http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml/wp-content/plugins/uBillboard/%20%20liker.profile_URL%20%20 en Bank Of England Warns Of "Economic Collapse" If UK Keeps Borrowing Money http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/bank-england-warns-economic-collapse-if-uk-keeps-borrowing-money <p><a href="http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/bank-of-england-warns-the-uk-economic-collapse-if-uk-keeps-borrowing-money_12132017"><em>Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,</em></a></p> <p><strong>The Bank of England is putting the United Kingdom on alert.&nbsp;</strong> Should the UK keep borrowing money, as Corbyn&#39;s Labor Party has advocated, <strong>there will be a &ldquo;Venezuela-style&rdquo; economic collapse that will devastate&nbsp;normal citizens.</strong></p> <p><img height="304" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_bank.jpg" width="560" /></p> <p>A senior Bank official has warned that the <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/5039998/bank-of-england-government-borrowing-venezuela-economy-ollapse/" target="_blank">UK&rsquo;s economy would be unlikely to survive</a> borrowing any more cash.&nbsp;<strong>Richard Sharp, a member of the Bank&rsquo;s Financial Stability Committee</strong>, claimed an extra &pound;1trillion had already been borrowed since the 2008 financial crisis, and <strong>any more could see the<a href="http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/tomorrow-will-be-ugly-venezuela-to-restructure-all-debt-as-creditors-panic-over-imminent-default_11032017" target="_blank"> economy collapse in the same quick manner that Venezuela&rsquo;s did</a>.</strong></p> <p><img alt="richardsharp" height="314" src="http://shtfplan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/richardsharp-e1513177538465.jpg" width="560" /></p> <p><em>Richard Sharp, Bank of England Financial Stability Committee</em></p> <p><em><a href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">The Times</a></em>&nbsp;<a href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/" target="_blank">reported on the stark warning </a>mere days after&nbsp;Philip Hammond announced a &pound;25 billion spending spree in the budget. It&rsquo;s likely to dissuade the Chancellor from loosening the purse strings too far though, since the Bank rarely comments on government finances.<strong> It could also come as a wake-up call for <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/24/communist-party-vows-support-jeremy-corbyn-labour-manifesto/" target="_blank">Labour (a communist party)</a>, which is advocating borrowing an extra &pound;250 billion.</strong></p> <p><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" gesture="media" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tRreFm_mUqg" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>In a speech at University College London,&nbsp;<strong>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/11/30/huge-government-debts-put-uk-stability-risk-warns-bank-england/" target="_blank">Sharp warned that Jeremy Corbyn&rsquo;s public spending policies</a> would be foolish and dire for the economy.</strong> Like any rational person understands, communist policies only work for those elites in the government.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;A highly indebted government has less capacity to react to crises: we cannot assume that further shocks do not materialize, and evidence demonstrates that fiscal space is a vital national resource to have available to counteract such a shock,&rdquo; Sharp said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;Reducing fiscal space, therefore, means financial stability is harder to achieve.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Morgan Stanley, in its&nbsp;<a href="https://news.sky.com/story/bank-forecast-sees-labour-threat-to-company-costs-11146854" target="_blank">look-ahead to 2018</a>, warned <strong>the UK&rsquo;s &ldquo;domestic political situation is at least as significant as Brexit&rdquo; given the &ldquo;perceived risks of an incoming Labour administration that could potentially embark on a radical change of policy direction&rdquo;.</strong></p> <p>A collapsed UK economy would have worldwide ramifications. The real losers in this political game of spending more and tyrannical governments are the everyday men and women who live and work in the UK.</p> <p><em><strong>&nbsp; <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-5138181/DOMINIC-SANDBROOK-John-McDonell-threatens-Britain.html" target="_blank">Should the Labour party succeed in their borrowing</a> of even more money, the standards of living for the average person would go through the floor &ndash; just like Venezuela.</strong></em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="543" height="295" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171213_bank.jpg?1513220258" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/bank-england-warns-economic-collapse-if-uk-keeps-borrowing-money#comments Activism Bank of England Bank of England Bank’s Financial Stability Committee Business Communist Party Economy Economy of the United Kingdom Financial crisis of 2007–2008 Jeremy Corbyn Labour administration Labour Party Morgan Stanley Politics Politics Stock market crashes United Kingdom University College London Thu, 14 Dec 2017 10:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609118 at http://www.zerohedge.com Salma Hayek Says Harvey Weinstein Threatened Her Life: "I Will Kill You, Don't Think I Can't" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-14/salma-hayek-says-harvey-weinstein-threatened-her-life-i-will-kill-you-dont-think-i-c <p><img width="500" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user237925/imageroot/2017/12/10/sal.jpg" height="332" /></p> <p><em><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; color: #000000; line-height: inherit; font-family: lucida_granderegular, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;">Content originally published at&nbsp;</span><span style="font: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; color: #1e439a; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit; text-decoration-line: underline;"><a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; color: #1e439a; line-height: 1.2; font-family: lucida_granderegular, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;" href="http://ibankcoin.com/" target="_blank">iBankCoin.com</a></span></em></p> <p>Actress Salma Hayek has penned a chilling essay in the <em><a href="http://archive.is/04Yvq" target="_blank">New York Times</a>&nbsp;</em>claiming Harvey Weinstein threatened to kill her in a terrifying "attack of fury."&nbsp;</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">"...<strong>with every refusal came Harvey’s Machiavellian rage.</strong></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">I don’t think he hated anything more than the word “no.” The absurdity of his demands went from getting a furious call in the middle of the night asking me to fire my agent for a fight he was having with him about a different movie with a different client to physically dragging me out of the opening gala of the Venice Film Festival, which was in honor of “Frida,” so I could hang out at his private party with him and some women I thought were models but I was told later were <strong>high-priced prostitutes</strong>.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">The range of his persuasion tactics went from sweet-talking me to that one time when, in an attack of fury, he said the terrifying words,<strong> “I will kill you, don’t think I can’t.”</strong></p> <p>Hayek, 51, details the repeated advances she says Weinstein made while working with him on the film <em>Frida</em>, in which she played Mexican artist Frida Kahlo:&nbsp;</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">"No to opening the door to him at all hours of the night, hotel after hotel, location after location, where he would show up unexpectedly, including one location where I was doing a movie he wasn’t even involved with.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">No to me taking a shower with him.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">No to letting him watch me take a shower.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">No to letting him give me a massage.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">No to letting a naked friend of his give me a massage.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">No to letting him give me oral sex.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">No to my getting naked with another woman.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">No, no, no, no, no …"</p> <p>Weinstein allegedly threatened to shut down the filming of <em>Frida </em>unless Hayek filmed a nude sex scene with another actress.&nbsp;</p> <p>"<strong>I had to take a tranquilizer</strong>, which eventually stopped the crying but made the vomiting worse," she wrote of her emotional turmoil at filming a scene she thought unnecessary, adding&nbsp;"As you can imagine, this was not sexy, but it was the only way I could get through the scene."</p> <p>Mr. Weinstein's spokeswoman, Holly Baird, has disputed Hayek's account, saying in a statement: "Mr. Weinstein does not recall pressuring Salma to do a gratuitous sex scene with a female costar and he was not there for the filming."&nbsp;</p> <p>Hayek joins a list of <strong>84 women</strong>&nbsp;who have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault, including Rose McGowen, Ashley Judd,&nbsp;Gwyneth Paltrow and Daryl Hannah. Weinstein has denied any criminal behavior, suggesting in a statement through an attorney "<strong>it is wrong and irresponsible to conflate claims of impolitic behavior or consensual sexual contact later regretted, with an untrue claim of criminal conduct.</strong>"&nbsp;</p> <p>Because blocking a doorway to force a woman watch you masturbate into a <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-16/ny-club-owner-pressured-deny-harvey-weinstein-masturbation-story-goes-public-sticky-" target="_blank">soup pot</a> is simply impolitic.