Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 06, 2019

State Department 'Swagger' Means Offering Bribes

U.S. Secretary of State "we lie, we cheat, we steal" Mike Pompeo said that U.S. diplomats must have "swagger". This is what he meant:

Four days before the US imposed sanctions on an Iranian tanker suspected of shipping oil to Syria, the vessel’s Indian captain received an unusual email from the top Iran official at the Department of State.

This is Brian Hook . . . I work for secretary of state Mike Pompeo and serve as the US Representative for Iran,” Mr Hook wrote to Akhilesh Kumar on August 26, according to several emails seen by the Financial Times. “I am writing with good news.”

The “good news” was that the Trump administration was offering Mr Kumar several million dollars to pilot the ship — until recently known as the Grace 1 — to a country that would impound the vessel on behalf of the US. To make sure Mr Kumar did not mistake the email for a scam, it included an official state department phone number.


bigger

As the captain did not agree to be bribed the U.S. sanctioned him. The ship now sits off the Syrian coast and is unloading its 2 million barrels of oil. That will be enough for three month of Syria's consumption.

Farsnews notes that this was not the first time the U.S. tried to bribe and pressure tanker captains:

Hook, who heads the state department’s Iran Action Group, has emailed or texted roughly a dozen captains in recent months in an effort to scare mariners into understanding that helping Iran evade sanctions comes at a heavy price.

No one fell for it. The Iranian ship captains are obviously patriots who do not take bribes from the enemies of their country.

Brian Hook has a really lousy job and zero success in it.

Posted by b on September 6, 2019 at 18:25 UTC | Permalink

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There's serious brain drain in the US government and it's alphabet agency if they think this is good enough of an effort for subversion.

Posted by: HW | Sep 6 2019 18:39 utc | 1


"Brian Hook has a really lousy job and zero success in it."

:-D

Priceless!
Thanks b. Where else do I get such succinct captions with a good laugh at the end?

Brave captain! God bless you.

Posted by: Cemi | Sep 6 2019 18:42 utc | 2

"The Iranian ship captains are obviously patriots..."

I'm sure they are, but this guy is Indian. So, perhaps the main reason is professional integrity. Or something.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Sep 6 2019 18:46 utc | 3

Brian Hook = Captain hook..Pirate

Posted by: brian | Sep 6 2019 18:46 utc | 4

That sounds like a really lazy phising email. Maybe the state department should consider hiring some members of the Nigerian nobility to write the emails.

Posted by: rundown | Sep 6 2019 18:47 utc | 5

Yes the captain is Indian and this has nothing to do with patriotism. I'm sure most captains are loyal professionals and would fear never getting another job if they take the bribe. Not to mention a captain himself cannot singlehandedly pilot a ship to a totally different destination. This is just another sign of the crumbling empire, they can't even figure out that a ship requires dozens of crew to take it anywhere and most captains live their jobs. What a sad state the US is. It's getting embarrasing

Posted by: Comandante | Sep 6 2019 18:50 utc | 6

Brian Hook sounds like a graduate of Trump University, specializing in Iranian studies, that used the McCain madrassas fundamentals of “bomb, bomb Iran”. If the situation were reversed and Iran had bribed an US ship to go to Iran of course the US would consider that an act of war and the media would not stop in their condemnation of such a backward society to do such a thing.

Posted by: Stever | Sep 6 2019 18:54 utc | 7

On unrelated-but-related news:

It seems my theory that the 1C2S is indeed taken seriously by Beijing and that Carrie Lam is a representant of the Hongkonger capitalist elite, and not simply a "puppet of Bejing" was proven true.

Fitch has just downgraded HK's rate. It published a press release explaining its decision:

The downgrade of Hong Kong's IDRs and the Negative Outlooks reflect the following key rating drivers:

Months of persistent conflict and violence are testing the perimeters and pliability of the "one country, two systems" framework that governs Hong Kong's relationship with the mainland, underscored by mainland officials taking a more public stance on Hong Kong affairs than at any time since the 1997 handover. Fitch expects the "one country, two systems" framework to remain intact, but the gradual rise in Hong Kong's economic, financial, and socio-political linkages with the mainland implies its continued integration into China's national governance system, which will present greater institutional and regulatory challenges over time. In Fitch's view, these developments are consistent with a narrowing of the sovereign rating differential between Hong Kong and mainland China (A+/Stable).

