Tag Archives: Oil

The Iranian funds play

Today is all about Iran, the Washington Post and many others are giving the world the information that the previous president misled congress. Yet the Washington Post phrases it as ‘Obama administration misled Congress on possible Iranian access to U.S. financial system‘, they also mention that it is a Republican investigation. There are two issues, right off the bat, even before you read the article, the question becomes, where were the FBI and the CIA in this?

So when we get the first lines with “The Obama administration went out of its way in early 2016 to help Iran recoup previously sanctioned oil revenue stranded in an overseas account after the nuclear deal went into effect and actively misled Congress regarding those efforts, according to the results of a nearly two-year Republican investigation released early Wednesday“, we need to realise that the setting is wrong from the very start.

Before I go there, let’s follow the trail of crumbs that we get offered. next there is “Iran wanted to convert the money into U.S. dollars and then euros, but top U.S. officials had repeatedly promised Congress that Iran would never gain access to America’s financial system“, which is followed by “the Obama administration secretly issued a license to let Iran sidestep U.S. sanctions for the brief moment required to convert the funds through an American bank, an investigation by Senate Republicans released Wednesday showed. The plan failed when two U.S. banks refused to participate” and finally we get: “the revelation is re-igniting the bitter debate over the nuclear deal and whether former President Barack Obama was too eager to grant concessions to Tehran“. The full story (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/obama-era-license-aimed-to-let-iran-convert-money-in-dollars/2018/06/06/60be6d36-6971-11e8-a335-c4503d041eaf_story.html) gives us a lot more, but initially, we get ‘The plan failed‘. So this was seemingly (according to a previous Obama official) about the Iranian money held overseas. The issue seems seen with “No one involved seems certain whether Iran has yet received all of its $5.7 billion“, yet as I see it, that does not seem to be the case. When you think this through, $5.7 billion amounts to 11.2 million barrels based on the average oil price, this amounts to funds equal to 26 hours of oil production in Saudi Arabia, 26 hours! Now we are not debating whether Iran is allowed access to the funds, the fact that we see that this much oil (or so little in Saudi Arabia), whilst in Iranian production it amounts to 4 days of oil production is a Joke. Oil still goes to Asia, so all this fanfare for 4 days of oil production? This is about something else entirely, or it is about a very different amount of money. I let you mull that part over, so when we look at the second article (also Washington Post), we see in the article called ‘Secret Obama-era permit let Iran convert funds to dollars’ where we are ‘treated’ to “Iran had been promised access to its long-frozen overseas reserves, including $5.7 billion stuck in an Omani bank“, which we knew to some extent, yet the full economic value is not given, which is also an issue, you see that stuff makes interest, so at that point who gets that money? Is it locked in the Iranian account, or was it the balancing act to the seesaw that is going up and down on €11 trillion in essential European and American debt guarantees? The second article has pretty much what the first one had, but we also see (slightly more clearly) “And when questioned by lawmakers about the possibility of granting Iran any kind of access to the U.S. financial system, Obama-era officials never volunteered that the specific license for Bank Muscat in Oman had been issued two months earlier. According to the report, Iran is believed to have found other ways to access its money, possibly by exchanging it in smaller quantities through another currency“, this now gives us the part (when going back to the first article: “Lew, according to documents reproduced in the report, had been given Treasury talking points explaining the Omani conundrum, he chose not to mention it in a House hearing in late March“, this reference to former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, where we wonder that if this is about the question, was the question correctly phrased, or perhaps the better setting is, was he breaking any laws not mentioning the ‘Omani Conundrum’?

