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U.S. Treasury fines ExxonMobile meager $2m for violation of the Russian-Ukraine Sanctions!

Some days you wonder if the connections of the New York isn’t to strong for the moment. When the joys of their loot and their power is not making them lose their senses. The common sense is clearly gone, as the company formerly run by Rex Tillerson, the now State Secretary of United States. Who couldn’t care less about the relationship between the United States of America and the Russian Federation. As the illegal and not internationally accepted annexation of the Crimea from the Republic of Ukraine happen. Still, even as that was happening the former Standard Oil baby ExxonMobile decided to be a trading partner and create opportunities in the vast resources in Russia and Russian territories. Now today they we’re fined, but that was a little slap on their wrist, as the real wealth inside the deal shows how much they really could have earned. Therefore, the crime and the penalty doesn’t fit. The Company gets away with a heist, but has to pay small interests for doing so. Now they are waiting for the possible time for their giant payoff and this will be simple write-off in their results in the next quarterly estimates. This sort of fine isn’t that serious, as it can easily chop it off and continue to eat.

First we will look into what the Wall Street Journal wrote about the deal between Russia and ExxonMobile, the second and third are about today’s fine and you see why it insulting fine to give.

A U.S. official said the new penalties would affect Exxon’s current drilling in the icy Kara Sea with its Kremlin-controlled partner, OAO Rosneft, though the extent of the impact was unclear Thursday. No other Western energy company has as much direct exposure to Russia as Exxon, thanks to a $3.2 billion deal giving the company access to a swath of the Arctic larger than Texas that could hold the equivalent of billions of barrels of oil and gas. Officials in Europe, which has extensive trade links to Russia, have insisted that Western nations share the fallout from sanctions against Moscow. Russia has said it would retaliate against additional sanctions with measures of its own, further heightening the risks to companies operating there, legal experts said. Exxon is “assessing the sanctions,” said Alan Jeffers, a company spokesman. “It’s our policy to comply with all laws.” (Gilbert, 2014)

ExxonMobil Corporation Assessed a Penalty for Violating the Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations: ExxonMobil Corp., oflrving, Texas, including its U.S. subsidiaries ExxonMobil Development Company and ExxonMobil Oil Corp. (collectively, “ExxonMobil”), has been assessed a civil monetary penalty of $2,000,000 for violations of the Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 589 (Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations). Between on or about May 14, 2014 and on or about May 23, 2014, ExxonMobil violated§ 589.201 of the Ukraine Related Sanctions Regulations when the presidents of its U.S. subsidiaries dealt in services of an individual whose property and interests in property were blocked, namely, by signing eight legal documents related to oil and gas projects in Russia with Igor Sechin, the President of Rosneft OAO, 1 and an individual identified on OF AC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (the “SDN List”) (referred to hereinafter as an “SDN”)” (U.S. Treasury, 20.07.2017).

OF AC considered the following to be aggravating factors: (1) ExxonMobil demonstrated reckless disregard for U.S. sanctions requirements when it failed to consider warning signs associated with dealing in the blocked services of an SDN; (2) ExxonMobil’s senior-most executives knew of Sechin’ s status as an SDN when they dealt in the blocked services of Sechin; (3) ExxonMobil caused significant harm to the Ukraine-related sanctions program objectives by engaging the services of an SDN designated on the basis that he is an official of the Government of the Russian Federation contributing to the crisis in Ukraine; and (4) ExxonMobil is a sophisticated and experienced oil and gas company that has global operations and routinely deals in goods, services, and technology subject to U.S economic sanctions and U.S. export controls” (U.S. Treasury, 20.07.2017).

So it’s okay, the company ExxonMobile was fined for intervening in a Republic and inside a state where there was clear sanctions against trade. That was something Rex Tillerson knew and also the Russian counterparts, but ExxonMobile didn’t care. They just wanted the profits and earn on the fragile arctic and also into areas like the annexed Crimea. This shows the intent of profiting while being under sanctions and not respecting the laws of the United States and being a registered company residing in the United States.

