Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Khordokovsky: He is free, but, his money is still imprisoned? Stichting!

Yes, this is a long one. And the third post of the day!
 But, I do hope you take the time to read it all. Most interesting stuff.
Don't miss two previous postings. So much going on!
Khordokovsky- fascinating stuff. Especially the Stichting!

 2nd post- Experts fear Russia attacks are terrorist probes ahead of Sochi Olympics

1st posting  Egypt's Counter Revolution: As the Army solidifies power

* Recently, a certain oligarch was freed. But, his wealth remains out of reach? 
Perhaps because it was not really his wealth? 
Despite common themes and memes, Putin is not the issue where Khordokovsky's wealth or lack of wealth is concerned........

Mr Khodorkovsky, the man who plundered a nation and it’s people, was released a bit earlier then his scheduled August 2014 release. Is he going to play the role of antagonist.
A cage- good home for banksters

Or will he fade from view?
 I am linking an interesting article from NYT’s regarding Mr Khodorkovsky and his money? Or his lack of money? (It will be the 2nd to last link in the post) 
Does this alleged multi billionaire still have his billions?
Did he ever really have the wealth we were told he accumulated? Or was he a low level player?
Was Khodorkovsky  a pawn. Played by bigger pieces on the chessboard
You may want to read 2 previous posts and some additional info I am relinking before the NYT’s article?
Could  help clarify Khodorkovsky’s dilemma where his money, or lack there of, is concerned.

Flashback time: December 2010- Mikhail Khodorkovsky & Platon Lebedev found guilty of embezzlement.

“In 2003, when Khodorkovsky was arrested, he signed over all his shares in Yukos, to one Jacob Rothschild, of the Rothschild banker and Oil family.

    The Rothschilds have financed oil exploration in Russia since the Tsarist period, while Lord Rothschild has close connections with Yukos.”

If all the top Yukos managers were unable to carry out the role, Lord Rothschild would take over, the company official told Kommersant on condition of anonymity”
There are two viable links contained in the above relinked post.  BBC and Washington Times- Read them.
Cause, I am not making this stuff up. Khodorkovsky signed over all his shares in Yukos to Jacob Rothschild.

If you have more time to spare as we get ready for the new year, this may interest you too
Flashback # 2: December 2010- The Khodorkovsky saga-Western Style Transparency Part 1

For more background a piece from William Engdhal January 2011 @ Voltaire

Cheezy moustache on Khodorkovsky with western drunkard and puppet Yeltsin
Russian Tycoon Is Free, but His Money Is Still Tied Up
Love how NYT’s calls him a ‘tycoon’ Makes me laugh. He is just a well connected opportunistic  thief and leech ( To drain the essence or exhaust the resources of) on the real wealth makers of any society.
The people. The masses.
I will highlight the very curious bits.............
Before he went to prison 10 years ago, Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky was Russia’s richest man, worth maybe $15 billion. Set free this month, he could only guess at his vastly depleted, but still formidable, wealth.

“I have no idea about my financial situation,” he told journalists in Berlin, where he was whisked on a private plane straight from a Russian penal colony.
Really, he has no idea?

He was not being coy. As Russian prosecutors began dismantling his company, Mr. Khodorkovsky’s lawyers set about safeguarding his main asset, shares in the Yukos oil company. His lawyers did such a good job entangling billions of dollars in offshore vehicles outside of Russia, mostly in the Netherlands, that it is far from clear when or if Mr. Khodorkovsky will ever gain access to what is left of his fortune.
He signed the shares over to Jacob Rothschild in 2003. How could those be his main assets?

If all the top Yukos managers were unable to carry out the role, Lord Rothschild would take over, the company

The money is now under the control of Dutch foundations, run by boards known by the benign, if Kafkaesque(?), term of benevolent interveners. ( I was thinking Orwellian myself)
Doesn't seem to be much benevolence in this intervention
There is little doubt that Mr. Khodorkovsky still has tens of millions of dollars in other investments. (notice how we have gone from billions to tens of millions?)He is not going to go hungry. In a news conference after his release, he said he had “enough money to make a living.” Striking a philosophical note, he also said he was certainly better off than most of his fellow convicts.
But that is a pittance compared with what could still be his personal stake in what is left of Yukos, once one of the world’s largest oil companies, now bankrupt. There may be as much as $920 million from the sale of the company’s overseas assets, but it is locked up in the Dutch foundations.
Control of these legal entities, called stichtings in Dutch law, is in the hands of independent boards not beholden even to the beneficiaries, possibly including Mr. Khodorkovsky. The boards are wholly autonomous, run by lawyers and former oil company executives who have found a second career in the corporate afterlife of Yukos.
This legal entity called stichtings run by lawyers and former oil company executives?
If all the top Yukos managers were unable to carry out the role, Lord Rothschild would take over, the company
If there are no "former" oil company executives and all shares were taken over by Lord Rothschild, who controls this stichting? It would seem to be a Rothschild controlled enterprise, no?
The legal insulation of these foundations (Legal insulation- which means outside of or above the law) means that not only will Mr. Khodorkovsky have to wait before seeing any proceeds, but he cannot offer assurances to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia or anyone else about how this legal process will unfold. Looming in the future is the possibility of protracted legal battles with Russia and the Russian state oil company Rosneft.

“This happened a year and a half after Khodorkovsky was arrested, and he didn’t have a hand in it and didn’t even know about it,” said Bruce K. Misamore, the former chief financial officer for Yukos. “We’ve been fighting to protect those assets for eventual distribution to shareholders of Yukos.”
He didn't even know about it? Not believable.

