Hat Tip: BB
Hat Tip: BB
Hat Tip: BB
Interview by. Jen Alic of Oilprice.com
Angering Spain by seizing and nationalizing a majority of Repsol’s shares in YPF and ramping up the rhetoric over the Falkland Islands as exploration deals promise to make the territory a major oil player overnight, Argentina is making few friends in the fossil fuels industry these days. Sam Logan, owner of the Latin America-focused private intelligence boutique, Southern Pulse, speaks to Oilprice.com about the politics of populism behind Argentina’s energy aggression.
Samuel Logan is the founding partner of Southern Pulse, a private human intelligence organization focused on investigating security, politics, energy, and black market economics in Latin America. Southern Pulse investigators operate from hubs in Mexico, El Salvador, Colombia, Brazil, and Chile to leverage Southern Pulse’s HUMINT network, unique access, and deep understanding of the region to mitigate risk for public and private sector clients with exposure to political, security, financial, or legal risk in Latin America.
In the interview Sam Talks about:
- Why Carlos Slim bought shares in YPF
- Why Argentina won’t take any definitive action in the Falklands
- Why things will get worse for energy firms in Argentina
- Argentina’s brewing political crisis
- Argentina’s future relationship with Spain
Interview conducted by Jen Alic of Oilprice.com
Oilprice.com: In April, Argentina nationalized Spanish Repsol’s shares in YPF and now shareholders have approved a move that could see a sharp cut in dividend payouts and a redirection of profits to investment. This is in line with President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s justification for nationalizing Repsol’s shares in YPF. She had accused Repsol of fleecing YPF by using too much of its profits for shareholder benefits rather than investing in exploration and turning Argentina into an importer of fuel. Will this essentially political and economic populism help or harm Argentina?
Sam Logan: While there are certainly short-term gains to be realized, the long-term effects of the Argentina-Spain relationship and Argentina’s relationship with other oil majors will result in significant setbacks in investment confidence and overall appetite for working with the Argentine government.
Oilprice.com: What we would like to know is what is missing from this story and what role certain vested interests, such as the Eskenazi family (minority YPF shareholders brought on by the Kirchners who later defaulted on their Repsol loans) and Carlos Slim, have played in the YPF saga.
Sam Logan: The Eskenazi family really took a hit from this action. When brought on board by the Kirchners, they took out loans to buy their stakeholder position in YPF. The payback on those loans was based partially on dividend payments. So the Kirchner nationalization and subsequent decision on dividends has left them in default. Carlos Slim, who got 8% of YPF when Eskenazi defaulted, was simply making a personal investment, not a political statement. When you’re the world’s richest man, it’s not particularly risky to make low-value purchases and hold them long term to see if they pan out.
Oilprice.com: Populism is also at play in Argentina’s renewed push over the Falkland Islands. Last week, Premier signed a $1 billion deal develop Rockhopper Exploration’s Sea Lion field in the Falkland Islands and Argentina is threatening to sue Premier for illegal activity. How will this play out for Argentina, and for big oil? What can we expect in the near- medium-term?
Sam Logan: The Argentine lawsuit will move forward and the UK firms will ignore the action, but BP could get caught in the crossfire as a UK firm with holdings in Argentina. Already we’ve seen Kirchner’s administration apply pressure to BP.
Oilprice.com: How are oil and the Falklands used as symbols of national sovereignty in Argentina?
Sam Logan: The Falklands have long been used as symbols in Argentina, and this is an issue that crosses party lines so there is more political currency available for the Falklands issue across the Argentine political spectrum. There could be more saber rattling, but at this point I don’t see the Argentine government taking definitive action.
Oilprice.com: Would you agree that at the heart of the matter is Argentina’s misguided energy policy, in place since 2003?
Sam Logan: It’s not just energy. This is more about Argentina’s overall economic policies and the steadily increasing economic pressures the Kirchner government is facing. Inflation, currency controls and price controls on gasoline all play a huge role in this market, which extends well beyond the recent actions with YPF. Let’s not forget that until recently Argentina was a natural gas exporter. Due to a long-term political negligence and mismanagement of infrastructure, Argentina is dependent on multinational energy firms to develop deposits and other known reserves – not to mention the potential for hydraulic fracturing. Ultimately, the irrational behavior Argentina has shown against multinational energy firms underscores a brewing political crisis that shows little to no sign of abatement in the near-term. It’s likely to get worse for energy firms in Argentina before it gets better.