This show the ethical backdrop of the New York Gang and the Administration of today, we cannot know how much the company earned before the stop between Rosneft and ExxonMobile. The suspension of activity between them. What we can imagine is that it was vastly more than the little they paid for breaking the law. Peace.

Reference:

Gilbert, Daniel – ‘Sanctions Over Ukraine Put Exxon at Risk’ (11.09.2014) – Wall Street Journal

USA: Durbin Calls On Illinois to Refuse Request to Release Illinois Voter Files To Trump Commisson on Voter Fraud (03.07.2017)

USA: Attorney General Frosh Statement on Request for Personal Information of Maryland Voters (03.07.2017)

USA: DHS Announces Implementation of Travel Restriction Provisions (29.06.2017)

USA: Memo for President Trump – Interim Report Pursuant to Executive Order 13792 for BENM in Utah (10.06.2017)

Only in the DRC: President Kabila are now twice Registered for a Non-Existent Election!

Well, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the one who is on his unofficial third term President. He is running the country on a new cabinet, but not on a new mandate. As per today, the Constitution isn’t allowing him to re-run. He was temporary before his first term for a few years. He was running the Republic without elections between 2001 and 2006. Than he finally got elected in 2006 and than again in 2011. He was supposed to have ended his term in 2016, but that train has passed it due-date by a few months already.

President Kabila is already 160 days overtime, he is 5 months and 9 days. That is well over the supposed time. That is not counting the days he was in-charge without an official election between 2001-2006. So he has a history of running the 3rd Republic without any mandate. That is what he does today!

So the first he registered for an election without himself at the helm was back on the wonderful day of 6th May 2016. It is easy to forget that Kabila did that on a computer looking smart and ready. Vigilant like always, the vagabond ruling Kinshasa and the provinces as well. Today on the 28th May 2017. He was doing the same maneuver. Registering himself for an election. This time without CENI having set any dates, any regulations or credentials needed for candidates. Therefore this exercise was more PR than real. Surely paid lobbyist Bob Dole and others, who are working to better the image in the United States can smile. Since this act will make it more sincere that President Kabila wants to honor the promises of the CENCO agreement of 31st December 2016. So twice now, Kabila has registered himself to something he doesn’t plan to do. Because if he does, that means he loses and someone else will run it.

This is something Kabila knows and the world already knew. If the know the DRC and its situation this wouldn’t be surprising. At this point Kabila acts like he own the Republic and the Republic owes him a big deal. Therefore, he cannot leave and has no plans of exiting the throne that he inherited from his father. It seems like the time and present moment, that the instability and insecurity is also facilitated by the government. To create problems and make it worse. This to be able to postpone the elections and keep his ruling fist. It does seem plausible that by all means he wants to stay in power. Therefore, he has even been seen in the city of Lubumbashi with tanks in recent year, to prove to Moise Katumbi and his supporters. That this place is also ruled by Kabila.

I have no faith that Kabila will honor any agreement that doesn’t extend his rule. Not because he deserves to stay as the President. But because he has shown no signs of giving the mantle to anyone else or put some ready for succession. No-one has even been groomed, only people been doomed for wishing to become Presidential Aspirants, therefore they have ended in exile in Belgium. The nation that took DRC and built massive mansions on their looted fortunes. This is ironic, but the truth. Certainly, Kabila will not back-down and give-up quickly. He has no plan to give in. Peace.

Opinion: President Kabila appoints new Cabinet, but he is 141 days on overtime! (Time to leave for Togo?)

On the 19th December 2016 the last term of President Joseph Kabila went out. The Democratic Republic of Congo we’re the opposition negotiation through Conférence Episcopale Nationale du Congo (CENCO) agreement on the 31st December 2016. Still, the President hasn’t left any sign of leaving. As the Army are fighting on different front, are trying to avoid more problems, but having civil war situation in Kasai-Oriental, where the province has rebels killing and the army doing the same.

There are not been any visible signs that he is stepping down or giving way. Neither any clear signs of up-coming elections. Like there are just figment of imagination that his term went out in December 19th 2016. That is 4 months and 20 days that he is on overtime, without any consideration of the violation of the Third Republic. The Democratic Republic of Congo deserves better and should have legitimate President. Also, if you count days he has already spent total 141 days, which he shouldn’t be the Commander-in-Chief and President.

