Oct 292019
 October 29, 2019  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Paul Gauguin Palm trees on Martinique 1887



A few -seemingly?!- contradictory items I noticed this morning. First, the oil the US is smuggling, stealing -take your pick- from Syrian oil fields.

On the one hand, we have U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper claiming that the revenue from the stolen oil goes to the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, which partly uses it “guard prisons that hold captured Islamic State fighters.”

US Military Envisions Broad Defense Of Syrian Oilfields (R.)

The United States will repel any attempt to take Syria’s oil fields away from U.S.-backed Syrian militia with “overwhelming force,” whether the opponent is Islamic State or even forces backed by Russia or Syria, the Pentagon said on Monday. The U.S. military announced last week it was reinforcing its position in Syria with additional assets, including mechanized forces, to prevent oilfields from being taken over by remnants of the Islamic State militant group or others. U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper offered some of his most detailed remarks to date about the mission at a news briefing on Monday.

“U.S. troops will remain positioned in this strategic area to deny ISIS access those vital resources. And we will respond with overwhelming military force against any group that threatens the safety of our forces there,” Esper told reporters at the Pentagon. Pressed on whether the U.S. military mission included denying any Russian or Syrian government forces access to the oilfields, Esper said: “The short answer is, yes, it presently does.” He noted that the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, relied on that oil income to fund its fighters, including the ones guarding prisons that hold captured Islamic State fighters. “We want to make sure that SDF does have access to resources in order to guard the prisons, in order to arm their own troops, in order to assist us with the defeat-ISIS mission,” he said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

But on the other hand, the Saker quotes “official representative of the [Russian] Defense Ministry” Igor Konashenkov saying “the income of smuggling goes to the personal accounts of US PMCs and special forces.” (PMC=Private Military Company)

Russian Defense Ministry Shows Evidence Of US Oil Smuggling From Syria (Saker)

As the official representative of the Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov noted, the Americans are extracting oil in Syria with the help of equipment, bypassing their own sanctions. Igor Konashenkov: “Under the protection of American military servicemen and employees of American PMCs, fuel trucks from the oil fields of Eastern Syria are smuggling to other states. In the event of any attack on such a caravan, special operations forces and US military aircraft are immediately called in to protect it,” he said.

According to Konashenkov, the US-controlled company Sadcab, established under the so-called Autonomous Administration of Eastern Syria, is engaged in the export of oil, and the income of smuggling goes to the personal accounts of US PMCs and special forces. The Major General added that as of right now, a barrel of smuggled Syrian oil is valued at $38, therefore the monthly revenue of US governmental agencies exceeds $30 million.

You be the judge. Which of the two accounts is more credible? The Saker report also says the US has been stealing the oil for a very long time. At $30 million a month. So is it the benign “guarding ISIS prisoners” or the less benign Blackwater et al?



Secondly, Pelosi’s sudden shift towards legitimizing the 34 day old “impeachment inquiry”, which comes in a document that at the same time says it already is perfectly legit. So why the move? Is it to assure Trump is provided with his “due process rights”? Can he subpoena witnesses now, is that what this means?

Or does this have to do with the lawsuit former deputy to former national security adviser John Bolton, Charles Kupperman, filed on Friday, and on which a federal judge has yet to rule? Do the Dems have the idea they’ll lose that one?

Do note House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-MA) saying the vote would “ensure transparency and provide a clear path forward”. 34 days of operating in secret in a basement and then you have the gall to talk about transparency? 34 days of selective leaking to friendly media but now we’re getting a “clear path forward”? I would tend to agree with Kevin McCarthy that “this process has been botched from the start”. Nothing partisan about that, just imagine what the NYT and WaPo would be writing if the GOP would be doing secret testimonies of Obama-era FBI, CIA and White House staff.

Oh, wait a minute, Schiff may have opened the door to just that! Is that a factor in Pelosi’s 180º?

