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US closure of Russian diplomatic properties may be act of property development piracy

The local implications to some of America’s biggest property markets may be a key angle in understanding why the US has acted so aggressively.

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While initial reports concealing the forced eviction of Russian diplomatic and consular offices from their property by the US State Department has generally been discussed in terms of geo-political implications, there is another angle which hitherto has been ignored. There is an increasing likelihood that part of the reason why the US kicked the Russian diplomats and their staff out of properties they have held for decades, is due to a desire of local and federal US actors to get their hands on properties that are worth millions on the open market.

The properties which were formerly occupied by Russian diplomatic and consular officials are objectively grand buildings in prime (aka expensive) locations in three of America’s most expensive cities, New York, Washington D.C. and San Francisco.

The phenomenon of so-called ‘property regeneration’ has been a prominent fixture in each of the aforementioned cities. One element of property regeneration whether in poor areas being redeveloped or in affluent areas which are home to old buildings which aren’t living up to their ‘economic potential’, is when longtime tenants or owners are removed in order for new tenants and owners to move in. These new owners are tenants are selected on the basis of being able bring more economic value to the local economy.

One of the ways American state, local and federal governments do such things is through the use of something called eminent domain wherein property owners are forced to relocate while being compensated at a rate the government determines. Unless a property owner can win a lawsuit against the government in a court of law (which rarely happens), the owners/tenants have little say in the matter. They are simply forced to pack up without having the privilege of selling their property on the open market.

Donald Trump himself made extensive and controversial use of eminent domain when he encouraged Atlantic City to evoke it when clearing out the owners of old buildings where he ended up building large hotels and casinos.

Generally speaking, the properties of embassies and consular facilities in cities across the globe are in prestigious areas of capital cities and other big metropolitan areas. Naturally, the property which is owned by the governments of foreign countries would be worth a great deal of money on the open property market, a market which real estate brokers and developers are more than eager to get their hands on. As of yet, there is no instance of the US invoking eminent domain against a foreign embassy or consular property, not least because such things would almost certainly violate the Vienna Conventions.

The US has shown a precedent for being all too aware of this. For example, one of the biggest American embassies overseas is located in London. The current embassy of the United Sates in Britain is located in Mayfair, the most expensive region in the British capital.

In 2008, the United States announced it would be constructing a new embassy in the Nine Elms area of London, a then derelict part of the city where land was vastly cheaper than the location of the current embassy.

By the time the US moves into the new embassy, the property prices in Nine Elms will have increased substantially, as the once barren area filled with crumbling post-industrial facilities has been ‘redeveloped’. In other words, America will make a great deal of money from selling their old property while obtaining a good investment that may pay for itself in a few short years.

The former locations of the Russian properties in the United States which have recently been vacated are also located in extremely expensive parts of extremely expensive cities. The large building which housed the Russian Consulate in San Francisco is located in the Pacific Heights district, one of the most affluent and beautiful parts of the California city.

Pacific Heights, San Francisco.

The former Russian Consulate in San Francisco

The Russian Consular Annex which was shut down in New York was located in the Upper East Side, the most desirable and expensive part of Manhattan. The consular annex in Washington D.C. was also located in one of the distract’s most affluent areas.

Russia’s opulent former trade mission in Washington D.C.

Russia’s consular building in New York’s Upper East Side

The question now is: what happens to the properties?  

The way in which the Russian diplomats and workers were kicked out leaves little room for doubt that the facilities are not going to be re-opened to their existing owner, the Russian Federation.

As a result Russia expects compensation as anyone in a similar position would seek.

This reality was mentioned by the official Spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova. She stated,

“I am telling you a sensation. It is difficult to believe, officially the Department of State made it clear to us, we were told directly, that they expect that we shall sell those facilities to the US.

They expect from us that we shall sell those properties to the American government. Today, we shall make a set of pictures of those facilities, so that it is clear what we are talking about – those are not one-bedroom flats in the outskirts. Those are central locations in Washington and San Francisco (and New York). The facilities, the so-called residences fare the most respectable locations and this is why it was so interesting to host events there”.

While Russia has called America’s actions “hostile” in respect of violating the internally recognised Vienna Conventions, the act also most be something else, a proverbially hostile takeover.

From a pure economic standpoint, it seems incredibly devious that the US will according to Zakharova, force Russia to sell the properties to the US government rather than put them up for sale on the open market. If the properties were put up for sale on the open market, Russia could reasonable expect to receive a better final sale price.