Ongoing events have also inflicted long-lasting damage to international perceptions of the quality and effectiveness of Hong Kong's governance system and rule of law, and have called into question the stability and dynamism of its business environment. These features are integral to Fitch's assessment of the territory's creditworthiness, and while still strong in a global context, are at risk of being further eroded as a result of enduring social strife.

Right after its publication, Carrie Lam publicly disagreed with Fitch's decision; some hours later, the HK police begun to use rubber bullets against protesters in Mong Kok. The Western MSM -- which, until yesterday, was reporting every tear gas can used by the HK police in their home pages -- is now mute on today's confrontations.

There's another factor explaining the West's sudden sobriety on HK. Today, a group of protesters published online a new list of demands to be asked in a manifestation to be held in front of the American Consulate General in Hong Kong.

They plan to "hold US national flags, English banners and photos of prominent Congress members, and sing the US anthem". But their reivindications are bizarre:

They said the US should cancel its special status for Hong Kong and freeze the US assets of Hong Kong and Chinese officials and politicians who threaten the city’s autonomy and human rights. Netizens also urged the US to ask Beijing to allow Hong Kong to have genuine democratic rights.

No wonder the Western MSM no longer supports the protesters in HK. Even those idiots from the SCMP are now, all of a sudden, protectors of order and progress.

Posted by: vk | Sep 6 2019 19:03 utc | 8

Uncle Bob knew how to tell these bastards where to stick it. RIP Uncle Bob

Posted by: Maximus | Sep 6 2019 19:06 utc | 9

Once again the USA has distinguished itself from the Americans it governs. Most Americans would not think of bribing.. anyone... The American soul and its understanding of basic democracy and freedom has always been about integrity, honesty, helping each other and full disclosure

Posted by: snake | Sep 6 2019 19:14 utc | 10

If I wasn't aware of B.'s dislike for snappy one-liners, I would snark that Brian Hook's surname was almost certainly shortened from "Hookworm".

Posted by: Ort | Sep 6 2019 19:26 utc | 11

LOL

Trump couldn't buy Greenland either. Or pay Maduro to leave.

#winning

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 6 2019 19:34 utc | 12

Sounds like a new version of the Nigerian "Prince" 409 scam.
Brian Hook would then request the ship's captain to send bank details for the transfer.

I think the Captain's motivation would be either or both:
1) to give a FU to the ZIO-USA
2) they want to captain another ship, besides a toxic waste/refugee ship.

Posted by: eyegore | Sep 6 2019 19:37 utc | 13

Those Mafia methods are a pattern.
Poor captains, between stuck between a rock and a hard place. I would not want to switch places with them. Both sides have much at stake, and Iran too would likely not look too kindly on them if they sell out to the US threats.
Some may be patriots, but AFAIK this captain was Indian nationality. Plus the few days where the tanker seemed to move inconclusive may have been days where the capatin actually was thinking which side could fuck him more.
He chose Iran, and rightly so. Iran had much more to loose then the US, for which this is a game with 1000 options.
I dont follow the US judgement of the IRGC as terrorist, but they aint the people you wanna fuck with. They would be forced to "act", and make an exempel out of every captain that betrays them. One way or another.
Which the US sure knows, and still has no qualms to put them into that position, and even speak of "good news".
Geopolitics have no empathy. They never had, but it still seems to get to a whole new level.
Now that Syria has got its oil, we will see what the next days and weeks bring for the other Iranian tankers.

PS: Again, when i pointed out that the oil may indeed have been for Syria, i was attacked as a NATO shill. That turned out well.. ;)
PPS: Good Syria finally got a much needed oil shipment. This crisis has been going on for so damn long, and only Iran truly helped, while Putin seemed to use the crisis to pressure Assad. So salute again to Iran for their support in this fucked up times for the Syrian state. It will make Assad only more loyal and integral for iran, even though every other player wants them out of Syria.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Sep 6 2019 19:39 utc | 14

"The ship now sits off the Syrian coast and unloads its 2 million barrels of oil. That will be enough for three month of Syria's consumption."

bravo!

congratulations to the Iranian republic for its friendship with its arab-moslem neighbors, its steadfastness and cleverness in getting that tanker of oil to Syria, and its overall strategic vision - a true ally. Well done, Iran.


