Sunday, March 31, 2019

Merely holding elections doesn’t mean you have a “democracy.” In the US it’s taken for granted that promises made by the winning presidential candidate will be ignored-The End of the Transition Paradigm, Jan. 2002, Journal of Democracy

This article describing erroneous assumptions about countries supposedly “transitioning” to democracy also applies to the US where elites have “transitioned” the US away from democracy to dictatorship. Holding elections doesn’t mean you have “democracy.” In the US it’s taken for granted that promises made by the winning presidential candidate will be ignored. 

Jan. 2002, The End of the Transition Paradigm, Journal of Democracy, Thomas Carothers 

(page 15): “The third assumption of the transition paradigm—the notion that achieving regular, genuine elections will not only confer democratic legitimacy on new governments but continuously deepen political participation and democratic accountability—has often come up short. In many “transitional countries,” reasonably regular, genuine elections are held but political participation beyond voting remains shallow and governmental accountability is weak. The wide gulf between political elites and citizens in many of these countries turns out to be rooted in structural conditions, such as the concentration of wealth or certain sociocultural traditions, that elections themselves do not overcome. It is also striking how often electoral competition does little to stimulate the renovation or development of political parties.”…


Saturday, March 30, 2019

US elites won’t allow Russia and its people to exist except as US vassals. Throughout 1990s Russia’s drunken Yeltsin was happy to be puppy dog to Soros

“The fundamental issue for Washington is that Russia is not a vassal for American imperialism. That’s why there will be no reset. There will only be reset when American imperialism is replaced by a law-abiding, genuinely democratic US government. Until then, expect more US hostility, confrontation and even war towards Russia.” 3/28/19, “Why There’ll Be No US-Russia Reset Post-Mueller,” Finian Cunningham, Strategic Culture 

Below: In 1990s, newly independent Russia apparently agreed that with massive natural resources to distribute, indeed it was a US “vassal state.” Miraculously, currency speculator George Soros was on the scene to “help:”

Above, 1993, American currency speculator George Soros with Russian President Yeltsin at the Kremlin, Reuters

Above, more Soros "help:" 1992, in city of Moscow in newly independent “Vassal state” Russia, President Yeltsin accepts “help” of American currency speculator George Soros seen above meeting with Yeltsin and other officials, Tass

Left, Servile Yeltsin: 7/15/1996, Boris Yeltsin Time cover, “Yanks to the Rescue.”…Article, Rescuing Boris,” Time, Michael Kramer, Moscow, 6/24/2001, originally published 7/15/1996

Left, 9/21/1993, Yeltsin reached for a cup of tea to show Russians he was not drunk," says English speaking announcer.

3/27/19, The Real Costs of Russiagate," The Nation, by Stephen F. Cohen..."Its perpetrators, not Putin or Trump, “attacked American democracy.”” 

“As for Mueller’s finding, the [Democrat] party’s virtual network, MSNBC, remains undeterred. Rachel Maddow continues to hype “the underlying reality that Russia did in fact attack us.” By any reasonable definition of “attack,” no, it did not, and scarcely any allegation could be more recklessly warmongering, a perception the Democratic Party will for this and other Russiagate commissions have to endure, or not. (When Mueller’s full report is published, we will see if he too indulged in this dangerous absurdity. A few passages in the summary suggest he might have done so.) 

§ Finally, but potentially not least, the new Cold War with Russia has itself become an institution pervading American political, economic, media, and cultural life. Russiagate has made it more dangerous, more fraught with actual war, than the Cold War we survived, as I explain in War with Russia? Recall only that Russiagate allegations further demonized “Putin’s Russia,” thwarted Trump’s necessary attempts to “cooperate with Russia” as somehow “treasonous,” criminalized détente thinking and “inappropriate contacts with Russia”—in short, policies and practices that previously helped to avert nuclear war. Meanwhile, the Russiagate spectacle has caused many ordinary Russians who once admired America to now be “derisive and scornful” toward our political life…. 

The very few of us who publicly challenged and deplored Russiagate allegations against candidate and then President Donald Trump from the time they first began to appear in mid-2016 should not gloat or rejoice over the US attorney general’s summary of Robert S. Mueller’s key finding: “The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its [alleged] efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election.” (On the other hand, those of us repeatedly slurred as Trump and/or Putin “apologists” might feel some vindication.) 

But what about the legions of high-ranking intelligence officials, politicians, editorial writers, television producers, and other opinion-makers, and their eager media outlets that perpetuated, inflated, and prolonged this unprecedented political scandal in American history—those who did not stop short of accusing the president of the United States of being a Kremlin “agent,” “asset,” “puppet,” “Manchurian candidate,” and who characterized his conduct and policies as “treasonous”?… 

Nearly three years of Russiagate’s toxic allegations have entered the American political-media elite bloodstream, and they almost certainly will reappear again and again in one form or another. 

