Keine Chance für Sanders, Clintons Machtapparat funktioniert

Nach Vorwahlen in New York, die Hillary Clinton erwartungsgemäss mit 57% zu 43% gewann, ist das „Wunder“, welches Sanders gebraucht hätte, um seinen Anspruch als Nomminierten durchzusetzen, ausgeblieben.

Interessant könnte es nur mehr werden, falls sich aus der FBI Untersuchung gegen Clinton eine Dynamik entwickelt, die Clinton nachhaltig als Kandidatin schädigt. Da würde wohl Joe Biden liebend gerne einspringen, denn er hat vor wenigen Tagen zu den Negativwerten in der Beliebtheit von Clinton gemeint, dass „Onkel Joe sie alle schlägt“.

Für Europas friedliche Entwicklung dürfte Sanders die beste Option sein, gefolgt von Trump. Cruz scheint militärischen Abenteuern nicht abgeneigt und bei Clinton dürfen wir mit grosser Wahrscheinlichkeit mit mind. einem weiteren Krieg rechnen.

Trump an sich würde nur in der Innenpolitik der USA Schaden anrichten, sich dagegen eher auf Diplomatie („Neu-Verhandlungen von Verträgen“ wie er sagt) einlassen. Allerdings reagiert er besonders sensibel auf Angriffe und Gefahren von aussen. Eine kleine False Flag Operation innerhalb der USA könnte ihn zu einem Krieg und anderen Überreaktionen verleiten.  Insofern könnte hier der Militärisch-Industrielle Block  sowie die Geheimdienste leicht Einfluss auf Trumps Aussenpolitik nehmen.


Saudis erpressen US-Regierung

Artikel von:

  • Saudis = Familie Saud, die Saudiarabien beherrscht, sollen damit drohen, ihre US-Staatsanleihen zu verkaufen und damit die USA in wirtschaftliche Schwierigkeiten zu bringen.
  • Allerdings dürften mögliche Hinweise der Saudis auf den Einschluss anderer Geheimdienste in 9/11 viel interessanter und schädlicher sein. Wenn sie solche Quellen hätten.
  • Und was bringt es zu wissen, dass die Saudis die 19 Hijackers finanziert hat. Mit Geld allein ist ein Anschlag noch nicht geplant und ausgeführt und die Hinweise auf eine Mitarbeit von US-Geheimdiensten oder Militär (Visa für die Einreise in die USA, NORAD ausser Kraft, Übung eines Anschlagszenario, WTC7 Einsturz, Pentagonangriff ohne Abwehr) sind damit nicht weg. Die vielen Ungereimheiten lassen es unwahrscheinlich sein, dass das allein der saudische Geheimdienst bzw. einzelne Mitglieder der Saudi-Familie geplant und ausgeführt haben könnten.
  • Eher ist eine Gefahr für Saudiarabien denkbar, indem die USA auf diese Drohung mit einem Angriff auf Saudiarabien reagiert, weil man die US-Wirtschaft bedroht sieht.


Submitted by Eric Zuesse, author of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Saudi King & Princes Blackmail U.S. Government

Saudi Arabia, owned by the Saud family, are telling the U.S. Government, they’ll wreck the U.S. economy, if a bill in the U.S. Congress that would remove the unique and exclusive immunity the royal owners of that country enjoy in the United States, against their being prosecuted for their having financed the 9/11 attacks, passes in Congress, and becomes U.S. law.

As has been well documented even in sworn U.S. court testimony, and as even the pro-Saudi former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged privately, „Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.” She didn’t name any of those “donors” names, but the former bagman for Osama bin Laden, who had personally collected all of the million-dollar+ donations (all in cash) to Al Qaeda, did, and he named all of the senior Saud princes and their major business-associates; and, he said, „without the money of the — of the Saudi you will have nothing.” So, both before 9/11, and (according to Hillary Clinton) since, those were the people who were paying virtually all of the salaries of the 19 hijackers — even of the four who weren’t Saudi citizens. Here’s that part of the bagman’s testimony about how crucial those donations were:

Q: To clarify, you’re saying that the al-Qaeda members received salaries?

A: They do, absolutely.

So: being a jihadist isn’t merely a calling; it’s also a job, as is the case for the average mercenary (for whom it doesn’t also have to be a calling). The payoff for that job, during the jihadist’s life, is the pay. The bagman explained that the Saud family’s royals pay well for this service to their fundamentalist-Sunni faith. Another lifetime-payoff to the jihadists is that, in their fundamentalist-Sunni culture, the killing of ‘infidels’ is a holy duty, and they die as martyrs. Thus, the jihadist’s payoff in the (mythological) afterlife is plenty of virgins to deflower etc. But, the payers (the people who organize it, and who make it all possible) are the Saud family princes, and their business associates — and, in the case of the other jihadist organizations, is also those other Arabic royal families (the owners of Qater, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman). However, 9/11 was virtually entirely a Saudi affair, according to Al Qaeda’s bagman (who ought to know).

The report of the threat by the Saud family comes in veiled form in an April 15th news-story in The New York Times, headlined, “Saudi Arabia Warns of Economic Fallout if Congress Passes 9/11 Bill.” It says that the Saud family’s Foreign Minister is “telling [U.S.] lawmakers that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in [U.S.] treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.” The NYT says that this threat is nothing to take seriously, “But the threat is another sign of the escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States.” While the carrying-out of this threat would be extremely damaging to the Saud family, the NYT ignores the size of the threat to the Sauds if their 9/11 immunity were removed — which could be far bigger. Consequently, this matter is actually quite a bit more than just “another sign of the escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States.”

Russian Television is more direct here: “Saudi Arabia appears to be blackmailing the US, saying it would sell off American assets worth a 12-digit figure sum in dollars if Congress passes a bill allowing the Saudi Government to be held responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.” (The Saudi Government is owned by the Saud family; so, even that statement is actually a veiled way of referring to the possibility that members of the royal Saud family — the individuals name by the bagman — could be held responsible for 9/11.)