Interview by. Jen Alic of Oilprice.com
Hat Tip: BB
By: Jeffrey Klein
Political Buzz Examiner
As expected, the ‘learned’ Liberal elite [who are not up for reelection in November] began showing up on all of the weekend news programs, aided by their mainstream media allies, mindlessly barking about ‘increased gun control,’ in the wake of the theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado early last Friday morning.
For example, New Jersey Democrat Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg boldly urged Congress, via his “Twitter” account, to swiftly address a ban on certain weapons, according to a FOXNews article last Saturday, tweeting…
The shooting in Aurora is a horrific act of violence, and our thoughts go out to the innocent victims and their families. Our hearts are filled with sadness for the 12 people killed and the dozens wounded in this senseless act. We have to face the reality that these types of tragedies will continue to occur unless we do something about our nation’s lax gun laws.
Let’s stop wasting time and start saving lives … Congress must prioritize a ban on high-capacity gun magazines.
A Lautenberg aide reportedly echoed the Senator’s plan to the Huffington Post,
If reports are correct and a high-capacity gun magazine was used to commit these awful murders, Senator Lautenberg will absolutely renew his effort to limit the availability of this dangerous firearm attachment.
Unfortunately, these emotional sentiments, passed around freely in the wake of high profile shooting tragedies like Columbine, Virginia Tech and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), have only political value–as they are void of any practical value.
In fact, they operate diametrically against their stated objective of ‘eliminating’ mass murders, according to a rigorous study of gun control studies conducted by Wake Forest University Economics Prof. John C. Moorhouse and his graduate assistant Brent Wanner, published in the Winter 2006 edition of the Cato Institute Journal, titled “Does Gun Control Reduce Crime or Does Crime Increase Gun Control?”
The study found what simple common sense would derive–people kill people…not guns; which is akin to the popular phrase, ‘If you took away all the guns from law abiding citizens–then only criminals would have guns…which would only result in having an unprotected citizenry.
The only provable correlations that were detected are also obvious and self-evident to anyone who watches the local evening news–the highest incidence of gun violence occurs in poor, minority-filled urban areas, where it is inflicted mostly upon each other.
However, an amazing, but expected correlation did appear in the research Moorhouse and Brent performed using the state statistics on per capita concealed weapon permit issuance and violent crime–an inverse correlation existed in virtually every case–meaning that where criminals ‘knew’ the citizens were most likely armed, violent crime occurred far less.
And, as far as making laws to thwart gun crime, they are generally asinine, useless or easily overcome by any fifth grader or action/adventure movie buff.
For example, Sen. Lautenberg’s idea of prohibiting ‘high capacity magazines,’ can be overcome by either taping two, inverted smaller magazines together, or simply packing more magazines–if the victims are unarmed it would not make much difference in the end.
And after the above mentioned shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Republican New York Representative Peter King, who is considered a fairly bright man, once floated the bright idea of making it a crime to have a gun within 1,000 feet of a federal employee.
This idea was fraught with ridiculousness once it left his mouth.
Even if every federal employee were required to wear the same ‘lime green’ jacket all the time–so they could be easily and unmistakably identified as a federal employee–they are in motion all of the time and would probably cause this statute to be violated by their own actions.
Therefore, practically speaking, the only value these type of statutes could have are as ‘add-ons’ to the list of gun infraction charges–more than likely used posthumously for the victim.
Clearly, gun control law statutes are, for the most part, an incredible waste of time and money, and afford no more protection against violent crime than existing statutes against murder–they have not, and cannot, prevent the random, violent acts of individuals with firearms.
President Obama’s hometown of Chicago is the most glaring example, as even with some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country–they have long held the reputation for being one of the most dangerous cities in the nation.
Conversely, local TV news is replete with stories about violent criminals being stopped dead in their tracks by a properly-trained citizen, discharging rounds into them from their own firearm–as protected under the Second Amendment of the Constitution and provided for under the ‘Concealed Carry’ and ‘Stand Your Ground’ statutes.
By: Nelson Abdullah
Conscience of a Conservative
Tonight’s (7-23-12) edition of CBS News with Scott Pelly revealed some new details about James Holmes, the suspect in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre. According to CBS News, within the past few months James Holmes spent over $14,000 on weapons and ammunition and assorted tactical gear along with the ingredients for his elaborate bombs and booby traps. Of that $14,000 in purchases, Holmes had already paid off some $11,000 of the debt. What’s more, James Holmes’ only source of income was a monthly stipend of $1700 that he was receiving from the National Institute for Health as part of his PHD program. Then, the correspondent concluded, “They are going to have to follow the money.”