‘We Will Not Legitimize The Sham Impeachment’ (ZH)

Update: House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) responded to Monday’s announcement, tweeting “It’s been 34 days since Nancy Pelosi unilaterally declared her impeachment inquiry. Today’s backtracking is an admission that this process has been botched from the start. We will not legitimize the Schiff/Pelosi sham impeachment.”

[..] House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Monday that a vote will be held this Thursday “that affirms the ongoing, existing investigation that is currently being conducted by our committees” as part of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, according to the Washington Post. House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-MA) said the vote would “ensure transparency and provide a clear path forward” as their investigations continue. The resolution will authorize the disclosure of deposition transcripts as well as set forth due process rights for President Trump, according to Pelosi. It will also establish a procedure for open hearings.

[..] The announcement comes after former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman – who served as a deputy to former national security adviser John Bolton – filed a Friday lawsuit seeking guidance from a federal judge as to whether he should follow the advice of the executive branch, which has instructed him not to attend, or Congress, according to the Post. As the judge has yet to rule on his request, Kupperman declined to appear.

“House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), meanwhile, said that a former deputy national security adviser had “no basis in law” to skip a deposition Monday and that his failure to appear was further evidence of Trump’s efforts to obstruct Congress.” -Washington Post. Kupperman was on the line when President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky held a July 25 discussion in which Trump requested investigations into Democratic rival Joe Biden, as well as allegations of Ukrainian election meddling in 2016 to benefit Hillary Clinton.

There’s another case, that of former Trump lawyer Don McGahn, who is in the same legal split between the Dems subpoena and the White House order not to comply with it. Several people have testified in Adam Schiff’s secret basement despite the order. McGahn has his lawyers talking to the DOJ -for quite some time too-, and Kupperman’s lawsuit asking a judge to decide seems to make sense.

DOJ Negotiating With Democrats To Allow Don McGahn To Testify (RS)

According to Politico, lawyers from the Department of Justice have been in talks with the House committee responsible for drafting articles of impeachment, about the possibility of letting former White House Counsel Don McGahn testify — despite the fact that the current White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone, has stated the administration will not cooperate with the investigation.

“In order to fulfill his duties to the American people, the Constitution, the Executive Branch, and all future occupants of the Office of the Presidency, President Trump and his Administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances,” Cipollone wrote to House Democrats on October 8, in a letter that was loaded with political rather than legal arguments. But that same day, Justice Department lawyers were in talks with the House Judiciary Committee about McGahn possibly testifying. And they subsequently held four more meetings on October 11, 15, 21 and 24.



Lastly, a curious item from the Sydney Morning Herald. It notes that the Australian government has figured out that Julian Assange has “high-profile and loyal supporters”. But highly curiously, Australian officials told a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday that diplomats had not heard back from Assange’s lawyer since writing to her last week asking that she raise with him their offer of consular assistance.

What? Jennifer Robinson, the lawyer is question, has been banging on Australian political doors for years in order to get assistance. And now this statement? Who are these people? Some people over there are belatedly waking up, but it may all largely be posturing. Until we see actual help on its way, don’t believe a word they say.

Assange Legal Team Asks For Australian Government Help Amid Growing Health Fears

Julian Assange’s British legal team has requested Australian diplomatic help as fears grow for his health and mental state in a London prison. [..] Australian officials told a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday that diplomats had not heard back from Assange’s lawyer since writing to her last week asking that she raise with him their offer of consular assistance. The 48-year-old is fighting US attempts to extradite him to face 17 counts of spying and one of computer hacking in relation to WikiLeaks’ release of thousands of classified Pentagon files regarding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Barrister Greg Barns, an adviser to the Australian Assange campaign, told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald his UK lawyers on Friday requested consular assistance following a recent inquiry from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. “Julian’s lawyers are asking for the Australian government’s assistance in dealing with their client’s inhumane conditions in Belmarsh prison which has led to, and is continuing to cause, serious damage to Julian’s health,” Mr Barns said. [..] The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) passed a motion at its national conference on Saturday calling for the Australian government to do “all it can” to bring Assange home and resist US attempts to extradite him.

