-research projects, including the dossier. “I consulted with Robby Mook, who was campaign manager,” he said, noting that Mook handled budget matters and signed off on opposition-research expenses billed by Perkins Coie, which totaled more than $1.2 million.

While Mook has not been questioned under oath on the Hill, he told CNN: “I didn’t know that we were paying the contractor that created that document.”

“What I’ve known [about the dossier] is what I’ve read in the press,” he claimed. Mook said he doesn’t recall seeing the dossier memos during the campaign. “I just can’t attribute to what piece of information, you know, came to us at one time or where it came from, frankly. You know, as campaign manager, there’s a lot going on.”

Mook added that he wasn’t sure who was gathering the information for the dossier: “I don’t know the answer to that. … I wish we paid more attention to it on the campaign.”

Elias Met Simpson Often

In his testimony, Elias said he met with Simpson and other Fusion GPS researchers at least 20 times and Steele at least once during the campaign. He said he would receive written reports from them and direct them to find certain information. He, in turn, would travel each week to Clinton campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, N.Y., to report what he had learned about Trump and Russia.

However, Elias insisted he left his interlocutors in the dark about the sources of that information, for which the campaign was paying him in excess of $1 million. He also insisted he didn’t tell his campaign contacts about his meetings with Steele or Simpson, despite billing the campaign for such consultations, and never shared the dossier reports or other materials they generated with those Clinton officials. Elias even maintained that he hired Fusion GPS on his own without consulting with Mook or the campaign. “I was the gatekeeper,” he said, between the research contractors and the campaign.

According to “Russian Roulette,” however, Elias shared the findings of Steele’s memos with at least Mook. “Elias would at times brief Mook on their contents,” Isikoff and Corn wrote.

Podesta has testified that he, too, had no idea Steele and Fusion GPS were on the campaign’s payroll and didn’t read the dossier until BuzzFeed posted it online after the election.

Under oath, Podesta denied speaking with Clinton about the dossier even after the election: “I don’t know that I’ve ever discussed the dossier with Mrs. Clinton.” He also swore Clinton never talked to him about opposition research, in general, or who the campaign might hire to conduct it.

The campaign’s in-house opposition research team, led by chief researcher Christina Reynolds, was under the direction of Palmieri, the head of communications who is close to Clinton.

Former Bill Clinton political strategist Doug Schoen said it stretches credulity to suggest that top officials in the Clinton camp, including the candidate herself, weren’t fully aware of the research their campaign attorney was billing them for.

“With more than 380 payments from the Clinton campaign and the DNC being made to Perkins Coie, it is seemingly impossible that the candidate herself would not have direct knowledge of the purpose of those payments or any earmarks being made, especially those for Fusion GPS,” Schoen said.

Quoting unnamed Clinton surrogates, both the New York Times and CNN have reported that the candidate was unaware of the dossier prior to BuzzFeed publishing it two months after the 2016 election. Former Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon told CNN in a separate interview she may not have been totally out of the loop, however. “She may have known [about the dossier and its financing before the election],” he said, “but the degree of exactly what she knew is beyond my knowledge.”

A senior congressional investigator who insisted on anonymity said the denials are hard to believe and described them as an effort to insulate Clinton from a major undertaking of her campaign that has proved scandalous, if not criminal.  “The biggest lie is Hillary didn’t know about any of this oppo stuff even though she tweeted about it!” he said.


Walled off from her campaign’s oppo research? She seemed to cite dossier falsehoods in the debates.

Clinton also appeared to cite dossier disinformation in the presidential debates, casting further doubt on claims she was walled off from such opposition research. In the final debate, for example, Clinton accused Trump of being Putin’s “puppet” and accepting his “help” in sabotaging her campaign, drawing conclusions similar to ones made in the dossier. She claimed Trump did what the dossier falsely claimed he did — conspiring with the Russian government to hack her campaign and steal emails — though she allegedly never read Steele’s reports.

“You encouraged espionage against our people,” Clinton said on Oct. 19, 2016.

