May 102022
 
 May 10, 2022  Posted by at 1:41 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  16 Responses »


Ivan Aivazovsky Constantinople in Moonlight 1846

 

 

This is a letter by Scott Ritter, former US Marine Corps intelligence officer. It was published on RT as “An Open Letter To The American People – as Russia celebrates its WW2 victory over the Nazis”, but since RT is mostly banned in the west, I’ll post it here. It absolutely deserves that.

 

 

Scott Ritter: An Open Letter To The American People – as Russia celebrates its WW2 victory over the Nazis

 

 

To those who have forgotten the sacrifices the ‘Greatest Generation’ made to defeat Hitler.

In his 1998 classic, ‘The Greatest Generation’, famed NBC journalist Tom Brokow examined the lives and experiences of some of the millions of American men and women who fought in the Second World War.

“At a time in their lives when their days and nights should have been filled with innocent adventure, love, and the lessons of the workaday world,” Brokow observed, “they were fighting in the most primitive conditions possible across the bloodied landscape of France, Belgium, Italy, Austria, and the coral islands of the Pacific. They answered the call to save the world from the two most powerful and ruthless military machines ever assembled, instruments of conquest in the hands of fascist maniacs. They faced great odds and a late start, but they did not protest. They succeeded on every front. They won the war; they saved the world.”Brokow had “come to understand what this generation of Americans meant to history. It is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced.”

I was born in 1961, some two decades after the United States entered the Second World War. By this time, the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan had receded into the history books, replaced by a new and even more menacing foe, the Soviet Union. My father was a US Air Force officer whose career path up to 1977 looked like a Cold War-era tourist map, with service in Vietnam, Korea, and Turkey. I grew up with the mantra “better dead than red”drilled into my head, convinced that the service my father was providing to our nation was essential for the survival of the free world.

In 1977, my family moved to West Germany. My father had been reassigned to the 17th Air Force, headquartered at Sembach Air Force Base. We opted to live off base, in “the economy” as we called it, eventually settling into a magnificent house in the village of Marnheim owned by a German family who had been renting it out to US servicemen for decades. The house had a history, too. In 1945, it had served as a temporary headquarters for General George S. Patton as his 3rd Army advanced through the Rhein Pfaltz region of Germany during the Second World War.

We were three decades removed from that war when we moved to Germany, but reminders of that conflict were all around us. I spent the summer of 1978 working in a meat inspection facility staffed by what we euphemistically called “DPs,” for “displaced persons.” When the Second World War ended, millions of Europeans who had been enslaved by Nazi Germany found themselves liberated from their prison-like existence, but with no home to return to. This population included many children. The United States provided many of these permanently displaced persons with jobs and a place to live.

For thousands this existence became a way of life, and they were employed in service of America’s expansive military presence in West Germany. By the time I became acquainted with the “DP” community, some 33 years later, these children had grown into adults who were deeply grateful for the opportunities provided by the United States. They were also deeply resentful of the German people for having imprisoned them and destroying the Europe of their childhood. The experience of the “DPs” was a wake-up call for an American teenager who, by living among the Germans, had grown to view them as simply a foreign-speaking mirror image of myself and my family. But it wasn’t that simple.

 

In January 1979 West German television broadcast, over four consecutive nights, the ABC miniseries ‘The Holocaust’. After each episode, the Germans ran a live panel of historians who would take questions from the audience (it is estimated that over half of Germany watched the series.) Like most Americans living in Germany, I had missed out on the series when it was originally aired in the United States the previous year. My family tuned in and, out of curiosity, remained tuned in during the panels.

We were shocked by what we heard – the children of Germans who had been alive during the Second World War were calling the panel, in hysterics, denouncing their parents and their nation for allowing such a thing to happen. The distinguished academics and psychologists that had been assembled for these panels were stunned into silence by the outrage and anger – they simply had no answer to the question of not only how such a thing had been allowed to happen, but why they had not been taught about it growing up. Germany, it seemed, had tried to erase the criminality of its Nazi past from its present reality.

As focused as my family was on living less than one hour’s drive from the border between East and West Germany where, on the other side, hundreds of thousands of Soviet soldiers were stationed, poised (in our minds, at least) to launch an attack at any moment which would bring our idyllic life to a sudden and horrific halt, we could not escape the constant reminder of what had transpired on the European continent a scant three-and-a-half decades past.

One of the most poignant reminders lay across another border, this one to the west, where, near the Luxembourgish town of Hamm, the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial was located. The final resting place for more than 5,000 Americans who died fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, Hamm was also where General Patton was laid to rest following his accidental death in December 1945 (his widow believed he “would want to lie beside the men of his army who have fallen.”)

My parents made it a point to take us to Hamm on several occasions while we lived in Germany; it was a short, scenic drive, and the cemetery itself was beautiful, a fitting memorial for those who had made the ultimate sacrifice. We would always visit the nearby Sandweiler German Cemetery, also in Luxembourg, where the remains of more than 10,000 German soldiers who died fighting the Americans were interned. Both cemeteries were a somber, sobering experience.

 

But it wasn’t until my Uncle Mel visited us that the reality of what those cemeteries represented hit home. Mel was the living embodiment of Tom Brokow’s ‘The Greatest Generation’, having served in the European theater during World War II, coming across the Normandy beaches a week or so after D-Day. His unit – a transportation company tasked with driving trucks along the famous “red ball express,” had enjoyed a relatively easy time of it in France. Part of Patton’s 3rd Army, they participated in the liberation of France, and by the time they rolled up to the Benelux (Belgium-Netherlands-Luxembourg) border with Germany, had suffered no major casualties.

Mel had asked to visit some of the areas he had passed through during the war. Most brought back good memories, but at one location he stopped talking. Here his unit had been bracketed by German artillery, and in an instant more than 200 of his comrades were killed or wounded; many of those who died were buried at Hamm.

The crosses and Stars of David that were so beautifully laid out on the manicured grass suddenly had faces, names and personalities that could not be ignored. What had been a peaceful haven transformed instantly into a horrible reminder of the awful cost of war. To this day, I can’t pass a military cemetery without visualizing the circumstances of the events that took the lives of those buried there. All the hopes, dreams, and aspirations that I and others have been able to act out during our lives were denied these young men, usually under circumstances that the average person cannot imagine.

And the persons responsible for their deaths were the same Germans with whom I so peaceably co-existed back across the border. The same ones whose children became infuriated at their parent’s forgetfulness about the nature of the regime which killed so many millions in pursuit of the ambitions of one of the most odious ideologies of all humanity – Nazism.

In college, I studied Russian history; indeed, my honors thesis discussed the historical links between the Tsarist and Soviet militaries. I was intimately familiar with the campaigns and battles fought between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, and the horrific toll paid by the Soviet nation, whose casualties numbered in the tens of millions.

 

But it wasn’t until I had the opportunity to live and work in the Soviet Union, as part of a US inspection team stationed outside a Soviet missile factory in Votkinsk, tasked with implementing the provisions of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty, that I realized the extent to which this sacrifice marked the daily reality of the Soviet people. In downtown Votkinsk, there was a monument to the citizens who lost their lives during the war, as well as those who had been awarded the title “Hero of the Soviet Union” for their wartime service.

Everywhere one traveled in the Soviet Union there were similar monuments constructed in communities that had made it an essential reality of their being never to forget the sacrifices made by their version of the “Greatest Generation” in saving not only their fellow citizens, but much of Europe as well, from the scourge of Nazi Germany.

This remembrance continued even after the Soviet Union collapsed; the heritage of the Soviet Union was passed to the new Russian Federation, which sustained the duty of honoring those who had served. Russia celebrates this service on May 9 – “Victory Day” – marking the defeat of Nazi Germany. One of the great traditions of this celebration was the image of those aged veterans of that conflict, bedecked in their campaign medals, parading before a grateful nation.

Even as time and old age removed the Russian “Greatest Generation” from the society and nation they had served, the Russian people continued to honor them, with the children and grandchildren of the departed veterans marching in their stead, holding aloft a photograph of the veteran, part of what is called “The Immortal Regiment.” Unlike the Germans, the Russian people don’t forget.

 

Sadly, I cannot say the same thing about the American people. There will be no Victory in Europe celebration in the United States this year, just as there hasn’t been for years past. We have forgotten our “Greatest Generation” and the sacrifices they made for our future. There is no American “Immortal Regiment” of family members marching proudly down the main streets of US towns and cities honoring the cause for which these young men and women served. We have forgotten what they even fought for.

There was a time when the United States and Soviet Union fought together to overcome the scourge of Nazi Germany and the ideology it espoused. Today, when Russia is locked in a struggle with the progeny of Hitler’s Germany, in the form of the ideological descendants of the Ukrainian nationalist, Stepan Bandera – one would logically expect that the United States to be on Moscow’s side. 

Bander’s followers fought alongside German Nazis as members of the Waffen SS, slaughtering tens of thousands of innocent civilians, many of them Jewish. By rights, Washington should be ensuring that the hateful cause so many had given their lives and livelihoods to eradicate from Europe never again raised its evil banners on European soil.

Instead, the United States is providing succor to the present-day adherents of Bandera, and by extension, Hitler; their hateful ideology disguised as Ukrainian nationalism. American military personnel, whose traditions are born from the heroic sacrifices made by hundreds of thousands of their fellow soldiers, sailors, and airmen who gave their lives to defeat Nazi Germany, are today providing weapons and training to Ukrainians whose bodies and banners bear the markings of Hitler’s Third Reich.

