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Daily Archives: October 2, 2022

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The Curious Whodunit of Nordstreams 1 and 2

Tom Luongo wrote . . . . . . . . .

The old world broke this week. It was blown up cynically by someone who thought this would advance their agenda the most.

The act of vandalizing a major piece of physical infrastructure, targeting civilian populations, isn’t unprecedented in history, but it does signal that everything we thought we knew about the rules of the current game was wrong.

Well, for most people anyway.

When I spoke in June at the Ron Paul Institute Conference on Foreign Policy I described the game of geopolitics as a seven-player game of the ancient Chinese game, Go.

And in that game we’ve reached an inflection point where some factions are coalescing and others are splintering. The faction that is unwilling to compromise on their future is the most dangerous one at the table.

My conclusion then was that those ‘who think they are entitled to run the world’ will flip the game board.

They will change the rules of the game without remorse or a case in the world for those they harm and the aftereffects of their actions. In fact, the chaos they engender is preferable to them than losing.

We got the first inkling of this when the West didn’t just freeze Russia’s foreign exchange reserves but seized them.

Now undersea assets in international waters are fair game. The good news it that this flipping of the game board was only a couple of gas pipelines. The potential is still for something far more unthinkable, not that that’s off the table.

In the immediate aftermath of proof the pipelines were blown up everyone (including myself) came forward with their theory as to who did it. Sadly, I can construct arguments for nearly every major player in the game having done this.

But understand the significance of this act. Another redline in international commerce and relations was crossed. The burning question is by whom?

We can rule out the most idiotic takes, like the Russians blew up the pipelines themselves. Why blow up an asset which is literally your biggest piece of leverage on this particular game board when you can do what Putin has already done, shut off the taps?

The only people putting forth this idea are frothing neocons who never met a global problem they couldn’t blame on Putin. Their arguments simply confirm what we already knew, they are jumping for joy at the news.

Many are reflexively pointing to statements by Joe Biden and Victoria Nuland about getting rid of the Nordstream 2 pipeline before the war in Ukraine broke out. But, so what? Why wait seven months to make good on that threat? And why also take out Nordstream 1 at the same time?

The argument is based on this idea that the US is now a rogue state fully controlled by neocons who see their opportunity to get their geopolitcial two-fer, going to war with Russia while also regaining dominance over a vassal Europe.

Indeed this is the prevailing sentiment across the whole of the anti-US alternative media. From Pepe Escobar to Bernard at Moon of Alabama the rush to put together the motive (Escobar) and the means (MoA) is quite compelling.

I, however, do not agree.

And the reasons are many. But it starts with the basic premise is that it is too easy.

Sure, the neocons wanted NS1 and NS2 removed from the game board. Neocons staff the lion’s share of important positions in the “Biden” National Security Council, his State Dept. and the Dept. of Defense. But the neoconservative axis doesn’t stop at the mouth of the Potomac. Their roots are deep within British Intelligence, Whitehall, City of London and yes, even Germany.

When you invoke the term neocon it is a very specific term for a very specific faction of people. They are rapacious, unwilling to compromise, indefatigable and embedded like ticks all across the Western political and intelligence infrastructure.

They are also incredibly easy to manipulate because all you have to do is give them a green light for mayhem and they will take it like a pit bull seeing a squealing rabbit.

So while Bernard did a fine job of laying out all of the circumstantial ‘facts’ of this case, he didn’t make a conclusion either. He’ll leave that job to his partner in Anti-US Empire leftism Escobar and the imaginations of so many rightfully disillusioned with the US.

They and other have made the case and all that has to be done now is allow the amplifier of social media and global anxiety to run wild. Spoon feeding people cynicism today is easy. Hating on the US is now fashionable.

The groundwork for this has been laid for months with Europe shooting itself in the foot repeatedly while allowing its sympathetic chorus to try and portray them as the victim of US aggression.

Personally, I think that conclusion is nonsense and have stuck to my guns for months saying both the EU and ‘The US’ want this war with Russia but for different reasons. In other words, no one is a victim of the other’s aggression, they both want the same thing, a divorce and/or war with Eurasian integration but who gets to be the decision makers in the end is what they are fighting over internally.