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; text-align: center; color: #333333; text-transform: none; line-height: inherit; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: lucida_granderegular, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 400; word-spacing: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: normal; box-sizing: border-box; orphans: 2; 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font-stretch: inherit;">You<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;">Tube channel</strong></span></span></span></a></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-14/salma-hayek-says-harvey-weinstein-threatened-her-life-i-will-kill-you-dont-think-i-c#comments Arts English-language films Entertainment Films Frida Harvey Weinstein Nationality New York Times Rose McGowan Salma Hayek Twitter Twitter Visual arts Thu, 14 Dec 2017 09:25:00 +0000 ZeroPointNow 609120 at http://www.zerohedge.com Mastermind Of $4 Billion Bitcoin-Laundering Operation Will Be Extradited To US http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/mastermind-4-billion-money-laundering-operation-will-be-extradited-us <p><strong>Greece&#39;s Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Russian national Aleksandr Vinnik, the purported mastermind of what US authorities have described as a $4 billion bitcoin money laundering operation, to avoid extradition to the US, where he has been indicted &ndash; along with his former company, mysterious digital currency exchange BTC-e &ndash; on nearly two dozen felony counts, including fraud and money laundering.</strong></p> <p>Russia, where Vinnik is accused of stealing 600,000 rubles ($10,500) from an unidentified entity &ldquo;using... deception and the internet,&rdquo; also requested extradition. The competing request had earlier been approved by another court ruling, but the final decision on the matter will be made by the Greek Minister of Justice.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Greek ruling to extradite Russian Bitcoin expert to US violates int&rsquo;l law &ndash; Moscow <a href="https://t.co/2nheAct8t3">https://t.co/2nheAct8t3</a></p> <p>&mdash; RT (@RT_com) <a href="https://twitter.com/RT_com/status/916391473796575232?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 6, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Russia criticized the court&rsquo;s first decision as unjust and illegal, saying that its request &ldquo;takes precedence [over another country&rsquo;s] as Vinnik is a citizen of the Russian Federation.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;The Supreme Court&rsquo;s decision was expected, it is a decision on an appeal on the same decision of the Thessaloniki court. There are more opportunities for legal work which will be carried out now,&rdquo; </strong>Vinnik&rsquo;s lawyer, Timofey Musatov, said on Wednesday, according to <a href="https://www.rt.com/news/412963-greek-court-russian-suspect-bitcoin/">Russia Today. </a></p> </blockquote> <p>The Thessaloniki court ruling in favor of the US was politically motivated, Musatov told RT.</p> <p>He warned that <strong>the suspect&rsquo;s eventual extradition would mean that &ldquo;any citizen in the world could be arrested at any second on false accusations, in which there are no facts, but only assumptions.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>In July, Vinnik was arrested in the resort area of Halkidiki, near the city of Thessaloniki in northern Greece. It was claimed that he had links to BTC-E digital currency trading and exchange platform, which he allegedly used for money laundering. The US also claims that the suspect is behind the hack of Mt. Gox, the Japan-based bitcoin exchange.</p> <p>Vinnik, who allegedly oerated BTC-e since its inception in 2011, <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-02/mastermind-4-billion-bitcoin-money-laundering-operation-may-be-extradited-us">was<strong> accused of </strong></a><strong>helping the perpetrators of the 2014 theft of customer bitcoins from Mt. Gox, along with a slate of other crimes.</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="707" height="368" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017.12.13vinnik.JPG?1513179481" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/mastermind-4-billion-money-laundering-operation-will-be-extradited-us#comments Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin BTC-e Cryptocurrencies Digital currency exchange Exonumia Extradition Greece Law Law Northern Greece Numismatics Supreme Court Thessaloniki court Thu, 14 Dec 2017 09:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609073 at http://www.zerohedge.com Germany Owes Greece €185 Billion In WWII Reparations, Say German Researchers http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/germany-owes-greece-%E2%82%AC185-billion-wwii-reparations-say-german-researchers <p><span id="result_box" lang="en"><span title="Schuldet Deutschland den Griechen Milliarden an Reparationsleistungen für die Besetzung im Zweiten Weltkrieg?"><em><strong>Does Germany owe Greeks billions of euros in World War II reparations for the damages and the enforced loan during the occupation of the country by the Nazis? </strong></em>So far, Berlin has vehemently rejected any Greek claims. </span></span></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_greece.jpg"><img height="265" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_greece.jpg" width="600" /></a></p> <p><span id="result_box" lang="en"><span title="Schuldet Deutschland den Griechen Milliarden an Reparationsleistungen für die Besetzung im Zweiten Weltkrieg?"><strong>However</strong>, <a href="http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2017/12/13/germany-greece-wwii-reparations-185billion/">as Keep Talking Greece reports,</a> <strong>two German researchers, who dug into the documents of the dispute, have discovered and calculated that the German state owes Greece 185 billion euros.</strong></span></span></p> <p><u><strong><span lang="en"><span title="Schuldet Deutschland den Griechen Milliarden an Reparationsleistungen für die Besetzung im Zweiten Weltkrieg?">Of this not even a 1% has been paid to Greece.</span></span></strong></u></p> <p><span id="result_box" lang="en"><span title="Rezension von Constantin Goschler ">In their book &ldquo;</span></span><span id="result_box" lang="en"><span title="Rezension von Constantin Goschler ">Reparation debt. Mortgages of German occupation in Greece and Europe&rdquo; publishers Ka<span title="Karl Heinz Roth und Hartmut Rübner haben nun ein sachkundiges und engagiertes Plädoyer für die Anerkennung der deutschen &quot;Reparationsschuld&quot; gegenüber Griechenland vorgelegt. ">rl Heinz Roth, a historian,&nbsp; and Hartmut Rübner</span>, a researcher, unfold the documents of the dispute and <strong>come to the conclusion that the reparations issue was not solved in 1960, as Berlin has been claiming.</strong></span></span></p> <p><span id="result_box" lang="en"><span title="Rezension von Constantin Goschler ">According to the book review published in German conservative daily&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/folgen-des-ns-unrechts-athen-und-berlin-offene-rechnung-offene-wunden-1.3680467" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Sueddeutsche Zeitung</a>, Roth and&nbsp;<span title="Karl Heinz Roth und Hartmut Rübner haben nun ein sachkundiges und engagiertes Plädoyer für die Anerkennung der deutschen &quot;Reparationsschuld&quot; gegenüber Griechenland vorgelegt. ">Rübner</span>&nbsp;have researched German documents only and came to the conclusion that:</span></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong><span id="result_box" lang="en"><span title="Rezension von Constantin Goschler ">US allies and &ldquo;the power elites of West Germany&rdquo; have systematically ignored Greece&rsquo;s demands for WWII reparations.</span></span></strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p><span lang="en"><span title="Rezension von Constantin Goschler ">In SZ article &ldquo;Athens &ndash; Berlin: Open Bill, Open Wounds&rdquo; it is said among others that:</span></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span lang="en"><span title="Haben &quot;westdeutsche Machteliten&quot; Athens Forderungen systematisch ignoriert? "><span title="Auf der Pariser Reparationskonferenz präsentierte die griechische Regierung 1946 eine Schadensbilanz in Höhe von 7,2 Milliarden US-Dollar - am Ende erhielt sie einen Anteil von 25 Millionen US-Dollar zugesprochen.">At the Paris Reparations Conference in 1946, <strong>the Greek government presented a damage record of $ 7.2 billion &ndash; eventually earning a share of $ 25 million.</strong></span></span></span></p> </blockquote> <p><span title="Das Leitmotiv des Buches lautet, dass ein Bündnis zwischen den USA und der &quot;westdeutschen Machtelite&quot; die griechischen Forderungen jahrzehntelang systematisch ignoriert habe.">The leitmotiv of the book is that an alliance between the US and the &ldquo;West German power elite&rdquo; has systematically ignored Greek demands for decades.</span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span id="result_box" lang="en"><span title="Haben &quot;westdeutsche Machteliten&quot; Athens Forderungen systematisch ignoriert? "><strong>&ldquo;<span title="Unbestreitbar ist jedoch die diplomatische Arroganz, mit der die Bundesrepublik die griechischen Forderungen über Jahrzehnte hinweg zurückwies.">Undeniable, however, is the diplomatic arrogance with which the Federal Republic rejected the Greek demands for decades.&nbsp;</span></strong><span title="Wer es nicht glauben mag, kann sich gerne in dem von Hartmut Rübner vorzüglich edierten umfangreichen Dokumentenanhang des Buches ein eigenes Bild machen. ">If you do not believe it, you are welcome to make your own impression in Hartmut Rübner&rsquo;s carefully edited extensive documentary appendix,&rdquo; SZ notes.</span></span></span></p> </blockquote> <p><span title="Im ersten Teil des Buches analysiert Roth die jahrzehntelangen Bemühungen Athens um Reparationen.">In the first part of the book, Roth analyzes the decades-long efforts of Athens to receive reparations.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong><span title="Als die Wehrmacht im Oktober 1944 nach dreieinhalbjähriger Besatzung aus Griechenland abzog, hinterließ sie sprichwörtlich &quot;verbrannte Erde&quot;: Wirtschaft, Währung und Infrastruktur waren vollständig zerstört. ">When the Wehrmacht withdrew from Greece in October 1944 after three and a half years of occupation, it literally left behind &ldquo;scorched land&rdquo;: the economy, currency and infrastructure were completely destroyed.</span></strong></p> <p><span title="Der Gesundheitszustand der überlebenden Bevölkerung war katastrophal - bis Kriegsende waren etwa 140 000 Menschen an den Folgen von Unterernährung gestorben.">The health of the surviving population was catastrophic &ndash; by the end of the war about 140,000 people had died as a result of malnutrition.&nbsp;</span><span title="Und schließlich hatten die Deutschen auch den Samen für den Bürgerkrieg zwischen kommunistischen und monarchistisch-konservativen Gruppierungen gesät, der nach der Befreiung blutig aufging. ">And finally, the Germans had sown the seed for the civil war between communist and monarchist-conservative groups, which became bloody after the liberation.