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Ukraine hollows out

Since independence and especially since the Maidan coup Ukraine has experienced a population collapse unprecedented in post Second World War Europe.

Andrey Fomin

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This article was first published by Oriental Review

In the legendary Gogol’s novel “Dead Souls”, a swindler buys on paper slaves who died after the latest census (therefore officially alive) in order to use them as a collateral to take a loan he has no intention of paying back. As we’ll see, Groisman’s government of Ukraine wrote a new version of the novel, this time taking down a whole country in their insane plan.

It’s official: Ukraine doesn’t count its emigration

Ukraine held its last census in 2001. At that time its population accounted 48,457,000 people. The official figures as on Jun 1, 2017 show a demographic disaster: 42,482,000, 6 million or 13% down in 16 years.

Population of Ukraine 1990-2017, in millions. Source: Ukrstat.

Surprisingly, according to the same data, net migration in Ukraine after the first Orange Revolution (2014) turns slightly positive: 

Ukrainian population in 1990-2016 chart. Source: UkrStat. Positive migration balance in 2005-2016 marked in red.

This miracle has a very simple explanation.

The figures of immigration and emigration are normally based on the entries and exits of the national territory. In Ukraine, on the contrary, these statistics are based on the official place of residence.When a citizen moves from one part of Ukraine to another, he has to declare his change of residence for administrative reasons. But those who move out of the country simply have no reason to do so. The falsification of Ukrainian demographic data therefore consists in a simple change of definition, as confirmed in an endnote of the 2017 migration figures. Importantly, this endnote in available in Ukrainian language only:

Translation into English: Information based on the available administrative data on the change of registration of place of residence.

In other words: the falsification of the Ukrainian demographic data is absolutely not a secret. We shall try to measure the magnitude of this falsification, and try to understand who is benefiting from these ‘dead souls’.

Estimates of the real population of Ukraine

Electicity consumption

The first is based on the official electricity consumption figures:

Energy consumption in Ukraine, 2015 compared to 2014 (total, industry, agriculture, transport, public utilities, population). Source: Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine.

Thus, during that year the Ukrainian industries decreased approximately on 18%, while population diminished on 7-8%.

Bread comsumption

A notable Ukrainian analysis shows that the bread consumption had plummetted 55% between 2000 and 2016:

The chart presents statistics of production of different types of breads in 2000-2016 in Ukraine, in tons.
The chart presents statistics of production of different types of breads in 2000-2016 in Ukraine, in tons.

It should be taken into account that in Ukrainian culture the fall of incomes impacts the consumption of bread in a minimal scale or even leads to its increase as the bread often replaces more expensive products like meat and fish. Therefore, 55% decrease in bread production together with lowering incomes evidence that Ukraine has apparently lost half of its population for the last 16 years.

Number of the schoolchildren

During the 1995/1996 school year there were 7.1 million schoolchildren in Ukraine. In the 2015/2016schoolyear it was down to 3,783,150 (official data of the Ministry of Education of Ukraine) or 47% in 20 years.

Ukrainian Institute for the Future

In June 2017 the Ukrainian Institute for the Future released a symptomatic report with the following graphics:

Structure of the Ukrainian population in employment terms.

It shows that there are only 12.3 million officially declared jobs in Ukraine today.

Emigration statistics in neighboring countries since 2014

From the Russian official statistics the net legal migration between the two countries in 2014 and 2015 was 240,501 towards Russia. In 2016194,385 Ukrainians obtained a residence permit and 100,696 obtained Russian citizenship. Another 600,000 Ukrainians living in Russia are waiting a law change to allow them to obtain Russian citizenship. These figures do not include temporary refugees and people with work patents. Also, due to the absence of visa requirements, a significant part of the immigration from Ukanire to Russia is illegal. All this taken into account, we can roughly estimate the emigration from Ukraine to Russia since 2014 to about 2.5 million people.

