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How Russia is preparing for WWIII

What Russia is really doing in response to the growing threat from the West.

The Saker

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Submitted by The Saker via http://thesaker.is.

I have recently posted a piece in which I tried to debunk a few popular myths about modern warfare. Judging by many comments which I received in response to this post, I have to say that the myths in question are still alive and well and that I clearly failed to convince many readers. What I propose to do today, is to look at what Russia is really doing in response to the growing threat from the West. But first, I have to set the context or, more accurately, re-set the context in which Russia is operating. Let’s begin by looking at the AngloZionist policies towards Russia.

The West’s actions:

First on this list is, obviously, the conquest by NATO of all of Eastern Europe. I speak of conquest because that is exactly what it is, but a conquest achieved according to the rules of 21st century warfare which I define as “80% informational, 15% economic and 5% military”. Yes, I know, the good folks of Eastern Europe were just dreaming of being subjugated by the US/NATO/EU/etc – but so what? Anyone who has read Sun Tzu will immediately recognize that this deep desire to be ‘incorporated’ into the AngloZionist “Borg” is nothing else but the result of a crushed self-identity, a deep-seated inferiority complex and, thus, a surrender which did not even have to be induced by military means. At the end of the day, it makes no difference what the locals thought they were achieving – they are now subjects of the Empire and their countries more or less irrelevant colonies in the fringe of the AngloZionist Empire. As always, the local comprador elite is now bubbling with pride at being, or so they think, accepted as equals by their new masters (think Poroshenko, Tusk or Grybauskaite) which gives them the courage to bark at Moscow from behind the NATO fence. Good for them.

Second is the now total colonization of Western Europe into the Empire. While NATO moved to the East, the US also took much deeper control of Western Europe which is now administered for the Empire by what the former Mayor of London once called the “great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies” – faceless bureaucrats à la François Hollande or Angela Merkel.

Third, the Empire has given its total support to semi-demonic creatures ranging from al-Khattab to Nadezhda Savchenko. The West’s policy is crystal clear and simple to the extreme: if it is anti-Russian we back it. This policy is best exemplified with a Putin and Russia demonization campaign which is, in my opinion, far worse and much more hysterical than anything during the Cold War.

Fourth, the West has made a number of highly disturbing military moves including the deployment of the first elements of an anti-missile system in Eastern Europe, the dispatching of various forms of rapid reaction forces, the deployment of a few armored units, etc. NATO now has forward deployed command posts which can be used to support the engagement of a rapid reaction force.

What does all this add up to?

Right now, nothing much, really. Yes, the NATO move right up to the Russian borders is highly provocative, but primarily in political terms. In purely military terms, not only is this a very bad idea (see cliché #6 here), but the size of the actual forces deployed is, in reality, tiny: the ABM system currently deployed can, at best, hope to intercept a few missiles (10-20 depending on your assumptions) as for the conventional forces they are of the battalion size (more or less 600 soldiers plus support). So right now there is categorically no real military threat to Russia.

So why are the Russians so clearly upset?

Because the current US/NATO moves might well be just the first steps of a much larger effort which, given enough time, might begin presenting a very real danger for Russia.

Furthermore, the kind of rhetoric coming out of the West now is not only militaristic and russophobic, it is often outright messianic. The last time around the West had a flare up of its 1000 year old chronic “messianic syndrome” condition Russia lost 20 (to 30) million people. So the Russians can be forgiven if they are paying a great deal of attention to what the AngloZionist propaganda actually says about them.

The Russians are most dismayed at the re-colonization of western Europe. Long gone are the days when people like Charles de Gaulle, Helmut Schmidt or François Mitterrand, were in charge of Europe’s future. For all their very real faults, these men were at least real patriots and not just US colonial administrators. The ‘loss’ of Western Europe is far more concerning for the Russians than the fact that ex-Soviet colonies in Eastern Europe are now under US colonial administration. Why?

Look at this from the Russian point of view.

