Operation Disclosure | By David Lifschultz, Contributing Writer
Submitted on April 8, 2021
REVISED: NATO IN UKRAINE?
Compliments of the Lifschultz Organization founded in 1899
Our estimation is that NATO will not intervene in the Ukraine to avoid a major war nor will the Ukraine be permitted to join NATO, see footnote one for a detailed report from Pepe Escobar. The US moral support of National Socialism in the Ukraine belies the US participation in World War Two as against National Socialism and was merely propaganda to serve geopolitical interests of avoiding Japan and Germany controlling the entire Eurasian land mass as that would shift the balance of power against the US. The so-called denazification after the war had as its primary purpose to destroy the Prussian Military Caste which it succeeded in doing and to change the nation back to the Weimar immorality that would weaken Germany further. It largely succeeded here too reflected in the falling birth rate and the infamous gender program. The falling birth rate is to be offset by importing as immigrants blacks from Africa to destroy and change the German culture into a hybrid of totem and taboo.
What is curious about the Ukraine is that the US also supports the Trotskyite oligarchs who have stolen most of the wealth of the nation who are mostly Jewish. The National Socialists in the Ukraine declare as the Germans in the 1930s that the only Jews that can stay in the Ukraine that are Karaites who only observe the Old Testament and not the Talmud and yet they have said nothing about the Jewish Trotskyite oligarchs. This is a very strange anomaly.
In Russia the Trotskyite oligarchs have stolen half the wealth of the Russian nation whose toleration severely tarnishes the Putin government that has not yet taken that stolen money back. Sources say Putin made a pact with the Devil in 1999-2000 that he would let Trotskyite oligarchs keep their stolen money while he takes over the security services and army, and if this is so, it was a grave wrong to the Russian people.
The following anonymous article tells us something about the Karaites that were protected in Russia by Catherine the Great against any disabilities and were protected by Stalin. It is not surprising that Stalin protected them in the Crimea after the Germans had treated them so well as Stalin was trained in Seminary until he was twenty and was an Okhrana agent spying on the Bolsheviks at the time of the Russian Revolution. Stalin would follow Catherine the Great who admired as her favourite Queen Zenobia of Palmyra who followed the holy concept of marriage of Saint Augustine that Stalin believe in and had taught to the Russian children that the procreative act can only be used in marriage with procreative intent. Here is the source of the protection of the Karaites in the Ukraine by the National Socialists by an anonymous author.
World War Two handed to Russia and China the control of most of the Eurasian land mass by 1949 and this was the cause of US opposition. It was not communism that caused our opposition which had been our ally just before in World War Two but geopolitical balance of power. Roy Cohn told me the entire McCarthy movement was merely a fad as far as he was concerned though McCarthy’s chief lawyer for his Senate Committee. Russia and China today are no longer communist so the US has invented the idea that they are evil because they are authoritarian though that is hardly the reason for our opposition for when China opposed Russia being communist we became the ally of Chairman Mao. We promoted in China every practice that they developed. For example, when I was talking to the CEO of United Technologies asking him why he was moving his factories to China rather than keep them here he said that they (deep state) ordered him to do it and now we are blaming China for the very practices they were told to do. These differences can be worked out but the US does not want to as they fear the power of China and must stop their growth at all costs even if it risks sparking a massive war. You cannot reason with today’s deep state as I have tried to do as part of the group.
Then the US picks out a segment of the Chinese population that are under reeducation programs to condemn over “rights” while in the US 60 million living souls in the womb were terminated without any rights. And the US schools are being set up as reeducation centers to hate whites. This is the worst form of hypocrisy.
China became an enemy again when they approached Russia in 2014. It is the geopolitical significance of the alliance in the balance of power that is affecting the US positions. The US masses are led by lying propaganda. If the reader would like to understand this geopolitical approach, they should consult the writings of Mackinder, Mahan and Spykman. If they told the truth, it would not be very persuasive for the draftee to hear that his life would be risked for the “noble cause” of balancing the power while this cannon fodder after he has done his duty can return home to work at slave wages competing with tens of millions of immigrants so that he cannot raise a family. That is his reward. The spoils of war go to those that own the multi-national corporations.
Russia holds all the cards. They can cut Europe off from natural gas and oil from Russia redirecting it to China and their ally Iran can shut the Straits of Hormuz destroying the European economy and bringing down the 1.5 quadrillion derivative market triggering a world depression. It would create 50% unemployment in the US and Europe creating a very, very far right reset. (See footnote two) It would be in Russia’s interest in this situation to create self-sufficiency as under Stalin by 1938 relying only on China and Iran. We see the 1920s and 1930s playing out again. The key in the future is national self-sufficiency as the world heads toward war.
Ukraine redux: war, Russophobia and Pipelineistan
The deep state/NATO combo’s using Kiev to start a war to bury Nord Stream 2 and German-Russian relations
By PEPE ESCOBAR
APRIL 7, 2021
A Ukrainian serviceman walks in a fortified position at the front line with Russia-backed separatists not far away, in Avdiivka, Donetsk region, on April 5, 2021. Photo: AFP
Ukraine and Russia may be on the brink of war – with dire consequences for the whole of Eurasia. Let’s cut to the chase, and plunge head-on into the fog of war.
On March 24, Ukrainian President Zelensky, for all practical purposes, signed a declaration of war against Russia, via decree No. 117/2021.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a joint press conference with European Council President in Kiev on March 3, 2021. Photo: AFP / Sergey Dolzhenko
The decree establishes that retaking Crimea from Russia is now Kiev’s official policy. That’s exactly what prompted an array of Ukrainian battle tanks to be shipped east on flatbed rail cars, following the saturation of the Ukrainian army by the US with military equipment including unmanned aerial vehicles, electronic warfare systems, anti-tank systems and man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS).
More crucially, the Zelensky decree is the proof any subsequent war will have been prompted by Kiev, debunking the proverbial claims of “Russian aggression.” Crimea, since the referendum of March 2014, is part of the Russian Federation.
It was this (italics mine) de facto declaration of war, which Moscow took very seriously, that prompted the deployment of extra Russian forces to Crimea and closer to the Russian border with Donbass. Significantly, these include the crack 76th Guards Air Assault Brigade, known as the Pskov paratroopers and, according to an intel report quoted to me, capable of taking Ukraine in only six hours.
It certainly does not help that in early April US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, fresh from his former position as a board member of missile manufacturer Raytheon, called Zelensky to promise “unwavering US support for Ukraine’s sovereignty.” That ties in with Moscow’s interpretation that Zelensky would never have signed his decree without a green light from Washington.
On March 8, 2021, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during observance of International Women’s Day in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP / Mandel Ngan
Controlling the narrative
Sevastopol, already when I visited in December 2018, is one of the most heavily defended places on the planet, impervious even to a NATO attack. In his decree, Zelensky specifically identifies Sevastopol as a prime target.
Once again, we’re back to 2014 post-Maidan unfinished business.
To contain Russia, the US deep state/NATO combo needs to control the Black Sea – which, for all practical purposes, is now a Russian lake. And to control the Black Sea, they need to “neutralize” Crimea.
If any extra proof was necessary, it was provided by Zelensky himself on Tuesday this week in a phone call with NATO secretary-general and docile puppet Jens Stoltenberg.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference at the end of a NATO Foreign Ministers’ meeting at the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels on March 24, 2021. Photo: AFP / Olivier Hoslet
Zelensky uttered the key phrase: “NATO is the only way to end the war in Donbass” – which means, in practice, NATO expanding its “presence” in the Black Sea. “Such a permanent presence should be a powerful deterrent to Russia, which continues the large-scale militarization of the region and hinders merchant shipping.”