This is an exceedingly grave danger, because the real costs of Russiagate are not the estimated $25–40 million spent on the Mueller investigation but the corrosive damage it has already done to the institutions of American democracy—damage done not by an alleged “Trump-Putin axis” but by Russsigate’s perpetrators themselves. Having examined this collateral damage in my recently published book War with Russia? From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate, I will only note them here. 

§ Clamorous allegations that the Kremlin “attacked our elections” and thereby put Trump in the White House, despite the lack of any evidence, cast doubt on the legitimacy of American elections everywhere—national, state, and local. If true, or even suspected, how can voters have confidence in the electoral foundations of American democracy? Persistent demands to “secure our elections from hostile powers”— a politically and financially profitable mania, it seems—can only further abet and perpetuate declining confidence in the entire electoral process. Still more, if some crude Russian social-media outputs could so dupe voters, what does this tell us about what US elites, which originated these allegations, really think of those voters, of the American people?… 

No mainstream media did anything to expose, for example, two crucial and fraudulent Russiagate documents—the so-called Steele Dossier and the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment—but instead relied heavily on them for their own narratives. Little more need be said here about this institutional self-degradation. Glenn Greenwald and a few others followed and exposed it throughout, and now Matt Taibbi has given us a meticulously documented account of that systematic malpractice, concluding that Mueller’s failure to confirm the media’s Russiagate allegations “is a death-blow for the reputation of the American news media.” 

Nor, it must be added, was this entirely inadvertent or accidental. On August 8, 2016, the trend-setting New York Times published on its front page an astonishing editorial manifesto by its media critic. Asking whether “normal standards” should apply to candidate Trump, he explained that they should not: “You have to throw out the textbook American journalism has been using for the better part of the past half-century.” 

Let others decide whether this Times proclamation unleashed the highly selective, unbalanced, questionably factual “journalism” that has so degraded Russiagate `media or instead the publication sought to justify what was already underway. In either case, this remarkable—and ramifying—Times rejection of its own professed standards should not be forgotten. Almost equally remarkable and lamentable, we learn that even now, after Mueller’s finding is known, top executives of the Times and other leading Russiagate media outlets, including The Washington Post and CNN, “have no regrets.””…

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Boy King Macron’s disdain for his people exposes globalism’s last disgrace: 125,000 peaceful Yellow Vests on wk 19 risked being shot and killed by order of Macron and his Davos bosses-Strategic Culture, Tom Luongo…(Thank-you to Yellow Vests for exposing the globalist political class)

“Macron outed himself as the very symbol of what animates the globalist elite he represents. Disdain.”“Boy King” Macron 

3/27/19, “Globalism’s Last Disgrace: The Army vs. the Yellow Vests,” Strategic Culture, Tom Luongo 

There are few people in this world more odious than French President Emmanuel Macron after his behavior this week. I’m sure there are child molesters who are worse. But as a man who is pivotal in the future of hundreds of millions of people, his decision to order the French military to quell the Yellow Vests protests with live ammunition is simply vile. 

Macron outed himself as the very symbol of what animates the globalist elite he represents. 


The disdain he holds for the people he leads is palpable. It’s as palpable for his disdain for the British who voted for Brexit. To him the EU is all, the EU is inevitable and when faced with the choice of serving France or serving the EU, he chooses the EU every time. 

That is what led him to this disastrous decision to deploy the French military to the streets for the first time since 1948 with orders to shoot protestors. 

And that disdain is so complete that he doesn’t realize what happens if even one of those men goes too far and takes the President at his word. Thankfully, that did not happen. 

But if it did, he would have lost complete control of his country, if he hasn’t already. 

The estimates for Act XIX of the Gilets Jaunes this weekend were over 125,000 across France. That many people taking to the streets risking getting shot is not something you dismiss with a wave of your hand. 

It is something as a leader you need to take very seriously. 

Because the real fear for Macron is not a violent demonstration that ends with protestors shot and killed. No, the real fear is the protests that are peaceful. 

Because what happens, Mr. Macron, if the soldiers you deployed to suppress attendance to these demonstrations see first-hand just how much the violence reported has been overblown? 

Or worse, the lack of it confirms their suspicions that the violence was committed by agent provocateurs who now didn’t show up because it’s no longer worth the €25/hour they are being paid to sow discontent? 

They’ll see exactly what Macron doesn’t want them to see: angry, dispirited, desperate people with legitimate grievances expressing those feelings the only way they know how. 

