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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Thursday 17th of February 2022
 
Morning
Africa

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Russian Duma has asked Putin to consider recognizing so-called Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics as independent states. @steven_pifer
Law & Politics

If Putin does so, #Russia will effectively end Minsk process, purpose of which was to restore Donbas to #Ukraine's sovereignty.

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14-FEB-2022 :: However, Donbas and Luhansk are entirely within the scope of an imminent incursion, A Frozen conflict at this new forward boundary is I believe the limit of the scope of this Operation
Law & Politics

“There are known knowns — there are things we know we know,” Rumsfeld said in February 2002, “We also know there are known unknowns — that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
So here we are. What we do know is Putin is not a reckless Gambler [known knowns] and therefore a full scale invasion of Ukraine is pure hyperbole.
However, Donbas and Luhansk are entirely within the scope of an imminent incursion, A Frozen conflict at this new forward boundary is I believe the limit of the scope of this Operation.

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China has turned the entire frontier into a hot border virtually and forward deployed as many as 200,000 troops along the Himalayas. @Chellaney
Law & Politics


China's military buildup is indeed attracting little  attention. India faces 60,000 PLA troops just in one sector (Ladakh). China has turned the entire frontier into a hot border virtually and forward deployed as many as 200,000 troops along the Himalayas.

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Feb 8, 2018 Does the Indian Establishment and @narendramodi appreciate Chokehold China has over India?
Law & Politics

Doklam Plateau, Gwadar and Hambantota Ports and the intrusion into the Indian Ocean?

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29-NOV-2021 :: #Omicron Regime Change
Misc.


The Invisible Microbe has metastasized into Omicron and what we know is that COVID-19 far from becoming less virulent has become more virulent.
The transmissibility of #Omicron is not in question, it clearly has a spectacular advantage.
The Open Question is whether it is more virulent. If it is less virulent then #Omicron is breaking the Trend of increasing virulence.

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.@WHO Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 15 February 2022
Misc.


During the week of 7 to 13 February 2022, the global number of new COVID-19 cases decreased by 19% as compared to the number reported during the previous week, while the number of new deaths remained similar to that of the previous week. 

Across the six WHO regions, just over 16 million new cases and just under 75 000 new deaths were reported. 

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

Russian Federation (1 323 391 new cases; a 23% increase)

Germany (1 322 071 new cases; similar to the previous week’s figures)

United States of America (1 237 530 new cases; a 43% decrease)

Brazil (1 009 678 new cases; a 19% decrease)

France (979 228 new cases; a 43% decrease).

The highest number of new deaths were reported from 

United States of America (17 225 new deaths; similar to the previous week’s figures)

India (6686 new deaths; a 15% decrease)

Brazil (6658 new deaths; a 44% increase)

Russian Federation (4834 new deaths; similar to the previous week’s figures)

Mexico (2530 new deaths; a 7% increase).

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Sure the Narrative around COVID has now largely bust wide open at the seams.
Misc.


Sure the Narrative around COVID has now largely bust wide open at the seams. 

Society in so many places from Ottawa to Paris and all points in between is witnessing metastatic level protests, the ''Lockdown'' economy's shelf life has expired. 

Its morphing into a Tsunami. Some European Countries have seen the writing on the wall. 

Its a little counterintuitive because cases remain sky high.

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Risk of #BA2 for global health is potentially higher than #BA1 @vipintukur
Misc.


➡️ The effective reproduction number of BA.2 is 1.4-fold higher than that of BA.1.
➡️ Neutralisation experiments show that the vaccine-induced humoral immunity fails to function against BA.2 like BA.1. 

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The antigenicity of BA.2 is different from BA.1. @vipintukur
Misc.


➡️ The antigenicity of BA.2 is different from BA.1.
➡️ Cell culture experiments show that BA.2 is more replicative in human nasal epithelial cells & more fusogenic than BA.1.     

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Infection experiments using hamsters show that BA.2 is more pathogenic than BA.1. @vipintukur
Misc.


➡️ And, most worryingly, infection experiments using hamsters show that BA.2 is more pathogenic than BA.1.
So, taken together, the risk of BA.2 for global health is potentially higher than that of BA.1.  