All of these crucial developments are and will continue to be invisible to global public opinion when it comes to the predominant, hegemon-controlled narrative.
The deep state/NATO combo is imprinting 24/7 that whatever happens next is due to “Russian aggression.” Even if the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) launch a blitzkrieg against the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics. (To do so against Sevastopol in Crimea would be certified mass suicide).
In the United States, Ron Paul has been one of the very few voices to state the obvious: “According to the media branch of the US military-industrial-congressional-media complex, Russian troop movements are not a response to clear threats from a neighbor, but instead are just more ‘Russian aggression.’”
What’s implied is that Washington/Brussels don’t have a clear tactical, much less strategic game plan: only total narrative control.
And that is fueled by rabid Russophobia – masterfully deconstructed by the indispensable Andrei Martyanov, one of the world’s top military analysts.
A possibly hopeful sign is that on March 31, the chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, General Valery Gerasimov, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, talked on the phone about the proverbial “issues of mutual interest.”
Days later, a Franco-German statement came out, calling on “all parties” to de-escalate. Merkel and Macron seem to have gotten the message in their videoconference with Putin – who must have subtly alluded to the effect generated by Kalibrs, Kinzhals and assorted hypersonic weapons if the going gets tough and the Europeans sanction a Kiev blitzkrieg.
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks as German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on after a German-French Security Council video conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on February 5, 2021. Photo: AFP / Thibault Camus
The problem is Merkel and Macron don’t control NATO. Yet Merkel and Macron at least are fully aware that if the US/NATO combo attacks Russian forces or Russian passport holders who live in Donbass, the devastating response will target the command centers that coordinated the attacks.
What does the hegemon want?
As part of his current Energizer bunny act, Zelensky made an extra eyebrow-raising move. This past Monday, he visited Qatar with a lofty delegation and clinched a raft of deals, not circumscribed to LNG but also including direct Kiev-Doha flights; Doha leasing or buying a Black Sea port; and strong “defense/military ties” – which could be a lovely euphemism for a possible transfer of jihadis from Libya and Syria to fight Russian infidels in Donbass.
Right on cue, Zelensly meets Turkey’s Erdogan next Monday. Erdogan’s intel services run the jihadi proxies in Idlib, and dodgy Qatari funds are still part of the picture. Arguably, the Turks are already transferring those “moderate rebels” to Ukraine. Russian intel is meticulously monitoring all this activity.
A series of informed discussions – see, for instance, here and here – is converging on what may be the top three targets for the hegemon amid all this mess, short of war: to provoke an irreparable fissure between Russia and the EU, under NATO auspices; to crash the Nord Steam 2 pipeline; and to boost profits in the weapons business for the military-industral complex.
So the key question then is whether Moscow would be able to apply a Sun Tzu move short of being lured into a hot war in the Donbass.
On the ground, the outlook is grim. Denis Pushilin, one of the top leaders of the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics, has stated that the chances of avoiding war are “extremely small.” Serbian sniper Dejan Beric – whom I met in Donetsk in 2015 and who is a certified expert on the ground – expects a Kiev attack in early May.
The extremely controversial Igor Strelkov, who may be termed an exponent of “orthodox socialism,” a sharp critic of the Kremlin’s policies who is one of the very few warlords who survived after 2014, has unequivocally stated that the only chance for peace is for the Russian army to control Ukrainian territory at least up to the Dnieper river. He stresses that a war in April is “very likely”; for Russia war “now” is better than war later; and there’s a 99% possibility that Washington will not fight for Ukraine.
On this last item at least Strelkov has a point; Washington and NATO want a war fought to the last Ukrainian.
Rostislav Ischenko, the top Russian analyst of Ukraine whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Moscow in late 2018, persuasively argues that, “the overall diplomatic, military, political, financial and economic situation powerfully requires the Kiev authorities to intensify combat operations in Donbass.
“By the way,” Ischenko added, “the Americans do not give a damn whether Ukraine will hold out for any time or whether it will be blown to pieces in an instant. They believe they stand to gain from either outcome.”
Gotta defend Europe
Let’s assume the worst in Donbass. Kiev launches its blitzkrieg. Russian intel documents everything. Moscow instantly announces it is using the full authority conferred by the UNSC to enforce the Minsk 2 ceasefire.
In what would be a matter of 8 hours or a maximum 48 hours, Russian forces smash the whole blitzkrieg apparatus to smithereens and send the Ukrainians back to their sandbox, which is approximately 75km north of the established contact zone.
In the Black Sea, incidentally, there’s no contact zone. This means Russia may send out all its advanced subs plus the surface fleet anywhere around the “Russian lake”: They are already deployed anyway.
Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on as Novator Design Bureau director-general Farid Abdrakhmanov and Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko shake hands during a signing ceremony for government contracts in Alabino, Moscow region, Russia. on June 27, 2019. Photo: AFP / Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik
Once again Martyanov lays down the law when he predicts, referring to a group of Russian missiles developed by the Novator Design Bureau: “Crushing Ukies’ command and control system is a matter of few hours, be that near border or in the operational and strategic Uki depth. Basically speaking, the whole of the Ukrainian ‘navy’ is worth less than the salvo of 3M54 or 3M14 which will be required to sink it. I think couple of Tarantuls will be enough to finish it off in or near Odessa and then give Kiev, especially its government district, a taste of modern stand-off weapons.”
The absolutely key issue, which cannot be emphasized enough, is that Russia will not (italics mine) “invade” Ukraine. It doesn’t need to, and it doesn’t want to. What Moscow will do for sure is to support the Novorossiya people’s republics with equipment, intel, electronic warfare, control of airspace and special forces. Even a no-fly zone will not be necessary; the “message” will be clear that were a NATO fighter jet to show up near the frontline, it would be summarily shot down.
And that brings us to the open “secret” whispered only in informal dinners in Brussels, and chancelleries across Eurasia: NATO puppets do not have the balls to get into an open conflict with Russia.
One thing is to have yapping dogs like Poland, Romania, the Baltic gang and Ukraine amplified by corporate media on their “Russian aggression” script. Factually, NATO had its collective behind unceremoniously kicked in Afghanistan. It shivered when it had to fight the Serbs in the late 1990s. And in the 2010s, it did not dare fight the Damascus and Axis of Resistance forces.
When all fails, myth prevails. Enter the US Army occupying parts of Europe to “defend” it against – who else? – those pesky Russians.
That’s the rationale behind the annual US Army DEFENDER-Europe 21, now on till the end of June, mobilizing 28,000 soldiers from the US and 25 NATO allies and “partners.”
This month, men and heavy equipment pre-positioned in three US Army depots in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands will be transferred to multiple “training areas” in 12 countries. Oh, the joys of travel, no lockdown in an open air exercise since everyone has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Pipelineistan uber alles
Nord Stream 2 is not a big deal for Moscow; it’s a Pipelineistan inconvenience at best. After all the Russian economy did not make a single ruble out of the not yet existent pipeline during the 2010s – and still it did fine. If NS2 is canceled, there are plans on the table to redirect the bulk of Russian gas shipments towards Eurasia, especially China.
Connecting German infrastructure for Nord Stream 2 is in place. In this handout photo released February 4, 2020, by the press service of Eugal, a view shows the Eugal pipeline, in Germany. The Eugal pipeline, which will receive gas from Nord Stream 2 in the future, has reached full pumping capacity, and the second line of the pipeline has been introduced. Photo: AFP / Press-service of Eugal / Sputnik
In parallel, Berlin knows very well that canceling NS2 will be an extremely serious breach of contract – involving hundreds of billions of euros; it was Germany that requested the pipeline to be built in the first place.
