Saturday, November 17, 2018

Payoffs

Curious late entry to the rodeo:  "Is CIA leak of Bin Salman’s guilt in Khashoggi Murder aimed at Kushner, or Trump himself?" (Cole).  Actually, I think it is aimed at putting a leash on MbS.

The JYT keeps up the pressure with a nice little documentary: "Killing Khashoggi: How a Brutal Saudi Hit Job Unfolded".

Peak Jewing:  "In first, US endorses Israeli occupation of Golan, votes against 9 anti-Israel resolutions".  Trump's unbelievable level of corruption has nothing to do with Russia, but the (((media))) will never mention it.

"Pompeo Reveals Trump-Era Confusion on Iran" (Maupin).  Pompeo is incoherent because it is impossible to describe the American position on Iran in terms of real American national interests, and he can't, of course, state the main reasons behind it, which are big bags of shekels schlepped by Shlomo to Trump and his Administration officials.  To a large extent, the point of #Russiagate is to hide the real high treason, which has been going on for decades, but has reached a fever pitch under Sheldon and other Khazar billionaires.

"How Trump’s Game of Chicken With Iran Could Weaken the Dollar’s Role as the World’s Currency" (Auerback).  Naked Capitalism always pooh-poohs the idea that world reserve currency status is in any jeopardy, so this is interesting.  Of course, loss of world reserve currency status would be the ultimate price to Americans and their empire of all those shekel bribes.

"Top Cheney Aide in Mueller’s Sights as Probe Expands" (Banco/Woodruff).  Investigating Zionist Central, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, would actually get to the real heart of the corruption.  Thus, this won't get very far!

"Middle East: Who is Actually Fighting Terrorism" (Mikhin).  The CIA seems to be rationalizing and consolidating its two terrorist wings, ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Ha!:  "US State Dept. Claims Assad Brought ISIS Into Syria, Admits US Has No Intention of Leaving Syria":
"Jeffrey opened his address by rattling off a series of lies – none of which were challenged by the mainstream media stenographer pool."
"Copy-Paste Error Reveals Assange Already Facing US Indictment"(Durden).  Almost certainly not an error but rather an attempt by somebody to warn Assange and his supporters.

From September:  "Speculation over fate of missing Dutchman linked to WikiLeaks" (Henley):
"A kayak believed to belong to Kamphuis, who advised governments, corporations, journalists and activists on information security, was pulled from the sea about 50km from Bodø on Thursday, police said, the day after an amateur fisherman found some of his belongings – reportedly including an ID card – floating in the water.

But mobile phone records show that 10 days after the Dutchman was seen leaving his hotel, both his work and personal mobile phones were briefly switched on – with German SIM cards inserted – more than 1,700km from the small northern town, at Vikeså near Stavanger."
"US, Britain Push Yemen Ceasefire as Tactic to Defeat Houthis" (Cunningham).

"Why Washington Blows Up over European Army":
"The irony is that now the French and German leaders are talking about setting up their own military defenses, Trump has blown a fuse.

Evidently, the American contention is not about “burden sharing” of defense. If Washington was genuinely aggrieved about supposedly defending Europe at too much of its own expense, then Trump, one would think, would be only too glad to hear that the Europeans were at last making their own military arrangements, and taking the burden off Washington.

This gets to the heart of the matter about the real purpose of NATO and presence of tens of thousands of US troops stationed in bases across Europe since 1945. American military presence in Europe is not about “protecting” its supposed allies. It is, and always has been, about projecting American power over Europe. In reality, American troops and bases in Europe are more functioning as an occupying force, keeping the Europeans in line with Washington’s strategic objectives of hegemony over the continent.

Macron and Merkel’s vision of a European army is probably fanciful anyway, without any real prospect of materializing. How such a new defense arrangement would work independently from the 29-member NATO alliance led by the US seems unwieldy and impractical.

But the latest tensions between Washington and European leaders over military organization demonstrate the real nature of America’s relationship to Europe. It is about domination by Washington over Europe and has little to do with partnership and protection.