The Russians all see that the US power is on the decline and that the dollar will, sooner or later, gradually or suddenly, lose its role as the main reserve and exchange currency on the planet (this process has already begun). Simply put – unless the US finds a way to dramatically change the current international dynamic the AngloZionist Empire will collapse. The Russians believe that what the Americans are doing is, at best, to use tensions with Russia to revive a dormant Cold War v2 and, at worst, to actually start a real shooting war in Europe.

So a declining Empire with a vital need for a major crisis, a spineless Western Europe unable to stand up for its own interest, a subservient Eastern Europe just begging to turn into a massive battlefield between East and West, and a messianic, rabidly russophobic rhetoric as the background for an increase in military deployments on the Russian border. Is anybody really surprised that the Russians are taking all this very, very serious even if right now the military threat is basically non-existent?

The Russian reaction

So let us now examine the Russian reaction to Empire’s stance.

First, the Russians want to make darn sure that the Americans do not give in into the illusion that a full-scale war in Europe would be like WWII which saw the US homeland only suffer a few, tiny, almost symbolic, attacks by the enemy. Since a full scale war in Europe would threaten the very existence of the Russian state and nation, the Russians are now taking measures to make darn sure that, should that happen, the US would pay an immense price for such an attack.

Second, the Russians are now evidently assuming that a conventional threat from the West might materialize in the foreseeable future. They are therefore taking the measures needed to counter that conventional threat.

Third, since the USA appears to be dead set into deploying an anti-ballistic missile system not only in Europe, but also in the Far East, the Russians are taking the measures to both defeat and bypass this system.

The Russian effort is a vast and a complex one, and it covers almost every aspect of Russian force planing, but there are four examples which, I think, best illustrate the Russian determination not to allow a 22 June 1941 to happen again:

  • The re-creation of the First Guards Tank Army (in progress)
  • The deployment of the Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system (done)
  • The deployment of the Sarmat ICBM (in progress)
  • The deployment of the Status-6 strategic torpedo (in progress)

The re-creation of the First Guards Tank Army

It is hard to believe, but the fact is that between 1991 and 2016 Russia did not have a single large formation (division size and bigger) in its Western Military District. A few brigades, regiments and battalions which nominally were called an “Army”. To put it simply – Russia clearly did not believe that there was a conventional military threat from the West and therefore she did not even bother deploying any kind of meaningful military force to defend from such a non-existing threat. By the way, that fact should also tell you everything you need to know about Russian plans to invade the Ukraine, Poland or the Baltics: this is utter nonsense. This has now dramatically changed.

Russia has officially announced that the First Guards Tank Army (a formation with a prestigious and very symbolic history). This Guards Tank Army will now include the 4th “Kantemirov” Guards Tank Division, the 2nd “Taman” Guards Motorized Rifle Division, the 6th Tank Brigade, the 27th Guards Motor Rifle Brigade Sevastopol and many support units. This Army’s HQ will be located in the Odinstovo suburb of Moscow. Currently the Army is equipped with T-72B3 and T-80 main battle tanks, but they will be replaced by the brand new and revolutionary T-14 Armata tank while the current infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers will be replaced by the new APC and IFV. In the air, these armored units will be protected and supported by Mi-28 and Ka-52 attack helicopters. Make no mistake, this will be a very large force, exactly the kind of force needed so smash through an attacking enemy forces (by the way, the 1TGA was present at the Kursk battle). I am pretty sure that by the time the 1TGA is fully organized it will become the most powerful armored formation anywhere between the Atlantic and the Urals (especially in qualitative terms). If the current tensions continue or even worsen, the Russians could even augment the 1TGA to a type of 21st century “Shock Army” with increased mobility and specializing in breaking deep into the enemy’s defenses.