On May 9, Russia will celebrate Victory Day, marking the 77th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, the struggle against Nazi ideology continues to this day and, sadly, the United States finds itself on the wrong side of history, supporting those whom we once were sworn to defeat, while fighting against those whom we once called allies. I can’t help but think that Tom Brokow’s “Greatest Generation” would be ashamed by the actions of those for whom they sacrificed everything, and who have still proven insufficient for the task of honoring their memory in action and in deed.

 

 

 

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May 092022
 
 May 9, 2022  Posted by at 2:07 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  14 Responses »


M.C. Escher Gravitation 1952

 

 

Earlier today, I read that the Russian ambassador to Poland was hit by a paint bomb while laying a wreath for WWII fallen soldiers, with the culprits chanting: “fascist, fascist”! And I thought that is rich, on the day that Russia commemorates the 25-40 million Russian lives lost in WWII fighting fascism.

I don’t know how many of you ever saw Claude Lanzmann’s 1980’s 8-hour documentary “Shoah”, but I did at some point. It shook all of me, every molecule, and I will never watch it again. I come from the land of Anne Frank. What it told me was that nazism wasn’t just a German thing, it was the region, not the nation, it was where most Jewish people lived before Hitler and Goebbels came along.

Lanzmann interviewed scores of Polish people who were loudly proud of having pushed back Jews, trying to flee, onto the cattle trains bound for Auschwitz et al. That same mentality has prevailed in large parts of Ukraine as well over the by now 80 years or so. Just look at the map: that’s where this was happening. And the Russians defeated it in that part of the world, not western troops.

And when it was done, the role of the 25-40 million Russian deaths in it was denied in the west, because: communism vs capitalism. But of course Russia cannot just ignore or deny all those deaths, just because Hollywood wants to sell tickets to Saving Private Ryan. For Russia, WWII meant: never again. And for them that means something slightly different than for us. It’s not just never again fascism or nazism, it’s also that these two things are symbolic for having your motherland invaded from the west, and by the west. Never again. That is why Russia moved into Ukraine.

And they are convinced that NATO was getting ready, with the remaining nazis in Ukraine, to attack the Donbass and Crimea. Note: Russia has an excellent secret service. They’re not just guessing. 100s of 1000s of troops were amassing on their eastern border(s).

And now Zelensky is calling the Russians the nazis. That’s quite the about face. They lost all those lives fighting the nazis, only to become the nazis themselves. Labeled so by an actor who relies heavily on admitted, and tattooed, 2022 nazis to stay in power.

Western media, and governments, had a zillion predictions about what Putin would say today, but still there was no mobilization of Russians, and no total war declaration. They were all wrong, again. But it helped get the clickbait up! Still, he would have said it if we did not announce his intentions!, us who have a direct line into his brain…

I’ll leave you with three full reports from today, so you can make up your own mind- something I always try to do. First, RT, for which I cannot provide a link (banned because it’s propaganda!), then Guardian and then BBC.

 

 

Launching The Offensive Was “The Only Right Decision,” Russian President Insisted At The Annual Victory Day Parade (RT)

Russia’s military operation in Ukraine was a preemptive move against future aggression, President Vladimir Putin has outlined during his address at the Victory Day parade in Red Square in Moscow on Monday. Putin not only praised the achievement of the Soviet people during World War II, but also addressed the Kremlin’s reasons for the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev. Russia had to act because a large-scale offensive against the breakaway republics in the eastern Donbass region was being planned, he claimed.

“We saw the military infrastructure unfolding [in Ukraine]; hundreds of foreign advisers starting their work; there were regular deliveries of the most modern weapons from NATO countries. The danger grew every day,” the president explained. “Russia gave a preemptive rebuff to aggression – this was a forced, timely and the only right decision by a sovereign, strong and independent country,” he added, referring to the launch of the military operation. “Despite all the disagreements in international relations, Russia has always advocated the creation of a system of equal and indivisible security,” Putin continued. He cited Moscow’s attempts to engage in dialogue on security guarantees with Washington late last year, which failed to yield results.

“NATO countries didn’t want to hear us, which means that, in fact, they harbored completely different plans, and we saw it,” he elaborated. There were open preparations for a punitive operation in the Donbass and “an invasion of our historical lands, including Crimea,” Putin insisted, adding that Kiev also announced plans to restore its nuclear capabilities. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US has increasingly spoken of ‘American exceptionalism,’ Putin pointed out. By spreading those ideas, Washington is “humiliating not only the whole world, but also its satellites, which have to pretend that they don’t notice anything and humbly accept it all. But we are a different country,” he insisted.

Russia has a different character, we’ll never give up on our love for our Motherland, on our faith and traditional values and customs of our ancestors; on respect for all peoples and cultures. But the West has apparently decided to “cancel” those values, with such “moral degradation becoming the basis for cynical falsifications of the history of World War II, and the incitement of Russophobia,” he said. “We know that American veterans, who wanted to come to the parade in Moscow, were basically banned from doing so,” Putin added. But he pointed out that Russia remembered the feats of the US servicemen and their contribution to victory in World War II.

Returning to the military operation in Ukraine, the president illustrated that “the self-defense forces of the Donbass Republics together with the Russian military are fighting on their land… for the Motherland, for its future, to make sure that no one forgets the lessons of World War II, so that there would be no place in the world for butchers, punishers, and Nazis.” Announcing the “special military operation” on February 24, Putin said that Moscow should not repeat the mistakes of the Soviet leadership of 1940-1941.

Back then, he explained, the USSR tried not to provoke Nazi Germany by “refraining or postponing the most urgent and obvious preparations it had to make to defend itself from an imminent attack.” As a result, the president continued, the moment was lost and the country was not prepared to counter the invasion. “The attempt to appease the aggressor ahead of the Great Patriotic War proved to be a mistake which came at a high cost for our people…We will not make this mistake the second time. We have no right to do so,” Putin said.

 

 

The essence: “We will not make this mistake the second time. We have no right to do so,”

 

 

Putin Ties Ukraine Invasion To Second World War In Victory Day Speech (Guardian)

Vladimir Putin has told Russian soldiers they are “fighting for the same thing their fathers and grandfathers did” as he used his Victory Day speech to justify his invasion of Ukraine. As Putin sought to rally his country through the memory of the second world war, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, pushed back in his own address from Kyiv. “We will not allow anyone to annex this victory, we will not allow it to be appropriated,” he said. The dual speeches marked a closely watched anniversary in eastern Europe, where Russia has used claims that it is fighting fascism to justify its bombardment of cities such as Mariupol and Kyiv and to launch the largest military campaign in Ukraine since the 1940s.

Prior to the speech, foreign officials had said Putin could use it to launch a full mobilisation of Russian troops or formally declare war in Ukraine, but there were no large policy announcements. Instead he suggested Russia was “forced” into the war by Nato and pledged to provide aid for the families of soldiers who had died in what the Kremlin is calling a “special operation”. Speaking at the 77th annual celebration of the defeat of Nazi Germany, the Russian president launched a defence of his war in Ukraine, pivoting from a recognition of Russia’s “greatest generation” to a description of how it was believed Ukraine was being armed by the west for an imminent attack on Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.

“Nato countries did not want to listen to us,” Putin said. “They had different plans, and we saw it. They were planning an invasion into our historic lands, including Crimea … Russia gave a preemptive rebuff to aggression, it was a forced, timely and only right decision.” He also described the war as “sacred”. “The defence of the motherland, when its fate was being decided, has always been sacred,” Putin said, speaking of the second world war. “And now, you are fighting for our people in the Donbas. For the security of our homeland – Russia.” Russia provided fewer armoured vehicles than in past years during the Red Square parade on Monday and a planned flyover was cancelled, ostensibly due to weather conditions.

Putin did not bring up specific Russian victories in his speech, despite speculation his forces were engaged in a last-ditch effort to secure Mariupol and its Azovstal plant from the remaining Ukrainian defenders by 9 May. Instead, the Russian president addressed troop losses in the war, saying he had signed a new order that would give educational aid to the children of those killed. The Kremlin has been accused of seeking to cover up losses. After the sinking of the Moskva cruiser in the Black Sea, a number of families went public with claims the Russian military was trying to avoid confirming deaths onboard the ship.

“The death of each of our soldiers and officers is a grief for all of us and an irreparable loss for relatives and friends,” Putin said. “The state, regions, enterprises, public organisations will do everything to take care of such families and help them. We will provide special support to the children of the dead and wounded comrades. The presidential decree on this was signed today.”

The muted speech came in stark contrast to that delivered by Zelenskiy, who delivered a recorded address to a piano accompaniment as he walked through central Kyiv past anti-tank barricades. “This is not a war of two armies,” he said. “This is a war of two world views. A war waged by barbarians … who believe that their missiles can destroy our philosophy.” In the speech, Zelenskiy took aim at Russian claims Ukraine had sought to block 9 May celebrations, a focus of Russian state media in advance of the holiday.

“Our enemy dreamed that we would refuse to celebrate 9 May and the victory over Nazism,” said Zelenskiy. “So that the word ‘denazification’ will have a chance [to succeed] … On the day of victory over Nazism we are fighting for a new victory. The road to it is difficult but we have no doubt that we will win. “And very soon there will be two Victory Days in Ukraine. And some will not even have one left.”