As to the rest of the world, the main destination is Poland and we can estimate that by the end of 2016 there were 1.5 million Ukrainians working there. The total exodus from Ukraine to abroad since 2014 most likely reached 6-10 million people. However the vast majority of them do not have any permanent residence permits and have to go back to Ukraine regularly.

Emigration between 2004 and 2013

The World Migration Report 2008 claimed that 780,000 Ukrainians worked abroad, compared to 62,000 people according to Ukrainian authorities.

Russian figures indicate that the net migration between Ukraine and Russia was approximately292,000 towards Russia from 2005 until 2013. The equivalent figures for Italy from 2003 until 2013 is 206,320 people towards Italy. There have also been 892,908 Ukrainians who received long term visas (over 3 months) to the EU between 2008 and 2013. In total, we can estimate that the falsification of demographic figures before 2014 was approximately one million people who were already living abroad before the 2014 coup. If we add the loss of population in the Donbass to DNR and LNR at 3.5 millions, the permanent Kiev-controlled population now should be around 42,5-8-3,5-1=30 million people.

Why do they falsify?

Alexandr Klymenko

Aleksandr Klymenko, former Minister of Taxes and Duties of Ukraine, offers four interesting explanations for this falsifications:

Trick the IMF and the EU

The international donors seem to use the official falsified figures in their predictive models to determine if Ukraine will be able to pay back. It is obvious that Ukraine will default (it has already defaulted on a 3 billion dollar debt to Russia) and that no analyst could take the current Ukrainian government seriously in this matter, but maybe all this make-believe theater is simply very convenient to transfer Western taxpayer money into the right pockets: several Ukrainian oligarchs and Western companies benefit from the chaos.

Steal money from the Ukrainian people

Oleksandr Klymenko suggests that the falsification could help some officials become richer, through the energy officially used for the millions of dead souls. As Ukrainian apartments do not usually have individual electric or gas counters, the energy is counted for the whole building, then paid by each tenant based on how many people officially live in each apartment. One way to steal money would be to make people who live a large part of the year abroad as much as if they were always in Ukraine, then pocket the difference.

Steal the elections

Until 2014, mass emigration was mostly observed in the pro-NATO Western part of the country. Letting relatives vote for two million people living mostly or permanently abroady greatly helped parties opposed to good relations with Russia.

Minimise the casualties of the war

Officially, Kiev recognizes only 2700 soldiers killed in the undeclared war against Donbass, despite catastrophic losses during several combat phses, such as the Ilovaisk mousetrap. Hiding the real losses of the war helps the government to remain in power: it hides their incompetence, reduces protests against the war, and lets them blame all of Ukraine’s problems on the war (which is imputed on the mighty invisible Russian army).

Hide Ukraine’s weakness compared to its neighbours

The economic and demographic collapse of Ukraine puts it in an extremely weak position compared to all of its neighbors: Ukraine is now in all aspects much weaker than the smaller Romania, Slovakia and Hungary. The main problem however may come from Poland, which has not forgotten that almost 100,000 km² of the West of Ukraine used to belong to Poland until 1939. The relations between the two countries are already getting sour because of the glorification of Ukrainian nationalists and Ukrainian Waffen-SS volunteers, who massacred not only Jews but also many Poles. There is no risk of war between the two countries in a foreseeable future, but Poland, America’s most servile vassal in Eastern Europe, knows how easy it can be to invade another country in the name of democracy and Western values and get away with it. This may be far-fetched, but more simply if millions of West-Ukrainians live in Poland and obtain Polish citizenship, Ukraine might very well become Poland’s vassal state. Hiding the real demographic disaster might prevent Polish politicians from even planning such a take-over.

Minimise the importance of emigrants for the economy

Remittances sent by migrant workers to their families in Ukraine represents sums larger than foreign direct investments (over $6 bln compared to less than $3.5 bln in 2016). They are the reason why the value of the hryvna has not completely collapsed despite collapsing exports. Remittances contribute to around 8% of the Ukrainian economy. Denying the mass emigration is a way of exagerrating the strength of the Ukrainian economy, as these remittances are due to the weakness of Ukraine’s economy and not a measure of its strength.

