Majorityrights News > Category: Peak Oil

Population, Environment & Carrying Capacity: the elephant in the room of liberal hypocrisy

Posted by DanielS on Monday, 29 January 2018 01:00.

Two sites that deal with these issues as they combine, the largest elephant in the room of liberal and neoliberal hypocrisy:

Population-Environment Research Network:

Carrying Capacity Network:


Dear Congressperson,

How would you like to tell your constituents that there was an extra $758,000,000 each year to spend in their district? How could you help direct the spending of $758,000,000 ($758 MILLION!) in your district each year?

According to a study by noted Economist, John Williams, which can be viewed at Carrying Capacity Network [1] which sponsored the Study, U.S. Taxpayers pay out a NET $330 BILLION ANNUALLY (believe it or not) on LEGAL Immigration. That is, LEGAL Immigration costs U.S. tax-payers $330 BILLION AFTER SUBTRACTING ALL TAXES IMMIGRANTS PAY. [And this $330 Billion does NOT include the additional NET amount of Taxes State and Local Taxpayers pay to finance this LEGAL Immigration.]


Gas Under Gaza

Posted by DanielS on Monday, 01 January 2018 01:43.

Middle East Monitor, “Palestinians discuss development of gas field with Shell”

In February of 2017, The Palestinian Investment Fund (PIF) announced that it has been discussing the development of Gaza Marine Gas Field with Shell, Anadolu has reported.

Gaza Marine is about 30km off the coast of the Gaza Strip in the eastern Mediterranean; it is estimated to contain about 28 million cubic metres of gas.

British Gas bought the concession from the Palestinian Authority in 1999 but the development of the project has been on hold due to Israeli obstacles. Preventing the development of the project is part of the internationally-backed Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip. Shell bought the British Gas stake in Gaza Marine recently, and it is now the main developer of the field.

The Director of the PIF, Mohamed Mustafa, told Anadolu that the current discussions with Shell concentrate on accelerating the development of the project. He noted that there had been a study to connect a pipeline from the field to the sole electricity plant in Gaza. “The most important thing, though, is that we get Israel’s permission for this pipeline because it crosses its land,” he explained.

According to Offshore-technology.com, Shell holds a 90 per cent interest in the field. The stake will reduce to 60 per cent if the PIF and Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) decide to exercise their options. PIF and CCC would subsequently hold 30 per cent and 10 per cent interests respectively.

The PIF is a sovereign Palestinian fund with capital of $800 million.


Natural gas in the Gaza Strip
, From Wikipedia:

Significant reserves of natural gas were found offshore from the Gaza Strip. As of early 2015, Gaza’s natural gas was still underwater and the same for almost all of the Levantine gas.[1]

History

The Palestinians signed a memorandum of intent on November 8, 1999 with British Gas and a company linked to the Palestinian Authority, the Consolidated Contractors Company, giving them rights to explore the area.[2][3] The discovered natural gas reserve was calculated to have 35 BCM, larger than Israel’s Yam Tethys maritime gas field.[3] It was found in two small gas fields dubbed Gaza Marine 1 and Gaza Marine 2.

In 1999, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak set aside exploration of Gaza’s offshore resources for a future Palestinian state, with no prior consultation with Israel stipulated.[2] According to Michael Schwartz, Barak deployed the Israeli navy in Gaza’s coastal waters to impede the implementation of the terms of the modest contract between the Palestinian Authority and British Gas (BG) to develop Gaza’s Mediterranean gas resources.[1] Israel demanded that the Gaza gas be piped to facilities on its territory, and at a price below the prevailing market level[4] and that Israel also control all the (relatively modest) revenues destined for the Palestinians — to prevent the money from being used to “fund terror.” In Schwartz’s view, with this Israeli action the Oslo Accords were officially doomed, because by declaring Palestinian control over gas revenues unacceptable, the Israeli government committed itself to not accepting even the most limited kind of Palestinian budgetary autonomy, let alone full sovereignty. In Schwartz’s view, since no Palestinian government or organization would agree to this, a future filled with armed conflict was assured.[1]

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Kushner Is Leaving Tillerson in the Dark on Middle East Talks

Posted by DanielS on Saturday, 02 December 2017 04:51.

