Tag Archives: Venezuela

Heating at what price?

We all know it; in winter it is about the heating, in summer about the quality of the fan, in addition, we need to make sure that apart from food, and drinks that we have the proper attire. We have known this for almost a lifetime. So even as this is known in the US, President Trump decided to have a conversation with Saudi Arabia to increase production to keep prices down. It seems really nice that Saudi Arabia came forward, yet they had no practical reason to do that did they? Not in an age of bullet points, business cases and maximised profit.

Oil is a commodity, and in the professional world of business, you have to go for the buy low, sell high equation if you want to be in business. So I was surprised to the extent that Saudi Arabia was facilitating towards America.

Yet this is seemingly coming to a halt when Bloomberg treats us to: ‘Putin Says Russia and Saudi Arabia to Extend OPEC+ Oil Pact‘. In itself the title does not give the US the warning that they need to read, the text does however give us: “OPEC, which pumps four-in-ten barrels produced worldwide, will convene in Vienna on Dec. 6 to discuss output cuts after oil prices in November suffered the largest monthly drop since the global financial crisis in 2008” the article also gives us “an advisory group to OPEC told ministers the market is oversupplied, with a need to cut about 1.3 million barrels a day from October levels“, apart from Bloomberg, there were several others showing the news, adding their own political flavour towards facilitation and that will be discussed soon enough. The shape here is not merely that there is oil in the Al Saud family, it is the fact that they are (as any good business does) trying to maximise what they have. People seem to forget that. It might seem a buyers’ market, but that is merely the presentation, once production stops for 12% or more that balance will change really quickly. Let those who want it somewhere else, go somewhere else. The direct impact is that it merely drives prices faster. Even as there is an oversupply, the entire setting seems to be focussed on getting past this winter, the players are in error not to focus on the next winter, for that part will be impacted and it will be a large impact.

As the conversation between Russia and Saudi Arabia continues, whether or not it is some OPEC+ setting, the setting that is evolving is one that I mentioned in ‘Two issues in play‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/11/20/two-issues-in-play/). The day after we saw Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) giving the statement that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was “unstable and unreliable”. So as we were treated to ‘Putin says Russia, Saudis agree to renew OPEC production cuts‘ mere moments ago. How much reserve is there? How long until the prices are raised, optionally just before Christmas as a speculative Ebenezer Scrooge bonus to your household?

The entire matter was just waiting for an opportunity to happen, as we see this unfold over the next few days, we will see additional parts too. The best example that anyone who served knows is that there are three people you do not mess with. The first is your Supply officer, the second is the payroll officer and the last one is the cook. These three are sacred and you leave them alone. So why push the person who is a supply officer, that impacts your payroll officer (as you end up with a fair amount less) and that in turn unbalances what the cook gives you as you cannot afford a full meal. As the price of food goes up, as we see clear data from several sources (Washington Post and HILDA) that larger groups of workers have been on stalling incomes for years now, have I made a clear enough point? When the total income is the same and food prices go up, what would you surrender to the currents of loss, once you realise that fuel prices will be on the rise as well?

In anticipated opposition, don’t give me that ‘ethics regarding Jamal Khashoggi‘ routine, because the bulk of the US senate and US congress have not made any noise regarding all those journalists (well over 240, with over 140 wanted) in Turkish prisons, several of them for life. Not much noise is there? The fact that Turkey isn’t getting slammed for being an ally of Iran is still a mystery, yet there might be some European need there, especially around some ‘nuclear accord’.

Even as I anticipate some reaction in all this, we must also heed the opposition in this. Here I call for Oilprice dot com. Martin Tillier gives us (at https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Oil-Output-Cuts-May-Be-Coming-But-Dont-Bet-on-It.html): Crude oil has been in freefall, with both Brent and WTI having lost around a third since hitting highs in early October. There are some demand related worries involved as trade wars threaten to slow global growth, but the biggest reasons for the drop are supply related. A couple of months ago, those highs were achieved in anticipation of a disruption to global supply as the Trump administration’s abandonment of the Iran nuclear deal with Iran and the resulting sanctions took effect. Since then though, a few things have become clear. Firstly, U.S. production has been stepped up by more than imagined. In addition, the Saudis increased their output to help offset the expected loss from Iran but, most importantly in that context, that loss doesn’t look likely to materialize“, he goes on giving us the tough talk part and he is right. Whether we see it as political windbags or perhaps merely a storm in a cup of tea, the impact is not merely some good needed, it is a larger issue that goes beyond supply and demand. Just like the predicted shortage of concrete for the building of Neom city. Those who saw it have been upping their ability for production. Several have doubled it and there is a chance that the UAE will have its own large concrete facility soon enough. As Saudi Arabia could decide to cut production, it could in addition merely seek to seel part of it elsewhere. The end result is the same, yet that trajectory will be much slower. For the current administration it is about getting past this winter, with the next winter being a larger impact on the elections, so it will also impact the cost of living all over the US.