Even immediately in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, there had been some mentions in the U.S. press of the U.S. Government making special allowances for Saud Prince Bandar al-Saud, a close friend of the Bush family (and he was also one of the Saudi Princes mentioned specifically by the bagman), to fly out of the country to avoid being sought by prosecutors. Furthermore, Newsweek’s investigative journalist, Michael Isikoff, headlined on 12 January 2001, “The Saudi Money Trail”, and he reported statements from royal Sauds, that they didn’t really mean for their donations to be going to such a thing as this. (Perhaps those individuals didn’t, but Bandar almost certainly did, because he was the Saud Ambassador to the U.S. at the time of 9/11.) However, now that the U.S. Government is relying heavily upon Saudi money to pay for the U.S. weapons and to help to organize the operation to overthrow Bashar al-Assad in Syria and to replace him with a fundamentalist-Sunni leader, there is renewed political pressure in the United States (from the victim-families, if no one else), for the arch-criminals behind the 9/11 attacks to be brought to American justice. After fifteen years, this process might finally start. That would be a drastic change.

Clearly, the threat from the Sauds is real, and the royal response to this bill in the U.S. Congress reflects a very great fear the owners of Saudi Arabia have, regarding the possible removal of their U.S. immunity, after 15 years.

Prosecution of those people will become gradually impossible as they die off. But a lot more time will be needed in order for all of the major funders of that attack to die natural deaths and thus become immune for a natural reason — the immunity of the grave. The U.S. Government has protected them for 15 years; but, perhaps, not forever.

To say that this threat from the Sauds is just “another sign of the escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States” seems like saying that a neighbor’s threat to bomb your house would constitute just “another sign of escalating tensions” between you and your neighbor. The passing-into-law of this bill in Congress would actually constitute a change from the U.S. Government being a friend and partner of the Sauds, to becoming their enemy.

Obviously, there is little likelihood of that happening; and, on April 20th and 21st, U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with Saudi King Salman al-Saud. Without a doubt, this topic will be on the agenda, if it won’t constitute the agenda (which is allegedly to improve U.S. relations “with Arab leaders of Persian Gulf nations” — not specifically with Saudi King Salman and with his son Prince Salman).

If President Obama represents the American public, then the Sauds will have real reason to fear: the U.S. President will not seek to block passage of that bill in Congress. However, if the U.S. President represents instead the Saud family, then a deal will be reached. Whether or not the U.S. Congress will go along with it, might be another matter, but it would be highly likely, considering that the present situation has already been going on for fifteen years, and that the high-priority U.S. Government foreign-policy objective, of overthrowing Bashar al-Assad, is also at stake here, and is also strongly shared not only by the Sauds but by the members of the U.S. Congress. Furthermore, the impunity of the Saud family is taken simply as a given in Washington. And, the U.S. Government’s siding with the Sauds in their war against Shia Muslims (not only against one Shiite: Assad) goes back at least as far as 1979. (Indeed, the CIA drew up the plan in 1957 to overthrow Syria’s Ba’athist Government, but it stood unused until President Obama came into office.)

Furthermore, the U.S. Government is far more aggressive to overthrow Russia-friendly national leaders, such as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad, and Viktor Yanukovych, than it is to stop the spread of fundamentalist Sunni groups, such as Al Qaeda, ISIS, etc.; and, a strong voice for U.S. foreign policy, the Polish Government, even said, on April 15th, that as AFP headlined that day, “Russia ‚more dangerous than Islamic State‘, warns Poland foreign minister”; and Russia itself is, along with Shiite Iran, the top competitor against the fundamentalist Sunni Arab royal families in global oil-and-gas export markets. So, clearly, the U.S. Government is tightly bound to the Saud family. Terrorism in Europe and America is only a secondary foreign-policy concern to America’s leaders; and the Saud family are crucial allies with the U.S. Government in regards to what are, jointly, the top concerns of both Governments.

Consequently, there is widespread expectation that some sort of deal will be reached between U.S. President Barack Obama and the Saudi leaders, King and Prince Salman, and that the Republican-led Congress will rubber-stamp it, rather than pass the proposed bill to strip the Saud family’s immunity.

In Russland brodelt es unter der Decke

Russlands wirtschaftliche Zukunft aus Sicht von Vasily Koltashov

Artikel auf Deutsch:

Russlands Wirtschaft  wird weiter absinken und es kann daraus folgen, dass die Bürger fordern, dass ihre Interessen mehr berücksichtigt werden. D.h. Staatliche Förderung statt Neoliberalismus. Staat druckt Geld und investiert gezielt in die heimische Industrie und den Ausbau der maroden Infrastruktur.

Ausserdem könnte Russland die Idee der Eurasischen Union wieder vorantreiben, die mit dem Beitritt Russlands zur WTO und aufgrund der Orientierung Richtung Westen und EU sinnlos wurde. Es wäre eine wirtschaftlicher Konkurrenzraum zur EU.

Die Regionen und deren Gouverneure sind stark, während Putin und Moskau fern sind. So können die Medien leicht Putin und die regierung kritisieren, aber nicht die Machenschaften der „Regionalfürsten“.




Auf dem Wirtschaftsforum gab es Katastrophen-Szenarien. Man bekam den Eindruck, dass die Wirtschaft bald zusammenbricht, wenn es keine Unterstützung der russischen Industrie gibt. Sind das Übertreibungen?

Vasily Koltashov: Ich glaube, dass die Wirtschaft so oder so zusammenbricht. Die Industrie in Russland entwickelt sich wirklich schlecht. Die Produktion geht zurück. Teilweise gibt es Entlassungen. Teilweise wurde Kurzarbeit eingeführt. Oftmals wurden die Löhne gekürzt. Die Arbeitslosigkeit ist jedoch mit sechs Prozent nicht besonders hoch. Der Grund für die niedrige Arbeitslosigkeit sind die sehr niedrigen Löhne.

