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Showdown in Ukraine: Putin’s Quest for Ports, Oil, Pipelines and Gas

Showdown in Ukraine: Putin’s Quest for Ports, Oil, Pipelines and Gas.

By Claude Salhani | Tue, 25 March 2014 22:44 | 6

Yes, Russia is guilty of meddling in Ukraine, but then again so are the United States and the European Union. The major difference is that far less was said and much less reported by the international media over the Americans’ and Europeans’ interference than of Russia’s actions and the reactions it caused.

Where Russia is involved many in the West believe that one only needs to scratch the surface to see traces of the old Soviet Union begin to resurface. After all, Russian President Vladimir Putin is a former KGB officer. The truth is much more complicated than that: or perhaps somewhat simpler.

The Cold War that divided the East and West maybe over but the old rivalry still lingers. The rivalry between the West and Russia is no longer one over diverging political philosophies, but purely over resources – and the capitalistic gains they produce from mainly oil, gas and pipelines.

The West and in particular the United States seems to be suffering from collective memory disorder and have forgotten all the mud they slapped onto Putin’s face during the past 15 or so years. Or at least they expected him to forget and forgive.

Related Article: Ukraine – Full Circle to the EU Integration Issue

But then again Russian troops did move in to grab control of Crimea, taking over the territory from the Ukrainians. You can counter that argument by pointing to the US and NATO, who not only interfered, but swallowed former Soviet domains bringing them into the North Atlantic alliance, pushing NATO closer to Russia’s borders.

Yes, Russia needs access to warm water ports for its Black Sea fleet and many analysts also believe that this is a major issue of concern for Moscow, which it is. But the plot, as they say, thickens.

There is also another reason for Putin’s intervention in Ukraine and that has to do with Russia elbowing for dominance of the very lucrative and strategically important “energy corridors.”
That is very likely to be the major reason why Putin is willing to risk going to war with the West over Crimea, the pipelines that traverses the Caucasus and the oil and natural gas these pipelines carry westwards to Europe.

Given the geography of the region there are only so many lanes where the pipelines can be laid; and most of them transit through Ukraine. Others travel across Azerbaijan and Turkey. Most of Western Europe’s gas and much of Eastern Europe’s gas travels through Ukraine.

If Russia has vested interest in “recolonizing” Ukraine, the United States on the other hand has its own interests in Ukraine and other former Soviet areas.

What is going on today is nothing short of a race for control of what’s going to dominate the energy markets over the next two or three decades: the energy corridors from Central Asia, the Caucuses and through Russia and Ukraine.

As stated in a report published by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, “the proclamation of independence, the adoption of state symbols and a national anthem, the establishment of armed forces and even the presence on Ukrainian territory of nuclear missiles—all important elements of independent statehood—amount little if another power, Russia, controls access to fuel without which Ukraine cannot survive economically.

Related Article: This Week in Energy: How Would LNG Get to Ukraine?

That same report denotes that “Ukraine’s strategic location between the main energy producers (Russia and the Caspian Sea area) and consumers in the Eurasian region, its large transit network, and its available underground gas storage capacities,” make the country “a potentially crucial player in European energy transit” – a position that will “grow as Western European demands for Russian and Caspian gas and oil continue to increase.”

Ukraine’s dependence on Russian energy imports has had “negative implications for US strategy in the region.”

As long as Russia controls the flow of oil and gas it has the upper hand. Russia’s Gazprom currently controls almost a fifth of the world’s gas reserves.

More than half of Ukraine’s and nearly 30% of Europe’s gas comes from Russia.  Moscow wants to try and keep things going its way; Washington and Brussels find it in their interests to try and alter that by creating multiple channels for central Asian and Caspian oil to flow westwards.
Ukraine today finds itself in the center of the new East-West dispute.

Ironically, the very assets that make Ukraine an important player in the new geopolitical game being played out between Washington and Moscow is also its greatest disadvantage.

By Claude Salhani of Oilprice.com

Greek Government, And Bailout Deal, On Verge Of Collapse Due To Definition Of "Fresh Milk" | Zero Hedge

Greek Government, And Bailout Deal, On Verge Of Collapse Due To Definition Of “Fresh Milk” | Zero Hedge.

The Greek economic collapse, depression and bankruptcy has seen many odd things in its brief and often times violent history (in those days when the violent elements were not on strike), but this surely is the first time when one of the countless Greek bailouts may be on the rocks due to the disagreement over the definition of “fresh milk.” No, really. Reuters explains that Greece’s government risks another rebellion over bailout terms this week after milk producers lobbied against a move to free up prices as part of efforts to make the economy more competitive. Basically, for Greeks, milk is fresh if it is 5 days old or less, yet according to the always fascinating codex of the Troika, “fresh” can be labeled anything that is as old as 11 days…. including the salmonella bacteria it contains. What’s worse, is that the “spoiled milk” scandal, far from a joke, has swept over the country, and now even threatens to topple the government.

From Reuters:

The country’s international lenders want it to ditch rules, such as limiting the shelf life of fresh milk to five days, that effectively deter importers.

But Greek dairy producers and lawmakers representing farming constituencies are fighting the move to call milk up to 11 days old ‘fresh’ – the latest in a long line of last-minute disruptions to Greece’s bailout reviews with the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

Six lawmakers from within the ruling coalition – three from Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s New Democracy party and three from the Socialist PASOK – have opposed the proposal that will be submitted to parliament on Friday as part of an omnibus reform bill that Greece must pass to secure bailout aid.

If they vote against it, Samaras and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos could be forced to expel them, further reducing the government’s slim majority of just 153 seats in the 300-seat assembly.

In other words, there is a possibility that Samaras’ government, which nearly brought down the Eurozone after the summer of 2012 elections were almost won by the “anti-bailout” Samaras, will have no choice but to expel enough people from his party to leave it without an absolute 50%+1 majority, and potentially lead to a government collapse! All because of the definition of fresh milk.

Yup: it sure sounds like the European “Union.”

The bill – which will pave for the way for up to 10 billion euros ($14 billion) of aid – is expected to pass after last-minute wrangling, but the row has highlighted how powerful lobbies can undermine the country’s bailout lifeline.

You don’t need to be an expert to understand that extending the shelf life is aimed at allowing milk from abroad to be labelled as fresh,” PASOK lawmaker Mihalis Kassis told Greek radio at the weekend. “If that’s a prerequisite by the (EU/IMF) troika then we deserve what we get.”

