Category Archives: Business

The EV Revolution is Delayed

Further to this March post,

Mining Minerals in Northern Ontario (if these projects even happen) Has Little to Do with Battery, Electric Vehicle Production in the Province

here’s some nasty news for the EV dreams of PM Trudeau and Ontario Premier Ford–and of President Biden. From an opinion piece by the Globe and Mail’s excellent man in Rome:

So much for the electric vehicle revolution. You cannot make the machines without the metals that power them

Eric Reguly European bureau chief Rome

Any successful politician is adept at finding the one bit of good news floating in the ocean of despair, then gushing about it to try to drown our worries.

So it is with U.S. President Joe Biden. A few weeks ago, when the war in Ukraine was propelling gasoline and diesel prices ever higher – regular gas hit a record average of US$4.43 a gallon on Friday – he suggested that painful pump prices will speed the transition to electric vehicles (EVs), fear not.

Voila – no more hard decisions about filling your SUV or feeding your kids. “Transforming our economy to run on electric vehicles, powered by clean energy, will mean that no one will have to worry about gas prices,” he said on Twitter. “It will mean tyrants like Putin won’t be able to use fossil fuels as a weapon.”

Nice idea, except for one minor inconvenience: Gas and diesel aren’t the only commodities turning into luxury goods.

Most of the metals that go into EVs and their massive batteries – copper, nickel, cobalt [see this post: “Congo’s Cobalt Key to PRC’s Grasp for EV Dominance“], lithium [see this post: Lithium and Batteries for EVs look like just another Canadian Hi-Tech Pipedream”], plus a variety of rare earth metals – have climbed even faster than pump prices because they are in exceedingly short supply and high demand. Cobalt two years ago went for US$15 a pound; today it’s US$40. Lithium carbonate prices have climbed about 600 per cent in the same period.

The metals’ scarcity means that the endlessly touted EV revolution will almost certainly be delayed, perhaps long delayed, barring the invention of batteries that use far less of these crucial metals, or none at all [emphasis added]. Ditto then green revolution in general, for many of these same metals go into wind turbines and solar panels…

Already, Tesla boss and co-founder Elon Musk is screaming about excruciating metals prices while quietly jacking up the prices of Tesla cars to make them even less affordable for the average family. According to the Wall Street Journal, the average price of a Tesla is US$52,200, up almost 3 per cent since late 2021 [emphasis added]

Mr. Musk has been a lot smarter than most auto executives in protecting supply chains. As far back as 2020, just before the price charts went vertical, he realized that shortages could translate into production and profit-margin squeezes. He negotiated a cobalt supply deal with Glencore, the world’s biggest producer of the metal that is essential for battery production. No more middleman.

General Motors and BMW recently did similar deals with Glencore, through presumably at a much higher price. Tesla is now trying to replicate the process with nickel producers.

In March, Volkswagen announced a joint venture with two Chinese companies to secure nickel and cobalt supplies from Indonesia. The deal thrusts VW into the mining industry, taking a page from the supply chain strategy created by Henry Ford a century ago [emphasis added]. Mr. Ford was so obsessed with security of supply that he bought coal mines, timberlands, sawmills, a railroad and a fleet of freighters to make sure iron ore and other materials would reach his factories.

…While the in-ground reserves of some metals are genuinely in short supply, such as copper, others, notably lithium, are blessed with generous reserves on several continents. But that’s not the point. The point is that building mines to extract the lithium, and plants to process it, can take five to 10 years. Cobalt mines can taken longer [emphasis added]

Every big automaker in the world is ramping up EV production. Forecasts say that tens of millions of these cars will be produced each year by the middle part of this decade. Maybe not. In the United States alone, about 13 lithium-ion plants are in the construction or planning stages – but what is not known is where the lithium will come from. There is only one operating lithium mine in the U.S. European and Japanese carmakers face similar supply constraints.

The EV revolution is beginning to look like an evolution. EVs are coming, but not at pedal-to-the-metal speeds.

Follow Eric Reguly on Twitter: @ereguly

And a very relevant recent post (note that Ontario is finally getting, with big federal and provincial subsidies, a battery production plant)–but consumers too still will have to pay to play with Ontario-assembled EVs:

Feds’ and Ontario’s EV Dream: Pay to Play

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds

Biden’s “Buy American” Bad for Bigger US Defence Picture

From a piece at Breaking Defence, see end of post for the current situation regarding Canada:

How Biden’s ‘Buy American’ is undermining the arsenal of democracy

Responding to America’s protectionist policies, allies write new letter to White House pushing for waivers, according to a new op-ed from AEI’s Bill Greenwalt and Dustin Walker.

By   Bill Greenwalt and Dustin Walker on May 03, 2022 at 9:44 AM

In an effort to boost the US economy, President Joe Biden has pushed a broad “Buy American” agenda. But AEI’s Bill Greenwalt and Dustin Walker argue in the op-ed below that the White House is pushing away the defense industrial base of friendly nations, threatening to harm not only America’s relationships abroad at a crucial time, but its own military readiness.

The arsenal of democracy is making a comeback. As it did in past moments of global crisis, the United States is arming a sovereign nation in its struggle for survival against the depredations of a dictator. But it is not doing so alone.

In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US is coordinating with its allies and partners on the urgent production, modification, donation and delivery of military equipment from across the world to Ukraine. It is working to rapidly replace equipment donated from its own inventory as well as those of its allies and partners. As many European nations consider increasing defense spending in future years, the US is helping lead discussions on how best to bolster capabilities needed to deter and defend against Russian aggression. And it is attempting to glean lessons from the war in Ukraine to prepare itself, as well as allies and partners such as Taiwan, for the possibility of Chinese aggression. This new arsenal of democracy is a multinational effort.

Yet at a decisive moment in the war in Ukraine when defense industrial cooperation with America’s allies and partners has never been more vital, the Biden administration is moving in the opposite direction. The so-called “Buy American” regulations will harm relationships with America’s friends, risk American jobs and leave America’s military less prepared for the challenges posed by Russia and China [emphasis added].

With certain exceptions, the Buy American Act requires the federal government to buy domestic “articles, materials, and supplies,” when they are acquired for public use. In March, one week after Russia invaded Ukraine, the Biden administration finalized a new regulation requiring that 75% of the cost of products procured by the US government be made up of domestic components by 2029. That’s up from the 55% today.