If Macron wasn’t courting civil war before this weekend, he is now. Because an uprising against a corrupt and unresponsive government by some people is one thing. It starts with the most angry but it can spread over time only if the government doesn’t hear them. 

Macron’s reactions have only made things worse at every turn. So, while the people started this fight for the future of France it will be the military that ends it. And woe to Macron and the French political elite if the military on the ground sides with the people they were sent to shoot. 

There is nothing more cowardly than a supposedly liberal, tolerant democracy sending in the military to shut down and order violence against is own people for taking to the streets. It is simply the order of tin-pot dictator with delusions of adequacy. 

Prudent leadership stems from having weapons and knowing when and how to use them. The images coming from France have been horrific and no better than those captured during Mariano Rajoy’s crackdown on Catalonia during its independence referendum in 2017. 

That response cost him his job. So too will it be for Macron now that he has crossed that line. 

Macron is under the orders of his paymasters in The Davos Crowd to get control over France. He will not be removed from office as long as he acts in accordance with their wishes. By now they would have replaced him with someone more acceptable to defuse the situation. 

There is only one problem with that. There is no one else. 

Macron’s approval rating is abysmal. He’s polling behind Marine Le Pen’s National Rally who will send more members to the European Parliament than his En Marche will in May. 

He was already the bait and switch candidate in 2017’s election. The globalist-in-reformer’s clothing. And now that he’s the focal point of the Gilets Jaunes’ anger nothing short of a violent put-down of their rebellion will save Macron at this point. 

Because they know this and they know that he hates them.
But a violent put-down is only winning the battle to lose the war. With the EU locked in mortal combat with Brexiteers and Italy pushing the envelope in the European Council, there’s no room to maneuver here. 

So, this continues until it can’t. At which point Macron’s legitimacy will evaporate and political change will occur. But the globalists behind Macron and in French political circles will put that off for as long as possible. 

That’s why the lack of violence at ACT XIX’s marches this weekend was so important. Macron’s bluff was called. And that means we’re nearing the end of his story. And it couldn’t happen to a more deserving weasel. 

Merkel, you’re on deck.”



“Boy King” Macron, image via Rush Limbaugh


Russia and the Democrats: The graduate degree crowd deeply believed every Russiagate twist and turn that was fed to them-Bob Urie, Strategic Culture, Counterpunch

The audience for the Russian interference story was the urban and suburban bourgeois who had seen their lots by-and-large restored by Barack Obama’s bank bailouts and who had no knowledge of, or interaction with, the 90% of the country that is living, by degree, hand-to-mouth….The received wisdom amongst bourgeois Democrats the bosses, bank managers, academics, realtors and administrative class, looks to be what it is: a combination of class loathing that their ‘lessors’ didn’t perceive the munificent blessing of their electoral choice; mass delusion on the part of self-styled ‘high-information voters’ about who really controls American ‘democracy;’ and studied ignorance of the consequences of the last half-century of bi-partisan neoliberal governance.” 

3/28/19, Russia and the Democrats," Strategic Culture, Bob Urie, first published at 

“Two years ago authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes wrote in their book Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign that within 24 hours of her 2016 electoral loss, Hillary Clinton’s senior campaign staff decided to blame the loss on Russian interference. Given the apparent source of the charge in opposition research funded by the Clinton campaign, the move seemed both desperate and pathetic— a thread for Clinton’s true believers to hang onto, an effort to keep campaign contributions rolling in and a ploy to cleave liberals from the left through red-baiting. 

For perspective, from the time leading up to the 2016 election through today, I chose to live amongst poor and working-class people of color, with occasional forays into the rural working and middle classes and the urban bourgeois. What became apparent early on is that the audience for the Russian interference story was the urban and suburban bourgeois who had seen their lots by-and-large restored by Barack Obama’s bank bailouts and who had no knowledge of, or interaction with, the 90% of the country that is living, by degree, hand-to-mouth. 

What this implies is that the received wisdom amongst bourgeois Democrats— the bosses, bank managers, academics, realtors and administrative class, looks to be what it is: a combination of class loathing that their ‘lessors’ didn’t perceive the munificent blessing of their electoral choice; mass delusion on the part of self-styled ‘high-information voters’ about who really controls American ‘democracy;’ and studied ignorance of the consequences of the last half-century of bi-partisan neoliberal governance. 

As I wrote in early 2018: 

“Prior to the 2016 presidential election, if one were to ask what single act could seal a new Cold War with Russia, align liberals and progressives with the operational core of the American military-industrial-surveillance complex, expose the preponderance of left-activism as an offshoot of Democratic Party operations and consign most of what remained to personal invective against an empirically dangerous leader, consensus would likely have it that doing so wouldn’t be easy.” 