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U.S. @federalreserve should act soon and decisively to raise rates - @WorldBank @carmenmreinhart @Reuters H/T @AlessioUrban
World Of Finance


The U.S. Federal Reserve should tighten monetary policy soon and decisively to head off what could become "quite persistent" inflation, World Bank Chief Economist Carmen Reinhart told Reuters in an interview.
Reinhart, who has been warning for some time that supply chain shocks could result in sustained inflation in the United States and elsewhere, said any delay by the Fed on increasing interest rates would just prolong the problem.
"If inflation is indeed more persistent, my bottom line on Fed policy is ... that if you do more now, you'll be better (off) than if you do too little, too late," Reinhart said ahead of Tuesday's release of the World Bank's World Development Report. read more
Reinhart said the Fed had been signaling a modest tightening by historical standards but could shift gears given recent data.
"I'm of the view that if the tendency is to delay action and be more circumspect, it's basically just pushing the problem out in the horizon," she added.
Reinhart has been arguing for about a year that the increase in inflation is unlikely to be temporary because supply chain shocks have affected commodity prices, transport costs, global shipping and other sectors. 

Escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia were exacerbating inflationary pressures that had seen oil prices jump 77% from December 2020 to last month.
"All that is not temporary, and inflation proves very few things in life are permanent, but many are quite persistent," she said.
U.S. Federal Reserve officials remain divided over how aggressively to begin upcoming interest rate increases at their March meeting.
St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard on Monday reiterated calls for a faster pace of Fed interest rate hikes, but other Fed officials have been less willing to commit to a half-point hike.
In a paper published last week, Reinhart and World Bank economist Clemens von Luckner noted that a more timely and robust response from major central banks would drive up funding costs for emerging markets and developing economies and could worsen existing debt crises.
But they said the longer-term costs of delaying action would be great. 

Because the United States and other advanced economies failed to tackle inflation quickly during the 1970s, they ultimately needed far more draconian policies, which then triggered the second-largest U.S. recession after World War Two and the debt crisis of developing countries, they wrote.

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The @federalreserve could entertain the novel idea of a sharp interest rate rise a la Volcker
World Of Finance


The Optimal move is to go to 0.75% immediately in order to do less in the round 

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14-FEB-2022 :: The Curtain has been lifted and Mr. Powell has now arrived at his Volcker moment
World Of Finance


These developments led to a seismic shift in the markets before Fridays whipsaw

Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid notes that yesterday's surge in the 2-year US Treasury yield was, by one measure, "the biggest "shock" since October 1979 when Volcker announced his intentions on the world @ReutersJamie

The last time inflation was here, February 1982 - the Fed Funds Rate was 15%. @Convertbond

Dartmouth economist and former Fed adviser Andrew Levin says the Fed needs to get rates to a neutral setting within a year or so, and that the means getting the Fed Funds rates up to 4% or 5%

Its a Wizard of Oz moment 

24 JUN 19 :: Wizard of Oz World. 

http://bit.ly/2xcErn2
This is ‘’Voodoo Economics’’ and just because we have not reached the point when the curtain was lifted in the Wizard of Oz and the Wizard revealed to be ‘’an ordinary conman from Omaha who has been using elaborate magic tricks and props to make himself seem “great and powerful”’’ should not lull us into a false sense of security

The Curtain has been lifted and Mr. Powell has now arrived at his Volcker moment 

Friday's action and next immediate sessions might afford us the greatest macro trading opportunity to reset shorts in the US 10 and Ultra Bond. 

We can look across all G7 Bonds because this is a Super Bubble that is going to burst big. There is no way out now.

There is no training – classroom or otherwise.. that can prepare for trading the last third of a move, whether it's the end of a bull market or the end of a bear market. 

There's typically no logic to it; irrationality reigns supreme, and no class can teach what to do during that brief, volatile reign. Paul Tudor-Jones

Its the End of the Bull market obviously. 

The Music has been playing for Eternity and its about to stop

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29-NOV-2021 :: Regime Change
World Of Finance


A REGIME CHANGE IS UNDERWAY [in the markets]

There is no training – classroom or otherwise.. that can prepare for trading the last third of a move, whether it's the end of a bull market or the end of a bear market. 
There's typically no logic to it; irrationality reigns supreme, and no class can teach what to do during that brief, volatile reign. Paul Tudor-Jones

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Don’t Relax. The Fed’s Hawks Are Flexing Their Talons @bopinion @johnauthers
World Of Finance


The minutes to its January meeting, which were published Wednesday and you can find here, were a drab affair by comparison. Stocks enjoyed a bounce, though not a particularly big one. The yield curve steepened sharply. 

This time around, the market reacted as might be expected if the minutes were “dovish” — showing the Fed to be less inclined to raise rates. 

