Connect with us

Latest

Staff Picks

The Case of Azerbaijan: How ‘Democrats’ Sacrifice Principles for Oil

The US foreign policy has invariably made it clear to the countries beyond the NATO or its nuclear club that a long and prosperous ruling is up to their loyalty to America’s strategic interests.

Ion Todescu

Published

on

545 Views

An information society is a thing of curiosity. A human has always been dependent on the public opinion turning eventually into a milk-and-water illusion nourished by the mass media. Be it a federal TV channel or a popular blogger – opinion makers have successfully replaced people’s brains. And it’s a sin to take no advantage of it.

One of the US foreign policy’s priorities is promotion of democratic ideals as well as rule of humanism and human rights. Under slogans like these the US has launched numerous military operations (to make a long story short, invasions); its “color revolutions” have overthrown many a government, but none of those loyal to the USA. However, it concerns the most impudent “dictators” alone who refused to sell out their countries’ natural resources to American transnational corporations.

The US foreign policy has invariably made it clear to the countries beyond the NATO or its nuclear club that a long and prosperous ruling is up to their loyalty to America’s strategic interests. The leaders of the countries mentioned have come to a very important conclusion: convincing the US government of your loyalty shall entitle you to do whatever you may choose as long as everything across the ocean is up and running.

This is the pattern adhered by Ilham Aliev, President of Azerbaijan – an extremely oil-rich state in the South Caucasus. This guy who literally inherited power from his father Heydar Aliev in 2003, has been reigning supreme for years. It’s interesting to know the state machine of Azerbaijan fused with a criminal group headed by the president himself quite a long time ago.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the US Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (the latter is a most peculiar) report that the situation around these very rights protection in Azerbaijan leaves much to be desired. Everything to be avoided like the plague is there to be seen: media censorship, free speech violations, political prisoners, executions, and tortures.

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) has named Azerbaijani President Aliyev Corruption’s “Person of the Year”; what is more, he is featured in the scandalous Panama Papers. But every cloud has a silver lining, and Aliyev’s only positive trait is that he’s anything but anti-Semite. Probably that must have been the reason for Israeli Ambassador in Azerbaijan Rafael Harpaz to claim that Azerbaijani tolerance was to be followed by the rest of the world. Lord forbid, Mr. Harpaz!

The White House, OSCE and other organizations have been criticizing Baku for disastrous human rights situation for years. One might think it would far sooner have brought the US Special Forces to the Caspian Sea shore to finally have the poor Caucasian Republic democratized. And overseas oil companies, in turn, would have laid their hands on Caspian oil fields as it already took place in Iraq, for instance.

An old dictator is a wise dictator though. Aliyev knew perfectly well that one of his throne legs was unsteady. The President of Azerbaijan thinking over an upcoming arrival of “the American democracy” realized it would be much more profitable to buy confidence by proving Azerbaijani liking for the West and its loyalty.

Lobbying is quite legal and wide-spread activity in this country. Many go-ahead people rich in high-level ties are busy bringing together businessmen and senators, magnates and congressmen, trade union chiefs and parties’ leaders. They search and hire journalists ready to write an article or two for popular news outlets at a moderate charge. Most esteemed and respected top-dogs are invited to federal TV channels on their order to give out their expert judgment on whichever the occurrence may be. You think it’s hoax altogether, don’t you? No, it’s honest business. The public opinion is legally bought from those who are able enough to generate it.

Aliyev made up his mind not to put all his eggs in one basket and hired several lobbying companies at a time through different channels. The largest and most powerful ones were Tool Shed Group, Roberti Global, DCI Group and attention! – Podesta Group. True, they consented to have Aliyev’s chair concreted for a far from modest consideration.

Let us have a look at the list of politicians financed by DCI Group AZ LLC, a department specially established for Azerbaijani Affairs. Below are the people to do the spadework aimed at projecting an image of the “right Azerbaijan” for Aliyev’s funds: Claire McCaskill, Mitt Romney, Deb Fisher, etc.

There is an extract from DCI Group AZ foreign agent registration statement, i.e. it’s posed as a company acting at an order of a foreign principal. The extract pictures politicians and their financial “backing” allocated from Azerbaijani tranches.

One of the most effective ways to have an opposition formed and an intelligence network set up (which is in great use by the US) is starting a non-government organization under the auspices of the State Department and its subsidiary commissions. Their operations and reports determine largely the US foreign policy. And what did Aliyev do? He just bribed NGO heads and their supervisors in Washington, D.C. Hats off to Mr. Aliyev, the Mafiosi dictator is smart enough to have done what the other less enterprising oil Republic leaders overlooked. They might have found it too disgusting to do the same though.

