WEAPONIZING THE GOVERNMENT
Hat Tip: BB
Hat Tip: BB
Savik Shuster compares the speeches made by Hitler in 1939 and Putin in 2014.
Note: If the English subtitles do not appear, try toggling the “CC” (closed captions) button.
Recent trade deals and high-level cooperation between Russia and China have set off alarm bells in the West as policymakers and oil and gas executives watch the balance of power in global energy markets shift to the East.
The reasons for the cozier relationship between the two giant powers are, of course, rooted in the Ukraine crisis and subsequent Western sanctions against Russia, combined with China’s need to secure long-term energy supplies. However, a consequence of closer economic ties between Russia and China could also mean the beginning of the end of dominance for the U.S. dollar, and that could have a profound impact on energy markets.
Rein of the USD
Before the 20th century, the value of money was tied to gold. Banks that lent money were constrained by the amount of their gold reserves. The Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944 established a system of exchange rates that allowed governments to sell their gold to the U.S. Treasury. But in 1971, U.S. President Richard Nixon took the country off the gold standard, which formally ended the linkage between the world’s major currencies and gold.
Related: Should Europe Be Concerned About Russia’s Growing Energy Relationship with Asia
The U.S. dollar then went through a massive devaluation, and oil played a crucial role in propping it back up. Nixon negotiated a deal with Saudi Arabia whereby in exchange for arms and protection, the Saudis would denominate all future sales of oil in U.S. dollars. Other OPEC members agreed to similar deals, ensuring perpetual global demand for greenbacks. The dominance of the U.S. “petrodollar” continues to this day.
Russia and China Cozy Up
Recent news coming out of Russia, however, suggests that the era of U.S. dollar dominance could be coming to an end, due to increasing competition from the world’s second largest economy and primary consumer of commodities, China.
China and Russia have been furiously signing energy deals that indicate their mutual energy interests. The most obvious is the $456 billion gas deal that Russian state-owned Gazprom signed with China in May, but that was just the biggest in a string of energy agreements going back to 2009. That year, Russian oil giant Rosneft secured a $25 billion oil swap agreement with Beijing, and last year, Rosneft agreed to double oil supplies to China in a deal valued at $270 billion.
Since Western sanctions against Russia took hold in reaction to the Russian land grab in Crimea and the shooting down of a commercial airliner, Moscow has increasingly looked to its former Cold War rival as a key buyer of Russian crude — its most important export. Liam Halligan, a columnist for the Telegraph, says “the real danger” of closer Russian-Chinese ties is not a bust-up between China and the U.S., which could threaten crucial shipping routes for China-bound coal and LNG, but its impact on the U.S. dollar.
“If Russia’s ‘pivot to Asia’ results in Moscow and Beijing trading oil between them in a currency other than the dollar, that will represent a major change in how the global economy operates and a marked loss of power for the U.S. and its allies,” Halligan wrote in May. “With China now the world’s biggest oil importer and the U.S. increasingly stressing domestic production, the days of dollar-priced energy, and therefore dollar-dominance, look numbered.”
While no one is arguing that could happen anytime soon, considering the dollar remains the currency of choice for central banks, Halligan’s proposition is gathering strength. In June, China agreed with Brazil on a $29 billion currency swap in an effort to promote the Chinese yuan as a reserve currency, and earlier this month, the Chinese and Russian central banks signed an agreement on yuan-ruble swaps to double trade between the two countries. Analysts says the $150 billion deal, one of 38 accords inked in Moscow, is a way for Russia to move away from U.S. dollar-dominated settlements.
“Taken alone, these actions do not mean the end of the dollar as the leading global reserve currency,” Jim Rickards, portfolio manager at West Shore Group and partner at Tangent Capital Partners, told CNBC. “But taken in the context of many other actions around the world including Saudi Arabia’s frustration with U.S. foreign policy toward Iran, and China’s voracious appetite for gold, these actions are meaningful steps away from the dollar.”