That was the direct implication of the fed funds futures market which, according to Bloomberg calculations, responded by cutting the odds on a 50 basis points hike next month, rather than 25 basis points, from 63% to exactly 50%.

There was no clear hint that hiking 50 basis points was on the table. Back in late January when the Federal Open Market Committee was discussing, the governors didn’t feel the need to get markets braced for such a thing. 

Given that the data published in the three weeks since then show an economy that appears to be overheating, this leaves wide open the possibility of a “shock and awe” March hike.

Participants agreed that uncertainty regarding the path of inflation was elevated and that risks to inflation were weighted to the upside. 

Participants cited several such risks

including the zero-tolerance COVID-19 policy in China that had the potential to further disrupt supply chains, 

the possibility of geopolitical turmoil that could cause increases in global energy prices or exacerbate global supply shortages, 

a worsening of the pandemic, 

persistent real wage growth in excess of productivity growth that could trigger inflationary wage–price dynamics, 

or the possibility that longer-term inflation expectations could become unanchored. 

And everyone should navigate on the assumption that the longer-term destination will be a regime of higher inflation and higher rates.

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I think given the flattening move we have seen - the trade to put on is a steepener
World Of Finance

The difference this time I think @TaviCosta is inflation is untethered Powell is not Volcker and it’s a lifting the curtain Wizard of Oz moment so actually I think given the flattening move we have seen - the trade to put on is a steepener

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.136450
Dollar Index 95.885
Japan Yen 115.3190
Swiss Franc 0.92223
Pound 1.358490
Aussie 0.719015
India Rupee 75.0421
South Korea Won 1196.620
Brazil Real 5.137714
Egypt Pound 15.710000
South Africa Rand 15.03765

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- last value, and I am not making this up: Meta, metamates, me A slide shows this text in bold all caps next to Zuck talking @alexeheath
World Of Finance

I am told Zuck said this without laughing and explained it had to do with a story about ships and shipmates

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WHO regional overviews Epidemiological week 7-13 February 2022 African Region COVID-19
Africa


The African Region reported a continued decrease in the number of cases since the beginning of January with over 69 000 new cases reported, a 30% decrease as compared to the previous week

However, four countries reported an increase of over 20% in cases; Congo (130 vs 25 new cases; a 420% increase), Liberia (82 vs 22 new cases; a 273% increase), Lesotho (114 vs 82; a 39% increase) and Central African Republic (131 vs 104; a 26% increase). 

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

Réunion (30 782 new cases; 3438.1 new cases per 100 000 population; a 32% decrease)

South Africa (17 952 new cases; 30.3 new cases per 100 000; a 13% decrease)

Algeria (3628 new cases; 8.3 new cases per 100 000; a 56% decrease).

The African Region reported just under 1600 new deaths, a 14% increase as compared to the previous week

The highest numbers of new deaths were reported from 

South Africa (1168 new deaths; 2.0 new deaths per 100 000 population; a 28% increase)

Algeria (75 new deaths; <1 new death per 100 000; a 12% decrease)

Ethiopia (65 new deaths; <1 new death per 100 000; a 124% increase).

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How cases have declined post-peak for each wave in SA. @Rajeev_The_King
Africa

Case data by specimen received date. 3 cases per 100k population was chosen as a threshold for low transmission.

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Over the past 18 months, there have been seven coups and coup attempts in African nations @voxdotcom
Africa


Over the past 18 months, there have been seven coups and coup attempts in African nations. 

In Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Mali, and Sudan, military leaders succeeded in seizing power; in Niger and, most recently, in Guinea-Bissau, they failed.
On Thursday, following the failed coup in Guinea-Bissau earlier this week, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) convened to discuss the unrest, which ECOWAS chair Nana Akufo-Addo described as “contagious” and a threat to the entire region.
That’s not wrong, according to Joseph Siegle, research director at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies.
“I think yes, the broader point is there has been a pattern after a period of relatively fewer coups,” Siegle told Vox in a phone call. 

