Batchelor and Cohen take a reprieve (perhaps welcomed) from the Washington/Trump civil war and shift their attention to troop movements in the Baltic States (NATO) as Canada sends in a rotation contingent, a Ukraine that continues to fester quietly with Poroshenko’s visit to Washington, and more serious, the U.S. shooting down of the Su 22 Syrian jet and an Iranian drone in Syria. The overview is that under Trump, there is no change in the NATO stance in Europe, but vastly deteriorating conditions in Syria even as ISIS is clearly defeated there. The new problems evolving in Syria are about potential problems between the numerous allies on opposite sides that represent a poisonous mix of conflicting agendas over and above what is represented by ISIS. Both pundits are in agreement over this assessment. Cohen begins with his interpretation of the American shoot down of the Syrian jet and quite simply labels it as illegal and an act of war against a sovereign state. But he also notes that the Russians did something interesting. They did not react for two days and then on Monday came out with a statement that Russia would target (radar paint) any non-legitimate aircraft in the region, and should it prove hostile or in non-compliance to orders to leave it would be shot down. The ‘deconfliction’ agreement has therefore died. For Cohen this is yet another incidence of sabotage by the Pentagon/CIA to prevent Trump and Putin negotiating. Cohen assumes this is correct by ‘the pattern of events’ shown for decades between Russia and the USA during cold war events . For this writer we are very close to Russia declaring a ‘no fly zone’ in Syria, and it is very clear that some Americans were caught with surprise and fear at this reaction. The other pattern is that the Russian reaction to these transgressions has always been a degradation of cooperation in Syria. Whether Trump can function with this kind of interference by his opposition without that opposition starting a shooting war is a very real worry. More about this later. The discussion then shifts to Europe and the Ukrainian Crisis. Batchelor maintains that European leadership, the new leaders in the U.K. France, and Germany’s Merkel are two weak to carry on effectively with the Minsk2 Agreement. Enter US Sec. State Tillerson, who advocates dissolving the agreement and having the combatants negotiate a solution for themselves. Cohen then brings up the new American sanctions and discusses how destructively stupid they are. Three European foreign ministers have now threatened to put sanctions on the U.S. if these new U.S. sanctions were passed into law. This is an amazing development and shows the real direction of Europe and Russia – and Washington. Cohen elaborately details these political changes with European leaders.
The following video was published by X22Report on Jun 22, 2017 The Senate releases their new health bill. Rand Paul says it still does not benefit the people, this is another rewrite of the original bill. Trump says he never made tapes of his conversation with Comey. Judicial watch president says that the President can just order the documents from the Obama library. Government officials want to carry weapons because they are important people. The US is now a second tier country. Pentagon wasted 93 million on camouflage uniforms in Afghanistan. Macron says it is time to fight terrorism with Russia, big words when France is still working with the US. By this one little action government officials have shown their true agenda, a bill was introduced where the US would not be allowed to fund terrorists, no one supported it.
After recruiting Trump, the KGB and Moscow have clearly also managed to make all House Republicans their puppets, because the Senate bill that passed last week and slapped new sanctions on Russia (but really was meant to block the production on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia and which Germany, Austria and France all said is a provocation by the US and would prompt retaliation) just hit a major stumbling block in the House. At least that’s our interpretation of tomorrow’s CNN “hot take.” Shortly after House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas said that House leaders concluded that the legislation, S. 722, violated the origination clause of the Constitution, which requires legislation that raises revenue to originate in the House, and would require amendments, Democrats immediately accused the GOP of delaying tactics and “covering” for the Russian agent in the White House. ‘House Republicans are considering using a procedural excuse to hide what they’re really doing: covering for a president who has been far too soft on Russia,’ Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said in a statement. ‘The Senate passed this bill on a strong bipartisan vote of 98-2, sending a powerful message to President Trump that he should not lift sanctions on Russia.’ And, if the House does pass it, a huge diplomatic scandal would erupt only not between the US and Russia, but Washington and its European allies who have slammed this latest intervention by the US in European affairs… a scandal which the Democrats would also promptly blame on Trump.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.