Rise of the Yuan
It is no secret that Beijing has been looking to promote the yuan as an alternative reserve currency. Having that status would allow China cheap access to world capital markets and cheaper transaction costs on international trade, not to mention increased clout as an economic power commensurate with its rising proportion of world commerce.
However, the Chinese have a problem in their plans for the yuan. The government has not yet removed capital controls that would allow full convertibility, for fear of unleashing a torrent of speculative flows that could damage the Chinese economy.
However, “[It] is clear that China is laying foundations for wider acceptance of the yuan,” said Karl Schamotta, a senior market strategist at Western Union Business Solutions,” as quoted in an International Business Times article. IBT pointed out that “more than 10,000 financial institutions are doing business in Chinese yuan, up from 900 in June 2011, while the pool of offshore yuan, non-existent three years ago, is now near 900 billion ($143 billion). And the proportion of China’s exports and imports settled in yuan has increased nearly sixfold in three years to nearly 12 percent.”
Conspiracy Theory Spoiler Alert
Adding some vivid color to this story, Casey Research energy analyst Marin Katusa speculated in a recent column that the death of Total CEO Christophe de Margerie, whose private jet collided with a snowplow in Moscow, may not have been an accident. Instead, Katusa muses that the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death and the unlikely odds of being hit by a snowplow at an airport, could have more to do with de Margerie’s business interests in Russia than being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
According to Katusa, de Margerie was “a total liability” due to Total’s involvement in plans to build an LNG plant on the Yamal Peninsula along with partner Novatek. The company was also seeking financing for a gas project in Russia despite Western sanctions.
“It planned to finance its share in the $27-billion Yamal project using euros, yuan, Russian rubles, and any other currency but U.S. dollars,” Katusa writes, then entices the reader with this: “Did this direct threat to the petrodollar make this ‘true friend of Russia’—as Putin called de Margerie – some very powerful and dangerous enemies amongst the power that be, whether in the French government, the EU, or the U.S.?”
That may be a stretch, but Katusa’s U.S. dollar reference shows that any developments that point to a move away from the dominance of the greenback are not going un-noticed.
By Andrew Topf of Oilprice.com
President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
This letter is being sent to you on behalf of the Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition. The purpose is to inform you and the public of the activities of one of America’s closest allies under your administration, the State of Qatar. Not only is Qatar a state sponsor of terror which has funded Hamas, Boko Haram and the Islamic State, but it is increasingly apparent that Qatar is a significant factor in the United States’ diplomatic rift with Israel and finances the genocidal Islamic State.
Qatar was the primary sponsor of the Arab Spring, which saw its guests, the Muslim Brotherhood, assume power in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Each of these countries subsequently descended into chaos, sectarian and religious violence, and Islamic autocracy. The Muslim Brotherhood, the same group from which sprouted Al Qaeda and ISIS, has created a veritable security, diplomatic and humanitarian crisis in North Africa and the Middle East that threatens world peace.
Diplomatically, the United States’ relationship with Israel has never been more strained. Our relationship with Egypt, which was formerly the lynchpin in America’s diplomatic standing in the Arab world, has crumbled. King Abdullah of Jordan, whose country has been a steadfast and reliable ally in combating Islamic extremism for decades, has said publicly that he does not trust your government. Even Saudi Arabia, which has been an American ally since the 1930s, is exasperated and has publicly put distance between itself and the American government.
The net result of your administration’s policy of supporting the Qataris and the Muslim Brotherhood is simply this: an expansion Russia’s sphere of influence across the region. Yet the seismic geopolitical shift which is the likely fallout of the Arab Spring, namely, the realignment of several former American allies with Russia, is, incredibly, not the biggest story in this first class debacle.
There is an ongoing genocide across the Middle East against Christians, Kurds, Yazidis and other religious and ethnic minorities. The tactics being employed each and every day by the Islamic State are reminiscent of the Nazi Holocaust. This is no accident; in fact, it is consistent with history. The original horrific event that gave the world the terrible word “genocide,” or murder of a people, came from the Armenian genocide, perpetuated by the Ottoman Empire. The primary victims of this genocide were Armenian Christians, but many others who were on the wrong side of the world’s last official Caliphate paid with their lives as well. Mass shootings, mass drownings, mass starvations and other devilish acts marked this dark period in modern history.
