Wednesday, June 19, 2019

U.S. Border Crossings Have Become Authoritarian Testing Grounds

by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:

Last week, my brother and his longterm girlfriend entered these United States at JFK international airport in New York City. She’s a Chinese citizen with a tourist (B1/B2 visa), which leads to many restrictions on when she’s allowed to enter and for how long. They are always meticulous about playing everything exactly by the book, and this time was no different. The only unusual thing about this latest episode is his girlfriend happened to encounter an authoritarian and power-tripping U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer, who pulled her into a room and immediately began berating her. He accused her of breaking the law (she hadn’t), and forced her to hand over her phone and divulge her password. After initially refusing to provide the password, the officer threatened deportation, at which point she relented. Entering the password for access to the phone wasn’t enough, he forced her to write it down on a piece of paper. The officer then proceeded to scroll through her phone for 15-20 minutes, looking for who knows what. My brother was separated from her during this time.

With his girlfriend still isolated in the room, the officer in question emerged and began barking at my brother to sit down in an extremely aggressive manner. The officer told him she had broken the law, at which point he assured him that she hadn’t. At this point, the officer became extremely agitated that a pleb had the nerve to challenge him, and lectured my brother about how he didn’t know the law, pointing out that he wasn’t an immigration lawyer so he couldn’t possibly know his rights. He then implied that the only reason someone would know their civil rights is if they’re a criminal with an intent to commit a crime. The officer also threatened to deport his girlfriend and deny her reentry for five years if my brother continued to challenge his false assertions. She was ultimately allowed to enter.

Many of you will read this and think her experience was a result of not being a U.S. citizen, but the truth is far more disturbing. The border is seen by the government as a civil rights-free zone where U.S. citizens are being increasingly treated like criminals and subject to the exact same sort of degrading abuse as my brother’s girlfriend. This is something I’ve been meaning to write about for a while, and this recent experience inspired me to do so today. Many of you have no idea how bad things already are.

One of the most disturbing and important articles I’ve read on the topic was published at Naked Capitalism a few months ago titled, Electronic Frontier Foundation and ACLU Sue Over Warrantless Phone, Laptop Searches at US Border.

 

Below are a few excerpts, but you should read the entire thing:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and US Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) last week on behalf of 11 travelers whose smartphones and laptops were subjected to warrantless searches at the US border.

As the EFF and ACLU spelled out in a press release announcing the suit:

The plaintiffs in the case are 10 U.S. citizens and one lawful permanent resident who hail from seven states and come from a variety of backgrounds. The lawsuit challenges the government’s fast-growing practice of searching travelers’ electronic devices without a warrant. It seeks to establish that the government must have a warrant based on probable cause to suspect a violation of immigration or customs laws before conducting such searches.

The practice of searching electronic devices at the border did not originate with the Trump administration.  The number of such searches began to climb in 2016, and has increased further during the Trump administration, as Table 2 below shows. (I realize that the figures only cover a short period and would have liked to be able to present more comprehensive numbers; these were the best I was able to find. Some additional numbers can be found in the EFF/ACLU press release.)

 

Business Insider reports:

As the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) outlines in a tearsheet it provides to people at the border, federal agents today can seize and search your phone, and even make a copy of it to have forensic experts analyze its contents off-site.

“This isn’t rogue officers; this is the official, written policy of the US government,” Adam Schwartz, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said in a conference call on Wednesday.

And, I should add, they do all this, every day– without securing any warrants…

Now, for even those with only a cursory knowledge of constitutional law, this must seem problematic. Doesn’t the Fourth Amendment to the US  Constitution-– which in theory protects against “unreasonable searches and seizures”– apply here? Particularly its warrant requirement– which I saw no mention of among the CBP bureaucratese.

Read More @ LibertyBlitzkrieg.com

Brace for Impact: Israel, Saudi Arabia and the US are About to Invade Syria

by Alexander Orlov, New Eastern Outlook:

The Russian Defense Ministry recently announced that the United States is training a new armed force at the former refugee camp in El Khaseq province, citing the Center for Syrian Reconciliation. It’s believed that this force will be used in an attempt to topple the the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad. What is even more curious is that militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra are going to form the backbone of this military force. The Western coalition led by the United States carries on its attempt to utilize radical militant groups in Syria, in spite of repeated statements that it is supposedly engaged in the region to fight such militants. According to the details provided by the Center for Syrian Reconciliation, American special forces instructors are forming new armed units from previously dissociated groups of militants. Local residents report that the Western coalition has been using what used to be a refugee camp for six months to create a new armed force, bringing militants to El Khaseq from various parts of Syria. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, some 750 terrorists arrived from Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor, Abu Kamal and the territories to the east of the Euphrates. The newly formed backbone of the gang consists of more than 400 battle-hardened ISIS militants, who, due to the support of the United States left Raqqa last October with little effort. It is expected that soon this armed unit will be deployed in southern Syria to engage government forces. Earlier Russia’s media announced that the spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov accused the Pentagon of lying to the international community regarding Washington’s plans to withdraw American forces from Syria. According to the head of the US Department of Defense, James Mattis, ISIS forces are defeated in Syria, but the war with them is not over yet.

It’s curious that as far as similar training camps for militant forces across Syria and beyond its borders are concerned, there’s well over a dozen, with a number of them operating in Jordan. Those camps are being used by various intelligence agencies, including Iranian, American, and even Turkish organizations. Each agency pursues its own objectives. This unfolds against the backdrop of the recent statement made by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Khmeimim military base regarding Moscow’s intended reduction of its military presence in Syria. In turn, Washington is busy preparing “its own” militants to fight Assad, taking advantage of what it hopes is a security vacuum once Russia withdraws. Moreover, Saudi Arabia and Israel make no secret of their plans to strike Iranian and Hezbollah forces in southern Syria simultaneously with launching a military operation into southern Lebanon. It is expected that Washington is going to support these actions by providing close air support to Saudi and Israeli forces in Syria. That is why militants of the so-called Free Syrian Army, formed by deserters from the Syrian army, were being trained in Jordan. The strikes inside Syrian territory are to be launched from several directions – from the area of the Golan Heights occupied by Israel, across the Lebanese border once Lebanon is infiltrated by Israeli forces, and across the Jordanian border. It’s curious that there’s no more that 60 miles to cover from the Jordanian-Syrian border to Damascus, and over a half of this territory is already occupied by armed opposition forces. It cannot be ruled out that pro-US SDF Kurdish forces will strike Damascus from the east, although this step can provoke outrage in Ankara which seeks to impede any form of Kurdish expansion in Syria. Spontaneous attacks may also be launched from refugee camps, where ISIS militants are being trained, as it’s been announced by Russia’s Ministry of Defense.

Should events start unfolding along this scenario with Russia’s air corps departing, Damascus is going to find itself trapped by its opponents. After all, the Free Syria Army have recently reached 30,000 in number. There’s another 25,000 ISIS militants are scattered along the Euphrates and hiding in Idlib. In the southwest, there’s another 10,000 anti-government militants prepared for action. As for Damascus, it has no more than 40,000 soldiers at its disposal supported with up to 40,000 Iranian soldiers and Shia militiamen from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. As for the Syrian Air Force, it has been seriously depleted by the ongoing conflict, while the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia maintain formidable air power. Moreover, Riyadh is building up a military coalition against Syria out of a long list of Arab countries, including the UAE, Jordan and Egypt. This leaves the Syrian government clearly at in a disadvantageous position together with Iran and Hezbollah.
 