I cannot state without the full text and even if we agree that there is an issue, we now get back to the very core of the matter. If it involves US Banks and when we reconsider ‘the plan failed when two U.S. banks refused to participate‘, two out of exactly how many banks? That part is also not revealed here. So now we get to the part where it becomes either the US treasury AND the FBI who seemingly did not act here, the Omani Conundrum implies that the CIA turf was trodden on and the communications (in several levels) give us that the NSA ignored it. So what is going on? Did anything actually happen? Because that question is becomes valid when we reconsider ‘the plan failed‘. If that is true, then why is the Washington Post, one of the most revered newspapers in the USA not giving the correct light on this? In addition, the outstanding questions that we get from the mere substance given becomes an issue when we see the words of President Trump “this disastrous deal gave this [Iranian] regime — and it’s a regime of great terror — many billions of dollars, some of it in actual cash — a great embarrassment to me as a citizen and to all citizens of the United States,”. Yet how much money was actually released, through the deal and from 2015 onwards? None of that data is available through the articles. So what exactly is US congress playing with now, because this all looks like a really loud smokescreen, all emotion and no contributable facts on the matter. How many banks were part of it (and their names), which two banks refused (double plus points for them two) and in light of merely one $5.7 billion source we need to see the scope of the money, especially in light of the setting that Iran is even now shipping oil to Asia. Are those not valid questions? In all this, where were the FBI and CIA when this was going down and more importantly why is there no mention of their part in all this, or were they not part of any of it? That is equally an issue, because if there is evidence that they were in different states of activity and actionable requirements regarding Iran during the two presidencies, the people have an equal right to know, do they not? You see, in the larger scope that matters, because the Yemeni issue is covering two presidencies, so if (a very clear if) the CIA was less vigilant during the previous presidency, it might also explain a few things on how missiles are getting shipped from Iran to Yemen, if the manifest states 1013 barrels of oil for humanitarian aid, it might explain a little more than we bargained for. Now the last part was speculative and knowingly incorrect, yet the question remains valid. This was not some article from the enquirer, or the Canton Cherokee Tribune, it is the Washington Post. In many (global) cases that newspaper is seen as gospel right next to the Financial Times, so when two articles give us so many questions in all this, I need to wrap my head around the option that Martin Baron is either on vacation or perhaps down with the flu. The man who inspired Tom McCarthy to make Spotlight should have a better grasp on the entire Iranian fund issue and how it should be made visible in my Hummer opinion.

Because behind all this is not merely the oil, or the Iranian uranium enrichment plans. It in equal measure gives another light that we get from “The draft involved a general license, a blanket go-ahead that allows all transactions of a certain type, rather than a specific license like the one given to Oman’s Bank Muscat, which only covers specific transactions and institutions“, you see, if that is in play and when we remember the G30 bankers group, the one that got some limelight, for ONE DAY. After that all the media dropped the issues when the people were given the sight of Mario Draghi being a member of this insiders only club, a club that he had to give up and no one (except for me that is) followed up on that. All the media left it alone. So when we see that part from April 18th 2018, where Reuters and the Financial Times give us that he would remain a member, the ECB and others never acted on it and silently wait it to go away, now we see the Omani Conundrum issue and I have to wonder, as bankers will do trade with anyone, what licenses are out there that no one knows about, more important, whoever the owner of the funds are that they get to play with ahead of all other banks, with close to €3 trillion in extra printed money for the game of bonds, in all this, what else are we not seeing and as this optionally directly reflects on Iran’s and all the billions we are left unaware of, how is it that the Washington Post seems to not care (or rather stated, believingly unimportant issues that are therefor not investigated) are out there with two pages set to issues in a setting of ‘the plan failed‘ and ‘at the end of the day, nothing worked‘. Which makes me wonder if any transgression was committed and what it was all about. Time will tell whether we see more revelations tomorrow and more important if it leads to anything actionable, because that will be come the heart of the matter soon enough.

 

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The Labour Manifesto

Ed Miliband presented his Manifesto Res Rei. In light of what we here in Australia laughingly refer to as ‘the Labour party’, it seemed like a good idea to take a closer look at the speech. The full speech can be seen here http://labourlist.org/2015/03/miliband-launches-labours-business-manifesto-full-speech-text/.

So let’s take a dip into the claims pool.

‘Playing by the rules and paying the taxes that support our public services’, Really Mr. Miliband? So how will you solve the issues involving Apple, Google, Amazon et al? What measures are currently in play, what measures did Labour in its previous governing term put into play. I say naught!

The second part is found soon thereafter ‘With a government that balances the books, invests in infrastructure and works with you to improve skills and open up more competitive markets‘. The Tories are trying to get the books balanced, which means austerity. Labour had a massive hand in giving the UK that debt, so we can offer that Labour has no ability to balance books and the investment that they talk about will drive the UK into deeper debt.

