Strategy of U.S. Anti-Russia Sanctions Becomes Clearer: Serving American Billionaires.

On Friday, April 6th, Reuters headlined “Russian businessmen, officials on new U.S. sanctions list”, and opened: “The United States on Friday imposed major sanctions against 24 Russians, striking at allies of President Vladimir Putin over Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and other ‘malign activity’. Below are the most prominent businessmen targeted along with their main assets and connections as well as extracts from the U.S. Treasury statement.”

As that Reuters list makes even clearer than before, U.S. economic sanctions against Russia are focused against mainly the following four categories of targets in Russia:

1. Russian competitors to America’s largest international oil companies. These specific U.S. firms were listed, on March 27th, in an excellent article by Antonia Juhasz in Pacific Standard magazine, “INSIDE THE TAX BILL’S $25 BILLION OIL COMPANY BONANZA: A Pacific Standard analysis shows the oil and gas industry is among the tax bill’s greatest financial beneficiaries.” There, they were listed in rank order. For example: the largest such firm, Exxon/Mobil, was given $5.9 billion in “2017 Tax Act Savings,” and the second-largest, Philipps 66, won $2.7 billion in it. The latest round of anti-Russia sanctions focuses clearly against these international U.S. oil firms’ Russian competitors. 

However, previous rounds of U.S. sanctions have especially focused against:

2. Russian competitors of Lockheed Martin and other international U.S. weapons-firms — Russian manufacturers that are selling, to foreign governments, military aircraft, missiles, and other military equipment, on the international markets: competing military products. The competitive purpose of these sanctions is to boost not U.S. international oil-firms, but U.S. international weapons-firms.

3. Russian banks that lend to those firms. Some of these banks have also other close ties to those firms.

4. Russian Government officials, and billionaires, who cooperate with Russia’s elected President, Vladimir Putin. Putin refuses to allow suppliers to the Russian military to be controlled (such as are the military suppliers to America’s Government) by private investors (and especially not by foreigners); he wants the weapons-manufacturers to represent the state, not the state to represent the weapons-manufacturers; i.e., he refuses to privatize Russia’s weapons-producers, and he instead insists that all firms that supply Russia’s military be controlled by Russia’s elected Government, not by any private investors. (By contrast, The West relies almost entirely upon privately owned weapons-makers.) He also prohibits foreign interests from controlling Russia’s natural resources such as oil firms, mining, and land-ownership, and this explicitly applies even to agricultural land. However, most important are Russia’s Strategic Sectors Law (otherwise known as “Strategic Investment Law”), which defines as a “Strategic Entity” and thus subject strictly to control only by the Russian Government and citizenry, four categories: Defense, Natural Resources, Media, and Monopolies. Russia’s refusal to allow U.S. billionaires to buy control over these — to buy control over the Government — is, to a large extent, being punished by the U.S. anti-Russia sanctions. 

Focusing on the latest round: The Reuters article lists the specific main targets of the new sanctions. These targets are, as described by the U.S. Treasury Department, and as quoted by Reuters:

Oleg Deripaska is being designated … for operating in the energy sector of the Russian Federation economy.”

Viktor Vekselberg is being designated for operating in the energy sector of the Russian Federation economy.”

Kirill Shamalov is being designated for operating in the energy sector of the Russian Federation economy.”

Andrei Skoch is being designated for being an official of the Government of the Russian Federation.”

Suleiman Kerimov is being designated for being an official of the Government of the Russian Federation.”

Vladimir Bogdanov is being designated for operating in the energy sector of the Russian Federation economy.”

Igor Rotenberg is being designated for operating in the energy sector of the Russian Federation economy.”

Those are the ones that the Reuters article specifically listed. In addition, there are:

DESIGNATED RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

Andrey Akimov, chairman of the board at Gazprombank

Andrey Kostin, president of VTB bank

*Alexey Miller, chief executive of Gazprom

Mikhail Fradkov, president of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies

Sergey Fursenko, member of the board of directors of Gazprom Neft

Oleg Govorun, head of the Presidential Directorate for Social and Economic Cooperation with the Commonwealth of Independent States Member Countries

Image result for Gazprom

Gazprom is Russia’s oil-and-gas giant; and, likewise in accord with Putin’s demand that national-security industry remain under state-control instead of control by private investors, its controlling investor is the Russian Government. However, a few individuals are listed who are simply Russian Government officials, presumably likewise more cooperative, with carrying out the intentions of the elected President, than the U.S. and its allied governments consider to be acceptable.

Clearly, the special focus of these sanctions is on supporting U.S. international oil firms competing against Russian international oil firms. 

