Minority Report: Ukraine as Bugbear

[NB: Note the byline; I began writing this as one of my Minority Report pieces; it’s been in my Work In Progress folder for nearly two years, and an unfinished draft here at emptywheel for 18 months. I left off work on it well before the final Special Counsel’s Report was published. This post’s content has become more relevant even if it’s not entirely complete, needing more meat in some areas, and now requiring the last two-plus years of fossil fuel-related developments and events related to the U.S.-Ukraine-Russia triangle after the 2016 U.S. general election. /~Rayne]

This post looks at the possibility that the hacking of U.S. election system and events affecting the election’s outcome are part of a much larger picture — one in which NATO figures large, and the future of energy figures even larger.

One could attribute Russian attempts at hacking and influencing the 2016 general election to retaliation for the CIA’s involvement in Ukraine, or to a personal vendetta against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with regard to Ukraine ahead of the Maidan revolt, or to rousing anti-Putin sentiment in Russia:

… Five years ago, he blamed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the anti-Kremlin protests in Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square. “She set the tone for some of our actors in the country and gave the signal,” Putin said. “They heard this and, with the support of the U.S. State Department, began active work.” (No evidence was provided for the accusation.) …

But after looking at the mission and history of NATO, the integral role of natural gas to Europe’s industry and continuity, Ukraine’s role as a conduit for Russian gas to European states, one might come to a very different conclusion.

Especially given the death of Alexander Litvinenko on UK soil by radioactive poisoning and the downing of Malaysian Air flight 17, a passenger plane carrying passengers who lived across several NATO countries.

Has the U.S. been asked to provide protection to European NATO members’ supply of fossil fuels transiting Ukraine? Has the U.S. been asked during the last two administrations to push back on Russia because of incursions related to energy?

What makes Ukraine so different from Belarus, Georgia, Lithuania, and Moldova, which also have pipelines carrying Russian gas and experienced price disputes — is it the percentage of energy supplied to EU states crossing Ukraine in comparison? Of these four countries, only Lithuania is a NATO member.

How does tiny Montenegro, the newest NATO member state, fit into this picture?


In 1949, twelve North American and European countries signed a treaty creating an intergovernmental military alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). They pledged a collective system of mutual defense against external forces attacking any one or all of its member states. The alliance has grown over the years to 29 nation-states with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, North Macedonia and Ukraine having expressed interest in joining. Each member state commits to spending at least 2% of its GDP on defense spending to support the organization’s mission.

It’s critical to note NATO members agreed under the treaty’s Article V that an ‘armed’ attack against any member in North America or Europe would be considered an attack against all of them. Response to an attack upon a NATO member does not require armed or military force. Over time, threats to NATO states were not limited to armed attacks; they were economic in the case of fuel pipeline shutdowns.

In the digital age, what is an armed attack, especially if both sides call it “cyber warfare” or “information warfare”?


Like the U.S., Europe has been entirely too reliant on fossil fuels. It has been far too lax in governance when it comes to resulting pollution let alone political and economic volatility related to fossil fuel use. Volkswagen’s Dieselgate scandal and the EU’s slow response to VW’s fraud and resulting air pollution offer a perfect example.

While Europe has made substantive headway to reduce fossil fuels and replace them with alternatives — Germany, for example, drew 30% of its energy from non-fossil fuel alternatives in 2014 — until the EU has completely eliminated fossil fuels including natural gas it will be vulnerable to pressure by Russia and other fossil fuel-rich countries. It has been too easy for Russia to threaten the EU and Ukraine alike by simply throttling the flow of natural gas through Ukraine’s major pipelines originating in Russia.

But this is not the only front; the “long war” (pdf) across the middle east and northern Africa is also driven by competition for fossil fuels. So, too, is much of the instability in South and central America, and increasingly in North America as the population rejects fracking, shale extraction, and related pipeline installation.

There is only one true solution to socio-economic volatility caused by fossil fuels: development and implementation of alternative energy resources which are not reliant on extraction, nor limited tightly by resource location (ex: cobalt (from DRC), lithium (South America), uranium (Australia, Canada, others)). The amount we have spent on warfare to preserve fossil fuel’s status quo would have paid for this many times over, and we might have had better education and health care along with it. NATO’s EU states could not be threatened by the loss of natural gas from Russia if it could rely entirely on renewable alternatives produced inside the EU.