A couple of weeks ago we expressed some level of ‘amazement’ at just how sophisticated, efficient and pervasive the ‘Russian hacking’ community had become after CNN reported that they had managed to hack into a Qatari News Agency and post a ‘fake’ news story all in an apparent attempt to drive a wedge between the U. S., Qatar and some of it’s Gulf Arab neighbors. Think about that for a minute. Set aside, if you will, the hacking event itself for just a moment and imagine how good the Russians had to be to know exactly what news story needed to be planted inside the Qatari news agency to provoke an immediate severing of diplomatic ties by numerous Arab neighboring states…it truly is mind boggling how it all played out exactly the way the Russians planned…these ‘Russian hackers’ are certainly not a bunch of amateurs. And while that may sound like a joke, it is, quite unfortunately, not…at least it wasn’t at CNN anyway. Here are the details, as they were previously reported by CNN: The FBI recently sent a team of investigators to Doha to help the Qatari government investigate the alleged hacking incident, Qatari and US government officials say. Intelligence gathered by the US security agencies indicates that Russian hackers were behind the intrusion first reported by the Qatari government two weeks ago, US officials say. Qatar hosts one of the largest US military bases in the region. The alleged involvement of Russian hackers intensifies concerns by US intelligence and law enforcement agencies that Russia continues to try some of the same cyber-hacking measures on US allies that intelligence agencies believe it used to meddle in the 2016 elections. The Russian goal appears to be to cause rifts among the US and its allies. In recent months, suspected Russian cyber activities, including the use of fake news stories, have turned up amid elections in France, Germany and other countries.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.
‘Never let a crisis go to waste.’ -Rahm Emmanuel The algorithm is simple: Governments coerce their pet monkeys to pay taxes into the system – the self-perpetuating machine – and thereby the monkeys become the very sources of funding to build, equip, staff, and enforce their own incarceration. There are too many individuals with dreams, plans, goals, and ambitions for themselves and their families. There is too much individualism. It eventually must be crushed, in order to maintain the existing social, political, religious, and economic order. The order will eventually blend all of the elements and ‘homogenize’ them to assure mutual self-support for the overall goal: the supremacy of the State and the subjugation of the masses. The paradigm shift is from the rugged individual raising a family of self-supporting and producing citizens that contribute to their government to the collective, where the individual is a number and controlled/controllable in every aspect. The family has been divided to not think for the family and to be in awe and obedience to the State. The end-state is this phrase: ‘I am the State; the State is all.’ -The words of Quarlo in the episode ‘Soldier,’ (The Outer Limits) We are seeing the transformation occur before our eyes. We are also seeing the ‘justification’ for such control in the form of a rise in various stages of actions labeled either as ‘civil unrest’ or ‘terrorism’ by the governments. It was just announced on byGateway Pundit in an article entitled Macron Hopes to Put France in a Permanent State of Emergency, via a bill that will make it a law of the land. Hello?
This post was published at shtfplan on June 20th, 2017.
Incident on the #ChampsElysees. Heavy police presence and witnesses say they saw a car catch fire. One man on the ground pic.twitter.com/b5mQ9nYeQa — Melissa Bell (@MelissaBellCNN) June 19, 2017
Update: FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTER GERARD COLLOMB SAYS CHAMPS-ELYSEE CAR CONTAINED EXPLOSIVES, DRIVER DEAD Additionally, according to AFP, a Kalashnikov, handguns and gas bottles were found in the Champs-Elysees car. More from AP: France’s interior minister says that a driver who rammed a car carrying explosives into a police convoy on the Champs-Elysees avenue has died after the ‘attempted attack’ on security forces. Gerard Collomb told reporters near the scene Monday that the man’s motives weren’t immediately clear. Bomb squad officers are the scene on the city’s most famous avenue, which is popular with tourists. It was the second major incident on the avenue this year. An attacker defending the Islamic State group shot and killed a police officer on the Champs-Elysees in April, days before a presidential election, prompting an extensive security operation.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 19, 2017.