And now let’s watch a new reality being created as soon as pros get down to business. The story culminated in the US. Helsinki Commission sitting. The organization is designed to promote human rights and all the other humanistic values and is liable to account to the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and then higher to the State Department. Many outstanding people took part in the sitting mentioned, among them Ben Cardin (Democratic Senator from Maryland), Tom O.Melia (the then Bureau head and current USAID Assistant Administrator), Eric Rubin (ex-Chief of the European and Eurasian Affairs Bureau), Miriam Lanskoy (Senior Director for Russia and Eurasia at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and Brenda Shaffer (a visiting professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Russia, Eurasia and Eastern Europe Studies).

In a nutshell, all those most esteemed persons differently described the well-living of Azerbaijanis. Had they really heard of human rights before, they still failed to follow them as we have earlier seen. Who were those people? Ms. Miriam Lanskoy is quite noteworthy for her spending quite much time in the city of Baku; as far as Nagorno-Karabakh developments (the disputed border region between Armenia and Azerbaijan) are concerned she would always back Illham Aliyev, with her statements often contradicting official observers’ reports. Brenda Shaffer cooperates with a number of analytical centers close to the US government and above all holds the office of Adviser to the President of SOCAR for Strategic Affairs. The oil company of Azerbaijan is known to be co-headed by Mr. Aliyev. The information about it is provided here.

SOCAR turns out be one of the biggest US financial donors.  The above-stated DCI Group, Roberti White and Tool Shed Group have won contracts through the SOCAR’s leadership.

As indicated below, Roberti White LLC is registered as a foreign agent subsidized by SOCAR.

Additionally, SOCAR was responsible for an all-expense-paid trip to Azerbaijan for US Congressmen

Despite this financial channel’s huge capacities it is by far not the only one. Aliyev has set a diplomatic field in motion to faster have his goals achieved. The Ambassador of Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States Elin Suleymanov and his wife Lala Abdurahmanova are absolutely confident in doing what they’re supposed to do. It was Mr. Suleymanov himself, who signed a collaboration agreement with Podesta Group. There is a Podesta CEO Kimberley Fritts’s signature to be seen on the paper; however he’s got another principal ally in America’s political establishment rather than her.

Have a look at the amendment to Azerbaijani government-Podesta Group agreement:

Podesta Group is considered one of the most influential lobbying companies. It was founded in 1988 by brothers John and Tony Podesta.  Kimberley Fritts and Tony Podesta are reported to be the CEO and the Chairman respectively. John is de jure no company’s member since he left his office for the high politics, de facto is he a grey cardinal of the Democratic Party, while Tony’s doing big business. The two together have succeeded in setting up an effective system designed for financial elite and the Democratic leadership cooperation.

It’s worth noting, that Suleymanov is in most friendly relations  with the Podesta brothers, his wife is fairly well-received not only by prominent Democrats, but also by Hilary Clinton’s entourage; that is especially topical on the threshold of the election to come.   

Suffice it to mention, that Lala Abdurahmanova throws receptions on a regular basis, with Capricia Marshall (the Atlantic Council member, ex-States Department employee, Hillary Clinton’s confidante) and Debbie Dingel (Michigan congresswoman and a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton) being frequent guests. John Podesta, a great buddy of Ambassador Suleymanov, chairs the very presidential campaign of Ex-State Secretary. It would be interesting to find out whether Mr. Aliyev makes his own plans on Clinton’s presidency in this connection.

To sum up, I’d like to present you a couple of diagrams for simpler understanding.

There is an outline of Azerbaijan’s lobbying activity financing in the USA.

The companies pictured are the way to buy expert opinions, politicians’ ayes and noes as well to have favorable decisions promoted. They are essentially Aliyev’s attorneys in the eyes of American political elite.

The second diagram depicts in minute detail the way the Democratic Party opens out its arms to oil money inflow and appears to clean forget their principles allegedly to be topped in the list. It’s not as easy as falling off the log to make the diagram out; nevertheless, I would ask you to spend a little time of yours and obtain further insight into it. It’s bound to be a sort of novelty for you.

As to power race, people would always take any steps imaginable going back on their promises and dishonoring the ideals they used believe in. Hillary Clinton is not apparently a book to take a page out. She seems to be able to abandon the genuine goals which the Democratic Party has been intent on throughout the history. And it doesn’t matter in the least that the election campaign is being paid out by a mere dictator neglecting human rights in his own country. Who cares?  It is all solely for the election victory! 