President Donald Trump sits alongside Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and senior adviser Jared Kushner during a meeting at the White House in Washington on Sept. 26, 2017. AP Photo, Evan Vucci

Bloomberg, “Kushner Is Leaving Tillerson in the Dark on Middle East Talks, Sources Say”, 2 Dec 2017:

- Rex Tillerson worries secret plan could plunge region into chaos.

-White House rejects accusation State Department isn’t informed.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is increasingly alarmed by what he sees as secret talks between Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—fearful that the discussions could backfire and tip the region into chaos, according to three people familiar with Tillerson’s concerns.

The central goal of the Kushner-Prince Mohammed negotiations, as described by two people with knowledge of the talks, is for an historic agreement featuring the creation of a Palestinian state or territory backed financially by a number of countries including Saudi Arabia, which could put tens of billions of dollars toward the effort.

A lasting Middle East peace treaty has been a U.S. goal for decades, and at the start of his administration Trump assigned the 36-year-old Kushner to head up the effort to make it happen.

Tillerson believes Kushner hasn’t done enough to share details of the talks with the State Department, according to the people, leaving senior U.S. diplomats in the dark on the full extent of the highly sensitive negotiations.

“The problem is, the senior presidential adviser does not consult with the State Department—and it’s unclear the level of consultation that goes on with the NSC,” one of the people familiar with Tillerson’s concerns said, referring to the National Security Council. “And that’s a problem for both the NSC and the State Department and it’s not something we can easily solve.”

The concerns predate reports this week that Trump may move to oust Tillerson by the end of the year—reports the president rejected but which Tillerson’s team believes are being stoked by Kushner allies, one person said. An administration official said Kushner had nothing to do with those reports.

[...]

It isn’t clear how far along the discussions are between Kushner and Prince Mohammed, three people said. And some in the U.S. government are skeptical the effort will succeed, in part because of the historic intractability of Israelis and Palestinians and because any peace deal would ultimately require the support of many competing leaders in the region.

The State Department officials’ skepticism about the Middle East discussions also reveals ongoing frustration at the president’s decision to go around them and the U.S. diplomatic corps he frequently disparages. Instead, Trump placed delicate peace negotiations in the hands of Kushner, who has no experience in diplomacy and little background in the complexities of one of the world’s most volatile regions.

Yet Trump, who has long spoken of Mideast peace as the ultimate trophy for a career dealmaker, has shown unwavering faith in his son-in-law’s ability to deliver.“If you can’t produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can,” the president told Kushner onstage at a black-tie event celebrating his inauguration in January. “All my life I’ve been hearing that’s the toughest deal to make, but I have a feeling Jared is going to do a great job.”


The greatest dangers in the Middle East today are Jared Kushner and Mohamed bin Salman

Independent, 17 Nov 2017:

The sort of Neo-con and right-wing think tankers, who in 2003 were saying that a war with Iraq would be a doddle, are back in business in Washington, pushing for war with Iran – and are stronger than ever.

Shortly before the earthquake in Baghdad, I was making the above point about Iraq stabilising to a European diplomat. He said this might be true, but that real danger to peace “comes from a combination of three people: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East envoy Jared Kushner, and Bibi Netanyahu in Israel.”

Probably, the Saudis and the Americans exaggerate the willingness of Netanyahu and Israel to go to war. Netanyahu has always been strong on bellicose rhetoric, but cautious about real military conflict (except in Gaza, which was more massacre than war).

Israel’s military strength tends to be exaggerated and its army has not won a war outright since 1973. Previous engagements with Hezbollah have gone badly. Israeli generals know that the threat of military action can be more effective than its use in maximising Israeli political influence, but that actually going to war means losing control of the situation. They will know the saying of the 19th century German chief of staff, Helmuth Von Moltke, that “no plan survives contact with the enemy”.

But even if the Israelis do not intend to fight Hezbollah or Iran, this does not mean that they would not like somebody else to do so for them. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told me in an interview earlier this month that his greatest fear was a US-Iranian confrontation fought out in Iraq. This could happen directly or through proxies, but in either case would end the present fragile peace.

On the optimistic side, US policy in Iraq and Syria is largely run by the Pentagon and not the White House, and has not changed much since President Obama’s days. It has been successful in its aim of destroying Isis and the self-declared caliphate.