Germany’s energiewende (“energy transition” policy) has been a disaster. German industrialists know very well that natural gas is the only alternative to nuclear energy. They are not exactly fond of Berlin becoming a mere hostage, condemned to buy ridiculously expensive shale gas from the hegemon – even assuming the egemon will be able to deliver, as its fracking industry is in shambles. Merkel explaining to German public opinion why they must revert to using coal or buy shale from the US will be a sight to see.
As it stands, NATO provocations against NS2 proceed unabated – via warships and helicopters. NS2 needed a permit to work in Danish waters, and it was granted only a month ago. Even as Russian ships are not as fast in laying pipes as the previous ships from Swiss-based Allseas, which backed down, intimidated by US sanctions, the Russian Fortuna is making steady progress, as noted by analyst Petri Krohn: one kilometer a day on its best days, at least 800 meters a day. With 35 km left, that should not take more than 50 days.
Conversations with German analysts reveal a fascinating shadowplay on the energy front between Berlin and Moscow – not to mention Beijing. Compare it with Washington: EU diplomats complain there’s absolutely no one to negotiate with regarding NS2. And even assuming there would be some sort of deal, Berlin is inclined to admit Putin’s judgment is correct: the Americans are “not agreement-capable.” One just needs to look at the record.
Behind the fog of war, though, a clear scenario emerges: the deep state/NATO combo using Kiev to start a war as a Hail Mary pass to ultimately bury NS2, and thus German-Russian relations.
At the same time, the situation is evolving towards a possible new alignment in the heart of the “West”: US/UK pitted against Germany/France. Some Anglosphere exceptionals are certainly more Russophobic than others.
The toxic encounter between Russophobia and Pipelineistan will not be over even if NS2 is completed. There will be more sanctions. There will be an attempt to exclude Russia from SWIFT. The proxy war in Syria will intensify. The hegemon will go no holds barred to keep creating all sorts of geopolitical harassment against Russia.
What a nice wag-the-dog op to distract domestic public opinion from massive money printing masking a looming economic collapse. As the empire crumbles, the narrative is set in stone: it’s all the fault of “Russian aggression.”
THE STRAITS OF HORMUZ AS A TRIGGER TO WORLD DEPRESSION
July 1, 2018
There is a grave national interest that is threatened by the derivative and financial structure outlined below in the report below on the use of Stochastic Control Theory which I have explained in simple English. According to Warren Buffett, the 600 trillion to 1.2 quadrillion world derivative market constitutes a weapon of financial mass destruction. In the discussions outlined below, these derivatives are used to drain at least a trillion dollars a year out of the market in manipulated profits. Aside from this being parasitic and illegal, it is dangerous to the national security of the United States as the shutting of the Straits of Hormuz by Iran can trigger a world depression as these 1.2 trillion of derivatives implode. These profits are protected by the former Attorney General Eric Holder too big to prosecute doctrine.
The 1987 stock market crash was engineered by the manipulation of the stock market by the cash settlement derivative by a giant cartel on Wall St. as explained in the Stochastic piece. It was resolved by forcing all the major players in the cartel to use their massive profits from their manipulation to reverse the crash using the same technique that they crashed it with and this was successful. In the 2008 crash such efforts were not sufficient and we created about 400 years of credit to make sure the monetary aggregates such as M-3 did not implode. 2.7 trillion dollars of which were used as excess reserves to repair the balance sheets of the bankrupt banks by paying them interest above market so that they would not fractionalize for ten years. These excess reserves are now being unwound with a much more limited effect than if they had been fractionalized. This can be offset by lowering reserve requirements as the Chinese are doing. We had to make up for the destruction of credit and it could be handled by papering it over.
If the Straits of Hormuz are closed by the Iranians the shortage of 22% of the world oil supply could not be similarly papered over and it would detonate a collapse of the 1.2 quadrillion derivative market causing a market crash worse than 1933 Weimar Germany. The Bank for International Settlements calculates about 600 billion in total derivatives but Swiss sources say there are at least 1.2 quadrillion with some placing it at 2.5 quadrillion. This relates to an 88 trillion dollar World GDP or a derivative market 28 times the World GDP.
General Barry McCaffrey explained to me below at a lunch at the Harvard Club that the US fleet cannot keep the Straits of Hormuz open as it cannot project sufficient military power to do so and the fleet must leave immediately the entire area in the event of a war with Iran or face total annihilation.
“The Russians have delivered large quantities of Sunburn missiles to Iran designed to fly as low as nine feet at 1,500 miles an hour with dodging capacity. They can be fired from a flatbed truck which makes them mobile. It is perfect for flying into the Straits of Hormuz which is no more than forty miles wide while the actual transit space is about two miles at points. This missile fired from the Iranian shores will punch a hole the size of a room in any ship in the Straits in a fraction of a second. The SS-N-22 sunburn supersonic anti-ship missile has been described as the most lethal missile in the world today designed to defeat the Aegis radar defence system of the United States and subsequent renditions. The Russian SS-NX-26 Yakhont missile (speed Mach 2.9) line the Iranian northern shore. No declassified studies of the ability of these missile to penetrate an aircraft carrier defence have been issued, but it would appear that a large barrage of these missiles cannot be defended against by any known method but jamming equipment.
However, we have the example of the Russian missile (falsely attributed to China) designed with anti-jamming equipment hitting an Israeli frigate (INS Hanit, July 14, 2006) off the shore of Lebanon during the Israeli attack on the Hezbollah. It sailed through the most advanced US and Israeli jamming equipment. While the Israelis denied that they even had turned on their jamming equipment, this did not make any sense to have the INS Hanit jamming equipment turned off when that ship off Lebanon was in a war zone and that they were turned on was confirmed to me by the highest Israel authorities (Mossad) who said they issued this denial at the request of the Americans so that it might not be known that the system on American warships was worthless.”
Many more advanced offensive missiles than this have been since that conversation been acquired by the Iranians as well as advanced anti-missile missiles to deny access to their airspace from enemy aircraft.
“The United States does not have the military power to keep the Straits of Hormuz open and its carrier task forces must flee if they are within range of Russian and Chinese anti-ship missiles lining the coast of Iran which are the most advanced in the world.” General Barry McCaffrey, former Assistant to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS); and Director of Strategic Plans and Policy, Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a conversation with David Lifschultz at lunch at the Harvard Club.” In addition, in a conversation with David Lifschultz the chief derivative trader in oil for Goldman Sachs said if the Straits were cut off oil would rise to $500.00 to a $1,000.00 a barrel and then crash the derivative market taking down the world economy as Warren Buffett has pointed out.
Here is a brief summary of the military analysis of General Barry McCaffrey at the Harvard Club lunch with me in which he discusses the strategic inability of the United States to keep the Straits of Hormuz open:
The aircraft carrier became the new weapon of naval war replacing the battleship as the premier weapon for the simple reason that the planes were able to destroy the battleships before the battleships came near enough to destroy the aircraft carriers. This made battleships, cruisers and destroyers obsolete.
The United States ended the World War Two essentially in control of the all the seas and their main instrument of control were these aircraft carrier task forces. The US took this control from the exhausted and bankrupt British Empire and inherited their long built Empire with the empires of Japan, Germany, France and the Netherlands. The control mechanism was the US control of the world financial system established at Bretton Woods constructed around the CHIPS and Swift clearing systems where 88% of world financial transactions has a dollar on one side. The UN and World Court were merely parts of the control mechanism where the small nations rights were really imaginary as we see in the case of Iran.