The controversy has captured headlines and days of debate on Greek television, overshadowing expectations that the country will soon be able to raise money on bond markets again.

“It is unfair and saddening, at a time when Greece is spreading its wings to emerge from a rut, that there is such dissonance,” Samaras said during a trip to Brussels on Friday.

MPs drowning in a glass of milk!” the daily Ethnos wrote on its front page on Saturday. “Spoiled milk” proclaimed the center-left Eleftherotypia newspaper’s headline.

Why are foreign exporters so interested in penetrating the Greek milk market? Simple: prices. “Greece is the only country in Europe that has legislation to determine the shelf life of fresh milk and the price, at around 1.30 euros per litre, is among the highest in the EU. The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says Greeks paid about a third more for dairy produce than the EU average in 2012.”

One would think that the Greeks would welcome the competition from abroad, and that the lower price would be a good thing. Well, if cow farms and milkmen account for a substantial portion of the Greek GDP, not to mention employment pool, which apparently in Greece they do, it becomes clear why the nation which is now a complete and utter economic disaster quarantine area, would be leery of allowing any foreign influence to raise its already laughter inducing unemployment rate.

So aside from that, the Grecovery is on pace.

Take These Steps Today To Survive An International Crisis

Take These Steps Today To Survive An International Crisis.

Thursday, 20 March 2014 08:00 Brandon Smith

With the Crimea referendum passed and Russia ready to annex the region, the United States and the European Union have threatened sanctions. The full extent of these sanctions is not yet known, and announcements are pending for the end of March. If these measures are concrete, they will of course be followed inevitably by economic warfare, including a reduction of natural gas exports to the EU and the eventually full dump of the U.S. dollar by Russia and China. As I have discussed in recent articles, the result of these actions will be disastrous.

For those of us in the liberty movement, it is now impossible to ignore the potential threat to our economy. No longer can people claim that “perhaps” there will be a crisis someday, that perhaps “five or 10 years” down the road we will have to face the music. No, the threat is here now, and it is very real.

The loss of the dollar’s world reserve status will destroy the only thread holding up its value, namely, investor faith. There are only two possible outcomes from that point onward:

A) The U.S. will be forced to default because no nation will purchase our Treasury bonds and support our debt spending, causing the dollar’s value to implode.

B) The Fed will choose to restart and expand quantitative easing measures, confiscate pension funds, raid bank accounts or issue new taxes in order to keep the system afloat; this will also end in the eventual collapse of dollar value and hyperinflation.

The consequences will lead to an explosion in prices — first in commodities and necessities like petroleum, imported raw materials, food, electricity, etc. and then in all other goods and services. Austerity measures will be instituted by Federal and State governments. Cuts to social welfare programs, including food stamps, are probable. Civil infrastructure will suffer. The cost effectiveness of maintaining public utilities could become unrealistic. Anyone relying on such services may find themselves cut off for days, weeks or indefinitely. Public suffering will invariably rise, along with public crime.

If events like Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans are any indication, the Federal government’s response will be inadequate, to say the least. The Federal Emergency Management Agency clearly cannot be relied upon to provide food, shelter, medical care or protection for communities. In fact, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Feds did far more harm than good, corralling people into camps where death was rampant and disarming outlying neighborhoods so that they could not defend themselves. Tens of millions of dollars in donated and Federally purchased necessities were never delivered to aid survivors. Trucks were turned away, and help from civilian sources was denied.

The point is, if you find yourself in the midst of a national or international catastrophe, you should assume that you will be on your own with whatever preparations you made beforehand. To assume otherwise would be foolish, given our government’s track record.

There are some people who will argue that during an international crisis, such as an economic war or a world war, there is no purpose to preparedness. They will argue that there is nothing an individual or family can do to weather the storm or fight back, because the scale of the threat would be “too great.” There is no place for such defeatism in the life of the liberty-minded. The scale of the threat is irrelevant, and only cowards give up a fight before it even begins. Survival and freedom require an unwavering conviction. Nihilists will fulfill their own prophecies, suffering a fate exactly as they imagine for the rest of us; living in fear, slavery, and obscurity.

That said, it is also important to acknowledge the truth that the majority of Americans today are utterly unready for a minor localized disaster, let alone a national or global crisis. This problem, though, could be easily remedied with a few simple beginning steps. I find that most people are not averse to the idea of preparedness, but many have trouble taking the first steps in the right direction. For longtime preparedness champions, the information listed here might seem like old-hat. However, I challenge each liberty movement member to approach at least one friend or family member who could benefit from the steps below. Prepping appears daunting to the uninitiated; show them how simple it can actually be.

Below is a list of goals that every liberty movement member and American can easily achieve starting today and continuing over the course of the next month. If enough citizens were to take the initiative to do these things, all threats — no matter how imposing — could be overcome.

Buy Three Months Of Food Stock

Food supply is the greatest Achilles’ heel of the American populace. Most homes store less than one week’s worth of food items at any given time. The average person needs between 2,000 and 3,000 calories per day to maintain sufficient energy for survival. It takes around four to six weeks for a person to die of starvation and malnutrition. In a collapse scenario, most deaths will likely occur within the first few months, either by weakness and illness, or by looting and violence. The idea is to at least get through this first catastrophic phase without becoming a villain, or falling victim to one. One person removed from starvation is one possible threat removed from the equation.

Three months of supply is not ideal by any means, but it will buy you precious time. Start with 2,000 calories per day per person. Bulk foods can be purchased cheaply (for now) and can at the very least provide sustenance during emergencies. A 20-pound bag of rice, for instance, can be had for less than $15 and provides about 30,000 calories, or 2,000 calories per day for 15 days for one person. Supplement with beans, canned vegetables and meats, honey for sugar, or freeze-dried goods, and you will be living more comfortably than 90 percent of the population.

Food stockpiling is one of the easiest and most vital measures a person could take. Yet, sadly, it is one of the last preparations on people’s minds.

Buy A Water Filter

Do not count on city water to remain functional. Even during a drawn-out economic downturn rather than an immediate crisis, there is a good chance that some utilities will be sporadic and unreliable. This means you will have to focus on rainwater collection, as well as water from unclean sources. Boiling the water will kill any bacteria, but it will not kill the taste of sediments and other materials floating around. A high-grade survival filter is the best way to get clean water that tastes good.

The average person needs about a gallon of water per day to remain healthy and hydrated. I highly recommend the Sawyer Mini Water Filter, which is a compact washable filter that can cleanse up to 100,000 gallons of water. It uses no moving parts, making it harder to break; and it costs only $20.