Magnitsky Act and retaliation

One other key question arises from this timeline. In addition to all the other tension and conflicts between the U.S. and its NATO allies and Russia, note the passage of  the U.S. Magnitsky Act  of 2012 and the Russians’ corresponding retaliatory sanction which stopped all further adoptions of Russian children by U.S. parents. If the adoption issue is itself a retaliatory sanction and reversing or changing this Russian sanction requires changing or lifting the U.S. Magnitsky Act, didn’t Donnie Jr.’s June 9 talk during the campaign season with Natalia Veselnitskaya about resuming adoptions under a Trump presidency mean Donnie Jr. conspired or negotiated with a foreign government in a dispute with the U.S. — a violation of the Logan Act? Wasn’t the issue of adoptions merely cover — a coded alternative term — for negotiating Magnitsky Act and other Russian sanctions prior to the election?

Timeline: NATO and Ukraine

1949 — North Atlantic Treaty signed.

1982-1984 — Urengoy-Uzhgorod-Germany pipeline constructed; it provides transcontinental transport of gas from Western Siberia to Western Europe. The Reagan administration did not support this pipeline, preventing U.S. companies from selling construction materials to the Soviets partly in protest against the Soviets’ policies toward Poland and partly due to the perceive imbalance of trade the pipeline would create in Europe’s energy market. European countries did not respect the U.S.’ boycott of the pipeline, resulting in sanctions against some European companies.

15-DEC-1983 — A fire broke out at a compressor station in Urengoy, USSR in western Siberia. Construction of the pipeline was still underway. (Cause of the fire not clear from available resources.)

1985 — Vladimir Putin was stationed by KGB to Dresden — located north of the western end of the Uzhgorod-Waidhaus pipeline — after Urengoy-Uzhgorod-Germany pipeline began operation.

19-NOV-1990 — Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe was signed, setting limits of weaponry between North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Warsaw Pact states.

26-DEC-1991 —  USSR was dissolved; the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) formed in its wake from some of the former Soviet Union’s members. The  Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania elected not to join CIS.

1992-1994 — Russia suspended natural gas to Ukraine for non-payment several times over the course of two years.

XX-SEP-1993 — (into November 1994) Ukrainian companies diverted natural gas from pipelines several times. The reasons for the diversions are not clear; was gas diverted in lieu of transit tariffs, topping off reserves, or due to local shortages?

XX-SEP-1993 — Russia’s Boris Yeltsin offered a deal to Ukraine’s Leonid Kravchuck: Ukrainian debts would be forgiven in exchange for control of the Black Sea Fleet and Ukraine’s nuclear arsenal. The deal is scrapped after negative feedback from Ukrainian politicians. (pdf, pg 19)

XX-MAR-1994 — Tentative agreement made that Russia could acquire a 51% state in the Ukraine pipeline system.

1995 — Early in the year, Russia and Ukraine agreed to form a joint venture, Gaztransit, which would operate pipeline system in exchange for write down of Ukraine debt to Russia.

XX-NOV-1995 — Ukraine’s parliament banned privatization of oil and gas assets. The agreement for Gaztransit was never implemented nor was debt forgiven.

1997 — Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland were invited to join NATO.

1998 — A new contract between Gazprom and Naftohaz was written linking gas prices and transit tariffs but did not resolve pre-existing gas debts. Later the same year, Gazprom claimed Ukraine diverted gas and owed USD$2.8 billion, suspending oil and gas exports to Ukraine for 1999.

1999 — Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland became NATO members (pdf).

2000 — Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Oleh Dubyna acknowledged that 7-8 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas were diverted from pipelines before export that year. (pdf, pg 22)

04-OCT-2001 — 2001 Transit Agreement signed, settling the debt between Ukraine and Russia. (pdf, pg 22)

2002 — Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania were invited to join NATO.

2004 — (April?) Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania became members.

XX-JUL-2004 — Ukraine’s debt of USD$1.25 billion for gas was settled with Gazprom and NAK Naftogaz. Ukraine may have been importing more gas from Turkmenistan.

22-NOV-2004 — Orange Revolution began.

23-JAN-2005 — Orange Revolution ended; Ukraine was one of three Commonwealth of Independent States to experience a “color revolution” between 2003-2005.

24-JAN-2005 – Yulia Tymoshenko takes office as Ukraine’s 10th prime minister; she is a proponent of Ukraine joining the EU and NATO.

08-SEP-2005 – President Viktor Yushchenko fires Tymoshenko and her government; observers believe this is political trumpery targeting Tymoshenko.

01-NOV-2006 — Former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned with radioactive PO-210 and died a few weeks later on 23-NOV. Litvinenko met former KGB members Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun at the Millennium Hotel in London’s Grosvenor Square where it is believed he drank tea containing the poison. Multiple byzantine theories about Litvinenko’s death arose.

28/29-NOV-2006 — Energy security was a key topic at NATO’s Riga, Latvia summit. Efforts aimed at a bilateral discussion with Vladimir Putin on the topic of energy security during this summit fell through. From RFERL on the joint summit declaration:

The Riga summit declaration breaks new ground with a reference to energy, saying the alliance recognizes its security can be affected “by the disruption of the flow of vital resources.” NATO undertakes to study the risks and identify areas where it could “add value” to its members’ relevant security interests.

07-MAY-2007 — Urengoy-Uzhgorod-Germany pipeline exploded near Boyarka in central Ukraine, just west of Kyiv/Kiev. Gazprom said the 30-meter break in pipe would not cause a disruption in gas delivery.

22-MAY-2007 — UK determined Andrei Lugovoy should be charged and tried for Litvinenko’s murder, then asked Russia to extradite Lugovoy in relation to Litvinenko’s death.

05-JUL-2007 — Russia refused to extradite Lugovoy due to the terms of its constitution. This perceived lack of cooperation may have discouraged relations between UK and Russia.

02-OCT-2007 — ‘Gazprom may cut gas to Ukraine‘ due to debt of USD$1.3B

08-OCT-2007 — ‘Ukraine settles Russian gas row

18-DEC-2007 — Yulia Tymoshenko takes office as Ukraine’s 13th prime minister.

05-JAN-2008 — ‘Gazprom threatens Ukraine gas cut‘; Gazprom said it would throttle gas on 11-JAN if USD$1.5B still not paid.

12-FEB-2008 — ‘Russian, Ukraine gas deal averts crisis’ reported after Putin and Yuschenko announce an agreement in which Ukraine would pay for Nov-Dec 2007 gas and USD$179.5/1000cm would be maintained through 2008. They also announced the formation of new energy intermediary companies as a JV between Gazprom and Ukraine’s Naftohaz.

04-APR-2008 — Accession of Croatia and Albania addressed at Bucharest summit in April. NATO pledges Georgia and Ukraine will someday become members but are not invited to this summit. Czech Republic agrees to the installation of a U.S. missile defense radar tracking system. Installation of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland remains in negotiation.

18-AUG-2008 — Georgia exited the Commonwealth of Independent States as a result of the five-day Russo-Georgian War in early August.

XX-APR-2009 — Croatia and Albania become NATO members.

27-JUN-2010 — Illegals Program spy ring broken with arrest of 10 Russian spies including Anna Chapman.

09-JUL-2010 — All 10 Illegals Program spies arrested in US were swapped in Vienna for four Russian nationals. Two other spies had left the US before they could be arrested.

XX-OCT-2011 — Litvinenko’s widow Marina won the right to an coroner’s inquest in London; the inquest is delayed repeatedly. She insisted her deceased husband had worked with UK’s MI6 after fleeing to the UK in 2000.

24-FEB-2012 — ‘Russia threatens Ukraine over gas‘ after a shortfall of gas to EU through Ukraine during a severe cold snap. It’s not clear what caused the shortfall; Russia may try to run around Ukraine by way of the South Stream pipeline to avoid future disruptions blamed on Ukraine’s state oil and gas company, Naftogaz Ukrainy. The conflict could be a head fake to mask Gasprom’s inability to respond to rapid short-term uptick in gas demand in Europe.

19-JUL-2012Magnitsky Act was introduced in  the House.

14-DEC-2012President Obama signed the Magnitsky Act into law.

XX-MAY-2013 — (into JUL-2013) Coroner decided a public inquiry into Litvinenko’s death would be better than an inquest. Ministers rule out the request for an inquiry.

11-FEB-2014 — UK’s High Court rules Home Office in the wrong to decided against a public inquiry into Litvinenko’s death.