In other words, despite its rhetoric, the Biden administration is cutting back defense industrial cooperation with allies and partners in the middle of a war in Europe. The concern is so great that allied nations have written a new letter [PDF] to the White House, pleading for more critical exemptions [emphasis added, as noted at start of the post see below for Canada].

The primary impact of this new regulation will be on defense. While the Buy American Act theoretically applies to all federal government purchases, in practice it most directly affects defense purchases, which do not receive the same broad exemptions as commercial goods do under World Trade Organization agreements and US free trade agreements such as the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA).

The Biden administration and proponents of so-called “Buy American” regulations claim they will help grow America’s defense industrial base and create more defense jobs. They will do neither. The Biden administration’s new regulation will aggravate relations with allies and partners and, over the long term, shrink the global market for US defense products [emphasis added].

Allies Call For Help

Last year, a group of military attaches representing 25 nations including the United Kingdom, France, and Germany wrote to lawmakers opposing an increased domestic content threshold under the Buy American Act. The Biden administration didn’t listen. As a result, just as many European nations are pledging significant annual increases in defense spending, Europe’s protectionists will need only parrot the Biden administration to argue that new resources should be spent to buy European products — not American products.

If Washington doesn’t “buy allied,” why should London, Paris, or Berlin “buy American”? For that matter, why should Seoul or Tokyo [emphasis added]?

Supporters of so-called “Buy American” regulations point out that some allies and partners have negotiated Reciprocal Defense Procurement (RDP) agreements [Canada below], which provide some exemption from the Buy American Act. However, 10 NATO states do not have these agreements. Nor do key Indo-Pacific allies and partners such as South Korea, Taiwan, India and Singapore. For those that do, the impact of these agreements is limited. RDP agreements do not guarantee allied participation in US defense programs. The opportunity to do so is often stymied by an intricate web of laws and regulations, as well as by a cultural hubris that finds it hard to admit that allied technology could ever be any good.

Still, even what constrained value these agreements do provide is at risk. Congressional supporters of so-called “Buy American” policies have passed multiple bills, including the recent bipartisan infrastructure law, pushing the last two administrations to limit the application of RDP agreements and reduce waivers and exemptions [emphasis added]. In an April 25 letter to OMB, the same group of allies that opposed the higher domestic content threshold in the first place are now pleading with the administration to preserve an “allied” exemption.

Will the Biden administration ignore allies and partners yet again?

‘Buy American’ Makes It Harder To Do Business

Beyond the risk to American jobs, so-called “Buy American” regulations will endanger national security by making it harder for the US military to access the capability and capacity it needs to stay ahead of Russia and China.

These regulations will shrink the number of defense suppliers willing to do business with the Pentagon, both at home and abroad, potentially choking off the US military’s access to critical technology. In order to prove they are meeting the Biden administration’s higher domestic content threshold, companies will be required to produce complex and expensive compliance documentation to the government [emphasis added. For those US companies that sell exclusively or primarily to the government, they will have no choice but to shoulder this enormous paperwork burden while passing the cost of compliance on to taxpayers.

But many other companies have a choice of whether to do business with the government, which is not their only or even primary customer. That’s especially true of innovative companies leading the way in emerging technologies in the commercial sector—technologies our warfighters need to stay ahead of Russia and China. These American companies may very well conclude that complying with so-called “Buy American regulations—not only through administrivia, but potentially by changing the content of their products—just isn’t worth the hassle [emphasis added].

… the Biden administration’s protectionist regulations will increase costs for taxpayers by reducing incentives for US allies and partners to buy US defense equipment, particularly countries with substantial defense industries of their own…

The US defense industrial base is currently too small to produce enough military equipment to meet the US military’s needs, particularly when it comes to ships and critical munitions. For example, it will take years to replace US Javelins and Stingers supplied to Ukraine. Allies and partners can help plug this gap, which is especially dangerous in light of China’s vast and growing defense production capacity.

How Biden Can Help The US Defense Industrial Base [here comes some special pleading]

…it’s time to invest in growing the defense industrial base to meet the needs of the US military as well as those of its allies and partners. Legislation proposed by Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., to provide $25 billion to modernize and expand America’s public and private shipyards is a good start. Similar legislation will likely be needed for munitions production not only to replace munitions sent to Ukraine but to ensure sufficient munitions stocks for the Indo-Pacific.

Finally, instead of making it harder to work with allies, the Biden administration could focus on eliminating our adversaries from our defense supply chain. China, for example, sells commercial dual use component parts that often find their way into US military systems and will not be restricted under the new Biden “Buy American” thresholds. These Chinese semiconductors, electronics, IT services and telecommunications—even in small amounts—are rightful targets of regulatory scrutiny and should be replaced through a targeted “buy allied” strategy [emphasis added]

China and Russia are no match for the combined technological and industrial might of the United States and its allies and partners. But we cannot marshal that collective power by indulging saccharine, populist schemes. Only in concert with allies and partners can America realize aspirations for a 21st century arsenal of democracy.

Bill Greenwalt, long the top Republican acquisition policy expert on the SASC, rose to become deputy defense undersecretary for industrial policy. A member of the Breaking Defense Board of Contributors, he’s now a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Dustin Walker is a non-Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a former professional staff member on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

As for Canada, this is from the federal government’s government-to-government contracting organization, the Canadian Commercial Corporation:

About Buy American and Exemptions for Canadian Businesses

Written by The CCC Team | February 21, 2022 at 8:00 AM

The Canada-U.S. Defence Production Sharing Agreement (DPSA [from 1963!]) gives Canadian companies access to U.S. DoD procurement opportunities.

Currently, the US government waives Buy American requirements for long-standing DoD bilateral reciprocal defence procurement agreements, such as the DPSA, as well as duty and fees on Canadian exports to the U.S. DoD…

Under the Canada-U.S. Defence Production Sharing Agreement (DPSA), Canadian companies have almost full access to the world’s largest military procurement market.

CCC is embedded in the U.S. Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement 225.870 (DFARS) to act as the prime contractor for Canadian exporters awarded U.S. DoD contracts over USD $250,000.The CCC has spent the last 65 years working closely with the U.S. DoD to connect American military needs with Canadian solutions.