Durham Inching Closer

With each new indictment and court filing, Clinton inches closer to the center of the special prosecutor’s investigation, now in its third year.

Durham indicated in a recently filed court document that he is actively investigating the Clinton campaign and seeks to question its top officials. His office declined to say whether it intended to question Clinton herself.

Durham’s recent indictments of Sussmann and subcontractor Danchenko implicate key campaign figures and make clear that the Clinton campaign’s influence on the contents of the dossier was much deeper than previously known.

For instance, Durham found that a longtime Clinton insider and campaign adviser — Charles Dolan — was a key source for the dossier and most likely originated the false “pee tape” rumor involving Trump and Moscow prostitutes. It seems likely that he acted as an intermediary between the campaign and Steele’s primary sub-source, Danchenko, with whom he communicated. In 2016, Dolan “actively campaigned and participated in calls and events as a volunteer on behalf of Hillary Clinton,” according to the Danchenko indictment.

In other words, the Clinton campaign not only funded the Russia dirt on Trump but provided some of the actual sourcing for it. Campaign operatives, in turn, laundered the dirt through the FBI and into the mainstream media to damage Trump.

In a related filing in the Danchenko case, Durham noted that his “areas of inquiry” include investigating “the extent to which the Clinton campaign and/or its representatives directed, solicited or controlled the defendant’s [Danchenko’s] activities” surrounding the dossier. He also indicated prosecutors want to find out whether the campaign knew Danchenko and Steele were funneling false information to the FBI, and intend to summon “multiple former employees of the campaign” as trial or grand jury witnesses.

In the Sussmann case, Durham’s agents have already questioned one “former employee of the Clinton campaign” and subpoenaed Clinton campaign records, according to a new document filed by Durham earlier this week.

Sources familiar with his probe say Durham ultimately is investigating the Clinton campaign for, among other things, alleged conspiracy to defraud the FBI, the Justice Department and the Pentagon’s research arm, which provided funding and sensitive Internet logs to Clinton operatives who helped fabricate the Alfa Bank hoax.

Danchenko and the Clinton campaign, including Podesta and other officials, happen to share the same D.C. law firm – Schertler & Onorato – which gives the appearance that the Clinton campaign and the main source of the dossier have entered into a joint defense. Durham warned the court that the arrangement poses a conflict of interest.

Podesta’s attorney, Bob Trout, did not respond to requests for comment. Trout also represents other ex-campaign officials who recently retained him in matters before Durham. 

Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, who practices at the Washington-based firm Williams & Connolly, did not reply to requests for comment.

J.D. Gordon, who held a position roughly equivalent to Sullivan’s on the 2016 Trump campaign, said in an interview that he hopes Durham adds Sullivan and other Clinton aides to his criminal investigation, “if he hasn’t already.”

He suspects Sullivan was “the Russiagate hoax mastermind” and hopes that he and other members of Clinton’s 2016 team — as well as the candidate herself — are subpoenaed for testimony and document production just as he and other Trump advisers were targeted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, based almost entirely on rumors started by the Clinton machine. He called the Clinton-funded smears “depraved” and “nationally destabilizing.”

“In addition to outright surveillance via the fraudulent FISA warrant against Carter Page, many of us were hit with federal and congressional subpoenas, subjected to grueling Senate and House investigations, special counsel interrogations and resulting harsh media spotlight,” he said. “I appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senate Judiciary Committee, House Intelligence Committee and produced requested documents to the House Judiciary Committee. Three times I was summoned before the special counsel, the first of which in August 2017 was apparently leaked to the Washington Post.”

Gordon is not alone in his desire to see Clinton held to account. Among those Americans aware of the Durham probe, fully 60% think the special counsel should question Clinton about her role in the dossier and other campaign foul play, according to a recent national poll by TechnoMetrica Institute of Policy and Politics. Broken down by political affiliation, 80% of Republicans, 44% of Democrats and 74% of independent voters agree that Clinton should be interviewed by investigators.