Therefore, 141 days on overtime, the news that he has unleashed a new cabinet and new set of ministers. Proves the violation and the rights of the Republic is being misused and misguided. I don’t care to look into the men and woman appointed, because that isn’t fair to the citizens of the DRC. They deserve a legit President and a regime they have elected. Not someone using the army and the resources as their personal business.

Even if on this date that the President appointed 47 Ministers and 11 Vice-Ministers. They are surely all loyal to Kabila, as they doesn’t care about the constitution, nor the laws that the Third Republic are supposed to have.

The Constitution of 2005 says clearly:

Article 70: The President of the Republic is elected by direct universal suffrage for a term of five years which is renewable only once. At the end of his term, the President stays in office until the President-Elect effectively assumes his functions” (Democratic Republic of Congo – The Constitution of 2005).

So he has had two terms, plus the waiting term after the assassination of his father, who also was President. Therefore, because of that, he has already had three terms in that respect, but only elected in two. Now he is on his fourth without any consent or ballots. That because cannot be elected as long as the Constitution is written like this. The thing that he didn’t do, like many other totalitarian leaders, they change the laws to fit their paradigm and continues “legally”. He is functioning as President while waiting to President-Elect assumes his functions. But with no election and no plan of doing so, there is no evidence of him leaving.

That is even more evident as he changes and appoint a new Cabinet, with lots of ministers loyal to him. It is within the law that he appoint ministers. Still, it is 141 days since he had legitimate powers and was the President. Right now, he shouldn’t be preoccupied with who leads Communications or where Lambert Mende is working. President Kabila, should be come a civilian or join Yayah Jammeh in Equatorial Guinea, even go to Togo like Mobotu!

After a weekend of confusing reports on Mobutu’s whereabouts, CNN confirmed on Monday that he was in Togo, escaping there early Sunday just ahead of rebels advancing on his home in the northern Zairian village of Gbadolite” (…) “Mobutu — who fled Kinshasa on Friday, the day before rebels entered the capital in force — was resting in a residence belonging to his old friend, Togolese dictator Gnassingbe Eyadema, government officials in the West African nation said” (Arnett, 1997).

So if he would do the 3rd Republic a favor, he would leave the Presidency and leave the Nation. It doesn’t seem to be possible at this point. President Kabila has not conceded or tried to give way. Therefore, the trust of him leaving power, seems day-by-day unlikely. President Kabila shows that he uses his power and capacity, as the army are loyal to him. This proves that the elections seems far-fetched, since he has not showed anything feasible or even tried to even get tenders for ballots.

That President Kabila will say elections are expensive, the are to many rebellions, that the M23 are in the Kivu’s, that FDLR are doing their thing, that ADF-NALU still existing, that the Kamunia Nsapu and other groups killing in different provinces. This will all be used as tactics to postpone the elections and make sure there are no official date for elections, nor ordering ballots or securing funds for the Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante (CENI). They will all be left behind, since there are no plans or wish of the President to get a successor. That means he will leave all his power behind!

This new government is just a disgrace… and not respecting the Constitution of the 3rd Republic. Neither, it is clear disrespect of the people and republic. President Kabila doesn’t own the nation and the public doesn’t owe him anything, they deserves some who legitimate rule them. Time for Kabila to follow the fleeing President and leave for Togo! Peace.

Reference:

Arnett, Peter – ‘Mobutu in Togo as Zaire rebels assume leadership’ (19.05.1997) link:http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/9705/19/zaire/index.html?eref=sitesearch

Opinion: Trump’s proposed Tax Reform is made for the wealthy and no-one else!

It is hard to take the “2017 Tax Reform for Economic Growth and American Jobs” that was released on 26th April 2017, a one page leaflet of wishes. This is shorter than most of the restaurant and they usually doesn’t have that many dishes to serve their clientele. Still, the Trump Administration and their “Treasury Secretary Steve Mnushin set out a test for tax reform that, “there will be no absolute tax cut for the upper class.” (Richard E. Neal – ‘President Trump’s Tax Proposal Another Broken Promise to the Middle Class’ – 26.04.2017). Still, with the first prospect of the wish-list of the Trump Administration is to give the rich less taxes.

