Thursday 29th of July 2021

no matter what, the pipeline will be completed...




















That the Kremlin had taken over American political institutions through its blackmail control of former President Donald Trump was a media conspiracy theory as pervasive as it was deranged. This once-exciting script was excavated from the CIA’s Cold War basement, dusted off by their operatives, and then kicked off by the intelligence community’s purposeful dissemination of the now-debunked Steele Dossier. And once this fairy tale was launched, there were seemingly no limits on the depths to which media figures would sink to promote it


By Glenn Greenwald


Journalists published best-selling books and column after column hyping this melodrama of international intrigue. In what was just one of many low points, MSNBC’s host Chris Hayes earnestly interviewed New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait about the latter’s 2018 cover storyspeculating that Trump may have been groomed as a Russian intelligence asset since 1987. “Unlikely but possible” declared the on-screen cable graphic as Hayes spoke, summarizing the media’s Trump-era renunciation of all standards of rationality and evidence for disseminating unhinged conspiracies to their audience, at great profit for themselves but great harm to everything and everyone else.

In the world of reality, the exact opposite was happening. When it came to actual vital Russian interests — as opposed to the symbolic gestures hyped by the liberal cable and op-ed page circus — Trump and his administration were confronting and undermining the Kremlin in ways Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, had, to his credit, steadfastly refused to do. 

Indeed, the foreign policy trait relentlessly attributed to Trump in support of the media’s Cold War conspiracy theory — namely, an aversion to confronting Putin — was, in reality, an overarching and explicit belief of President Obama’s foreign policy, not President Trump’s. During the 2012 presidential election, Obama and the Democratic Party famously and repeatedly mocked GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s warnings about the threat posed by Russia as a “relic of the Cold War.”

Consistent with that view, Obama rejected bipartisan demands to send lethal weapons to Ukraine throughout 2015 and into 2016. Even when Russia reasserted control over Crimea in 2014 after citizens overwhelmingly approved it in a referendum, Obama did little more than impose some toothless sanctions (though he did preside over, if not engineer, regime change efforts in Ukraine that swept out the pro-Moscow leader and replaced him with a pro-U.S. lackey). Obama worked directly with Putin to forge an agreement with Russia’s allies in Tehran to lift sanctions against Iran and bring them back into the international community, and then publicly praised the Russian leader for the constructive role he played in orchestrating that agreement.

And, enraging the bipartisan U.S. foreign policy community, Obama even refused to follow through on his own declared “red line” to attack Russia’s key ally in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad. Indeed, even after Russia asserted governance over Crimea, and even after Russia is said by intelligence agencies to have hacked the DNC and John Podesta’s computers, Obama, in 2016, sought to form a partnership with Russia in Syria to jointly bomb targets regarded by the two governments as “terrorists.”


Obama’s “meekness” when it came to Putin was a common line of attack not only from hawkish Republicans such as Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) but also hawkish liberal pundits and even many Democratic lawmakers. Even his response to allegations of Russian hacking — I told Putin to “cut it out” — produced little more than mockery over Obama’s weakness when it came to Putin.

Yet Obama stood firm in his belief, as expressed in a lengthy foreign policy interview he gave in 2016 to The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. When the long-time neocon journalist pressed Obama on his refusal to bomb Assad’s forces, Obama told him: “I’m very proud of this moment.” As for his refusal to send lethal arms to Russia’s neighbor, Goldberg wrote: “Obama’s theory here is simple: Ukraine is a core Russian interest but not an American one.” Indeed, to vilify Trump as a Kremlin agent, Democrats, as I reported in 2017, were implicitly forced to repudiate virtually every prong of Obama’s accommodating foreign policy toward Russia.

Meanwhile, Trump — even as media figures gorged themselves on the conspiracy theory that he was a Kremlin agent — reversed virtually all of those Obama-era accommodations to Putin. Again and again, Trump acted contrary to the Kremlin’s core interests. After publicly threatening Russia over Syria, Trump twice bombed Putin’s key Middle Eastern ally — something Obama refused to do — prompting applause from the always-hawkish Hillary Clinton and even from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (who had starred in a 2012 DNC video mocking Romney for viewing Russia as a serious threat). Trump withdrew from the Iran Deal over the Kremlin’s vocal objections

Trump also reversed Obama’s Ukraine policy, sending the exact lethal arms to anti-Russian elements that Obama warned would be directly threatening to the Kremlin and thus excessively provocative. Trump filled his administration with long-time anti-Russia hawks who would never have been welcomed in the Obama administration (including CIA Director and Secretary of State Mike PompeoNational Security Advisor John BoltonNATO Ambassador Richard Grenell, and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley).