What happened more than five years ago may have renewed relevance: Some Democratic strategists speculate that Clinton is eyeing another run at the White House. As Vice President Kamala Harris’ popularity wanes and her shot at becoming the first female president slips, they say Clinton may see an opening.

“I will never be out of the game of politics,” Clinton told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in October.

Tyler Durden
Thu, 01/27/2022 – 23:40

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3AFFiMT Tyler Durden

Iranian Hackers Posed As “Proud Boys” During 2020 Election Disinformation Campaign, FBI Says

Iranian Hackers Posed As “Proud Boys” During 2020 Election Disinformation Campaign, FBI Says

Members of the ‘Proud Boys’ have been arrested for scuffling with Antifa, and the group has been de-platformed by every major tech platform for its “racist” views (members of the group proudly claim to be ‘male chauvinists’, although they would also vehemently dispute accusations of racism) while the left-wing media constantly held it up as a right-wing boogeyman.

But as it turns out, a group of Iranian hackers purportedly posed as members of the Proud Boys during a cyber misinformation campaign dedicated to interfering in the 2020 US election, according to a briefing released by the FBI this week warning the public about the activities of Iranian hacker collective, which is called Emennett Pasargad.

The notice describing the Iranian group’s tactics and techniques was released months after an October grand jury indictment of two Iranian nationals allegedly employed by the group. The indictment had been sought by federal prosecutors with the Southern District of New York.

According to the FBI, Emennett Pasargad has conducted “traditional cyber exploitation activity” since 2018, and has targeted news, shipping, travel, oil, financial and telecommunications companies, including companies in the US, Europe and beyond.

But in 2020, they carried out a “multi-faceted campaign to interfere in the US election”.

As part of this campaign, they obtained confidential information on voters from at least one state election website; sent threatening e-mails to try and intimidate voters, created and disseminated a video containing “disinformation” about nonexistent vulnerabilities about America’s voting system, and attempted to access, without authorization, several states’ voting-related websites.

The group also successfully accessed the network of a major US media company without permission. Members posed as Proud Boys while carrying out their “voter intimation”-related activities, the FBI said.

In addition to interfering in the 2020 vote, Emennet has also conducted cyber disnformation campaigns against Saudi Arabia, during which the group “masqueraded” as the “Yemen Cyber Army”.

Members of the group mask their activity by deploying attacks through virtual private networks, or VPNs. The bureau said Emennet favors websites that run certain software programs, including WordPress, which hackers can exploit to carry out their attacks.

Tyler Durden
Thu, 01/27/2022 – 23:20

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3g1VD4X Tyler Durden

The Other Side Of The Story: Russia’s View On Geopolitics, War, & Energy-Racketeering

The Other Side Of The Story: Russia’s View On Geopolitics, War, & Energy-Racketeering

Authored by Nash Landesman via The Saker blog,

The following is an exclusive interview with Russian Duma deputy, Yevgeny Fyodorov, a high-ranking conservative, nationalistic lawmaker in President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party. He has been Chairman of the Committee on Economic Policy of the State Duma and a member of the Advisory Council of the President of the Russian Federation. Below we discuss war with Ukraine, principles of sovereignty and geopolitics, the ongoing energy battle, the nuclear option, and the reestablishment of the Soviet sphere, all within the context of US ambition and Russian counter-strategy.

INTRO:

Atop the unipolar priority list lies the looming Russian “threat” of providing European consumers with affordable, dependable heating and cooking gas at stable long-term contract terms amidst the dead of winter.

Only America and its’ “allies”/ [subordinates/collaborators] can halt this menace by supplanting cheap Russian gas piped from relatively short distances with much more expensive, technically-complex US liquid natural gas shipped from across the Atlantic, capitalizing on America’s shale revolution while stamping out Russian influence in Europe—killing two birds with one stone. (Although at least twenty-nine multibillion dollar regasification intake terminals have been built across Europe under US pressure to import its supplies, a new Russian pipeline threatens to render them sunk costs).