If you’re a Canadian defence company looking to sell to the U.S., check out our step-by-step Guide to U.S DoD Market Entry and take the first steps toward doing business with the U.S. DoD.   

One hopes all that will continue. On verra. But note that the CCC only deals with the US government; what may be happening with company-to-company business? More here on the DPSA.

Meanwhile our Chief of the Defence Staff says this:

Canada’s top soldier says defence industry needs to ramp up production to ‘wartime footing

Problem is our industry doesn’t produce much in the way of finished defence equipment to “ramp up”, rather mainly components for foreign-made equipment (Pratt and Whitney Canada aeroengines are a top-end example of that–here’s an interesting story from 2012). Sometime in the early 2030s (see “4. Implementation” here) Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax will start producing new frigates for the Royal Canadian Navy; our perishingly slow shipbuilding industry is the least likely one able to “ramp up” anything.

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds

Feds’ and Ontario’s EV Dream: Pay to Play

(Photo at top of the post is of 2022 Lincoln Aviator large SUV–see just after main quote for coming Canadian angle–current cheapest internal combustion engine version US$ $51,465.)

This is encouraging but at the price of some $500 million from each of the players (and the cost of these bribes to the companies keeps mounting up). Note that only one fully electric vehicle is promised at this time from the two Stellantis assembly plants. From a Globe and Mail story (note that second reporter):

Stellantis announces $3.6-billion retool of Ontario plants to make electric and hybrid-fuel vehicles

Eric Atkins Transportation Reporter

Kathryn Blaze Baum Environment Reporter

Published May 2, 2022

Stellantis [formerly Chrysler, Fiat, Peugeot etc.] says it will spend $3.6-billion to retool its Ontario plants to make zero-emissions vehicles [only one so far, see last para of main quote] – the latest announcement from an automaker aimed at hastening the Canadian auto sector’s shift away from internal combustion engines.

With up to $1-billion in funding from the federal and Ontario governments, Stellantis plans to refit its Windsor and Brampton plants to make hybrid or electric cars and expand to three shifts a day. The automaker said it will also build its first North American battery lab in Windsor…

Mark Stewart, Stellantis North America’s chief operating officer, said the move supports the company’s global push to offer 25 electric vehicles that will account for 53 per cent of sales by 2030. The automaker is spending $45-billion through 2025 as it races with rivals to meet consumer demand and government limits on greenhouse gas emissions…

The Canadian auto sector is in the midst of an electric evolution. In March, the federal and provincial governments said they would give hundreds of millions of dollars to Stellantis and LG Energy Solution for a $5-billion plant in Windsor that will make batteries for electric vehicles. The investment is the largest in the history of Canada’s auto industry.

Other automakers in Canada are gearing up for an electrified future, too. Ford Motor Co. plans to produce electric cars at its Oakville, Ont., factory by 2024, with a $1.8-billion investment that includes $580-million in taxpayer money [see below after the main quote]. By December, General Motors is set to begin making the electric cargo van the BrightDrop EV600 at its retooled plant in Ingersoll, Ont [no mass-market consumer vehicle, see this post: “Ontario Finally Gets an EV Plant (with nice subsidies from feds and the province)…“]

GM and POSCO Chemicals are also building a factory in Bécancour, Que., that will make material for the batteries that power GM’s electric lineup [no certainty those batteries will be made in Canada, see this post: “Quebec, Canada Gets Plant to Make Low-Hanging Fruit in Batteries/EV Supply Chain“]. This includes the Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq.

While…[Joanna Kyriazis, a senior policy adviser at Clean Energy Canada, “a climate and clean energy program within the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University] welcomed Stellantis’ latest announcement, she said she would have liked to see the automaker commit to a vision for its Ontario plants focused squarely on electric vehicles [emphasis added] rather than moving toward what Stellantis called a “flexible multienergy vehicle architecture.”..

Despite pushback from automakers, the government said it will ramp up its ambitions when it comes to sales mandates for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), including by introducing a new short-term target of 20 per cent of all light-duty vehicle sales by 2026. That will climb to 60 per cent in 2030 and 100 per cent in 2035. The government said it wants to see ZEVs make up 35 per cent of medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales by 2030.

In Canada, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles made up 6.2 per cent of new vehicle registrations in the fourth quarter of 2021, up from 4 per cent in the same period in 2020 and 2.9 per cent in the same period in 2019…

Mr. Stewart of Stellantis said the minivan plant in Windsor will be retooled in 2023 to make “multienergy” vehicle components for several models [i.e. no vehicles itself]. The Brampton plant, which currently builds muscle cars, will be refit to make electric components and one electric vehicle [emphasis added, note that “one”]. Mr. Stewart said it is too early to say which vehicles will be made in Ontario.

As for Ford, this is what I’ve found about its product plans:

Lincoln to launch full slate of electric SUVs by 2026: sources

The luxury automaker’s EV revolution may begin late 2024 with a battery-powered crossover built in Oakville, Ontario

Author of the article:

Paul Lienert,  Reuters

Publishing date: Feb 11, 2022

Ford is stepping up plans to extensively electrify its Lincoln brand in North America, as it prepares to introduce at least five new battery-powered Lincoln sport-utility vehicles through 2026, three people familiar with the plans told Reuters…

The first of the new Lincoln EVs, a large crossover about the size of the Aviator, is slated to begin production in late 2024 or early 2025 at Ford’s Oakville, Ontario, plant [emphasis added, not exactly a mass-market vehicle, almost all likely to be sold in US, note photo at top of the post], as part of a US$1.5-billion changeover there from combustion-engine to battery electric vehicles, two of the sources said, citing the automaker’s plans shared with suppliers.

