Countering recent US sanctions and President Trump’s talk of ending the ‘bad’ nuclear agreement with Iran, Iran’s president threatened to restart its nuclear program. If his threat is true as stated, he unwittingly admitted something highly supportive of Trump’s position: Mr. Rouhani said that a reconstituted nuclear program would be ‘far more advanced,’ a veiled threat that the country could start enriching uranium up to the level of 20 percent…. ‘Iran will definitely revert to a far more advanced situation than it had before the negotiations, not in a matter of weeks or months but in a matter of days or hours.’ (New York Times) If Iran is capable of ratcheting up its program in a matter of weeks to enrich uranium to 20%, that means it has been purchasing and stockpiling all the equipment it needs to do that because such equipment cannot be built and installed that fast. So, the equipment is ‘stored’ in a manner that is ready to go. That, in itself, probably violates the terms of the agreement (known as the ‘Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’). HOWEVER, there is only one way Iran can have the capability to ratchet up production to ‘more advanced’ levels than it had before the negotiations ‘in a matter of days or hours.’ While I have no expertise in such equipment, it does not strike me as the kind of production process where you push a button, and you’re up and running with 20% enriched uranium coming out the other end in a matter of hours. The New York Times seems to have missed that little tidbit.
This post was published at GoldSeek on 16 August 2017.
According to continuing reports from the trenches, buttressed by a Bloomberg News article out today by Neil Weinberg, Wall Street’s largest firms are still firing whistleblowers for having the temerity to bring corrupt conduct to their superiors’ attention – despite whistleblower protection statutes embedded in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. One Dodd-Frank provision expressly prohibits retaliation against whistleblowers and provides whistleblowers legal remedies if they are discharged or retaliated against. Another section provides potentially hefty awards through the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) if the whistleblower provides original information leading to a successful enforcement action that results in sanctions of over $1 million. Just this past April, the Board of Barclays, a big player on Wall Street, had to admit that it had hired an outside law firm to investigate its own CEO’s handling of a whistleblower. At the time, Jes Staley had been CEO of Barclays for just 15 months but had formerly spent three decades in executive positions at America’s largest Wall Street bank – JPMorgan Chase. According to the official statement released by Barclays, Staley had gone on the hunt to root out the identity of an internal whistleblower who had sent anonymous letters regarding a colleague. Staley had the audacity to use both an internal security group at the bank and U. S. law enforcement in his effort to unmask the whistleblower. Staley was not fired for his conduct – he was simply given a written reprimand by the Board and had his bonus cut.
One day after Iran announced it was preparing to send a flotilla of warships to the western Atlantic Ocean following the announcement of a massive $500 million investment in war spending, the Iranian regime is fast emerging as the latest potential geopolitical headache for the Trump administration, after it warned on Tuesday that Iran could abandon its 2015 nuclear deal signed with Obama with world powers “within hours” if the United States imposes further sanctions on Tehran, president Hassan Rouhani said in his first address to Iran’s parliament since being sworn in to a second term, and hinted that Iran could quickly boost enrichment up to levels even higher than before it signed the nuclear accord. “Those who try to return to the language of threats and sanctions are prisoners of their past delusions,” Rouhani said in the address. “If they want to go back to that experience, definitely in a short time – not in weeks or months, but within hours or days – we will return to our previous [nuclear] situation very much stronger.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 15, 2017.
A day after US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford promised him that the US would exhaust all diplomatic options, including another round of UN sanctions, before resorting to a ‘military solution’ in its simmering conflict with North Korea, South Korean President Moon Jae-in reminded Washington during a forceful Tuesday speech that the US would need to seek, and receive, South Korea’s consent before risking another armed conflict on the Korean peninsula, signaling his country will no longer stay quiet as tensions escalate with its northern neighbor. As Bloomberg summarizes, “Moon asserted the right to veto any military action against Kim Jong Un’s regime, saying that decision should be made by ‘ourselves and not by anyone else.’ He vowed to prevent war at any cost – a statement that drew a sharp contrast with President Donald Trump, who has warned of ‘fire and fury’ if North Korea continues to threaten the U. S.” Some highlights from his speech: “Without South Korea’s consent no one can determine military actions on the Korean peninsula” South Korea govt will prevent war at any cost; “There will be no war repeated on the Korean peninsula” South Korea will work closely with U. S. to overcome security threats posed by North Korea’s nuclear missiles South Korea govt will “strengthen diplomatic efforts in order not to shake principles for a peaceful resolution” Sanctions and talks should go together; “Sanctions are not to heighten military tensions but to bring North Korea to talks” Moon’s speech coincided with the Korean independence-day holiday on Tuesday, which is celebrated in both the North and the South. The holiday commemorates the defeat of the Japanese during World War II. According to Yonhap news agency, Moon marked the occasion by visiting the graves of independence fighters. Meanwhile, Moon’s counterpart, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, “”celebrated by backing off his threat to launch a nuclear strike against Guam, a US territory in the Pacific Ocean that’s about 2,000 miles away from the Korean Peninsula – well within the range of the North’s missiles. According to KCNA, the North Korean news agency, Kim has received a report from the army about its plans to strike the area around Guam and said, “he will watch the actions of the United States for a while longer before making a decision.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 15, 2017.
