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Putin’s judo mastery perplexes and defeats globalist agenda (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 65.

Alex Christoforou

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Russian President Vladimir Putin  passion for judo is well-known. Putin started practicing judo at the age of 11 and currently holds the title of Master of Sports in the Japanese martial art.

In 2006, Vladimir Putin became the honorary president of the European Judo Union, while in 2010 he was awarded an honorary doctorate in judo from South Korean Yong In University.

Putin’s love of judo has often been used to represent the strategy he employs when dealing with geopolitical matters…employing patience (the long game), understanding your opponent, and using your opponent’s “weight and momentum” to your advantage.

Western mainstream media regularly mocks Putin’s tactical maneuvers when dealing with geopolitical clashes, often misrepresenting (many times flat out lying about) the facts behind many of the conflicts that have brought us to a renewed and dangerous cold war between Russia and the United States.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou analyze Putin’s geopolitical strategy, and focus on the historical facts behind strategic flash points; Georgia, Ukraine and Syria.

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

The Black Belt Strategist, by Robert Gore, via Straight Line Logic

Putin has made many of his critics look like fools, thus the rage and hysteria.

Vladimir Putin is a black belt in judo, the only Russian and one of the few people in the world to be awarded the rank of eighth dan. He also practices karate.

A fundamental principle of martial arts is using an opponent’s size and momentum against him. This is Putin’s strategic approach. Westerners demonize Putin, but few try to understand him. Trying to understand someone else is regarded as a pointless in narcissistic America, selfie-land. Perhaps 90 percent of the populace is incapable of grasping anything more subtle than a political cartoon.

That’s a pity, because Putin has accomplished a geopolitical triumph worthy of study. He’s catalyzing the downfall of the American empire, and it has nothing to do with subverting elections or suborning Trump.

Putin became acting prime minister in 1999, then president in 2000. The Soviet Union’s 1991 collapse devastated Russia. The economy shrunk and life expectancies fell. A group of rapacious oligarchs, many with Western backing, acquired Soviet industrial and commercial assets at fire sale prices.

Putin coopted the most important oligarchs, letting them hold on to their loot and power in exchange for their allegiance. This bargain has been a bulwark of both his continuing political support and his reportedly immense personal fortune. He quelled a long-running insurrection in Chechnya and stabilized the situation there, exchanging a measure of autonomy for a declaration in the Chechen constitution that it was part of Russia. During his first two terms, from 2000-2008, the economy began recovering from the 1990s. Projecting a law and order image while stifling critics, he solidified what has become his unwavering support, winning 72 percent of the vote in the 2004 presidential election.

A coterie of highly placed idiots in the US and Europe insist that Putin’s ultimate goal is to reconstitute the former Soviet Union on his way to global domination. Russia’s GDP, after 18 years of recovery, is $1.4 trillion, compared to almost $20 trillion for the US and over $17 trillion for the European Union. Russia’s military budget is $61 billion, versus $250 billion for NATO nations (excluding the US) and over $700 billion for the US. The scaremongering screeds never say where Russia will get the money to invade and conquer former Soviet provinces, much less conquer the world. Putin, unlike America’s high and mighty, realizes from Soviet experience that empires drain rather than augment an empire’s resources.

Conquering the world is one thing, throwing the American empire to the mat another. Putin must have smiled when George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan in pursuit of Osama bin Laden, purported mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. The US’s hubristic rage led it into what has been a quagmire at best, a graveyard at worst, for a string of invaders, including the Soviet Union.

Defenders fighting on their own turf have huge advantages over occupying forces, rendering conventional invasions virtually obsolete. Relatively inexpensive grenades, mines, IEDs, and shoulder-launched missiles, often supplied from outside the country, take out expensive tanks, artillery, aircraft, and military personnel. The insurgents know the language and territory, they’re supported by the local populace, they can set off remote bombs and blend in with the civilians. They aren’t going anywhere and can wait out the invaders, sapping their morale and political support back home.

Eighteen years after the Afghanistan invasion, Putin is still smiling. With each military failure since, the US became more stupidly belligerent, bearing massive costs in blood and treasure. Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia: talk about letting the enemy defeat itself! And as the US plunged into one inextricable morass after another, it plunged ever deeper into debt.

Russia, meanwhile, has one of the developed world’s lowest debt ratios, stockpiles gold, and is divesting its US debt. It has teamed up with China on the Belt and Road Initiative. That series of projects, financed primarily by the Chinese, advances Russia’s and China’s interests and influence across Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. This approach seems to garner more support than US bullets and bombs.