The deployment of the Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system

The new Iskander-M operational tactical missile system is a formidable weapon by any standard. While technically it is a short-range tactical missile (under 1000km range, the Iskander-M has an official range of 500km), it can also fire the R-500 missile has the capability of striking at an intermediate/operational range (over 1000km, the R-500 has a range of 2000km). It is extremely accurate, it has advanced anti-ABM capabilities, it flies at hypersonic speeds and is practically undetectable on the ground (see here for more details). This will be the missile tasked with destroying all the units and equipment the US and NATO have forward-deployed in Eastern Europe and, if needed, clear the way for the 1TGA.

The deployment of the Sarmat ICBM

Neither the 1TGA nor the Iskander-M missile will threaten the US homeland in any way. Russia thus needed some kind of weapon which would truly strike fear into the Pentagon and White House in the way the famous RS-36 Voevoda (aka SS-18 “Satan” in US classification) did during the Cold War. The SS-18, the most powerful ICBM ever developed, was scary enough. The RS-28 “Sarmat” (SS-X-30 by NATO classification) brings the terror to a totally new level.

The Sarmat is nothing short of amazing. It will be capable of carrying 10-15 MIRVed warheads which will be delivered in a so-called “depressed” (suborbital) trajectory and which will remain maneuverable at hypersonic speeds. The missile will not have to use the typical trajectory over the North Pole but will be capable of reaching any target anywhere on the planet from any trajectory. All these elements combined will make the Sarmat itself and its warheads completely impossible to intercept.

The Sarmat will also be capable of delivering conventional Iu-71 hypersonic warheads capable of a “kinetic strike” which could be used to strike a fortified enemy target in a non-nuclear conflict. This will be made possible by the amazing accuracy of the Sarmat’s warheads which, courtesy of a recent Russian leak, we now know have a CEP of 10 meters (see screen capture)

Sarmat-MIRV-CEP-300x99The Sarmat’s silos will be protected by a unique “active protection measures” which will include 100 guns capable of firing a “metallic cloud” of forty thousand 30mm “bullets” to an altitude of up to 6km. The Russians are also planning to protect the Sarmat with their new S-500 air defense systems. Finally, the Sarmat’s preparation to start time will be under 60 seconds thanks a a highly automated launch system. What this all means is that the Sarmat missile will be invulnerable in its silo, during it’s flight and on re-entry in the lower parts of the atmosphere.

It is interesting to note that while the USA has made a great deal of noise around its planned Prompt Global Strike system, the Russians have already begun deploying their own version of this concept.

The deployment of the Status-6 strategic torpedo

Do you remember the carefully staged “leak” in November of last year when the Russians ‘inadvertently’ showed a super dooper secret strategic torpedo on prime time news? Here is this (in)famous slide:

Status6-2015

What is shown here is an “autonomous underwater vehicle” which has advanced navigational capabilities but which can also be remote controlled and steered from a specialized command module. This vehicle can dive as deep as 1000m, at a speed up to 185km/h and it has a range of up to 10’000km. It is delivered by specially configured submarines.

The Status-6 system can be used to target aircraft carrier battle groups, US navy bases (especially SSBN bases) and, in its most frighting configuration, it can be used to deliver high-radioactivity cobalt bombscapable of laying waste to huge expanses of land. The Status-6 delivery system would be a new version of the T-15 torpedo which would be 24m long, 1,5m wide weigh 40 tons and capable of delivering a 100 megaton warhead which would make it twice as powerful as the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated, the Soviet Czar-bomb (57 megatons). Hiroshima was only 15 kilotons.

Keep in mind that most of the USA’s cities and industrial centers are all along the coastline which makes them extremely vulnerable to torpedo based attacks (be it Sakharov’s proposed “Tsunami bomb” or the Status-6 system). And, just as in the case of the Iskander-M or the Sarmat ICBM, the depth and speed of the Status-6 torpedo would make it basically invulnerable to incerception.