One day after the Senate almost unanimously passed a bill to impose new sanctions on Russia, an unexpected outcry against the US decision emerged from two of America’s closest allies, Germany and Austria, who yesterday slammed the new sanctions and accused the U. S. of having ulterior motives in seeking to enforce the energy blockade, which they said is trying to help American natural gas suppliers at the expense of their Russian rivals. And they warned the threat of fining European companies participating in the Nord Stream 2 project “introduces a completely new, very negative dimension into European-American relations.” Today’s the unexpected fallout from the latest round of US sanctions has escalated, and according to Reuters, Germany has threatened to retaliate against the United States if the new US sanctions on Russia end up penalizing German firms, which they almost will as it foresees punitive measures against entities that provide material support to Russia in building energy export pipelines. Such as Germany, Austria and host of other European nations. Berlin is concerned that if passed in the House, the sanctions will pave way for fines against German and European firms involved in Nord Stream 2, a project to build a pipeline carrying Russian gas across the Baltic. And it’s not jet the Germans who are sweating: among the European companies involved in the project are German oil and gas giant Wintershall, German energy trading firm Uniper, Royal Dutch Shell, Austria’s OMV and France’s Engie. In other words, if the Senate proposed sanctions pass, the US will have to fine virtually every energy giant in Europe. Quoted by Reuters, Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert described the Senate bill, which must be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by Trump before it becomes law, as “a peculiar move”. He said it was “strange” that sanctions intended to punish Russia for alleged interference in the U. S. elections could also trigger penalties against European companies. “That must not happen,” said Seibert.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 16, 2017.
As noted in the previous post, covering the topic of continued mis-pricing by equity markets of policy uncertainties, much of the decline in the Global Economic Policy Uncertainty Index has been accounted for by a drop in European countries’ EPUIs. Here are some details: In May 2017, EPU indices for France, Germany, Spain and the UK have dropped significantly, primarily on the news relating to French elections and the moderation in Brexit discussions (displaced, temporarily, by the domestic election). Further moderation was probably due to elevated level of news traffic relating to President Trump’s NATO visit. Italy’s index rose marginally. Overall, European Index was down at 161.6 at the end of May, showing a significant drop from April 252.9 reading and down on cycle high of 393.0 recorded in November 2016. The index is now well below longer-term cycle trend line (chart below).
French President Emmanuel Macron, who is also a climate change alarmist, is offering refuge to American liberals upset at President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. Speaking in English, the leftist president spoke to American liberals specifically upset that Trump has decided to no longer waste American resources on the far from proven science behind climate change. According to conservative media, if you want to enter France, all you have to do, is become a Syrian jihadist, or believe in climate change like it’s your religion.
This post was published at shtfplan on June 4th, 2017.
Amid widespread international condemnation, U. S. President Donald Trump has announced that he is pulling the United States out of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. The leaders of France, Germany and Italy have issued a joint statement saying they regret the decision while affirming their commitment to continuing the global fight against climate change. Senior Republicans and coal industry officials have backed the president’s decision, however. But as Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, 86 percent of people in Brazil and 76 percent of people in India consider global warming a very serious problem. In the U. S., on the other hand, only 45 percent of respondents were seriously concerned.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 4, 2017.