Buy A Small Solar Kit

Try going a week or two without electricity, and you may find how dismal life can truly be. The very absence of light at night reduces one’s productivity time drastically, and using fuel for lanterns is not practical in the long term. Solar power is truly the way to go for a grid-collapse scenario.

I’ve heard much whining about the cost of solar power, but small systems that will serve most electrical needs can be set up for less than $1,000. Two 100-watt panels, a power inverter, charge controller and four to six 12-volt deep-cycle batteries are enough to deal with most electrical needs in a survival situation; and all these items can be contained in a portable foot locker for minimal cost. New solar panels are much more effective in low-light conditions and winter weather as well, making solar a must-have prep item.

Store A Fuel Source

Twenty gallons of gasoline treated with fuel saver is not expensive to purchase today, but in the midst of hyperinflation, it may be impossible to obtain tomorrow. Kerosene is useful for heating and cooking. Propane can be stored for decades and runs numerous appliances. If you live in a forested area, dried wood can be had for free, and can keep you warm throughout the winter months (keep in mind the your local danger factor when using fire). It is vital to have a means to stay warm and fed during the most difficult seasonal changes, especially during a grid down scenario.

Find Alternative Shelter

There are no guarantees during a full-spectrum disaster. Having all your eggs in one basket is not only stupid, but unnecessary. Always have a plan B. That means scouting an alternative location for you and your family in the event that your current shelter comes under threat. This location should be far enough away from large population centers but still within a practical range for you to reach them. It should also have a nearby water source, and be defensible. Establishing supply caches near this site is imperative. Do not assume that you will be able to take all of your survival supplies with you from your home. Expect that surprises of a frighteningvariety will arise.

Buy One Semi-Automatic Rifle

At this point I really don’t care what model of rifle people purchase, as long as they have one, preferably in high capacity and semi-automatic. AR-15, AK-47, Saiga, SKS, M1A: just get one! Every American should be armed with a military-grade rifle. If you are not, you are not only negligent in your duty as a free citizen, but you are also at a distinct disadvantage against the kind of opponents you are likely to face in a collapse situation.

Buy 1,000 Rounds Of Ammunition

Again, this is by no means an ideal stockpile, but it is enough to get you through a couple rough patches if you train furiously. Cheap AK-47 ammo can be had for $5 for a box of 20 rounds. Get what you can while you can, because the prices are only going to skyrocket in the near term.

Approach One Friend Or Neighbor

Community is what will make the difference between life and death during a SHTF collapse. I challenge everyone in the liberty movement to find at least ONE other person to work with in the event of disaster. Lone-wolf operations may be strategically practical for short periods of time; but everyone needs rest, and everyone needs someone else to watch his back. Do not fall into the delusion that you will be able to handle everything on your own.

Learn One Barter Skill

Learn how to fix one vital thing or provide one vital service. Try emergency medical training, gunsmithing or metal working, as long as it is an ability that people will value. You have to be able to produce something that people want in order to sustain yourself beyond the point at which your survival stockpile runs out. Be sure that you are seen as indispensable to those around you.

Grow A Garden

Spring is upon us, and now is the perfect opportunity to grow your own food supply. If you have even a small yard, use that space to grow produce. Focus on high-protein and high-vitamin foods. Buy a dehydrator or canning supplies and save everything. Use heirloom seeds so that you can collect new seed from each crop to replant in the future. If every American had a garden in his backyard, I wouldn’t be half as worried about our survival as I am today.

Prepare Your Mind For Calamity

The most valuable resource you will ever have is your own mind. The information held within it and the speed at which you adapt will determine your survival, whether you have massive preparations or minimal preparations. Most people are not trained psychologically to handle severe stress, and this is why they die. Panic equals extinction. Calm readiness equals greater success.

The state of our financial system is one of perpetual tension. The structure is so weak that any catalyst or trigger event could send it tumbling into the abyss. Make no mistake; time is running out. We may witness a terrifying breakdown tomorrow, in a year, or if we are lucky, a little longer. The path, though, has been set and there is no turning back. All of the items above can be undertaken with minimal cash flow. If you receive a regular paycheck, you can establish a survival supply for yourself and your family. There are no excuses.

Take the steps above seriously. Set your goals for the next four weeks and see how many of them you can accomplish. Do what you can today, or curse yourself tomorrow. What’s it going to be?

 

 

 

You can contact Brandon Smith at:  brandon@alt-market.com

Obama Issues Executive Order Freezing Assets Of Seven Putin Aides | Zero Hedge

Obama Issues Executive Order Freezing Assets Of Seven Putin Aides | Zero Hedge.

As was largely expected, the first retaliation by Obama has arrived, courtesy of a just issued Executive Order by the president, in which he has blocked and frozen “all property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person” (i.e. assets) of not only the pre-coup Ukraine president Yanukovich and the Crimean leader Aksyonov, including all Russians that operate in the Russian arms industry, but most notably seven Putin aides. Not Putin himself of course – that would be too “escalatory”…

From the White House:

I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, hereby expand the scope of the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13660 of March 6, 2014, finding that the actions and policies of the Government of the Russian Federation with respect to Ukraine — including the recent deployment of Russian Federation military forces in the Crimea region of Ukraine — undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets, and thereby constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. Accordingly, I hereby order:

Section 1. (a) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person (including any foreign branch) of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in…

The people impacted:

  • Vladislav Surkov

Vladislav Yuryevich Surkov (born 21 September 1964)[1] is a Russian businessman and politician. He was First Deputy of the Chief of the Russian Presidential Administration from 1999 to 2011, during which time he was widely seen as the main ideologist of the Kremlin. Allegedly he contributed greatly to the electoral victory of President Vladimir Putin in 2004. Surkov is seen as the main architect of the current Russian political system, often described as “sovereign” or “managed” democracy.

From December 2011 until 8 May 2013 he served as the Russian Federation’s Deputy Prime Minister. While his resignation was described as voluntary, presidential spokesman Peskov linked the resignation with the government’s failure to carry out decrees by President Putin., in the late 1980s he started as a businessman as the government lifted the ban against private businesses. He became a head of the advertisement department of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s businesses. During the 1990s he held key managerial positions in advertisement and PR departments of Khodorkovsky’s Bank Menatep (1991 – April 1996) and Rosprom (March 1996 – February 1997) and Fridman’s Alfa-Bank (since February 1997).