Evaluation:

There is really nothing new in all of the above, and US military commanders have always known that. All the US anti-ballistic missile systems have always been primarily a financial scam, from Reagan’s “Star Wars” to Obama’s “anti-Iranian ABM”. For one thing, any ABM system is susceptible to ‘local saturation’: if you have X number ABM missile protecting a Y long space against an X number of missiles, all that you need to do is to saturate only one sector of the Y space with *a lot* of real and fake missiles by firing them all together through one small sector of the Y space the ABM missile system is protecting. And there are plenty of other measures the Russians could take. They could put just one single SLBM capable submarine in Lake Baikal making it basically invulnerable. There is already some discussion of that idea in Russia. Another very good option would be to re-activate the Soviet BzhRK rail-mobile ICBM. Good luck finding them in the immense Russian train network. In fact, the Russians have plenty of cheap and effective measure. Want me to list one more?

Sure!

Take the Kalibr cruise-missile recently seen in the war in Syria. Did you know that it can be shot from a typical commerical container, like the ones you will find on trucks, trains or ships? Check out this excellent video which explains this:

Just remember that the Kalibr has a range of anywhere between 50km to 4000km and that it can carry a nuclear warhead. How hard would it be for Russia to deploy these cruise missiles right off the US coast in regular container ships? Or just keep a few containers in Cuba or Venezuela? This is a system which is so undetectable that the Russians could deploy it off the coast of Australia to hit the NSA station in Alice Springs if they wanted, an nobody would even see it coming.

The reality is that the notion that the US could trigger a war against Russia (or China for that matter) and not suffer the consequences on the US mainland is absolutely ridiculous. And yet, when I hear all the crazy talk by western politicians and generals I get the impression that they are forgetting about this undeniable fact. Frankly, even the current threats against Russia have a ‘half-backed’ feel to them: a battalion here, another one there, a few missiles here, a few more there. It is like the rulers of the Empire don’t realize that it is a very, very bad idea to constantly poke a bear when all you are carrying with you is a pocket-knife. Sometimes the reaction of western politicians remind me of the thugs who try to rob a gas station with a plastic or empty gun and who are absolutely stunned with they get gunned down by the owner or the cops. This kind of thuggery is nothing more than a form of “suicide by cop” which never ends well for the one trying to get away with it.

So sometimes things have to be said directly and unambiguously: western politicians better not believe in their own imperial hubris. So far, all their threats have achieved is that the Russians have responded with a many but futile verbal protests and a full-scale program to prepare Russia for WWIII.

As I have written many times, Russians are very afraid of war and they will go out of their way to avoid it. But they are also ready for war. This is a uniquely Russian cultural feature which the West has misread an innumerable number of time over the past 1000 years or so. Over and over again have the Europeans attacked Russia only to find themselves into a fight they would never have imagined, even in their worst nightmares. This is why the Russians like to say that “Russia never starts wars, she only ends them”.

There is a profound cultural chasm between how the West views warfare and how the Russians do. In the West, warfare is, really, “the continuation of politics by other means”. For Russians, it is a ruthless struggle for survival. Just look at generals in the West: they are polished and well mannered managers much more similar to corporate executives than with, say, Mafia bosses. Take a look at Russian generals (for example, watch the Victory Day parade in Moscow). In comparison to their western colleagues they look almost brutish, because first and foremost they are ruthless and calculating killers. I don’t mean that in a negative way – they often are individually very honorable and even kind men, and like every good commander, they care for their men and love their country. But the business they are in in not the continuation of politics by other means, the business they are in is survival. At all cost.

You cannot judge a military or, for that matter, a nation, by how it behaves when it triumphs, when it is on the offensive pursing a defeated enemy. All armies look good when they are winning. You can really judge of the nature of a military, or a nation, at its darkest hour, when things are horrible and the situation worse than catastrophic. That was the case in 1995 when the Eltsin regime ordered a totally unprepared, demoralized, poorly trained, poorly fed, poorly equipped and completely disorganized Russian military (well, a few hastily assembled units) to take Grozny from the Chechens. It was hell on earth. Here is some footage of General Lev Rokhlin in a hastily organized command post in a basement inside Grozy. He is as exhausted, dirty and exposed as any of his soldiers. Just look at his face and look at the faces of the men around him. This is what the Russian army looks like when it is in the depth of hell, betrayed by the traitors sitting in the Kremlin and abandoned by most if the Russian people (who, I am sorry to remind here, mostly were only were dreaming of McDonalds and Michael Jackson in 1995).