If the US does indeed purchase the properties what then will happen? Will the US use the properties, thus increasing the property portfolio of the US government by an amount that is almost certainly over the tens of millions and will almost certainly increase over time?

Or will the US government sell the properties themselves on the open market to the highest bidder? Extrapolating this further, might the US government sell the properties to a developer who may have donated money to a Congressional party or a prominent politician? All of this is not only possible but increasingly probable.

The US may be close to getting a good deal on properties which are extremely desirable, properties the rightful owner did not have any intention on selling or otherwise giving up. It is a kind of eminent domain which has been exercised through geo-political and diplomatic warfare, all of which is illegal according to international law.

While this could merely be an unintended outcome of the protracted diplomatic struggles Washington has instigated against Moscow, it must be said that prior to becoming the President of the United States, Donald Trump was a property developer. If anyone in the US government knows how much the properties are worth and what economic potential they hold, that person is Donald Trump, a man who objectively has more experience in the property market than he has on foreign policy.

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Joe HueglinJetsJan MorrisVera GottliebAlexandra Recent comment authors
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Daisy Adler
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Daisy Adler

“act of property development piracy”

or, in a word: “theft”.

Simon
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Simon

They want Russia to sell purely to close the issue and thus apprently ‘justify’ their illegal actions. Otherwise the problem will fester for a decade or more.

It’s from the same playbook as “Yanukovich left the country, nothing more to discuss, move along, nothing to see here.”

Russia should refuse to sell. But I doubt they will listen to my advice.
And btw, in the same way, they should never have accepted that Yankukovich was no longer the President of Ukraine.

Franz Kafka
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Franz Kafka

By his inaction, incompetence and, ultimately, complicity in the hand-over of the former The Ukraine to the Zionist expropriators, headed by Vicki ‘Cookies’ Knudlemann, Yanukovych made himself a pariah to Russia. Insupportable.

Simon
Guest
Simon

Oh I completely agree he’s a wanker.
But that’s no reason to abandon the doubt over the whole legality of the transfer of power. That could have proven useful.

In the same way, maybe the trade mission has structural damage and is rat infested – but it’s no reason to admit defeat, sell up and leave.
Its status is an embarrassment and a bargaining chip, better not to agree to take it off the table, yet.

Franz Kafka
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Franz Kafka

Russians have a built-in genetic aversion to pettiness. It puts the “People of Consummate Cant” as Nietzsche characterised the English (now the Anglo-Zionists) have at least that advantage in pettiness over Russia. Of course it means that in the end the Russians will always defeat them. But in the short term propaganda war it looks sometimes like a weakness. I am quite sure that it is not one. I wonder if you would agree?

Dorthyredison
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Dorthyredison

Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family!!!
On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
>>>http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash370TopOne/GetPay$97/Hour..

Wayne Blow
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Wayne Blow

Disgustingly deplorable, “BULL-SHIT”, Russia return the favor!!!!

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

Dear Adam, what is the deal with the US Embassy on Tverskoi Boulevard in Uber-Prime downtown Moscow praactically opposite the Kremlin? Might they be harboring missiles there to assassinate Putin. I think so.

Mr Putin: Consider this to be my official denunciation of the contents of, and intended purpose of, the US Embassy in Moscow. – A friend.

Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

“As of yet, there is no instance of the US invoking eminent domain against a foreign embassy or consular property, not least because such things would almost certainly violate the Vienna Conventions”.

As written, that sentence is incorrect. If, in the spirit of Mark Twain, we cross out “almost” and replace it with “damn”, the sentence will now be true.

Tom Welsh
Guest
Tom Welsh

The Russian government should refuse to sell the properties. If the US government wishes to steal them by force, let it do so publicly.

Punisher 1
Guest
Punisher 1

The US “rents” their US Mission buildings in Russia. While the Russians “own” their buildings in the US. It seems to me the leases should be terminated (I’m sure “some” legal reason can be found). And a Soviet built apartment building from the 1960’s ,in the outskirts of Moscow,offered the US instead. Why let the US enjoy “posh digs” in downtown Moscow. When a “shall we say”,more “suitable” building can be found for them (with no reduction in rent of course).

cap960
Guest
cap960

A pig farm would suffice.

Alexandra
Guest
Alexandra

Not sure if the pigs would want them in their stalls.

Hans Zandvliet
Guest
Hans Zandvliet

Especially some psycopathic tenents who love spare ribs on their barbeque.

