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Thu, 21 Jun 2018
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Puppet Masters


Russian corporations drop London for Moscow amid expanding sanctions and improved conditions at home

moscow exchange
© Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters
After the London Stock Exchange (LSE) suspended share trading of sanctioned energy conglomerate EN+Group, other Russian firms are thinking of scrapping their stock listings in the UK in favor of the Moscow Stock Exchange (MOEX).

Cherkizovo Group, one of Russia's major producers and processors of poultry and pork, is considering a move to MOEX after the firm delisted from London last year, reports Bloomberg. TMK, Russia's largest manufacturer of steel pipes for the energy sector is mulling a similar move, according to the deputy chief executive officer of the company, as quoted by the media.

"It really doesn't make sense for Russian companies to list abroad in the current environment," Ekaterina Iliouchenko, a money manager at Frankfurt-based Union Investment Privatfonds GmbH told the agency. The analyst stressed that the new round of sanctions could force foreign exchanges to block transactions with their liquidity to "drop dramatically as foreigners exit."

Comment: Russia is prepared for more Western sanctions and the likelihood is, as with the previous round, the West will suffer the worst: Also check out SOTT's: Behind the Headlines: Trump Ditches Europe, Europe Bluffs, Russia and China Carry on With Eurasian Integration

Snakes in Suits

UK MPs call for massive hike in defense spending to fill financial "black holes"

london bridge
© Vickie Flores / Global Look Press
Hawkish British MPs recommend the government increase spending on defense to three percent of GDP - exceeding NATO's two-percent target. The measure is being billed as "the only solution" to tackling threats like Russia.

Compiled by MPs of the Defence Select Committee, the 'Beyond 2 per cent' preliminary report into the Modernising Defence Programme (MDP), has called for an increase in funding from the treasury to the tune of an extra £17 billion (US$22.5 billion), if the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is to fill existing financial "black holes," according to the committee's chairman, Julian Lewis.

"Defence is constantly described as the first duty of government," he said.

"The MDP is the government's opportunity to show that it means what it says."

Arguing that the current spending regime as "far too low," the report identified a slew of capabilities that are in need of modernization: greater anti-submarine warfare capabilities; layered anti-air defense systems; upkeep and increase of personnel levels; more warships; and an upgrade in artillery and vehicle mounted anti-tank weapons that are so antiquated, they put the British Army "at serious risk of being outgunned by its Russian counterpart."

Comment: The game is up; Russia has already neutralized the arms race, and has no intention of attacking the UK, it has no need to, the Russian economy is doing just fine, unlike the UK; and the public aren't buying the demonization of Russia any more. Maybe these MPs are just trying to boost their 'investments' or secure jobs for themselves when they leave (or are run out of) parliament.

Comment: From the Brexit interference flop to the sorry Skripal saga, the UK needs Russia to deflect from the very real tanking of its economy and total loss in confidence of its parliamentary officials: Also check out SOTT's Behind the Headlines: Trump Ditches Europe, Europe Bluffs, Russia and China Carry on With Eurasian Integration


Trump's 'historic gamble' on North Korea's nuclear program

trump kim singapore
© The Straits Times / Global Look Press
Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, Singapore, June 12, 2018
President Donald Trump appears to belong to what might be called the Benjamin Disraeli school of diplomacy.

The British prime minister once counseled, "Everyone likes flattery; and when you come to Royalty you should lay it on with a trowel."

At his Singapore summit, Trump smartly saluted a North Korean general and then lavished praise on Kim Jong Un as a "strong guy" with a "good personality" and a "great negotiator." "He's funny, and ... very, very smart ... and a very strategic kind of a guy. ... His country does love him."


The launch button of an all-European war is in Kiev

Russian military victory day 2017
© ALexander Vilf / Sputnik
Russia keeps its most powerful grouping of troops in the western direction. Just according to official figures the equivalent of ten divisions under the control of three army HQs - not counting the grouping in Crimea, airborne divisions and forces of special operations, and also two (Baltic and Black Sea) fleets, the Caspian flotilla, the revived Mediterranean squadron, and the grouping in Syria - is concentrated in the space from the Caucasus to the Baltics. I think that I wouldn't be mistaken if I said that over half of the fighting capacity of Russia is concentrated in the Western strategic direction. And the Ministry of Defence continues at a fast pace to increase forces in this direction. At the same time it is necessary to take into account that in recent years the Russian army gained the highest mobility, i.e., the grouping can be quickly additionally strengthened by transferring forces and means from other regions.

It is clear that this happens not because Sergey Shoigu decided to play with toy soldiers and not because Dmitry Medvedev has to spend budget money, and especially not because Vladimir Putin, showing external peacefulness, secretly plans bad things. The deployment of such a grouping of troops that is especially fully completed during war-time, as well as supplying them with the latest weapons systems and constructing modern military camps and training grounds from scratch, is an extremely expensive luxury for a country that is under sanctions and its economy showed only the first signs of growth and can be easily brought down back - to stagnation. Respectively, if such expensive actions are made, then it means that from this side Russia feels real military danger.

But what is this danger?

Comment: In other words, the EU and the US are properly deterred by Russian military force, as they should be. But don't expect the crazies in Kiev to understand this. If the trigger for war is pulled in Ukraine, will the EU and the US be sensible enough to not go along with the terrible consequences?

