Bombshell Report Catches Pentagon Falsifying Paperwork For Weapons Transfers To Syrian Rebels

A new bombshell joint report issued by two international weapons monitoring groups Tuesday confirms that the Pentagon continues to ship record breaking amounts of weaponry into Syria and that the Department of Defense is scrubbing its own paper trail. On Tuesday the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) produced conclusive evidence that not only is the Pentagon currently involved in shipping up to $2.2 billion worth of weapons from a shady network of private dealers to allied partners in Syria – mostly old Soviet weaponry – but is actually manipulating paperwork such as end-user certificates, presumably in order to hide US involvement.
The OCCRP and BIRN published internal US defense procurement files after an extensive investigation which found that the Pentagon is running a massive weapons trafficking pipeline which originates in the Balkans and Caucuses, and ends in Syria and Iraq. The program is ostensibly part of the US train, equip, and assist campaign for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF, a coalition of YPG/J and Arab FSA groups operating primarily in Syria’s east). The arms transfers are massive and the program looks to continue for years. According to Foreign Policy’s (FP) coverage of the report:
The Department of Defense has budgeted $584 million specifically for this Syrian operation for the financial years 2017 and 2018, and has earmarked another $900 million of spending on Soviet-style munitions between now and 2022. The total, $2.2 billion, likely understates the flow of weapons to Syrian rebels in the coming years.
But perhaps more shocking is the following admission that Pentagon suppliers have links with known criminal networks, also from FP:
According to the report, many of the weapons suppliers – primarily in Eastern Europe but also in the former Soviet republics, including Kazakhstan, Georgia, and Ukraine – have both links to organized crime throughout Eastern Europe and spotty business records.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 13, 2017.

Podesta Group Subpoenaed By Special Counsel Mueller In Russia Probe

Just over a year ago we wrote about Paul Manafort resigning from the Trump campaign amid outrage over his consulting firm’s ties to a lobbying campaign designed to sway American public opinion in favor of the Ukraine’s pro-Russsian government (see: FBI Probes Firm Belonging To Brother Of Clinton Campaign Chair For Ukraine Corruption Ties).
The top political news on Friday was the unexpected resignation of Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, which was the result of emerging revelations that his political consulting firm, DMP International, had orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation in the period 2012-2014 on behalf of Ukraine’s then ruling political party, attempting to sway American public opinion in favor of the country’s pro-Russian government (which was overthrown in a CIA-orchestrated coup in early 2014).
As the AP reported yesterday, the lobbying included attempts to gain positive press coverage of Ukrainian officials in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press. Another goal: undercutting American public sympathy for the imprisoned rival of Ukraine’s then-president. At the time, European and American leaders were pressuring Ukraine to free her. Furthermore, under the U. S. Foreign Agents Registration Act (or FARA), US entities who lobby on behalf of foreign political leaders or political parties must provide detailed reports about their actions to the Justice Department.
Now, fast forward one year and it seems as though an honest attempt to destroy Trump’s campaign may ensnare another rather unlikely victim, namely The Podesta Group. As our readers are undoubtedly aware by now, The Podesta Group (PG) was co-founded by Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chairman, John Podesta, and is still run by his brother, Tony Podesta. Now, according The Daily Caller, PG, one of six lobbying firms that worked on Manafort’s campaign to get Ukraine into the European Union between 2012 to 2014, finds itself directly in the crosshairs of Special Counsel Mueller’s Russia probe.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 28, 2017.

Ukrainian Lawmakers Disclose $45 Million In Bitcoin Holdings

As Ukraine’s crackdown on corruption continues, three lawmakers from Ukraine’s ruling party revealed this week that they own a combined $45 million in bitcoin, according to a report by RIA Novosti, a Russian foreign news service.
Their holdings came to light during mandatory financial disclosures by members of the Ukrainian parliament, part of an IMF-approved strategy to tamp down corruption in Ukraine. The country’s democratic institutions, which were never very robust to begin with, have been further destabilized by the civil war that’s seen pro-Russian separatists seize control of two regions in eastern Ukraine. Lawmakers must now disclose their assets and wealth in an online database.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 16, 2017.

