en Weapons Went From The CIA To ISIS In Less Than Two Months, New Study Reveals <ul> <li><em>Mainstream media in 2013: &quot;<strong>Conspiracy Theorists!&quot;&nbsp;</strong></em></li> <li><em>Mainstream media in 2017: &quot;<strong>ISIS Got a Powerful Missile the CIA Bought</strong>!&quot;&nbsp;</em></li> </ul> <p>Years late to the party, mainstream media outlets like USA Today, Reuters, and Buzzfeed are just out with &quot;breaking&quot; and &quot;exclusive&quot; stories detailing how&nbsp;<strong>a vast arsenal of weapons sent to Syria by the CIA in cooperation with US allies fuelled the rapid growth of ISIS.</strong>&nbsp;Buzzfeed&#39;s story entitled,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Blowback: ISIS Got A Powerful Missile The CIA Secretly Bought In Bulgaria</a>, begins by referencing &quot;a&nbsp;new report on how ISIS built its arsenal highlights how the US purchased munitions, intended for Syrian rebels, that&nbsp;<strong>ended up in the hands of the terrorist group.&quot;</strong></p> <p>The original study that Buzzfeed and other media are referencing comes from a UK-based independent weapons research organization called&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Conflict Armament Research&nbsp;(CAR)</a>&nbsp;which has had a team of weapons and munitions experts on the ground in the Middle East for years examining arms and equipment recovered from ISIS and other terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria.&nbsp;Using serial numbers, crate shipping markings, and all available forensics data,<strong>&nbsp;the CAR experts began finding that as early as 2013 to 2014 much of the Islamic State&#39;s advanced weapons systems as well as small arms were clearly sourced to the United States and the West.</strong></p> <p>&ldquo;Supplies of materiel into the Syrian conflict from foreign parties -&nbsp;<strong>notably the United States and Saudi Arabia</strong>&nbsp;- have indirectly allowed IS to obtain substantial quantities of anti-armor ammunition,&rdquo; states the&nbsp;<a href="">CAR report</a>. &ldquo;These weapons include anti-tank guided weapons and several varieties of rocket with tandem warheads, which are designed to defeat modern reactive armor.&rdquo;</p> <p><em><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 334px;" /><br />Image source:&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Conflict Armament Research</a></em></p> <p><em><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 244px;" /><br />A PG-9 missile modified to fit a Model 2 recoilless launcher system. Produced in 2016 in Romania, exported to the United States and documented in Mosul in September 2017.&nbsp;<em>Source:&nbsp;Conflict Armament Research</em></em></p> <p>The study further reveals that in one notable instance, a weapons shipment of advanced missile systems&nbsp;<strong>switched hands from US intelligence to &quot;moderate&quot; Syrian groups to ISIS in only a two month time period.&nbsp;</strong>Though the report is now evoking shock and confusion among pundits, the same weapons research group has actually published similar findings and conclusions going years back into the Syrian conflict.&nbsp;</p> <p>For example, a previous&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">2014 Conflict Armament Research report</a>&nbsp;found that Balkan origin anti-tank rockets recovered from ISIS fighters appeared identical to those shipped in 2013 to Syrian rebel forces as part of a CIA program.</p> <p>And&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">CAR&#39;s damning publications</a>&nbsp;presenting such inconvenient empirical data have been consistent for years,&nbsp;<strong>yet were largely ignored and suppressed by analysts and mainstream media</strong>&nbsp;who were too busy cheerleading US support for Syrian &quot;rebels&quot; cast as romantic revolutionaries in their struggle to topple Assad and his secular nationalist government. Of course, it&#39;s an&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">old story</a>&nbsp;if you&#39;ve been reading Zero Hedge or the profusion of&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">independent outlets</a>&nbsp;that have long reported the truth about the covert&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">&quot;dirty war&quot; in Syria</a>&nbsp;since nearly the beginning.&nbsp;</p> <p>Even though it&#39;s now suddenly acceptable and fashionable to admit - as does one&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">recent BBC headline</a>&nbsp;(&quot;The Jihadis You Pay For&quot;) - that the US and Saudi covert program in Syria&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">fuelled the rise of ISIS</a>&nbsp;and various other al-Qaeda linked terror groups, it must be remembered that only a short time ago the mainstream media openly mocked analysts and writers who dared make the connection between the West&#39;s massive covert Syrian rebel aid programs and the al-Qaeda insurgents who so clearly benefited.</p> <p>When news of the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report</a>&nbsp; broke, which described what it called a &quot;Salafist principality&quot; or &quot;an Islamic State&quot; as a strategic asset or buffer in Syria that could be used by the Western coalition &quot;in order to isolate the Syrian regime&quot;,&nbsp;<strong>American media outlets dismissed what was labelled a &quot;conspiracy theory&quot; at the time in spite of the hard evidence of a US military intelligence report being made available.</strong></p> <p>The Daily Beast for example mocked what it called&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">&quot;The ISIS Conspiracy Theory that Ate the Web&quot;</a>&nbsp;- describing those analyzing the Pentagon intelligence document as far-right and far-left loons. This occurred even as the document was taken very seriously and analyzed in-depth by some of the world&#39;s foremost Middle East experts and investigative journalists in foreign outlets like the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">London Review of Books</a>,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">The Guardian</a>,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Der Spiegal</a>&nbsp;, as well as&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">RT</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Al Jazeera</a>.</p> <p><em><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 186px;" /><br />Daily Beast fail from 2015</em></p> <p><strong>And yet now</strong>&nbsp;<strong>once again &quot;conspiracy theory&quot; has been confirmed as &quot;conspiracy fact&quot;</strong>: Conflict Armament Research&#39;s new report out this week is the result of a three-year ground investigation which compiled findings from 40,000 military items recovered from ISIS between the years 2014 and 2017.&nbsp;Its conclusions are scientific, exhaustive, and irrefutable.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">International weapon supplies to factions in the Syrian conflict have significantly augmented the quantity and quality of weapons available to IS forces. Read more here <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; CAR (@conflictarm) <a href="">December 14, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p>The extensive report confirms what former MI6 spy and British diplomat Alastair Crooke once stated - that the CIA established the basis of a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">&ldquo;jihadi Wal-Mart&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;of sorts - to which ISIS had immediate and easy access.&nbsp;<strong>Crooke noted that the weapons program was set up with &quot;plausible deniability&quot; in mind</strong>, which would allow its American intelligence sponsors to be shielded from any potential future legal prosecution or public embarrassment. Crooke noted in a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">2015 BBC interview that</a>, &ldquo;The West does not actually hand the weapons to al-Qaida, let alone to ISIS&hellip;,<strong>&nbsp;but the system they&rsquo;ve constructed leads precisely to that end.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>This is what enables&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Buzzfeed</a>,&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">USA Today</a>, and&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">others</a>&nbsp;to report the bombshell findings<strong>&nbsp;yet continue to soft peddle the significance</strong>&nbsp;by emphasizing things like &quot;weaknesses in oversight and regulation&quot; while also highlighting the &quot;accidental&quot; nature of US-supplied missiles &quot;ending up&quot; in the hands of ISIS terrorists.&nbsp;</p> <p>Buzzfeed&#39;s coverage of the CAR weapons report is&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">summarized in the article introduction</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>A guided anti-tank missile ended up in the hands of ISIS terrorists less than two months after the US government purchased it in late 2015 &mdash; highlighting weaknesses in the oversight and regulation of America&rsquo;s covert arms programs, according to information published Thursday by an arms monitoring group called Conflict Armament Research (CAR).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Though the report says the missile was purchased by the US Army using a contractor,&nbsp;<strong>BuzzFeed News has learned that the real customer appears to have been the CIA.</strong>It was part of the spy agency&rsquo;s top secret operation to arm rebels in Syria to fight the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.&nbsp;<strong>The missile ended up in the hands of ISIS fighters in Iraq, according to the report. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The CIA declined to comment on the Obama-era program to back Syrian rebels,&nbsp;<strong>which was canceled by President Trump in July.</strong>&nbsp;The Pentagon did not provide information in time for publication.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The missile is one piece of a critical puzzle that is being solved only now, with ISIS on the run:&nbsp;<strong>How did the vast terror group arm its war machine?</strong>&nbsp;CAR spent three years tracking ISIS weapons as they were recovered by Iraqi, Syrian, and Kurdish forces &mdash; and found that&nbsp;<strong>what happened to the missile was no aberration.</strong>&nbsp;Indeed, the terror group managed to divert &ldquo;substantial quantities of anti-armour ammunition&rdquo; from weapons provided to Syrian opposition forces&nbsp;<strong>by the US or Saudi Arabia.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><em><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 141px;" /></a><br />The anti-tank missile recovered from ISIS in February 2016. It originated with the US Army in December 2015. Image source: Conflicts Armament Research, &quot;Weapons of the Islamic State&quot; via Buzzfeed&nbsp;</em></p> <p>But some astute observers might notice the significance of the timeline related to the CIA purchase of one of the anti-tank missiles examined: &quot;A guided anti-tank missile ended up in the hands of ISIS terrorists less than two months after&nbsp;<strong>the US government purchased it&nbsp;</strong><em><strong>in late 2015</strong></em><strong>.&quot;</strong>&nbsp;As highlighted previously, the CAR team of experts had already documented the trend of CIA weapons delivered to the Syrian battlefield going to ISIS fighters&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">as early as September of 2014.