Inside The Panama Papers: Dirty Little Secrets

Published on Apr 17, 2016

The panama papers are the Wikileaks of the financial world: Nearly 12 million unearthed documents from one Panamanian law firm show how offshore shell companies keep trillions of dollars out of our global economy — some of it held by drug traffickers, arms dealers, and politicians. This hourlong documentary enters a secretive underworld of money and power that affects our lives in ways we are only just beginning to see.

Fusion

Estados Unidos suspendem embargo de armas ao Vietnã após 32 anos

Publicado em: 23/05/2016

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Em seu giro pela Ásia nesta semana, o presidente dos Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, pretende fechar velhas feridas deixadas pelas guerras que seu país travou no continente. Nesta segunda-feira, deu um passo de enorme importância simbólica nesse sentido: anunciou, em uma entrevista coletiva em Hanói junto ao presidente Tran Dai Quang, o fim definitivo do embargo de armas ao Vietnã vigente desde o fim do sangrento conflito entre as duas nações.

“Os Estados Unidos suspenderão por completo a proibição de venda de equipamento militar ao Vietnã, em vigor há cerca de 50 anos”, declarou o presidente norte-americano. O anúncio é uma prova dos enormes progressos nas relações entre os antigos inimigos, hoje unidos por interesses econômicos e, sobretudo, de defesa. Ambos compartilham enorme desconfiança sobre a veemência cada vez maior nas reivindicações territoriais de Pequim no Mar do Sul da China.

O Vietnã, que mantém uma relação complicada com a China, seu principal parceiro comercial e companheiro ideológico – mas contra o qual travou uma breve guerra em 1979 –, é hoje em dia o principal oponente na região, ao lado das Filipinas, às reivindicações chinesas. Pequim e Hanói disputam as ilhas Paracel e Spratly, onde a China planeja estabelecer uma base para operações de resgate, conforme noticiou a imprensa oficial chinesa.

Atento aos movimentos de seu poderoso vizinho do norte, o Vietnã foi reforçando a cooperação militar com outros países da região, como Japão e Austrália, e modernizando seu arsenal, até agora fornecido principalmente pela Rússia. Os Estados Unidos insistem que é preciso garantir a liberdade de navegação em águas por onde passam anualmente cerca de cinco trilhões de dólares em bens comercializados, dos quais mais de 20% são norte-americanos. Em várias ocasiões, Washington expressou preocupação com a velocidade em que a China constrói ilhotas artificiais na zona em disputa. Navios militares norte-americanos realizaram várias patrulhas perto de ilhotas que a China considera território próprio.

Obama negou que a decisão de levantar o embargo, parcialmente relaxado há dois anos para alguns equipamentos de defesa marítima, esteja relacionada à preocupação comum com a China. O fim da proibição “não se baseou na China nem em qualquer outra consideração, mas em nosso desejo de completar o que foi um longo processo de avanços na normalização das relações com o Vietnã”, afirmou, conforme cita a Reuters.

Até o momento, a China se limitou a declarar, tanto antes como depois do anúncio, que espera que a normalização das relações entre Washington e Hanói após o conflito terminado em 1975 contribua para manter a paz e a estabilidade na região. “Aplaudimos a normalização do desenvolvimento das relações entre os Estados Unidos e o Vietnã”, ressaltou a porta-voz do Ministério das Relações Exteriores em Pequim, Hua Chunying.

Os Estados Unidos ainda não especificaram quando ou que armamentos pretendem vender ao Vietnã. Qualquer decisão a esse respeito será tomada caso a caso e dependerá, conforme afirmou Obama, de melhorias no respeito aos direitos humanos, uma área em que o histórico do regime comunista deixa muito a desejar. Na sexta-feira, como sinal de boa vontade, Hanói libertou o padre católico Nguyen Van Ly, preso há cerca de 20 anos por seu trabalho em defesa das liberdades.