Alexandra
Guest
Alexandra

Good one!

nshah
Guest
nshah

As I mentioned before he became potus.. He’s an Elicit Conman..!

Joe Hueglin
Guest
Joe Hueglin

The meaning of “Land of the Free” has become”Free to do as WE choose – regardless of rules.”
Invade a sovereign country with no UN authorization Serbia. Get UN authorization to help the people and destroy the overall highest standard country in Africa – Libya. Sadly this latest destruction of international law will be accepted by Canada and other subordinate states without comment..

Jets
Guest
Jets

“…international law will be accepted..” should be “HAS BEEN accepted by Canada …”.

Joe Hueglin
Guest
Joe Hueglin

In so far as not commenting is acceptance it has been as you write. Just like an Archbiship not reporting an abusive priest to the police – condoning is at minimum dishonourable.

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

Making America ‘great’ or rather, developers??? Shameless…

Jan Morris
Guest
Jan Morris

5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, “nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” If I’m remembering correctly, “just compensation” means “fair market value”.

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New York Times hit piece on Trump and NATO exposes alliance as outdated and obsolete (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 61.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at the New York Times hit piece citing anonymous sources, with information that the U.S. President dared to question NATO’s viability.

Propaganda rag, the NYT, launched its latest presidential smear aimed at discrediting Trump and provoking the establishment, warmonger left into more impeachment – Twenty-fifth Amendment talking points.

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Via The American Conservative


The New York Times scored a serious scoop when it revealed on Monday that President Trump had questioned in governmental conversations—on more than one occasion, apparently—America’s membership in NATO. Unfortunately the paper then slipped into its typical mode of nostrum journalism. My Webster’s New World Dictionary defines “nostrum” as “quack medicine” entailing “exaggerated claims.” Here we had quack journalism executed in behalf of quack diplomacy.

The central exaggerated claim is contained in the first sentence, in which it is averred that NATO had “deterred Soviet and Russian aggression for 70 years.” This is wrong, as can be seen through just a spare amount of history.

True, NATO saved Europe from the menace of Russian Bolshevism. But it did so not over 70 years but over 40 years—from 1949 to 1989. That’s when the Soviet Union had 1.3 million Soviet and client-state troops poised on Western Europe’s doorstep, positioned for an invasion of Europe through the lowlands of Germany’s Fulda Gap.

How was this possible? It was possible because Joseph Stalin had pushed his armies farther and farther into the West as the German Wehrmacht collapsed at the end of World War II. In doing so, and in the process capturing nearly all of Eastern Europe, he ensured that the Soviets had no Western enemies within a thousand miles of Leningrad or within 1,200 miles of Moscow. This vast territory represented not only security for the Russian motherland (which enjoys no natural geographical barriers to deter invasion from the West) but also a potent staging area for an invasion of Western Europe.

The first deterrent against such an invasion, which Stalin would have promulgated had he thought he could get away with it, was America’s nuclear monopoly. By the time that was lost, NATO had emerged as a powerful and very necessary deterrent. The Soviets, concluding that the cost of an invasion was too high, defaulted to a strategy of undermining Western interests anywhere around the world where that was possible. The result was global tensions stirred up at various global trouble spots, most notably Korea and Vietnam.

But Europe was saved, and NATO was the key. It deserves our respect and even reverence for its profound success as a military alliance during a time of serious threat to the West.

But then the threat went away. Gone were the 1.3 million Soviet and client-state troops. Gone was Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. Indeed, gone, by 1991, was the Soviet Union itself, an artificial regime of brutal ideology superimposed upon the cultural entity of Mother Russia. It was a time for celebration.

But it was also a time to contemplate the precise nature of the change that had washed over the world and to ponder what that might mean for old institutions—including NATO, a defensive military alliance created to deter aggression from a menacing enemy to the east. Here’s where Western thinking went awry. Rather than accepting as a great benefit the favorable developments enhancing Western security—the Soviet military retreat, the territorial reversal, the Soviet demise—the West turned NATO into a territorial aggressor of its own, absorbing nations that had been part of the Soviet sphere of control and pushing right up to the Russian border. Now Leningrad (renamed St. Petersburg after the obliteration of the menace of Soviet communism) resides within a hundred miles of NATO military forces, while Moscow is merely 200 miles from Western troops.

Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has absorbed 13 nations, some on the Russian border, others bordering lands that had been part of Russia’s sphere of interest for centuries. This constitutes a policy of encirclement, which no nation can accept without protest or pushback. And if NATO were to absorb those lands of traditional Russian influence—particularly Ukraine and Georgia—that would constitute a major threat to Russian security, as Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to emphasize to Western leaders for years.