CNBC gives support here (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/28/expect-a-saudi-first-policy-on-oil-production-cuts-regardless-of-trumps-demands-analysts-say.html). It is early days and what we anticipate or expect does not usually happen, yet with “Analysts believe that despite Washington’s geopolitical leverage over the kingdom, after its staunch defense of the Saudi monarchy amid accusations over its alleged role in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Riyadh will still pursue its own economic interests rather than abide by the wishes of President Trump. The pivotal question hanging over oil markets remains that of production cutbacks. Who will tighten their taps, and by how much?” This is the game for now and even as it is all set in common sense, the one part we cannot anticipate is ‘by how much?‘, I predicted a rough 12% a week before this article came out and so far, the fact that it is still likely to happen before the end of the year, optionally before before Christmas, it does remain to be a the speculative part for now. I expect Russia to try and get a consensus with Saudi Arabia to go well over 12%, optionally closer to 20%. It is essential for Russia, it will be good to the super wealthy oil friends that President Putin has and it will also bring joy to the coffers of the Saudi Monarchy. The question is who can pick up that slack and how fast. The US has its own facilities in it, yet could they keep up? Leave it to the US to piss off 3 of the top 5 producers, which leaves Iraq and they do not have the working infrastructure, moreover, volatility is still their middle name for now, as well as the fact that they merely produce 16% of the other three that the US insulted (more than once I might add).

So will oil prices go up? If the US is set on its current policy, the issue of oil prices is a given certainty, the fact that they will go up before winters end seems more and more likely, yet by how much is not to be anticipated. In this Saudi Arabia, merely needs to have a ‘technical glitch’ and the pumps go down twice for 2-3 days, and the damage is done. At that point, Saudi Arabia merely has to drop production for 15%-20% until the technical matter is ‘resolved’ and all the US can do is pray for Saudi Arabia to accept the assistance of their engineers. Although as Saudi engineers go, their knowledge might be (vastly) superior in all this, they have had plenty of time to get ahead of the curve for some time now.

Should this happen, what will the US do? Throw a tantrum; throw a curveball? I am eager to find out, because the entire journalist part is still a matter for discussion. You all seem to know Jamal Khashoggi. Yet how many of you know Mehmet Topaloğlu, killed by the Turkish police, as was Metin Göktepe. Then we see Önder Babat, Serena Shim, Rohat Aktaş and Yaşar Parlak. The Turkish authorities have shown less than 0.5% effort here when comparing it to Jamal Khashoggi and the silence from the US in these deaths (a few of many) have been deafening, we can ignore the European Union in all this as they seemingly do not care. So when I made the claim that Jamal Khashoggi is merely a convenient puppet to hit Saudi Arabia with, I knew what I was talking about. When we see that inaction is the natural state, the entire Jamal Khashoggi was a game of political players, emotions used to drive an audience, an audience giving Google search currently well over 72 million hits when we see for that JK journalist. Try that with one of the other murdered or imprisoned journalists in Turkey, they are not even a blip on the radar. It is my speculative thought that Neom and the future drive by Saudi Arabia scared the US as it did several European players. It is the first time in history that a Middle Eastern nation has the ability to put the US and EU to shame with their lack of technological progress. They claim to have it, yet Saudi Arabia is making a move towards ‘showing to have it‘, changing the game for both the US and Europe.

This is where we see the difference. China and Russia see this as an opportunity, whilst Europe and the US are seeing it as an inconvenience. In Europe it seems that only Salini Impregilo is taking the charge of that future, having scored already well over half a billion in contracts, the rest of the players are either under the surface or not there at all. Is that not odd either? When we see close to a trillion dollars in opportunities in Saudi Arabia, the noise should be deafening but it is not.

How does that matter?

Well, if oil fuels the coffers, the daily input is more than enough to warrant actions, yet I see not activity anywhere, not to the degree it should have. In all this, within a day I found a way to revolutionise information using 5G (designing a new device in the process), and there we see opportunity, a pilot the size of a city that could have global repercussions and no one is there. I cannot be the only player in town, my ego would never be that delusional, yet there is not activity at all. It makes sense that it is not out in the open, yet some people would have to file for concepts, optionally for patents and I see the light of at least 4 of them right there, yet there is no visible action, and believe me, as a Master of Intellectual property law, I do know where to look.

Karma kicks greed’s ass

We have all seen the news when it comes to Huawei and the list of those banning them is growing, there too we see that China has a vested interest in making a local company a true success and there we see the options too. So when we consider the Verizon offer: “As part of a 10-year agreement, Verizon will expand its wireless small cell infrastructure to build out its existing 4G LTE network and prepare for 5G deployment, with streamlined permitting from the City of Boston. TV licensing will also be amended to support an expansion of Verizon’s Fios TV service to more neighborhoods“, it came in 2016. So consider the actual wording ‘as part of a 10-year agreement‘ and ‘prepare for 5G deployment‘, by the letter, it implies that Boston will optionally not have 5G before 2026, in this it could optionally have been in the foundations of Neom by 2021 (depending on then the first buildings are completed). It would be a kick in the nuts for the US to have something operational after Saudi Arabia, does it not?

Karma bites like Piranha if need be.

This all impacts the oil price, because the Saudi Crown Prince is driven to get Neom right, it also impacts the coffers so whatever is done regarding the oil, would optionally not be allowed to endanger Neom. I cannot prove that, yet I am decently certain that this is the case. We can see this as an opportunity, that as the US seeks options, it can make other offers to offset the optional ‘loss’ to Saudi Arabia. If enabling can be done in money or goods, offering goods is still an optional path to take for the US, yet they too need to realise that the overly visible acts of playing the ‘Khashoggi blues’ whilst not making any noise on the ‘Turkey newspaper shuffle’ is going to be a debate soon enough, especially as there is enough evidence that Turkey has been facilitating for Iran.