</span></p> <p><span title="Allerdings beschränkt sich die Dokumentenauswahl fast ausschließlich auf deutsche Dokumente, und so lässt sich kein Blick in das Innere der griechischen Diplomatie und ihren Anteil an der gescheiterten Reparationspolitik gewinnen.">However, the selection of the documents Roth/<span title="Karl Heinz Roth und Hartmut Rübner haben nun ein sachkundiges und engagiertes Plädoyer für die Anerkennung der deutschen &quot;Reparationsschuld&quot; gegenüber Griechenland vorgelegt. ">Rübner</span>&nbsp;used is almost exclusively limited to German documents, so that no insight can be gained into the interior of Greek diplomacy and its share in the failed reparations policy.&nbsp;</span><span title="Lange Zeit setzte die griechische Regierung auf eine special relationship zur Bundesrepublik, die allerdings auf asymmetrischen Machtverhältnissen basierte. ">For a long time, the Greek government relied on a special relationship with the Federal Republic, which, however, was based on asymmetric power relations.</span></p> <p><span title="Auf diesem bilateralen Weg erntete Athen lediglich Misserfolge, abgesehen von einer Globalentschädigung in Höhe von 115 Millionen Mark im Jahre 1960, die allerdings durch eine gemeinsame Aktion mit anderen westeuropäischen ehemaligen Kriegsgegnern Deutschlands zustande gekommen war. ">On this bilateral route, Athens only achieved failures, except for a total compensation of 115 million marks in 1960, based on London Treaty of 1953. However, the compensation came about through a joint action with other West European former war opponents of Germany.</span></p> <p><strong><span id="result_box" lang="en"><span title="Auf diesem bilateralen Weg erntete Athen lediglich Misserfolge, abgesehen von einer Globalentschädigung in Höhe von 115 Millionen Mark im Jahre 1960, die allerdings durch eine gemeinsame Aktion mit anderen westeuropäischen ehemaligen Kriegsgegnern Deutschlands zustande gekommen war. ">The authors make a special reference to former Chancellor Helmut Kohl who managed to avoid reparation payments when the two German states were reunified in 1990 and the 2+4 Treaty.</span></span></strong></p> <p><span id="result_box" lang="en"><span title="Auf diesem bilateralen Weg erntete Athen lediglich Misserfolge, abgesehen von einer Globalentschädigung in Höhe von 115 Millionen Mark im Jahre 1960, die allerdings durch eine gemeinsame Aktion mit anderen westeuropäischen ehemaligen Kriegsgegnern Deutschlands zustande gekommen war. ">Before the reunification, Kohl was claiming that reparation demands were premature. After the reunification, he claimed they were too late.</span></span></p> <p><span title="Karl Heinz Roth und Hartmut Rübner haben nun ein sachkundiges und engagiertes Plädoyer für die Anerkennung der deutschen &quot;Reparationsschuld&quot; gegenüber Griechenland vorgelegt. ">Roth and Rübner now plea for the recognition of the German &ldquo;reparations debt&rdquo; towards Greece.</span></p> <p><em><strong>So far, Greece has tabled two proposals: one referred to 287billion euros, and one, the official one to 162 billion euros.</strong></em></p> <p><em>Perhaps Germany allowing Greece to write off its TARGET2 net claims would be a good start...</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_greece1.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_greece1_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 293px;" /></a></p> <p><em>More on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/?s=WWII+reparations" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Greece-Germany dispute on WWII reparation</a>s here.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="638" height="282" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171213_greece.jpg?1513219350" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/germany-owes-greece-%E2%82%AC185-billion-wwii-reparations-say-german-researchers#comments Economic history of Germany French Third Republic German gold mark Germany Greece Greece Greek government Helmut Kohl Military Military history by country Politics Reparations World history World War I World War II reparations Thu, 14 Dec 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609117 at http://www.zerohedge.com Financial Times Survey: Banks' Brexit Relocations By March 2019 Much Lower Than Feared http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/financial-times-survey-banks-brexit-relocations-march-2019-much-lower-feared <p>In the run-up to the recent agreement on phase I of Brexit, there was mixed news on the extent to which jobs in the City of London would be relocated to other European hubs, primarily Frankfurt. On one hand, we <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-08/banks-warn-london-facing-brexit-point-no-return">discussed</a> the meeting between US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, and executives of JPM, Goldman, HSBC and other banks at Wilton&rsquo;s restaurant during his trip to London in early November.<strong> The banks warned that they were close to a &ldquo;point of no return&rdquo; on moving jobs.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>A group of large financial institutions with big London operations, led by Wall Street&rsquo;s pre-eminent banks, have told the US commerce secretary that Britain&rsquo;s unstable government and slow progress in Brexit planning may force them to start moving thousands of jobs out of City in the near future. The warnings came on Friday during a closed-door meeting between executives from the banks, which included JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and HSBC, and Wilbur Ross during the US commerce secretary&rsquo;s visit to London, according to people briefed on the discussions.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/2017/11/22/brexitrel.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/2017/11/22/brexitrel_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 401px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>A week earlier, we <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-28/ubs-ceo-brexit-%E2%80%93-more-and-more-unlikely-it-will-move-1000-jobs-out-london">reported</a> the head of Swiss bank, UBS, saying that the possibility that a fifth of its 5,000-strong UK workforce would be shifted was now unlikely to materialise following some &ldquo;regulatory and political clarification about what we need to do&rdquo;.</strong><br />&nbsp;<br />We can now, thanks to a survey by the Financial Times, get a better idea of the likely London exodus by March 2019 after the newspaper reviewed public statements by fifteen of the UK&rsquo;s biggest financial institutions and conducted interviews with more than a dozen executives about Brexit plans. According to the <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/931b1b1a-df49-11e7-a8a4-0a1e63a52f9c">newspaper</a>, the number is&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><u><strong>The UK&rsquo;s biggest international banks are set to move fewer than 4,600 jobs from London in preparation for Brexit &mdash; just 6 per cent of their total workforce in the financial centre</strong></u> &mdash; according to Financial Times research.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The FT analysis contrasts with consultants&rsquo; original claims that tens of thousands of jobs could move from London after Brexit &mdash; including<strong> an EY study this week that claimed 10,500 could leave on &ldquo;day one&rdquo;.</strong></p> </blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Some bankers say the lower estimates emerged as they thought through how many jobs and operations would need to move to the EU if the UK loses access to the bloc&rsquo;s single market. &ldquo;Every city wants thousands of people, but what are they going to do?&rdquo; said one senior executive at a large US institution, adding that the thousands of people sitting in his London office &ldquo;cover clients&rdquo; who will mostly be remaining in the UK.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Two banks in particular, Deutsche Bank (not surprisingly) and JPMorgan Chase, had stated that several thousand jobs could move, although the FT estimates that the number is likely to be only several hundred.</strong> It&rsquo;s the same with Goldman, despite Lloyds Blankfein&rsquo;s famous tweet about spending &ldquo;a lot more time&rdquo; in Frankfurt.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>In the case of Deutsche Bank, where Sylvie Matherat, head of regulation, publicly said up to 4,000 jobs could move, the FT estimates that just 350 jobs may leave by April 2019. The figure amounts to 5 per cent of Deutsche&rsquo;s London headcount, a proportion broadly in line with other big banks. At JPMorgan, where chief executive Jamie Dimon warned before the Brexit vote of up to 4,000 London job losses, the number leaving before April 2019 is set to be closer to 700. Goldman Sachs, which has taken a new office in Frankfurt that could accommodate 1,000 people, expects to move fewer than 500 from London. HSBC is still planning to move &ldquo;up to 1000 people&rdquo;, although its chief financial officer recently said the figure could fall.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/12/20171213_brexit.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/2017/11/22/brexitrel1_0.png" style="width: 600px; height: 712px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>So the initial London exodus by March 2019 will be fairly modest and the banks have the prized transition period of two years</strong>. However, some banks are leaving the door open for further relocations in the aftermath of Brexit. According to Rob Rooney, CEO of Morgan Stanley International the real Brexit story will only be apparent &ldquo;three to five years out&rdquo;. As the FT explains.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Several banks say they are planning to move relatively few people in the immediate aftermath of Brexit because it will take time for their EU operations to build up. They expect to have very small balance sheets when the EU entities begin handling client business on April 1, 2019, and to be able to run some of the risk and support functions for those small EU entities from London.</p> </blockquote> <p>Next year, banks are likely to begin &ldquo;repapering&rdquo; some clients to their new EU entities. The FT noted that one bank EMEA CEO said that he expected the ECB to push for more &ldquo;market risk to be run onshore&rdquo;.</p> <p><em><strong>However, a key question will be, where do the clients want to do business? We could be wrong, but our guess is that the majority will opt for the status quo if at all possible. The EU has already inflicted the nightmare of MiFID II on them.