 

 

“The defence of the motherland, when its fate was being decided, has always been sacred.”

 

 

Putin Says Russia Fighting For Motherland In Ukraine In Victory Day Speech (BBC)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russian forces in Ukraine were fighting for the future of their motherland, in his annual address marking victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two. Despite rumours he would make a major announcement his speech stuck largely to defending Russia’s invasion. He tied the war in Ukraine to victory in 1945, blaming the West and Nato for rejecting security demands. Almost 10 weeks into the invasion, civilian casualties continue to mount. Some 60 civilians are feared dead in the eastern town of Bilohorivka, after a Russian attack on a school where people were trying to escape bombardment.

Flanked by military top brass, Russia’s leader spoke of Ukrainians as fascists, repeating his false claim that the democratic government in Kyiv was run by neo-Nazis. Defending the motherland had always been sacred, he said, referring to the eastern region which is now the main focus of Russia’s assault: “Today you are fighting for our people in Donbas, for the security of Russia, our homeland.” He also made unfounded allegations against Nato and Ukraine and described the invasion as a pre-emptive rebuff: “They were preparing a punishing operation in Donbas to intrude on our historic lands. In Kyiv they were saying they might get nuclear weapons and Nato started exploring the lands close to us, and that became an obvious threat to us and our borders.”

Ukrainian presidential official Mykhailo Podoliak later responded, tweeting that there were no rational grounds for the war: “Nato countries were not going to attack Russia. Ukraine did not plan to attack Crimea.” There had been speculation that Russia’s president may be considering a change of military strategy, either a full declaration of war, rather than the current so-called special military operation, or a mobilisation of Russian men to boost the armed forces. Instead he said he was signing a decree for families of the dead and wounded in Ukraine to receive special support.

There was a minute of silence, including for the fallen in Ukraine, and he ended his 11-minute address with the words: “Glory to our armed forces – for Russia, for victory, hurrah”, at which the assembled forces responded with a big cheer. The parade was more modest than in recent years. Russian news agencies said 11,000 troops and 131 armoured vehicles took part in the event, including Russia’s widely feted Armata tanks, which have not been considered combat-ready for the war in Ukraine.

Not everything went according to plan. A flypast by the air force had to be cancelled shortly before the parade because of “weather conditions”, according to the Kremlin. Ahead of Victory Day, warplanes had rehearsed over Red Square in a Z-formation, the motif used by the Russian state during its war in Ukraine. Smaller parades took part in cities across Russia and the weather was also blamed for similar cancellations of flypasts in Yekaterinburg, Rostov and Novosibirsk. There was no mention in Vladimir Putin’s speech of Mariupol, the southern Ukrainian port city where a small group of Ukrainian forces continue to hold out in a maze of tunnels under the Azovstal steelworks.

But Russia was able to claim limited success on Monday in Kherson, the one Ukrainian city it can claim to have fully occupied. State-run news agency Ria Novosti showed footage of a Victory Day march in memory of those who died in the war. It was led by Volodymyr Saldo, a pro-Russian local official who has been named Kherson governor and is now being investigated for treason by Ukraine. What was then the Soviet Union lost 27 million lives during World War Two, with Ukraine accounting for eight million of them. In a separate message marking 9 May, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Nazis had been expelled in 1945 and Ukraine would not allow anyone to “annex this victory”. Very soon, he said, Ukraine would have two victory days to celebrate.

 

 

 

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Apr 152022
 
 April 15, 2022  Posted by at 4:48 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  21 Responses »


William Sauro Yoko Ono and John Lennon, “War Is Over If You Want It,” Times Square, New York 1969

 

 

On February 24 2022, after either 30+ years, or 8 years, or 6 months, take your pick, of increasingly ominous and deadly provocation, Russian troops entered Ukraine territory. The very next day, February 25, the Russian forces were largely in position. The broader Ukrainian army had been bogged down in pockets, largely in the east, where military action had likely been planned vs the Donbass, and the Azov battalion that was their most aggressive part, was being squeezed into an even tighter spot.

That’s the story so far, really; not much has changed since then.

It’s also perhaps jut a starting point. Not for Ukraine, mind you, that goes back a very long time, during which it very rarely if ever was a “nation”, but the starting point for the Russian Special Military Operation – or war, or invasion, take your pick. That’s all. And I’m sorry I’ve been silent for most of it, other than through the daily Debt Rattle news aggregators, but that is not a coincidence.

All the time, I see every paper and TV channel trying to decide my opinion for me, and I don’t want to fall into that same trap. I want people to make up their own minds. And the news aggregators are a very good approach for that. But still… Here’s some MSM headlines that I think perhaps need more explaining. April 13, Guardian:

Joe Biden Accuses Vladimir Putin Of Committing Genocide In Ukraine

Joe Biden has accused Russia of carrying out genocide in Ukraine, saying that Vladimir Putin is “trying to wipe out the idea of even being Ukrainian”. Biden has been consistently outspoken in denouncing Russian wholesale killing of Ukrainian civilians, labelling Putin as a “war criminal” in mid-March. Multiple investigations are under way into Russian atrocities in Ukraine, which include the razing of Mariupol and the executions of civilians in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha.


The prosecutor at the international criminal court in the Hague opened a case in February saying there was “a reasonable basis to believe that both alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Ukraine”. Proving a case under the 1948 Genocide Convention requires an “intent [by the accused] to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”. Biden first used the word in passing on Tuesday at a domestic policy event in Iowa about the use of ethanol in petrol. “Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank, none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide half a world away,” he said.

It should be obvious that 1/ There is no evidence of Russia committing anything close to a genocide, 2/ There is plenty evidence of the US, while Biden is/was Senator/VP/President, committing war crimes/genocide, and 3/ Very few people understand what the term genocide actually means, so Biden -and the media- can throw it around as a scary sounding word without risking being called on that. April 5, Greek Reporter:

Zelensky Tells Security Council that “Russians Killed for Pleasure”

On Tuesday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky showed the UN Security Council a harrowing video from Ukraine in an apparent attempt to embarrass Russia and rally international sympathy and support. The clip lasted about a minute and showed image after image of dead Ukrainians, including burned and disfigured bodies. Speaking to the Security Council for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th, Zelensky reported Russian troops have killed civilians and raped women.


Zelensky’s comments follow his Monday visit to the town of Bucha, where the bodies of dead Ukrainian civilians were found. He claimed that in the town, people were shot in the street, their homes, thrown into wells, and crushed by tanks in the middle of the road “just for the pleasure” of the Russian soldiers. “The Russian military searched for and purposefully killed anyone who served our country,” he said, as Russia’s UN ambassador was looking on.

My first reaction when I saw this 10 days ago was: this is infantile. But that is what our conversation has fallen/sunk/degraded into. That’s what the clown/actor president got to say at the UN, and nobody raised an objection; indeed, so-called serious politicians applauded him for it. But it is Hannibal/Napoleon/Hitler/Putin eat babies territory. It’s medieval, except that the Brothers Grimm had more nuance and credibility in their tales then our modern media.

If you saw that headline, and you still thought/think Zelensky is a credible source for anything at all, you yourself have a major credibility issue. Zelensky disqualified himself right then and there when he said that (and repeated similar claims on 100 other occasions). But, you know, he’s a clown and an actor, so give him some leeway.. . Still, if Putin or anyone near him would accuse Ukrainian or NATO troops of “killing for pleasure”, what would be your reaction? On to April 10:

Putin’s Target Is ‘Entire European Project’, Says Zelenskiy

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said Russia is targeting all of Europe with its aggression and that stopping the invasion of Ukraine is essential for the security of all democracies. Officials have said a grave with dozens of Ukrainians civilians was found in Buzova village near Kyiv, the latest such discovery as Russian forces retreat from their offensive on the capital and shift their assault to the east. In his late-night address to Ukrainians on Saturday, the Ukrainian president said Russian aggression “was not intended to be limited to Ukraine alone” and the “entire European project is a target for Russia”.

“That is why it is not just the moral duty of all democracies, all the forces of Europe, to support Ukraine’s desire for peace,” he said. “This is, in fact, a strategy of defence for every civilised state. “This will be a hard battle, we believe in this fight and our victory. We are ready to simultaneously fight and look for diplomatic ways to put an end to this war.” His address came as civilians continued to flee eastern parts of the country before an expected onslaught and firefighters searched for survivors in a northern town no longer occupied by Russian forces.

Zelenskiy thanked the leaders of Britain and Austria for their visits on Saturday to Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and pledges of further support. He also thanked the European Commission president and Canada’s prime minister for a global fundraising event that brought in more than €10bn for Ukrainians who have fled their homes. Zelenskiy repeated his call for a complete embargo on Russian oil and gas, which he called the sources of Russia’s “self-confidence and impunity”. “Freedom does not have time to wait,” Zelenskiy said. “When tyranny begins its aggression against everything that keeps the peace in Europe, action must be taken immediately.”

There is no sign anywhere that Putin wants to attack the Entire European Project. None. He wants No Nato, No Nukes, and No Nazis in Ukraine. Russia does not have the power to invade all of Europe, nor does it want to. It wants the threat that Ukraine poses on its doorstep to dissolve. No nuke warheads in Ukraine. Step 1.