Can you imagine, say, General Wesley Clark or David Petraeus fighting like these men did?

Check out this video of General Shamanov reading the riot act to a local Chechen politician (no translation need):

Vladimir_Shamanov._Cabinet_photo-200x300Shamanov nowadays is the Commander in Chief of the Airborne Forces (see photo) whose size Putin quietly doubled to 72’000, something I mentioned in the past as highly relevant, especially in comparison with the rather tepid force level increases announced by NATO (see “EU suidice by reality denial”). To get a feel for what modern Russian airborne forces are like, check out this article.

It is not my intention here to glorify nuclear war or the Russian Armed Forces. The reason for this, and many other, articles is to try to raise the alarm about what I see is happening nowadays. Western leaders are drunk on their own imperial hubris, nations which in the past were considered as minor stains on a map now feel emboldened to constantly provoke a nuclear superpower, Americans are being lied to and promised that some magical high tech will protect them from war while the Russians are seriously gearing up for WWIII because they have come to the conclusion that the only way to prevent that war is to make absolutely and unequivocally clear to the AngloZionists that they will never survive a war with Russia, even if every single Russian is killed.

I remember the Cold War well. I was part of it. And I remember that the vast majority of us, on both sides, realized that a war between Russia and the West must be avoided at all costs. Now I am horrified when I read articles by senior officials seriously discussing such a possibility.

Just read this article, please: What would a war between the EU and Russia look like? Here is what this guy writes:

To the poetically inclined, the Russian military looks more like a gigantic pirate crew, than a regular army. The ones who rule are the ones with the sharpest cutlass and biggest mouth, typically some scurvy infested mateis who rely on the support of their mates to make any unpopular “officer” walk the plank… Or, more apt, they resemble the members of the cossack horde, run by the brashier warriors… While these troops can be very brave, at times, they are not effective in the field against a well regulated and trained modern military machine. Given this, it is improbably, ney, impossible for ordinary Russian troops to conduct operations of major consequence at more than platoon level against any disciplined armies, especially the US, British, German, or French.

The-dream-of-the-West

“For our zoo” (old Western dream)

This kind of writing really scares me. Not because of the imbecilic and racist stupidity of it, but because it largely goes unchallenged in the mainstream media. Not only that, there are plenty such articles written elsewhere (see here, here or here). Of course, the authors of that kind of “analyses” make their money precisely the kind of manic cheer-leading for the western forces, but that is exactly the mindset which got Napoleon and Hitler in trouble and which ended with Russian forces stationed in Paris and Berlin. Compare that kind of jingoistic and, frankly, irresponsible nonsense with what a real military commander, Montgomery, had to say on this topic:

The next war on land will be very different from the last one, in that we shall have to fight it in a different way. In reaching a decision on that matter, we must first be clear about certain rules of war. Rule 1, on page I of the book of war, is: “Do not march on Moscow”. Various people have tried it, Napoleon and Hitler, and it is no good. That is the first rule.

So who do you trust? Professional cheerleaders or professional soldiers? Do you really believe that Obama (or Hillary), Merkel and Hollande will do better than Napoleon or Hitler?

If the AngloZionist ‘deep state’ is really delusional enough to trigger a war with Russia, in Europe or elsewhere, the narcissistic and hedonistic West, drunk on its own propaganda and hubris, will discover a level of violence and warfare it cannot even imagine and if that only affected those responsible for these reckless and suicidal policies it would be great. But the problem is, of course, that many millions of us, simple, regular people, will suffer and die as a consequence of our collective failure to prevent that outcome. I hope and pray that my repeated warnings will at least contribute to what I hope is a growing realization that this folly has to be immediately stopped and that sanity must return to politics.