Mas o anúncio já despertou a ira dos defensores dos direitos humanos. Para Phil Robertson, sub-diretor para a Ásia do Human Rights Watch, a decisão da Casa Branca “põe a perder muito da capacidade de pressão que os EUA ainda tinham para exigir a melhora dos direitos humanos no Vietnã, e basicamente não consegue nada em troca”.

As reuniões de Obama com as autoridades em Hanói também tinham um aspecto econômico e comercial. Apesar de a China ser o principal parceiro comercial do Vietnã, os Estados Unidos são o principal comprador das exportações do país do Sudeste Asiático. Entre outros acordos anunciados na segunda-feira, a Boeing venderá cem aviões à companhia aérea de baixo custo VietJet no valor de 11,3 bilhões de dólares.

A visita de Obama ao Vietnã termina na quarta-feira, quando o presidente norte-americano viajará ao Japão para participar da cúpula anual do G-7, o grupo de países mais desenvolvidos, e, especialmente, para visitar Hiroshima, onde os Estados Unidos lançaram a primeira bomba atômica da história em 6 de agosto de 1945. Obama será o primeiro presidente norte-americano em exercício a visitar o Memorial da Paz dessa cidade e participar de uma cerimônia em homenagem às vítimas. Embora não esteja previsto um pedido de desculpas por parte do mandatário, espera-se que sua presença sirva para virar a página sobre um assunto que, 70 anos depois, ainda suscita fortes debates.

Fonte: El País

The New Normal: Cold War 2.0

Published originally in: 06/05/2016

We are all living in Hybrid War time. From R2P (“responsibility to protect”) to color revolutions, from currency attacks to stock market manipulations.

Pepe-Escobar

From judicial-financial-political-media enabled “soft” coups – as in Brazil – to support for “moderate” jihadis, multiple stages of Hybrid War now cross-pollinate and generate a vortex of new mutant viruses.

Hybrid War, a Beltway concept, has even been turned upside down by the conceptualizers. NATO, affecting puzzlement at the very existence of the concept, interprets the Russian “invasion” of Ukraine as Hybrid War. That serves prime Hybrid War purveyors such as the RAND corporation to take it further, peddling war game scenarios of Russia being able to invade and conquer the Baltic states — Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania — in less than 60 hours.And that, in turn, foments even more Western military hysteria, encapsulated by the new NATO commander, a.k.a. Dr. Strangelove; Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, who made sure he would come up with a stage entrance worthy of his predecessor, Philip Breedlove/ Breedhate.

Slightly amused at the whole conceptual circus, Russians respond with actions. Extra deployments in our Western borderlands? No problem; here’s your asymmetrical answer. And say hello, soon, to our new toy: the S-500s.

What Hillary wants

The notion that Moscow would have any interest at all to capture Baltic states is ludicrous in itself. But with the evidence of direct occupation of Afghanistan (the Taliban will never quit) and R2P in Libya (a failed state devastated by militias) spelling miserable failure, NATO badly needs a “success”. Enter warmongering rhetoric and conceptual manipulation – and this when it’s actually Washington that is deploying Hybrid War all across the chessboard.

Reality occurs beyond NATO’s looking glass. Russia is way ahead of the Pentagon/NATO in A2AD — anti-access/area denial; Russian missiles and submarines may easily prevent NATO fighter jets from flying in Central Europe and NATO ships from “patrolling” the Baltic Sea. For the “indispensable nation”, that hurts – so bad.Relentless rhetorical hysteria masks the real high-stakes game in play. And that’s where US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton fits in. Throughout her campaign, Clinton has extolled “a major strategic objective of our transatlantic alliance”. The major “strategic objective” is none other than the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – a NATO-on-trade complementing political and military NATO.

The fact that TTIP, after the latest Dutch leaks, now runs the risk of being mired in Walking Dead territory may be a temporary setback. The imperial “project” is clear; to configure NATO, which already mutated into a global Robocop (Afghanistan, Libya, Syria), into an integrated political-economic-commercial-military alliance. Always under Washington’s command, of course. And including key peripheral vassals/contributors, such as the Gulf petromonarchies and Israel.