Jack Thompson and Oliver Thrnert argue that President Trumps administration is laying the groundwork for the U. S. to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. However, they suggest that if the U. S. were to end its participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program, it would severely damage transatlantic relations and the nuclear non-proliferation regime. As a result, Thompson and Thrnert urge European governments to talk with Trump’s most influential advisers and convince them that a unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA will leave the U. S. isolated. *** U. S. President Trump seems determined to kill the nuclear deal with Iran. European leaders should strive to prevent this, as it would severely damage transatlantic relations and the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Key Points The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) of 2015, which would have been impossible without close transatlantic cooperation, brought Iran back into compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). U. S. President Trump and some of his political advisors are preparing to end participation in the JCPOA, possibly as early as October 2017. Iran is gaining ever more influence in the Middle East, they contend, which is why sanctions need to be reinforced, not lifted.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 15, 2017.
A report in the New York Times expanded on the chairman’s remarks, which were published by local media in Korean, but were translated by the US media. ‘The United States military’s priority is to support our government’s efforts to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through diplomatic and economic pressure,’ General Dunford was quote as saying in a Korean-language statement released by Mr. Moon’s office after the meeting. ‘We are preparing a military option in case such efforts fail.’ Dunford added that he was supporting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s effort to push the North toward talks, and a possible peaceful resolution, though ‘as a military leader’ Dunford said it’s still his duty to make sure the president has ‘viable military options.’ Though he also stressed that the North’s nuclear program threatens “the entire global community,” as the Hillreported.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 14, 2017.
China’s Ministry of Commerce said that Beijing will halt imports of coal, iron, iron ore and seafood from North Korea starting on Tuesday, cutting an important economic lifeline for the Pyongyang regime, as it implemented a package of sanctions passed by the United Nations Security Council on August 6. China accounts for roughly 90% of North Korean trade but moved earlier in February to suspend North Korea’s coal imports until the end of the year. Coal normally accounts for about half of North Korea’s exports, but despite the coal ban, overall trade between the two countries remained healthy according to WaPo. Last month China announced that imports from North Korea fell to $880 million in the six months that ended in June, down 13% from a year earlier. Notably, China’s coal imports from North Korea dropped precipitously, with only 2.7 million tons being shipped in the first half of 2017, down 75 percent from 2016. But a 29 percent spike in Chinese exports to North Korea – North Korea bought $1.67 billion worth of Chinese products in the first six months of the year – helped push total trade between the two countries up 10 percent between January and June, compared with the same period last year. While the latest move to halt imports of iron, iron ore, lead and lead ore, and seafood products will put significantly more pressure on Pyongyang, it is unlikely to be enough to convince Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program, which it sees as essential to its own survival, experts say.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 14, 2017.
By pushing the Russia-gate ‘scandal’ and neutering President Trump’s ability to conduct diplomacy, Democrats and Congress have encouraged his war-making side on North Korea… There was always a logical flaw in pushing Russia-gate as an excuse for Hillary Clinton’s defeat – besides the fact that it was based on a dubious ‘assessment’ by a small team of ‘hand-picked’ U. S. intelligence analysts. The flaw was that it poked the thin-skinned Donald Trump over one of his few inclinations toward diplomacy. We’re now seeing the results play out in a very dangerous way in Trump’s bluster about North Korea, which was included in an aggressive economic sanctions bill – along with Russia and Iran – that Congress passed nearly unanimously, without a single Democratic no vote. Democrats and Official Washington’s dominant neocons celebrated the bill as a vote of no-confidence in Trump’s presidencybut it only constrained him in possible peacemaking, not war-making.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 13, 2017.