18/23-FEB-2014Protests erupt in the Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Maidan Square) in Kyiv.

01-MAR-2014Russia’s parliament approved the use of troops in Ukraine.

01-APR-2014 — (Related/unrelated?) Russia’s GLONASS satellite location system is offline beginning at midnight and not fully back up for 12 hours. No initial cause reported though some months later the outage its blamed on software update.

14-MAY-2014 — An alleged terrorist attack blamed for a gas pipeline explosion near Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine.

17-JUN-2014 — Urengoy-Uzhgorod-Germany pipeline exploded near Poltave in central Ukraine, located ~240 miles northwest of Donetsk and ~210 miles southeast of Kyiv/Kiev.

17-JUL-2014 —  Malaysia Air flight MH17 downed over eastern Ukraine by a missile.

01-DEC-2014 —  Vladimir Putin cancels the South Stream pipeline project running from Russia through the Black Sea to northern Bulgaria. (Recall Bulgaria became a NATO member in 2004.)

01-DEC-2014 —  Gazprom signed signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Turkish BOTAŞ for construction of a new gas pipeline running beneath the Black Sea from Russia to the Turkey-Greece border. Part of the deal includes providing Russia gas to Turkey with the rest shipping to the European market.

26-JAN-2015 — Evgeny Buryakov was arrested for acting as an unregistered foreign agent and conspiracy; his counterparts Victor Podobnyy and Igor Sporychev had already fled the country.

27-JAN-2015 — A public inquest began into the death of Alexander Litvinenko.

21-JAN-2016 — UK public inquest into the death of Alexander Litvinenko concluded it was an FSB operation likely approved by Putin.

11-MAR-2016 — Evgeny Buryakov pleaded guilty to begin a 30-month sentence.

28-MAR-2016 — Paul Manafort joins the Trump campaign.

06-JUN-2016 — Donnie Trump Jr. meets with Russian attorney Nataliya Veselnitskaya ostensibly to discuss Russia’s ban on adoptions of Russian children by Americans.

10/18-JUL-2016 — In the run up to Trump’s nomination at the Republican National Convention, the Republican Party’s platform on Ukraine was ‘softened’; the final wording said the U.S. would provide “appropriate assistance” to Ukraine and “greater coordination with NATO defense planning” instead of “lethal” assistance. The wording was changed to coordinate with Trump’s position, in contrast with that of the original proposed by an RNC delegate.

44 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    It’s been so long since I looked at this piece in my WIP bin that I couldn’t remember what the dates 25-FEB-2008 and 06-DEC-2007 meant. There was nothing attached to them related to either Ukraine or fossil fuels.

    If you know of a relevant event linked to those dates, please let me know in comments. Thanks!

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Wild guess: might the dates have something to do with Estonia and the
      NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence?

      • Rayne says:

        Thanks much, I will look to see if they match up with my other notes. So frustrating working with this piece after leaving it aside for so long.

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      I couldn’t find much, but it looks like December 6, 2007 was around the time of a Duma election in Russia. (https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RS22770.pdf). If I read this correctly, this was the first election after Putin consolidated his power with changes in election laws making it harder for small parties to to win seats in the Duma. Additionally, “Changes in campaign and media laws also made it more difficult for small parties and opposition groups to gain publicity in the run-up to the December 2, 2007 Duma election.”

      Perhaps this is what you were thinking of?

      • Rayne says:

        Thanks for looking. I don’t think this is match, would have been a data point more closely aligned with events in Ukraine than in Russia. But I will add this to my notes in case it cross-matches another point.

  2. Rapier says:

    Read Bloodlands and get back with us.

    We, that is the US, the Clinton’s both, Obama and the Democrats, with the GOP happy to go along, purposefully reopened the Bloodlands. Where the ghosts of millions and millions of the murdered and starved in the 30’s and 40’s are still close. Brzezinski and Kissinger and that crowd, coming out of that experience, decided to cleave the Donbass and Ukraine right away from Russia. An area that is 5 times more Russia than Texas is America. Along with bringing NATO right up to it’s border, after the USSR collapsed. Why? Force of habit.

    It’s been as easy as pie to unleash the beast in the Bloodlands. War and heavy weapons again back on European soil for a time.

    Now through the lens of the last two years you can pretend there are some good guys in this tale. There are damn few players who are, in the Bloodlands.