When the Korean war broke out with the surprise invasion of South Korea in June, 1950, the other key component of the United States winning World War Two of land based air power was quickly nullified as most of the friendly air bases in South Korea were overrun. (Tanks armies were the third component of World War Two military power now nullified by advanced Kornet missiles. Submarines were the third.) The United States Seventh Fleet quickly arrived at the scene to provide that air power to the US and South Korean armies stranded defending at the Pusan Perimeter which saved the day. It was from that moment to the present that air power projection against land targets, rather than the fleet battles in the deep blue water, would be the main justification for aircraft carrier task forces. Naval aircrews from the Seventh Fleet’s Task Force 77 flew 275,000 sorties amounting to 53% of the close air support and 40% of the interdictions sorties in Korea.
Air power was a major factor in World War Two. Field Marshall Fritz Erich von Manstein outnumbered troops defeated the Russians at the Crimea saved by Baron Wolfram von Richthohen Fliegerkorps VIII whose air force annihilated half the Russian forces. There Fritz earned his Marshall’s Baton. In a reversal at Normandy, Field Marshall Rommel in his famous message to Hitler predicting an allied breakthrough stated that allied air supremacy was smashing their best trained troops and the situation was hopeless. As we shall discuss later, the United States is banking on air power to stop the Russian Army in Europe today in the event of an attack but there will be no airports whether military or commercial within ten minutes of the commencement of war as Russian Iskander missiles carrying tactical nuclear warheads or conventional will knock them all out nullifying NATO’s air power. Tank warfare is similarly obsolete based on the improved Kornet missile and advanced silent submarines and their advanced missiles will control the seas eliminating the aircraft carriers the other major component of World War Two power. The problem is that the western armies are preparing for World War Two and not World War Three. As such, a look at NATO and its dilapidated German force demonstrates that this deterrent is but a figment of the imagination and would be wiped out within two to three weeks according to German generals we have discussed this with. In other words, in a war in Europe the three components of World War Two military power power the aircraft carrier nullified by submarines, tanks nullified by the Kornet missile and air power nullified by the destruction of the air fields would not stand in the way of a Russian Army that could reach the English Channel in two weeks.
During the Vietnam War the US Navy similarly projected air power in the newly reconstituted Task Force 77 participating in the sustained air campaigns such as Rolling Thunder and Linebacker. From 1964 to 1973 Task Force 77 flew hundreds of thousands of attack sorties against targets in North and South Vietnam. In Operation Desert Storm in Iraq the United States Navy gathered six aircraft carriers with over 400 aircraft into the Red and Arabian Seas as part of the coalition air campaign. The aircraft carriers remained in the region participating in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict.
During the period from World War Two until recently the Navy operated close to shore with little to fear. The Russians and Chinese have developed anti-ship missiles that line the coast of China creating a 2,000 kilometer fire zone where no aircraft carrier is safe according to open sources. We understand that the range is much further than this from informed sources. If we go just by the 2,000 kilometer line it includes a large part Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc.. And if we go according current informed estimates 3,000 to 4,000 kilometers, it will include all of these countries as well as the waterways. It would jeopardize our bases in countries as Japan, the Philippines, etc. which would be targeted in a war.
The Chinese anti-navy missile and airpower is dispersed, mobile, and designed either to be hidden or sheltered in hardened and underground facilities. For example, China’s DF-21D anti-ship missile is based on a medium-range missile that is moved about and launched from a transporter-erector-launcher (TEL). Most of China’s land-based anti-ship land attack cruise missiles are also launched from a TEL. China’s maritime strike airpower, which includes most of its fleet of Flanker fighter aircraft, can be based at scores of air bases, most of which are hardened against attack, some to a very high extent. These are the forces that can reach out 2,000 kilometers if not more.
It is important to note that our new F-35C strike fighter for our aircraft carriers has a maximum combat radius 1,100 kilometers which is about the same as the older F/A 18 EF. Even when armed with standoff missiles, these combat radii won’t be adequate to keep the aircraft carriers out of range of land-based threats to aircraft carriers. In addition, most of our bases are vulnerable within the 2,000 kilometer range and all of them except in Australia would be within Chinese missile defensive range at 4,000 kilometers.
We recently watched the Tomahawk missiles strike Syria but their range is only 1,600 kilometers which are carried by our cruisers and destroyers which makes them worthless against a land opponent with longer distance missile capacity as China presently has lining their shore.
In other words, the nearer bases are vulnerable and the farther bases are too far out for our short range designed strike aircraft. This means our entire offensive capacity in Asia is geared to short-range conflict that we are hopelessly outmatched in that almost all our short range bases stand to be immediately wiped out by Chinese defensive missiles and our long range bases do not have sufficient long range strike aircraft. We must consider all our aircraft carriers as short range as they are limited by the range of their aircraft and therefore useless in future ground support operations, And as far as their use for patrolling the seas the aircraft carriers are vulnerable to advanced Russian and Chinese silent submarines with anti-ship missiles. In other words, the United States has lost control of the seas and all of its commerce is in jeopardy in the event of a major war. Its military industrial complex that depends on parts from Asia could be shut down within two weeks for those that rely on just in time inventory control.
The US air capacity is about 12-1 short range to long range strike aircraft. This means that our enormous air power in Europe stands to be wiped out when the Russians hit the air fields with tactical nuclear weapons, and our long range strike aircraft is totally inadequate for the defence of Europe. Our entire defence budget is, therefore, warped and irrational.
The cost of a Gerald R. Ford-call aircraft carrier is 15.1 billion dollars which breaks down to 11.8 billion for the carrier and 3.3 billion for 24 F-35C strike fighters. We could buy for that some 27 of the new long-range strike aircraft at a planned cost of 550 million each. The United States has to immediately shift its procurement budgets to try to remedy this mismatch.
Thus far General McCaffrey analysis and it continues. I only use the General’s name to give authenticity to the reader that does not know me but in truth the general gave a very brief outline which I have completely filled in as I probably had more knowledge in this area than he did..
The Russians have delivered large quantities of Sunburn missiles to Iran designed to fly as low as nine feet at 1,500 miles an hour with dodging capacity. They can be fired from a flatbed truck which makes them mobile. It is perfect for flying into the Straits of Hormuz which is no more than forty miles wide while the actual transit space is about two miles at points. This missile fired from the Iranian shores will punch a hole the size of a room in any ship in the Straits in a fraction of a second. The SS-N-22 sunburn supersonic anti-ship missile has been described as the most lethal missile in the world today designed to defeat the Aegis radar defence system of the United States and subsequent renditions. The Russian SS-NX-26 Yakhont missile (speed Mach 2.9) line the Iranian northern shore. No declassified studies of the ability of these missile to penetrate an aircraft carrier defence have been issued, but it would appear that a large barrage of these missiles cannot be defended against by any known method but jamming equipment. However, we have the example of the Russian missile designed with anti-jamming equipment hitting an Israeli frigate (INS Hanit, July 14, 2006) off the shore of Lebanon during the Israeli attack on the Hezbollah. It sailed through the most advanced US and Israeli jamming equipment. The Chinese have these missiles.
The United States has tested successfully in 2013 the X-47B experimental unmanned aircraft though the trouble with them is that its range is only 1,900 kilometers versus about 1,100 for manned jets, but that greater range is insufficient to operate outside even the 2,000 kilometer missile defensive wall of Russian and Chinese missiles and these anti-ship missiles are said to have a much greater distance capability. There was a phenomenal exhibition of Russian military advances when their equipment downed a Stealth Drone and effected its landing in Iran enabling the Russians to put their hands on this advanced technology. The implications of this military coup could be dire for any adversary in that a nuclear tipped missile fired at Iran could be diverted and returned to its source. Nor have we discussed here how the Russians have sealed their airspace with defensive missiles (S-500) ending MAD. Nor their tens of millions of nuclear bomb shelters for their people.
This ends the General’s analysis summed by saying in a war the US fleet must flee away from the Straits of Hormuz or be annihilated, and the US cannot keep the Straits open.