A key participant in both the Armenian genocide, as well as the Holocaust, was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al Husseini. He was also the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine: the same group that Qatar hosts as honored guests in Doha today.
We are witnessing a repeat of history in the worst imaginable way. In these momentous times, what is lacking the most is truth. The terrible truth is that United States government under your leadership has been on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the Arab Spring, and through the period of Islamist genocide in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and across several other countries. There is no other logical or reasonable way to interpret recent history.
In this so-called Arab Spring, Qatar and the United States have been partners in crime.
There are other atrocities to be attributed to Qatar, including their penchant for slave labor. It is estimated that nearly 4,000 migrant workers will die constructing the stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, scheduled to be played in Doha. Not only slave labor, but sex slavery deserves to be mentioned: for Boko Haram was created by a Qatari proxy, set up as a money making venture. The individual who provided the funds now resides in Doha. In order to #BringBackOurGirls, #StopQatarNow.
Moreover, Qatar is involved in Taliban narcotics trafficking through a relationship with the Pakistani National Logistics Cell. The National Logistics Cell of Pakistan is currently a NATO subcontractor. With a stroke of your pen, this can change tomorrow.
Finally, Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition and petitioners ask that you consider the attached sourced report on Qatar’s activities. The links cited are vetted and credible sources. We hope you take the time to verify the truth of the statements for yourself.
Mr. President, this letter of course tells you nothing you do not already know. You are privileged to listen to the intelligence collected by multiple world class agencies, whose capabilities are second-to-none.
Still, the Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition implores you to examine the Qatari record on human rights, genocide, slavery and narcotics. It behooves a great nation to choose their primary allies carefully.
After doing so, the Coalition of the Qatar Awareness Campaign calls on you to cut all diplomatic, economic and political ties with Qatar; remove all American military personnel from Doha; and freeze all Qatari connected assets around the globe until the reigning, duplicitous Al-Thanis step down and surrender to a court of justice!
Lt. Col. Allen B. West (US Army, Ret)
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Center for Security Policy
Paul E Vallely, US Army (Ret)
Chairman, Stand Up America
New Zeal **
& the entire Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition.
Qatar Research Report: http://www.stopqatarnow.com/p/research-report.html
Sign the Petition! Visit www.stopqatarnow.com
Facebook: Stop Qatar Now
** Select signatures as of 9/27. The Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition is comprised of more than 25 journalists, national security experts, publishers, and independent researchers. To view all Coalition participants, please visit the Campaign’s website.
By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
Ben Bradlee was a Democratic Party insider who commented during his paper’s coverage of the Reagan administration’s Iran-Contra affair that “This is the most fun we’ve had since Watergate.” He saw the controversy as a way to bring down another Republican president. It worked with Watergate, which brought down Richard Nixon. It didn’t work in Reagan’s case.
Bradlee despised Accuracy in Media’s (AIM) founder and then-chairman Reed Irvine because he exposed how Bradlee used The Washington Post as a weapon of political war. No amount of praise for the late “legendary” Post executive editor will erase the facts behind Bradlee’s partisan and political legacy. He was an example of what’s wrong with journalism.
It’s fine to praise Bradlee as a good father and family man. But the idea that his leadership of the Post is something to be admired is crazy.
Bradlee, a former JFK confidante, was one of the leading anti-Reagan journalists during the time that Reagan had taken on the herculean task of confronting the Soviet Evil Empire. Reagan had taken office in the wake of the disastrous Jimmy Carter presidency, which saw the rise of communism in Central America and the overthrow of the pro-Western Shah of Iran, who was replaced by the anti-American Islamic zealots bent on developing nuclear weapons, which we still face today.