The wars in Iraq and Syria already have their winners and losers: President Bashar al-Assad stays in power in Damascus, as does a Shia-dominated government in Baghdad. An Iranian-backed substantially Shia axis in four countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon – stretches from the Afghan border to the Mediterranean. This is the outcome of the wars since 2011, which is not going to be reversed except by a US land invasion – as happened in Iraq in 2003.

The great danger in the Middle East today is that Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman and Jared Kushner appear to have a skewed and unrealistic understanding of the world around them. Inspector Clouseau seems to have a greater influence on Saudi policy than Machiavelli, going by the antics surrounding the forced resignation of Saad Hariri as Prime Minister of Lebanon. This sort of thing is not going to frighten the Iranians or Hezbollah.

The signs are that Iran has decided to go a long way to avoid confrontation with the US. In Iraq, it is reported that it will support the re-election of Abadi as prime minister which is also what the US wants. Iran knows that it has come out on the winning side in Iraq and Syria and does not need to flaunt its success. It may also believe that the Crown Prince is using anti-Iranian nationalist rhetoric to secure his own power and does not intend to do much about it.

Nobody has much to gain from another war in the Middle East, but wars are usually started by those who miscalculate their own strengths and interests. Both the US and Saudi Arabia have become “wild cards” in the regional pack. The sort of Neo-con and right-wing think tankers, who in 2003 were saying that a war with Iraq would be a doddle, are back in business in Washington, pushing for war with Iran – and are stronger than ever.

The wars in the Middle East should be ending, but they could just be entering a new phase. Leaders in the US and Saudi Arabia may not want a new war, but they might just blunder into one.

Politico, “Kushner took unannounced trip to Saudi Arabia”, 29 Oct 2017:

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner returned home Saturday from an unannounced visit to Saudi Arabia — his third trip to the country this year.

Kushner left Washington, D.C., via commercial airline on Wednesday for the trip, which was not announced to the public, a White House official told POLITICO. He traveled separately from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who led a delegation to Riyadh last week to focus on combating terrorist financing.

Kushner was accompanied in the region by deputy national security adviser Dina Powell and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt. Greenblatt continued from Saudi Arabia to Amman, Jordan; Cairo; the West Bank city of Ramallah; and Jerusalem, where he was on Sunday.

Haaretz, “Israel, Egypt Pushed U.S. to Bomb Iran Before Nuclear Deal, John Kerry Says”, 29 Nov 2017:

Speaking at a Washington forum, the former secretary of state said that Prime Minister Netanyahu was ‘genuinely agitating toward action’ against Iran.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry said both Israel and Egypt pushed the United States to “bomb Iran” before the 2015 nuclear deal was struck.

Kerry defended the deal during a forum in Washington, where he said that a number of kings and foreign presidents told the U.S. that bombing was the only language Iran would understand.

Kerry said that in his opinion it was “a trap” because the same countries would have publicly criticized the U.S. if it did carry out a bombing of Iran as they were secretly supporting.

Kerry said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “genuinely agitating toward action.”

Kerry said he didn’t know whether Iran would resume pursuing a nuclear weapon in 10 to 15 years after restrictions in the deal sunset, but he said it was the best deal the U.S. could get.

In October, lawmakers in the United States approved four different pieces of legislation targeting Iran and its proxy terror group in Lebanon, Hezbollah,  after U.S. President Donald Trump refused to re-certify the nuclear deal, leaving its fate to Congress.

At the time, Netanyahu congratulated Trump for what he called his “courageous decision” not to recertify the nuclear deal with Iran.

“He boldly confronted Iran’s terrorist regime,” Netanyahu said. “If the Iran deal is left unchanged, one thing is absolutely certain. In a few years’ time, the world’s foremost terrorist regime will have an arsenal of nuclear weapons. And that’s a tremendous danger for our collective future.”

Netanyahu said Trump has created an “opportunity to fix this bad deal, to roll back Iran’s aggression and to confront its criminal support of terrorism.”

“That’s why Israel embraces this opportunity,” Netanyahu said.

Earlier this month, the United Nations agency monitoring Iran’s compliance with a landmark nuclear treaty issued a report Monday stating that the country is keeping its end of the deal that U.S. President Donald Trump claims Tehran has violated repeatedly.