In fact, the announcement made by the Russian Defense Ministry hardly contained any groundbreaking news, except for the announcement that those camps were recruiting militants. All states engaged in the Syrian conflict have been pursuing their own interests between 2011-2015, before the arrival of Russian forces. This struggle entailed the training of forces fighting as proxies for external players. Syria’s opponents were better funded, armed, and organized, able to make efficient use of a vast amount of foreign resources on hand. That is why the scales began tipping against Damascus three years ago. In 2015, Russia entered the war, breaking the back of anti-government militants, but this success does not automatically equate to victory. In fact, victory is a long way off for Damascus. What Moscow could do toward this end is destroy the black market economy created by anti-government forces, which could make the struggle against Damascus both extremely costly and highly unprofitable. War is a business, even if it’s a bloody one, and removing the profit from it removes the motive driving it.

In fact, the Soviet Union was fully aware of the fact that if one wants to have strong allied countries, a strong economic foundation was required for those allies to build upon. Back in the day a number of Arab, African and Asian nations would receive economic assistance in order to have sustainable military forces. Due to a variety of reasons this work hasn’t always been highly successful, but the advantages of such a strategy are simply undeniable. Modern Russia hasn’t spent a lot of time doing this largely due to the lack of a common ideology, since back in the Soviet days Moscow believed it was its duty to support national liberation movements aimed at achieving certain social benefits for a government and its people. But even today Moscow is trying to make its allies highly self-sufficient, but the problem is that without direct Russian support they are yet able to survive economically.

Read More @ Journal-NEO.org

GOLD DOWN $1.45/SILVER IS DOWN 1 CENT

by Harvey Organ, Harvey Organ Blog:

COMEX GOLD EFP ISSUANCE: 9150 CONTRACTS AND SILVER ISSUANCE: 1089 CONTRACTS/MUELLER IS PROBABLY IN BIG TROUBLE FOR SEIZING TRUMP TRANSITION EMAILS

GOLD: $1261.15 down $1.45

Silver: $16.13 DOWN 1 cent

Closing access prices:

Gold $1262.00

silver: $16.15

SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: FIRST FIX 10 15 PM EST (2:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)

SECOND FIX: 2:15 AM EST (6:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)

SHANGHAI FIRST GOLD FIX: $1270.98 DOLLARS PER OZ

NY PRICE OF GOLD AT EXACT SAME TIME: $1261.70

PREMIUM FIRST FIX: $9.28

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SECOND SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: $1273.95

NY GOLD PRICE AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1262.95

Premium of Shanghai 2nd fix/NY:$11.00

SHANGHAI REJECTS NY /LONDON PRICING OF GOLD

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LONDON FIRST GOLD FIX: 5:30 am est $1263.10

NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1263.20

LONDON SECOND GOLD FIX 10 AM: $1260.35

NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME. 1261.40??

For comex gold:

DECEMBER/

 NUMBER OF NOTICES FILED TODAY FOR DECEMBER CONTRACT:  1469 NOTICE(S) FOR 146,900 OZ.

TOTAL NOTICES SO FAR: 8563 FOR 856,300 OZ (26.63 TONNES),

For silver:

DECEMBER

297 NOTICE(S) FILED TODAY FOR

1,405,000 OZ/

Total number of notices filed so far this month: 6227 for 31,135,000 oz

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Bitcoin: BID $17,616/OFFER $17,711 DOWN $1254 (morning) 

BITCOIN : BID $16,917 :  OFFER 17,028  down $1943 (CLOSING)

end

Let us have a look at the data for today

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In silver, the total open interest SURPRISINGLY FELL BY A TINY SIZED 670 contracts from 207,954 FALLING TO 207,275 DESPITE YESTERDAY’S 10 CENT RISE IN SILVER PRICING.  WE HAD NO APPRECIABLE COMEX LIQUIDATION BUT ON TOP OF THIS, WE WERE AGAIN NOTIFIED THAT WE HAD ANOTHER GOOD SIZED NUMBER OF COMEX LONGS TRANSFERRING THEIR CONTRACTS TO LONDON THROUGH THE EFP ROUTE: A RESPECTABLE  1089 EFP’S FOR MARCH (AND ZERO FOR DEC AND OTHER MONTHS) AND THUS TOTAL ISSUANCE OF 1089 CONTRACTS. HOWEVER THE MOVEMENT ACROSS TO LONDON IS NOT AS SEVERE AS IN GOLD AS THERE SEEMS TO BE A MAJOR PLAYER TAKING ON THE BANKS AT THE COMEX.  STILL, WITH THE TRANSFER OF 1089 CONTRACTS, WHAT THE CME IS STATING IS THAT THERE IS NO SILVER (OR GOLD) TO BE DELIVERED UPON AT THE COMEX AS THEY MUST EXPORT THEIR OBLIGATION TO LONDON. FRIDAY WITNESSED 1699 EFP’S FOR SILVER ISSUED. ALSO KEEP IN MIND THAT THERE CAN BE A DELAY OF 24 HRS IN THE ISSUING OF EFP’S.

ACCUMULATION FOR EFP’S/SILVER/ STARTING FROM FIRST DAY NOTICE/FOR MONTH OF DECEMBER:

37,501 CONTRACTS (FOR 13 TRADING DAYS TOTAL 37,501 CONTRACTS OR 187.50 MILLION OZ: AVERAGE PER DAY: 2,884 CONTRACTS OR 14.423 MILLION OZ/DAY)

RESULT: A TINY SIZED FALL IN OI COMEX DESPITE THE 10 CENT RISE IN SILVER PRICE.  HOWEVER  WE HAD MINIMAL COMEX SILVER LIQUIDATION BUT WE DID HAVE A FAIR SIZED SIZED EFP ISSUANCE OF 1089 CONTRACTS  WHICH EXITED OUT OF THE SILVER COMEX AND TRANSFERRED THEIR OI TO LONDON AS FORWARDS:  FROM THE CME DATA 1089 EFP’S  WERE ISSUED TODAY (FOR MARCH EFP’S)  FOR A DELIVERABLE CONTRACT OVER IN LONDON WITH A FIAT BONUS. IN ESSENCE THE  DEMAND FOR SILVER PHYSICAL INTENSIFIES GREATLY. WE REALLY GAINED 419 OI CONTRACTS i.e. 1089 open interest contracts headed for London (EFP’s) TOGETHER WITH A DECREASE OF 670 OI COMEX CONTRACTS. AND ALL OF THIS INCREASE DEMAND  HAPPENED WITH THE RISE IN PRICE OF SILVER BY 10 CENTS AND A  CLOSING PRICE OF $16.14 WITH RESPECT TO YESTERDAY’S TRADING. YET WE STILL HAVE A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF SILVER STANDING AT THE COMEX.

In ounces AT THE COMEX, the OI is still represented by just OVER 1 BILLION oz i.e. 1.040 BILLION TO BE EXACT or 149% of annual global silver production (ex Russia & ex China).