When Trump and previous US presidents have urged greater military spending by Europe the ulterior agenda is for Europeans to pay more to underpin American military presence, not for Europeans to find their own independent defense arrangement."
"NATO’s Military Buildup along Russia’s Borders is No Joke, or is It?" (Berger) (my emphasis in red):
"Most journalists seem to agree that this senseless and comic saber-rattling was reminiscent of a blockbuster movie shooting rather than a military operation.
For instance, Der Spiegel found it rather comical that on top of erecting a platform for 300 guests, Norwegian journalists were broadcasting every stage of Trident Juncture live. In turn, the New York Times would report that ‘Cold War’ took a new meaning for US marines at these military games that Washington deemed to be extremely successful.
Although it is true that success may be measured in different ways and forms, it was of little concern for NATO commanders that the tasked force started losing ships without the opposition even showing on the horizon.
For instance, in the course of the military games Norway’s KNM Helge Ingstad collided with an oil tanker and sank. A total of eight sailors suffered severe injuries, while the crew of 138 men was forced to abandon the frigate in a bid to save their lives. It’s curious that Helge Ingstad was equipped with the Aegis combat system that should have been transmitting data from other ships and aerial vehicles to increase the survivability of the ship by increasing the situational awareness of its crew. Yet, this system has somehow managed to miss an oil tanker.
To make the matters worse, a report released by the Royal Canadian Navy states that a ‘minor fire’ broke out in a gas-turbine engine onboard HMCS Halifax in the course of Trident Juncture.
Further still, the Harry S.Truman carrier strike group had to abandon their allies in the height of an imaginary battle as its commander, rear admiral Eugene Black got overly concerned with a storm approaching the Northern Atlantic.
One can only imagine that if Russian forces would make their presence in the course of the exercise, the consequences could be far more disasterous for the formidable force assembled by Washington in Norway."
 "The Donbass Dilemma" (Black).  More wrongvoting, the scourge of our time.

"Whose Money Stoked Religious Strife in Ukraine – and Who Tried to Steal It?" (Jatras) (watching the grifters grift each other reminds me of the novel by Cain, The Grifters):
"As reported by this analyst in October, according to an unconfirmed report originating with the members of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (an autonomous New York-based jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate), in July of this year State Department officials (possibly including Secretary Pompeo personally) warned the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (also based in New York but part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate) that the US government was aware of the misappropriation of a large amount of money, about $10 million, from estimated $37 million raised from believers for the construction of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine in New York. The State Department warning also reportedly noted that federal prosecutors have documentary evidence confirming the withdrawal of these funds abroad on the orders of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. It was suggested that Secretary Pompeo would “close his eyes” to this theft in exchange for movement by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in favor of Ukrainian autocephaly, which helped set Patriarch Bartholomew on his current course.
[Further details on the St. Nicholas scandal are available here, but in summary: Only one place of worship of any faith was destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attack in New York and only one building not part of the World Trade Center complex was completely destroyed. That was St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, a small urban parish church established at the end of World War I and dedicated to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, who is very popular with Greeks as the patron of sailors. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, and following a lengthy legal battle with the Port Authority, which opposed rebuilding the church, in 2011 the Greek Archdiocese launched an extensive campaign to raise funds for a brilliant innovative design by the renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava based on traditional Byzantine forms. Wealthy donors and those of modest means alike enthusiastically contributed millions to the effort. Then – poof! In December 2017, suddenly all construction was halted for lack of funds and remains stalled to this day. Resumption would require having an estimated $2 million on hand. Despite the Archdiocese’s calling in a major accounting firm to conduct an audit, there’s been no clear answer to what happened to the money. Both the US Attorney and New York state authorities are investigating.]

This is where things get back to Ukraine. If the State Department wanted to find the right button to push to spur Patriarch Bartholomew to move on the question of autocephaly, the Greek Archdiocese in the US is it. Let’s keep in mind that in his home country, Turkey, Patriarch Bartholomew has virtually no local flock – only a few hundred mostly elderly Greeks left huddled in Istanbul’s Phanar district. (Sometimes the Patriarchate is referred to simply as “the Phanar,” much as “the Vatican” is shorthand for the Roman Catholic papacy.) Whatever funds the Patriarchate derives from other sources (the Greek government, the Roman Catholic Church, the World Council of Churches), the Phanar’s financial lifeline is the ethnic Greek community (including this analyst) in what is still quaintly called the “Diaspora” in places like America, Australia, and New Zealand. And of these, the biggest cash cow is the Greek-Americans.

