peshawar school shooting
This weeks show covers a multitude of events. In the past week or so, there have been an unusual number of mass murders that have occurred around the world, including the killing of students by the Taliban at a school in Peshawar, an Iraq vet who murdered an entire family near Philadelphia, the Sydney siege and the attack in Canada. Included in the discussion are the curious and rather common connections between the perpetrators of many of the shootings to intelligence agencies who have had these people on their watch lists but who somehow manage to slip through the net to commit these crimes.

Next up, we discussed the ongoing intrigue in Chechnya and Ukraine, the US re-establishment of diplomatic ties with Cuba to end the embargo and Russia's response to the situation. Russia has been quite prominent in the news on other fronts: their recent backing out of the South Stream pipeline agreement after EU / Bulgaria's haggling for four years, Putin's offer of amnesty to Russian oligarchs enabling them to legally return assets to Russia and Putin's skillful maneuvering to help Russia weather the economic storm caused by drops in oil prices and the Ruble, while cooperating with other BRICS and SCO countries to transition out of dollar denominated reserves into other currencies.

Running Time: 01:41:00

Download: MP3


Here's the transcript:

Harrison: So welcome. It is Saturday, December 20th and we have another episode of the Truth Perspective on the SOTT Radio Network. So we are going to be talking about some of the things that have been happening over the past week because it has been a crazy week, in terms of just stuff going on all over the planet. We have in the studio today Caroline.

Caroline: Hello.

Harrison: We have Elan.

Elan: Hey there.

Harrison: And William.

William: Good afternoon.

Harrison: And I am your host Harrison Koehli. So this past week it seems like there's been a whole ramp up of disasters going on across the planet and the type of disasters are mass murders in various different contexts and countries. First of all, most recently on December 19, on Friday in North Queensland, Australia, there were eight children found stabbed to death. They ranged in age from 5 months to 15 years old. They were found stabbed in their house and at the scene there was a woman found who appeared injured. The first reports were not clear, the police didn't know who this woman was, couldn't confirm that she was any relation to the children, but now it turns out that it was actually their mother. Is that right?

Caroline: Yes. The mother of this family appears to be the one responsible. They have not released much more information than this one little fact, that they had taken her to hospital and she had been medicated for a while and she was awake, she was "talking to the police" and nothing beyond that has been publicized. So it's a huge mystery. What makes this even more tragic is the neighbourhood where this happened. This is not just a single family but the family was related to just about all of the neighbours. And so one might wonder, what was going on in this woman's head when she was so ensconced in a place where many, many relations were, where they presumably would have talked to each other and would have noticed if there was anything amiss with this woman. She was described as a loving mother, fiercely looked after her children. To have what would appear to be a completely unthinkable action on her part begs a lot of questions.

Harrison: So we'll just have to wait and see what else comes of this, what the motive was or if it was mental illness. That's the only thing I can think of for something like this. A chatter in the chat room points out another story, several violent murders happened in New Zealand. Check out those as well. But for this week, just three days before the murders in North Queensland, there was a terrorist attack at a school in Peshawar in Pakistan. They're saying a group of maybe six Taliban militants basically took over this school, ended up killing at least 141 students and teachers at this school. That was the latest count and over 120 others injured. It was a military-run school. The Taliban guys came dressed in Pakistani military uniforms. So this is one of the biggest terror attacks in Pakistan recently.

Elan: Well you know this attack in Pakistan reminded me a great deal of the attack in Beslan, North Ossetia in September of 2004. That was one of the most horrific terror attacks that Russia had ever experienced. Over 300 people were killed, 186 of them children. This is attributed to Chechen terrorists and Michael Kosakowski made some interesting connections after 9/11 between the Chechens and intelligence bases and the relations around the world.

Apparently the person who is responsible for this horrific attack on the school was Chechen war lord Shamil Basayev who was actually trained and indoctrinated by the CIA in CIA-sponsored camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to a Yossef Bodansky who is no less than Director of US Congress's task force on terrorism and unconventional warfare, the war in Chechnya had been planned during a secret summit HizbAllah, not to be confused with Hezbollah internationally. This was held in 1996 in Mogadishu, Somalia. So apparently there were high-ranking members of Pakistani intelligence there and there are direct links between Pakistan ISI with the Chechen "independence fighters", if you will.

Harrison: No, we won't.

Caroline: Well there's another kind of interesting thing that you could conceive of this as a message being sent from a very high level. In following the tweets - I'm a big Twitter fan, you find the best stuff on there, and the worst - but a few of the tweets were complaining that the government should have known that this was going to be a high-level target given that this is a school run by the Pakistani army for the benefit of its officers' children. Something that I saw as a tweet is that apparently when these monsters walked in the door wearing a Pakistani uniform of course everybody would have been fine. They've seen these people. They asked how many children's fathers, mothers even, were serving in the army and of course these innocent little kids put all their arms up and those were the ones who were shot first. It was just hideous.

But the fact that this was able to happen, that this soft target was left so undefended, being so close to the actual border where there is conflict and the whole camouflaged nature of it, the subterfuge that went into pulling this off, a message was being sent to somebody.

Harrison: There's an article on RT, probably on other mainstream sources as well, but it looks like the Pakistani authorities are looking into a person that may be involved. It's actually a British doctor. Now the story about this doctor is pretty outrageous. I'll just tell you about this guy's history. It doesn't look like I've got his name, but he's a British doctor. He allegedly tried to join ISIS. He wanted to fight for ISIS in Syria and he was somehow stopped. He was arrested in 2013 and due for trial in May. But before his trial he managed to flee the UK where he was then arrested in Croatia. From Croatia he was then deported to Pakistan where he managed to quickly rise through the ranks of the Taliban.

So keep in mind that over the course of this year he managed to rise through the ranks of the Taliban. He managed to flee the long arm of British justice, get to the Taliban, rise through the ranks, and they're investigating this guy as being kind of like the ring leader of this attack on the school. In the UK he had ties with a notorious "radical UK cleric" Anjem Choudary and this guy turns up every once in a while in the news. He knew the guy that had killed the man on the street with the knife.

Caroline: He attacked a royal guard.

Harrison: Yeah, and so that guy actually knew Choudary, they knew each other and so Choudary was actually interviewed about him and said "Oh yeah, I know this guy, what his name was" and blah, blah, blah. Elan, you brought up just the resemblance to Beslan. Maybe a little bit later in the show we'll get into another kind of parallel between this story and the types of things that go on with other terror attacks, like Beslan and the links to the Chechens and Turkey and this whole network of what used to just be called Al Qaeda but is actually a whole group and splinter groups and all these Muslim terrorists. We'll get into that a bit later in the show.

Going back to our timeline; that was on Tuesday. The day before in Philadelphia there was an Iraq vet named Bradley Stone who was described as odd by people who knew him - no surprise - killed six people in the Philadelphia suburbs. Those six people included his ex-wife and his ex-wife's family; her mother, her grandmother, sister, brother-in-law, niece and I believe one other man. I couldn't find out the relationship of this man to everyone else. So the police were searching for him and ended up finding him dead in the woods near his home with what appeared to be self-inflicted wounds.

Now there's not necessarily anything more to the story than is presented in the media, there doesn't always have to be. But at the very least you see violence like this from vets all the time; post-traumatic stress disorder is a huge issue for troops returning from Iraq, Afghanistan and various other places on the planet. So who knows if there's more to the story or not. But placed with the Queensland, the Peshawar and then a couple of other ones that came up, that's why I personally see this week as being crazy in general because three days before that, on Friday the 12th, there was a shooting near a school in Portland, Oregon that took place near the courthouse. Three students were shot. Just another example of these mass murders that seem to be happening with some regularity across the planet.