At AIM, based on various surveys and studies, we estimated that Democratic partisans numbered around 80 percent of those working for our Big Media at the time. Many were at the Post.
Before Reagan, of course, Nixon was the big enemy. The anti-communist former congressman had laid the basis for his runs for national office by helping to expose Soviet spy Alger Hiss in the State Department, and a communist network inside the U.S. government. Many liberals, even to this day, think Hiss was innocent or that the evidence against him is still in dispute. One of Bradlee’s reporters on the Watergate story was Carl Bernstein, whose parents were members of the Soviet-controlled Communist Party. Bernstein would later write an article for Rolling Stone magazine about alleged CIA manipulation of the press. We at AIM knew where he was coming from and why he had it in for Nixon.
President George W. Bush also became a Post target, especially when his former press secretary Scott McClellan came out with a book, What Happened, about how the administration supposedly led the nation into an “unnecessary war” in Iraq. Never mind that The New York Times recently reported that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.
At the time, we called it “The Network Behind the Bush-bashing Book,” and found a laundry list of interesting characters. McClellan’s publisher, Peter Osnos, had been a foreign correspondent for The Washington Post and the newspaper’s foreign and national editor. He had begun his career as an assistant to I.F. Stone, the pro-communist “journalist” named as a Soviet agent of influence, who was the uncle of Weather Underground communist terrorist Kathy Boudin. Every book that Osnos published included a dedication to Benjamin Bradlee, I.F. Stone and Robert Bernstein, the former head of Random House.
The McClellan book, published in June 2008, didn’t do much damage to Bush, who was finishing out his second term. But it seemed mainly designed to do some collateral damage to Senator John McCain (R-AZ), a supporter of the Iraq War who ran against Barack Obama for the presidency later that year.
In March, 2008, as he was preparing the publication of McClellan’s book, Osnos found time to pay tribute to I.F. Stone on the anniversary of Stone’s birthday. Others who paid tribute were Robert Kaiser, former managing editor of The Washington Post, and Myra MacPherson, author of a book about Stone and a former reporter for The Washington Post. Stone seemed to have quite a following at the paper.
There’s more. In 1980, in one of my first assignments for Reed Irvine at Accuracy in Media, I reported that Osnos had guest-lectured at the Marxist Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. during a Karen DeYoung class on “foreign reporting.” DeYoung was then a foreign reporter for the Post, and rose through the ranks of the paper.
The fact that Bradlee, executive editor from 1968 to 1991, would allow a reporter to “teach” a class at a Marxist institute said a lot about the left-wing atmosphere at the paper.
The IPS class was held during a time when the Soviet Union and its client state, communist Cuba, were destabilizing Central America and installing communist governments in the region. Reagan had stopped the Soviet takeover at a critical juncture, when he ordered the military liberation of communist-controlled Grenada. However, Reagan was also supporting the democratic government of El Salvador, which faced a communist terrorist movement, and freedom fighters in Nicaragua opposing the communist Sandinista regime.
When Reagan’s National Security Council staffer Oliver North arranged for unofficial assistance to the Nicaraguan resistance in response to a liberal Congress cutting off their aid, it became the Iran-Contra affair, or “scandal,” in the eyes of the liberal media. This is when Bradlee was having his “fun,” as various Watergate reporting techniques were used to finger Reagan (“What did he know, and when did he know it?”), and bring him and his administration down. They managed to get Ollie North tried and convicted on mostly frivolous charges, but that verdict was overturned on appeal because of the basic unfairness of the political process he went through.
Karen DeYoung had told the IPS class, “Most journalists now, most Western journalists at least, are very eager to seek out guerrilla groups, leftist groups, because you assume they must be the good guys.”
Yes, what’s what they assumed, and it was reflected in their coverage.
In 1981, however, Bradlee suffered a major scandal of his own when a Pulitzer Prize for the paper had to be given back for a story that turned out to be a lie. The Post had claimed there was a child heroin addict in the city named “Jimmy.” The problem was that the local police, after searching far and wide, couldn’t locate him to get him help, and the paper wouldn’t disclose his real name and whereabouts. It turned out that he had been made up by Post reporter, Janet Cooke, working under the watchful eye of Watergate reporter Bob Woodward, then-Metro editor.