He and others emphasized those shareholders also included pension and mutual funds that invested in Yukos. “We will disburse the funds at the first opportunity,” Mr. Misamore said, but that could be many years from now because of pending lawsuits.
Without the efforts of the benevolent interveners, all the shareholders including Mr. Khodorkovsky would most likely have been wiped out, fully absorbed into Rosneft.
While they have a fiduciary responsibility to move as quickly as possible, the legal process has been slow. A lawsuit to recoup $100 billion from the bankruptcy of Yukos in the European Court of Human Rights dragged on for seven years, ending inconclusively.
A new suit filed in May by the benevolent interveners could last as long. Cases are also pending in Britain and the Netherlands.
The five trustees on each board of the two foundations and their lawyers, deduct “a few million” a year for legal fees and for a “market-based compensation” as directors, Mr. Misamore said.
After his release, Mr. Khodorkovsky told interviewers in Germany that he had offered President Putin assurances in a letter that he would not participate in politics and not seek to regain his shares of Yukos, though the details were unclear. Switzerland has granted Mr. Khodorkovsky a three-month visa.
It is doubtful Mr Khodorkovsky has any shares in Yukos to regain. Making that an easy enough promise.
What is clear is that the lawyers now controlling Yukos’s legacy assets made no such promise.
 Further muddying Mr. Khodorkovsky’s potential claim to the remnants of Yukos, and the right to sue over them in court, is his vow to give up all his shares in Yukos’s parent company, Menatep.
 Menatap is covered in flashback # 2- Just scratching the surface stuff, but, at least if you are really interested some background is there
He was apparently acting on the advice of consultants who said they believed this would reduce his punishment; it did nothing of the sort. In the end, he was sentenced to eight years, followed by a second sentence of six more years.
At the time of his arrest, Mr. Khodorkovsky owned 60 percent of Menatep and thus about 42 percent of Yukos indirectly, equivalent to about $920 million of the $2.2 billion now held in the Dutch foundations.
He said he had given the personal shares of Yukos to a business partner, Leonid B. Nevzlin, who lives in Israel. Mr. Nevzlin could not be reached for comment
Leonid B Nevzlin. Is this a lawyer for Jacob Rothschild?
By law, the Dutch foundations can disburse no money until the lawsuits are resolved. The benevolent interveners are pursuing cases around the world and defending against claims from Russian state-controlled companies. They recently won $180 million from a subsidiary of the Russian state oil company in a case in federal court in New York.
The strategy can be profitable for years to come, though in this phase of the Yukos saga the legal fees run high, Mr. Misamore conceded. “This is the nature of the system,” he said. “The lawyers always win.”
Prison, Mr. Khodorkovsky said, had changed his thinking. Once a member of the youth wing of the Communist Party, he made his first fortune in a scheme allowing Soviet enterprises to convert their worthless ruble bank accounts into cash.
Later, he bought privatized oil fields for a pittance, joining the ranks of the world’s richest men on the back of assets built over decades by Communists. Prison, he said, made him think about people and not the “industrial scrap” he fought so fiercely for before.
At the news conference after his release, Mr. Khodorkovsky said he intended to focus now on human rights rather than business and said he was still trying to catch up on the details of his finances.
“I won’t sin against the truth if I say I have no idea about my financial situation,” he said. “I met only one of my former partners so far. Not because we stopped being friends, but because we stopped doing business together. I think I will deal with this situation.”

And finally! A stichting.  What in the hell is that? Being a person of ordinary means I had never even heard this word previously. An explanation of "Stichting"
Very briefly- 

Definition of a ‘stichting’; no members and no (profit) distributions allowed
  1. A stichting is a legal person formed by means of a juridical act, that has no members, and that intends to realise an objective (purpose), mentioned in its articles of incorporation, by using capital (property) which has been brought in for this purpose.
  2. If the articles of incorporation grant one or more persons the power to fill vacancies in a body of the stichting, then solely on this ground the stichting cannot be regarded to have members.
  3. The objective (purpose) of a stichting may not include the making of distributions to its founders (incorporators) or to those who are participating in its bodies or to others, except, as regards the latter, when these distributions are made for charitable (philanthropic) or social purposes.’
The stichting needs a minimum of one director who can be a corporate director (company or other stichting).

More on 'stichting' at the link above

Experts fear Russia attacks are terrorist probes ahead of Sochi Olympics

As I read through the article, that will be linked below our flashback, a few questions and thoughts come to mind:

1-Are “counter- terrorism” experts telling us their tactics have changed ? 
2-And that they are employing ethnic Russians ? In response to Russia cleaning house of their Islamist mercs? 
3-Are they hoping that Russia has not caught on to that shift or alternative to the Islamist mercenary?
4- Or is the whole ethnic slav angle a means to foment division in Russia?
If you read or reread the post from January 2011 you should/would be aware that an ethnic Russian allegedly attacked a Moscow airport. But there were some problems with the alleged attacker in that bombing.
Flashback: Suspect in Moscow Airport bombing, reported dead months ago?!

Security forces are searching for an ethnic Russian.
Who is Razdobudko?
"Razdobudko is a Russian-born adherent of the fundamentalist Wahhabi branch of Islam, which is popular among terrorists"
Interesting character. Though he had been reported dead previously, allegedly killed by Islamists
And the remains at the airport did not match his. Assuming we are talking DNA.

 Now onto the latest:

Experts fear Russia attacks are terrorist probes ahead of Sochi Olympics

As usual I will highlight the interesting bits

Several leading counter-terrorism experts fear that the two terror attacks in Volgograd, Russia that killed at least 34 people on Sunday and Monday --and another suicide bombing in the nearby Pyatigorsk that killed three people Friday -- are probes in advance of a larger attack against either the Sochi Olympics or Moscow.

The experts, from the offices of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington and Moscow, also say that Russia’s security services are ill-prepared to deal with the kind of small-unit operations that produced the bombings, since they have been trained to prevent massive attacks from larger, well-organized groups.

That may make them vulnerable to the new strain of Russian terrorism -- streams of jihadis emerging from training camps in the Dagestan forests who have no leaders and no real organizations and are thus hard to find or stop.
This is a nice narrative, but, it's nonsensical. If there are training camps then there is organization and leadership. There has to be. Who is training fighters? Where is the funding coming from for these training camps in the Dagestan forests?  These camps are not existing in a vacuum. There has to be some leadership and some structure. With a goal.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the Volgograd and Pyatigorsk attacks. In the past, established terrorists, like Caucasian terror leader Doku Umarov, have made public claims of responsibility for successful operations.

“There is a big problem as far as Sochi concerned, the penetration of very small groups and individual terrorists,” said Alexey Malashenko, a scholar in residence at Carnegie’s Moscow office. The 22nd Winter Olympics begin Feb. 6 in Sochi, a city in southern Russia close to the Caucasian republics that are the source of much of Russia’s terror problem.

“I don’t want to believe that somebody else will repeat this in January and February," said Malashenko, "but it is possible that Islamist extremists will try to show that they are they able to do everything on the territory of the Russian Federation.”

Andrew Weiss, the Washington-based vice president for studies at Carnegie, said there was “a sense that the initial attacks are more of a test. The major attacks might be put off till the games." He added that any future attacks could come in cites far away from Sochi.

Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center and a former Russian military officer, noted that a week prior to the September 2004 siege of a school in Beslan, in which more than 300 people were killed, almost 200 of them children, there were twin terrorist attacks on Russian airliners flying out of Moscow. A total of 89 people were killed in the suicide bombings that took place minutes apart. Before that, there were smaller attacks in Russia.

U.S. counter terrorism officials say that while that scenario of smaller attacks preceding larger ones is possible, their early analysis does not substantiate a progression. However, as one official told NBC News, the U.S. was "not surprised" by terror attacks prior to the Olympics. "We expected something of this nature."

There's also agreement that the Russian security forces have focused on stopping attacks like Beslan, and that the lack of centralized control gives terrorists an advantage.  “The security services are trained to prevent and repel that kind of attack," said Trenin. "Dealing with smaller attacks and smaller groups, which is now the preferred tactic of the terrorists, that is something the services still have to learn."

 Added Malashenko, "If for instance, Russian security services are concentrated around the Olympics in Sochi that will facilitate terrorist activity in other cities of the federation, including Moscow."

The use of small units does not mean the death toll in attacks will also be small. Weiss pointed out that if the real target in the Sunday train station attack was not the station itself but a train leaving the station, the death toll could have been much higher and more spectacular. The bomber detonated his bomb as he approached the security post inside the railway building. There has been speculation he may have become nervous and prematurely detonated his bomb.