Then the story changes a little and Ed Miliband goes into waffle mode. We see ‘despite the odds‘, ‘too many obstacles‘, ‘the lack of certainty about the long term‘ and my favourite: ‘Our productivity gap is at its highest level for nearly a quarter of a century‘. That last one is full of fun, because what is it based on? Weighted numbers, a lack of insight or the added anchor of virtual corporations?

Now he gets to the promise: “So we’ll balance the books and cut the deficit every year“, yes, how will you do that by investing and balancing the books at the same time? The current debt spring is loaded, because the UK has to come up 23 billion every year to pay the interest of the current deficit, so good luck with that statement, you do remember that your predecessor was cause to a massive slide in debt Mr. Miliband?

The struggle to find the workforce they need‘, which sounds nice in theory, but many corporations hire young unexperienced people to get away with what some want to slide under that table, when we see the issue where Ross Etherson, who admitted 21 counts of making or supplying articles for use in fraud, cost the NHS more than £37,000, Isleworth Crown Court heard, we clearly see that there are other issues at play, when we take the info from the BBC at http://www.bbc.com/news/10604117, we see that unemployment has steadily dropped under the Tory government. Now, I will in all fairness state that labour was confronted with the 2008 problems, but that mess was not properly dealt with under labour either. The mess left from their debacle 1997-2010 is still getting cleaned up half a decade later.

Now we get to the fishy side of it all: ‘It is a partnership for a purpose. We will give you control of the money for apprenticeships and in exchange we will say that any firm that gets a major government contract will have to provide apprenticeships to the next generation‘. How is this even realistic? Giving control of the money means that all kinds of accounting irregularities are likely to surface, then what? And in regards to ‘major government contract‘ and ‘provide apprenticeships to the next generation‘, how is that not discrimination towards the current aging workforce? In addition, we see that there are situations where apprenticeships are not a solution in the first place, which is just the reality. Consider a new frigate that is getting build with 500 engineers and 10 apprentices on the job, how many delays and what security breaches could the new frigate face? So not apply this rule to all fields? That is just a mess waiting to explode in the faces of those proclaiming it to be a solution.

Then we get (after another wave of waffling by Ed Miliband) ‘the priority for business tax cuts‘, yes, that has always been a good idea, especially as Google and Apple seem to pay 0.1% in taxation. How about infrastructure? Ah, that is next, where we see: ‘That’s why we’ll follow the recommendation of Sir John Armitt and set up a new independent National Infrastructure Commission‘, yes, spending more money on something that will not prove to be a solution, whilst the UK is down a trillion, so at this point, after we saw tax cut and infrastructure and invest, let us remember the earlier promise “So we’ll balance the books and cut the deficit every year“, which I see as:

  1. No balancing the books
  2. Increasing, not decreasing the deficit.

Now we get to the ideological part, which Ed Miliband is of course entitled to: “There could be nothing worse for our country or for our great exporting businesses than playing political games with our membership of the EU“. that is partially true, yet as the EU is unable to muzzle Greece with their flim flam rock band approach of not dealing with their debt and whilst several players are now willing to push Greece into deeper debt, both the UK and Germany need to realise that Greece is getting their credit for nothing and their luxuries at the expense of the other EU nations. How long until it is just safer to let the rest of the EU drown in their inactions against Greece? Which by the way has every likelihood of pushing both Italy and France over their maximum debt threshold, which has massive implications for any member remaining within the EU, all because no one was willing or able to stop Greece?

Now we get back to part of the speech that is an issue ‘Two years of uncertainty in which businesses will not be able to plan for the future‘, how about the fact that most of Europe in a denied recession, due to massive debt dealing is not the way to get any level of certainty? In the Netherlands, unemployment is at 7.2%, In Belgium it is 8.5% and in France it is at 10.4%, so when we look at what business options there are in Europe, we will see a cold turkey that comes home to voluntarily roost in the oven at 190 degrees, because the crispy warmth is loads better than the cold outside, even if the turkey is about to get eaten in the process.

If there is ONE business plan, that that would be the one, where the UK gets by for now, trying to grow, but most importantly is reducing the debt it has, so it does not have to fork out +20 billion in interest to banks for money the Labour party had spent.