Berlin Calls For “Countermeasures” To US Sanctions Against Russia, Hints At Trade War

While the Pentagon may be already contemplating its next steps in the escalating conflict with Russia, which as the WSJ reported will likely involve supplying Ukraine with antitank missiles and other weaponry – a red line for the Kremlin not even the Obama administration dared to cross – there is minor matter of what to do with a suddenly furious Europe, which as we discussed previously, has vowed it would retaliate promptly after Trump signed the anti-Russia legislation into law, due to allegations it was just a veiled attempt at favoritism for US-based energy companies.
And, sure enough, on Monday, the Germany economy minister said that tew penalties against Moscow proposed by US lawmakers violate international law and officials in Brussels should consider countermeasures.
Speaking to Funke Mediengruppe newspaper, Brigitte Zypries said that “we consider this as being against international law, plain and simple.” She added that “of course we don’t want a trade war. But it is important the European Commission now looks into countermeasures.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 1, 2017.

This Is What Has Kept More Tomahawks From Falling On Syria: ‘The Russians Appear to Be Using Leverage That May Damage The President’

One of the reasons that Syria is ‘on hold’ is that the Russians are now leveraging the President with the connections formed in his campaign prior to the election. Paul Manafort, onetime manager of President Trump’s campaign apparently has received payments from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. An article covering it entitled Manafort firm received Ukraine ledger payout by Jack Gillum, Chad Day, and Jeff Horwitz was released on Thursday by the Associated Press.
The bad news is that the ledger is substantiated by records booked by Manafort’s consulting firm in the U. S., already under a corruption investigation by the FBI with even more overlap. Apparently, the FBI and Congress are investigating Manafort’s activities with Russia and possible ties to Vladimir Putin regarding the President’s campaign. These activities which could have included payoffs allegedly occurred in 2016.
But a distinct pattern is observable here. Tillerson is still ‘on the attack,’ today demanding that Russia oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad…and the President in the meantime has announced we wouldn’t be sending troops into Syria. Perhaps he is hesitant, as (if they have such evidence) Russia would certainly not shirk from releasing information that could be damaging to the President. At this stage, the threat of such a release appears to be keeping things in check: we haven’t launched another Tomahawk strike yet.

This post was published at shtfplan on April 14th, 2017.

Russian Billionaire Deripaska Responds To AP Story On Manafort Ties

In the latest attempt to stir the pot over allegations that Trump and members of his closest circle had ties to Russia, on Wednesday, the AP unearthed a 2005 memo from former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort – who was let go by the Trump campaign in the summer to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who became Russia’s richest man under Putin and whose key asset is a 48% stake in Russian aluminum giant Rusal, according to which Manafort would boost Putin’s agenda and reportedly undermine anti-Russian opposition across Europe, the U. S. and former Soviet republics.
“We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success,” Manafort wrote, adding it “will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government.”
As a reminder, Manafort worked as Trump’s unpaid campaign chairman last year from March until August. Trump asked Manafort to resign after AP revealed that Manafort had orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation until 2014 on behalf of Ukraine’s ruling pro-Russian political party.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 22, 2017.

All Washington blames Putin and calls for investigations of Russian villainy: John Batchelor interviews Stephen F. Cohen

