Tagesspiegel newspaper reports that a sudden loss of pressure in three natural gas pipelines between Russia and Germany is likely to have been a “targeted attack” carried out by either Russia or Ukraine.
Pressure in the Nord Stream 2 undersea gas pipeline dropped from 300 to 7 bars on Sunday night, followed by a similar occurrence in Nord Stream 1’s on Monday afternoon.
The sudden drop of pressure in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline may also have caused a gas leak near the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, a situation being monitored by Danish authorities.
An anonymous source told Tagesspiegel that German authorities “can’t imagine a scenario that isn’t a targeted attack,” and that their assessment has concluded, “Everything speaks against a coincidence.”
The attack had to be deliberate because it would have been carried out by special forces, navy divers or a submarine which were able to reach the bottom of the sea.
The German government believes Russia could have sabotaged its own pipelines as a “false flag” attack to blame it on Ukraine and drive EU energy prices even higher, an outcome that would pile more pressure on European governments.
The attack could also have been carried out by “Ukraine-affiliated forces” to weaken Russia’s critical infrastructure.
“We are in the process of clarifying the situation here,” a government spokeswoman for the federal ministry of economics told the newspaper. “We don’t currently know what caused the pressure drop.”
Nord Stream 2 was recently completed and was set to “double the volume of gas flowing from Vyborg, Russia, under the Baltic Sea to Germany,” the Guardian reports.
Large protests have taken place in major European cities in recent weeks, with demonstrators urging their governments to accept Russian gas to alleviate the cost of living crisis.
“Nord Stream 2 has been literally just sitting there jam-packed with gas ready to be turned on at any moment and deliver billions of dollars worth of dirt cheap Russian gas every year,” writes Chris Menahan.
Thousands of people in Gera in Germany against Olaf Scholz's policy and the explosion of energy and gas prices. They demand an end to sanctions on Russia and the reopening of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Demonstrations also in other German cities but EU media censors them. pic.twitter.com/dmTMLY11jn
— RadioGenova (@RadioGenova) September 26, 2022
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“I’ve Had A Bad Month” – Bankman-Fried Claims “Didn’t Knowingly Commingle Funds”, Blames Girlfriend’s Fund & “Accounting Mistakes”
It appears Sam Bankman-Fried is using the ‘Simple Jack’ defense…
Bankman-Fried started the interview by saying he’s deeply sorry about what happened.
“I didn’t ever try to commit fraud on anyone,” Bankman-Fried (SBF) said.
He claims he was shocked by what happened this month.
“I have limited access to data,” Bankman-Fried said about his attempt to reconstruct what happened over the past month.
Which makes us wonder – if he didn’t have the data, who did?
When pressed by Sorkin, Bankman-Fried said “I didn’t knowingly commingle funds”.
Which we note is not a denial, and as NYT notes, on the commingling of funds, there appears to be ample evidence suggests that Alameda and FTX shared an account at their U.S. banking partner Silvergate. Not sure how that could square with SBF’s claim that that didn’t occur, or wasn’t aware it was occurring.
Over and over again, SBF calls it an “accounting mistake” claiming that there was a difference between FTX’s audited financials vs FTX’s internal dashboards showing Alameda’s positions.
SBF tries to distance himself from the trading firm, claiming he did not have the bandwidth to run two companies (FTX and Alameda).
“I wasn’t running Alameda,” he says.
“I was nervous because of the conflict of interest of being too involved.”
Clearly SBF is attempting to throw Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda under the bus as responsible for the downfall.
Asked when he knew there was a problem, he responded “Nov 6th”, which just happens to be the day that Changpeng Zhao, also known as CZ, publicly tweeted he’d be liquidating Binance’s holdings of FTT.
When they looked at the data, they realized “there was a potential, serious problem there,” he says. Alameda’s position was huge on FTX, and it had just taken a huge hit.
When asked by Sorkin if his lawyers support him speaking publicly about this, SBF says “no they are very much not.”
“I have a duty to talk and to explain what happened.”
“I’m looking to be helpful anywhere I can with any of the global entities,” he says.
SBF framed the whole debacle as a risk management problem that got out of hand in what he calls a “run on the bank,” and that he was unaware of any actions taken by Alameda.
The former White Knight notably squirmed uncomfortably when asked if he is concerned about criminal liability, stuttering the comment that “there’s a time and a place for me to think about myself and my own future. I don’t think this is it.”
“I don’t personally think that I have” criminal liability.
Asked whether FTX’s charitable endeavors were part of a PR campaign. Some were real, he said.
But “there are things I felt like we needed to do for the business.”
With regard to his massive donations to Democrats and cozy relationships with regulators, he said he participated in these types of things, and he wishes that this wasn’t how the world worked, blasting the ‘greenwashing’ that many firms have to do.
