Saturday, September 21, 2019

Saudi Arabia, Iran and Repo Fundig freeze.

A set of FB posts arranged oldest to newest.  There is a thread connnecting dots

Houthi Drone/Missile attack on Saudi Arabia FB post on  2019/09/16

The oil and gas conditioning plant in Abqaiq is the largest of the world.
processes 6.8 million barrels of crude oil each day. More than two thirds of all Saudi oil and gas production runs through it.

it’s the single worst sudden disruption ever, surpassing the loss of Kuwaiti and Iraqi petroleum supply in August 1990, when Saddam Hussein invaded his neighbor. It also exceeds the loss of Iranian oil output in 1979 during the Islamic Revolution, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy."

This attack was by a piss poor set of rebels in Yemen a 1,000km to the South. Imagine if the attack is was from the much more well armed neighbors to the East or North. Complete shutdown, the Clown Prince aint very smart.

Huge Spike in Repo Rates  FB post on  2019/09/17
Important: US Repo rates went upto 10%. Should be a few basis points above Fed Fund rates
The NY Fed has stepped in an provided funding of 75 billion and stabilized the situation. Will the Fed have to continue to do this, i.e. a QE.
The big question is what caused the spike forn 2-3% to 10%. What do some banks etc know or suspect.
Note the US Repo market is about 4 Trillion

Excerpts from a Moon of Alabama Analysis FB post on  2019/09/18

How Russian And Iran Beat Their Opponents' Strategies
Interesting Analysis. Specially in conjunction of consequences with Saudi claims of "material evidence" that Iran was responsible for Aramco bombing.

It (Russia) had developed a number of new weapons that can defeat the ballistic missile defense the U.S. installed. It also put emphasis on its own air and missile defense as well as on radar and on electronic countermeasures that are so good that a U.S. general described them as "eye-watering".
U.S. allies, who have to buy U.S. weapons, have followed a similar defense investment strategy as the U.S. itself. They bought weapon systems that are most useful for wars of aggression but did not invest in defensive weapon systems that are needed when their enemies prove capable of hitting back.
That is the reason why Saudi Arabia has more than 350 modern fighter planes but only relatively few medium and long range air defense systems that date back to the 1970s.

Saudi Arabia does not have short range air defenses against drones and cruise missiles because the U.S. does not have such systems. It also does not have sophisticated electronic countermeasures because the U.S. can not provide any decent ones.

Note: Saudis spend the third largest amount on defense (67 billion) after US (649 bn) and China (250 bn). Most of Saudi defense spending are purchases from the US.

Drone/Missile attack on Saudi and Boeing 737:  FB post on 2019/09/10

The Saudis have evidence the Drones/Missiles were of Iranian Origin*. The Saudis claim it is an act of war by Iran.
The Trump/US has two loose loose choices
a) Go to war with Iran and see Oil spike to over USD 100/barrel and huge destabilization of mid east
b) Avoid war and more sanctions. That is sure to make the Saudis think many times before they buy arms from the US. Who knows they may even pivot to Russia and buy S-400's. Many other countries will also think twice in buying multi billion dollar US weapons. India and Turkey have already pivoted to Russia.

‘Made in Iran’ is not ‘launched by Iran’. What about arms made in US/UK etc.

This whole failure of defensive aspect of US weapons has parallels to the Boeing 737 MAX fiasco. It was blamed on foreign pilots, and no culpability of Boeing's slip shod systems (The NY Times feature on 2019/09/18 is a good example)
Well folks, 90% of Boeing aircraft sales are to foreign countries. All have either put their purchases on hold or cancelled.
The FAA reputation has also taken a hit. Countries/Companies are going to wait for alternate sign off by Aviation Authorities of other countries.

IRGC, Major General Hossein Salami FB post on 2019/09/22

Irans Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Major General Hossein Salami
"Be careful, a limited aggression will not remain limited. We will pursue any aggressor."
Bush, Obama/Hillary had the easy pickings. Iraq/Afganistan and Libya.
US/Trump is now left to deal with North Korea and Iran.
Iran keeps on pushing up the ante.