An on a one-page wish-list you don’t really have the space or the care for describing the results, I look forward to read the CBO report on the proposed tax cuts. Since this should have some sort of implications, not only let the Manhattan elite afford yet another cabin in the Aspen or trip to Formula One in Monaco. They are speaking of easing the tax-codes and provide tax-relief for American families, without giving any specific detail into what that might be. I am sure the tickets of travel and the indispensable Secret Service guards to the golfing-weekends at the Mar-A-Lago in Florida has more explained reports, than these quick promises to the American families.

They are putting new brackets for the American families, also doubling deductions from the taxes and promise relief, without saying what this means, or if the families really get any serious cuts. While the Business get a shaved business tax rate from 35% to 15 %. One time tax on the Business Ownership abroad, to make sure the funds comes back into the United States. Last is to eliminate the tax breaks for special interest. So the last one, is to significantly add some tax back in the Internal Revenue Service.

So the little plan they have is to either cut and reform it minimally, while giving tax breaks to bigger corporations and the wealthy. The ones who already have the money and earns the profits, get to pay less, while the ones who needs or could have need of serious reform doesn’t get it. The ones earning on this wish-list is the Wall Street connected individuals, the Multi-National Corporations and the Limited Liability Companies (LLC). This sort of tax reform is made for the richest, not for the working class or the average voters who voted for the current President.

This is just another proof, that the President Trump isn’t there to drain the swamp or even trying to stop the major corporate takeover of Washington D.C. and the Capitol Hill. He is more of the same, just infused with less coded language and straight-face doubling down on the foreplay for the business executives. There isn’t anything in the works that proves that President Trump want to care about environment or health of his population over the profits of Goldman Sachs, Merrill-Lynch or any other significant private sector business operative like Exxon-Mobile. All of them will get the blessings and their days in the sunshine. As long as their Manchurian Candidate Trump are in office.

There aren’t anything that proves otherwise, his Executive Orders has been for easement of the businesses, not for the well-being of the population nor environment. The lacking care of the citizens and only caring for corporate citizens will clearly alter the pledges and promises. Certainly, the ones who voted for him should feel betrayed. The corporate greed in the United States is endless, as all the lobbyists, the paid senators, paid representatives and other legislators in Washington D.C. follows their donors more than the public. Just look at Ted Cruz record of praising the Mercer family and their values. Than you get a prime time example and all of the Republicans working for the Koch Brothers will.

The same is now happening from the oval office, with no restraint or any care of the consequence, if they fail or bitterly accept the truth. Doubt it, as they will double down and say it is for the common core, while the true tax cuts is for big-business and multi-national corporations who will have a surge of profits. The supposed trickling down theory will be put into play, while more of the monies will go into the pockets of the wealthy and the difference between the richest and poorest will grow even more. The lack of care from the state combined with the massive wealth, will really also destroy the society and make the ones left behind even feel more vulnerable, but that is not a concern the Trump Administration has. They only care for the billionaires and millionaires, not the ones living on food-stamps or on government subsidizes, as this government would easily have axed all of that.

I look forward to see the estimates from a real tax-plan from the Trump Administration, one with the implication and proposed reaction to the taxes and cuts. If the Trump Administration after these sort of cuts ever compare themselves to previous administrations and their cuts. They should be careful, as this will spike the deficit and the borrowing will grow enormously, into amounts that make the Democratic government look careful and fiscal sound. But it is only the Republican Presidents and Governments who is allowed to act as drunk dogs and then complain when the democrats doesn’t serve them at the last call. Certainly, this is the prospect of this sort of acts. This will not be for the American families, neither for the middle-class, this tax cuts are for the business owners and the wealthy who pockets dozens of millions on this without any consideration on fiscal funding of the budget, nor the expenses running the current government. But hey, Trump wants to downgrade the American economy and also weaken the dollar, so this might be one of the many ways he tries to do it. Kudos! Peace.

