Monday, 17 April 2017

Spooks Out of Control.

Baltic Dry Index. 1296 +14       Brent Crude 55.89

LIR Gold Target in 2019: $30,000.  Revised due to QE programs.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave
When first we practise to deceive

CIA Director Pompeo, with apologies to Sir Walter Scott.

The big news this week will be what will President Trump do with his aircraft carrier battlegroup now that he has marched them to the top of the hill, to mangle metaphors. Will he like the Grand Old Duke of York, “march them down again,” losing face and prestige, or will President Erratic feel compelled to “do something?"

The big news yesterday, was the erratic narrow victory for Sultan Erdogan in Turkey’s presidential reform referendum. More on that below.

Assuming American President U-turn doesn’t restart the Korean war this week, attention will switch to the first round in the French election next weekend, where the latest, if unreliable polls, suggest the final runoff election in May, will be between the candidate of the extreme neo-communist left, and Marine Le Pen of the hard right. Perhaps the CIA can run another French revolution, 1968 – 1969 style.

While we await the Great Trump v North Korea showdown/war(?) later in the week, up first last week’s instalment of “spooks out of control.”  While the NSA spies on the banksters, especially SWIFT via their Middle East and Latin American operatives, although once into any part of SWIFT, the NSA is effectively spying on all of SWIFT’s banksters, from New York, via London, to Tokyo; the Trump CIA is moving into a polonium 210 war against the “wrong” sort of journalists. If you’re a journalist not supporting the CIA’s “friendly” tyrants and despots on the CIA “approved and endorsed” list, think twice before accepting a cup of tea from a mainstream media CIA stringer, or heading for that a dark alley meeting with a whistle-blower.

Below, banksters worldwide now dread the phone call or tap on the shoulder,  calling them in for a not so friendly chat. “We know what you did, and here’s what we want. But it’s up to you, of course. But much better to do what we want. Far easier than serving a “Bernie.”

Sat Apr 15, 2017 | 9:14pm EDT

Hacker documents show NSA tools for breaching global money transfer system

Documents and computer files released by hackers provide a blueprint for how the U.S. National Security Agency likely used weaknesses in commercially available software to gain access to the global system for transferring money between banks, a review of the data showed.
On Friday, a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers released documents and files indicating NSA had accessed the SWIFT money-transfer system through service providers in the Middle East and Latin America. That release was the latest in a series of disclosures by the group in recent months.
Matt Suiche, founder of cybersecurity firm Comae Technologies, wrote in a blog post that screen shots indicated some SWIFT affiliates were using Windows servers that were vulnerable at the time, in 2013, to the Microsoft exploits published by the Shadow Brokers. He said he concluded that the NSA took advantage and got in that way.
"As soon as they bypass the firewalls, they target the machines using Microsoft exploits," Suiche told Reuters. Exploits are small programs for taking advantage of security flaws. Hackers use them to insert back doors for continued access, eavesdropping or to insert other tools.
"We now have all of the tools the NSA used to compromise SWIFT (via) Cisco firewalls, Windows," Suiche said.
Reuters was not able to independently verify the authenticity of the documents released by the hackers. Microsoft acknowledged the vulnerabilities and said they had been patched. Cisco Systems Inc has previously acknowledged that its firewalls had been vulnerable.
Cisco and the NSA did not reply to requests for comment. Belgium-based SWIFT on Friday downplayed the risk of attacks employing the code released by hackers and said it had no evidence that the main SWIFT network had ever been accessed without authorization.
----Documents included in the Shadow Brokers release suggest that the NSA, after penetrating the firewall of the SWIFT service providers, used Microsoft exploits to target the computers interacting with the SWIFT network, Comae Technologies' Suiche said.
The Al Quds Bank for Development and Investment, for example, was running a Windows 2008 server that at the time was vulnerable to newly disclosed Windows exploits, he said.
Microsoft late on Friday said it had determined that prior patches to dozens of software versions had fixed the flaws that apparently were exploited by nine of the NSA programs. Four of the vulnerabilities were blocked by comprehensive updates on March 14. That left only older, unsupported versions of Windows operating systems and Exchange email servers at risk to three of the newly released exploits, the company said.
Earlier Friday, Microsoft had said the company had not been warned by the government or other outsiders about the stolen programs.

