Month: June, 2021
Will Congressional quest for answers on Brazil’s Operation Lava Jato reveal it to be yet another CIA coup in the Americas?
worker | June 10, 2021 | 8:46 pm | Brazil, Imperialism, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva | No comments

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/526117-lava-jato-us-brazil/

Will Congressional quest for answers on Brazil’s Operation Lava Jato reveal it to be yet another CIA coup in the Americas?

Will Congressional quest for answers on Brazil’s Operation Lava Jato reveal it to be yet another CIA coup in the Americas? 
For years, the anti-corruption probe Lava Jato was hailed as the dawn of a new Brazil, in which democracy and the rule of law reigned supreme. Now, it’s clear it was a shameful set-up – with the US involved every step of the way.

On June 7, a coalition of Democratic lawmakers wrote to US Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting answers about the role of the Department of Justice (DoJ) in Operation Car Wash (Lava Jato in Portuguese), the grand Brazilian anti-corruption investigation launched in 2014 that ignominiously collapsed in February this year.

Noting it to be a “matter of public record” that DoJ representatives supported Brazilian prosecutors involved in the operation, they stated that an agreement was “evidently” reached between Brazilian and US authorities providing for a “substantial share” of the fines rendered from prosecuting Brazilian companies under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to be given to the very prosecutors and judges involved in Lava Jato, and to fund the creation of a “private foundation in Brazil totally administered and controlled by the same Brazilian prosecutors.”

The lawmakers concluded, “We are particularly concerned that the income produced from the enforcement of important US legislation dedicated to fighting corruption, could have ended up going to ends not entirely consistent with democracy, rule of law, equal justice under the law, and due process – not to mention Brazilian legal and constitutional requirements.”

That Washington was involved in Lava Jato, which saw more than 1,000 warrants issued, 429 people indicted and 159 convicted, and numerous high-profile business leaders and politicians – most notoriously Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, president between 2003 and 2010 – jailed, had been clear since 2016, when US federal courts levied record fines against state energy company Petrobras.

ALSO ON RT.COMPower vs people? Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, former president of BrazilHowever, this suspect element of the probe was completely ignored by Western news outlets, as were clear indications from its inception that prosecutions were being pursued on dubious, if not non-existent, grounds.

For instance, Lula’s July 2017 conviction for money laundering and corruption charges was based entirely on the coerced testimony of a sole individual – and in his sentencing, presiding judge Sergio Moro failed to define a specific crime of which the former president was guilty, basing the verdict purely on his own “conviction” that Lula had done “something.”

As a result, Lula was precluded from running for the presidency in 2018, paving the way for the election of Jair Bolsonaro, who subsequently appointed Moro as minister of justice and public security. It was a move enthusiastically received both within and without Brazil, for his crusading efforts had made him something of a media sensation – in 2016, he was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 most influential people,” despite local news outlets that same year having exposed his illegal wiretapping of Lula’s defense team.

It was not until June 2019 that the judge’s mainstream fortunes finally took a turn for the worse, when journalist Glenn Greenwald began publishing a series of articles based on leaked Telegram conversations between individuals involved in Lava Jato.

ALSO ON RT.COM‘Humanitarian’ agency USAID was ‘key tool’ for Washington undermining the Venezuelan government, official review revealsThe communications showed that Moro had provided insider information to prosecutors, helped direct their legal actions, briefed them on their media strategy, and requested that operations be launched against relatives of witnesses, to ensure convictions were secured. In November that year, Lula was finally released from prison after 580 days.

More recent leaks have revealed that the Lava Jato team conducted scores of secret, illegal meetings with FBI operatives throughout the seven-year probe. However, Moro’s ties to US state agencies have been a matter of public record since 2010, when WikiLeaks published a State Department telegram related to a week-long US Embassy-sponsored course laid on for judges, police, and prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro.

The document notes that many attendees expressed an interest in receiving further training from the DoJ on prosecuting money laundering cases, and were keen to collaborate with Washington in this field, contrary to Brasilia’s official position, under the auspices of the “fight against terrorism.”

Moro wasn’t a passive presence at the event, leading a talk on the “15 most common issues” he encountered in Brazilian money laundering cases. The telegram goes on to outline a dedicated program, “Projeto Pontes” (Bridges Project), to “bring together US and Brazilian law enforcement in different venues” and “build on our relationships and exchange best practices.”