If the Iranians shut down the Straits of Hormuz, 22% of the world oil supply will be cut off. The consequences will be that the oil price will rise to over $500.00 to $1000.00 a barrel and the world economy will start to implode with all the financial markets crashing as in 1929 as the 2.5 quadrillion of derivatives start a chain reaction of destruction as a financial weapon of mass destruction. In this case, the shortage of oil unlike the shortage of credit in 2008 destroyed as it was cannot be made up by a fiat instruments. The oil is not there. Therefore, this derivative market is a national security issue. The manipulations of markets is also a serious issue as it is illegal but no one seems to care about it. Until these derivatives are wound down, Iran controls the entire world whether the US Carthaginian Congress wants to recognize it or not. This is the reason the US wants to oust the present leadership in Iran and not nuclear weapons that are available on the black market from Pakistan and North Korea as the Straits closing would collapse the US economy.
I had proposed a solution to this problem to the then Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman that the company named Genoil can tap the 900 billion barrels of world heavy oil reserves creating a 25 million barrel a day reserve production capacity at a cost of 165 billion dollars as an insurance policy for the now 88 trillion dollar world GDP and Sam thought it was a great idea. However, it was blocked by the major oil companies as the Genoil technology is highly disruptive to the value of their light oil reserves whose value would collapse as Genoil can convert heavy, high sulfured oil to light unsulfured oil at a much cheaper price that WTI and Brent which make up their reserves.
We recommend that the Department of State together with the Department of Defense and Treasury Departments move to unwind the 2.5 trillion derivative market for national security reasons on an emergency basis and adopt the Genoil technology.
Stochastic Control Theory, Dynamic Programming and Numerical Analysis of PDE’s Stopping Theory Used in the Market Rigging By Cash Settlement In 1987 and Today
David K. Lifschultz
Today these cash settlement manipulations are much more coordinated by the many trillions of dollars of managed money by the remaining Wall Street firms and their private equity fund cousins in a form of a cartel than in 1987 and represent 50% of the trading on the New York Stock Exchange otherwise identified as systemic trading which is a euphemism. The key to draining a trillion dollars a year out of the market is to manipulate the direction of the market. The power of these manipulations are described by Lord Bertrand Russell as follows quoted from page 144 from his “ABC of Relativity”:
“Abstraction, difficult at it is, is the source of practical power. A financier, whose dealings with the world are more abstract than any other practical man, is also more powerful than any other practical man. He can deal in wheat or cotton without needing ever to have seen either: all he needs to know is whether they will go up or down.”
We point out in our piece below entitled “Goethe, Faust and the Euro” how these hypothecated abstractions have been used to take over the whole world over two and fifty hundred years ago through the the financial use of currency hypothecations, or abstractions, as Goethe showed in his “Faust” in the early part of Part Two. Mephistopheles represented Mayer Amshel Rothschild. This can be read in footnote three. This is what Lord Russell was telling us.
Now see this Barron’s ad appearing a short time before the 1987 rigged cash settlement crash should have intrigued our regulators and see how it corresponds with Lord Russell’s comments:
Securities firm employing sophisticated arbitrage strategies and proprietary valuation models for the investment of private funds in the convertible securities and options markets seeks Ph D. level mathematician to join its research staff. EXPERIENCE IN SECURITIES ANALYSIS IS NOT NECESSARY. Academic specializations of interest are stochastic control theory, dynamic programming, numerical analysis of PDE’s stopping theory.
Box S-687, BARRON’S
The key here is to know which way the market will go. The private equity funds and the Wall Street Houses manage their investment accounts with complete autonomy from their clients and will not accept funds on any other basis. What they do with these funds in association with their other members of the cartel is to directionally move the Standard And Poor Index using their trillions to do that while having earlier laid out their “abstract” cash settlement positions that will settle for cash so that when they move the market down their cash settlement short settles for cash eliminating the self-correcting mechanism of having to buy back their position and vice versa. That is the basic principle which is quite easy to understand and we show below for our Wall Street friends how they do it.
I personally was involved in supervising the rescue of the United States from this cash settlement manipulation discussed below. A significant number of participants called here a cartel coordinated among themselves the raising of the market prices through the manipulation of the Standard and Poor’s Index via cash settlement earlier, and then lowering it laying out their cash settlement positions below the market. It was not their intention to destroy the whole market in a massive crash but it did happen. They were reluctant to risk their own capital much of it made through these manipulations to save the system that they had crashed and we, of course, ordered them to do so making them an offer that they could not refuse. Therefore, though this essay is written as a form of request for an investigation at the time, none was really required as we knew what happened when it was written. When it was written we could not have written otherwise but such a distance has now ensued that now the truth can be told. The crash was a rig gone wrong. There was a whitewash later by Professor Glauber who headed the Brady Commission who subpoenaed the wrong data on purpose to cover it up.
We have been alarmed by the recent behaviour of our financial markets. Our concern is not so much with market volatility but rather with market combustibility. It is not random wildness that troubles us but the markets susceptibility to specific stimuli which are controlling the short and intermediate pricing of equities, futures and options.
We are concerned that the regulators have allowed the development of a market mechanism that they neither understand nor can control. More, we contend that the US equity markets are now sullied by an extensive on-going manipulation of unprecedented proportion.
Our securities industry takes space travel and genetic engineering for granted yet continually succumbs to the rhetoric of “random walk” and “no one is bigger than the market.”
In the wake of the 1987 market break, regulators and scholars have been asking the “right” wrong questions. Leading us astray they raise the classic moot issues, like margin requirements and market limits, which evoke fervent debate simply because those elements, though debatably irrelevant, are easy to understand. Moreover, the brute-force actions of trembling margins and imposing 50 point limits are sure to have some noticeable impact.
Many of the academics/ rhetoricians consulted following the October ‘87 crash are or have been in the paid service of interested parties. They have massaged data to show that what we see is just illusion and that our markets are not being controlled.
At the root of the current confusion is an often ignored, little-understood feature of the new derivative instruments. It is called “cash settlement,” and it functions to undermine fair markets.
What is “cash settlement”? It is the feature of certain options and futures which specify that they be settled only in cash at (or sometimes before) maturity at the existing price of the underlying security.
“Cash settlement” instruments are synthetic devices. They have no other purpose than to transfer cash from one entity to another by manipulating an underlying index number from one moment to the next, one month to the next.
Nothing REAL is produced, created or even traded. On expiration, money is just transferred automatically into or out of accounts of those who have placed their bets. No more, no less.
While the mechanics of “cash settlement” index options and futures are simplicity itself (a bookkeeper’s dream), these insidious instruments impact the market with great complexity.
To begin with, disposal of these instruments exerts no buying or selling pressure on the market.
It is difficult to imagine any legitimate product on security where buying and selling in massive quantity doesn’t impact price. With “cash settlement” that is what we have. There is no balancing mechanism as there is with any normal product, commodity, stock, bond or standard option and future.
In normal markets, unwinding positions will stabilize rather than destabilize by precisely counteracting the initiating transactions and returning the market to external supply- demand equilibrium.
On a typical option expiration, those who exercise the usual 150,000 (plus or minus) in-the-money “cash settlement” index options do not dispose of the $ 5 billion worth of stocks which ostensibly underlies these options. NOTHING really underlies these options; only cash changes hands; the game is repeated the following month.
The buyer of a “cash settlement” index future is NOT buying an underlying basket of stocks for future delivery, no matter what the “efficient market” rhetoricians claim. The “cash settlement” future is mathematically different from every other future in that it is really a hybrid OPTION, not a future.
At expiration, the so-called index future affords the holder no ownership, but an OPTION to take or not to take delivery of the underlying stock basket. This fundamental aspect of “cash settlement”, and how it impacts the market, is little understood.