At the end of the day John Podesta has promised to open UFO X-files to the public domain given Hillary comes through with flying colors. Perhaps he has no trouble disclosing the truth about extraterrestrials which is not the case with the US-oil magnates’ cooperation.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Latest

French opposition rejects Macron’s concessions to Yellow Vests, some demand ‘citizen revolution’

Mélenchon: “I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.”

RT

Published

on

By

Via RT…


Macron’s concessions to the Yellow Vests has failed to appease protesters and opposition politicians, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who called for “citizen’s revolution” to continue until a fair distribution of wealth is achieved.

Immediately after French President Macron declared a “social and economic state of emergency” in response to large-scale protests by members of the Yellow Vest movement, promising a range of concessions to address their grievances, left-wing opposition politician Mélenchon called on the grassroots campaign to continue their revolution next Saturday.

I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.

Macron’s promise of a €100 minimum wage increase, tax-free overtime pay and end-of-year bonuses, Mélenchon argued, will not affect any “considerable part” of the French population. Yet the leader of La France Insoumise stressed that the “decision” to rise up rests with “those who are in action.”

“We expect a real redistribution of wealth,” Benoît Hamon, a former presidential candidate and the founder of the Mouvement Génération, told BFM TV, accusing Macron’s package of measures that benefit the rich.

The Socialist Party’s first secretary, Olivier Faure, also slammed Macron’s financial concessions to struggling workers, noting that his general “course has not changed.”

Although welcoming certain tax measures, Marine Le Pen, president of the National Rally (previously National Front), accused the president’s “model” of governance based on “wild globalization, financialization of the economy, unfair competition,” of failing to address the social and cultural consequences of the Yellow Vest movement.

Macron’s speech was a “great comedy,”according to Debout la France chairman, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who accused the French President of “hypocrisy.”

Yet many found Melanchon’s calls to rise up against the government unreasonable, accusing the 67-year-old opposition politician of being an “opportunist” and “populist,” who is trying to hijack the social protest movement for his own gain.

Furthermore, some 54 percent of French believe the Yellow Vests achieved their goals and want rallies to stop, OpinionWay survey showed. While half of the survey respondents considered Macron’s anti-crisis measures unconvincing, another 49 percent found the president to be successful in addressing the demands of the protesters. Some 68 percent of those polled following Macron’s speech on Monday especially welcomed the increase in the minimum wage, while 78 percent favored tax cuts.

The Yellow Vest protests against pension cuts and fuel tax hikes last month were organized and kept strong via social media, without help from France’s powerful labor unions or official political parties. Some noted that such a mass mobilization of all levels of society managed to achieve unprecedented concessions from the government, which the unions failed to negotiate over the last three decades.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Soros Mimics Hitler’s Bankers: Will Burden Europeans With Debt To ‘Save’ Them

George Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas.

The Duran

Published

on

Via GEFIRA:


After the Second World War, many economists racked their brains to answer the question of how Hitler managed to finance his armament, boost the economy and reduce unemployment.

Today his trick is well known. The economic miracle of Führer’s time became possible thanks to the so-called Mefo promissory notes.

The notes were the idea of the then President of the Reichsbank, Hjalmar Schacht, and served not only to finance the armament of the Wehrmacht for the Second World War, but also to create state jobs, which would otherwise not have been possible through the normal use of the money and capital markets, i.e. the annual increase in savings in Germany.

The Reich thus financed the armaments industry by accepting notes issued by the dummy company Metallurgische Forschungsgesellschaft GmbH (hence the name Mefo) rather than paying them in cash. The creation of money was in full swing from 1934 to 1938 – the total amount of notes issued at that time was 12 billion marks. The Reichsbank declared to the German banks that it was prepared to rediscount the Mefo notes, thus enabling the banks to discount them.

Because of their five-year term, the redemption of notes had to begin in 1939 at the latest. This threatened with enormous inflation. Since Schacht saw this as a threat to the Reichsmark, he expressed his doubts about the Reich Minister of Finance. But it did not help, and Schacht was quickly replaced by Economics Minister Walther Funk, who declared that the Reich would not redeem the Mefo notes, but would give Reich bonds to the Reichsbank in exchange. At the time of Funk, the autonomous Reichsbank statute was abolished, the Reichsbank was nationalized, and inflation exploded in such a way that Mefo notes with a circulation of 60 billion Reichsmark burdened the budget in post-war Germany.

George Soros also proposes such a money flurry in the style of Schacht and Funk.

Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas. He calls on the EU heads of state and governments to effectively deal with the migrant crisis through money flooding, which he calls “surge funding”.