ALA national president Andrew Christopoulos said it was an important issue about the rule of law and protecting an Australian in a vulnerable position overseas. “This is about standing up for the rule of law, fairness and the freedom to expose wrongdoing,” he said. “The reported decline of Julian Assange’s physical and mental health heightens the need for urgent government intervention. The government has intervened in cases like this before and should do so in this circumstance.” If the case goes to a series of appeals, Assange could remain in a UK jail until at least 2025.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne last week acknowledged the publicity around the case and that Assange had high-profile and loyal supporters. She said it was important to let the legal process run its course. “He has been offered consular services … like any other Australian would,” Senator Payne told the Senate committee. “I think it’s important to remember that as Australia would not accept intervention or interference in our legal processes, we are not able to intervene in the legal processes of another country.”




Obviously, this map is far from complete.






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    Paul Gauguin Palm trees on Martinique 1887     A few -seemingly?!- contradictory items I noticed this morning. First, the oil the US is smug
    [See the full post at: Notes October 29 2019]

    V. Arnold

    Paul Gauguin Palm trees on Martinique 1887

    Beautiful colors, rich reds, and the sheep and cows are a nice touch.
    Where’s the rest of the chicken shit world on Syria’s oil?
    No wonder the U.S. treats most of the world with impunity…and gets away with it…

    V. Arnold

    I should give Russia (Lavrov) credit for pointing out the theft and calling it what it is; banditry!

    Dr. D

    “Which of the two accounts is more credible?”

    I don’t see why it wouldn’t be both for so many reasons. One is that the two speakers each have credibility. Second, the SDF and the U.S., which itself only equals the PMCs, are allies. Money to one is money to another. So they would be splitting the money (bet the SDF is the 30% junior partner) and claiming it is going to “Syria”. Well, a ‘Syrian’ perhaps, but not to Assad and the central government as any logical expression of that phrase would be. Napoleon said an army moves on its stomach, well today they move on cash, which is how it was so painfully, painfully obvious that ISIS was a scam army supported exclusively from the outside. The U.S. is presently too broke to involve in non-self-financing wars, so the oil pays Blackwater, et al. Another reason they can’t go bankrupt fast enough for me.

    That said, we have no strategic leverage there, so pretty sure the oil fields are going to be a bargaining chip. Cut Exxon a contract and mollify Big Oil back home (and PS keep them from going bankrupt, with the U.S. from shale), and we’ll not make it too hard or expensive to pry the Army out of there. And in a way, why not? We’re already neck deep in an illegal, bankrupting war, try to get something to cut our losses on our way out and back to our own hemisphere. This is the big boys game, not a one of them follows law, rules, treaties, etc, and we’re no exception. And hey, didn’t I say this exact thing in 2002 and every. single. day. afterwards until now? No Herr Docktor, you just don’t understand, trrrists! Under my bed! Everywhere!

    “We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing,” Bin Laden said in 2001.

    Good thing we didn’t fall for that for less deaths than occur from traffic accidents or inner city violence in a year. And golly, if we had shredded the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press, who knows what could have happened? We might have lost our country and surrendered everything we pretended to be defending!

    30 seconds of logical thought, 18 years ago. So frustrating. Goes to show there’s not a lick of #Logos or logical thought from sea to shining sea. But like the prodigal, men have lie with the pigs before they cry out for the #Logos, and make for it at any price.

    “Pelosi’s sudden shift towards legitimizing the 34 day old “impeachment inquiry”

    It was embarrassing to be schooled by Cheeto on how to create a committee with an investigation function, but apparently that’s what it takes. So lo! They shall create one! Maybe. Maybe a pre-pre-pre inquiry, of a someday maybe impeachment, if when, for something, we’re-not-sure-what. They need to keep the word ‘impeachment’ in the news by any silly means to rig the election, which is odd because they can just vote and do it. According to Schiff, he has smoking-gun slam-dunk evidence since Jan 2017, evidence so good somehow he’s never released any of it to the public. Doesn’t that make him in violent dereliction of duty and need to be impeached and removed? Same with HRC: apparently she has direct personal evidence that Russia is controlling no less than three Presidential candidates. I believe she is an accessory to a felony if she doesn’t get that evidence to the FBI pronto.