Hide the government project of population reduction

Having its Soviet-built industry, completely destroyed, today’s Ukraine simply cannot afford to socially support 30 million people and latently encourages emigration elsewhere. Oleksandr Klymenko agrees and adds that the plan of the government is to reduce the population of Ukraine to 20 millions as quickly as possible: old people will die faster from the reform of pensions and the reform of health services, and on the other hand fertility will decrease due to the end of free medicine for expecting mothers and the end of benefits paid to parents of young children. The falsification of demographic figures hide the fact that the “operation 20 millions” is carrying out successfully.

Conclusion

Although the falsification of Ukraine’s demographic data is not a secret, as it is clearly mentioned on Ukrstat’s website, the validity of the official figures is hardly ever discussed. We showed here an exclusive method of estimating the population of Ukraine which confirms that the demographic collapse of Ukraine is much worse than officially acknowledged. As in Gogol’s novel, the trafficking of dead souls probably helps a few people getting richer, but beyond this, the dissimulation of mass emigration hides the criminal incompetence of the Ukrainian government and the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis they initiated. Many elements point to a worsening of the demographic situation in the foreseeable future, and the very existence of Ukraine might be threatened in the next few decades by the consequence of the suicidal politics of the current government, if it is not soon replaced by competent people determined to pull Ukraine out of the disaster by ending the war, stop the all-out confrontation with Russia and definitely cancel the politics designed to serve the financial and strategic interests of the Western elite instead of the interests of the Ukrainian people.

Photo taken in the Ukrainian town of Drogobych, 2016

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US continues to try to corner Russia with silence on Nukes

Moscow continues to be patient in what appears to be an ever more lopsided, intentional stonewalling situation provoked by the Americans.

Seraphim Hanisch

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TASS reported on March 17th that despite Russian readiness to discuss the present problem of strategic weapons deployments and disarmament with its counterparts in the United States, the Americans have not offered Russia any proposals to conduct such talks.

The Kremlin has not yet received any particular proposals on the talks over issues of strategic stability and disarmament from Washington, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS on Sunday when commenting on the statement made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton who did not rule out that such talks could be held with Russia and China.

“No intelligible proposals has been received [from the US] so far,” Peskov said.

Earlier Bolton said in an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis aired on Sunday that he considers it reasonable to include China in the negotiation on those issues with Russia as well.

“China is building up its nuclear capacity now. It’s one of the reasons why we’re looking at strengthening our national missile defense system here in the United States. And it’s one reason why, if we’re going to have another arms control negotiation, for example, with the Russians, it may make sense to include China in that discussion as well,” he said.

Mr. Bolton’s sense about this particular aspect of any arms discussions is correct, as China was not formerly a player in geopolitical affairs the way it is now. The now all-but-scrapped Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, was a treaty concluded by the US and the USSR leaders Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, back in 1987. However, for in succeeding decades, most notably since the fall of the Soviet Union, the US has been gradually building up weaponry in what appears to be an attempt to create a ring around the Russian Federation, a situation which is understandably increasingly untenable to the Russian government.

Both sides have accused one another of violating this treaty, and the mutual violations and recriminations on top of a host of other (largely fabricated) allegations against the Russian government’s activities led US President Donald Trump to announce his nation’s withdrawal from the treaty, formally suspending it on 1 February. Russian President Vladimir Putin followed suit by suspending it the very next day.

The INF eliminated all of both nations’ land based ballistic and cruise missiles that had a range between 500 and 1000 kilometers (310-620 miles) and also those that had ranges between 1000 and 5500 km (620-3420 miles) and their launchers.

This meant that basically all the missiles on both sides were withdrawn from Europe’s eastern regions – in fact, much, if not most, of Europe was missile-free as the result of this treaty. That is no longer the case today, and both nations’ accusations have provoked re-development of much more advanced systems than ever before, especially true considering the Russian progress into hypersonic and nuclear powered weapons that offer unlimited range.