The Russian pipeline would “pose an existential threat to European energy security,” states one US sanctions bill, implying that the very notion of energy security outside of US/EU auspices is the threat itself. Washington is trying to block this development, using various means that now include the threat of war under any pretext.

Since Soviet times as much as 80% of Europe’s Russian gas imports traversed Ukraine— but lately those flows have since slowed to a trickle, due to Washington’s eight-year proxy war in Donbas, NATO expansion, Kiev’s tendency to syphon Russian gas and not pay its bills, and other factors. It is little wonder Moscow is scrambling to establish alternate routes avoiding third-party generated instability.

This year European gas prices rocketed to record highs, adding fuel to Russian ambitions to circumvent its’ now-hostile neighbor with its’ latest project, the recently- completed $11 billion natural gas pipeline, Nordstream 2, running under the Baltic sea direct to Germany, crucially evading land transit states subject to external control.

Nordstream 2 could be a major geopolitical boon to both Russia and Germany, helping the latter achieve the energy independence it would need to take steps to chart an independent course and/or remove US occupation troops from its territory, still present under the NATO umbrella since WWII.

Despite the pipeline’s recent completion, the European Commission has delayed (indefinitely) the certification required in order for Russia to start pumping gas. Whether Moscow will go ahead and do it anyway remains up in the air.

What is clear is that US counter-strategy is a patchwork of threats, hysterics and racketeering. As Richard Morningstar, former US diplomat and founding director of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Centre, bluntly put it, “I think Nord Stream 2 is really a bad idea…If you want to kill the [US-based] LNG strategy go ahead with Nord Stream [2]”.

The pipeline also undermines an interrelated, long-developing, radical globalization scheme—an internal EU gas market established under the European Energy Charter that’s designed to dismantle Gazprom by preventing Russia from owning or controlling its downstream energy assets.

Large land transit states like Ukraine help to ensure that Russia obey the rules. But after withdrawing from the aforementioned treaty in 2009, Russia has struck bilateral gas deals with states like Hungary and Belarus, enraging Washington and Brussels. Now Nordstream 2 would symbolize the ultimate affront to the internal energy market architecture as it involves Europe’s most powerful nation, Germany, with no transit states in-between.

(Berlin has been left in the cold ever since caving to pressure to phase-out its nuclear capacity and cease domestic coal production).

The pertinent question is: on whose outside supplies will Berlin come to depend? Europe’s future may hang on the answer.

Ex-German chancellor Angela Merkel supported the pipeline, her foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, along with the Austrian Federal Chancellor, Christian Kern, complaining, “The draft bill of the US [sanctions regime] is surprisingly candid about what is actually at stake, namely selling American liquefied natural gas and ending the supply of Russian natural gas to the European market. We cannot accept the threat of illegal extraterritorial sanctions…involving Russia, such as Nord Stream 2, [which] impacts European-American relations in a new and very negative way.”

Detractors, meanwhile, insist that a pipeline avoiding Ukraine would give Russia more leverage over its weaker neighbor, despite the implied detachment, a piece of double-think requiring little to no explanation.

Nevertheless, one hard-headed member of Russia’s Duma explains what’s really going on, from Moscow’s view, and what’s truly at stake in this developing saga.

Yevgeny Fyodorov

INTERVIEW:

Q: How does EU policy affect European states’ energy consumption?

A: The alternative to our natural gas is, of course, importing US LNG, which is much more expensive. The crucial interested parties in our piped gas are Europe and especially Germany. The key question arises from the fact that the EU wants absolute control over the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline. They want to control everything. The principle of competition of nations is involved. Russia is also interested in full control over those gas supplies; it helps Russia to fulfill its obligations. We welcome no third party to play this game as an outside controller over the pipeline.

Hence the Germans’ position: they support Nordstream 2 because it provides for their gas balance and they understand that otherwise they will lack gas. Nord Stream 2 is a kind of “magic wand” for Russia because it helps Germany to get a stable gas supply and sign long-term contracts. Otherwise they will need to keep temperatures in their dwellings very low. If the EU refuses to certify Nordstream 2, Europe will freeze. It would be like shooting its’ own leg.