The character of events from week to week, and as discussed by both Batchelor and Cohen, is manifestly worsening. While the proxy wars are stabilizing to some little extent, we see the political wars in governments as fall out of the New Cold War in a constant state of escalation. Cohen notes a New York Times piece by Charles Blow that coined a name for what is happening as an ‘Era of Suspicion’ and the author considered this a positive thing for the country – where all the interest groups are being forced by the hate and fear campaign to align with the anti-Russian narrative whether it serves their interests or not. This past week Batchelor brings up the news about the Estonian Ambassador, Eerik Marmei and the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pavlo Klimkin who spoke to a Senate subcommittee about Russia disrupting elections in Europe, and the danger of cyber warfare by Russia. Also mentioned were the Trump charges that Obama had his Trump Tower ‘bugged’. Cohen then launched into what the consequences of this new ‘Era of Suspicion’ and the professor describes how the pressure to conform has influenced all the politicos (Flynn debacle) and the masters of industry in the United States, who want to have business dealings with Russia, into remaining cautiously silent. These and other efforts are being used to isolate Trump and neuter or redirect any chance of dtente or even honest discussion of serious geopolitical events. It is working too – with Republicans also becoming divided. Some Republicans are looking at Vice President Pence for the president’s position.
Cohen also discusses the role of ‘expert consultants on Russia’ in the media and their efforts to vilify Putin and the Kremlin. All interviews using these people are factually untrue. The most egregious of these, for example, maintained that Putin was ‘deliriously happy that Washington was in complete chaos over Russian policies’. Batchelor exclaims that this is ‘complete rubbish’. It was also Batchelor’s opinion that it was serious that Trump did not mention Russia in his address to Congress. What this indicates is that dtente is getting much less likely. Cohen also mentions the resurrection of McCarthyism with a Committee of Un-American Activity being formed and concludes that disorder is the contrived tenure of modern Western diplomacy. In my opinion Trump has to decide whether folding to the will of his opposition will stop this campaign to remove him or will it show weakness that will lead to escalation. His reticence to talk about Russia may be testing the waters, or be showing weakness. Senator Graham, who talked with the president, seems to think the latter and the US will ‘push back’ against Russia. I think Trump is folding too.
The push back will see more support for NATO and perhaps more military help for Ukraine. Cohen discusses the quasi NATO presence now in Ukraine, and he also brings up a potential increase in US troop presence in Syria. He discusses the dangers of a combined military presence of US and Russian assets in Syria. Cohen then discusses the simple solution to ease the danger, and it really is simple. Disengagement. But Putin needs Washington (Trump) to cooperate. But Cohen now considers this as unlikely as he thinks Trump is folding to his opposition in Washington. In Ukraine the political and economic situation is worse and where President Poroshenko is having no control over the ukronazis – who are now embargoing coal imports from the Donbass. This hurts Kiev, but also illuminates the reality of a failing central government. A personal question: Will NATO continue to base troops there? It would mean contending with or working with nazis in a failed state environment? But would most of the West hear about it? That’s where we are, living behind a virtual information wall that George Orwell would immediately recognize.
From my point of view the Military Industrial Complex has shown no sense of danger in supporting a ‘confrontation for profit’ policy against Russia, and now the people of the West are effectively ‘walled off’ from learning about critical realities by a systemic corruption of the MSM. Washington is creating its own “Iron Curtain”. Not even discussions at the highest levels of Washington are tolerated unless they support the narrative. One wonders how long this can go on with the Military Industries dependent on tax dollars, and the financial sector and other interests looting the economy and destroying that same tax base. This becomes another reason to impose that ‘Era of Suspicion’ on the whole country; if one cannot advise or discuss an argument against war dangers (or government policies) without censure, then war becomes more inevitable in spite of the fundamentals that work against it. One could say, ‘unleash the dogs of war’ but first hugely increase the fiscal deficit.

This post was published at Audioboom

Russia’s Largest Bank Confirms Hiring Podesta Group To Lobby For Ending Sanctions

Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, has confirmed that it hired the consultancy of Tony Podesta, the elder brother of John Podesta who chaired Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, for lobbying its interests in the United States and proactively seeking the removal of various Obama-era sanctions, the press service of the Russian institution told TASS on Thursday.
“The New York office of Sberbank CIB indeed hired Podesta Group. Engagement of external consultants is part of standard business practices for us,” Sberbank said.
Previously, The Daily Caller reported that Tony Podesta was proactively lobbying for cancellation of a range of anti-Russian sanctions against the banking sector. In particular, he represented interests of Sberbank and was paid $170,000 for his efforts over a six-month period last year to seek to end one of the Obama administration’s economic sanctions against that country. Podesta, founder and chairman of the Podesta Group, is listed as a key lobbyist on behalf of Sberbank, according to Senate lobbying disclosure forms. His firm received more than $24 million in fees in 2016, much of it coming from foreign governments, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Former President Barack Obama imposed the Russian sanctions following the break out in violence in east Ukraine in 2014.