FOR THE NEW FRONT DECEMBER MONTH/ THEY FILED: 297 NOTICE(S) FOR 1,485,000 OZ OF SILVER

In gold, the open interest FELL BY A CONSIDERABLE 1524 CONTRACTS DOWN TO 453,613 DESPITE THE FAIR SIZED GAIN  IN PRICE OF GOLD YESTERDAY ($7.85).  HOWEVER,  THE TOTAL NUMBER OF GOLD EFP’S ISSUED YESTERDAY FOR TODAY  TOTALED A CONSIDERABLE  9150 CONTRACTS OF WHICH THE MONTH OF DECEMBER SAW 0 CONTRACTS AND FEB SAW THE ISSUANCE OF 9150 CONTRACTS. The new OI for the gold complex rests at 453,613. DEMAND FOR GOLD INTENSIFIES GREATLY AS WE CONTINUE TO WITNESS THE HUMONGOUS NUMBER OF EFP TRANSFERS TOGETHER WITH THE MASSIVE AMOUNT OF GOLD OUNCES STANDING FOR DECEMBER. EVEN THOUGH THE BANKERS ISSUED THESE MONSTROUS EFPS, THE OBLIGATION STILL RESTS WITH THE BANKERS TO SUPPLY METAL BUT IT TRANSFERS THE RISK  TO A LONDON BANKER OBLIGATION AND NOT A NEW YORK COMEX OBLIGATION. LONGS RECEIVE A FIAT BONUS TOGETHER WITH A LONG LONDON FORWARD.  THUS, BY THESE ACTIONS, THE BANKERS AT THE COMEX  HAVE JUST STATED THAT THEY HAVE NO APPRECIABLE METAL!! THIS IS A MASSIVE FRAUD: THEY CANNOT SUPPLY ANY METAL TO OUR COMEX LONGS BUT THEY ARE QUITE WILLING TO SUPPLY MASSIVE NON BACKED GOLD (AND SILVER) PAPER KNOWING THAT THEY HAVE NO METAL TO SATISFY OUR LONGS. LONDON IS NOW SEVERELY BACKWARD IN BOTH GOLD AND SILVER AND WE ARE WITNESSING DELAYS IN ACTUAL DELIVERIES.  IN ESSENCE WE HAVE A HUGE GAIN OF 8,626 OI CONTRACTS: 1524 OI CONTRACTS DECREASED AT THE  COMEX  AND A GOOD SIZED  9150 OI CONTRACTS WHICH NAVIGATED OVER TO LONDON.

FRIDAY, WE HAD 13,632 EFP’S ISSUED.

ACCUMULATION OF EFP’S/ GOLD(EXCHANGE FOR PHYSICAL) FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER STARTING WITH FIRST DAY NOTICE:  170,546 CONTRACTS OR 17.054 MILLION OZ OR 528.77 TONNES(13 TRADING DAYS AND THUS AVERAGING: 13,118 EFP CONTRACTS PER TRADING DAY OR 1.3118 MILLION OZ/DAY)

Result: A GOOD SIZED DECREASE IN OI DESPITE THE GOOD SIZED RISE IN PRICE IN GOLD TRADING YESTERDAY ($7.85). WE  HAD A GOOD SIZED  NUMBER OF COMEX LONG TRANSFERRING TO LONDON THROUGH THE EFP ROUTE: 9150. THERE OBVIOUSLY DOES NOT SEEM TO BE MUCH PHYSICAL GOLD AT THE COMEX AND YET WE REACHED THE HUGE DELIVERY MONTH OF DECEMBER. I GUESS IT EXPLAINS THE HUGE ISSUANCE OF EFP’S…THERE IS HARDLY ANY GOLD PRESENT AT THE GOLD COMEX FOR DELIVERY PURPOSES.  IF YOU TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE 9150 EFP CONTRACTS ISSUED, WE HAD A NET GAIN IN OPEN INTEREST OF 8,626  contracts:

9150 CONTRACTS MOVE TO LONDON AND A 1524 CONTRACTS INCREASED AT THE  COMEX. (in tonnes, the gain yesterday equates to 26.83)

we had:  1469  notice(s) filed upon for 146,900 oz of gold.

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With respect to our two criminal funds, the GLD and the SLV:

GLD:

Today,  NO CHANGES in gold inventory at the GLD.

Inventory rests tonight: 837.20 tonnes.

SLV

NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV:

INVENTORY RESTS AT 326.337 MILLION OZ/

end

First, here is an outline of what will be discussed tonight:

1. Today, we had the open interest in silver FELL BY A TINY SIZED 670 contracts from 207,945 DOWN  TO 207,275 (AND now A LITTLE CLOSER TO THE NEW COMEX RECORD SET ON FRIDAY/APRIL 21/2017 AT 234,787) DESPITE THE  RISE IN PRICE OF SILVER OF 10 CENTS YESTERDAY . H
OWEVER,OUR BANKERS  USED THEIR EMERGENCY PROCEDURE TO ISSUE ANOTHER  1089  PRIVATE EFP’S FOR MARCH (WE DO NOT GET A LOOK AT THESE CONTRACTS AS IT IS PRIVATE BUT THE CFTC DOES AUDIT THEM).  EFP’S GIVE OUR COMEX LONGS A FIAT BONUS PLUS A DELIVERABLE PRODUCT OVER IN LONDON.  WE HAD MINIMAL COMEX SILVER COMEX LIQUIDATION BUT, IF WE TAKE THE SLIGHT OI LOSS AT THE COMEX OF 670 CONTRACTS TO THE 1089 OI TRANSFERRED TO LONDON THROUGH EFP’S  WE OBTAIN A NET GAIN OF  419  OPEN INTEREST CONTRACTS, AND YET WE STILL HAVE A  HUGE AMOUNT OF SILVER OUNCES THAT ARE STANDING FOR METAL IN DECEMBER (SEE BELOW). THE NET GAIN TODAY IN OZ: 2.1 MILLION OZ!!! 

RESULT: A TINY SIZED DECREASE IN SILVER OI AT THE COMEX DESPITE THE  10 CENT RISE IN PRICE (WITH RESPECT TO YESTERDAY’S TRADING).  BUT WE ALSO  HAD ANOTHER 1089 EFP’S ISSUED TRANSFERRING  COMEX LONGS OVER TO LONDON . TOGETHER WITH THE HUGE AMOUNT OF SILVER OUNCES STANDING FOR DECEMBER, DEMAND FOR PHYSICAL SILVER INTENSIFIES DESPITE THE CONSTANT RAIDS.

(report Harvey)

.

2.a) The Shanghai and London gold fix report

(Harvey)

2 b) Gold/silver trading overnight Europe, Goldcore

(Mark O’Byrne/zerohedge

and in NY: Bloomberg

3. ASIAN AFFAIRS

i)Late MONDAY night/TUESDAY morning: Shanghai closed UP 28.61 points or 0.88% /Hang Sang CLOSED UP 203.25 pts or 0.70% / The Nikkei closed DOWN 33.77 POINTS OR 0.15%/Australia’s all ordinaires CLOSED UP 0.54%/Chinese yuan (ONSHORE) closed UP at 6.6030/Oil UP to 57.45 dollars per barrel for WTI and 63.55 for Brent. Stocks in Europe OPENED ALL MIXED . ONSHORE YUAN CLOSED DOWN AGAINST THE DOLLAR AT 6.6030. OFFSHORE YUAN CLOSED UP AGAINST  THE ONSHORE YUAN AT 6.6044 //ONSHORE YUAN SLIGHTLY STRONGER AGAINST THE DOLLAR/OFF SHORE STRONGER TO THE DOLLAR/. THE DOLLAR (INDEX) IS  WEAKER AGAINST ALL MAJOR CURRENCIES. CHINA IS  VERY HAPPY TODAY.(STRONG MARKETS)

Read More @ HarveyOrganBlog.com

How the US Swindled Russia in the Early 1990s

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by Eric Zuesse, Strategic Culture:

Due to a historic data-dump on December 10th, the biggest swindle that occurred in the 20th Century (or perhaps ever) is now proven as a historical fact; and this swindle was done by the US Government, against the Government and people of Russia, and it continues today and keeps getting worse under every US President. It was secretly started by US President George Herbert Walker Bush on the night of 24 February 1990; and, unless it becomes publicly recognized and repudiated so that it can stop, a nuclear war between the US and all of NATO on one side, versus Russia on the other, is inevitable unless Russia capitulates before then, which would be vastly less likely than such a world-ending nuclear war now is.