“I spent probably thousands of hours in DC trying to get to the point where I could actually have meetings with some of the regulators,” Bankman-Fried said. He said it wasn’t an issue of donations or money — it was a matter of repeatedly asking for meetings and submitting documents.
Sorkin asks SBF about the adderal use and group sleepovers. SBF responds, “We messed up big.”
“Look, I screwed up,” adding that we “completely failed” on risk management, and conflict of interest risk.
On reports of drug use at FTX, SBF says “there were no wild parties. At our parties we play board games. Twenty percent of people would have a quarter of a beer each and the rest of us would not drink anything.”
He says he has been prescribed various things to help him concentrate. “I think they help me focus a little bit,” he says.
Finally, when asked if he was truthful, SBF said:
“I was as truthful as I’m knowledgeable to be,” SBF said.
“I don’t know of times when I lied.”
Bankman-Fried ended the interview by admitting:
“I obviously wish that I spent more time dwelling on the downsides and less time thinking about the upsides.”
Perhaps the most memorable line of the whole thing was this: “Look, I’ve had a bad month,” claiming that he has just one working credit card left, and admitting “I don;t know what the future holds.”
“I can’t promise anyone anything,” he says.
* * *
As we discussed last week, Sam Bankman-Fried has now demonstrated that he is both a pathological liar and a sociopath, the kind who in “explaining” to his employees how he stole billions (over $4 billion according to new FTX CEO John J. Ray) from the now bankrupt FTX, an act which left it insolvent and without liquidity, called it “loans” which were “generally” not used for “large amounts of personal consumption” (just “small amounts” used for such trivial items as $40 million penthouses and private jets).
And the only reason we don’t officially call him a criminal just yet, is because he has not yet confirmed he used client money from his exchange to fund his personal hedge fund, an act which would cost any other individual decades in jail… but not prominent democrats like SBF or Jon Corzine, of course. Plus it’s the US legal system’s job to do that, not ours. Although we are growing increasingly skeptical this prominent Democratic donor will ever see the inside of a courtroom.
It’s not just us: with much of the entire world demanding to know how this corpulent 30-year-old still has not been thrown in prison, or at least charged with a variety of crimes, the NYT has now confirmed to the entire world what a farce the one-time paper of record has become, and how it is willing to whore itself out for clicks – not to mention prominent Democrat donors – because following such luminaries as Janet Yellen, Larry Fink, Mark Zuckerberg, and Volodymyr Zelensky, none other than SBF will be speaking with Andrew Ross-Sorkin at the NYT Dealbook “summit” this evening…
The shocked, stunned, and simply disgusted reactions to this grifter’s appearance have continued…
While the FTX founder hasn’t gone completely silent since the collapse of his crypto empire, this marks one of the first times he’ll speak in front of a live audience.
And while we are certain that the NYT – which we assume is done writing puff pieces on behalf of SBF after it became a laughing stock last week – would be quick to mercilessly cancel and expel from its “prestigious” conference anyone who had misgendered some post-op transsexual, it is willing to give this thieving pathological liar and sociopath a forum in which to profess his innocence to the entire world, and by association with other Democrat “celebrities” such as Bill Clinton.
The NYTimes points out that no questions will be off limits, and topics may include the collapse of the company, allegations of fraud and mismanagement and how Mr. Bankman-Fried intends to pay back customers, investors and creditors. Will Sorkin ask about the massive amounts of money given to Democrats?
Here’s some questions from Bloomberg’s Olga Kharif that we’d like answered:
- Usually, when companies file for bankruptcy, their executives don’t talk to the press, tweet or participate in summits. Why are you doing the opposite? Why are you here?
- How exactly did FTX find itself with an $8 billion shortfall? Did FTX use customer funds inappropriately? How, and when did that start?
- The bank run on FTX started when Binance said it would dump its holdings of FTT — the FTX token you gave to Binance in 2021 when it exited its equity investment in FTX. Why did you give Binance the FTT token back then? Weren’t you worried that it gave Binance some power over you? Why did your relationship with Binance sour?
- You have mentioned recently that you regret filing for bankruptcy because you could have raised the money necessary to plug the shortfall. Who was willing to give you funds?
- What do you think the ramifications of FTX’s collapse will be for you personally? And the ramifications will be for crypto in general?
Ironically, just a few hours earlier on the same stage, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said, about FTX, “We have to see how all this plays out,” adding that “right now we can make all the judgment calls that it looks like there was some misbehavior of major consequence.”
Andrew Ross Sorkin did note that he believes Bankman-Fried will be coming to us live from the Bahamas (so did not feel the need to set foot on US territory)
Bankman-Fried is due to speak around 1700ET
The NY Times has already warned that they’re monitoring reports of protests occurring at the conference today, which is being held at a venue in New York’s Columbus Circle. Here’s what they said in an email to attendees this week:
The New York Times and our employees defend freedom of speech everyday through our journalism, and we respect the right to peacefully assemble. At the same time, we want to ensure summit guests have an enjoyable, safe and productive experience. We do not expect these protests to impact the summit in a meaningful way, but we ask you allot extra time for travel and check-in.