Several more Lincoln EV crossovers, including potential replacements for the compact Corsair and the mid-size Nautilus, could be built in Oakville in 2025 or 2026, said the two sources [note that “could”, how much more government bribe money needed?], who cited internal planning documents. Production plans for those models have not been finalized…

Meanwhile Honda and Toyota have only committed to assemble hybrid vehicles in Ontario (luxury ones by the latter), not fully electric ones– but a plug-in version of the Toyota will be made. As for Honda:

Sorting the EVs from the hype in Honda’s $1.38-billion CR-V Hybrid assembly plant announcement

Is Honda Canada’s retooling of its Alliston, Ont., manufacturing plant to build a new hybrid crossover really a step forward for electric and zero emission vehicle manufacturing in Canada? It depends on what comes next

…one important detail can’t be overlooked — the hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) they’ll be making at Alliston, the Honda CR-V Hybrid, only has one fuel source: gasoline. It won’t have a plug to enable it to draw power from the electrical grid and is not zero emission [emphasis added].

The only way this announcement is truly about EVs, say industry observers, is if the current retooling paves the way for Honda to bring future plug-in hybrid (PHEV) or battery electric vehicle (EV) production to this location…

Thus, after all the sound and fury, the companies have so far committed to making the following EV types in Ontario: one unspecified vehicle (Stellantis) and one commercial van (GM). One luxury SUV seems likely to follow (Ford). There’s not going to be a very large share of the overall North American EV market for those three, and certainly a tiny one in Canada. One expects there will a lot more bang coming for all those billion of bucks from Canadian taxpayers. And that Honda and Toyota move smartly to EV assembly here if the province is to gain a place as major player in the EV auto assembly game.

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds

Canadian Imports from PRC: Uyghurs’ Forced Labour? What Forced Labour? Or, See No Evil

PM Trudeau’s government is basically saying “who really cares?” as it takes an essentially hands-off approach.

Further to this November 2022 post,

PM Trudeau’s Government takes Baby Step to deal with Products of Uyghurs’ Forced Labour (note UPDATE)

extracts from a story at the Globe and Mail:

Canada lags U.S. in intercepting imports made with forced labour

Steven Chase Senior parliamentary reporter

Canada is lagging the United States in intercepting imports made with forced labour, as Ottawa struggles to implement a commitment to do so in the renegotiated NAFTA deal.

In the last 21 months, Canada’s border guards have only seized one shipment suspected of being manufactured under coercive conditions [emphasis added]. Intercepted in Quebec, the October shipment was of women’s and children’s clothing from China. Trade experts say Canada does not appear to be prioritizing its agreement to bar such shipments.

Ottawa amended the Customs Tariff Act on July 1, 2020, to prohibit forced-labour imports in keeping with a pledge made under the United States Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the trade deal that replaced the North American free-trade agreement.

In comparison to Canada’s single seizure, U.S. border guards have intercepted more than 1,300 shipments from China that are believed to have been made with coerced labour over the same period [emphasis added, just as we have–most unlike the US–for years charged no-one with actual espionage on behalf of the PRC], according to data provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The seizure is estimated to amount to a combined value of US$209-million.

*Canadian watchdog asked to probe allegations that imports made with forced labour in China [April 2022]

Trade experts say stark difference in interceptions between Canada and the U.S. cannot be accounted for merely by the far larger volume of trade between the United States and other countries such as China. They say Canada’s slim record is an indication that Ottawa is not doing as much as it could to crack down on forced labour imports because of a lack of investment in enforcement and intelligence-gathering [emphasis added]– despite a commitment from the federal government as recently as January, 2021, to get serious on the matter.

The CBP’s seizure of forced-labour goods since USMCA took effect includes 811 shipments of cotton and tomato products from China’s troubled Xinjiang region as well as 511 shipments of products made by Hoshine Silicon Industry Co. Ltd., a company located in Xinjiang that produces a key material for solar panels…

Michael Nesbitt, a University of Calgary law professor who previously worked in the federal government’s sanctions division, said Canada does not appear to be making the effort needed to identify and detain imports of goods made with forced labour.

…he said Canada puts a heavy burden on the private sector to determine for themselves if their shipments are made with forced labour “while seemingly doing little to undermine or prosecute the bad actors that take active steps to avoid detection.”

Canada Border Services Agency spokesperson Rebecca Purdy said “Canada is still in the early stages of implementing the forced-labour prohibition,”..

Plus, Ms. Purdy said, last year Americans enshrined in law a reverse-onus rule that puts the responsibility on those shipping goods from Xinjiang to prove these items are free of coerced labour. That means the U.S. government officially regards all goods “produced in whole or in part” in Xinjiang as produced with forced labour and “therefore prohibited from importation.”

Meanwhile, in Canada, CBSA officers require evidence that imports are tainted by slave or prison labour and do not have the authority to deem goods as prohibited. That means they are required to treat shipments “on a case-by-case basis, based on the available information at the time of entry.”..

Excuses. Excuses. Excuses. Posts for further background:

The PRC’s Vanishing Uyghurs

PRC’s Push for Han Baby-Making in Xinjiang, whilst Suppressing Uyghur Births

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds

Gorgeous Gerhard’s Embrace of Bad Vlad

Further to this post,

A Tale of Two Chancellors: Schröder’s and Merkel’s Addiction to Russian Natural Gas and Oil

a follow-up piece by the NY Times‘ Berlin bureau chief to a recent story of hers, note the first sentence after the authorship:

Two Interviews, No Regrets: Talking About Putin’s Russia With a Former German Chancellor

After Gerhard Schröder spoke to The Times, he could be kicked out of his party and cut off from some tax-financed perks he enjoys as former chancellor.

By Katrin Bennhold

The first thing you notice when you walk into the office of Gerhard Schröder is the striking abundance of pictures of Gerhard Schröder.

A large painting of a younger Schröder behind the desk. An even larger painting of an even younger Schröder next to the door. A black-and-white photo portrait. A stylized art print. A smattering of colorful cartoons featuring him as the fist-banging, swaggering, “basta”-shouting chancellor he once was.

I was writing an article about how Germany got hooked on Russian gas over the past two decades and wanted to speak to Mr. Schröder, the man who popped up nearly every step of the way: as German chancellor from 1998-2005, as a lobbyist for Russian-controlled energy companies since then and as the personal friend of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia throughout.

Mr. Schröder had not talked to any media outlet since the war in Ukraine started — and with it, the almost universal outrage at his refusal to distance himself from Mr. Putin and resign from his lucrative positions for the gas pipeline operator Nord Stream and the Russian oil company Rosneft. But after weeks of back and forth, I was invited to meet him in his home city, Hanover, for our first conversation on April 11.