</strong></em><br />&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="960" height="641" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/brexitrel.jpg?1513172178" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/financial-times-survey-banks-brexit-relocations-march-2019-much-lower-feared#comments Banks Brexit Business Deutsche Bank European Central Bank European Union European Union Euroscepticism in the United Kingdom Finance Financial services goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Goldman Sachs HSBC Investment banks Jamie Dimon JPMorgan Chase Lloyds Morgan Stanley Newspaper Primary dealers Subprime mortgage crisis United Kingdom European Union membership referendum Wilbur Ross Thu, 14 Dec 2017 07:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609056 at http://www.zerohedge.com Trump, Netanyahu, & Bin Salman: Destroyers Of The Neoliberal World Order http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/trump-netanyahu-bin-salman-destroyers-neoliberal-world-order <p><em><a href="https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/12/13/trump-netanyahu-mohammad-bin-salman-destroyers-neoliberal-world-order.html">Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,</a></em></p> <p><em>The<strong>&nbsp;neoliberal&nbsp;world order&nbsp;has been in crisis</strong> for some years now, with no signs of recovery.&nbsp;Trump&#39;s victory is an expression of a <strong>breach of trust between the American people and the national elites</strong>.</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_net.jpg"><img height="299" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_net.jpg" width="600" /></a></p> <p><u><strong>The perfect storm.</strong></u> This is what the situation in the Middle East looks like. <strong>More and more events in the region seem to be leading towards an epochal change in the delicate balance of power.</strong></p> <p>The balance of power in the Middle East was quickly altered following the<strong> victory over terrorism </strong>in Syria by Damascus and her allies. Moscow&rsquo;s new role guarantees Iran virtually unlimited space to manoeuvre in the region. The new&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-41945189" target="_blank">Iranian military bases</a>&nbsp;in Syria match the agreement between&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/30/world/middleeast/russia-egypt-air-bases.html" target="_blank">Russia and Egypt</a>&nbsp;for the creation of common areas of cooperation against terrorism.</p> <p><strong>In this complicated context, Donald Trump emerges as a destroyer of US interests in the region. </strong>Observing the cooperation between the Kurdish Syrian Democratic forces (SDF) and the Americans in Syria, we can see the genesis of all the problems between Ankara and Washington. Turkey used to employ political Islam (Muslim Brotherhood) as a way of destabilizing the Middle East and North Africa, once one of the central strategies of Obama and the State Department as well. Turkey now gravitates towards the multipolar milieu of Moscow, Beijing and Tehran. The role conferred by these three nations allows Erdogan to manoeuvre skilfully between allied nations as well as fomenters of Islamic extremism like Qatar.</p> <p><strong>Turkey is just an example of the delicate balance upon which the region rests.</strong> Moscow has become the sole mediator for all parties, and does not appear to have bad relations with any of them. The Saudis are going to buy the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-saudi-missiles/kremlin-says-s-400-missile-talks-with-saudi-arabia-on-track-idUSKBN1CE0ZY" target="_blank">S-400</a>&nbsp;system from the Russians; Netanyahu is forced to try to influence Moscow in order to retain some kind of leverage over Iran, but to little avail. Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) has gone further, thanks to Trump and the green light of his son-in-law, arresting dozens of Saudi authorities and financiers (very close to Clinton and Obama), undertaking a genocide against Yemenis, arming Wahhabist Islamist terrorists in every corner of the region, and cutting off all relations with Qatar in a quasi-war that is turning out to be manifestly ineffective.</p> <p><em><strong>In this uncontrolled chaos, and among the factions loyal to the United States, Netanyahu is seeing Israeli missiles, launched from uncontested Lebanese airspace, being&nbsp;<a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/syria-says-it-shot-down-3-missiles-fired-from-israel-2017-12?IR=T" target="_blank">shot down</a>&nbsp;in Syria. MBS cannot even force his pupil Hariri to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/22/world/middleeast/lebanon-saad-hariri-resignation.html" target="_blank">resign</a>; and even Saleh in Yemen was killed after&nbsp;<a href="https://www.globalresearch.ca/former-yemeni-president-killed-the-price-of-betrayal/5621605">betraying</a>&nbsp;and abandoning the Houthis.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-emirates/yemens-houthi-group-says-fires-missile-toward-abu-dhabi-nuclear-reactor-idUSKBN1DX09E" target="_blank">Abu Dhabi</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/yemen-houthi-fire-missile-saudi-arabia-riyadh-171104180946302.html" target="_blank">Riyadh</a>&nbsp;are finding themselves coming under fire from Houthi forces, facing the consequences of their senseless military choices closer to home. In Israel, the Netanyahu government is drowning under a sea of corruption scandals, demonstrators on the streets&nbsp;<a href="http://www.newsweek.com/thousands-israelis-protest-tel-aviv-after-corruption-allegations-levelled-743569" target="_blank">demanding his resignation</a>. Are coloured revolutions returning to bite the master&#39;s hand? In order for Saudi Arabia to avoid a similar scenario, made worse by a dearth in welfare as a result of the drop in oil prices as well as the coffers being emptied by wars, MBS has decided to arrest and rob all of his opponents. Trump does not seem to care about the consequences of these actions, taking care to coordinate events at the highest levels with Xi Jinping in Asia and Putin in the Middle East.</strong></em></p> <p>Trump has made a wise choice by renouncing the impossible goal of achieving global hegemony, aiming instead to sort out domestic problems. He is committed to the cause of his electors, and to this end seeks to extract as much money as possible from his allies in order to restart the US economy, aiming for re-election in 2020.</p> <p><strong>In this sense, the lack of interest from the Trump administration in certain areas of the globe is emblematic.</strong> While the chemistry between Trump and Modi appears to be good, the tensions between India and China, heightened by border disputes, seems to have nevertheless&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/handling-of-doklam-shows-importance-of-ties-with-india-china/story-f6MEHmYqAX6Qip16pg60JK.html" target="_blank">dissolved</a>. Following on from the failure of the neocons to divide Russia and China, even the border tensions between India and China seem to be now dissipating. In addition, in Ukraine, even the decision to send lethal weapons to Kiev has been&nbsp;<a href="https://112.international/ukraine-top-news/ukraine-receives-american-weapons-under-several-contracts-23318.html" target="_blank">downplayed</a>, and the country now faces a counter-coup led by&nbsp;<a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-protests-saakashvili/thousands-of-saakashvili-supporters-stage-protest-against-ukraine-president-idUSKBN1E40NV" target="_blank">Saakashvili</a>&nbsp;(yes, him again). Ukraine is a country in a mess, experiencing first-hand the consequences of an evil Atlanticist posture with its vicious anti-Russia policies.</p> <p><strong>The rest of the world, with mounting bewilderment, watches on while all manner of decisions are made with no rhyme or reason, such as the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.</strong> The only ones to lose in this scenario are naturally the closest allies of the United States: Israel and all the Arab countries united behind the Saudi (money) state that are now obliged to stand up for the Palestinian cause. Whether out of incompetence or a strategic inability to take a position, it matters little why these decisions are being made. Donald Trump, MBS and Netanyahu are exactly what the region and the world needed. Why? Because these three figures, thanks to their actions, have reunited the axis of resistance in the Middle East, fortified the Russian presence in the region, and opened the door to Asian money for reconstruction, focused on integrating the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. These three stooges have open the door to total defeat thanks to their reckless decisions.</p> <p>New technologies, like the blockchain, as well as the revaluation of the importance of gold, accompany an inexorable competition to diversify from the US dollar. <strong>American military power is in crisis, but the US dollar remains the main reserve currency of the world.</strong> In addition to solidifying alliances with opponents by turning them into friends, Moscow and Beijing are aiming to create a new economic environment based on real value ??(currencies supported by gold) to undermine the financial speculative bubble brought on by the dollar, central banks, and all those financial systems that have created a totally fictitious economy completely disconnected from reality.</p> <p>Trump is focused on the United States and appears uninterested in global affairs, which is a boon for global stability in the long term.<strong> In the meantime, Russia, Turkey and Iran are trying, with new economic and military solutions, to govern a region that is the epicentre of global chaos. </strong>Cooperation in disputed areas could reach a new level with Egyptian and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-29/china-deploy-elite-troops-syria-fight-alongside-assads-army" target="_blank">Chinese soldiers</a>&nbsp;working as peacekeepers. This seems to be another Russian masterpiece to accelerate the pacification of the region and widen the spectrum of nations involved militarily in the new multipolar world order.</p> <p>The crisis of the neoliberal-neocon system is evident, although its media, ever useful for propaganda, tries to portray a false and artificial reality. <strong>The sense of despair intensifies when mainstream media tries to sell to the world audience the fairy tale of evil Russians trying to influence American elections. Nevertheless, other defamatory claims made, with no evidence offered, involve the Russian national Olympic team and allegations of doping. Their small victories, such as censorship against RT, show the true evil face of the old neoliberal world order.</strong></p> <p><u><strong>MBS, Netanyahu and Trump represent all that is wrong in the West and the Middle East.</strong></u> The more they try to survive, the more they harm the interests of the neoliberal elites, only serving to reveal their true genocidal face (as in Yemen or Palestine) or even publicly admitting that their every political move is intended to favour the United States (Trump&#39;s doctrine of &quot;America First&quot; lays it out quite openly and clearly).</p> <p><u><strong>The neoliberal order is based on a deception knowingly perpetrated by the mainstream media.