The International Atomic Energy Agency report stopped short of declaring outright that Iran is honoring its obligations, in keeping with its official role as an impartial monitor of the restrictions the treaty placed on Tehran’s nuclear programs.

But in reporting no violations, the quarterly review’s takeaway was that Iran was honoring its commitments to crimp uranium enrichment and other activities that can serve both civilian and military nuclear programs.

Foreign Policy, “Kushner, Mohammed bin Salman, and Benjamin Netanyahu Are Up to Something”, 7 Nov 2017:

It looks a lot like a plan to squeeze Iran.

There seems to be a general consensus in Washington that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ongoing purge of princes and businessmen — including the wealthiest of them all, the business mogul and Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal — is motivated by his determination to consolidate his power, well before his father, King Salman, passes from the scene. He is in this regard a latter-day Adonijah, who had himself crowned king while his father King David was alive. And, like Adonijah, Mohammed bin Salman has made some very powerful enemies in the process. Unlike that Biblical figure, however, he has his father’s support and has taken care to arrest anyone who might threaten his drive to preeminence.

Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, was in Riyadh again only recently. It was his third trip to Saudi Arabia since Trump took office. He again met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, with whom he appears to have established a close personal relationship. It should therefore come as no surprise that Trump, who shares the young crown prince’s antipathy toward Iran, has commented favorably on the recent developments in Riyadh.


A Dispatch From Bonn: “1.5 To Stay Alive”

Posted by DanielS on Friday, 24 November 2017 12:13.

Frontline, “A Dispatch From Bonn: “1.5 To Stay Alive”, 18 Nov 2017:


Faith Debrum, 12, is pictured near her home on the Marshall Islands. The island nation is part of an international coalition fighting to keep global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius. (Michelle Mizner/FRONTLINE)

BONN, Germany — One of 12-year-old Faith Debrum’s favorite hobbies is diving off the seawall in front of her house and swimming to a nearby reef in search of interesting fish. When asked how climate change might affect that hobby, she had a ready answer: “1.5 to stay alive!”

It was a phrase that my reporting partner and I heard again and again while we were in the Republic of the Marshall Islands earlier this year speaking to children like Faith about the risks climate change pose to their country’s future. “One-point-five” refers to the degrees Celsius (2.7 F) that scientists believe world temperatures can afford to rise by 2100 without making life on low-elevation island nations like the Marshall Islands nearly impossible. Researchers believe it would also keep the number of new heatwaves and heavy rains globally in check.

Beach house in Arno Atoll

“In the seminal 2015 Paris Agreement on climate, the world committed to holding global warming below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 – but also “pursuing efforts to limit” warming to 1.5 degrees. That additional proviso was added under pressure from a “high ambition coalition” of 100 nations, which had spent years advocating for a 1.5-degree goal to be included in the agreement, and, against political odds, succeeded.

By all accounts, staving off the extra half-degree of warming will require radically new efforts – and soon. Climate experts say every year that passes without significant action will make it harder to reach the 1.5 target.

Already, temperatures have risen 1.1 degrees Celsius (2.0 F) since pre-industrial times. And, even with the Paris accord in place, temperatures are on track to surge by 3.2 degrees Celsius (5.8 F) by the end of the century. One study published this year pinned the planet’s odds of achieving 2 degrees at just 5 percent – and of achieving 1.5 at just 1 percent.

Despite seemingly unsurmountable obstacles, those who advocated for 1.5 degrees in Paris were once again advocating for it at this year’s United Nations climate negotiations in Bonn, while preparing for another major push at next year’s conference in Katowice, Poland.

The half-degree between 1.5 and 2 may seem minor, but for low-lying coastal areas, it is imperative: According to climate models, it likely means an extra 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) of sea level rise, perhaps more. Those extra inches are critical for places like the Marshall Islands, where the mean elevation is six feet above sea level.

Researchers and environmental groups insist the goal is achievable.

The train has not left the station,” said Andrew Jones, co-director of the nonprofit climate research group Climate Interactive. “It’s leaving, though, and we need to run faster than we ever have in our lives to catch it.”

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Trump & Russia: ‘Full Picture Is One Of Collusion’

Posted by DanielS on Thursday, 23 November 2017 15:37.