I feel sorry for Trump who contested on an anti war platform. How will he get out of this box. A real big man will make peace. Is Trump big enough or will his advisors push him to war.


Back to the Repo and SOFR rates.  FB post on 2019/09/22                             
To quote
"Richard Dzina, said that the New York Fed is examining "why banks with excess cash failed to lend to the overnight money market, following a week that revealed cracks in the US’s financial plumbing."

Are the banks seeing a possibility of loose loose situation and hoarding cash.
a) The US gets involved in a Saudi/Iran/Israel war
b) Even worse if the US does not step up to plate and attack Iran in support of the Saudis.
       i) The Saudis start pivoting to Russia like I said previously
        ii) Even much worse the Saudis decide the nuclear option against the US. Start selling oil in any currency or gold. The petrodollar ends, i.e. the necessity to buy USD to buy oil.
For those who dont know every single USD has to go thru a US bank and subject to inspection.

Tulsi Gabbard  FB post on 2019/09/22
And it’s a huge disgrace to hear our commander-in-chief basically put us in a position —the American people, our men and women in uniform, our military assets — in a position where we are servants of the Saudi kingdom. Standing by and awaiting their orders on how we should proceed.”

Specifically she had criticized the president's early remarks following the twin attacks on Saudi Aramco facilities last week, where Trump tweeted he's "waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!".

Fox (which prior to 2017 had a significant chunk of its parent company 21st Century Fox owned by Saudi investors) consistently toeing the Saudi line on everything from Syria to Yemen to Iran.

I didnt know that, i.e. Fox had significant Saudi investment itself. That is a story in itself, see comments. This is why I read ZeroHedge)

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal owned 1.5 billion of Fox shares, approx 5% with voting rights.

Prince Alwaleed was "detained" at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in Nov 2017. It was during that time period that he sold all his shares in Fox.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Why I suuport Gota

First, my personal reasons, then the track record and finally the allegations.

My personal reasons

I was back in SL in 2010 just as the war ended. Ended up living on the border of Wilpattu.  It was also the de facto border between LTTE and Govt control.

It was desolate, no economy for the locals. Three shops, one blackened with soot tea shop (the kade) and two small grocery shops (sillara kada). The shops had very little not even Astra Margarine or ice cream.  Sri Lanka has sachet of everything in affordable price/qty eg LKR 30, margarine/ice cream. Not available because those were luxuries that the local villagers could not afford.

The road was so bad it took 1.5hrs to travel 30 kn to the nearest town. The new road started being built end of 2012.  There was a section where many bends and some huge Kumbuk trees. I was quite sure using the excuse of having a straight road, trees would be cut for benefit of  politicians. The trees were not cut except for one, nor was the road straightened (its dangerous at high speed.  Apparently, personal directive by Gota to not cut tree.  Gota was not only Secy of Defence he was also head of Urban Development Authority (UDA) and Road Development Authority (RDA).

Anyway the moment the road was finished, 2013 or so, the economy took off.  There 25 shops now in the village. People were able resume agriculture. By 2016-17 there were 7 hotels catering to local and foreign tourists visiting Wilpattu and the Kala Oya. Some hotels on the high end, eg The Backwaters at USD90+/night.

Come Easter 2019, the economy crashed. Why because the current jokers were fighting among themselves, reduced intelligence and ignored what little intelligence that remain.  The situation was so bad, Anandi Sasitharan a former LTTE ranker wanted the military to kept in Jaffna.

Economy crashed, Tourism is 20% of Sri Lankas economy with multiplier effects.  In a small village it was very noticeable, the buses to the nearby town are empty. The three wheel guys have no hires or on credit.  The tourist hotels have laid off staff.  Backwaters has cut is prices down to USD50, Full Board for two. Personally I have had no income since Easter and had to rely on meager savings and handouts.  You can imagine the curse words I use mentally on these current joker monkeys. I try to minimise using curse words.