He and his wife greeted me in matching forest green pantsuits. I remarked on them.

“Coincidence,” the former chancellor grumbled.

“Green is the color of hope,” his (fifth) wife, Soyeon Schröder-Kim, beamed. She was a constant presence.

We sat down at the corner of a large glass table, a statue of former chancellor Willy Brandt — a Social Democrat like Mr. Schröder and the architect of Ostpolitik, Germany’s engagement policy toward the Soviet Union about half a century ago — watching over us.

From the start, it was clear that Mr. Schröder wanted to talk, to explain himself, to tell his country why he was right — and everyone else wrong — to resist calls to condemn Mr. Putin [emphasis added].

“I know you’re here to talk about the past,” he said, as he handed me a pile of notes about his recent, and fruitless, effort to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv. “But I’d also like to talk about the present.”

So we talked. I was allowed to record. And I was surprised by how frankly Mr. Schröder spoke.Unlike many German politicians, he readily accepted the ground rules of The New York Times: He would not get to “authorize” any quotes before publication. Since we spoke German throughout, I offered to show him my English translations — his wife, a trained translator, had expressed concerns about “translation mistakes” — but I also made clear that we would not accept edits that altered the meaning of the quote.

None were asked for.

Three days after our first conversation, I returned to Hanover with the photographer Laetitia Vancon. We had another conversation, which ended with a lunch of seasonal asparagus and two bottles of white wine. (His wife brought out one but he demanded a second — we were four people after all.)

Why The New York Times?” I asked him at one point, curious why he had not picked a German newspaper to break his silence.

“The New York Times admitted that it was wrong over the Iraq war; I respect that [emphasis added],” he told me and smiled. The implication was clear: He had been right, famously keeping Germany out of the war. (In a 2004 assessment of the publication’s reporting on the lead-up to, and the early stages of, the Iraq War, Times editors found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been.)

So if it was right to admit past mistakes, was there anything he had gotten wrong over Russia?

“No,” he said defiantly [emphasis added], insisting that on energy, Russian and German interests were aligned.

But, I pressed him: His good friend Vladimir had started a war and was accused of ordering war crimes. How did that feel? Did it feel right to stay loyal to him?

It was the only time he got annoyed.

“We’re not doing a psychologizing interview here,” he said, raising his voice. “Then we’ll leave it there.”

I shifted the conversation back to the war, which he condemned but also qualified.

“We have this situation, which I have to say is not just one-sided,” he said.

I had heard this a lot in Germany — “it’s not one-sided” — not least among my own parents’ friends. The idea that NATO had been cornering Russia after the reunification of Germany and Europe was not all that uncommon in Germany before the war.

Even now, with fighting raging, some of Mr. Schröder’s views, about the need to give Mr. Putin a way to save face, are openly voiced [emphasis added]. My ophthalmologist recently told me, “Let’s give him what he needs, for God’s sake, so we can end this war.”

Germany’s relationship with Russia is complicated, rooted both in centuries of cultural exchange and a traumatic history of war, which contributed to a Russia policy that has alternately been described as romantic blindness or open-eyed appeasement.

In Mr. Schröder’s office, prominently framed, is a birthday letter from the revered former chancellor Helmut Schmidt, another Social Democrat, dated April 4, 2014, less than two months after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, praising Mr. Schröder’s legacy as chancellor, not least for “demonstrating understanding of the needs of our powerful neighbor Russia.”

The day before my article came out, I had one last phone call with Mr. Schröder to run through some factual questions. Before we hung up, I told him that this would not be a puff piece.

“You can be critical as long as you’re fair,” he said.

When the article was published online on April 23, it was picked up by every major German news outlet. The reactions were swift.

“The interview in The New York Times is pretty disturbing and it has to have consequences,” said Hendrik Wüst, a conservative governor of Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, urging the Social Democrats to kick the former chancellor out of their party.

The co-leader of the Social Democrats, Saskia Esken, called on Mr. Schröder to hand in his membership and said 14 local party chapters had filed for his expulsion. “Gerhard Schröder has been acting as a business man,” she said when asked about my interview. “We should stop thinking of him as an elder statesman, as a former chancellor.”

Politicians from across the political spectrum demanded that Mr. Schröder be put on the sanctions list and cut off from the tax-funded pension and perks former chancellors enjoy. (Only the far-right Alternative for Germany party applauded his defiance as “responsible and in the German interest.”)

I was inundated with messages. But I did not hear from Mr. Schröder until the day after the interview published. A WhatsApp message arrived from his wife with a polite request: “Could you send 2 copies to our office. In Hanover there is no Sunday edition of The NYT.”

Just another journalist with a major reporting function making it clear what her opinions are. Sigh.

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds

OSINT IMINT: Commercial Space Eyes over Ukraine and Russia

(Caption for photo at top of the post: “BlackSky has been publishing its satellite imagery and analysis of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. This April 10 image details damage to Dnipro International Airport, with algorithms highlighting aircraft on the airfield. Credit: Maxar Technologies”.)

All those images we’ve been seeing on television. First from Defense One:

As Satellite Images Reshape Conflict, Worries Mount About Keeping Them Safe

Radio data collected from space is the next frontier.

By Patrick Tucker

Technology Editor

If Russia is defeated in its war against Ukraine, it will be thanks in no small part to publicly available satellite images. Pictures of Russian military movements and actions have helped mount defenses, expose Russian falsehoods and war crimes, and galvanize Ukrainian allies. But precisely because the recent explosion in space-generated intelligence is proving so valuable, industry and military officials are concerned about potential adversaries’ growing abilities to target satellites [emphasis added].

In the leadup to the invasion, images bolstered leaders’ credibility as they issued increasingly dire warnings. After it happened, the photos helped policy makers in Washington, Brussels, and elsewhere marshal support for sanctions on Russia.

“You’re in the middle of a war where a new piece of technology changes the calculus of decision,” Planet co-founder and CSO Robbie Schingler told Defense One. “It wasn’t just ‘Trust us, this is happening.’ Everyone could see it. You’re on a common operating picture” that enabled leaders around the world to “come up with their own decision making processes internally in their countries and then be able to act in unison when it matters.”.. 