Trump’s CIA Director Pompeo, Targeting WikiLeaks, Explicitly Threatens Speech and Press Freedoms

Glenn Greenwald April 14 2017, 2:43 p.m.
In February, after Donald Trump tweeted that the U.S. media were the “enemy of the people,” the targets of his insult exploded with indignation, devoting wall-to-wall media coverage to what they depicted as a grave assault on press freedoms more befitting of a tyranny. By stark and disturbing contrast, the media reaction yesterday was far more muted, even welcoming, when Trump’s CIA Director, Michael Pompeo, actually and explicitly vowed to target freedoms of speech and press in a blistering, threatening speech he delivered to the D.C. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies.

What made Pompeo’s overt threats of repression so palatable to many was that they were not directed at CNN, the New York Times or other beloved-in-D.C. outlets, but rather at WikiLeaks, more marginalized publishers of information, and various leakers and whistleblowers, including Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.

Trump’s CIA Director stood up in public and explicitly threatened to target free speech rights and press freedoms, and it was almost impossible to find even a single U.S. mainstream journalist expressing objections or alarm, because the targets Pompeo chose in this instance are ones they dislike – much the way that many are willing to overlook or even sanction free speech repression if the targeted ideas or speakers are sufficiently unpopular.

Decreeing (with no evidence) that WikiLeaks is “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia”  a belief that has become gospel in establishment Democratic Party circles – Pompeo proclaimed that “we have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.” He also argued that while WikiLeaks “pretended that America’s First Amendment freedoms shield them from justice,” but: “they may have believed that, but they are wrong.”
He then issued this remarkable threat: “To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.” At no point did Pompeo specify what steps the CIA intended to take to ensure that the “space” to publish secrets “ends now.”
More, much, much more.

Now back to geopolitics falling apart. Turkey no longer meets EU minimum entry requirements, but can it still be a member of NATO? Is Erdogan about to interfere in Merkel’s migrant mad German election?

The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.

Henry Kissinger, plotter.

Sun Apr 16, 2017 | 6:39pm EDT

Turkey's Erdogan declares referendum victory, opponents plan challenge

President Tayyip Erdogan declared victory in a referendum on Sunday to grant him sweeping powers in the biggest overhaul of modern Turkish politics, but opponents said the vote was marred by irregularities and they would challenge its result.

Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast and its three main cities, including the capital Ankara and the largest city Istanbul, looked set to vote "No" after a bitter and divisive campaign.

Erdogan said 25 million people had supported the proposal, which will replace Turkey's parliamentary system with an all-powerful presidency and abolish the office of prime minister, giving the "Yes" camp 51.5 percent of the vote.

That appeared short of the decisive victory for which he and the ruling AK Party had aggressively campaigned. Nevertheless, thousands of flag-waving supporters rallied in Ankara and Istanbul in celebration.

"For the first time in the history of the Republic, we are changing our ruling system through civil politics," Erdogan said, referring to the military coups which marred Turkish politics for decades. "That is why it is very significant."

Under the changes, most of which will only come into effect after the next elections due in 2019, the president will appoint the cabinet and an undefined number of vice-presidents, and be able to select and remove senior civil servants without parliamentary approval.

Erdogan himself survived a failed coup attempt last July, responding with a crackdown that has seen 47,000 people detained and 120,000 sacked or suspended from their jobs.

In Ankara, where Prime Minister Binali Yildirim addressed cheering supporters, convoys of cars honking horns clogged a main avenue as they headed towards the AK Party's headquarters, their passengers waving flags from the windows.

But the head of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, said the legitimacy of the referendum was open to question.

