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9 things you need to know from Vladimir Putin’s end-of-year Q&A session

The Russian President took questions for nearly 4 hours.

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From RussiaFeed

President Putin has just conducted another marathon end-of-year Q and A sessions with Russian and international journalists. Putin covered a wide variety of issues on both foreign and domestic policy matters.

Here are the key points to takeaway.

1. Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)

President Putin was asked several questions about the speed and efficacy of EAEU integration. Putin responded positively saying that all member states including Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Belarus, have been working closely to modernise both physical and digital infrastructure across member states. This includes the ability to receive and track items via digital customs forms as well as joint investment projects.

Putin noted that the aggregate growth rate of the EAEU is even higher than that of the Russian Federation in isolation, which is proof positive of the fact that cooperation is mutual beneficial, while based on a model that does not threaten the sovereignty of any member state (a charge commonly levelled against the European Union).

He also responded positively to a question from a Kazakh journalist about using news media to help inform the public about the progress of the EAEU, before mentioning that far from being a reaction to EU sanctions, the EAEU was the brainchild of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev–one which predates the post-2014 sanctions from the west.

With Iran set to join the EAEU in 2018, President Putin’s positive response signifies Russia’s general optimism about the future of its role as a Eurasian leader.

Iran to join Eurasian Economic Union – diplomatic sources

2. North Korea 

President Putin stated that Russia does not accept the nuclear status of North Korea, but that one must work with a realistic attitude to de-escalate tensions in the region.

Putin also roundly condemned US provocations, questioning why this could be reasonably expected to improve the situation.

He once again referenced his analogy to Iraq and Libya, saying that when Pyongyang saw how the US destroyed two countries without the means to protect themselves, North Korea took the logical step to implement measures to do so. Putin further reminded journalists that the situation was exacerbated by the unwillingness of the US to engage in constructive talks in the past with Pyongyang which could have produced a lasting treaty for peace and de-escalation.

Putin then said that Rex Tillerson’s recent statements, indicating that Washington may be willing to discuss the matter directly with Pyongyang was a positive development, even though Washington seemed to negate Tillerson’s statement within 24 hours of him making it.

3. Syria 

Putin stated that he “had to” go to Syria in order to make his announcement regarding a partial troop withdrawal. He stated that most of the terrorist groups in Syria have been defeated and security issues involving his trip were coordinated with Russian troops in Syria in a highly professional manner.

Putin however stated that further work must still be done to destroy that which remains of the terrorist threat in Syria. He said that increasing the welfare of people is crucial to prevent terrorist in the future. Turning to the peace process, the Russian President stated,

In Syria, all the parties involved should resist the temptation to take advantage of short-term political goals.

We see that terrorists are escaping Syria to Iraq and the US doesn’t hit them because they may want to use them later against (Syrian President Bashar) al-Assad… That’s very dangerous”.

Putin further stated that while working with international partners, including the Syrian government as well as Turkey and Jordan, it is important to help actual Syrian refugees return to their homes in a post-conflict environment. He further stated that children of Russian citizens brought to Iraq and Syria by terrorists, should be re-integrated into the social life of various republics and regions of the Russian Federation.

4. Ukraine/Donbass conflict 

Putin lamented the unwillingness of the Kiev regime to implement the protocols of the MINSK II accords. He further lamented that even when the Rada (parliament) in Kiev approved a special status for Donbass in-line with MINSK II, Kiev’s forces continue to act aggressively.

He then stated that because of this, it is important that the militias of Donbass are able to defend themselves. Putin also said that he remains confident that even without Russian assistance, they will be able to do so and that it was necessary for the people of Donbass to remain armed so as to avoid a “massacre” at the hands of Kiev’s troops, ultra-nationalist (neo-Nazi) volunteers and pro-Kiev mercenaries.

Turning to the power struggle in Kiev between regime leader Petro Poroshenko and former Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili, he called the former Georgian leader who is wanted as a criminal in his home country “pathetic”. He asked rhetorically why people from Ukraine aren’t able to produce a prospective new leader themselves?

He then talked of the united history of the Slavic people and how the medieval Rus formed their first state in Kiev. He mentioned that central regions of what is now Ukraine rejoined the Russian Empire in 1654 and that after wars with Ottoman Turkey, other areas (Novorossiya and Crimea) became incorporated into Russia. These areas along with parts of former Polish governed regions in the west were added to Soviet Ukraine in 1945. Putin then remarked that the 1954 transfer of Soviet Crimea to Soviet Ukraine was in fact illegal according to the Soviet laws of the era.

