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Friday, September 28, 2012

Vitol defies Sanctions on Iran

He looked at me and responded that he believes in what we do and so do his men. He does not have a family of his own and dedicated his life to serving the cause, but he tells me about his sister and her family. He has two young nieces, twins and he wants to be part of our project in order to create a better world for them. That is why he is willing to give his life for it.

He goes on and tells me that is why he is willing to die for me as he knows I am the mastermind of the new world financial and economic system and that he and his men will protect me at all costs should another attack happen. He asks me to make him and his team a permanent part of my security. He stands up and salutes me with a sense of pride which is hard to find. From this day one they will follow my every command without hesitation. 

I asked him why his team and he are willing to obey my commands without hesitation and his response was respect.Trust and respect. I stand up and return the salute before I dismiss him with his first task. Hist task will be difficult as the capture of the escaped assassin is hi primary target while ensuring security. He tells me to consider it done.

As he leaves my office another report concerning Iran is being handed to me. Updates come in faster than I can conduct my interviews with my security personnel. This time it has to deal with Vitol, the world's biggest independent energy trader. Iran suffers, rightfully so, from various sanctions which include a ban on trading Iranian oil in order to cut the primary revenue stream for the regime and its nuclear ambitions.

Vitol found a way around the sanctions and is offering Iranian oil to Asian traders, China in particular. Vitol purchased two million barrels of Iranian fuel oil which is usually used in power generation and offered it to Chinese traders. Vitol denies accusation and said they are in compliance with international laws and sanctions against Iran.Vitol is based in Switzerland which does not subscribe to sanctions against Iran.

Vitol issued a statement where it claims one of it subsidiaries in Bahrain bought fuel oil from a non-Iranian company in July and that the oil was of Iranian origin, but that it has suspended all oil trades with the regime. The company has stopped trading Iranian oil from its European trading terminals, but reports indicate that its Middle Eastern terminals continue to trade with Iranian oil. The Swiss government declined to identify if Vitol sought permission to trade Iranian oil due to commercial secrecy laws, but Swiss as well as EU regulations and laws do not apply to the Bahrain terminal.

Of course the economic socialists and corporate communists call for Switzerland to tighten regulation and choke of business. Leaders in idiotic regulation demands is Swiss NGO The Berne Declaration. Vitol's biggest competitors, Glencore and Trafigura, stated that hey have halted trade in Iranian oil. The sanctions as well as the reduction of purchases in the amount of 20% by China, India, Japan and South Korea have cut oil revenues in half for Iran. The reduction in oil purchases was caused by threats of U.S. financial sanctions on companies from those four countries which are the top four purchasers of Iranian oil. 

Vitol posted $297 Billion in revenues in 2011 and does not disclose profits. Fuel oil accounted for only $24 Billion in revenues while crude oil grossed the company $105 Billion and other refined products an additional $100 Billion. Profit margins on oil trades are low, but given the difficulty to get Iranian oil sold most lieely translated into huge profits for Vitol.

Vitol was very smart about how it succeeded into selling Iranian fuel oil

1. The Leadership has left Iran's top oil terminal at Kharg Island on August 23rd and passed through the Strait of Malacca before it turned off its freight tracking system on September 4th off the coast of Malaysia.Iranian tankers have started to turn off their black-box transponders after sanctions were announced in order to avoid tracking.

2. Vitol purchased two million barrels of fuel oil from the INTC vessel The Leadership off the coast of Malaysia and loaded it onto a Vitol chartered tanker, the Ticen Ocean. The Ticen Ocean was charted from Titan Petrochemicals, a Hong Kong based company which hired the vessel from Norwegian based company Frontline.The vessel was charted for floating storage of the Malaysian port of Tanjung Pelepas. Frontline CEO stated that Titan assured the company that no Iranian oil is being stored on the Ticen Ocean.

3. Vitol then charted a second vessel, the Speranza which is owned Sino Shipping Holdings based in China, which arrived off the Malaysian coast on September 13th or September 14th in order to replace the Ticen Ocean as floating storage. The Iranian fuel oil was transferred a second time in order to conceal its origins. 