Proven track record of the  Rajapakses.  A few among many

a) End of War. I get to live here in this small village because the war ended.
The building of roads has changed the economy for the better.

b) GDP growth 7% down to 3% and less probably for 2019

c) External debt has increased.
   Debt to GDP.  78% in 2015 and 83% in 2018.
   There have been no capital/infrastructure intensive projects to justify additional debt.

d)A clean and beautified Colombo and other cities.
  I have personally seen, the change in Kilinochi and Jaffna.
  Seen the photos of Batticoloa
  The clean up of Pettah and Private bus stand with floating market benefits the average person. It has become dirty of late.

e) The Southern Expressway.  Four years and the current jokers cant finish the 5 km  joining the Katunayake Expressway to the Southern Expressway (Kerawalapitiya to Kadawatha). 
When the Expressways were being built the usual litany of complaints. It will only be for the rich, wont be able to pay for itself, corruption the works. I travel by bus and there are not enough buses to serve the average joe who takes a Expressway bus.  The lines are long and have to wait for 2-3 buses to get a seat. LKR 150 to travel from Negombo to Colombo. LKR 500 to travel from Kadawatha to Galle.

Now for some of the allegations, easy to difficult

a) Lamborghinis apparently bought by Namal Rajapakse. 
   That was an election allegation and a promise to find them.
   That should have been easy,  Lamborghinis would be hard to hide.

b)  Mangala Samaraweera said the Rajapakses had stolen USD 18 billion and that money would be recovered.
    USD 18 billion is huge chunk of SL economy.
    If that amount had been stolen our economy would have crashed. 
    Compare the numbers
    Gross External Debt USD$50 billion (2015),
    Revenues  USD 12 billion (2015).

    The fashion designer, Mangala Samaraweera who made that allegation, is now the Finance Minister. 

c) After commiting various numbers of heinous acts. Crimes against humanity.
    There have been 4 years to prove these allegations.
    Each person has a different version of were heinous acts and the crimes aginst humanity.
    Plus, Gota was a US citizen so could have been extradited till a few monthsago.
   Allegations of crimes were never specifically pointed out, and hence could not pursued.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Jeffrey Epstein: Will justice be served is accumulating circumstantial evidence that Epstein's millions are from some other source, likely a country. No, its not Russia, its the country that has been caught many times spying in the US.

The fund that Epstein runs does not generate the income that funds the lavish lifestyle. Blackmail in itself too cannot generate Epstein's income. Is Epstein selling/getting paid by another country for influence peddling and state secrets obtained thru blackmailing his high profile friends.

Will justice be served and all those connected exposed. I doubt it, the rot goes too high up the political food chain. It is a good possibility that Epstein may conveniently have an heart attack or commit "suicide". A war with Iran could also distract public attention from this high profile case. That would kill two birds with one stone, for the suspect country that is paying Epstein millions.

Steel yourself for the possibility that justice will not be served.

It is a conspiracy theory.
Can check in 6 months if the conspiracy theory held any water.


There was very much lower profile case which got hushed up.
The case of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her IT aide Imran Awan.
Basic story
Imran Awan and brother were IT aides to Debbie Wasserman Schultz and many other Congress Democrats.
Image result for Wasserman Schultz imran
There was theft of computers, possible espionage, Congress members data and emails stolen, 40 or more Democratic members of Congress.
Debbie Wasserman went crazy trying to protect the Awan brother.

Slap on the wrist and time served was the punishment.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Trump, Iran, Gold and Financial Crash

A couple of FB post in one place predicting if there is a war with Iran

a) Gold will sky rocket USD 1,700/oz and above is a high probability (USD 1,400 on June 20)
b) Will Trigger a Financial Crash bigger than the 2008 because
  • Possibility of  Oil pushing USD 100- USD 150
    That will trigger trillions in derivatives and the dominoes fall
Gold Price as of June 25 2019 (usd/oz price is on right axis)
c) Saudi Arabia will fall apart, like Libya. Recall what happened to Kuwait.  Luckily Bush senior saved absorption of Kuwait into Iraq.