In a famous exchange, Bradlee called Reed Irvine “a miserable, carping, retromingent vigilante.” It’s not really important what that insult means. It’s more important why Bradlee said it. Reed Irvine had exposed The Washington Post’s cover-up of the communist genocide in Cambodia. The main perpetrator was Post national news editor Laurence Stern.
In 1979, again, in one of my first assignments for Reed Irvine, I covered Stern’s memorial service. I reported that among those who eulogized Stern at the service, presided over by Bradlee, was the Washington station chief of the Cuban intelligence service, Teofilo Acosta. He praised Stern as a “good friend.” Rather than investigate Stern’s ties to Cuban intelligence, The Washington Post set up a memorial fund to honor Stern, called the Laurence Stern Fellowship.
The British Guardian—which sponsored the career of anti-NSA “journalist” Glenn Greenwald, a friend of America’s enemies around the world—notes that the Laurence Stern Fellowship welcomes a young British journalist for an internship at the Post each summer. The paper also noted that Stern was “one of Bradlee’s closest friends,” and that “many” of the former Stern fellows are “now senior Guardian journalists.”
To further confirm his liberal bent, President Obama in 2013 gave Bradlee the Presidential Medal of Freedom, saying Bradlee “told stories that needed to be told.” We all know that it’s just not true.
Bradlee used freedom of the press for partisan political purposes. That’s his real legacy.
The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.
A world that did not lift a finger when Hitler was wiping out six million Jewish men, women, and children is now saying that the Jewish state of Israel will not survive if it does not come to terms with the Arabs. My feeling is that no one in this universe has the right and the competence to tell Israel what it has to do in order to survive. On the contrary, it is Israel that can tell us what to do. It can tell us that we shall not survive if we do not cultivate and celebrate courage, if we coddle traitors and deserters, bargain with terrorists, court enemies, and scorn friends.” – Eric Hoffer, Before The Sabbath, 1974.
“The only thing chicken about Israel is their soup.” – Bob Hope
“I never thought I’d live to see the day that an American administration would denounce the state of Israel for rebuilding Jerusalem.” – Rep. Mike Pence
As a Jew, it is my historic responsibility to defend the Jewish people. I feel this responsibility for the survival of the Jewish people. We’re not going to accept any decision by anybody else about security of the State of Israel. It is our role and only our role. – Ariel Sharon
A few days ago, there was an article published by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg that was fairly revealing about the current state of the relationship between the Obama Administration and Israel. In this week’s winner, Joshuapundit – Chickensh*t, I had a few things to say about that situation, as well as the real story about how it came about. Here’s a slice:
That quaint kid’s playground epithet is the money quote from an article entitled “The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here,” posted by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic.
It’s what Goldberg reports that an anonymous senior Obama administration official called Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu in a conversation Goldberg had with him. And in the article, Goldberg also mentions that President Obama “in interviews with me, has alluded to Netanyahu’s lack of political courage.”
Now, for all that Jeffrey Goldberg has consistently been a fairly servile apologist for the president and the Obama Administration when it comes to Israel, he’s not entirely wrong that Netanyahu has been guilty of a lack of courage in some instances. But that lack of courage is from an entirely different direction than Goldberg supposes.
Contrary to the tile of Jeffrey Goldberg’s piece, the crisis in US-Israel relations started from the moment Barack Hussein Obama was elected president. Where Netanyahu and certain other Israeli leaders have exhibited a lack of courage is in trying desperately to deny and fend it off, and make believe it wasn’t happening.
Barack Obama started his presidency by stating openly (once he was safely elected) that he wanted to create daylight between the U.S. and Israel, and he has been doing so ever since.