The Clinton campaign’s decision to blame her electoral loss on Russian interference demonstrates why she was, and still is, unqualified to hold elected office. In the first, the U.S. – Russian rivalry is backed-up by hair-trigger nuclear arsenals that could end the world in a matter of minutes. Inciting tensions based on self-serving lies is stunningly reckless. In the second, the claim demonstrates utter contempt for her most loyal followers by feeding them purposely misleading explanations of the loss. And most damagingly for political opponents of Donald Trump, these actions give credence to the insurgent status of his retro-Republicanism against liberal and left defenders of the political establishment. 

Most damaging to the burgeoning left in the U.S. is the deeply ugly character assassination of poor and working-class voters carried out by the urban bourgeois, many from the self-described radical left. People I know and like, but with whom I disagree politically but am working hard to convert, have spent the last three years being derided as traitorous, marginally literate hicks too stupid to know they are pawns of the Kremlin. The irony, if you care to call it that, is that they knew the Russian interference story was cynical bullshit all along while the graduate degree crowd was following every twist and turn as if it were true knowledge. 

The Democratic Party ‘leadership’ that pursued this story is as stupid as it is corrupt. The purpose of Russia-gate was apparently to keep the Party faithful, faithful. But as was demonstrated in 2016, the faithful alone can’t win an election. This leadership turned what could have been an effective ‘give ‘em enough rope’ strategy against arrogant jackass Trump back on itself. The establishment-left had been in the process of giving self-described socialists someone to vote for in 2020. Too-clever-by-half liberal twaddle about ‘post-truth’ now has liberals–universally conflated with the left, perceived as both idiots and liars. And rightly so. 

Democrats who spent the last three years making less than plausible (and politically retrograde) accusations against Mr. Trump likely still don’t understand their current position. Their call for an exhaustive investigation carried out by people they trust was honored. While the investigation was underway, the mainstream press put one ludicrous fantasy after another forward as news. This while a host of real issues affecting real people’s lives were studiously ignored. As incredulous as I am that it could be done, liberal Democrats have made corrupt oligarch Trump appear to be righteously aggrieved. Who says these people have no talent? 

The New York Times and Washington Post have been publishing politically motivated ‘fake news’ in support of establishment interests since their inceptions. Their service to powerful interests is why they are still around. The FBI, CIA and NSA have been putting out politically motivated bullshit since their respective inceptions. They exist to serve the rich and powerful against all comers. To claim these as bastions of integrity was always a tough sell. To continue to claim it is the stuff from which revolutions are made. In this case, right-wing revolutions. 

While the urban bourgeois have long been dismissive of the ‘burn it down’ contingent of Trump voters, they seem incapable of seeing their own roles as defenders of the establishment as corrupt and ultimately, politically suicidal. I voted for a woman for president and a black man for vice president in 2016. But they weren’t Democrats. Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election because she is a corrupt, neoliberal, militaristic piece of shit. Ironically, or not, most of Trump voters I’ve spoken with know more about the Democrats’ actual record than the highly educated urban bourgeois pontificating on NPR or in the New York Times. 

A quick bet is that the 2020 presidential election is now Donald Trump’s to lose. Lying sacks of shit like James Clapper and John Brennan will tie their lots to whomever will fund their adventures in mal-governance as the world burns and species become extinct. The tragedy here is that there are real issues in need of resolution. The Democrats’ three-year adventure in red-baiting served to legitimate a financial-military-industrial complex that apparently intends to end the planet as it makes as many people miserable in the process as is possible. Congratulations assholes.”


Yankee Stadium ready for Opening Day, Thursday, March 28, 2019. Orioles at Yankees, 1pm


Above, 3/27/19, Coley Harvey ESPN twitter

Probable pitchers: Andrew Cashner v Masahiro Tanaka

US dictatorship ramps up foreign aggression flagrantly nullifying 2016 election. Zero “US aggression” against 10s of thousands of released border crossers added to US taxpayer burden. US thugs demand $500 million more US tax dollars for yet another US coup against Venezuela

When will Americans get a democratic transition” from the dictatorship they have now? 

3/27/19, “Trump tells Russia to get its troops out of Venezuela, Reuters, Steve Holland, Lesley Wroughton

“The Trump administration has asked Congress for up to $500 million in foreign aid to help “support a democratic transition in Venezuela, Pompeo said in written testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives.”…

Above, 3/27/19, At White House, pathetic Trump hosts Fabiana Rosales, wife of Boy Toy Venezuelan Guaido US wants to install as president there, Getty

Above, 3/27/19, At White House Ivanka and Bolton among onlookers as pathetic Trump hosts wife of Boy Toy Venezuelan Guaido US wants to install as Venezuelan president, Reuters from video 

In both Venezuela and Syria, Russia’s presence is by invitation of the respective elected governments. Conversely, US dictatorial intervention in both countries is for the purpose of overthrowing elected governments:
“Russia has bilateral relations and agreements with Venezuela and Maduro that it plans to honor, Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Dmitry Polyanskiy, said on Twitter.

A spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said the United States should pull troops from Syria before telling Moscow to withdraw from Venezuela.”


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

2016 US election remains nullified. US #1 goal in Syria remains removal of elected Pres. Assad. We voted in 2016 to end US foreign interventions but US has doubled down on them. US gov. has been seized by persons who believe in depriving innocent Syrian citizens of fuel and housing. US threatens sanctions against countries who help Syrians-Voltaire Network, 3/25/19

Additional source on US preventing reconstruction: “EU equivocation with the US over the JCPOA [Iran nuclear deal] by trying to tie conditions to their SPV, and by holding reconstruction aid for Syria hostage to their ‘transition’ demands, has back-fired.”…3/25/19, “An Iran-Syria ‘Belt & Road’: A Far-Reaching Geopolitical Strategy Unfolds,” Alastair Crooke, Strategic Culture 

US government actions described in the article below are not on behalf of Americans who vote in elections. They’re on behalf of individuals who’ve seized control of US government and are doing the opposite of what we voted for in 2016 which was to stop endless US foreign aggressions. Today the US dictatorship continues to interfere in Syria, preventing reconstruction from taking place, telling countries not contribute financially to reconstruction, and bullying countries who simply try to prevent the suffering and effective genocide of Syrian people being carried out by the US dictatorship. No American in their right mind would advocate uninvited interference in, bombing, or illegal occupation of Syria much less endlessly abusing its innocent citizens.  At least in Communist countries people know up front that they have no voice. 

3/25/2019, “Sanctions Risks Related to Petroleum Shipments involving Iran and Syria,” Voltaire Network, Washington, DC 

“The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Coast Guard, is issuing this advisory to alert persons globally to the significant U.S. sanctions risks for parties involved in petroleum shipments to the Government of Syria. 

These shipments create significant sanctions risk for entities and individuals in the shipping industry, including shipping companies, vessel owners, managers, operators, insurers, and financial institutions. Countries such as Iran and Russia have been involved in providing the Government of Syria with petroleum. 

Those who in any way facilitate the financial transfers, logistics, or insurance associated with these or other petroleum shipments are at risk of being targeted by the United States for sanctions. The United States is committed to disrupting illicit financial and other support to the Government of Syria, to include transporting petroleum to its state-owned and -operated ports, regardless of the location or nationality of those facilitating such support.  

The United States and its international partners continue to demonstrate resolve to disrupt support for the Assad regime by preventing the normalization of economic and diplomatic relations and the provision of reconstruction funding, as well as permanently denying the regime the use of chemical weapons. The United States is committed to isolating the Assad regime and its supporters from the global financial and trade system in response to the [unnamed and unproven] continued atrocities committed by the [elected government] regime against the Syrian people. The United States and European Union (EU) maintain sanctions programs against Syria, and the United States will continue to maximize pressure on the [elected] Assad regime and impose additional financial costs on the [elected government] regime and its network of financial and logistics facilitators. 

In connection with this activity, in November 2018, OFAC sanctioned Iranian and Russian private and public sector entities involved in procuring Iranian oil for Syria. This scheme used a payment offsetting arrangement in which the sale and shipment of Iranian oil to Syria provided hundreds of millions of dollars to Iran’s terror proxy groups, including Hizballah, HAMAS, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force (IRGC-QF). 

United States sanctions regulations broadly prohibit trade and other transactions, subject to U.S. jurisdiction, with the Government of Syria, and has the authority to sanction entities or individuals who provide support to the Government of Syria—including those who deliver or finance petroleum shipments to the Government of Syria or government-owned entities, such as the U.S.-designated Syrian Company for Oil Transport or Banias Refinery Company. 

This advisory contains an annex providing a non-exhaustive list of vessels that have delivered petroleum to Syria, engaged in Ship-to-Ship (STS) transfers of petroleum destined for Syria, or have exported Syrian petroleum since 2016 [1]. Some of these shipments and transfers have involved Iranian-origin oil. 

Sanctions Risks and OFAC Authorities 

Insurers, shipping companies, financial institutions, and others involved in petroleum-related shipping transactions with the Government of Syria may be subject to designation under one or more sanctions authorities. Similarly, individuals and entities knowingly engaged in certain transactions relating to the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran or providing material support to certain Iran-related persons on OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) risk being sanctioned under U.S. sanctions authorities relating to Iran, unless an exception applies. 