To illustrate, consider the holder of 10,000 standard futures contracts on silver at maturity. If this holder does not choose to own the metal, the equivalent of 50 million ounces must be sold into the open market. This order to sell, taken by itself, is likely to depress the market price for the metal. The seller has an incentive to sell as carefully as possible as the more the price is depressed, the less the proceeds will be. Such a seller is likely to begin the process of liquidation well before maturity; he has a disincentive to disrupt market price.
In contrast, the holder of 10,000 S&P futures owns contracts which settle for cash. Disposing of these contracts puts no downward pressure on the market whatever. They just turn to cash. Where the holder of these contracts chooses to take delivery of the underlying stock baskets, it may be done without market risk, as follows: At expiration, stock baskets are purchased “at the market.” Any higher cost which results from this buying pressure is exactly offset by the higher “cash settlement” proceeds from the expiring futures.
This “cash settlement” futures holder has no incentive to tread carefully on the market.
Quite the contrary; there is an incentive to cause as much disruption as possible.
Consider the operator who is long the futures and short stock baskets against them. Knowing in advance that he and his associates will cover short stocks aggressively at predetermined moments (and thus drive the market upwards), they all buy “cash settlement” call options (and/or sell puts) in advance to profit from upward movement that they THEMSELVES will generate. Note that the simple act of covering short stocks at or near expiration is all that is necessary to create the profit and close ALL positions. Various labels, including “front-running,” have been applied to this strategy.
The key to a successful “cash settlement” manipulation is power and organization. The market must be overwhelmed at distinct points in time. Profit without risk can be achieved so long as domination can be achieved. If no greater opposing force appears or, if none exists, the market can be controlled.
We must recall the Hunt Brothers’ failed attempt to corner the silver market in 1980. What doomed that organized scheme from the out-set was that the Hunts actually OWNED something that they themselves would not consume, a physical commodity, which would have to be sold to complete the transaction to create the profit.
Thus, as in all fair markets, the simple round-trip action of one non-consuming group counteracted itself. As the Hunts were unable to convince or coerce others to take them out of their positions in the physical silver, the futures or options, the price of silver wound up where it started.
Now, consider the logical outcome had the Hunts been holders of “cash settlement” calls and futures on silver (which did not exist at the time). If they would have timed their buying of the physical to achieve the desired price rise through hypothetical “cash settlement” expiration dates (or “triple witching hours” as the press calls it), they would have been cashed out of option and futures positions automatically, for cash, without selling silver and depressing its price. They may have become masters of the financial world, using the EXACT mechanism which others are currently using to dominate today’s equity markets.
In theory, “cash settlement” was created to facilitate operations and to allow participants of any size to move easily in and out of the marketplace. As October, 1987 demonstrated, precious few were able to find liquidity when it was needed most.
We believe that a PROPER analysis of the existing marketplace will demonstrate that a group, a Cartel, now exists and that it has been using the “cash settlement” mechanism to profit from its ongoing manipulation of the New York Stock Exchange. We likewise believe that there is no other group substantial enough to oppose this Cartel and unless it is dismantled, fair capital markets will cease to exist altogether in this country.
It is folly that regulators who do not fully understand or appreciate the key and subtle features of “cash settlement” futures and options are judging the viability of a marketplace driven and controlled by this instruments.
In our discussions of “cash settlement” with various regulators, we have yet to encounter a single one who begins to understand the mathematics of the mechanism which now dominates our markets.
Our regulators must first acknowledge that they require the input of impartial scholars who can explain that the owner of a “cash settlement” index option or future holds a highly complex instrument the market impact of which they have yet to determine.
Advertisements, such as the following, five years old, from BARRON’S, should also intrigue our regulators:
Securities firm employing sophisticated arbitrage strategies and proprietary valuation models for the investment of private funds in the convertible securities and options markets seeks Ph D. level mathematician to join its research staff.
Experience in securities analysis is not necessary.
Academic specializations of interest are stochastic control theory, dynamic programming, numerical analysis of PDE’s stopping theory.
Box S-687, BARRON’S
This ad says a lot. What it doesn’t say is that stochastic control theory, optimal stopping theory, superb organization and a few $ Billion may be sufficient to corner our “cash settlement” markets. It is possible that some operators have transformed the US equity markets into a well-oiled machine. Push a button for a specific, predetermined response; stop the market in its track, turn it on a dime once option positions are established, then race it the other way.
Our deregulating SEC and CFTC have allowed the complexities of “cash settlement” to be foisted on an unsuspecting public. It is remarkable that in the wake of a global market panic precipitated by the “cash settlement” mechanism, the Commissions do not appreciate what has happened, and do not know where to look.
Despite all rhetoric, there is no evidence that the existing market is any more efficient now than ever before. Much of the heavy volume does not reflect any genuine change of ownership. Baskets of stock traded back and forth without risk against futures and options add nothing to the economy or to the equity markets. Such positions are established and subsequently unwound strategically to EXCITE the market to profit of “cash settlement” options. The premise that derivative instruments add liquidity is a myth.
The formal studies of the October crash, notably that of The Brady Commission, contend that market volatility has not increased. To quote that prejudiced report: “recent volatility is not particularly high when viewed in a broad historical context.”
For calendar year 1987, that analysis fails the sanity test and the flaw is obvious: only day-to-day closing prices were used. The wild INTRA-day swings, so characteristic of the pre- crash environment, were ignored. DAYS where the market traveled THREE HUNDRED Dow Jones points, in violent fifty point swings, to close up or down only ten points just don’t show up. The Brady analysis concerns itself only with NET daily price changes.
Curiously, the Brady Commission did not acknowledge what every professional trader knows: the venerable New York Stock Exchange is being dragged around daily by a new mysterious force.
While 60% of those polled by the Brady Commission agreed that the three “cash settlement” trading strategies (portfolio insurance, index arbitrage and program trading) were “principal factors” contributing to the October, 1987 world market panic, Brady doesn’t follow its own nose to explore how these strategies INTERACT as a mechanism to manage markets.
We have not seen a single published analysis of the crash which has broached even the POSSIBILITY that a market control mechanism exists. Market studies which have received attention have been directly or indirectly sponsored and we cannot ignore the singularity of interest between those who are manipulating and those who have been called on to “analyze” it.
With key data available to the regulators and with scholarly effort, the market control mechanism can be laid bare. It will be possible to demonstrate how the “cash settlement” index option is utilized as the primary profit generator in a rigged marketplace driven by highly managed tape painting. Institutional money is used to move the markets to achieve portfolio managers’ specific personal short-term trading objectives in the form of “cash settlement” index option profits.
Today’s investors must navigate within a marketplace which includes an odd array of players, some of whom are familiar while others are new, unusual and confusing:
A) THE NAIVE GAMBLER: Speculators who try to profit on short-term market moves. Known collectively as “the public”, then often buy “cash settlement” OEX puts and calls. These players and their brokers are substantial net losers but are drawn back to the market repeatedly by the lure of quick “unlimited profit with limited risk”.
As public players become increasingly experienced they realize, much the way casino gamblers do, that the game is not “fair”. Unlike roulette, blackjack and craps however, the OEX game odds are not yet regulated and the house is still unknown.
B) THE NAIVE HEDGER: Institutions and individuals with large portfolios which try to use futures and options to hedge volatile markets and even participate in “index arbitrage.”
If they do not rely on “pros” to manage their hedging programs, they do not succeed. The “pro” is given total control over the short-term trading of these portfolios (with which to help move markets) in exchange for a share of incremental performance.
As an example, Wells Fargo Bank handles the daily index trading for such august entities as the Rockefeller Foundation and the General Motors Pension Fund (source: Futures Magazine, WSJ).