Russia’s one military foray in the Middle East has been Syria. Obama’s hapless strategy (regime change? terrorist eradication?) left the US at cross-purposes with itself. Putin suffered no such confusion, helping Bashar al-Assad turn the tide against the insurgents. The US pretends to have done the same. Putin strengthened the Shiite axis—Iran, Iraq, Alawite Syria, and Hezbollah—about which Israel, Saudi Arabia, and US neoconservatives have fretted for years. The insurgents are on the run and all the US can do is shout: “And we helped!”

Putin scored a geopolitical coup. He effectively stood by his allies, in contrast to America’s ineptitude and ever-shifting alliances and objectives. The conflict sent hundreds of thousands of refugees to Europe. Russian intervention reversed the flow. Saner souls in Europe have to be questioning European subservience to the US and NATO.

Putin has expressed his consternation at NATO’s expansion to Russia’s borders, especially the prospect that NATO could incorporate Ukraine. While that’s an understandable concern, the expansion hurts the US more than Russia. The US didn’t intervene when Russia got involved with Georgia, the Crimea, or Ukraine. Why? Somebody in Washington looked at a map and determined that with Russia’s decided geographical advantage, the game wasn’t worth the candle.

NATO leaves its members hostage to the likes of Lithuania, Montenegro, and Croatia. It’s always at the borders that empires first falter. The US is treaty-bound to go to war to defend tiny, far-flung states that are a stone’s throw from Russia. The US lays out the lion’s share of the money, stations soldiers, and maintains bases pretending that it would actually defend these geopolitical midgets. Putin must smile at the effort wasted on the nonexistent possibility that he’ll invade.

Often, he doesn’t even need to lift a finger to body slam the US. The Democratic party and neoconservatives, and their toadies in the media and intelligence community have rabidly peddled an evidence-free concoction that he and Trump colluded to deny Hillary Clinton her ordained presidency. It’s emblematic of America’s deranged politics.

“Masculine” is now a pejorative. Identity is everything, merit nothing. A military that hasn’t won anything in 73 years is widely honored. Men in dresses enter women’s restrooms. Confronted by intellectual challenge, college students retreat to safe spaces. People who illegally enter the country are given most of the privileges of citizenship, including state-provided benefits. Americans watch an average of five hours of TV a day. Over 60 percent are obese and an opioid epidemic kills tens of thousands. Even mainstream media pundits fret about an impending “civil war,” and for once they might be right. None of this is Putin’s doing, but he’s undoubtedly amused at all this decadence and division.

Trump is determined to pick America up off the mat. SLL has said repeatedly that his foes are most worried about their own criminality being exposed and prosecuted. That’s essential if the country is ever to regroup and recover. Trump’s summit with Putin and subsequent press conference performance left his foes foaming at the mouth, bandying terms like “disgraceful” and “treason.” That he braved the idiotic torrent before and after the summit, seemingly unperturbed except for a few acerbic tweets, suggests that he’s got something up his sleeve. Judging by their insane hysterics, the opposition knows it. As always, their tactics betray desperation and weakness, not strength.

That something up Trump’s sleeve may well be the initiation of criminal proceedings against a long list of suspects for everything from obstruction of justice to conspiracy and treason, just in time for the midterm elections. That’s more a hunch than a hypothesis. However, it won’t be a bolt out of the blue if it happens. If it doesn’t happen by the midterms, it most likely never will.

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Jonathan Bethune
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Jonathan Bethune

My view on the extended stay on Afganistan and Iraq is to build the compentancy and capacity of the law enforcement and domestic military to a place where they can leave and have a stable state maintained. Media keep hammering on the fact that the Taliban have retaken up to 50 percent of the country but few seem to see them as the domestic inhabitants of there own country. What I think is happening is there trying to find that balance where these opposing ideologies can find peace in the same land under a rule of law and not simply… Read more »

tibetan cowboy
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A master of any Oriental martial art is a superior human. This is one of several reasons the Russians and Chinese can defeat the USA in any conventional and/or nuclear stand-off (not nuclear war as that is a final day of life on earth for all). Not only do the Chinese and Russian tactics and strategy far surpass the USA’s in effectiveness in war, but their weapons also now are some 2 generations more advanced than any weapons built in the USA. Both nations have diesel /electric nuclear subs which cannot be detected by any USA radar, naval or satellite.… Read more »

Flying Gabriel
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Flying Gabriel

It might be a bit of a stretch to say Putin makes his critics look like fools.
They can do it easily enough without his help.

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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.

Sara Carter

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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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