“It’s reasonable to assume that there’s some copycatting going on, or the norm of militaries not being involved [in government] or seizing power has been broken.”
But while the recent spate of coups have several common characteristics and show what Siegle calls a “dispersion effect,” 

Joseph Sany, the vice president of the US Institute of Peace’s Africa Center, told Vox in a phone interview that he thinks referring to them as “contagious” is unhelpful.
“I hate the term ‘contagion’ because it’s a blanket term,” Sany said. “You can’t put Guinea in the same group as Mali and Burkina Faso.”
According to Sany, despite some commonalities — governments unable to provide basic services for their people, corruption, and weak state institutions — the circumstances and mechanics of the recent coups and attempts are different.
And not only does labeling recent coups as part of a “contagion” or domino effect erase these differences, he said, it also absolves the world community from helping these countries build sustainable democratic institutions going forward.
Calling the coups “contagious” flattens the complexity of the situation
Africa’s current wave of coups began in August 2020, after former Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was arrested at gunpoint by government forces

The subsequent series of African coups share some commonalities, such as political and economic instability and weak democratic institutions, but Sany says the specific circumstances in each case are crucial to understanding what happened — and potentially, what comes next.
In Mali and Burkina Faso, Sany notes, the governments were dealing with violent extremism from ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates in the Sahel. 

Between 2020 and 2021, according to a recent report from Siegle and his team, attacks in the region by militant Islamist organizations increased 70 percent, from 1,180 to 2,005.
According to Siegle, that security threat has formed the pretext for coups in both countries. 

“In terms of the differences, [in] Mali and Burkina Faso, the juntas have claimed that insecurity and an inability to deal with threats from violent extremist groups has precipitated the coups,” Siegle said

“They’re both using the same justification, and in the case of Burkina Faso, the threat is more imminent.”
But while it’s a serious concern and terror affiliates drive instability in many African nations, not every country that has undergone a recent coup is dealing with violent insurgency from terror groups.
In Guinea-Bissau, for example, the recent attempted coup is one of many since the nation gained its independence from Portugal in 1974, the Wall Street Journal’s Nicholas Bariyo writes. 

The nation has struggled to establish democratic traditions and institutions; notably, President Umaro Sissoco Embaló — the man this week’s failed coup tried to oust — came to power in 2020 after a contested election, which was still being reviewed by the nation’s Supreme Court when Embaló took office.
And in Guinea, a separate country that borders the smaller Guinea-Bissau, last year’s successful coup came after President Alpha Condé changed the constitution and mounted a power grab that gave him a third term in office. 

Although he initially won a democratic election in 2010 — the first Guinean leader to do so — his power grab, combined with corruption and deep inequality, apparently provided the impetus the military needed to mount a takeover last September.
The mechanics of these takeovers are different as well; for example, Chad’s military led a “covert coup” last year, installing the son of the deceased President Idriss Deby, himself a military commander, as the leader in violation of the constitution

The younger Deby’s government is supposed to be “transitional” — his father was Chad’s authoritarian leader for three decades — but since it abolished the constitution and dissolved the previous government and Parliament, it’s not clear where such a transition could lead.
Sudan’s coup, too, came after decades of authoritarian rule; after civil society leadership organized mass protests and ousted former dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019, a transitional government comprising military and civilian leadership took over. 

That power-sharing agreement briefly set Sudan on a democratic trajectory before the military took over last year, eventually leading to civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s resignation this past January.
Characterizing the coups as contagious also discounts the influence of outside powers, Sany and Siegle told Vox — primarily Russia and China, and to a lesser extent, Turkey and Gulf states like Qatar. 

Broadly speaking, these nations don’t necessarily foment coups, but they do take advantage of instability to support regimes that allow them to exercise influence, legitimize their own antidemocratic systems, and extract resources from nations rich in diamonds, bauxite, and other valuable materials.
“It fits the mold of situations where you have an unelected, unaccountable military leader who doesn’t have a lot of political support, so, make him indebted to the Russians,” Siegle said of the recent coup in Guinea. 

“They’ll get access to their iron ore, and [a military leader will] give them political cover. So I see them as very vulnerable to that kind of influence.”
“If you want to know where Russia will go next, look for instability,” Sany said, pointing to the situations in Mali and Burkina Faso in particular. 

According to Siegle, the junta in Mali, facing a security crisis due to Islamist extremism, is heavily reliant on mercenaries from the Russian Wagner Group — a costly arrangement which could further erode the junta’s ability to provide basic services for people, creating fertile ground for further instability. 

The economic and social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as anti-French, anti-colonial sentiment, Sany said, made for “an explosive cocktail.”
“These military leaders were very savvy to take control,” he said.
That points to another commonality in the recent takeovers, Siegle told Vox. 