In September 2004 Surkov was elected president of the board of directors of the oil products transportation company Transnefteproduct, but was instructed by Russia’s PM Mikhail Fradkov to give up the position in February 2006.

Sergey Yurievich Glazyev is a Russian politician and economist, Full Member of Russian Academy of Science since 2008. He was a minister in 1993, a member of the State Duma in 1993-2007, and ran for President of Russia in 2004. Glazyev was a co-founder of the Rodina party. Glazyev announced his retirement from politics in March 2007, and said that he did not intend to seek a further term in the Duma, arguing that Vladimir Putin’s rule had crowded out all forms of political opposition and debate in the country.

In July 2012, Putin appointed Glazyev as presidential aide for the coordination of the work of federal agencies in developing the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Glazyev has authored more than forty books and hundreds of pamphlets and research papers. One of his books has been published in English translation by the LaRouche movement’s Executive Intelligence Review as Genocide: Russia and the New World Order (ISBN 0-943235-16-2). In 1995 he was awarded with the Gold Kondratieff Medal by the International N. D. Kondratieff Foundation and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RAEN).

In August 2013 Glazyev claimed that stating that all Ukrainians favor Ukraine to integrate in the European Union “is some kind of sick self-delusion”.[3] Because, according to him, “sociological surveys by Ukrainian sociological services say something different: 35% of people prefer the European Union and 40% the Customs Union”. He blamed “numerous political scientists and experts, who have fed on European and American grants for 20 years, and a whole generation of diplomats and bureaucrats that has appeared after the years of the ‘orange’ hysteria, who are carrying out an anti-Russian agenda” and “who are too far from the economy and real life, don’t really know their country’s history and are divorced from its spiritual traditions” for creating “an effect that Ukraine doesn’t want”.[3] Ukrainian opinion polls that polled support in Ukraine for European Union membership did indicate that at the time of Mr Glazyev’s statements Ukrainians preferred joining the European Union rather than the Customs Union.

  • Leonid Slutsky

Leonid Eduardovich Slutskii is a member of the State Duma of Russia, a member of the LDPR party. Currently he is the Chairman of the State Duma Committee on the “Commonwealth of Independent States, Eurasian Integration and links with compatriots”. Slutsky as been a First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma’s Committee on International Affairs. He is dean of the international relations department at the Moscow State University of Economics, Information and Statistics. He has held senior banking positions and was an advisor to the mayor of Moscow. Slutsky also reported to a directorate of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR. He holds an economics degree from the Moscow Economic-Statistical Institute

  • Andrei Klishas

Dr. Andrey A. Klishas served as Vice President and Chairman of the Board of Directors at Interros Company since June 2008. Dr. Klishas is a visiting Professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law Faculty and an Assistant Professor of Constitutional and Municipal Department (Legal Department) of Russian Peoples Friendship University. Dr. Klishas is an Assistant Professor of constitutional and municipal department of Moscow University for the Russian Ministry of Domestic Affairs. From June 1998 to October 2001, he was the Legal Matters Director and Deputy General Director of Interros Company. From October 2001, Dr. Klishas served as the General Director of Interros and from December 2001, he was the Chairman of the Management Board. From January 2004, Dr. Klishas was a Member of the Board of Directors of the firm. He held different posts at Russian Federal Property Fund from 1995 to 1997 and at UNEXIM Bank, where he was the Deputy Head of Legal Department from August 1997 to June 1998. On July 2007, Dr. Klishas was elected the President of Federation of Hunting Dog Breeding.

Currently, he is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Polyus Gold since June 26, 2008 and Open Investments company and a Member of the Board of Agros Group and Polyus CJSC. Dr. Klishas serves as a General Director at KM Invest Private Joint Stock Company. He has been Director of MMC Norilsk Nickel since December 2008.

  • Valentina Matviyenko

Valentina Ivanovna Matviyenko is the highest-ranking female politician in Russia, the former governor of Saint Petersburg and the current Chairman of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation. Born in the Ukrainian SSR, Matviyenko started her political career in the 1980s in Saint Petersburg (then called Leningrad) and was the First Secretary of the Krasnogvardeysky District CPSU of the city from 1984 to 1986. In the 1990s she served as Russian ambassador to Malta (1991–1995) and Greece (1997–1998). Between 1998–2003 Matviyenko was Deputy Prime Minister of Russia for Welfare, and briefly the Presidential Envoy to the Northwestern Federal District in 2003. By that time she firmly allied herself with Russian President Vladimir Putin, an alliance which secured her a victory in the governor elections in Saint Petersburg, Putin’s native city.

On 19 May 2007, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation announced that on 16 May it had detained several members of an undisclosed youth religious group allegedly preparing an assassination attempt on Valentina Matviyenko’s life using hand grenades and plastic explosive. On 23 May FSB Director Nikolay Patrushev announced that the prevented attempt had been scheduled for June.

Controversial businessman Vitaly Arkhangelsky accused Matviyenko in corporate raiding and corruption. According to him Matvieyenko is the real owner of the bank “Saint Petersburg” that staged a corporate raid on the property of his company, OMG that included Vyborg Port and Western Terminal of Saint Petersburg port using falsified documents with forged signature of Arkhangelsy. The lawyers of bank “Saint Petersburg” insist on exclusion materials of Matviyenko’s involvement from the criminal case in London court.

  • Dmitry Rogozin

Dmitryi Olegovich Rogozin  is a Russian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia in charge of defense industry. In January 2008, he became Russia’s ambassador to NATO, until December 2011. He was a leader of the Rodina (Motherland) party until it merged with other similar Russian parties to form the Fair Russia party.He speaks 4 languages and holds a doctor’s degree.

On 18 February 2011 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev appointed Dmitry Rogozin as a Special Representative on anti-missile defence and negotiations with NATO countries on this issue. On 23 December 2011 Dmitry Rogozin was appointed deputy premier of Russian Government in charge of defense and space industry. As responsible for the defense industry he leads the creation of the Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects in the Defense Industry (Russian DARPA).

In 2008 he was appointed a Russian ambassador to NATO. As Russia’s NATO envoy he was heavily opposed to Ukraine and Georgia becoming members of NATO. After the two countries were denied membership of the NATO Membership Action Plan he claimed that: “They will not invite these bankrupt scandalous regimes to join NATO…more so as important partnerships with Russia are at stake.”. For such words he was criticized by some Ukrainian and Georgian officials. Former Ukraine’s envoy to NATO Ihor Sahach said: “In my opinion, he is merely used as one of cogs in the informational war waged against Ukraine. Sooner or later, I think, it should be stopped”. The envoy also expressed a surprise with Rogozin’s slang words. “It was for the first time that I heard such a higher official as envoy using this, I don’t even know how to describe it, whether it was a slang or language of criminal circles… I understand Russian, but, I’m sorry, I don’t know what his words meant”.The Foreign Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Ohryzko stated that he did not regard the statement as serious.