ALSO ON RT.COMInternal emails reveal that the Dutch government suppressed White Helmets’ financial fraud – what else are they hiding?The following month, Brasil Wire records that he and prosecutor Karine Moreno-Taxman – who was then based in the US Embassy in Brazil, and helped select participants for the week-long training course – were both present at the Brazilian Federal Police Agents Association’s fourth congress in the north-eastern city of Fortaleza. Moro was lead speaker in a panel discussion on corruption and organized crime arguing for changes in the law and more judicial autonomy in investigating crimes against public administration.

Moreno-Taxman then led a panel of her own, which viewed from a present-day perspective gives every appearance of setting out a clear blueprint for the subsequent Operation Lava Jato. For one, she proposed that Brazilian authorities maintain an informal system of collaboration with their US counterparts, circumventing formal cooperation structures as set out in international treaties.

Another key suggestion was manipulating public opinion in prosecutions of high-profile figures to engender loathing of those under investigation. “Society needs to feel that that person really abused the job and demand that he be convicted,” Moreno-Taxman is reported to have said, a message she’d been propounding across Brazil at a variety of US-sponsored events for two years by that point. It seems likely these lobbying efforts formed part of Projeto Pontes.

When Lava Jato collapsed earlier this year, further leaked Telegram conversations exposed how prosecutors cheered Moro’s decision to incarcerate Lula on April 5, 2018, as it prevented a Supreme Court vote that would have allowed defendants to be spared jail pending appeal. The operation’s chief, Deltan Dallagnol, dubbed the news “a gift” from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Had that motion been successful, Lula would have been free to run for president that year – and victory seemed assured, for he was polling 20 points ahead of Bolsonaro.

ALSO ON RT.COMBogus story of Iranian interference in Scottish politics shows Western media to be the true election meddlerToday, polling for the 2022 general election places him in much the same position – perhaps unsurprisingly, given that during his initial seven-year spell in office, Brazil’s economy became the world’s eighth-largest, more than 20 million were raised out of acute poverty, and annual economic growth reached up to seven percent. As Lava Jato is estimated to have damaged foreign investment to the tune of $33 billion and wiped out 4.4 million jobs, a great many Brazilians will be hoping Lula makes a triumphant return to the Palacio da Alvorada.

Seemingly undeterred by the operation’s unceremonious unravelling, at a June 3 White House press conference a nameless “senior administration official” revealed that “components of the intelligence community,” includingthe director of national intelligence and CIA, would be fundamental in “establishing the fight against corruption as a core US national security interest.”

“We’re just going to be looking at all of the tools in our disposal to make sure that we identify corruption where it’s happening and take appropriate policy responses,” the official said.  

It’s unclear whether an “appropriate policy response” will entail the covert selection and grooming of a fresh anti-corruption taskforce in another foreign country, although legal apparatchiks overseas would do well to think twice before accepting clandestine offers of fame and fortune in return for fitting up troublesome political figures for crimes they didn’t commit. The once-celebrated Moro is now utterly disgraced, and under investigation for seven separate counts of felony judicial bias. Still, the mainstream media seems oblivious, and that’s the main thing.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

US sanctions Nicaraguan President Ortega’s daughter and three others amid ‘country’s descent into tyranny’
worker | June 10, 2021 | 8:43 pm | Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua | No comments

https://www.rt.com/news/526137-us-sanctions-four-nicaraguans-ortega-daughter/

US sanctions Nicaraguan President Ortega’s daughter and three others amid ‘country’s descent into tyranny’

US sanctions Nicaraguan President Ortega’s daughter and three others amid 'country’s descent into tyranny’
The US has issued sanctions against the daughter of Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega after some of the Central American leader’s political opponents were arrested under a controversial new ‘treason’ law.

The US Treasury Department said in a statement on Wednesday it had blacklisted four people, including Camila Antonia Ortega Murillo, who heads Nicaragua’s Creative Economy Commission.

The president’s daughter is sanctioned for managing “family-run” TV station Canal 13, which “spreads state propaganda,” the Treasury said, accusing Ortega himself of using state funding and tax laws to “squeeze” independent, rival outlets.

The others blacklisted are the President of the Central Bank of Nicaragua Leonardo Ovidio Reyes Ramirez, lawmaker Edwin Ramon Castro Rivera, and army brigadier-general Julio Modesto Rodriguez Balladares, who also heads the country’s Military Social Welfare Institute.

“President Ortega’s actions are harming Nicaraguans and driving the country deeper into tyranny,” the Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea Gacki said in a statement.

