Tag Archives: Steven Mnuchin

Raging against the media

Last night I lost it, I will be honest, at roughly 02:23 I went slightly berserk. You see, I have had the longest of issues with the media for the longest of times. The media has no interest in you or me, it does not care about the individuals, whenever they say so, and they are lying. You see, the media has shown to care for 4 allegiances

  1. the shareholders
  2. the stakeholders
  3. the advertisers
  4. themselves

In that order of business! I will disregard actual investigative reporters here; they hunt the story, some of them really good. Overall this is about money and journalists are in that regard, merely catering to the economic three and after that person called self. It does not matter whether you are in the US, UK, Australia and to some degree even most European countries. The reverence of journalists is no longer valid for well over 90% of them.

The entire Jamal Khashoggi event escalated. Now, I am not stating that nothing happened; I am not stating that Saudi Arabia in innocent, but their guilt has not been clearly established. All the actions so far seen were aimed at the clear exploitation of the audience to increase circulation and keeping the webpage clicks high. Some (like the BBC for example) are doing their job and asking questions, the right questions. The entire matter is more of an issue as it is a person that matters in this case, if it was a reporter from the Daily Mail, no one would give a fuck (pardon my French), no, it was a reporter (or columnist) for the Washington Post, and actually really good newspaper, and of course the ante goes up by a fair bit.

According to BBC News, the so called recording of his torture (according to Turkish sources) has been requested. We see the quote “Mr Trump said America had already asked Turkey for a recording said to provide strong evidence that Mr Khashoggi was killed inside at the consulate” and that makes perfect sense. So why has it not arrived at the White House? If I can mail a MP3 in 17 seconds, why has it been 17 hours and why have we not heard or seen anything acceptably reliable concerning the evidence?

In my speculative view, the statement of the recording is a fake and the media has been playing with ‘Journalist Jamal Khashoggi ‘butchered while still alive’, horrific audio of his murder allegedly reveals‘ (NZ Herald), as well as ‘Audio Offers Gruesome Details of Jamal Khashoggi Killing, Turkish Official Says‘ (NY Times), the list goes on and on. Now we get that some titles merely seem unacceptable. Yet the misrepresentation through flawed reporting is still on the papers even the New York Times. The Washington Post should get a pass on this as they seemingly lost one of their own.

Why is it an issue?

You see, Saudi Arabia is in a proxy war with Iran and Turkey as a puppet of Iran is getting into the good graces of Iran as much as possible. that part is not shown in ANY of those newspapers. Then we get the kill squad references. references like: “A still from surveillance camera footage shows a man thought to be a member of Mohammed bin Salman’s security detail“, really? Based on what? You see if these reporters had done their job they would have added footage from that person in the details of the crown prince. I have not seen that footage, have you?

Then we get to the Guardian. there we see “Over the past two weeks Turkish officials have leaked increasingly shocking evidence that they say proves that the journalist, who was critical of the Saudi crown prince, was tortured and killed inside the building and his dismembered body driven to the nearby consul general’s house where it was disposed of“, here the Guardian is also in a questionable stage. You see, the link there merely gives us the recording request that no one can produce. In addition, we see ‘Turkish officials have leaked increasingly shocking evidence‘, so exactly what evidence was released? Is that not a valid question?

Now, we can all accept that something happened, that there is a more than likely chance that Jamal Khashoggi is not in a good place, the chance that he is optionally is dead is also not lost on me, and I can accept that, yet the media is pushing it into a frenzy of speculations and allegations with no support, or at least support of the most dubious kind, that whilst the tether between Turkey and Iran remains unlit and no one mentions that Turkey has reasons to be set in a anti-Saudi Arabia stage, we see none of that.

In addition, over all this we have been given “Liam Fox, the UK trade secretary, and the US Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, joined key European partners in pulling out of a major economic forum in Saudi Arabia nicknamed Davos in the desert“, ok that is fair. It is their choice. So exactly what actions were taken against Iran regarding Syria, what actions were taken against Iran regarding Yemen? We were treated to “Iranian and European officials are meeting at the United Nations to try to salvage a nuclear deal that the US pulled out of” less than a month ago, in light of the hundreds of deaths in Yemen, a slaughter that Iran is part of, why are they even talking to Iran?