  • Yelena Mizulina

Yelena Mizulina is a Russian politician serving as a member of the Russian Parliament between 1995 and 2003 and again since 2007. Since 2012, she has been the center of attention in regard to a set of controversial laws concerning the rights of the LGBT community in Russia and the adoption of Russian orphan children by foreigners. She is currently Chairman of the Duma Committee on Family, Women and Children Affairs. She has changed her political affiliation several times, having served public office on behalf of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the liberal Yabloko and Union of Right Forces parties and is currently representing the region of Omsk in the Duma as a representative of the social democratic A Just Russia party.

Obama Issues Executive Order Freezing Assets Of Seven Putin Aides | Zero Hedge

Obama Issues Executive Order Freezing Assets Of Seven Putin Aides | Zero Hedge.

As was largely expected, the first retaliation by Obama has arrived, courtesy of a just issued Executive Order by the president, in which he has blocked and frozen “all property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person” (i.e. assets) of not only the pre-coup Ukraine president Yanukovich and the Crimean leader Aksyonov, including all Russians that operate in the Russian arms industry, but most notably seven Putin aides. Not Putin himself of course – that would be too “escalatory”…

From the White House:

I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, hereby expand the scope of the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13660 of March 6, 2014, finding that the actions and policies of the Government of the Russian Federation with respect to Ukraine — including the recent deployment of Russian Federation military forces in the Crimea region of Ukraine — undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets, and thereby constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. Accordingly, I hereby order:

Section 1. (a) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person (including any foreign branch) of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in…

The people impacted:

  • Vladislav Surkov

Vladislav Yuryevich Surkov (born 21 September 1964)[1] is a Russian businessman and politician. He was First Deputy of the Chief of the Russian Presidential Administration from 1999 to 2011, during which time he was widely seen as the main ideologist of the Kremlin. Allegedly he contributed greatly to the electoral victory of President Vladimir Putin in 2004. Surkov is seen as the main architect of the current Russian political system, often described as “sovereign” or “managed” democracy.

From December 2011 until 8 May 2013 he served as the Russian Federation’s Deputy Prime Minister. While his resignation was described as voluntary, presidential spokesman Peskov linked the resignation with the government’s failure to carry out decrees by President Putin., in the late 1980s he started as a businessman as the government lifted the ban against private businesses. He became a head of the advertisement department of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s businesses. During the 1990s he held key managerial positions in advertisement and PR departments of Khodorkovsky’s Bank Menatep (1991 – April 1996) and Rosprom (March 1996 – February 1997) and Fridman’s Alfa-Bank (since February 1997).

In September 2004 Surkov was elected president of the board of directors of the oil products transportation company Transnefteproduct, but was instructed by Russia’s PM Mikhail Fradkov to give up the position in February 2006.

Sergey Yurievich Glazyev is a Russian politician and economist, Full Member of Russian Academy of Science since 2008. He was a minister in 1993, a member of the State Duma in 1993-2007, and ran for President of Russia in 2004. Glazyev was a co-founder of the Rodina party. Glazyev announced his retirement from politics in March 2007, and said that he did not intend to seek a further term in the Duma, arguing that Vladimir Putin’s rule had crowded out all forms of political opposition and debate in the country.

In July 2012, Putin appointed Glazyev as presidential aide for the coordination of the work of federal agencies in developing the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Glazyev has authored more than forty books and hundreds of pamphlets and research papers. One of his books has been published in English translation by the LaRouche movement’s Executive Intelligence Review as Genocide: Russia and the New World Order (ISBN 0-943235-16-2). In 1995 he was awarded with the Gold Kondratieff Medal by the International N. D. Kondratieff Foundation and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RAEN).

In August 2013 Glazyev claimed that stating that all Ukrainians favor Ukraine to integrate in the European Union “is some kind of sick self-delusion”.[3] Because, according to him, “sociological surveys by Ukrainian sociological services say something different: 35% of people prefer the European Union and 40% the Customs Union”. He blamed “numerous political scientists and experts, who have fed on European and American grants for 20 years, and a whole generation of diplomats and bureaucrats that has appeared after the years of the ‘orange’ hysteria, who are carrying out an anti-Russian agenda” and “who are too far from the economy and real life, don’t really know their country’s history and are divorced from its spiritual traditions” for creating “an effect that Ukraine doesn’t want”.[3] Ukrainian opinion polls that polled support in Ukraine for European Union membership did indicate that at the time of Mr Glazyev’s statements Ukrainians preferred joining the European Union rather than the Customs Union.

  • Leonid Slutsky

Leonid Eduardovich Slutskii is a member of the State Duma of Russia, a member of the LDPR party. Currently he is the Chairman of the State Duma Committee on the “Commonwealth of Independent States, Eurasian Integration and links with compatriots”. Slutsky as been a First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma’s Committee on International Affairs. He is dean of the international relations department at the Moscow State University of Economics, Information and Statistics. He has held senior banking positions and was an advisor to the mayor of Moscow. Slutsky also reported to a directorate of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR. He holds an economics degree from the Moscow Economic-Statistical Institute

  • Andrei Klishas

Dr. Andrey A. Klishas served as Vice President and Chairman of the Board of Directors at Interros Company since June 2008. Dr. Klishas is a visiting Professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law Faculty and an Assistant Professor of Constitutional and Municipal Department (Legal Department) of Russian Peoples Friendship University. Dr. Klishas is an Assistant Professor of constitutional and municipal department of Moscow University for the Russian Ministry of Domestic Affairs. From June 1998 to October 2001, he was the Legal Matters Director and Deputy General Director of Interros Company. From October 2001, Dr. Klishas served as the General Director of Interros and from December 2001, he was the Chairman of the Management Board. From January 2004, Dr. Klishas was a Member of the Board of Directors of the firm. He held different posts at Russian Federal Property Fund from 1995 to 1997 and at UNEXIM Bank, where he was the Deputy Head of Legal Department from August 1997 to June 1998. On July 2007, Dr. Klishas was elected the President of Federation of Hunting Dog Breeding.