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

Connecting the Dots

Understanding that one must watch the world to ascertain the trend even domestically is critical – this is what separates a domestic trader from a professional hedge fund manager. You simply have to know what is happening out there on all fronts. Connecting the dots allows you to see the full picture of what exactly you are dealing with.
However, understanding what is taking place in Ukraine is more than a mere subject of depressing corruption and war. What you are looking at is how people respond to events, for when similar events unfold here, since we are all human, we will respond in a similar manner.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Mar 9, 2017.

Ukraine Tax Chief Gets Heart Attack After Arrest Over $75 Million Theft

While much of the media attention remains glued to Russia for various reasons, a more notable development took place in neighboring Ukraine overnight, where on Friday Ukrainian state agencies tried to arrest the head of the tax and customs service Roman Nasirov, i.e., the equivalent to the head of the IRS, over the embezzlement of around $75 million. However, their efforts were hindered when the man, Roman Nasirov, was allegedly struck by a heart attack during the detention attempt and was shown stretchered into an ambulance and taken to Kiev’s Feofania hospital late on Thursday.
Anti-corruption prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytsky said investigators believe 38-year-old Nasirov helped exiled lawmaker Oleksandr Onishchenko deprive the state of 2 billion hryvnias ($75 million) in tax revenue linked to a gas deal, Reuters reports. The crackdown was seen as a landmark case following patchy anti-graft efforts from the Western-backed authorities.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 3, 2017.

Ukraine’s Problem Is Ukraine

Ukraine’s government has hired Washington lobbyists to fix its problems with the Trump Administration, but would do better to fix its internal problems, instead.
Ukraine’s problems are in four categories: a structural problem caused by the multiple overlapping entities involved in military strategy and procurement; the absence of a unified strategic vision for ordering equipment and supplies; a ‘Fifth Column’ of pro-Russian officials; and a staggering corruption that divides the self-interest of the elites from the national interest.
A recent Rand study highlighted the deficiencies in the command structure of Ukraine’s security sector. Defense procurement particularly has several overlapping structures with no clear lines of authority or unity of command. The President, Prime Minister, Defense Ministry, General Staff and the infamous state-owned defense company, Ukroboronprom, compete against and undercut one another. Each entity produces its own wish list, driven more by impulse than strategy, and each entity has separate financial controls, opening the door to insider dealing and corrupt sales of government property.
In Ukraine, citizens are played for suckers: local militias fight to preserve home and liberty, while the leaders focus on procedure, personal prestige, and offshore bank accounts. Ukroboronprom is infamous for selling arms to the black market, and domestic contracts are given to factories indirectly owned by President Petro Poroshenko, who still hadn’t divested his business interests as he promised to do when he took office in 2014.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 26, 2017.

George Soros – The Man Trying to Create A Socialist Revolution?

George Soros is a Hungarian born August 12, 1930 who became an American. I believe he has done everything possible to further of Marxist takeover of the United States and his support of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine should not be confused with any sort of actual freedom. Ukraine has merely replace one group of corrupt officials with another. I personally believe that Soros is a very dangerous man who tries to fund revolutions that cost people’s lives. I believe Soros is behind the civil unrest in the United States and the Clintons are aligned with him because Hillary is notoriously vindictive if you read any of the reports from former staff who worked in the White House. This is not a political movement, it is one that appears to inspire violence. We should pay close attention to the shenanigans of Soros and Hillary. We know her character. The only type of people who would be friends with someone that vindictive must ascribe to the same character flaws.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Nov 15, 2016.

FBI Finds No Links Between Trump And Russia, Probing Manafort Instead

With the FBI accused of pushing the Clinton campaign, which as recently as a week ago was seen as invincible as it stormed toward the November 8 presidential election, over the proverbial cliff, it was perhaps inevitable that in order to preserve the appearance of impartiality the Bureau would proceed with a probe of Trump’s own campaign. And, according to NBC which cited law enforcement and intelligence sources, it has done so by focusing on Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and specifically his foreign business connections.
The news of the inquiry, which has not blossomed into a full-blown criminal investigation, emerges just days after FBI Director James Comey’s disclosure that his agency is examining a new batch of emails connected to an aide to Hillary Clinton. It also comes a day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid criticized Comey’s revelation and asserted that Comey possesses “explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government.”
As a reminder, Manafort, who resigned as Donald Trump’s campaign manager in August, was previously an international political consultant. He became a liability for the Trump campaign amid reports of his involvement with a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. One damaging New York Times story earlier this year alleged the party had earmarked more than $12 million in under-the-table cash payments, raising questions about whether Manafort had run afoul of U. S. lobbying laws that would he require he register as ‘foreign agent’ with the Justice Department.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 1, 2016.