The job of stopping terror attacks is made still harder by the recent turn toward “Russian Muslims” as suicide bombers -- meaning ethnic Slavs who have converted (or so the story goes...) to Islam and can blend into Russian society until they’re ready to strike. Russian authorities now say they suspect that the suicide bomber who detonated the shrapnel-filled device at the train station, originally thought to be a woman, was an ethnic Russian male who converted to Islam. The Sunday explosion and a separate attack on a trolley on Monday morning killed 34 and wounded 60.
The woman in the first bombing was the distraction. The man was the bomber. 

"These ethnic Slavs have been used more frequently as suicide bombers and masterminds," ( January 2011- Moscow airport) added Malashenko. "When they are converted and enter cells they cut all links to their former lives, to their mothers and fathers. It’s something new that previously we have not known in this country, people converting themselves to Islam and becoming bitter enemies of their former brethren.
But, are they participating willingly? Or have they been kidnapped and forced into these situations? I don't know? It has to be considered? Many innocent persons were used as suicide bombers in Syria.
"We are not talking about the regime, we are taking about interethnic conflict. Terrorists thrive on ethnic Slavs turning against the people from the Caucasus."
Inter ethnic conflict? That 's an old card being played isn't it?

It is believed that the suicide bomber in the train station attack and the bus bombing in Pyatigorsk were both ethnic Slavs. The analysts agreed that the choice of Slavs also served as a message the threat was expanding. The identity of the trolleybus bomber remained uncertain Monday night.

"There is a policy, if you can talk about a policy, on behalf of those who mastermind terrorist to recruit more people of Slavic origin," added Trenin.

The attacks, say both the Carnegie experts and U.S. counter-terrorism officials, are likely to increase cooperation between the security and intelligence services of the two countries, although for the most part it will be limited to protecting U.S. athletes coaches and visitors.

"You can be sure we're taking a hard look at this," said one U.S. official, who added that the new security assessment for the Olympics isn't going to wait that long. The Olympics begin in five weeks.
Absurd op ed from Gulf News Putin cannot pursue peace through war
Only NATO can do that ....
 Oliver Bullough is the author of Let Our Fame Be Great: Journeys Among the Defiant People of the Caucasus.
  Caucasus Editor for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting- Institute for war and peace reporting? Sounds like the International crisis group- I see Source Watch called the Institute for war and peace reporting a compromised source- Can't imagine why.... (yes, I can)
 Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) is a journalist training and news media support organization focusing on the Balkans, Afghanistan, and the former Soviet Union.

Egypt's Counter Revolution: As the Army solidifies power

Op-ed from NYT's

CAIRO — Egyptians who frequently take the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road have lately noticed that the fee they usually pay to toll collectors now goes to the Ministry of Defense.
In a press conference in November, the Minister of Transportation announced one of the armed forces’ companies had been granted legal rights, for 50 years, to develop the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road.

The army, a state within a state that used to protect its interests from the shadows, is now taking bolder steps to cement its power and asserting, increasingly overtly, that it is accountable to no one.

The party is over for the democratization drive that was heralded by the January 2011 uprising none of the revolution’s demands have been achieved; none of the Interior Ministry’s notorious practices have stopped; and the ministry seems to be on a mission to silence all dissent.

The army has been empowered by popular support from a considerable segment of the population as an ultra-nationalist mood sweeps the country. Its absolute dominance will be more solidly institutionalized if the 2013 draft Constitution gets ratified in the January referendum, as is widely expected.

Pundits can debate the Constitution’s 240-plus articles as much as they want, but all the details are overshadowed by the articles enshrining the military’s special privileges. Article 234 gives the military the final say over who may be appointed as defense minister. Others mandate that the military’s budget be listed as a single entry in national accounts and that civilians may be tried before military courts if they assault members of the armed forces in military zones and military-owned properties, which in Egypt includes everything from gas stations to wedding halls.

The army runs its own shadow economy, which reportedly constitutes at least a quarter of the country’s economy and there is no transparency to speak of. This is particularly disturbing given that Transparency International already ranks Egypt 114 out of 177 countries on its Corruption Perception Index.

Articles on rights, including women’s rights, have dominated the media frenzy over the Constitution. But such articles are of little value in a country where extreme poverty already forces some families to sell their underage daughters into temporary, recurrent marriages to Arab Gulf millionaires.

The military has maintained its autonomy for decades, including under the presidency of Mohamed Morsi, who wooed the army in the hope that it would protect his rule (which it didn’t).
The now-suspended 2012 Constitution that Mr. Morsi and the Brotherhood backed also institutionalized military trials for civilians and immunized the military’s budget from civilian scrutiny.

But after July 3, the army has fortified its powers in a way that hasn’t been so open since Gamal Abdel Nasser’s heyday. Contrary to the hopes of a segment of democrats, the masses who went out in the streets against Mr. Morsi welcomed the army’s stronger role in Egypt’s politics. Instead of insisting on democratic values and civilian rule as a framework for the transitional period, many Egyptians seemed nostalgic about a romantic image of the army as the only savior from “foreign conspiracies.”

Moreover, in the past months the army has capitalized on the public’s fear of the Muslim Brotherhood. Suddenly many of the self-proclaimed liberals who were outspoken during Mr. Morsi’s rule have revealed another face, showing that they don’t mind authoritarianism and human rights violations as long as such violations don’t come from Islamists.
Liberals who don't mind authoritarianism as long as it comes from their perceived saviours.

A majority of Egyptians are expected to vote yes on the new Constitution, perhaps in the hope that this will bring them stability and will consolidate the army’s victory over the Muslim Brotherhood, which is regarded as the source of all evil thanks to a vigorous anti-Islamist media campaign as well as the Brotherhood’s own mistakes. Other political forces have largely lost their credibility: Egyptians seem to be tired of watching them compete with no regard for the needs of a country that has been drained by three years of upheaval and economic decline.

But with time, and as more and more Muslim Brothers fill the country’s prisons, it will become clearer to Egyptians that the real sources of evil are military hegemony; corruption; lack of transparency, rule of law, social justice, human rights and freedoms.

With all the privileges and powers it enjoys, the army has so far failed to bring stability. Last week’s bombing of a police station in Mansoura killed 16 people, reminding Egyptians of the Islamist violence that rocked Egypt in the 1980s and 1990s.

There are elites who seem to believe that their interests will be guaranteed by the army’s hegemony, namely Egypt’s upper-middle class citizens whose priority is to sustain their comfortable lives. They are joined by corrupt businessmen, who fear that if real democracy ever takes root it will be coupled by the imposition of transparency measures.

Ultimately, those who saw the military as a better alternative to the Brotherhood will realize the magnitude of injustice that the military’s wide-ranging authorities could bring to all aspects of Egyptian life.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Male bomber behind blast # 2 in Russia's Volgagrad


Another day in Volgograd. Another bombing. Gotta admit this morning's news was surprising even to me.
Very brazen, two bombing in 24 hours.  (First one: Man and/or woman likely to be involved in Volgograd terror bombing) Something that we have read about in Syria, sure.
But then is Russia so different then Syria, really? Superficially the similarities may not seem obvious
But looking a little deeper ,we see lots of commonalities
Both countries, along with others, are on the  NATO 'to do list':
4.Divide to conquer.
Clearly some entity is working through the list. Yesterday's post ended with the observation that these types of attacks are not the work of the mythological 'lone gunman'
 "In my opinion this was not the work of one bomber. That never seems to be the case."
 Or the 'black widow'. Which is a whole lot of nonsense, bullshit and spin. A black widow is simply a female soldier. A female mercenary. Having her 'liberation' Let's just call it what it is and dispense of the word games. At least that is what I intend to do with these manipulations of the thought processes which lead to a manipulation of the mind.