Purchase: The Essential Saker: from the trenches of the emerging multipolar world

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It’s Official: ‘Britain’s Democracy Now At Risk’

It’s not just campaigners saying it any more: democracy is officially at risk, according to parliament’s own digital, culture, media and sport committee.

The Duran

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Via True Publica, authored by Jessica Garland – Electoral Reform Society:


Britain’s main campaign rules were drawn up in the late 1990s, before social media and online campaigning really existed. This has left the door wide open to disinformation, dodgy donations and foreign interference in elections.

There is a real need to close the loopholes when it comes to the online Wild West.

Yet in this year’s elections, it was legitimate voters who were asked to identify themselves, not those funnelling millions into political campaigns through trusts, or those spreading fake news.

The government trialled mandatory voter ID in five council areas in May. In these five pilot areas alone about 350 people were turned away from polling stations for not having their papers with them — and they didn’t return. In other words, they were denied their vote.

Yet last year, out of more than 45 million votes cast across the country, there were just 28 allegations of personation (pretending to be someone else at the polling station), the type of fraud voter ID is meant to tackle.

Despite the loss of 350 votes, the pilots were branded a success by the government. Yet the 28 allegations of fraud (and just one conviction) are considered such a dire threat that the government is willing to risk disenfranchising many more legitimate voters to try to address it. The numbers simply don’t add up.

Indeed, the fact-checking website FullFact noted that in the Gosport pilot, 0.4 per cent of voters did not vote because of ID issues. That’s a greater percentage than the winning margin in at least 14 constituencies in the last election. Putting up barriers to democratic engagement can have a big impact. In fact, it can swing an election.

In the run-up to the pilots, the Electoral Reform Society and other campaigners warned that the policy risked disenfranchising the most marginalised groups in society.

The Windrush scandal highlights exactly the sort of problems that introducing stricter forms of identity could cause: millions of people lack the required documentation. It’s one of the reasons why organisations such as the Runnymede Trust are concerned about these plans.

The Electoral Commission has now published a report on the ID trials, which concludes that “there is not yet enough evidence to fully address concerns” on this front.

The small number of pilots, and a lack of diversity, meant that sample sizes were too small to conclude anything about how the scheme would affect various demographic groups. Nor can the pilots tell us about the likely impact of voter ID in a general election, where the strain on polling staff would be far greater and a much broader cross-section of electors turns out to vote.

The Electoral Reform Society, alongside 22 organisations, campaigners and academics, has now called on the constitution minister to halt moves to impose this policy. The signatories span a huge cross-section of society, including representatives of groups that could be disproportionately impacted by voter ID, from Age UK to Liberty and from the British Youth Council to the Salvation Army and the LGBT Foundation.

Voters know what our democratic priorities should be: ensuring that elections are free from the influence of big donors. Having a secure electoral register. Providing balanced media coverage. Transparency online.

We may be little wiser as a result of the government’s voter ID trials. Yet we do know where the real dangers lie in our politics.

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Corrupt Robert Mueller’s despicable Paul Manafort trial nears end (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 79.

Alex Christoforou

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Paul Manafort’s legal team rested its case on Tuesday without calling a single witness. This sets the stage for closing arguments before the judge hands the case to jurors for a verdict.

Manafort’s defense opted to call no witnesses, choosing instead to rely on the team’s cross-examination of government witnesses including a very devious Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy, and several accountants, bookkeepers and bankers who had financial dealings with Manafort.

Closing arguments are expected on Wednesday. Jurors may begin deliberating shortly after receiving their final instructions from judge Ellis.

Manafort case has nothing to do with Mueller’s ‘Trump-Russia collusion witch-hunt’ as the former DC lobbyist is accused of defrauding banks to secure loans and hiding overseas bank accounts and income from U.S. tax authorities.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III denied a defense motion to acquit Manafort on the charges because prosecutors hadn’t proved their case.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the circus trial of Trump’s former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, and how crooked cop Robert Mueller is using all his power to lean on Manafort, so as to conjure up something illegal against US President Donald Trump.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via Zerohedge

Prosecutors allege he dodged taxes on millions of dollars made from his work for a Ukrainian political party, then lied to obtain bank loans when cash stopped flowing from the project.