And then the other big one of the past week, again on Monday, so this is the same day as the Iraq vet ex-wife and her family, the so-called Sydney Siege involving Man Haron Monis a/k/a Manteghi Boroujerdi. Do you guys want to fill me in on the details of this?

Caroline: Well this guy who's got a really interesting background, which I hope we can get a little bit into, burst into this café. He had pledged his allegiance to ISIS and he was going to kill the infidels. Just the ineptness of it, if it wasn't so tragic, would have been comical. There's an excellent article on SOTT called "They hate us for our chocolate" because this was a coffee shop. This wasn't even like a high-value target, although it was across from an important government building, right?

Harrison: There was all kinds of stuff in the area because it was the central business district of Sydney.

Caroline: Yeah, but the coffee shop. There was nobody of value there. When you're going to do this you at least want to have one person who's worth something that can negotiate with. He, as I recall, had the wrong flag. So one of his demands was he needed a proper ISIS flag because he had somebody else's flag.

Harrison: Yeah. I think it was a flag for just one of the random groups in Syria.

Caroline: No, it's black. It's got Arabic writing left and right and then somebody let him know that, "No dude, really".

Harrison: But just on that point, we were talking about it earlier today or was it yesterday, and the whole issue of the flag, do we even really know that that's what happened? Was that in a conversation that he had with the police?

Caroline: I know it was one of his demands. That and he wanted to talk to Abbott.

Harrison: But what I'm asking is how do we know what his demands really were?Who was the person that said what his demands are? Where did they get their information? The whole thing with the flag, it could have been that he didn't necessarily even want the ISIS flag. That could have been a narrative that was created after the fact in order to link this with ISIS.

William: And we don't even know anything about his other demands. What was the whole purpose of him doing this operation? It seems to be very unclear except that we know Australia was thinking about increasing some of its surveillance on people and things and they were just kind of mulling around with it and maybe this was the catalyst that they needed in order to push those measures through.

Caroline: That's definitely part of it. He did want to talk to Tony Abbott, but we never found out about what. They never told that.

Elan: And the guy has an incredibly sordid history.He tried to kill his first wife or something?

Caroline: Oh, he's got a rap sheet like 20 years worth. He was an attempted murderer on his wife and he was still walking around. And he had been in and out of different splinter groups. He was a "self-styled cleric" but he kept changing affiliations. I don't have a list of them all. Iran wanted to extradite him to face charges in that country.

Harrison: Well at the beginning he left Iran claiming that his family was in danger because he knew security secrets for the government and he had information and so he went to Australia and Australia accepted him as this refugee basically. So he was billed at the time as this kind of anti-Iranian moderate and at the time that this happened it really fit into the anti-Iranian propaganda at the time. So he was actually used as an asset for the information war against Iran at the time. So he left, ostensibly because of threats to his family, that his family would be in danger and the irony of that is that it turns out that's he's been on the run for perhaps having a part in the murder of his wife in Australia.

Caroline: He's been out for 20 years and in reading an article about him, which you can find on Signs (Sott.net), he morphed over the years. Some years he was this moderate, pro-western Islamic peaceful religion cleric. And he never really was properly a cleric.

Harrison: Yeah, ayatollah.

Caroline: Yeah, ayatollah whatever he wanted to call himself. And yet the authorities wouldn't claim him. None of the Islamic clerics who are legitimate Islamic clerics kept saying "He's not one of our guys. He's just running around." And then other times as the years passed, he would all of a sudden become this radical flavour of the month and he'd be dressing in the robes and the turban and the whole thing. But as this article pointed out, this guy, as he morphed from one persona to another was very closely mirroring the line of western rhetoric for or against Iran. And he was just going along with, whether it was because he wanted to or he was an asset. If he's an asset, they did a terrible job of sheep-dipping this guy.

Harrison: I think he might have just been a convenient asset because the guy's crazy.Being crazy, they could just use whatever he said to further their own ends. So at first he's granted political asylum. He spends the last 20 years in Australia. He claims to be an ayatollah and the actual authorities say there are no official ayatollahs in Australia. This liberal Iranian and the west loves him. And then as time goes on he becomes more and more caricaturish and like you're saying, the contradictions. You can see him dressed as a sharp businessman one minute then the next he switches to another garb. If he really is as religious as he says, he was a Shia, but then if he's flying the flag for ISIS, they are a radical Suni group.

Caroline: He converted to Suniism six or eight months ago. The thing is that the government security authorities, Australia's FBI or whoever they are, had been getting warnings about these guys, legitimate Muslim clerics within the country had been saying "You've got to do something about this guy. He's dangerous. He's crazy. He's going to do something." And they never picked him up. They never brought him in.

Elan: Not only that, but in one of his incarnations, I think it was when he was speaking out against Iran, I think that at some point he had an incredible amount of media exposure and was making all of these speeches and had all this time and manufactured recognized authority on how evil Iran was.

Harrison: Like Lee Harvey Oswald on the street with his Castro pamphlets.

Caroline: Yeah, exactly. I guess the shelf life had reached an end and they figured this would be a great send off and look at all the cave in. This is not the scale of 9/11, but it'll certainly boot their version of the Patriot Act through a lot faster.

Harrison: One of the things that he was famous for before this was writing extremely rude and horrible letters to families of Australian vets, military that were overseas. So he'd write nasty letters to the families and he was in the news for that, for just being this kind of blowhard jerk that was getting out there making a name for himself.

Caroline: And they still let him walk around. Amazing.

Harrison: Yeah. This again ties back to the British doctor in Pakistan, this whole pattern, where you have these clerics and radical Muslim guys that seem to get away with a whole lot of stuff and they're protected at every turn it seems. Then you can get other guys, usually picked up in foreign countries for no reason whatsoever and then sent to Abu Ghraib or some CIA black site to be tortured. Just as an aside, an update from last week's show on the CIA torture report, Seymour Hersh just had a talk where he revealed something about Abu Ghraib and this kind of puts the whole CIA torture report in perspective. First of all, he's seen all the pictures from Abu Ghraib, even the ones that haven't been released because there are a lot that haven't been released for various reason. There was one guy, I can't remember if it was McCain or someone like that, who had said "We can't release this stuff because bad stuff would happen and because it is so horrific." So Hersh talked about a video that exists. He didn't say whether he'd seen the video or not, but there are various sources, not just Hersh, who have attested to the existence of this video. Because at Abu Ghraib there were not just male prisoners but female prisoners as well. And some of those female prisoners had children, young boys. So apparently in one of these videos it shows these young boys being raped, being sodomized in front of their mothers.

Caroline: By US soldiers.

Harrison: Yeah, and who knows what they were using. They could have been using broom handles or whatever. But that's the kind of thing they do and that's the kind of thing that goes on. So you look at the CIA torture report and that is like peanuts compared to what they are actually doing. The guys on Behind the Headlines last week were talking about all the stuff from Abu Ghraib and just how horrific it was. People running around covered in feces. Just in preparation for the show today I was searching images on Google and I just searched Abu Ghraib pictures and just to look at some of that stuff again, the most disgusting, horrible stuff I can't even - yeah, it gets to me.

But anyway, back to this kind of pattern that goes on; the guys that seem to get away with stuff and the guys that don't. Well actually we'll let you wait a bit for that one too. We'll get back to it. I want to just say one more thing about this Sydney Siege. So this is from a report in the mainstream news.