And what do we see? Sweden and Finland may now join NATO, and they, and Poland, may station nuke warheads on their territory. For hypersonic missiles, that are minutes from Moscow. Given that NATO has no functioning hypersonic missiles today, what would you do if you were Moscow? Wait till they do have them?

I found a better, more elaborate, version of this:

Before the war started, Zelenskyy refused an offer for peace. Russia required 3 things;
1) Water in Crimea: no water was destroying the economy there.
2) Minsk 2 imposed: peace for the people of Donbas, within Ukraine, but greater autonomy.
3) Ukraine to remain neutral: no NATO.

Zelenskyy actually increased the provocation against Russia in January 2022 by;
1) Intensifying the bombardment of Donbas
2) Threatening to retake Crimea
3) A group of Republican congressmen intended to introduce a bill declaring Ukraine a NATO-plus country.

More April 10:

US ‘Deeply Concerned’ At Report Of Mariupol Chemical Attack

The Azov battalion, which has been heavily involved in fighting in Mariupol and has strong ties to the far-right, wrote in a Telegram post that Russian forces had dropped “a poisonous substance of unknown origin” during a drone attack at the city’s large Azovstal metals plant. It said that its fighters had suffered minor injuries, including shortness of breath. One injured man described a “sweet-tasting” white smoke covering an area of the plant after an explosion. Another said he felt immediately unable to breathe and had collapsed with “cotton legs”.

The reported incident – which the BBC cannot independently verify – came hours after a spokesperson for the Moscow-backed Donetsk People’s Republic urged Russia to bring in “chemical forces” to the besieged south-eastern city. Eduard Basurin told Russian state TV the remaining Ukrainian forces in Mariupol were entrenched at the Azovstal plant and that Russia should encircle it and “smoke out the moles”. Speaking on Monday night, President Volodymyr Zelensky said any use of chemical weapons would mark a “new stage of terror against Ukraine” and called on Western nations to arm his forces with the weapons needed to defend his country.

“Unfortunately, we are not getting as much as we need to end this war sooner,” Mr Zelensky said. “I am sure that we will get almost everything we need, but not only time is being lost. The lives of Ukrainians are being lost — lives that can no longer be returned.”

There have been tons of reports of Russian war crimes in Mariupol. Maternity ward, theater, arts academy, they keep on coming so fast no-one can fact check them. And that’s not a coincidence. But when the Azov battalion delivers the “news”, even the MSM inserts a few ifs and buts and maybes. The headline works for propaganda, but they don’t want to get caught in outright nonsense or lies. Yeah, well, way too late. you’ve been doing it for 50-odd days now. April 13:

Zelenskiy: War Will Become ‘Endless Bloodbath’ Without More Weapons

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has released a new video in which he warns that the war will become an “endless bloodbath, spreading misery, suffering, and destruction” without additional weaponry. Speaking in English, Zelenskiy says Ukraine has been defending itself against Russia “much longer than the invaders planned”. But Russia still has the capacity to attack “not only against Ukraine”, Zelenskiy continues: Poland, Moldova, Romania, and the Baltic states will become the next targets if the freedom of Ukraine falls.


More weapons were needed to “save millions of Ukrainians as well as millions of Europeans”, he says: We need heavy artillery, armoured vehicles, air defence systems and combat aircraft. Zelenskiy concludes the video by saying: “Freedom must be armed better than tyranny. Western countries have everything to make it happen. The final victory over the tyranny and the number of people saved depends on them.”

We are all smart enough to understand that the opposite is true: the more weapons US/NATO delivers inside Ukraine, the longer the bloodbath will be. AND the Ukraine troops are stuck in pockets (cauldrons), so what can possibly be delivered to them? AND Russia will not continue to sit idly by while such deliveries are attempted. Russia simply wants Ukraine and US/NATO to recognize the reality February 24 created.

And agree that Ukraine cannot enter NATO on Russia’s doorstep, cannot have nuclear weapons, and cannot have (neo-) nazi troops decide its politics. When Zelensky signs for that on the dotted line, the Russians could be gone within days. Provided sufficient guarantees are given, which will require a substantial commitment by NATO as well. But it can surely be done.

 

About “War Is Over If You Want It,” do you think Zelensky and his handlers want it to be over? Well, other than in a total Russian defeat, which will not happen? Do you think US/NATO wants it to be over? Or would they maybe think it’s acceptable to see a few million more Ukrainians perish if that means a few billion in weapons can be sold? Do you think Russia wants it to be over? I think they would sign up yesterday if their demands are met.

And these demands are serious, it’s not like leaving behind a bunch of nazis is negotiable, or a halfway house towards NATO, or a few biolabs, or a nuke installation here and there. For the Russians all that must go to zero, or they would never have invaded.

Here’s thinking it’s up to you after all. “War Is Over If YOU Want It.” But you have just been through 2+ years of believing and following the leader with Covid, so which part is actually your opinion, and which part are you just parroting? Might be a good idea to make up your minds, and soon, because your leaders are itching to push a few consequential buttons, and make up your minds for you.

You may actually need to go into the streets to demand that this war be over. And you will have to do it without a mask on. Can you handle that?

 

 

 

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Mar 282022
 
 March 28, 2022  Posted by at 8:02 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  51 Responses »


Salvador Dali Hallucination. Six Images of Lenin on a Grand Piano 1931

 

Biden Confirms Why the US Needed This War (Lauria)
Propaganda Does Not Change The War – The Ukraine Is Still Losing (MoA)
A Manufactured World Crisis (Rockwell)
Springtime for GloboCap (CJ Hopkins)
Video Surfaces Showing Ukraine Military Torturing Russian POW’s (CTH)
WWIII Has Begun – Gerald Celente (USAW)
“The Adults in the Room” are Always the Most Colossal Screwups (Tracey)
India Is Snapping Up Cheap Russian Oil, And China Could Be Next (CNBC)
House Republicans Will Subpoena Hunter Biden (NYP)
Shutting Down Canadian Pipeline Would Cost US Consumers $23.7 Billion (ET)

 

 

Domestic support

 

 

OpenVAERS
https://twitter.com/i/status/1508112293648818177

 

 

“..we do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia, or anywhere else, for that matter,” the last words inserted for comic relief..”

Biden Confirms Why the US Needed This War (Lauria)

The U.S. got its war in Ukraine. Without it, Washington could not attempt to destroy Russia’s economy, orchestrate worldwide condemnation and lead an insurgency to bleed Russia, all part of an attempt to bring down its government. Joe Biden has now left no doubt that it’s true. The president of the United States has confirmed what Consortium News and others have been reporting since the beginnings of Russsiagate in 2016, that the ultimate U.S. aim is to overthrow the government of Vladimir Putin. “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” Biden said on Saturday at the Royal Castle in Warsaw. The White House and the State Dept. have been scrambling to explain away Biden’s remark. But it is too late.

“The President’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region,” a White House official said. “He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.” On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “As you know, and as you have heard us say repeatedly, we do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia, or anywhere else, for that matter,” the last words inserted for comic relief. Biden first gave the game away at his Feb. 24 White House press conference — the first day of the invasion. He was asked why he thought new sanctions would work when the earlier sanctions had not prevented Russia’s invasion. Biden said the sanctions were never designed to prevent Russia’s intervention but to punish it afterward. Therefore the U.S. needed Russia to invade.

“No one expected the sanctions to prevent anything from happening,” Biden said. “That has to sh- — this is going to take time. And we have to show resolve so he knows what’s coming and so the people of Russia know what he’s brought on them. That’s what this is all about.” It is all about the Russian people turning on Putin to overthrow him, which would explain Russia’s crackdown on anti-war protestors and the media. It was no slip of the tongue. Biden repeated himself in Brussels on Thursday: “Let’s get something straight … I did not say that in fact the sanctions would deter him. Sanctions never deter. You keep talking about that. Sanctions never deter. The maintenance of sanctions — the maintenance of sanctions, the increasing the pain … we will sustain what we’re doing not just next month, the following month, but for the remainder of this entire year. That’s what will stop him.”

Read more …

“NATO: 7,000 to 15,000 Russian troops dead in Ukraine” – AP

“Russia’s Defense Ministry just announced that as of today 1,351 Russian servicemen have been killed..”

Propaganda Does Not Change The War – The Ukraine Is Still Losing (MoA)

Here are my own takes: The Russian forces around Kiev are making no offensive moves but defend against minor unsuccessful counterattacks from the Ukrainian side (see below). I have seen no hint that Russian forces strives to get into Kiev. It would be too costly to do that and for little strategic gain. But the forces east and west of Kiev are binding a big part of the Ukrainian army and prevent it from sending reserves towards Donbas. Yesterday an air attack or missile strike destroyed the largest Ukrainian fuel depot left near Kiev. The Ukrainian army will soon lose its mobility (if it hasn’t yet done so). Kharkiv is about to get encircled. Dnipro is a strategic target that the Russian forces will like to isolate or take by coming up from the south on both sides of the Dnieper river as well as from the north.