Eurasische Union

Die Mitglieder der Eurasischen Wirtschafts-Union und der Zollunion (Russland, Weißrussland, Armenien, Kirgistan, Kasachstan, U.H.) haben derzeit keine konkreten Vorteile von dem wirtschaftlichen Zusammenschluss.

Vasily Koltashov: Die Eurasische Wirtschafts-Union und die Zollunion wurden im Rahmen der Welthandelsorganisation (WTO) gebildet. Der Eintritt Russlands in die WTO macht die Eurasische Union sinnlos. Die Eurasische Union hat nur als Organisation einen Sinn, die in aktiver Konkurrenz mit der EU um Einflusssphären konkurriert. Denn die EU betreibt eine aktive Expansionspolitik Richtung Osten. Die EU-Bürokratie hat 2013/14 die Ukraine gewonnen. Russland hat sich die Krim genommen. Für den Donbass reichte der Mut nicht. Offen ist, wer Weißrussland in seinen Einflussbereich zieht. Und die Auswechslung von Putin durch eine Person, welche die Anordnungen von außen ausführt, steht auch auf der Tagesordnung.

Wird es nicht auch innerhalb der Eurasischen Union ein Machtverhältnis geben?

Vasily Koltashov: Es geht um eine andere Form der Integration. Keine Integration auf Basis eines freien Marktes und freien Außenhandels, sondern um die Schaffung eines gemeinsamen protektionistischen Marktes, der die Binnennachfrage unterstützt. So ein Projekt wäre eine Alternative zur EU und würde dazu führen, dass Staaten die EU verlassen. Deshalb wurde die Eurasische Union in Brüssel seinerzeit als „gefährliches Projekt“ bezeichnet, dass es tatsächlich ist.

Wirtschaftliche Zukunft und Interessengruppen

Ist es möglich, dass die russische Führung irgendwann zu einem echten keynesianischen Programm übergeht, und der Staat gezielt Wohnungs- und Straßenbau fördert?

Vasily Koltashov: Im Jahr 2017 wird die wirtschaftliche Situation so schlecht sein, dass eine Wende geradezu in der Luft liegen wird. Die Versuche der russischen Regierung mit dem Westen ein Auskommen zu finden, werden dazu führen, dass Russland ein noch neoliberaleres Regierungskabinett bekommt, was sehr schnell völlig unpopulär wird. Das Gesundheits- und das Bildungswesen werden endgültig zerstört werden. Die Zollgebühren werden gesenkt und staatliche Aktienpakete verkauft. Diese Politik wird die Widersprüche in der Gesellschaft verstärken. Die Menschen werden fordern, dass man ihre Interessen berücksichtigt.

Das patriotische Lager wird von dieser Entwicklung profitieren?

Vasily Koltashov: Die russische Gesellschaft unterteilt sich in zwei Parteien, in die Partei der „Belyje lenti“ (Menschen mit den weißen Bändchen), die liberale Positionen vertreten, und in die Partei der Menschen mit dem Georgi-Bändchen (orange-schwarzes Bändchen, U.H.) , die patriotische und protektionistische Einstellungen vertreten und für eine postsowjetische Integration eintreten. Zwischen diesen beiden Parteien laviert die Macht.

Das sind zwei sehr starke Bewegungen. Die Bewegung der Belyje lenti ist aber vor allem eine Moskauer Bewegung und die Zahl ihrer Unterstützer ist begrenzt. Die andere patriotische Partei hat über 90 Prozent der Bevölkerung hinter sich. Die einzige Möglichkeit zu verhindern, dass die patriotischen Kräfte an die Macht kommen, ist eine Politik, die zum Wirtschaftswachstum führt, das heißt, dass Russland zu der Situation zurückzukehrt, die es 2008 gab. Doch das ist nicht möglich.

Macht der Regionen

Vasily Koltashov: Ich hatte ein Gespräch in einer russischen Region mit einem Journalisten. Ich fragte ihn, wie ist es möglich, dass ihr in Eurer Zeitung Putin so hart kritisiert. Er sagte: „Wer ist euer Putin. Vielleicht gibt es ihn gar nicht. Aber unser Gouverneur, der hat Macht.“ Das heißt, den Gouverneur kann er nicht hart kritisieren, die zentrale Macht aber schon. Und in den Regionen – im Unterschied zu Moskau – kann sich die örtliche Macht in einem kritischen Moment gegen die zentrale Macht stellen und Kundgebungen unzufriedener Bürger organisieren.



Bernanke’s Former Advisor: „People Would Be Stunned To Know The Extent To Which The Fed Is Privately Owned“

Tyler Durden's picture

With every passing day, the Fed is slowly but surely losing the game.

Only it is not just former (and in some cases current) Fed presidents admitting central banks are increasingly powerless to boost the global economy, even if they still have sway over capital markets. What is far more insidious to the Fed’s waning credibility is when former economists affiliated with the Fed start repeating mantras that until recently were only a prominent feature in the so-called fringe media.

This is precisely what happened today when former central bank staffer and Dartmouth College economics professor Andrew Levin, special adviser to then Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke between 2010 to 2012, joined with an activist group to argue for overhauls at the central bank that they say would distance it from Wall Street and make its activities more transparent and accountable to the public.

Levin is pressing for the overhaul with Fed Up coalition activists. Many of the proposed changes target the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks, which are quasi-private and technically owned by commercial banks in their respective districts.

All of that is not surprising. What he said to justify his new found cause, however, is.

„A lot of people would be stunned to know” the extent to which the Federal Reserve is privately owned, Mr. Levin said. The Fed “should be a fully public institution just like every other central bank” in the developed world, he said in a conference call announcing the plan. He described his proposals as „sensible, pragmatic and nonpartisan.“

Why is that stunning? Because it has long been a bone of contention if only among the fringe media, that at its core the Fed is merely a private institution, beholden only to its de facto owners: not the people of the U.S. but to a small cabal of banks. Worse, the actual org chart of who owns what is not disclosed, even as the vast majority of the U.S. population remains deluded that the Fed is a publicly owned institution.