Yet if Neom is pushed through, if it becomes a reality, the IT infrastructure and interne options could optionally represent between $2-$5 billion a month if the full coverage is obtained after 2030, and a lot more besides that, such values and some people are walking away form that table? It seems hypocrite and it does not make any sense after the willingness shown to make deals with Iran. In addition the notion of walking away from serious cash and walking away from that ‘on principle’ whilst that same principle stops them from properly taxing the FAANG group is just a little too hypocrite to stomach. If I get the option, I would move in in a heartbeat, even mere crumbs from a $2 billion a month pie is still serious cash to many players, and as we are told: “Bruno Le Maire said on French TV channel Public Senat that “I will not go to Riyadh next week” for the conference known as Davos in the desert“. Russia will not have that issue, they will most likely state: “Who the fuck was Jamal Khashoggi anyway, and who do we thank with a bottle of Vodka for ignoring such massive economic opportunities?” There are plenty of players who will think the same. Some will state that it is a good thing to take a distance and set the stage in a less friendly way, yet they never had that consideration after Wall Street made millions of Americans live the life of destitution, did they?

ABC News added flavour to it all with the report: ‘Pompeo listened to an alleged recording of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi: Turkish Source‘, yet the article also gives us: ““The secretary addressed this yesterday. He has not heard a tape,” his spokeswoman Heather Nauert told ABC News in an email. Asked about receiving a transcript of the recording, Nauert told ABC News: “I don’t have anything on that.”“, so is there a recording? Why is no one jumping on that story plane hitting Turkey with that question EVERY HOUR? The story is 24 hours old and inaction on the truth prevails whilst actively pushing the alleged unconfirmed reporting is winning; it is that part of pushing hype towards emotion and not true journalism, keeping the emotions high, instead of properly informing the people. Last night that stage just got to me.

That whilst we understand that governments are walking away from economic events, yet they do not get to cry on the entire Brexit setting either, at that point their useless and fear mongering attempt to fill the bucket with false staging needs to be met with the very same tenacity, but that is not going to happen, is it? Wall Street will not allow for it, will it?

So as the New York Times gives us: “Investors raised concern that if Saudi Arabia were sanctioned, it could restrict oil supply and prompt a rise in energy prices. “As soon as the news came out it increased the selling,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York. “Anything that has a semblance of the possibility of trouble, people in this environment see it as a much larger problem than it may really be.”“, the article (at https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2018/10/18/business/18reuters-usa-stocks.html) will get a twist or two before the end of the weekend and when we contemplate the message from Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York. The answer is simple, you have the media to thank for that (as I personally see it)!

so when we are in a stage of what happened, I wonder how many of these reporters remember the entire Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles case and how it all came to an end after 30 years, or did it?

In the end, it is the lack of journalistic integrity that gets to me. It is all about staging the story; it is no longer about reporting the news. There will be the players that do the right thing and the BBC is currently topping that list, but the issue is that this list of better journalistic publications is shrinking and it is not getting better or larger.

One of the players who set me off was TalkRadio (UK), she is not the best soul on this planet (in more ways than one). I think that when Tweeting a bombing pic as satire is just as low as any person can get and I do not fault her for being stupid, but she should not be that blatantly obvious about it, and in her defence that she is a staunch republican, I would say that so am I, yet I try to push for higher values within my own party and other parties. that does not mean that I am absent of humour, mine can be direct and perhaps to some offending at times, but it is never done in malice, Julia Hartley-Brewer tweeted in malice, which is not the same. Perhaps it was not satire, but sarcasm and when it bites back, it will merely be irony.

The example is actually important as we see at times the satirical presentation of events, and making sure that this is filtered out is equally important. In addition there have been places like Today, where we saw former CIA director John Brennan. Here we see direct answers on good questions, yet here we need to see another filtering. Here the filtering is that this is a former operative who was in Saudi Arabia, who knows the country and the people. It is a much better level of reliability and we should not ignore that, in opposition to other reporters who are unlikely to find Saudi Arabia and Riyadh on a blind map. In addition the other reports never added any reliable parts like John Brennan to the equation, merely their anonymous source, one that has more likely than not an anti-Saudi state of mind.

Whatever!