In the end

In the end it is about the oil prices and I expect them to go up regardless of what happens, yet there is leverage to a small extent, the amount of price increase is one that could be under negotiation. The question is, will we see proper actions by the US and Europe to limit the price increase and the impact on their citizens? I expect to see an answer to that part within the next two weeks.

Have a fun Monday!

 

 

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Round two

Yesterday was a day when I thought it was essential to speak out against the language used in the NY Times. It was part of a larger whole that will be shown to all over time (as I am missing three pieces of evidence). Yet the oil issue was in the centre of it all and so it remains. Now, I had done my homework (for the most), yet there was one element I overlooked and it is an important one. Reuters was awake and gave us (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-oil-opec-saudi-trump/can-saudi-arabia-pump-much-more-oil-idUSKBN1JR1HI) the part I forgot about. “the kingdom, OPEC’s biggest member, can barely raise output by 1 million bpd to 11 million bpd and even that would be difficult, according to industry analysts who forecast a further oil price rally due to a lack of new supply“, yes we forgot about the engine that drives it all. It has been increasing production again and again, yet at some point; the system that drives the production of crude reaches its maximum and that is where the teller of barrels is now hitting a little issue. I like (yet optionally disagree) with Gary Ross, head of global oil analytics at S&P Global. With “While Saudi Arabia has the capacity in theory, it takes time and money to bring these barrels online, possibly up to 1 year“, we see a ‘stabilising’ comment, but based on what, knowledge of the parts that are driving the crude oil machine forward? Perhaps that is true, yet if that is the case the one year setting is off. Other elements require adjustment, but the one year (yes he did add ‘up to’) implies that engines and perhaps pipes require adjustment, meaning that the system is set to increase beyond the 100% marker might be more dangerous. Pressure can be a bitching issue and the mere fact that even in suburbia water mains still go out (mine went kablooie yesterday evening) implies that there is a setting where pressures do not align. Now with water it is a nuisance, so my evening of pasta went straight out of the window. With crude oil it is another matter entirely. There the blown gasket can optionally make a mess to the environment and more important, it could optionally force Saudi Arabia to turn the dial down to 60%-80% until that mess is fixed. When that happens they go into a freefall where one plugging evokes another part to burst emotionally, that is where the problem starts and that is an important side in all this.

It is not the only part; CNBC gave us (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/30/oil-deal-may-stir-the-pot-in-the-middle-east-and-test-saudi-capacity.html) a few other parts. Even as we might be able to ignore “Iran and Venezuela are both reeling economically, with Tehran feeling the bite of new sanctions“, especially as Iran has a set clientele. Yet the given part of “President Donald Trump surprised the world on Saturday by announcing a new side agreement with the Saudis to compensate for supply shortages from crisis-hit producers“. I found the setting of ‘compensate for supply shortages from crisis-hit producers‘. It is interesting for two reasons. The first is that the US had no application for Iranian oil in the first place and the second is that Venezuela had all kinds of issues; I personally believe that the low price of oil is reasons for some of it. Yet when we take a step back we get three pieces. The first in 2017 when we saw the Business Insider treat us to “Falling output at refineries means that Venezuela needs to import more gasoline, squeezing the national budget even further. Refineries are currently working at less than 30 percent of average 2016 levels. State-run oil company PDVSA is importing between 100 and 150 thousand barrels per day of gasoline”, so why are the refineries down to 30%? In addition, that is the refinery issue, the setting is not the petrochemical part it is merely the availability of crude oil that was the issue. The second was March 2018 where Reuters gave us “Indian imports of oil from Venezuela have fallen to their lowest levels in over half a decade, shipping and industry data showed, as a severe economic and political crisis hits crude output in the South American OPEC member“, so that is a production need, which beckons why India has decided to import less, are there suddenly 275 million cars less? No there are not, just try to blindly cross Saket Metro Station in New Delhi and you will get hit by two dozen cars within a minute, so that part is not happening. Forbes had its own version of the issue in 2017 and even as it sounds acceptable, I belief that there is a larger issue in play. You see We might look at the Financial Times and see ‘A Venezuelan oil embargo would wipe out Maduro & Co‘, yet the setting is larger than that. Consider Chili, Brazil and Argentine, all needing petrochemical products, the fact that refineries have issues is one thing, the fact that there is a shortage of crude oil and that cannot be met is equally an issue, so why is that?

I have no answers, mere speculations, yet whenever I searched for the Venezuelan reserves and beyond the Argentinian president Mauricio Macri advocating of ‘there would be ‘broad support’ across the region for a full oil embargo‘, I see no evidence of shortage (out in the open). All these actions on Venezuela, forcing them into even more hardship, how has that ever led to anything positive?

Yet the story is the crude, would an arm-twisting scenario to send 30% of the crude oil price into a fund that is only to be used for humanitarian and local support. Would that not work? It seems better than an embargo kicking things over. The additional news that China is importing less from that source is making things worse and no resolution will be coming forward making things better. The other party Iran is a given, yet they still export to a few nations.

