Oil Producers Turning To Crypto To Solve Sanctions Problems

Authored by Tom Luongo,
Last week, Venezuela announced it would develop a national cryptocurrency backed by its oil reserves, the Petro. Now there is a report that Russia is considering the same thing. Iran will likely follow suit.
As of right now this is just a rumor, but it makes some sense. So, let’s treat this rumor as fact for the sake of argument and see where it leads us.
The U. S. continues to sanction and threaten all of these countries for daring to challenge the global status quo. There is no denying this. And so much of what we see in the geopolitical headlines are knock-on effects of this challenge.
The Geopolitical ‘Why’
From the Middle East to North Korea, the Dutch changing their laws to block Nordstream 2 to the Saudis breaking off relations with Qatar, everything you read about in the news is a move on the geopolitical ‘Go’ board.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 12, 2017.

HSBC Shares Surge As US DoJ Removes “Sword Of Damocles” On Money Laundering

On Monday, HSBC announced its deferred prosecution agreement with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) had expired, removing the threat of criminal prosecution for money laundering which had been hanging over the company for five years. From the Financial Times.
The US Department of Justice has given HSBC a major boost by seeking dismissal of the deferred criminal charges that have been hanging over the bank since it was fined for money laundering and sanctions breaches five years ago. The move by the DoJ lifts the threat of criminal prosecution that had been a ‘sword of Damocles’ hanging over London-headquartered HSBC, as its new management team looks to put its misconduct-plagued past behind it.
HSBC said the DoJ would file a motion with the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York seeking the dismissal of the charges deferred by the agreement it reached as part of a settlement with the bank in December 2012. The deferred prosecution agreement meant the DoJ could have reopened the criminal case against HSBC if the bank had been caught breaching the rules again during that period.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 11, 2017.

49 Countries Have Violated Sanctions On North Korea

A new report from the Institute for Science and International Security has found that 49 countries violated sanctions on North Korea to varying degrees between March 2014 and September 2017.
13 governments including Cuba, Egypt, Iran and Syria were involved in military violations, which as Statista’s Martin Armstrong notes, includes either receiving military training from North Korea or being involved in the import and export of military equipment.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 10, 2017.

North Korean “Ghost Ship” Arrivals In Japan Surge

Large numbers of North Korean fishing boats are washing up along the Japanese coast, some of which have contained decaying corpses.
Winds and water currents push dozens of boats onto Japan’s northern coasts annually. Rickety North Korean fishing boats are particularly vulnerable because they lack the sturdiness and equipment to return home. In November of this year alone, 28 of the so-called “ghost ships” were discovered by Japanese authorities with 42 people who claim to be fishermen found alive.
18 bodies have also been recovered so far.
As Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, the grim discoveries suggest that the situation in North Korea is becoming desperate with sanctions and food shortages likely driving fishermen further out to sea to secure bigger catches.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2017.

Boom: Michael Flynn pleads guilty

Boom: Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the FBI; but an Obama aide went to Russia and huddled with Russian officials BEFORE Obama was even elected
Michael Flynn has pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversation with the Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak.
The conversation occurred AFTER Trump won the 2016 election and before he was inaugurated. The conversation involved US sanctions against Russia and a UN resolution concerning Israel.
Why did Flynn lie? There was nothing wrong with him speaking to the Ambassador during the presidential transition phase. Claims that he was undermining Obama’s policy toward Russia are nonsense. It’s common practice for an incoming president’s staff to speak with foreign officials, in order to set up future goals and policies.
The prosecution against Flynn is of the so-called ‘process’ variety.
That means, in this case, he lied to federal officials about a matter that was itself inconsequential.

This post was published at Jon Rappoport on December 3, 2017.

Did Mike Flynn Wear A Wire During Conversations With Jared Kushner?

By now, other potential Trump administration officials who might’ve interacted with Michael Flynn following his Jan. 24 interview with FBI agents – where the former general lied about the details of his conversation with then-ambassador Kislyak – are probably tearing their hair out trying to discern whether the former National Security Adviser – who served in that post for less than a month before being fired for allegedly misrepresenting these same conversations to Vice President Pence – might’ve worn a wire during their interactions.
Of course, there’s nothing in Flynn’s Nov. 30 plea agreement that definitively answers the question of whether Flynn wore a wire.
So, in the interest of reading the tea leaves, the Guardian spoke to a handful of experts about whether there was any language in the plea agreement to suggest that Flynn – who tried to cover up the fact that he intimated to then-ambassador Kislyak that Trump would roll back some of the sanctions against the Putin government while also soliciting a Russian veto of a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements – might’ve been wired for sound.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 4, 2017.

