Bulgaria Government Shocked To Discover It Owns $3 Billion In Bitcoin

Bulgaria’s GDP is about $52.4 billion (2016), so it is quite a shock that the Bulgarian Government is sitting on an approximate $3 billion worth of Bitcoins seized in an anti-corruption operation back in May.
Putting this into a little more glaring context, Bulgaria is holding 18% of the national debt in bitcoins…
Fun fact: today's bitcoin prices have been interesting enough that there was a significant difference in how much Bulgaria had in USD between me writing this story and my editor editing it.
— Nikhilesh De (@nikhileshde) December 7, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 9, 2017.

SEC Admits US Public Filing System Was Hacked, “May Have Resulted” In Countless Illegal Profits

Over two years ago, on an otherwise uneventful Thursday in May 2015, shares of Avon Products suddenly jumped 20% leaving investors stunned. The catalyst was quickly discovered: a filing recently uploaded to Edgar, the SEC’s public filings database and purportedly from London-based ‘PTG Capital’, claimed that the “private-equity” firm was bidding to take Avon private. Upon closer inspection, investors noticed a series of glaring, suspicious errors. For one, the document was riddled the spelling mistakes – the firm’s own name, consisting of a three-letter acronym – was repeatedly misspelled. The address listed for the firm was quickly revealed to be fake. And, as it turned out, there was no PTG capital operating in London – or anywhere, for that matter.
Investors quickly concluded that the filing was a hoax, and Avon shares crashed back to earth. US authorities eventually blamed it on a Bulgarian hacker who the agency claimed earned a meager profit of $5,000 for his efforts.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 21, 2017.

Wall Street’s Latest Plot: Blame the Financial Crash on the French

Wall Street appears to have a plan to get the deregulation it wants by pinning the start of the epic financial crash of 2007-2010 on (wait for it) the French, rather than its own unbridled greed, corruption and toxic manufacture of junk bonds known as subprime debt that it paid to have rated AAA by ethically-challenged and deeply conflicted rating agencies. (The same rating agencies that are getting paid by Wall Street to rate its debt issues today.)
One of the men helping to peddle this narrative is Steve Hanke, a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, a taxpayer-subsidized nonprofit that was secretly owned by the billionaire Koch brothers for decades.
Hanke’s bio at Cato lists him as a Professor of Applied Economics at John Hopkins University in Baltimore and provides the following titillating background:
‘Prof. Hanke served as a State Counselor to both the Republic of Lithuania in 1994-96 and the Republic of Montenegro in 1999-2003. He was also an Advisor to the Presidents of Bulgaria in 1997-2002, Venezuela in 1995-96, and Indonesia in 1998. He played an important role in establishing new currency regimes in Argentina, Estonia, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ecuador, Lithuania, and Montenegro. Prof. Hanke has also held senior appointments in the governments of many other countries, including Albania, Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates, and Yugoslavia.’

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on August 21, 2017.

The Alliance of Neutral States (ANS): Putin’s Anti-NATO Grand Design for the Balkans

Capitalizing on the popular dissatisfaction with the neoliberal Atlanticist political & economic status quo
For about two decades, it appeared that the end of the Cold War in Europe left the Balkan states with no long-term geostrategic option except the so-called Euro-Atlantic integrations underwritten by the ideology known as Atlanticism. This option reached the peak of its strength after NATO’s military intervention in the Bosnian conflict in 1995 (which was its first out-of-area military operation since the founding in 1949) and NATO’s 78-day long war against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999. More covertly, NATO forces also intervened in the Macedonian-Albanian conflict in 2001.
As the result of these offensive military undertakings, Bosnia and Kosovo essentially became NATO protectorates with the civilian administrations being supervised by the EU, while the U. S. military bases and auxiliary facilities were quickly established in both. In addition, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Romania became the members of NATO in 2004 and Croatia and Albania in 2009. All remaining Balkan states, surrounded by NATO members from all sides, rapidly developed close military and intelligence linkages with NATO headquarters in Brussels. This process was greatly helped by the fact that the ruling political elites in these states, except to some extent in Serbia and the Serb Republic (a political subunit within Bosnia), openly acted as NATO’s agents of influence and advocated membership, even though this contradicted the political will of the majority of the population.
These Balkan political elites have been allowed to compensate for the obvious lack of internal democratic legitimacy by the endless praise from the high-level officials in Brussels, Berlin, Paris, London, and Washington, DC. Organized crime, corruption, lawless privatizations, massive unemployment, widespread poverty and hopelessness have simply been swept under the rug. The typically loud defenders of human rights and the rule of law have looked the other way. Evidently, the Atlanticist end justified all and any “dirty” means. Geography trumped democracy.

This post was published at Boiling Frogs Post on May 22, 2016.