A high-level overview of these sanctions authorities follows. However, this overview is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all U.S. sanctions authorities related to Syria and Iran. More information on the Syria and Iran sanctions programs can be found on Treasury’s website. Please note this section is current as of the date of this advisory. The most up-to-date information can be found on Treasury’s website and the hyperlinks listed in the footnotes below. 


The U.S. government will aggressively target for designation any person who provides support to the [elected government of Syria] regime, for example by facilitating exports to or imports from the Government of Syria, including government-owned entities, unless such exportation or importation is otherwise exempt or authorized. [2] 

The United States also prohibits, among other things, transactions subject to U.S. jurisdiction that, directly or indirectly, involve the Government of Syria, or entities sanctioned under the Syria Sanctions Regulations (see, e.g., Executive Order 13582, “Blocking Property of the Government of Syria and Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect to Syria” and the Syrian Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 542 (SSR) ). 


The United States is committed to enforcing sanctions against those who engage in prohibited transactions under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR) , and will continue to aggressively target those involved in sanctionable activities under other Iran-related sanctions authorities in support of the Iranian regime’s malign activities. Pursuant to U.S. sanctions authorities, non-U.S. persons—including foreign financial institutions—may be subject to sanctions for knowingly conducting significant transactions for, or knowingly providing significant support to, certain Iran-related persons on OFAC’s SDN List, including the National Iranian Oil Company, the National Iranian Tanker Company, and the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, unless an exception applies. Further, non-U.S. persons that knowingly own, operate, control, or insure a vessel that transports crude oil from Iran to Syria or other countries that have not received a significant reduction exception pursuant to section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 could be subject to secondary sanctions under the Iran Sanctions Act.

Even when a significant reduction exception applies, the involvement of the IRGC or any other person designated in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or its proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery is outside the scope of the significant reduction exception and the conduct could be subject to U.S. sanctions. 

OFAC administers and enforces a comprehensive trade embargo against Iran as set forth in the ITSR and Executive Orders issued under the authority of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 50 U.S.C. §§ 1701-06, and other statutes. The ITSR prohibits most direct and indirect transactions with Iran by U.S. persons or within the United States, unless authorized by OFAC or exempted by statute. [3] Further, absent an applicable exemption or OFAC authorization, foreign persons, including foreign financial institutions, are prohibited from processing transactions to or through the United States in violation of these prohibitions, including transactions through U.S. correspondent accounts for or on behalf of Iranian financial institutions, other persons located in Iran, or where the benefit of those services is otherwise received in Iran. 

Deceptive Shipping Practices 

As the global community increases its pressure on the Government of Syria”… 

[Ed. note: What “global community?” Who exactly is in this so-called “global community” for which the US claims to speak? Which if any of its alleged members agree with US bombing and illegal occupation of Syria, US bullying and causing suffering of innocent Syrians, and would confide its future plans to such a monster?]

(continuing): “persons in the petroleum shipping industry continue to deploy deceptive practices by obfuscating the destination and recipient of oil shipments in the Mediterranean Sea ultimately destined for Syria. 

The following list provides examples of the types of tactics used to obfuscate the destination of petroleum bound for Syria. 

Falsifying Cargo and Vessel Documents: Complete and accurate shipping documentation is critical to ensuring all parties to a transaction understand the parties, goods, and vessels involved in a given shipment. Bills of lading, certificates of origin, invoices, packing lists, proof of insurance, and lists of last ports of call are examples of documentation that typically accompanies a shipping transaction. Shipping companies have been known to falsify vessel and cargo documents to obscure the destination of petroleum shipments. 

Ship to Ship (STS) Transfers: STS transfers are a method of transferring cargo from one ship to another while at sea rather than while located in port. STS transfers can conceal the origin or destination of cargo. 

Disabling Automatic Identification System (AIS): AIS is a collision avoidance system, which transmits, at a minimum, a vessel’s identification and select navigational and positional data via very high frequency (VHF) radio waves. While AIS was not specifically designed for vessel tracking, it is often used for this purpose via terrestrial and satellite receivers feeding this information to commercial ship tracking services. Ships meeting certain tonnage thresholds and engaged in international voyages are required to carry and operate AIS; however, vessels carrying petroleum to Syria have been known to intentionally disable their AIS transponders to mask their movements. This tactic can conceal the destination of cargo destined for the Government of Syria. 

Vessel Name Changes: The owners of vessels that have engaged in illicit activities are known to change the name of a vessel in an attempt to obfuscate its prior illicit activities. For this reason, it is essential to research a vessel not only by name, but also by its International Maritime Organization (IMO) number. 