    …Or is every. single. thing. said by adults in the United States a lie? Is that why they’re mad at Tulsi? Listened to Snowden the other night, and he said the Espionage Act used for example on Daniel Hale, specifically has a greater strictness than mass-murder. That is, you cannot bring up WHY the person did it, their motives, if anyone was hurt, if a greater good resulted, etc., only IF the act happened. That’s already nonsense since even in murder the MOTIVE and intent is how we know it’s Murder 1, Manslaughter, Reckless Endangerment, etc. More importantly, this over-the-top travesty enforcement doesn’t apply for telling lies, for misleading the nation into war, or erasing Democracy itself by hiding facts from the voting people. No, it only applies to TELLING THE TRUTH. Therefore, the government supports and believes that TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT IS A CRIME WORSE THAN MURDER. And they do. Clearly.

    “I think it’s important to remember that as Australia would not accept intervention or interference in our legal processes, we are not able to intervene in the legal processes of another country.”

    Wot a ship of fools. If Nicole Kidman was kidnapped in Estonia and framed for murder, then held in prison for a slow death, I have this funny feeling Australia would claim all kinds of authority and polity, and would discover a whole range of leverage they could use to free their famous citizen from a 3rd country. Maybe we should send Scott Morrison to SDF Syria and find out if they have the ability to intervene and interfere in 3rd nations. I have the feeling they do. Or the SOCOMD would. Go ask them.

    For fun, since Tulsi has dropped her run for Congress, and she and her family were centrists moving from the HI Republican party for pragmatic reason, why not dump backstabbing Pence and pull Tulsi as Vice President? Trump is similarly a centrist flopper, a lifelong Democrat from NYC who basically has Bill Clinton’s 1994 platform, to the LEFT of Bill Clinton actually, as on gay marriage, except that he actually intends his promises. So strangely, they’re well-matched. What do you think the vote would be on a Democratic-Republican Unity Party ticket? And if so, how’s your planned Civil War now?

    Dr. D

    Dr. D says:

    “Which of the two accounts is more credible?” I don’t see why it wouldn’t be both for so many reasons.

    It is obvious, but I left it as I did because both sides fail to mention it, at least in the write-ups.

    The US claims:

    “The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, relied on that oil income to fund its fighters, including the ones guarding prisons that hold captured Islamic State fighters.”

    Russia says:

    “..the income of smuggling goes to the personal accounts of US PMCs and special forces.”

    You know, $30 million a month to guard some prisons? That sounds like a accurate number only in America. Not in Syria.

    John Day

    I think history is paging Tulsi Gabbard.

    “Whit courtesy telephone, P:EASE!”

    John Day

    I had something like a little epiphany, bigger than a brain-fart, anyway…

    Donald Trump can quietly let it be known, like to Nncy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton, not a public statement, that he will nominate Tulsi Gabbard for Secretary of Defense, if she fails to receive the Democratic nomination.

    That would really put pressure on the DNC to not actively prevent that event.

    Cheeto would struggle to keep quiet about it all winter and spring, though…


    V. Arnold

    The US claims:

    “The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, relied on that oil income to fund its fighters, including the ones guarding prisons that hold captured Islamic State fighters.”

    After 74 years of lies; I know bullshit when I hear it!


    “After 74 years of lies; I know bullshit when I hear it!”

    Russian Defense Ministry Shows Evidence Of US Oil Smuggling From Syria (Saker)
    US Military Envisions Broad Defense Of Syrian Oilfields (R.)
    Assange Legal Team Asks For Australian Government Help Amid Growing Health Fears

    How can bloggers improve their impact? Prepare today for tomorrow.

    WikiLeaks, zero edge, TAE etc.