It is true that Trump, like Obama before him, spoke of the potential to partner with Russia rather than viewing it as an enemy, just as it is true that both presidents imposed sanctions on Moscow. And it is also true, and understandable, that Moscow likely favored a Trump victory rather than having supreme war hawk Hillary Clinton in the White House (the same reason Ukraine worked in 2016 to help Hillary win).

But over and over, Trump undermined, not advanced, core Russian objectives. As Obama himself said in 2016, it is hard to imagine doing anything more provocative and harmful to Russian vital interests than sending lethal arms to Ukraine — exactly what Obama refused to do, despite bipartisan pressure. Yet the Trump administration quickly did exactly that: bizarre behavior for a Kremlin asset, to put that mildly. 


Trump found one thing even more threatening to the Kremlin’s vital interests than arming Ukrainians: namely, doing everything possible to destroy Russia’s ability to complete construction of its new underwater natural gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2. That new pipeline is designed to double Russian sales capacity to an EU addicted to cheap Russian natural gas, producing massive revenue for the Russian economy and giving Moscow greater leverage when dealing with its European neighbors. But it provides an even more important benefit: it allows Russia to bypass Ukraine and other Eastern European countries, thus avoiding costly transit fees and the risks of political instability or anti-Russian manipulation by outside forces, including the U.S. government.

For all those reasons, few priorities were more important to Putin and the Russian economy than this new pipeline. Yet for at least the last two years of his presidency, Trump — even as he was shrilly depicted as an agent of the Kremlin — was obsessed with stopping the Russian pipeline and thus sabotaging Putin’s key geopolitical project. 

The Trump administration caused a halt to the project in 2019 when it imposed sanctions on companies working on it. Trump did everything he could to pressure, cajole and even threaten the Germans to pull out of the deal, warning that it would leave a winter-plagued Europe captive to Russian pressure and insisting that Berlin had the obligation to buy gas from the U.S., not Russia, given NATO expenditures to protect Germans. Trump even tried to pull close to 10,000 U.S. troops out of Germany to pressure the Merkel government, but the pro-war alliance of hawkish Democrats and Liz-Cheney-led neocon Republicans voted to defund that effort.

Any minimally rational or honest media would have taken note of these events and instantly realized that their years-long conspiracy theory about Trump being controlled by Putin was sophomoric nonsense, the opposite of the truth. That a Putin-controlled Russian asset wouldsend lethal arms to Ukraine and do everything possible to sabotage Nord Stream 2 is so blatantly absurd that it could be ratified only by a media aggressively committed to spreading disinformation and lies.

All of this became even clearer on Tuesday when President Biden reversed Trump’s blockage of the Russian natural gas pipeline. Axios' Jonathan Swan reported that “the Biden administration will waive sanctions on the corporate entity and CEO overseeing the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline into Germany,” which “indicates the Biden administration is not willing to compromise its relationship with Germany over this pipeline.”

Swan wrote what is clearly true: “the completion of Nord Stream 2 would be a huge geopolitical win for Putin and give him substantial new leverage in Europe.”

This “huge geopolitical win for Putin” is exactly what the Kremlin’s alleged asset in the White House spent years preventing and which Biden is now handing over. Indeed, this decision by the Biden administration directly contradicts the assurances which long-time anti-Russia hawk Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) extracted from Secretary of State Antony Blinken during Blinken’s January confirmation hearing. Cruz asked Blinken whether he would commit to maintain the efforts of the Trump administration and a bipartisan group of Senators to use sanctions to prevent completion of the Russian pipeline, and Blinken vowed that he would:

SEN. CRUZ: Now, worryingly, there have been suggestions out of Moscow and out of Berlin that the Biden administration would reduce pressure and reduce efforts to stop Nord Stream 2. Can you commit to this committee today that the Biden administration will hold the line, will keep the sanctions, and will prevent the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from being completed? 

MR. BLINKEN: Two things, if I may, Senator. First of all, the president-elect strongly agrees with you that Nord Stream 2 is a bad idea and he has been very clear about that. I need to look at the actual legislation. I am determined to do whatever we can to prevent that completion, the last hundred yards, I very much agree.