Oil price dot come is giving numbers that clearly imply that over a year oil production has fallen by close to 50%, with the implied forecast that the International Energy Agency (IEA) states regarding the Venezuelan oil production which could drop to just 800,000 bpd or even lower next year. it seems that most actions against Venezuela is a little too harsh, now nobody is implying that they are saints, yet we can all agree that they are not Iran. In 2017 it was all about censorship (or anti hatred laws as the Venezuelan government puts it). Yet, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Al Jazeera (at https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/04/venezuela-happening-170412114045595.html) gave us a more in depth part. So when I see some of the issues, with items like ‘Health assistance’, ‘Food shortages’ as well as ‘Hyperinflation’, where a deal could be made that 30% of the sale goes into 10% sprockets addressing these three settings, it could be an optional solution to negotiate. It seems to me that an embargo is often the least of all working solutions, even as it enables the US to get basement prices on a million barrels a day, apart from the setting that they have more immediate problems and removing Venezuela form the equation pushes the other pressures more. Even if it means that the Maduro administration would have to swallow its pride, there might be a path to a long term solution that they were part of, at present they have nothing to look forward to but an angry mob of people left with nothing. It should not allow the US to discuss the price of eggs, yet the Maduro government will realise that the price of fish came at a premium and it is not derived from merely sweat and tears.

This setting is important, because when we look back at the Saudi situation with its 10 million barrels a day, when the pressure goes wrong and the US suddenly loses access to two to four million barrels a day. when that happens and that danger is not unrealistic, do you really think that the American economy is ready for a 25% price hike? Do you think that there will be mere frowns? That danger is not merely a speculation. the danger was shown last week when we saw reports on “The shutdown of Syncrude’s oilsands facility last week could lead to a shortage of oil in North America, investment bank Goldman Sachs has warned“, the source was the Huffington Post (at https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2018/06/26/syncrude-outage-oil-shortage-north-america_a_23468490/), in addition we got “Syncrude’s facility has a capacity of 350,000 barrels of oil per day, but it shut down production on Friday after a transformer blew, the Globe and Mail reported. The company says production could be offline for all of July“, so there was the given part I left for last, merely a ‘transformer’ and without Optimus Oil rolling out the juice, no crude for a month. So do you really want to play a game of Russian Turbines with the Saudi oil setting and pushing the need from them to deep into the red zone of engineering safety? With that given, what are the dangers when the push goes south in a very realistic way when the downfall will be 90-150 days? Do you still think that finding some dialogue with Venezuela is not an optional much better solution? I would tell you the story of the silly politician and that person relying one basket for all his eggs (and his demoted belief that they were golden ones), your parents might have told you the story when you were young. So when Goldman Sachs gives us: “shrink stockpiles at the main U.S. storage hub at Cushing, Oklahoma, putting upward pressure on oil prices“, they are telling you no fibs, what they neglect to mention is that the danger is a lot more realistic then most predict and the impact could end up being an increase in price that is not pennies, but several dollars. to emphasize that, you merely need to consider May 2008 when the crude price went to $148 a barrel, twice the price it is now. You still ready to play that game of chicken with oil producing hardware, because in the end you will always lose that game. These devices adhere to the cold calculations of pressures and power and in the end the Wall Street motto of ‘120% of norm is merely our version of a Monday morning wakeup call‘ will backfire to all those who relied on affordable fuel.

 

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Pussies, Cowards or Other? (updated)

On the 23rd of December a resolution passed against Israel. It is Resolution 2334, which is attached at the end of the story. 14 votes for, one abstained (USA), we need to ask question on why the 14 nations voted in favour. China, France, Russia, UK, Angola, Egypt, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay and Venezuela. The paper is of course legally speaking an excellent piece of work. Yet let’s take a look at several parts: “Reaffirming the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice“, in that same stride ‘Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War‘, in answer to Palestine, in support and active assistance of terrorist forces, namely Hamas, who has fired well over 8000 rockets into Israel in the last decade alone, with a clear indication that they were send towards civilian targets, as such these hits require compensation in the form of land and as such a case could be found in support of settlement building.

In addition, there have been issues with article 19 of the Palestinian charter for the longest of times. The fact that the latest news regarding of the ethnic cleansing of Jews on the west bank, this was September 9th 2016 (at http://www.timesofisrael.com/pm-world-silent-as-palestinians-seek-ethnic-cleansing-of-jews-in-west-bank/). In all this other media remained silent. There were strong rebukes from the US State Department. So, should we accept that the comments of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is incorrect? The literal quote that SBS Australia gave was “US State Department spokeswoman, Elizabeth Trudeau, has described Mr Netanyahu’s language as “inappropriate and unhelpful”, saying settlement activity continues to hamper the peace process“, ‘inappropriate and unhelpful‘ is not stating that it was incorrect, so here the question becomes was it correct? The Washington Post analysed the video (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/09/09/watch-netanyahu-says-palestinians-want-to-ethnically-cleanse-jews-from-west-bank/), we see the quote ‘The Israeli media mostly ignored the Netanyahu video‘, yet the news made it to Haaretz and the Times of Israel, in addition, there is no evidence given that it was not happening, which is interesting to say the least, in opposition in the same WP article we see: “the Palestinians today cannot “ethnically cleanse” any Jews. The Israeli settlements are all in the 60 percent of the West Bank called Area C, which is under the complete control of the Israeli army“, which carries its own brand of validity.