Russian forces destroyed a railway station between Dnipro and Donbas from where resupplies were flowing to the Ukrainian forces fighting there. After large progress yesterday Mariupol is now in a mop-up situation. The Azov forces still there have no chance to survive. Russian passage through Mykolayiv towards Odessa has proven to be difficult. Artillery is now softening up the Ukrainian defense lines. There are unconfirmed reports of large Ukrainian losses in Mykolayiv (300+) due to a missile strike on their barracks. The U.S. has tried to use yesterday’s NATO and G-7 meeting to push the Europeans towards sanctioning Russian hydrocarbon exports. It also tried to attach China to Russia and to get the Europeans to sanction its biggest trading partner. Both attempts failed. There will be no additional sanctions on Russia. And while the NATO communique mentions China it only urges it to leave its neutral position. Everyone knows that that is not going to happen.

The only thing NATO agreed on is the release of a new load of fresh propaganda. “NATO: 7,000 to 15,000 Russian troops dead in Ukraine” – AP. A senior NATO military official said the alliance’s estimate was based on information from Ukrainian authorities, what Russia has released — intentionally or not — and intelligence gathered from open sources. The official spoke on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by NATO. Andrei Martyanov looks back at the casualties Soviet forces suffered in 1943 when they liberated Donbas from then still first class German Wehrmacht forces. Back then there were more than 1,000,000 Soviet soldiers involved against some 600,000 Germans. Some 1,600 Soviet soldiers were killed each day in fierce fighting.

We are now supposed to believe that the much smaller operation against a less fierce and less capable enemy in the Ukraine is killing 550 Russian soldiers per day? That’s obviously nonsense. As one anonymous Pentagon officer said about the NATO number: “We continue to have low confidence in those estimates” For the record Russia’s Defense Ministry just announced that as of today 1,351 Russian servicemen have been killed and 3,825 wounded. (The losses of the Lugansk and Donetsk militia are not included in those numbers.)

Read more …

“Unlike what has just happened, the Ukrainian attack did not result in US sanctions on Ukraine. There were no meetings of the UN to condemn Ukrainian aggression.”

A Manufactured World Crisis (Rockwell)

Few people today ask the most important question about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Many people want America to stay out of the fight, but even they don’t ask the vital question. Why does the world face a crisis today? Why has a border dispute between Russia and Ukraine escalated to the point where people fear nuclear war? The answer is simple. America, under the “leadership” of brain-dead Biden and the forces controlling him, has done this and, by doing so, brought the world to the brink of disaster. As always, the great Dr. Ron Paul gets it right: “Three weeks into this terrible war, the US is not pursuing talks with Russia. As Antiwar.com recently reported, instead of supporting negotiations between Ukraine and Russia that could lead to a ceasefire and an end to the bloodshed, the US government is actually escalating the situation which can only increase the bloodshed.

The constant flow of US and allied weapons into Ukraine and talk of supporting an extended insurgency does not seem designed to give Ukraine a victory on the battlefield but rather to hand Russia what Secretary of State Blinken called ‘a strategic defeat.’ It sounds an awful lot like the Biden Administration intends to fight Russia down to the last Ukrainian. The only solution for the US is to get out. Let the Russians and Ukrainians reach an agreement. That means no NATO for Ukraine and no US missiles on Russia’s borders? So what! End the war then end NATO.”

Let’s look at an analogy that will help us understand Dr. Paul’s point. For years, the Ukrainian government has attacked an area in the Donbas region that has seceded from Ukraine and formed an independent, pro-Russian, republic. Just before Putin moved against Ukraine, Ukraianians increased the scale and scope of their attack. Rick Rozoff describes what they did: “Two-thirds of Ukrainian army servicemen have been amassed along the Donbas contact line, Eduard Basurin, spokesman for the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) militia, said on Thursday.

“Another three brigades are on their way [to Donbas], which is 20,000 to 25,000 troops more. The total number will reach 150,000, not to mention the nationalists. This is about two-thirds of Ukrainian Armed Forces’ personnel,” Basurin said on the Rossiya 1 television channel (VGTRK) on Thursday. Ukrainian troops are stationed along the 320-kilometer front line, he said.” Unlike what has just happened, the Ukrainian attack did not result in US sanctions on Ukraine. There were no meetings of the UN to condemn Ukrainian aggression. There was no talk of world war. On the contrary, Ukraine government used American weapons in its attack and asked America for more weapons to continue their attack. Let’s listen to Rick Rozoff again: “The Armed Forces of Ukraine used the American anti-tank missile system Javelin in the hostilities in Donbas. This was announced by the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Kirill Budanov in an interview….

Read more …

“..It’s New Normal Spring! The birds are buzzing! The bees are chirping!”

Springtime for GloboCap (CJ Hopkins)

In the blink of an eye, without missing a beat, both the white-supremacist Putin-Nazis that plagued Democracy throughout the Trumpian Reich and the Covid-denying Anti-Vax Nazis that plagued the New Normals throughout the Global Pandemic were seamlessly replaced by the GloboCap Nazis … but, the thing is, the GloboCap Nazis are the good guys, and the Putin-Nazis and Anti-Vax Nazis are … well, I guess they’re still technically Nazis, except for the fact that they aren’t actual Nazis and are mostly just regular working-class people, whereas the GloboCap Nazis are actual Nazis (i.e., Sieg-heiling, Jew-hating, Hitler-worshiping Nazis), who the US military and Intelligence community, NATO, and assorted private “military advisors” have been funding, arming, and otherwise supporting since the 2014 Ukrainian “revolution” (i.e., coup) that they orchestrated to destabilize Russia as part of that global Clear-and-Hold operation (which operation, of course, doesn’t actually exist, and is just another conspiracy theory disseminated by Putin-Nazi traitors like me to erode support for the GloboCap Nazis, who are really just wholesome young Aryan boys who are trying to defend Democracy from Evil, and cleanse their country of the Jews and the Roma, and exterminate the Russian race, starting with the children, apparently).


[..] Or … wait. Sorry, I got all confused again. These are the good Nazis … the GloboCap Nazis! The actual Nazis, not the fictional Nazis. Or … wait, no … never mind. I mean, it’s not like it really matters anyway, right? The point is, it’s Spring, and the goat-footed balloon-Man whistles … no, strike the balloon-Man. This is not the time for balloon-Man references. It’s New Normal Spring! The birds are buzzing! The bees are chirping! The ICBMs are tumescent with rocket fuel and throbbing in their silos! The New Normal masses are out prancing around with their “vaccination passports” and medical-looking masks, in their official neo-Nazi Azov hoodies, waving their Ukrainian flags, and otherwise desperately trying to pretend that they haven’t just been colossally mindfucked by GloboCap for the last two years!

Read more …

One more penny of support for Ukraine after this, and we’re done.

“Ukraine is taking wounded captured Russian soldiers laying them out and shooting them in the legs and groin. While they are bleeding out, they’re putting bags over their heads and kicking them in the face until they die. This is Zelensky’s Ukraine in all its glory.”

Video Surfaces Showing Ukraine Military Torturing Russian POW’s (CTH)

[..] as the narrative from the media propaganda machine continues to frame the Ukraine military as ‘freedom fighters’, they are now faced with videos surfacing showing Ukraine military regulars torturing Russian prisoners of war (POW’s). This is problematic for both NATO and Ukraine, as they must protect the image of the Ukraine military in order to maintain public support and funding. The videos of the torture are graphic and very disturbing to watch, and I would not recommend watching them if you are not comfortable seeing men get shot, brutalized and beaten. They are graphic, bloody and violent. However, the torture itself, while censored for political need, aligns with the official NATO and Big Tech position that advocacy for violence against Russians is sanctioned.


The first video shows Russian soldiers with canvas bags placed on their heads and then beaten in the face with rifle butts. The prisoners are shot in the kneecaps and genitals, and they are left on the ground to bleed to death. Several vans then arrive at the Ukraine military compound in Kharkiv (roughly 20 miles from the Russian border), and as each POW is removed from the van they are shot in the knees. A second video shows Russian POW’s lying face down in a paved courtyard, or compound, and then being shot in the knees from the rear. Apparently, one of the videos contains Russian soldiers who were part of a reconnaissance mission in the region and were captured. The Ukraine military gleefully torture the captives and record their endeavors for posterity. It was the Ukraine military units bragging about the torture that exposed their brutal behavior. All of the scenes are gruesome in the extreme.

Read more …

“..in the commercial real estate market in NYC alone, only 35% of the office space is being rented. That means 65% is vacant, and it’s the same all over the country.”

WWIII Has Begun – Gerald Celente (USAW)

Renowned trends researcher and publisher of “The Trends Journal,” Gerald Celente, has long said “when all else fails, they take you to war.” To say our world is failing is a profound understatement. Celente proclaims, “World War III has begun. . . . I was born one year after the end of WWII, and crazy people will take you to war in the blink of an eye. . . . The war criminals are leading us into another war.” Celente says the reason for war usually surrounds a failing economy. This time is no different. Celente explains, “I have been saying that when all else fails, they take you to war. What followed the Great Depression? War. What followed the dot com bust? More war. That’s right. Georgie Bush’s ratings were way down, and the Nasdaq was down 66% before 9/11.”

Celente goes on to point out the economy in the USA is failing. For proof, look no further than the “16% inflation” destroying paychecks of Americans, especially at the gas pump. Celente also says in the commercial real estate market in NYC alone, only 35% of the office space is being rented. That means 65% is vacant, and it’s the same all over the country. Celente predicts, “We are headed for an economic calamity the likes of which we have never seen in our lifetime. They are getting our minds off it with the war in Ukraine. . . . You know, I wrote in the magazine in the beginning of the year, we said that the Covid war would wind down by late March and mid-April. It’s winding down. . . . So, now, as we said in the magazine, we went from the Covid war to the Ukraine war, and now to world war.