This swindle has finally been displayed beyond question, by this, the first-ever complete release of the evidence. It demonstrates beyond any reasonable doubt (as you’ll verify yourself from the evidence here), that US President G.H.W. Bush (and his team) lied through their teeth to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev (and his team) to end the Cold War on Russia’s side, when the US team were secretly determined never to end it on the US-and-NATO side until Russia itself is conquered. And this swindle continues today, and keeps getting worse and worse for Russians.

Until now, apologists for the US-Government side have been able to get away with various lies about these lies, such as that there weren’t any, and that Gorbachev didn’t really think that the NATO issue was terribly important for Russia’s future national security anyway, and that the only limitation upon NATO’s future expansion that was discussed during the negotiations to end the Cold War concerned NATO not expanding itself eastward (i.e., closer to Russia) within Germany, not going beyond the then-existing dividing-line between West and East Germany — that no restriction against other east-bloc (Soviet-allied) nations ever being admitted into NATO was discussed, at all. The now-standard US excuse that the deal concerned only Germany and not all of Europe is now conclusively disproven by the biggest single data-dump ever released about those negotiations. 

The release on December 10th, by the National Security Archives, of a treasure-trove of all the existing documentation — 33 key documents — that’s been made available to them from numerous archives around the world, and brought together finally for the very first time complete and in chronological order, makes crystal clear that the American apologists’ lies about the lies WERE lies, not accurate accounts of the history, at all.

The assemblers at the National Security Archives assume that the numerous and repeated false promises that were made by Bush’s team were mistakes, instead of as what they so clearly were (but you’ll judge it here for yourself): strategic lies that were essential to Bush’s goal of America ultimately conquering a future isolated Russia that would then have little-to-no foreign allies, and all of whose then-existing-as-Soviet allied nations within the Soviet Union itself, and beyond, including all of its former Warsaw Pact allies, would have become ultimately swallowed up by the US-NATO bloc, which then would be able to dictate, to a finally alone nation of Russia, terms of Russia’s ultimate surrender to the US That view (which the National Security Archives documents to be clearly true, even as it denies it and says that only Bill Clinton and subsequent Presidents were to blame) is now exposed irrefutably to have been the US plan ever since GHW Bush’s Presidency.

In other words: This release of documents about the turning-point, provides capstone evidence that the US never really had been in the Cold War against communism; the US was instead aiming ultimately to be the imperial nation, controlling the entire planet. For America’s Deep State, or what President Eisenhower famously warned about as the “military-industrial complex,” the Cold War was actually about empire, and about conquest, not really about ideology at all. This also had been shown, for example, by America’s having assisted so many ‘former’ Nazis to escape and come to America and to be paid now by the US Government. After World War II, the top level of the US power-structure became increasingly taken over by the military-industrial complex, America’s Deep State, so that increasingly the US Government is in a condition of “perpetual war for perpetual peace” — a warfare state and economy: fascism.

Here, then, are highlights from this historic data-dump, presented in chronological order, just as in the release itself, and with a minimum of added commentary from myself [placed in brackets], but all stripping away here the dross of accompanying inconsequentials, and leaving only the golden steady core of stunningly successful American deceit of Russia. These are those highlights, from the data-dump, which the National Security Archives headlined “NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard” and sub-headed “Declassified documents show security assurances against NATO expansion to Soviet leaders from Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, Gates, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Hurd, Major, and Woerner,” so that the swindlers (or as the National Security Archive view them as having instead been blunderers) can become immediately recognized and known.

All of these documents pertain to negotiations that occurred throughout the month of February 1990, and a few relate also to the immediate aftermath. That’s the crucial period, when the geostrategic reality of today (which all the world now know to be a continuation of the Cold War, but this time against only Russia, and not against the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact) was actually created.

At the negotiations’ start, West Germany’s Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s agent, Germany’s Foreign Minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, stated publicly to the whole world, West Germany’s initial offer to the Soviet Union’s President Mikhail Gorbachev, and this offer did not include a simultaneous termination of both military alliances — the Soviets’ Warsaw Pact and America’s NATO — but instead only a promise that NATO would never absorb any additional territory, especially to the east of West Germany (and this publicly made promise was never kept). So: right from the get-go, there was no actual termination of the Cold War that was being proposed by the US group, but only an arrangement that wouldn’t threaten Russia more than the then-existing split Germany did (and yet even that promise turned out to have been a lie):

Document 01

US Embassy Bonn Confidential Cable to Secretary of State on the speech of the German Foreign Minister: Genscher Outlines His Vision of a New European Architecture.

1990-02-01

Source: US Department of State. FOIA Reading Room. Case F-2015 10829

“This US Embassy Bonn cable reporting back to Washington details both of Hans-Dietrich Genscher’s proposals – that NATO would not expand to the east, and that the former territory of the GDR in a unified Germany would be treated differently from other NATO territory.”

Document 02

Mr. Hurd to Sir C. Mallaby (Bonn). Telegraphic N. 85: Secretary of State’s Call on Herr Genscher: German Unification.

1990-02-06

Source: Documents on British Policy Overseas, series III, volume VII: German Unification, 1989-1990.

“The US State Department’s subsequent view of the German unification negotiations, expressed in a 1996 cable sent to all posts, mistake
nly asserts that the entire negotiation over the future of Germany limited its discussion of the future of NATO to the specific arrangements over the territory of the former GDR.” [The National Security Archives’ calling that Bill-Clinton-era State Department cable ‘mistaken’ is unsupported by, and even contradicted by, the evidence they actually present from the February 1990 negotiations.]

Document 03

Memorandum from Paul H. Nitze to George H.W. Bush about “Forum for Germany” meeting in Berlin.

1990-02-06

Source: George H. W. Bush Presidential Library

“This concise note to President Bush from one of the Cold War’s architects, Paul Nitze (based at his namesake Johns Hopkins University School of International Studies), captures the debate over the future of NATO in early 1990. Nitze relates that Central and Eastern European leaders attending the ‘Forum for Germany’ conference in Berlin were advocating the dissolution of both the superpower blocs, NATO and the Warsaw Pact, until he (and a few western Europeans) turned around that view and instead emphasized the importance of NATO as the basis of stability and US presence in Europe.”

Document 04

Memorandum of Conversation between James Baker and Eduard Shevardnadze in Moscow.

1990-02-09

Source: US Department of State, FOIA 199504567 (National Security Archive Flashpoints Collection, Box 38)

“Baker tells the Soviet foreign minister, ‘A neutral Germany would undoubtedly acquire its own independent nuclear capability. However, a Germany that is firmly anchored in a changed NATO, by that I mean a NATO that is far less of [a] military organization, much more of a political one, would have no need for independent capability. There would, of course, have to be iron-clad guarantees that NATO’s jurisdiction or forces would not move eastward.’”