"In September this year police conducted a series of major anti-terrorism raids across Sydney. Following those raids police alleged Islamic extremists were planning to behead a person in Martin Place in Sydney's central business district. Shortly after the siege began the US consulate sent an emergency message to his citizens warning them to stay away from Martin Place. The message read 'US citizens are strongly encouraged to review your personal security plan, remain aware of your surroundings including local events and monitor local news stations for updates, maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance personal security.'"

Elan: Gee, how did they know this?

Harrison: Yeah. That reminded me, in a way, because the details aren't exact, of the recent attack in Canada where the US was the first to let the media know who the suspect was, provide his picture and name and then it's like "Oh whoa! How did American intelligence know this before Canadian intelligence? Wouldn't it have been the polite thing if these guys knew these things, to let Canadian intelligence know it and let them release the info?" And why did they know in the first place? How did they know this?

Caroline: Yeah, that's a message too, to Canada. Of course Harper's right onboard. Yeah, it was interesting.

Harrison: Back to the goods, the real stuff. So all these connections and the kind of patterns that play out. So reading these stories I was reminded of a few things. So this British doctor and his radical cleric Anjem Choudary, reminded me of another guy who's been in the news recently, Fethullah Gülen. He is Turkish. This is a little bit of background regarding what's been happening lately with Turkey. Of course the South Stream deal went through. So Fethullah Gülen has been in the news. So South Stream goes through, Putin basically says "Okay, we're cancelling it" and then instead Putin says "Turkey, do you want all of our great gas profits?" And Turkey says "Oh why yes please and thank you." So in the couple of weeks since that came out on December 1st, a few interesting things have happened. Besides that new deal we have had Erdogan, the Prime Minister of Turkey in the news for a couple of reasons. One, for a bit of a criticism because he apparently took out of position some head media guys in newspapers and TV. So of course we hear this criticism a lot about someone like Putin in his first state. But if we look closely at what was going on in Turkey, well it turns out that these guys that were fired were tied to this Fethullah Gülen. Gülen was one of Erdogan's protégés. Erdogan got the power because of Gülen's group of people and his influence in Turkey at the time. But there was a little bit of a rift between them recently.

Gülen in 1999, I believe, went to the United States ostensibly as a medical trip, to have some kind of medical thing checked out. But then he'd been in the states for a little while and then a conversation that he had was released where he had laid out his plan that he had agents all over Turkish government and security and in all these key positions and he was just waiting for the right time for them to step in and take power, to get rid of the secular government and to institute a kind of Sharia law Islamic state in Turkey.

So Gülen has been in the United States for the past 15 years and this guy is worth $20 and $25 billion. He's the head of this organization that has hundreds of schools all over the planet, 200 charter schools in the United States. He's based in Pennsylvania. Again, hundreds of mosques and madrassas across the Middle East, central Asia and the Caucasus region, Kurdistan and Uzbekistan, Turkestan, various countries over there. So keep that in mind.

Two bits of news. First of all a prosecutor in Turkey just requested to issue a warrant for Gülen's arrest in Turkey. So basically I guess they want to extradite him back to Turkey and arrest him for the thing that he said in 1999, planning to stage a coup in the country. There's that. If you haven't guessed already, Gülen is a CIA asset. He's an agent. So just like the guy in Sydney, he's this so-called moderate Islamic cleric who just so happens to have billions of dollars, worldwide influence, schools and mosques set up all over the planet. There have been allegations for years and it recently came out that an ex-Turkish intelligence chief, Nuri Gundes has a lot of information in his memoir. One of his allegations, supported by people in the state department and others in the US, that many of his madrassas in central Asia were used as cover for the activities of CIA agents posing as English teachers, up to 130 CIA agents given cover in these madrassas and schools.

Also these CIA guys had US diplomatic passports. So these American English school teachers had US diplomatic passports.

Caroline: Which gives you far more cover than just standard US citizens.

Harrison: And think about it. You're going to teach English as a second language in another country. How many guys like that get diplomatic passports?

Caroline: So this business of removing the editors and these influential writers is trying to short circuit the possibility of creating another Maidan?

Harrison: Exactly, because Gülen is the CIA's man and he's still got a whole lot of influence in Turkey. He's got people all over the place. So it looks like what's happened here is Erdogan, even for the past year, from January of this year the relationship between the US and Turkey has been souring, even since then. We had Biden who had to apologize for saying that Erdogan was letting ISIS terrorists through the borders and so he had to apologize for that. There were a few incidents like that, earlier this year and even earlier, showing that things weren't as rosy.

Caroline: And Turkey probably has a much even longer-standing grievance in that they have been waiting how long for NATO membership. Years?

Harrison: Thirty I believe.

Caroline: Thirty something, and I'm sure they are blaming the US's influence on the decision-makers within the US that this has been put off and put off and put off. Finally they're just saying "Enough!" Russia wants to do a deal so they're going to do that and that has contributed to the descending quality of this relationship.

Harrison: And Erdogan was originally democratically elected, I believe in 1998, but the Turkish powers that be wouldn't let him rule the country, that the votes don't matter. Then a few years later things changed and he was voted in again and they let him rule the country. Now he's pretty popular and he has been popular. It's like he's thinking "I've got popular support now. I've been doing this for so long. I'm going to start doing things the way I want to do them and I'm going to stop doing everything NATO tells me to do. And hey look! Now I've got Russia on my side."

So then the US who use this Gülen Institute - the way I see it, this is their response to that. Because it's not actually Gülen anymore. He's an old man. There's reports that he's senile, that he's not "all there" mentally anymore but it's this whole organization.

Caroline: The structure lives on.

Elan: Well you had that story a couple of weeks ago, I think there were seven hundred or so ISIS soldiers that wanted to leave.

Harrison: I think it was like 7,000.

Elan: And they wanted to move through or back into the borders of Syria and Erdogan didn't permit it. That sounded to me like he was sending a message not just to ISIS, but to the west. He wasn't going to facilitate any more war on Syria.

Caroline: So maybe he's feeling better. He's got a bear at his back.

Harrison: So there's a few more details about this Gülen guy and this will hopefully make clear some of the stories that we talked about earlier, like the Peshawar, Pakistan shooting and the one in Sydney. So these schools and madrassas have actually been banned in certain countries in Central Asia. They've been banned in Russia. They kicked out 20 Gülenites or Gülenists, I don't know the correct term for them.

Elan: Ghouls. (laughter)

Harrison: Ghouls. So these Gülen schools are banned in Russia but when Gülen came to the states, he was again granted a visa and now I believe he's even got residency. But, who helped him get residence? There was one CIA or FBI officer, Graham Fuller I believe his name was, who personally wrote a letter of recommendation for this guy to get him in. He was also backed by Abramowitz, CIA. So he's had numerous instances of the state department and CIA basically covering for him and providing him support whereas other parts of the FBI, the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, they've all had investigations on him and basically say this guy's dirty but he's protected at every turn it seems by CIA and State Department.

Caroline: Which tells you how the power structure runs.

Harrison: And this ties in to the stuff that Sibel Edmonds was getting into in her whistle-blowing case. This Gülen guy has got ties to these big players in the US power structure and then when you see how this plays out, what's really going on here is that he's running these schools that are being used as recruiting grounds for all of these terror groups. So you set up a school, you've got CIA agents that get access to all these different countries. On the surface it seems very innocent. "Oh, he's opening schools to teach the youth and very humanitarian."