Ukrainians “Shocked” At Vast Wealth Amassed By Their Corrupt Politicians

Ukraine is the latest country to discover that cronyism and corruption in politics pays – a lot – and is very unhappy about it.
As a result of an anti-corruption reform requiring senior Ukrainian officials to declare their wealth online, the local population has been been exposed to the vast difference between the fortunes of politicians and those they represent.
As Reuters reports, some declared millions of dollars in cash. Others said they owned fleets of luxury cars, expensive Swiss watches, diamond jewelry and large tracts of land – revelations that will crush public confidence in the authorities in Ukraine, where the average salary is just over $200 per month. Officials had until Sunday to upload details of their assets and income in 2015 to a publicly searchable database, part of an International Monetary Fund-backed drive to boost transparency and modernise Ukraine’s recession-hit economy.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 31, 2016.

Hillary’s Corruption Knows No End

The revelations about Hillary are never ending. Even Donald Trump who admits buying politicians donated $100,000 to Hillary’s Foundation back in 2009. While others were handing her tens of millions to get deals from the State Department, with a token $100,000, Trump was obviously just putting his name on the list for influence as he has admitted. But Hillary is really the poster child for everything that is wrong in Washington. This is politicians just in your face with corruption going wild. The fact that everyone I speak with behind the curtain knows Hillary has always been for sale, demonstrates that they are sanctioning her running for president implying they too are anything but honest.
Hillary’s tentacles even connect to Ukraine, which is starting to surface.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Aug 27, 2016.

The Foreign Invasion of American Politics – – To Stop Trump And Stay On The Washington Gravy Train

As one of my Twitter followers put it so succinctly: ‘Globalization: Where leaders from any country get to pick US Presidents.’ As the Clinton campaign’s Robby Mook tears a page out of Joe McCarthy’s book and smears Donald Trump as being ‘Putin’s puppet,’ the irony is that this election has seen foreign interference in American politics to an unprecedented degree – on Hillary’s behalf.
In the past, foreign actors tried to hide such activities, rightly thinking that they might encounter resentment – or even legal consequences – for trying to meddle in affairs that are none of their damned business. Not anymore. Now that we’re a global empire, with our leaders proclaiming the supreme importance of exercising ‘US leadership’ and sticking our noses in every petty squabble on earth, our client states are openly interfering in our internal affairs. After all, if we can engage in ‘regime change’ campaigns, and dictate the terms and results of Lower Slobbovia’s elections, why can’t they interfere in ours? To this end they employ legions of publicists, lobbyists, and tame congressmen to pursue their national interests, mostly at our expense: the billions in ‘foreign aid’ we ship overseas come back to our shores in the form of exorbitant fees paid to PR firms – a rare trade deal where American firms actually come out ahead!
Most of this is relatively subtle, and covert – or, at least, it has been up to now. However, the Trump phenomenon has changed the rules of the game, and foreign actors are now openly coming out of the closet – so to speak – and brazenly attacking the GOP candidate. I can’t recall a presidential contest where a foreign ambassador has written an op-ed piece attacking one of the candidates, but this election season has Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, Valeriy Chaly, publishing a piece in the Ukrainian Weekly echoing the Mookarthyite charge that Trump is the Manchurian candidate. Trump’s comments on the Ukraine issue ‘have raised serious concerns,’ we are told, as Chaly goes on to write that:

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Justin Raimondo ‘ August 24, 2016.