This situation generates great concern in Europe, such that the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on both Moscow and Washington to salvage the INF and extend the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, or the New START as it is known.

“I call on the parties to the INF Treaty to use the time remaining to engage in sincere dialogue on the various issues that have been raised. It is very important that this treaty is preserved,” Guterres said at a session of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Monday.

He stressed that the demise of that accord would make the world more insecure and unstable, which “will be keenly felt in Europe.” “We simply cannot afford to return to the unrestrained nuclear competition of the darkest days of the Cold War,” he said.

Guterres also urged the US and Russia to extend the START Treaty, which expires in 2021, and explore the possibility of further reducing their nuclear arsenals. “I also call on the United States and the Russian Federation to extend the so-called New START Treaty before it expires in 2021,” he said.

The UN chief recalled that the treaty “is the only international legal instrument limiting the size of the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals” and that its inspection provisions “represent important confidence-building measures that benefit the entire world.”

Guterres recalled that the bilateral arms control process between Russia and the US “has been one of the hallmarks of international security for fifty years.”

“Thanks to their efforts, global stockpiles of nuclear weapons are now less than one-sixth of what they were in 1985,” the UN secretary-general pointed out.

The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty) entered into force on February 5, 2011. The document stipulates that seven years after its entry into effect each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and strategic bombers. The new START Treaty obliges the parties to exchange information on the number of warheads and carriers twice a year.

The new START Treaty will remain in force during 10 years until 2021, unless superseded by a subsequent agreement. It may be extended for a period of no more than five years (that is, until 2026) upon the parties’ mutual consent. Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington not to delay the issue of extending the Treaty.

 

 

 

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Trump witch hunt dots connected: CNN to Steele to John McCain (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 110.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss documents released which show that Christopher Steele admitted to using posts by ‘random individuals’ on the CNN community website ‘iReport’ in order to back up his fabricated Trump dossier.

President Trump took note of Steele’s use of CNN citizen journalist posts, in a twitter tirade that blasted the British ex-spy for running with unverified community generated content from a now now-defunct ‘iReports’ website as part of his research.

Trump the proceeded to rip into late neocon Arizona Senator John McCain, tweeting that it was “just proven in court papers” that “last in his class” McCain sent the Steele’s dossier to media outlets in the hopes that they would print it prior to the 2016 US election.

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Via The Daily Caller

A federal court unsealed 43 pages Thursday of a deposition that former British spy Christopher Steele gave as part of a lawsuit over his infamous anti-Trump dossier.

To the disappointment of many observers, the full deposition was not unsealed in Thursday’s motion. Instead, portions of Steele’s interview, which he gave in London on July 13, 2018, were unsealed in separate court filings submitted in the lawsuit.

Steele’s full deposition totaled 145 pages. The portions published Thursday focus mainly on questions about the dossier’s claims about Aleksej Gubarev, a tech executive who Steele alleges took part in the hacking of Democrats’ computer systems.

Gubarev has vehemently denied the claim and sued Steele and BuzzFeed News, which published the dossier on Jan. 10, 2017.

U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro, who handled the lawsuit, ordered a slew of previously sealed documents to be made public Thursday. Ungaro dismissed the lawsuit on Dec. 19 but did not weigh in on whether the dossier’s claims about Gubarev were accurate.

It is unclear whether Steele’s entire deposition will be released. A source familiar with Steele’s interview tempered expectations of any bombshells in the document, saying that Steele avoided going into detail about his efforts to create the dossier and his sources.

A deposition given by former State Department official David Kramer was perhaps the most enlightening document contained in the dump.

Kramer, a longtime associate of late Arizona Sen. John McCain, was BuzzFeed’s source for the dossier. Kramer shared the dossier with at least 11 other reporters, including CNN’s Carl Bernstein. (RELATED: John McCain Associate Gave Dossier To A Dozen Reporters)

Kramer obtained the dossier in late November 2016 after visiting Steele in London. Steele acknowledged that Kramer and McCain were picked as conduits to pass the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey. McCain met with Comey on Dec. 9, 2016 and provided all of the dossier’s memos that had been written up to that point.