Caroline: And all of a sudden you get like "Oh, study abroad for a year" and you're in Kurdistan.

Harrison: I believe it was in Uzbekistan where several graduates of one of these schools were arrested because they subsequently went on to join these radical extremist terrorist groups. So that's why it struck me as funny that this UK doctor had links to this radical UK cleric, Choudary because this seems to be the way that it plays out. There are radical and not-so-radical clerics that are given free passage in western countries. These guys are handlers for other handlers that recruit and train and brainwash people into joining Al Qaeda. It's a more extreme version of what the FBI does. The FBI just uses their agents to convince these guys to join Al Qaeda but there's no actual Al Qaeda membership involved. They're just telling an FBI agent that they want to join Al Qaeda. And then okay, so they've joined Al Qaeda. And then they say "Okay, we're going to give you some bomb materials and we'll do all this stuff." And so they're entrapped into taking part in an operation that would never really take off in the first place because it's entirely a creation of the FBI. The FBI arrests them and they get charged with being terrorists.

Caroline: Given the huge network of schools and training operations that they've got going, that masquerade as a school, you wonder how ISIS grew so quickly. Nobody knew who they were three years ago and they have what? 30,000 people recruited now? Where did they all come from?

Harrison: So you've got these schools that actually produce what could be called real terrorists. These are guys that actually go out and kill people like ISIS and like all those so-called moderate rebels in Syria. It's kind of ridiculous. If you look at the region that Gülen focuses on, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and what you were just talking about earlier Elan, about Chechnya and Beslan. I recently wrote an article on some recent developments in that department, I'll see how those connect.

It started because I read a little report that made me giggle, that the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov - I think that's a great first name, Ramzan - he basically said that he's contemplating having a talk with Putin and quitting his job as the head of Chechnya and then going to join the rebels fighting in east Ukraine.

Caroline: Can you imagine Obama doing something like that? "I want to resign as President so I can support the cause of freedom and justice." Like wow!

Harrison: This came as a response to three members of the Ukrainian Rada, Yuriy Beryosa, Andre Layus and Ihor Mosiychuk - sorry to all the Ukrainians - but these guys did a few really stupid things, which is understandable, them being stupid. First, after the terrorist attack that took place in Chechnya earlier this month in which 10 militants came into Grozny and ended up killing 10 police officers and then themselves were killed, after that these three guys stood up supporting the terrorists in its operation saying "Good job guys. Wish you could have done more." Then they called for Kadyrov to be investigated and put on the international watch list of people that are not nice.

One of the guys, Mosiychuk, even put a video up of him shooting an assault rifle at a photograph of Kadyrov. This shouldn't be very surprising either because this guy Mosiychuk (I'm just going to call him Chucky), Chucky was a former commander of the Azov battalion. This is one of those so-called volunteer battalions in Ukraine that is either a volunteer battalion or run by Kolomoisky, who's one of the big movers and shakers down there, dual Ukrainian and Israeli citizen.

Caroline: Doesn't he foot the bill for that whole group? It's like his private army.

Harrison: Yeah. He's got a few of these battalions. And these are the Nazi guys, the death squads basically.

Elan: So basically an Israeli-connected oligarch supporting Nazism.

Harrison: So that was Kadyrov's response to these guys saying "I'm going to come over there and bury you all." That's what he said, he would bury anyone that supports the terrorists. After that both Kadyrov and Lavrov responded saying that they wanted to initiate criminal proceedings against these guys for making these statements. Understandable. Probably nothing will come of it.

But then another incident happened in the news. One of the guys that was involved in the 2002 Moscow Theatre hostage crisis, just a couple of years before Beslan, one of the guys involved in that attack in Russia was a guy named Hassan Zakayev. He was caught trying to cross the border from Ukraine into Crimea with false passports. So that kind of struck me. What is a Chechen terrorist doing in Ukraine? Well it shouldn't be that much of a stretch. They both hate Russia, so "the enemy of my enemy is my friend", right?

And that reminded me of another story which had to do with the so-called white widow. She was the wife of one of the guys who was allegedly involved in the 7/7 bombings in London. She ended up becoming this kind of terrorist mastermind apparently and moving all over in Africa and various countries and setting up operations. She had her children with her at the time.

Caroline: Right. And what appeared to be unlimited money, because this woman was no ascetic at all. She loved her clothing. She loved her shopping, Hijab notwithstanding, and there was no visible means of support for this very lavish lifestyle. They did not hang out in tents in some little mountain gorge anywhere. It was really quite strange.

Harrison: I'd recommend listening to one of the old episodes of SOTT Talk Radio where Joe and Niall interviewed Jon Ryman who produced a documentary that you can watch on YouTube about her basically pointing out that it's almost a sure bet that she is British intelligence. She has been for a long time and even probably before the 7/7 bombings it's possible she was even her husband's handler in a sense for that operation.

But what happened was about a month ago, in November, there was a report that came out that she was killed in Ukraine, as you said Caroline, that she was acting as a sniper for the Aidar battalion, another one of those Nazi battalions and that she was shot by a Russian volunteer sniper so those Russian volunteers that make their way into east Ukraine.

Caroline: They're all on holiday from their regular jobs.

Harrison: Yeah. It was reported and then nothing came of it. The British authorities said "Yeah, we've heard the reports but we haven't had any confirmation" and there was no news about that afterwards, like nothing. So that makes me wonder what the real story is. Did it really happen? Was it kind of like a ruse set up by Russia as a kind of message to the west? Because think if one of the UK's most wanted terrorists turns up in Ukraine fighting for the allies of the US and the UK and getting killed. It's like "Well how did she get there? Why was she there? How did that work?"

Caroline: On the other hand it might have been a retrieval operation to get her out, by the UK, whomever. "Okay, this persona's no longer useful, so we'll just kill it and she'll turn up somewhere else." That's a story to keep an eye out for.

Harrison: That's a mystery right there. But the connection is that the Nazi guys in Ukraine, are a) Nazis, b) brutal psychopaths that kill women and children and torture people and c) they're doing so on behalf of NATO and the US, the CIA. And then you've got these Chechen terrorists who are a) real terrorists; Wahhabi radicals, b) psychopaths that kill people and cut off their heads and torture people, and c) set up and run by the CIA and NATO. So there are parallels and it's a match made in heaven for these two groups of people to get together and work to fight against Russia. I just wanted to point that out.

Caroline: So if you look back far enough you find the same hands running the strings.

Elan: With the same agendas. It comes back to geopolitical power, period and the same proxy revolutionaries and terrorists who destroy Russia economically, military, any which way they can.

Caroline: In the end it's a resource war and Russia's got it.

john tefft
William: That brings me to an interesting fellow that's been approved as being the US ambassador to Russia and his name's John Tefft. He's got quite a bit of a history as well. He's been in Russia before between '96 and '99 he was a deputy Chargé d'affaires for the US ambassador to Moscow. And of course that was right before Putin came into power; pretty much anti-communist, anti-Russian. And that's just about the time that Russia received a massive IMF loan, seemingly as a reward. But then an about-face occurred. So between 2000 and 2003 he became the US ambassador to Lithuania. Now that's at a period of time where Lithuania went through a wave of rabid Russophobia and that despite the fact that Russia wasn't threatening Lithuania in any way and ordinary Lithuanians have no history of hostility to ordinary Russians.

So subsequently the operation I guess you could call it, started to fail. He moved on to being ambassador to Georgia between 2005 and 2009. And now of course we all know what happened in 2008 when we had the great Georgia war in Russia. Russia took care of that. So after that failed operation he moved on to - drum roll please - to Ukraine.