As the WSJ goes on to note, the former central bank staffer said he sees his ideas as designed to maintain the virtues the central bank already brings to the table. They aren’t targeted at changing how policy is conducted today. “What’s important here is that reform to the Federal Reserve can last for 100 years, not just the near term,” he said.

And this is coming from a former Fed employee and Ben Bernanke’s personal advisor! That in itself is a most striking development, because now that the insiders are finally speaking up, it will be a race among both current and prior Fed workers to reveal as much dirty laundry as possible ahead of what is increasingly being perceived by many as the Fed’s demise.

To be sure, Levin’s personal campaign for Fed transformation will not be easy, and as the WSJ writes, what is being sought by Mr. Levin and the activists is significant and would require congressional action. Ady Barkan, who leads the Fed Up campaign, said the Fed’s current structure “is an embarrassment to America” and Fed leaders haven’t been “willing or able” to make changes.

Specifically, Levin wants the 12 regional Fed banks to be brought fully into the government. He also wants the process of selecting new bank presidents—they are key regulators and contributors in setting interest-rate policy—opened up more fully to public input, as well as term limits for Fed officials.

This would represent a revolution to the internal staffing of the Fed, which will no longer be at the mercy of its now-defunct shareholders, America’s commercial banks; it would also mean that Goldman Sachs would lose all its leverage as the world’s biggest central bank incubator, a revolving door relationship which has allowed the Manhattan firm to dominate the world of finance for the decades.

Levin’s proposal was made in conjunction with the Center for Popular Democracy’s Fed Up coalition, a group that has been pressuring the central bank for more accountability for some time. The left-leaning group has been critical of the structure of the regional banks, and has been pressing the Fed to hold off on raising rates in a bid to make sure the recovery is enjoyed not just by the wealthy, in their view.

The proposal was revealed on a conference call that also included a representative from Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign, although all campaigns were invited to participate.

The WSJ adds that according to Levin, who knows the Fed’s operating structure intimately, says the members of the regional Fed bank boards of directors, the majority of whom are selected by the private banks with the approval of the Washington-based governors, should be chosen differently. The professor says director slots now reserved for financial professionals regulated by the Fed should be eliminated, and that directors who oversee and advise the regional banks should be selected in a public process involving the Washington governors and local elected officials. These directors also should better represent the diversity of the U.S.

Levin also wants formal public input into the selection of new bank presidents, with candidates’ names known publicly and a process that allows for public comment in a way that doesn’t now exist. The professor also wants all Fed officials to serve for single seven-year terms, which would give them the needed distance from the political process while eliminating situations where some policy makers stay at the bank for decades. Alan Greenspan, for example, was Fed chairman from 1987 to 2006.

As the WSJ conveniently adds, the selection of regional bank presidents has become a hot-button issue. Currently, the leaders of the New York, Philadelphia, Dallas and Minneapolis Fed banks are helmed by men who formerly worked for or had close connections to investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Levin called for watchdog agency the Government Accountability Office to annually review and report on Fed operations, including the regional Fed banks. He also wants the regional Fed banks to be covered under the Freedom of Information Act. A regular annual review hopefully would insulate the effort from perceptions of political interference, Mr. Levin said.

* * *

While ending the Fed may still seem like a pipe dream, at least until the market’s next major crash at which point the population may  finally turn on the culprit behind America’s serial boom-bust culture, the U.S. central bank, Levin’s proposal would get to the heart of the most insidious conflict of interest in the US: the fact that the Federal Reserve works not for the people of America, but for its owners – the banks.

Which is also why, sadly, this proposal will be dead on arrival, as its passage would represent the biggest loss for Wall Street in the past 103 years, far more significant than anything Dodd-Frank could hope to accomplish.

Sind die Panama Papers ein russischer Spionage-Coup?

Die Panama Papers wurden von russicher Seite geleakt, um Erpressungsmaterial gegenüber den Amerikaner und hochstehenen westlichen Politikern zu haben.

Allerdings trifft diese Spekulation nur zu, wenn wir genau wüssten, was in den ganzen geleakten Papieren steht. Möglicherweise wurde von den Journalisten eine US-freundliche Auswahl getroffen oder aber  von (CIA/NSA) darauf hingewirkt, dass keine US Bürger und Verbindungen erscheinen.

Erpressung durch die Russen macht erst Sinn, wenn auch wirklich höchste Stellen in die Panama Papers verwickelt wären. Das aber dürfte so kaum herauszufinden sein, denn im ersten Fall wurden sie von russischer Seite zurückbehalten für die Erpressung und zweiten Fall würden die Personen, die es betrifft, alles versuchen, um ihre Beteiligung nicht veröffentlich t zu sehen. Das könnte gar im jeweiligen Staatsinteresse sein, je nachdem wer und wieviele Personen darin verstrickt wären.


Spekulation aus diesem Artikel:


Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

As I wrote on Monday, ever since I started reading about the Panama Papers “leak” something kept rubbing me the wrong way. From the absence of any well known, politically powerful Americans on the list, to the anonymous nature of “John Doe” as whistleblower and the clownish reporting from Soros and USAID affiliated organizations, the whole thing stunk from the start.

The first plausible theory I came across attempting to explain the strangeness of it all was proposed by Craig Murray, and it basically went something like this. The leaker is a real whistleblower, but he placed the information in the wrong hands, therefore the organizations and journalists reporting on the story were not giving us the whole truth. Here’s some of that theory from the post, Are Corporate Gatekeepers Protecting Western Elites from the Leaked Panama Papers?

Whoever leaked the Mossack Fonseca papers appears motivated by a genuine desire to expose the system that enables the ultra wealthy to hide their massive stashes, often corruptly obtained and all involved in tax avoidance. These Panamanian lawyers hide the wealth of a significant proportion of the 1%, and the massive leak of their documents ought to be a wonderful thing.