“This would help to keep the influx of refugees at a level that Europe can absorb.”

Can absorb? Soros would be satisfied with the reception of 300,000 to 500,000 migrants per year. However, he is aware that the costs of his ethnic exchange plan are not financially feasible. In addition to the already enormous costs caused by migrants already in Europe, such a large number of new arrivals would add billions each year.

Soros calculates it at 30 billion euros a year, but argues that it would be worth it because “there is a real threat that the refugee crisis could cause the collapse of Europe’s Schengen system of open internal borders among twenty-six European states,” which would cost the EU between 47 and 100 billion euros in GDP losses.

Soros thus sees the financing of migrants and also of non-European countries that primarily receive migrants (which he also advocates) as a win-win relationship. He calls for the introduction of a new tax for the refugee crisis in the member states, including a financial transaction tax, an increase in VAT and the establishment of refugee funds. Soros knows, however, that such measures would not be accepted in the EU countries, so he proposes a different solution, which does not require a vote in the sovereign countries.

The new EU debt should be made by the EU taking advantage of its largely unused AAA credit status and issuing long-term bonds, which would boost the European economy. The funds could come from the European Stability Mechanism and the EU balance of payments support institution.

 “Both also have very similar institutional structures, and they are both backed entirely by the EU budget—and therefore do not require national guarantees or national parliamentary approval.“

In this way, the ESM and the BoPA (Balance of Payments Assistance Facility) would become the new Mefo’s that could issue bills of exchange, perhaps even cheques for Turks, Soros NGOs. Soros calculates that both institutions have a credit capacity of 60 billion, which should only increase as Portugal, Ireland and Greece repay each year the loans they received during the euro crisis. According to Soros, the old debts should be used to finance the new ones in such a way that it officially does not burden the budget in any of the EU Member States. The financial institutions that are to carry out this debt fraud must extend (indeed – cancel) their status, as the leader of the refugees expressed such a wish in his speech.

That Soros is striving to replace the indigenous European population with new arrivals from Africa and Asia is clear to anyone who observes its activities in Europe. The question is: what does he want to do this for and who is the real ruler, behind him, the real leader?

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

The French People Feel Screwed

For the first time in his presidency, Macron is in trouble and Europe and America are looking on.

The Duran

Published

on

Authored by David Brown via The Gatestone Institute:


On December 4, French Prime Minister Édouard Phillipe told deputies of the ruling party, “La République en Marche”, that a proposed fuel tax rise, which had led to the largest protests France has seen in decades, would be suspended.

The protesters, called Gilets-Jaunes — “Yellow Vests,” because of the vests drivers are obliged by the government to carry in their vehicles in the event of a roadside breakdown — say that the fuel tax was the last straw from a president who took office with a promise to help the economically left-behind but instead has favoured the rich.

Even by French standards, the protests of the “Yellow Vests” during the weekend of December 1 were startling. Burning cars and vast plumes of grey smoke seemed to engulf the Arc De Triomphe as if Paris were at war. Comparisons were drawn with the Bread Wars of the 17th Century and the spirit of the Revolution of the 18th Century.

For more than two weeks, the “Yellow Vests” disrupted France. They paralyzed highways and forced roads to close — causing shortages across the country – and blocked fuel stations from Lille in the North to Marseilles in the South.

During protests in France’s capital, Paris, the “Yellow Vests” were soon joined by a more violent element, who began torching cars, smashing windows and looting stores. 133 were injured, 412 were arrested and more than 10,000 tear gas and stun grenades were fired.

One elderly lady was killed when she was struck by a stray grenade as she tried to shutter her windows against the melee.

There was talk of imposing a State of Emergency.

The “Yellow Vests” present the most significant opposition French President Emmanuel Macron has faced since coming to office in May 2017. Unlike previous protests in France, which have divided public opinion, these have widespread support – 72% according to a Harris Interactive Poll published December 1st.

Fuel tax rises — announced in November before being retracted on December — were intended to help bring down France’s carbon emissions by curbing the use of cars. Macron makes no secret of his wish to be seen as a global leader for environmental reform.

He forgets that back at home, among the people who elected him, fuel prices really matter to those outside big cities, where four-fifths of commuters drive to work and a third of them cover more than 30km each week.

The increases have incensed people in smaller communities, where they have already seen speed limits reduced to please the Greens and cuts to the local transport services.

These additional costs-of-living increases come at an extremely bad time for ordinary French people working outside of Paris. Lower-middle class families are not poor enough to receive welfare benefits but have seen their income flat-line whilst cost-of-living and taxes have risen.