Light Sabers

Next fracture point in northeast Asia? South Korea holds military drills near disputed islands in Sea of Japan

Dokdo (Tokto) islands

This file image shows the disputed Dokdo (Tokto) islands, also known as the Liancourt Rocks and Takeshima in Japanese, a group of small islets in the Sea of Japan controlled by South Korea and claimed by Japan
The South Korean military is set to launch war games off its east coast the aim of preventing "an invasion" of the Dokdo islands, which have been at the center of a territorial dispute between Seoul and Tokyo.

Six warships and seven aircraft will take part in the military drills in the two-day military drills, which will begin in the Sea of Japan later on Monday.

A unit of marines will also land on the largely bare rocky islets of Doko, which have been under South Korea's control since the end of World War II in 1945.

Comment: It'll be interesting to observe Japanese support (or a lack thereof) for Korean reunification in the coming years.

There hasn't been a unified independent Korea since the 19th century, when Japan 'converted to westernism' and colonized the peninsula. Will Japan mind seeing the return of a strong Korea, and one likely aligned with Beijing? Not likely!

Sadly, this means that a 'fracture line' will remain in northeast Asia, though it'll no longer be located halfway down Korea, but in the Sea of Japan.


Syria state media says US-led coalition strikes Syrian army positions in Deir ez-Zor, Pentagon denies report

Fighters of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Deir ez-Zor
© Rodi Said / Reuters
Fighters of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Deir ez-Zor
US-led coalition aircraft have reportedly bombed Syrian military positions in the Al Bukamal area of Deir ez-Zor province in eastern Syria, state media outlet SANA reports, citing a military source.

The strike, according to the military source, allegedly targeted a Syrian "military position" in al-Harra, southeast of Al Bukamal. There are dead and wounded following the strike, the source added.

The strike was "probably" carried out by American drones, a source from among the local pro-government forces told Reuters, adding that the attack allegedly targeted Iraqi factions between Albu Kamal and Tanf, as well as Syrian military positions.

Comment: See also: President Bashar al-Assad - full RT interview: 'We were close to direct conflict between Russia and US inside Syria'

No Entry

Bolivia's Evo Morales calls out US imperialism in Venezuela and Latin America: 'We are no longer your backyard'

Evo Morales
Morales explained, however, that United States' interventionism is not only militaristic.
The Bolivian President warned that the United States is trying to orchestrate a military coup in Venezuela.

Bolivian President Evo Morales said Saturday that Latin America "is no longer the United States' backyard" while denouncing the United States' attempt to convince its South American allies to help it orchestrate a military intervention or coup in Venezuela.

In an interview with news agency EFE, Morales explained that several Latin American leaders have confided in him that U.S. Vice president Mike Pence is "trying to convince some United States-friendly countries" help them seize control of the South American country and replace the current government led by Nicolas Maduro.

The real target, Morales explained, is not the Venezuelan president but "Venezuelan oil, and Venezuelans know that."

Comment: The President of Bolivia can count himself as one of the world's few (but ever growing number) of leaders who has the knowledge and the guts to speak out on the egregious and destructive behavior of the US. Viva Morales! See also:


No kidding! Democratic lawmaker from New York says Nancy Pelosi is 'aloof, frenetic and misguided', withdraws support for her

Nancy Pelosi
Democratic Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY) is speaking out against Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), referring to the House Minority Leader as "aloof, frenetic, and misguided."

Speaking to the Buffalo News, Higgins explained why he will no longer back Pelosi for another term as the top Democrat.

"I will not support her," Higgins told the Buffalo News.

Higgins explained that his lack of support comes from a "lack of a clear Democratic agenda" and lack of interest in his bills to invest in infrastructure and expand Medicare.

"She's listening, but this is my conclusion: She's aloof, frenetic and misguided," Higgins said.

Comment: A few more adjectives could be used to describe Nancy Pelosi's leadership: Apathetic, crazy-making, corrupt. But she ain't the only one - and certainly one of the reasons why Congress has the lowest approval rating among US citizens in many years. See also:


Pentagon Freaks Out as Trump AGAIN Calls for Cessation of US War Games in Korea

Comment: The Donald has apparently turned into a peacenik. Deep Staters, nihilists/postmodernists, pedo-criminals and build-a-burgers everywhere are fuming right now, scheming about what to do with this 'dictator'. Meanwhile the 'left' in the US is almost completely under the sway of the War Party, impervious to the fact that Trump's doing what they always wanted: reining in the military...

Trump repeats call to halt US-South Korea drills, stirs unease among military & allies
trump helicopter
Military exercises put the US in a "bad light" during talks with North Korea and are expensive, Trump said, calling again for the drills to be cancelled. His plans have apparently unsettled both the Pentagon and regional allies.

"Holding back the 'war games' during the negotiations was my request because they are very expensive and set a bad light during a good faith negotiation," US President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday, reaffirming his intention to suspend the annual joint US-South Korean military exercises. He also said the drills are "quite provocative."

Comment: Americans haven't heard this much common sense from their leader since... well, since 1963.

Chart Bar

'Not even fraud can stop me now' - Mexico's presidential frontrunner AMLO

AMLO mexico election

AMLO on the campaign trail
López Obrador says it will take a miracle for his rivals to beat him

The man who appears likely to win the presidential election in two weeks says it will take a miracle to stop him from winning.

Leading presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador declared yesterday that he is absolutely certain he will win the July 1 election and that not even electoral fraud can stop him.

Only a miracle would allow one of his main rivals, Ricardo Anaya or José Antonio Meade, to become the next president of Mexico, the third-time hopeful said.

"They [Meade and Anaya] already know [I'm going to win], but they're hoping there may be a miracle . . . only with a miracle [could they win], not even by fraud now," the Morena party leader told reporters in Colima.