Emergency services working at the site of the blast on a trolleybus in Volgograd.

 Thanks HHQ, you have saved me from writing this all up

[Bandar] also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord. Bandar allegedly stated, “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us”. Prince Bandar went on to say that Chechens operating in Syria were a pressure tool that could be switched on an off. “These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role in Syria’s political future.” Link here: Saudis offer Russia secret oil deal if it drops Syria

Of course the brute Bandar Bush and this previous meeting crossed my mind yesterday.
As HHQ correctly noted the Saudis and Israelis work hand and glove.

View of wreckage of trolley bus

Monday, December 30
06:25 GMT: Burns and multiple traumas have been sustained by the victims of the trolley blast. Moscow is standing by to receive more wounded, if the need arises, health ministry spokeswoman Veronika Skvortsova told RIA Novosti.
06:18 GMT: FSB director, Aleksandr Botnikov, has been ordered by the President to fly to the scene, RIA Novosti reports.
06:20 GMT: The situation is being handled effectively - no shortage in medicine has been reported and efforts by emergency services are proving to be quite effective.
06:16 GMT: The number of fatalities varies from at least 10 to 15 at this point, as official sources differ on the matter.
06:13 GMT: Ministry of Health spokesperson said a child has been badly injured and is in critical condition.
06:06 GMT: The Emergencies Ministry has strongly tightened security in Volgograd. Teams of psychologists and other doctors are also being dispatched to the scene of the blast, the ministry reported. Their plane is to leave Moscow at 10:30AM local time.
06:00 GMT: "We are terrified. Everyone disembarked from buses and trams to walk on foot. I live 200 meters away from that place, I was just passing it on my way to work," Sergey Stukalov, an eyewitness, told RIA Novosti.
Sergey also said that the blast occurred on the No.15 trolley route, connecting a suburb to Volgograd's downtown area.
Members of the emergency services work at the site of a bomb blast on a trolleybus in Volgograd December 30, 2013. (Reuters / Sergei Karpov)Members of the emergency services work at the site of a bomb blast on a trolleybus in Volgograd December 30, 2013. (Reuters / Sergei Karpov)
05:55 GMT: Panic has spread on Twitter, describing yet another blast - this time in a busy tram. However, the rumors have since been proven false.
05:50 GMT: "The people are in a state of shock and bewilderment. A second terrorist attack in two days....a third in recent months. I was there 15 minutes after the explosion occurred," Artem Tolkachev, an eyewitness, told Life News.
05:43 GMT: The death toll from the blast has risen to 15 people, with a further 23 receiving injuries, the Volgograd Region's vice-governor Vasiliy Galushin told Interfax.
05:41 GMT: "The emergency services have reacted very swiftly. All those injured have been taken to hospitals, as their identities are being determined," he said.
05:37 GMT: According to witness reports to ITAR-TASS, there were many students on the bus.
"There was a loud 'pop', then a flash, everything was enveloped in smoke," one female witness said, describing the sudden realization.
05:34 GMT: The Investigative Committee now puts the number of injured at 15.
05:30 GMT: In describing the character of the blast, ITAR-TASS law enforcement sources have said that it appears to be a suicide attack, "judging from the body fragments characteristic of such a bombing."
05:28 GMT: President Vladimir Putin has met with the head of Russia's FSB, Aleksandr Bortnikov, who has briefed him on the situation, the Kremlin press office reported.
05:25 GMT:
05:23 GMT: The Investigative Committee's spokesman has informed the press the incident is being treated as an act of terror.
05:21 GMT: Bodies were seen scattered next to the vehicle, which has been split nearly in half by the powerful blast, which took place as the trolley was passing one of the city's busy markets.
05:17 GMT: Police are currently at the scene investigating.
05:00 GMT: Authorities have reason to believe the trolley blast may also be a terrorist act, as the signature closely matches the one witnessed in yesterday's railway station bombing, the Investigative Committee told RIA Novosti
05:00 GMT: A trolley bus blast has claimed 10 lives in Volgograd, just one day after 17 lives were lost in the city's railway station explosion in a suicide bombing.

Incoming left a comment referencing historical happenings
Thanks Incoming!

70 years since Operation Ulusy, to the day. I wonder if Stalingrad was the main railhead.
Stalingrad. That's right. Volgograd was Stalingrad and before that Tsaritsyn.

Another terror attack in Russia. A trolley bus also used by tourists blast in the Russian city of Volgograd has killed at least 10 people, emergencies services reported. The explosion comes a day after a terrorist attack in the city killed 10 people and injured scores of others.

Volgograd ,formerly called Tsaritsyn from 1589–1925 and Stalingrad is an important industrial city and the administrative center of Volgograd Oblast, Russia
The city became famous for its resistance, as well as the extensive physical damage and death toll it suffered during the Battle of Stalingrad against the German Army in World War II. Since February 2013, the city's name is to be commemorated as Stalingrad six days each year.

Why mention this historical stuff ? If there is one thing I have learned, in the years since I have had this blog going, is that history repeats. For the simple reason that people are largely unaware of actual history, since it has been rewritten, covered over and altered to fit specific agendas.

So, we could wonder if there is some type of symbolism or message attached to this location?

Male suicide bomber believed behind blast in Russia's Volgograd that killed 14 

 Russian investigators said they believe a male suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed at least 14 people on a trolleybus in the southern city of Volgograd on Monday.

"It is now possible to preliminarily say that the explosive device was set off by a suicide bomber - a man whose body fragments have been collected and sent for genetic testing," the federal Investigative Committee said in a statement.

 “Terrorists in Volgograd "
The police force in Volgograd has been depleted in recent months as some 600 officers were redeployed to Sochi to tighten security around Olympic sites, a local police officer said.

More attacks can be expected before the Olympics and cities in southern Russia where the Games are not being held are easier targets than Sochi, said Alexei Filatov, deputy head of the veterans’ association of the elite Alfa anti-terrorism unit.

“The threat is greatest now because it is when terrorists can make the biggest impression,” he said. “The security measures were beefed up long ago around Sochi, so terrorists will strike instead in these nearby cities like Volgograd.”

A city of about 1 million, Volgograd is one of the venues for the 2018 soccer World Cup, another high-profile sports event Putin has helped Russia win the right to stage, and which will bring thousands of foreign fans to cities around Russia.
Sunday’s attack was the deadliest to strike Russia’s heartland since January 2011, when a male suicide bomber from the North Caucasus killed 37 people in the arrivals hall of a busy Moscow airport.
Digression:   January 2011. Ah yes.... I recall that news.
Suspect in Moscow Airport bombing, reported dead months ago?!
KavKaz found that post interesting. I couldn't say why? 
 Investigators initially said a woman set off the bomb that filled the front of the railway station building with a massive orange fireball on Sunday, but later said the bomber could have been a man.
As I mentioned in yesterday's post- It seemed the woman 'acting suspicious' was the distraction and the man was the bomber.