French President Macron invited American citizens – especially those with a higher education – who are disappointed with Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris accord, to help ‘make our planet great again’ by moving to that bastion of liberal global values, France , where they will find “a second homeland.” In a short address to Americans following Trump’s announcement to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, the French leader said that while he respects President Donald Trump’s decision, he believes it was a “mistake” and invited all Americans (ideally those with a college education) to come join him in France “to work together on concrete solutions, for our climate, our environment.” And, to show just how progressive he truly is, the French president called on all US “scientists, engineers responsible citizens who were disappointed by the decision by the President of the United States, I want to say that they will find in France a second homeland. I call on them: Come and work here with us. To work together on concrete solutions, for our climate, our environment.” If the world doesn’t tackle climate change, Macron says, our children will face a dystopian future punctuated by famine, wars and grinding poverty or in other words, he described reality in much of the developing world, especially those nations which the US and French military forces have decided represent geopolitical “national interests.” ‘It is not the future we want for our children…it is not the future we want for our world,’ Macron said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 3, 2017.
The three-hour face-off between Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron in Versailles offered some fascinating geopolitical shadow play. Macron went so far as to say that, ‘No major problem in the world can be solved without Russia.’ On Syria’s war, which topped their agenda, he said it needs ‘an inclusive political solution.’ While on terrorism, his guest offered: ‘It is impossible to fight a terrorist threat by dismantling the statehood of those countries that already suffer from some internal problems and conflicts.’ That’s hardly straight from the standard establishment playbook. More like a slight variation on 300 years of Franco-Russian diplomacy. Putin and Macron got together to inaugurate an exhibition at the Grand Trianon in Versailles, in partnership with the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, celebrating the 300th anniversary of Peter the Great’s visit to France – which proved one of the founding stones of a complex cultural-political cross-fertilization. Peter not only drew on the royal palace of Versailles as part of the inspiration for his new capital, St Petersburg, he also modernized the entire empire using many of the Enlightenment ideals that first took root in France. It was under Peter’s rule that Russians were indelibly imprinted with a European identity.
Authored by Peter Korzun via The Strategic Culture Foundation, The recent NATO summit took a decision to formally become a member of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS), in addition to its training mission in Iraq. Last year, NATO started a training and capacity-building mission for Iraqi armed forces. In January, it opened a regional center in Kuwait. NATO AWACS aircraft operate in Syria. But the participation in combat actions against the IS has so far been limited to a few aircraft taking part in the operations of the US-led coalition of the willing. Formally, each alliance member contributes to the coalition, but NATO as its own entity does not. Despite the coalition’s efforts, the IS had grown and expanded in Syria till Russia launched its military operation there in 2015. France and Germany have always had reservations about the prospect of joining the anti-IS coalition as an alliance, concerned that it would lead to NATO taking over the fight or overshadowing regional partners, such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Italy has been skeptical of the plan.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 2, 2017.
Update 2: Macron is now trolling Trump on twitter. pic.twitter.com/3g5LYO9Osj — Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) June 1, 2017
Update 1 In a response to President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris climate pact, French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday night that the effects of climate change are already evident around the world. “We will not negotiate a less restrictive accord,” he said, adding that France, Germany and Italy remained united behind the agreement. Macron also reitereated his call that US climate scientists and energy engineers should come to France. ‘The US has turned its back to the world, but France won’t turn its back to the US.” ‘France will not give up the fight. We would have rather led with the U. S. because they are our allies and will always be our allies’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 1, 2017.