The conclusion that Putin drew was that while most Russians and Ukrainians see themselves as part of a wider fraternal nation, the future is up to people in Ukraine, in respect of how they would like to govern themselves. If they choose to remain totally separate from Russia, this is their choice and they will have to work to improve their conditions themselves if this is the final decision of Ukrainians.

5. Relations with China/One Belt–One Road 

President Putin stated that he welcomes the decisions taken by the ruling Communist Party of China in terms in further modernisation programmes and an increased emphasis on respectful cooperation with international partners via the One Belt–One Road initiative.

He further stated that Chinese model is similar in many ways to that which Russia is currently building internally and among Russia’s international partners.

Putin praised the fast growth of the Chinese economy and credited them to good decisions made by President Xi Jinping and his predecessors. He called China a “strategic partner of Russia” and said that Russia and China have $63 billion in trade turnover. Putin expressed his optimism that this figure is likely to increase in the very near future.

Putin stated that the EAEU and One Belt–One Road are compatible and that Russia seeks to participate in broader cooperation in Asia and that progress has been made in this area all the time.

He further stated,

“China is part of some major projects in the Arctic, we’ve just launched the first stage of the Yamal liquefied natural gas project – China is a major investor.

…We have another great project on high-speed transit, we support high-speed transit from China to Europe via Russia.”

Finally, Putin stated that irrespective of the restults of next year’s Presidential election in Russia,

“I have full confidence that cooperation with China is beyond any political agenda – we’ll remain strategic partners for a long period of time”.

6. 2018 Russian Presidential elections 

Vladimir Putin confirmed for the first time that he plans to run in the 2018 Russian Presidential elections (scheduled for March) as an independent candidate. He stated that he looks forward to engaging in dialogue with many political parties in the hopes of winning their endorsement.

Later he was asked a question directly by Ksenia Sobchak, a Presidential hopeful in the 2018 elections, but not a candidate who is widely regarded as serious. The main challengers to President Putin’s incumbency will be Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPSU) leader Gennady Zyuganov and Liberal Democratic Party of Russian (LDPR) founder and leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

However, because Sobchak has attained her fame through being a so-called ‘socialite’, much attention has been on her.

President Putin however took her to task, saying,

“I said the opposition needs positive proposals – what are you offering?

…The people you mentioned (including Aleksey Navalny) are the Russian versions of Mikhail Saakashvili… Do you want Russia moving from one Maidan-style situation to another?

…Most Russians don’t want that”.

7. US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

President Putin remarked on the unfortunate results of the US unilaterally withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) but said that Russia remains committed to the principles of the treaty in line with Russia’s commitment to international protocols.

He stated that when the US puts missiles close to Russia’s borders, particularly on Russia’s European borderlands, Russia will respond by taking appropriate measures in respect of defensive military mechanisms within Russia’s borders.

8. Russiagate/Donald Trump

US based ABC news asked President Putin about the ongoing ‘Russiagate’ scandal with Donald Trump, which in reality ought to be called Israelgate due to the fact that Israeli’s Prime Minister colluded directly with Trump transition team officials, in order to try and influence the foreign policy of other nations and the UN itself. While President Putin stayed clear of this issue, he said the following:

“It’s up to the American people to assess Trump, not me. But look at the markets, they are up, indicating investors trust him. We also respect the US opposition. I don’t know if Trump still has the same desire to cooperate closely with us, but I hope we can work closely on a range of issues.”

Turning to so-called Trump collusion with Russia, Putin said,

“That’s been invented by those aiming to de-legitimize Trump. These people don’t understand they are undermining their own country, they aren’t showing respect for Americans that voted for Trump”.

Finally, turning to contacts between Russian diplomats and Americans, the Russian President stated,

“It is standard practice for diplomats to talk – what’s so strange about this? Why do you have this ‘Russia spy hysteria?”

Vladimir Putin: Russiagate “invented by those aiming to de-legitimize Trump”

9. 2018 World Cup 

Putin stated that Russia has a long history of successful experiences in hosting international sporting events. He further stated that all major public infrastructure projects related to the World Cup, including the 12 World Cup stadiums in 11 Russian cities are on schedule, except for one stadium that has a 2 month delay.