The Suddeutsche Zeitung, which received the leak, gives a detailed explanation of the methodology the corporate media used to search the files. The main search they have done is for names associated with breaking UN sanctions regimes. The Guardian reports this too and helpfully lists those countries as Zimbabwe, North Korea, Russia and Syria. The filtering of this Mossack Fonseca information by the corporate media follows a direct western governmental agenda. There is no mention at all of use of Mossack Fonseca by massive western corporations or western billionaires – the main customers. And the Guardian is quick to reassure that “much of the leaked material will remain private.”


The corporate media – the Guardian and BBC in the UK – have exclusive access to the database which you and I cannot see. They are protecting themselves from even seeing western corporations’ sensitive information by only looking at those documents which are brought up by specific searches such as UN sanctions busters. Never forget the Guardian smashed its copies of the Snowden files on the instruction of MI6. 

Initially, this seemed to be a theory worth exploring, but in the following days I’ve come to a far different conclusion. The primary divergence between what I currently believe and what Mr. Murray proposed is that I do not think the leaker was a genuine whistleblower motived by the public interest. I think the leaker was working on behalf of a sophisticated intelligence agency.

The fact that we seem to know nothing about “John Doe” concerns me. Say what you will about Edward Snowden, but he came out publicly shortly after his whistleblowing and offered himself up for the world to judge. His life, career and personality have been put on full display, and each and every one of us has had the opportunity to decide for ourselves whether his motivations were noble and pure or not.

With the Panama Papers’ “John Doe” we are given no such opportunity, and in fact, the whole thing reads very much like a script concocted by some big budget intelligence agency. Once I started coming around to this conclusion, the obvious choice was U.S. intelligence; given the lack of implications to powerful Americans, the clownishly desperate attempts to smear Putin, and the appearance of Soros, USAID, Ford Foundation, etc, linked organizations to the reporting.

So for someone who already thinks the whole Panama Papers story stinks to high heaven, a CIA link to the release seems obvious; but is it too obvious? Perhaps.

Earlier this morning, I read an absolutely fascinating theory put forth by Are the Russians actually behind the Panama Papers?

The “Panama Papers”—does this strike anyone else as a very fishy story? It’s like something out of a cheap spy movie.

Yes, yes it does.

In early 2015, “John Doe” sends (out of the blue) an email to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), offering 11.5 million documents from a Panamanian law firm relating to offshore shell companies. SZ accepts. Under the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), some 400 journalists from 80 countries spend a year sifting through the documents. Then, in a coordinated launch, they present their first findings: With nearly identical language in all media (down to the local TV station in Washington that I happened to watch this week), they talk about the grand new revelations of corruption, money laundering, and financial secrecy by over 140 world leaders.


Most reports, no matter where, feature Russian President Vladimir Putin as the headliner. But that might obscure a much bigger and more twisted story.

The dog that didn’t bark

Despite the headlines, there is no evidence of Putin’s direct involvement—not in any company involved in the leak, much less in criminal activity, theft, tax evasion, or money laundering. There are documents showing that some of his “friends” have moved “up to two billion dollars” through these Panama-based shell companies.


But nothing in the Panama Papers reveals anything new about Putin. It is in fact far less of a story than has been alleged for a long time. For over 10 years, there have been suspicions that Putin has a vast personal fortune, claimed at first to be $20 billion, then $40$70, even $100… And now all they find is “maybe” a couple of billion belonging to a friend?

This is the dog that didn’t bark.

I completely agree with this conclusion. Putin probably does have a huge fortune stashed away somewhere, but this “leak” doesn’t reveal anything about it. In fact, the Panama Papers will have absolutely zero impact on Putin’s political power at home, while making Western efforts to trash him look manufactured and clownish. Net-net Putin wins from the release of the Panama Papers.

As Mr. Gaddy explains.

Some (geo)political context is important here. In recent years, the media has become a key battleground in which Russia and the West have attempted to discredit each other. Early last year, circles in the West sought to use the media to respond to what they described as Russia’s “hybrid warfare,” especially information war, in the wake of the Russian annexation of Crimea and related activities. They identified corruption as an issue where Putin was quite vulnerable. It’s worth looking at the Panama Papers in that context: Journalists are targeting Putin far out of proportion to the evidence they present.


As soon as one delves below the headlines, it’s a non-story. A “friend of Putin” is linked to companies that channel a couple of billion dollars through the offshore companies. Why? To evade Russian taxes? Really? To conceal ownership? From whom? You don’t need an offshore registration to do that. To evade sanctions? That’s a credible reason, but it makes sense only if the companies were registered after mid-2014. Were they?


This information will not harm Putin at all—instead, it gives Putin cover, so he can shrug and say: “Look, everybody does it.” A more serious possibility is that the leaked data will lead to scandals throughout the West, where corruption does matter—a point I’ll discuss. On net, the Russians win.


The cui bono principle connects profits with motives, asking who stands to gain from a certain action. If it’s the Russians who win, isn’t it possible that they are somehow behind at least part of this story? 

Who is “John Doe”? 

The ICIJ is the self-described elite of investigative journalists—but what have they discovered about the source of all these documents? The only information we have about John Doe is from SZ, which begins its story: “Over a year ago, an anonymous source contacted the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and submitted encrypted internal documents from the law firm Mossack Fonseca.” When the staff at SZ asked John Doe about his motive, he reportedly replied in an email: “I want to make these crimes public.”


But how can the journalists—and the public—be sure he’s trustworthy, and that the documents are real, complete, and unmanipulated? It’s not clear that John Doe is a single individual, for one, nor why he would have been confident that he could reveal the documents without revealing himself. He’d also have access to a pretty impressive documents cache, which suggests that an intelligence agency could have been involved. 

The above seems clear to me as well, which is why I feel pretty strongly that this was some sort intelligence operation.

Moreover, the revelation brings collateral damage upon legal business and innocent individuals—was that not a worry? In my view, no responsible person with a real concern for rule of law would advocate this sort of sweeping document release. There might be many unintended consequences; it could topple regimes, with unforeseen consequences. It’s pure and naïve anarchism, if the thinking was (as it seems from the outside) to create maximum chaos and hope it will all purge the system of its evils. In any event, the potential for using such a leak for political purposes is immense.