Boom: Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the FBI; but an Obama aide went to Russia and huddled with Russian officials BEFORE Obama was even elected

Michael Flynn has pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversation with the Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak.
The conversation occurred AFTER Trump won the 2016 election and before he was inaugurated. The conversation involved US sanctions against Russia and a UN resolution concerning Israel.
Why did Flynn lie? There was nothing wrong with him speaking to the Ambassador during the presidential transition phase. Claims that he was undermining Obama’s policy toward Russia are nonsense. It’s common practice for an incoming president’s staff to speak with foreign officials, in order to set up future goals and policies.

This post was published at Jon Rappoport on December 3, 2017.

White Helmets, ‘Local Councils’ – Is the UK FCO Financing Terrorism in Syria with Taxpayer Funds?

The UK regime is a primary player in the ostensibly US-led coalition whose objective for the last seven years, has been the removal of Syria’s President Assad and the inevitable imposition of a so called ‘moderate’ Islamic State upon the people of Syria. This campaign has led to the destabilization of Syria and destruction of infrastructure across much of its territory. Not to mention, the wholesale suffering endured by the Syrian people under attack from NATO member state sponsored terrorism and punishing economic sanctions. It is therefore ironic that the UK Government funds the Syrian ‘opposition’ via its Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF):
‘The Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) provides development and security support to countries which are at risk of conflict or instability. It’s the only government fund which uses both Defence spend and Official Development Assistance (ODA) to deliver and support security, defence, peacekeeping, peace-building and stability activity.’
Previously under the heading ‘Conflict Pool’, the CSSF is a 1bn-plus slush fund dedicated to providing ‘development and security’, according to the UK Government overview.
‘The CSSF has been allocated 1.163 billion for 2017 to 2018. It includes over 300 million mandatory contributions to peacekeeping operations.’ ~ CSSF An Overview
From the outset, CSSF spending has been shrouded in secrecy, particularly with regards to Syria.
Following a recent Parliamentary Question from Baroness Caroline Cox, it has been confirmed that the UK FCO has financed the Syrian ‘opposition’ for three years through the CSSF:
‘The value of the CSSF for Syria is 69 million in the current financial year, was 64 million in 2016-17, and 66 million in 2015-16.’ – Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, FCO

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on DECEMBER 2, 2017.

Did Flynn’s Plea Deal Just Disprove Election Collusion

Submitted by iBankCoin
This whole charade with former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn reeks of desperation and makes clear that Mueller’s team has an empty hand. To summarize the plea agreement from the FBI Special Counsel’s ‘Statement of the Offense’:
On December 29, 2016, Flynn called a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team to discuss whether or not to talk to the Russians about recent U. S. sanctions imposed by Obama. Flynn got the go-ahead from someone (does not name Trump) and called the Russian Ambassador, requesting that Russia not escalate the situation – asking that they only respond to the U. S. sanctions in a reciprocal manner. On or about December 30 – the next day, Russian President Vladimir Putin released a statement indicating that Russia would not take retaliatory measures in response to U. S. sanctions. Flynn lied about this on January 24 in a voluntary interview with the FBI Flynn also lied to the FBI about calls he made to the Russian Ambassador and other countries to try and influence a UN resolution submitted by Egypt regarding Israeli settlements, stating he only asked the countries’ positions on the vote ABC news takes it a step further, reporting from an anonymous source that ‘Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians, initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria.’ – though NBC News reports it was Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner.
Observation and takeaways
The fact that Flynn spoke with the Russians in December, well after the election, has been known since February. Mueller’s ‘Statement of Offense’ establishes is that there wasn’t an existing backchannel between the Trump campaign and Russia – at least through Flynn, as it pertains to pre-election collusion. It’s perfectly reasonable to expect an incoming President to instruct his incoming National Security Advisor to establish a dialogue with a country like Russia over recent and contentious sanctions, as well as fighting ISIS in Syria. If Flynn’s contact with Russia was related to ‘collusion’ in regards to election meddling, he would be pleading guilty to an espionage conspiracy, not the ‘process crime’ of lying to the FBI.. If Flynn were to now drop some new bombshell about greater Russian collusion, he would have lied to the FBI twice.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2017.

Michael Flynn Charged With Lying To The FBI While Deep State Obama Operative James Clapper Is Allowed to Commit ‘Brazen Perjury’ On National TV

In what the entire mainstream media is reporting as a ‘bombshell’, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn has been charged with lying to the FBI about a series of legal conversations he had with the Russian ambassador that included talk on how better to take out ISIS.
‘The charging document states that Flynn made a false statement to the FBI when he stated that in December 2016 he did not ask Kislyak ‘to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day; and Flynn did not recall the Russian ambassador subsequently telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request,’ reported CNN.
In comparison, Obama and deep state operative James Clapper has committed open perjury multiple times over the years and literally nothing has happened to him. I guess being a globalist operative has its perks.