</a>&nbsp;Beyond this 2014 study,&nbsp;<strong>a seemingly endless stream of articles going back years published in independent and international media have underscored the reality of ISIS growing and thriving because of Western and Gulf state covert weapons shipments.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>This means that CIA and government analysts<strong>&nbsp;knew full well where the weapons were going&nbsp;</strong><em><strong>in real time</strong></em>, yet continued with the program anyway. As former Pentagon intelligence chief Michael Flynn told Al Jazeera&#39;s Mehdi Hasan in a stunningly frank&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">summer 2015 interview</a>&nbsp;(significantly before Flynn was part of the Trump campaign),&nbsp;the White House&rsquo;s sponsoring of radical jihadists (that would emerge as ISIS and al-Nusra/HTS) against the Syrian government&nbsp;<strong>was most certainly &ldquo;a willful decision.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" gesture="media" height="281" src="" width="500"></iframe></p> <p>Thus General Flynn in the summer of 2015, speaking as recently retired military intelligence officer, warned in no uncertain terms that US-supplied weapons in Syria were going to ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other jihadists.&nbsp;<strong>This was so well known at the time that it could be openly stated by a retired high ranking official an a major international program.</strong>&nbsp;Flynn also said something similar to both&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Seymour Hersh</a>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">New York Times</a>&nbsp;in 2015.&nbsp;</p> <p>But what did the CIA and allied intelligence agencies do? They continued arming the jihadist insurgency in Syria in their efforts to oust Assad. This was indeed &quot;a willful decision&quot; as Flynn affirmed&nbsp;and not mere &quot;weaknesses in oversight and regulation&quot; as Buzzfeed would have us believe.</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="900" height="439" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Al-Qaeda al-Qaeda American intelligence Assad family Bashar al-Assad Bulgaria Central Intelligence Agency Central Intelligence Agency Conflict Armament Research Defense Intelligence Agency Fail Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War Iraq Irregular military ISIS Islam Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Islamist groups Middle East Middle East New York Times Pentagon Politics Politics of Syria Reality Reuters Romania Saudi Arabia SPY Syrian government Terrorism Twitter Twitter U.S. intelligence United States Army US government War White House White House Fri, 15 Dec 2017 12:12:41 +0000 Tyler Durden 609204 at European, Asian Stocks Slide But US Futures Rebound As Tax Deal Fears Ease <p>U.S. equity index futures point to a higher open, having rebounded some 10 points off session lows with the VIX stuck on the edge between single and double digits, while European and Asian shares decline as investors assess central banks’ shift toward tighter monetary policy and concern over tax overhaul ahead of final plan.&nbsp; </p> <p>It has been a groggy end to what is <a href="">still set to be a third week of gains</a> for MSCI’s global stock index following more upbeat data and signs that central banks including the Federal Reserve will keep treading carefully with interest rate hikes. </p> <p>On Thursday, US stocks closed 0.41% lower after Republican Senator Rubio said he intends to oppose the tax bill as written unless there was a larger child tax credit (currently $1,100). He said GOP leaders “found the money to lower the top (individual tax) rate”, but “can’t find a little bit” more to help working class parents raising children. However, later on, President Trump said he is “very sure” Mr Rubio will vote yes. So still lots of potential changes here before the bills gets voted by the Senate, potentially as soon as Monday, although on Friday, US equities appears sanguine about the risks and have faded most of Thuesday's weakness. </p> <p>“The more the tax bill gets watered down, the less pronounced the effect will be on the dollar.” said Commerzbank currency strategist Esther Reichelt, in Frankfurt.</p> <p>This morning in Asia, markets followed the negative US lead and are trading lower, with the MSCI Asia Pac Index and its ex-Japan couisn both down -0.4%. Australia's ASX 200 (-0.2%) closed negative as weakness in its top-weighted financials sector weighed, while Nikkei 225 (-0.5%) was pressured after a mixed Tankan survey <strong>but then rebounded amid reports the BoJ is to tweak its language due to dovish dissent. </strong>Shanghai Comp. (-0.6%) and Hang Seng (-0.9%) were subdued after the recent quasi-tightening in China and with President Xi also expected to stress the need to curb financial risks at next week’s annual Central Economic Work Conference. </p> <p>European markets were all lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index following benchmarks from Hong Kong to Tokyo and Sydney lower, and down 0.4%, impacted by utilities and financials stocks post the marginally dovish ECB meeting. On a sector breakdown, consumer discretionary names are seen lower in the wake of a profit warning from Salvatore Ferragamo (-8%) and H&amp;M (-15%) delivering an uninspiring trading update. Retailers led the decline as Hennes &amp; Mauritz AB plunged after reporting a slump in quarterly sales. Banks struggled too on a renewed dip in euro zone bond yields after Thursday’s message from the European Central Bank that it was sticking to its pledge to keep money pouring into the bloc’s economy for as long as needed.</p> <p>In currencies, the dollar steadied, but was down at 112.21 against the yen and, despite having been at a one-month high earlier in the week, stuttering toward a 0.3% weekly drop against a basket of six rival currencies, while Treasuries declined as some tax cut jitters remained. <strong>South Africa’s rand gained even as volatility soared before the ruling African National Congress meets this weekend to elect a new leader.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="281" /></a></p> <p>Meanwhile, the euro headed for a weekly gain after the ECB remained cautious about the prospects of reaching its inflation goals, even as it reiterated a pledge to keep stimulus in place. The pound dropped and yields on U.K. gilts fell to the lowest since September <strong>amid speculation Brexit talks are about to get more difficult</strong>. Russia’s ruble fluctuated after the nation’s central bank cut rates more than expected. The New Zealand dollar was the biggest mover among major currencies, up 0.6 percent at a two-month high of after the country's Finance Minister Grant Robertson said he was comfortable with the currency's general trend.</p> <p>And speaking of Brexit, PM Theresa May is expected to back down on Brexit date plan in order to avoid a second defeat in the commons next week, according to press reports. German Chancellor Merkel said EU leaders <strong>will move to Brexit phase 2 today, </strong>but added that a lot of work is still needed regarding migration. There were also reports that EU leaders warned UK Conservative Party rebels have made a no deal Brexit more likely.</p> <p>Back in the US, uncertainty surrounding the fate of U.S. tax reform is threatening to sour what has been a stellar run for equities in 2017, as money managers dial back their appetite to take risk amid signs that the eight-year stock rally may not be far from its end. PIMCO sees the good times rolling on in 2018 as global economies grow in sync, but the bond giant warned investors to brace for a downturn as central banks from the U.S. to Europe gradually tighten policy.</p> <p>“The theme is still one of gradual policy tightening,” said Societe Generale interest rates strategist Jason Simpson, who said the Bank of England had also sent a steady-as-you-go signal at its meeting the previous day. <strong>“Today is also going to be the last one (this year) of any real flow... so bond yields are just squeezing lower as any short positions are being covered.”</strong></p> <p>In commodity markets, crude oil futures extended gains, after rising on Thursday as a pipeline outage in Britain continued to support prices despite forecasts showing a global crude surplus in the beginning of next year. U.S. crude added 0.3 percent, or 15 cents, to $57.19 a barrel, after gaining 0.8 percent overnight. Brent crude futures were up 0.2 percent, or 14 cents, at $63.45. Industrial metal copper CMCU3, headed for a 3 percent weekly gain after two weeks of hefty falls while gold edged away from a four month low hit earlier in week as it nudged up to $1,257 an ounce. </p> <p>Bitcoin was on track for its smallest weekly move since October, having turned less volatile following the start of trading of Cboe Global Markets’ bitcoin futures. Rival CME Group will launch its own version on Sunday. The cryptocurrency was trading near a record high around $17,000 on the Bitstamp exchange, having climbed around 15 percent since Monday - the fifth straight week of gains.</p> <p>Economic data include Empire State Manufacturing Survey and industrial production. </p> <p><strong>Overnight Bulletin Summary from RanSquawk</strong></p> <ul> <li>Last trading session of the week sees EU bourses slightly softer.</li> <li>USD is under pressure again amid political headwinds over the tax plan</li> <li>Looking ahead, highlights include US Industrial Production, Baker Hughes Rig Count and the Brussels Summit</li> </ul> <p><strong>Market Snapshot</strong></p> <ul> <li>S&amp;P 500 futures up 0.15% to 2,660</li> <li>STOXX Europe 600 down 0.3% to 387.86</li> <li>MSCI Asia down 0.4% to 170.33</li> <li>MSCI Asia ex Japan down 0.4% to 554.09</li> <li>Nikkei down 0.6% to 22,553.22</li> <li>Topix down 0.8% to 1,793.47</li> <li>Hang Seng Index down 1.1% to 28,848.11</li> <li>Shanghai Composite down 0.8% to 3,266.14</li> <li>Sensex up 0.7% to 33,489.07</li> <li>Australia S&amp;P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 5,996.97</li> <li>Kospi up 0.5% to 2,482.07</li> <li>German 10Y yield fell 1.3 bps to 0.303%</li> <li>Euro up 0.1% to $1.1791</li> <li>Italian 10Y yield fell 0.3 bps to 1.529%</li> <li>Spanish 10Y yield fell 2.6 bps to 1.421%</li> <li>Brent futures little changed at $63.29/bbl</li> <li>Gold spot up 0.4% to $1,257.33</li> <li>U.S. Dollar Index up 0.02% to 93.51</li> </ul> <p><strong>Top Overnight News</strong></p> <ul> <li>President Donald Trump said he’s “very sure” Marco Rubio will vote to pass tax legislation after senator threatened to vote against the bill unless negotiators boost the child tax credit.