If “we” (in the United States or the West) released these documents, the motive would apparently be to embarrass Putin. This is part of the fantasy that we can defeat Putin in an information war. If that was the motive, the result is pathetic: No real damage is being done to Putin, but there is collateral damage to U.S. allies.


If the Russians did it, a good motive might be to deflect the West’s campaign against Putin’s corruption. But as I’ve explained, any actual reputational damage to Putin or Russia caused by the Panama Papers is in fact pretty trivial. For that cheap price, the Russians would have 1) exposed corrupt politicians everywhere, including in “model” Western democracies, and 2) fomented genuine destabilization in some Western countries. What I wonder, then: Is it a set-up? The Russians threw out the bait, and the United States gobbled it down. The Panama Paper stories run off Putin like water off a duck’s back. But they have a negative impact on Western stability.

Personally, I’m not convinced they will have any impact on Western stability whatsoever. Rather, here’s what they do achieve: 1) they make the Western press look ridiculous in its obsession with Putin 2) the absence of any notable Americans makes it look like a CIA operation.

So let’s say that the “who” is the Russians, and the “why” is to deflect attention and show that “everybody does it.” But how? Given Russia’s vaunted hacking capabilities, a special cyber unit in the Kremlin may have been able to obtain the documents. (Monssack Fonseca is maintaining that the leak was not an inside job.) But it is most likely that such an operation would be run out of an agency called the Russian Financial Monitoring Service (RFM). RFM is Putin’s personal financial intelligence unit—he created it and it answers only to him. It is completely legitimate and is widely recognized as the most powerful such agency in the world, with a monopoly on information about money laundering, offshore centers, and related issues involving Russia or Russian nationals.


An operation like the Panama Papers, which is only about financial intelligence, would have to be run out of RFM. Not the FSB, not some ad hoc gang in the Kremlin. While it might not (legally) have access to secrets kept by a firm like Mossack Fonseca, it’s privy to lots of international financial information through the international body of which it is a leading member, the Financial Action Task Force. In short, Russians are better equipped than anyone—more capable and less constrained—to hack into secret files.


As for how to leak the documents, it would actually be pretty ingenious to “incriminate” Russia in a seemingly serious (and headline-grabbing) way without actually revealing incriminating information. That’s exactly what we have. The Panama Papers revealed no Russian secrets. They added nothing to the rumors already circulating about Putin’s alleged private fortune. And the story-that-isn’t-a-story was advanced by none other than the ICIJ. So, done right, the last thing anyone would suspect is that the Panama Papers are a Russian operation.

A more serious Russian motive?

Granted, this would be a complicated operation just to defuse the West’s campaign to point to “Putin the kleptocrat.” But maybe there’s another motive.


As many have already pointed out, it’s curious that the Panama Papers mention no Americans. But it’s possible that they do and that the ICIJ hasn’t revealed that information. Perhaps, since the ICIJ is funded by Americans, they’re not going to bite the hand that feeds them. But suppose the ICIJ actually doesn’t have information on Americans—that calls into question the original data, which if actually real and uncensored would most probably include something on Americans. There are undoubtedly many American individuals and companies that have done business with the Mossack Fonseco crew, and it wouldn’t make sense for a collection of 11.5 million documents involving offshore finances to omit Americans entirely. Perhaps, then, someone purged those references before the documents were handed over to the German newspaper. The “someone” would, following my hypothesis, be the Russians—and the absence of incriminating information about Americans is an important hint of what I think to be the real purpose of this leak. 

Some have argued that the reason no powerful Americans are named is because Americans use other jurisdictions for such behavior. Considering the size of this data leak and the fact that it supposedly contains information going back to the 1970s, I find this explanation unconvincing.

Now back to Brookings.

The Panama Papers contain secret corporate financial information, some of which—by far not all—reveals criminal activity. In the hands of law enforcement, such information can be used to prosecute companies and individuals; in the hands of a third party, it is a weapon for blackmail. For information to be effective as a blackmail weapon, it must be kept secret. Once revealed, as in the Panama Papers case, it is useless for blackmail. Its value is destroyed.


Therefore, I suggest that the purpose of the Panama Papers operation may be this: It is a message directed at the Americans and other Western political leaders who could be mentioned but are not. The message is: “We have information on your financial misdeeds, too. You know we do. We can keep them secret if you work with us.” In other words, the individuals mentioned in the documents are not the targets. The ones who are not mentioned are the targets.

Kontrol, the special Russian variety of control

In sum, my thinking is that this could have been a Russian intelligence operation, which orchestrated a high-profile leak and established total credibility by “implicating” (not really implicating) Russia and keeping the source hidden. Some documents would be used for anti-corruption campaigns in a few countries—topple some minor regimes, destroy a few careers and fortunes. By then blackmailing the real targets in the United States and elsewhere (individuals not in the current leak), the Russian puppet masters get “kontrol” and influence.


If the Russians are behind the Panama Papers, we know two things and both come back to Putin personally: First, it is an operation run by RFM, which means it’s run by Putin; second, it’s ultimately about blackmail. That means the real story lies in the information being concealed, not revealed. You reveal secrets in order to destroy; conceal in order to control. Putin is not a destroyer. He’s a controller.

At this point, I want to make something perfectly clear. I do not profess to know the “real story” behind the Panama Papers. The truth is, nobody knows, except for John Doe and the people he was working for (or with). The only thing I feel fairly confident about is that the story we are being fed is not the real story. The more I read and reflect upon the very minor consequences of the leak thus far, the more I become convinced this was a geopolitical play by a powerful intelligence agency. At first, I assumed it was U.S. intelligence, but Mr. Gaddy puts forth a compelling theory. If this was the work of the CIA, it was an extremely sloppy and obvious hit job. On the other hand, if this was the work of Putin for the purposes of blackmail, it’s one of the most ingenious chess moves I’ve ever seen played on the global stage.