The imperial “enemy”, of course, would have to be the only authentic project available for the 21st century: Eurasia integration – which ranges from the Chinese-led New Silk Roads to the Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union; BRICS integration, which includes their New Development Bank (NDB), in tandem with the Chinese Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB); a resurgent, still independent Iran – Eurasia-connected; and all other independent poles among Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) nations.

This is the ultimate, ongoing 21st confrontation that will keep generating multiple, localized hybrid warfare forms – as it takes place not only across Eurasia but across the whole Global South. It’s all interlocked – from Maidan to the secret TTIP negotiations; from provoking China in the South China Sea to an oil price war and an attack on the ruble; from the NSA spying on Petrobras feeding a slow motion, legalistic regime change process in Brazil to an EU ravaged by twin plagues; a refugee crisis ultimately provoked by NATO’s wars (and instrumentalized by Turkey) coupled with Salafi-jhadi terrorism also spawned by the same wars.Even with France and Germany still dithering – as in paying too heavy a price for sanctions on Russia — Washington’s “project” counts on a ravaged EU being a perpetual hostage of NATO. And ultimately, a hostage of NATO on trade – because of those US geostrategic imperatives against Eurasia integration. 

This implies another necessity; the conceptual war – it’s the evil Russians who are waging Hybrid War, not us! —  must be won at all costs, by instilling constant fear into the average EU citizen. In parallel, it’s also essential to put on a show; thus one of the most massive US-designed military operations on European soil since the end of the Cold War – complete with Navy and Air Force displaying nuclear capability. 

This is the new normal; Cold War 2.0, 24/7. 

By Pepe Escobar

Source: Sputnik News

Casa Branca admite a possibilidade de novos ataques aéreos contra Dash, na Líbia

Postado em: 16/05/2016

dash

“Os EUA já realizaram ataques contra alvos do Daesh na Líbia e, quando for necessário realizar ataques adicionais, para proteger americanos, farão isso novamente sem hesitar”, disse Earnest. 

“O presidente já emitiu ordens de ataque às instalações militares do Estado Islâmico na Líbia antes, e isso continua sendo uma opção possível. No entanto, isso não acontecerá de modo a substituir o desenvolvimento das capacidades do governo central, para que o mesmo garanta a segurança do país e combata o Estado Islâmico”, adicionou o oficial do governo norte-americano.

Earnest comentou o anúncio sobre a retirada parcial do embargo de armamentos adotado contra Tripoli, feito em Viena nesta segunda-feira. Segundo o secretário de Estado, John Kerry, o embargo de armamentos continuará em vigor, mas com excessões, de modo a permitir a venda de armas necesssárias para o combate com o Daesh e outros grupos terroristas.

A partir de 31 de março, um novo governo de unidade nacional começou a operar no país, sob a liderança do primeiro-ministro Fayez al-Sarraj. O novo governo espera restaurar a unidade do país que, desde a queda do regime de Muammar Kadhafi, em 2011, vive em estado de caos político e institucional. Algumas regiões da Líbia encontram-se sob o controle de grupos terroristas.

Sérvia: albaneses de Kosovo combatem nas fileiras do Daesh na Síria

Fonte: Sputnik

Bin Laden’s True Legacy

bin-laden-charge

Published on May 5, 2016

May 2 marked the five-year anniversary of the U.S. raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. In the wake of that operation, we noted that while bin Laden’s death fulfilled a sense of vengeance and closure for the 9/11 attacks, in the big picture, it was going to have little effect on the trajectory of the wider jihadist movement. A man was dead, but the ideology of jihadism was going to continue to pose a threat.

The jihadist movement has progressed closer to bin Laden’s vision for the world in the past five years than it had in the almost 10 years between 9/11 and his death. An arc of jihad now spreads from West Africa through the Middle East and into Southeast Asia. Reflecting on bin Laden’s demise provides a reminder not to lose sight of the forest — the wider jihadist movement — by focusing on the trees — individuals and groups.