Probability  of war is high. On the negative side Trump would prefer war after 2020 Election.  However, he is out weighed by War Hawks, Bolton, Pompeo, Kushner, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Gold Prediction (June 20)
A little late, but low downside risk and high upside to buying gold.
Upside of Gold at USD1,700/oz and above is reasonable upside in my opinion.

I* have been saying since 2009 there will be another Financial crash and to buy gold. 10 years later it has not happened. The Central banks and the US Fed have managed to keep on kicking the can down the road.
It is a good possibility the Central Banks have reached the end of the road. The potential of war with Iran and US-China trade conflict maybe the big nail on the coffin for an financial crash.
Iran has said if sanctions wont allow Iran to export oil, no one will get oil from the mid-east. i.e. they will shut down the Straits of Hormuz. I dont think Iran is bluffing.
For war to be avoided, Trump will have to provide concessions to Iran. Concessions like permitting Iran to export oil to China and India . Maybe it can be done in a face saving way for the US, without appearing to look weak.

* Not really, I. More like Satyajit Das and Raghuram Rajan (both who predicted the 2008 crash early as 2005). For me that why I read ZeroHedge.

An analysis on Iran and US sanctions (21st June)
Trump may well want some diplomatic exchange with Iran. But Iran will not talk to him as long as the sanctions against it are kept in place. It will continue its maximum pressure campaign by creating new incidents that will again increase the price of oil. The easiest way out for Trump is to abolish sanctions against Iran. He at least should issue waivers for China and others to allow them to again buy Iranian oil.

Unless he does so Iran will hit again and again against those who press for war against it. Yesterday it was a U.S. drone and a Saudi desalination plant that were the targets. The next incident could be in some oil facility in the United Arab Emirates or a symbolic strike against Israel.
The ball is still in Trump's court. He has to act further to avoid a larger war.

Sanctions need to End for probability of War to become Less (June 24)

Trump: “I have some hawks. John Bolton is absolutely a hawk. If it was up to him he'd take on the whole world at one time.“
Trump: I was against going into Iraq... I was against going into the Middle East. Chuck we've spent 7 trillion dollars in the Middle East right now

So will Trump avoid a war with weapons with Iran. Unhappily Trump does not realize crippling starvation sanctions are war by another means. Unlike Venezuela, Iran has a Trump card, shut down the Straits of Hormuz.
Just the direct statement from Iran saying it will bomb/attack any tankers passing thru the Straits will shut it down. It gets shut down because Insurance companies will refuse to insure vessels going thru the straits.

Repeat, Trump needs to end sanctions against Iran. At the least allow the sale of oil to some countries like China. Otherwise war with Iran is still in play

Monday, June 17, 2019

Huawei and the shift to the East

I have been out of touch with tech for over 8 years, being in the boondocks, so please chip in.  If necessary will do updates to post from comments. (also here at Brown Pundits for comments)
Trumps plans are pushing and hastening countries to be less dependent, even independent of US products.  The Huawei ban seems to be game changer.

So  excerpts from an article linked below plus  links other info.
Huawei, needs a new operating system (Mobile OS/Operating System) for its phones. There are few out there, almost all are based on  Linux as is Android.

Android was Initially developed by Android Inc and Google bought in 2005.