So, no, NATO has not deterred Russian aggression for 70 years. It did so for 40 and has maintained a destabilizing posture toward Russia ever since. The problem here is the West’s inability to perceive how changed geopolitical circumstances might require a changed geopolitical strategy. The encirclement strategy has had plenty of critics—George Kennan before he died; academics John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt, and Robert David English; former diplomat Jack Matlock; the editors of The Nation. But their voices have tended to get drowned out by the nostrum diplomacy and the nostrum journalism that supports it at every turn.

You can’t drown out Donald Trump because he’s president of the United States. And so he has to be traduced, ridiculed, dismissed, and marginalized. That’s what the Times story, by Julian Barnes and Helene Cooper, sought to do. Consider the lead, designed to emphasize just how outlandish Trump’s musings are before the reader even has a chance to absorb what he may have been thinking: “There are few things that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia desires more than the weakening of NATO, the military alliance among the United States, Europe and Canada that has deterred Soviet and Russian aggression for 70 years.” Translation: “Take that, Mr. President! You’re an idiot.”

Henry Kissinger had something interesting to say about Trump in a recent interview with the Financial Times. “I think Trump may be one of those figures in history,” said the former secretary of state, “who appears from time to time to mark the end of an era and to force it to give up its old pretenses.” One Western pretense about Russia, so ardently enforced by the likes of Julian Barnes and Helene Cooper (who, it may be safe to say, know less about world affairs and their history than Henry Kissinger), is that nothing really changed with the Soviet collapse and NATO had to turn aggressive in order to keep that menacing nation in its place.

Trump clearly doesn’t buy that pretense. He said during the campaign that NATO was obsolete. Then he backtracked, saying he only wanted other NATO members to pay their fair share of the cost of deterrence. He even confessed, after Hillary Clinton identified NATO as “the strongest military alliance in the history of the world,” that he only said NATO was obsolete because he didn’t know much about it. But he was learning—enough, it appears, to support as president Montenegro’s entry into NATO in 2017. Is Montenegro, with 5,332 square miles and some 620,000 citizens, really a crucial element in Europe’s desperate project to protect itself against Putin’s Russia?

We all know that Trump is a crude figure—not just in his disgusting discourse but in his fumbling efforts to execute political decisions. As a politician, he often seems like a doctor attempting to perform open-heart surgery while wearing mittens. His idle musings about leaving NATO are a case in point—an example of a politician who lacks the skill and finesse to nudge the country in necessary new directions.

But Kissinger has a point about the man. America and the world have changed, while the old ways of thinking have not kept pace. The pretenses of the old have blinded the status quo defenders into thinking nothing has changed. Trump, almost alone among contemporary American politicians, is asking questions to which the world needs new answers. NATO, in its current configuration and outlook, is a danger to peace, not a guarantor of it.


Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is the author most recently of President McKinley: Architect of the American Century

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Nigel Farage To Back Another “Vote Leave” Campaign If UK Holds Second Brexit Referendum

Nigel Farage said Friday that he would be willing to wage another “Vote Leave” campaign, even if he needed to use another party as the “vehicle” for his opposition.

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Via Zerohedge


Pro-European MPs from various political parties are pushing back against claims made by Prime Minister Theresa May’s government that a second Brexit referendum – which supporters have branded as a “People’s Vote” on May’s deal – would take roughly 14 months to organize, according to RT.

But while support for a second vote grows, one of the most notorious proponents of the original “Vote Leave” campaign is hinting at a possible return to politics to try and fight the effort.

After abandoning UKIP, the party he helped create, late last year, Nigel Farage said Friday that he would be willing to wage another “Vote Leave” campaign, even if he needed to use another party as the “vehicle” for his opposition. Farage also pointed out that a delay of Brexit Day would likely put it after the European Parliament elections in May.

“I think, I fear that the House of Commons is going to effectively overturn that Brexit. To me, the most likely outcome of all of this is an extension of Article 50. There could be another referendum,” he told Sky News.

According to official government guidance shown to lawmakers on Wednesday, which was subsequently leaked to the Telegraph, as May tries to head off a push by ministers who see a second referendum as the best viable alternative to May’s deal – a position that’s becoming increasingly popular with Labour Party MPs.