Christian Economics: Teacher’s Edition Humanistic economists are involved in a giant charade. They pretend to be ethically neutral. They pretend that economic science is a true science, and that true science is value neutral. Science is never value neutral. It always has highly theological assumptions about God, man, law, sanctions, and the future. Economists want to be regarded as scientists. They also want government policy makers to take their recommendations seriously, especially policy makers in civil government. Alone among academic social scientists, economists’ opinions are taken seriously by politicians. Economists are sometimes paid to be advisors. Yet if we take seriously their claims of ethical neutrality, and we therefore take seriously their claim of being scientists, we should not take seriously their policy recommendations. Why not? Because policy recommendations are not scientific, according to economists. Why not? Because it is impossible to make scientific comparisons of subjective economic utility, and subjective economic utility is the only economic utility there is, according to methodological individualism. This was Lionel Robbins’ argument in 1932 in The Nature and Significance of Economic Science, Chapter VI. But economists dearly want to be taken seriously both as scientists and policy advisors. They want to have their cake and eat it, too. This included Robbins. He backed off from his position publicly in 1938 without offering any logical explanation for his reversal when Roy Harrod pointed out that his position would mean that economists could not make policy recommendations. The best example I have ever read of this cake-having and cake-eating schizophrenia was provided in a book written by George Stigler early in his career. He was for over two decades a professor of economics at the University of Chicago. He won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1982. His second book, The Theory of Competitive Price (1942), became a standard text in upper division college courses on economic theory. In it, he wrote the following:
This post was published at Gary North on August 12, 2017.
As if there weren’t enough geopolitical stress points in the world to fill a lifetime of “sleepy, vacationy” Augusts, late on Friday night President Trump spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping and told him that he’s preparing to order an investigation into Chinese trade practices next week, according to NBC. Politico confirms that Trump is ready to launch a new trade crackdown on China next week, citing an administration official, a step that Trump delayed two weeks ago under the guidance of his new Chief of Staff Gen. Kelly, but now appears imminent. It is also an escalation which most analysts agree will launch a trade war between Washington and Beijing. As Politico details, Trump on Monday will call for an investigation into China over allegations that the nation violated U. S. intellectual property rights and forced technology transfers, the official said. While it’s unclear how much detail Trump will get into in the announcement, administration officials expect U. S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to open an investigation against China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. The ordering of the investigation will not immediately impose sanctions but could lead to steep tariffs on Chinese goods. Trump has expressed frustration in recent months over what he sees as China’s unfair trade policies. As we discussed two weeks ago, Trump had planned to launch the trade investigation more than a week ago, but he delayed the move in favor of securing China’s support for expanded U. N. sanctions against North Korea, the senior administration official said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge by Tyler Durden /Aug 12, 2017.
How about a bit of analysis, eh? First, Russia’s Lavrov has apparently said that a nuclear armed North Korea is unacceptable. Well, fancy that. It would have been nice if you gave a **** ten years ago, or five, eh? Then there’s China. Let us not forget that in order to execute any foreign transaction someone has to intermediate the money coming back into the country. That someone has been one of a handful of Chinese banks, and may I remind you that all banks are licensed by the nation in which they operate. Therefore China has been able to enforce all previous sanctions against North Korea and has willfully refused to. Now China says that it “will not” interfere if North Korea attacks US interests first. But China made no such promise if we attack to “change the regime.” In fact it claims it will “prevent” us from doing so (sure it will….. how?) What’s the significance of this bluster from China? It reinforces China’s refusal to adhere to the previous and present UN resolutions and punish those organizations that intentionally violate same, including those very same banks. This belies the ultimate problem on the Korean peninsula: China most-definitely does not want a unified Korea under a representative republican form of government. In fact it actively fears that happening since said nation would not be able to be controlled and could become hostile on a trade basis to China. In fact, it probably would become hostile to same at least in some degree and worse, if it demonstrated success it would add to the risk of political instability in China itself. So here we are. China and Russia have sat on their hands or worse, actively aided and funded North Korea for 20+ years while it (1) built a reactor, (2) produced bomb material from said reactor, (3) assembled said bomb and (4) tested said bombs. They also sat back while the nation developed missiles of increasing ranges, up to and now including, it appears, ICBMs.