This post was published at shtfplan on December 1st, 2017.

“Statement Of The Offense”: Here Is Mueller’s Full Case Against Flynn

As the public scrambles to uncover more information on just what Flynn knows, or doesn’t know, and how exactly he is cooperating with Mueller, moments ago the Special Counsel has released the following “statement of the offense“, i.e., i.e., Robert Mueller full case against Flynn, which he will hope to use and impeach Trump. It all boils down to two phone calls between a senior member of the Trump administration and the Russian ambassador to the US at the time.
Here is the key section:
On or about December 28, 2016, then-President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13757, which was to take effect the following day. The executive order announced sanctions against Russia in response to that government’s actions intended to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. On or about December 28, 2016, the Russian Ambassador contacted FLYNN. On or about December 29, 2016, FLYNN called a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team (“PTT official”), who was with other senior members of the Presidential Transition Team at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, to discuss what, if anything, to communicate to the Russian Ambassador about the U. S. Sanctions.
On that call, FLYNN and the PTT official discussed the U. S. Sanctions, including the potential impact of those sanctions on the incoming administration’s foreign policy goals. The PTT official and FLYNN also discussed that the members of the Presidential Transition Team at Mar-a-Lago did not want Russia to escalate the situation. Immediately after his phone call with the PTT official, FLYNN called the Russian Ambassador and requested that Russia not escalate the situation and only respond to the U. S. Sanctions in a reciprocal manner. Shortly after his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, FLYNN spoke with the PTT official to report on the substance of his call with the Russian Ambassador, including their discussion of the U. S. Sanctions.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2017.

Hawaii Reinstates Cold-War Era Warning To Prepare For North Korean Attack

The previously retired air raid warning sirens from the Cold War era in Hawaii will be wailing again come December. Only this time, it’s due to the rising tensions between the United States and North Korea.
Hawaii has long been a military defense outpost sparking fears that North Korea could target the island. ‘I suppose that’s necessary as a precaution,’ said Ted Tsukiyama, a Hawaiian resident, and WWII veteran. ‘But I don’t think North Korea is gonna attack,’ Tsukiyama said. ‘They’d be foolish to threaten South Korea or Japan or the United States.’
But the concerns are growing as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has repeatedly threatened to drop a bomb over the Pacific Ocean, and President Donald Trump has threatened North Korea with ‘fire and fury’ and designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. In turn, North Korea has continually failed to abide by the United Nations sanctions placed on them, as they advance their weapons of mass destruction.
Sirens were installed around Hawaii after the second world war started, according to Tsukiyama, and there would be periodic tests. ‘I remember hearing the sirens going off. The radio would give us a warning: ‘This is only a test, don’t get alarmed,” said Tsukiyama, who was born and raised in Hawaii.

This post was published at shtfplan on November 27th, 2017.

US Calls For ‘Genuine Transition’ In Zimbabwe As Mugabe Resigns

BREAKING: President Robert Mugabe has resigned, Speaker of Parliament confirms
— Zim Media Review (@ZimMediaReview) November 21, 2017

Update: During a small roundtable with State Department reporters late Monday, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto urged the Zimbabwe military to implement ‘real, genuine, economic [and] political reforms” and to ensure elections scheduled to be helpd next year are fair and transparent.
The message came hours before Zimbabwe’s parliament speaker announced President Robert Mugabe had resigned Tuesday.
Yamamoto said the international community wants to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe and see the country, once an economic success story, become a pillar of stability on the continent, according to VOA News.
The way for Washington to lift sanctions is for Harare to carry out the due process, to respect human rights, and to give the opposition a genuine opportunity to form a government.
‘What we don’t want is a manipulation by the government or by the ruling ZANU-PF party – holding rush elections, not taking into consideration a lot of the reform issues that the opposition wants to implement; also, not giving political space for Zimbabwe people for them to express what they want to see in a new government,” Yamamoto said.
US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Harry Thomas has been meeting with officials from ZANU-PF party and the opposition party behind the scenes to try and help push the political process forward.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 21, 2017.

White House Declares North Korea A State Sponsor Of Terror

Following comments by the White House last week that the administration would soon bring more pressure on North Korea, President Donald Trump has confirmed as much to a crowd of reporters, adding that, as of today, that North Korea would once again be designated a terror sponsor.
Trump cited the killing of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s estranged half brother in a Malaysian airport earlier this year, as well as the North’s horrific treatment of Ohio college student Otto Warmbier, as justifications for the sanctions.
‘North Korea has supported acts of international terrorism, including assassinations on foreign soil,’ Trump said.
‘As we take this action today we think of Otto Warmbier and the many others affected by north korean opporession.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 20, 2017.