Expendable money: Dmitry Rybolovlev, bought and sold Da Vinci for record price. Bought Florida mansion from Trump for $95 million only to tear it down after seeing it for the first time because it was moldy.

NPR, “Journalist Investigating Trump And Russia Says ‘Full Picture Is One Of Collusion”, 21 Nov 2017:

“The constellation of Russian connections circling around Planet Trump is quite extraordinary,” says Guardian reporter Luke Harding. His new book is Collusion.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I’m Terry Gross. The new book “Collusion” is about what the author, my guest Luke Harding, says appears to be an emerging pattern of collusion between Russia, Trump and his campaign. Harding also writes about how Russia appears to have started cultivating Trump back in 1987. The book is based on original reporting as well as on the Trump-Russia dossier compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. Harding met with Steele twice, once before and once after the dossier became public. Harding had a lot of good contacts to draw on for this book because he spent four years as Moscow bureau chief for the The Guardian. During that time, the Kremlin didn’t like some of the stories Harding was investigating, and in 2011, he was expelled. In Moscow, he learned a lot about Russian espionage partly through his own experience of being spied on and harassed.

Harding is now a foreign correspondent for The Guardian. He’s also the author of books about WikiLeaks, Edward Snowden and Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian spy who fled to England, passed information to British intelligence about links between the Kremlin and the Russian mafia and then was assassinated with polonium-spiked tea.

Luke Harding, welcome back to FRESH AIR. So the dossier said that the Russian regime had been cultivating, supporting and assisting Donald Trump for at least five years with the goal of encouraging splits and divisions in the Western alliance. You write that the Russians had their eyes on Donald Trump as early as the 1970s when he married Ivana Trump, who is from Czechoslovakia. Why were they keeping an eye on him in the ‘70s? What were they looking for?

LUKE HARDING: Well, the KGB really forever has been interested in cultivating people, actually, who might be useful contacts for them, identifying targets for possible recruitments possibly to be agents. That’s not saying that Donald Trump is an agent, but the point is that he would have been on their radar certainly by 1977 when he married Ivana, who came from Czechoslovakia, a kind of communist Eastern bloc country. And we know from Czechoslovak spy records de-classified last year that the spy agencies were in contact with Ivana’s father, that they kept an eye on the Trumps in Manhattan throughout the 1980s. And we also know, from defectors and other sources, that whatever Prague learned, communist Prague, would have been funneled to the big guys in Moscow, to the KGB. So there would have been a file on Donald Trump.

But I think what’s kind of interesting about this story, if you understand the kind of Russian espionage background, is Trump’s first visit to Soviet Moscow in 1987. He went with Ivana. He writes about it in “The Art Of The Deal,” his best-selling memoir. He talks about getting an invitation from the Soviet government to go over there. And he makes it seem kind of rather casual. But what I discovered from my research is that there was actually a concerted effort by the Soviet government via the ambassador at the time, who was newly arrived, a guy called Yuri Dubinin, to kind of charm Trump, to flatter him, to woo him almost. And Dubinin’s daughter, sort of who was part of this process, said that the ambassador rushed up to the top of Trump Tower, basically kind of breezed into Trump’s office and he melted. That’s the verb she used. He melted.

GROSS: That Trump melted when he was flattered.

HARDING: Yeah. That Trump melted with this kind of flattery. And several months later, he gets an invitation to go on an all-expenses-paid trip behind the Iron Curtain to Soviet Moscow. Now, a couple of things which were important here. One of them is that his trip was arranged by Intourist, which is the Soviet travel agency. Now, I’ve talked to defectors and others who say - this is actually fairly well-known - that Intourist is basically the KGB. It was the organization which monitored foreigners going into the Soviet Union and kept an eye on them when they were there. So kind of he went with KGB travel. Now, according to “The Art Of The Deal,” he met various Soviet officials there. Who they were, we don’t know. But what we can say with certainty is that his hotel, just off Red Square, the National Hotel, would have been bugged, that there was already a kind of dossier on Trump. And this would have been supplemented with whatever was picked up from encounters with him, from intercept, from his hotel room.