So, as the world news seems to genuinely ignore events on the West Bank, as the call of Hamas in its charter gives “On the Destruction of Israel: ‘Israel will exist and  will  continue  to  exist  until  Islam  will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.’” Hamas, a clear terrorist organisation, as seen supported by Palestinian officials, give rise to the dangers that Israel has faced and opposed since 1987. It still is not recognising the state of Israel, which the then Hamas Leader Khaled Mashal stated as “the Charter is ‘a piece of history and no longer relevant, but cannot be changed for internal reasons’“, which we see as part of the problem, an unadjusted charter is either irrelevant, or illegal. In that same light we see Prof. Robert Pastor from Columbia University state “Pastor surmised that those who quote the charter rather than more recent Hamas statements use it as an excuse to ignore Hamas“. Something he said in 2010, a statement that is proven to be false when we consider the well over 6000 missiles fired by Hamas on Israel since his speech.

If we want to be fair and balanced, we need to look at both sides, and in that case we must admit that wrongdoings from both sides have been done. Yet, that does not excuse either side. If the state of Israel had been accepted this situation would not have existed, in addition, after the Jewish population had been near decimated during Adolf Hitler’s European Tour, the Jewish population had a primary duty to protect itself from extinction, no one can deny that need. We can accept Reuters when we read “Hamas has observed a de facto ceasefire with Israel since 2014, when 2,100 Palestinians and 73 Israelis were killed in a war over the territory. But small jihadist cells in the Gaza Strip occasionally fire rockets across the border“, that innocuous statement ignores a basic part. Someone supplies these cells with rockets and I feel personally certain that these cells are still proclaiming to be ‘real Palestinian Hamas members‘. In that light, the support that the UK is giving this resolution is becoming a bit of an issue. Did it not learn from its earlier mistakes? In addition, as the UK now sees British soldiers being charged in regards to the death of an IRA leader in 1972, whilst the members of the IRA cannot be prosecuted due to earlier agreements. I reckon the UK has its share of issues, giving rise to the support of an Egyptian bill in regard to areas Egypt pretty much abandoned half a century ago. I admit that the last statement is rather dramatic in flavour, yet not incorrect.

So let’s get back to the resolution. When we see “Expressing grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines“. How is ‘viability‘ an acceptable word as we have seen acts of terrorism in name and in implied concession of the Palestine ruling administration for decades, with thousands of rockets fired towards civilian targets. That verse gets even more visibility when we see “Recalling the obligation under the Quartet Roadmap, endorsed by its resolution 1515 (2003), for a freeze by Israel of all settlement activity, including “natural growth”, and the dismantlement of all settlement outposts erected since March 2001“, where the same defense can be given that resolution 1515 is no longer in play as the rockets kept flying for well over a decade. It is a personal view, yet the fact that the lands could be seen as possibly to be annexed by the state of Israel is not that far-fetched. It is unlikely to happen, yet the fact that the Palestine leadership has never truly acted against the terrorist organisation Hamas is more than questionable regarding the validity of any Palestine solution.

In regards to France we can speculate that they agreed as they have their own share of issues, the idea that Hamas turns its attention to France must be unsettling to both DGSE (Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure) and ANSSI (Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information), it is one headache the French at present do not need, although, I reckon they could have merely abstained their vote.

The resolution takes a swing when we see “Stresses that the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-State solution, and calls for affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground that are imperilling the two-State solution” and “Calls for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation and destruction, calls for accountability in this regard, and calls for compliance with obligations under international law for the strengthening of ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including through existing security coordination, and to clearly condemn all acts of terrorism“, this gives way that the taste of war is changing. It gives way that the Palestinian leaders are in serious trouble. Not only do they have to deal with the danger of Islamic State, as ISIS has been reported a week ago to be ‘choking Hamas’ we now see the resolution in a different light. As ISIS is implied to be soon unopposed in Gaza and Sinai, Egypt is about to get a situation a lot less appealing. Especially if the thousands of Muslim Brotherhood sympathisers see an option to find a common goal with ISIS. This last part is my speculation, even as they have opposed each other, their common hatred of Israel is one part they both ‘agree’ on. As the Palestine elders of Gaza panic, trying to find any solution as their funds run dry (apparently the lack of rockets this year was mainly due to sponsors placing their funds somewhere else) and the reality that the middle east economy is in the biggest dip of their existence, not in the least due to the pressures that the Syrian war has placed on all the neighbouring countries is a clear sign that there are issues all over the place.

I think that this resolution is one of desperation, when the economy gets its second earthquake in the form of an economic crash (expected Q2-Q3 2017), places like Palestine will see the deterioration of all support as those who were willing to fund will see a desperate need for funds at the home front, this includes the Muslim Middle Eastern Nations. Saudi Arabia, Iran, the UAE and Egypt will be in a long time crunch, not only today, yet as the Euro destabilises due to the Euro issues and exit referendums, both America and Japan will see their economies under severe pressures. The statement by President elect Donald Trump (read: ‘so, I’ll bankrupt America’) didn’t help either. With the economic pressures we see that Japan is also eager to get something moving here. Out of the 14 nations, we could only argue that New Zealand has the cleanest reasons (neither anti-Israel nor selfish reasons), that is unless they got a call from London to vote in a certain way.

In all this Israel is not in a good place and one could argue that Israel is starting to get anger management issues (considering the actions that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is contemplating. Or as the Times of Israel article stated “still more devastating, potential diplomatic defeat at the hands of the outgoing Obama administration via a mixture of pleas, threats and boycotts“, (at http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-goes-to-war-with-the-world/). With political pressures rising, not in the least due to cancelled visits, we see the summoning of Israeli ambassadors. Currently only the Ukrainian one, but that is unlikely to remain the only one. In a time when the Ukraine needs positive visibility, the cancelled meeting to Israel might be seen as a body blow to the Ukrainian administration. Yet, in all, this will be regarded as a failure on the side of Prime Minister Netanyahu, an act from emotion which now prevents a show of information that could have seen other resolutions, especially against Palestine regarding the actions of Hamas, that opportunity will now no longer be an option. Again, it is just speculation from my side, yet the emotional reactions by Benjamin Netanyahu could bring delays to whatever data Mossad is trying to collect. Svoboda has its anti-Semitic elements, which could fuel growing of extremisms. Ukraine is too far from Israel to be a direct threat, yet the chaos in Turkey implies that any journey via Cyprus makes these extremists a larger threat than previous considered. However, this is not about that.

The resolution shows that the document as one sided as it is opening really dangerous doorways in whatever future we would like to see, in addition, ignoring certain elements from the past by the 14 vote casters will have longer consequences. We all accept that the Middle Eastern issue is not easily answered, there might not be an answer at all. Yet the reality is that Resolution 2334 should not have been given the light of day, especially when we consider the acts of Hamas and their decades of acts of terror. The fact that the Palestinian councils have never truly acted against Hamas making this resolution an issue. All peace options offered in the past were disrupted by more attacks, in the past Hamas has only ever offered a seize fire when they ran out of rockets and ammunition. Now that they realise that this is not a dry spell, their support is waning in a faltering economy, now we see their need to get the best deal possible starting with Resolution 2334. Which is as I personally see it, the worst action possible.

If this continues, it will be a signal for extremists all over the place that their method works, which under this economy isn’t the worst strategic assumption to make.

No matter how this wind blows over, the fact that Palestine is now in a state to get whatever it can get, also shows that the breech of confidence with Hamas is a lot more brittle than many are assuming, whether this means that ISIS is in charge cannot be made without more data, what has been confirmed are the execution of Hamas officials as well as the drained budget of Hamas shows that the dynamics have changed to such an extent that Egypt is now moving to get whatever solution possible in place, because it is seeing the impact that the ISIS attacks have had over the last two months alone. It cannot be denied that Resolution 2334 is a method to stop the changing dynamic and see if this change can alter the path of ISIS, again, this is a speculation from my side. Without more data there is no viable credibility to these acts. Yet the issues are clearly connected, the voiced acts by ISIS shows increased pressure on both Egypt and the West-Bank, to see them as unrelated whilst they are pretty much next to one another is equally nuts. with ISIS proclaiming a mere 5 days ago that it is closing in on Israel’s borders give way that the pressures in this region are about to rise a fair amount (Source: Jerusalem Online). Abu Hajar also called for new recruits to join the ISIS branch in Sinai, this whilst he states that the Israeli air force is ineffective. The latter is not a given, but the fact of small cells constantly in motion will delay Israeli actions a fair bit. The fact that Abu Hajar is addressing Hamas members is a larger issue, not just for Hamas. From my point of view, the issue is not Israeli Intelligence, it is the timeline of processing. In the hour that intelligence is disseminated, the mobile units could have gone 30-50 miles, making a valid target much harder if not impossible to set. It is in this active environment that Resolution had been voted on, the fact that 14 voted in favour implies that it was a one sided political view, not set on the premise of any solution, it is not a crucible, it is merely a loom holding a one-sided weave, in the days to come some of the voters in that resolution will be scrutinised and several not in a good way.

united_nations_security_council_resolution_2334

Update!

So, as we now get to the ‘Other’ part, we get to a different part then I had originally imagined. You see, after this blog went live, a development was given by the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/27/obama-and-allies-seek-to-isolate-netanyahu-before-trump-takes-office). Not only is this current US Democratic party a collection of losers, they have gone to such desperate acts in the 11th hour to prevent the media to state that they have become the worst administration in American history. They have decided that 5 days before the end of the administration, they will push through a 2 state ‘solution’. The subtitle gives us ‘John Kerry to propose principles for two-state solution in Middle East at conference next month in wake of UN resolution’, so even as such principles take months and months to design, requiring legal expertise to mull over such papers, we now see their act of ‘abstain’ was nothing less than the cowardly act of a traitor selling Israel down the drain by literally setting an agenda with a terrorist organisation (Hamas) and letting Egypt blow the clarion, making them an American vassal, which should go over really well with both the ISIS elements next to Egypt as well as the Muslim brotherhood. This level of orchestration is the most dangerous and as I see it, the most stupid of all. So, if, I say again IF other buildings start falling down like the song ‘London bridge…..’ implies, the American Democratic Party will only have themselves to blame and they will be utterly alone should that happen. To push a two state principle down the throats of a global community so that some individual can state ‘we brought peace to the middle east’ like it is a cheap infomercial just before they get kicked out of their office. This is really bad and the fact that other papers are not full of the political analyses of the dangers that the American Democratic Party created, after they got their nation bankrupt is just beyond words. The initial quote I saw yesterday and initially ignored was from the Israeli Prime Minister: “Netanyahu claims there is ‘ironclad evidence’ Obama administration plotted to promote the UN resolution”. The info seen was the Egypt came with it (no way that America was not involved), yet the statement seemed a little too ‘conspiracy theory’ to me. Now it seems that the reality of it all is actually a lot worse.

Now consider the following: “The UN resolution and Kerry’s speech represent an attempt by the outgoing Obama administration and the rest of the UN security council to box in and isolate the Israeli government before Trump, a fervent supporter of the Israeli right, enters the White House”. If so, there is now a possible case that Barack Obama President of the United States and John Kerry, the United States Secretary of State could find themselves prosecuted for Malfeasance in office. This is seen when we take a look at the case Daugherty v. Ellis, 142 W. Va. 340, 357-8, 97 S.E.2d 33, 42-3 (W. Va. 1956) where we see the following quote: “Malfeasance has been defined by appellate courts in other jurisdictions as a wrongful act which the actor has no legal right to do;
as any wrongful conduct which affects, interrupts or interferes with the performance of official duty; as an act for which there is no authority or warrant of law;
as an act which a person ought not to do;
as an act which is wholly wrongful and unlawful;
as that which an officer has no authority to do and is positively wrong or unlawful;
and as the unjust performance of some act which the party performing it has no right, or has contracted not, to do”. So now the part that matter, how come that this is in play, how could they be regarded as prosecutable before the law? Well, that is seen when we consider that any deal of this magnitude will take months, sometimes years to properly set. The fact that a departing administration does this in their final week, means that they are taking away the freedom of action by the legitimate elected office. They are already being replaced by another party and as implied, the fact that they know that their path would not be followed, forcing their path on others could be seen as both Malfeasance as well as Misfeasance in nature. It can be seen as intentional harm from an act improperly performed, that part is pretty adamant when we see that this is forced down the throats of several people in the last 5 days of office, an act that will very likely have years of consequences as such an intentional act to prevent the next in line from properly conducting the state of the American union. I will not go as far as to see this as an act of treason by public officials, yet I feel certain that many, especially the republican side will call this act a lot harsher than I just did.

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Chapter 13

I have been aware of the story for almost a day now. To be honest, it took a little while to let things sink in. Also, my approach here is completely different from my other stories. This all is not a clear cut thing and I might be barking up all the wrong trees. The story ‘Argentinian government moves to dissolve domestic intelligence agency‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/27/argentina-government-domestic-intelligence-agency-alberto-nisman) should be a wake-up call to many people. What you are about to read is not based on evidence, evidence that we see as quality facts that can be used to speculate on what actually happened. I am stating that none of the evidence is of any calibre at all, I am however using the events that I am aware of and as such, I see a different escalation, one that could be utterly wrong. I leave it up to the reader, I am just warning the reader at this point, to scrutinise my thoughts, as I do and do not accept the speculation on face value alone.

You see, for the most a population has little to no clue what their levels of protection are, until they are removed. Consider that we in Australia need to remain safe whilst someone decided that Australia will be a lot safer if the ASIO is disbanded. I can tell you now that this would be the worst idea in a long line of really bad ideas. If we go by the oldest book on this (the art of war), then at some point, the reader gets to chapter 13, which is all about espionage.

Today, we have a host of issues with spooks, but the one we ignore is that they are here to prevent issues. Yet now consider that these are used against us. However, be aware that spies can be used in any matter of ways, in addition, these groups do not just represent governments, at times large corporations employ them for similar reasons.

So as we look at the initial text, I will add the conversion to modern and technological approach

From the view of the Art of war, we get the following:

  • We employ the use of spies, of whom there are five classes:
    • Local spies;
    • inward spies;
    • converted spies;
    • doomed spies;
    • Surviving spies.

There is a book; it is called ‘Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy: The Secret World of Corporate Espionage’ by Eamon Javers. It is not a bad read, more important, this current world has an evolved use of former intelligence officers (from many countries), some come from the redacted world of cutbacks in the US and some who privatised themselves. They use their spy craft to aid corporations in distinguishing weaker targets, preparing for cases and litigation in several legal areas and to aid in final trading decisions, as well as change the premise of trade agreements (or to destabilise them by interfering with costs and profit margins. For these options, they might choose to employ Local Spies and/or Inward spies.

In modern days, we will actually see the converted spy in several ways, whether this person is an informer through IT, a trader, or merchant. In the household form, see this person as one of your distributors, however, as he is getting his bonus from another source, he will tip the revenue scales in a minor way, you that you almost got the job, but almost getting the job is not the same as getting the job and you lose out on revenue. I can go on and give you examples of the last two types, but you get the picture!

So why is this event an issue at present?

Consider that Argentina, as it is in such a dire situation, that it needs to get its economy in a much better place. Now we look at the first quote “Argentina’s president announced a major shakeup of her country’s intelligence network on Monday in her most combative step yet to address the fallout from the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman“. This sounds all fair and good, but is dissolving the intelligence agency a step that should be considered? Let’s not forget that Argentina has two enemies, the first one is big business. Big Business will always be an enemy of ANY government that prefers to give a fair deal to the people of its nations; the second is X, which is not the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth. Yes, there has been and there will remain a clear difference of opinion there, but that is a disagreement, not a statement for hostile acts.