An analysis by the Institut des Politiques Publiques think-tank shows that benefits cuts and tax changes in 2018 and 2019 will leave pensioners and the bottom fifth of households worse off, while the abolition of the wealth tax means that by far the biggest gains will go to the top 1%

This is tough to swallow. Macron is seen as being out of touch with ordinary people and is unlikely to escape his new title, “the President of the Rich.”

“People have this feeling that the Paris technocrats are doing complicated things to screw them,” said Charles Wyplosz, an economics professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

It is probably not as complex as that. The French people feel screwed.

As employment and growth are slowing, Macron, for the first time in his presidency, is under serious pressure. Unemployment is at 9%; his efforts to reform Europe are stalling, and his approval rating has plummeted to just 23% according to a recent opinion poll by IFOP.

Images of Macron at the Arc De Triomphe daubed in graffiti calling for him to step down, or worse, have done little to bolster his image abroad.

So far, Macron had said he would not bow to street protests. To underline his point, in September 2017, he called protestors against French labour-market reform “slackers”.

The political U-Turn on the fuel tax is a turning point for the Macron presidency. The question is : What next, both for Macron and the “Yellow Vests”?

Macron most likely needs to plough ahead with his reform agenda, and doubtless knows he has the support of a solid majority in the National Assembly to do so. France is crippled by debt (nearly 100% of GDP) and its grossly bloated public sector. There are 5.2 million civil servants in France, and their number has increased by 36% since 1983. These represent 22% of the workforce compared to an OCDE average of 15%.

Tax-expert Jean-Philippe Delsol says France has 1.5 million too many “fonctionnaires [officials]. When you consider that public spending in France now accounts for 57 per cent of gross domestic product. Soon the system will no longer function as there will be less and less people working to support more and more people working less”.

Macron’s mistake, in addition to a seeming inclination for arrogance, is not to have made national economic reform his absolute priority right from his initial grace period after his election. Lower public expenses would have made it possible to lower taxes, hence creating what economists call a virtuous circle. Instead, he waited.

Now, at a time when he is deeply unpopular and social unrest is in full sway he is looking to make further reforms in unemployment benefits, scaling them back by reducing the payments and the length of time beneficiaries can receive the money. The “President of the Rich” strikes again.

There is talk that he may also re-introduce the wealth tax to try to placate the protestors.

Macron’s presidential term lasts until May 13, 2022. Understandably, Macron will be focused on the elections to the European Parliament expected to be held May 23-26, 2019. Headlines have signalled that Marine Le Pen and the National Rally (formally National Front) are ahead in the polls at 20%, compared to Macron’s En Marche at 19%.

The shift is understandable, given the divide between the countryside, where Le Pen has solid support, and the cities, where Macron’s centre-left prevail.

In contrast, the “Yellow Vests” have galvanised support after standing up for the “impotent ordinary”, and seem much buoyed by the solidarity they have been shown by both fire fighters and the police. There are images online of police removing their helmets and firefighters turning their backs on political authority to show their support for the protestors.

Whilst Macron’s political opposition may be fragmented, this new breed of coherent public opposition is something new. Leaderless, unstructured and organised online, the “Yellow Vests” have gained support from the left and right, yet resisted subjugation by either.

Being leaderless makes them difficult to negotiate withor to reason with in private. The “Yellow Vests” seem acutely aware of this strength, given their firm rebuttal of overtures for peace talks from the Macron government.

Enjoying huge support from the public and with reforms to the social welfare system on the horizon, the “Yellow Vests” are not going away.

For the first time in his Presidency, Macron is in trouble and Europe and America are looking on.

After Macron rebuked nationalism during his speech at the armistice ceremony, Trump was quick to remind the French President of his low approval rating and unemployment rate near 10%. A stinging broadside from Trump on twitter suggests that Macron may well be relegated to Trump’s list of global “Losers“:

“Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two – How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!”

The “impotent ordinary” in the United Kingdom, who might feel betrayed over Brexit, and the nationalists in Germany, who have suffered under Merkel , are no doubt staring in wonder at the “Yellow Vests”, wishing for the same moxie.

The historian Thomas Carlyle, chronicler of the French Revolution, said the French were unrivaled practitioners in the “art of insurrection”, and characterised the French mob as the “liveliest phenomena of our world”.

Mobs in other countries, by comparison, he argued were “dull masses” lacking audacity and inventiveness. The blazing yellow vests of the French protest movement , however, have made Macron appear increasingly dull and weak too.

David Brown is based in the United Kingdom.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Advertisement

Advertisement

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Advertisement

The Duran Newsletter

Trending