</li> <li>Vice President Mike Pence’s Mideast trip shrinks after President Trump declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel</li> <li>European Union leaders discuss the latest Brexit developments as May returns to Brussels after parliament defeat on Brexit legislation</li> <li>Tax Overhaul Suspense as Holdouts Remain; Brevan Howard Braced for Worst Year Ever; Oracle Shares Jump on Cloud Warning</li> <li>Congressional Republicans are scheduled to reveal final details of their agreed-upon tax-overhaul legislation today: Tax Debate Update</li> <li>Central bankers are gingerly trying to take away the punch bowl without interrupting the party with moves either so well-telegraphed, or so tiny, and the language about future action so hedged, that there was barely a ripple in financial markets</li> <li>Mylan NV, Perrigo Co. and Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc are among companies that submitted preliminary bids for Merck KGaA’s consumer health division, which could be valued at about $5 billion</li> <li>With consumer spending surging, retailers are hoping for something they haven’t seen since the last recession began a decade ago: a truly great Christmas</li> <li>Brevan Howard Asset Management is bracing for at least $1 billion of client withdrawals at the end of the month, as its main fund heads for a record annual loss</li> <li>A new dissenter on the Bank of Japan board calling for more stimulus has prompted the BOJ to adjust its communications to flag risks of additional easing</li> <li>GM Squares Off With Old Detroit Foes in $90 Billion Pickup Fight</li> <li>BOJ Is Said to Tweak Message as Dissenter Calls for More Easing</li> <li>Deutsche Telekom Recharges Dutch Challenge With Tele2 Deal</li> <li>New Africa Gas Comes at Right Time for Europe in Supply Woes</li> <li>Brexit Talks Set to Get Messy as Unity Hits High-Water Mark</li> </ul> <p><strong>Asia stocks were mostly lower as the downbeat tone rolled over from the US close, </strong>where sentiment was pressured on tax reform discord after Republican Senator Rubio said he would not vote for the GOP tax bill unless it expands the child tax credit. ASX 200 (-0.2%) closed negative as weakness in its top-weighted financials sector weighed, while Nikkei 225 (-0.5%) was pressured after a&nbsp; mixed Tankan survey but then rebounded amid reports the BoJ is to tweak its language due to dovish dissent. Shanghai Comp. (-0.6%) and Hang Seng (-0.9%) were subdued after the recent quasi-tightening in China and with President Xi also expected to stress the need to curb financial risks at next week’s annual Central Economic Work Conference. Conversely, Indian markets&nbsp; bucked the trend with gains of 0.9% after the country’s ruling BJP retained power in Gujarat with a clear majority and won&nbsp; Himachal Pradesh from Congress in the state assembly elections. Finally, 10yr JGBs were relatively uneventful despite the&nbsp; indecisive tone in Japan, while the BoJ Rinban announcement also failed to spur demand with the total amount at a reserved JPY 290bln in 10yr-25yr+ maturities. PBoC injected CNY 80bln via 7-day reverse repos and CNY 70bln via 28-day reverse repos, <strong>for a weekly net injection of CNY 80bln vs. last week's CNY 510bln net drain</strong>. PBoC set CNY mid-point at 6.6113 (Prev. 6.6033). BoJ reportedly is to tweak its message after dissenter calls for further easing, according to reports. </p> <ul> <li>Japanese Tankan Large Manufacturing Index (Q4) 25 vs. Exp. 24 (Prev. 22). </li> <li>Tankan Large Manufacturing Outlook (Q4) 19 vs. Exp. 22 (Prev. 19)</li> <li>Tankan Large All Industry Capex (Q4) 7.4% vs. Exp. 7.5% (Prev. 7.7%)</li> </ul> <p><em>Top Asian News</em></p> <ul> <li>Noble Group Sees More Pain Ahead as Creditor Talks Progress</li> <li>Sunac Shares Plunge 10% After Placement Prices Near Bottom End</li> <li>Hong Kong Moves Toward Dual-Class Shares, Wooing Next Alibaba</li> <li>Hong Kong Stocks Retreat as Volatility Climbs to One-Year High</li> <li>Financials to Overshadow Drugmakers in India’s Revamped Sensex</li> <li>Vietnam Coffee Trade Slows as Buyers Bet on Bigger Discounts</li> <li>AirAsia Said in Talks on Sale of Leasing Arm to Everbright</li> <li>After Overtaking Diageo, China’s Moutai Plans Three IPOs</li> </ul> <p><strong>European equities have kicked the final trading session of the week in muted fashion, </strong>and lacking in firm direction (Eurostoxx 50 -0.1%) with yesterday’s ECB decision/press conference seeing no follow through into today’s trade. On a sector breakdown, consumer discretionary names are seen lower in the wake of a profit warning from Salvatore Ferragamo (-8%) and H&amp;M (-15%) delivering an uninspiring trading update. Consumer discretionary aside, individual movers have been relatively limited thus far. <strong>The extent of the opening/early bid on core EU bonds appeared somewhat excessive in the absence of something more supportive/bullish, and without much further follow-through buying, Bunds and Gilts have duly drifted back down</strong>. The 2 benchmarks are now middle and near the bottom of ranges respectively, with the 10 year UK debt future just off a new 125.33 low (+4 ticks vs +40 ticks at best, and seemingly unwinding some of Thursday’s marked outperformance). A degree of stability in stocks may have encouraged longs to book profits/pare positions, and trading volumes are relatively light after yesterday’s CB-inflated turnover, so price moves are exaggerated. Indeed, for many this could mark the last full week of the year before Xmas and the New Year. Elsewhere, USTs continue to bide time just a few ticks below parity, with IP data ahead.</p> <p><em>Top European News</em></p> <ul> <li>Brexit Talks Set to Get Messy as Unity Hits High-Water Mark</li> <li>Bank of Russia to Rescue Third Major Lender in Four Months</li> <li>Natixis Deal to Boost MiFID Pricing Power Says Oddo’s Beumer</li> <li>Airbus Puts Helicopters Chief in Line for Top Job in Shakeup</li> </ul> <p><strong>In FX, </strong>the USD is under pressure again following concerns over Rubio’s commitment to the latest draft of the US tax bill . The Index is only just maintaining 93.500+ status and still looking vulnerable within the broader 94.000-93.000 recent range. JPY finding some resistance against latest safe-haven gains just above 112.00 vs the USD but sellers appear eager to short the headline pair ahead of 112.50 amidst talk that the BoJ may be listening to dovish dissenters and tweak guidance accordingly. Cable hugs the 1.3400 handle amidst ongoing Brexit uncertainty and conflicting headlines. AUD/CAD/NZD all firmer vs their US rival and not just because the Dollar is weaker across the board. EUR Still struggling to advance beyond 1.1800 vs the Greenback, but equally supported well before 1.1713 and with 2.9bln option interest at the big figure running off today. The Russian Federation Central bank unexpectedly cuts its key rate by 50bps to 7.75% vs. Exp. 8.00% (Prev. 8.25%). </p> <p><strong>In commodities, </strong>gold remains supported by aforementioned tax concerns while copper and aluminium prices outperformed their peers during Asia-Pac trade with some attributing the price action to recent Chinese industrial output data. In the energy complex, WTI and Brent crude futures continue to remain firmer in the wake of ongoing supply disruptions from the Forties pipeline with the latest reports suggesting that repairs could take several weeks. The Nigerian Pengassan white-collar oil and gas workers union is in discussions with the government about cancelling their intended Dec 18th strike. Chinese finance ministry are to remove export duties on steel products.</p> <p><strong>Looking at the day ahead</strong>, the conclusion of the EU Council summit will be the main focus for markets on Friday with leaders expected to endorse Brexit talks moving to the next stage. Away from that it should be fairly quiet with October trade data for the Euro area, along with the December empire manufacturing and November industrial production prints in the US the only data due.</p> <p><strong>US Event Calendar</strong></p> <ul> <li>8:30am: Empire Manufacturing, est. 18.7, prior 19.4</li> <li>9:15am: Industrial Production MoM, est. 0.3%, prior 0.9%</li> <li>9:15am: Capacity Utilization, est. 77.2%, prior 77.0%</li> <li>9:15am: Manufacturing (SIC) Production, est. 0.3%, prior 1.3%</li> <li>4pm: Total Net TIC Flows, prior $51.3b deficit</li> <li>4pm: Net Long-term TIC Flows, prior $80.9b</li> </ul> <p><strong>DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap</strong></p> <p>I wonder whether with all the central bank meetings out of the way now and with today’s continuation of the EU summit likely to be a non-event, activity will now grind to a halt. To be fair, <strong>we still have the potential conclusion to the tax reform story next week and the regional elections in Catalonia, </strong>but outside of these it feels like that could be pretty much it for the worthwhile 2017 newsflow. </p> <p>On central banks, according to DB’s Mark Wall the buzzword from the ECB yesterday was “Confidence”. Rising optimism was signalled in the much larger-than-expected upward revisions to the staff GDP forecasts and the “significant” reduction in slack creating grounds for “greater confidence” in the normalisation of inflation. However, the ECB is in no rush to change the policy stance according to Mark. The language on the stance was resolutely unchanged. The ECB still needs to see the recovery in inflation to take action. Indeed they’ve revised down the core inflation forecasts from 1.3% to 1.1% in 2018 even if the headline rate has gone up with energy prices. Our economists are more confident a turning point has been reached in the inflation cycle, but recent inflation disappointments and the euro’s appreciation this year mean the next step-up in core inflation is later in 2018. With regards to the BoE, our economists felt it was a slightly hawkish set of minutes but the reality is that the outlook in very Brexit driven and thus highly uncertain and changeable. Our economists thinks rates are unlikely to rise before 2019 though. See their report on both meetings.</p> <p>Away from central banks, the big data focus yesterday was another round of super strong flash PMIs in Europe. The December manufacturing print for the Euro area came in better than expected 60.6 (vs. 59.7 expected), up from 60.1 the month prior. That is the highest reading on record since 1997. The services reading also jumped a bit more than expected to 56.5 (vs. 56.0 expected) from 56.2, which in turn helped the composite jump 0.5pts to 58.0 and the highest since February 2011. That data is consistent with a fairly incredible +0.8% qoq or +3.75% annualised GDP growth rate for the Euro area.</p> <p>At the country level it was the data in Germany which really stood out with the manufacturing reading surging 1.1pts to 63.3 (vs. 62.0 expected) and the highest on record. The composite rose 1.4pts to 58.7 (vs. 57.2 expected) and to the highest in 80 months. In France the manufacturing print jumped to 59.3 (from 57.7; 57.2 expected) although a slightly weaker services reading saw the composite edge down to 60.0 from 60.3. The data for the core implies a slight decline on average for the data in the periphery, mostly due to manufacturing. So while the data implies a very strong growth picture, it’s worth noting that the prices data was a little softer at the margin. The composite output prices reading for the Euro area declined 0.4pts to 53.0 for example, while input prices were also down slightly, albeit from still elevated levels. So not quite the same read through for inflation just yet.