The Vision

Bin Laden aspired to a world ruled by a Muslim caliph who would be guided by the principles of Sharia. To get there, he envisioned the establishment of a series of Islamic emirates practicing “true Islam” that eventually would expand into a global caliphate. Until his death, bin Laden maintained that jihadists should focus primarily on attacking what he termed the far enemies — the United States and its “European crusader allies.” He believed that until they were driven out of the Muslim world, it would be impossible to establish such emirates because the United States and its allies would overthrow “true Muslim” leaders as they did Mullah Mohammad Omar and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Furthermore, unless the far enemies were stopped, they would continue to support the “apostate” governments, such as those in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, that did not share bin Laden’s interpretation of Islam.

Bin Laden’s strategy centered on use of spectacular terrorist attacks to draw the United States into invading the Muslim world. He believed that once the United States invaded, Muslims would be compelled to join a defensive jihad to fight the “crusader armies” in a long war of attrition. Bin Laden believed that this action would lead to the collapse of the U.S. economy and government in much the same way he believed the jihad in Afghanistan had precipitated the collapse of the Soviet Union. In his plan, once the United States and its allies were defeated, local uprisings would be able to overthrow the corrupt governments in the Muslim world, clearing the way for the global caliphate to rise.

Realizing the Vision

Bin Laden and al Qaeda’s early attacks against the United States such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1998 East Africa embassy bombings and the failed Millennium bombing plot did not provoke the desired U.S. response. But the spectacular 9/11 attacks certainly struck the proper chord, prompting the United States to invade Afghanistan in 2001 and topple the Taliban government. The reaction was fierce and fast, and a large number of al Qaeda and other foreign jihadists fled Afghanistan. Many settled in the friendlier confines of Pakistan’s wild Pashtun areas, while some fled to other havens in the region. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his followers relocated to northern Iraq, a lawless region that had thrown off the yoke of Saddam Hussein’s rule.

But the stricken American behemoth was not finished. In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam, who had absolutely no connection to the 9/11 attacks. This proved a boon to the jihadist cause. While Afghanistan was a relative backwater, Iraq was seen as the heart of the historical Muslim world, and therefore alluring to those wanting to fight a defensive jihad. It also helped that Iraq was wedged between Iran and Syria, two countries hostile to the United States that would aid jihadists in their efforts to bleed the United States and drive its troops out of the region.

Iraq quickly became a jihadist magnet, and as money poured in, the number of foreign fighters traveling there rapidly surpassed the number that were in Afghanistan. This infusion of men and cash (Iraq was already awash with weapons) helped dramatically increase al-Zarqawi’s profile. He merged his Jamaat al-Tawhid and Jihad group into al Qaeda, but as we have noted since 2005, the marriage was precarious from the beginning.

Other jihadist groups adopted the al Qaeda ideology and even its brand name, and soon there were franchises in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Algeria and sympathetic or aligned groups in the Philippines, Indonesia, Somalia and Nigeria. Grassroots cells and lone attackers sprung up across the globe. Some groups conducted noteworthy attacks in places such as Bali, Madrid and London. But mostly, jihadists did not make any appreciable headway and struggled merely to survive. The places where jihadists were able to thrive were mostly wild or ungoverned, such as along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and in Somalia, the deserts of the Sahel and Yemen, and the Indonesian/Philippine archipelago.

world_jihadist_areas_operation-2016

Even though al-Zarqawi’s group had proclaimed an “Islamic State in Iraq” a few months after his death in 2006, by 2010 the group had been severely damaged and was in danger of annihilation. But 2011 was about to bring dramatic change. First, the United States was in the middle of a drawdown that would remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by December 2011. Second, events in Tunisia in December 2010 sparked a regional uprising, later called the Arab Spring. The wave of protests that broke across the region would not only result in the overthrows of rulers such as Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh and Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi, but also led to civil wars in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Mali. Even in countries such as Tunisia and Egypt where the existing order was not overthrown, the uprisings would provide room for jihadist groups to gain a foothold and grow.