Imperial Washington Has Meddled In Ukraine Enough – – Why Crimea Doesn’t Matter

Is Crimea about to explode? The mainstream media reports that Russia has amassed troops on the border with Ukraine and may be spoiling for a fight. The Russians claim to have stopped a Ukrainian sabotage team that snuck into Crimea to attack key infrastructure. The Russian military is holding exercises in Crimea and Russian President Vladimir Putin made a visit to the peninsula at the end of the week.
The Ukrainians have complained to their western supporters that a full-scale Russian invasion is coming, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he may have to rule by martial law due to the Russian threat.
Though the US media pins the blame exclusively on Russia for these tensions, in reality there is plenty of blame to go around. We do know that the US government has been involved with ‘regime change’ in Ukraine repeatedly since the break up of the Soviet Union. The US was deeply involved with the ‘Orange Revolution’ that overthrew elected president Viktor Yanukovych in 2005. And we know that the US government was heavily involved in another coup that overthrew the same elected Yanukovych again in 2014.
How do we know that the US was behind the 2014 coup? For one, we have the intercepted telephone call between US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt. In the recording, the two US officials are plotting to remove the elected government and discussing which US puppet they will put in place.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Ron Paul ‘ August 23, 2016.

FBI Probes Firm Belonging To Brother Of Clinton Campaign Chair For Ukraine Corruption Ties

The top political news on Friday was the unexpected resignation of Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, which was the result of emerging revelations that his political consulting firm, DMP International, had orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation in the period 2012-2014 on behalf of Ukraine’s then ruling political party, attempting to sway American public opinion in favor of the country’s pro-Russian government (which was overthrown in a CIA-orchestrated coup in early 2014).
As the AP reported yesterday, the lobbying included attempts to gain positive press coverage of Ukrainian officials in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press. Another goal: undercutting American public sympathy for the imprisoned rival of Ukraine’s then-president. At the time, European and American leaders were pressuring Ukraine to free her. Furthermore, under the U. S. Foreign Agents Registration Act (or FARA), US entities who lobby on behalf of foreign political leaders or political parties must provide detailed reports about their actions to the Justice Department.
The 1938 U. S. foreign agents law is intended to track efforts of foreign government’s unofficial operatives in the United States. A violation is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The issue is that neither Paul Manafort, nor his deputy, Rick Gates, disclosed their work as foreign agents as required under federal law. “There is no question that Gates and Manafort should have registered along with the lobbying firms,” said Joseph Sandler of Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock, a Democratic-leaning Washington law firm that advises Republican and Democratic lobbyists.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 20, 2016.

FBI Probing Firm Belonging To Brother Of Clinton Campaign Chairman For Ties To Ukraine Corruption

The top political news on Friday was the unexpected resignation of Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, which was the result of emerging revelations that his political consulting firm, DMP International, had orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation in the period 2012-2014 on behalf of Ukraine’s then ruling political party, attempting to sway American public opinion in favor of the country’s pro-Russian government (which was overthrown in a CIA-orchestrated coup in early 2014).
As the AP reported yesterday, the lobbying included attempts to gain positive press coverage of Ukrainian officials in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press. Another goal: undercutting American public sympathy for the imprisoned rival of Ukraine’s then-president. At the time, European and American leaders were pressuring Ukraine to free her. Furthermore, under the U. S. Foreign Agents Registration Act (or FARA), US entities who lobby on behalf of foreign political leaders or political parties must provide detailed reports about their actions to the Justice Department.
The 1938 U. S. foreign agents law is intended to track efforts of foreign government’s unofficial operatives in the United States. A violation is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 20, 2016.

Warning From Outer Mongolia – – -The Hunt For Yield Can Lead to Dangerous Places

Investors who piled into some of the world’s riskiest bonds to escape near-zero interest rates got a reality check this week as signs of an economic crisis in Mongolia and a flare up in the conflict in Ukraine sent their bonds tumbling.
Mongolia’s $1 billion of notes due in six years fell the most on record on Wednesday after the finance minister went on television to say his critical goal was to avoid default as growth slows and the debt burden soars, prompting Barclays Plc to remove its overweight recommendation. A slump in Ukrainian Eurobonds sent yields toward their biggest one-day increase since February on Thursday after officials in Kiev warned Russia is seeking to escalate a military conflict over the disputed Crimean peninsula.
‘Central bank policy has given investors a license to move down the risk spectrum,’ Gregory Saichin, who helps manage $2.4 billion, including Mongolian bonds, as chief investment officer for developing-world fixed-income at Allianz Global Investors. ‘The risks are there. People shouldn’t come into a story like this and say they didn’t know about it,’ he said of Mongolia’s economic woes.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on August 11, 2016.