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    Hold on, Lebanon PM Hariri resigned today in the face of mass protests. He was the guy who was recently (2-3 years?) held hostage age by MbS in Saudi, wasn’t he? Memory fails a little. Help me out please.


    The elites use the best lawyer and the best accountants

    Ukrainian Privat Bank Nationalization Was About Keeping Corruption Going, Not Ending It…What Are The Dems Hiding?

    Ukrainian Privat Bank Nationalization Was About Keeping Corruption Going, Not Ending It…What Are The Dems Hiding?
    by L Todd Wood October 29, 2019
    Somehow we think this dumpster fire of corruption in Ukraine involving billions in American aid has something to do with the ‘impeachment’ kangaroo court we are now seeing in Washington, D.C.
    The Democrats are really scared of something.

    V. Arnold

    He was the guy who was recently (2-3 years?) held hostage age by MbS in Saudi, wasn’t he? Memory fails a little. Help me out please.

    Additionally, Hariri WAS indeed kidnapped and under house arrest in Riyadh – as many of us reported.

    V. Arnold

    Max Blumenthal has been arrested.
    From the first reads it seems another trumped up accusation based on false information.
    Is Max going to be the second Assange?
    Interesting times to be a good journalist reporting on the government, no?
    NO! We’re in deep shit!

    Dr. D

    Just in, so crazy I can hardly believe it, but so ephemeral that it’s not worth writing an article about, Pelosi IS going to vote on an Impeachment Resolution. Finally.

    But not. Because her vote is not what obvious, #Logos, logical, legal people would do: create a real committee with real power to investigate. Heavens, no! That would be crazy if you believed and had evidence of impeachable offenses. For so many reasons, but including that they have to keep pretending they ALREADY had that vote and Trump is wrong…because they ALREADY have the non-subpoena cases in Federal Court…this is a “Resolution” which says “That OTHER resolution and inquiry (you know, the one we never had) is a Great and Powerful Oz, which is going to merge with the Judicial Committee, which just won a court case that might maybe make what we’re doing semi-legal if we smash the two together like rocks.”

    Again, all to get around authorizing a REAL inquiry committee, and avoid having ANY minority rights of investigation, subpoena, cross-examination, and you know, LAW that might ask any question they don’t like, bring any evidence they don’t like, and leak to the press things unfavorable to the inevitable impeachment. For something. We’re still not sure. But gaslight the American people into saying they did. Because it’s a “resolution” of “inquiry“, not a “vote” on “investigation.”

    Why so alarmed, Herr Docktor? Because when they continue to refuse illegal, unvoted-on, unauthorized subpoenas, the House will then go arrest Executive Department officials and Giuliani under Capital Law as they have been saying they intend to do. When the U.S. Marines and, I dunno, the Bikers for Trump people show up to say no-you-don’t, well, off you go into your long-planned, long-desired civil war. Claiming the Marines have a coup, Pelosi has the legitimate civil government, etc.

    Which goes to show: when you have a solid case with bookcases of hard evidence, phone transcripts, witnesses, naturally you refuse to show any of it, have secret trials, and refuse all transparency and ability of the minority government, who could not overrule you or hamper your investigation in any way should you have this public vote, inquiry, and impeachment. I mean, I always do. Whenever I have my opponent dead to rights and have won the game, I always refuse to show him my cards saying “read it and weep”, but instead say, “Don’t argue. You don’t need to see my cards. Trust me: you know that giant poker pot is mine. There’s no evidence the cards WEREN’T winning, right? And the New York Times already reported that I won.”


    Well, there’s one upside, that they have been planning and making or encouraging Pelosi to impeach probably since Flynn was arrested and they knew no civil procedure was possible. Impeachment was always the plan because it’s the only way to get this out on the record, in public. Speaking of, Sidney Powell just busted Lisa Page for fabricating her 302’s transcripts of Flynn, and is on the case of Comey doing the same.

    None of it matters, because apparently Americans can’t read words or understand the concepts of “testimony,” “evidence,” and “cross examination.” No surprise since there hasn’t been legal justice under normal rules in a human lifetime. Who would recognize the truth if they saw her anymore?