But in most places, the Arab Spring itself did not inspire the growing acceptance of jihadist ideology as much as the failure of democratic reform efforts and the government counteractions that threw many into the arms of the jihadists. When nonviolent protests are met with violence, it is hard to keep protesters from responding in kind, and that is what happened in Syria, Libya, Yemen and even Iraq, where Shiite authority violently put down Sunni protests. This spiral of violence provided a recruiting bonanza for jihadist groups.

This created a no-win situation for the United States and its allies. They intervened on the side of the crowds in Libya and helped smash Libya’s army, plunging the country into anarchy as fighting erupted along regional, tribal, religious and ethnic lines. In Syria, the United States and its allies helped equip and train anti-government forces but did not directly intervene as in Libya. Nevertheless, Syria still fell into the same sort of chaos, and jihadists have benefitted greatly from the resulting civil war. Syria became such a large jihadist prize that a nasty fight erupted over who would control the jihadist movement there, leading the Islamic State to break from al Qaeda and engage it in open combat.

The division would eventually spread globally, with the Islamic State and al Qaeda each competing for primacy — and ideological control of the jihadist movement. In Libya, Somalia and Afghanistan, this struggle has shifted from ideological battles to armed conflict. In many ways this struggle mirrors those waged between Marxist and Maoist ideologues for the leadership of the communist world. It is hard to see an end to the Islamic State-al Qaeda conflict, and we are skeptical of claims that al Qaeda and the Islamic State could eventually patch up their differences and reunite.

The Future

People and governments alike tend to focus on personalities such as bin Laden and self-declared caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and groups such as the core of the al Qaeda and the Islamic State organizations. In fact, governments struggle greatly in combatting more amorphous targets, such as movements and ideologies. But there is a danger that by focusing on the trees, one can miss the forest.

Certainly, governments must continue to apply all the tools of counterinsurgency and counterterrorism against these jihadist groups and their leadership, but it is also crucial to recognize that the world simply cannot kill or arrest its way out of this problem. The broader jihadist movement, whether inside the arc of jihad or in other parts of the globe, will continue to pose a threat until the ideology of jihadism is defeated as Marxism and Maoism largely were. The struggle is going to require strong U.S. leadership and cooperation from an array of regional allies and alliances.

Despite the internal al Qaeda/Islamic State conflict, overall the jihadist movement is larger and casts a wider shadow now than it ever has. The number of foreign fighters who have flocked to Syria, Libya and elsewhere in recent years has far surpassed the number of fighters who made similar jihad pilgrimages in past decades.

The realization of bin Laden’s dreams is nowhere close, but the jihadists’ utopian vision of a just and secure society ruled under Sharia remains especially appealing to Muslims who are living under a dictatorship, kleptocracy, or anarchy in the case of Afghanistan after the fall of the Mohammed Najibullah administration. However, this utopianism quickly fades once it meets reality. People who have lived under jihadist rule in Afghanistan, Yemen, Mali, Libya, Somalia and Syria have learned that oppression and corruption do not disappear in a jihadist society — they merely take on a new form. Jihadist polities have consequently proved to be unpopular and short-lived, and the jihadist dream of creating lasting emirates is clearly more delusional than practical.

The modern form of jihadism that bin Laden helped nurture and propagate will eventually be relegated to history’s rubbish bin of failed ideologies where it will languish next to Marxism and Maoism. But until that happens, jihadists will continue to kill and destroy, much like the communists who went before them. The death and destruction that jihadists will leave in their wake as the ideology withers will be his true legacy.

Stratfor

 

How Russia and China Are Planning to Counter US Economic Warfare

Posted originally in: 16/04/2016

There is no better example of ‘hybrid war’ that Washington’s economic and financial war against Moscow.