I want to conclude with a very important observation. If Clifford Gaddy’s theory is correct, it’s the worse case scenario for American citizens. It means that Putin essentially has the goods on the U.S. elite and he can now blackmail them for his purposes. Indeed, perhaps Iceland was put forward as an example of what can happen if truly damaging information makes it to the public.

So if Putin is behind this, and does have the goods on the U.S. elite, not only do we not get rid of the these corrupt oligarchs, we now have to live with them in an even more compromised state than they were before. For all of our sakes, I hope Mr. Gaddy is wrong.


Ethische Bedenken von US-Recht- und Staatsanwälten im Umgang mit LEAKS

Offenbar wird es bei Rechtsanwälten als unethisch angesehen, Dokumente die unabsichtlich geleakt wurden, auf kriminelle oder illegale Handlungen und Inhalte zu durchsuchen.

A 1995 opinion from the D.C. Bar says lawyers shouldn’t review privileged information that is turned over to them unintentionally.

„Where the receiving lawyer has not examined the misdirected material before gaining knowledge of the inadvertence of the disclosure, it is our opinion that the lawyer should, at a minimum, seek guidance from the sending lawyer and, if that lawyer confirms the inadvertence of the disclosure and requests return of the material, unread, the receiving lawyer should do so. In our view, a failure to do so would be a dishonest act, in violation of“ bar rules, the opinion said.

A Mossack Fonseca spokesman did not respond to an email seeking comment on whether the firm has asked the U.S. Justice Department to treat the records as privileged.

There are a variety of potential arguments that the privileges wouldn’t apply to some or all of the Panama Papers. Some courts have ruled that records that are „generally known“ lose their privilege. Others have held that the lawyers who were holding the records need to have taken reasonable precautions to keep them secret. And the privilege can sometimes be defeated if a client was using an attorney to further a crime.

There are also complex issues about what ethics rules or privilege laws apply to records sent from one country to another, as well as questions of what ethical strictures apply to Justice Department attorneys, lawyers said.

„You’d have to look at each particular country’s law,“ said New York attorney David Smallman, who wrote a 1997 law review article arguing that attorney-client privilege was not automatically waived when „purloined“ records were posted online. „It’s really tricky in this situation.“

Even if prosecutors conclude that some or all of the material isn’t privileged, they might seek a judge’s ruling or even a search warrant to look at it, to help defeat later arguments that the government went too far.

It’s also unclear whether the FBI or other U.S. agencies might need to review the records in order to investigate the hacking that allegedly led to their release. If they have a legitimate reason to do that, they might be able to act on evidence

So wurde auch Staatsangestellten mit Sicherheitsüberprüfung gesagt, dass sie nicht in die geleakten Dokumente bei Wikileaks reinschauen sollen!

Sie könnten sonst mehr wissen, als sie dürften?!?

While it may seem strange to tell U.S. government lawyers they can’t look at documents widely available on the Internet, it wouldn’t be the first time. Many federal employees and contractors with security clearances have been told not to look at classified documents posted online by WikiLeaks and from the stash of records taken by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Für ganzen Artikel vgl. hier

Plötzlich wieder Krieg um Berg-Karabach

Scheint ein Ablenkungsmanöver vom Syrienkonflikt zu sein:

  • Der Konflikt war nur eingefroren und seit 1994 nie zu Ende gelöst worden. Warum nicht?
  • Solche Konflikte eignen sich ideal, um von anderen Ereignissen abzulenken oder unliebsame Gegner in Konflikte reinzuziehen
  • Russland und Türkei stehen hinter den jeweiligen Streithähnen
  • Russland hat in Armenien, wo es ebenfalls Militärbasen betreibt in letzter Zeit Flugzeuge hin verlegt, um so bei einem Angriff der Türkei auf russisches Militär in Syrien von der armenischen Flanke her reagieren zu können.


Wem dient der Konflikt? Für beide unterstützenden Seiten (Russland und Türkei) kann man ein Interesse konstruieren, allerdings scheint auf den ersten Blick die Türkei engagierter und interessierter an einer Reaktion. Dass die beiden Staaten Armenien und Asserbaidschan ohne äusseres Interesse diesen konflikt wieder aufflammen lassen, ist unwahrscheinlich. Es bringt ihnen politisch nichts.

Vorstellbar ist aber, dass eine dritte Seite in diesem Spiel mitmacht (beispielsweise die USA oder eine der Nah- und Mitteloststaaten), um Russland und die Türkei noch stärker zu entfremden oder über einen anderen Konflikt in einen grösseren Krieg zu verwickeln, da in Syrien im Moment die Russen und Assad die Oberhand haben und die Entwicklung Syriens bestimmen.

USA ist nun grösster Steuergeld-Fluchthafen

Dank Gesetzänderung, die eine schärfere Kontrolle der ausländischen Finanzströme und -Firmen bedeutet, werden einzelne US-Staaten wie Nevada zu den neuen Steueroasenfür Schwarzgeld.

Das Leaken der Kunden einer Rechtsfirma im Finanzdienstleistungsbereich in Panama kann daher auch als Ausschalten einer Konkurrenz verstanden werden.

Vgl. Artikel

Mossack Fonseca: The Nazi, CIA And Nevada Connections… And Why It’s Now Rothschild’s Turn

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For all the media excitement about the disclosed names in the „Panama Papers“ leak, in this case represented by the extensive list of Mossack Fonseca clients, this is not a story about which super wealthy individuals did everything in their power, both legal and illegal, to avoid taxes, preserve their financial anonymity, and generally preserve their wealth. After all, that’s what they do, and it should not come as a surprise that they will always do that, especially following last year’s disclosure by the same ICIJ which revealed a list of 100,000 HSBC clients who had been dutifully avoiding the payment of taxes.

What the story is about is the nebulous world of offshore tax evasion and tax havens, which based on data from the World Bank, IMF, UN, and central banks, hide between $21 and $32 trillion, where registered incorporation agents and law firms in small Caribbean countries (and not so small US states) make the laundering of money and the „disappearance“ of the super wealthy, into untracable numbers hidden behind shell companies, possible.