Currently, he is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Polyus Gold since June 26, 2008 and Open Investments company and a Member of the Board of Agros Group and Polyus CJSC. Dr. Klishas serves as a General Director at KM Invest Private Joint Stock Company. He has been Director of MMC Norilsk Nickel since December 2008.

  • Valentina Matviyenko

Valentina Ivanovna Matviyenko is the highest-ranking female politician in Russia, the former governor of Saint Petersburg and the current Chairman of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation. Born in the Ukrainian SSR, Matviyenko started her political career in the 1980s in Saint Petersburg (then called Leningrad) and was the First Secretary of the Krasnogvardeysky District CPSU of the city from 1984 to 1986. In the 1990s she served as Russian ambassador to Malta (1991–1995) and Greece (1997–1998). Between 1998–2003 Matviyenko was Deputy Prime Minister of Russia for Welfare, and briefly the Presidential Envoy to the Northwestern Federal District in 2003. By that time she firmly allied herself with Russian President Vladimir Putin, an alliance which secured her a victory in the governor elections in Saint Petersburg, Putin’s native city.

On 19 May 2007, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation announced that on 16 May it had detained several members of an undisclosed youth religious group allegedly preparing an assassination attempt on Valentina Matviyenko’s life using hand grenades and plastic explosive. On 23 May FSB Director Nikolay Patrushev announced that the prevented attempt had been scheduled for June.

Controversial businessman Vitaly Arkhangelsky accused Matviyenko in corporate raiding and corruption. According to him Matvieyenko is the real owner of the bank “Saint Petersburg” that staged a corporate raid on the property of his company, OMG that included Vyborg Port and Western Terminal of Saint Petersburg port using falsified documents with forged signature of Arkhangelsy. The lawyers of bank “Saint Petersburg” insist on exclusion materials of Matviyenko’s involvement from the criminal case in London court.

  • Dmitry Rogozin

Dmitryi Olegovich Rogozin  is a Russian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia in charge of defense industry. In January 2008, he became Russia’s ambassador to NATO, until December 2011. He was a leader of the Rodina (Motherland) party until it merged with other similar Russian parties to form the Fair Russia party.He speaks 4 languages and holds a doctor’s degree.

On 18 February 2011 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev appointed Dmitry Rogozin as a Special Representative on anti-missile defence and negotiations with NATO countries on this issue. On 23 December 2011 Dmitry Rogozin was appointed deputy premier of Russian Government in charge of defense and space industry. As responsible for the defense industry he leads the creation of the Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects in the Defense Industry (Russian DARPA).

In 2008 he was appointed a Russian ambassador to NATO. As Russia’s NATO envoy he was heavily opposed to Ukraine and Georgia becoming members of NATO. After the two countries were denied membership of the NATO Membership Action Plan he claimed that: “They will not invite these bankrupt scandalous regimes to join NATO…more so as important partnerships with Russia are at stake.”. For such words he was criticized by some Ukrainian and Georgian officials. Former Ukraine’s envoy to NATO Ihor Sahach said: “In my opinion, he is merely used as one of cogs in the informational war waged against Ukraine. Sooner or later, I think, it should be stopped”. The envoy also expressed a surprise with Rogozin’s slang words. “It was for the first time that I heard such a higher official as envoy using this, I don’t even know how to describe it, whether it was a slang or language of criminal circles… I understand Russian, but, I’m sorry, I don’t know what his words meant”.The Foreign Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Ohryzko stated that he did not regard the statement as serious.

  • Yelena Mizulina

Yelena Mizulina is a Russian politician serving as a member of the Russian Parliament between 1995 and 2003 and again since 2007. Since 2012, she has been the center of attention in regard to a set of controversial laws concerning the rights of the LGBT community in Russia and the adoption of Russian orphan children by foreigners. She is currently Chairman of the Duma Committee on Family, Women and Children Affairs. She has changed her political affiliation several times, having served public office on behalf of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the liberal Yabloko and Union of Right Forces parties and is currently representing the region of Omsk in the Duma as a representative of the social democratic A Just Russia party.

16% of Natural Gas Consumed in Europe Flows Through Ukraine  |  Peak Oil News and Message Boards

16% of Natural Gas Consumed in Europe Flows Through Ukraine  |  Peak Oil News and Message Boards.

map of major Russia-Europe natural gas transit lines, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, IHS EDIN, and International Energy Agency
Note: Representations of international boundaries and names are not authoritative.

Europe, including all EU members plus Turkey, Norway, Switzerland, and the non-EU Balkan states, consumed 18.7 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas in 2013. Russia supplied 30% (5.7 Tcf) of this volume, with a significant amount flowing through Ukraine. EIA estimates that 16% (3.0 Tcf) of the total natural gas consumed in Europe passed through Ukraine’s pipeline network, based on data reported by Gazprom and Eastern Bloc Energy.

Two major pipeline systems carry Russian gas through Ukraine to Western Europe—the Bratstvo (Brotherhood) and Soyuz (Union) pipelines. The Bratstvo pipeline is Russia’s largest pipeline to Europe. It crosses from Ukraine to Slovakia and splits in two to supply northern and southern European countries. The Soyuz pipeline links Russian pipelines to natural gas networks in Central Asia and supplies additional volumes to central and northern Europe. A third major pipeline through Ukraine (Trans-Balkan) delivers Russian natural gas to the Balkan countries and Turkey.

In the past, as much as 80% of Russian natural gas exports to Europe transited Ukraine. This number has fallen to 50%-60% since the Nord Stream pipeline, a direct link between Russia and Germany under the Baltic Sea, came online in 2011.

Natural gas flows through Ukraine vary by season, ranging from almost 12 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas per day in the winter to only 6 Bcf per day in the summer. An unusually mild winter in 2013 meant reduced natural gas flows through Ukraine and contributed to higher levels of natural gas storage in Europe (natural gas storage levels were 46% full as of March 13, compared to 23% full in the United States).

graph of Russian natural gas exports to Europe through Ukraine, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Agency, and Eastern Bloc Energy

For more information, see EIA’s country analysis note on Ukraine.

Principal contributor: Alexander Metelitsa

IEA.gov

16% of Natural Gas Consumed in Europe Flows Through Ukraine  |  Peak Oil News and Message Boards

16% of Natural Gas Consumed in Europe Flows Through Ukraine  |  Peak Oil News and Message Boards.

map of major Russia-Europe natural gas transit lines, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, IHS EDIN, and International Energy Agency
Note: Representations of international boundaries and names are not authoritative.