 Let us all hope, for the civilians going about their day, that bad things do not come in 3's
Update: Volgagrad bombings terror message to Russia?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Man and/or woman likely to be involved in Volgograd terror bombing

Are we looking at a solo woman bomber, a so called black widow? 
Was this a duo of perpetrators, two individuals who may have been  part of a larger terror group?
Or.....did the woman serve as the distraction while the man set off the explosives?
It is possible that two people – a man and a woman – were involved in the terrorist attack at the railway station in Volgograd, a source in the law-enforcement bodies of the North Caucasus Federal District told Interfax.
"The policemen who had survived the attack said that they had seen a woman they found suspicious.
A woman they found suspicious? Was she attempting to get their attention? Acting in a way that would direct their attention towards her and away from someone else?

After one of them made an attempt to approach her, the explosion occurred," the source said.
We cannot assume she exploded. He (police officer) attempted to approach her and the explosion occurred.
At the same time, the local video camera captured a man in the epicenter of the explosion. Besides, a man’s finger with a joint pin was found at the scene, the source said.
 A man's finger with a joint pin? Are we talking some type of medical device?

The female perpetrator......
Volgograd suicide bomber's identity confirmed, photos now public
Officially been identified as Oksana Aslanova, a 26-year-old Tabasaran national from Turkmenistan
Investigations to establish the whereabouts of Oksana Aslanova has been underway in Daghestan since June of 2012.

The woman was married to a militant warlord who was killed during a recent special operation. She was married several times. Investigators are searching for the relatives of Dagestani bandits suspected of masterminding terrorist attacks in Central Russia.

Oksana Aslanova was reportedly born June 16, 1987 in Turkmenistan. She later moved to live in Russia’s North Caucasian Republic of Dagestan. She settled in the city of Derbent at 15/41, Rasulbekov Street and studied at the Dagestan State Pedagogic University.

She married Mansur Velibekov, a Chechen radical and member of the Southern (Yuzhnaya) criminal ring that was wiped in 2008. Upon her death, Velibekov’s widow became a so-called “Sharia wife” of the gang’s leader, Gasan Abdulayev.

Another report suggests that Aslanova was also married to a known terrorist, Israpil Validzhanov, who went under the nickname of Amir Hasan. He was eliminated on March 18, 2011 near the Dagestani village of Tashkapur.

There is no information about her since March 8, 2012 it is possible that the so-called "black widow", who outlived all her husbands, underwent training as a suicide bomber.

Her ID was reported as follows: passport series 6706 No 719598, issued on Aug. 25, 2007 by the Federal Migration Service in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Region. She was registered at the address: 12/34, 1 Mikrorayon, city of Raduzhny in Nizhnevartovsk district in the Region of Tyumen.

She get's around.

The second perpetrator is possibly a man with a backpack. A familiar narrative.

Another theory has it that the Volgograd bombing was carried out by a male terrorist who carried explosives in a backpack, a police source told Russia's Interfax news agency.

“We’ve discovered that the suicide bomber was in fact a man who brought the IED to the railway station in a rucksack. His identity has been determined.”
An improvised explosive- nail bombs? Another familiarity.

The source did not name the alleged attacker, but added investigators had found an unexploded hand-grenade and a pistol at the scene, which presumably belonged to the terrorist.
Yet another police source in the North Caucasus region told Interfax the railway station’s CCTV footage also showed a man who might have been behind the bombing. “Videos from the building’s cameras suggest that the terror attack was apparently carried out by a man, although this information needs to be confirmed.”
 Indeed this was quite an explosion:


Coming just ahead of the Sochi Olympics- Feb 7 to 23rd/2014
In my opinion this was not the work of one bomber. That never seems to be the case.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Egypt and Turkey: Destabilization and Destabilization

Unsurprisingly, truly unsurprisingly, the new saviours (alleged) of the Egyptian people have now labelled Muslim Brotherhood a "terrorist organization"
Yawn. This convenient branding will be used to further degrade and destabilize Egypt.
But, Egypt is not going to be alone in this campaign of destruction. The labelling or branding/rebrand of Muslim Brotherhood as a 'terror' group bodes very ominously for Erdogan and the Turkish people.

As I had mentioned way, way back in this  July post:  Rebranding the Arab Spring to Reorder the Middle East/Africa

Brief digression for background-
Changing the mascot for the Arab Spring in Egypt was enough to do when one considers the real power in Egypt. The real power is the military. The Egyptian Army is the real power.

"What makes it simpler is that as long as the army has the dominant role in foreign and security policy, it doesn't matter so much who controls parliament or the president's office," Mark Heller, an Egypt expert at Tel Aviv's Institute for National Security Studies.

Morsi was figure head B. Mubarak figure head A. El Baradei figure head C. Interchangeable depending on the face needed for public presentation.

This act of rebranding, (the coup that wasn't) will guarantee the divide is widened amongst the people. Without it appearing to be tied to any western backed manipulations. On the surface. The discord will come straight from the people. Who because of the way they have been manipulated will very naturally feel cheated and resentful.
Didn't the people of Egypt demand the military intervention? So we are told.
Therefore they were led to believe the had got the change they wanted.....
Discord straight from the people without it appearing to have had western encouragement?
And wasn't it clear enough that the narrative was changing from Arab spring to one of fighting terror?
I had mentioned the changing narrative on several previous occasions here at the blog.

And isn't it correct that when one makes laws labelling groups, individuals, substances as something that needs to be fought inevitably a war on something follows?

Terrorism is the same meme mind control as drugs, poverty... and all other things wars must be fought against. These are wars that are never won for the simple reason that is not the intention. It is the catchy/feel good/buzz phrase.

Therefore when the announcement was made out of Egypt, yesterday, that MB was now a terrorist group- the next war was announced to all of us with that new branding.
 Analysts said the designation opened the door to the most severe crackdown on the movement in decades, requiring hundreds of thousands of Brotherhood members to abandon the group or face prison, and granting the military and the police new authority to suppress protests.
 Those new restriction will be expanded to every Egyptian. See how that works?

  Khalil al-Anani, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington who studies the Brotherhood, called the designation “a turning point” and said it could lead Egypt to a civil conflict like the one in Algeria in the 1990s.
“This is a big miscalculation from the government,” he said. “It is a massive social movement, whose supporters might retaliate or fight back.”
 This ain't no miscalculation. This is calculated. Obvious. And not even that clever.

Suddenly, my 'Cue the civil war comment was not so 'out there' was it?

Promptly after we get the declaration of war of terror, ooops on terror.... 

A bus bomb explodes in Cairo.

Riot police and investigators surround a damaged bus after a bomb blast near the Al-Azhar University campus in Cairo's Nasr City district December 26, 2013.

A bomb blast in a Cairo suburb wounded five people - the second attack this week after a suicide bomber killed 16 people north of the capital on Tuesday. Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led the overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi in July, said Egypt would be "steadfast" in the face of terrorism.
The Cairo blast, which blew windows out of a bus, appeared to be the first aimed at civilians in a recent wave of attacks. But there was no claim of responsibility to say what had been targeted.

What does this terror label mean for Erdogan and Turkey?
Erdogan being very heavily affiliated with/supportive of/supported by MB...
Let me put it this way? The terror branding should now be seen by Erdogan with a sense of foreboding. Unless Erdogan has a sudden 'change of heart' his days in office are numbered.
Then he, like Morsi, will end up imprisoned or meet some other fate.