Read More @ Strategic-culture.com

PROJECT CASSANDRA: HOW OBAMA PROTECTED ISLAMIC TERROR GROUP HEZBOLLAH TO PUSH THROUGH PHONY IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

0

by Geoffrey Grider, Now The End Begins:

The taskforce, named Project Cassandra, worked for eight years out of a top-secret facility in Virginia with help from 30 American and foreign security agencies, unraveling the global crime syndicate that was funding Hezbollah’s Jihadi operations, the site reports.

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION PROTECTED MEMBERS OF NOTORIOUS TERROR GROUP HEZBOLLAH FROM PROSECUTION TO SAVE THE IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL, A NEW REPORT CLAIMS.

EDITOR’S  NOTE: One of the main reasons, if not the only reason, why Obama campaigned so hard for Hillary Clinton was to keep damning evidence like this from ever coming to the light of day. His desire to be the president that “signed the Iran deal” was so great that he was willing to let Hezbollah terrorists go free in order to get it done. There are many more Obama scandals like this one just waiting in the wings. Like the Iran Nuclear deal itself that does nothing to stop Iran from getting the bomb, and does everything to help them achieve it. 

A team at the Drug Enforcement Administration had been working for almost a decade to bring down the Lebanon-based militant organization’s sophisticated $1 billion-a-year drug ring — which it found was smuggling cocaine into the US and laundering the profits by buying used cars stateside and shipping them to Africa for resale, Politico reports.

But the departments of Justice and Treasury delayed and rejected prosecution and sanctions requests from the team that had exposed the Iran-backed criminal network because the Obama White House feared “rocking the boat” with Tehran ahead of the deal, the site reports.

“This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision,” David Asher, who helped found the program for the Defense Department, told Politico. “They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”

The task force named Project Cassandra, worked for eight years out of a top-secret facility in Virginia with help from 30 American and foreign security agencies, unraveling the global crime syndicate that was funding Hezbollah’s Jihadi operations, the site reports.

Among those the team sought to bring to justice were Abdallah Safieddine, the group’s envoy to Tehran and a shadowy operative nicknamed “Ghost,” who it considered one of the biggest cocaine smugglers in the world.

“HEZBOLLAH OPERATES LIKE THE GAMBINO CRIME FAMILY ON STEROIDS, AND SAFIEDDINE IS ITS JOHN GOTTI,” EX-DEA AGENT JACK KELLY, WHO CREATED THE TASK FORCE, TOLD POLITICO. “WHATEVER IRAN NEEDS, SAFIEDDINE IS IN CHARGE OF GETTING IT FOR THEM.”

Read More @ NowTheEndBegins.com

Half of Germans Want to Scrap Euro, Bring Back Deutsche Mark

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by Liam Deacon, Breitbart:

Almost half of Germans what to see the Deutsche Mark restored, with just 41 per cent saying they want to keep the euro.

The YouGov-Institute survey, commissioned by the newspaper Bild, found that 49 per cent of Germans want their nation to have its own, independent currency again.

Meanwhile, 41 per cent of those questioned wanted to stay with the euro, the single currency of the European Union (EU).

Nearly 77 per cent of the 1,068 Germans quizzed thought they had not profited from the adoption of the euro currency.

A decisive 60 per cent said they would vote against having it if it were to be introduced today – compared with 30 per cent who would opt for it today.

Despite the widespread dissatisfaction and concern, a majority of respondents believe the currency would still be around 20 years from now.

Currently, 19 of 28 EU member states use the euro, forming the Eurozone, and Germany joined when the currency was launched in 1999.

The Greek debt crisis, which came to a head in 2016, is widely seen a turning point for the currency.

The Greek government had overspent and the German economy was running a surplus, saving up cash. The German taxpayer was then effectively forced to bail out Greece, seeding resentment.

The development comes as Germany and France agree to push towards deeper fiscal integration including the possible creation of a European finance minister and a single budget for the bloc.

Speaking alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel this weekend, French President Emmanuel Macron restated his desire to create a European Union (EU) finance minister to be responsible for a joint eurozone budget.

Germany and Mrs. Merkel’s government have been slightly more cautious about the plan, but are aiming to resolve the difference in coming months.

“There are different suggestions on the table, and I discussed with the French president yesterday that we will bring positions together by March,” Chancellor Merkel said at a joint press conference with Macron at the end of the European Council summit in Brussels.

Read More @ Breitbart.com

Yuan-Priced Crude Futures Could Arrive Before Christmas

by Tsvetana Paraskova, Oil Price:

After years of setbacks and delays, China may be days away from launching a yuan-priced crude oil futures contract to make its currency more international and challenge the dominance of the petrodollar.  

Many Chinese investors eagerly anticipate the start of yuan oil futures trading on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange, with hope it will come just in time for Christmas, when western markets will be either closed or calmer than usual.

Although local investors can’t wait to pour yuan into another commodity contract, international investors may not be as eager because it is not clear yet how much freedom China would allow in that trade. International traders may have to swallow Chinese intervention on the markets or rigid capital controls, Bloomberg reported last week.

In July, the Shanghai International Energy Exchange, INE, completed a four-step trial in crude oil futures denominated in yuan and said that it would carry preparatory works for the listing of crude oil futures, and would try to launch the contract by the end of this year.

The launch of the yuan oil futures contract will be a wake-up call for traders and investors who haven’t been paying attention to Chinese plans to create the so-called petroyuan and shift oil trade out of petrodollars, Adam Levinson, managing partner and chief investment officer at hedge fund manager Graticule Asset Management Asia (GAMA), said in October.

Although the petroyuan is not expected to immediately supplant the petrodollar, the world’s top oil importer launching a crude oil futures contract in its domestic currency is a sign that the Chinese want their yuan to play an increasingly important role in global trade, starting with the oil trade.

On the yuan front, the Chinese scored a success for their currency last year, when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) included the yuan in its Special Drawing Right (SDR) basket—an international reserve asset created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement the existing official reserves of member countries. The yuan joined the U.S. dollar, the euro, the yen, and the British pound sterling in the basket as the IMF recognized “an important milestone in the integration of the Chinese economy into the global financial system.”Related: IEA Dashes Bullish Sentiment In Oil

After years of delays, it looks like China could meet this time its self-imposed deadline to launch the yuan oil futures by the end of this year.

“An official launch during Christmas would be appropriate. The western market would be quiet and allow the Shanghai exchange as well as Chinese investors to adjust in the early days,” Chinese trader Yuan Quwei told Bloomberg.  

Read More @ OilPrice.com

TAX REFORM LIKELY TO PASS/THE CROOKS RAID THE GLD COOKIE JAR WITH A HUGE 7.09 TONNE WITHDRAWAL

by Harvey Organ, Harvey Organ Blog:

GOLD RISES BY $7.85 AND SILVER RISES BY 10 CENTS/ BITCOIN RISES $961 DOLLARS UP TO $18,608. BID/AT THE COMEX: BANKERS ISSUE 13632 CONTRACTS FOR GOLD AND SILVER: 1699 CONTRACTS/MORE SWAMP NEWS FROM THE USA

GOLD: $1262.60 up $7.85

Silver: $16.14 UP 10 cents

Closing access prices:

Gold $1263.00

silver: $16.14

SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: FIRST FIX 10 15 PM EST (2:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)

SECOND FIX: 2:15 AM EST (6:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)

SHANGHAI FIRST GOLD FIX: $1266.13 DOLLARS PER OZ

NY PRICE OF GOLD AT EXACT SAME TIME: $1255.08

PREMIUM FIRST FIX: $11.07

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SECOND SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: $1268.96

NY GOLD PRICE AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1256.00

Premium of Shanghai 2nd fix/NY:$12.96

SHANGHAI REJECTS NY /LONDON PRICING OF GOLD

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LONDON FIRST GOLD FIX: 5:30 am est $1258.65

NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1258.15

LONDON SECOND GOLD FIX 10 AM: $1260.60

NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME. 1261.20

For comex gold:

DECEMBER/

 NUMBER OF NOTICES FILED TODAY FOR DECEMBER CONTRACT:  4 NOTICE(S) FOR 400 OZ.