The position of Europe is this: give us all transport routes and gas fields—but it contradicts the Russian principle of state sovereignty. So Russia won’t agree to it. Our position is simple: we supply gas, you can either take it or not. We aren’t going to sort out your domestic problems.

Q: What are the impediments to gas flowing through the recently-completed Nordstream 2 pipeline?

A: Blocking Nordstream 2 is a result of pressure from the Americans. There we need to understand common sense. What is the Americans’ interest? It is a very basic interest. There is no economic profit in LNG supplied from the US. The interest of the US is that they are generally against German economic independence and independent resouces. Yes, we have American military troops in Germany, Germany is being controlled by the US. In case Germany becomes too independent it will simply throw away American control. This is how history works. Of course, this is why the Americans are against NS2. Not just because of the competition with their LNG, but also because of US Anti-German policy. They dislike that Germany would gain a new level of economic independence; such level which would allow Germany to get rid of American control.

It’s clear that the U.S. wouldn’t like European countries, particularly Germany, to become more powerful. So, the U.S.’s geopolitical interest consists in Germany not being able to solve its problems with gas supply beyond U.S.’s influence, without the influence from Ukraine, Poland etc… As a result Americans opposed Nord Stream 2 from the very beginning. It’s obvious. Because it’s one thing when you control a few countries and manipulate them and it’s absolutely different thing when Germany will get a regular gas supply and will be independent of the US. It’s the position of the US and it’s clear and understandable.

The position of Germany: it needs a reliable gas supply and independence. The position of Russia: to earn money for its gas supply. With every coming year, Germany will become more and more sovereign\independent and one day American troops will be withdrawn from its territory. I’m sure one day Germany will raise the question of withdrawal of American occupation troops from their land. You know, these troops were simply renamed from occupation troops into NATO’s troops. It’s in the interests of German people and at some point Germans will do it. Russia will definitely help them, not in a military way but by creating geopolitical foundation of free nations.

And now another question: the situation in the European Union. European regulations/treaties/charters/energy packages were adopted not by Germany but by the EU and which are greatly influenced by the U.S. They created the so-called energy packages … If EU countries had signed long-term contracts, there wouldn’t have been any price increase. They could have agreed on $300 per cubic meter for many years ahead. But without these contracts the price rocketed to $1000, harming Germany and other European countries.

A: How does the issue of sovereignty come into effect?

What’s the main motivation of any nation? Sovereignty and freedom. And if there are any occupation troop on their land, it’s anything but freedom. That’s why any nation will demand occupation armies to leave their country even if at present they don’t talk about it openly because of the propaganda. Germany is moving in this direction. It’s a normal process. A Unipolar world is neither normal nor legal in the historic context. Either there is one Empire, like the Roman Empire of Alexander the Great, or the world is multi-polar. There is no other option.

Today’s unipolar world is volatile. And Americans understand this. They have two options: either to create a colonial empire (but aren’t powerful enough to do it) or accept\embrace the multi-polar world model. They are guided by the rules of competition among nations according to which everyone is everyone’s enemy. That’s the way people live in the world. All the wars were caused by this. The logic is: you’re the most powerful and the rest are suppressed by you. Everyone is suppressed by you, not only major enemies like Russia, but allies as well. They are allies because American troops are on their territory but not because they love America.

Q: Why does the U.S. still insist on gas transit through Ukraine?

A: Another play is the game with Ukraine, where we still talk about keeping gas supply transiting through it. Nobody (in Russia) refuses to transit via Ukraine. But the talks and wishes are about the substantial profit Ukraine will obtain from transiting our gas over its’ territories. The Americans will continue to insist that Russia must finance its’ own war with Ukraine, until NS2 will start to function; until Russia manages to exclude Ukraine from financing its’ military actions with Russian money [via transit fees amounting to billions of dollars per year].