</strong></u> They cloud the news to give a specific, partisan view of events. For those firmly opposed to such a warlike and dehumanizing drift, advantage must be taken of the opportunity presented by the unlikely trio of MBS, Trump and Netanyahu. By sweeping away the neoliberal hypocrisy, it is easier to show the brutality of the West&rsquo;s ruling elite. This unlikely trio even achieved the more than unexpected effect of uniting almost all forces opposed to this warmongering world order, consolidating alliances and friendships in various geographical areas.</p> <p>From North Africa to the Middle East, passing through South America and Asia, Washington is no longer the unique voice dictating all the decisions<strong>. Unlike in the past, Washington no longer chooses for others but instead prefers not to participate in order to avoid making plain its military and economic weakness.</strong> Even the withdrawal from the world stage is a strategy, especially if it is promoted as being done of one&rsquo;s own volition, rather than being forced by circumstances.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="622" height="310" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171213_net.jpg?1513218743" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/trump-netanyahu-bin-salman-destroyers-neoliberal-world-order#comments Abu Dhabi Benjamin Netanyahu Business Central Banks China Corruption Department of State Donald Trump Donald Trump East Africa Foreign policy of Donald Trump Government India International reactions to the United States presidential election Iran Israel Middle East Middle East Mohammad Mohammad bin Salman Muslim Brotherhood Neocons Neoliberalism Netanyahu government North Africa Politics Politics Presidency of Donald Trump Reality recovery Reserve Currency Saudi Arabia Strategic Culture Foundation Trump Administration Turkey Ukraine Thu, 14 Dec 2017 07:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609116 at http://www.zerohedge.com Mapping World War In Syria & Iraq http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/mapping-world-war-syria-iraq <p><a href="https://gefira.org/en/2017/12/13/world-war-in-syria-and-iraq-2/"><em>Via GEFIRA,</em></a></p> <p><strong>For some time now Syria and Iraq have been a place where interests of many players are clashing. The region is being devastated by civil war or a war by proxy, fought by a number of participants, where the borderline between friend and foe is sharp or vague as the case may be.</strong></p> <p>The military sorties, airstrikes and other activities are taking place on a day-to-day basis. Conflicting pieces of information that can be gleaned from a variety of sources may reflect both the factual status or the propaganda of the powers that be, hidden behind the media outlets. It is not easy to see the forest for the trees, to filter valuable data in this informational noise. Still, our readers deserve to be informed. With all this in mind, the Gefira team has made an effort to present the current situation in Syria and Iraq in an accessible graphic and textual way according to the best of our ability.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_map.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_map_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 491px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>Australia</strong><br />The Australian Defence Forces have an estimated 780 personnel in Iraq. At Camp Taji and other bases they have trained more than 20 000 of the Iraqi Security Forces and 3 000 federal policemen. Australia has 3 kinds of Task Groups in Iraq:</p> <p>1) Task Group Taji &ndash; which is a training mission &ndash; 300 personnel;<br />2) Australian Air Task Group (ATG), operating within a US-led international coalition assembled to disrupt and destroy ISIL. The ATG consists of six Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornets, an E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&amp;C) aircraft and a KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT);<br />3) Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) &ndash; about 80 personnel.</p> <p><strong>Belgium</strong><br />The Belgian mission in Iraq and Syria to fight the Islamic State was planned to end in June 2017, but Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel decided to extend it, and sent four F-16 fighter jets along with 100 troops to a base in Jordan to take part in the war against IS in Iraq and Syria.</p> <p><strong>Great Britain</strong><br />The Royal Air Force (RAF Typhoon and Tornado jets and Reaper drones) has flown more than 3000 missions and launched over 1 600 airstrikes across Iraq and Syria. The British Army has already trained almost 60 000 Iraqi and Kurdish troops in bases at Besmaya, Taji and al-Asad.<sup> </sup>The UK has about 600 troops in Iraq, almost all involved in training Iraqi forces, and 80 soldiers in Camp Taji.</p> <p><strong>Denmark</strong><br />Denmark currently has around 120 troops stationed at the Al-Asad air base. Danish contribution in Iraq primarily consists of training Iraqi and Kurdish military units. At the end of 2016 it launched airstrikes against ISIS.</p> <p><strong>France</strong><br />Operation Chammal, the French contribution to US-led military operations against Islamic State (IS), has been under way for 3 years. French aircraft have performed a total of 7 349 flights in Iraq and Syria with 1 413 strikes on Daesh and destroyed 2 197 objectives. France has supplied weapons and training to local forces in Syria and Iraq, has special forces operating in the region and has been one of the main countries bombing militants. In total, it has some 1 200 troops in its Levant operation.</p> <p><strong>Germany</strong><br />The German contribution includes: a type 122 Augsburg frigate, six Tornado aircraft for surveillance operations in Syria, an Airbus 310 MRTT aircraft for aerial refuelling and participation of staff officers. The German government declared sending 1 200 soldiers to take part in the military operations. In fact the Bundeswehr sent between 500 and 700 soldiers.<sup> </sup>German troops have been helping train security forces in the area around Erbil in northern Iraq.</p> <p><strong>Iran</strong><br />Iran currently has 70 000 combatants in Syria (counting both regular Iranian troops and militias under Iranian control: around 7 000 Hezbollah fighters, thousands of Afghan recruits in the Al Fatemiyoun militia, and volunteers from Iraq and Pakistan).</p> <p><strong>Iraq</strong><br />The Iraqi army numbers 168 000 active military personnel and 150 000 reserve personnel.</p> <p><strong>Israel</strong><br />Israel has carried out dozens of airstrikes on alleged weapons convoys bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon.<sup> </sup>Israel&rsquo;s real security interests in Syria lie in countering Hezbollah and monitoring the rise of Iranian influence.</p> <p><strong>Italy</strong><br />The Italian contingent in Iraq is made up of approximately 1 400 military from all services of which 400 are currently engaged in Erbil, including 120 instructors. 70 military are deployed in Mosul to protect the dam and its personnel. The Carabinieri Task Force has been operating there since June 2015. The 90 members of the Task Force have been training Iraqi federal Police Forces tasked with operations to be conducted in areas conquered back from Daesh.</p> <p><strong>Jordan</strong><br />After the downed Jordanian pilot was executed by ISIL by being burned to death, King Abdullah II vowed revenge and temporarily took the lead in the bombing raids on ISIL. Current activities include airstrikes and protection of the Jordanian border.</p> <p><strong>The Netherlands</strong><br />The Dutch military personnel are training Iraqi and Kurdish forces to fight the ISIS terrorist organization on the ground (150 trainers, advisers and security and logistic personnel, 35-man force protection for Belgian F-16).</p> <p><strong>Russia</strong><br />Russia has deployed an S-400 air defense system, and stations Su-24 bombers at the Russian military base in Latakia.<sup class="footnote_plugin_tooltip_text" id="footnote_plugin_tooltip_24">24)</sup>Russians have three bases in Syria: Latakia (also listening station), Tartus naval base and Khemeimim air base. Due to Russian military activities, Syrian government forces have an advantage.<sup class="footnote_plugin_tooltip_text" id="footnote_plugin_tooltip_25">25)</sup>The Russian military intervention started on 30.09.2015 with 4 000 military personnel.<sup class="footnote_plugin_tooltip_text" id="footnote_plugin_tooltip_26">26)</sup> Moscow has used the Russian Navy a few times like the Admiral Grigorovich. <sup class="footnote_plugin_tooltip_text" id="footnote_plugin_tooltip_27">27)</sup>According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Russian fighters carried out 672 sorties and bombed over 1 450 targets to support the <em>&ldquo;offensive by the militias of eastern Euphrates tribes and Kurdish militias&rdquo;</em>.<sup class="footnote_plugin_tooltip_text" id="footnote_plugin_tooltip_28">28)</sup>Independent experts said up to 10,000 Russian troops and private contractors could have been deployed to Syria. He suggested that Russia had between 4,000 and 5,000 Russian military servicemen in Syria including personnel at Russia&rsquo;s airbase in Khmeimim, a stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad in northwest Syria, and the Tartus naval facility. On top of that, independent Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer said, some 2 000 to 3 000 military advisors helped the Syrian army gain an upper hand over rebels and jihadists on the ground. <sup class="footnote_plugin_tooltip_text" id="footnote_plugin_tooltip_29">29)</sup>Vladimir Putin announced 11.12.2017 that his forces will start withdrawing from Syria after a two-year military campaign against ISIS.</p> <p><strong>Spain</strong><br />The Gran Capitán military base in Bismayah, which is under Spanish command and where some 450 soldiers and members of Spain&rsquo;s Civil Guard are stationed, along with US, British and Portuguese personnel have helped train 6 000 Iraqi troops.<sup class="footnote_plugin_tooltip_text" id="footnote_plugin_tooltip_31">31)</sup>The continued presence of the Spanish Patriot missile battery on the border between Turkey and Syria was a decision taken at the request of the Turkish Government, within the framework of the NATO.</p> <p><strong>Syria</strong><br />Al Assad&rsquo;s army is made up of 154 000 active and 150 000 reserved military personnel.</p> <p><strong>Turkey</strong><br />Turkey has a military base in Iraq: in Bashiqa near Mosul, Northern Iraq and in the Shaqlawa region (near Erbil). Roughly 2 000 Turkish troops are currently in northern Iraq.