We are headed to World War III. . . . There is not a peep about a cease-fire. Biden is only bragging about more weapons being sent in. Biden says we are going to defeat the Russians. We are not backing down. No one is talking about a cease-fire, and no one is talking about peace. If we don’t unite for peace, we are all going to die in war.”

Read more …

“..a series of Biden remarks that are far more insane — and far more consequential in their insanity — than anything Trump ever managed to blurt out.”

“The Adults in the Room” are Always the Most Colossal Screwups (Tracey)

There was a recurring theme during the presidency of Donald Trump that went something like this: Trump’s most impetuous and destructive instincts — particularly in the realm of foreign policy — were being nobly restrained by the so-called “Adults in the Room.” Thank heavens! These impressive “adults,” a cadre of seasoned military men serving in Trump’s administration, included James Mattis (Defense Secretary), H.R. McMaster (National Security Advisor), and John Kelly (Chief of Staff). Their presence in the halls of power was supposed to be taken as a profound relief: whether you feared Trump would conspire with Vladimir Putin to collapse “the rules-based international order” — likely because you heard that phrase intoned on some Think Tank webcast — or simply believed that Trump was nuts, you could rest assured that the fate of the Republic would be protected by this crew of Serious Adults watching gamely over Trump’s shoulder. If any crazy ideas got into his head, such as withdrawing US military personnel from overseas deployments or forging a diplomatic accord with Russia, they’d spring boldly into action and put a stop to it.

[..] The “adults in the room” mentality would subsequently take on an electoral personification in the 2020 candidacy of Joe Biden. After four years of Trump’s reckless and volatile tweets, Biden solemnly pledged to “restore honor and decency to the White House.” He assured a weary electorate that under his tutelage, Americans could once again be confident that their Commander-in-Chief would conduct himself with care and rigor on the world stage. The immense foreign policy expertise Biden garnered over his multi-decade career made him perfectly suited to such a weighty task. With all the chaos left in Trump’s wake, “the next president will face the enormous responsibility of picking up the pieces of America’s foreign policy,” Biden regularly declared on the campaign trail.

Well, in the past few days, Biden has faced his biggest test yet on this score. And behold the result: giant new “pieces” of foreign policy carnage splattered all over the place, thanks to a series of Biden remarks that are far more insane — and far more consequential in their insanity — than anything Trump ever managed to blurt out.

Read more …

Sanctions don’t matter much for sales. Other than they raise prices and enable Russia to sell at huge discounts, and still get the same net revenues.

India Is Snapping Up Cheap Russian Oil, And China Could Be Next (CNBC)

There’s been a “significant uptick” in Russian oil deliveries bound for India since March after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began — and New Delhi looks set to buy even more cheap oil from Moscow, industry observers say. China, already the largest single buyer of Russian oil, is also widely expected to buy more oil from Russia at deep discounts, they say. This could mean higher crude prices to come. Major oil importing countries such as India and China have been grappling with higher crude prices, which have soared since last year. While oil prices have been volatile in recent weeks, swinging between gains and losses, they are still around 80% higher compared to a year ago.


“We believe that China, and to a lesser extent, India will step up to buy heavily discounted Russian crude,” said Matt Smith, lead oil analyst at Kpler. This would mark a stark contrast from the rhetoric across major world powers and companies which are eschewing Russian oil. As a result of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war on Ukraine, the U.S. has hit the rogue country with sanctions on energy, while the U.K. plans to do so by the end of the year. The European Union is also considering whether to do the same. But sanctions would leave a gap in the market with Russia finding itself with excess crude it’s unable to sell, analysts said.

Read more …

My bet is they won’t be able to keep it under wraps. Question is timing. It’s already been two years.

House Republicans Will Subpoena Hunter Biden (NYP)

If the GOP retakes control of Congress, Hunter Biden will be hauled before the House of Representatives and forced to reveal the identity of “the big guy” and address other unanswered questions about the contents of his infamous laptop, Republicans said. “We will subpoena Hunter Biden,” said House GOP conference chair Elise Stefanik bluntly in an interview with The Post. Hunter Biden, 52, abandoned his laptop at a Delaware computer repair ship in April 2019. The hard drive contained years’ worth of emails, texts, legal documents and photos detailing Hunter’s prolific international business ventures. Shop owner John Paul Mac Isaac gave the hard drive to the FBI and eventually offered a copy to former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.

The former mayor ultimately handed it over to The Post, which published an expose a month before the 2020 presidential election. The story of the laptop was falsely dismissed by much of the media as Russian propaganda and censored on Facebook and Twitter at the behest of the Democratic party. Last week the New York Times finally admitted the hard drive was real and at the center of a sprawling federal investigation into the president’s son. “It should concern every American that they did this for the Biden family’s financial gain, which came at the cost of our national security,” Stefanik said of the laptop evidence. The latest threat from GOP leadership comes amid growing calls by Republicans nationwide for a broad new inquiry into the president’s son.

“The big guy” — a mysterious moniker found on the hard drive — is described as a partner in a Chinese business venture entitled to 10 percent of the profits, according to a laptop email from Hunter Biden’s business partner James Gilliar. The big guy’s share was to be held for him by Hunter. Hunter Biden has never voluntarily explained who “the big guy” is — and has never been asked the question in multiple friendly interviews. “That’s one of the critical questions — perhaps the most critical question,” said Stefanik, adding that she believes “the big guy” was Joe Biden. Tony Bobulinski, another Hunter Biden business partner who appeared frequently in hard-drive emails, has said there is “no question” President Biden was “the big guy.”

Read more …

a 4.5-mile section of a pipeline

Shutting Down Canadian Pipeline Would Cost US Consumers $23.7 Billion (ET)

A recently published analysis by a consumer advocacy nonprofit maintains that shutting down a 4.5-mile section of a nearly 70-year-old pipeline that spans the Great Lakes from Wisconsin to Ontario would impose $23.7 billion in higher fuel costs for families and businesses in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Consumer Energy Alliance’s (CEA) 14-page report estimates closing Canada-based Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac, which connect Lake Michigan to Lake Huron, would spur regional fuel price spikes of between 9.47 and 11.66 percent “independent of any other market conditions, such as the surge in fuel prices observed over the past 12 months that are tied to international oil markets and logistical challenges caused by the pandemic.”

Enbridge and the state of Michigan have been engaged in litigation for more than a year over the pipeline after Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November 2020 revoked the pipeline’s original 1953 lakebed easement and ordered the pipeline shut down by May 2021, citing the risk of a spill in the ecologically sensitive straits. Enbridge ignored the order—the pipeline is still funneling 540,000 barrels per day (bpd) of light crude oil, light synthetic crude, and natural gas liquids (NGLs) through the straits—and petitioned to have the case heard in federal courts. In October, the government of Canada backed Enbridge in its challenge and invoked a 1977 pipeline treaty with the United States to demand bilateral negotiations at the federal level.

In November, a federal judge transferred Whitmer’s suit out of Michigan’s courts. That suit was subsequently dropped but a similar lawsuit filed by Michigan Attorney General Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel remains in state courts, although a ruling is pending regarding its jurisdictional status. Built in 1953 by Bechtel Corp., the Line 5 pipeline is actually two 20-inch-diameter parallel pipes with an enamel coating three times thicker than a typical pipeline. Enbridge maintains there has never been a leak in its 69-year operational existence.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sep 262017
 
 September 26, 2017  Posted by at 1:21 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  7 Responses »


Fan Ho The Evening of Life 1963

 

“Forget Germany, Spain Is The Real Problem”, reads a headline. Eh… no. Germany is definitely the problem in Europe. Spain is a bit player. That doesn’t mean nothing major could happen in Spain in its fight with Catalonia, and soon, but Spain, like all EU nations, is a de facto province of Germany.

What matters in the end is how Brussels and Merkel deal with Spain. And while it’s tempting to say that perhaps Brussels, the EU, is the main European problem, the European Union is run exclusively by and for Germany, so that doesn’t work either.

The only thing that might work if you really want to find a bigger issue than Germany is if you would point at the role the incessant lies about economic conditions for people play. But that’s not a European issue, that’s global.

The talk about how economies are recovering, how there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and how any day now we’ll be back to where we were at some point in time that many can not even remember. But then, at least when it comes to Europe, that happy talk comes from Germany too, to a large degree. Just wait till Draghi starts cutting his QE.

You can try and tell people that they’re doing just great, using the media you control, and it’ll work for a stretch, if only because they want to believe it, badly, but when these same people can’t even feed their children while you make such claims, you will eventually lose their attention and support. The difference between beliefs and experiences.

 

If you’re a politician, you try to feed people what they want to hear, invariably an upbeat message, but there comes a time when you have to back it up. You can say that austerity is necessary, inevitable, and the only choice, and it will be beneficial to them, but austerity is one of those things that have a very limited best before date.

If you can only make employment numbers look good by creating a gig economy that takes away all their benefits, and their entire sense of security, they’re going to turn their backs on you. Because you’re lying.