Frankly speaking there is a particular part of Ukraine that refused to follow the orders of the newly- emerged power in Kiev, who occupied power in 2014. The new undersea pipeline (NS2) shouldn’t involve a third party like what we have to deal with in the case of Ukraine. Our undersea pipeline is more convenient for Europe. It is clear that when the Ukraine pipeline was constructed in the middle of last century there were no underwater pipeline technologies. Now this new technology has emerged thanks to scientific progress.

Q: What are the economic implications of this energy battle?

A: Let’s look at this question from the viewpoint of science, history and geopolitics. What is the American dollar? The American dollar is a world currency. Let’s look at some figures: the American dollar turnover in the world is 40%, the euro turnover is 40% whereas the ruble turnover is only 0.18%. So, the ruble turnover is 400 times lower than that of the dollar or euro. The ruble doesn’t exist on the global scale.

Americans have built their consumption at the expense of the world dollar. Estimates show that Americans consume 4 times more than they produce on their territory. The situation in Russia is quite the opposite. Russia produces 4 times more of the global GDP than it consumes. As a result Russia is a contributor to the world economy while the US is a vermin\parasite. These are merely figures\data, nothing personal. So, the dollar is of great importance to the Americans.

The dollar requires worldwide jurisdiction – Anglo-Saxon law – because currency is worthless if it’s not supported by juridical system. Hence comes the mechanism of the world jurisdiction, the unipolar world as a vertical authority. According to Putin, “one power center means one decision-making center”. What’s Russia’s interest? To restore the ruble, which will allow Russia to immediately control 6% of the world currency turnover. And I’d like to remind you that at present we control only 0.18%. In the long run, taking into account that Russia has 1\3 of the world’s resources, we expect this figure to reach 1\3 of the world turnover. We want to have the right to print out currency.

Q: Do the aforementioned issues implicate a pivot to Asia?

A: There is a policy of reducing dependance of EU countries on Russian gas. We are ready to sell our gas to EU countries. But we see EU legislation creates harm to Europe, eg. Now the natural gas price jumped to $900 per 1000 cubic meters. But those are internal problems; they should be able to set up their legislation so that it will not harm their economy. Concerning Chinese – Russian relations and natural gas supply to China, the supply will continue to grow.

This is about geopolitical and economic profitability. There are certain issues that lead to this. Russia and China have a common goal: to establish sovereignty. I reiterate one figure for economists: in the world economy the USD and the Euro comprise 80% of the world economy. The Russian ruble comprises one twentieth of 1% of global reserves. Hundreds of times less. Naturally that is unfair and illegal. And we will carry on politics which will result in the situation where the Russian ruble will equal Russia’s economy and resource export capability. And China will be our ally.

Q: What is the general position of European states, notwithstanding EU internal market legislation?

A: Who is the enemy of American unipolar world? The enemy of any unipolar world, including the American one, is national thousand-year-old states\countries, like Germany, France, etc… because such countries don’t want to be given orders. France has been independent for more than 1000 years.

They don’t need any bosses in Brussels, let alone in Washington. So the policy of the US is to subdue them. The US has been trying to achieve this goal, firstly, by assisting in EU creation and by Mediterranean wars which led to millions of refugees who break French, German etc… national regimes. That’s the goal. Why did America bomb Libya, Syria? Why were they involved in the coup d’état in Egypt? It’s clear that they wanted to destroy national thousand-year-old states, which leads to economic destruction.

Q: What do you make of the de-Russification laws in Ukraine?

A: It is occupational tool intended to limit and prohibit the Russian language in Ukraine. The character and basic feature of Russian nation is that it is cultural people with big history. And the Russian language is a very important factor in consolidating and uniting multiple smaller nations.

In the territory of Ukraine, as Ukraine itself is not a legal state from the position of International Law. So in Ukraine outside extranational parties. First of all, the US and their allies carry out the politics to stop the process of reestablishment of the joint united Motherland within it’s 1945 borders. In turn the reestablishment process in many parts of the Soviet Union is being carried out by all interested parties.