The Real Aggression In Ukraine – – The Kiev Dictatorship’s Assault On Its Own People And The Press

The media narrative about Ukraine – that the ‘Maiden revolution’ was a democratic European-values oriented revolt against a tyrannical Russian-controlled puppet – has always been a fairytale, largely perpetrated by the Western media in complicity with the US State Department and the European Union. Yet now that same media is being forced to reexamine their bias in the wake of the Ukrainian government’s banning of 34 journalists and seven bloggers from entering the country. The list of the banned includes journalists from Britain, Switzerland, Israel, Slovakia, Germany, Spain, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Estonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Latvia, Moldova, Macedonia, and Serbia.
Unlike most of the rest of the English-speaking news media, the Committee to Protect Journalists is reporting that the list of banned journalists represents but a portion of a larger blacklist consisting of 388 individuals and over 100 organizations forbidden from entering the country on the grounds of ‘national security’ and an alleged threat to Ukraine’s ‘territorial integrity.’ Here is the complete list (in Ukrainian). The Guardian is reportingthat the list also includes businesspeople and journalists from the United States.
After an uproar – not over the existence of such a list, but over the fact that three BBC reporters were included, along with two Spaniards who have been captured by the Islamic State in Syria, and a German writer – the six Western journalists everyone was making such a fuss about were removedfrom the list. The rest remain.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Justin Raimondo – September 21, 2015.

Washington’s Syria Policy – – Incoherence Squared

Centuries ago, an Andalusian philosopher known as Ibn Rushd wrote a treatise called Tahafut al-Tahafut, or ‘The Incoherence of the Incoherence.’ He was taking aim at an old rival named Al-Ghazzali, but were he alive today, Averroes, as he was known to the Europeans, might very well have been talking about U. S. policy in Syria instead.
Never very sensible to begin with, Washington’s foreign-policy gurus have been piling confusion upon confusion in response to charges that Russia is stepping up military aid for Bashar al-Assad’s besieged government in Damascus.
The words began flying over the Labor Day weekend when the Obama administration announced that Moscow was jetting in soldiers and advisers to an airfield south of Latakia on Syria’s Mediterranean coast. It was setting up prefab housing for as many as a thousand personnel and installing a portable air traffic control station, the administration said, while Reutersadded a few days later that Russia had sent two tank landing ships as well.
In short order, Secretary of State John Kerry was on the phone to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warning him that intervention ‘could further escalate the conflict, lead to greater loss of innocent life, increase refugee flows and risk confrontation with the anti-ISIL Coalition operating in Syria.’
All the usual suspects then piled on. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg voiced concern over the alleged escalation, as did Israel, while NATO member Bulgaria quickly bowed to U. S. pressure to bar Russian aircraft from its airspace.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on September 13, 2015.

Americans ‘Too Fearful to Face’ Facts That the Republic is Dead, the Country is Gone

Editor’s Comment: No matter what happens in the news, most Americans just can’t face it. At ballgames, schools, churches, meetings, jobs and stores, Americans tend to salute the flag, accept b.s. rationales for evil deeds and stupid policies, and shun inconvenient truths that would otherwise inform a thinking person that the game is rigged, that the Republic is dead, and that the country is gone.
Agree or not, the issues raised below are crucial to the arrangement of government, and the power of the people in that government. By all accounts, corruption has become legalized, government has assumed all meaningful power – except that which is reserved to the corporations and banks – and rule of law has been replaced by rule of an elite who make their own rules. Academic studies, Congressman and Federal Reserve chairs now acknowledge that the United States has become an oligarchy… and oligarchies consist mainly of a few noblemen, and a mass population of obedient and powerless serfs. Better face up, because nothing is going to change for the better by ignoring it.
– – – – – –
10 Disturbing Facts Most Americans Are Too Fearful To Face
By Bernie Suarez
Sometimes you have to put out information in hopes that those who haven’t heard this will at least absorb a fraction of it. If you haven’t heard this and you absorb just one of these random points, I believe that may be enough to cause a major paradigm shift in your life or in the life of someone you know. Here are 10 random, mostly recent but some archival information that is factual and verifiable for anyone willing to look it up.
1. Genetically Modified Foods are illegal in many countries for health and medical reasons all the while the U. S. passes laws making GMO labeling illegal.
You may be thinking, say what? That’s right. U. S. citizens are being propagandized daily and are being practically forced to blindly consume GMOs while countries like Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Madeira, New Zealand, Peru, Australia, Russia, France and Switzerland all have booted Monsanto and their GMO crops from their countries. That’s like being booted out of a town for being a rapist and child molester only to have that same person settle into the next town over and become a grade school teacher or pastor. Now imagine the citizens of that other town having a law forced on them that says rapists and child molesters must be allowed to teach little kids and run churches. That’s what we’re talking about here.
While humanity in other countries wakes up fully to the dangers of GMO foods, Monsanto and other GMO food producers are having a feast in the U. S. buying out politicians, distorting news, research and evidence that proves GMO foods are directly linked to cancer. Like a scene from a bad movie, only it’s not a movie. Actually it’s YOUR life if you are in the United States dealing with this nightmare.
As bizarre as it seems, only in the U. S. do criminal corporations like Monsanto enjoy the benefits of the support of the political and legal system. A bird’s eye view of the situation clearly shows how corrupt and evil the control system in the United States really is. Sadly, most Americans have no idea that they are being lied to every day and lured into eating dangerous cancer-causing and health-destroying food just so that someone can profit from your disease later on.
2. As a result of ‘Act of 1871′ by the 41st Congress, the United States ‘Corporation’ was created to trample the original Republic.