ALSO ON RT.COMUS invokes bugaboo of Russian & Chinese ‘menace’ in ‘our backyard’ to justify imperial ambitions to control Western hemisphere“It’s clear the Ortega regime intends to continue its suppression of the Nicaraguan people,” she added.

The sanctions freeze any US-held assets of those listed in the Treasury notice.

Three of Ortega’s potential opponents in the November 7 elections have been detained in the last week – although the Treasury did not refer to the arrests explicitly.

Felix Maradiaga’s campaign announced on Tuesday he had been arrested and that he had admitted during questioning he had called for sanctions against Nicaraguan government officials during a trip to the US.

His detention came after that of Cristiana Chamorro and Arturo Cruz Sequeira, the former ambassador to the US, who was held under the new law passed in December aimed at traitors to the state.

The legislation bans candidates standing for election for a range of infractions, including if they “finance a coup…encourage foreign interference…champion the imposition of sanctions against Nicaragua or its citizens.”

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Liz Fowler is Back!  And She’s Writing U. S. Health Policy Again

Liz Fowler is Back!  And She’s Writing U. S. Health Policy Again

By Kay Tillow

Liz Fowler is back! For those who followed the battles of the health care reform of 2009-2010, no name rouses more controversy than that of Elizabeth “Liz” Fowler who, as Chief Health Counsel to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, played a critical role in the writing of the Affordable Care Act.

Fowler, former vice president of public policy and external affairs at Wellpoint, the giant health insurance company that later became Anthem, wrote the reform policy to protect the future and the profits of the industry from which she came. Thanks to her efforts, Anthem and other for-profit insurance companies prospered from Fowler’s ability to craft the Affordable Care Act to their liking. In 2020, Anthem reported over $4.5 billion in net income. Now Liz Fowler is back, writing U. S. health care policy in line with insurance company desires. President Biden appointed her to head up the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) within the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). She’s back to the top spot to direct the future of health care.

Back in 2009, the insurance industry and anti-single payer policy experts promoted CMMI and wrote it into the Affordable Care Act to promote cost cutting in Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP through value-based payment models. But CMMI’s work is based on the wrong-headed theory that U. S. healthcare is too expensive because of overuse. Value-based payment advocates claim that too many doctors and hospitals are giving too much care. CMMI wants to reverse the payment scheme and pay doctors and hospitals more for doing less. They contend they will be paying for quality or value rather than quantity. Their attempts to force doctors to fill out endless forms are stressing physicians, but they have yet to find a way to accurately measure value. CMMI is working from a false premise:  in the U.S., patients see their doctors an average of 4 times annually while in the U. K., France, Canada, Australia, Germany and Japan, patients see their physicians from 5 to over 12 times a year. In the U.S., Americans spend an average of .6 days per year in the hospital, whereas residents of other wealthy countries spend up to three times that number. So, if Americans are seeing their doctors less and spending fewer days in the hospital, why are we still spending more than wealthy countries on health care?

There is a battle raging over what must be done to cover everyone and rein in costs. Single payer, improved Medicare for All, advocates assert that the key is to remove profit-making insurance companies and hospitals from the system, slashing administrative waste to the point where savings can improve care for those who are covered and expand it to those who are uninsured. Costs will be stabilized and even reduced because the profitmaking mechanisms are the source of the high costs, not the overutilization of services. Single payer advocates point to the fact that the U.S. spends on health care about double, per capita, what other wealthy countries spend. Yet the US has, on average, worse outcomes. A plan to remove profit-making from the system is the only plan that would rein in costs. The CMMI, meanwhile, is constructed around insurance company magical thinking of health care reform: cut costs while giving less but better care.

Over the past decade, CMMI has experimented by setting up a number of alternate payment schemes designed to shift insurance risk onto hospitals and physicians. The results have not been good. Most of the CMMI experiments have been disappointing—either they don’t improve care, or they worsen care, or they don’t save money.  Only 4 models of over 48 experiments have been adopted. The conclusion should be that if we are to expand care and reduce costs, we should adopt a well-designed national single payer plan. But the Biden Administration has rejected that logical conclusion. Instead, the President has brought back Liz Fowler to find a way to make their pro-insurance company plan work. The voluntary experiments of the CMMI have not proven the quality gains and cost saving that the insurance industry and its loyal experts predicted. Thus, Liz Fowler to the rescue. Fowler and others have hinted that they’re looking to move from voluntary to mandatory experiments that will force greater risks onto physicians, other caregivers, and hospitals.