Unlike military satellites that produce largely classified imagery, private-sector providers have much more freedom to release anything they like. 

“The shareability of commercial imagery has always been one of the key features,” Tony Frazier, Maxar’s executive vice president and general manager of public sector earth intelligence, said at the GEOINT conference here this week.

The availability of satellite imagery they could share and talk about made it easier for the Biden administration to rapidly declassify their analysis of Russia’s intentions and actions, said Robert Moultrie, the defense undersecretary for intelligence [emphasis added]

The U.S. intelligence community is entering a new era in which publicly available intelligence is given more weight and in which the U.S. government is more transparent about what it sees, particularly about Russia and China. Moultrie called the U.S. effort to warn the public about the impending invasion “a case study for us. And it really is one that’s going to really pave the way for the future.”

Some military leaders want to move even faster. Gen. Richard Clark, who leads U.S. Special Operations Command, said too much information remains classified, in part because it’s too easy for the national-security community to reflexively mark it as secret [emphasis added]

But declassification and the wide availability of satellite imagery also present a new challenge: how do you gain an edge if everyone has the same picture? That’s where officials hope that artificial intelligence and new forms of space-collected intelligence, such as radio-frequency data, will create new advantages.

Frazier highlighted work that Maxar has been doing with the Army’s 82nd Airborne, as part of their Scarlet Dragon events, which occur every 90 to 100 days. Over the past 18 months, he said, they learned how to move images to troops on the battlefield in one-tenth of the time.

The company is also putting up more satellites, which “is going to allow us to continue to collect imagery at very high resolution, so 30 to 50-centimeter resolution, but then also be able to dramatically increase revisit over areas of the world that matter [emphasis added].” Over the mid-latitudes, the region between the tropics and the polar circles that includes much of Asia, “We’ll have the ability to collect up to 15 times a day and then also be able to interweave that with other sources to just get persistence.”

In the years ahead, expect an explosion in other kinds of satellite-gathered data—for example,  unencrypted radio chatter from military units that are broadcasting their location via global positioning. At the conference, Annie Glassie, a mission analyst with HawkEye 360, a satellite company that specializes in gathering radio signals, showed how her firm could identify ships that had turned off their AIS receiver— in effect, trying to go dark.

Kari A. Bingen, HawkEye 360’s chief strategy officer, said, “What we are able to detect is effectively.. those electronic warfare, those indicators, emitters, jamming GPS radars, other things that are a leading indicator of, frankly, where Russia forces are and where they’re moving [emphasis added].”

Artificial intelligence is also adding value by combining satellite imagery with new forms of data, including in U.S. European Command’s activities near the Ukrainian border, said one senior executive with a satellite imagery company.

“The feedback we’ve received is that the capabilities both for the role of commercial imagery, the ability to apply AI machine learning against that data, and the things you can do with 3-D are playing a big role in supporting current missions,” he said. He declined to be named out of sensitivity to current operations.

But some officials and representatives from industry are increasingly worried that commercial intelligence satellites will soon become key targets for adversaries who want to return to the days when the world couldn’t easily track their military formations. [emphasis added].

“Both Chinese and Russian military doctrine now capture their view of space as critical to modern warfare. And they consider the use of space and counter space capabilities as a means of reducing U.S. military effectiveness and for winning future wars,” said Lt. Gen. Chance Saltzman, the chief operations officer for the U.S. Space Force. “We’ve seen destructive debris generated by anti-satellite missile tests, [radio-frequency] interference, cyber attacks on terrestrial space nodes and provocative on-orbit anti-satellite demonstrations, such as firing projectiles.”

They have also developed advanced ways to target U.S. government and commercial satellites, Saltzman said…

The industry executive said the government is beginning to have better discussions with satellite companies about protecting private assets… 

And earlier at Aviation Week and Space Technology (full text subscriber only–note Canadian company MDA):

U.S. Government And Space Companies Collaborate To Support Ukraine

Brian Everstine Jen DiMascio Joe Anselmo Garrett Reim April 12, 2022

As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces surged to the border with Ukraine in a massive buildup of Russian military force before the February invasion, the U.S. intelligence community reached out to several commercial space companies and asked for a favor.

The secretive intelligence agencies wanted those imagery, sensing and analysis companies to go public with what they could collect over Ukraine, and do it fast. “Help us rapidly make available imagery” to show the buildup of troops, to help shape international outrage and pressure, Stacey Dixon, the principal deputy director of national intelligence in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, recalled imploring companies before Russia invaded Ukraine. She was speaking at the Space Symposium April 5 in Colorado Springs.

As the violent invasion continues, companies are continuing to release their imagery tracking Russian movements on their own. The outreach from the intelligence community to the companies has not only helped shape the global outrage toward Russia [emphasis added]

“We’re telling the story that needs to be told,” says Daniel Jablonsky, the CEO of Maxar Technologies. “And I think, as the narrative of this conflict is written, we will look at space and space capabilities as a component of that. . . . This is probably the first time our imagery has been this prominent or relevant to a wartime situation.”

For the U.S. military and intelligence community, the capabilities of these companies have also had direct impacts on readiness. Commander of U.S. Space Command Gen. James Dickinson says that with commercial sensors collecting surveillance, he can shift some national assets to focus on other missions [emphasis added].

Maxar, which has been one of the most public contributors—with its images of a miles-long Russian convoy that have gone viral, for example—says it has ramped up its efforts to collect data from above Ukraine. Jablonsky says it is increasing its 3D capability as well, processing “more situationally relevant” data for U.S. European Command and NATO allies…

BlackSky uses artificial intelligence, cloud computing, sensor data fusion and autonomous satellite tasking to bring imagery to customers within 90 min [emphasis added].

“Many of the things that used to be so labor-intensive are now being automated and moving from humans to machines and artificial intelligence to solve the problem,” Wegner says.

The export of imagery still faces red tape for some. MDA, an Ontario-based synthetic aperture radar satellite company [website here], needed an export license from the Canadian government to sell its imagery [emphasis added]. Maxar is in contact with the U.S. government to make sure it keeps Washington happy. Florida-based Terran Orbital, a synthetic aperture radar satellite company, has been sharing its imagery with Ukraine for free.