On January 26th, Reuters bannered “U.S. hits Russian deputy minister and energy firms with sanctions”, and opened: 

The United States added Russian officials and energy firms to a sanctions blacklist on Friday, days before details of further possible penalties against Moscow are due to be released.

A Treasury Department spokesperson said the department is “actively working” on reports required under the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Terrorism Act” and aimed to release them consistent with timelines in the legislation.

Trump or his Treasury Secretary were actually responding to pressure from “Democrats” and unnamed others; but, when the final statement from the Treasury was issued on January 29th (and largely ignored by the press), it turned out that no new sanctions were issued, against anyone. The billionaires’ lobbyists had achieved nothing more than to provide (via the anti-Russia verbiage from members of Congress) to the American public, yet more anti-Russia indoctrination in support of America’s war against Russia; but, this time, no real action was taken by the President against Russia. 

On 28 December 2017, the ‘private CIA’ firm Stratfor, which does work for the CIA and for major U.S. corporations, had headlined, “Russia Won’t Sit Still for Additional U.S. Sanctions”, and summarized prior U.S. economic sanctions against Russia:

Since the Soviet period, the United States has targeted Russia with numerous sanctions. The primary ones currently in effect were instituted over human rights violations and the conflict in Ukraine. In late 2012, the United States expanded its Soviet-era sanctions over human rights and approved the Magnitsky Act to punish those deemed responsible for the death of Russian tax accountant Sergei Magnitsky, a whistleblower who investigated Kremlin abuses and a tax-fraud scheme. The act penalizes dozens of people believed to be involved in the case, but the measure has evolved into a platform for the United States and its allies to punish Russia for a much wider scope of human rights abuses. 

The Ukraine sanctions imposed by the United States (and, to a lesser extent, by the European Union, Canada, Australia and Japan) stem from Russian involvement in the conflict there and includes the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Russian support of the previous government, the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the annexation of Crimea. Those penalties include:

• Limits on debt issuance to Russia’s six largest banks, four primary state oil firms and four state defense firms.

• Sanctions on Russia’s energy industry, prohibiting U.S. firms from providing, exporting or re-exporting goods and technology related to deep-water, Arctic offshore and shale oil and natural gas projects in Russia.

• Bans on subjects receiving dual-use goods by Russia’s primary state defense companies.

• Sanctions (travel and asset freezes) against hundreds of Russian entities and individuals. 

That was a fair summary; but, because Stratfor derives some of its income from the CIA, it stated as being facts, instead of as being lies, that “Sergei Magnitsky [was] a whistleblower who investigated Kremlin abuses and a tax-fraud scheme,” even though Magnitsky actually was never a “whistleblower,” and he was, to the exact contrary, assisting an American hedge-fund operator to illegally avoid $230 million in taxes that were due to the Russian Government and which tax-fraud had been reported not by Magnitsky as any ‘whistleblower’ but instead by, essentially, a bookkeeper, who was afraid of being prosecuted if she didn’t report to the police this tax-evasion that she was working on. Furthermore, Stratfor’s “to punish those deemed responsible for the death of” Magnitsky also is a lie, because the only person who so “deemed” was the American tax-fraudster who had employed Magnitsky. That employer accused Russia’s police of beating to death in prison this criminal suspect, Magnitsky, and he used, as ‘documentation’ for his charges, fake ‘translations’into English of the police documents, and these ‘translations’ were taken at face-value by U.S. and EU officials, who couldn’t read Russian, and who wanted to cooperate with, instead of to resist, the U.S. Barack Obama Administration and the UK David Cameron Administration. 

Image result for Stratfor

Furthermore, Stratfor, when it refers to “human rights violations and the conflict in Ukraine,” is actually referring instead to “the most blatant coup in history”, as the head of Stratfor put it when describing what the Obama regime referred to as the ‘revolution’ that in February 2014 had overthrown Ukraine’s democratically elected Government and that then began an ethnic-cleansing campaign to get rid of the residents in the areas that had voted over 75% for the President whom the U.S.-run operation had overthrown. In fact, U.S. think-tanks criticized Obama for providing insufficient assistance to the newly installed Ukrainian regime’s firebombings of the places where over 90% of the residents had voted for the now-ousted Ukrainian President. And that was entirely typical. This is a sort of ‘philanthropy’ that America’s billionaires receive ‘charitable’ tax-writeoffs for funding (donating to). No matter how aggressive a U.S. President may be against Russia, America’s aristocracy (through their ‘philanthropies’ etc.) complain that it’s not aggressive enough — America’s Government must do yet more, in order to ‘support human rights’ abroad.

So, that’s what America’s anti-Russian sanctions are all about: serving America’s billionaires.

Canadian Prime Minister threatens to enforce Sharia laws on social networks.