4. Vitol also transferred part of the Iranian oil to a third vessel, the Kamari I, between September 11th and September 12th. The Kamari I transported the Iranian fuel oil to Vitol's onshore storage facility on the Malaysian island of Tanjung Bin which is located inside the Tanjung Pelepas port according to sources on the ground.

5. Vitol then blended the Iranian fuel oil with fuel oil from Europe and marketed it as a special blend to Chinese oil traders for the countless small, independent Chinese refineries known as teapots. Vitol asked a $30 premium to the benchmark, the Singapore 180 Centistoke Fuel Oil, which valued the two million special blend at roughly $250 Million.

6. The price was too high according to a Chinese manager for one of the teapots who said talks did not contnue and that Vitlol did not seem in a rush to sell the cargo. Given the unknown quality f the special blend, Chinese traders refused to purchase the cargo as it was too risky for them. 

7. Two Asian refineries were offered the special blend cargo and stated that Vitol asked for a $12 to $14 premium which valued the cargo at $175 Million.

It is unknown if Vitol successfully sold the cargo or if it still seeks a buyer. It does show the intelligence involved on Vitol's part to create a business avenue which will allow the company to increase profits. I finish the report and I am equally impressed and furious about Vitol. I may have to take this issue directly to our FWF unit, but given that Vitol is a private company it will make the task a lot more challenging. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Siemens Took Actions against Iran

I am about to call in the commander of my security team for the 30 minute interview as one of the aides knocks on my door. I waive him in and he has an urgent update on the Iranian situation. It is a developing story which unfolded on Sunday. All current efforts to slow down the Iranian nuclear program have failed. Diplomacy halted government military action and nobody in the private military field has taken any action so far.

The aide places the classified folder on my desk and informs me that rumors have it this is a very positive development. I am curious to find out what has happened while we were emerged in our conference. I thank the aide who quickly disappears back to his work station. As the aide exits my office the commander of my security team enters my office right on time. I motion for him to take a seat and tell him to wait a few moments as I scan the report which just landed on my desk.

An Iranian law maker made accusations that German conglomerate Siemens has planted explosive devices in equipment it sold to Iran for use in Iran's nuclear program. Those devises were meant to explode after the equipment would have been installed and sabotage the entire nuclear program. Siemens denies those allegations and a spokesman for the Munich based company reaffirmed that Siemens is not involved in Iran's nuclear program and does not supply equipment for it.

Siemens has to deny involvement in equipment sales to Iran due to EU sanctions on Iran, but they engaged in similar backdoor tactics the Koch brothers did in order to boost sales to tech hungry Iran. At least the management, or part of the management, realized that it was a mistake and decided to take action against the growing Iranian nuclear threat. Maybe it was a plot from the start. Gain Iran's trust, sell them redlisted equipment and then sabotage it in order to bring down nuclear operations.

The head of Iran's national security and foreign policy committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, made comments about Siemens sabotage act in Iran's paramilitary network ICANA and stated that Siemens needs to be held accountable for its actions against Iran. Iran is known for its accusations against the Western world as well as Israel when it comes to sabotaging its nuclear program. Accusations ranged from planting computer viruses to assasinations of Iran's nuclear scientists.

It is a very welcomed development to see a company take actions where diplomacy did not allow action to be taken.Maybe other companies will be inspired by this positive development and will act in a similar manner. Iran foiled this attempt which exposed Siemens dealings with Iran, but Siemens should only be congratulated as they have at least showed willingness to act.

I put the report back on my desk and ask the commander what his reasons are to be part of the firm. He swore his loyalty and is willing to give his life for the greater cause. He requests permission to speak freely and off the record which I grant him without hesitation. His response was somewhat unexpected but quite welcome to hear.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Greece Continues to Struggle

I ask the commander of my security team about their loyalty. A puzzled look is soon replaced by a response. The commander assures me loyalty to the cause. I give the other five member under his command a glance as they all stand at attention. Very pleased with the commanders response I want to know if his team would give their life in order to save mine if that would ever come up.

The commander swears loyalty to the cause and loyalty to me. He pledges the life of his men and himself to protect me no matter at what cost. His men repeat after the commander. I have a six member security team of highly trained operatives from various countries under my direct command who are willing to give their life so I may live and continue my work.