Nevertheless, Putin stated that everything will be accomplished on time.

Vladimir Putin then stated that the funding for World Cup facilities is half drawn from public funds and the other half from private investors.

Other areas covered:

–There are no plans to increase taxation.

This issue will be considered again at the end of 2018

–Russia will not ban abortions 

On this issue Putin stated,

“…in most modern countries today, it is up to the woman to make this decision.

If there was a total ban, we’d eventually have a criminal trade in this – women would go abroad, there would be illegal abortions… it does immense damage to women’s health, so we have to be careful….We are willing to support pregnant women, of course”.

–Afghanistan

Russia is willing to cooperate with international partners, including the US over security concerns in Afghanistan.

–Nuclear war 

President Putin said that he felt the US decision to drop nuclear weapons on Japan in 1945 was something he disagrees with.

–Iraqi Kurds 

Putin stated that Russia has good relations with Iraq and also good relations with Iraq’s Kurdish Autonomous Region. He said that he expects Kurdish leaders to respect the decisions of the Iraqi government and that he does not foresee anything drastic happening from this point forward.

Now sit down (comfrotably) and watch 3 hours and 42 minutes of Vladimir Putin taking questions from Russian and international journalists

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FBI Texts Show Agents Discussed Recruiting White House Sources To Spy For Bureau

The texts and sources reveal that Strzok had one significant contact within the White House – Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Joshua Pitcock.

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Via SaraCarter.com:


Senior Republican chairmen submitted a letter Thursday to Department of Justice Attorney General William Barr revealing new texts from former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok to his paramour FBI Attorney Lisa Page showing the pair had discussed attempts to recruit sources within the White House to allegedly spy on the Trump administration.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Charles Grassley and Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson revealed the information in a three page letter. The texts had been obtained by SaraACarter.com Tuesday and information regarding the possible attempt to recruit White House sources had been divulged by several sources to this news site last week.

The texts and sources reveal that Strzok had one significant contact within the White House – Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Joshua Pitcock, whose wife was working as an analyst for Strzok on the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server. A senior White House official told this news site that Pitcock’s wife recused herself from the Clinton investigation as soon as Pence and Trump became the Republican nominees in July 2016. A senior law enforcement official also told SaraACarter.com that Pitcock’s wife no longer worked under Strzok after she recused herself from the Clinton investigation.

However, the text messages uncovered from November, 2016 and have left questions lingering about the relationship between Strzok, Pitcock and his wife among congressional investigators and lawmakers.

“The course of our oversight work we have reviewed certain text messages that may show potential attempts by the FBI to conduct surveillance of President-elect Trump’s transition team,” the letter states. “In text messages exchanged between former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and former FBI Attorney Lisa Page, the two discussed the possibility of developing “potential relationships” at a November 2016 FBI briefing for presidential transition team staff. Specifically, it appears they discussed sending “the CI guy” to assess an unnamed person ‘demeanor’ but were concerned because it might be unusual for him to attend.”

The Senators are investigating if any “of these communications, and the precise purpose of any attempts to ‘develop relationships’ with Trump or VP Mike Pence transition team staff are not immediately clear.”

Were these efforts done to gain better communication between the respective parties, or were the briefings used as intelligence gathering operations? Further, did any such surveillance activities continue beyond the inauguration, and in the event they did, were those activities subject to proper predication,” the letter states.

“Any improper FBI surveillance activities that were conducted before or after the 2016 election must be brought to light and properly addressed.”

The Texts

A few weeks after the presidential election, Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page discussed the logistics for the briefing. Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page said the following:

Strzok: Talking with Bill. Do we want Joe to go with Evanina instead of Charli for a variety of reasons?

(Strzok is referring to former FBI Assistant Director of Counterintelligence division Bill Priestap. ‘Joe is referencing FBI Special Agent Joe Pientka, who interviewed former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in January, 2017. And Evanina is in reference to William Evanina, National Counterintelligence and Security Center.)

Page: Hmm. Not sure. Would it be unusual to have [sic] show up again? Maybe another agent from the team?

Strzok: Or, he’s “the CI guy.” Same.might [sic] make sense. He can assess if there [sic] are any news [sic] Qs, or different demeanor. If Katie’s husband is there, he can see if there are people we can develop for potential relationships

Page: Should I ask Andy about it? Or Bill (Priestap) want to reach out for Andy (McCabe)?Strzok: I told him I’m sure we could ask you to make the swap if we thought it.