How much more of this nonsensical misery must the nation endure? A decade ago, Marcia Angell, MD, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, explained that in a for-profit insurance system, costs and care move in the same direction. To increase care, cover more people with better care, costs are increased as well. In a for-profit system, cutting costs also cuts care. To shift the dynamics and improve care while reining in costs, one must change to a single payer, not-for-profit system. She was right.

When Senator Max Baucus refused to allow single payer advocates to participate in the hearings on the Affordable Care Act, nurses, doctors, and others stood to speak. Baucus called the police and had them arrested. But their courage to act sparked a debate and planted a banner for single payer. It’s time to lift up that banner once again.

Originally published on Counterpunch.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/06/07/liz-fowler-is-back-and-shes-writing-us-health-policy-again/

Distributed by:

All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care

P. O. Box 17595

Louisville, KY 40217

nursenpo@aol.com

https://www.unionsforsinglepayer.org/

06/08/2021

Russia has no superpower ambitions & zero interest in being world’s ‘messiah’ or imposing its way of life abroad, Lavrov insists
worker | June 9, 2021 | 8:05 pm | Russia, Sergey Lavrov | No comments

https://www.rt.com/russia/526071-lavrov-superpower-ambitions-messiah/

Russia has no superpower ambitions & zero interest in being world’s ‘messiah’ or imposing its way of life abroad, Lavrov insists

Russia has no superpower ambitions & zero interest in being world's ‘messiah’ or imposing its way of life abroad, Lavrov insists
While Russia makes no secret of its colossal armed forces and influence across the globe, it is fundamentally uninterested in imposing its way of life on other nations and is keen to end the current stand-off with the West.

That’s according to the country’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, who told an international relations conference on Wednesday that Moscow “has no superpower ambitions, regardless of how much people try to convince themselves and everyone else otherwise.”

“We don’t have the messianic fervor with which our Western colleagues are trying to spread their ‘values-based democratic agenda’ throughout the planet,” he added. “It has long been clear to us that the imposition of a certain development model from the outside does nothing good.”

ALSO ON RT.COMRussia isn’t a ‘superpower’ because it doesn’t project ‘military power across the globe’ says former US president ObamaRussia, Lavrov argued, “does not have an inferiority complex” and is therefore not spoiling for a fight. He claimed Moscow’s foreign policy is based around its willingness “to help those who need it,” and said the country is interested in developing “pragmatic relations with the West and the US.”

However, he lamented, representatives of those nations are “not ready for honest dialogue,” which he said was undermining prospects for world diplomacy. “No sanctions or ultimatums can help talks with Russia,” the minister concluded.

In November last year, former US president Barack Obama made headlines for coming to the same conclusion. Writing in his autobiography, ‘A Promised Land,’ he claimed that, while Russia has “a nuclear arsenal second only to our own,” the country “wasn’t a superpower anymore,” as it “lacked the vast network of alliances and bases that allowed the United States to project its military power across the globe.”

ALSO ON RT.COMMoscow slams West’s ‘foreign interference’ as US & EU issue statements condemning jail sentence for opposition figure NavalnyAleksey Pushkov, former head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Russia’s parliament, hit out at the comments, arguing the suggestion that the country was any less powerful than the one Obama used to lead was proven to be false “by the development of events in Syria and Venezuela, where the United States did not achieve its goals.” He went on to add that “Obama wanted but failed to tear the Russian economy to shreds.”

While the Kremlin is frequently accused of shadowy interference in elections and political events in the West, Mosco’s diplomats have long professed a foreign policy doctrine defined by non-intervention. Reacting to condemnations from a number of governments over the sentencing of jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny in February, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova blasted those issuing reproaches, saying, “Don’t meddle in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. And we recommend that everyone deals with their own problems.”

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U.S. investigates disclosure of tax records on rich Americans
worker | June 9, 2021 | 8:00 pm | class struggle | No comments
https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-06-09/U-S-investigates-disclosure-of-tax-records-on-rich-Americans-10WBw1ha3o4/index.html
U.S. investigates disclosure of tax records on rich Americans
CGTN

Signage at the headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 10, 2021. /Reuters

The U.S. Treasury Department has asked law enforcement authorities to investigate the disclosure of tax records cited in a media report that showed that some of America’s richest people paid little to no income taxes, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

U.S. media outlet ProPublica said it obtained “a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years.” The data indicated that billionaires including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Tesla founder Elon Musk paid no federal income taxes during some years.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that “any unauthorized disclosure of confidential government information” is illegal.

Treasury Department spokeswoman Lily Adams said in an emailed statement that the matter has been referred to the FBI, federal prosecutors and two internal Treasury Department watchdogs, “all of whom have independent authority to investigate.”