So, in order to learn some more about the real star of this story, the Panamanian lawfirm of Mossack Fonseca, we went to Fusion which has compiled a fascinating story of the company’s history, founders, and key milestone events in its life.


These include the Nazis, the CIA, Mexican drug lords, and of course, the U.S.

First, here is the Nazi and CIA connection:

Jurgen Mossack’s family landed here in the 1960s. During World War II, his father had served in the Nazi Party’s Waffen-SS, according to U.S. Army intelligence files obtained by the ICIJ. Once in Panama, the elder Mossack offered to spy on communists in Cuba for the CIA. (Mossack Fonseca said the firm “will not answer any questions related to private information regarding our company founding partners.”)

Here is the connection to Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero, and perhaps to the DEA:

Many times Mossack Fonseca has had no clue which nefarious characters were doing what with the companies the firm created – as when Jurgen discovered in 2005, according to internal emails, that he was the registered agent and listed as the director for a company controlled by the Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero. The co-founder of the Guadalajara Cartel was convicted in Mexico in 1985 for the brutal murder of U.S. DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. (Today, Quintero is again considered a fugitive by the US after walking out of prison in 2013 on a technicality).


Mossack Fonseca’s senior partners instructed an employee to carry out their resignation from the company upon the discovery. „Pablo Escobar was like a newborn compared to R. Caro Quintero!” Jurgen wrote in reaction to the news. “I wouldn’t want to be among those he visits after he leaves prison!“

And then there is the state of Nevada:

In 2013, an Argentine prosecutor’s report linked Nevada-incorporated shell companies involved in a major corruption scandal to Mossack Fonseca. When those shell companies became the subject of a federal court battle in Nevada, the leaked files show, Mossack Fonseca employees took steps to remove paper records and to wipe computer files and phone logs at its Las Vegas office. One employee even traveled from Central America to Nevada to bring back files. “When Andrés came to Nevada he cleaned up everything and brought all documents to Panama,” according to an email dated Sept. 24, 2014.


Mossack Fonseca said it “categorically” denies hiding or destroying documents in its statement to the ICIJ: “Let us be clear that it is not our policy to hide or destroy documentation that may be of use in any ongoing investigation or proceeding.”


The leaked records also contradict sworn testimony by Jurgen Mossack, who told the federal district court that his firm was separate from “MF Nevada,” its office in Las Vegas, and had no control over it. Mossack Fonseca “has never maintained an office, establishment or principal place of business in Nevada,” Mossack testified in July 2015. But, according to the ICIJ investigation, internal documents show the opposite, indicating that the firm’s Panama City headquarters controlled MF Nevada’s bank account, and that the firm’s co-founders and one other official with the company owned 100 percent of MF Nevada.

Why is Nevada important? Because recall that according to a recent investigation by Bloomberg, „The World’s Favorite New Tax Haven Is the United States“

… and specifically several US states such as Nevada, Wyoming and South Dakota.

After years of lambasting other countries for helping rich Americans hide their money offshore, the U.S. is emerging as a leading tax and secrecy haven for rich foreigners. By resisting new global disclosure standards, the U.S. is creating a hot new market, becoming the go-to place to stash foreign wealth. Everyone from London lawyers to Swiss trust companies is getting in on the act, helping the world’s rich move accounts from places like the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands to Nevada, Wyoming, and South Dakota.


How ironic—no, how perverse—that the USA, which has been so sanctimonious in its condemnation of Swiss banks, has become the banking secrecy jurisdiction du jour,” wrote Peter A. Cotorceanu, a lawyer at Anaford AG, a Zurich law firm, in a recent legal journal. “That ‘giant sucking sound’ you hear? It is the sound of money rushing to the USA.”

That money is rushing for one simple reason: dirty foreign – and local – money is welcome in the U.S., no questions asked, to be shielded by the most impenetrable tax secrecy available anywhere on the planet.

One may even say that nowadays, US-based tax havens are the new Switzerland, or Bahamas or, for that matter, Panama. Indeed, for most Americans, offshore tax haven are now meaningless with the passage of the FATCA law, which makes the parking of dirty US money abroad practically impossible. So where does that money go instead – it stays in the US:

Others are also jumping in: Geneva-based Cisa Trust Co. SA, which advises wealthy Latin Americans, is applying to open in Pierre, S.D., to “serve the needs of our foreign clients,” said John J. Ryan Jr., Cisa’s president.


Trident Trust Co., one of the world’s biggest providers of offshore trusts, moved dozens of accounts out of Switzerland, Grand Cayman, and other locales and into Sioux Falls, S.D., in December, ahead of a Jan. 1 disclosure deadline.


Cayman was slammed in December, closing things that people were withdrawing,” said Alice Rokahr, the president of Trident in South Dakota, one of several states promoting low taxes and confidentiality in their trust laws. “I was surprised at how many were coming across that were formerly Swiss bank accounts, but they want out of Switzerland.”

And, to top it off, there is one specific firm which is spearheading the conversion of the U.S. into Panama: Rothschild.

Rothschild, the centuries-old European financial institution, has opened a trust company in Reno, Nev., a few blocks from the Harrah’s and Eldorado casinos. It is now moving the fortunes of wealthy foreign clients out of offshore havens such as Bermuda, subject to the new international disclosure requirements, and into Rothschild-run trusts in Nevada, which are exempt.


* * *


For financial advisers, the current state of play is simply a good business opportunity. In a draft of his San Francisco presentation, Rothschild’s Penney wrote that the U.S. “is effectively the biggest tax haven in the world.” The U.S., he added in language later excised from his prepared remarks, lacks “the resources to enforce foreign tax laws and has little appetite to do so.”

Yes, Mossack Fonseca may now be history, and its countless uberwealthy clients exposed, but none other than Rothschild is now delighted to be able to fill its rather large shoes. In fact, someone with a conspiratorial bent may decide that today’s dramatic takedown of the Panama „offshoring“ industry was nothing more than a hit designed to crush the competition of domestic „tax haven“ providers… suxh as Rothschild.