<sup class="footnote_plugin_tooltip_text" id="footnote_plugin_tooltip_34">34)</sup><sup class="footnote_plugin_tooltip_text" id="footnote_plugin_tooltip_35">35)</sup>In northern Syria after conducting Operation Euphrates Shield against ISIS and Kurdish militias, Turkey controls the region stretching from the city of Jarabulus on the Syria-Turkey border to Manbij, Al-Bab and northern Aleppo. Turkey is strengthening its position in the Middle East, also prevents the Kurdish state from coming into being.<sup class="footnote_plugin_tooltip_text" id="footnote_plugin_tooltip_36">36)</sup>The Turkish military contingent in Syria was reduced from 8,000 to 1,500 people (also commandos, like 180 commandos in Syrian city Al-Bab).</p> <p><strong>USA</strong><br />The United States has about 5 200 troops in Iraq (primarily in an advisory capacity) and about 2 000 in Syria. Unofficial military sources announced that there are also 4 000 American troops in Syria.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1242" height="1017" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171213_map.jpg?1513216331" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/mapping-world-war-syria-iraq#comments Al Fatemiyoun militia Australia AustraliaThe Australian Defence Forces Bashar al-Assad Belgium BelgiumThe Belgian mission in Iraq British Army Carabinieri Task Force eastern Euphrates F-16 Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War Foreign policy of the Barack Obama administration France German government Germany Hizballah International relations Iran Iraq Iraqi Army Iraqi Security Forces IraqThe Iraqi army ISIS Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Israel Italy Levant Middle East Middle East Military Netherlands North Atlantic Treaty Organization northern Iraq northern Syria northwest Syria Opération Chammal Operation Inherent Resolve Politics Politics of Syria Responsibility to protect Royal Air Force Russian Defense Ministry Russian military Russian Navy SyriaAl Assad’s army Syrian army Syrian government Task Force Turkey Turkish government Turkish military intervention in Syria Vladimir Putin War Thu, 14 Dec 2017 06:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609113 at http://www.zerohedge.com The Deep State's Christmas Present To America: Surveillance That Never Ends http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/deep-states-christmas-present-america-surveillance-never-ends <p><a href="https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/the_deep_states_christmas_present_to_america_surveillance_that_never_ends_s"><em>Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Just in time for Christmas</strong>, the Deep State wants to give America the gift that keeps on giving: <strong><a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/08/30/congress-faces-decision-whether-rein-controversial-spying-program/613337001/">never-ending mass surveillance</a>.</strong></p> <p>I&rsquo;m not referring to the kind of surveillance carried out by that all-knowing and all-seeing Jolly Old St. Nick and his informant the Elf on the Shelf (although, to be fair, they have <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/12/santa-claus-and-the-surveillance-state/383830/">helped to acclimate us to a world in which we&rsquo;re always being watched and judged by higher authorities</a>).</p> <p><strong>No, this particular bit of Yuletide gift-giving comes courtesy of the Deep State (a.k.a. the Surveillance State, Police State, Shadow Government and <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/national/black-budget/">black-ops spy agencies</a>).</strong></p> <p>If this power-hungry cabal gets its way, the government&rsquo;s power to spy on its citizens will soon be all-encompassing and permanent.</p> <p>As it now stands, <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/08/30/congress-faces-decision-whether-rein-controversial-spying-program/613337001/">Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act</a>&mdash;<strong>the legal basis for two of the National Security Agency&rsquo;s largest mass surveillance programs, &ldquo;PRISM&rdquo; and &ldquo;Upstream&rdquo;&mdash;is <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/08/30/congress-faces-decision-whether-rein-controversial-spying-program/613337001/">set to expire at the end of 2017</a>.</strong></p> <p>&ldquo;PRISM&rdquo; lets the NSA access emails, video chats, instant messages, and other content sent via Facebook, Google, Apple and others. &ldquo;Upstream&rdquo; lets the NSA worm its way into the internet backbone&mdash;the cables and switches owned by private corporations like AT&amp;T that make the internet into a global network&mdash;and scan traffic for the communications of tens of thousands of individuals labeled &ldquo;targets.&rdquo;</p> <p><a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/08/30/congress-faces-decision-whether-rein-controversial-spying-program/613337001/">Section 702 has been used as an end-run around the Constitution</a> to allow the government to collect the actual content of Americans&rsquo; emails, phone calls, text messages and other electronic communication without a warrant.</p> <p><strong>Under Section 702, the government collects and analyzes over 250 million internet communications every year. There are estimates that at least half of these contain information about U.S. residents, many of whom have done nothing wrong. This information is then shared with law enforcement and &ldquo;<a href="https://theintercept.com/2017/09/29/trump-administration-lobbying-hard-for-sweeping-surveillance-law/">routinely used for purposes unrelated to national security</a>.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>Mind you, Section 702 gives the government access to the very content of your conversations (<a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/08/30/congress-faces-decision-whether-rein-controversial-spying-program/613337001/">phone calls, text messages, video chats</a>), your photographs, your emails.</p> <p>So beware of what you say, what you read, what you write, where you go, and with whom you communicate, because it will all be recorded, stored and used against you eventually, at a time and place of the government&rsquo;s choosing. Privacy, as we have known it, is dead.</p> <p><u><strong>For all intents and purposes, we now have a fourth branch of government.</strong></u></p> <p>This fourth branch came into being without any electoral mandate or constitutional referendum, and yet it possesses superpowers, above and beyond those of any other government agency save the military. It is all-knowing, all-seeing and all-powerful. It operates beyond the reach of the president, Congress and the courts, and it marches in lockstep with the corporate elite who really call the shots in Washington, DC.</p> <p>The government&rsquo;s &ldquo;<a href="http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-n-s-a-s-chief-chronicler">technotyranny</a>&rdquo; surveillance apparatus has become so entrenched and entangled with its police state apparatus that it&rsquo;s hard to know anymore where law enforcement ends and surveillance begins.</p> <p><strong>The short answer: they have become one and the same entity.</strong></p> <p>The police state has passed the baton to the surveillance state.</p> <p>This hasn&rsquo;t fazed President Trump who, much like his predecessors, has thus far marched in lockstep with the dictates of the police state.</p> <p>For months, the <a href="https://theintercept.com/2017/09/29/trump-administration-lobbying-hard-for-sweeping-surveillance-law/">Trump Administration has been actively lobbying Congress to reauthorize Section 702 in its entirety</a>. Now, according to <em>The Intercept,</em> Trump is actively considering a <a href="https://theintercept.com/2017/12/04/trump-white-house-weighing-plans-for-private-spies-to-counter-deep-state-enemies/">proposal to establish his own global, private spy network that would circumvent official U.S. intelligence agencies and answer directly to the White House</a>.</p> <p>If approved, this would be <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/national/black-budget/">yet another secret government agency carrying out secret surveillance and counterintelligence, funded by a secret black ops budget</a> that by its very nature does away with transparency, bypasses accountability and completely eludes any form of constitutionality.</p> <p>As if we weren&rsquo;t being spied on enough already.</p> <p>On any given day, the average American is now <a href="https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/the_age_of_no_privacy_the_surveillance_state_shifts_into_high_gear">monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways</a> by both government and corporate eyes and ears.</p> <p><strong>Every second of every day, the American people are being spied on by the U.S. government&rsquo;s vast network of digital Peeping Toms, electronic eavesdroppers and robotic snoops.</strong></p> <p>Talk about a system rife for abuse.</p> <p>Ask the government why it&rsquo;s carrying out this warrantless surveillance on American citizens, and you&rsquo;ll get the same Orwellian answer the government has been trotting out since 9/11 to justify its assaults on our civil liberties: to keep America safe.</p> <p>Yet warrantless mass surveillance by the government and its corporate cohorts hasn&rsquo;t made America any safer. And it certainly isn&rsquo;t helping to preserve our freedoms. Frankly, America will never be safe as long as the U.S. government is allowed to shred the Constitution.</p> <p><u><em><strong>Now the government wants us to believe that we have nothing to fear from its mass spying program because they&rsquo;re only looking to get the &ldquo;bad&rdquo; guys who are overseas.</strong></em></u></p> <p>Don&rsquo;t believe it.</p> <p><strong>Warrantless mass surveillance of American citizens is wrong, un-American, and unconstitutional.</strong></p> <p>Clearly, the outlook for reforming the government&rsquo;s unconstitutional surveillance programs does not look good.</p> <p>As I make clear in my book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Battlefield-America-War-American-People/dp/1590793099/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8"><em>Battlefield America: The War on the American People</em></a>, <strong>whenever the rights of the American people are pitted against the interests of the military/corporate/security complex, &ldquo;we the people&rdquo; lose. Unless Congress develops a conscience&mdash;or suddenly remembers that they owe their allegiance to the citizenry and not the corporate state&mdash;we&rsquo;re about to lose big.</strong></p> <p>It&rsquo;s time to let Section 702 expire or reform the law to ensure that millions and millions of Americans are not being victimized by a government that no longer respects its constitutional limits.</p> <p>Mark my words: <em><u><strong>if Congress votes to make the NSA&rsquo;s vast spying powers permanent, it will be yet another brick in the wall imprisoning us within an electronic concentration camp from which there is no escape.