As Swan put it: “this planned move” to lift key sanctions “seems at odds with” Blinken’s commitment. Indeed it does. While the Biden administration intends to maintain some of those Trump-imposed sanctions, the waivers they intend to issue will allow completion of Nord Stream 2, a gigantic gift to Putin.

What makes Biden’s turnaround even more stunning is that it comes just weeks after the U.S. claims that Russians were behind a quite significant hack-for-ransom into a U.S. gas pipeline that caused serious gas shortages on the East Coast. U.S. officials say that while they have no reason yet to believe that the Kremlin itself was responsible, they do believe that the hackers were Russian citizens and/or operating from Russia. An angry Sen. Cruz said on Wednesday morning: “Biden has vastly strengthened Putin’s hands at the expense of the rest of the Free World.” Yesterday, he tweeted this:



Just imagine what would be happening right now if it were Trump, rather than Biden, who just handed Putin his underwater natural gas pipeline just days after Russian hackers allegedly caused serious gas shortages in the U.S. Jingoistic op-eds would fill the pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post warning of Kremlin control of the U.S.; CNN and MSNBC would convene panel after panel of their former FBI and CIA operatives to accuse Trump of treason for subordinating U.S. interests to Russian interests; Rachel Maddow would be on the verge of righteous and indignant tears as she devoted her 20-minute monologue to decrying the tragedy that we were all living under Putin’s rule; and Nancy Pelosi would be holding a press conference to spread more innuendo about Putin’s blackmail control over Trump while demanding a DOJ investigation.

None of that, needless to say, will happen now. Indeed, just hours after Swan reported this sanctions waiver, reporters giggled and swooned after Biden joked about running them all over in his car as a condition to answering their questions about the war in Gaza, then giggled and swooned even more when he floored the car and drove away from them.



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sanction reversals...


Germany considers sanctions against USA for Nord Stream 2 standoff 



 27.02.2001 07:33  (Updated: 20.05.2021 12:35)  World  » Europe   

Germany considers imposing sanctions against the United States for the actions that the US administration has been taking lately in relation to the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline.


The proposal came from Steffen Kotré, a member of the Bundestag Committee on Energy, Alternative for Germany Party, RIA Novosti reports. 

Kotré claimed that the German government was opposed to US actions only verbally, which leaves the project still in jeopardy. According to the politician, Berlin should think about retaliatory measures, such as, for example, raising duties on the supplies of liquefied natural gas from the United States.

The United States decided not to impose sanctions on the operator of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, news agencies reported on May 19. The report in particular said that the pipeline was an activity that could be subject to sanctions, but the Joe Biden administration decided not to do it, Bloomberg reported. 

Later, the US State Department confirmed the decision not to impose sanctions against the pipeline. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken stressed out that it was part of the national interests of the United States to suspend the implementation of sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG, its head Matthias Warnig and corporate employees of Nord Stream 2 AG. At the same time, the United States would still be opposed to the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline system.

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more sanctions...


Earlier in the week, the US State Department rolled out a mandatory report to Congress, listing entities and vessels subject to American sanctions for their involvement in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on 3 Russian entities and 13 vessels over their participation in the Nord Stream 2 project, according to the Department of Treasury.

Among the sanctioned vessels are the Akademik Cherskiy, the Vladislav Strizhov, the Yury Topchev and the Baltiyskiy Issledovatel, along with others. The sanctioned companies are Russia's Marine Rescue Service, Mortransservice, and the Samara Heat and Energy Property Fund. 

Certain transactions with Marine Rescue Service, however, will still be allowed, despite sanctions.

"All transactions and activities prohibited by [the sanctions]… involving Federal State Budgetary Institution Marine Rescue Service (MRS), or any entity in which MRS owns, directly or indirectly… that are not related to the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, the TurkStream pipeline project, or any project that is a successor to either such project, are authorized," the Treasury Department said.

The move to impose sanctions on Russian entities and vessels involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2 comes shortly after the US State Department issued a report under Protecting Europe's Energy Security Act (PEESA), listing those involved in the pipeline project.

The Biden administration also moved to waive sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 AG corporation and its CEO, Matthias Warnig, with US State Secretary Antony Blinken saying that the decision is in the US "national interest".


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I am prepared to believe that the Russians have a tight security around the project that will be finished nonetheless for the benefit of Germany. The USA are hypocritical in this situation and should stop their idiotic behaviour in "the national interest". 