Elan: Gets around.

William: He sure ends up in all these little hot spots. It's quite coincidental.

Caroline: With the NGOs trailing along.

William: And so of course they couldn't get rid of the pro-Russian President Yanukovych before, but as he arrived they were able to do that. Of course you enlist neo-Nazi elements in order to do that. So now he's moved on to Russia. It's kind of a surprise that Russia would approve this ambassador, but I guess as the saying goes, "You keep your friends close but you keep your enemies closer." So that was kind of a question about him because he's become progressively more anti-Russian as he's gone from one country to the next. But all of his actions have damaged the US's reputation around the world. So it kind of makes you wonder who exactly he is working for. Is he working against the US or not? Time will only tell what goes on in Russia.

Elan: I don't think the US much cares about its reputation anymore. They're going to do what they're going to do.

Caroline: It could be that obviously the US government, at least on the surface, would have to approve of this guy to be able to offer him as an ambassador to Russia. So if it isn't the actual US government, there is a faction - and we all know that the US government isn't a unified organization. There's cross-purposes. There's different levels of power. There's factions that work against each other. So at this point somebody who's got the clout has managed to put him through as an ambassador. Putin, for whatever reason, is going "Okay, sure. We'll take him." I guess it's easier to call someone on the carpet when they live three blocks away than when they live in the states. So it could be a convenience for him to have this guy within arm's reach.

Harrison: Speaking of Russia and the connection to Cuba.What's been going on with Cuba?
us cuba relations
Caroline: Well that's been really freaky. A couple of things have developed in the last week. All of a sudden in this weird about-face and people are screaming about it all over the place, the US decided to re-approach Cuba and say "Hey, let's be friends. We're so close. We can trade. We can do this. We can do that." And Obama in a rare moment of cogency actually said "We've been embargoing this country for 50 years and it hasn't worked, so maybe we should do something else. We've been doing this for 50 years and the results have not been what we wanted, so let's try something new." On the surface you're kind of wondering. You look at Cuba and think "What are you thinking?" Obviously the business community is ecstatic over this and the travel industry and everything else. Personally I thought this was a pre-emptive move on Russia because they've been watching kind of slack-jawed that Russia's made friend after friend after friend and maybe somebody said "Hey, let's try that instead of bombing them. So we'll try to be friends."

But if they don't want Cuba acquiring the protection that other countries are slowly getting by being with Russia, I could see that as a pre-emptive move. And apparently just before this happened, so you wonder if the Russians had gotten wind of it first, they forgave the last of the very sizeable debt that Cuba had to the Soviet Union. Ninety percent of it, which was like $32 billion or some ridiculous number that they couldn't ever, ever pay off. And in return - this is speculation according to the people that I've read - Russia is now reactivating all of their intelligence outposts. Apparently at one point at the height of the Cold War there were over 5,000 Russian people there, at listening outposts and intelligence centres set up all over the island. They were practically supporting the economy there were so many people there. And when Russia was trying to make its rapprochement to the west and it wanted to be friends and it wanted to be part of the EU and trade and be a good little western capitalist, as a gesture they ostensibly shut all this stuff down. The official reason was "We can't afford it. We're so broke right now that we just can't afford to keep this running so we're just going to shutter it up and go home."

Now, having possibly gotten wind of this whole US gambit to try and extend their reach into the Caribbean, they are now reopening their intelligence outposts which is probably a very smart move. The other issue too is that in the local geopolitics of the area, Venezuela's very upset about this because Cuba/Venezuela was kind of a lynchpin of Latin American resistance to US moves to dominate. That is going to weaken this informal alliance of those northern South American and Central American countries. So that's a situation to be watched also.

William: Well Russia doesn't seem to be too upset about the whole deal.

Caroline: I know! That's so strange.

William: They have the impression that Cuba's not going to fall for the typical US imperialist actions as they generally do in South America.

Caroline: I've seen several editorials written by people who say "Cuba's been playing this game for over 50 years so they know what they're doing. They'll get the good they can out of this situation, but they're not going to just roll over and become another little US colony." So yeah, pretty interesting.

Harrison: Well you mentioned Caroline, what Obama said. I've actually got a quote right here. Let me read it. He said, "After all, these 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked. It's time for a new approach. I do not believe that we can keep doing the same thing for over five decades and expect a different result. Moreover, it does not serve America's interests or the Cuban people to try to push Cuba towards collapse. Even if that worked, and it hasn't for 50 years, we know from hard-earned experience that countries are more likely to enjoy lasting transformation if their people are not subjected to chaos." What words of wisdom! Ha ha.

Caroline: Yeah. With such selective application.

Harrison: Exactly. Is this guy schizophrenic? Just think about that for a second and then look at what the US is doing to Russia. They are open about wanting to isolate Russia; engaging in economic information warfare to destabilize the country, with the grand goal of regime change, creating chaos. Isolation has not worked. Okay, so isolation doesn't work, so why the hell are you doing it in Russia. It's time for a new approach. Doing the same thing for 50 years just doesn't work. What have you been doing for the last 50+ years with Russia and why hasn't it worked? What are you thinking? You can tell that Obama is either just a complete idiot or he just says whatever he's told to say because of the lip service that he gives to these humanitarian ideals! What was it he said in there about "Yeah we know from hard experience that countries are more likely to enjoy lasting transformation if their people are not subjected to chaos. It doesn't serve America's interests or the Cuban people". Yeah, well what about the Russian people?

Caroline: Except for a tiny piece of Alaska, just take Sarah Palin, Russia's not 90 miles from your border. It's a little bit of interest to keep things calm and peaceful there than have somebody who's really upset.

Elan: This whole speech by Obama, this is really the reason why the man was hired. He's a bullshitter extraordinaire. And he's managed to, at least on the surface, convince Raoul Castro that he wants to resume normal relations and it's just a complete fake.

Caroline: I don't know. I have this picture of Raoul, he's got Putin on a second line going "Okay, what do I do now?" I just can't get that picture out of my head.

William: The picture that comes to my mind is "Well if Russia can take Crimea, then we'll take Cuba here and do the same kind of move."

Caroline: I don't know. The geopolitics aren't the same. But there's ways and ways of making a country your own, even if you don't change the name.

Elan: The whole new relation thing opens the floodgates for NGOs and ambassadors and all sorts of intelligence operatives to go back again to Cuba and do their thing. It's very likely that before Cuba knows it, it's going to be under the brown revolution.

Caroline: Could be. But it's also if the US is thinking along these lines, just to springboard back into Latin America, because they've had a distinct lack of success there with the exception of say Bolivia, so that would be a way of working their way back into South America, if it can be done. And that is a big if. Cuba's fended them off for five-plus decades. So they have learned a lot too.

Harrison: Did any of you guys look into the details of the pretty recently released USA scandal that you found out about in Cuba? We'll check it out. We might talk about it next week. But you can look it up. It just came out last week I think, right before Raoul Castro and Obama made these statements. You can actually read a statement from Castro on Counterpunch where he talks about his view on it. It was released that, until recently, unsurprisingly, one of those NGO American democracy corporations have been doing their influence thing in Cuba, using Cuban rap groups.

Caroline: Weren't they the ones who were sponsoring this brand new company that was providing Twitter really, really cheaply and then trying to use tweets to influence through social media? Hummingbird or something like that.

Harrison: Yeah, I didn't look too closely into it. Just a few days later this happened.

William: And the head of that USA branch to Cuba got fired as well, just two days before.