TOTAL NOTICES SO FAR: 7094 FOR 709,400 OZ (22.065 TONNES),

For silver:

DECEMBER

103 NOTICE(S) FILED TODAY FOR

505,000 OZ/

Total number of notices filed so far this month: 5930 for 29,650,000 oz

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Bitcoin: BID $18,946/OFFER $19,068 UP $1322 (morning) 

BITCOIN : BID $18,608 :  OFFER 18,707  UP $961 (CLOSING)

end

Let us have a look at the data for today

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In silver, the total open interest SURPRISINGLY FELL BY A TINY SIZED 571 contracts from 208,354 FALLING TO 207,945 DESPITE FRIDAY’S 12 CENT RISE IN SILVER PRICING.  WE HAD NO APPRECIABLE COMEX LIQUIDATION BUT ON TOP OF THIS, WE WERE AGAIN NOTIFIED THAT WE HAD ANOTHER GOOD SIZED NUMBER OF COMEX LONGS TRANSFERRING THEIR CONTRACTS TO LONDON THROUGH THE EFP ROUTE: A RESPECTABLE  1699 EFP’S FOR MARCH (AND ZERO FOR DEC AND OTHER MONTHS) AND THUS TOTAL ISSUANCE OF 1699 CONTRACTS. HOWEVER THE MOVEMENT ACROSS TO LONDON IS NOT AS SEVERE AS IN GOLD AS THERE SEEMS TO BE A MAJOR PLAYER TAKING ON THE BANKS AT THE COMEX.  STILL, WITH THE TRANSFER OF 1699 CONTRACTS, WHAT THE CME IS STATING IS THAT THERE IS NO SILVER (OR GOLD) TO BE DELIVERED UPON AT THE COMEX AS THEY MUST EXPORT THEIR OBLIGATION TO LONDON. FRIDAY WITNESSED 3376 EFP’S FOR SILVER ISSUED. ALSO KEEP IN MIND THAT THERE CAN BE A DELAY OF 24 HRS IN THE ISSUING OF EFP’S.

ACCUMULATION FOR EFP’S/SILVER/ STARTING FROM FIRST DAY NOTICE/FOR MONTH OF DECEMBER:

36,412 CONTRACTS (FOR 12 TRADING DAYS TOTAL 36,412 CONTRACTS OR 182.06 MILLION OZ: AVERAGE PER DAY: 3,034 CONTRACTS OR 15.172 MILLION OZ/DAY)

RESULT: A TINY SIZED FALL IN OI COMEX DESPITE THE 12 CENT RISE IN SILVER PRICE.  HOWEVER  WE HAD MINIMAL COMEX SILVER LIQUIDATION BUT WE DID HAVE A FAIR SIZED SIZED EFP ISSUANCE OF 1699 CONTRACTS  WHICH EXITED OUT OF THE SILVER COMEX AND TRANSFERRED THEIR OI TO LONDON AS FORWARDS:  FROM THE CME DATA 1699 EFP’S  WERE ISSUED TODAY (FOR MARCH EFP’S)  FOR A DELIVERABLE CONTRACT OVER IN LONDON WITH A FIAT BONUS. IN ESSENCE THE  DEMAND FOR SILVER PHYSICAL INTENSIFIES GREATLY. WE REALLY GAINED 1128 OI CONTRACTS i.e. 1699 open interest contracts headed for London (EFP’s) TOGETHER WITH A DECREASE OF 571 OI COMEX CONTRACTS. AND ALL OF THIS INCREASE DEMAND  HAPPENED WITH THE RISE IN PRICE OF SILVER BY 12 CENTS AND A  CLOSING PRICE OF $16.04 WITH RESPECT TO FRIDAY’S TRADING. YET WE STILL HAVE A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF SILVER STANDING AT THE COMEX.

In ounces AT THE COMEX, the OI is still represented by just OVER 1 BILLION oz i.e. 1.040 BILLION TO BE EXACT or 149% of annual global silver production (ex Russia & ex China).

FOR THE NEW FRONT DECEMBER MONTH/ THEY FILED: 103 NOTICE(S) FOR 505,000 OZ OF SILVER

In gold, the open interest ROSE BY A CONSIDERABLE 4394 CONTRACTS UP TO 455,137 DESPITE THE TINY SIZED LOSS  IN PRICE OF GOLD FRIDAY ($0.30).  HOWEVER,  THE TOTAL NUMBER OF GOLD EFP’S ISSUED YESTERDAY FOR TODAY  TOTALED A CONSIDERABLE  13,632 CONTRACTS OF WHICH THE MONTH OF DECEMBER SAW 0 CONTRACTS AND FEB SAW THE ISSUANCE OF 13,632 CONTRACTS. The new OI for the gold complex rests at 455,137. DEMAND FOR GOLD INTENSIFIES GREATLY AS WE WITNESS THE HUMONGOUS NUMBER OF EFP TRANSFERS TOGETHER WITH THE MASSIVE AMOUNT OF GOLD OUNCES STANDING FOR DECEMBER. EVEN THOUGH THE BANKERS ISSUED THESE MONSTROUS EFPS, THE OBLIGATION STILL RESTS WITH THE BANKERS TO SUPPLY METAL BUT IT TRANSFERS THE RISK  TO A LONDON BANKER OBLIGATION AND NOT A NEW YORK COMEX OBLIGATION. LONGS RECEIVE A FIAT BONUS TOGETHER WITH A LONG LONDON FORWARD.  THUS, BY THESE ACTIONS, THE BANKERS AT THE COMEX  HAVE JUST STATED THAT THEY HAVE NO APPRECIABLE METAL!! THIS IS A MASSIVE FRAUD: THEY CANNOT SUPPLY ANY METAL TO OUR COMEX LONGS BUT THEY ARE QUITE WILLING TO SUPPLY MASSIVE NON BACKED GOLD (AND SILVER) PAPER KNOWING THAT THEY HAVE NO METAL TO SATISFY OUR LONGS. LONDON IS NOW SEVERELY BACKWARD IN BOTH GOLD AND SILVER AND WE ARE WITNESSING DELAYS IN ACTUAL DELIVERIES.  IN ESSENCE WE HAVE A HUGE GAIN OF 18,026 OI CONTRACTS: 4394 OI CONTRACTS INCREASED AT THE  COMEX  AND A GOOD SIZED  13,632 OI CONTRACTS WHICH NAVIGATED OVER TO LONDON.

FRIDAY, WE HAD 10,561 EFP’S ISSUED.

ACCUMULATION OF EFP’S/ GOLD(EXCHANGE FOR PHYSICAL) FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER STARTING WITH FIRST DAY NOTICE:  161,396 CONTRACTS OR 16.396 MILLION OZ OR 509.98 TONNES(12 TRADING DAYS AND THUS AVERAGING: 13,449 EFP CONTRACTS PER TRADING DAY OR 1.3449 MILLION OZ/DAY)

Result: A GOOD SIZED INCREASE IN OI DESPITE THE TINY FALL IN PRICE IN GOLD TRADING  YESTERDAY ($0.30). WE  HAD A GOOD SIZED  NUMBER OF COMEX LONG TRANSFERRING TO LONDON THROUGH THE EFP ROUTE: 13,632. THERE OBVIOUSLY DOES NOT SEEM TO BE MUCH PHYSICAL GOLD AT THE COMEX AND YET WE REACHED THE HUGE DELIVERY MONTH OF DECEMBER. I GUESS IT EXPLAINS THE HUGE ISSUANCE OF EFP’S…THERE IS HARDLY ANY GOLD PRESENT AT THE GOLD COMEX FOR DELIVERY PURPOSES.  IF YOU TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE 13,632 EFP CONTRACTS ISSUED, WE HAD A NET GAIN IN OPEN INTEREST OF 18,026  contracts:

13,632 CONTRACTS MOVE TO LONDON AND A 4394 CONTRACTS INCREASED AT THE  COMEX. (in tonnes, the gain yesterday equates to 56.06 which is unbelievable)

we had:  4  notice(s) filed upon for 400 oz of gold.

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With respect to our two criminal funds, the GLD and the SLV:

GLD:

Today,  A SHOCKER:  A HUGE CHANGES in gold inventory at the GLD.  AFTER TWO CONSECUTIVE DAYS OF GOLD RISING, THE CROOKS RAID THE COOKIE JAR WITH A WITHDRAWAL OF 7.09 TONNES

Inventory rests tonight: 837.20 tonnes.

SLV

NO CHANGE IN SILVER INVENTORY AT THE SLV:

INVENTORY RESTS AT 326.337 MILLION OZ/

end

First, here is an outline of what will be discussed tonight:

1. Today, we had the open interest in silver FELL BY A TINY SIZED 571 contracts from
208,1516 UP  TO 207,945 (AND now A LITTLE CLOSER TO THE NEW COMEX RECORD SET ON FRIDAY/APRIL 21/2017 AT 234,787) DESPITE THE TINY RISE IN PRICE OF SILVER OF 12 CENTS YESTERDAY . HOWEVER,OUR BANKERS  USED THEIR EMERGENCY PROCEDURE TO ISSUE ANOTHER  1699  PRIVATE EFP’S FOR MARCH (WE DO NOT GET A LOOK AT THESE CONTRACTS AS IT IS PRIVATE BUT THE CFTC DOES AUDIT THEM).  EFP’S GIVE OUR COMEX LONGS A FIAT BONUS PLUS A DELIVERABLE PRODUCT OVER IN LONDON.  WE HAD MINIMAL COMEX SILVER COMEX LIQUIDATION BUT, IF WE TAKE THE SLIGHT OI LOSS AT THE COMEX OF 571 CONTRACTS TO THE 1699 OI TRANSFERRED TO LONDON THROUGH EFP’S  WE OBTAIN A NET GAIN OF  1128  OPEN INTEREST CONTRACTS, AND YET WE STILL HAVE A  HUGE AMOUNT OF SILVER OUNCES THAT ARE STANDING FOR METAL IN DECEMBER (SEE BELOW). THE NET GAIN TODAY IN OZ: 5.64 MILLION OZ!!! 

RESULT: A TINY SIZED DECREASE IN SILVER OI AT THE COMEX DESPITE THE  12 CENT RISE IN PRICE (WITH RESPECT TO FRIDAY’S TRADING).  BUT WE ALSO  HAD ANOTHER 1699 EFP’S ISSUED TRANSFERRING  COMEX LONGS OVER TO LONDON . TOGETHER WITH THE HUGE AMOUNT OF SILVER OUNCES STANDING FOR DECEMBER, DEMAND FOR PHYSICAL SILVER INTENSIFIES DESPITE THE CONSTANT RAIDS.

(report Harvey)

.

2.a) The Shanghai and London gold fix report

(Harvey)

2 b) Gold/silver trading overnight Europe, Goldcore

(Mark O’Byrne/zerohedge

and in NY: Bloomberg

3. ASIAN AFFAIRS

i)Late SUNDAY night/MONDAY morning: Shanghai closed UP 1.78 points or 0.05% /Hang Sang CLOSED UP 202.30 pts or 0.70% / The Nikkei closed UP 348.55 POINTS OR 1.55%/Australia’s all ordinaires CLOSED UP 0.70%/Chinese yuan (ONSHORE) closed DOWN at 6.6180/Oil UP to 57.56 dollars per barrel for WTI and 63.38 for Brent. Stocks in Europe OPENED ALL GREEN . ONSHORE YUAN CLOSED DOWN AGAINST THE DOLLAR AT 6.6180. OFFSHORE YUAN CLOSED UP AGAINST  THE ONSHORE YUAN AT 6.6160 //ONSHORE YUAN SLIGHTLY WEAKER AGAINST THE DOLLAR/OFF SHORE STRONGER TO THE DOLLAR/. THE DOLLAR (INDEX) IS  WEAKER AGAINST ALL MAJOR CURRENCIES. CHINA IS  VERY HAPPY TODAY.(STRONG MARKETS)

Read More @ HarveyOrganBlog.com

In Legalizing Marijuana, Uruguay Trips over the Dollar, US Laws, and Global Banks

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by Don Quijones, Wolf Street:

Why Drug Lords Love the Patriot Act.

It’s far from easy to do business without the financial support of any bank. But Uruguay, in its efforts to create a legal, regulated market for the recreational use of marijuana, is trying. In August it was revealed that some of the pharmacies that had agreed to sell the two varieties of cannabis distributed by the Uruguayan State had received threats from their respective banks, including the local subsidiary of Spain’s Santander, that they would close their accounts unless they stopped participating in the state-controlled sales.

To fill the funding void, the state-owned lender Banco República (BROU) announced that it would provide credit to the pharmacies involved in the scheme as well as producers and clubs. But within days, it too was given a stark ultimatum, this time from two of Wall Street’s biggest hitters, Bank of America and Citi: Either it stopped providing financing for Uruguay’s licensed marijuana producers and vendors or it’s dollar operations could be at risk — a very serious threat in a country where US dollars are used so widely that they can even be withdrawn from ATMs.

Why Drug Lords Love the Patriot Act

The main reason why this is all happening is that under the US Patriot Act, handling money from marijuana is illegal and violates measures to control money laundering and terrorist acts. Despite the fact that US regulators have made it clear that banks will not be prosecuted for providing services to businesses that are lawfully selling cannabis in states where pot has been legalized for recreational use, major banks have shied away from the expanding industry, deciding that the burdens and risks of doing business with marijuana sellers, both within and beyond U.S. borders, are not worth the bother.

The perverse irony, as the NY Times pointed out, is that applying US regulations intended to crack down on banks laundering the proceeds from the illegal sale of drugs to the current context in Uruguay is likely to encourage, not prevent, illicit drug sales.

So far, only 12 of Uruguay’s 1,100 pharmacies have signed up to supply the 17,391 government-registered marijuana consumers, which explains the long, winding queues that often form outside the dispensaries that sell the government-approved product.

Given the payment restrictions imposed by the banks, the pharmacies have little choice but to conduct all transactions in cash. The government also has plans to allow businesses to set up shop just for the sale of marijuana. One “advantage” of these new establishments, many of which will be small kiosks, is that they will know from the get-go that they will not be able to have a bank account in the company’s name, said Diego Olivera, general secretary of Uruguay’s National Drugs Board. They will also be purely cash-based businesses — at least until the banks abandon their boycott of legal marijuana businesses, assuming they ever do.

Customer Complaints

When the government launched the scheme in July, many consumers were dissatisfied with the potency of the government-licensed marijuana. “The government made a mistake because the first batch they released to the market in July had a potency level of only 2% THC,” says Eduardo Blasina, president of Montevideo’s cannabis museum.

But the government was quick to change tack. “(It) got the message and has now upped the content to 9% THC,” says one Montevideo pharmacist. A consumer himself, he adds: “I’ve tried it and I can assure you that it provides a most satisfactory experience.”

Read More @ WolfStreet.com

Austria is poised to reject the European Union’s compulsory migrant quota

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by Alex Christoforou, The Duran:

Austria’s new government is ready to resist Europe’s “Islamization”

According to the The Gatestone Institute a coalition between the anti-immigration Austrian People’s Party and the anti-establishment Austrian Freedom Party, which will be sworn into office on December 18, is poised to catapult Austria to the vanguard of Western Europe’s resistance to mass migration from the Muslim world.

The devastating demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears to be irreversible. Austria has also emerged as a major base for radical Islam.

Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the Austrian Freedom Party stated…

“We have a lot in common [with Israel]. I always say, if one defines the Judeo-Christian West, then Israel represents a kind of border. If Israel fails, Europe fails. And if Europe fails, Israel fails.”

 

Authored by Soeren Kern via The Gatestone Institute.

The anti-immigration Austrian People’s Party and the anti-establishment Austrian Freedom Party have reached a deal, creating a new coalition to govern Austria for the next five years. The ground-breaking political alliance, which will be sworn into office on December 18, is poised to catapult Austria to the vanguard of Western Europe’s resistance to mass migration from the Muslim world.

Chancellor-elect Sebastian Kurz, 31, who won Austria’s national election on October 15 after campaigning on a promise to halt illegal immigration, will govern with Heinz-Christian Strache, 48, the Freedom Party leader, who has warned that mass migration is “Islamizing” Austria. Under the agreement, Strache will become the vice-chancellor; the Freedom Party will also take control of the ministries of defense, interior and foreign affairs.

Kurz has been a strong critic of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door migration policy, which has allowed more than a million mostly male migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East to enter the country during the past two years.

During his time as foreign minister, Kurz was instrumental in garnering parliamentary approval of a groundbreaking new law that regulates the integration of immigrants. The so-called Integration Law — which bans full-face Muslim veils in public spaces and prohibits Islamic radicals from distributing the Koran — establishes clear rules and responsibilities for recognized asylum seekers and refugees granted legal residence in the country.

The new law requires immigrants from non-EU countries to sign an “integration contract” which obligates them to learn written and spoken German and to enroll in courses about the “basic values of Austria’s legal and social order.” Immigrants are also required to “acquire knowledge of the democratic order and the basic principles derived from it.”

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Previously, Kurz was instrumental in reforming Austria’s century-old Islam Law (Islamgesetz), governing the status of Muslims in the country. The new law, passed in February 2015, is aimed at integrating Muslims and fighting Islamic radicalism by promoting an “Islam with an Austrian character.” It also stresses that Austrian law must take precedence over Islamic Sharia law for Muslims living in the country.

Austria’s Muslim population now exceeds 700,000 (or roughly 8% of the total population), up from an estimated 340,000 (or 4.25%) in 2001, and 150,000 (or 2%) in 1990, according to data compiled by the University of Vienna.

The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible. In Vienna, where the Muslim population now exceeds 12.5%, Muslim students already outnumber Catholic students at middle and secondary schools.Muslim students are also on the verge of overtaking Catholics in Viennese elementary schools.

At the same time, Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam. Austria’s Agency for State Protection and Counterterrorism (BVT) has warned of the “exploding radicalization of the Salafist scene in Austria.” Salafism is an anti-Western ideology that seeks to impose Islamic Sharia law.

“The immigration seen in recent years is changing our country not in a positive but in a negative way,” said Kurz, who campaigned on a “law and order” platform: “Uncontrolled immigration destroys the order in a country.”

Strache, a supporter of Israel who has distanced his party from the rhetoric of the Austrian far right, insists that anti-Semitism had no place in his party and has urged a common front against Islamists. He has also pledged “to ensure that boycotts [against Israeli products] get taken off the agenda.”

During an April 2016 visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, at the invitation of at the invitation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, Strache said:

“For us, it’s important to act against anti-Semitism, and also against Islamism and terrorism, and to discuss the issues we have in common. Anti-Semitism often emerges anew from Islamism and from the left.

“We have a lot in common [with Israel]. I always say, if one defines the Judeo-Christian West, then Israel represents a kind of border. If Israel fails, Europe fails. And if Europe fails, Israel fails.”

Strache has called Merkel “the most dangerous woman in Europe” because of her migration policies, and has repeatedly said that Islam is “not part” of Austria. Strache has also warned that the “uncontrolled influx of migrants who are alien to our culture, who seep into our social welfare system … makes civil war in the medium-term not unlikely.” A Eurosceptic, Strache has called the European Union a “bureaucratic monster” and has said that Britain will “probably be better off after Brexit.”

Read More @ TheDuran.com

Stephen F. Cohen: Media Malpractice Is Criminalizing Better Russia Relations (Podcast)

by John Batchelor, Russia Insider:

The only other power with 6,000 nukes is the one Trump isn’t permitted to achieve workable relations with

Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies (at Princeton and NYU) Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fourth year, are at TheNation.com.)

Cohen offers the following general observations, which form the basis of the discussion:

§ The foundational accusation of Russiagate was, and remains, charges that Russian President Putin ordered the hacking of DNC e-mails and their public dissemination through WikiLeaks in order to benefit Donald Trump and undermine Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, and that Trump and/or his associates colluded with the Kremlin in this “attack on American democracy.” As no actual evidence for these allegations has been produced after nearly a year and a half of media and government investigations, we are left with Russiagate without Russia. (An apt formulation perhaps first coined in an e-mail exchange by Nation writer James Carden.)

Part One:

Part 2:

Special counsel Mueller has produced four indictments: against Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s short-lived national-security adviser, and George Papadopolous, a lowly and inconsequential Trump “adviser,” for lying to the FBI; and against Paul Manafort and his partner Rick Gates for financial improprieties. None of these charges has anything to do with improper collusion with Russia, except for the wrongful insinuations against Flynn.

Instead, the several investigations, desperate to find actual evidence of collusion, have spread to “contacts with Russia”—political, financial, social, etc.—on the part of a growing number of people, often going back many years before anyone imagined Trump as a presidential candidate. The resulting implication is that these “contacts” were criminal or potentially so.

This is unprecedented, preposterous, and dangerous, potentially more so than even McCarthy’s search for “Communist” connections. It would suggest, for example, that scores of American corporations doing business in Russia today are engaged in criminal enterprise. More to the point, advisers to US policy-makers and even media commentators on Russia must have many and various contacts with Russia if they are to understand anything about the dynamics of Kremlin policy-making.

Cohen himself, to take an individual example, was an adviser to two (unsuccessful) presidential campaigns, which considered his wide-ranging and longstanding “contacts” with Russia to be an important credential, as did the one sitting president he advised.

To suggest that such contacts are in any way criminal is to slur hundreds of reputations and to leave US policy-makers with advisers laden with ideology and no actual expertise. It is also to suggest that any quest for better relations with Russia, or détente, is somehow suspicious, illegitimate, or impossible, as expressed recently by Andrew Weiss in The Wall Street Journal and by The Washington Post, in an editorial.

Read More @ Russia-Insider.com