Meanwhile, the US, the UK and Australia are complicit in keeping Julian Assange in prison. All these countries' government officials, leaders and president should be in charged in the international court for this heinous crime.


part one, finito...


Addressing a world business forum in St. Petersburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday announced the completion of work on the first line of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline across the Baltic Sea between Russia and Germany.

"Today ... the pipe-laying work of the first Nord Stream 2 line was successfully finished. Work on the second line is ongoing," Putin said, noting that Russia was now ready to begin filling the line with gas.

The Russian president underscored his country's willingness to participate in more such collaborations with EU nations in the future.

Putin also said that the idea that Russia is not concerned with the environment is a "myth," promising to cut emissions at a pace faster than Europe, "In the next 30 years, the accumulated volume of net greenhouse gas emissions should be lower than in Europe." The Russian leader said that he had ordered his government to present plans for doing so by this fall


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polite refusal...


Merkel Politely Told Zelensky to F*** Off Over Nord Stream 2, Ukrainian Lawmaker Says


Earlier this month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described Nord Stream 2 as a weapon that Moscow could use against his country. Russia, however, has repeatedly warned against politicising what it calls a purely economic project.

A Ukrainian opposition lawmaker has hailed German Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision not to support a proposal by Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project within the Normandy format-related talks.

Writing on his Facebook page on Tuesday, Vadim Rabinovich specifically pointed to Merkel's good manners during her talks with Zelensky.  

"A well-bred woman even tells someone to f*** off in a polite manner, so as not to offend a person", Rabinovich noted, in an apparent nod to Merkel and Zelensky.

The Normandy format, which includes Russian, Ukrainian, German, and French negotiators, was created in 2016 in order to address the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. A civil war in the country has been raging since 2014 when Donetsk and Lugansk declared their independence from Kiev following a violent coup d'etat in the Ukrainian capital.


Rabinovich's remarks come after Zelensky told reporters he and Merkel "have different views on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline", but that he was satisfied with the four-hour negotiations between him and the German chancellor in Berlin.

The Ukrainian president earlier argued that "the biggest challenge to Ukraine at the moment in this [energy] sphere is the completion and launch of Nord Stream 2", which aims to carry 55 billion cubic metres of gas a year across the Baltic Sea, bypassing Ukraine. Kiev is now especially concerned over the looming halt in transit payments. 

"Its operational launch is not related to economics. It is a weapon against Ukraine and, I am certain, will be a weapon against all of Europe in the future", Zelensky asserted, urging Kiev's western allies to torpedo the project.Construction of Nord Stream 2 

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline's operator, meanwhile, has said it expects to complete the project by the end of August, adding that "the work is 98% done".

The pipeline's construction is being financed by the Russian energy giant Gazprom, Germany's Uniper and Wintershall, as well as France's Engie, Austria's OMV, and the UK-Dutch concern Royal Dutch Shell. Once completed, the pipeline is expected to double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream network...


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no sanctions...


Ukraine and Poland have claimed construction of a new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany that doesn't go through their territory is a threat to their security. Berlin has largely dismissed their fears, noting gas will continue to flow through existing pipelines on their lands and that sanctions can counter Russia potentially "turning off the tap."

Citing "officials from Berlin and Washington," the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the US and Germany had reached an agreement to allow completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. According to the report, the two NATO allies could announced the deal as soon as Wednesday.

"Germany under the agreement will agree to assist Ukraine in energy-related projects and diplomacy," the New York paper noted.

The gas pipeline, which will bring heating and power-generating fuel to Western Europe from Russia via an undersea route beneath the Baltic, has been targeted by US administrations who claim it will give Moscow leverage over European affairs.

Last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel came to Washington to meet with US President Joe Biden, during which time they discussed Nord Stream 2, among other topics. Afterward, Merkel said they had "come to different assessments as to what this project entails."

The longtime German leader said earlier this year that she didn't see what the hubbub in Washington was about, since "the gas delivered through Nord Stream 2, which isn’t yet flowing, is no worse than the gas from Nord Stream 1, that which flows through Ukraine, and that which comes across Turkey from Russia.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has similarly said the project is purely economic in scope.

Biden, and former US President Donald Trump, have claimed the pipeline is a threat to Ukrainian and Polish energy security because it bypasses them via an undersea route. Trump tried to convince Berlin to renege on the deal and European Union investors to stop coordinating with Russian energy company Gazprom on the project. However, Trump was also partially motivated by his desire to convince Germany and other nations to buy American liquid natural gas instead of Russian gas.