Justin Trudeau becomes a real dictator who is ready to take notes from China.
He wants to control your thoughts about Islam and tell you what to share on social media.
M-103 was just the beginning in the ideological war against freedom of thought and freedom of speech in Canada.
If you are Canadian you may be better not sharing this post if you do not want to end up in jail.
Political correctness is designed to camouflage the problems of multiculturalism in the West.
Shame on you, Justin Trudeau and Shame on the Canadian government.

Liberals and leftists in the West use the made up term “Islamophobia” to portray anyone who criticizes Islam as a “racist”.
Radical Muslim terrorists all over the world carry out terror attacks “in the name of Allah”.
They justify their violence by quoting verses from the Quran.
Islamophobia is a made up word created by the Muslim Brotherhood specifically to silence debate.
Liberals and leftists ignore the fact that Islam is an ideology that has nothing to do with race.
Islamophobia is a neologism created to silence any possible debate about the problems Islamic extremism has got with modernity, with the intention of using the collective post-colonial “guilt” to exempt a particular set of beliefs from scrutiny, analysis and criticism.
It’s a buzzword used in an attempt to silence anyone, whenever had legit questions or criticisms about the religion.
Islam is not a race. It’s a religion.
There is an attempt in the West to impose a sharia-blasphemy law to criminalize criticism of Islam.

It started when Saudi Arabia and Muslim countries tried to pass a UN resolution to force Western states to criminalize criticism of Islam.
The Parliament in Canada passed “Motion M-103” to condemn the so-called “Islamophobia (Fear of Islam)” in a preparation for a blasphemy law in Canada.
According to the sharia blasphemy law anyone who criticizes Islam or the Prophet Muhammad should be killed.
Under Sharia blasphemy law in Saudi Arabia and Iran Muslims are executed if they are accused of blasphemy.
In Pakistan, the situation is even worse, radical Muslims use the blasphemy law to persecute the Christian minority.
Is this the law the liberals in the West want to adopt?
If you think Sharia blasphemy law has no place in the West, share this post!

Sharia is not only a law, but also a government ruled by Islamic values.
Since the beginning of his term, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been constantly talking about “Islamophobia” which means fear of Islam.
It seems that Justin Trudeau is trying to limit freedom of speech by criminalizing criticism of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, in countries such as Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia it is called “Sharia blasphemy law”.
There are already anti-hate speech laws in Canada, and there is no need to give Islam a special status under Canadian law.
Justin Trudeau is discriminating against Islam by giving it special treatment over other religions.
Freedom of speech is a fundamental right in a Western democratic state.
Shari’a laws and blasphemy law are incompatible with Western values.

Trudeau ruled a failed immigration policy in Canada.
Justin Trudeau took 25,000 Syrian immigrants into Canada.

They were not brought out of Syria, they were brought out of a safe place (Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan) into Canada.
They are not really “refugees”.
After Trump announced his “Travel ban”, Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau wrote a post on Twitter and invited the immigrants to invade Canada illegally.
Now Canada is facing an immigration crisis, thanks to Justin Trudeau.

In his foreign policy, the situation is even worse.
Canadian PM Trudeau stabs Israel in the back by funding an Islamic UN agency in Gaza
UNRWA’s education program teaches children to be suicide bombers “in the name of Allah” and wage a war of jihad against the West.
During the 2014 war in Gaza, the UN found rockets and missile launchers hidden inside UNRWA schools.
Canada must stop funding Hamas schools in Gaza.
Every Western country has the right to defend itself, Canada must close its borders and deport illegal immigrants back to where they came from.

Syria Chemical Weapons False Flag: Repeating Baseless Claims Is Not “Mounting Evidence”

To date, all supposed evidence regarding recent allegations of a chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria, northeast of the capital Damascus, comes from Western-funded militants and their auxiliaries including the US-European government-funded front, the so-called “Syria Civil Defense,” better known at the “White Helmets.”

Unverified photographs and video of apparent victims have been the sole sources cited by the US.

WHO “Authority” Used to Bolster Original Unverified Reports, Not Add New Evidence  

The World Health Organization, in a recent statement attempting to bolster these accusations, claims that up to 500 patients appear to have been exposed to chemical poisoning, but would cite its “Health Cluster partners,” the Daily Beast would report.

The Guardian in its article, “Syria: 500 Douma patients had chemical attack symptoms, reports say,” would attempt to claim:

The report from the WHO’s partners in Syria adds to mounting evidence of the use of toxic gas in the attack, which killed at least 42 people and has raised the prospect of American airstrikes against forces loyal to the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

However, according to WHO’s own website, these partners include Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which in turn, according to MSF’s own website trains and supports the White Helmets. MSF has repeatedly admitted throughout the Syrian conflict that it does not have a presence on the ground in conflict areas and merely provides material support to groups that do.