Aurora is a mobile operating system currently developed by Russian Open Mobile Platform, based in Moscow. It is based on the Sailfish operating system, designed by Finnish technology company Jolla (for its smart phone), which featured a batch of Russians in the development team. Quite a few top coders at Google and Apple also come from the former USSR – exponents of a brilliant scientific academy tradition.
HongMeng also called Ark OS:  Huawei’s own operating system, apparently Android App compatible (hmm, i will believe when I see it).
No Google? Who cares?Tencent, Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo are already testing the HongMeng operating system, as part of a batch of one million devices already distributed. are not (yet) banned in the US market, and combined they sell more than Samsung. They could decide to move to Huawei’s operating system in no time.
The HongMeng system may also harbor functions dedicated to security and protection of users’ data. That’s what’s scaring Google the most; Huawei developing a software impenetrable to hacking attempts. Google is actively lobbying the Trump administration to add another reprieve – or even abandon the Huawei ban altogether.
The next step for Huawei and other producers is to go for Made in China processing and memory chips, breaking the stranglehold by Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Micron Technology, Western Digital and the British ARM.
Final thought.  What happens to India and its role in Mobile phones and Mobile OS’s.  India was not a player in hardware such phone or computers  Indirectly India’s software developers gained thru large software companies such as Google. Now it is possible some significant fraction of hardware and OS is shifting to China.

Italics from:

Also read

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Islamic Extremists, Human Rights and Evangelical Christians

Is Sri Lanka (and similar small states) going to be the frontline between Islamic Caliphate versus Human Rights/Evangelical Christian Empire. Like Vietnam a proxy War between the goal of a Communist vs Capitalist World Empire.
Post WW2, Evangelical Christianity (thru the US) and "Human Rights" (thru US and Europe) have been terrorizing the Mid East for over half a decade.

What is the difference between
  • a) Bombing multiple countries to install "Human Rights" compliant with the Empire of the West.
  • b) or Bombs with the goal of establishing Sharia Law compliant Caliphate Empire.
U.S. bombs  southern Baghdad, killing another six civilians

Pre WW2 Europe (2) was the foremost in promoting "Christian Values" while obviously exploiting and looting the resources of brown and yellow heathen savages.
Come post WW2, Europe and the US has redefined itself as advocates of Human Rights illegally supporting war either (see the box below for examples)
  • by acting unilaterally
  • using false evidence for UN resolution
  • acting beyond UN resolutions
In order to invade Iraq, Colin Powell stood on the UN floor and assured that Iraq had WMD. Colin Powell later regretted his speech.

A spokesperson for the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) falsely defended the bombing of Libya as within UN resolution. The UN resolution was only to establish a no fly zone. The Norwegian aircraft dropped 588 bombs
To Europe, US markets the wars as protecting Human Rights or the (in)famous Right to Protect (R2P) of Samantha Power and Hillary Clinton. At home in the US sells  Human Rights as Gods Wish/A Just War to the very important Evangelical home base, for support of Iraq War and bombing of Libya. 

No MSM writeup says, Christian Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama instigated a Just War.  However, George W. Bush is a member of the United Methodist Church. Barack Obama is and has been a member of Evangelical Churches. Evangelical leaders post 9/11 signed an open letter to Bush approving a war on Iraq satisfied the criteria of Christian "Just-war" theory. ( see here and here)
"Iraq represents that existential threat we have from global Islamic Jihadists. "We must defeat it in Iraq, Afghanistan and then act preemptively to destroy it wherever it emerges.".
“Throughout Scripture, there is evidence that God favors war for divine reasons and sometimes uses it to accomplish his will. He has also given governments and their citizens very specific responsibilities in regards to this matter,” Charles Stanley, Televangelist, pastor First Baptist Church of Atlanta and In Touch Ministries said in a sermon broadcast internationally on his television program.,
As one can see, there is not much difference between Christian and Islamic priests advising people and countries to wage war.
Two examples of US and European Post World War 2 atrocities
1953 Iran: CIA coup overthrows the democratically elected MP Mosaddegh .

1980-1988 Iraq Iran War:
  • Support and backs  Iraq
  • USS Vincennes shoots down Iran Air Flight 655 on 3 July 1988, killing all 290 
  • Chemical weapons supplied to Iraq by US, UK,  Netherlands and German companies

| It is pretty clear, the US and Europe with the blessings of the Evangelicals/Human Rights Religion has been the first instigators in the Mid-East.  The Muslim response has been slow and generally localized to places of regime change and invasions.  With the creation of Al-Qaeda and ISIS the war has been fought on a larger geographical terrain. 