</strong></u></em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="290" height="149" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171213_surv.jpg?1513213798" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/deep-states-christmas-present-america-surveillance-never-ends#comments Apple Congress Crime prevention Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act Google Government Law enforcement Mass surveillance national security National security National Security Agency National Security Agency Politics Prevention PrISM PRISM Privacy of telecommunications Rutherford Institute Shadow Government SPY Surveillance Transparency Trump Administration U.S. intelligence US government White House White House Thu, 14 Dec 2017 04:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609112 at http://www.zerohedge.com Almost A Third Of Americans Are Working Beyond Age 65 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/almost-third-americans-are-working-beyond-age-65 <p>There is a <strong>huge disparity</strong> in employment rates among over 65s across different countries...</p> <p><a href="https://www.statista.com/chart/12202/where-people-are-working-beyond-65/" title="Infographic: Where People Are Working Beyond 65 | Statista"><img alt="Infographic: Where People Are Working Beyond 65 | Statista" height="428" src="https://infographic.statista.com/normal/chartoftheday_12202_where_people_are_working_beyond_65_n.jpg" width="600" /></a></p> <p><em>You will find more statistics at <a href="https://www.statista.com/">Statista</a></em></p> <p>As <a href="https://www.statista.com/chart/12202/where-people-are-working-beyond-65/">Statista&#39;s Niall McCarthy</a> notes, <a href="http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/social-issues-migration-health/pensions-at-a-glance-2017_pension_glance-2017-en#.WigBDcYqWUk#page1" target="_blank">a recent OECD report</a>&nbsp;found that the <strong>highest rates of people working beyond 65 are in Asia with Indonesia particularly notable as having a 50.6 percent employment among those in the 65-69 age group. </strong>That figure is high elsewhere in Asia, standing at 45 percent in South Korea and 42.8 percent in Japan.</p> <p><strong>In&nbsp;<a href="https://www.statista.com/topics/4220/pension-funds-in-europe/" target="_blank">contrast to Europe</a> where there were widespread protests when the retirement age was raised even slightly,</strong> much of Asia has actually been supportive of increases in the mandatory retirement age. <strong>Reasons for support include everything from a desire to maintaing a fit and active life to more obvious concerns about finances. </strong></p> <p>New Zealand has no compulsory retirement age and it is another country with a high employment rate among older people with 42.6 percent of those aged 65 to 69 still working. The rate is far less in Australia at 25.9 percent while&nbsp;<a href="https://www.statista.com/topics/1217/retirement-saving/" target="_blank">it&#39;s 31 percent in the United States</a>.</p> <p><strong>In Europe where all those protests happened, the rate is lower still.</strong> In the United Kingdom, the employment rate for 65-69 year olds stands at 21 percent while in France and Spain, it is only 6.3 and 5.3 percent respectively.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="766" height="286" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171213_65.jpg?1513213479" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/almost-third-americans-are-working-beyond-age-65#comments Ageing Australia Business France Japan Labor New Zealand OECD Retirement Termination of employment United Kingdom Thu, 14 Dec 2017 04:10:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609111 at http://www.zerohedge.com Brandon Smith Warns 'The Virtual Economy' Is The End Of Freedom http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/brandon-smith-warns-virtual-economy-end-freedom <p><a href="http://www.alt-market.com/articles/3332-the-virtual-economy-is-the-end-of-freedom"><em>Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,</em></a></p> <p>There is one simple rule to follow when understanding the tragic history of economies: <em><strong>Never put blind faith in a system built on an establishment-created foundation</strong></em>. You would think this would not be a difficult concept to grasp being that we have so many examples of controlled economies and collapse to reference over the centuries, <em><strong>but in our era more than ever the allure of a virtual world with promises of endless wealth and ease is overwhelming.</strong></em></p> <p><em><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_alt.jpg"><img height="265" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/13/20171213_alt.jpg" width="488" /></a></em></p> <p>Yes, I am referring primarily to cyptocurrency &quot;tulip-mania&quot; (sorry bitcoiners, the description is too fitting, it isn&#39;t going away), but not this issue alone.<strong> I am also referring to a far-reaching problem of which cryptocurrencies are a mere reflection. </strong></p> <p>Namely, the fact that <strong>humanity is swiftly losing sight of what a true economy is and what it is supposed to accomplish.</strong> It is because of this reality that crypto is thriving.</p> <p>First, let&#39;s be clear, fiat currencies are one of the first machinations of the virtual economy. Once paper currencies printed from thin air by central bankers were separated from tangible backing and accepted by the masses as &quot;valuable&quot; and worth trading labor for, the seed of financial cancer was planted. Today, there is one final step needed for the establishment to accomplish complete tyranny in global trade and that is to disconnect the masses fully from private transactions. In other words, we must be tricked into going digital, where privacy is an absurd memory.</p> <p><strong>Virtual economics is appealing for several reasons, most of them bad.</strong></p> <p>Americans and much of the west in particular are increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of real production. The latest generation coming into political and social influence, the millenials, is a perfect example. Surveys show American millenials more than any other generation lack basic workplace competency skills, including scoring low on arithmetic and reading comprehension. Often portrayed as &quot;tech savvy&quot; in popular culture and the media, <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/deb387b1-dd1a-4c4d-bda2-d4a05da95a73/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">millenials are quite inept</a> when it comes to core skills that fuel strong business and trade, which is part of the reason why the U.S. is falling into the shadow of foreign workforces.</p> <p>Millenials in the West also exhibit abysmal technical skills in international testing and <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/75a0ee3b-d017-485d-8e70-3cfef0affce3/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">lag far behind foreign peers</a>. This has come as a surprise to many mainstream economists and social analysts, primarily because millenials are also considered the &quot;most educated&quot; generation ever. But, of course, we have not only been given a virtual economy in recent decades, but also a virtual educational system. A majority of millenials are lacking when it comes to key production skills and entrepreneurship methods because they have been trained to dismiss such skills as negligible. In other words, millenials have been conditioned to be <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/9e46d7f6-6c6b-4dd9-acd9-05f7914d151c/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">academic idiots</a>.</p> <p><em><strong>Why go through the struggle and hardship required to become an effective producer of tangible necessities when it is far easier to join a collectivist drive for socialism and a structure in which little to no work is required to obtain such necessities?</strong></em> Why not steal from a productive minority and spread it thinly enough to keep the unskilled majority fed? It is only within this kind of culture that virtual production, a virtual society and virtual &quot;money&quot; is seen as an ideal solution.</p> <p>The notion is becoming more and more prevalent in our popular media, and I believe this is rather symbolic (or ironic) of our conundrum.</p> <p>For example, <strong>consider the book <em>Ready Player One</em>, </strong>a pop-culture craze and archetypal zeitgeist for millenials soon to be released as an intended Hollywood blockbuster directed by Steven Spielberg. The novel depicts the world of 2045, a world in which fossil fuel depletion and &quot;global warming&quot; have triggered economic and social decline (Remember in the 1980s when they used to tell us that global warming was going to melt the polar icecaps and we would be under water by the year 2000?). A totalitarian governing body controlled by corporate behemoths rules over the dystopian sprawl.</p> <p>In response to an ever painful existence in the real world, the masses have sought to escape to a virtual world called &quot;the Oasis,&quot; created by a programming genius. <strong>The Oasis becomes a nexus for the global economy and a virtual society.</strong></p> <p>This sounds like a rousing background for a story of rebellion, and it is about that... sort of. Unfortunately, here is where the disturbing ties between our world and the fictional world of <em>Ready Player One</em> meet. The &quot;rebellion&quot; is for all intents and purposes also virtual, and for millenial audiences in particular, this is supposed to be inspiring.</p> <p><u><strong>Perhaps this is why cryptocurrencies are <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-08/millennials-ready-to-ditch-stocks-to-keep-bitcoin-rally-alive">so appealing to the millenial crowd</a> in particular.</strong></u> Think about it &mdash; the dismal economic doldrums of <em>Ready Player One</em> exist NOW; we don&#39;t have to wait until 2045. Millenials are already feeling disaffected, indebted and disenfranchised, and most of them are also skill-less. Self reliance to them is an idea so alien it rarely if ever crosses their minds. So, how do they fight back? Or, how are they tricked into thinking they can fight back against a virtual system that has left them in the gutter? Why, with a virtual community and a virtual currency, of course.</p> <p>Millenials and others think that they are going to rebel and &quot;take down the banking oligarchs&quot; with nothing more than digital markers representing &quot;coins&quot; tracked on a digital ledger created by an anonymous genius programmer/programmers. Delusional? Yes. But like I said earlier, it is an appealing notion.