We all believe in what we do. The commander requests permission to ask me a question which I grant him. He wants to know if I am willing to die for the cause. I move a step closer to him and inform him that I am willing to go even further than that and live for the cause. He salutes me with a renewed sense of pride. A great soldier who respects the chain of command and executes orders without asking questions. He trusts his superiors, in this case me.

I will take time today to review each member's profile and schedule a 30 minute session with each member in order to get to know them better. Time I do not have, but need to make available since those six members have put their life in my hands and await my orders. They will not move from my side and are proud to have been selected as my personal security detail. My girlfriend may not be as thrilled as I am about the additional exemption of privacy, but I will find a way to make it work. She is on her way to Singapore to spend a week with me.

We are headed to my office and an aide is outside with an update on the Greek situation. Greece has been and is being used as a warning to the socialist governments of Germany and France to not interfere with free markets to an excessive degree and that there is a limit of abuse we are willing to accept as a capitalistic society. Both governments have pushed far beyond the limits and the proposed financial transaction tax was the final cause for our FWU to be deployed.

The United Kingdom, under the grace of her majesty, was the sole defender of free market capitalism and we have all pledged our allegiance to the crown. The UK was the sole reason the tax was voted down 26-1 in the EU, but Germany as well as France continued to push for it. The deployment of out FWU has caused German Chancellor Angela Merkel to withdraw her support for the financial transaction tax which left France the sole supporter of among the Big Three in the EU of the tax.

Greece has struggled ever since then, but for the time being we have backed off and allow the market to deal with the stupidity and fraud Greece displayed over the past thirteen years. Our FWU remains alert and is prepared to act if the socialists continue their crusade to kill all capitalists. The socialists need to be aware that if a FWMD is released on a country, the effects will not be able to be reversed.

The Troika continues to push Greece to meet the €11.5 billion in budget cuts which are required in order for Greece to receive the next installment of the bailout package. So far the coalition government has not agreed to any package, but rumors have it that €9.5 billion in budget cuts have been identified. Even if those cuts will be agreed on, which the socialists in Greece oppose, the government is still €2 billion short and Troika will leave Athens on September 23rd.

The €11.5 billion in budget cuts will ensure the reception of an additional €31.5 million from the first bailout package. Greece needs to continue down the path of austerity and eventually surrender its sovereignty to EU receivership which will allow Brussels to make day-to-day decisions about Greece and render the Greeks useless in governing their own country. The socialists oppose any cuts and claim there is a limit for cuts and austerity.

Exactly, there is a limit and t is no secret that the Eurozone wants a Greek exit despite the talks about commitment to all members. The fact is that Greece lied and with the help of Goldman Sachs and financial engineering constructed a fraudulent balance sheet which granted the country admission to the Eurozone. Since nobody wants to admit that Greece needs to leave, Portugal will be next, current steps have been taken to force Greece out by pushing the limits until the Greeks voluntarily exit the Eurozone.

A Greek exit is the only way to contain the Greek tragedy and the only solution for Greece who would no longer be subject to outside control and will be able to at least attempt a recovery. The sooner Greece decides to exit the Eurozone the better it will be for all participants. Given current circumstances there is simply no room for Greece in the Eurozone and they have been allowed for too long to hold the rest of Europe hostage.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Iran doubles Nuclear Capacity at Fordow

The security chief finally starts his briefing on the attack on our HQ. It was a six member team which carried out the attack. All team members formerly belonged to special forces units from various governments. Our counter-surveillance and counter-terrorism units pursued the intruders immediately after the attack and caught three members before they left the building.

An additional two were stopped outside the perimeter, but one is still at large. No data was stolen from the HQ and the integrity of the safe remains intact. The main reason for concern is the security breach itself. Our offices have never been made and now we had an ordered hit by a currently unknown enemy. This said enemy has hired a six member team of highly trained operatives in order to conduct an operation for yet unknown reasons.

We do not know for certain what their target was, but it appears that they did not go for confidential data. The current assessment of the threat level causes security to take into consideration that their target was a member of C-level management with top security clearance. This narrows the list of potential targets within our firm. The total number of targets is limited to three individuals. The five members who have been retained did not give away their contractor yet. Neither have they spoken about their specific contract, but it appears that the entity who hired them doubled up as an insurance policy and hired to trained assassins for each target.

