Catalonia’s Political Crisis Snowballs into an Economic Crisis, by Don Quijones

A Catalonian separation from Spain would be economically detrimental to both sides. From Don Quijones at wolfstreet.com:

Independence would be “horrific” and amount to “financial suicide,” said Spain’s Economy Minister. But financial suicide for whom?

It’s not easy being a Catalan bank these days. In the last few weeks the region’s two biggest lenders, Caixabank and Sabadell, have lost €9 billion of deposits as panicked customers in Catalonia have moved their money elsewhere. Many customers in other parts of Spain have also yanked their savings out of Catalan banks, but less out of fear than out of anger at the banks’ Catalan roots.

Moving their official company address to other parts of Spain last week may have helped ease that resentment, allowing the two banks to recoup some €2 billion of deposits. But the move has angered the roughly 2.5 million pro-independence supporters in Catalonia, many of whom have accounts at one of the two banks. Today they expressed that anger by withdrawing cash en masse.

Many protesters made symbolic withdrawals of €155 — a reference to Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which Madrid activated today to impose direct rule over the semi-autonomous region. Others opted for €1,714 in a nod to the year 1714, when Barcelona was captured by the troops of King Felipe V, who then proceeded to suppress the rights of rebellious regions.

Some bank customers withdrew a lot more than that. The council of Argentona, a small town outside Barcelona, closed its accounts at Caixabank and Sabadell and transferred all €2.25 million of its funds to a branch of the Dutch lender Triodos. If other institutional or business customers follow Argentona’s example, Caixabank and Sabadell could have a big problem on their hands.

The fallout of political instability in Catalonia is being felt across the whole economy. Real estate investment in the region, both domestic and foreign, is drying up. Starwood European Real Estate Finance, the European subsidiary of the U.S. property giant Starwood Capital, has announced that it’s shifting its focus away not only from Catalonia but Spain as a whole, and toward more stable European markets.

It’s not just investments that have been put on hold. People are not spending much either. Important consumer purchases have been put on hold until some semblance of stability returns, and people are not going out as much as before. Based on my own observations, the bars are emptier and the streets are quieter.

To continue reading: Catalonia’s Political Crisis Snowballs into an Economic Crisis

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Dying for the Empire Is Not Heroic, by Sheldon Richman

The usual tributes were paid to the four Green Berets who were killed in Niger, but nobody was asking what the US was doing in Niger. From Sheldon Richman at antiwar.com:

Predictably, the news media spent most of the week examining words Donald Trump may or may not have spoken to the widow of an American Green Beret killed in Niger, in northwest Africa, in early October. Not only was this coverage tedious, it was largely pointless. We know Trump is a clumsy boor, and we also know that lots of people are ready to pounce on him for any sort of gaffe, real or imagined. Who cares? It’s not news. But it was useful to those who wish to distract Americans from what really needs attention: the U.S. government’s perpetual war.

The media’s efforts should have been devoted to exploring – really exploring – why Green Berets (and drones) are in Niger at all. (This is typical of the establishment media’s explanation.)

That subject is apparently of little interest to media companies that see themselves merely as cheerleaders for the American Empire. For them, it’s all so simple: a US president (even one they despise) has put or left military forces in a foreign country – no justification required; therefore, those forces are serving their country; and that in turn means that if they die, they die as heroes who were protecting our way of life. End of story.

Thus the establishment media see no need to present a dissenting view, say, from an analyst who would question the dogma that inserting American warriors into faraway conflicts whenever a warlord proclaims his allegiance to ISIS is in the “national interest.” Patriotic media companies have no wish to expose their audiences to the idea that jihadists would be no threat to Americans who were left to mind their own business.

To continue reading: Dying for the Empire Is Not Heroic

What Do Hillary, Uranium One, And An FBI Bust Of A Deep Cover Russian Spy Network Have In Common? by Tyler Durden

For some reason, the media doesn’t seem to be hyperventilating about a very real story about Russian influence on two prominent American politicians, the Clintons, but continues to tout the largely illusory story of President Trump and Russian influence. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

In 2010, shortly after Hillary Clinton assumed her position as Secretary of State in the Obama administration, the FBI broke up a deep-cover Russian spy ring that had been operating in the U.S. for decades.  The operation, code named “Ghost Stories,” was a huge bust for the FBI that handed the U.S. intelligence community 10 highly trained, deep-cover, Russian spies presumably with immensely valuable insights into Russia’s covert operations in the homeland.  All of which is why its so confounding that Hillary, as Secretary of State, “worked so feverishly” to retun them all to Moscow posthaste rather than exploit their intelligence value to the fullest extent possible.

As the Daily Caller points out today, the FBI’s bust couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Clintons as it came literally the day before Bill Clinton delivered a $500,000 speech in Moscow on behalf of a Russian bank with an interest in securing approval of the controversial Uranium One deal…oh the tangled webs…

For a decade, the FBI ran an operation called Ghost Stories to monitor and rip apart a deep-cover Russian agent network. Ghost Stories tracked a ring Russian spies who lived between Boston and Washington, D.C., under false identities. It was one of the FBI’s most elaborate and successful counterintelligence operations in history.

Under the code name Operation Ghost Stories, the FBI had been working the ring for a decade. Its targets had burrowed in along the Acela Corridor between Boston, New York, and Washington DC. They lived normal daily lives as Americans to attend universities, run businesses, marry, and conceive and raise children to infiltrate society and subvert government institutions. One of the SVR agents had stolen the identity of a six week-old Canadian baby who had died in 1963. That prompted the Ghost Stories code name. The ring inspired the FX network’s television series, “The Americans.”

 

To continue reading: What Do Hillary, Uranium One, And An FBI Bust Of A Deep Cover Russian Spy Network Have In Common?

How To Stop All Future Mass Shootings, by Brandon Smith

Smith’s solution won’t really stop all mass shootings, but it relies on private sector action that will undoubtedly be more effective than anything the government can do. From Smith at alt-market.com:

In my last article ‘A Tactical Analysis Of The Las Vegas Mass Shooting Incident,’ I outlined the precarious nature of the mainstream narrative and why the Vegas event in particular requires serious independent investigation into the possibility that Stephen Paddock did not plan or execute the event alone, or, he did not plan or execute the event at all, and someone else with far more tactical knowledge and shooting experience committed the murders outside the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Given that the FBI and Vegas sheriff’s timeline seems to change every few days and that Mandalay surveillance footage is locked up tight, I think it is safe to say that someone more professional, and not muzzled by bureaucracy, needs be involved.

Setting aside the inconsistencies in the official narrative, questioning the motives behind this particular attack does not really bring us any closer to a practical solution. Of course, if you are one of those people that obsessively embraces the “crisis actor” theory, then you likely think that nothing much needs to be solved because “no one actually died.” I am not very interested in this impractical theory reminiscent of ‘The Truman Show’, nor the people that promote it. It reminds me of the 9/11 hologram plane theory — remember, the theory designed to discredit the more legitimate 9/11 truth movement which included hundreds of scientists, architects and engineers with real arguments and evidence? Yeah, those establishment disinformation tactics did not go away; they are still being used today to undermine honest and rational investigations of other potential false flag events.

Ask “fake event” theorists for ANY concrete evidence that a single death was theatrical and that thousands of concertgoers and their families are part of the conspiracy, and these guys will demand that YOU show them the dead bodies and prove that the event “wasn’t faked.”  In other words, you must prove a negative, which is of course impossible.

Tell them you happen to know people with friends and family who were harmed in the event and they’ll call you a liar or a government “agent.” Show them numerous photos of dead bodies and they’ll claim the bodies are actors. Show them first hand accounts of people on the ground — hey, all those people must be actors, too. Ask them for proof again and they’ll try to pawn the burden of proof off on you; proof that they will then again deny when it is presented. It is a pointless circle of idiocy that makes alternative research look ridiculous.