The US sanctions voted on by Congress against Russia are outrageous and an act of War that history will write as this may have been the line in the sand crossed by the USA to punish Russia for Hillary’s loss. Clearly, the new sanctions have important implications for Europe because they target any company that contributes to the development, maintenance or modernization of Russia’s energy export pipelines. This sanction reeks of politics that is really a trade war disguised as national security and pride. We have to dig deeper to see which politicians are getting paid by the American energy industry now and for the next election. These sanctions would surely affect a controversial pipeline project between Russia and Germany known as Nord Stream 2, which is owned by Gazprom but includes financial stakes from European companies. The project aims to carry Russian natural gas under the Baltic Sea, bypassing countries like Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic States. When US President Donald Trump visited Poland in July 2017, he said that the US would increase its liquefied petroleum gas supplies (LNG) to Europe, which was very enthusiastically supported by the Poles. This was obviously a statement that was a direct competition with Gazprom that would distort competition for the European energy market.
On Wednesday, the U. S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced that it was imposing sanctions on eight more Venezuelan individuals, including the brother of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, for “undermining democracy in the South American country.” The Treasury statement said seven are current or former Venezuelan government officials, whom the U. S. accuses of supporting the creation of a constituent assembly that’s charged with rewriting Venezuela’s constitution and yesterday declared itself “superior to all other government institutions.” Chavez’s brother Adan, among those targeted, has been appointed secretary of the new assembly. In a separate announcement, the Treasury also announced sanctions on “longtime Mexican drug kingpin Raul Flores Hernandez and his vast network“, where it stunned the international footbal community claiming that Mexico international defender and superstar Rafa Marquez was among 22 people sanctioned for being a front man for the kingpin.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 9, 2017.
Last Wednesday, U. S. President Donald Trump signed new sanctions into law against Russia, Iran, and North Korea. The legislation was supported so overwhelmingly in Congress that President Trump’s ability to veto the legislation was rendered completely ineffective. Even anti-interventionist Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted in favor of the bill, once again proving that Republicans and Democrats always find common ground when it comes to beating the drums of war against sovereign nations who have taken very little unwarranted hostile action – if any – towards the United States. But these are just sanctions, not acts of war, right? There’s nothing wrong with economically bullying other countries into submission over non-compliance with the current global order, right? Not quite.
The United States for the first time in a very long time, won a major victory in the United Nations. The Security Counsel unanimously approved sanctions against North Korea. Typically, Russia and China have opposed to such sanctions in the past. This is demonstrating that the North Korean problem is serious. Despite all the doom and gloom about nuclear war, China and Russia have no interest in actually pushing the button.
With the new U. S. sanctions bill having been passed by a united Congress and signed by a President allegedly opposed to it, U. S. sanctions are now all over the news. But the sanctions bill was not just a step toward a second Cold War with Russia, the bill was also aimed at North Korea, Iran, China, and even Europe. In his excellent study of the bill, ‘U. S. Sanctions: A ‘Loony Tunes’ Bad Remake; ‘Irreversible Decline Of The U. S. As A Global Superpower,’ F. William Engdahl described the legislation as being a ‘nuclear barrel bomb with sanctions flying in all directions.’ Sadly, Engdahl is right. Without going into a detailed analysis of the bill, suffice it to say that it is aimed directly at Russia, Iran, and North Korea but that it threatens anyone and any country that does business with specific elements of the Iranian, North Korean, or Russian economy. This means that China, Germany, and the European Union as a whole have been put on notice that business as usual will subject them to United States sanctions, ‘allies’ or not. Once again, the United States is declaring to the world that it is the emperor of the planet and any country (save for Israel) who acts in opposition to its whims is in danger of sanctions or worse.