In December 2020, Trump vetoed a bill that would have sanctioned Germany for continuing to pursue the project, which will bring an additional 55 billion cubic meters of gas westward each year, but his veto was overruled and the law took effect. Still, while the US sanctioned the Russian pipe-laying vessel Fortuna working on the pipeline and the limited liability company that owns it, KVT-Rus, it has waived sanctions on other target entities ever since, with Biden saying recently he would reconsider the policy after the pipeline is complete. Germany has rejected the very notion of US sanctions due to the pipeline, saying they violate European sovereignty.

In response, some critical Republican lawmakers, such as US Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), have pledged to block any further consideration of nominations by Biden to ambassadorial posts until sanctions are imposed on the pipeline.


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yes, cheap gas isn't the solution but...


So now it's on after all: Vladimir Putin's bet against German and European climate policy.

Consumers and the next German government have the power to decide who wins: Do we succumb to the sweet poison of cheap gas from Russia or does Germany swiftly expand renewable energies to counter the flow of climate-damaging gas?

The damage done to foreign policy can only be repaired with an equally clear stance. This German-Russian pipeline, constructed by Moscow's money machine Gazprom, has divided Europe and the West. The German chancellor, with her long-standing argument that this is a purely economic project, is responsible for the damage done to Germany's foreign policy. It was pursued against the will of the European Parliament, against the insistence of its closest friends — France, the Scandinavian countries, the Baltic states and, above all, Poland. And finally, against the will of the US Congress.


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Yes cheap gas isn't a globwar murning (global warming) solution. And "and stand by Ukraine, says Frank Hofmann." is a poor argument. Ukraine is a Nazi country. Is DW a Nazi publication? Is Frank Hofmann a Nazi?.. As well the pipeline is opposed by the US congress under the same pretext to "protect Ukraine" which the US has been financing to pull away from Russia by supporting the Nazi mobs in that country. The US Congress has not been too worried about "the gas not being climate change friendly", as the US were (are) pushing to sell the SAME amount of gas from their environmentally disastrous fracking fields at three times the cost and get Germany to build a few sea-hub for the US "gas-boats". Yes we know, the West doesn't want to help Russia one little bit and Merkel broke this sacrosanct rule... for cheap gas, which is also flowing from Russia at present. Ukraine gets royalties from the gas crossing its country and using Russian gas as well for which it has to pay, but for a while Ukraine tried to get away with not paying the gas bills...


Poland is also an "extremist" (Catholic) country that does not play by the EU songbook. The EU parliament is dithering about it. France is pissed off (France is always pissed off about something) and eventually (my guess) it will ask Germany to share some of its "cheap gas" from Russia, on the sly... or officially. See also: 

fake evidence, real war...


Germany has done much to cut its emissions of CO2. Germany's CO2 emissions are already 40% below the 1990 level, and plans to do far more than Australia which was on track with its carbon pricing until the COALition came into power, under a little shit called Abbott. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said Germany would aim for a 65% cut in carbon emissions by 2030 and 88% by 2040. Under the new targets, Germany will also aim for nearly net zero emissions by 2045, rather than 2050 as initially planned, he said. 



And all this will happen, even with using the gas from Russia. Meanwhile, The US is still in the doldrums in regard to reduce CO2 emissions... "US CO2 emissions in 2019 were the lowest they have been since 1992"...(!!!). Australia is aiming for 26–28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, which is a poor target considering the reductions made under Labor. And with our own Minister for the Environment on the case to burn more coal, we're in lalagondwanaland.



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no-laughing gas...


Last Wednesday, Washington and Berlin announced a bilateral compromise deal on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as they agreed to allow the project to proceed without the threat of US sanctions.

A group of Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee has threatened to block two Treasury nominees unless the Biden administration changes their stance on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the 12 Republicans, including Pat Toomey, Richard Shelby, Mike Crapo, Tim Scott, Mike Rounds, Thom Tillis, John Kennedy, Bill Hagerty, Cynthia Lummis, Jerry Moran, Kevin Cramer, and Steve Daines, claimed the project "directly harms the national security interests of the United States and our allies and partners".

The senators argued that "if completed, this [Nord Stream 2] project will increase [Russian President] Vladimir Putin's malign influence over Europe" and "destabilise Ukraine's fragile security […]".


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Read from top. Note Ukraine is run by Nazis financed by the USA... and a certain portion of Ukraine population is Russian.


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