Thus, contrary to the Guardian’s claims, the report from WHO’s partners in Syria does not “add to mounting evidence,” it is simply repeating the same, initial and still unverified claims made by the White Helmets.

The White Helmets have been repeatedly caught in the past fabricating evidence and staging scenes for propaganda value. In fact, all evidence suggests the entire purpose of the White Helmets is the production of propaganda.

This culminated in 2016 when the organization inadvertently revealed their theatrical methods during a protest in multiple European cities. They applied red paint and flour to their bodies and posed as victims for European media outlets and local bystanders. The scenes were indistinguishable from daily clips uploaded by White Helmet members allegedly carrying out emergency services in militant-held territory in Syria.

Absent from virtually all of their videos are scenes of actual injuries – open wounds, crushed or severed limbs, burns etc. Videos also lack any context, and are often heavily edited.

Real Evidence Requires a Real, Onsite Investigation 

Readers should recall that accusations of chemical weapon attacks last year that led to a US cruise missile barrage against Syrian government targets, were also never confirmed.

The investigation carried out by the The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (OPCW-UN JIM) report on the alleged attack would admit that no investigators even visited the scene of the attack.

The UN in a news article regarding the report would even claim (emphasis added):

Although it was too dangerous to visit Umm Hawh and Khan Shaykum, the panel considered that sufficient information had been gathered to come to a solid conclusion.

The report – while assigning blame to the Syrian government – admits it could not confirm a Syrian aircraft dropped the supposed munition allegedly used in the attack – and that munition fragments passed to investigators lacked a chain of custody, negating its probative value.

As for Western media claims regarding “mounting evidence” regarding the most recent attempt to accuse the Syrian government of using “chemical weapons,” no additional – or credible – evidence can “mount” until investigators arrive on the ground.

International Lawyers: Strike Against Syria Would Be Illegal.

In this statement released Wednesday, a group of international law experts warn that a U.S. military strike on Syria would be illegal if not in self-defense or with U.N. Security Council authorization. 

We are practitioners and professors of international law. Under international law, military strikes by the United States of America and its allies against the Syrian Arab Republic, unless conducted in self-defense or with United Nations Security Council approval, are illegal and constitute acts of aggression.

The unlawful killing of any human being without legal justification, under every legal system, is murder. And an act of violence committed by one government against another government, without lawful justification, amounts to the crime of aggression: the supreme international crime which carries with it the evil of every other international crime, as noted by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in 1946.

The use of military force by a state can be used in self-defense after an armed attack by another state, or, with the approval of the United Nations Security Council. At present, neither instance would apply to a U.S. strike against Syria.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

We understand the urge to act to protect innocent civilians. We strongly condemn any and all violence against civilians, whoever the perpetrators. But responding to unlawful violence with more unlawful violence, bypassing existing legal mechanisms, is a road to a lawless world. It is a road that leads to Hell.

Accordingly, we urge the United States and its allies to refrain from illegal conduct against Syria. We must point out that for the last several years, as is now common knowledge, the United States has armed rebels/insurgents to overthrow the current government of Syria. This is illegal under international law.

In 1986, in The Nicaragua Case, the International Court of Justice reprimanded the United States for arming and supporting contra militias and combatants, and for mining Nicaragua’s harbors, as acts which violated the U.N. Charter and international law. Perhaps the Syrian crisis would look differently today if the United States and its allies had consistently respected law for the last several years. They have not.

United Nations Security Council

We take pains to note what should be obvious: our demand that the United States and its allies immediately comport themselves with their international legal obligations is not a justification, excuse, or some type of free pass on the investigation and accountability for international legal violations committed by other actors who may be involved in this sad affair. But our point is a simple one: the only way to resolve the Syrian crisis is through commitment to well-settled principles of international legal norms.

We urge the United States to abide by its commitment to the rule of international law and to seek to resolve its disputes through peaceful means. These means include recourse to the use of established and legitimate institutions designed to maintain international peace and security, such as the U.N. Security Council or the International Court of Justice. Unilateral action is a sign of weakness; recourse to the law is a sign of strength. The United States must walk back from becoming the very monster it now seeks to destroy.

Inder ComarExecutive Director

Just Atonement Inc.

 

Dr. Ryan AlfordAssociate Professor,

Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, Lakehead University

 

Marjorie CohnProfessor Emerita

Thomas Jefferson

School of Law

 

Jeanne MirerPresident

International Association

of Democratic Lawyers

 
Dr. Curtis F.J. DoebblerResearch Professor of Law

University of Makeni

UN Representative of International-Lawyers.org

Abdeen JabaraCivil Rights Attorney and Co-Founder of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Ramsey Clark66th Attorney-General of the United States