    Might want to buy a flak vest, it’s going to get messy.

    V. Arnold

    So, Ilargi, no more daily posting?
    No problem; just wondering…


    @ V. Arnold
    I’m going to try to change the way I present the info that I find so that the truth can be shared.
    1. Name the author
    2. give a link
    3. Ask questions about the implication of the news
    4. Spread the link to other bloggers

    ‘This charge is 100% false’: Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal arrested months after reporting on Venezuelan opposition violence

    Blumenthal was arrested literally hours after The Grayzone published an article on USAID paying the salaries of Guaidó’s team as they lobbied the US government.

    Ben Norton
    Ben Norton is a journalist, writer, and filmmaker. He is the assistant editor of The Grayzone, and the producer of the Moderate Rebels podcast, which he co-hosts with editor Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.



    USAID funds salaries of Venezuelan coup leaders to lobby US politicians for regime change

    USAID is diverting $41.9 million from aid for Central America to pay the salaries of Juan Guaidó’s team as they work to influence policy inside the US.
    By Leonardo Flores

    This was originally published at MR Online and updated by The Grayzone

    To date, no information has been made public as to whose salaries are being paid and how much they are being paid. What we do know is that the hard-earned dollars of American citizens are lining the pockets of Venezuelan politicians who have demanded an increasingly harder line against the Maduro government. This harder line includes brutal economic sanctions that amount to the collective punishment of ordinary Venezuelans and have led to the death of at least 40,000 people.
    Mr. Guaidó has been taking the Trump administration for a ride, and now he and his followers are cashing in. Nearly nine months after his coup began, he is no closer to being in power than he was when he swore himself into office on a street corner in Caracas. There has been no increase in the number of countries that support the coup (54 have followed the U.S. lead); in fact, after initially shunning the Maduro government, several European countries are now working with him. Mr. Guaidó’s promises of mass military desertions, numerous defections of high-profile officials and a splitting of chavismo (the base of the Maduro government) have not come to fruition. His own base has actually gotten smaller, perhaps because members of his team were caught embezzling humanitarian aid in Colombia. Or it could be because Mr. Guaidó was photographed with drug traffickers and allegedly received logistical support from a nefarious Colombian cartel.
    The coup has not only failed, it has backfired.

    Dr. D

    Sic semper tyrannis. Or in this case, “sic semper fatuus.”


    Background info on Lebanon
    The Magic of Mutual Coexistence in Lebanon: The Taif Accord at Thirty
    By : Maya Mikdashi Oct 23, 2019


    This link might be interesting for us.
    Purpose and Intent of this website:
    This website does not suggest that it contains the “truth”. The truth is a combination of all information and all facts relating to a topic. It is therefore unachievable (in my opinion) for anyone to say “I know the truth.”
    If you came to this site in search of “the truth” you will be disappointed. That is also true of CNN, FOX , ABC etc. If you came to gather information you may find it a useful resource.


    An interesting story: An opinion

    I don’t blame the Lebanese rioters setting Beirut alight – they are hungry, poor and furious

    On the corniche seafront where I live almost every apartment block is empty. These buildings are owned as investments by Iraqis and Saudis, while the poor of the Beqaa Valley live in shacks

    By Robert Fisk
    October 25, 2019

    TAE Summary

    * World let’s US get away with banditry in Syria; Russia calls a spade a spade; In self reflective moment US admits Syrian Oil funds terrorism
    * An army marches on its cash; ISIS was a scam; US can only afford wars that pay; Bin Laden bled America by empowering leeches
    * Max Blumenthal arrested; Telling the truth is worse than murder; Let them eat fake
    * Australia has no leverage except down under; Epifannies trump brain farts; Bullshit should be seen but not heard
    * Pence not worth a farthing; Tulsi for Veep
    * Nancy Pelosi claims to have the winning hand but holds cards close to vest; Pikers for Nancy to storm the capitol; Sic semper tantramus

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