Since commercial satellite images often are not classified,  some companies can be more nimble in distributing this imagery if they choose…

While much of the focus has been on imagery of military operations—dramatic photos of Russian convoys north of Kyiv or swaths of destroyed buildings in Mariupol—other data sets are proving their worth as well…

…The National Reconnaissance Office is not just buying services from Maxar. It is also releasing solicitations to bring in others with more capabilities such as synthetic aperture radar, an industry official says.

Commercial space companies have proven to be faster in adopting new, emerging technologies even as the government is trying to keep pace. The software and networks on which commercial products operate is more rapid and agile and able to quickly serve customers, but this does make the industry more susceptible to cyberattacks [emphasis added].

The government is evolving to develop a military or intelligence-community-specific capability from scratch only when it is needed. Increasingly, there is more of an opportunity to buy services or adapt what already exists. While this evolution is not new, the situation in Ukraine has shown its potential…

Keep your eyes on your TVs. Now for commercial plain text SIGINT…ain’t capitalism wonderful once in a while.

UPDATE: Now note this almost real-time intelligence from Maxar:

Related earlier post:

How US Got Intelligence on Russia vs Ukraine Right (cf. Iraq failure 2003 and collapse of USSR)–and the USSR, now Russia, as an Intelligence Target

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds

Elon Musk Taking over Twitter: Tesla and PRC Tweet of the Day

This is lovely:

Odds on the Chicoms putting pressure on Free Speech Elon over criticism of the PRC on Twitter?

And note this just over a year ago on Tesla in China:

More to take into account:

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds

Making It Harder to Fly Canadian Skies…

…through unfriendly foreign ownership regulations. Airlines are another protected Canadian industry like telcos, broadcasting, dairy (a 2019 story: “Protected industries: Why more than a third of the Canadian economy is walled from competition”)–so higher prices and business complacency, especially regarding innovation. Tough on us, eh? Excerpts from an opinion piece at the Globe and Mail by an excellent columnist:

Flair Airlines flap should prompt Ottawa to relax foreign ownership rules

Rita Trichur

The fate of Flair Airlines [website here] is caught up in stifling and outmoded federal airline regulations, and Canadians should be outraged at the prospect of losing yet another discount carrier.

At issue is whether Edmonton-based Flair is actually controlled by foreigners, in contravention of federal law, despite the airline’s claim of being 58 per cent Canadian owned. Specifically, the Canadian Transportation Agency suspects U.S. investment firm 777 Partners is actually calling the shots at Flair, even though it only owns a 25-per-cent stake.

It seems three of Flair’s five directors are – gasp – U.S. citizens who have connections to 777 Partners. What’s more, Flair apparently leases a number of planes from the Miami-based investment firm and owes it a whole whack of money.

Oh my swirls! An American private equity firm is investing in our airline industry and providing us with a lower-cost choice for air travel to Canadian, U.S. and Mexican destinations. Predictably, rival airlines are kicking up a fuss. But good luck trying to find a Canadian who thinks this is an actual problem.

This regulatory fiasco involving Flair is the latest example of how Canada’s outdated laws and regressive attitude toward foreign investment doom discount airlines, limit competition and harm ordinary Canadians who are fed up with overpriced air fares.

The blame for this mess lies squarely with Ottawa. Instead of opening up Canadian skies to real competition from foreign-controlled airlines when it had the chance, the Trudeau government opted to merely tinker with our foreign investment rules…It’s clear our government’s aversion to foreign investors makes no sense. So, if Ottawa is serious about increasing competition in the airline sector, it must relax the remaining foreign ownership restrictions for airlines that fly domestic routes.

No Canadian cares if Americans, or other foreigners for that matter, control airlines that service destinations within Canada. We just want to pay the lowest possible price for a ticket.

…How many money discount airlines need to fail before Ottawa pursues policies that create real competition?

Canadians shouldn’t have to pay through the nose for air travel. We’ve suffered long enough. And after being stuck at home for the past two years, now is the time to demand change.

Follow Rita Trichur on Twitter: @ritatrichur

And those protected biggies have an awful lot of lobbying clout with Ottawa Centre so plus ça ne change pas, plus c’est la même chose, to vary the phrase.

Earlier posts based on pieces by Ms Trichur:

Will Financial Actions Taken under Emergencies Act Lead to PM Trudeau’s Government Acting Seriously vs Money Laundering in General?

Money Laundering, or, Canada Washes Whiter in the Great Shell Company Game (Note “Cartoon of the day” UPDATE)

PM Trudeau’s Government vs Financial Crime/Money Laundering: “Kid- Glove Treatment”

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds

Wish this was the theme song for this country:

See the Lockheed Super Constellation to the left of Frank?

A Tale of Two Chancellors: Schröder’s and Merkel’s Addiction to Russian Natural Gas and Oil

(Caption for photo at top of the post: “(From L to R) German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder arrive for a ceremony to inaugurate the Nord Stream Baltic Sea gas pipeline on November 8, 2011 in Lubmin, Germany.”)

Further to this post,

Angela Merkel: Despite All the Skill and Achievement, Failing to Grasp the Big Putin Picture

excerpts from a column (another piece back in the business section, not in the first section where it should be) by the Globe and Mail’s very good European Bureau Chief in Rome:

Angela Merkel deserves as much blame – or more – as her predecessor for making Germany dependent on Russian energy

Eric Reguly

…Germany’s role as the biggest European Union buyer of Russian oil and natural gas continues largely unhindered, effectively making it the EU’s No. 1 financier of Mr. Putin’s nasty war and slaughterhouse for civilians. Germany’s reliance on Russian energy explains why the coalition government, led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, has resisted cutting off Russian oil and gas; he knows that doing so would plunge the EU’s biggest economy into a debilitating recession – and turn off the lights and potentially his political career too.

How did Germany become this overdependent on Russian energy?

While former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has been described as one of Mr. Putin’s useful idiots on the energy front, it was his successor, Angela Merkel, the chancellor from 2005 to the end of last year, who took Mr. Schroeder’s Putin-friendly stand and intensified it…

Ms. Merkel offered no apology for pursuing the disastrous policy of appeasing Mr. Putin by taking as much of his oil and gas that was on offer. Germany’s energy risks are the highest in the EU, since it is the country most dependent on Russian oil and gas…

Germany’s coddling of Mr. Putin began in earnest under Mr. Schroeder, the Social Democrat chancellor from 1998 to 2005. He became a friend of Mr. Putin and, in a TV interview in 2004, referred to Mr. Putin as a “flawless democrat.”..

