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In the Blind Spot (Satoshi?, CSTO, Narcos)

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Business, Economics, Finance etc:

Covid, Who Dunnit?

  • Politico goes big into the unaccountable role Bill Gates has played in directing the Covid global response.

    I managed to sneak in an FT column questioning Bill Gates’ dominance of the Covid response in April 2020. This was just before it became totally taboo to question either Bill Gates or WEF’s role in anything – largely due to references being stigmatised as a “conspiracy theory” in polite company. It’s almost as if getting an organisation or name mentioned in conspiracy circles shields it from ever being properly scrutinized by the mainstream press. Had Wirecard’s Jan Marsalek figured that out he would have changed tactics from trying to bribe credible journalists to the tune of $10mn to keep his corporate name out of the news, to paying Alex Jones to promote it.

    It’s nice to see serious press like Politico venturing into these pastures with fresh eyes.

  • The Lancet’s two-year investigation into the origins of Covid, chaired by Jeffrey Sachs, introduces the possibility of an American dimension to the story.

    Critics are dismissing the findings as another example of the Lancet being captured by Chinese state interests. (A popular “conspiracy theory” in China is that Covid was brought to America by US soldiers attending the 2019 military games.) Now feels like a good time to make my long-form spotlights on “gain of function” research and biowarfare free to read.

Crypto shenanigans:

  • South Korea has issued an arrest warrant for the founder of TerraLabs, Do Kwon, who currently finds himself in Singapore.
  • The ethereum merge happened, nothing crashed, but the WSJ says the SEC may now have a reason to get involved.

    Some are worried that what feels like a virtuous and progressive energy saving move by Ethereum, might prove its unmaking. This is especially the case among those who care about privacy and censorship resistance. Many are already reeling from the fallout associated with the potential banning of the Tornado cash mixing service.

    They say staking (as opposed to mining) makes ether more vulnerable to centralisation and via that to co-option and/or control by the state.

  • Craig Wright tells a court he stomped on the hard-drive that can prove he is Satoshi.

    The defamation case involves longstanding Satoshi claimant Craig Wright and an online troll who claims Dr Wright is a fraud.

Geopolitical Pivots:

  • Russia’s margarine-NATO-equivalent, CSTO, is in trouble.

    Some unfortunate news for Russia and its regional NATO-lite equivalent, the CSTO, this week.

    Armenia and Azerbaijan appear to have entered a ceasefire after days of intense shelling and assaults into Armenian territory. Though Armenia officially filed a request for military assistance from the CSTO, the body appears reluctant to provide any.

    Compounding these troubles, clashes erupted between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (both CSTO allies) killing one border guard and injuring two.

    As if things couldn’t get any worse, Georgia and rebels in its breakaway South Ossetian region also clashed two days ago.

    It’s almost as if regional strife on Russia’s border is inversely correlated with its success or failure in Ukraine.

  • Thousands in Armenia descend to the streets to get their PM to resign.

    The protests appear to have been caused by PM Pashinyan indicating he would sign a “painful document” which could “ensure Armenia’s security and territorial integrity”.

    Though we’re not experts in the conflict, it certainly seems like Armenia may end up ceding to Azeri claims, some of which are inside of Armenia proper. This is significant as the Armenian south is one of the few geopolitical obstacles to a solid Pan-Turkish dominance of the Caucasus region.

Plata o Plomo:

  • Sinaloa cartel chief and one-time ruler of all Mexican drug lords, ‘jefe de los jefes’ Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo has been released from prison after 33 years.

    The efforts of Felix to centralise the quarreling Mexican cartels were made famous by Netflix’s series Narcos Mexico. The unintended consequences of his arrest as a consequence were an increase rather than a decline in violence.

    The plot of the film Sicario comes to mind in that connection. In the film an unsuspecting New Mexico cop is instructed to accompany members of the CIA and the Medellin Cartel as they eliminate cartel opposition to the Medellin Cartel’s rule in Colombia. Why? Because a monopoly lowers violence, and makes an operation easier to surveil.

    Fictional plot or not, it certainly appears that when it comes to organised crime the immutable law of economics, that competition is good, cannot be relied on.

Stranger Things:

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