FBI Seeks Sources In White House

There was one major connection in the White House. According to documents, White House sources and the FBI one of FBI’s top counterintelligence analysts who was personally working for former FBI Special Agent Strzok had a spouse working directly for Vice President Mike Pence.

The White House and the FBI told this news site that she had recused herself from the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server and working for Strzok as soon as Pence and Trump announced they were the candidates for the party.

The FBI asked that her name be kept private as not to reveal her identity. Her identity, however is revealed in the texts below. But this news site is withholding her last name for security reasons.

An FBI Intelligence analyst named Katherine, is married to Joshua Pitcock. Katherine’s name is different from her husbands. Pitcock worked for Pence as his Chief of Staff from January, 2017 until he resigned in August, 2017.

Prior to accepting his then new role at the White House, he had served as a senior Trump campaign official and long time aide to Pence.

Katherine had been detailed to Strzok and according to sources was one of the top analysts in the investigation into Hillary Clinton, according to federal law enforcement sources and U.S. officials.

Strzok was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team in 2017 and then fired from the FBI in August, 2018. He was fired after an extensive review by Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s office into the FBI’s handling of the Clinton investigation and was removed from Mueller’s team after the IG discovered his anti-Trump text messages to his paramour former FBI Attorney Lisa Page.

A senior White House official told SaraACarter.com that it is “our understanding that as soon as the President and Vice President accepted the nomination, she recused herself for the entire time after they were officially the nominees from anything that would have spill over to the White House.”

FBI officials could not immediately respond for comment.

Trump announced Pence as his pick on July 15, 2016. They officially became nominees on July 21, 2016 at the Republican convention. This means, Katherine was working on the Russia investigation with Strzok prior to that time frame. Strzok’s direct involvement and actions during the investigation will more than likely lead to criminal charges, a source with knowledge told SaraACarter.com.

A former senior intelligence official who spoke to this news-site said “my concern about this is the potential for information to flow from her to her husband to spin any information that the Vice President may or may not have heard during that time frame.” The former intelligence source said the connection raises questions regarding information that may have moved from the FBI into the vice president’s orbit “regarding former (National Security Advisor Michael Flynn),” they added.

The senior White House official responded saying, “she was recused from that investigation before he was ever sworn into office. That didn’t happen.”

However, “the texts leave many questions unanswered and appear to show that Strzok was in communication with Pitcock on some level,” the intelligence official added.

During the time Pitcock served as chief of staff, Flynn became the highest profile target of the now debunked investigation into the campaign.

In the letter Grassley and Johnson refer to Barr’s testimony “during your April 10, 2019, testimony before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, you stated that you are looking into the ‘genesis and conduct of intelligence activities directed at the Trump campaign during 2016.’ You further stated that ‘spying did occur,’ and that you believe it is your obligation to look into the question of whether surveillance activities by the Federal Bureau of lnvestigation (FBI) or other intelligence agencies were adequately predicated.”

“We share your concerns about these activities, and are troubled by the apparent unauthorized disclosures of surveillance efforts and other classified information during the same time period,” the Chairmen state in the letter. “We bring to your attention information that may assist your review.

Page Two of The Letter

Questions for Attorney General Barr April 25, 2019

  1. Please describe the nature and extent o f your review o f FBI surveillance o f the Trump Campaign, President-elect Trump’s transition staff, Vice President- elect Pence’s transition staff, President Trump’s staff, and Vice President Pence’s staff, including your efforts to determine whether that surveillance was adequately predicated.
  2. How many counter-intelligence briefings were provided to the Trump and Pence transition staffs prior to Inauguration Day? Please list the dates, all agencies involved, and each official that represented those agencies at the briefings.
  3. Many of the FBI employees involved in these activities are no longer employed by the federal government. How will your review obtain information needed from these individuals?
  4. Will you commit to providing the results of your review once completed?
  5. What steps have you taken to investigate whether DOJ or FBI officials hadunauthorized contacts with the media during the Russia investigation?

We anticipate that your written reply and most responsive documents will be unclassified. Please send all unclassified material directly to each Committee. In keeping with the requirements of Executive Order 13526, if any of the responsive documents do contain classified information, please segregate all unclassified material within the classified documents, provide all unclassified information directly to each Committee, and provide a classified addendum to the Office of Senate Security. Although our Committees comply with all laws and regulations governing the handling of classified information, they are not bound, absent prior agreement, by any handling restrictions.

 

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Ethics, Morals and Integrity in British Public Life

Why does the UK Government, the FCO in particular, allow its retired diplomats to be able to go straight into the private sector without any ‘cooling off’ period?

Richard Galustian

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The ethics of allowing retiring British government officials to use immediately ‘the revolving door’ seems immoral.

Something that immediately springs to mind is how did former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair amass a fortune of nearly £100m within years of leaving office?

Ponder that fact about Blair when considering the true definition of ethics and integrity in public life worldwide.

War torn Libya is a most recent example in point. Libya, where most reasonable people would think it strange for companies to try and win business while there is war; or maybe it’s as the original Baron Rothschild put it, seek business when there is “blood on the streets”.

Peter Millett, former British Ambassador to Libya, is a merely a case in point, becoming a Board member of the LBBC (https://lbbc.org.uk/).

The Libyan British Business Council do some good networking for companies who seek work in the war torn country that is currently Libya, not, to be frank, earth shatteringly effective, not its fault given the civil war, but it has to be said, only a few of its individual members (of the LBBC) are distinguished and capable and well connected in their own right; most others are less so.

More important for Millett though, no doubt, is his new personal company he recently created in London. It’s called The Peter Millett Consultancy Ltd and describes itself as “Interested in offering consultancy and advice to companies and organisation interested in working overseas.”

Why, many ask, is any former Ambassador continuing to comment/meddle in affairs of their last posting, without making it abundantly clear they work for the private sector actually for themselves and not HMG, a distinction difficult for most locals, on this case Libyans to make. What, if any, are his conflict of interests? The British and Libyan public have a right to know.

Why does the UK Government, the FCO in particular, allow its retired diplomats to be able to go straight into the private sector without any ‘cooling off’ period?

Why is he (or any former government or military personnel) allowed to do this? The problem applies to all countries, not only those who served in Libya.

However Libya serves well to highlight the overall ethical problem.

And of course Millett is no exception but an example and as an individual is a fine capable man. However what worries Libyans is that he (and other like him from not only UK) regularly for example tweet about Libya without declaring their personal financial interests, such as retainers from companies. The rumour amongst Libyans is that Millett is receiving fees through one of the Tripoli based Libyan ‘Prime Minister’ Fayez Serraj’s departments or from one of Serraj’s cronies. Something which is very doubtful one hopes.

(Note: SEE COMPLAINT LETTER FROM EAST LIBYAN AUTHORITIES, THE HoR, COMPLAINING ABOUT PETER MILLETT ADDRESSED TO THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT.)

Some Libyans even have said that he was incompetent as an Ambassador in Libya. The fact is conventional wisdom says that he served no better or worse than his predecessors.

The truth is he probably mistakenly considers himself still important for Libyans and that he can influence Libyans – he and others like him are deluded in that regard. Similarly in America the former US State Department official Jonathan Weener continues his efforts in Libya.

Meanwhile in keeping with the many years tradition of ‘revolving door’ from Diplomatic service to private business, a new former Ambassador will no doubt be swelling the ranks of British private enterprise. Frank Baker OBE has just left the Diplomatic Service.

The new man in Libya being Martin Reynolds CMG, appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador in succession to Frank Baker.

By the way, Mr Reynolds will take up his appointment this month, April 2019.

The movement of individuals between the public and private sectors – known as the revolving door – it is feared by many could lead to ‘conflicts of interests’ situations, increasing the risks of, what some might call, corruption. Given their previous decision-making power, as Government servants with past access to key information and influence, former ministers and members of the government clearly can be an important asset for private companies. But is it ethical?

Governments should thus ensure that appropriate measures are in place to avoid former public officials misusing the information and power they hold to the benefit of their private interests. But do they?

The definition, according to Transparency International, of

“cooling-off periods, is the introduction of a minimum time interval restricting former public officials from accepting employment in the private sector…it is the most common measure to prevent conflicts of interest. Countries in Europe have set different cooling-off periods and requirements for former members of the government wishing to join the private sector. They usually vary from one to two years and are linked to specific types of activities in the private sector.

Overall, enforcement is still very weak and scandals related to post-public employment continue to appear in the media.

In the UK, the cooling-off period used to be measured in years but these days it’s weeks!

It begs the question when will ethics return to public life not only in UK but around the world?


HoR LETTER To HMG:

22 April 2019

Greetings,

Regarding: Former British ambassador to Libya, Peter Millett.

We urge you to open an urgent investigation into the suspicions of corruption associated with Libyan institutions and companies that deal with the the former British ambassador, who is still actively supporting and working with the Muslim Brotherhood and is now an ordinary citizen, he is providing political support and encouragement to the terrorists through social media that they are using on their channels as if it’s international political support to encourage young Libyans to fight and lose their life, in the absence of an appointed ambassador from his country.

This former ambassador, who, in a sign of international disregard and negative exploitation of the situation in Libya, had arranged for his country to arrange support for several officials of the Central Bank of Libya and the National Oil and Investment Corporation and support their installation in their positions through the Skhirat agreement and then resigned from the British government Another assignment as ambassador before his retirement, which raises the suspicion of corruption, we also surprised that a country so keen on the principles and transparency, Britain, did not move or notice this, dedicated to the special benefit of those who enabled them to lead these institutions, Corruption is at a time when Libyans are suffering from poor living in a time of corruption.

The list includes the governor of the Central Bank, Sadig Kabir who came to the position of governor by violation and was removed from office four years ago, and the President of the National Oil Corporation, which was charged with violating the law by the government of the member of the organization of the terrorist group Omar al-Hassi of the Libyan Fighting Group during the armed coup of militias in the Libyan capital In 2014 and the heads of departments of investment bodies, which at the lowest cases colluded from this former ambassador and interference in the internal affairs of Libya in order to prepare for private benefit and corruption, not the good of others.

It may be that the British government through these connections received wrong information and evaluation that resulted in the provisions, at that time, to provide political support terrible through this ambassador to the stream of corrupt political Islam from the Muslim Brotherhood organization and the Salvation Front and the Libyan Fighting Group, which carried out a terrorist act in the heart of Manchester, He (millet) when he was ambassador said that he was keen to “neutralize the sovereign institutions from the conflict” and this contradicts law and all Libyan procedures, in order to enable his friends and future partners who met with him on a continuous basis, including oil officials (Mustapha Sanallah), Libyan investments Authority (Ali Mahmoud) and the Central Bank (Saddik Kabir).

After the end of his term in Libya, and the appointment of another ambassador who worked with all respect and professionalism and was very different from Millett, the former British ambassador Peter Milllet established a company called “Peter Millet Consultancy” with one share holder, Peter Millet, in the UK.

The company called “Peter Milliet” has become an adviser to one of the largest global oil marketing companies, “Glencore”, which was contracted for an exclusive monopoly for the marketing of the Messella and Sarror mix oil for three years, and it is now been revealed that he contracted with the Libyan Foreign Investment Corporation as a consultant to help Cases brought against them in the United Kingdom.

Peter Millett’s name also appeared as an intermediary in the deal to print the Libyan 1 dinar’s paper recently with the governor who he defended and ensured his continued position through the political agreement signed in Skhirat.

With the aim of protecting the interests of the Libyan people ,,, We would be grateful to publish the results of your inquiries about the suspicions of political corruption that led to huge financial corruption and the extent to which any person (Millet or others) benefited from what happened in Libya and its impact on the status of these institutions and the assessment of the damage to the taxpayers’ the Libyan citizens from their interventions and the extent of conflict of interests of Peter Millets private work as a public servant as ambassador to his country to the contracts now, and how he exploited this to obtain these gains and enrich and benefit in return for political support and facilitate access to visas and meetings with actors in his government With the aim of Political gain to stay at the expense of the Libyan people, who suffered the scourge of these same adherents in violation of the law and the Constitution of Libya by these swindlers despite them being relieved from posts and removed by the House of Representatives before and after the political agreement.

We wish you success and the Libyan people well…

With a great appreciation and respect,

Talal Al – Mayhoub

Chairman of the Defense and National Security Committee

HOR

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Poroshenko Out, Zelensky In. Will Things Change In Ukraine?

The West poured a lot of money and time into Poroshenko.

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


The incalculable damage that’s been done to the region for cynical geopolitical goals can never be undone but it can stop.

With art imitating life presidential elections in Ukraine ended with Volodymyr Zelenski garnering a massive majority over incumbent Petro Poroshenko. So, let’s get right to the point.

Will this change anything?