When we look at what drove all this (at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/20/world/americas/alberto-nisman-found-dead-argentina-amia.html), we see the title, which gives us a first clue ‘Puzzling Death of a Prosecutor Grips Argentina‘. “From the moment 10 years ago when he was assigned to investigate the 1994 suicide bombing of a Jewish centre here that left 85 people dead, Mr Nisman, an even-keeled lawyer, became entangled in a labyrinthine plot that he traced to Iran and its militant Lebanese ally, Hezbollah“, in addition we get “explosive accusations that top Argentine officials, including President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, had conspired with Iran to cover up responsibility for the bombing as part of a deal that would supply Iranian oil to Argentina“. You see, Argentina has a few issues all over the place, in addition, there is no denying that the people have never forgotten what happened in 1994, yet, and my deepest apologies to those who had lost loved ones, friends and people they knew, this event is not the highest priority for Argentina in their current dilemma, so why is there suddenly a revelation?

I am not entirely sure that any of these facts are true (pure speculation), when looking at the timeline, the events are off. Is it not convenient that Alberto Nisman ends up dead just after he accuses certain people from a case that is two decades old? Did he actually find evidence? Perhaps something was given, or left for him to find. Consider the implied involvement of Iran and its oil delivery, why would that now get distorted, just when oil is massively on the way down in price. So as we read: “He accused Hezbollah of having carried out the bombing and senior Iranian officials of having planned and financed it“, based on what evidence? This is not a case that has had nonstop attention; it was a specific case, a 20 year old one. How hard would it have been to insert scraps leaving to fictive evidence? In addition, Hezbollah has eagerly taken credit for their actions in the past, so why deny it now? I am not stating that they are innocent, but the fact that Hezbollah has a fading course of visibility, this claim would give them the ‘image’ they wanted to have.

The next part hits back to all the parts mentioned before. The person implied in this, now suddenly disbands one intelligence branch and creates a new one. Is this just a shifting label, or are the people getting replaced. I reckon in Argentine’s current predicament, to remove their intelligence branch for someone else is tactically bad (guess where all these officers would go to) and if it is just a sanitation of bad apples, the branch would not needed to be disband in one instance and created in a reformatted version the next.

All these elements are not adding up. Now, let us be fair, why would it make sense to me? I am not in Argentina, I have no clue what the reasoning is and why certain political steps are taken. So, consider this quote from the guardian “Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said she would support a bill to dissolve the existing structure – which employs more than 2,000 people – and replace it with a new federal intelligence agency“. When we add the following part “It follows a protracted struggle with the intelligence agency that has come to light after the suspicious death of Nisman, which the president blames on rogue spies who are trying to undermine her“, as well as ““We must start to work on a project to reform the Argentine intelligence system, in order to clear up a system that has not served national interests,” Fernández said“, so as we see the known facts, the president, who will be leaving  office after two terms is now, 9 months until elections, shoveling over a massive anthill called the ‘Intelligence branch’? So, as we see the accusation of ‘rogue spies’, instead of cleaning house, they are resetting the entire branch? That does not seem like the best idea. Regardless whether there are rogue elements, it is likely that other connections remain hidden as it all goes into another form, which means that it could easily start again. The question on how Alberto Nisman died is still not settled with clarity, so if it was murder, than shuffling the intelligence branch seems an even less good idea.

I can also state with some certainty that doing all this, whilst Argentina is still in treacherous economic waters, having a reliable intelligence branch is pretty essential. Yet, this gives us the part, is it reliable? Latin American nations have been accused more often implied accused seen as a harsh, possibly corrupt group of power brokers. If that is the case, cleaning the intelligence foundations make a lot more sense than ‘just’ relabeling it. If we accept the last quote “her tussle with the spy agency has so far led to increased surveillance powers for the army“, we must consider more than one path. Was this step deliberate, or was it orchestrated? You would think that both answers are the same, but they are not. In the first case we see the consequence of shifting powers, which grows the military oversight, in the other situation it was always about setting military oversight and this was being orchestrated by reshaping the intelligence branch into a Federal Intelligence Agency. The question then becomes, if this is a step towards the ‘FIA’, why was it done in this way? Consider the espionage part in the beginning. Venezuela is in a very bad state and until the hedge funds issues are completely resolved, having an active intelligence branch at your disposal seems pretty essential as well. Let’s not forget the reference to the book in the beginning, under these conditions, there could be profit for both Uruguay and Paraguay, Chili is also a player in this case. As the intelligence branch falters, it also means that economic and corporate advantages could be gained at the expense of Argentinian margins, that whilst the hedge funds vulture issue remains unresolved. All this leads to the question what has actually been happening, it seems decently clear (in my personal view) that the reference to the Jewish centre was not a cause for accusation, but likely a diversion. So, why were certain allegations made, more important, why is the accused president not receiving a lot more opposition and vocal complaints?

We won’t know what is actually in lay, perhaps for some time, but when this article gets more space, at that point, I will follow up on this story, hopefully all loaded with verified facts.

 

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