Rising inequality is a one way street right up to the point where it turns into a dead end alley. Inequality breeds more inequality until it no longer can, until people say ‘I want that cake you are having because my kids are hungry. And I brought a pitchfork’.

That is where we’re at, and that is why Merkel lost some 25% of her votes. That is why there’s Trump and Brexit, and why an impossible candidate like Marine Le Pen in France gathered so much attention and support. It’s why eastern European countries will start fighting Brussels and Berlin much harder than they have to date, and why Berlin will fight back harder than it has. Poor Greece.

In the US, there’s only one party, and it divvies up the spoils of very rich campaign contributions. Bernie Sanders tried to circumvent this; not a chance. Trump succeeded. In Britain, there was no difference between left and right for a long time, and no alternative party either. That led to Brexit. In France, Macron started a whole new party from scratch and somehow got it funded (bankers?!). It wiped the left off the map.

The same happened in Holland, where like in France the right wing alternative was judged too unpalatable by too many. No left left. The leaders of Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland do not have the visibility for that yet. In Italy, Five Star have a good shot at the throne. Greece’s Syriza already overtook both left and right. In eastern Europe, right wing parties often didn’t even have to overthrow an existing order, they could just slide in.

 

The pattern is so obvious only those who stand to lose from acknowledging it end up not seeing it, or telling themselves it’s all just an incident. But it’s not, because the shrinking economies everywhere are not. When left and right, either in public or in practice, rule a country together and their promises don’t hold up, people will look for a way out. If far right is the only way available, they will pick that.

It’s not because they’re all nazis or something like that. But people do lean towards smaller units of organization, decentralization, when they get poorer. And despite all the talk of recovery, that is what most people have seen happen to their lives, while their leaders told them they’re just fine. So you get this kind of headline (and map) for the US (h/t Mish/ZH).

Large Parts Of America Are Being Left Behind

Economic prosperity is concentrated in America’s elite zip codes, but in an interesting report on Distressed Communities, from The Economic Innovation Group, it is increasingly clear that economic stability outside of those communities is rapidly deteriorating. As Axios noted, this isn’t a Republican or Democratic problem. At every level of government, both parties represent distressed areas. But the economic fortunes of the haves and have-nots have only helped to widen the political chasm between them, and it has yet to be addressed by substantial policy proposals on either side of the aisle. Economic Prosperity Quintiles.

 

 

And a very similar headline appears in the Guardian in a report about the German election.

 

‘A Lot of People Feel Left Behind’: Voters on the Far-Right Surge in Germany

Sarah, 37, teacher, Bonn: “A lot of people feel left behind. They are looking for scapegoats. It is the easy way to deal with problems. The AFD makes use of this feeling. With the grand coalition, there was no real debating culture left. The CDU went too much into the middle, leaving the right out. Just like the SPD under Schröder left the left-wing out.”

Perhaps a lot of those who voted for Trump, and Brexit, Le Pen, Wilders, the AfD, are not so much looking for scapegoats, they’ve identified those as their incumbent politicians; they’re instead looking for a way away from them. All these people who feel left behind base that feeling primarily on their deteriorating economic circumstances. And if the only alternative they have rants, against foreigners and immigrants, they’ll go with that.

Angela Merkel pushed over 1 million refugees and immigrants down the German population’s throats. She never asked their opinion. But many Germans are not doing any better than many Americans or French or British. So the consequences of such things are predictable. You have to explain, you have to communicate with your people. Just saying ‘we can do this’ is not enough. No more than ‘change we can believe in’ was. It’s just hollow.

Merkel lost ‘only’ 25% of her votes. Because Germans know what right wing is, and what it can do. Germany is not full of nazis, no more than America is. Both countries just have a lot of people who feel trapped in a web of lies, and their existing and alleged democratic systems offer no way out of that web.

All these countries, the people and their politicians, have the tendency to see their situations as somehow unique, but they’d be much better off looking at what they have in common with others.

The only solution is to tell people the truth, that the incumbent political class has screwed up badly because of limited brain capacity and unlimited greed, and that they should elect people next time who are both smarter and less sociopathic. But that is not something that comes voluntarily, that takes a battle. And it tends to end careers, and lives.

That is what we can expect. In many different shapes and forms, but all for the same underlying reasons. You can’t fool all of the people all of the time, you can’t even fool a majority for long. You can only fool a limited number of them for a limited amount of time.

Well, time’s up.

 

 

Mar 222015
 
 March 22, 2015  Posted by at 12:59 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  10 Responses »


Harris&Ewing Kron Prinz Wilhelm, German ship, interned in US in tow 1916

German magazine Der Spiegel digs deep(er) into the ‘Greece question’ this weekend, and does so with a few noteworthy reports. First, its German paper issue has Angela Merkel on the cover, inserted on a 1940’s photograph that shows Nazi commanders against the backdrop of the Acropolis in Athens. The headline is ‘The German Supremacy: How Europeans see (the) Germans’. The editorial staff has already come under a lot of fire for the cover, and I’ve seen little that could be labeled a valid defense for further antagonizing both Germans AND Greeks (and other Europeans) this way. Oh, and it’s also complete nonsense, nobody sees modern day Germans this way. It’s just that their government after 70 years is still skirting its obligations towards the victims. That’s what people, the Greeks in particular, don’t like.

Second: Spiegel’s German online edition has a sorry that claims Greek paper To Vima will come with revelations on Sunday accusing Georgios Katrougalos, Syriza’s deputy minister for Policy Reform and Public Service (I’m translating on the fly) of corruption in the case of the reinstallment of public workers that had been fired under the Samaras government under pressure from the Troika.

Allegedly, Katrougalos’ law firm (in which he has had no active role since becoming a member of the European parliament last year) has a contract with these workers that will pay it 12% of whatever they receive in back pay. Predictably, the opposition has called for Katrougalos’ firing, but Tsipras has said he talked to him and is satisfied with the explanation he was given..

It smells a bit like something Bild Zeitung (Germany’s yellow rag) would write, but there you are. Which makes the following perhaps somewhat surprising. Because:

Third: Spiegel English online edition has a long article on a report just out by a special Greek commission, instated by former governments, on the German war reparations that Tsipras has repeatedly talked about, and that German FinMin Schäuble has famously high handedly tried to sweep off the table. That may not be so easy anymore now. There are already increasingly voices in Germany itself that want Berlin to change its approach to the matter, and the report will only make that call louder. Let’s see if I can get this properly summarized:

Nazi Extortion: Study Sheds New Light on Forced Greek Loans

Last week in Greek parliament, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras demanded German reparations payments, indirectly linking them to the current situation in Greece. “After the reunification of Germany in 1990, the legal and political conditions were created for this issue to be solved,” Tsipras said. “But since then, German governments chose silence, legal tricks and delay. And I wonder, because there is a lot of talk at the European level these days about moral issues: Is this stance moral?”

[..] there are many arguments to support the Greek view. SPIEGEL itself reported in February that former Chancellor Helmut Kohl used tricks in 1990 in order to avoid having to pay reparations.

A study conducted by the Greek Finance Ministry, commissioned way back in 2012 by a previous government, has now been completed and contains new facts. The 194-page document has been obtained by SPIEGEL. The central question in the report is that of forced loans the Nazi occupiers extorted from the Greek central bank beginning in 1941.

Should requests for repayment of those loans be classified as reparation demands – demands that may have been forfeited with the Two-Plus-Four Treaty of 1990? Or is it a genuine loan that must be paid back? The expert commission analyzed contracts and agreements from the time of the occupation as well as receipts, remittance slips and bank statements.

Note: the Two-Plus-Four Treaty of 1990 (aka Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany) was the result of negotiations about the reunification of the two Germany’s. It was signed by both, and by France, Britain, Russia and the US, the four nations who held former German territory at the end of WWII.

It’s noteworthy that Der Spiegel says that Greek demands for reparations ‘may have been’ forfeited with the treaty (something Germany claims), while Tsipras insists on the exact opposite: that the treaty created the legal and political conditions for the reparations issue to finally be resolved. As we will see, many experts lean towards Tsipras’ interpretation. Greece never signed, and nobody else had the right to sign in its name, that’s the crux. But there’s more:

They found that the forced loans do not fit into the category of classical war reparations. The commission calculated the outstanding German “debt” to the Greek central bank and came to a total sum of $12.8 billion as of December 2014, which would amount to about €11 billion.

As such, at issue between Germany and Greece is no longer just the question as to whether the 115 million deutsche marks paid to the Greek government from 1961 onwards for its peoples’ suffering during the occupation sufficed as legal compensation for the massacres like those in the villages of Distomo and Kalavrita. Now the key issue is whether the successor to the German Reich, the Federal Republic of Germany, is responsible for paying back loans extorted by the Nazi occupiers. There’s some evidence to indicate that this may be the case.

It’s a tad strange that the magazine apparently jumps from that ‘may have been forfeited’ interpretation of the treaty to what amounts to a fait accompli, by saying the ‘key issue’ now is the forced loans, not the reparations. I would think it’s very much both. But let’s follow their thread:

In terms of the amount of the loan debt, the Greek auditors have come to almost the same findings as those of the Nazis’ bookkeepers shortly before the end of the war. Hitler’s auditors estimated 26 days before the war’s end that the “outstanding debt” the Reich owed to Greece at 476 million Reichsmarks.

First thing that springs to mind is: say what you will about Germans, but they’re fine bookkeepers!