Is Jeffrey Goldberg suffering from amnesia? Do we really need to revisit the climate that’s been created between the US and Israel since Barack Obama took over as president? His repudiation of the agreements made with Israel by President Bush that convinced Israeli PM Ariel Sharon to go ahead with the Gaza disengagement, claiming they never existed? His call for Israel to re-divide Jerusalem and retreat to indefensible borders? His telling Iran that Israel was on its own in the event of any hostilities? His insisting that Israel has no right to Jewish religious sites? His repeated statements that the Palestinians need not recognize Israel as a Jewish State and his continued funding of the Palestinian Authority in spite of their continued support and incitement for terrorism against Israeli civilians? His instituting what amounted to a de facto arms embargo for six months during the early part of his first term? His approval and funding of the new Hamas/Fatah entity which includes a genocidal terrorist group? The list could go on for quite some time.
Would any other sovereign nation put up with constant temper tantrums from a foreign government over building homes in its own capital? With pressure to release convicted murderers from its jails as a ‘gesture for peace?’ With mysterious holdups for bureaucratic ‘review’ of badly needed military supplies in the middle of a war? With deliberately insulting treatment of its elected leader by the president of what was supposed to be a closely allied government?
While Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have sometimes made statements that have revealed a lack of discretion,it’s been in reaction to a long climate of outright hostility from the White House that makes even former President Carter’s tenure look benign by comparison. Jeffrey Goldberg might wish to forget it, but it was the overt actions and attitude from this president and his administration towards Israel and Netanyahu that came first and poisoned the well.
The Israelis never figured on a president getting elected in America who had an animus towards Israel, and their futile attempts to muddle through and somehow make the relationship work only made President Obama more insistent, unreasonable and demanding.
And speaking of political courage, let’s take a good look at what gave Barack Obama the license to act out this way towards Israel. It was America’s Jews on the Left – like Jeffrey Goldberg.
Remember this,from back in 2008? (courtesy of Omri Ceren):
So, all you rumor-mongering, fever-headed Jewish conspiracists: Support McCain, if you want, and there are credible reasons for doing so, but stop smearing Obama in the face of overwhelming evidence that the man is a great friend of Jews and of Israel. After a point, it becomes obvious that what you fear is not Israel’s destruction, but the presence of an African-American in the White House. And that’s disgusting.
Obama’s background and his feelings about Israel were obvious to anyone whom bothered to look at him honestly. President Barack Obama has had close associations with Israel haters and in some cases open anti-semites his entire life. Frank Marshall Davis, Edward Said, Rashid al-Khalidi, Khalid al-Mansour, Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, and Al Sharpton and others like them all figure or have figured prominently in his background.
So how did this all slip by?
What happened is that many on the Left and those in media simply didn’t want to know, especially Jews. They made a clear decision that voting Democrat and embracing their Leftist politics meant more to them than supporting their brothers and sisters in Israel. It was this hideous betrayal that enabled President Obama to act out and make support for Israel as an ally a partisan issue once he was elected. A significant number of American Jews voted Democrat in 2008 and found solace in candidate Obama telling them what they wanted to hear, in political groups the George Soros financed J-Street,and the NJDC, and in the bogus mantra of ‘the two state solution’. It enabled President Obama to neuter AIPAC, as well as other Jewish groups. With a few honorable exceptions, they all fell in line with the New Order. And even after they had ample evidence of President Obama’s attitude towards Israel during his first term, most of them voted for him again.
And this backing of Obama and his agenda led,in case no one’s noticed, not only to the increased intransigence of Abbas and Fatah but to the increased hostility towards Jews and Israel in places like the EU and and a rising climate of Jew hatred in places like university campuses, again with some rare exceptions. The backing of the majority of America’s Jews for Obama and their tolerance for his policies was and is the protective cover and the impetus for all of it.
More at the link.
In our non-Council category, the winner was Sultan Knish – The Left’s Worst Crime in the Middle East submitted by The Noisy Room. The crime he’s talking about? Ah, you’ll have to read it to find out and read it you should, because the Sultan is definitely on target with this one.
Here are this week’s full results.
See you next week!
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!
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