Russia-China

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei told a large group of people in the holy city of Mashhad on Sunday that “The Americans did not act on what they promised in the [Iranian] nuclear accord [the JCPOA]; they did not do what they should have done. According to Foreign Minister [Javad Zarif], they brought something on paper but prevented materialization of the objectives of the Islamic Republic of Iran through many diversionary ways.”

This statement during the Supreme Leader’s key Nowruz (New Year) address should be understood as a flashing amber light: it was no rhetorical flourish. And it was not a simple dig at America (as some may suppose). It was perhaps more of a gentle warning to the Iranian government to “take care” of the possible political consequences.

What is happening is significant: for whatever motive, the U.S. Treasury is busy emptying much of the JCPOA sanctions relief of any real substance (and their motive is something which deserves careful attention). The Supreme Leader also noted that Iran is experiencing difficulties in repatriating its formerly frozen, external funds.

U.S. Treasury officials, since “implementation” day, have been doing the rounds, warning European banks that the U.S. sanctions on Iran remain in place, and that European banks should not think, even for a second, of tapping the dollar or euro bond markets in order to finance trade with Iran, or to become involved with financing infrastructure projects in Iran.

Banks well understand the message: touch Iranian commerce and you will be whacked with a billion dollar fine – against which there is no appeal, no clear legal framework – and no argument countenanced.  The banks (understandably) are shying off. Not a single bank or financial lending institution turned up when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visited Paris to hold meetings with the local business élite.

The influential Keyhan Iranian newspaper wrote on March 14 on this matter that: “Speaking at the UN General Assembly session in September, Rouhani stated: ‘Today a new phase of relations has started in Iran’s relations with the world.’ He also stated in a live radio and television discussion with the people on 23 Tir: ‘The step-by-step implementation of this document could slowly remove the bricks of the wall of mistrust.’

Keyhan continues: “These remarks were made at a time when the Western side, headed by America, does not have any intention to remove or even shorten the wall of mistrust between itself and Iran. … Moreover, they are delaying the implementation of their JCPOA commitments. Lifting the sanctions has remained merely as a promise on a piece of paper, so much so that it has roused the protest of Iranian politicians.”

“The American side is promoting conditions in such a way that today even European banks and companies do not dare to establish financial relations with Iran – since all of them fear America’s reaction in the form of sanctions [imposed on those same banks]. Actually, the reason for the delay in the commencement of the European banks’ financial cooperation with the Iranian banks and the failure to facilitate banking and economic transactions, is because many of the American sanctions are still in place, and Iranian banks’ financial transactions are [still] facing restrictions. Moreover, given their continuing fear of the biting legislations and penalties for violations of the Americans’ old sanctions, European financial institutions are concerned about violating the American sanctions that continue to be in force …

“It is pointless to expect the US administration to cooperate with Iran given the comments of the US officials, including [National Security Advisor] Susan Rice, since the Americans’ comments and behaviour reveal their non-compliance with their obligations and speak of the absence of the US administration’s political will to implement even its minimum obligations.”

Here Keyhan is specifically referring to Susan Rice’s observation to Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic that, “The Iran deal was never primarily about trying to open a new era of relations between the US and Iran. The aim was very simply to make a dangerous country less dangerous. No one had any expectation that Iran would be a more benign actor.”

Keyhan continues: “Any action on the international scene calls for suitable and appropriate reaction. Therefore, we cannot expect a government like the US administration that seizes every single opportunity to restrict our county, to lift the sanctions. Rice’s recent comments are only a small part of the increasing anti-Iranian rhetoric of the American officials in recent months. These remarks should actually be regarded as a sign … that the dream of the JCPOA is nothing but wishful thinking and far from reality.” (Emphasis added).

The Supreme Leader’s nudge therefore was intended for the ears of the government: Do not build too much politically on this accord: beware its foundations may turn out to be built on sand.