</p> <p><em><strong>Here is the issue, though; true money requires intrinsic value. Cryptocurrencies have no intrinsic value. They are conjured from nothing by programmers, they are &quot;mined&quot; in a virtual mine created from nothing, and they have no unique aspects that make them rare or tangibly useful. They are an easily replicated digital product. Anyone can create a cryptocurrency. And for those that argue that &quot;math gives crypto intrinsic value,&quot; I&#39;m sorry to break it to them, but the math is free.</strong></em></p> <p>In fact, for those that are not already aware, <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/af6acf98-f864-488a-9079-f61c2c25a41c/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 hash function</a>, created by none other than the National Security Agency (NSA) and published by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST).</p> <p><u><strong>Yes, that&#39;s right, Bitcoin would not exist without the foundation built by the NSA. </strong></u>Not only this, but the entire concept for a system remarkably similar to bitcoin was published by the NSA way back in 1996 in a paper called &quot;<a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/acfc973b-e0dd-4e15-a139-ba7b95f1cbca/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">How To Make A Mint: The Cryptography Of Anonymous Electronic Cash.</a>&quot;</p> <p>The origins of bitcoin and thus the origins of crytpocurrencies and the blockchain ledger suggest anything other than a legitimate rebellion against the establishment framework and international financiers. I often cite this same problem when people come to me with arguments that the internet has set the stage for the collapse of the globalist information filter and the mainstream media. The truth is, the internet is also an establishment creation developed by DARPA, and as Edward Snowden exposed in his data dumps, the NSA has total information awareness and backdoor control over every aspect of web data.</p> <p><strong>Many people believe the free flow of information on the internet is a weapon in favor of the liberty movement, but it is also a weapon in favor of the establishment. </strong>With a macro overview of data flows, entities like Google <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeQsPSaitL0">can even predict future social trends </a>and instabilities, not to mention peek into every personal detail of an individual&#39;s life and past.</p> <p>To summarize, cryptocurrencies are built upon an establishment designed framework, and they are entirely dependent on an establishment created and controlled vehicle (the internet) in order to function and perpetuate trade.&nbsp; <u><em><strong>How exactly is this &quot;decentralization&quot;, again?</strong></em></u></p> <p><strong>TOTAL information awareness is the goal here; and blockchain technology helps the powers-that-be remove one of the last obstacles: <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/a8059e0b-19f7-4237-88ba-e41d23b78b3c/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">private personal trade transactions</a></strong>. Years ago, a common argument presented in favor of bitcoin was that it was &quot;completely anonymous.&quot;&nbsp; Today, this is being proven more and more a lie. Even now, in the wake of open admissions by major bitcoin proponents <a href="https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608716/bitcoin-transactions-arent-as-anonymous-as-everyone-hoped/">that the system is NOT<em> </em>anonymous</a>, people still claim anonymity is possible through various measures, but this has not proven to sway the FBI or IRS which have for years now been using resources such as <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/029eb92f-1f54-4fd9-a7e5-da392e918d1f/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">Chainanalysis</a> to track bitcoin users when they feel like doing so, including those users that have taken stringent measures to hide themselves.</p> <p>Bitcoin proponents will argue that &quot;new developments&quot; and even new cryptocurrencies are solving this problem. Yet, this was the mantra back when bitcoin was first hitting the alternative media. It wasn&#39;t a trustworthy assumption back then, so why would it be a trustworthy assumption now? The only proper assumption to make is that nothing digital is anonymous. Period.</p> <p><strong>With the ludicrous spike in bitcoin prices, champions of the virtual economy are unlikely to listen to any questions or criticisms.</strong> I have never argued one way or the other in terms of bitcoin&#39;s potential &quot;market value,&quot; because it does not really matter. I have only ever argued that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are in no way a solution to combating the international and central banks.&nbsp; In fact, cyrptocurrencies only seem to be expediting their plan for full spectrum digitization and the issuance of a global currency system.</p> <p>Bitcoin could easily hit $100,000, but its &quot;value&quot; is truly irrelevant and consistently hyped as if it makes bitcoin self evident as a solution to globalism. The higher the bitcoin price goes, the more the bitcoin cult claims victory, yet the lack of intrinsic value never seems to cross their minds. They have Scrooge McDuck-like visions of swimming in a vault of virtual millions.<strong> They&#39;ll only accuse you of being an &quot;old fogey&quot; that &quot;does not understanding what the blockchain is.&quot;</strong></p> <p>The fact is, they are the one&#39;s that do not really understand what the blockchain is &mdash; <u><strong>a framework for a completely cashless society in which trade anonymity is dead and economic freedom is destroyed.</strong></u></p> <p>Ask yourself this: Why is it that central banks around the world (including the BIS and IMF) are investing in Bitcoin and other crytpocurrencies while developing their own <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/3e0d2878-524e-47ed-9814-22b508af5674/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">crypto systems</a> based on a similar framework? Could it be that THIS infusion of capital and infrastructure from major banks is the most likely explanation for the incredible spike in the bitcoin market?&nbsp; Why is it that globalist banking conglomerates like <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/e66d61fd-3162-4bde-8e06-edd318b03728/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">Goldman Sachs lavish blockchain technology</a> with praise in their white papers?<strong><em> And, why are central bankers like <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/ee47bdbf-0418-47ec-b3e4-f12db2b90dcc/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">Ben Bernanke</a> speaking in favor of crypto at major cryptocurrency conferences if crypto is such a threat to central bank control?</em></strong></p> <p><u><strong>Answer&nbsp;&mdash; because it is not a threat.&nbsp;</strong></u></p> <p>They benefit from a cashless system, and liberty champions are helping to give it to them.</p> <p><u><strong>Above all else, the virtual economy breeds weakness in society. </strong></u>It encourages a lack of tangible production. Instead of true producers, entrepreneurs and inventors, we have people scrambling to <a href="http://src.boblivingstonletter.com/ego/22890790-7365-46d2-bc5e-0b6f32b78c5c/402503264/321249" rel="noreferrer" target="_blank">sell real world property</a> in order to buy computing rigs capable of &quot;mining&quot; coins that do not really exist. That is to say, we may one day soon be faced with millions of citizens expending their labor and energy in order to obtain digital nothings programmed into existence and given artificial scarcity (for now).</p> <p><strong>It also encourages false rebellion. </strong>Real change requires actions in the real world. Removing banking elitists and their structures by force if necessary (and this will probably be necessary). Instead, freedom activists are being convinced that they will never have to lift a finger to beat the bankers. All they have to do is buy and mine crypto. The day will come in the near future when the folks that embrace this nonsense will wake up and realize they have wasted their energies chasing a unicorn and are ill prepared to weather the economic reset that continues to evolve.</p> <p><u><strong>To maintain a real economy in which people are self reliant and safe from fiscal shock, you need three things</strong></u>: <em>tangible localized and decentralized production, independent and decentralized trade networks that are not structured around an establishment controlled system (like the internet is controlled), and the will to apply force to protect and preserve that production and those networks.</em> If you cannot manufacture a useful thing, repair a useful thing or teach a useful skill, then you are essentially useless in a real economy. If you do not have localized trade, you have nothing.&nbsp; If you do not have the mindset and the community of independent people required to protect your local production, then you will not be able to keep the economy you have built.</p> <p>This is the cold hard truth that crypto proponents do not want to discuss, and will dismiss outright as &quot;archaic&quot; or &quot;not obtainable.&quot; The virtual economy is so much easier, so much more enticing, so much more comfortable. Why risk anything or everything in a real world effort to build a concrete trade network in your own neighborhood or town? Why risk everything by promoting true decentralization through localized commodity-backed money and barter systems? Why risk everything by defending those systems when the establishment seeks to crush them? Why do this, when you can pretend you are a virtual hero wielding virtual weapons in a no risk rebellion in a world of electronic ones and zeros?</p> <p><em><u><strong>In truth, the virtual economy is not legitimate decentralization, it is a weapon of mass distraction engineered to kill legitimate decentralization.</strong></u></em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="488" height="265" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171213_alt.jpg?1513206884" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/brandon-smith-warns-virtual-economy-end-freedom#comments Alternative currencies Ben Bernanke Ben Bernanke BIS BIS Bitcoin Bitcoin Blockchains Central Banks Cryptocurrencies Cryptography cryptography DARPA Decentralization FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Finance Global Economy Global Warming goldman sachs Goldman Sachs Google Internal Revenue Service International Monetary Fund lavish blockchain technology Legality of bitcoin by country or territory Money National Institute for Standards and Technology national security National Security Agency None Reality US Federal Reserve virtual community Virtual currency Virtual economy Thu, 14 Dec 2017 03:50:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609108 at http://www.zerohedge.com