One of the detained assassins is a former member of Iran's Quds Force. Two other members are Middle Eastern while the remaining two are European. A six member security detail will be assigned to all three individual who may have been the target of the attack. After we get the detainees to disclose their specific contract we will know the target within the firm. I am one of the three potential targets despite not being directly involved in any Iran related operations.

The one thing we do is monitor and oppose Iran's nuclear ambitions. Recent reports show that Iran has doubled its nuclear underground capacity from 1,064 to 2,140. Iran has doubled centrifuges which it protects in an underground bunker at Fordow, a report by IAEA inspectors shows. Iran may have already conducted nuclear test at its Parchin military complex as Tehran dismantled buildings and removed earth from the site which made it impossible for IAEA inspectors to visit the site.

The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, continues to claim that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful. Those claims where not humorous the first time he made them and they continue to lack the comedic aspect a joke usually strives for. It is time for diplomats to realize that diplomacy has miserably failed. Iran laughs at economic sanctions which do not hinder its operations. It is time for military intervention unless we want to face a nuclear armed extremist country.

Iran has produced 190 kilograms of 20% enriched uranium and is roughly 10 kilograms away from the production of its first nuclear warhead. Iran has moved all operation critical infrastructure underground and out of reach of even the most advanced bunker busters allied as well as hostile Air Forces have in their arsenal. Iran is 10 kilograms away from declaring victory and moves the game to the next level. We have failed with North Korea and we will fail again thanks to diplomacy which was out of place.

Iran may remain within its commitments to the NPT it signed until it has at least five bombs in its arsenal. Even one nuclear warhead is enough to cause severe interruptions to the global infrastructure. Iran may share its capabilities with other hostile nations who are current members of NAM which Iran hosts the presidency over for the next three years.

I begin to understand why an unknown contractor has put together a six member team of assassins. At least it narrows down the field of potential entities. I assume we should get to work and see which two assassins where contracted to kill who. The conference is finally over and I missed the sunrise over Singapore. Given all current developments I head to my office as we all leave the conference room. My six member security detail meets me outside the conference room and the commanding officer awaits my orders.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

BAE and EADS to create Defense Behemoth

Our security chief is set to give the long awaited brief on the incident several hours ago for the second time due to the outside interruption by the aide of one of the two generals present at the meeting in order to update us on the Chinese-Japanese face-off in the East China Sea. He is just about to start his brief as the red light flashes again.

This has been the third time during this conference we had an outside interruption with urgent messages by aides. At this time I am aware that the sunrise over Singapore harbor will not happen anymore. There will be always another day. I wonder what happened now that can't wait for another hour. I assume the generals will have a busy few days ahead of them given all the activity in the Middle East as well as Far East.

The green light is on and the doors are being unlocked from the outside. As there are no objections, we unlock the doors from the inside and the same four security guards escorts in another aide. I recognize the aide form the office and to my surprise the message is for me. Half a dozen thought shoot through my head as the young aide approaches me and I am curious to know what the update may be. We are currently working on two bigger projects and any urgent message could be positive or negative.

I stand up as she approaches my seat on the roundtable and giver her the nod to brief me. I expected several possibilities, but definitely did not expect to hear what she had to say to me. Two of the defense companies we are actively involved in are planning yet again to merge and create the second biggest defense company, behind Boeing, on the planet.

BAE Systems, the British defense giant, has plans to merge with EADS, the Franco-German aerospace and defense leviathan. Talks about a potential merger are over a decade old, but now have resurfaced potentially to try one last time to create an aerospace and defense behemoth. Most shareholders are opposed to the deal, but we fully support such a merger and I need to get out of this conference in order to get to work on what need to be concluded in order to assist the merger talks.

BAE Systems is known for its dividends while EADS has been more stingy about rewarding long-term investors. In order to cover the shortfall EADS has pledged an additional GBP 200 million to cover the shortfall and convince more of its shareholders to agree to the deal. Shareholders are not the only ones who can derail the merger which is why we need to work extremely diligent in order to ensure the successful merger of both companies.