Europe, including all EU members plus Turkey, Norway, Switzerland, and the non-EU Balkan states, consumed 18.7 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas in 2013. Russia supplied 30% (5.7 Tcf) of this volume, with a significant amount flowing through Ukraine. EIA estimates that 16% (3.0 Tcf) of the total natural gas consumed in Europe passed through Ukraine’s pipeline network, based on data reported by Gazprom and Eastern Bloc Energy.

Two major pipeline systems carry Russian gas through Ukraine to Western Europe—the Bratstvo (Brotherhood) and Soyuz (Union) pipelines. The Bratstvo pipeline is Russia’s largest pipeline to Europe. It crosses from Ukraine to Slovakia and splits in two to supply northern and southern European countries. The Soyuz pipeline links Russian pipelines to natural gas networks in Central Asia and supplies additional volumes to central and northern Europe. A third major pipeline through Ukraine (Trans-Balkan) delivers Russian natural gas to the Balkan countries and Turkey.

In the past, as much as 80% of Russian natural gas exports to Europe transited Ukraine. This number has fallen to 50%-60% since the Nord Stream pipeline, a direct link between Russia and Germany under the Baltic Sea, came online in 2011.

Natural gas flows through Ukraine vary by season, ranging from almost 12 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas per day in the winter to only 6 Bcf per day in the summer. An unusually mild winter in 2013 meant reduced natural gas flows through Ukraine and contributed to higher levels of natural gas storage in Europe (natural gas storage levels were 46% full as of March 13, compared to 23% full in the United States).

graph of Russian natural gas exports to Europe through Ukraine, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Agency, and Eastern Bloc Energy

For more information, see EIA’s country analysis note on Ukraine.

Principal contributor: Alexander Metelitsa

IEA.gov

The Animal Spirits Page: How monetary policy drives foreign policy

The Animal Spirits Page: How monetary policy drives foreign policy.

It should now be evident that America’s foreign policy is to an extent being driven by our banking mess. Again and again, we see Washington, including Wall Street’s handmaiden, the Fed, exporting monetary chaos implicitely in order to weaken the status of potentially competing reserve currencies:

  • Wall Street sent a tsunami of bad AAA-rated mortgage debt to Europe, much to Germany, the locus of power for the Euro (and again, implicit admission of guilt is seen in the apparent fronting of billions of bailout dollars to the European banks by the Fed after the crisis);
  • Washington has apparently fomented or supported a coup in the Ukraine that increases the likelihood of war in Europe dramatically therefore sending the gigantic pools of liquid financial assets in the world scurrying into the greenback and US Treasuries, which the Chinese have stopped gobbling up;
  • the other factor is that the military-industrial complex needs war to get its funding, and when drone-bombing rag-heads can’t provoke a serious attack, destabilizing a former Eastern bloc nation and provoking a somewhat justifiably paranoid Russian leader into military action guarantees at least a shot in the arm of crisis funding.

Russia has repeatedly stated over the past decades that an EU move on the Ukraine crosses a red line. The EU ignored the warning, and with the US’s help and the ire of Ukrainians sick of a corrupt government crossed Putin’s red line. What the Ukrainians want is democracy and relief from their corrupt plutocrats (see previous post’s article by Paul Craig Roberts).

The US has no compelling strategic interest in the Ukraine, or in the Crimea remaining part of the Ukraine. Yes, the Ukraine has been looted by its oligarchs, just as Russia was, and just as the US is being looted by its oligarchs right now; incomes of a majority of American households are falling so the banks can collect on bad debts. It would be nice for people everywhere if they could break the grip of the plutocrats over their livelihoods. In the Ukraine, to substitute debt servitude to Western banks for the domination of the oligarchs would only accelerate the collapse of the EU. And it’s not clear the EU, if it offers help, won’t be ripped off by the oligarchs as well. The new government in the Ukraine has already increased the power of the oligarchs by giving them provinces to rule, so it’s not clear the Western “rescuers” are even able to help solve the fundamental problem at all, and might end up losing their shirts again, as they have in Greece, Portugal, et al.

Until democratic governments around the world become strong enough to counteract the power of the plutocratsby taxing them, both their income and their wealth (as Sweden does) the revolving looting of sovereign governments and demolition of middle classes by the plutocrats and their corporations will continue.

A couple of posts ago I said the scariest thing I’ve heard recently was Catherine Anne Fitts saying what the world needs now is a global debt for equity swap. I should say I generally like Ms. Fitts’ analysis and suspect she may even have misspoken when she made this comment. Such a move would concentrate ownership of the world’s assets sufficiently to create even more of a Plantation Earth than we have currently.

She identified the problem, but not the solution. What the world needs now is a global jubilee, debt forgiveness. The debt that the Fed is shoving under the carpet via QE is what is known in banking circles as “bad debt.” It is loans that never should have been made because they will never be repaid. In honest not crony capitalism such debts come out of the profits (as losses) of the banks that made them. In crony capitalism, with a central bank controlled by the banks, such debts are “paid back” by being monetized and put on the backs of the taxpayers either directly or through inflation.

The austerity programs Europe has put in place so that Wall Street and European banks can be paid back bad debts have destroyed more than one economy and more are probably yet to fall. (The idea promoted ten plus years ago of “convergence” of interest rates in the EU between periphery and core caused me to gag at the time.) Debt slavery to Western banks is not the answer. (China is apparently making similar mistakes; it will be interesting to see what they do with the bad debt. I suspect their strong central government will tell the bankers to go stuff it.) Ms. Fitts suggests that sooner or later the plutocrats will destroy the banks in order to buy them cheap and collect the rents themselves, canny suggestion indeed.

Chaos in the world = a strong dollar. Until it doesn’t. Chaos has a way of being unpredictable.

Capitalism has killed democracy. “Free” markets dominated by monopolies and oligopolies are not what Adam Smith had in mind. It’s time for democracy to be reborn. There are degrees of economic inequality that are simply immoral and destructive and humankind has the right to reject them. When the top 85 families own as much as the bottom 3.5 billion people, as recently reported, we have reached such a point.

8 Real World Events That Prove Your Money Isn’t Safe In Europe (Or Anywhere)

8 Real World Events That Prove Your Money Isn’t Safe In Europe (Or Anywhere).

[The following post is by TDV editor-in-chief, Jeff Berwick.]