Posted by: michaelj72 | Sep 6 2019 19:43 utc | 15

More confirmation of the criminal nature of the US government.
As is this article from-of all places!-The Guardian which was once a newspaper.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/sep/06/from-mind-control-to-murder-how-a-deadly-fall-revealed-the-cias-darkest-secrets

Posted by: bevin | Sep 6 2019 19:48 utc | 16

When you are a zero, no room left to fall lower. Another government parasite sucking on the host.

..." They are hopeful that the State Department will get its swagger back, that we will be out doing the things that they came onboard at the State Department to do: to be professional, to deliver diplomacy, American diplomacy around the world."...

From the fat zero himself Pompeo. LOL.

https://66.media.tumblr.com/67f5b3d569b2c4bdfab1837db3cd0008/tumblr_o1hb0vTwqp1tmr305o1_500.gif

Posted by: Taffyboy | Sep 6 2019 19:57 utc | 17

One of the consequences of the Outlaw US Empire's gross illegalities is the erosion of Contract Law, which underpins the article vk supplied and has everything to do with the "loyalty" of ship's captains. As some may know, Contract Law arose 5-6,000 years ago as Hudson points out in his histories of debt and nascent political-economies, and a system slowly evolved into what is known as The Rule of Law, which also forms the basis for International Law. As most barflies are aware, since the fall of the USSR, the Outlaw US Empire embarked on a Crusade to replace the Rule of Law with what's called a "rules based system" subject to change upon the whim of its sole interpreter, judge and jury: the Outlaw US Empire--Justice Red Queen-style as many writers on the topic note. Thus evidence-free assertions are used as justifications for the implementation of unilateral--and illegal under the Rule of Law--sanctions against individuals, companies, and nations. To the world's great misfortune, very few nations have stood up and objected to this usurpation of a painstakingly compiled, long enduring, and agreed upon system of jurisprudence--in particular the EU collective of nations where the Rule of Law was mostly compiled. As I've previously written, the Outlaw US Empire embarked on its Crusade to ensure it could continue to act unilaterally in violation of its own and international law, the unstated goal being to undermine the UNSC and UN Charter without going through the process of withdrawing from its own creations.

Clearly, the Outlaw US Empire ought to be hit with UNSC sanctions that include the potential for Article 7 action. Unfortunately, we see the reason why it won't withdraw from that institution as it can be used as a tool to protect itself via its veto power--and the ultimate irony of an Outlaw nation using the Rule of Law to protect itself. That reality thus poses the following question to all the world's nations: How to discipline the Outlaw US Empire and get it to change its unlawful behavior? Several frontline nations have shown one way--ignore the illegal sanctions and continually confront/call out its illegal behavior. However, although they constitute a significant proportion of humanity, the combined weight of those nations hasn't been enough; so, clearly it's become incumbent upon the rest of the world's nations to join in and collectively sanction the Outlaw US Empire as that's the only language it seems capable of understanding.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 6 2019 19:57 utc | 18

In any other line of work this would be called a bribe and its designation would be a criminal offense. Imagine such behavior in political life? The USA has a mindset based on money. The Almighty Dollar is the be all and end all of its Neo-liberal capitalist hegemony on the world stage. Its military engages in it all the time as it expands its footprint across the globe. Energy primarily oil has been hijacked by empire through which it controls other economies and other populations using criminal illegal methods across the board. It's an Empire that cannot win as more and more multi-cultural countries are showing determined and concentrated resistance to becoming subject States under the sole super power and its servile vassal States. It's a big world and honor and principles are at stake.

The Capitalist crime bosses are going to have to face reality and that they too are regarded as terrorists for promoting and sponsoring covert operatives and mercenary armies to create murder and mayhem among foreign populations. Those under the hammer are well aware that the battle lines are drawn and that they are fighting for their lives and those of their families and neighbors. A rage is building up in various regions as a result of illegality and hypocrisy that will rebound on the oppressors in unimaginable ways. Human beings realize that their fight for freedom from bullying oppression, austerity and imposed structural poverty is reaching maturity in this globalized world.