Now the war between Evangelicals/Human Rights Religion and Islamic Jihad has been taken worldwide. Suicide bomber cells now include family groups including children. Suicide bombers attack churches, tourist hotels and beaches where westerners congregate.  T

Unhappily, Islamic extremism is also an opportunity for Western powers to establish a foothold.  In Sri Lanka.  The US wants to sign a  secretive Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with clauses to exclude the American soldiers from the local jurisdiction.  Liberal Human Rights types and Westernized (many are Christians, like current PM Ranil Wickremasinghe)  Sri Lankans would welcome the West with open arms.  This would result in Sri Lanka being a proxy battle field for Western powers and the Islamic Caliphate.  Sri Lanka should find its own solution to keep Christian/Islamic wars out of its shores.

(1)Disclosure. Author is Tamil by Heritage, Atheist, though born to an Evangelical Christian family. post graduate education and work in the US.
(2) The Catholic Church has much blood in the past. Post WW2 as far as I know, no war has been justified by the Vatican.

Other readings

Islam, Extremism & Hypocrisy, Nur Yalman (2017)
Short history of Wahabism to ISIS

History of Wahabi violence in Sri Lanka.
From Sri Lanka to Indonesia, more mothers are becoming suicide bombers
– and killing their children too

Monday, April 29, 2019

Government’s Role in Easter Sunday Massacre

Feb. 2018, Nizam Kariappar complains to Election Commission that Minister Rishard Bathiuddin’s allies had taken over Sainthamarruthu.
  • A video showed motorcyclists riding through town beating up people. The elders responsible were asked by the Election Commission to let others contest freely. They agreed before us and shook hands. As a result, the SLMC fared slightly better than the extremists
24 April, 2019, Charles Nirmalanathan in Parliament states
  • Details all the ignored tipoffs on ISIS training camps he had given the police.
  • 9 persons arrested in Kilinochchi with arms this time were released from the police station itself with no charges filed in court.  
  • Prime Minister (PM) knows the MPs supporting Terrorists but will take no action against MP's because without their support he fears the government will fall. 
  • specifically named Rishard Bathiuddin and Eastern Province Governor M.L.A.M. Hisbullah as having aided the bombers.
  • accused Western Province Governor Azath Salley of using his influence with the President to release a person apprehended with 100 kg of the powerful explosive C4 in Wilpattu about January this year.
  • Bathiuddin has been clearing the Wilpattu Reservations to settle his people for electoral gain, and that they contain ISIS training camps in the southern end of Musali DS Division (Mannar). It is 4-5 km long says Lohathayalan
Mr. Rishard Bathiuddin, a rehabilitated LTTE cadre testified to me (Ratnajeevan H. Hoole or Nirmalanathan) that in the last days of the war they transferred money from LTTE storehouse loot in Mullaitivu to Bathiuddin in exchange for food. It was a very lucrative business for Bathiuddin according to my informant.

Complaints from Nirmalanathan and other TNA officials that Bathiuddin has been clearing the Wilpattu Reservations to settle his people for electoral gain, and that they contain ISIS training camps in the southern end of Musali DS Division (Mannar). It is 4-5 km long says Lohathayalan

Bathiuddin has a building by the sea in the Mannar DS division says Lohathayalan. Ships take off directly from the building — containing what, no one knows. Bathiuddin’s brother has been taken in by the police for questioning say news reports and – surprise, surprise – released quickly.
Kilinochchi Catholics Escape
  • Young lady dressed like a Tamil (long ankle-length skirt and blouse with head uncovered) arrives at 5:40 and waits.  Left as there was a long wait for the EucharistFr. Jesudas recognizes Pulasthini Rajendran (a.k.a. Sarah) as the fifth wanted person photos.

These are excerpts from an article in Colombo Telegraph by Ratnajeevan Hoole.  Formatted to be read in point form.