Batchelor opens with the statement from France’s new President Macron that equates Turkey’s Erdogan, Russia’s Putin and Donald Trump as equals, and raises the bar on new heights of histrionics and confusion with all the media hype and investigations that accompany it. Cohen in turn mentions the Manchester terrorist event and takes the discussion to the topic of whether or not Russia and the West (and especially Washington) will ever join forces to deal with ISIS. Cohen’s worry is that the latter may eventually use nuclear material in its attacks, and he maintains that both Putin and Trump have the same worries. The hurdles placed to sabotage any cooperation become today’s topic. For example, Cohen qualifies this with a Senator McCain statement that essentially makes the point that ISIS should be the ally against Putin, not the other way around. (This writer worries that given the bizarre thinking revealed in Washington that ISIS may actually be able to use a serious attack and the media may spin it to have Russia blamed. False flag events in the U.S. are a similar danger.) Cohen in the next segment describes Putin’s support for the United States after the 9/11 attack and the American lives this saved in Afghanistan. In fact all (so called) terrorist attacks on the U.S. saw Putin offering help. All were rejected and/or sabotaged/ or betrayed (with NATO activities). All of this is well detailed by Cohen. That Trump had difficulties meeting minimal diplomatic expectations for the Russians is a severe impediment to cooperation and respect from the Russian view. (It is curious that Trump’s boneheaded missile attack on Syria did not come up in the discussion.) Batchelor, who is back from a vacation to the Caucasus region, introduces his third segment with a description of NATO troops of several nationalities in the capital of Georgia, Tibilsi. They were present for training manoeuvres. Cohen points out that Georgia is not a NATO country but it is still a prospect – although this is denied by Washington/NATO. Cohen makes an argument that cooperation for Putin in Syria and elsewhere about fighting terrorism must be at a higher level, but the Kremlin is seeing Trump becoming crippled in this goal in Washington. Trump, however, saw his firing of Comey as part of the process of solving the problem. Again Cohen points out in detail that the firing has only added more complications. In the final segment Batchelor describes some of his experiences in trying to explain to various nationalities in his travels what all the American news stories meant. Batchelor kept explaining that it was noise and nonsense and that ‘nothing is going on’. Cohen disagrees, but can only speculate that something is going on in the background. Communication with the Russians is certainly going on and has to go around official channels because the Intelligence Agencies are undertaking a surveillance and leaking campaign against Trump. This is also fraught in that this practice too can be spun as subversive. This all came from the Trump effort to communicate privately with the Kremlin over Syria. Russia is also potentially positioned to know if attacks are planned against the United States, and Cohen repeats that Trump seems to understand this and cares about it even if some of his other behaviors may be questionable. Cohen maintains also that Israel and Russia share intelligence with each other. (The whole debacle in Syria, however, may be winding down with the Assad clearly the winner and ISIS in disarray.) From my perspective our pundits may be missing one element of this opposition to Trump and a relationship with Russia. It looks like there is a Deep State ‘official’ policy to accept any terrorism damage from ISIS as preferable to working with Russia. The motivation is that, as a side issue, the terrorism can be used politically to continue to promote and fund the growing security forces within the United States and wars in the M.E. This has the side benefit of supporting a greater control/surveillance program over the population which will be suffering a serious monetary and economic decline in the future – and given the reality of a false flag 9/11 event, and a Deep State indifference to cost in lives – the stronger argument is that the priority for the Deep State continues to be(?) complete control of the government of the United States. In other words, they simply may not care about the dangers of ISIS. We should be aware – as Trump’s adversaries surely are – that working with Russia against terrorism can only lead to a lessened war “opportunity” with Iran and a reduction of the creeping instability of extremism in the ‘stan’ countries. That leaves Washington with fewer war prospects.
Consortium News Exclusive: In his Mideast trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel, President Trump sought some political safe harbor by tacking toward neocon orthodoxy and jettisoning his campaign promises of a more rational strategy, writes Daniel Lazare. With astounding precision, Donald Trump zeroed in on the worst possible Middle East policy option in his recent trip to Saudi Arabia and made it his own. He rebuffed the efforts of Iran’s newly elected moderate government to open up communications with the West and instead deepened America’s alliances with decrepit autocratic regimes across the Persian Gulf. Turning up his nose at Iran – a rising young power – he embraced Saudi Arabia, which is plainly on its last legs. It was a remarkable display – rather like visiting a butcher shop and passing up a fresh steak for one that’s rancid and smelly and buzzing with flies. Saudi Arabia is not just any tired dictatorship with an abysmal human-rights record but one of the most spectacularly dysfunctional societies in history. It takes in half a billion dollars a day in oil revenue, yet is so profligate that it could run out of money in half a decade. It sits atop 18 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, yet is so wasteful that, at current rates, it will become a net importer by the year 2030. Its king travels with a thousand-person retinue wherever he goes while his son, Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, plunked down $550 million not long ago when a 440-foot yacht caught his eye in the south of France. Yet this pair of royal kleptocrats dares preach austerity at a time when as much as 25 percent of the population lives on less than $17 a day in trash-strewn Third World slums. Similarly, Saudi Arabia’s appetite for high-tech weaponry is such that in 2015 it became the largest arms importer in the world. Yet its military is so inept that it is unable to subdue ragtag Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen or even stop them from raiding deep inside Saudi territory and launching regular missile attacks.