Hezbollah is a Threat to Israel but not to the United States

Sharmine Narwani
American Conservative
Western-backed militants are in retreat, Bashar al-Assad remains president, Hezbollah has stretched its wings regionally, Israeli power is in decline, and Iran is on the rise. Not a pretty result for Washington’s multi-billion dollar investment in the Syrian conflict, especially if it was intended to change the map of the region to favor U. S. interests.
The Trump administration is therefore moving to hit its regional adversaries on alternative, non-military fronts – mainly, employing the sanctions tool that can cripple economies, besiege communities, and stir up public discontent.
The first step was to decertify the nuclear agreement struck between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1), which would open up a pathway to further U. S. sanctions against Iran.
The second step is to resuscitate the Hezbollah ‘threat’ and isolate the organization using legal maneuvers and financial sanctions – what one pro-U. S. Lebanese Central Bank official calls ‘the new tools of imperialism.’
The U. S. listed Hezbollah as a ‘terrorist organization’ 20 years ago this month. Most other states, as well as the United Nations Security Council, have not.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on NOVEMBER 4, 2017.

Iran Urges Russia To Ditch The Dollar, Isolate America

Iran has suggested isolating the US by ditching the dollar during a meeting yesterday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Tehran.
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Remonstrating against US threats to impose new sanctions and cancel the nuclear agreement, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei branded the US an enemy and urged Moscow to completely sever ties with the US currency:
“By ignoring the negative propaganda of the enemies, that seek to weaken relations between countries, we can nullify US sanctions, using methods such as eliminating the dollar and replacing it with national currencies in transactions between two or more parties; thus, isolate the Americans.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 3, 2017.

Honeypot: Was The Trump Camp’s Meeting With Russian Lawyer All A Clinton Set-Up?

This week’s bombshell – that the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign financed former British spy Christopher Steele’s salacious dossier allegedly connecting Donald Trump and Russia – may suggest something even more devious. The dossier was compiled by the notorious firm Fusion GPS, which also worked for Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, the very woman who met with Donald Trump Jr. in a meeting deemed pivotal to the case for Trump-Russia “collusion.”
The Fusion GPS connection raises a supremely interesting question: Did the Clinton campaign actually orchestrate the meeting between Trump campaign officials and Veselnitskaya? Is the entire Trump-Russia collusion narrative the result of a Clinton set-up?
***
After PJ Media’s Liz Sheld suggested the idea to this reporter, it seemed increasingly plausible. Not only does the timeline work out, but Clinton attacked Trump as Putin’s puppet and Clinton’s connections to Russia had been powerfully reported in 2015. What better way to distract from Clinton’s ties to Russia than proving “collusion” on Trump’s part?
When Veselnitskaya met with Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort on June 9, 2016, she pressed them on the adoption issue, part of the Russian efforts to undermine the Magnitsky Act. The act – signed by President Barack Obama in December 2012 – imposed sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who unearthed massive fraud within the Russian government and was imprisoned, tortured, and killed for it in 2009. Hermitage Capital Management CEO Bill Browder testified that the sanctions “personally” affect Russian President Vladimir Putin’s wealth.
Putin retaliated by banning the adoption of Russian orphans by American families. Previously, Russia had allowed Americans to adopt sick Russian children, and they adopted kids suffering with HIV, Down Syndrome, and other ailments. Due to this retaliation for the Magnitsky Act, Browder testified, these sick children now languish in Russian orphanages and many will die before their 18th birthdays.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 30, 2017.

North Korea Prepares For World War 3 With Mass Evacuation And Blackout Drills Conducted Across The Country

The rogue nation of North Korea is bracing itself for World War 3. The country has now undergone mass evacuation and blackout drills designed to ready the public for a war.
Although the drills were not conducted in the capital city of Pyongyang, the North Korean government had many other cities practice evacuations and ‘blackout’ drills. Blackout drills are designed to disguise the people from enemy aircraft in the event of a war by minimizing the lighting. With tensions sky-high between the United States and North Korea, the ultra-secretive country reportedly staged the training in towns and cities throughout the nation last week.
North Korea’s refusal to abide by international sanctions may be part of the reason of their insistence on war preparations, all while US Defense Secretary James Mattis fears threats of a nuclear missile attack by the regime are accelerating. ‘North Korea has accelerated the threat that it poses to its neighbors and the world through its illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear weapons programs,’ Mattis said on Saturday.

This post was published at shtfplan on October 30th, 2017.