You know, we can’t say that Trump was recruited in 1987. But what we can say with absolute certainty is there was a very determined effort by the Soviets to bring him over, and that moreover, his personality was the kind of thing they were looking for. They were looking for narcissists. They were looking for people who were kind of - dare I say it - corruptible, interested in money, people who were not necessarily faithful in their marriages and also sort of opportunists who were not very strong analysts or principle people. And if you work your way down the list through these sort of - the KGB’s personality questionnaire, Donald Trump ticks every single box.

If that’s not collusion, what is collusion?

GROSS: So during this period when Trump is talking with Dubinin, the Soviet ambassador to the U.S., Dubinin suggested joint venture to do a Trump Hotel in Moscow. So that hotel never happens, but why of all the developers in the U.S. would they ask Trump?

HARDING: There was no randomness about this. I mean, we know from Dubinin’s daughters that they picked on Trump. And there’s a kind of curious coda to this, which is, two months after his trip - actually, less than two months, he comes back from Moscow and, having previously shown very little interest in foreign policy, he takes out these full-page advertisements in The Washington Post and a couple of other U.S. newspapers basically criticizing Ronald Reagan and criticizing Reagan’s foreign policy. Now, Trump is many things, but he is not an expert on international affairs, and this is curious. I mean, it may not be conspiratorial, but nonetheless there he is criticizing Reagan, who was very much an enemy of the Soviet Union. They regarded him as a hawk and a hardliner and a bitter adversary. And guess what? He also says that he’s thinking about politics, not as a senator or as a mayor, but he actually goes to New Hampshire and he actively floats the idea of running for president. It doesn’t happen then. But it’s in his head. This is a strategic thought he has after his Moscow trip.

GROSS: So the Russian cultivation of Donald Trump, you say, resumes in 2008 when Trump is a birther. What is this resumption of cultivation? What did that look like?

HARDING: If you believe the dossier by Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer, which I do broadly with some caveats, then at this point someone inside the Kremlin decided that Trump could be of use. And what began was a sort of transactional relationship where Trump was feeding to Moscow, according to Steele, details of Russian oligarchs living in the U.S. who have property or assets or business ventures in the United States, and in return he was getting kind of politically useful stuff. Now, just to explain, the thing is about Putin is that he is deeply paranoid. He’s conspiratorial. He doesn’t really trust anybody - maybe his family, his dog, a few people. But basically he’s intensely suspicious. And so any Russian who travels regularly to the United States or builds property there or invests in Silicon Valley, he wants to know what’s going on and so do his spy services. So this, at least according to Steele, is what Trump’s people may have been supplying.

Now, of course they deny all this, but it’s interesting when sort of Donald Trump says, when he tweeted out famously, I’ve got no loans with Russia, no deals, nothing. Well, that’s kind of formally true. Actually, Trump’s multiple attempts to do business in Russia failed. I mean, they kind of blew away with the wind. But what one can say with certainty is that over a long period of time, there’s been plenty of Russian money going from Moscow into Trump properties, some of them in Trump Tower. There were Mafia guys staying there in the 1980s, for example, who were subsequently convicted and went to federal jail. And also into sort of Trump-branded resorts later on in Florida and elsewhere. And there’s a pattern.

GROSS: In 2013, Trump holds the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, where it’s sponsored by the oligarch Agalarov. By this time you say the Kremlin was actively cultivating Trump. Is the Miss Universe pageant being held in Moscow part of the cultivation, do you think?

HARDING: That’s a really interesting question. As always in Russia, quite often it’s about politics and it’s about money. And the money is often even more important than the politics. But clearly Aras Agalarov was keen to promote himself. But I’ve met him. He’s rather a charming guy. I interviewed him. But also he has a sort of pop star son called Emin. And by bringing the Miss Universe contest to Moscow, several happy things happened. First of all, Trump came over, which I think, if you believe the Christopher Steele dossier, which I broadly do, was good for the Kremlin that there was Trump in Moscow, plenty of opportunities to interact with him. Also good for Emin’s pop career because he was singing before a global audience. He’s a nice guy, but, I think, a somewhat kind of mediocre singer, but there was massive TV exposure. And most of all, of course, this trip was of interest to the FSB, the Russian spy agency.