With McCarthyism 2.0 continues to run amok in the US, spread like a virulent plague by unnamed, unknown, even fabricated sources, over in France one day after his first meeting with French president Emanuel Macron, the man who supposedly colluded with and was Trump’s pre-election puppet master (but had to wait until after the election to set up back-channels with Jared Kushner) Vladimir Putin sat down for an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro in which the Russian president expressed the belief that Moscow and Western capitals ‘all want security, peace, safety and cooperation.’ ‘Therefore, we should not build up tensions or invent fictional threats from Russia, some hybrid warfare etc.,’ the Russian leader told his French hosts. ‘What is the major security problem today? Terrorism. There are bombings in Europe, in Paris, in Russia, in Belgium. There is a war in the Middle East. This is the main concern. But no, let us keep speculating on the threat from Russia.” Case in point, in the latest attempt to stir up an anti-Russian frenzy, America’s biggest neocon, John McCain said that Russia is even more dangerous than ISIS. ‘You made these things up yourselves and now scare yourselves with them and even use them to plan your prospective policies. These policies have no prospects. The only possible future is in cooperation in all areas, including security issues.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 30, 2017.
For all the criticism of Trump’s first foreign trip, he seems to have achieved something quite unprecedented: he has united Germany’s political parties in a common fury (to avoid using a harsher word) aimed squarely at the US president. First, it was Angela Merkel, who was stunned after Trump refused to endorse the G-7 communique on climate change, and one day later warned that Germany may no longer rely on the US (and UK), and that Europe would have to become self-sufficient going forward, perhaps envisioning much closer ties with France. Now, it is the turn of her biggest challenger in the upcoming German elections, social democrat Martin Shulz who is challenging Merkel for the chancellorship, and who accused Donald Trump of destroying Western values and undermining international cooperation. *** Speaking to reporters in Berlin, Schulz was quoted by Reuters as saying Trump was “the destroyer of all Western values”, adding that the U. S. president was undermining the peaceful cooperation of nations based on mutual respect and tolerance.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 30, 2017.
Last summer, when the Syrian conflict was near its peak under the Obama administration, China unexpectedly warned it was ready to enter the proxy war when in a stunning announcement, Xinhua reported that Beijing was prepared to side with Syria – and Russia – and against the US-led alliance, and that Xi and Assad had agreed that the Chinese military will have closer ties with Syria and provide humanitarian aid to the civil war torn nation. A high-ranking People’s Liberation Army officer also said that the training of Syrian personnel by Chinese instructors has also been discussed: the Director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China’s Central Military Commission, Guan Youfei, arrived in Damascus on Tuesday for talks with Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij, Xinhua added. Guan said China had consistently played a positive role in pushing for a political resolution in Syria. “China and Syria’s militaries have a traditionally friendly relationship, and China’s military is willing to keep strengthening exchanges and cooperation with Syria’s military,” Xinhua quoted Guan. As Reuters also added at the time, China tends to leave Middle Eastern diplomacy to the other permanent members of the U. N. Security Council, namely the United States, Britain, France and Russia, while relying on the region for oil supplies. But over the past two years, China has been trying to get more involved, including sending envoys to help push for a diplomatic resolution to the violence there and hosting Syrian government and opposition figures.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 29, 2017.