</p> <p>Onto US equities which fluctuated and then closed 0.3%-0.4% lower, partly due to increased uncertainty on tax reforms. Yesterday afternoon, Republican Senator Rubio noted he intends to oppose the tax bill as written unless there was a larger child tax credit (currently $1,100). He said GOP leaders “found the money to lower the top (individual tax) rate”, but “can’t find a little bit” more to help working class parents raising children. Although later on, President Trump said he is “very sure” Mr Rubio will vote yes. So still lots bubbling along before the bills gets voted by the Senate, potentially as soon as Monday. </p> <p>This morning in Asia, markets have followed the negative US lead and are trading lower. The Nikkei (-0.10%), China’s CSI (-0.73%) and Hang Seng (-0.98%) are all down while the Kospi is up 0.62% as we type. Now recapping other market performance from yesterday. The S&amp;P fell 0.41%, with consumer discretionary the only sector in the green following the retail sales beat, while losses were led by materials and health care stocks. European markets were all lower, with the Stoxx 600 down 0.46%, impacted by utilities and financials stocks post the marginally dovish ECB meeting. Across the region, the DAX (-0.44%), FTSE (-0.65%) and CAC (-0.78%) all fell modestly.</p> <p>Government bond yields were little changed (UST 10y +0.7bp; Bunds -0.2bp) but Gilts outperformed with yields down 4.2bp to the lowest since mid-September after the BOE retained a cautious economic outlook. Turning to currencies, the US dollar index and Sterling firmed 0.21% and 0.08% respectively, while Euro fell 0.41% post the ECB meeting. In commodities, WTI oil was up 1.01% despite IEA forecasts that new supply may grow faster than demand next year. Elsewhere, precious metals weakened and broadly reversed the prior day’s gains (Gold -0.20%; Silver -1.11%) while other base metals modestly increased (Copper +0.53%; Zinc +0.60%; Aluminium +0.95%).</p> <p>Away from the markets, we round out other central bank actions from yesterday. In Switzerland, the SNB made no change to cash rates but did lift its inflation forecast and now expects it to reach its target in late 2020 mainly due to the Franc’s depreciation. However, the SNB President Jordan said “it’s still early, very early, to talk about (rate) normalization……there’s no risk of inflation, also inflation expectations are very well anchored at a much lower level.” Over in Norway, Norges Bank also left its rates unchanged, but the improved growth and inflation forecasts allowed the bank to bring forward its projected first rate hike, which is now expected to be in late 2018. The Krone rose 0.69% versus Euro yesterday.</p> <p>Over in France, the central bank now projects GDP growth of 1.8% this year and 1.7% in 2018. The ECB’s Villeroy noted the French economic recovery is “significant and sustainable” but the problem is we’re hitting up against “structural limits” and need reforms to materially increase growth. He also added to the Bitcoin debate, noting it is “clearly not a currency, even a virtual one” and that it’s a "speculative asset" and those who invest in it do it at their own risks. </p> <p>Ahead of the Catalonia elections on 21 December, the latest Metroscopia polls shows the anti-independence groups leading with a combined 44.9% support versus the separatists at 43.8%.&nbsp; Elsewhere, Spain’s Supreme Court refused a request from Catalan separatist Jordi Sanchez that he be freed from jail to participate in the election.</p> <p>In Germany, our economists have just published their outlook piece. They expect the economic boom to continue in 2018 with GDP growth of 2.3% again, which would represent an above-potential rate for the fifth consecutive year. They expect the boom to be driven by investment activity, fuelled by rising export demand and considerably higher capacity utilisation and ongoing strong employment growth. On inflation, due to the base effects from energy prices, inflation may slow down temporarily at the beginning of the year. For more detail, please refer to their note.</p> <p>Before we take a look at today’s calendar, we wrap up with other data releases from yesterday. In the US, the November retail sales ex-auto number was above market at 1% mom (vs. 0.6% expected) even with favourable revisions to the prior month. Following this solid report, the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow estimate of 4Q GDP growth has increased to 3.3% saar versus 2.9% previously. The weekly initial jobless claims (225k vs. 236k expected) and continuing claims (1,886k vs. 1,900k) were slightly lower than expectations. Elsewhere, the December manufacturing US PMI was above market (55 vs. 53.9 expected), but services (52.4 vs. 54.7 expected) and the composite PMIs were both below (53 vs. 54.5 previous). Finally, headline import prices rose 3.1% yoy, but excluding fuel, growth was 1.4% yoy.</p> <p>The UK’s November retail sales (ex-fuel) was well above expectations and rose 1.2% mom (vs. 0.4% expected) to the highest in seven months – with the strength partly due to the Black Friday discounts. Elsewhere, France’s final reading of the November CPI was revised lower to 1.2% yoy (vs. 1.3% expected), while Italy’s final CPI reading was in line at 1.1% yoy.</p> <p>Looking at the day ahead, the conclusion of the EU Council summit will be the main focus for markets on Friday with leaders expected to endorse Brexit talks moving to the next stage. Away from that it should be fairly quiet with October trade data for the Euro area, along with the December empire manufacturing and November industrial production prints in the US the only data due.</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="800" height="450" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> African National Congress ASX 200 Atlanta Fed Bank of England Bank of England Bank of Japan Bank of Japan Bitcoin Black Friday BOE Bond Brevan Howard Brexit Business CAD CBOE Central Banks China Congress Continuing Claims Copper CPI Crude Crude Oil DAX 30 Detroit Donald Trump Economy Economy of the European Union Empire State Manufacturing EU Council Euro European Central Bank European Central Bank European Union European Union Euroscepticism in the United Kingdom EUROSTOXX 50 Eurozone Federal Reserve Financial economics flash France Germany Gilts Hang Seng 40 headlines Hong Kong Inflation Initial Jobless Claims Israel European Union Japan Jim Reid Kospi Macroeconomics Monetary Policy Monetary policy MSCI Asia Pac New Zealand Nikkei Nikkei 225 Norges Bank Norges Bank Norway PIMCO Precious Metals Price Action Public finance Reality Recession recovery Republican Party Russian Federation Central bank S&P S&P 500 S&P/ASX 200 Senate SNB Stoxx 600 Supreme Court Switzerland UK Conservative Party US Dollar Index US Federal Reserve Volatility Yen Fri, 15 Dec 2017 11:59:06 +0000 Tyler Durden 609203 at "A Violent Downside Break": Why One Trader Thinks The Christmas "Pain Trade" Will Be Especially Painful <p>Before you shut down that terminal for the year, hoping that the year is - mercifully - finally over, you may want to consider that according to former Lehman trader and current Bloomberg macro commentator Mark Cudmore, the Christmas pain trade is about to be unveiled, and it will be especially painful for all those short Treasurys. As Cudmore warns, with ten-years stuck in a 2.3%-2.43% range for the past seven weeks, "<strong>the arguments are adding up for a violent downside break during the weeks ahead."</strong></p> <p>Here are his arguments why, as laid out in Cudmore's latest Macro View<strong>&nbsp;</strong>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>A Treasuries Rally May Be the Christmas Pain Trade </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Post-Fed price-action suggests Treasury bulls may stampede while traders are in holiday mode.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ten-year yields have been stuck in a 2.3%-2.43% range for the past seven weeks. <strong>The arguments are adding up for a violent downside break during the weeks ahead. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Many investors were punting for a hawkish turn from Yellen this week. <strong>There was indeed a subtle, but important Fed shift, but it was dovish. The committee raised growth projections, that also incorporated tax reform, without raising the dot plot. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The implication is that they’re struggling to explain “transitory” low inflation. Maybe there’s an increasing acceptance that either the Phillips curve is broken or that they should be paying more attention to structural disinflationary pressures from technology, globalization and demographics. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And investors seem to have overlooked the fact <strong>that it’s still very far from certain that the tax bill will be passed before year-end</strong>. Come January, the Republican majority in the Senate shrinks to one. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With Trump having already been celebrating and promoting its imminent passage, there will be real disappointment for markets if the tax package is delayed. <strong>And the problems are mounting up, from Rubio’s recent objections to McCain’s health concerns. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>With optimism priced in everywhere and complacency across assets, traders may be wrongly positioned and vulnerable to a low- liquidity surprise. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This day last year, in the wake of a Fed hike, <strong>the 10-year Treasury yield reached the highest level of the last three years before tumbling 21 bps from that peak by year-end</strong>. Fundamentals may be adding up to a repeat performance.</p> </blockquote> <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="700" height="394" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Artificial intelligence Business CAPTCHA Cudmore Demographics Lehman Senate Tax US Federal Reserve Fri, 15 Dec 2017 11:13:02 +0000 Tyler Durden 609202 at Nobel Laureate 'Discovers' Cause Of Opioid Crisis: Complete Economic Destruction Of The "White Working Class" <p>For several decades now the American Midwest has suffered from unprecedented economic decay courtesy of a persistent outsourcing of manufacturing jobs in the automotive and steel industries, among others. As we've noted frequently, that economic decay has resulted in a devastating surge in opioid overdoses that claim the lives of 100s of people each year.</p> <p>Of course, many attribute Trump's staggering victories in states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania to his efforts to tap into the frustration of the dispossessed Midwest masses by promising a rebirth of the manufacturing economy that once provided them a solid middle-class lifestyle.</p> <p><strong>That said, no economic crisis is truly "discovered" until an Ivy League, Nobel-prize-winning economist says it is.</strong>&nbsp; As such, we present to you the intriguing findings of Nobel Laureate Angus Deaton who said he was "looking for something else" when he noticed a staggering increase in white mortality rates for people aged 50-54.&nbsp; Per <a href="">Market Watch</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>That was the case with landmark research undertaken by Nobel Prize winning economist Angus Deaton. The Princeton economist, working with his wife Anne Case, stumbled on the fact that mortality rates were rising for working-age white Americans since 1999.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>We were really looking for something else and then we discovered that, at least among people between 45-54, and even more between 50-54, a decline in mortality, particularly white mortality that had been established for about 100 years had actually stopped or even reversed itself.</strong> Whether it has reversed itself or not depends on a bit on your starting point and end point, but the century-long decline in mortality rates that had gone on since the beginning of the 20th century had just stopped and was starting to rise.