Risk Mitigation Measures 

The risk of engaging in prohibited activity or processing prohibited transactions can be potentially mitigated by implementing the following types of measures: 

Strengthen Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Compliance: Financial institutions and companies are strongly encouraged to employ risk mitigation measures consistent with Financial Action Task Force standards designed to combat money laundering, and terrorist and proliferation financing. This includes the adoption of appropriate due diligence policies and procedures by financial institutions and non-financial gatekeepers and promoting beneficial ownership transparency for legal entities, particularly as related to the scenarios outlined above. 

Monitor for AIS Manipulation: Ship registries, insurers, charterers, vessel owners, or port operators should consider investigating vessels that appear to have turned off their AIS while operating in the Mediterranean and Red Seas. Any other signs of manipulating AIS transponders should be considered red flags for potential illicit activity and should be investigated fully prior to continuing to provide services to, processing transactions involving, or engaging in other activities with such vessels. 

Review All Applicable Shipping Documentation: Individuals and entities processing transactions pertaining to shipments potentially involving petroleum shipments to Syria or involving oil from Iran should ensure that they request and review complete and accurate shipping documentation. Such shipping documentation should reflect the details of the underlying voyage and reflect the relevant vessel(s), flagging, cargo, origin, and destination. Any indication that shipping documentation has been manipulated should be considered a red flag for potential illicit activity and should be investigated fully prior to continuing with the transaction. In addition, documents related to STS transfers should demonstrate that the underlying goods were delivered to the port listed on the shipping documentation. 

Know Your Customer: As a standard practice, those involved in the maritime petroleum shipping community, including vessel owners and operators, are advised to conduct Know Your Customer (KYC) due diligence. KYC due diligence helps to ensure that those in the maritime petroleum shipping community are aware of the activities and transactions they engage in, as well as the parties, geographies, and country-of-origin and destination of the goods involved in any underlying shipments. This includes not only researching companies and individuals, but also the vessels, vessel owners, and operators involved in any contracts, shipments, or related maritime commerce. Best practices for conducting KYC on a vessel includes researching its IMO number, which may provide a more comprehensive picture of the vessel’s history, travel patterns, ties to illicit activities, actors, or regimes, and potential sanctions risks associated with the vessel or its owners or operators. 

Clear Communication with International Partners: Parties to a shipping transaction may be subject to different sanctions regimes depending on the parties and jurisdictions involved, so clear communication is a critical step for international transactions. 

Discussing applicable sanctions frameworks with parties to a transaction can ensure more effective compliance. Leverage Available Resources: There are several organizations that provide commercial shipping data, such as ship location, ship registry information, and ship flagging information. This data should be incorporated into due diligence best practices, along with available information from OFAC as outlined below in the “Syria Sanctions Resources” section of this advisory. 

Insurance: There is sanctions risk related to the provision of underwriting services or insurance or reinsurance to certain Syrian and Iranian maritime-related persons or activity. 

Consequences of Violating U.S. Sanctions or Engaging in Sanctionable Conduct 

Individuals and entities engaged in shipping-related transactions or transfers destined for the Government of Syria or its controlled entities or instrumentalities, or certain transactions involving petroleum or petroleum products from Iran or certain Iran-related persons on the SDN List, should be aware that engaging in such conduct may result in designation or other sanctions under U.S. sanctions authorities unless an exception applies. 

In addition, violations of the ITSR or SSR could result in civil enforcement actions or criminal penalties for persons or transactions subject to U.S. jurisdiction. 

Persons that violate the ITSR or SSR can be subject to significant civil monetary penalties. [4] OFAC investigates and enforces violations of its regulations as outlined in its Economic Sanctions Enforcement Guidelines, 31 C.F.R. part 501, Appendix A. For more information regarding civil monetary penalties and other administrative actions taken by OFAC, see the Civil Penalties and Enforcement Information portion of OFAC’s web site. 

Sanctions Resources 

For additional guidance regarding the U.S. sanctions programs on Syria and Iran, please consult OFAC’s Syria Sanctions FAQs and Iran Sanctions FAQs pages. For questions or concerns related to OFAC sanctions regulations and requirements, including to disclose a potential violation of U.S. sanctions regulations, please contact OFAC’s Compliance Hotline at 1-800-540-6322 or via To submit a request for a specific OFAC license, see OFAC Licensing. 


The following lists identify vessels which have engaged in sanctionable conduct in support of the Government of Syria or entities owned by the Government of Syria. Vessels that have been designated as blocked property pursuant to U.S. sanctions regulations are identified on the SDN List. 