While Wells Fargo clients were major sellers during the panic of 1987, we have seen no analysis which lays to rest the burning possibility that Wells Fargo or key personnel held short positions in “cash settlement” instruments in personal accounts and were using institutional money to drive the market down.
We have seen no attempt to analyze personal trading patterns of fiduciaries who surrender control of institutional portfolios used to create specific market combustibility.
C) MAJOR TRADING FIRMS: Experts who handle the enormous wave of stock “buy and sell programs” which rock the market. These players act both as agent and as principal and enter into quasi-legal profit sharing agreements with institutional clients (source: WSJ) to orchestrate buy and sell orders.
While there is little evidence to indicate that all of these major firms act independently, regulators have sufficient data to determine the level at which they DO act in concert.
To date, apparently, the regulators have chosen not to perform this analysis although some interesting tidbits are emerging. It seems that at least Salomon Brothers and Morgan Stanley (two key contributors to the Brady Commission, no less) were subsequently identified by the SEC as illegal short-sellers into the 1987 panic.
Initially, the trading firms used program trading to manipulate the market only in the moments immediately preceding option expirations.
The level of short-term market control has since developed extensively as the Cartel has reaped $ Billions of profits both on and offshore. Program trading is now the single dominant market mover on a day-to- day basis and is understood only as a system where “the computers make the buy and sell decisions.”
Regulators, by their inaction, are entrenching this mysterious system and are forcing the public to compete against informed traders who “run ahead” with stock, futures and option orders just prior to their own organized prearranged short-term market moves.
Buried away (Appendix 3, figure 12) in its report, without any cross- reference, the Brady Report discloses that the twenty largest trading firms’ principal accounts were net SHORT $200 million of stocks coming into the crash.
This is simply the tip of the iceberg as it does NOT include the short futures and long put positions of either the firms OR their partners’ and principals’ personal accounts, onshore and offshore.
Too, nowhere does Brady mention that the normal long “core” investment positions for these firms is many $ billions.
This is to say that during the weeks prior to the October crash, the 20 major firms were indeed very heavy sellers of stocks for their own accounts.
We believe that certain trading firms helped orchestrate the crash and profited handsomely from it. This is not the impression one gets from either the industry or these sponsored studies.
D) PORTFOLIO INSURANCE OPERATORS: These groups decided when participating institutions would buy or sell $ Billions in waves. Again we are told that the “computers” made the decisions. We are told to believe this handful of portfolio managers had no personal short positions in derivative instruments prior to pulling the plug on the market, selling stocks, as fiduciaries, mindlessly at ANY price.
E) LOCALS AND MARKETMAKERS: These participants make money by watching “body language” of brokers filling large orders for savvy institutional and upstairs accounts. They go WITH the smart money, not counter to it and are the distributors for the Cartel.
The Cartel buys options and futures, in prearranged trades, from key locals and market makers who then hedge against the public in smaller transactions. When all participants are properly positioned, and only then, the market is moved.
The Chicago Merc (CME), through its leadership and paid academicians, has done much to create public confusion and misinformation about how derivative instruments markets function.
While the CME Report claims the locals added liquidity and absorbed selling pressure during the October market panic, The Brady Commission specifically refutes that contention and shows that locals actually contributed to market instability.
It is very important to realize that as the market crash began, key locals and the Cartel members were short and got shorter as they all sold- not bought- the falling market. Savvy traders with short positions do not try to stabilize a panicky market, and this was not to be their finest patriotic moment as the nation shuddered.
F) INDEX ARBITRAGEURS: These are so-called “messengers” who everyone knows are to blame yet don’t know why; these are the darlings of the “efficient market” rhetoricians. There really is nothing wrong with index arbitrage per se. However, there is usually very little real arbitrage going on here.
“Arbitrage” STRICTLY means simultaneous equal positioning. Where a side (or “leg”) is lifted OR where there is a concurrent option position, there is no longer arbitrage.
Consider an arb who owns “cash settlement” calls and is short a stock basket which is offset by long “cash settlement” futures. If this short stock position is covered aggressively on expiration to enhance the value of the “cash settled” long call and long futures, this unwinding may be manipulation but it is certainly NOT arbitrage.
This powerful industry segment INCLUDES the major trading firms and, as such, has many friends in the press and in government. It is shrouded in mystery, lauded for financial artistry and granted significant trading and positioning exemptions.
Index arbs would have us believe that they are in business to make a few percentage points over the riskless rate. They claim marginal profitability from hedging and unwinding stock vs. futures positions.
Nothing is further from the truth. Careful analysis of trading patterns will tell another story. The major source of profit for the dominant index arbs is the tandem “cash settlement” index put and call option positions. Profits from these options are not mentioned when the arb explains market behavior or gives a raison d’etre to the press.
This group also thrives on public confusion and seems to have been a primary formulator and organizer of the Brady Commission Report presentation strategy.
How did an organization, this Cartel, gain the ability to manipulate the New York Stock Exchange? As an overview, we believe that individual Cartel members have had a long history of cooperation and information-sharing throughout their investment banking research, arbitrage and other trading activities.
More specifically, the origination of the Cartel’s present form apparently began in 1981 when the SEC and the CTFC were somehow motivated to introduce “cash settlement” in the “Accord.” This sham (which later emerged in the Futures Trading Act of 1982) included three criteria that a securities index future or option needed to satisfy to be eligible for trading.
The first criterion was that it be “cash settled”. Amazingly, the second criterion was that “it must not be READILY susceptible to manipulation.” What exactly does this mean and what is the intent?
It appears that the Commissions, aware of the susceptibility of “cash settlement” instruments to manipulation, were nonetheless motivated to let the scheme slip through. How, one wonders?
Taking control over the market did not then happen overnight. The first visible action occurred on the April, 1984 option expiration closing bell when small market-to-buy-on-close orders were entered on over 500 stocks, reportedly by a little known firm, Miller Tabak. The OEX index moved two points (equal to about 15 Dow Jones points), a very dramatic run-off move for the 1984 market. Those lucky or smart enough to own index call options profited by $75 for each $6.25 of market value existing only moments earlier. The unregulated OEX casino had made its debut.
The SEC announced an investigation of that manipulation but found nothing wrong with what had occurred thus giving its formal go-ahead to the high-jinks that have plagued the markets ever since.
Perhaps it is telling that in a subsequent 1986 “round-table” hosted by the SEC and convened to discuss the impact of program trading, Miller Tabak was one of ONLY four firms invited to participate. The other three were Goldman Sachs, Salomon Brothers and Harvard Management, all aggressive program traders. One thing is certain; the SEC had hardly selected a representative sample from the investment community for its “round-table.”
Allowed to run the market at will at each subsequent expiration, the Cartel has grown richer, more powerful, creative and confident with each successful monthly manipulation. The SEC has continued to display unusually benign behaviour towards major cartel members, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of wrong-doing. One must ask, who is pulling the strings at the SEC?
In its simplest form, a meaningful upward market movement begins in Chicago where the Cartel establishes a large long “cash settlement” index call position. The S&P futures and selected visible NYSE issues are then simultaneously overwhelmed with large coordinated buy orders, much of which is self-dealing (i.e. tape painting among several cooperating entities who, by pooling, are avoiding real market risk).
Where are the real sellers during this hypothetical rally? Many are either on or urged to the sidelines by Cartel advisors. It is important to recognize that, for the most part institutional-sized orders to buy and sell must be routed through the major firms. Thus Cartel block trading desks are aware of supply and demands vacuums before the markets react to them.
The Cartel’s major profit does not come from stock vs. futures but rather from large concurrent “cash settlement” option positions. Theses positions are established at the beginning of and during major market moves and are often later settled for cash.