Let nobody underestimate the potential for violence to spiral out of all control. The sheer and utter madness of sociopath elites in the western world has been manufacturing a momentum that is approaching an insanely blind establishment bent on global war. And war is the worst outcome for all living things everywhere! Have we reached the criminal tipping point of no return?

Posted by: Lbanu | Sep 6 2019 20:05 utc | 19

Taffyboy
Don't you believe it, Uncle Scam has a history of starting at the bottom and working down.

Posted by: winston2 | Sep 6 2019 20:38 utc | 20

I just went to the Syrian Perspective site and got a page that said that the site's domain had expired as of August 28, and that it was awaiting either renewal or cancellation.

I know that Ziad had peen posting relatively rarely of late, but I hope he hasn't thrown in the towel and quit. I know Canthema who contributed top-quality stuff to the site drops by here on occasion; does he or anyone else know what is going on? I hope the site isn't gone for good as it was the go-to place to keep current on Syria.

Thanx, Antoinetta III

Posted by: Antoinetta III | Sep 6 2019 20:43 utc | 21

Thank you b for exposing the abysmal ignorance and criminality of Admiral Pompeo and Captain Hook. No doubt they will find refuge in the Caribean when time comes.

The USA continuous assault on the rule of law has been progressing well for the past few centuries and still has a few friends left to back it up.

Thanks to vk for thr OT update on that island in China.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 6 2019 20:45 utc | 22

This has Trump's hallmark on it. This is exactly what he did with his filandering adventures with pornstars. Since he, and nearly everyone in DC, is for sale they think everyone in the world is the same.
The writing style is just sad! It's no wonder why it's a weekly sanction/tarriff/threat of war because the US diplomats clearly have no persuasive writing skills.

Posted by: Sorghum | Sep 6 2019 20:55 utc | 23

B omitted to say that the US bribe came 11 days after the Grace 1 / Adrian Darya tanker was allowed to continue its journey by a Gibraltar court. Perhaps by this time, the ship was well on its way through the Mediterranean. So the question arises, where the ship was expected to sail to, to be impounded if the captain had accepted the bribe. I am guessing that country would be Cyprus where there is a British military base and which would have rewuired no major change in the ship's route until the last leg of the journey. The captain could dock the tanker at the base, disembark and go AWOL with the crew not suspecting a thing.

For all the CIA's much vaunted sophistication in conducting mind control and manipulation experiments in order to come up with devious methods of torture and managing crowds in regime-change operations,it seems the agency doesn't share its knowledge with other US government agencies like Foggy Bottom (US State Dept) which resorts to crude old-fashioned bribery and blackmail in a series of emails that even phishing hackers would consider unbecoming. Can't say that I would reproach the CIA or any other of the 17 spook agencies for not sharing info with a dept helmed by such repugnant reptiles as Pompeo and predecessors like Kerry and Nuland.

Foggy Bottom, well named (the area where the dept HQ is located was originally a swamp)
.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 6 2019 21:05 utc | 24

Doesn’t this come on the heels of Hook and the State Department offering $15 million to anyone who helps disrupt the finances of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and Quds force?
https://mobile.twitter.com/ml_maria_/status/1169510231455543296

The arrogant US rulers believe they can throw money at anyone or anything and someone will answer. It’s as if they are trying to prove the thesis of Terry Southern’s classic satire “The Magic Christian” (later made into a movie with Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr).

Everyone has their price, if you live in a world where integrity has no meaning and everything is for sale.

Posted by: Valtin | Sep 6 2019 21:12 utc | 25

Ship enters port and begins offloading cargo.
Captain checks email.
Doh

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Sep 6 2019 21:21 utc | 26

Maybe Israel or Saudi-Arabia will offer pilots money to fly into buildings in the US to blame it on Iran.

Maybe the Democrats will offer money to domestic terrorists to blame it on Trump, Russia, China, North-Korea, Iran, Hezbollah or Venezuela.