In the end, we need to look into ourselves too, I am doing just that and even as I understand why I was in a rage, I am still looking into the matter how that rage got to me. Just an hour ago, we see the BBC giving us: “The Turkish authorities say they have audio and video evidence of the killing – although these have not been made public. Turkish media with close links to the government have published gruesome details on the alleged audio, saying screams, and the voice of the consul, Mohammed al-Otaibi, could be heard in the recording“, yet the latter part cannot be proven at present, can it? that remains at the heart of the matter and as the BBC adds: “Russian President Vladimir Putin has said it is a pity that Mr Khashoggi has gone missing, but that Russia cannot damage relations with Saudi Arabia without hard facts” we are again confronted with the issue, there are for now no facts, nothing tangible and that is what matters, the additional disregard of the media because they are no longer trustworthy is making matters worse, they are worse as they could have been prevented. For us we are lucky that BBC news is still there to give us the quality goods.

There is one ironical part in all this, the final column by Jamal Khashoggi give us: “it left Saudis “either uninformed or misinformed”“, we are for the most in that very same position, in our case it is not the freedom of the press, it is the overly large freedom that allows the press to play with us for their direct needs and the need of the first three priorities that leaves us either uninformed or misinformed by making us ‘informed’ allegedly and though insinuation, which in the end is still misinformation.

Even now in the last hour, we get: “But a steady stream of unconfirmed leaks from officials to Turkish media have painted a detailed and horrifying picture of Khashoggi’s last minutes, allegedly at the hands of 15 Saudi agents waiting for him when he came to the consulate for paperwork”, all about unconfirmed, yet the setting that Turkey is an Iranian puppet is still kept out of the entire equation, is that not interesting too? How far can we be deceived and when it falls to holding the media accountable in all this, when we force that discussion to the table, how will the media react? How many politicians will suddenly take a step back and forget to voice concerns on properly informing the public?

 

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A mined pathway

There is news out there. It is coming from several sides making it slightly more reliable, yet the path that some seem to shine on is actually a very dangerous one. Now, let’s be straight, I am no fan of Iran, they overstepped the mark again and again and as such they are a genuine danger. Yet, the steps that we see contemplated is one that is slightly too dodgy as I see it. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of sanctions in place, there is all kinds of pressures on Iran and the direct threat that they pose to both the state of Israel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is more than enough to make us all act against Iran, yet when we look at i24 News (at https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/179007-180708-mossad-chief-secretly-visited-washington-to-coordinate-on-iran-report), it is not the travel plans of Yossi Cohen, the El Jefe of Mossad that is an issue, it is the quote “held meetings with senior White House officials to discuss Iran” that needs more light. You see, a man like Yossi Cohen does not leave his operational bunker unless there is something that needs to be communicated directly. There have been all kinds of water-cooler chats on active operations (as some put it) in Iran to create more destabilisation. The Middle East Eye gives us “Is it the government’s policy to pursue regime change in Iran? Do they think the MEK actually have popular legitimacy in Iran?“, “This prospect moves the US and Iran closer to a direct military confrontation” from Forbes and “some segments of the economically driven protests are likely driven by Iran’s factional infighting over the direction of Iran’s policy, particularly within the context of elite disagreement on how to manage and mitigate the impact of US sanctions” from Nazanin Soroush at IHS Jane’s Intelligence Weekly. Now, realise that these three quotes are not on the same topic, yet the word of the week regarding Iran is ‘destabilisation‘. This is actually a lot more dangerous, it has the distinct danger of setting the people optionally against its own structures and the military tends to act rather negatively on that setting. Iran lost a lot of face and options with the Nuclear deal when the US backed out of it and even as the EU seems to be driven to keep it alive at the expense of every risk, the dangers are putting pressure in the wrong places and the visit from Yossi Cohen towards the US leaves us with the thought that more is coming. In this, the news that was given yesterday with the French shipping company CMA CGM pulling out of Iran is only increasing pressures. So even as Iran says it needs more help from Europe to keep alive the 2015 deal it worked out with world powers to curb its nuclear program, we need to consider that the Nuclear deal is unlikely to be salvaged unless the EU makes very large concessions making things even harder on the US-EU front. In this the prospect of being banned in the United States appears to have been enough to persuade some European companies to keep out and several others are now reconsidering the options that they have.