…He was one of the main champions of the first Nord Stream pipeline that delivered gas directly from Russia to Germany, bypassing Ukraine.

Within weeks of his election defeat in 2005, he became chairman of the Nord Stream shareholder committee – compelling evidence that he was one of the Kremlin’s favoured European allies and lobbyists. There is no way he would have been appointed without Mr. Putin’s approval.

Since then, Mr. Schroeder has firmly embedded himself in Russia’s massive hydrocarbons industry. He is the chairman of Rosneft Oil Company, the state-controlled oil giant and, before the war started, was nominated to the board of Gazprom. He is supposed to start that position in June though is under political pressure to go nowhere near the company…

Ms. Merkel adopted a more skeptical and wary stand toward Mr. Putin, but ultimately allowed herself to get sucked into Mr. Putin’s great geo-economic energy game. She backed the construction of Nord Stream 2, the twinning of the first Nord Stream pipeline that would double Russia’s gas export capacity to Germany (the pipeline is fully built but Mr. Scholz cancelled its certification process when the war started).

Crucially, in 2011, right after the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in Japan, she endorsed Mr. Schroeder’s decision to close all of Germany’s nuclear generating plants when she could have easily overturned it – she had been highly critical of the former chancellor’s move…

Today, some 40 per cent of Germany’s gas comes from Russia, imports that cost it nearly US$1-billion a week. Russia also supplies about a third of Germany’s oil and half of its coal. There is no denying that the hydrocarbon sales directly finance Russia’s war against Ukraine…

…Germany is both economic abettor of the war and victim of the astonishingly bad decisions that made it dependent on Mr. Putin’s energy exports. Mr. Schroeder deserves some of the blame, Ms. Merkel even more. The war will be instrumental in reassessing her oft-praised role as Europe’s liberal economic and democratic star.

The curse of the hydrocarbon Drang nach Osten.

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds

PM Trudeau’s Government vs Financial Crime/Money Laundering: “Kid- Glove Treatment”

Further to this post,

Money Laundering, or, Canada Washes Whiter in the Great Shell Company Game (Note “Cartoon of the day” UPDATE)

here are extracts from another piece at the Globe and Mail by the relentless Rita Trichur:


Ottawa still giving financial criminals the kid-glove treatment

Rita Trichur

…The federal budget marked a return to the Liberals’ trademark incrementalism when it comes to combatting serious financial crime.

The government, for instance, plans to crack down on money laundering in the housing market by subjecting all mortgage lenders to federal scrutiny within the next year. But imposing new rules on alternative lenders isn’t enough if Ottawa isn’t prepared to do the same for lawyers who facilitate those real estate purchases – or other dubious transactions across the economy, for that matter.

Lawyers have been exempt from reporting suspicious transactions to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FinTRAC) since a 2015 Supreme Court of Canada decision found Ottawa’s previous requirements for them didn’t align with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That ruling, however, left the door open for the government to revise its legislation, but it never did.

Now is the time to do so. The government’s own risk assessment on money laundering states that lawyers, knowingly or not, can provide cover to criminals in the housing market. In fact, this issue arose at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia.

“Lawyers are the ‘black hole’ of real estate and of money movement generally. With no visibility by law enforcement on what enters and leaves a lawyer’s trust account, many investigations are stymied [emphasis added],” reads a B.C. government-commissioned report authored by Peter German, a lawyer and former RCMP deputy commissioner…

What’s more, it plans yet another comprehensive review of our anti-money-laundering and anti-terrorist-financing regime.

Oh goodie! More analysis paralysis on an issue that has already been studied to death [emphasis added].

Why not dust off the numerous reports already written on this issue over the years, including by the Financial Action Task Force and the Standing Committee on Finance?

This is the time for action, not more dilly-dallying. Start by empowering FinTRAC to ask follow-up questions about suspicious transaction reports filed by banks and other businesses [emphasis added].

Next, give banks a permanent “safe harbour” – a provision that shields them from legal liability if they participate in data-sharing partnerships to catch criminals. It’s ridiculous this type of information sharing still isn’t allowed…

And stop throwing relatively small amounts of money at giant problem. Specifically, the budget says Ottawa will provide FinTRAC with $89.9-million over five years, and $8.8-million a year continuously, to support its work. It is also earmarking $2-million for Public Safety Canada to establish a new Canada Financial Crimes Agency [see the April 9 post noted at the end of this one, note, note useless Mounties].

Those amounts are paltry considering that an estimated $45-billion to $113-billion is laundered here each year [emphasis added], according to a 2020 report by the Criminal Intelligence Service Canada [see p. 9 PDF here]

Ottawa shortened its deadline to create a publicly accessible corporate beneficial ownership registry, a tool to unmask crooks who hide behind anonymous shell companies. That database, which will store details about who ultimately owns and controls millions of private companies, is now expected to be accessible before the end of 2023, instead of 2025.

But don’t get too excited; there’s a catch. The registry will only cover companies that incorporate federally under the Canada Business Corporations Act [emphasis added]. That means companies incorporated in the provinces and territories won’t be immediately included in the federal database.

Equally troubling, the budget’s fine print suggests provinces and territories won’t be compelled to join the national registry. What’s the point if their participation isn’t mandatory?..

The Basel Institute on Governance, an independent non-profit that combats corruption and financial crime, recently called out Canada for its “ineffective beneficial ownership transparency measures.” The institute’s 2021 report, which assesses countries’ risk levels to money laundering, ranked Canada 77th out of 110 countries, with a score of 4.67 out of 10.

That’s great news for financial criminals and even sanctions-evading Russian oligarchs because Canada has no way to monitor the real-time creation of shell companies.

Ottawa must move expeditiously to broaden the scope of Canada’s anti-money-laundering and anti-terrorist-financing rules on a permanent basis…

All show, little go. Just. Not. Serious.That post:

They Almost Never Get Their Man, or, Get the Mounties out of Money-Laundering.

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds

Theme song: