Tag Archives: U.S. sanctions

Russia’s Shadow Fleet, by Bill Bonner and Joel Bowman

Everybody has figured out how to game U.S. sanctions. From Bill Bonner and Joel Bowman at bonnerprivateresearch.substack.com:

600 tankers carry Russian oil around the world, India imports ‘soaring,’ as USA drains its Strategic Petroleum Reserve…

Bill Bonner, reckoning today from Youghal, Ireland…

How are all those sanctions working out? Bloomberg reports:

Russia Did Most Oil Drilling in a Decade Even as Sanctions Hit

Another headline tells us that India’s imports of Russian oil are ‘soaring.’ And here’s Russia-briefing.com:

Russia’s Rail Freight Volumes Heading East Exceed Westbound Freight For The First Time      

Russia’s Eastbound rail freight shipments exceeded westbound shipments for the first time in 2022, at 80 million tonnes compared with 76 million tonnes, according to Russian Railways (RZD) Chairman Oleg Belozerov, commenting during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The reversal shouldn’t really be a surprise as the European Union has reduced access to its markets by Russia and blocked passenger trains. However, it does symbolize the extent of the ‘Pivot to Asia’ that Russia has gone through in little under 12 months, itself a quite remarkable feat.

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Quake Delivers Earth-Shattering Blow to U.S.-Led NATO Hypocrisy, by Finian Cunningham

Billions for the corrupt Ukraine regime, nothing for Turkey or Syria, and no relief for Syria from U.S. sanctions. And we wonder why most of the world despises the U.S. government. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:

When a real-world emergency happens, all of NATO’s pious and self-regarding talk implodes in a pile of dust.

A 7.8. magnitude earthquake hits Europe’s southern neighbors Türkiye and Syria – and the NATO alliance does next to nothing in response. What sort of security organization is that?

Rather, it seems to be too busy trying to start World War Three by undertaking an unprecedented mobilization of resources and equipment in Ukraine against Russia. A mobilization that is completely unwarranted and indeed is an audacious gaslighting charade played on the Western public.

The United States-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization has an annual military budget that exceeds well over $1 trillion spread over its 30 member nations. One of those members is Türkiye.

What sort of priorities has NATO? Not rhetorical, theoretical, or presumed priorities, but real-life practical, demonstrable priorities.

On Monday morning this week, southern Türkiye and neighboring Syria were devastated by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake and multiple huge aftershocks. The death toll in both countries has risen to over 11,000 with tens of thousands injured and made homeless. With thousands of missing people trapped under rubble, the casualties will increase over the coming days.

Many countries were quick to send emergency rescue teams to the zone of havoc that straddles the border between Türkiye and Syria. Russia and Iran – experienced in such natural disasters – were among the first neighboring countries to send in aid and salvage crews.

By contrast, the apathetic response from the U.S.-led NATO bloc has been abject. What’s even more incredible, Türkiye is a long-time prominent member of the organization and is considered a vital partner for the European Union.

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Here’s the real reason that the US wants to sanction China, by Rachel Marsden

The U.S. government can no longer conceive of win-win situations in foreign affairs of the kind Kennedy and Reagan envisioned. U.S. wins, such as they are, now come at the expense of someone. From Rachel Marsden at rt.com:

Washington’s modus operandi is ‘create problem, blame target country, impose sanctions, expand influence’

The US is considering sanctioning China as a deterrent from attacking Taiwan, according to media reports. Washington always justifies economic sanctions by evoking a military or security threat against either the US or any one of its allies. Then it actively works to prove the legitimacy of the threat – or to create the illusion thereof.

One such instance involved House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taipei over the summer, which was a gratuitous provocation of China at a time when the US is actively involved in arming, training, and funding fighters against Russia in the Ukraine conflict. This same blueprint for ramping up tensions against Washington’s geopolitical foes has been used all over the world, from Latin America to the Middle East.

The formula is simple. Find and support opposition groups or governments, either within the target countries or on their border, who are willing to do Washington’s bidding in exchange for benefits (or promises thereof). If the target country reacts, it’s qualified by the West as a “crackdown” or an attack, both of which conveniently open the door for the deployment of various tools in the Western arsenal for global hegemony – all in the name of defending freedom, democracy, and human rights, of course.

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Washington’s Sanctions War – A Futile Attempt To Control the World Economy, by David Stockman

The U.S. government and many others are about to discover that there are many things they can’t control. From David Stockman at antiwar.com:

Republicans are a pretty pathetic lot. They are always yapping about the socialist dangers posed by the Dem spenders, but actually wouldn’t recognize actual socialism if it whacked them across the forehead.

That is to say, in recent days they have been hooping and hollering in favor of Washington’s Sanctions War on Russia, but that’s about as pure a case of socialism as can be imagined. In essence, economic sanctions assume that the state is entitled to expropriate and destroy economic value owned by any business which had been doing good faith trading or financial transactions with sanctioned Russian entities.

Sure the big cap Fortune 500 and Silicon Valley giants can virtue signal about closing operations in Russia owing to the sanctions or just purported patriotic duty. But that’s phony because most of these corporate giants are vastly overvalued on the stock market owing to the Fed’s reckless money-printing, and therefore believe they can take a multi-billion value hit with impunity.

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The many “great coming outs” triggered by the war in the Ukraine, by Andrei

The Russians are realizing that the West has it in for them; their fight is existential. They’re rallying behind Putin. From Andrei at thesaker.is:

Dear friends,

For four weeks now we have been discussing the Russian special military operation in the Ukraine and most of what we looked at was happening either in the Ukraine proper or near it.  I did mention plenty of time that “this is not about the Ukraine, this is about the future collective security arrangement of Europe“, which is true.  But even that does not show the full picture.  So today I propose to widen the scope further and look at some absolutely crucial developments inside Russia.  Beginning with the most amazing result, at least in my opinion:

The total failure of US PSYOPs inside Russia

I wrote many times already that the Russians got their collective asses handed to them by the massive propaganda machine of the Empire of Lies.  But when I wrote that, I should have been more accurate and write that this is true OUTSIDE Russia.  Inside, almost the polar opposite happened.

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Russia And The End Of The Dollar, by John Wilder

The U.S. is driving a large portion of the world’s population away from the dollar, which invalidates the U.S.’s biggest weapon. From John Wilder at wilderwealthywise.com:

“I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure you can inflate construction costs and launder money through it.” – Ozark

I wonder if everyone can figure out why China built their own Internet now?

Biden has miscalculated.  Again.  As he has his entire life.  He has moved from one miscalculation in his life to the next.  So, it’s not surprising that perhaps the greatest failure in the history of the United States has shown up on his watch.  Let’s go, Brandon, indeed.

To be fair, it’s not entirely Brandon’s fault.  The United States economy, as I’ve gone to great pains to show over my posts, has been hollowed out over the years.  We have gone from one that manufactures things and exports goods to one that mainly manufactures movies (we’re very good at that) and consulting and intellectual property and Starbucks™.

The thing that we’ve been best at is printing and then exporting dollars.  For decades now, we have been exporting dollars that we printed and then importing stuff like fidget spinners and PEZ®.  It was a great deal for us.  People used those dollars and we got stuff, but it was essentially a global tax on the rest of the world.

That ability to tax, however, only works as long as people believe that the dollar is worth something, and that the holder of that economic power won’t bend the rules.  Just like the bank runs up in Canada started when Trudeau broke the promise that the banks won’t steal people’s money, so the same principle applies to international affairs.

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By Enforcing Sanctions On Russia, SWIFT May Commit Suicide, by Michael Maharrey

Putin and company knew for a long time that Russia might one day be subject to cutoff from the SWIFT interbank clearing system. That day has come, and Russia’s workarounds appear to be sound. From Michael Maharrey at libertarianinstitute.org:

The government of the United States has intervened militarily in other countries for decades, against the council of founders like George Washington who advised America should “observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all.”

But the U.S. doesn’t only project power across the globe through its massive military. It also weaponizes the U.S. dollar, using its economic dominance and its privilege as the issuer of the reserve currency as a carrot-stick tool of foreign policy.

The U.S. government showers billions of dollars in foreign aid to “friends.” On the other hand, “enemies” can find themselves locked out of SWIFT, the global financial system that the U.S. effectively controls using the dollar.

SWIFT stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. The system enables financial institutions to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardized environment. Since the dollar serves as the world reserve currency, SWIFT facilitates the international dollar system.

SWIFT and dollar dominance give the U.S. a great deal of leverage over other countries.

The U.S. has used the system as a stick before. In 2014 and 2015, the Obama administration blocked several Russian banks from SWIFT as relations between the two countries deteriorated. Under Trump, the U.S. threatened to lock China out of the dollar system if it failed to follow U.N. sanctions on North Korea. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin threatened this economic nuclear option during a conference broadcast on CNBC.

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US Tees Up ‘Stop Russian Gold Act’, Triggering LBMA And COMEX To Eject Russian Refiners, by Ronan Manly

The Senate has teed up a magnificent bill that will stop those nefarious Russians from selling their gold for dollars. There’s one little problem: the Russians don’t want dollars, they want to hold on to their gold and add to it. From Ronan Manly at BullionStar.com via zerohedge.com:

When the UK, US and EU moved to introduce financial sector sanctions against Russia during the week of 21 – 25 February, one set of markets notably hesitant to join the fray were the OTC precious metals markets in London and by extension the precious metals futures markets run by the COMEX.

Awaiting Instructions – LBMA and COMEX

While the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) quietly moved to kick out Russian banks VTB, Sovcombank, and Orkritie from LBMA membership sometime around 24 – 25 February (and without any sort of announcement), the LBMA appeared to be unable to come to a decision about the 6 LBMA-accredited Russian precious metals refineries on the LBMA Good Delivery Lists of Gold and Silver. This was despite the fact that it was completely obvious that the structural nature and operational activities of these Russian refineries broke the LBMA’s own ‘Good Delivery Rules’ in terms of breaching US-UK-EU sanctions.

Specifically, these six Russian refineries are Krastsvetmet, Prioksky, Novosibir, Uralelectromed, Moscow Special Alloys Plant, and Shyolkosky.

Hence the BullionStar article on 28 February titled “LBMA a deer in headlights as Western Sanctions show up Russian Gold Refiners”.

That article also pointed out that every LBMA accredited gold and silver refinery is also on the CME (COMEX) approved brands list (for warranting and delivery), a situation which arose following a CME mass approval in August 2020 of 267 LBMA Good Delivery List gold and silver refineries. Which meant that the 6 Russian precious metals refiners in question were also on the COMEX approved refiner brands list.

As the week beginning 28 February passed, the LBMA’s continued reluctance to be decisive was revealed when on Thursday 3 March Reuters published an article stating that the LBMA claimed it had merely ‘asked’ the 6 Russian refineries in question whether they have commercial links with sanctioned Russian entities, a bizarre situation given that all and sundry, and most of all the LBMA, knows the nature of the Russian gold market, and that of course the Russian refineries have intimate relationships with the sanctioned Russian banks as well as being owned by the Russian state / Russian oligarchs.

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