That’s why, when Patriarch Bartholomew issued a call in 2016 for what was billed as an Orthodox “Eighth Ecumenical Council” (the first one since the year 787!), the funds largely came from America, to the tune of up to $8 million according to the same confidential source as will be noted below. Intended by some as a modernizing Orthodox “Vatican II,” the event was doomed to failure by a boycott organized by Moscow over what the latter saw as Patriarch Bartholomew’s adopting papal or even imperial prerogatives – now sadly coming to bear in Ukraine.

…and the Payoff

On top of the foregoing, it now appears that the State Department’s direct hand in this sordid business may not have consisted solely of wielding the “stick” of legal threat: there’s reason to believe there was a “carrot” too. It very recently came to the attention of this analyst, via an unsolicited, confidential source in the Greek Archdiocese in New York, that a payment of $25 million in US government money was made to Constantinople to encourage Patriarch Bartholomew to move forward on Ukraine.

The source for this confidential report was unaware of earlier media reports that the same figure – $25 million – was paid by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to the Phanar as an incentive for Patriarch Bartholomew to move forward on creating an independent Ukrainian church. Moreover, Poroshenko evidently tried to shortchange the payment:



‘Peter [Petro] Poroshenko — the president of Ukraine — was obligated to return $15 million US dollars to the Patriarch of Constantinople, which he had appropriated for himself.


‘As reported by Izvestia, this occurred after the story about Bartholomew's bribe and a "vanishing" large sum designated for the creation of a Unified Local Orthodox Church in Ukraine surfaced in the mass media.


‘As reported, on the eve of Poroshenko's visit in Istanbul, a few wealthy people of Ukraine "chipped in" in order to hasten the process of creating a Unified Local Orthodox Church. About $25 million was collected. They were supposed to go to the award ceremony for Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople for the issuing of a tomos of autocephaly. [A tomos is a small book containing a formal announcement.] However, in the words of people close to the backer, during the visit on April 9, Poroshenko handed over only $10 million.


‘As a result, having learned of the deal, Bartholomew cancelled the participation of the delegation of the Phanar – the residence of the Patriarch of Constantinople, in the celebration of the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia on July 27 in Kiev.


‘"Such a decision from Bartholomew's side was nothing other than a strong ultimatum to Poroshenko to return the stolen money. Of course, in order to not lose his face in light of the stark revelations of the creation of the tomos of autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Peter Alexeevich [Poroshenko] had to just return those $15 million for the needs of Constantinople," a trusted source explained to reporters.


‘For preliminary information, only after receiving the remaining sum, did Bartholomew finally give his consent to sending a delegation of the Phanar to Kiev … ‘

Now, it’s possible that the two identical figures of $25 million refer to two different pots of money (a cool $50 million!) but that seems unlikely. It’s more probable the reports refer to the same sum as viewed from the sending side (the State Department, the Greek Archdiocese) and the delivery side (Poroshenko, Constantinople).

Lending credibility to the confidential information from New York and pointing to the probability that it refers to the same payment that Poroshenko reportedly sought to raid for himself are the following observations:

  • When Poroshenko generously offered Patriarch Bartholomew $10 million, the latter was aware that the full amount was $25 million and demanded the $15 million Poroshenko had held back. How did the Patriarch know that, unless he was informed via New York of the full sum?

  • If the earlier-reported $25 million was really collected from “a few wealthy people of Ukraine” who “chipped in,” given the cutthroat nature of disputes among Ukrainian oligarchs would Poroshenko (an oligarch in his own right) have risked trying to shortchange the payment? Why has not even one such Ukrainian donor been identified?


  • Without going into all the details, the Phanar and the Greek Archdiocese have a long relationship with US administrations of both parties going back at least to the Truman administration, encompassing some decidedly unattractive episodes. In such a history, a mere bribe for a geopolitical shot against Moscow would hardly be a first instance or the worst."
"‘Unhinged’ Decorated Navy SEAL to Stand Trial for War Crimes in Iraq".

"Opinion The Twisted Logic of the Jewish ‘Historic Right’ to Israel" (Sand).  While avoiding any mention of the Khazars.
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