EU socialist group head suggests that Turkey ‘needs new prime minister’

Turkey needs a new prime minister. And Fettulah Gulen is there to help

Flashback * Turkish PM Erdogan threatened/challenged by Fethullah Gulen?
The head of the European Parliament’s Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats Hannes Swoboda suggested that Turkey needs a new prime minister

“Erdogan is in trouble after the resignations. Perhaps Turkey needs a new prime minister: less autocratic and more ready for dialogue

Dialogue? Dialogue, with who? This is not about dialogue with the Turkish people, of course.
 Since it is a fascist EU mouthpiece talking, it only makes sense the dialogue needed is concerning the acquiescence to the EU.

Flashback* Turkey & Ukraine afflicted with EU/ private banking/business parasites

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Syria signs oil exploration deal with Russia

Can't resist- Syria signs oil exploration deal with Russia

 Syria's state news agency says the oil ministry has signed a deal with Russian oil and gas company Soyuzneftegaz to explore in the Mediterranean Sea.
SANA's report Wednesday did not say where the deal was signed, though it said the exploration will take place off the Syrian coast.
Earlier this year, Syrian Oil Minister Suleiman Abbas discussed with the ambassadors of China and Russia the possibility of exploring for oil and gas off Syria's Mediterranean coast.
Most of Syria's oil and gas fields in the country's east are under opposition control and the country's oil exports almost have stopped.
Israel is already developing recent discoveries of massive offshore deposits and Lebanon has also spoken of trying to develop offshore fields.

The Syrian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources signed the "Amrit" contract with Russian company Soyuzneftegaz for offshore oil drilling, development and production in block no. 2 of Syria's territorial waters.
The contracts covers oil exploration in the area between Tartous city and Banyas city at a depth of 70 kilometers, covering an overall area of 2,190 square kilometers.
The contract stipulates for beginning with surveys in the area and preparing studies to pinpoint potential drilling sites, with this stage costing over USD 15 million.
The second stage will involve drilling at least one test well and it will cost over USD 75 million, and if the operations are successful, the company will carry out further drilling, development and production operations.
The contract also includes benefits such as training staff at the Syrian General Establishment of Petroleum to create a qualified Syrian workforce.
Soyuzneftegaz will be responsible for funding all the stages of the contract, and will begin operations immediately after the contract's ratification and publication.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy

Rather then every year, for six years running now, expressing the same wish : Peace
I will let a song express the sentiment. A song I hadn't heard for some time, until just the other day.
Two very different crooners, yet,  their singing together makes one very harmonious song
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do?!

A bit of background: An odd story of holiday harmony

Cheers! And, all the best to you and yours.
 To friends near and far.
Where ever you all are. 
Be happy. 
And present.............

Israel's (theocratic state) Parliament bans Christmas tree display

Isn't it ironic? As zionist christians fall all over themselves to cater to followers of Judaism.
A Christmas tree cannot be displayed in Israel: Israel's parliament bans Christmas tree display

It seems Israelis are unconcerned with catering to Christians?
  The office of the speaker of Israel's parliament says he has rejected a Christian lawmaker's request to publically display a Christmas tree in the building.
 Eran Sidis, a spokesman for Yuli Edelstein, said Monday that the speaker rejected yesterday's request, but said the parliamentarian could display a Christmas tree in his office and his party's conference room.
 Sidis denied the rejection was connected to Israel's Jewish character. He said displaying the tree until Orthodox Christmas January 7 would be too long.
Just put the display up a little later. Simple enough remedy to accommodate the Christian population
Hanna Swaid, a Christian opposition lawmaker from Israel's Arab minority, said a Christmas tree would promote multiculturalism and freedom of religion.
There have been previous bans on public Christmas tree displays. The mayor of a Jewish town bordering Nazareth has previously refused them, though some Christians live there.
Israel is not a nation that concerns itself with other religions. It is a theocracy. 
Unlike Syria, where multiple religious followers lived peacefully. Until the Western/Israeli destabilization began.

Perhaps the Christians could try for a nativity scene next year?
nativity scene clip art 7 1056x1099
nothing elaborate, just simple and tasteful.

See the poorly attended, due to very small percentage (2.2%) of followers in the US, lighting of 
"America's Menorah"

And of course one of several available pics of PM Stephen Harper being very tolerant

 Israel: A nation that makes it's intolerant attitudes clearer with each action it takes
Banning Christmas trees. Burning bibles. Fomenting sectarian violence through covert ops.
Suppressing the free speech rights of others by using the 'anti-semite' label like a hammer to bash down criticism of their numerous negative actions. Operation Cast Lead for instance. While freely demonizing everyone else...


Monday, December 23, 2013

Turkey: Halkbank - Role in Iran Gold Transactions Legal

Ht anonymous commenter!
Pertinent background:

 *Turkish PM Erdogan threatened/challenged by Fethullah Gulen?

 *Turkey & Ukraine afflicted with EU/ private banking/business parasites

As usual I will highlight the interesting bits.   Halkbank Says Role in Iran Gold Legal After CEO Arrest

Turkiye Halk Bankasi AS (HALKB), the state-run bank that slumped 19 percent since a graft probe implicating four ministers erupted last week, said it has acted lawfully after police arrested its chief executive officer.
Payments made by the bank on behalf of companies exporting gold to Iran were transparent and traceable, Halkbank said in a filing to the Istanbul bourse today. There were no rules against trading precious metals with Iran until July 1 and the bank ceased the transactions on June 10 after it became public that the U.S. planned new sanctions, it said.
The state run bank, public utillity, exported gold to Iran legally prior to sanctions. Transactions are transparent and traceable.

Turkish police apprehended CEO Suleyman Aslan, the sons of three cabinet ministers and scores of others in three overlapping probes targeting corruption in government tenders, money laundering and gold smuggling. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government purged at least 60 police chiefs in response, sparking concerns of an escalating confrontation with former political ally, U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has a wide following in the police and judiciary.
Recall from previous posts that Fethullah Gulen is very influential amongst the judiciary? Police and Judges.

“The allegation of high level graft, extending to Halk, are a real concern, along with connections into Iran, gold trade et al,” Tim Ash, chief economist for emerging markets at Standard Bank Group Ltd. in London, said in an e-mailed report to clients today. “Turkey is put increasingly under the spotlight in terms of international anti-money laundering conventions.

Aslan was formally arrested two days ago after authorities found $4.5 million inside shoeboxes at his house, Hurriyet newspaper said last week. The money was to be donated to building Islamic schools in Turkey and Macedonia, he said, according to the newspaper.
Get out of town! He had money in shoe boxes that had been donated to build Islamic schools.
Where did he get this money? Could he have got it from a person who runs a whole slew of Islamic schools?
Gulen Schools . I find that simply incredible. Could it be more obvious?

Halkbank fell 1.9 percent to 12.90 liras at 2:17 p.m. in Istanbul, heading for the biggest five-day decline in more than two years. The company, Turkey’s largest listed state-run bank, was authorized by the U.S. to trade with Iran before the sanctions were introduced, and was the main bank used for purchases by Turkey of gas and oil from Iran.

Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Azeri businessman, was among those arrested alongside Aslan on Dec. 21. Zarrab traded a ton of gold a day, Haberturk newspaper reported two days ago citing a statement he made to prosecutors. Zarrab said that he was involved in about 20 billion liras ($9.6 billion) of gold trading last year, Haberturk said. Zarrab’s lawyers didn’t answer calls placed to their offices in Istanbul seeking comment on the report.
Turkey exported about $233 million in precious metals and jewelry to Iran per month in January through June, when Halkbank said it ended gold trading due to tighter U.S. sanctions implemented July 1. The nation exported about $45 million per month between June and October, according to data on the state statistics agency’s website.

Exports to Iran narrowed Turkey’s current account deficit, concern over which helped push the lira to a record low. The deficit may widen to 7.2 percent of gross domestic product this year from 6.1 percent in 2012, according to the median estimate of 29 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Four days ago, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif at a meeting of the Developing Eight, or D-8, in Islamabad, Pakistan. Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan, whose son Kaan was arrested in the graft probe, is scheduled to visit Iran Jan. 15. Erdogan is in Pakistan and due to return to Turkey tomorrow.
In a speech in the Black Sea city of Samsun yesterday, Erdogan said the corruption probe had an “international dimension” and threatened to expel diplomats who “exceed the limits of their duty.”

Gülen with Pope John Paul II. in 1998
 In 1999 Gülen emigrated to the United States for medical treatment: good cover story
Gulen supports Turkey's bid to join the EU
Gülen condemns any kind of terrorism- except when he is meeting with spooky allies? Like Graham Fuller? In order to aid in destabilization campaigns or false flags
Gülen criticized the Turkish-led Gaza flotilla for trying to deliver aid without Israel's consent.


Turkish PM, cleric in war of words

 Halkbank has drawn criticism from Western governments in the past for enabling Turkish and Indian business with Iran, which is under U.S. and EU sanctions that Erdogan disapproves of.
 The US presently has issues with India. Does it have to do with the WTO negotiations? Or other issues? Thinking about the repeatedly strip searched/body cavity probed  diplomat.

Erdogan late on Sunday accused "enemies of Turkey" of trying to sabotage Halkbank, the second-biggest government bank.

"Who are you helping to benefit by damaging this bank? The money that Halkbank has lost because of these incidents is money lost by this country," he said.
Money lost by the country..... Not private money for private banks. Public money.
Who would benefit from the damage done to this public bank? Anyone?

Earlier post from today-  Egypt's Full Circle: Dark Days in Egypt

Egypt's Full Circle: Dark Days in Egypt

Egypt has come full circle- Through a series of developments that lead back to the original source, position . The NYT’s call it “Dark Days in Egypt”

I call it..... exactly as I had suspected

“Immediately after the psyop coup you may recall my comment “cue the civil war”. That is how I interpreted that event.  An inevitable push towards chaos. The whole meme for the coup was ‘well democracy just can’t work for those people” I made reference to “white mans burden” and other of the usual western drivel”

Dark days???? My how the narrative has changed.
 Last week, Egypt’s military dictators stormed the offices of a prominent human rights organization and charged Mohamed Morsi, the deposed president, with participating in a fantastical terrorist plot. The news from Egypt has become so unrelentingly bad that it is difficult to see how this nation can recover from a self-inflicted spiral of repression, violence and paranoia.

“Egypt’s military dictators”?  Weren’t we supposed to believe the Egyptian people demanded the military save them from the Islamists?

“Self inflicted spiral of repression, violence and paranoia”- Because democracy just can’t work for those people.....

The move against the human rights group, the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, was another sign of the generals’ eagerness to widen their crackdown beyond Islamist supporters of Mr. Morsi to anyone in society who might challenge their authoritarian ways. Heavily armed state security agents detained and beat staff members of the organization during a nine-hour ordeal. They eventually released all of them except Mohamed Adel, a key member of the April 6 movement that helped mobilize the uprising against Hosni Mubarak almost three years ago. All of the April 6 movement leaders have now been jailed, and on Sunday Mr. Adel and two others received three-year prison sentences.

The authorities filed new criminal charges against Mr. Morsi, the democratically elected president who has been detained since he was deposed on July 3, accusing him of a plot that involved killing protesters and leaking state secrets to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. No evidence has been presented, of course. Human rights groups have called the charges preposterous; Mr. Morsi and his alleged collaborators could face the death penalty if convicted.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists listed Egypt as the ninth-worst offender for jailing journalists in 2013, and the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association, which promotes scholarship on the Middle East and North Africa, expressed concern about a “worsening climate for free speech and peaceable assembly” on university campuses in Egypt.

All of this comes as elements of the old order are being revived. On Thursday, an Egyptian court acquitted a Mubarak-era minister, Ahmed Shafiq, of corruption charges in a land deal involving Mr. Mubarak’s two sons, Alaa and Gamal, who were also acquitted but still face other charges.

If it were another country, members of Congress would be furious. Instead, because the United States considers Egypt crucial to regional stability and because of Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday approved legislation that would make it easier to resume aid, which was largely suspended after Mr. Morsi was deposed. The generals are almost certain to interpret that as an endorsement of their authoritarian methods.

And, unsurprisingly the US approves legislation that makes it easier to resume aid, that had been largely, but not completely suspended to Egypt. The generals will indeed interpret the legislation approval as an endorsement of their authoritarian methods because it is!

FYI: Don't miss the post from late yesterday: Lots of good info
 Turkey & Ukraine afflicted with EU/ private banking/business parasites

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Turkey & Ukraine afflicted with EU/ private banking/business parasites

Found some interesting articles...
As usual I will highlight the interesting bits.
Turkey is afflicted with the same bloodsucker trying to latch itself onto the  Ukraine.
The parasitic EU wants to drain all life from both nations.
 But, does Turkey need or want the EU? Does the Ukraine really want or need to be part of the EU?
We have some interesting parallels here-

 ISTANBUL — The Turks are increasingly hubristic, and not just in the Middle East. Having seen their total G.D.P. more than double in the past decade, many Turks do not feel that they need the European Union anymore. Turkey’s economy is growing much faster than the European average, so the argument goes, why beg to be part of Europe’s anemic Union?
Indeed, why?

Conversely, many Europeans are increasingly antagonistic toward Turkey’s ongoing bid for European Union membership. Following the huge protests in Istanbul’s Taksim Square last summer, in which millions took to the streets, only to be overpowered by the police, many have argued that Turkey is not a democracy and the Union does not need it. Both are wrong.
Nice spin, but, really a lot of baloney

For Turkey to continue its rise as both a regional power and a global player, it must re-embrace the European Union’s liberal democratic values as accession negotiations resume. A Turkey that is a shallow democracy will neither be welcome in Europe, nor can it serve as a role model for Arab countries.
"Re-embrace the liberal democratic values as accession (keep in mind accede means "yield to another") negotiations resume" So Turkey hasn't been bowing to it's master. I figured something was up during the protests, but, couldn't quite figure it out

And the European Union can help. Indeed, the hope of becoming a Union member has been the key driver of Turkey’s democratization process for decades; the prospect of membership has provided an incentive for major democratic reforms. For instance, the European Union’s 1999 promise to open accession talks with Turkey if it fulfilled the Union’s political expectations led to the elimination of capital punishment and torture across the country.
When Europe shows a serious commitment to Turkey, it responds by liberalizing. In 2000, although public opinion had solidified in support of executing Abdullah Ocalan, jailed leader of Kurdistan Workers Party (known as the P.K.K.), the Turkish government, under pressure from Brussels, picked the possibility of Union membership over executing the leader of an organization that had killed thousands of people.

When Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, came to power in 2002, he at first sought to prove his democratic credentials by aggressively pursuing European Union accession, and reforming his country with that goal in mind. Turkey adopted a liberal penal code and strengthened civilian control of the military, improving its democratic credentials and giving it a green light in 2005 for accession talks.
But Turkey will only reform itself when it believes the prospect of European Union accession is real. This explains why Mr. Erdogan’s government cooled toward the idea of membership around 2005 and began to pursue blatantly illiberal policies at home, like intimidating and imprisoning journalists.
Let's not kid ourselves. This pressure on Turkey has zero to do with 'imprisoning journalists'
When the accession talks opened in 2005, Brussels made them a Sisyphean ordeal, creating 35 rounds, and requiring the consent of all (then 27) Union members to open and close each of these rounds. France and Germany simply did not want to have Turkey as a third power in Brussels. Because the European Union allocates voting power to its members based on population, if Turkey were to join the Union, its voting power would be greater than France’s and just a bit less than Germany’s.
Clearly Germany and France don't want to play fair with Turkey regarding EU membership. For obvious reasons
If Turkey were to join the Union, its voting power would be greater than France’s and just a bit less than Germany’s.
Facing 35 rounds of talks involving 27 members meant that Turkey had to overcome hundreds of possible vetoes to gain membership. Countries opposed to Turkey’s accession, like France, vetoed chapters at will. This rejection prompted Mr. Erdogan’s pivot away from Europe and its liberal democratic ideals.

The European Union’s recent progress report on Turkey’s membership harshly criticized Mr. Erdogan’s government. Yet, smartly, Europe has not pulled back, but moved closer. Leaders in Brussels are aware that Turkey will pivot further away if accession does not again become a reality. This would have devastating implications for Europe’s growing community of restless Muslims, many of whom see Turkey’s acceptance or rejection as a Union member as a test of whether there is room for them on the Continent.
And even the staunchest opponents of Turkey’s accession are aware that Europe would be better off with a strong Turkey inside the Union, rather than a belligerent one outside it. After all, today’s Turkey is no longer the “sick man of Europe.” Its economy is poised to overtake the struggling Italian and Spanish economies in size in the coming years.
But Turkey has a window for reform that will not always remain open. Turkey’s creative classes will flee, and those outside will avoid the country, if its leaders cannot provide unfettered freedom of expression, media, assembly and association, and respect for the individual, environment and urban space — all key demands of the Taksim protesters.

Either the country will become a consolidated liberal democracy, taking off politically and socially, or it will remain a partial democracy, trapped where it is. (There are other options) A genuine path to European Union membership is the surest path toward democratization.
Democratization? Or total impoverishment and debt enslaved populaces.

Erdogan blames 'international groups' for corruption scandal that rocks Turkey 

Digression Alert!

And of course CIA right hand man Gulen figures large... exiled in Pennsylvannia
Erdogan and Gulen
HT Arevordi who points out to us in this piece that Gulen links back to CIA mouthpiece Graham Fuller who links directly to the Tsarnev brothers and the false flag Boston Bombing
Hailed as an outstanding educator by Graham Fuller and other CIA officials, the reclusive Gulen is semi-literate and lacks a high school diploma.
Flashback- Turkish PM Erdogan threatened/challenged by Fethullah Gulen?
Yup, it is looking like connect the dot time!
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan denounced "international groups" and "dark alliances" on Saturday for entangling Turkey in a corruption scandal that has exposed deep rifts between him and a US-based Muslim cleric who helped him rise to power.
Sixteen people, including the sons of two ministers and the head of state-owned Halkbank, were formally arrested on Saturday, local media said, in a corruption inquiry that Erdogan has called a "dirty operation" to undermine his rule.
What? A state bank. A publicly owned bank? A bank as a public utility? Can't have that.
Not in the contrived/created/connived world of cartel capitalism and global monopolies

The Turkish leader raised the stakes by accusing unnamed foreign ambassadors of "provocative actions." Some pro-government newspapers had accused the US envoy of encouraging the move against Halkbank - a charge denied by the embassy.

"There are extremely dirty alliances in this set-up, dark alliances that can't tolerate the new Turkey, the big Turkey," Erdogan in a speech in the northern town of Fatsa. "Turkey has never been subjected to such an immoral attack."
The furor, which has roiled markets, is seen as reflecting a power struggle between Erdogan and his former ally Fethullah Gulen, who wields influence in the police and judiciary.
Gulen as king maker? And we are going to get to that foreign ambassador shortly

Erdogan has refrained from naming Gulen as the hand behind the investigation when he blamed an internationally-backed conspiracy. But Gulen's Hizmet (or Service) movement has been increasingly at odds with the prime minister in recent months.

"This is an operation ordered by some international groups, and their subcontractors within Turkey are carrying it out, as a step taken against the government. We will not bow down to it," Erdogan said on Saturday.
"When we took power 11 years ago, Turkey's national income was $230 billion, now it's more than $800 billion. Can you increase the income so much in a corrupt country?" he demanded, proudly listing highway and airport construction projects his government has implemented during more than a decade in power.
 "A major political struggle has started in Turkey," said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute. "Ironically, this battle is being fought within the ranks of the governing party."

Soner Cagaptay- author of the editorial that opened this post
He said the definitive battle would come in March, involving the race for mayor of Turkey's commercial capital Istanbul.
"If the Gulen movement can now use its influence among voters and financial base to tilt the race in favor of the opposition, it will prove itself an effective power against Erdogan, as well as helping deliver Istanbul to the left," Cagaptay said.

"If, on the other hand, Erdogan wins Istanbul, despite the Gulen movement, he will emerge as Turkey's most dominant political figure in modern history as well as having potentially subjugated the Gulen movement."
"These recent days, very strangely, ambassadors get involved in some provocative acts," he said, telling them not to meddle and warning: "We do not have to keep you in our country."

Several pro-government newspapers accused the US Embassy of encouraging the move against Halkbank, saying the United States wanted the bank to stop its dealings with Iran.
"Get out of this country," read Yeni Safak's headline, with a photo of U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone. It said the Foreign Ministry was considering declaring him persona non grata. Sources at the Foreign Ministry denied such plans.
Ambassador's do get themselves involved in many nefarious dealings- Robert Ford comes to mind
US Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone

The US Embassy reacted sharply. "All allegations in news stories are downright lies and slander," it said in a statement.

Halkbank's (state bank) general manager, Suleyman Aslan, was formally arrested alongside Baris Guler, the son of the interior minister, and Kaan Caglayan, the son of the economy minister, CNN Turk and other local media reported.

A total of 24 people have now been formally arrested and are awaiting trial on corruption allegations.
 And just think for a moment about all those bought and paid for killers sitting right at Turkey's border. It does not seem that  Erdogan saw this one coming.