So as he goes on reminding us on ‘We need to be a country that rescues our NHS with more doctors and nurses‘, yes, we all remember the NHS 12 billion computer scheme, that did not go too well for all parties involved, perhaps listening to others would have helped the Labour party heaps, but that was in those days never an option, so why trust them now? so the phrase ‘Not what we have seen over the last five years where the NHS slides into crisis‘ is a little misplaced as it was Labour who did messed up 12 billion, an amount that could have kept loads of nurses into jobs and grown the NHS. It was not meant to be!

So when we see the following quote: ‘To carry on with a Conservative plan based on the idea that as long as the richest and most powerful succeed, everyone else will be OK, or a Labour plan, a better plan, that says it is only when working people succeed that Britain succeeds

We ought to consider another option. To cut drastically on medical services for those on drug and alcohol based events. These people only get treatment if they can pay in advance for treatment.

Let’s take on the binge drinking issue heads on!

Those who fail the first two parts are thrown into a drunk tank like in the old days. If they die, well that is just too bad, we can blame the parents, we can rejoice on a growing number of available housing (the deceased do not need them) and the nations has even more jobs available and the cost of the NHS goes down.

Now, it will be fair if you disagree with me on this and I admit that this step is hugely inhumane, but consider: these people cost the society 21 billion on an annual base, which includes the 3.5 billion to the NHS. To protect the victims of their crime and violence, they will be remanded into prisons/work houses. So, you see, production will be better off if we change that workforce too!

Yes, I agree it is inhumane, but why must the people at large suffer for those who think that the rules do not apply to them? I have no issue with these people receiving treatment, however, if you are so willing to binge yourself for £39-£69, you can either fork out the £78 for treatment, or sleep it of in a drunk tank, either way, we reduce spending on NHS, which helps towards the actual spending balance Labour is actively ignoring.

So as I ended the look at the Speech of Ed Miliband, I must conclude that it reads political and in addition, decently devoid of realism. Which is a shame, because UK Business is in dire need of realism, which means the solution will come from somewhere else.

Which now gets us to part two of this event. It seems that Nicola Sturgeon is all about getting Labour into No10. It sounds nice, but how is the Scottish National Party any help there? Now, it is fair that they feel a lot more comfortable with their future if Labour is in charge. It is a valid call to make and it is theirs to make it to begin with. Yet, we must not forget the issues that Scotland is already short 11% on their budgets and with oil prices the way they are, their independent future is a lot less certain. This is a shame and I mean that. I was all in favour of Scotland attracting all kinds of Businesses from all over the Commonwealth to grow their economic footprint. I am still reasonably certain that Indian generic medication could grow all over Europe if they have a foothold in Scotland, which allows easy access to places all over Europe. With Oil being a problem and not a solution, other fields must be tackled to grow Scottish interest and the Labour party is nowhere near able to help Scotland there. If we revisit the issue of balancing the books, it will take less than 6 months for Ed Miliband to find way to move business out of Scotland, just to make his side look better, I wonder if Nicola Sturgeon is realising the trap she is setting herself up for.

So if we look at the Guardian article, which is less than 24 hours old, we see ‘Scotland’s SNP revolution terrifies the main parties’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/05/scotland-snp-revolution-terrifies-main-parties), which is an interesting light to see after the Labour-SNP link. There is one debatable quote that caught my eyes was: “Underpinning these analyses is a barely concealed narrative of contempt, which says they will all come to their senses when they realise there will be no land of milk and honey in a Scotland under the absolute control of the SNP“, this is fair enough, but I do not think that this is due to the SNP, I firmly believe that independence too late saved Scotland, if Scotland had been independent whilst the oil prices went into the basement, the damage would have been unimaginable. I remain in faith that growing business in England and Scotland is the only solution, it will be important for both (mostly Scotland) to look at fields they had not considered before. The Indian generic medicine growth is only one branch. The open remoteness (hence securable locations) Scotland has to offer, could spell interesting times for any manufacturing option that does not require the pressure of London, with added benefit of the lower costs that Scotland brings. Consider the Ferry from Scotland to the Netherlands, opening additional paths of revenue. Scotland can grow options, it is just the question whether the Labour party is truly a solution here.

So as we all get to ponder the choices the voters face for England and Scotland, I do hope that they will all look seriously at these flimsy speeches that rattle on all sides. This applies to all parties, not just Labour!

 

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