Harrison: More news. I had a good laugh over this one. Bulgaria - do you want to tell this one Caroline?

Caroline: Okay. Well this story is a bit of a week old. I didn't have a lot of notes on it, but Bulgaria was supposed to make a huge amount of money with South Stream coming through. But they've also been used as kind of the point man for the EU in negotiations with Gazprom and with Russia about transit, had the EU saying, "Well you can't own your pipelines. Once they come out of Russia you can't own your pipelines. You can own the stuff that goes through it, but you can't control the pipelines" and they've been drawing up all of this antitrust legislation. This went on for four years. For four years they're talking about it, talking about it, talking about it. And then finally Russia, like any good capitalist said, "Okay, four years. We've had enough. Yes we put all this money into the corporation and getting the structure and making our plans and all that, but we're done. Good bye."

And then they went off and talked to Turkey and said "Would you like our pipeline?" And Turkey said "Yes." Bulgaria immediately set up three meetings about all the revenues they were going to lose. Putin being the good lawyer, said "If I was Bulgaria, I'd go to the EU for my lost revenue because if the getting was good I would too." Then Bulgaria turned around and said "Well you know what? It's okay. We can get the permits. Everything's in place. Let's go. We're ready to go." And Russia's like "Sorry. You had four years, things weren't done." So now there's yet another rift in the EU. Bulgaria's very unhappy because they could really use the revenue. That story's going on from there.

Harrison: It is sad because the leaders of Bulgaria were the ones, technically that did the blocking, didn't get the permits ready because of the EU doing their legalistic nitpicking because these deals were originally signed at the time the legislation of the EU changed which then allowed them to block and delay this project.
eu asks russia south strea
Caroline: And you know I don't think they wanted to block it. They just wanted to make sure that they got as much money out of it as possible at Russia's expense. And this is infrastructure and distribution. I think that Russia had already built and owned and they wanted Russia to sell it off to the various interests in each country and Russia said "We're not going to do that."

Harrison: Yeah, so they were basically trying to block Russia, to get Russia to concede to what they wanted and so Russia responded by saying "Okay, then we're just not going to do it." There's a good article with comments after the fact from ordinary Bulgarians posting and just ripping into their government and saying what a dumb move this was and why "you guys were listening to the EU and doing what they were telling you to instead of making a choice for us because this would have been good for us, for Bulgaria." So really Bulgaria had their chance and they blew it. It is sad, but really what can you do when your politicians are basically just mouthpieces for the EU and the United States? Well, there's that.

Caroline: That moves on to the higher levels, if you want to talk about it. We've been basically talking about the second stringers, the proxies of everything. Now we get to the big guys and what's going on with Russia right now. I just saw on the news that congress has passed a whole new set of sanctions against Russia. It's addressing mostly Russian energy companies and defence industry with parts for sale to Syria, more anti-Russian propaganda and the democratization programs in Ukraine. So congress is standing up and saying Russia is still being a bully and not doing what they should be and so here's more sanctions.

But it's hysterical because it is not going to help. It's like they're looking at Russia through these lenses that have no bearing on reality at all in terms of Russia's basic economic strengths. They can sanction them until the cows come home and Russia may suffer a little in terms of belt tightening and higher prices because of the ruble dropping; we can get to that too. But they are extremely well positioned to handle any kind of economic problems at this point.

Harrison: I'm going to interrupt there. I think we've got a caller here.

Caroline: Oh good!

Harrison: Hold that thought. So do we have a caller?

Joe: Yes.

Harrison: Who is this?

Joe: This is Joe.

Harrison: Hi Joe.

Caroline: Hi.

Harrison: How you doing? Do you have a question for us today?

Joe: Yeah, well sort of. It's more of a comment really.

Harrison: Oh that's great.

Joe: You were talking the other day about the Gülen movement, the Turkish Islamic fete a la Gülen and his crazy movements all around the world and stuff. But you mentioned that he's been in the US for a long time after being kicked out of Turkey. And he's been banned from other places, like you said, Russia and Uzbekistan. And you mentioned Graham Fuller who is a kind of career CIA officer with a shitty past and all sorts of shitty deals but he was an official reference for Gülen getting his green card application to enter the US back the early 90s. But I'm not sure if you mentioned, I might have missed it, but Graham Fuller was also directly implicated in the Boston bombing story.

Harrison: Oh no, I didn't mention that. What are the details on that?
Gulen
Joe: Well basically the two Tsarnaev brothers, the two supposedly Boston bombers who were killed and kind of patsies set up to take the fall for a terror plot sting going live I suppose you'd call it, or allowed to go live. Their uncle, his name is Ruslan. He changed his name slightly to Tsarni or something slightly different, but his name was Rulan Tsarnaev, his uncle. But he was the uncle of the two Boston bombers, their father's brother. He's worked for Fuller and not only worked for Fuller but he was married for a short time to Fuller's daughter and he stayed in his office. He set up some kind of an organization, an American Pakistan NGO type of organization which Tsarnaev's brother stayed in the offices that Gülen's organization had set up in Fuller's own house when he was married to Fuller's daughter.

It's really interesting, the link between this Gülen guy, what you've been saying about him and his connection with the Boston bombings and basically false flag terror attacks and not directly, but a tentative link to Gülen. There's a book by this retired Turkish intelligence chief, because obviously this guy Gülen was booted out of Turkey, but in 2010 a retired intelligence chief in Turkey, his name is Gündeş. He published a memoir called Close Witness to Revolutions. Did you mention that?

Harrison: Yeah, I mentioned the book.

Joe: He claimed that.

Harrison: What detail are you on?

Joe: Well in the book he said that Gülen's worldwide Islamic movement had been providing cover for the CIA since the mid-1990s and that it's effective. He said it chaptered 130 CIA agents in Kurdistan and Uzbekistan alone. It would be interesting to see if Gülen's organization ever operated in Dagestan or Chechnya or that region. It would be an interesting proposition that maybe one of these older Tsarnaev Boston bomber brothers went to Dagestan in the year just previous to the alleged bombing of the Boston marathon, it would be interesting to see if he had any contact with any kind of Gülen madrassas or schools in Dagestan because if he did, then he was being most likely handled by some CIA operatives associated with Gülen.

Harrison: I haven't read of any direct connections between the Gülen movement and Dagestan and Chechnya, but I know Sibel Edmonds has been talking about not only the Gülen movement and their involvement in the other "stan" countries, but also it looks like that Dagestan and Chechnya have been basically part of the same CIA operation, if not using Gülen then using other proxies. You can look at the graph of terrorist attacks in Chechnya and Dagestan over the past 15 years and there's a spike around 2002, 2003 with the Chechnya one and then it really drops off and it's been really low for all the years since then. But in Dagestan, the spike is 2004, 2006 and it's actually getting bigger in Dagestan. So it looks like after Chechnya, that Dagestan is kind of the new centre for those kind of operations. I'm going to look into that and see if there are any connections there with the Gülen movement. That sounds pretty interesting.

Elan: What do you think Joe? I was just wondering, they're calling for Gülen's extradition, and prosecution in Turkey seems like a pretty strong move on the part of this other faction in power, Erdoğan. Do you think Erdoğan is sending a message? Do you think he's going to follow through and align himself even further with Russia, after this South Stream deal?