    Well the Clinton dream is for Blackrock and GS to have a gleaming offices in Moscow so as to capitalize that vast vast place. For growth. What we are supposed to grow into with now 7C on the table for year 2100 I am not sure.


    • JVO says:

      What’s with the handle, “Rapier?”

      Is that you Bart? Or may it’s Squi?

      So the Clintons and the Trumps share the same dream – to have their name on a big, beautiful building in Moscow and Kiev and to take their grift from the deal. No shit, Sherlock.

      The true cost of Freedom.

      • PSWebster says:

        Agreed: citations please. Total BS NATO allowed to roll up; it was a double cross on Gorbachev who was promised this would not occur. It did occur by deception with us claiming it was not in writing = no contract….however, it was force of habit for the USA to double cross.

        Gorbachev wiki:
        “He later revealed that he had agreed to do so because U.S. Secretary of State James Baker promised that NATO troops would not be posted to eastern Germany and that the military alliance would not expand into Eastern Europe.[360] Privately, Bush ignored Baker’s assurances and later pushed for NATO expansion.[361] “

    • orionATL says:

      historian timothy snyder’s “bloodland: europe between hitler and stalin” is serious and imaginative research and writing which demonstrates the consequences for state ordered mass civilian deaths of stalin defeating hitler (1941-1942):


      you do that work a gross disservice by associating it with your ahistorical and personal dislike of the clintons:

      ” Well the Clinton dream is for Blackrock and GS to have a gleaming offices in Moscow so as to capitalize that vast vast place. For growth. What we are supposed to grow into with now 7C on the table for year 2100 I am not sure.”

      this isn’t the first time writing here that the preposterously named “rapier” has proved to be a dullard.

    • Rayne says:

      Dude. Read my point again about getting the fuck out of fossil fuels because it’s not just the Bloodlands. Did you forget George W. Bush’s 2003 “Oil for Food” program in Iraq? Or his father’s Gulf War I over Kuwait’s oil dispute with Iraq? Or how Ronald Reagan’s monkeying around with oil price controls may have led in part to the collapse of the Soviet Union? Now we’re being pressed by the Saudis after the ‘attack’ on Abqaiq because of fossil fuels. Our country’s politics are being and have been hijacked for decades by American oil-igarchs the Kochs because of fossil fuels.

      The U.S. should not expend one cent, one blood cell on fossil fuel production and transmission in any country. We should be investing in a massive R&D effort to develop a national renewable energy program, reserving U.S. fossil fuels for military use only until we have developed a better, reliable substitute.

      Until we have a reliable national alternative energy program in place, EVERY GODDAMN U.S. PRESIDENCY WILL BE IN THRALL TO FOSSIL FUELS. Get that through your partisan-propaganda-poisoned brain.

      • e.a.f. says:

        that would certainly help climate change, remove a lot of pollution from the air. who knows the climate might get back on track. This continual going to war over oil/gas is just a tad much. It not only costs way too much money, which could be used for other things, but it causes a lot of deaths and grief.

        The U.S.A. has, in my opinion sourced oil from countries which are much too far away. It makes a country insecure.

        This oil economy only serves to make the corporations and the 1%ers richer and does nothing for the earth in the long run.

        • Rayne says:

          Sourcing oil from Canada and Mexico let alone South America and the U.S. itself is not helping national security. Witness the damage the Kochs have done to democracy in the U.S.

          The demand for oil and gas undermines relations between indigenous people and the colonial settlers’ heirs, trampling the human rights of the former for capitalist demands of the latter.

          Restricting demand to this hemisphere fails to deal with the consequences of greenhouse gases which are the root of the climate crisis.

          We need to leave fossil fuels no matter their point of extraction.

  3. orionATL says:

    i don’t know about western european industry but i believe russian natural gas keeps europe warm in the winter:


    ukrain’s critical need for russian natural gas provides russia a chokehold on tge Ukraine whenever deemed necessary by russian leaders:

    bbbb https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/ukraine-russia-sign-deal-to-end-natural-gas-cut-off-ahead-of-winter/2014/10/30/69e2963f-3d0b-4c60-a377-65bc44b6b917_story.html

    • Rayne says:

      Yes, that was one of the key points of this post. The 2015 hacking of the electric grid in *western* Ukraine some time ago was another attempt to choke energy flow into the EU while punishing Ukraine.