The party earlier said it would demand a recount of up to 60 percent of the votes after Turkey's High Electoral Board (YSK) announced it would count ballots which had not been stamped by its officials as valid unless they could be proved fraudulent.

Fri Apr 14, 2017 | 8:53am EDT

Turkey says could suspend EU migrant deal if no progress on visas

Turkey could re-evaluate or suspend all agreements under its migration deal with the European Union if the bloc does not give a positive response on visa-free travel for Turks, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday.

The Turkish government agreed in early 2016 to help curb a flood of migrants into Europe from its territory, in return for visa-free travel for Turks to Europe. But Brussels first wants Ankara to modify anti-terrorism laws that it says are too broad.

In an interview with broadcaster A Haber, Cavusoglu said the migrant deal and visa liberalization were a package.

"If we get a negative response from the EU we have the right to re-evaluate and suspend all of these agreements," he said. "The EU needs to give the visa-free travel our people deserve."

Relations between Turkey and the European Union have deteriorated sharply in the run-up to a referendum on Sunday which could grant sweeping powers to President Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey has warned before that the migrant deal was in jeopardy. Last month Erdogan said he could hold a referendum on whether to continue EU accession talks, and victory in Sunday's vote would strengthen his domestic position in his dealings with the bloc.

Erdogan has repeatedly accused the German and Dutch governments of acting like Nazis after they banned, on security grounds, referendum campaign rallies by Turkish officials.

The tapes capture Meir offering warm and effusive thanks to Nixon for the way he had treated her and Israel.

But moments after she left, Nixon and Mr. Kissinger were brutally dismissive in response to requests that the United States press the Soviet Union to permit Jews to emigrate and escape persecution there.

“The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy,” Mr. Kissinger said. “And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”

At the Comex silver depositories Thursday final figures were: Registered 30.29 Moz, Eligible 159.50 Moz, Total 189.79 Moz.

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
The trouble with being a billionaire, enough is never enough. Today when fat cats fight. No matter the outcome, it’s always great free entertainment for all. Seems completely inappropriate to say let the best man win.

Soros Sued by Fellow Billionaire in $10 Billion Mine Brawl

by Franz Wild
14 April 2017, 22:36 BST 15 April 2017, 00:12 BST
After years of BSGR accusing Soros of propagating corruption allegations which resulted in its loss of Simandou, this is the first time it took direct legal action against him. In the complaint, BSGR alleges that Soros was driven by a grudge dating back to 1998 around a business in Russia and his alleged hostility towards Israel.
“To Soros, Steinmetz’s success, as well as his active, passionate promotion of Israeli life, business and culture are anathema," BSGR said in the complaint. “Soros is also well known for his long-standing animus toward the state of Israel.”
Soros’s spokesman Michael Vachon didn’t immediately respond to an email or messages left on his work and mobile phone outside of regular business hours.
Simandou, hailed by mining companies as the richest untapped iron ore site in the world, has also been the subject of numerous court fights. Rio Tinto Group sued Steinmetz, accusing him and BSGR of conspiring with Vale SA to steal the rights to the deposit. That lawsuit was thrown out in 2015 by a federal judge in New York. BSGR lawyers demanded billions of dollars in damages from Rio Tinto in December after Rio announced that it had informed law enforcement agencies of a $10.5 million consultancy payment to a friend of Guinea’s president.
BSGR’s former public relations adviser FTI Consulting LLP in 2013 settled a London lawsuit that claimed it was part of Soros’s campaign against the mining company. FTI said it didn’t admit any wrongdoing.
Steinmetz has also been investigated and questioned by Swiss and Israeli law enforcement officials on suspicions that he paid bribes to help his company win a stake in Simandou. No charges have been laid.
Steinmetz and BSGR originally lost their rights to Simandou, because the Guinean government found that they obtained the permits after paying millions in bribes, including to Mamadie Toure, the fourth wife of Guinea’s former president.
The government’s decision was based on fabricated reports by Soros-funded companies, BSGR said in the complaint. Toure, who implicated BSGR and Steinmetz, received $50,000 from an adviser to President Alpha Conde and $80,000 from an "agent or affiliate of Soros," according to the complaint.
A spokesman for Conde didn’t answer calls outside of regular office hours. Toure couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
BSGR said its case is supported by an email from a senior Soros investment executive in New York relating to Guinea’s interactions with BSGR around their mining contract and information from witnesses that Soros had personally demanded BSGR be pushed off Simandou.
“Soros’s financial clout gave him power over Guinea’s processes of government, which he then thoroughly abused,” BSGR said in the complaint. Soros was "motivated solely by malice, as there was no economic interest he had in Guinea," the company said.
The case is BSG Resources (Guinea) Ltd. v. Soros, 17-
A millionaire found a bottle on his private beach. He rubbed it and out popped a genie.