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>For mortality rates to rise instead of fall is extremely rare. It typically takes a war or epidemic for death rates to jump.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><a href=" - Deaton 1.JPG"><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 411px;" /></a></p> <p>Of course, from there it wasn't much of a stretch for Deaton and Case to 'discover' that these deaths are tied to “deaths of despair” from alcohol, suicide and opioids.</p> <p><a href=" - Deaton 2.JPG"><img src="" style="width: 600px; height: 415px;" /></a></p> <p>Then comes the far more difficult question of <strong>'why' the mortality rates are surging for middle-aged, white men...something Deaton attributes to a bleak job market and stagnant wages...</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>As to the more difficult question of “why” these deaths are taking pace, Deaton hypothesized that they are tied to a destruction of a way of life for working class Americans that used to exist.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“I’ve been using the analogy of the plains Indians, they had had a life which you might have liked or might not have liked before Europeans came to America and that life was destroyed and was never put back together again. I think we’re seeing that for the American working class over the last 40 or 50 years,” he said in a recent speech.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So we trace this back sort of a long way, and if you look at birth cohorts it is like each successive birth cohort is doing worse. They are more susceptible to these deaths throughout life, and the deaths rise with age more rapidly for younger cohorts, so we’re attracted by this idea that there is a cumulative process going on which is steadily getting worse over time.<strong> And, you know, the destruction of the way of life of the white working class is maybe a good way of thinking about this.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>One story is just that there has been this slow loss of the white working class life. There has been stagnation in wages for 50 years. </strong>If you don’t have a university degree, median wages for those people have actually been going down. So it is just like that model, whereby American capitalism really delivered to people who were not particularly well-educated, seems to be broken.</p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, pretty much anyone with a grade school education who has lived in Detroit for an extended period of time could have told you everything that Deaton has apparently 'discovered'...but it does sound very official coming from a Princeton economist.</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="851" height="512" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Actuarial science American Midwest Angus Deaton Anne Case Deaton Demography Detroit Economics Economy Fellows of the Econometric Society Ivy League Knights Bachelor Michigan Midwest Nobel Laureate Ohio Population Social class Working class in the United States Fri, 15 Dec 2017 10:35:54 +0000 Tyler Durden 609175 at Norway Is Moving To Decriminalize All Drug Use <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Carey Wedler via,</em></a></p> <p>Norway is the latest country to move toward decriminalizing drugs and <strong>promoting addiction treatment rather than punishing addicts.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 309px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>This week, a majority of members of the Norwegian parliament&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">directed</a>&nbsp;the national government to reform its policies.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;<em>The majority in the parliament has asked the government to prepare for reform</em>,&rdquo; a spokesperson for the Storting, the Norwegian legislature, told&nbsp;<em>Newsweek</em>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;<em>It has started a political process</em>,&rdquo;</strong> he said, still cautioning that &ldquo;<em>it&rsquo;s just the starting point</em>.&rdquo; Despite some headlines&rsquo;&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">claims</a>&nbsp;that drugs have already been decriminalized, there is no legislation yet.</p> </blockquote> <p>Nicolas Wilkinson, the SV (Socialist Left) party&rsquo;s health spokesman in the Storting, said <strong>the majority wants to &ldquo;<em>stop punishing people who struggle, but instead give them help and treatment,</em>&rdquo;</strong>&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">according</a>&nbsp;to&nbsp;<em>VG</em>, a Norwegian publication. He said the switch in policy will lead to an emphasis on treatment and follow-up programs, though lawmakers made it clear that they do not intend to legalize drugs.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;<em>It is important to emphasize that we do not legalize cannabis and other drugs, but we decriminalize</em>,&rdquo; </strong>Sveinung Stensland (H) [Conservative Party], deputy chairman of the Storting Health Committee, told&nbsp;<em>VG</em>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&rdquo;<em>The change will take some time, but that means a changed vision: Those who have a substance abuse problem should be treated as ill, and not as criminals with classical sanctions such as fines and imprisonment.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Officials in Norway have been considering reforming the country&rsquo;s prohibition policies for over a decade.&nbsp;<em>Newsweek</em>&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">summarized</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&ldquo;In 2006, it started to test a program that would sentence drug users to treatment programs, rather than jail, in the cities Bergen and Oslo. In early 2016, the country gave Norwegian courts the option to do this on a national level.&rdquo;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>&ldquo;The goal is that more addicts will rid themselves of their drug dependency and fewer will return to crime,&rdquo;</em></strong> Justice Minister Anders Anundsen&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">said</a>&nbsp;at the time.&nbsp;<strong><em>&ldquo;But if the terms of the programme are violated, the convicts must serve an ordinary prison term.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>The shift was introduced by the country&rsquo;s conservative party, though some on the right condemned it, arguing drugs should remain wholly illegal, while reformists believed the change in policy didn&rsquo;t go far enough.</p> <p>As Arild Knutsen of the Association for Humane Drug Policy&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">said</a>&nbsp;last year:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>&ldquo;If Norway was truly progressive, they would follow WHO and UNAIDS recommendations and fully decriminalize drug use, ban forced treatment and stop using involuntary urine controls.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Now, it appears Norway is inching closer toward decriminalization. Portugal opted to decriminalize drugs in 2001, a move that has drawn praise for the&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">decrease</a>&nbsp;in drug use that followed.</p> <p>However, lawmakers hope to&nbsp;free up resources so police can pursue drug traffickers (rather than users),&nbsp;and other restrictions will remain.&nbsp;<em>VG</em>&nbsp;explained:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;<em>It will still be a &lsquo;ban on use and possession of drugs.&rsquo; &nbsp;However, the two major parties agree to &lsquo;change the authorities&rsquo; reactions to persons taken for use and possession of drugs,<strong> from punishment to help, treatment and follow-up</strong></em><strong>.&rsquo;&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <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="675" height="348" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Association for Humane Drug Policy conservative party Drug control law Drug culture headlines Legality of cannabis national government Norway Norwegian legislature Norwegian Parliament Politics Portugal Social Issues Stensland Storting Health Committee Sveinung Stensland UNAIDS World Health Organization Fri, 15 Dec 2017 10:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609199 at Why Does The New $1 Billion US Embassy In London Need The First Moat Since Medieval Times <p>If you google “London moats”, you’ll probably alight on a link which will take you to “London’s Top 10 Moats: A Spotter’s Guide”. We had no idea there were so many and could only think of the “obvious” one surrounding the Tower of London, even if it’s waterless these days. According to the guide, a defensive ditch has surrounded the Tower since its origins in the eleventh century. The moat, which contained water from the thirteenth century until the 1840s, helps to protect the roughly cuboid “White Tower” keep, which gives the Tower of London its name. Built by William the Conqueror in 1078, the White Tower was resented as a symbol of oppression inflicted on London by the new ruling elite.&nbsp; </p> <p><img src="" width="500" height="250" /></p> <p>Yesterday saw the press launch for the new US embassy in London which is situated on the south bank of the River Thames in the re-developed – albeit unattractively - part of the city near to Battersea Power Station. During the “celebrations”, architect James Timberlake, of Philadelphia-based firm Kieran Timberlake, described the new building as “the embodiment of peace and security”. The <a href="">Daily Mail</a> reported a spokesperson saying the glass structure “gives form to the core democratic values of transparency”. The lobby looks a bit “imperial” to us, but we’re probably mistaken. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="385" /></a></p> <p>Like us, the <a href="">Financial Times</a> sees paradoxes. Here is its take. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>It is central London’s first new moated building since the medieval era. The new US embassy in Nine Elms is a paradox, a heavily defended delicate glass box. Its architect calls it a “crystalline radiant beacon”; in fact, it resembles a corporate cube. It is also one of the world’s most expensive embassies, costing a cool $1bn. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is not as sophisticated as its predecessor. Architect Eero Saarinen’s Mayfair building may not have been his finest work but it exuded a certain urbane, mid-century chic. It was huge yet it made efforts to blend in and completed one side of the 18th century square. By contrast, the new building stands alone, a 12-storey box in a field of ill-conceived and poorly planned towers. With two sides wrapped in a flimsy film of appliqué lampshades, it resembles a temporary Expo pavilion. Its glazing as metaphor for transparency and openness is unsettled by the inevitable heavy security apparatus.</p> </blockquote> <p>The FT reports that the occupiers of the new building see it symbolising the “special relationship" between the two nations.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>US Ambassador Woody Johnson was keen, as were all the other speakers, to refer to the so-called “special relationship”. “This is not just a new office building,” he said “it’s a symbol of friendship between our two countries.”