The courtroom was sealed for around two hours Tuesday morning for an unknown reason, reopening around 11:30 a.m. with Manafort arriving around 10 minutes later.

The decision to rest their case without calling any witnesses follows a denial by Judge T.S. Ellis III to acquit Manafort after his lawyers tried to argue that the special counsel had failed to prove its case at the federal trial.

The court session began at approximately 11:45 a.m.:

“Good afternoon,” began defense attorney Richard Westling, who corrected himself and said, “Good morning.”

“I’m as surprised as you are,” Judge Ellis responded.

Ellis then heard brief argument from both sides on the defense’s motion for acquittal, focusing primarily on four counts related to Federal Savings Bank.

Federal Savings Bank was aware of the status of Paul Manafort’s finances,” Westling argued. “They came to the loans with an intent of doing business with Mr. Manafort.”

Prosecutor Uzo Asonye fired back, saying that that even if bank chairman Steve Calk overlooked Manafort’s financial woes, it would still be a crime to submit fraudulent documents to obtain the loans.

“Steve Calk is not the bank,” Asonye argued, adding that while Caulk may have “had a different motive” — a job with the Trump administration — “I’m not really sure there’s evidence he knew the documents were false.”

Ellis sided with prosecutors.

The defense makes a significant argument about materiality, but in the end, I think materiality is an issue for the jury,” he said, adding. “That is true for all the other counts… those are all jury issues.”

Once that exchange was over, Manafort’s team was afforded the opportunity to present their case, to which lead attorney Kevin Downing replied “The defense rests.

Ellis then began to question Manafort to ensure he was aware of the ramifications of that decision, to which the former Trump aide confirmed that he did not wish to take the witness stand.

Manafort, in a dark suit and white shirt, stood at the lectern from which his attorneys have questioned witnesses, staring up at the judge. Ellis told Manafort he had a right to testify, though if he chose not to, the judge would tell jurors to draw no inference from that. – WaPo

Ellis asked Manafort four questions – his amplified voice booming through the courtroom:

Had Manafort discussed the decision with his attorney?

“I have, your honor,” Manafort responded, his voice clear.

Was he satisfied with their advice?

“I am, your honor,” Manafort replied.

Had he decided whether he would testify?

“I have decided,” Manafort said.

“Do you wish to testify?” Ellis finally asked.

“No, sir,” Manafort responded.

And with that, Manafort returned to his seat.

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One more step toward COMPLETE de-dollarization

Over the past several months, sitting here in Moscow, it has become increasingly obvious that while the US Dollar is unquestionably the world’s leading and liquid reserve currency, it comes with an ever increasing high price (of sovereignty and FX) if you are not the USA.

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I have opined and written about the trend towards de-dollarization before, but with the latest US –Turkish spat it has hit the wallets, mattresses and markets of a number of countries, be they aligned with Washington or not. One thing they all have in common was that in this recent era of low cost available money, many happily fed at the US dollar trough.

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This serves as a further albeit loud example to many nations for the need to diversify to an extent away from the greenback, or risk being caught up in its volatile, sudden and unpredictably risky increasingly politicized directions.

The Dollar and the geopolitical winds from Washington are today as never before openly being used as policy, which can be called the “carrot and stick”, a distinctly Pavlovian approach. Sadly, few if any can make out where or what the carrot is in this recent US worldview branding.

Tariffs, sanctions, pressured exchange rates, the Federal Reserve loosening or tightening, trade agreements and laws ignored or simply trashed… there is a lot going on which seems to democratically affect America’s allies as well as those on Washington’s politically popular and dramatic “poo-poo” list.

Just now from a press conference in Turkey, I watched Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov say that through the actions shown by the US, the role of the US dollar as a secure global reserve currency for free trade will diminish as more countries switch to national currencies for international trade.