This mechanism, or one very much like it, fuelled the bulk of the rally of 1987. With cash constantly flowing into the institutions’ coffers, their prosperity to “index”, and a limited supply of blue chips, there were few meaningful sellers of the big capitalization stocks prior to the crash. In the frenzied takeover environment, the Cartel’s tape painting moved the markets to their outer limits.
The Cartel established a larger short position in index options and futures, hedged core investments, and the market was ready for the very rapid and effectively orchestrated descent. Led by the major trading firms and a handful of participating institutions, the market was crashed.
There has been and continues to be an attempt to mask and downplay the key role played by the “cash settlement” option in the existing complex market mechanism. The Brady Commission Report and The CME Report do not even broach the potential for abuse from option front-running.
THE OPTION MARKET ACTIVITY AND PRE-CRASH OPEN-INTEREST WERE NOT ANALYZED. It is there where information can easily be found to identify manipulating operators and provide needed insight into the art of “cash settlement” abuse.
It is no surprise that so little about the market mechanism is understood with this key piece of the puzzle intentionally shrouded. We have a better understanding when the true motive behind program trading and portfolio insurance becomes clear:
PROGRAM TRADING AND PORTFOLIO INSURANCE ARE TWO SCHEMES USED BY OPERATORS TO MANIPULATE THE MARKET TO PROFIT FROM CONCURRENT POSITIONS IN INDEX OPTIONS.
Certain aspects of market manipulation should be addressed and included in any thorough analysis:
A) Is there a consensus by regulators that front-running coupled with market manipulation is undesirable?
B) Can we assume that a fair zero-sum market does not allow for consistent material winning by the same group of major participants?
C) Is it fair to presume that entities which have held essentially identical options and futures positions repeatedly throughout a wide variety of major market condition are “acting in concert”? Why haven’t the Exchanges enforced position limits?
D) Should operators who are actively involved in buying or selling stocks and futures in massive market-moving waves have strictly enforced guidelines with respect to their transacting in the related “cash settlement” index options market?
E) Do front-running and manipulation usually occur together? Who were the major owners of puts when the market crashed? Were they coincidentally also involved as major sellers of stocks?
Brady hasn’t asked. Neither have the SEC and CFTC. The data is certainly available and the analysis is straightforward.
Why haven’t tandem analyses of index option trading patterns of major market operators been performed? Why not analyze how independently the major program trading firms (coincidentally important contributors to the Brady Report) were positioned in index puts and futures just prior to the crash and how they behaved during the debacle?
F) How much of the daily stock and index futures trading is to simply “paint the tape” and move the market in desired directions without any legitimate change of ownership? How are the program trading volume numbers determined and have strict enough guidelines been established to monitor the markets?
G) How much credibility should be given to market studies prepared by employees of interested parties? Academicians, like other professionals, are for hire. To blindly rely upon them is folly.
How much have Professors Miller, Malkiel and Scholes been paid by the CME in the past 5 years? Their report is hardly the objective study which their credentials merit. Rather, it is a stunning example of omission and obfuscation. It is no more than a marketing effort to absolve the CME and index futures.
The Brady Commission report is a description of selected details of the crash. That study was most careful not to implicate the Wall Street firms and generally avoided pointing fingers altogether. They treat the crash as a natural phenomenon rather than an intentional, profit- motivated act of organized manipulators.
The Brady Commission relies largely on input from the very firms and individuals who might otherwise be targeted for examination themselves. The director of the commission, Robert Glauber of the Harvard Business School, now an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, has special expertise in mathematical models for portfolio management. He has had some involvement with the management of Harvard’s endowment, itself identified (by the SEC) as the sixth largest seller during the crash. Glauber has apparently also had a long standing consulting affiliation with Morgan Stanley and possibly other major trading firms which may be actively involved in program trading.
H) How do “cash settlement” instruments impact the market? Just as standard listed options and conventional futures do increase liquidity and reduce volatility, their “cash settlement” counterparts do the opposite. Yet the same arguments which support the legitimate options and futures markets are used incorrectly to promote the scheme.
Our regulators must arm themselves with unbiased mathematical analysis capable of understanding the new market instruments sufficiently to debunk the rhetoric.
I) How do index options originate and how are they distributed? To what extent is pre-arranged trading involved? We believe that any serious attempt to understand the manipulative market mechanism cannot ignore that the Cartel has developed techniques to originate as well as distinct arms with which to distribute “cash settlement” options into the market and with which to take them back.
J) If nothing underlies the “cash-settlement” derivative instruments, aren’t they simply a gambling vehicle utilized to promote volatility and control market behavior? What is their real as opposed to their alleged value or purpose? Specifically, who has benefited from them?
K) Why are “cash settlement” futures treated as futures when they are mathematically options?
L) Why should institutions, especially those with tax-free status, be encouraged to transact in a zero-sum market game that probably has no redeeming value and is clearly destabilizing? Why were funds, earmarked for long-term investment, used to actively trade the markets?
M) What of the world’s other “cash settlement” markets? To date we count 26 exchanges around the world which have begun experimenting with the new instruments. There is evidence that every one beyond the initial developmental stage is experiencing unusual behavior (see, for example, reports on the Sydney Financial Exchange’s 10-year T-Bond Contract).
Our regulators should be monitoring the development of aboriginal cartels with their U.S. international investment banker/arbitrageur partners.
N) What kind of numbers are involved? Our preliminary estimates indicate that more that $20 Billion has been reaped by the Cartel in illicit trading since 1984. We believe this money is traceable and recoverable and can be used to fund needed legitimate regulation of the capital markets through the next decade.
O) But have any laws been broken? Yes, many. The markets have been manipulated continuously since 1984 (with a brief respite during 1988 while the enormous profits of the 1987 crash were digested and invested). The Cartel has exceeded position limits and relied upon pre- arranged trading on an on-going basis to defraud public investors.
P) What is the long-term impact of surrendering control of the nation’s capital markets to a Cartel which has probably become the most powerful financial entity in the world?
The capital markets are under the control of a Cartel which has upwards of $ 50 Billion of trading capital with which to move markets. The markets will be subject to this control so long as the key “cash settlement” instruments (index futures and options) exist.
The casino volatility aura will prevail until our regulators understand, then put an end to what is a rigged zero-sum game.
There are two approaches to dismantling the control mechanism. “Cash settlement” instruments can be abolished altogether or “baskets” of real securities can be used to settle all positions IN EXCESS of some preset threshold.
Those studies prepared by the Brady Commission, The Chicago Merc and the SEC to address the true issues:
The regulators and the general public do not understand “cash settlement”. “Cash settlement” instruments are being used effectively to manipulate the major equity markets on a day-to-day basis.
Major portfolio operators profited personally from index put positions when they pulled the plug on the market in 1987. This same group owned the index calls when they wildly bought stocks at dizzying levels with institutional money throughout pre-crash 1987. We are seeing a repeat performance in 1989.
The same groups which lobbied to introduce “cash settlement” options and futures are also actively protecting them from meaningful regulation by obscuring their central role in market manipulation and control.
Regulators are not mathematicians and, unlike traders in the financial industry, don’t know where to find them. The one-to-one correlation “cash settlement” and manipulation has yet to be made but it will be. The well-being of our capital markets depend on it.
Before you discount this analysis, ask yourself if you truly understand program trading, portfolio insurance and index arbitrage. Ask yourself if you know anyone who does or who has benefited from the new “cash settlement” instruments.
Do you truly believe the market has become a fairer one over the past few years since their introduction or is there a reasonable chance that they are being used for manipulative purposes? Are you comfortable with the trend toward deregulation of the securities industry?
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