Maybe the Republicans will offer money to Monica Lewinsky to testify that she met Bill Clinton on the Lolita Express with Epstein while she was only fourteen.

Maybe the rest of the world could unite for a change and arm the "moderate opposition" in the US to Make America Mind It's Own Business Again.

Posted by: Symen Danziger | Sep 6 2019 21:21 utc | 27

Does anyone have credible verification of the story that Iran and China have agreed to terms on a long term agreement for oil exports and development? Zerohedge had the article but I had never heard of the publication or website they were quoting from. It makes sense, but given China won't break US sanctions on Venezeuala, I am pretty skeptical.

Posted by: Schmoe | Sep 6 2019 21:48 utc | 28

@karlof1 | Sep 6 2019 19:57 utc | 18

You write "rules based system", but the phrase that these crooks actually use is: "rules based order".

There is no system, just orders. Or if there is a system to it it would be something akin to "we just make up the rules as we go in order to get away with this".

Posted by: Lurk | Sep 6 2019 21:49 utc | 29

@Jen | Sep 6 2019 21:05 utc | 24

(About State Department officials supposedly not getting their fair share of CIA sophistication and manipulation)

Nota bene that Mike Pompeo was head of the CIA before being made head of the State Department.

What conclusions to infer from that factual tidbit in light of your considerations.. I dunno. Is it puzzling or is it baffling?

It must be quite a cringeworthy job to work for these people. If Dante were to be alive and writing today, he'd have a special ring of hell dedicated to it.

Posted by: Lurk | Sep 6 2019 21:57 utc | 30

Symen Danziger @27--

Lovely wit! Unfortunately, America has never minded its own business.

In his trilogy USA, John Dos Passos put forth the idea that everyone in the USA was on the make, an assertion that made me stop reading to ponder awhile since I'd recently watched the movie The Sting, wherein a mass brethren of con artists work a scam on a fellow criminal that was released while the Watergate Hearings were high drama forcing Nixon to declare he wasn't a crook; and had just finished reading All the President's Men less than a year after finishing high school. It seemed that instead of being on the make, those in or aspiring to power were on the take. 45 years later the situation has worsened to the point where the criminals are in change of the asylum while the would-be cops cower in the shadows. In the past the answer citizens deployed was vigilantism. Today, that needs to be done on a global scale if peace, security and the Rule of Law is going to prevail.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 6 2019 22:03 utc | 32

Lurk @29--

Thanks very much for your corrective reply! I knew the phrasing wasn't correct, tried to recall it, couldn't, but continued writing to fill out the narrative. The difference shouldn't alter the main points, however.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 6 2019 22:10 utc | 33

Hook is a political appointee, not a career Foreign Service Officer.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Sep 6 2019 22:11 utc | 34

What would maritime laws, international law, law of the sea, etc. say about something like this? Not regarding the State Department's actions, since they don't care. But regarding the actions of a captain who accepted said offer. Would doing so make him her guilty of some serious crime such as hijacking or piracy on the high seas or something? Does the state department offer include US entry Visa, being placed in a witness (or in this case criminal) protection plane?

Perhaps the offer should be revised to include such things. For the captain, crew and their families. Which could get pretty expensive.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 6 2019 22:21 utc | 35

While I regularly read these posts as part of my weekly news trawl—because they are very well researched—I have refrained for years from commenting. But I do have one small issue and it may be pedantic, but can you edit your text before posting it? The power of a point or argument is, for me at least, made less potent when you write 'caption' for 'captain' or "three month consumption" instead of "three months' consumption". And I don't mind the odd slip, but there are grammatical or editorial glitches in every post. Though it may seem insignificant to some, as an academic who spends quite some time editing written work I can say that it can make all the difference to an audience. The fact that I don't click away is proof that the posts are excellent; a little proof-reading would seal the deal.