The West poured a lot of money and time into Poroshenko. It was obvious months ago he was not going to win a second term no matter what he did. With him mostly gone from the scene it is now up to Zelensky to put together a plan which goes far beyond the protest vote against Poroshenko’s obvious corruption.

The problem is we have no idea if he’s 1) capable of doing this or 2) strong enough to implement anything he comes up with.

With his party polling below 30% it’s clear this wasn’t a mandate for him but one against Poroshenko. The probability is high that he will be unable to form a stable, majority government later this year if his election isn’t a country-wide revolution but rather a short-lived temper tantrum.

Let’s hope it’s the former. Given just how deep the US ties into Poroshenkoand Yulia Tymoshenko are I would bet on the latter, unfortunately.

So, his next steps are important. And the issues facing him are severe.

From the Donbass, which he supported reconciling with versus Poroshenko’s unbridled belligerence, to Crimea. Zelensky will have to face down enormous political pressure to solve them in ways that reflect reality.

That means mending some of the bridges burned under Poroshenko with Russia, which he says he wants. But the question is whether he realizes that much of the anti-Poroshenko vote is tied into this. And just how tenuous his position as president truly is.

It means he will need to look Southeast to Pakistan where outsider and supposed political neophyte Imran Khan is walking a similar tightrope as a geopolitical hot potato. Khan is trying to do unite the civilian and military arms of Pakistan’s leadership under one roof.

It’s no small task.

And, so far, Khan has acquitted himself well. He’s cut deals with both Saudi Arabia on energy and Iran on border security/terrorism. He’s survived major conflagrations with India and Iran; false flag operations timed to create maximal chaos and paralyze his government and any reforms.

In short, Zelensky will have to lead. It will mean talking with Putin. It will mean giving up something to put the Western vultures, both in the US and Europe, at bay. And he needs to do so in a way that is orthogonal to Poroshenko.

If Zelensky is going to survive and bring Ukraine out of the mess that it’s in, he’s going to have to realize that rapprochement with Russia is the way forward.

It means having the courage to not make unruly demands on Putin. Poroshenko spent the last year of his presidency leaving poison pills behind for whoever succeeded him.

Breaking the Treaty of Friendship and attacking the Kerch Strait Bridge being the two big ones. He has to agree to back off on military use of the Sea of Azov and accept blame for the incident in return for getting the sailors Russia holds freed.

Ending the bombing of the Donbass is also needed, disengaging back to the Minsk contact lines and stop lying about the situation. This would go a long way to establish a baseline of trust.

And it’s low-hanging fruit. Ukrainians outside of the insane American diaspora, want this done. But, it’s also on a short-timer because 2019 is slipping away and a lot of energy issues have to be solved.

Putin upped the ante barring coal and oil exports to Ukraine last week placing Ukraine in a very vulnerable position come this winter. And remember, no gas transport deal at the end of this year as well.

He is not without leverage as the EU has dragged its feet on the final approvals of the Nordstream 2 pipeline. This is a pivotal moment. Gazprom and Russia are pot-committed to the project, with it nearly complete and the EU is now trying to leave it unfinished to inflict maximum pain.

The Ukrainian economy is collapsing. Coal production is down 8% year-over-year. Putin knows this and has Zelensky in a stranglehold.

Angela Merkel has made no bones about how important securing gas transit through Ukraine is to getting the EU to change its policies towards Russia. And Vladimir Putin will not budge on his negotiating any new deals until Ukraine changes.

So, all of these competing agendas are coming to a climax in the next couple of months. And off in the corner is the European Parliamentary elections in a month. And they could easily change the entire political will of the European Union.

Euroskeptics like Matteo Salvini could finally push for ending sanctions against Russia if Putin and Zelensky bury the hatchet on some of the latest issues left behind by Poroshenko. Returning the sailors would undercut the need for the latest sanctions. Withdrawing the Ukrainian Army from the contact line in accordance with the now only symbolic Minsk II agreement would melt EU resistance to lifting sanctions.

But, lastly, these things would allow for a nominal gas transit contract between Gazprom and Naftogaz which would end-run around the opposition to Nordstream 2 as Merkel tells her people and Denmark to stand down on the final permits.

Lots of ifs, I know. But that’s the path in front of Zelensky if he’s serious about making substantive changes to the dynamic in Eastern Europe. The incalculable damage that’s been done to the region for cynical geopolitical goals can never be undone but it can stop.

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