The acknowledgement comes after social media users have urged one another to protest the event for giving Bankman-Fried a platform to share his side of what’s transpired this month.
As a reminder, at a bankruptcy hearing last week, FTX lawyers said that a “substantial amount” of the company’s assets were missing or stolen and that the exchange had been run like Mr. Bankman-Fried’s “personal fiefdom.”
One last thought:This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Black Friday Chaos: Amazon Warehouse Workers Set To Strike Across 40 Countries
Thousands of workers across approximately 40 countries are planning to take part in ‘Black Friday’ protests to demand better wages and working conditions in the company’s warehouses, as the global cost-of-living crisis increases
The protests will coincide with the largest holiday shopping season of the year, which means Amazon warehouse workers are going to be very busy for the next week as consumers panic buy deeply discounted items, though there might be a huge problem: less than 24 hours before the big sale begins, Bloomberg reported Amazon warehouse workers across 40 countries are about to strike.
We would note that the world’s biggest retailer has longstanding ambitions to automate its warehouses – with robots that don’t strike.
Amazon workers in the US, UK, India, Japan, Australia, South Africa, and across Europe are set to walk out of warehouses on Friday as they demand higher wages and better working conditions amid the worst inflationary environment the world has seen in decades.
The labor action is called “Make Amazon Pay” and is coordinated by an army of trade unions, with support from civil society and environmental groups.
“For workers and consumers, the price of everything is going up. And for everyone, the global temperature is rising and our planet is under stress. But instead of supporting its workers, communities and the planet, Amazon is squeezing every last drop it can,” Make Amazon Pay’s website said.
Make Amazon Pay is correct by outlining “real wages are going down”… and as we noted not too long ago, have been negative for 19 months — hence why labor unions have gained so much traction.
“It’s time for the tech giant to cease their awful, unsafe practices immediately, respect the law and negotiate with the workers who want to make their jobs better,” said UNI Global Union general secretary, Christy Hoffman.
The group also outlines Amazon’s corporate greed, not paying taxes, and polluting the world. It also published a map of all the strike locations.
The company replied to the protests, saying “While we are not perfect in any area, if you objectively look at what Amazon is doing on these important matters you’ll see that we do take our role and our impact very seriously,” pointing to the company’s green ambitions to reach net zero status by 2040, which is “continuing to offer competitive wages and great benefits, and inventing new ways to keep our employees safe and healthy.”
Ah, that settles it then.
Unions in France and Germany – CGT and Ver.di – are spearheading the latest collective action, with coordinated strikes in 18 major warehouses, intended to disrupt shipments across key European markets.
Monika di Silvestre, head of Ver.di’s Amazon committee in Germany, said that workers were particularly concerned about the way their productivity was closely monitored by computers, with algorithms determining targets, for example for the number of packages they need to handle per hour. -Stars & Stripes
“The workers are under a lot of pressure with these algorithms,” said di Silvestre, adding “It doesn’t differentiate between workers, whether they are old or have limited mobility. Workers stay awake at night thinking only of their productivity stats.”
Amazon warehouse employees have been speaking out against working conditions for years – notably complaining of low pay, pressure not to take sick leave when ill, and having to work so many hours they’re forced to urinate in bottles.
It’s not clear how disruptive the strikes will be for Amazon, but it’s just another reason why the world’s biggest retailer is full steam ahead in automating warehouse (read: “Amazon Unveils Warehouse Robot To Replace Human Pickers Amid Unionization Threats”).This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Videos: Biden Economic Advisor Says President Is “Happy” With Inflationary Prices
It’s the most expensive thanksgiving ever
Despite this Thanksgiving costing an estimated 20 percent more than usual for the average American family, with record high prices for staple items, a Senior Biden economic advisor declared Wednesday that the President is “happy” with the way things are going.
Speaking on CNBC, Amos Hochstein proclaimed “If you look at where we are today… with the concerns of inflation and prices rising, we’ve been laser focused on bringing prices down, so I think the President is happy with the trajectory of prices.”
He then proceeded to tout the green energy ‘transition’ again.
Elsewhere during the interview, Hochstein noted that Biden intends to refill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) at $70/barrel, despite Democrats blocking efforts by the Trump administration to do so back when a barrel of oil cost just $24 in 2020.
Meanwhile, in the real world…
White House Chief Of Staff Ronald Klain made sure that leftists would be prepared with a ‘cheat sheet’ of Biden’s “top accomplishments,” for when those annoying conservative uncles start slating the Administration at the Thanksgiving table.
Biden is “tackling inflation,” and “took on big pharma.”
Meanwhile, after only having spent 40% of his presidency on holiday, Biden has taken his entire clan on a week long luxury vacation:
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