Now, the dossier says that Trump was recorded in the suite at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, a suite that Obama had stayed in and he watched this kind of famous, exotic show, if you can quote it like that. Now, I don’t know if that’s correct. Trump denies it. But what I can say with absolute certainty is that the Trump suite would have been bugged. It wouldn’t have been bugged for everybody, but obviously they were interested in him, and there will be a tape. It may just show Trump going to bed early reading a novel. I don’t know. Or it may show something else. But that there will have been technical surveillance of Trump is absolutely guaranteed.

I mean, the other interesting thing is that Aras Agalarov, who hosted him, is - he’s the sort of perfect companion. He’s smart, he speaks English brilliantly, he’s quite charming. He drove me around, one day, this estate that he built on the outskirts of Moscow for the super rich where houses cost $25 million. And we were trundling along in his kind of blue, English Jeep with the bodyguards respectfully rolling behind us in a Mercedes about 200 meters away. And he sort of told me his vision. He told me that he was inspired by America, by some of the developments he’s seen there, but that ultimately he was a Russian patriot and he couldn’t live in America even though his daughter was there studying and his wife was there quite a lot. He felt his home was in Russia. And I think that’s all kind of quite revealing. So he has all these billions. He’s a developer like Trump, but he also knows, as an oligarch, that if the state calls on him to do something then he has to do it, and he has to do it well.

Rob Goldstone

GROSS: Well, there’s people connected to Agalarov who figure into the campaign story, and here’s an example. Agalarov’s publicist, Rob Goldstone, who’s British, enters into a key part of the campaign story involving the Trump campaign links to Russia. He sends a now-famous email to Don Junior explaining that there’s an offer to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary, and Don Junior responds that he’s on the road, he can’t meet right away but, quote, “if what you say is true, I love it. Could we do a call first thing next week?” So connect the dots for us between Goldstone being Agalarov’s publicist and Goldstone being the person who conveys this information about Russia having incriminating information about Hillary.

Rob Goldstone relaxing, chatting with Trump

HARDING: Yeah. I mean, I think the whole Goldstone story is fascinating. It’s also faintly embarrassing. Now, I speak as a sort of fellow Brit (laughter). This kind of joking British press, and he clowns around all the time, seems to be in the middle of this story. But what you have to understand, again, is that Putin is not going to do things in a kind of linear way. There are going to be kind of intermediaries, and Goldstone’s the perfect intermediary. He and Emin know Trump. They’ve been to Trump Tower. There are lots of Instagram photos of them all together having dinner, relaxed, chatting and so on. And at some point, he gets a message from the Agalarovs that the prosecutor general of Russia - and this is how the email goes - has got some incriminating material on the Hillary which they would like to share as part of the Russian government’s support for Donald Trump and his campaign. It’s absolutely explicit.

And so Goldstone gets in touch with Trump Junior, sends these emails which we’ve now seen, and the meeting happens. Now, the fact is that actually, the lawyer who flies from Moscow to Trump Tower in the summer of 2016, now-famous Natalia Veselnitskaya, she doesn’t bring the emails that perhaps the Trump campaign might have hoped for. She brings something else. But nonetheless, this is a story about intent. Trump Junior took the meeting. He could have rung the FBI and said, look, I’m being approached by these kind of dodgy Russians. What do you advise? But he took the meeting, and then he concealed it afterwards for almost a year. If that’s not collusion, what is collusion?

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Israel Co-Sponsors Saudi Resolution Against Syria at UN

Posted by DanielS on Saturday, 18 November 2017 01:56.


The UN General Assembly hall (illustrative). Photo: UN.

JNS.org – “In an unprecedented move, Israel on Tuesday co-sponsored a draft resolution against Syria that was submitted by Saudi Arabia at the United Nations Human Rights Council”, 15 Nov 2017:

The resolution, which was also backed by the US, France and Germany, passed with an overwhelming majority of 108 countries voting in favor, 17 voting against and 58 abstaining.

17 Nov 2017: Saudi FM, “Hezbollah Is a ‘First-Class Terrorist Organization.” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir described Hezbollah on Thursday as a “first-class terrorist organization” that should lay down its arms…

Although Israel has previously supported resolutions submitted by Saudi Arabia at the UN, it has never signed on as a co-sponsor.