To continue reading: How To Stop All Future Mass Shootings

Spain Activates “Nuclear Option”: Will Seize Control Of Catalan Government, Force New Elections, by Tyler Durden

Here are the latest developments in Spain and Catalonia. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy asked lawmakers to grant him unprecedented powers to force leaders of the Catalonia region to cease their independence push, a dramatic escalation in the confrontation between Spain and the separatist region, which the WSJ – and virtually everyone else – has said will be a major test for Spanish democracy.  According to The Spain Report, this
is the first time in the modern democratic period that a central
government has suspended home rule in one of Spain’s 17 regions.

Rajoy announced that his central government would use Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution to remove the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, and sack the entire Catalan regional government as part of a barrage of actions, and force new elections on the region within six months. Summoning the sweeping powers of Article 155, Rajoy said Saturday, was a last resort.

Puigdemont and his regional administration will be removed from office once the Spanish Senate approves the government’s plan as soon as this week and Spanish government ministers will take over the management of the Catalan administration, Rajoy said according to Bloomberg. The responsibilities of the Catalan government will be administered in the interim period by central government ministries. Furthermore, the Catalan Parliament will not be allowed to present a new candidate for First Minister, to prevent Puigdemont from being reappointed.

Rajoy said “This is not a suspension of home rule but the dismissal of those who lead the regional government”. The Spanish Senate will be in charge of controlling the process. As a result, Rajoy said Spain’s central government would temporarily control Catalonia’s regional ministries until new elections are called. The prime minister said he is seeking to convene regional elections within six months.

Germany: Full Censorship Now Official Courts Rewrite History, by Judith Bergman

The Phony Islamic State Gets Plastered, by Eric Margolis

For years the US used ISIS as a regime-change agent in Syria, all the while claiming they were tough, tenacious, and hard to beat. Then Russia came along, and with allies Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah, started pushing ISIS around. All of sudden, the US started having some success against ISIS, too. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

The so-called Islamic State organization was primarily a bogeyman encouraged by the western powers.  I’ve been saying this for the last four years.

I asserted, as a former soldier and war correspondent, that IS would collapse like a wet paper bag if proper western ground forces attacked their strongholds in Syria and Iraq.  This week, the western powers and their local satraps finally took action and stormed the last IS stronghold at Raqqa.  To no surprise, IS put up almost no resistance and ran for its miserable life.

The much-dreaded IS was never more than a bunch of young hooligans and religious fanatics who were as militarily effective as the medieval Children’s Crusade.

In the west, IS was blown up by media and governments into a giant monster that was coming to cut the throats of honest folk in the suburbs.

IS did stage some very bloody and grisly attacks – that’s what put it on the map.   But none of them posed any mortal threat or really endangered our national security.   In fact, the primary target of IS attacks has been Shia Muslims in the Mideast.

Many of the IS attacks in North America and Europe were done by mentally deranged individuals or were initiated by under-cover government provocateurs, such as the 1993 bombing of New York’s World Trade Center.  IS was notorious for falsely taking credit for attacks it did not commit.

Other ‘lone wolf’ attacks were made by Mideasterners driven to revenge after watching the destruction by the US and its allies of substantial parts of their region.  Think Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan, and the murderous brutality of Egypt’s-US backed regime.

IS appears to have been shaped by western intelligence in an effort to duplicate its success with the Afghan mujahidin in the mid 1980’s that helped defeat the Soviet Union.  CIA, Pakistani and Saudi intelligence, and Britain’s MI-6 recruited some 100,000 volunteers from across the Muslim world to wage jihad in Afghanistan.  I observed this brilliant success first hand from the ranks of the mujahidin.

To continue reading: The Phony Islamic State Gets Plastered