Smaller shareholders are not our concern as they can easily be convinced to sell out their stakes. One key issues may be the veto rights of Britain, France and Germany. This is another reason why governments need to stay out of business. Daimler out of Germany owns 15% of EADS while French company Lagardere owns an additional 7.5%. Daimler is open to sell its stake which may be our best shot of ensuring 15% of yes votes while Lagardere is rumored to monitor progress and may be convinced to sell as well.

Union unrest as well as strikes are almost guaranteed as both companies combined employ a global workforce of over 200,000. This number should be reduced down to roughly 120,000 in order to streamline operations and implement necessary cost cuts. It will allow the company to further invest in its expansion and strive to become number one in the aerospace and defense market.

Boeing claims it is not worried about the competition. We all know how Boeing dropped to its knees and begged the U.S. government to reconsider the huge tanker deal awarded by the U.S. Air Force to a consortium led by Airbus, owned by EADS. Boeing hopes for stark opposition from the U.S. government, the biggest market for BAE Systems.

I am very excited about the news and the work which awaits me as I was just handed my new unofficial assignment. I thank the aide and request an emergency conference call with our biggest investors after this conference. She nods and is being escorted out of the conference room by the four guards who led her in. We lock the doors and here them being locked again from the outside. Before we continue we agree that we shall have no more interruptions and bring this lengthy conference to an end by allowing our security chief to brief us for the third time. As we say, three is a charm.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

China squares off with Japan in East China Sea

As we are approaching the end of the conference I assume it is early morning in beautiful Singapore and if we speed up the conference we may be able to view the sunrise over the Singapore harbor. The last point of action is the security report and newest information on the attack we experienced earlier this evening. Just as our security chief was starting his speech the red light in the middle of the table.

Great, this delay will definitely cause me to miss the sunrise. Moments later the green light flashes and the door is being unlocked from the outside. As we unlock the door from the inside four guards escort another aide into the conference room with an urgent message for one of the generals. The military front has been very active which bodes well for our business on the financial front.

The most recent hotspot flared up in a familiar spot, the East China Sea. There has been another territorial dispute between China and, this time, Japan. Beijing dispatched to lightly armored patrol boats to the disputed islets of Diaoyu after Japan purchased the uninhabited islets from the Japanese family they recognize as their owner for a deal valued at $26 million. Japan was forced into this purchase thanks to the nationalist governor of Tokyo who called for the purchase and development of the Diaoyu or Senkaku as the Japanese call it.

The Chinese government had similar plans but got beaten by the Japanese which left the only other alternative and the China Marine Surveillance has drawn up a plan to protect what China claims as its own. Taiwan also claims the island or rather islets which consists of a total of five uninhabited islets and three barren rocks. China established claim of the islets in the 14th century while Japan controlled the islets from 1895 until it surrendered to the U.S. during World War II after which the U.S. took over administration until it transferred control back to Japan in 1972. In 1968 oil experts published a study in which it suggested oil reserves under the islets and in the surrounding area.Taiwan just claims the islets group to complicate the situation.

The two Chinese patrol boats will likely sail a fine line just off the 12 nautical mile territory which is classified by international law as sovereign territory of any country. The Chinese will not provoke an international incident by breaching that perimeter and may dispatch more vessels into the area especially if the more powerful Japanese Navy will send its destroyers to the islets. It will come down to who will blink first as both Navy's could see eye to eye for an extended period of time.

On September 7th 2010 a Chinese fishing boat collided with a Japanese Coast Guard patrol boat. The Chinese crew was escorted to Japan and held under custody pending charges. The crew was released on the 13th and the captain on the 24th of September without being charged. The incident disrupted relations between Japan and its biggest trading partner, China.

On July 4th 2012 a Taiwanese fishing boat carried three members of an activist group which raised the PRC flag, but not the ROC flag. China praised the activists while Taiwan criticized them. The fishing boat was was escorted by five vessels of the Taiwanese Coast Guard. The activists claimed they forgot the ROC flag with one of their bags. The Japanese Coast Guard came to intercept the convoy and the captain of the fishing boat wanted to fire a cannon used to scare away dolphins at the Japanese, but the Taiwanese Coast Guard commander told them to stand-down. The Japanese Coast Guard wanted to board the fishing boat, but the Taiwanese Coast Guard fended off the attempts. After the fishing boat left the islets together with four Taiwanese Coast Guard vessels the remaining one bumped into one of the Japanese Coast Guard vessels.