In a statement delivered prior to the vote, Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the UN Abdallah Al-Mouallimi slammed the “the grave deterioration in the state of human rights in Syria.”

When the list of the resolution’s co-sponsors was read aloud, Syria’s UN envoy, Bashar al-Jaafari, mockingly congratulated Riyadh for Israel’s direct involvement, stating that it served as evidence of a secret Israeli-Saudi alliance. The Syrian ambassador also accused all of the resolution’s co-sponsors of supporting terrorism.

“The Assad regime, with full support from Iran, has been slaughtering its people mercilessly and with incomprehensible cruelty for years,” Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon responded. “Israel, which for years has been providing humanitarian aid to Syrian civilians hurt by these atrocities, stands together with the international community against this murderous regime.”

Israel’s co-sponsoring of the Saudi resolution came a week after the Israeli Foreign Ministry reportedly instructed its envoys to launch a global diplomatic campaign against Iran and the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, and in support of Saudi Arabia and its allies.

        The resolution would overturn United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559, guarantor of Lebanon’s sovereignty.

        Related: Bashar Al-Assad, a proper Left Nationalist, a socially conscientious man.


Occupy Hambach forest, another step toward pervasive ecology

Posted by DanielS on Friday, 17 November 2017 03:36.

Again, while the source of this news story, unfortunately, is the anti-White Democracy Now, the protestors “look huWhite to me”; and their protests should not be at odds with the survival and protection of European peoples; quite the opposite, they are a part of pervasive ecology.

This open coal pit is nearly as big as Cologne, which is the next city here, where over one million people live.

Basically, 90 percent of the forest is destroyed already because of the coal mining ...and we have less than 10 percent of the Hambach forest left.


...and we are trying to protect this last ten percent of the Hambach forest.

We will take you to the occupation of the Hambach forest…

READ MORE...


“Aspen Institute” (((panel))) discusses Russian Active Measures, Putin and Trump connections

Posted by DanielS on Friday, 10 November 2017 00:00.

“Aspen Institute”: (((Panel discusses))) Active Measures

The Alt-Right is discussed in minute 14:45:

Evelyn Farkas: Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia: 14:45: It drives me crazy when Former Director Comey says that the Russians are coming back. To your point, they never left. I mean they’re still here, they have all that information, they’re in our cyber- and in our information-sphere.

Ned Price: And its broader than just Wikileaks and the overt or semi overt organs of the Russian government. I think one thing we noticed even after the election; you take the sort of trending story in Alt-Right or so-called Alt-Right circles: [example] hashtag #Syriahoax started in Russia and somehow make their way to the United States and started trending in some of the same circles that are collectively known as the Alt-Right. And I think the linkage between the two is not something we fully understand; how something jumps across he Atlantic like that and tends to land with the same group of people after originating in pro-Russia circles.

Now we need a non-Jewish panel discussing Israeli and Jewish influence over the American electorate - lol.

..in fact, there are some questions toward the end that bear upon that -

Charlie D. from Duke Law: 52:00: Would it help if we broadened the discussion about all foreign nations who are trying to influence our campaigns?

Panel averts the question -

Ned Price: 52:19: I would start with the proposition that it’s natural for governments to have policy preferences. Clearly I would suspect lots of the NATO member countries were made uncomfortable listening to Donald Trump during the campaign speak of NATO being obsolete. I think that the issue is that in today’s environment there has been attempt at criminalization on policy preferences on the part of foreign capitals. But I think we have to remember is a far cry from a NATO country, you know, privately rooting for Hillary Clinton and a strategic adversary getting involved in our election with Active Measures, covert influence, social media, you name it.

Julia Ioffe: They weren’t probing and scanning our election infrastructure, yeah.

Audience Member: Have any of you considered the business role of the president and Russia; because he has, right now, no one will lend him money in New York City, no one will do business with him in New York City. He owes a great deal of money. Where does he get the money? There are a lot of rumors that he gets it from Russia. Have any of your explored any of that?

Julia Ioffe: 53:48: Both of his sons said that he (Trump) gets most of his money from them (Russia) ...and its not a crazy proposition either that if he’s doing real estate in New York and Florida ...and guess where (((Russians))) who want to park their money outside of Russia, guess where they want to buy real estate? - (((New York and Florida))).

READ MORE...


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