"I will grant you three wishes," said the Genie. "But there's a catch." "What catch?" he asked.

The genie replied, "Every time you make a wish, every politician in the world will get double what you asked for."

"Well, I can live with that! No problem!" replied the millionaire.

"What is your first wish?" asked the Genie. "Well, I've always wanted a Ferrari," he said. POOF! A Ferrari appeared in front of the man. "Now, every politician in the world has two Ferraris," said the genie.

"Next wish?" "I'd love a billion dollars," replied the man. POOF! One billion dollars appeared at his feet. "Now, every politician in the world has two billion dollars," said the genie. "Well, that's okay, as long as I've got my billion," replied the man.

"What is your final wish?" asked the genie. The man thought long and hard, and finally said, "Well, you know, I've always wanted to donate a kidney."
Technology Update.
With events happening fast in the development of solar power and graphene, I’ve added this section. Updates as they get reported. Is converting sunlight to usable cheap AC or DC energy mankind’s future from the 21st century onwards? DC? A quantum computer next?

Record levels of renewable energy in 2016, but what else do the numbers say?

Lisa-Ann Lee April 12, 2017
According to a new study published by UN Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the installation of renewable power capacity hit a record high last year, adding 138.5 gigawatts to the global power capacity, the approximate equivalent of 16 of the world's largest existing power producing facilities combined. Not only that, but this increase came at a lower investment cost due to falling technology prices. Given this scenario and with more cities pledging to go 100 percent renewable, is green energy ready to be considered a serious mainstream contender to fossil fuels?

Making a case for renewable energy

Solar and wind power were the main drivers of this surge in new electricity generating capacity, due to the falling costs of solar photovoltaics and wind, followed by other renewables such as biomass and waste-to-energy, geothermal, small hydro and marine sources. In particular, 2016 was a boom year for solar power, with solar capacity additions reaching a high of 75 gigawatts, the first time there was "significantly more" of this energy source added than any other generating technology.

In the US, solar energy grew by 38 percent (0.15 quads), buoyed by a decrease in the price of photovoltaic panels over the past decade. Use of wind power, on the other hand, grew by 19 percent (0.33 quads).
"Generous incentives for renewable energy, combined with improved 'know-how' in siting and building wind farms, has led to a favorable environment for growth in this sector," says A.J. Simon, group leader for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

For green energy advocates, the environmental factor is one more reason to endorse it: last year's renewables generation prevented the emission of some 1.7 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (equivalent to the emissions from 211,233,570 passenger vehicles in one year). Had these installations not been built, the world's greenhouse gas problems would be "significantly worse," say the authors.

----One of the on-going challenges of implementing renewable energy on a massive scale is that there is still no vast storage technology capable of storing solar and wind energy, and turning it into a reliable source of power. This means that fossil fuel plants will continue to be a part of the energy landscape to fill in for the times when the sun and wind aren't producing any energy. In addition, they will have to be kept running even when they're not needed, since operators can't simply shut them down and restart them when the need arises.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished March

DJIA: 20,663  +131 Up. NASDAQ:  5,912 +165 Up. SP500: 2,363 +135 Up.

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