The IRS, part of the Treasury Department, is the nation’s tax-collecting agency and many tax records are considered confidential documents. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig also confirmed that an investigation is underway.

“Obviously we take it very seriously,” Psaki told a briefing.

ProPublica described the records as “confidential” and did not disclose how it obtained them.

President Joe Biden has sought tax increases on the wealthy to help fund proposed spending on infrastructure and social programs, including raising the top tax rate to 39.6 percent from the current 37 percent and nearly doubling the capital gains tax rate to 39.6 percent for Americans earning $1 million annually or more.

“We know that there is more to be done to ensure that corporations (and) individuals who are at the highest income are paying more of their fair share,” Psaki said.

Rettig addressed the matter during testimony to the Senate Finance Committee.

“I can’t speak to anything with respect to specific taxpayers. I can confirm that there is an investigation, with respect to the allegations that the source of the information in that article came from the Internal Revenue Service,” Rettig said.

Source(s): Reuters
Glory to Ukraine Zeros!
worker | June 8, 2021 | 7:58 pm | Fascist terrorism, Ukraine | No comments

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/202106071083092154-glory-to-ukraine-zeros/

COLUMNISTS

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The clowns in the Western-backed Kiev regime excel at least at one thing. Political slapstick. Every time President Volodymyr Zelensky – a former TV comedian – and his regime make an announcement it’s like watching clowns slapping cream cakes into their own faces.

The latest gaffe is the unveiling of Ukraine’s national football kit for the UEFA European Championship, which is emblazoned with a Nazi-era slogan: “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to Heroes!”

The soccer tournament kicks off this week and lasts for a month drawing in global TV audiences who will no doubt be given something to think about regarding Ukraine’s dark and dirty past as a Nazi accomplice. And that past is very much alive in the present as demonstrated by the new football kit and its “Glory to Heroes” slogan. How the Western supporters of the Kiev regime must be cringing.

This was the rallying call of the Ukrainian paramilitaries led by Stepan Bandera who collaborated with the Nazi SS during to the Second World War to exterminate millions of their compatriots as well as Russian people.

The slogan was revived by the Neo-Nazi militants who seized power in Kiev in 2014 after a violent coup d’état against an elected president who had maintained friendly relations with Russia. The coup was crucially backed by the United States and European Union. Indeed, the CIA is implicated in the false-flag sniper shootings against scores of protesters and police officers in Maidan Square on February 20, 2014, which were blamed on the incumbent government, and the event as falsely reported by Western media was pivotal in overthrowing the existing authorities.

 

Thus the Western powers, who constantly proclaim to uphold democracy and rule of law, helped bring back fascism to the European continent through their support for the Kiev regime.

And no wonder the ethnic Russian people of Crimea subsequently voted to secede and join the Russian Federation in the weeks after the coup that brought Banderites to power. Crimean people suffered terribly under the Nazis and their Ukrainian death squads. The same goes for the people of Ukraine’s southeast Donbas region around Donetsk and Luhansk who have refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Kiev imposters and have established their own autonomous republics. The breakaway republics are constantly shelled by Kiev’s military in violation of a supposed ceasefire.

Western governments turn reality on its head and accuse Moscow of “annexing” Crimea – an ancient part of Russia that voted democratically in a referendum to join the Russian Federation. The West also accuses Russia of covertly invading and destabilizing Ukraine when it is Washington that has supplied the Kiev regime with over $2 billion in arms since 2014 and NATO troops are actively collaborating on the ground with Ukrainian forces in their offensive against the people of Donbas.

The Western media have assiduously avoided reporting on the stark reality of Neo-Nazi ideology popular among Kiev’s politicians and its various military formations. The Azov Battalion is openly a modern-day reincarnation of the Ukrainian fascists who glory in Nazi past crimes. But Western media never report on these sordid links of a regime supported by the United States, the EU and NATO.

However, embarrassingly for the Western patrons, the Kiev clowns just put their faces into foam cake by unveiling a football kit that makes the Nazi legacy explicit to a global audience.

This is just the latest example of how the bozos in Kiev can’t help falling over themselves with their own stupid logic and arrogance.

Take another: the reason why Kiev says the Nord Stream 2 project should be stopped. This is the pipeline under the Baltic Sea supplying natural gas from Russia directly to Germany, thereby reducing the dependence on Ukraine as a transit route for the fuel.