As I write this, the European Union has just announced a possible $15b aid package to the Ukraine (including 8 billion euros in fresh credit). Everybody has read the headlines about Europe: record unemployment, no end in sight, and so on. So you might be wondering just where the European Union, and its’ constituent nations, scrapped together the money to propose aid for the Ukraine. Well, wonder no more, because the following eight events might give you an idea of where governments go to get a little extra cash.

1. In March, 2009, Ireland seized €4bn from its Pension Reserve fund in order to rescue its banks. In November 2010, the remaining savings of €2.5bn was seized to support the bailout of the rest of the country.

2. In December, 2010, Hungary told its citizens that they could either remit their private pension money to the state or lose their state pension funds (but still have to pay for it nonetheless)

3. In November, 2010, the French parliament decided to earmark €33bn from the national reserve pension fund FRR to reduce the short-term pension scheme deficit.

4. In early January 2011, $60 million in private retirement funds were transferred to the state’s pension scheme in Bulgaria.  They wanted to transfer $300 million, but were denied on their first attempt

5. In the Spring of 2013 Cyprus took it a step further and outright confiscated up to 50% of the funds from bank account holders in that country.

6. In the Fall of 2013 the Polish government announced it would transfer to the state (aka. confiscate) the bulk of assets owned by the country’s private pension funds (many of them owned by such foreign firms as PIMCO parent Allianz, AXA, Generali, ING and Aviva), without offering any compensation.

7.  In February 2014, Italian banks were ordered by the Italian government to withhold a 20% tax on all inbound wire transfers. Il Sole reported, “the deductions will be automatic (unless prior request for exclusion), and then it will be up to the taxpayer to prove that the money is not in the nature of compensation “income.'”

8. The savings of all 500 million Europeans can be stolen by the European Union. Why? Because the financial crisis is not over, according to an EU document. The Commission is looking to ask the bloc’s insurance watchdog in the second half of 2014 for advice on how to draft a law “to mobilize more personal pension savings for long-term financing,” the document said.

So you see, european governments and institutions have already begun seizing private pension funds, slapping 20% taxes on all incoming wire transfers, confiscating up to 50% from private bank accounts and even stating all the savings of Europe are fair game.  As we’ve said before, this phenomenom of wealth confiscation won’t stay confined to Europe. The US has also taken measures to ensure ease of access to the funds of everyday Americans. 

We’ve said for many years now that the US government and almost all Western governments are bankrupt. This means they will try to confiscate as much wealth as possible from people who don’t carefully save before the collapse. Mark our words: US 401ks and IRAs will be nationalized in the next four years as well—maybe as soon as the next one or two years. If you’ve stayed in tune with the Dollar Vigilante blog, you probably already understood this. If you haven’t already, be sure to check into our subscription services to gain access to the intelligence you need to stay ahead of the pack.

 

picAnarcho-Capitalist.  Libertarian.  Freedom fighter against mankind’s two biggest enemies, the State and the Central Banks.  Jeff Berwick is the founder of The Dollar Vigilante, CEO of TDV Media & Services and host of the popular video podcast, Anarchast.  Jeff is a prominent speaker at many of the world’s freedom, investment and gold conferences as well as regularly in the media including CNBC, CNN and Fox Business.

8 Real World Events That Prove Your Money Isn't Safe In Europe (Or Anywhere)

8 Real World Events That Prove Your Money Isn’t Safe In Europe (Or Anywhere).

[The following post is by TDV editor-in-chief, Jeff Berwick.]

As I write this, the European Union has just announced a possible $15b aid package to the Ukraine (including 8 billion euros in fresh credit). Everybody has read the headlines about Europe: record unemployment, no end in sight, and so on. So you might be wondering just where the European Union, and its’ constituent nations, scrapped together the money to propose aid for the Ukraine. Well, wonder no more, because the following eight events might give you an idea of where governments go to get a little extra cash.

1. In March, 2009, Ireland seized €4bn from its Pension Reserve fund in order to rescue its banks. In November 2010, the remaining savings of €2.5bn was seized to support the bailout of the rest of the country.

2. In December, 2010, Hungary told its citizens that they could either remit their private pension money to the state or lose their state pension funds (but still have to pay for it nonetheless)

3. In November, 2010, the French parliament decided to earmark €33bn from the national reserve pension fund FRR to reduce the short-term pension scheme deficit.

4. In early January 2011, $60 million in private retirement funds were transferred to the state’s pension scheme in Bulgaria.  They wanted to transfer $300 million, but were denied on their first attempt

5. In the Spring of 2013 Cyprus took it a step further and outright confiscated up to 50% of the funds from bank account holders in that country.

6. In the Fall of 2013 the Polish government announced it would transfer to the state (aka. confiscate) the bulk of assets owned by the country’s private pension funds (many of them owned by such foreign firms as PIMCO parent Allianz, AXA, Generali, ING and Aviva), without offering any compensation.

7.  In February 2014, Italian banks were ordered by the Italian government to withhold a 20% tax on all inbound wire transfers. Il Sole reported, “the deductions will be automatic (unless prior request for exclusion), and then it will be up to the taxpayer to prove that the money is not in the nature of compensation “income.'”

8. The savings of all 500 million Europeans can be stolen by the European Union. Why? Because the financial crisis is not over, according to an EU document. The Commission is looking to ask the bloc’s insurance watchdog in the second half of 2014 for advice on how to draft a law “to mobilize more personal pension savings for long-term financing,” the document said.

So you see, european governments and institutions have already begun seizing private pension funds, slapping 20% taxes on all incoming wire transfers, confiscating up to 50% from private bank accounts and even stating all the savings of Europe are fair game.  As we’ve said before, this phenomenom of wealth confiscation won’t stay confined to Europe. The US has also taken measures to ensure ease of access to the funds of everyday Americans. 

We’ve said for many years now that the US government and almost all Western governments are bankrupt. This means they will try to confiscate as much wealth as possible from people who don’t carefully save before the collapse. Mark our words: US 401ks and IRAs will be nationalized in the next four years as well—maybe as soon as the next one or two years. If you’ve stayed in tune with the Dollar Vigilante blog, you probably already understood this. If you haven’t already, be sure to check into our subscription services to gain access to the intelligence you need to stay ahead of the pack.

 

picAnarcho-Capitalist.  Libertarian.  Freedom fighter against mankind’s two biggest enemies, the State and the Central Banks.  Jeff Berwick is the founder of The Dollar Vigilante, CEO of TDV Media & Services and host of the popular video podcast, Anarchast.  Jeff is a prominent speaker at many of the world’s freedom, investment and gold conferences as well as regularly in the media including CNBC, CNN and Fox Business.

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