The transcript for tonight’s broadcast is not available yet on the CBS News web site but the video segment will probably be up by tomorrow as the web site has previous editions for viewing.
In addition to the remarkable admission about the money, CBS News showed video of James Holmes’ first appearance in the courtroom today. He appeared totally dazed and out of touch as if he was still recovering from a mega drug and booze party. Considering that the shooting spree took place almost three days ago, one can only wonder how much he was in control of himself when he was arrested. In the courtroom today James Holmes didn’t appear as if he could hold a pen yet how could he have handled some high tech semi-automatic rifles and pistols. Then again there was the report from an unidentified witness who saw someone inside the movie theater open an emergency exit door and let Holmes into the theater just before the shooting.
I don’t ordinarily write about civilian crime on this blog but last Saturday I wrote about the possibility that LSD was being used to make ordinary people commit horrendous acts of violence. That post, Experimenting in mind control. What could be the benefits of such an insidious plan? made a very brief reference to the Central Intelligence Agency conducting just such experiments. Today I discovered the complete story on the web site How Stuff Works in a mind-boggling 4-page long article, Did the CIA test LSD on unsuspecting Americans? written by Josh Clark. Just quoting from a single paragraph gives you an inside look:
So one could consider the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) cruel for administering LSD to an unknown number of unsuspecting Americans during the 1950s and ’60s. The agency conducted clandestine experiments on college students, drug addicts, veterans, soldiers, sailors, johns, mental patients, at least one young mother and a jazz singer. For a time, the drug was so prevalent in the CIA, agents dosed one another for fun. And for a punch line, the heyday of 1960s counterculture — including its subversion of the establishment — was preceded and directly created by the CIA’s acid tests.
While something that took place 50-60 years ago may seem outdated, the article then mentions a more current part of the story.
When the Sandoz supply became known, the United States moved to take it off the market. It turned out Sandoz had manufactured only about 40,000 doses. The United States bought them anyway. And with the LSD in their possession, military researchers and the CIA began conducting their own experiments.
In 1975, Congress held inquiries into the clandestine operation known as MKULTRA, the code name for an umbrella operation covering 149 subprojects. Most of these were involved with exploring new methods of chemical and psychological warfare. The Church Committee, the Senate group that held the inquiry, learned little about the details of the operations. The CIA maintained its standard silence — files had been destroyed, new directors had no knowledge of old projects.
Two years later, the skeleton that was MKULTRA in the CIA’s closet emerged entirely. A Freedom of Information act request filed by a journalist turned up several boxes of materials that escaped destruction but were overlooked during the Church inquiry. A second Congressional inquiry was held into MKULTRA in 1977. Information on 149 MKULTRA subprojects was unearthed — from learning to deliver poisons using magicians’ sleight of hand to electroshock therapy as a means of making an unwilling subject talk [source: Turner].
Read the rest here: http://history.howstuffworks.com/american-history/cia-lsd1.htm
If the mind-control experiments conducted by the CIA did prove useful, then what about the possibility that there have been some clandestine selective applications in recent years to create some useful public uproar to gain acceptance to unpopular government initiatives? Too many big words in there. Let me rephrase that. Suppose some unethical leftist politicians wanted to make Gun Control more acceptable to the general public and found it useful to have a small handful of ordinary people go out and commit some very horrendous crimes with guns? That little scenario could have come right out of Hollywood but it would explain a lot of the missing details and also would explain a few of what is already known. So the questions raised by Mike Adams who writes at Natural News, in the post I published yesterday Sunday, July 22, 2012, Curious questions that the mainstream news media haven’t asked about the Colorado shooting would account for the detailed training required in the elaborate booby trapped bombs found in James Holmes’ apartment and the money he spent on the tactical equipment used in the movie theater.
Yes, as CBS News mentioned at the conclusion of their coverage, “They are going to have to follow the money.”
And, Yes, the news is full of talk today about the need for more gun control. Now isn’t it coincidental that the United Nations Small Arms Treaty is just now getting underway?
My name is Nelson Abdullah and I am Oldironsides
UPDATE 7-24-2012, Fox News web site has this:
The first responder who spoke to Fox News on condition of anonymity said the gunman began the attack by tossing tear gas canisters into the theater, then firing his 12-gauge shotgun at the ceiling before turning it on the crowd.
Other details, according to the source:
— After the gun jammed, the gunman walked out of the theater through the door he’d entered and was removing his body armor beside his car when he was confronted by the officers who took him down, the source said, adding that the gunman seemed surprised authorities arrived so quickly.
So who opened the door and let him in? This corroborates what the anonymous eye-witness said.