Posted by: Patroklos | Sep 6 2019 22:22 utc | 36

Schmoe 28

karlof1 posted link to a piece in Petroleum Economist a few days ago. May be something in it.
https://www.petroleum-economist.com/articles/politics-economics/middle-east/2019/china-and-iran-flesh-out-strategic-partnership

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 6 2019 22:25 utc | 37

Taffyboy @17--

There's a series of items with the title Less Than Zero. They begin with a song title from Elvis Costello's 1977 debut album in an attempt to condemn British Union of Fascists leader Oswald Mosley. That's followed by the novel title of author Bret Easton Ellis's first published work in 1985, which was then followed in 1987 by a film upon which it was based. The point being there are instances where one can descend to a point beyond zero to a nadir few would ever desire.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 6 2019 22:26 utc | 38

it appears that there's another Iranian oil tanker in that area, the Savior.

what first struck me about this was that the reported port of that tanker Savior was to be Egypt - but it's Egypt, like a good US lackey, that prevented the Grace I from going through the Suez Canal... I asked myself, why would Iran trade with Egypt under those conditions?

so perhaps that tanker as well is headed to unload in Syrian waters

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/iranian-tanker-previously-detained-in-gibraltar-allegedly-offloads-oil-in-syria/


"....Another Iranian ship named the SAVIOR was also tracked off the coast of Syria before it turned off its GPS. The vessel’s destination was supposed to be Port Said in Egypt."

Posted by: michaelj72 | Sep 6 2019 22:47 utc | 39

Peter AU1, Barbara Ann

Posted by: Schmoe | Sep 6 2019 22:54 utc | 40

Peter AU 1, Barbara Ann

Thanks. I did see the Petroleum Economist as the source, but does anyone know their credibility? A story of this magnitude should generate threats of fire and brimstone from Bolton. So far, crickets.

Posted by: Schmoe | Sep 6 2019 22:57 utc | 41

The ship captain wasn’t Iranian. Kumar is not an Iranian surname. Ship captain and staff of oil tankers are not always the same ethnicity of the country from which the oil originated from.

Posted by: Ninel | Sep 6 2019 23:01 utc | 42

Does the publishing of the bribe offer by the Financial Times mark the beginning of the world finally laughing at the emperor's lack of clothing? I saw Putin's trolling was picked up and published widely thanks to Reuters, including my local newspaper! Bolton's sidelining is openly reported. Zarif gets more press since his sanctioning. Macron tries to do an overt deal with Iran and gets nixed by Trump despite its being in line with France's obligations. The Houthis suddenly have a vast inventory of drones and missiles followed by Saudi accusations of UAE allowing Iran to deliver them. Do these and many other assorted hints mark a shift, that the adults have finally awakened to the meaning of the boy's observation? It's now Happy Hour on Friday where I'm at, so I'll by the bar a virtual round! Cheers!

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 6 2019 23:02 utc | 43

Schmoe @41--

If you'd gone to the publication's main page, scrolled down to page bottom where most informational links are placed nowadays and clicked on About Us, you would have discovered the publication is very well known, has existed since 1934 and is owned by an even bigger organization.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 6 2019 23:10 utc | 44

>>>>> michaelj72 | Sep 6 2019 22:47 utc | 39

....but it's Egypt, like a good US lackey, that prevented the Grace I from going through the Suez Canal...

According to this report it's either the Saudis who stopped it going through the canal or the Iranian themselves because they sent fuel oil rather than crude oil.

So, why did Grace 1 take the long route to reach Syria?

Usually, supertankers do pass through the Suez but they are never more than 20 meters submerged. If a tanker is heavier, it can offload some of its cargo before entering the canal, which is then pumped to the other side of the canal. However, Saudi Arabia is part owner of that pipeline and would not allow Iranian oil going to Syria to benefit from the facility.

According to TankerTrackers, Grace 1 was submerged more than 20 meters in water due to its heavy load. The capacity of the tanker is 2 million barrels of crude oil, which is lighter than fuel oil. Apparently, the additional weight, which submerged the vessel beyond 20 meters, was due to its cargo of fuel oil.

The other possibility, besides Saudi objections, is that the Egyptian pipeline bypassing Suez is not used for heavy fuel. It can carry light or semi-light crude.

The heavier fuel possibly carried by Grace 1 is used for ships or electricity power stations.

BTW, I thought the Iranians had assured the court in Gibraltar that the oil wasn't destined for Syria in order to get the ship released. As there have been no complaints from Whitehall, one must assume that the British Government has stopped caring.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Sep 6 2019 23:35 utc | 45

Schmoe
Best thing is to check through other articles at the site. I have found that in general these sites try to report what is happening in the oil industry rather than print propaganda or fiction.