From this fact emerges the conflict within Ukraine. This conflict could only be resolved by establishment of one single united state of Ukraine and Russia. Otherwise, it will never be resolved and will last forever. Actually, the reunion (of Ukraine and Russia) will definitely happen one day, is my strong belief. All serious leading experts understand that. The situation (between Russia and Ukraine) is still not regulated in accordance with the procedures guiding the liquidation of the Soviet Union. That is most important to understand. To say it in rough words, the situation with Ukraine and Crimea is prolonged and delayed until today. These are the roots of conflicts and arguments with Ukraine about Crimea and Donbass and Lugansk, and with Moldova, Transdniestria, Georgia, Abkhazia, etc…

Q: How does Russia view subversive actions in nearby states like Belarus, for example?

A: As an attempt to intrude by a third party into territory of an internationally recognized state entity, a joint Motherland within 1945 borders. Actually, we will react to intrusion into any other country, not only Belarus. Russia will use shield and defense tools. Defense tools we have include nuclear weapons, to protect and secure our borders and keep them safe and contain safely our nuclear weapons, and using those nuclear weapons. In other words, should America enter the territory of Belarus, our nuclear missiles are targeted at London, Washington, New York and other cities. The US will continue to manipulate Ukraine and Belorussia to oppose Russia. They will utilize the issue of unregulated state borders [see today: Kazakhstan] between these countries as a lever against its’ competitor and opponent, Russia.

Q: Do you feel that America’s missile bases in Eurasia are directed towards Russia?

A: We don’t ignore the reality that the US has installed missile bases throughout Eurasia. And the [US] State Department was saying that they will form new military nuclear bases there, including in Asian countries. Please understand this is very simple story. Russia plans to engage its nuclear weapons not against those countries where it was launched against Russia, but against the mastermind cities where the decisions were made. To be exact, it is Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other American cities. Please fully understand, in case American nuclear weapons are launched from, eg. Taiwan, or Poland, the response will hit New York or Washington.

Q: Please elaborate on the EU’s long-unfolding internal gas market/energy treaty packages.

A: Sure. European policy was to reject long-term contracts. This policy was to start a competitive war in which, as they said, the price would be reduced as a result of competition. And here lies their error of judgment. Competition works only if there is excess supply.

But taking into consideration the post-Covid economy boost of China and Asia [among other factors], there hasn’t been any excess supply. As a result the EU failed. [higher prices, however, have increased demand for US LNG imports, perhaps implying that Russia’s plan backfired, playing into America’s hands]. Those who signed long-term contracts didn’t suffer at all. Some French companies, for instance, didn’t lose anything. They even benefited from this. So this price increase is the EU’s fault. What Russia wants is just to earn money for its produce. Russia thinks like this: if we don’t sell gas in Europe, we could sell it in China.

Q: What is the situation surrounding US negotiations with Germany regarding Russian energy?

A: Look: Who is more important: the supplier or the consumer who pays money? Surely, it’s the consumer. So, who is the main player in this situation: Germany or Russia? Germany. That’s why the U.S. opposes Nord Stream 2 by negotiating with Germany, not Russia. Germany is the main player here. So, the U.S. exerted pressure on Germany. And Germany, in its turn, tried to compensate by offering to invest in Ukrainian system, hydrogen etc… The negotiations regarding Nord Stream 2 were conducted between Germany and the U.S. but not between America and Russia.

Q: How do offhand events, like the “Russiagate” fraud, the alleged Navalny poisoning, hysteria surrounding Russian troop buildup along the Russian-Ukrainian border, etc… influence public opinion?

A: Russia is constantly blamed and there are two reasons why. Firstly, Russia doesn’t have influence on its own information sphere; it doesn’t have the necessary technology. Even Russia’s social networks, television are American. Mass media in Russia are beyond Russia’s jurisdiction. Russia doesn’t have “weapons” in the information sphere. Besides it’s very convenient to put all the blame on Russia in order to solve one’s own domestic problems. It’s common practice.

Q: Is the EU’s energy Treaty Packages/Charter unfeasible?