</p> </blockquote> <p>As if that wasn’t enough, there is also good news for US taxpayers and anybody concerned with climate change. the $1 billion cost of the building was covered by two real estate sales, primarily the old embassy in Grosvenor Square, London. It’s also has “green credentials”, since its running is “carbon neutral” (actually it’s “nearly” self-sufficient in energy production) with the roof being clad in solar panels. Outside there is a lawn and inside there are internal gardens which “evoke different ecologies” of the US.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="401" /></a></p> <p>So if we summarise the excessive propaganda and shameless “spin”, the new embassy embodies. Peace;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <ul> <li>Democratic values;</li> <li>Transparency; </li> <li>The “special relationship” with Britain;&nbsp; </li> <li>Low-cost; and</li> <li>Green credentials.&nbsp; </li> </ul> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="281" /></a></p> <p>The <a href="">Washington Post</a> got it right, saying “The U.S. Embassy here will exude openness while hiding all the clever ways it defends itself from attack…One assumes there is a CIA station, but that was not on the tour.” <br />Moving on the security features, here are some descriptions from a selection of media sources. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>The Daily Mail:</strong> Fortress America on the banks of the Thames, featuring a security moat”. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Financial Times:</strong> A section of its grounds facing the river are publicly accessible and a cascade billed as a “water feature” actually conceals a massive concrete base resistant to every form of attack.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The Telegraph:</strong> Buffered by an 8ft-deep, crescent-shaped moat and surrounded by armed guards, London’s new US embassy appears like Fort Knox amid a tangle of cranes and construction work.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Fox News:</strong> It is a high-tech high-security fortress in London. At $1 billion, the new U.S. embassy in the UK is the most expensive ever. The walls are blast-resistant. The glass is shatter-proof. It is diplomacy in the age of terror…Suspicious vehicles near the site triggered controlled detonations earlier this year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Evening Standard:</strong> Ramparts: the embassy includes a multi-level garden to act as a security barrier. </p> </blockquote> <p>The paradoxes in the new embassy building mirror the paradox in the way that the America sees itself, the leadership anyway, which is increasingly diverging from the way its seen by many in the rest of the world these days. One question which had puzzled us since the location of the new US embassy was announced several years ago, was didn’t they choose a more attractive part of London? Mayfair to Nine Elms was a strange move. Now we know the answer thanks to the Telegraph.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The Americans chose that site as it was one of a few in central London that had enough space to contain all the security measures necessary, including being at least 100ft from all buildings.</p> </blockquote> <p>Which is very sad given the principles that the nation claims to embody. The Telegraph again.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>At a press conference, the ambassador said he was not worried that anti-Trump demonstrations might dampen the optimistic mood the building represents. "The great thing about being in London, and the great thing about being in the US, is the ability to express your point of view,” he said. "That's an important part of who we are." </p> </blockquote> <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="620" height="310" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Central Intelligence Agency Embassy of the United States, London Fox News Geography of London Google Grosvenor Square London Mayfair Moat Nine Elms Real estate Transparency U.S. Embassy in London US Embassy Fri, 15 Dec 2017 09:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609128 at Are You Ready For The Next Rally? <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h1><a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline; color: #3366ff;"><em><strong>Are You Ready For The Next Rally? </strong></em></span></a></h1> <p><a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline; color: #3366ff;"><em><strong>Written by Craig Hemke, Sprott Money News &amp; TF Metals Report</strong></em></span></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="post-thumbnail"> <img src="" alt="Are You Ready For The Next Rally? - Craig Hemke" class="thumbnail" /> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">Each of the last three years have begun with gold rallies of over 10%. The stage is set for another such move in 2018. Are you prepared? </p> <p class="Body">&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">Many folks have written about how the current selloff in gold and silver was predictable. Whether it was expected due to tax-loss selling, seasonality, CoT-washing or the expected FOMC rate hike, the majority of analysts were expecting price weakness in November and December and, this time, the majority was correct. </p> <p class="Body">&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">But if this current selloff was so easily predictable, then why can't the coming rally to begin the year be just as foreseeable and certain? </p> <p class="Body">&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">Below is a weekly chart of Comex gold going back to this time in 2014. Note the bottoms found in December of each of the past three years and then be sure to note the January-February rallies in 2015, 2016 and 2017: </p> <p class="Body">&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="lightbox[mpblog_4644]"><img src="" width="710" /></a> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">At TFMR we have an old adage that applies here: <em>"When trading gold and silver, you must always be prepared to sell a little when things look rosiest and buy a little when things look the darkest".</em> I don't think that anyone would argue that December 2017 feels like the darkest period in recent memory. </p> <p class="Body">&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">And this "darkness of sentiment" is reflected in the Relative Strength Indices for gold, silver and the shares. If you're unfamiliar with this important technical indicator, you can read more about it here: <a href=""></a></p> <p class="Body">&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">Generally speaking, rallies exhaust and price begins to turn lower as the RSI exceeds 70. In selloffs, short-term capitulation is usually seen when the RSI drops below 30. For example, after 17 consecutive down days<br /> for Comex silver last spring, price turned and rallied 10% in under four weeks from an RSI extreme low of 18. </p> <p class="Body">&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="lightbox[mpblog_4644]"><img src="" width="710" /></a> </p> <p class="Body">&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">A look at the current charts only serves to reinforce the view that prices are oversold, near a bottom and ready for the usual late-December rebound and rally. </p> <p class="Body">&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">Comex Gold is near strong support of $1220 and its 200-week moving average near $1231. Also note, however, that its current RSI is 31 and near the previous 2017 lows seen at the turns in May and July. </p> <p class="Body">&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="lightbox[mpblog_4644]"><img src="" width="710" /></a> </p> <p class="Body">&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">Comex silver is in its support zone of $15.50-$16.00 and its RSI is even lower at 26! </p> <p class="Body">&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="lightbox[mpblog_4644]"><img src="" width="710" /></a> </p> <p class="Body">&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">And the mining shares, as measured by the GDX, are clearly near a low, too. The price level of $21 has previously held as support on several occasions, tax loss selling in Canada will be finished by the end of next week and the RSI is at a 2017 low of 27. </p> <p class="Body">&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="lightbox[mpblog_4644]"><img src="" width="710" /></a> </p> <p class="Body">&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">Again, successful investing in the metals requires the ability to buy a little when things look darkest. To that point though, these buying opportunities don't often clearly present themselves. The only question remaining for December of 2017 is...are you prepared to take advantage this time? </p> <p class="Body">&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">&nbsp;</p> <p><em style="box-sizing: border-box; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 20.3333px; line-height: 17.3333px; font-family: &quot;Lucida Grande&quot;, Verdana, sans-serif;">Questions or comments about this article? Leave your thoughts <a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>HERE</strong></span></a>.</span></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h1><a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline; color: #3366ff;"><em><strong>Are You Ready For The Next Rally? </strong></em></span></a></h1> <p><a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline; color: #3366ff;"><em><strong>Written by Craig Hemke, Sprott Money News &amp; TF Metals Report</strong></em></span></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="color: #000000;">Check out these other articles by our contributors:</span></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><br /></span></p> <p><a href="">Eric Dubin: Buying Into A Collective Economic Delusion - Rory Hall</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">Bitcoin Hyper-Deflation - Keith Weiner</a><a href=""> </a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">Friday’s COT Report: A WTF Moment For the Ages? - Ed Steer </a></p> <div class="mp-post-header"></div> <div class="mp-post-header"><a href="">Eric Sprott Forecasts Status Quo Now, But Big Rally in 2018 (Weekly Wrap-Up, December 8, 2017)</a></div> Bitcoin Comex Eric Sprott Eric Sprott Relative Strength Fri, 15 Dec 2017 09:11:32 +0000 Sprott Money 609190 at Humans Fight Back: San Fran Security Robot Attacked, Knocked Over, Smeared With Feces <p>Earlier today, we mentioned the bizarre story of a San Francisco animal shelter which was using a low cost, high-tech robot security guard to purge homeless people outside its facilities. The San Francisco SPCA branch had contracted Knightscope to provide a K5 robot (the same <a href="">model which in July committed suicide at a mall fountain</a>) for securing the outdoor spaces of the animal shelter.&nbsp; </p> <p>Why use a robot to chase away humans? Simple: <strong>money</strong> - it costs the SPCA $7/hour to rent the robot, about $3 less than the minimum wage in California, and <a href="">according to San Francisco Business Times</a>, the robot was deployed as a “<strong>way to try dealing with the growing number of needles, car break-ins and crime that seemed to emanate from nearby tent encampments of homeless people</strong>.”