The other thing that makes me thinkit likely is that oil and gas is China's achilles heel. Virtually all its oil and gas is imported and much can be cut off at source by the US. Too many sources for China to try and defend. Iran is a hard nut for the US to crack, and with a little assistance and tech from Russia and China would be impregnable to US attack.
I believe Trump had some think bigly - Kissinger type visions of controlling Persian Gulf oil, which would then give the US control of Asia and Europe, but Trump, Pomp and Bolton are not the people to pull it off.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 6 2019 23:39 utc | 46

@ Patrouklos 36


Before you mouth off, let your fingers and eyes do some walking. b's first language is what?
Is Moon of Alabama Americain (fr)?

I have read medical texts - published research - in medical journals with typos. Oh, and not insignificant.

Should we create an Editor's Chair at the bar?

A helpful suggestion:

"The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook" - William James

Posted by: Likklemore | Sep 6 2019 23:43 utc | 47

@ karlof1 | Sep 6 2019 19:57 utc | 18

Brilliant – and succinct!

I have friends who won't read anything longer than the ingredient list on a can of coffee, but this at least they should be able to get through and grasp all the essentials – and they certainly are essential!

Posted by: AntiSpin | Sep 7 2019 0:04 utc | 48

All, thanks for the responses re: Iran/China article and I feel better but am still perplexed by the lack of response from Bolton & Co.. Given how much China spends on oil I have been pretty surprised that they are not importing more Iranian oil in an effort to drive the price down, especially since they are allegedly running low on dollars and Iran would take any currency.
Here is an interesting article on the difficulties in sanctioning Iran's petroleum product exports into oblivion Iran Oil Product Exports Booming

Posted by: Schmoe | Sep 7 2019 0:13 utc | 49

I believe I have read that the rail line associated with the Belt and Road Initiative has been extended to Tehran. Can sufficient quantities of Iranian oil be transported to China by rail?

Posted by: lysias | Sep 7 2019 0:16 utc | 50

Bribe is a legitimate war tactic. Many sieges in Antiquity were decided by bribes (get an informant to broker the transaction with a guard to open the gates from within at night). In the wider context, alliances were made and wars were won before they begun thanks to bribing. This was specially truth in Antiquity, were the concepts of patriotism or race (ethnicity) didn't exist, so loyalty essentially depended on immediate material rewarding.

In Latin America -- where a sense of patriotism doesn't exist because they were essentially colonies that became countries --, the comprador elite essentially survives through bribing from the Americans (with a guarantee of comfortable retirement in Miami).

Posted by: vk | Sep 7 2019 0:21 utc | 51

Might have worked if they offered the bribe to the crew..

Posted by: John R | Sep 7 2019 0:48 utc | 52

HW @1:

IMHO, that's a good thing.

Posted by: Ian | Sep 7 2019 1:28 utc | 53

the warmonger nation doing warmonger acts 24/7... dumbocracy sure has slid a long ways down into the gutter with bribes being the new go to approach... the usa is an embarrassment to the world at this point... pompass can go suck on some pampas grass.. he isn't much good for anything else..

Posted by: james | Sep 7 2019 1:36 utc | 54

Hey captain Kumar,
I am an Nigerian price who because of some unfortunate circumstances cannot travel outside my country. I have been falsely accused of bribery, extortion, and a little bit of high sea piracy.
Someone recommended you as a truly nice guy who would always help people in need.
I managed to smuggle out two million dollars to Gibraltar, and need someone to pick it up or they will be sent back to Nigeria. I know it's a short notice, but if you sail with your tanker full speed, you gonna make it.
Thank you from my heart!

Posted by: Choderlos de Laclos | Sep 7 2019 1:46 utc | 55

This admin is really one for the history books. They seem desperate for a win. It is a bit worrying when a nation with so much abilty to do harm is so desperate. Almost seems a need for attention.

However I give Trump some credit for trying some methods other than bombing. Might try diplomacy.

Posted by: jared | Sep 7 2019 1:47 utc |