      Technically speaking, attacks like this are attacks on NATO. Did the U.S. respond along with the rest of NATO in a proportional manner?

      • orionATL says:

        i really didn’t know about any of this ukraine stuff here, but systematically taking down a country’s entire electric grid seems especially serious stuff. if that happened in the u.s., say only in the populous northeast during a heatwave, the results in deaths might be enormous, plus businesses losses.

    • BeingThere says:

      Note that Daily Mail is quite the partisan hack paper, and that such articles on gas scaremongering (be it actual or otherwise) are part of the ongoing pitch of the tory-backed shale-gas fracking Ponzi scheme in the UK.

      It’s not enough that the North Sea gas fields are in decline in only 50 years (switch from coal-gas to methane/north sea gas happened around 1970 – the reason for all those Monty Python sketches with brown overalled gas-men and ovens being changed). 50 years on and the squandered energy bubble is over.
      That gas switch also gave Thatcher another lever on the unions/miners by reducing coal demand. Then she sold off the national asserts…

      • orionATL says:

        thanks for that information. i can see there might be a partisan comment on any impending squeeze


        do you happen to know:

        are the maps accurate or inaccurate?

        is the pie chart on electricity generation accurate or inaccurate?

  4. DAT says:

    Thanks Ryne. This is an example of why I come to empty wheel. Analysis of a point forgotten by the mayfly minds in the MSM, that is, at your site, carefully developed, including mapping “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns.” (The scientific method. “Where is my explanation weakest?” you ask yourself.)
    It’s not energy related, but a point now forgotten is that when expansion of NATO was first proposed, the idea of taking in states bordering Russia was tut-tutted. “Who would ever be that provocative? Certainly not us!” was the repeated refrain. That restraint did not last long. You don’t have to like Russia, nor think Putin a benefactor of humanity, to see that extending membership of NATO to countries on Russia’s doorstep is no way to stabilize these already contentious relationships. (I’m afraid I must assure all that I do not think everything would be sunshine and butterflies if only NATO had not enlarged so much. I do think, metaphorically, that NATO’s maximalist expansion is adding extra tinder to a brush pile in a clearing in the forest where children, unsupervised, are playing with matches.)

    • P J Evans says:

      Those “countries on Russia’s doorstep” didn’t ask for protection by Russia, in the first place. (Some of them aren’t even on that doorstep.) So it was no surprise that they’d ask to join NATO; they’ve always been part of Europe.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I agree with this logic: Trump does not want Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son: there’s already been an investigation and it came up with bupkus. Trump wants Ukraine to invent an investigation so that he can use fake news to undermine a political opponent.

    I think that leads to another benefit for Trump. However Ukraine responds to Trump’s illicit demands, the effort distracts its government (any US demand is hard to ignore), threatens its legitimacy, and partially destabilizes it. That promotes Putin’s interests, because his army is currently engaged in active warfare against Ukraine.

    • BeingThere says:

      Did Trump try to pull a fast one over Putin in his extortion attempt against Ukraine? (Arms cash for election meddling). If so is his reason to try keep it covered up as much to prevent the wrath of Putin? Can’t imagine Putin would be so pleased if the cash goes through.
      My piece of political seaweed is predicting various handlers stirring some endebted / compromised Republicans

  6. mulder says:

    A bit OT…

    In a historic move, Trump invokes Article 5%.

    U.S. to send additional troops to Saudi Arabia after attacks on oil facilities…a news conference late Friday following a White House meeting with Trump, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper emphasized that the deployments were defensive in nature, and in response to requests from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to help protect “critical infrastructure” from further attacks by Iran. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/trump-announces-new-sanctions-on-irans-central-bank/2019/09/20/23643aae-dbb9-11e9-a688-303693fb4b0b_story.html

    LONDON/DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi state oil company Aramco has hired UBS Group (UBSG.S) and Deutsche (DBKGn.DE) as bookrunners for its initial public offering, two sources familiar with the matter said, in a sign that the deal is moving ahead despite a recent attack on Saudi oil facilities. Aramco’s Riyadh listing is the first step toward an eventual sale of up to 5%. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-aramco-banks-idUSKBN1W608C