Trump Administration proposed budget (FY-2018) to axe the ‘Economic Support Funds’ and the ‘Development Assistance’ on the African Continent!

Action without thought is empty. Thought without action is blind.”Kwame Nkrumah

You should expect by a man blessed and gotten the support by the Christian Conservative in the United States of America, to care a little about the ones who has less and needs support. You would expect of a man who claims to be a Christian and a man of faith to support charity and good causes. But President Donald J. Trump isn’t like any other Christian Conservative, I know, as he has used his own Foundation to buy statutes of himself and also use it on his real-estate, as well as reports of buying celebrity memorabilia.

Well, why do I start with this? Because it was released yesterday the remarkable “Financial Year 2018 Control Levels by state bureau, operating unit and Account”, this are the planned budget for the AEECA, DA, ESF, GHP-State and GHP-USAID. This United States Government document is dated not further back than the 6th April of 2017. The effects of the planned cuts in some of the regional aid projects, development aid and economic support funds, is as astonishing as the Presidency itself. It is a disgrace to anything of humanitarian understanding and belief of goodness in the Trump Administration at all. This sort of acts of disregard of humanitarian assistance, proves that the Trump Administration is a selfish, disgusting and belittling state. Who cannot afford to help the ones in need or the continue to finish the projects they have put forward abroad. The development projects overseas will now fail over night. Just take a look!

The “Economic Support funds” and “Development Assistance”, who are slashed a total of 100% from 2017 to 2018 are in Burundi, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the African Union! Also the own offices and planning regional development all over the continent like the: USAID African Regional, USAID Central African Regional, USAID East African Regional, USAID Sahel Regional, USAID Southern Regional and the USAID West Africa Regional as well. That is 20 African countries being directly dropped by the Trump Administration and cutting needed funding of running expenses by these government. This happens without any consideration of finding alternative sources or taxing to cover the dropped direct support. That is apparent the act of the Christian Conservative President Trump, who is supposed to be a charitable and caring character. Clearly, he wants to send the African nations a message, that he doesn’t give two shits about their fate or their sustainability.

What is the meaning behind the ESF: “Economic Support Funds (ESF) is economic aid designated to promote economic or political stability in areas where the United States has special strategic interests. Authorized under Chapter 4, Part II of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, ESF is a flexible assistance tool that can be structured to meet a diverse range of foreign policy and economic development objectives. The makeup of ESF programs are made on a country-specific basis, while the nature of ESF assistance to a particular country is determined by a combination of the needs of the recipient and U.S. foreign policy objectives. Among ESF’s diverse applications are the following programs (among others): advancing peace and stability, building accountable and transparent institutions, creating economic and educational opportunities for youth, countering extremist ideology, counter-terrorism and counternarcotics, governance, economic growth, anti-corruption, trade capacity building and democratic strengthening. The executive branch is responsible for policy decisions and justifications for ESF use, including country eligibility and funding levels” (Security Assistance Monitor).

What is the meaning behind the “Development Assistance”: “ … [for] sustained support of the people of developing countries in their efforts to acquire the knowledge and resources essential to development and to build the economic, political, and social institutions which will improve the quality of their lives.” (USAID, 2005).

So the Trump Administration apparently doesn’t see any Foreign Policy or Economic Development Objectives inside 20 African Nations in Financial Year of 2018. This is only in the African States and Republics, not all over the world. Clearly the values of quality of life, building economic, political and social institutions doesn’t matter to Trump. The monies saved are surely going to more ‘Mothers of All Bombs” or to expensive carriers to fight an unnecessary war. Since, President Trump is caring or considering about the acts of his time in office.

The USAID operations on the African continent is clearly sending a message, that he does not think off or has anything to offer them. That the U.S. plans to be their uncle or sugar-daddy, that their instead thinking of leaving them behind. The wealth of United States rather goes to building war-ships and bombers, than being used on Humanitarian projects building institutions abroad. Therefore, the United States as a power-player on the African continent is gone with this. As their forged relationship and patronage is gone with this sort of budget. The significant relationship between their development projects in the 20 nations who suddenly get brash cuts and stopped all funding off. Peace.