‘Silver Bullet’ Worries

Recently U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew gave a talk at Carnegie, on the Evolution of Sanctions and Lessons for the Future, on which David Ignatius commented: “Economic sanctions have become the ‘silver bullet’ of American foreign policy over the past decade, because they’re cheaper and more effective in compelling adversaries than traditional military power. But Jack Lew warns of a ‘risk of overuse’ that could neuter the sanctions weapon and harm America. His caution against overuse comes as some Republican members of Congress are fighting to maintain U.S. sanctions on the Iranian nuclear program despite last year’s deal limiting that Iranian threat.”

So what is going on here? If Lew is warning against sanction overreach, why is it that it is precisely his department that is the one that is so assiduously undermining sanctions relief for Iran – “particularly since Lew’s larger point is that sanctions won’t work if countries don’t get the reward they were promised — in the removal of sanctions — once they accede to U.S. Demands”, in the paraphrase by Ignatius himself?

One reason for this apparent contradiction implicit in Lew’s remarks probably is China: Recall that when China’s stock markets were in freefall and hemorrhaging foreign exchange, as it sought to support the Yuan – China blamed the U.S. Fed (U.S. Reserve Bank) for its problems – and promptly was derided for making such an “outlandish” accusation.

Actually, what the Fed was then doing was stating its intent to raise interest rates (for the best of motives naturally!) – just as those, such as Goldman Sachs, have been advising. U.S. Corporate and bank profits are sliding badly, and in “times of financial depletion,” as the old adage goes, “bringing capital home becomes the priority” – and a strong dollar does exactly that.

But the Peoples’ Bank of China (PBOC) did a bit more than just whine about the Fed actions, it reacted:  It allowed the Yuan to weaken, which induced turmoil across a global financial world (already concerned about China’s economic slowing); then raised the Yuan value to squeeze out speculation, betting on further falls in the Yuan; then let it weaken again as the Fed comments started to slide in favor of interest rate hikes, and a strong dollar – until finally, as Zero Hedge has noted:

Zerohedge: And since Janet delivered, PBOC has strengthened the Yuan Fix by the most since 2005!!

Zerohedge: And since Janet delivered, PBOC has strengthened the Yuan Fix by the most since 2005!!

“It appeared the messaging from The People’s Bank Of China to The Fed was heard loud and understood. Having exercised its will to weaken the Yuan (implying turmoil is possible), Janet Yellen (Fed Chair) delivered the dovish goods [i.e. indicated that global conditions trumped the advice of the likes of Goldman Sachs to strengthen the dollar], and so China ‘allowed’ the Yuan to rally back. In a double-whammy for everyone involved, the biggest 3-day strengthening of the Yuan fix since 2005 also pushed the Yuan forwards, back to their richest relative to spot since Aug 2014 – once again showing their might against the dastardly speculative shorts.”

In short, the Ignatius’s “silver bullet” of foreign policy (the U.S. Treasury Wars against any potential competitor to U.S. political or financial hegemony) is facing a growing “hybrid” financial war, just as NATO has been complaining that it is having to adjust to “hybrid” conventional war – from the likes of Russia.

So, as the U.S. tries to expand its reach, for example by claiming legal jurisdiction over the Bank of China, and by blacklisting one of China’s largest telecom companies, thus forbidding any U.S. company from doing business with China’s ZTE, China is pushing back. It has just demonstrated convincingly that U.S. Treasury “silver bullets” can fall short.

Zerohedge: Crushing shorts as Yuan forwards collapse back to their ‘richest’ relative to spot since Aug 2014

Zerohedge: Crushing shorts as Yuan forwards collapse back to their ‘richest’ relative to spot since Aug 2014

This, we think, may have been Lew’s point — one directed, possibly, at Congress, which has become truly passionate about its new-found “neutron bomb” (as a former Treasury official described its geo-financial warfare).

In respect to Russia, this is important: Russia and America seem to be edging towards some sort of “grand bargain” over Syria (and possibly Ukraine too), which is likely to involve the Europeans lifting, in mid-2016, their sanctions imposed on Russia. But again, the U.S. is likely nonetheless to maintain its own sanctions (or even add to them, as some in the U.S. Congress are arguing).