“I think they felt a senior Republican was better to be the recipient of this rather than a Democrat because if it were a Democrat, I think that the view was that it would have been dismissed as a political attack,” Kramer said in the deposition when asked why Steele and his business partners at Fusion GPS wanted McCain to meet with Comey.

Via Washington Examiner

Former British spy Christopher Steele admitted that he relied on an unverified report on a CNN website for part of the “Trump dossier,” which was used as a basis for the FBI’s investigation into Trump.

According to deposition transcripts released this week, Steele said last year he used a 2009 report he found on CNN’s iReport website and said he wasn’t aware that submissions to that site are posted by members of the public and are not checked for accuracy.

web archive from July 29, 2009 shows that CNN described the site in this manner: “iReport.com is a user-generated site. That means the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked, or screened before they post.”

In the dossier, Steele, a Cambridge-educated former MI6 officer, wrote about extensive allegations against Donald Trump, associates of his campaign, various Russians and other foreign nationals, and a variety of companies — including one called Webzilla. Those allegations would become part of an FBI investigation and would be used to apply for warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

During his deposition, Steele was pressed on the methods he used to verify allegations made about Webzilla, which was thought to be used by Russia to hack into Democratic emails.

When asked if he discovered “anything of relevance concerning Webzilla” during the verification process, Steele replied: “We did. It was an article I have got here which was posted on July 28, 2009, on something called CNN iReport.”

“I do not have any particular knowledge of that,” Steele said when asked what was his understanding of how the iReport website worked.

When asked if he understood that content on the site was not generated by CNN reporters, he said, “I do not.” He was then asked: “Do you understand that they have no connection to any CNN reporters?” Steele replied, “I do not.”

He was pressed on this further: “Do you understand that CNN iReports are or were nothing more than any random individuals’ assertions on the Internet?” Steele replied: “No, I obviously presume that if it is on a CNN site that it may has some kind of CNN status. Albeit that it may be an independent person posting on the site.”

When asked about his methodology for searching for this information, Steele described it as “what we could call an open source search,” which he defined as “where you go into the Internet and you access material that is available on the Internet that is of relevance or reference to the issue at hand or the person under consideration.”

Steele said his dossier contained “raw intelligence” that he admitted could contain untrue or even “deliberately false information.”

Steele was hired by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to investigate then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016. Fusion GPS was receiving funding at the time from the Clinton campaign and the DNC through the Perkins Coie law firm.

The series of memos that Steele would eventually compile became known as the “Trump Dossier.” The dossier was used in FISA applications to surveil Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

When asked whether he warned Fusion GPS that the information in the dossier might be “Russian disinformation,” Steele admitted that “a general understanding existed between us and Fusion … that all material contained this risk.”

Steele also described his interactions with Sen. John McCain’s aide, David Kramer, whose own deposition showed that he provided BuzzFeed with a copy of the dossier and had spoken with more than a dozen journalists about it.

“I provided copies of the December memo to Fusion GPS for onward passage to David Kramer at the request of Sen. John McCain,” Steele said. “Sen. McCain nominated him as the intermediary. I did not choose him as the intermediary.”

When asked if he told Kramer that he couldn’t “vouch for everything that was produced in the memos,” Steele replied, “Yes, with an emphasis on ‘everything.'”

When asked why he believed it was so important to provide the dossier to Sen. McCain, Steele said: “Because I judged it had national security implications for the United States and the West as a whole.”

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Trudeau’s Top Bureaucrat Unexpectedly Quits Amid Growing Corruption Scandal

In a scathing letter to Trudeau, Wernick said that “recent events” led him to conclude he couldn’t hold his post during the election campaign this fall.

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Via Zerohedge


Since it was exposed by a report in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper earlier this month, the scandal that’s become known as the SNC-Lavalin affair has already led to the firing of several of Trudeau’s close advisors and raised serious questions about whether the prime minister was complicit in pressuring the attorney general to offer a deferred prosecution agreement with a large, Quebec-based engineering firm.