The new US sanctions against Russia overwhelmingly passed Congress. But in parts of Europe, they are far less popular. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel last week called them ‘more than problematic.’ In diplomatese, that means the Germans oppose them. The Association of European Businesses, a nonprofit that advocates on behalf of European businesses with interests in Russia, urged that politics and business be kept apart. We are thus in a situation where the US Congress has overwhelmingly passed a measure against the Russians, the US president, however reluctantly, signed the bill, and the Europeans are deeply opposed (including, I have to add with some amusement, going to the point where a European business organization wants to keep politics and business separate). Before we begin… It is my pleasure to invite you to Geopolitical Futures’ upcoming conference, Rising and Falling Powers: Separating Signal from Noise. Investors, academics, professionals from all spheres, and other members of the learned public will gather at the Yale Club of New York City on Wednesday, October 25, to map out the changing global power structure and uncover hidden opportunities worldwide.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held their first meeting since Donald Trump signed into law new sanctions against Moscow which Russia said amounted to a full-scale trade war and ended hopes for better ties, sending relations between the two nations back to their lows, hit during the Obama administration. According to Reuters, Lavrov who met Tillerson on the sidelines of an international meeting in Manila, said the first thing that Tillerson asked about was Russia’s retaliation to new U. S. sanctions against Moscow. “He was primarily interested … in details of those decisions that we grudgingly made in response to the law on anti-Russian sanctions,” Lavrov told reporters after the metting. “We provided an explanation,” Lavrov added laconically, referring to Russia’s decision to take over a summer-house compound in Moscow leased by the U. S. embassy and an order to slash U. S. diplomatic presence in Russia. Lavrov also said that he believed his U. S. colleagues were ready to continue dialogue with Moscow on complex issues despite bilateral tensions, and said that Moscow is ready for normalized relations if the US ‘pulls back from confrontation.’ > ‘Lavrov pointed out that the US law on sanctions against Russia has become another link in the chain of steps unfriendly and dangerous for international stability, striking a powerful blow to the prospects for bilateral cooperation,’ the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, published on its website on Sunday. “Naturally, such actions, including the illegal retention of our diplomatic property since December of last year, could not remain unanswered, and won’t be in the future. At the same time, we are ready to normalize our dialogue if Washington pulls back from confrontation.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 6, 2017.
Congratulations @realDonaldTrump . This vote is a genuine foreign policy achievement. — Michael McFaul (@McFaul) August 5, 2017
A global punitive campaign on North Korea propelled by sharp new U. N. sanctions – amounting to a $1 billion ban on North Korea exports – received a welcome, and unexpected, boost on Sunday from China, the North’s economic lifeline, when Beijing slammed its neighbor for its ongoing missile and nuclear tests. The Saturday sanctions agreed to unanimously in a 15-0 Security Council vote are aimed at cutting North Korean exports by about $1 billion a year, a move that would hit laborers and fishermen. Existing joint ventures would be prevented from expanding their operations. The new sanctions could cut off roughly one-third of North Korea’s estimated $3 billion in annual exports, ostensibly denying the nation of funds for its weapons programs. All countries are now banned from importing North Korean coal, iron, lead and seafood products, and from letting in more North Korean laborers whose remittances help fund Kim Jong Un’s regime. However, what was most remarkable about the vote is that both China and Russia backed it, siding – for the first time in a long while – with the US on matters of foreign policy.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 6, 2017.
Episode #197 of SUNDAY WIRE SHOW resumes on Aug 5th, 2017 as guest host Patrick Henningsen brings you this week’s LIVE broadcast on the Alternate Current Radio Network – covering all the top news stories both at home and internationally… LISTEN LIVE ON THIS PAGE AT THE FOLLOWING SCHEDULED SHOW TIMES: 5pm-8pm UK Time | 12pm-3pm ET (US) | 9am-12am PT (US) This week we deliver another LIVE broadcast from the sunny shores of Devon in the UK, as SUNDAY WIRE host Patrick Henningsen is joined by Mike Robinson, editor of the UK Column, as we discuss this weeks top news stories both foreign and domestic. The BREXIT psy-op continues with more fear-mongering over the divorce, while US sanctions bother Russia, and bite North Korea but are they justified, are they legal? Venezuela is on fire, as the US prepare the next phase of regime change in Caracas. What is going on with Google andFacebook? Unfortunately for millions of users, politically-motivated policies are now being implemented – allegedly to ‘tackle hate crime’ but in reality this is being extended by California’s billionaire monopolists in order to ‘disappear’ any political speech which Silicon Valley executives and their administrators might deem offense. It this a new corporate digital Stasi coming into power?
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This post was published at Spreaker on AUGUST 6, 2017.