Joe: Well it's really funny you know, I've had a good laugh this past week. I think we mentioned on our show a couple of weeks ago after Russia dropped South Stream and went to Turkey, we said "Look out for any social unrest or protests going on in Turkey as in a kind of 'colour revolution' type of situation." Then within a week or two you did have protests of a sort in the sense you had the best kind of colour revolution protest was that before they could have the protests, you had the Turkish government coming in and raiding the offices of the Gülen affiliated organizations, because they would be the point at which or from which this kind of a revolution would be launched against Erdoğan and Turkey by the CIA. So it's what we've been thinking and saying on and off over the past few months, is that as the CIA and the US state department, etc. continue to follow the same kind of agenda in terms of fomenting discord and discontent and protests via their NGOs in foreign countries, the more they do that and they've been doing it for a long time, the more the countries targeted by that kind of destabilization are going to wake up to what's going on and take action before it can gain any traction.

I think that's what we saw there in Turkey, that the Erdoğan government were like "We've been around the block a few times. We've even maybe engaged in some of this kind of stuff with you, so for you to turn around and try that out on us is a bit stupid." They probably got information that something was really in the offing or maybe they were just taking a precautionary, preventative measures by trumping up charges. They're trumped up charges I suppose against these Gülen organizations, but maybe they weren't guilty exactly of what they're being changed with, but certainly they probably would have been at some point in the future.

We're in the realm of though crime here, but it's thought crime that you know is pretty accurate in the sense of thoughts lead to actions and actions lead to regime change. So for me groups like Gülen definitely were given the boot and any country that takes action against them, given who Gülen is and what his history is, he should be kicked out of every country and sent back to the belly of the beast where he came from.

William: He can stay in Pennsylvania.

Joe: Yeah, get them all in Pennsylvania and they can open up madrassas and try and convert all the pasty white Christians in America to Islam or something. He may have some success. But I think Turkey has been rejected from the EU. They first wanted to join the EU 50 years ago and they've been stalling. Okay, there's a process but it's been 50 years they've been more or less waiting. And the EU has just been ambivalent. I don't think they're going to or ever intended to really admit Turkey as a full member of the EU. So certainly the Turks have nothing to lose, I don't think, by flipping the bird to the EU because they really have been screwing them around. I thought it was very funny. And I certainly hope they do continue to align more with Russia because it would make absolute sense. They're right on their border. They share the Black Sea.

But I thought it was very funny to see the Bulgarian prime minister this week coming out and saying "We like South Stream. Don't get the wrong idea here. We're fully ready. Just get those pipes in. We'll hook up with you no problem."

William: We're just kidding here.

Joe: Yeah, "We were just messing that last time and it wasn't even us, it was the EU. You have to excuse us. We have no balls and we backed down in front of the EU bureaucracy. But give it a second chance pleeeeeaaaaaase." That's what Putin wants and has wanted all along, or has been aiming for all along, I think, to play both sides against the middle. He sees these bunch of feckless ideologues, psychopaths in Washington, psychopathic ideologues in the EU who've forgotten that they're Europeans and think they're Americans or something, and have forgotten where they live. Or maybe like we've often suggested, they're being blackmailed, or whatever it is.

But the bottom line is where do they get off screwing around in that way, in a high-handed, arrogant way? Screwing around with a major multi-billion, fairly longstanding plan for a southern gas pipeline and then suddenly turn around and say "Well maybe we're not so interested in your South Stream anymore. What do you think of that, Putin, huh?" And Putin's like "F-you then. Bye-bye." And they're like "How dare you!! That's not what you're meant to do!! Hey come back here!!" And Bulgaria and other eastern European countries are like "What the fuck is going on?!?! We were set to make millions from this!!" And the end result is Bulgaria has to go and cry and save some face but look like a complete bunch of cretins, going back and saying "We're ready to go with South Stream whenever you're ready" and Putin's like "Uh, did you miss the memo? You're the ones who dissed me so I'm out of here. I don't know what planet you people are on."

Caroline: Parting shot.

Joe: Yeah, I just thought it was very funny.

Caroline: Well yeah, and the parting shot was "Well I think Bulgaria should sue the EU for all its lost revenue." It's like "Spoken like a true lawyer."

Joe: Yeah, absolutely. Let's get litigious on their asses. And Putin can throw in a lawsuit there as well, just for good measure.There's no money to pay for it though.

Caroline: Breach of contract.

Joe: Anyway, that's all I have to say about the war in Vietnam.

Harrison: Alright. Thanks for calling Joe.

Joe: No worries. Good show.

Harrison: Have a good night.

Joe: You too. Bye.

Caroline: Bye.

Elan: Bye Joe.

Harrison: Alright, moving on. Anything else we want to talk about today?

Caroline: Oh yeah!

Harrison: Go ahead.

Caroline: Here's a story that I've been chortling about all week. If you want good news in a rarefied looking sort of way, you just have to look at Russia because they just continue to hit them out of the park. We talked two weeks ago about how Putin had put out this call to all the oligarchs who had holdings all over the world. Apparently there is approximately $2 trillion of Russian assets around the world and he made an offer to all of these people who have these offshore assets that apparently he's going to make it not exactly illegal, but far more difficult to hold, so he gave them a one month amnesty to bring their assets home and we'll legalize it, you can keep it, but we want it with Russia.

Well the biggest oligarch of them all, a gentleman named Alisher Usmanov is the first one to step up and do so and his two biggest assets apparently are a cell phone company and an iron mining conglomerate. He is starting to move his assets back into Russia, which is going to definitely help their domestic economy. It's good. Putin has said straight up he wants to legalize the funds. He does not want to add them to the government coffers. They don't have a deficit. They have debt, but not deficit, so in a sense it's going to add to the strength of the Russian economy but the government itself doesn't need it.
Alisher Usmanov

Alisher Usmanov
What government in the world, besides Russia can stand up and say that? Bring your money back so we can put it to work, improve business, the economy and so on, but we don't actually ourselves need the funds. Amazing. Just amazing.

And then everybody's jumping up and down "The ruble is falling and oil prices are falling. It's going to hurt Russia so much." That's two separate things. First of all, the whole oil price falling, again with psychopaths, this is not the first time they have played that card. That was one of the factors, among others, that brought down the Soviet Union, with falling oil prices. The '89/'90 situation did work very strongly against the Soviet Union. They were in a very poor position economically anyway and then when the oil prices dropped precipitously it basically bankrupted the country; regime change following Communism; bringing in democracy and then a decade of trying to cozy-up to and say 'let's be friends' to the west because they had this naive idea that if they just did things like the western countries then we can all be friends and trade and be happy and apparently did not really cotton onto the idea that the whole gambit was about access to the Russian resources. Then for 10 years it did run amuck with all the privatization, the looting of the country and big industries were sold off for pennies. It was just brutal, brutal and evil.

However things are different now. Number one, Russia only has about $678 billion in foreign debt in the world economy. That's like having $10,000 left on your mortgage. You may as well consider it paid off. And it has been paying it down very, very aggressively. It has huge gold assets. Nobody knows why but this is also the inspiration for creating an alternative market economy as an alternate to the IMF. So they have been buying gold. Every time there's a gold dip, they unload some more of their dollars and they buy gold. And that fits right in with China's philosophy, with India's philosophy. This is a solid asset and it's never going to lose its value. It may fluctuate in the perception of value but it is a true, tangible asset as opposed to a piece of paper that says it's good because "We told you it was good so get out there and spend it."

William: I can give you some more. Just to compare Russia against the Fed, the United States. There's quite a contrast here. To begin with a basic capital ratio that's the amount of assets that a bank has as a percentage of its total balance sheet. The Fed is sitting at about 1.26%. That's down from 4.5% just a few years ago. Russia on the other hand is 12.5%. That's 10X more. As far as gold reserves, that's considered a real asset as part of that first number that I gave you. So gold reserves. Now the Fed, they proudly proclaim on their website "Ah, we have zero percent. We have no gold. We don't own any gold." Whereas for Russia it makes up 6.2%, which is up from 5.5% last year. Then you talk about debt to GDP, Gross Domestic Product, the US is at 102% right now, that's considering $18 trillion of debt; Russia: 11%.

So they're in a very strong position, Russia is, to weather this economic storm that's being generated by who-knows-who, but with the oil price bust and the ruble dropping. It seems like this is a good plan by Russia to even have the ruble drop because they can start purchasing their rubles back and getting them off the market so there's not so many.

Caroline: Oh yeah. Not only that, that's like a double win-win. Number one, they can just say "Okay, if you want to buy Russian products, you have to pay in rubles." And if they bought up all the rubles, what other country's going to be able to trade with them except those that they choose to sell rubles to. On the other hand, by buying up super cheap rubles with currently, facetiously valuable dollars, which will not be after a while, they will flood the foreign exchange market with dollars and the dollar will rapidly lose its value with all those dollars floating around the market. That's just doom. So super smart move on Putin's part.

In fact, I have another article here that says they're going to let the ruble drop and drop and drop, like waiting for your Black Friday sale on their currency and then they'll just scoop it all up.

Elan: And on top of this you have Russia's ability to decide that they just don't want to sell gas to Europe and leave them in the cold. And considering all the sanctions and aggressive behaviour, why not? Which harkens back to Paul Craig Roberts' piece about Russia's black swans, all the ways in which they can screw over or get back at all of these nations that are trying to hurt it. I think one of them was just deciding it didn't want to pay back debt right away, which would leave the banks in Europe in an awful position.

Caroline: Or they could just say "You guys love NATO so much, NATO's been kind of a pain in our butts, so any country who's a member of NATO, we're not going to sell you the gas" and be perfectly within their capitalist rights to do so.

Elan: How dare they!?!?

Caroline: How dare they?! Absolutely! And of course that would be the end of NATO, plain and simple, as soon as folks realized that they can't keep their house warm or cook their food because they're a NATO member. NATO will not be kicked out fast enough. It's brilliant.

Elan: Well I think a lot of these things are going to actually come to pass and they're going to leave NATO and the US and the EU's head spinning.

Caroline: Paul Craig Roberts is calling it grateful. And he has a marvelous thing. He says "Russia is playing a clever chess game. Diplomacy at its best. Instead of sabre-rattling, Russia is coin-rattling." Putin just has to sit back and let the US do itself and the western hegemonic thing, just do themselves in. It's fantastic. It's judo, it's aikido, whatever you want to call it, that he has just set up and put his country on such a solid foundation that the west just has to trip over their own shoelaces.
vladimir putin
© Sputnik/ Sergei Guneyev

Harrison:
There have been several commentators on the internet as usual, criticizing Putin for not going far enough with economics and the falling ruble and not making the big changes now. Well that's actually one of the things that Putin hasn't done. He hasn't totally restructured the way the Russian economy is structured. He's still kind of sticking with a western-based system, but I'd like to point out to everyone, if you read the interview that he did recently with the Tass news agency - it's a pretty long interview - he talks about his decision-making process. I think I might have quoted this bit a couple of weeks ago. He said that he doesn't make rash decisions and he considers every possibility when making a decision that will have consequences. The way I see it, what he seems to be doing is he's working within the existing system and using the parameters as they exist at the moment and he's making these little moves here and there to each affront from the west and some of them work and some of them don't. But before he's going to do anything drastic, he's going to make sure that he's exhausted all the possible options within the existing system.

It wasn't until this year with the whole Ukraine crisis that we started getting a clearer picture from Putin and Lavrov and people all over the Russian government saying that not only do they want relations with the US, but on the other hand, relations with the US are seemingly impossible because these guys are such idiots.

Caroline: "You're not even evil. You're stupid. We can't talk to you."

Harrison: Yeah, that was one of the big questions over Putin's first two terms and over Medvedev's, the relationship between Russia and the US. And so a lot of the Russian Eurasianists and patriots in Russia were waiting for the government to finally cut ties with the US because the US is Russia's biggest enemy, and to make that clear. Well that's becoming clear.

Caroline: Gradually.

Caroline: Paul Craig Roberts had an interesting comment on that. He says "Surely Russia is not interested to cause the sudden destruction of the dollar-linked financial world. She is not interested in a sudden death of many countries that are potential new trading partners in a new monetary system." This is a practical guy. "Instead, the fall of the western economic economy of deceit planned as a gradual slide" - and this is really, really a comment on Putin's character - "so that countries have time to switch, to switch their reserves to rubles, yuan renminbi " (the Chinese character/currency), the renminbi is the other one - "to switch their reserves and other BRICS and SCO" - this is the Shanghai Cooperative Organization which is another huge chunk of countries - "this move is on its way. Only ten years ago dollar denominated securities constituted 90% of the reserves worldwide." Ninety percent of countries' reserves were in US dollars which is why the dollar had remained so strong with the US having such a horrible economic foundation. "Today the rate is 60% and is declining." So people are seeing the writing on the wall. The dollar is doomed. "And gradually as they are able, they are moving out of dollars, not fast enough to cause a panic but they're moving into other currencies and most likely it is the ruble and definitely the Chinese currency."

Also another interesting fact is beween the BRICS and the SCO countries, they constitute over half the world's population, possibly even 60%. That is a lot of buying to be removed from the influence of the US and they're going to feel it.

Elan: But I think there's another component that was just touched upon with Putin's strategy and that is that he's trying to give the world as much time as possible to realize the error of its ways. Well, maybe not the world so much as the US and the western powers. And he does this with Lavrov by making these statements again and again and again. If you think about them, the Minsk meeting, speaking with Poroshenko, who we know is under the thumb of the US and western powers.

Caroline: And not very bright to boot.

Elan: And not very bright and corrupt to the core. And it's not just a show. There are sincere efforts to broker some kind of deal, and encouraging Poroshenko to go through with the new constitute that they say that they wanted to write. "Come on, let's write it!"

Caroline: In a way you might almost say he's, in one sense, trying to stave off an inevitable disaster for as long as possible, in the hopes that enough countries around the world will wake up and take the steps they need to take to preserve themselves. That's probably something a lot of people cannot wrap their head around, but that certainly seems to be what he's trying to do. This is going to happen. "The US, under the weight of its own hubris and inept-to-evil policies will destroy itself. So let's see if we can put this off and mitigate as much as we can for the sake of the rest of the world."

Elan: And he doesn't want to be the bad guy.

Caroline: No one wants to be the bad guy.

William: And before the US goes into those economic throes, it's going to try and incite a war somewhere in order to cover all that stuff up.

Caroline: And to blame...

William: And that's going to be something tragic.

Caroline: Yeah. So far he seems to be playing his cards right. And it's not just Putin. That's the other thing. Putin is like the figurehead and the mouthpiece, along with Lavrov, but he has a whole collection of really smart, pragmatic advisors and he is wise enough to listen to them. That's just priceless.

Harrison: Alright. I think that does it for this week. We pretty much talked about everything there is to talk about. (Laughing) So we'll leave it there. Thanks to our caller Joe, anonymous Joe, and William, Caroline and Elan. We'll see you next week for one-to-two hours of fun. So take care everyone and we'll see you then. Bye-bye.

Caroline: Bye.

Elan: Bye folks.

William: Take care.