In all this, the news of internal actions remains on the table, yet I feel that this is not the best move to make. Part of the drive here is likely the news that had been around, in this former CIA officer Phil Giraldi gives us “what happens when Washington tries to sanction the Central Bank of China over business dealings with Iran — utter chaos on top of the already existing trade war!” This is a dangerous development and it is the most likely of settings that the US will want to avoid it, and some of the players are eager for a swift victory (yea right!), so here we have the dangers that the US will be pushing, or asking Mossad to contemplate to act directly in Iran, optionally in conjunction with CIA teams. If destabilisation is the operative word, there will be the implied dangers to all kinds of infrastructures (highly speculated by me here), and that is not the best of ideas. You see, even as there is Iranian opposition to both the clergy and military. A direct intervention in Iran, if proven could unite the people with the military and that is a dangerous step for both Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia. As there are internal conflicts Iran cannot and will not completely commit to the open setting of actions against the three nations. If the people unite the picture changes drastically almost immediate and that will most likely impact Saudi Arabia and Israel in the first instance, in addition to that Saudi Arabia would become a more visible target for Hezbollah overnight (with all the direct actions that follow), all issues that need to be avoided.

So how wrong am I?

I could be wrong, I honestly gave to some of the parts the setting that it was speculative, yet the quotes are from a collection of newscasts and news publications, the fact that some of it is not supported on an international setting needs scrutiny, yet the direct facts of additional pressures on Iran are clearly published making it much reliable. The additional fact that Haaretz released information that the IDF made their donations to an Iranian Air Force Base Near Homs, giving it loads of rubble is also clear indications that Israel is more and more active against Iran, yet there we must still consider that their actions remain still focussed on the Iranian presence in Syria (for now). Yet in all this, the setting is still not complete, there is evidence (a slight exaggeration) is pointing that Qatar is increasing its ties with US and Iran. Even as Haaretz gives us: “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sat next to the minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani. “You have been a great friend to the United States,” Mnuchin told Thani, praising Qatar for its cooperation on counter-terrorism financing efforts“, it must be looked into who instigated the Qatar-Iran ‘warming up’ party recently. If it is Iran then it is merely a tactic to increase policy gaps all over the Middle East, if it is Qatar, the issue becomes a larger problem. You see, just over a week ago, we saw the continuation (source: Arab News) through ‘Qatar will pay a price for its financial links with Iran‘, this is not news as it was going on for close to a year, yet if the previous setting was opened by Qatar, it implies that Saudi Arabia has a larger problem and even as the initial target might not be Saudi Arabia as the quote “Traditionally reliant on Dubai as a financial bridge to the outside world, Tehran is now looking to find new safe harbors to protect its financial interests, and Qatar is in its crosshairs. If Iran succeeds in building such a relationship with Qatar, it will be in a far stronger position to endure and evade US sanctions” implies, which makes operational and tactical sense, the secondary setting is that Iran could gain a more direct path of access to Saudi Arabia. This opens up Iranian settings towards Al Hofuf, Al Kharj and from there interference directly into Riyadh becomes (even though a far-fetched one) to Riyadh, all this at a time that Saudi Arabia should be focussing on Yemen and Hezbollah. It would force itself to instigate stronger internal security measures, all costing resources.

In the end

As some of this requires better access to data that goes beyond open source we need to learn (over time) if we are confronted with Iran playing a game of Fox and Rabbit, or is there more going on? Let’s not forget that Qatar has its own issues in the game, with Turkey in the mix on that level as well, the game is becoming much harder to read, especially when the intelligence setting of data is set to a much higher level than yours truly has access to. That part is not just seen in the January setting that Al Jazeera gave with ‘Qatar’s investment in Turkey exceeds $20bn, the second highest by any country‘ (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/10/turkey-qatar-strategic-alliance-171024133518768.html), the time lines and the weighting of the official and unofficial settings, these two matter as one does not merely invest $20 billion in a nation that has no real economic investment values, and when we consider that a large chunk of that party pie is about opening paths of facilitation the considerations we need to have tends to change by a fair bit. Even as the news was given in January, the setting of such an amount of money goes into a timeline of at least two years, so there is more to take notice of, especially now. So even as Al Jazeera makes a big thing on the import of milk and beef, the amount given could feed every Syrian refugee for close to three years, the math does not add up. there is however no telling what the actual settings are as the open books and the second balance need not be the same, and might not be set in covert needs, merely in non-taxable, or 100% deductibility reasoning, the mere legal application of tax avoidance could make all the difference.

Sometimes clarity of data tends to become murky, intentionally done for the mere reason as to avoid that supervillian (taxman) to gain access to the intended funds. If you doubt that reason, feel free to ask Ruth Porat (CFO Google) and Luca Maestri (CFO Apple) on the hardships that this supervillian (taxman) gives them.

 

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