A: The EU’s energy packages are based on market excess supply. What I mean is they get gas supply from everywhere, from the U.S., Asia, Norway, and Russia. Europe wants to get the lowest price due to the competition between these suppliers. It only works providing there is excess supply due to different reasons, including transport logistics [plus Russia’s allegedly withholding supply from the market for leverage in Nordstrream 2 negotiations]. So it was a wrong strategy. I have only one question here: was this strategy was wrong because they are fools in Brussels or because they just played along with Americans? I think the latter. The situation got out of control: it led to price increase. Now they don’t know how to handle it.

Q: Will Russia accept the terms and conditions of these energy packages?

A: While drawing up this energy package (and it took years), they didn’t anticipate post-Covid syndrome which changed the situation globally. But Russia’s position is very simple. We support sovereignty. Historically, the concept of sovereignty in the Russian word is a priority. We respect the sovereignty of others. Russian position is simple: here is gas, you can either take it or not. We aren’t going to change your own internal regulations.

Q: How does US and Russian geopolitical strategy differ?

A: We have a different geopolitical strategy. The U.S. strategy is to support dollar turnover in the world. The U.S. domestic economy is dependent on external dollar. Hence 800 (military) bases abroad.

The strategic historical policy of Britain and later America – the so called “gunboat policy, is creating conflict zones and supporting both conflicting parties with the aim of controlling the situation. That’s the U.S. policy. It originates from the American principle of nation building. Russia’s policy is exclusively managing our own business. We are a country of defensive\protective policy. The only exception was the USSR with its Marxist ideology of world revolutions. But it was a temporary exception and it was rejected by Russia.

Q: Do you regard ecological complaints from Poland as a part of the American scheme?

A: Sure. Poland is under U.S. control. If Americans remove this control, it will be gained by Germany. But it’s not in the U.S. interests, so they use Poland and Ukraine. They tried to control Belarus but failed. It’s a clash of strategies. The American strategy is “divide and rule.” Americans want to divide Russia in order to get supplies separately from the Siberia, Ural. But since Russia has nuclear weapons, this plan won’t work out for them.

Q: Would Russia like to restore something like the USSR?

A: The priority here consists in re-establishing legal outcomes, in restoring something that was violated illegally. If a country is divided legally, they have the right to do so. For example, the Czech Republic and Slovakia decided to split. If they did it legally, that’s not a problem. But if it’s illegal, it should be revoked. Do you feel the difference?

As for Yugoslavia one should scrutinize the legitimacy of its division. What are the relations between international and internal\domestic laws? International law doesn’t interfere with domestic laws. A country can be destroyed\divided only by its own laws. If internal Yugoslavian laws were broken while dividing Yugoslavia, then this country should be restored. For the same reason Americans insist on Serbia recognizing Kosovo. Because Americans are well aware that until Serbia recognizes Kosovo’s independence, Serbia and Kosovo can’t be considered legally divided, no matter how many American (military) bases are located in Kosovo.

Without any doubt, the Soviet Union’s dissolution was illegal. By the way, from the viewpoint of law, it wasn’t dissolved because no republic, except for the Baltic States, took the decision to leave the Soviet Union. The republics decided on the state sovereignty but any union consists of sovereign states. So, it doesn’t mean the dissolution of the union.

Q: Who controls Russia’s Central Bank?

A: You must understand how our Central Bank works. The Central Bank is the Depositary of IMF and secures and answers for worldwide USD circulation and includes part of Russian territory. So the Central Bank is part of USD circulation. The Russian Ruble is a derivative of USD and Euro circulations. The Ruble emission is carried out proportionally to part of export deals, as part of USD and Euro income as a result of such operations. So, the Central Bank policy and ruble policy does not reflect the Russian economy at all. It just shows our export potential. So we understand we need reforms to nationalize our currency exchange system and Central Bank. And reforms would create a ruble currency bulk inside Russia in correlation with exports. Similar to what the ECB and Forex are doing. We plan this reform.

Tyler Durden
Thu, 01/27/2022 – 23:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3G8qcAv Tyler Durden