</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="287" /></a></p> <p>Everything was going great - and very cost-efficiently too - until the local humans fought back, knocked the robot over, and smearing it with feces before eventually forcing the robotic guardian to be purged itself. </p> <p>But first, the local community's anger at the unwelcomed K5's presence manifested itself in the way anger and outrage always seem to emerge these days: <em>on twitter</em>. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Dear San Francisco,</p> <p>It is your duty to destroy these things if you see them. <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Leslie Lee III (@leslieleeiii) <a href="">December 12, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src=""></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Yes, 2017 was the first time I saw robots used to prevent encampments in SF. Hard to believe but it’s real. <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Sam Dodge (@samueldodge) <a href="">December 9, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src=""></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Capitalism: instead of providing homes for homeless people, spend exorbitant sums of money creating robots that will prevent homeless people from making homes for themselves<a href=""></a></p> <p>— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) <a href="">December 13, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src=""></script><script src=""></script><p>What happened then is straight out of Terminator: <a href="">according to reports</a>, a group of anti-robot vigilantes doused the K5's sensors with barbecue sauce, knocked it over and veiled it with a tarp.<strong> One Twitter user claimed they saw feces smeared on its shell, while another described the robot's use as "shameful". </strong></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">I can’t help but feel bad for the SPCA robot outside that someone smeared their poo on. Is this a conspiracy to make me (us) a sympathizer to our new robot overlords... will they be plastered in cute dog decals??</p> <p>— Tyson Kallberg (@TysonKallberg) <a href="">November 9, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src=""></script><p>The robot upset local resident Fran Taylor: </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Last month, the robot approached Taylor while she walked her dog near the SPCA campus. <strong>Her dog started lunging and barking</strong>, she said, and Taylor yelled for the robot to stop. It finally came to a halt about 10 feet away, she said. The encounter struck Taylor as an “unbelievable” coincidence since she had been working with pedestrian advocacy group Walk San Francisco in asking the city to limit sidewalk delivery robots. That legislation is expected to receive final approval soon but doesn’t apply to security robots like K9. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Taylor said she’s concerned about robots bumping into people on the sidewalks. She knows robots are often equipped with sensors so they don’t do that, she added, but “I don’t really trust that.” </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>She wrote an email to the SPCA the day of her encounter and copied several San Francisco government officials, including Mayor Ed Lee and members of the Board of Supervisors. The SPCA team responded and cited security concerns as the motivation for starting to use the robot.</p> </blockquote> <p>"The money that was spent on these robots could have gone towards homeless shelters," said another twitter user who clearly did not do pass Econ 101. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">The money that was spent on these robots could have gone towards homeless shelters <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Kaiti ain't ya lady (@Kaitikitti) <a href="">December 13, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src=""></script><p>As we <a href="">reported earlier</a>, the shelter said it released the robot, nicknamed K9, to patrol the pavements around its centre in the Mission District, which has become a camp for the city's homeless population. </p> <p>"We weren't able to use the sidewalks at all when there's needles and tents, and bikes, so from a walking standpoint I find the robot much easier to navigate than an encampment," the SPCA's president Jennifer Scarlett told the Business Times. </p> <p>The shelter <a href="">told one website </a>that it only hoped to improve the safety of its employees, following an influx of crime in the surrounding area, and that it is "extremely sensitive" to the issue of homelessness.</p> <p>"In the last year we've experienced a great deal of car break-ins, theft, and vandalism that has made us concerned about the security and safety of the people on our campus," the SPCA's media relations manager Krista Maloney told Dezeen. "The security robot that we've been using on a pilot basis has been very effective at deterring these criminal incidents."</p> <p>The revulsion to the robot was bizarre: <a href="">hardly reminiscent of the T1000</a>, the bubbly K5 is equipped with four cameras that monitor its surroundings, and moves on wheels at speeds of up to three miles per hour. It measures 5 feet tall and nearly 3 feet wide at its base, creating a sizeable obstacle on the pavement. To be sure, the rollout of this particular model has been problematic: the K5 has already been embroiled in other controversies elsewhere, including <a href="">knocking a toddler over in Silicon Valley</a>, and <a href="">falling into a pond in Washington DC after missing a set of stairs</a>.</p> <p>Meanwhile, San Francisco is <a href="">already tightening restrictions on autonomous machines </a>on the streets – particularly <a href="">delivery robots </a>– with growing concerns over public safety.</p> <p>What is most perplexing in this story, is that this is just one robot provoking such a broad and angry response: one wonders what the human backlash will be once a vast portion of America's middle class realizes that it has been made obsolete courtesy of robots who can do its job faster, smarter, much more efficiently and for a fraction of the cost. </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="807" height="464" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Board of Supervisors Homeless shelter Knightscope Richmond SPCA Robot San Francisco government San Francisco SPCA TARP Twitter Twitter Vigilantes Fri, 15 Dec 2017 08:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609192 at Omarosa Says She Has A "Profound Story" To Tell About The Trump Administration <p>After reportedly setting off alarms in the White House after trying to enter the residence after she&rsquo;d been sacked by Chief of Staff John Kelly, Omarosa Manigault Newman is threatening to go nuclear. In an interview with Good Morning America&#39;s Michael Strahan, Manigault Newman said there were a lot of things she was<strong> &ldquo;very unhappy with&rdquo;</strong> during her almost 12 months in the White House.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;I have to be very careful about how I answer this but there were a lot of things that I observed during the last year that I was very unhappy with, that I was very uncomfortable with, things that I observed, that I heard, that I listened to,&quot;</strong> she said.</p> </blockquote> <p>After spending the entire interview denying reports about her rumored feud with Kelly and the involvement of the Secret Service in her removal from the White Wing, Manigault Newman abruptly switched gears, turning suddenly critical of her former colleagues.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;As the only African American woman in this White House&hellip;I&rsquo;ve seen things that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people. <u>And when I can tell my story it is a profound story that I know the people will want to hear.&quot;</u></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Technically, Manigault Newman said her tenure at the White House doesn&rsquo;t end until Jan. 20 &ndash; the first anniversary of Trump&rsquo;s inauguration. Which means she survived the first year, at least on paper.</p> <p><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" gesture="media" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>When asked about her reportedly threatening response to being fired, Manigault Newman denied the reports, saying they were the work of one journalist with a grudge.</p> <p>She added that, if so many people witnessed her alleged confrontation with John Kelly, then where are the photos and video?</p> <p>Like many Trump administration alumni, Manigault Newman insisted she resigned, while anonymous media reports claimed she had been fired, and the White House declined to specify. Manigault Newman explained that she resigned after raising certain unelaborated &quot;concerns&quot; with Kelly.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m the only African American woman who sits at the table with the 30 assistants to the president and we all had to adjust to his militaristic style.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>According to rumors reported in the mainstream press, Manigault Newman&rsquo;s closeness with the president initially led to her having &ldquo;walk in&rdquo; privileges to the Oval Office. As part of his attempt to instill order on the chaotic West Wing, Kelly has been trying to circumscribe these privileges. His efforts reportedly brought him into conflict with Manigault Newman.</p> <p>* * *</p> <p>With Omarosa gone, we can add one more name to the list of high-profile Trump administration departures.</p> <p>Sally Yates<br />Michael Flynn<br />Katie Walsh<br />Preet Bharara<br />James Comey<br />Michael Dubke<br />Walter Shaub<br />Mark Corralo<br />Sean Spicer<br />Micheal Short<br />Reince Priebus<br />Anthony Scaramucci<br />Steve Bannon<br />Sebastian Gorka<br />Tom Price<br />Omarosa Manigault Newman</p> <p>* * *</p> <p>Meanwhile, at least one person at the White House will miss the former reality TV show villain - even though many have said they didn&#39;t know what she did in her role, which was officially styled as communications director for the Office of Public Liason.</p> <p><strong>President Donald Trump marked Manigault Newman&#39;s departure with a goodbye tweet</strong>:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Thank you Omarosa for your service! I wish you continued success.</p> <p>&mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">December 13, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</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="625" height="268" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business Donald Trump Donald Trump Manigault Office of Public Liaison office of Public Liason Omarosa Manigault Politics Reality Secret Service Trump Administration United States White House White House White House staff Fri, 15 Dec 2017 08:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609178 at How Russia Expedited Syria's Victory <p><a href=""><em>Via Oriental Review,</em></a></p> <p><strong>On Monday, Vladimir Putin unexpectedly interrupted his journey to Egypt, stopping off at Russia&rsquo;s Hmeymim airbase in Syria and <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">announcing</a> the windup of Russia&rsquo;s most successful military campaign abroad. </strong></p> <p><a href=""><img height="290" src="" width="560" /></a></p> <p>Thousands of combat sorties have been flown, tens of thousands of terrorists and their infrastructure have been destroyed, and hundreds of Syrian cities and towns have been liberated. We have previously published accounts of how Russian pilots, special ops, marines, doctors, and diplomats spent two years helping the lawful president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, hold his country together and rid it of terrorists.