Auditors in Athens calculated an “open credit line” for the same period of time of around $213 million. They assumed a dollar exchange rate to the Reichsmark of 2:1 and applied an interest escalation clause accepted by the German occupiers that would result in a value of more than €11 billion today.

This outstanding debt has to be paid back “with no ifs or buts,” says German historian Hagen Fleischer in Athens, who knows the relevant files better than anyone else. Even before the new report, he located numerous documents that prove without any doubt, he believes, the character of forced loans. Nazi officials noted on March 20, 1944, for example, that the “Reich’s debt” to Athens had totaled 1,068 billion drachmas as of December 31 of the previous year.

“Forced loans as war debt pervade all the German files,” says Fleischer, who is a professor of modern history at the University of Athens. He has lived in Athens since 1977. He says that files from postwar German authorities about questions of war debt “shocked” him far more than the war documents on atrocities and suffering.

In them, he says German diplomats use the vocabulary of the National Socialists to discuss reparations issues, speaking of a “final solution for so-called war crimes problems,” or stating that it was high time for a “liquidation of memory.” He says it was in this spirit that compensation payments were also constantly refused.

Those are pretty damning words. So far just from one man, granted, but again there’s more:

When work on the study first began in early 2012, the cabinet of independent Prime Minister Loukas Papedemos still governed in Athens. A former vice president of the ECB, Papedemos formed a six-month transition government after Georgios Papandreou resigned. In April 2014, the successor government of conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras decided to continue work on the study and appointed Panagiotis Karakousis to lead the team of experts. The longtime general director of the Finance Ministry was considered to be politically unobjectionable.

Karakousis spent five months reading 50,000 pages of original documents from the central bank’s archives. It wasn’t easy reading. The study calculates right down to the gram the amount of gold plundered from private households, especially those of Greek Jews: 7,358.0014 kilograms of pure gold with an equivalent value today of around €235 million. It also notes also how German troops, as they pulled out, quickly took along “the entire cash reserves from branch offices and regional branches” of the central bank: Exactly 634,962,691,995,162 drachmas in notes and coins, which would total about €40 million today.

Above all, the study, with some reservations, provides clarity about the forced loans. “No reasonable person can now doubt that these loans existed and that the repayment remains open,” says Karakousis.

This history of the loans began in April 1941, after the German troops rushed to assist their Italian allies and occupied Greece. In order to provide their troops with provisions, the German occupiers demanded reimbursement for their expenses, the so-called occupation costs. It’s a cynical requirement, but one that became standard practice after the 1907 Hague Convention.

Out of the ordinary, though, was the Wehrmacht requirement that the Greeks finance the provision of its troops on other fronts – in the Balkans, in Russia or in North Africa – despite Hague Convention rules forbidding such a practice. Initially, the German occupiers demanded 25 million Reichsmarks per month from the government in Athens, around 1.5 billion drachmas. But the amount they actually took was considerably higher. The expert commission determined that payments made by the Greek central bank between August and December 1941 totaled 12 billion rather than 7 billion drachmas.

As they say: before you know it, we’re talking about real money. And I see no reason to doubt Karakousis’ assertion that ‘repayment remains open’. Not only was German conduct reprehensible during the war, it remained so after. So it shouldn’t really come as surprise that Tsipras has more than once mentioned the 1953 London Agreement on German External Debts, in which Germany was relieved from much of the claims held against it. Tsipras wants Berlin to do the same for Greece now. A potential weakness is that Greece was signatory to that agreement. Still, the loans were certainly not part of it, only ‘war damage’ was included.

With their economy laid to waste, the Greeks soon began pushing for reductions. At a conference in Rome, the Germans and Italians decided on March 14, 1942 to halve their occupation costs to 750 million drachmas each. But the study claims that Hitler’s deputies demanded “unlimited sums in the form of loans.” Whatever the Germans collected over and above the 750 million would be “credited to the Greek government,” a German official noted in 1942. The sums of the forced loans were up to 10 times as high as the occupation costs. During the first half of 1942, they totaled 43.4 billion drachmas, whereas only 4.5 billion for the provision of troops was due.

A number of installment payments, which Athens began pressing for in March 1943, serve to verify the nature of the loans. Historian Fleischer also found records relating to around two dozen payment installments. For example, the payment office of the Special Operations Southeast was instructed on October 6, 1944 to pay, inflation adjusted, an incredible sum of 300 billion drachma to the Greek government and to book it as “repayment.”

In Fleischer’s opinion, the report makes unequivocally clear that the Greek demands do not relate to reparations for wartime injustices that could serve as a precedent for other countries. “One can negotiate reparations politically,” Fleischer says. “Debts have to be paid back – even between friends.”

Postwar Greek governments sought repayment early on. The German ambassador confirmed on October 15, 1966, for example, that the Greeks had already come knocking “over an alleged claim.” On November 10, 1995, then Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou proposed the opening of talks aimed at a settlement of the “German debts to Greece.” He proposed that “every category of these claims would be examined separately.” Papandreous’ effort ultimately didn’t lead anywhere.

Ergo: for a period of thirty years, the Greeks tried, but to no avail. That’s a pretty ugly record. It’s now another 20 years later, and nothing has changed. All in all, the Greeks have been stonewalled for 70 years.

What should become of this new study, the contents of which had remained secret before now? [..] the question also remains whether the surviving relatives of the victims of Distomo will ever be provided with justice – and whether there are similar cases in other countries.

German governments’ rude behavior may well stem, among other things, from that last point: that if any of the Greek claims are recognized, other countries may come knocking too.

German lawyer Joachim Lau, whose law firm is based in Florence, Italy, represents the interests of village residents of Distomo even today. Lau, born in Stuttgart, a white-haired man of almost 70, is fighting for compensation in the name of the Greek and Italian victims of the Nazis. “I am disappointed by the manner in which Germany is dealing with this question,” he says. He says it’s not just an issue of financial compensation. More than anything, it is one of justice.

In February, Lau warned German President Joachim Gauck in an open letter against propagating the “violation of international law” with careless statements about the reparations issue. In his view, the legal situation is clear: Greek and Italian citizens and their relatives affected by “shootings, massacres by the Wehrmacht, by deportations or forced labor illegal under international law” have the right to individual claims.

This perhaps clarifies the definition of ‘war damage’, the term used in the 1954 London agreement. In Lau’s interpretation, it does not include, let’s say, ‘personal suffering’.

For the past decade, Lau has been pursuing the claims of the Distomo victims in Italy. The Court of Cassation in Rome affirmed in 2008 that the claims were legitimate and that he could pursue the case. Earlier, the lawyer had already succeeded in securing Villa Vigoni, a palatial estate on the shore of Lake Como owned by Germany – and used by a private German association focused on promoting German-Italian relations – as collateral for the suit. In 2009, Lau succeeded in having €51 million in claims made by Deutsche Bahn against Italian state railway Trenitalia seized. On Tuesday, the high court in Rome is expected to rule on the lifting of the enforcement order.

Note: there could be a legal precedent here that that can serve as a ‘conduit’ to allow Greece to seize German property in its country.

Following a ruling made by Italy’s Constitutional Court in October 2014, private suits in Italy against Germany have been possible again. One of the justices who issued the ruling is the current president of Italy, Sergio Mattarella. It remains unclear whether this ruling will unleash “a wave of new proceedings” in Italy, says Lau, who currently represents 150 cases, including various class-action lawsuits.



The bones of victims of the Nazi killings in Distomo feature as part of the village’s memorial to the massacre.

Everything connects in the mountain village of Distoma – the present and past, guilt and anger, the Greek demands on Germany today and past calls for reparations. Efrosyni Perganda sits in the well-heated living room of her home. The diminutive woman, 91 years of age, has alert eyes and wears a black dress. She survived the massacre perpetrated by the Germans at Distomo and she’s one of the few witnesses still alive in the village. When the SS company undertook a so-called act of atonement in Distomo following a fight with Greek partisans, the soldiers also captured her husband. Efrosyni Perganda stood by with her baby as they took him. She never saw him again.

As the Germans began to rampage, she hid behind the bathroom door and later behind the living room door of the house in which she still lives today. She held her baby tightly against her chest. “I forgive my husband’s murderers,” she says. Loukas Zisis, the deputy mayor, silently leaves the house as the woman finishes telling her story. He needs a break and heads over to the tavern, where he orders a glass of wine.

“I admire Germany: Marx, Engels, Nietzsche,” he says. “The prosperity. The degree to which society is organized. But here in the village, we aren’t finding peace because the German state isn’t settling its debt.”Zisis admires Germany, but the country remains incomprehensible to him. “We haven’t even heard a single apology so far,” he says once again. “That has to do with Germany’s position in Europe.” This is something that he just doesn’t understand, he says.



German occupation troops in the ransacked Greek village of Distomo on June 10, 1944, shortly after 218 local residents were executed as part of Nazi reprisals.

I hope – and I think – that Germany will pay up. It seems to me to be the only way to save the European Union it has made its economy so dependent on. I don’t see the war reparations go away anymore. So either Berlin pays what legal experts determine should be paid, or it risks becoming a pariah in its own neighborhood.

That the Germans in the 1950s and 1960s, at home and in schools, chose not to tell their children anything about their crimes cannot serve as an excuse to silence the children of their victims. Germany will need to eat a lot of humble pie with its beer.