This post was published at shtfplan on August 14th, 2015.

The Eurocrats’ Big Lie – – Life Outside The Euro Has Worked Just Swell For Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Turkey, The Czech Republic Etc.

Will the euro-fanatics please stop lying to the people of Greece?
And while they’re at it, will they please stop lying to the rest of us as well?
Can they stop pretending that life outside the euro – for the Greeks or any other European country – would be a fate worse than death?
Can they stop claiming that if the Greeks go back to the drachma, they will be condemned to a miserable existence on the dark backwaters of European life, a small, forgotten and isolated country with no factories, no inward investment and no hope?
Those dishonest threats are being leveled this week at the people of Greece, as they gear up for the weekend’s big referendum on more austerity. The bully boys of Brussels, Frankfurt and elsewhere are warning the Greek people that if they don’t do as they’re told, and submit to yet more economic leeches, they may end up outside the euro … at which point, of course, life would stop.
Bah.
What I find amazing about the euro-fanatics is they just don’t seem to care about facts. Take a look at the chart at the top of this article. It compares the economic performance of Greece inside the euro with European rivals that don’t use the euro.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on July 4, 2015.

Don’t Blame Austerity: Five “Dastardly” Ways Italy Burned Through Taxpayer Money

It took years (after our initial report in 2011) but finally the Greeks realized that the main reason the Troika had been fleecing them all along, is that of the 227 billion in bailout funds disbursed to Greece, the amount that actually reached the Greek population was… 11%. The rest went back to repaying Greek creditors in some form.
This is another way of explaining why while the PIIGS countries raged against “evil austerity”, their debt load as a percentage of GDP was consistently rising year after year, and has hid new all time highs as of the most recent reading.
So what was really going in Europe over the past 5 years, if the debt load kept creeping higher, and yet little money was actually making its way to the broader population?
The answer is simple: abuse of taxpayer funding, also known as fraud and corruption. And while it may come as a surprise, more European tax money has been lost to fraud in Italy than in any other European country, Greece included (perhaps because most of the free cash was already earmarked for creditor repayment).
As Italy’s TheLocal reports, the EU anti-fraud office, Italy currently has 61 open investigations into fraud involving EU funds. This means Italy has the second highest number of investigations in the EU, ranking just below Greece’s neighbor to the north, Bulgaria.
As the Local reports, fraud with EU money is commonplace in Italy, but is far from an Italian-only phenomenon. Here is a list of some of the most dastardly, or as the Italian outlet pegs it “insane” cons pulled by Italians with EU money.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 06/30/2015.

Huge Disconnect Between NATO Bellicosity And Declining Defense Spending Throughout Europe

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, a former prime minister of Norway, took the podium during last week’s meeting of NATO defense ministers to hype the Russian threat to NATO while downplaying recent NATO military moves on Russia’s border.
While criticizing ‘a more assertive Russia investing heavily in defence,’ Stoltenberg countered that, ‘We do not seek confrontation [with Russia], and we do not want a new arms race.’
He then announced that the new enhanced NATO Response Force will triple in size to include 40,000 personnel instead of the originally announced 13,000 and that NATO would be setting up six new east European mini-headquarters in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania.
A joint statement of the NATO defense ministers underscored Stoltenberg’s Russia points:

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Daniel McAdams ‘ June 27, 2015.

Dead Nation Walking

Many people seem to think that America has lost its sense of purpose. They overlook the obvious: that we are striving to become the Bulgaria of the western hemisphere. At least we already have enough vampires to qualify.
You don’t have to seek further than the USA’s sub-soviet-quality passenger railroad system, which produced the spectacular Philadelphia derailment last week that killed eight people and injured dozens more. Six days later, we’re still waiting for some explanation as to why the train was going 100 miles-per-hour on a historically dangerous curve within the city limits.
The otherwise excellent David Stockman posted a misguided blog last week that contained all the boilerplate arguments denouncing passenger rail: that it’s addicted to government subsidies and that a ‘free market’ would put it out of its misery because Americans prefer to drive and fly from one place to another.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 05/18/2015.