</p> <h3><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Russia enters the conflict</span></h3> <p>By the fall of 2015, the war in Syria had already dragged on for four long years. The mass anti-government demonstrations that began in March 2011 had quickly escalated into skirmishes with the military. And terrorist factions immediately &ldquo;hijacked&rdquo; these popular protests. Soon, the leading role in the battle against the ruling regime was being played by extremists from the Islamic State, Jabhat Al Nusra, Al-Qaeda, and many factions within what has been called the &ldquo;moderate opposition&rdquo; &ndash; mainly in the Free Syrian Army that has been so championed by the West.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>From the very beginning, Russia provided diplomatic support to Syria. Back in the spring of 2011, Vitaly Churkin, the late Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN, vetoed the draft Security Council resolutions being proposed by some Western and Arab countries that were anti-Syrian in nature.</p> </blockquote> <p>In addition, Russia backed the government of Bashar al-Assad by supplying arms, military equipment, and ammunition, in addition to training officers and providing military advisers.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="302" src="" width="560" /></a></p> <p>But as the terrorist organizations and forces of the &ldquo;moderate opposition&rdquo; continued to make territorial gains, it became clear that this support was not enough. The Syrian Arab Army was running out of steam. Huge losses, shortages of the most essential materials, plus low morale forced those soldiers loyal to Assad to cede more and more territory, retreating as far as the coastal province of Latakia and the city of Damascus. By September 2015, it looked like Syria&rsquo;s leader had only a few weeks left in power.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 446px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Areas of control in Syria in September 2015</em></p> <p>So that month, at the request of President Bashar al-Assad, Russia&rsquo;s Federation Council approved Vladimir Putin&rsquo;s decision to move Russian troops into Syria. On Sept. 30, a Russian military operation began in that country.</p> <h3><u>The composition of the Russian air fleet</u></h3> <p>The composition of the air fleet often changed in accordance with the tasks assigned to it. Based on the data at hand, at various times it included:</p> <ul> <li>Up to ten multi-role Su-35S fighter jets</li> <li>Up to four Su-27SMs</li> <li>From 12-16 two-seater Su-30SM fighter jets</li> <li>Up to 12 Su-34 fighter-bombers</li> <li>Up to 30 Su-24M front-line bombers</li> <li>Up to 12 Su-25SM close-support aircraft</li> <li>Up to 15 multipurpose Mi-8 helicopters in various modifications</li> <li>Up to 15 Mi-24 and Mi-35 attack helicopters</li> <li>Up to five Ka-52 attack helicopters</li> </ul> <p>Strikes were even launched against the terrorists&rsquo; base camps from inside the Russian Federation.</p> <ul> <li>Six supersonic Tu-160 missile carriers</li> <li>Five Tu-95MS strategic bombers</li> <li>From 12-14 Tu-22M3 long-range bombers-missile carriers</li> </ul> <p>The A-50 early warning and control aircraft, the Tu-214R, and the Il-20M1 radio reconnaissance plane coordinated air operations, carried out reconnaissance missions, and pinpointed targets for the strike formations.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 642px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Russian forces in Syria</em></p> <h3><u>Air and naval activities</u></h3> <p>Russian aviation really ran the show in Syria. Militant training camps, command posts, weapons and ammunition depots, oil fields, and convoys of gasoline tankers found themselves decimated by massive attacks launched from the Hmeymim airbase, the staging bases for air strikes, and the <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><em>Admiral Kuznetsov</em></a> aircraft carrier. Bombers, close-support aircraft, and fighter planes, taking advantage of their total mastery of the air, managed to destroy more than 100,000 different terrorist facilities. The first wave of the massive air strikes against IS came at the end of 2015. That was when Russian planes pulverized a buried IS command post, underground bunkers, and warehouses in the province of Hama.</p> <p><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" gesture="media" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>During their high-profile mission to &ldquo;seek and destroy&rdquo; gasoline tankers, <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Su-34</a> fighter-bombers managed to sniff out approximately 500 tanker trucks carrying petroleum products, plus dozens of oil refineries, grinding them into the sand. That was a punch to the gut of the IS war chest, as its main source of income was the illegal sale of black gold.</p> <p>In late 2015, the Syrian desert was rattled by the most powerful blow yet &ndash; strategic <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Tu-160</a> bombers, <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Tu-95MSs</a>, and long-range <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Tu-22M3s</a> dropped more than three dozen missiles and a multitude of bombs, destroying the command posts of IS detachments in the Idlib and Aleppo provinces, as well as training camps for suicide bombers. In the summer of 2016, long-range Tu-22M3 bombers took off from Hamadan Airbase in Iran and blew out their bomb bays over militant targets in Aleppo, Deir ez-Zor, and Idlib. Regular air sorties supported the Syrian operation from beginning to end.</p> <p><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" gesture="media" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>In addition to aircraft, Russia also put its combat ships, submarines, and coastal missile systems to effective use in Syria. Some types of weapons got their first test under battle conditions. In November 2016, to be exact, the Russian military employed its <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Bastion coastal-defense missile systems</a> to spectacularly obliterate a large warehouse belonging to the militants with the help of its <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Onyx</a> anti-ship missiles.</p> <p>In October 2015, the Russian Navy was responsible for a widely reported cruise-missile attack from the Caspian Sea that annihilated militant positions with an unprecedented show of strength. The <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><em>Dagestan</em></a>, a missile-armed frigate, and the <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><em>Grad Sviyazhsk</em></a> and <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><em>Veliky Ustyug</em></a> small missile patrol ships released an enormous swarm of Kalibr cruise missiles that flew over several countries to blow up more than a dozen targets in militant-controlled territory. In June 2017, the Russian Navy&rsquo;s <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><em>Admiral Essen</em></a> and <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><em>Admiral Grigorovich</em></a> frigates, as well as its <a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><em>Krasnodar</em></a> submarine, used Kalibr cruise missiles to inflict a powerful blow from the Mediterranean Sea against terrorist command posts and ammunition depots in Hama province.</p> <p><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" gesture="media" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><em><strong>The capture of Aleppo marked the final turning point for the government forces in Syria, after which it was possible to withdraw about half of the air formations from the Hmeymim airbase in May 2017 and send them home.</strong></em></p> <h3><u>The makings of victory</u></h3> <p>Russian aircraft were able to administer continuous, nonstop strikes against targets belonging to terrorist groups in Syria. From the onset of the military operation until September 2017, over 30,000 sorties were flown and about 92,000 attacks on terrorists were carried out.</p> <p>Russian planes bashed terrorists with the active support of the most elite force in the Russian military, the soldiers from the Special Operations Forces, who conducted reconnaissance missions, corrected the moves of aircraft and artillery, trained Syrian soldiers and officers, conducted raids deep into enemy territory, set up countless ambushes along the routes of terrorist convoys, and neutralized the leaders of outlaw gangs. The ships and airplanes of the Syrian Express had an important role to play, supplying weapons, armored vehicles, and ammunition to the embattled country. Russian doctors were responsible for true acts of heroism, treating the civilians and servicemen who had suffered injuries in the war.</p> <p>And a huge role in the resolution of the Syrian crisis was played by the Russian diplomats who set in motion the negotiations in Astana. Those made it possible to establish the de-escalation zones in Syria that are still operating effectively today.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 560px; height: 198px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Syrian peace talks in Astana</em></p> <p>But of course it was the Syrian people who won the real victory &ndash; the Russian military just helped to remind them that the enemy can be defeated even if it enjoys the unconditional support of the West.</p> <h3><u>What comes next</u></h3> <p>It was revealed in late November that the Russian forces currently stationed at the Hmeymim airbase near Latakia and the naval base in Tartus would remain there. Their presence will clear the path for Russia to fend off any threat in the Eastern Mediterranean and to thus ensure the strategic parity that guarantees long-term peace in this volatile region. While the Syrian peace process is under its way the situation in the country and around is very fragile. The key game players and war profiteers are still on the ground and they are not to leave the Syrian territory.<strong> So the primary goal is to prevent anybody from the &ldquo;defeated party&rdquo; to undermine the talks and to secure desperately needed reconstruction programs, renovation and stabilization of normal social, economic and political life in Syria.</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="746" height="386" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> 3M-54 Klub Aircraft al-Qaeda Aviation Bashar al-Assad Caspian Sea eastern Mediterranean Free Syrian Army Iran Khmeimim Mediterranean Politics Russian involvement in the Syrian Civil War Russian military Russian Navy Russia’s Federation Council Security Council Su-34 Sukhoi Su-24 Sukhoi Su-25 Sukhoi Su-34 Syrian Arab Army Syrian Civil War Tupolev Tu-160 Tupolev Tu-22M United Nations Vladimir Putin War Fri, 15 Dec 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609198 at