Reference:

Security Assistance Monitor – ‘Economic Support Funds’ link: http://securityassistance.org/south-asia/content/economic%20support%20fund

USAID – ‘U.S. Foreign Assistance Reference Guide’ (2005) link: http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/Pnadc240.pdf

DRC: “Further mass graves and killings discovered in Kasais” says Zeid (19.04.2017)

This brings to 40 the number of mass graves documented by the UN in Kasai Central and Kasai Oriental Provinces since August 2016.

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 19, 2017 – UN investigators in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have confirmed the existence of at least 17 further mass graves in Kasai Central Province, which has been the scene of clashes between soldiers and members of a local militia known as Kamuina Nsapu. This brings to 40 the number of mass graves documented by the UN in Kasai Central and Kasai Oriental Provinces since August 2016.

The presence of the additional graves was confirmed during an investigation mission to Kasai Central between 5 and 7 April by staff from the UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) and UN Police (UNPOL).

Fifteen of the mass graves were in a cemetery in the town of Tshimbulu and two in the locality of Tshienke. The UN team gathered information that soldiers from the Forces armées de la Republique démocratique du Congo (FARDC) had reportedly dug the graves, after clashing with presumed elements of the Kamuina Nsapu militia between 26 and 28 March. At least 74 people, including 30 children, were reported to have been killed by soldiers as a result of these clashes.

The UN team also visited Kananga to gather information about alleged abuses and violations there. Between 28 and 30 March, FARDC soldiers were reported to have shot dead at least 40 people, including 11 children and 12 women, in the Nganza commune of Kananga, and injured at least 21 others. The majority of the victims were said to have been killed in their homes as soldiers went door to door looking for militia members.

Two of the victims died in hospital, while the remaining 38 were reportedly buried by the local population in three mass graves. FARDC soldiers were also reported to have buried an unknown number of bodies in a fourth mass grave in Nganza cemetery.

UNJHRO also received reports that at least two women and three girls had been raped by FARDC soldiers during the same operation in Nganza. Defence and security forces were alleged to have arrested and detained 27 people, including 10 boys and a 15-year-old girl.

The UN investigators, who also visited the Katoka commune of Kananga, heard reports that during search operations by officers from the Police nationale congolaise (PNC) on 28 March, a 23-year-old man, a 17-year-old boy and a one-month-old baby had been killed. The UN team was told that the baby had been fatally injured after being trampled on by police officers searching their house.

The Kamuina Nsapu militia, which is loyal to a local customary chief killed by the army on 12 August last year, has been accused of recruiting hundreds of children into its ranks, and targeting state agents and symbols, including government premises, schools, hospitals, police stations, as well as churches. An example of such violence happened on 30 March when about 30 alleged Kamuina Nsapu militiamen attacked the parish church of Saint-Jean de Masuika in Luiza territory, where they ill-treated at least three nuns and a priest, threatening to kill them. In addition, the priest and one of the nuns were reportedly abducted and then released the next day after money was paid. The militiamen also vandalized the church, breaking doors and windows, and burning the priest’s chasubles.

“The discovery of yet more mass graves and the reports of continued violations and abuses highlight the horror that has been unfolding in the Kasais over the last nine months,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

“It is absolutely vital that the Government of the DRC takes meaningful steps, which to date have been lacking,  to ensure that there is a prompt, transparent, and independent investigation to establish the facts and circumstances of alleged human rights violations and abuses perpetrated by all parties, and other abuses of justice. My Office has offered its assistance in conducting such a credible investigation. We reiterate our request for access to all sites of mass graves, as well as to all witnesses, including those in detention, and other relevant information necessary to determine responsibility at all levels,” Zeid said.

“The scale and nature of the violence increasingly underscore the need to monitor the situation closely. Should there be no effective national investigation, I will not hesitate to urge the international community to support an investigation by an international mechanism, including the International Criminal Court, which recently reminded the DRC authorities of their primary responsibility under the Rome Statute to investigate and prosecute the alleged acts of violence in the Kasais,” the High Commissioner said.

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