And according to the first round of polls released since the affair exploded into public view…

…it could cost Trudeau his position as prime minister and return control to the conservatives, according to the CBC.

Campaign Research showed the Conservatives ahead with 37% to 32% for the Liberals, while both Ipsos and Léger put the margin at 36% to 34% in the Conservatives’ favour.Since December, when both polling firms were last in the field, the Liberals have lost one point in Campaign Research’s polling and four percentage points in the Ipsos poll, while the party is down five points since November in the Léger poll.

Meanwhile, as the noose tightens around Trudeau, on Monday another of the key Canadian government officials at the center of the SNC-Lavalin scandal has quit his post.

Michael Wernick, clerk of the privy council, the highest-ranking position in Canada’s civil service and a key aide to Justin Trudeau, announced his retirement Monday. Trudeau named Ian Shugart, currently deputy minister of foreign affairs, to replace him.

In a scathing letter to Trudeau, Wernick said that “recent events” led him to conclude he couldn’t hold his post during the election campaign this fall.

“It is now apparent that there is no path for me to have a relationship of mutual trust and respect with the leaders of the opposition parties,” he said, citing the need for impartiality on the issue of potential foreign interference. According to Bloomberg, the exact date of his departure is unclear.

As we reported in February, Canada’s former justice minister and attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, quit following allegations that several key Trudeau government figures pressured her to intervene to end a criminal prosecution against Montreal-based construction giant SNC. Wernick was among those she named in saying the prime minister’s office wanted her to pursue a negotiated settlement.

Wernick has since twice spoken to a committee of lawmakers investigating the case, and during that testimony both defended his actions on the SNC file and warned about the risk of foreign election interference, as “blame Putin” has become traditional Plan B plan for most politicians seeing their careers go up in flames.

“I’m deeply concerned about my country right now, its politics and where it’s headed. I worry about foreign interference in the upcoming election,” he said in his first appearance before the House of Commons justice committee, before repeating the warning a second time this month. “If that was seen as alarmist, so be it. I was pulling the alarm. We need a public debate about foreign interference.”

Because somehow foreign interference has something to do with Wenick’s alleged corruption.

Incidentally, as we wonder what the real reason is behind Wernick’s swift departure, we are confident we will know soon enough.

Anyway, back to the now former clerk, who is meant to be non-partisan in service of the government of the day, also criticized comments by a Conservative senator and praised one of Trudeau’s cabinet ministers.

Wernick’s testimony was criticized as overly cozy with the ruling Liberals. Murray Rankin, a New Democratic Party lawmaker, asked the clerk how lawmakers could “do anything but conclude that you have in fact crossed the line into partisan activity?” Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said he seemed “willing to interfere in partisan fashion for whoever is in power.”

Whatever Wernick’s true motives, he is the latest but not last in what will be a long line of cabinet departures as the SNC scandal exposes even more corruption in Trudeau’s cabinet (some have ironically pointed out that Canada’s “beloved” prime minister could be gone for actual corruption long before Trump). Trudeau had already lost a top political aide, Gerald Butts, to the scandal. A second minister, Jane Philpott, followed Wilson-Raybould in quitting cabinet.

Separately, on Monday, Trudeau appointed a former deputy prime minister in a Liberal government, Anne McLellan, as a special adviser to investigate some of the legal questions raised by the controversy. They include how governments should interact with the attorney general and whether that role should continue to be held by the justice minister.

As Bloomberg notes, the increasingly shaky Liberal government hasn’t ruled out helping SNC by ordering a deferred prosecution agreement in the corruption and bribery case, which centers around the company’s work in Moammar Qaddafi’s Libya. Doing so would allow the company to pay a fine and avoid any ban on receiving government contracts. That decision is up to the current attorney general, David Lametti; of course, such an action would only raise tensions amid speculation that the government is pushing for a specific political, and favorable for Trudeau, outcome.

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