“In order to inform the discussions, a very short paper set out in factual detail the number of months that would be required, this was illustrative only and our position of course is that there will be no second referendum,,” May said. The statement comes as May has been meeting with ministers and leaders from all parties to try to find a consensus deal that could potentially pass in the House of Commons.

The 14 month estimate is how long May and her government expect it would take to pass the primary legislation calling for the referendum (seven months), conduct the question testing with the election committee (12 weeks), pass secondary legislation (six weeks) and conduct the campaigns (16 weeks).

May has repeatedly insisted that a second referendum wouldn’t be feasible because it would require a lengthy delay of Brexit Day, and because it would set a dangerous precedent that wouldn’t offer any more clarity (if some MPs are unhappy with the outcome, couldn’t they just push for a third referendum?). A spokesperson for No. 10 Downing Street said the guidance was produced purely for the purpose of “illustrative discussion” and that the government continued to oppose another vote.

Meanwhile, a vote on May’s “Plan B”, expected to include a few minor alterations from the deal’s previous iteration, has been called for Jan. 29, prompting some MPs to accuse May of trying to run out the clock. May is expected to present the new deal on Monday.

Former Tory Attorney General and pro-remainer MP Dominic Grieve blasted May’s timetable as wrong and said that the government “must be aware of it themselves,” while former Justice Minister Dr Phillip Lee, who resigned his cabinet seat in June over May’s Brexit policy, denounced her warning as “nonsense.”

As May pieces together her revised deal, more MPs are urging her to drop her infamous “red lines” (Labour in particular would like to see the UK remain part of the Customs Union), but with no clear alternative to May’s plan emerging, a delay of Brexit Day is looking like a virtual certainty.

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The National Security Agency Is A Criminal Organization

The National Security Agency values being able to blackmail citizens and members of government at home and abroad more than preventing terrorist attacks.

Paul Craig Roberts

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Via Paul Craig Roberts…


Years before Edward Snowden provided documented proof that the National Security Agency was really a national insecurity agency as it was violating law and the US Constitution and spying indiscriminately on American citizens, William Binney, who designed and developed the NSA spy program revealed the illegal and unconstitutional spying. Binney turned whistleblower, because NSA was using the program to spy on Americans. As Binney was well known to the US Congress, he did not think he needed any NSA document to make his case. But what he found out was “Congress would never hear me because then they’d lose plausible deniability. That was really their key. They needed to have plausible deniability so they can continue this massive spying program because it gave them power over everybody in the world. Even the members of Congress had power against others [in Congress]; they had power on judges on the Supreme Court, the federal judges, all of them. That’s why they’re so afraid. Everybody’s afraid because all this data that’s about them, the central agencies — the intelligence agencies — they have it. And that’s why Senator Schumer warned President Trump earlier, a few months ago, that he shouldn’t attack the intelligence community because they’ve got six ways to Sunday to come at you. That’s because it’s like J. Edgar Hoover on super steroids. . . . it’s leverage against every member of parliament and every government in the world.”

To prevent whistle-blowing, NSA has “a program now called ‘see something, say something’ about your fellow workers. That’s what the Stasi did. That’s why I call [NSA] the new New Stasi Agency. They’re picking up all the techniques from the Stasi and the KGB and the Gestapo and the SS. They just aren’t getting violent yet that we know of — internally in the US, outside is another story.”

As Binney had no documents to give to the media, blowing the whistle had no consequence for NSA. This is the reason that Snowden released the documents that proved NSA to be violating both law and the Constitution, but the corrupt US media focused blame on Snowden as a “traitor” and not on NSA for its violations.

Whistleblowers are protected by federal law. Regardless, the corrupt US government tried to prosecute Binney for speaking out, but as he had taken no classified document, a case could not be fabricated against him.

Binney blames the NSA’s law-breaking on Dick “Darth” Cheney. He says NSA’s violations of law and Constitution are so extreme that they would have to have been cleared at the top of the government.

Binney describes the spy network, explains that it was supposed to operate only against foreign enemies, and that using it for universal spying so overloads the system with data that the system fails to discover many terrorist activities. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50932.htm

Apparently, the National Security Agency values being able to blackmail citizens and members of government at home and abroad more than preventing terrorist attacks.

Unfortunately for Americans, there are many Americans who blindly trust the government and provide the means, the misuse of which is used to enslave us. A large percentage of the work in science and technology serves not to free people but to enslave them. By now there is no excuse for scientists and engineers not to know this. Yet they persist in their construction of the means to destroy liberty.

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