A road sign directs traffic towards the Nord Stream 2 gas line landfall facility entrance in Lubmin, north eastern Germany, on September 7, 2020.
© AFP 2021 / ODD ANDERSEN
A road sign directs traffic towards the Nord Stream 2 gas line landfall facility entrance in Lubmin, north eastern Germany, on September 7, 2020.

President Zelensky made the absurd remark recently with a straight face that reduced transit fees paid by Russia would prevent the Kiev regime from maintaining its armed forces. The intended implication being that Ukraine would be under-defended against alleged “Russian aggression”.

It doesn’t get more ludicrous than that. The Kiev regime that the West installed in 2014 has done everything to impede the regular flow of gas from Russia to Europe. That’s because of its monopolistic position of having pipelines across its territory to Europe and also because of its anti-Russian hostile ideology. Now that Russia has legitimately reduced its dependence on the Ukrainian land route by opening up the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the Kiev regime is complaining about losing out on billions of dollars worth of transit fees.

And then, twisting the cream cake on his face, Zelensky is further claiming that the financial loss will curtail spending on Ukraine’s army and Neo-Nazi paramilitaries who are relentlessly shelling the Donbas region and thwarting any possibility of finding a peaceful settlement to the seven-year civil war.

Kiev’s comedian-turned-president wants Russian money to fund aggression against ethnic Russian people, and to continue a conflict that is endangering peace in Europe.

Who needs smart Russian “propaganda”, when the West and its circus troupe is so self-indicting?

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

German Ambassador Says US Sanctions Against Nord Stream 2 Contradict International Law
worker | June 7, 2021 | 8:14 pm | Germany, Imperialism, Russia | No comments

https://sputniknews.com/world/202106051083078721-german-ambassador-says-us-sanctions-against-nord-stream-2-contradict-international-law/

WORLD

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The first leg of the pipeline was completed on Friday, Russian President Putin said, as the project was able to overcome pressure from Washington.

German Ambassador to Russia Geza Andreas von Geyr on Saturday stated that Berlin won’t change its stance on Nord Stream 2, also stressing that sanctions against the pipeline, introduced by Washington, contradict international law.

“At the moment, important negotiations between the American and German governments are ongoing, which include the topic of Nord Stream 2, but our stance on the matter is clear, and it will not change: we are convinced that the energy security of Europe, as well as European energy policy should be determined by Europeans only, and not by foreigners”, the ambassador said on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

In this handout photo released by the press-service of Eugal, a view shows the Eugal pipeline, in Germany. The Eugal pipeline, which will receive gas from Nord Stream 2 in the future, has reached full pumping capacity, and the second line of the pipeline has been introduced. European gas pipeline link (EUGAL) is a 480km-long natural gas transport network being developed in order to strengthen the supply of natural gas to Germany and Europe.
© SPUTNIK / ПРЕСС-СЛУЖБА EUGAL
In this handout photo released by the press-service of Eugal, a view shows the Eugal pipeline, in Germany. The Eugal pipeline, which will receive gas from Nord Stream 2 in the future, has reached full pumping capacity, and the second line of the pipeline has been introduced. European gas pipeline link (EUGAL) is a 480km-long natural gas transport network being developed in order to strengthen the supply of natural gas to Germany and Europe.

When asked about US-backed sanctions targeting the pipeline, the diplomat noted that those restrictions were against international rules.

“As for the sanctions, our position is that such an instrument – extraterritorial sanctions – is not applicable, as it goes against international law”, he explained.

The United States has been opposed to the project from the very beginning, claiming the pipeline poses a danger to European security, and subsequently imposing sanctions against the companies involved in its construction, despite repeated protests from Russia, Germany, and other European countries.

The Russian pipe layer vessel Akademik Cherskiy is pictured in the waters of Kaliningrad, Russia. Pipe-laying vessel Akademik Chersky is able to complete the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline
© SPUTNIK / MIKHAIL GOLENKOV
The Russian pipe layer vessel “Akademik Cherskiy” is pictured in the waters of Kaliningrad, Russia. Pipe-laying vessel Akademik Chersky is able to complete the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

In May, Washington blacklisted 13 Russian vessels and three Russian firms involved in the implementation of Nord Stream 2 – after previous sanctions prompted Swiss pipelaying company Allseas to withdraw from the endeavour, causing a delay in pipelaying work.

The 745-mile-long Nord Stream 2 twin pipeline will carry up to 1.9 trillion cubic feet of gas per year from Russia directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea, passing through Danish, Finish, and Swedish waters. At the moment, the project is nearing its final stage, with over 95 percent of it already having been completed.