He clearly spoke for many nations when he said; “It will make more and more countries that are not even affected by US sanctions go away from the dollar and rely on more reliable, contractual partners in terms of currency use.” Putting the situation in a nutshell he went on to say “I have already said this about sanctions: they are illegal, they undermine all principles of global trade and principles approved by UN decisions, under which unilateral measures of economic duress are unlawful.”

Turkey, a long-standing NATO ally and a key line of western defense during the long cold war years fully agreed with his Russian counterpart. The Turkish foreign minister Mr. Cavosoglu openly warned that US sanctions or trade embargoes can and are being unilaterally imposed against any country at any time if they do not toe DC’s political line.

He said at the same press conference; “Today, sanctions are imposed on Turkey, and tomorrow they can be used against any other European state. If the United States wants to maintain respect in the international arena, then it is necessary for it to be respectful of the interests of other countries.”

What is happening in Turkey is symptomatic of the developed and emerging markets globally. When trillions of dollars of newly issued lucre was up for grabs, thanks to several developed country central banks, it was comparatively easy for governments and companies just like Turkey’s to borrow funds denominated in dollars and not their national currencies.

Turkey has relied on foreign-currency debt more than most EM’s. Corporate, financial and other debt denominated mostly in dollars, approximates close to 70% of it’s economy. Therefore as the Turkish lira plunges, it is very costly for those companies to repay their dollar-denominated loans, and even now it is patently clear many will not.

The concern rattling around the underbelly of the global markets is what can be reasonably expected for assets and economies that were inflated by cheap debt, the United States included. All this points not so much to a banking crisis as has happened eight years ago, but a systemic financial market crisis.

This is a new one, and I doubt if any QE, QT, NIRPs, or ZIRPs will make much of a difference, despite the rocket-high equity markets the US has been displaying.

One financial trader I spoke to, whom I have known since the early 1980’s (and I thought him ancient then) muttered to me “we’re gettin’ into the ecstasy stage, nothing but the high matters, everything else including the VIX is seen as boring denial, and not the warning tool it is. Better start loading up on gold.”

Meanwhile, de-dollarization is ongoing in Russia and is carefully studied by a host of countries, especially as the Russian government has not yet finished selling off US debt; it still has just a few billion to go. The Russian Finance Minister A. Siluanov said this past Sunday that Russia would continue decreasing holdings of Treasuries in response to sanctions.

The finance minister went on to say that, Russia is also considering distancing itself from using the US dollar for international trade, calling it an unreliable, conditional and hence risky tool for payments.

Between March and May this year, Russia’s US debt holdings were sold down by $81 billion, which is 84% of its total US debt holdings, and while I don’t know the current figure it is certain to be even less.

The latest round of tightening sanctions screws against Russia were imposed by the State Department under a chemical and biological warfare law and should be going into effect on August 22. This in spite of the fact that no proof was ever shown, not under any established national or international law, or with any of several global biochemical conventions, not even in the ever entertaining court of public opinion.

Whatever Russia may continue to do in its relationship with US debt or the dollar, the fact of the matter is that Russia is not a heavyweight in this particular financial arena, and the direct effects of Russia’s responses are negligible. However, the indirect effects are huge as they reflect what many countries (allied or unallied with the US) see as Washington’s overbearing and more than slightly unipolar trade and geopolitical advantage quests, be they Mexico, Canada, the EU, or anyone else on any hemisphere of this globe.

Some of the potential indirect effects over time may be a similar sell-off or even gradual reduction of US debt exposure from China or any one of several dozens of countries deciding to reduce their exposure to US debt by reducing their purchases and waiting for existing Treasuries to mature. In either case, the trend is there and is not going away anytime soon.

When Russia clears its books of US dollarized debt, then who will be next in actively diversifying their US debt risk? Then what might be the fate of the US Dollar, and what value then will be the international infusions to finance America’s continually growing debt, or fuel the funds needed for further market growth? Value and the energy of money has no politics, it ultimately trends towards areas where there is a secure business dynamic. That being said, looks like we are now and will be living through the most interesting of disruptive times.

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