Source of three graphs: Zero Hedge

Source of three graphs: Zero Hedge

So, if Russia, like Iran and China become disenchanted with promises of U.S. sanctions relaxation – then, as the Keyhan author noted, a suitable and appropriate (i.e. adverse) reaction, will ensue.

Boomerang Effect

What the Fed and Lew seem to have assimilated is that the U.S. and European economies are now so vulnerable and volatile that China and Russia can, as it were, whack-back at America – especially where China and Russia co-ordinate strategically. Yellen specifically signaled “weakening world growth” and “less confidence in the renormalization process” as reasons for the Fed backtrack.

Ironically, David Ignatius in his article gives the game away: Lew is not going soft, saying that the US needs to use its tools more prudently; far from it. His point is different, and Ignatius exposes it inadvertently:

“U.S. power flows from our unmatched military might, yes. But in a deeper way, it’s a product of the dominance of the U.S. economy. Anything that expands the reach of U.S. markets — such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership in trade, for example — adds to the arsenal of U.S. power. Conversely, U.S. power is limited by measures that drive business away from America, or allow other nations to build a rival financial architecture that’s less encumbered by a smorgasbord of sanctions.”

This latter point precisely is what is frightening Lew and Ignatius. The tables are turning: in fact, the U.S. and Europe may be becoming more vulnerable to retaliation (e.g. Europe, with Russia’s retaliatory sanctions on European agricultural products) than China and Russia are, to unilateral Treasury or Fed warfare.

This is the new hybrid war (and not the hot air issuing from NATO). Lew and Ignatius know that a parallel “architecture” is under construction, and that Congress’ addiction to new sanctions is just speeding it into place.

So, why then is the U.S. Treasury so zealous in undermining the effectiveness of JCPOA’s agreed lifting of sanctions? Well, probably because Iran has less leverage over the global financial system than either China or Russia. But also perhaps, because “Iran sanctions” are (erroneously) viewed by U.S. leaders as the Treasury’s “jewel in its crown” of geo-financial success.

What may be missing from this hubristic interpretation, however, is the understanding that Iran’s experience will not be lost on the others, nor on the SCO when it convenes its next meetings on how to combat Western “color revolution” operations (with Iran likely joining that organization as a member, rather than an observer, this summer).

Source: Russia Insider

Venezuela acusa EUA de violar direito internacional mais uma vez

Postado originalmente em: 04/05/2016

Segundo a ministra, esta não é a primeira vez que os Estados Unidos agem de forma a constranger e impedir o ingresso de missões diplomáticas no país.

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O governo da Venezuela vai apresentar, nesta quarta-feira (4), uma nota oficial onde acusa os Estados Unidos de violar seu direito internacional. Uma delegação venezuelana em missão diplomática foi impedida de ingressar no país para participar de sessões de organismos internacionais.

A ministra de Relações Exteriores venezuelana, Delcy Rodríguez, denunciou, nesta terça-feira (3) uma nova arremetida contra funcionários venezuelanos por parte do governo norte-americano. Uma delegação inteira foi impedida de entrar nos Estados Unidos, quando estava em missão diplomática para assistir a sessões de organismos internacionais.

“Nós não estamos solicitando vistos para eventos de ordem bilateral. O Estado sede, neste caso os Estados Unidos, onde estão radicadas a Organização de Estados Americanos e a Organização das Nações Unidas não pode se negar a outorgar os vistos”, denunciou a ministra.

De acordo com a ministra, não é a primeira vez que acontece este tipo de ação constrangedora que violam estatutos de direito internacional público, a Convenção de Viena; além de prejudicar as relações diplomáticas e consulares. Denunciou ainda que a embaixada norte-americana em Caracas, capital da Venezuela, age como uma “máquina de guerra” contra o governo institucional do presidente Nicolás Maduro.

Fonte: Portal Vermelho