Non-Exhaustive List of Vessels That Delivered Oil to Syria 2016-2018

Ship NameIMO
AKEKSE (Formerly ALTERA 1) 8012114
KARAKUZ (Formerly ALMETYEVSK) 9621558
ANHONA (Formerly ARAMIS) 9354521
ARSOS M 9313761
BASILIA 9012305
CANDY (Formerly VENICE) 9005479
DEVREZ 9120994
DISTYA (Formerly DISTYA AKULA) 9087972
ENERGY GAS 9034690
FELIX (Formerly G MUSE) 9003079
GEM (Formerly GEMINI) 8919752
GOEAST 7526924
GOLDEN SEA 8800298
HELEN M 9308223
JUNO GAS (Formerly GITTA GAS) 8817693
KADER 9080493
KORSARO 9373137
LEVANTE 9391139
MAESTRO 8810700
MAGNUS (Formerly GVENOUR) 9018464
MEDIA (Formerly MEDIATOR) 9377432
MIURA 9390903
SUNBEAM (Formerly MOTIVATOR) 9340386
OASIS 1 9465629
OCEAN 61 8870865
RAMA- 8306711
RAWAN 8697304
SCHUMI (Formerly IRIS GAS) 9134359
SEA SHARK 8919154
SENNA 817 9128673
SIENNA 9147447
SINCERO 9254422
SINOPA 9172038
SOBAR (Formerly RISE DIGNITY) 9221970
SOLAN (Formerly RISE GLORY) 9155808
TIMBUKTU (Formerly BUKHARA) 9015345
TOUR 2 9364112
TRUE OCEAN 9169421
TRUVOR (Formerly MUKHALATKA) 9676230
VALE 9391153
VITO 9079195
VOLGA (Formerly MARSHAL ZHUKOV) 9104770
YAZ 9735323

Non-Exhaustive List of Vessels which have Engaged in STS Transfers of Petroleum Destined for Syria 2016-2019

Ship Name IMO
AKEKSE (Formerly ALTERA 1) 8012114
BLOOM 9365283
CANDY (Formerly VENICE) 9005479
WARRIOR (Formerly DS WARRIOR) 9169689
EMMA 9105085
VULCAN GAS (Formerly ENERGY GAS) 9034690
GAS BEAUTY I 7420089
GAS SPIRIT 1 7411569
GEM (Formerly GEMINI GAS) 8919752
JUNO GAS (Formerly GITTA GAS) 8817693
KADER 9080493
KAROLINE N 9386299
MAESTRO 8810700
MARSHALZ 9114608
OASIS 1 9465629
OCEAN 61 8870865
PINK CORAL 9259898
QAASWA 9438250
RAMA-1 8306711
RUTA 8711899
SCHUMI (Formerly IRIS GAS) 9134359
SENNA 8 (Formerly ODYN GAS) 9128673
VOLGA (Formerly MARSHAL ZHUKOV) 9104770

Non-Exhaustive List of Vessels which have Shipped Petroleum from Syria 2016-2019

Ship Name IMO
EMMA 9105085

[1] This annex is not a sanctions list or a comprehensive list of vessels in which blocked persons may have an interest. While some vessels on this list may be property in which a blocked person has an interest, the inclusion of a vessel in this annex does not constitute a determination by OFAC that the vessel has been identified as property in which a blocked person has an interest. Persons subject to sanctions can be found on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) and other sanctions lists, which can be searched here. For more information, please see OFAC’s Iran and Syria Sanctions webpages. 

[2] The term Government of Syria includes: (a) the state and the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including the Central Bank of Syria; (b) any entity owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the foregoing, including any corporation, partnership, association, or other entity in which the Government of Syria owns a 50 percent or greater interest or a controlling interest, and any entity which is otherwise controlled by that government; (c) any person that is, or has been, acting or purporting to act, directly or indirectly, for or on behalf of any of the foregoing; and (d) any other person determined by OFAC to be included within (a) through (c) 

[3] The ITSR also prohibits entities owned or controlled by a United States person and established or maintained outside the United States (“U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities”) from knowingly engaging in any transaction directly or indirectly with the Government of Iran or any person subject to the jurisdiction of the Government of Iran that would be prohibited by the ITSR if the transaction were engaged in by a United States person or in the United States. 

[4] Pursuant to Section 4 of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act (1990 Pub. L. 101-410, 104 Stat. 890; 28 U.S.C. 2461 note), as amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321-373) and the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Pub. L. 114-74, 129 Stat. 599, 28 U.S.C. 2461 note) (collectively, the FCPIA Act), requires each federal agency with statutory authority to assess civil monetary penalties (CMPs) to adjust CMPs annually for inflation according to a formula described in section 5 of the FCPIA Act.”