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) 9.13.2019 – U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Friday he will meet the new Saudi energy minister on Monday and likely discuss plans the kingdom has to build nuclear reactors. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-energy-perry/u-s-energy-secretary-says-nuclear-power-talks-with-new-saudi-minister-likely-monday-idUSKCN1VY1S7

    [FYI, first two links edited to remove tracking./~Rayne]

  7. Anne says:

    From a Kyiv Post editorial: (this is a quote, I don’t know how to format it the right way)

    Giuliani should butt out of Ukraine’s affairs, where he poses a danger to the country’s relations with the U.S.  And Ukraine should no longer give an audience to this political charlatan. And, if what Giuliani tells the Times is true, shame on the U. S.  State Department and Special Representative Kurt Volker for assisting him to get meetings in Kyiv.


    • Vicks says:

      I have to remember where I read it but the pro-Trump version is using the fact that Giuliani “was sent” by the state department as part of the spin.

      • P J Evans says:

        How did Rudy get sent by the State Dept, when he’s not actually part of the US government? That’s a question that needs to be asked.

        • Vicks says:

          Perhaps they decided with all the attention, it would be a good idea to check their work?
          Even the best of plans (like the president’s attorney telling the world he was going to Ukraine to dig up dirt on his bosses rival) can benefit from the additions and subtraction tools that are available to the most powerful fella in the world.
          I still don’t think this is “it” and I wish people would prosecuting or defending it as if it were. That is playing right into his hand. In two freaking days we went from shock and outrage into picking the nits on Joe Biden’s son.
          I’m no lawyer but IMHO it doesn’t matter what “it” is. Trump did something wrong and ordered a cover-up. The rest is all a distraction

  8. DAT says:

    I agree that these countries have good reason to abjur Russia’s protection, and their desire to join NATO is easily understood too. I question neither their motives nor their actions. Instead, I question our countries actions

  9. d4v1d says:

    “increasingly in North America as the population rejects fracking, shale extraction, and related pipeline installation”

    statements like that make me sit up straight (plus i now have sprained ocular muscles because of the spasmodic eyeroll it induced). True, people are compaining. False, it makes no difference – fracking is not decreasing, and…. did you know that West Virginia is a top producer of fracked natural gas? It’s true! They ship more BTU’s of gas than they do of coal!

      • MB44 says:

        Hi Rayne,
        A very informative post. Thanks.
        w/r/t to the ‘people’ and ‘fracking’ – in Colorado we had a vote on exactly that topic (Prop 112, Nov 2018). Fracking won 55% to 45%. No gerrymanding possible in a statewide ballot, though its VERY fair to point out that the energy industry by far outspent the anti-fracking folks. I’d also respectfully point out that the Koch’s are not the only beneficiaries of fracking. Anybody that heats their home with natural gas or buys gasoline has benefited from the additional supply.
        I agree that longer term, a switch to renewable energy has to happen, but in the meantime, fracking has given us a domestic and flexible supply of required energy.

  10. Tom says:

    Making a very minor point here, but I noticed that on yesterday’s Meet the Press both Chuck Todd and Senator Chris Murphy pronounced the capital of Ukraine as “Keev” rather than “KEE-ef”. Unless “Keev” is an accepted way of saying “Kiev” or “Kyiv” that I’ve never come across before, it would seem that Chuck and the senator are not as well-read as you would expect people in their positions to be.

    • Rayne says:

      The problem may be far more complex than you think. Kyiv (Ukrainian romanization) and Kiev (Russian romanization of Киев) may be pronounced differently depending on the language and on the intended audience. I’m not even going to try linking a sound file because many of the offered pronunciations may be part of disinformation between the two countries.

      The city’s name is derived from that of a founder, Kyi (Кий); if you put that through Google Translate you’ll hear even this root word has different pronunciations in Ukrainian or Russian.

      Think carefully how this would also be pronounced in other Slavic languages. Consider the backgrounds of whoever may have been using this word in front of Todd and Murphy. And then let it go.

      • Tom says:

        Thanks, Rayne, for your thought provoking response. Before posting my original comment, I did check out Wikipedia as well as a few “How to Pronounce …” sites to confirm how to say Kiev but the idea of ascertaining how it would be pronounced in other Slavic languages never occurred to me. This will require some more research on my part as you’ve piqued my curiosity.

Comments are closed.