On August 15th 2012 14 activists from Hong Kong arrived at the islets. Upon their arrival they threw batteries as well as broken bricks at the Japanese Coast Guard. Five members landed on Uotsuri. All 14 members were arrested for violating immigration and refugee laws and deported without charges in order to not anger the Chinese.

After the Hong Kong activists were deported the Japanese organized a memorial service for fallen service members of WWII and 150 Japanese boarded 20 boats and held the memorial service. After the service ten swan ashore one of the islets and raised several Hinomaru flags.

Now two Chinese patrols ships have been dispatched to create the potentially biggest incident involving the Diaoyu islets group. The purchase of the islets has resulted in massive protests in China as well as Taiwan. The Chinese government has released coordinates which it claims as its territory and vowed to defend its sovereignty. This may be an incident which will have a long impact on relations between China and Japan.

The aid to one of the generals finishes his briefing and is being escorted out of the conference room. The doors are being locked from the inside as well as the outside and we prepare for the final point of the conference which is the briefing by our security chief.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

46.7 Million on SNAP eat away $75.7 Billion

The next speaker at the conference rips my out of my reflections on the two themes which dominated the conference so far (Iran hosts NAM Summit, Assad pledges victory; U.S. Regulators are Desperate and Pathetic). It has been a long and tiring conference so far. It is hard to focus especially on the next speaker up which will strike a topic that bores me to an extend. The good news is that he will rattle through it in no time.

As I take a look around I can't help but notice that I am not the only one disinterested in the U.S. Department of Agriculture report about food stamp usage or SNAP as some pencil pusher labeled it to give it a more hype name. How ridiculous has our society become to give a social project which currently eats away over $6.2 billion per month or in excess of $75 billion per year in order to feed 46.7 million Americans in 22.4 million households.

In essence this translates that over 46 million would starve to death if we eliminate SNAP. The country can not afford to spend $72 billion per year, a number which will soon reach $100 billion per year, in order to feed one-sixth of the population. Paul Ryan, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, offered a plan to the House of Representatives in order to cut spending on SNAP by $33 billion over the next ten years.

The USDA has pushed food stamp participation which shows the incompetence as well as stupidity of the socialists. Barack Hussein Obama has already been labeled the 'Best Food Stamp President' in our history by Newt Gingrich. Obama tries to buy votes for the election by SNAPers and digs around in the lowest circles of the food chain. He throws them a crumb and begs for a vote.

Imagine the rush into SNAP once the Second Great Depression layers the U.S. More and more families will be forced to seek assistance in order to simply survive. The unemployment rate, the real one, approaches 20%. Less and less quality jobs have been created since the Great Recession and the Dumbama campaign wasted hundreds of billions of dollar to create short-term low income jobs which all relied on SNAP to survive.

$75 billion per year is spend in order to feed people. SNAP became a giant soup kitchen. People get used to assistance and after a period of long-term employment do not bother to resolve their situation, but rather accept their new life. We house them, we feed them and they reproduce. The speaker has now captured all our attention and his proposal, which many may view as radical and heartless, has given plenty of substance for discussions.

He proposed to cut the program altogether. Tough times call for tough measures. It will free up $75 billion to make improvements in areas of the economy which will benefit those who do not require assistance. Yes, it will result in the potential death of over 46 million citizens, but it will ease the strain on the economy. We are over populated and the numbers keep spiraling out control. It may even send a message that the government will not keep you alive by taking from others so before you start a family make sure you are able to support it.

Tax dollars would not be wasted on social programs and we would strive to create a sustainable society as well as environment. The positive impacts the rest of the country would feel is worth the high price we need to pay. It would be a lot of temporary problems which would lead to sustainable long-term improvements. The speaker outlined a clear plan and talked us through it step-by-step with his presentation which turned out to be rather long, informative and interesting.

After the presentation we took some time to discuss the proposal and potentially work on plans to implement it. Social unrest and riots would dominate the stage for a few months, there may not be enough man power to protect the system unless we would declare martial law until the situation would be resolved. There are plenty of problems which need to be addressed in order to implement the elimination of SNAP.

Either way, this heated and highly controversial presentation has sparked debate and at the very least woke us up and prepared us for the next point of discussion.