I’ve laid this out in so many blog posts, but this one from January lays out all the arguments of the factions at play. While I was wrong about war in Ukraine being off the table, the interplay of the factions was still spot on.

The basic premise was always to use the neocons to destabilize the world over Ukraine, amplify the US/UK belligerence to the level of terrorist state, and portray Europe as the victim of whatever happened.

But once Putin invaded Ukraine everyone’s true motivations were exposed. Europe couldn’t back down and allow Russia to take Ukraine because Davos needed Ukraine to draw everyone into its vortex. The Minsk agreements were simply a time-buying device for everyone’s plans.

They all wanted this war with Russia but Putin chose the terms of the battle and the timing. To still think that Europe is a victim of US colonial ambitions betrays a naivete that borders on pathology.

And yet everyone fell for the silly Rand Corporation “Report” from January that prepped the ground for blowing up the Nordstream pipelines conveniently ‘leaked’ into the world two weeks before the weekend everyone had circled on their geopolitical calendar as the most significant of the year.

Yeah, and you could pull my other leg, it plays “There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute.“

Make no mistake, I’m not about to absolve ‘The US’ of any malfeasance here. Some aspect of ‘The US’ was involved. To think otherwise is also terminally naïve. No, what I’m going to do is remind everyone of the motivations, incentives and deficiencies of the players in the West and give you what I think is the best answer we will ever get (and why) as to the curious whodunit of the demise of Nordstream.

I wrote a massive Twitter thread yesterday on this which I am going to list below along with some fill in commentary where appropriate.

  1. Just so we are clear. I believe and have believed the hyper-aggressive Neocons (or Straussians) are a faction easily manipulated into doing things that look like they are to their benefit but ultimately aren’t.
  2. People this single-minded and radical can easily be directed like a missile at a particular target, especially if that target is their White Whale, i.e. Russia.
  3. Davos is obsessed with preserving the EU and transferring that power to the UN for global government through the end of commercial banking and total surveillance.
  4. This is incontrovertibly true. Their pushing hard for CBDCs to replace the current monetary system.
  5. Getting the neocons to over-react to the current state of play in Ukraine by blowing up two vital pipelines to Europe is child’s play. You are goading them to do what they want to do anyway.
    Screw Germany and Russia simultaneously.
    Again, think Pit Bull and squealing bunny rabbit.

  6. But the real win for them isn’t giving Germany no way to back down wrt Russia. It is to get Germany to see themselves as a victim of US colonialism.
    Cue the RAND report. And the protests over energy costs in Germany over the weekend.
    This leads to a critical mass of people seeing the US as the world’s leading cancer, deflecting from the real perps.
    Given the state of the commentariat today, mission mostly accomplished. With the Fed pushing interest rates to the moon this will be even easier for people to believe.

  7. That this is happening after the US got major wins in the UK and Italy electing Truss and Meloni while the Fed starves global markets of dollars, the source of Davos’ real strength … Eurodollar futures and shadow banking.
    See my articles about Draghi’s fall from July and Truss’s rise from last week. Joe Biden’s called Truss to threaten her over Northern Ireland before she even sat down at 10 Downing Street. Tell me again who “Biden” works for if not Davos?

  8. In the short run, the neocons think they’ve won a big victory. In the long run, it seals Europe’s fate by crashing their markets so they can blame Russia and the US for their bankruptcy while defaulting and consolidating power in Brussels.
    Blowing up NS1 and NS2 is a brilliant tactical move, it takes options from Putin and leaves him with more military than economic options. Why does anyone think the EU and Davos don’t benefit from this since this is what they actually wanted, prolonged war with Russia. Or am I misreading EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell and NATO Sec. General Jens Stoltenberg? Curious.
    In the long run this is a terrible strategic move because it now puts everyone’s infrastructure on the table. Everything is fair game now.

  9. France is happy to see this happen b/c bringing Germany down elevates them. Blackmailing the Italians is next on the flowchart… has to happen while Italy is in a gas deficit, i.e. Libya offline. France has been instrumental in cutting off Italy’s gas supply from N. Africa. There is no love loss between Italy and France. And EU sanctions keep Italy in gas deficit. With hostilities in Libya ending, gas will flow. So, destabilizing Italy’s financial markets now is paramount… or did no one see the blowout in BTP yields this week?
  10. The Neocons are Straussian in their thinking. Better to burn down everything rather than lose. I don’t agree with all of this article, but the basics are sound.
    Theirry Meyssan — voltairenet.org/article217976.…
    In short, the Neocons are not the only Straussians at this gaming table. Davos’ whole strategy is predicated on tearing down the old system, liquidating as many liabilities as possible (people, systems, debt, etc.) and then offering a new replacement at the depth of everyone’s despair.

  11. Europe’s only solution, said many times by Soros, is to default by issuing perpetual debt, consols, and rolling up all the political power in Europe to the EU Commission and the ECB.
    To do that you NEED a collapse of the German middle class.
    With the ECB losing to the Fed over keeping rates low and going for MMT, 80% of the ECB’s balance sheet is at risk. The EU cannot function with a bankrupt ECB. The eurozone ceases to exist. President Lagarde is now losing control over internal bond spreads now that the BoE intervened.

  12. But you also need a scapegoat to focus German anger on otherwise you lose them. So, bring in the hyper-aggressive Yanks and the hated Russians. Perfect patsies for this operation.
    Turn Western Europe as anti-American as Eastern Europe is anti-Russian.
    The neocons have walked willingly into this trap. Russia was given the option surrender or fight. They chose to fight.

  13. Turning the US into a global terrorist state in the minds of everyone is an attempt, lame as it may be, to stop capital outflow while the reset of Europe’s finances occurs.
    Only communists are so committed ideologically to their cause that they would threaten the world with nuclear blackmail in order to overthrow the only bastion of legal human rights superior to that of the State’s left in the world. I hate to break it to America’s haters but us getting our shit together is the world’s only real hope. It’s a thin hope, I realize. But the world is not made better by turning the US into a failed state like the same people I’m fingering today did to Russia after the USSR fell. But when you cheer on us Yanks ‘gettin’ what we deserve’ and apologizing for the crimes of Europe, you are cheering your own destruction.

  14. Hence, the US neocons likely blew up NS1 and NS2 but under the ‘guidance’ of Davos from within the “Biden” Junta.
  15. This is the nuanced take. Davos had the motive, means and opportunity to pull this off. So far, I’ve only presented why the neocons would have done this. Now, here’s why Davos is the real culprit.
    This was an act of war. No doubt. The UK and France have been trying to get NATO officially into a war with Russia since it moved into Syria… Remember the IL-20 ELINT shootdown?
    That was a French/UK op. that everyone else covered up.
    September 2018 a Russian ELINT plane is shot down over Syria. The official explanation is a complete fabrication. Reports of a missile fired from a French frigate offshore are memory-holed. Israel and Syria take the blame for the screw up which could have led to a NATO Article 5 if the Russians retaliated.
    We will simply not get the full story on this like we never got the real story about MH-17. But if Russia doesn’t respond overtly and whatever they do in parallel response “The US” doesn’t respond to then back channels have been working to stop any further insanity. The relative silence from everyone tells me a third party ordered this and the primary victim/alleged aggressor are trying to hold things at bay.

  16. This pipeline explosion smells of a similar setup.. The goal? Same as always. Get Russia to over-react, weaken Putin at home for being soft.
    Set the US and Russia on a path to open, not proxy, war.

  17. The same strategy is being employed with China/Taiwan. Reckless provocations to weaken Xi and get China to over-react to save face with the domestic population.
    Or did we miss the endless reckless provocations with China over the past 20 months?

  18. Why? Because if these folks are all fighting while Europe hunkers down and ‘rebuilds’ itself, then they are all weakened through war and relatively speaking the EU comes out of that coma to a more-level playing field.
    This point has been routinely misunderstood. This is a long-range projection of what the ultimate goal is. By the end of the decade Europe wants to be free of Russian energy, transitioned to a hydrogen/nuclear economy with digital money, no debt and a surveillance state it can leverage around the world. They want the same thing for the US and the UK Commonwealth, but the jury is definitely out as to whether they will achieve those goals in those places… that the third US faction I keep talking about, the NY Boys and the Fed, saying no to all of this.

  19. This is the plan. It’s stupid. It’s insane. But it’s clearly what’s on the table.
    The leaked RAND Report everyone was so hot and bothered about was pure psy-op to set up this latest atrocity.
    Even RAND was like. Okay, this is some serious Bellingcat/MI6 bullcrap.
    If you think this is far-fetched:
    Who directed everyone to lock down the world over a freaking flu?
    Who tried to bankrupt you for not getting the jab?
    Who is pushing for UBI, MMT and you owning nothing?
    It ain’t the Neocons and it ain’t Russia. And it ain’t the Fed either.

  20. There are clearly forces resisting this insanity but it’s not clear as to whether they are winning or not. What is clear is that most people are done with globalists, but which globalists?
  21. This now opens up the possibility of the East Med Pipeline from Israel to Greece, which “Biden” took off the table earlier this year. Why? Davos wants us off oil and gas.
    Meaning, why did “Biden” pull the funding plug off of East Med? Because Davos told him no new pipelines into Europe. Davos also hates Israel, being a US/UK satellite. Realize that once you see the enmity between the Continent of European Colonial Powers and the UK/US and the former Warsaw Pact countries, you can’t unsee it. But, please continue to think it’s all just “one big club… and we ain’t in it.”

  22. The bombing of NS1 and NS2 is as significant a red line being crossed as seizing Russia’s forex reserves. Both assets were considered ‘verboten.’
    Not any more. Who ordered that? Davos.|
    Who went along with that? The EU
    Who’s putting more sanctions on Russia today? The EU
    How can anyone seriously look at the last seven months and see the EU as a victim of US imperialism without seeing the imperial aspirations of the EU itself? I’m not saying anyone isn’t dirty here. They are all filthy and disgusting. But I am saying know what the real game is and what the real motivations are.
    Because if you do that work you just might see some things that don’t comport with the simple view which fuels your anger and frustration, which, in the end, is just childish. The stakes are too high here.
    FYI, the EU just put on an EIGHTH package of sanctions on Russia over the referenda in the now former territories of Ukraine. No outrage over the loss of NS1 and NS2. No furious statements about the heinous and cowardly attacks on public infrastructure serving the needs of real Europeans. No pearl clutching or hand wringing even over the immense amount of greenhouse gases being blown into the atmosphere. Just more vilification of the victim and nigh-endorsement of this act of terrorism.
    But, please, keep believing Europe is the victim of US aggression and not the complicity of your own leadership.

  23. The point of this act was to freeze all pipeline construction worldwide.
    If these assets are on the table, then nothing is off the table.
    Do you really think it’s far-fetched to false flag something like this to achieve global dreams of control?
    Who has those dreams?
    If you look at this dispassionately, you know who and that’s why you know who ordered it, regardless of whose military operators put the bombs on the pipes.

I can’t stress enough folks that we are in very perilous waters here. I’m no US apologist. This country has crimes it will have to answer for. And the biggest one may be allowing this globalist assholes to corrupt it nearly beyond repair. But don’t let that blind you to what’s really happening.

The important thing I keep trying to point out that thinking in terms of ‘country’ is ultimately the wrong lens to view these people’s actions. Factions are the better lens. Factions cross political borders.

Only when we’re talking about the people and elections do countries matter here and how they interact with these factions.

I’ll leave you with that and echo Bernard at MoA…. now draw your own conclusions.


Source : Tom Luongo


Read also at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and The Cradle

Shock and Awe: Who Attacked the Nord Stream Pipelines? . . . . .

Who profits from Pipeline Terror? . . . . .

Chart: The Countries Most in Debt to China

Source : Statista

China to Offer Tax Concessions for Private Pension Schemes

China will offer tax concessions for private pension schemes that enjoy policy support and are run commercially to meet people’s diverse needs, according to the decision made at the State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Sept 26.

The meeting noted that the development of policy-supported and commercially-operated private pension is a useful complement to the basic old-age insurance scheme, and can better meet people’s diverse needs and enhance social security safeguards.

The meeting decided that personal income tax concessions will be made available for those participating in policy-supported and commercially-operated private pension schemes: participants will be entitled to a contribution deduction of up to 12,000 yuan (about $1,687.6) each year from their annual taxable income.

No tax will be levied on investment yields for the time being. The actual tax burden for receiving pension benefits will be lowered from the previous 7.5 percent to 3 percent. This policy will be applied retroactively to January 1 this year.

“The policy support we introduced this time will deliver sizable benefits. In the process of implementation, we need to gradually fine-tune the policies and sum up experience before applying such policies more broadly,” Premier Li said.

The meeting also decided to temporarily defer payments of certain government-levied charges and deposits to further ease the burden on market entities and help them overcome difficulties.

“Market entities, especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, self-employed households and manufacturing firms now face considerable difficulties. Postponing the collection of government-levied charges and deposits is an important step to support market players. All policies must be delivered on the ground without delay,” Premier Li said.

The meeting rolled out an additional set of fee deferral policies for the fourth quarter. Payments of 14 government-levied charges, including farmland reclamation fee and sewage and household waste disposal fee, amounting to over 53 billion yuan, will be deferred without overdue fines.

Localities will be encouraged to postpone the collection of sub-national government-levied charges on enterprises, and arbitrary charges will be strictly prohibited.

Payments of project quality deposits of various kinds, amounting to about 63 billion yuan, will be deferred. Due responsibilities must be fulfilled, and promises delivered with concrete actions to ensure that market entities truly benefit from the policies.

“Relevant institutions and mechanisms of charge levying should be refined to foster a world-class and market-oriented business environment governed by a sound legal framework,” Premier Li said.

The meeting also decided on measures to make more government services inter-provincially accessible to further unlock market vitality and bring greater convenience to the people.

On top of the 187 government services already inter-provincially accessible, additional 22 high-demand items that affect a wide range of sectors will be added to the list to address the pressing concerns of households and businesses.

Inter-agency information sharing will be enhanced and operational standards aligned to make more inter-provincial services available online and processed on a one-stop basis. The needs of senior citizens for in-person services will also be well met. Personal privacy and trade secrets will be protected pursuant to law.


Source : The State Council

China’s State Banks Told to Stock Up for Yuan Intervention

Julie Zhu wrote . . . . . . . . .

China’s central bank has asked major state-owned banks to be prepared to sell dollars for the local unit in offshore markets as it steps up efforts to stem the yuan’s descent, four sources with knowledge of the matter said.

State banks were told to ask their offshore branches, including those based in Hong Kong, New York and London, to review their holdings of the offshore yuan and ensure U.S. dollar reserves are ready to be deployed, three of the sources, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.

The simultaneous selling of dollars and buying of yuan could put a floor under the Chinese currency, which has lost more than 11% to the dollar so far this year and looks set for its biggest annual loss since 1994, when China unified its official and market rates.

The scale of this round of dollar selling to defend the weakening yuan will be rather big, one of the sources said.

The People’s Bank of China did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

While the yuan’s depreciation has been gradual and in line with the decline in major currencies against a dollar buoyed by aggressive Federal Reserve monetary tightening, its decline to the weaker side of 7-per-dollar has raised concerns about domestic sentiment and potential capital outflows.

The offshore yuan moves in lock-step with the onshore unit, but its trading volumes account for about 70% of all yuan FX trades globally, dwarfing the volumes traded on the mainland.

Chinese authorities have intervened in the past in the offshore yuan market to steer the yuan.

Sources said the intervention plan involved using state lenders’ dollar reserves primarily. But the total amount of dollar selling is yet to be determined as the yuan’s movements are largely dependent on dollar moves and the Fed’s tightening trajectory, the source said.

China burnt through $1 trillion of its official FX reserves (CNFXM=ECI) to prop up the currency after a one-off 2% devaluation in 2015 that roiled global financial markets.

State banks, which usually act as the PBOC’s agents in offshore markets, are scrambling to procure more dollars in offshore markets, one of the sources said.

The People’s Bank of China did not respond immediately when asked by Reuters about state banks stocking up on dollars.

The latest proposal follows other steps authorities have taken to put a floor under the yuan, through persistently setting firmer-than-expected mid-point fixings, verbal warnings and holding off major monetary easing efforts.

The PBOC has also rolled out policy measures this month, such as increasing the cost of shorting the currency by lowering the amount of foreign exchange financial institutions must hold as reserves and reinstating risk-reserve requirements on currencies purchased through forwards.

Earlier this week, Chinese monetary authorities told local banks to revive a yuan fixing tool it abandoned two years ago as they sought to steer and defend the weakening currency.


Source : Reuters