“The coup leaders themselves aren’t necessarily saying what they’re going to do differently, and I think that the similarity that we’re seeing across all the coups is these military actors, which all happen to be mid-level, colonel-level military leaders, they all seem more intent on seizing power and holding power for power’s sake,” he said

“They’re not offering some sort of reformist agenda, a security plan, somehow a return to democracy or improving government, or reducing corruption — anything along those lines.”
Despite their initial success, Sany and Siegle both said, many of these coup leaders will fail in the long term because they’re not equipped to govern, and because they’re working in countries that don’t have the institutions to deliver on any promises they might make. Given that possibility, the road ahead for these nations is unclear at best.
In Seizing Power: The Strategic Logic of Military Coups, Naunihal Singh, a professor at the US Naval War College, points out that citizen and civil society groups can rarely influence military coups as they are happening, and the undoing of a government takeover or a transition to democracy depends either upon fractiousness within the military or the intervention of outside forces, and often a combination of the two.
And there’s good reason for the world to take notice: According to Singh, the “frequency and ubiquity” of coups means they pose a real problem for other democracies.
“Indeed,” Singh writes, “coups are responsible for roughly 75% of democratic failures, making them the single largest danger to democracy.”
That presents outside powers with a choice: work with civil society leaders and military governments to help these nations develop and strengthen institutions and a timeline for democratic transition, or exploit the chaos to gain a foothold for resource extraction and further exploitation, as Russia has done in several recent cases.
However, sanctioning these nations and isolating them, as the European Union and the US have done to Malian coup leaders, does nothing but harm the citizens of those countries and only pushes coup leadership away from democratic foundations, Sany said. 

“We are asking these nations to be like Denmark, when they don’t have the resources,” he told Vox.
According to Sany, Western countries and institutions — which have their own vested interests in the region; their own brutal, exploitative, and extractive history of colonialism in Africa; and their own strangleholds on poor nations in the form of debt 

— impress upon unstable nations with undemocratic leadership the importance of the rule of law and punish them when they don’t live up to those ideals, but don’t speak to the actual needs of the people living in those nations.
Nor, he said, do they present particularly viable pathways for a transition to democracy: 

“By putting on blanket sanctions, you alienate and punish citizens” without addressing the root cause of the instability, Sany told Vox, precipitating further instability and potentially even further coups.
Instead, according to Sany, Western powers need to work better with these countries to look honestly at the root causes of conflict, poverty, and instability; help them build up and invest in stronger institutions; and work with civil society and military leaders to lay out a path to democratic transition. 

Working with regional groups like ECOWAS and neighboring African countries to encourage cooperation and reduce isolation can be an effective way to reduce the risk of undemocratic takeovers, since peer nations can be highly influential, he said.
Without support for democratic systems, civil society, and institutions for justice and transparency, Sany warns, history will repeat itself.
“Coup breeds coup,” he said. “There will be protracted instability unless the world community gets involved.”

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Turning To Africa
Africa

Democracy has been shredded.
We are getting closer and closer to the Virilian Tipping Point
“The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street''
Political leadership in most cases completely gerontocratic will use violence to cling onto Power but any Early Warning System would be warning a Tsunami is coming

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20 JAN 20 :: The Intrusion of Middle Powers
Africa


The New York Times has an Article about Mohammed bin Zayed and it reads 

And [how the] U.A.E. approached Sisi and outlined the terms of their financial support before Morsi’s overthrow.
“I think there’s every reason to believe he staged a coup,” I was told by one former diplomat. 

“For a tiny country in the Persian Gulf to overthrow the ruler of Egypt and put their guy in, that’s a big achievement'' 

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28 OCT 19 :: From Russia with Love
Africa


“This is not accidental, as Africa increasingly becomes a continent of opportunities''
‘’These opportunities include natural resources, infrastructure de- velopment and increasing consumer demand from a growing population'' Putin specified.

“Our African agenda is positive and future-oriented. We do not ally with someone against someone else, and we strongly oppose any geopolitical games involving Africa.”

“Russia regards Africa as an important and active participant in the emerging polycentric architecture of the world order and an ally in protecting international law against attempts to undermine it,” said Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov back in November 2018

I would argue Putin’s timing is exquisite and optimal and his Model has an exponential ROI.

Andrew Korybko writes Moscow invaluably fills the much-needed niche of providing its partners there with “Democratic Security”, or in other words, the cost-effective and low-commitment capabilities needed to thwart colour revolutions and resol- ve unconventional Wars (collectively referred to as Hybrid War).
To simplify, Russia’s “political technologists” have reportedly devised bespoke solutions for confronting in- cipient and ongoing color revolutions, just like its private military contractors (PMCs) have supposedly done the same when it comes to ending insurgencies.

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It is strange that the lifting of the state of emergency is considered as important. Purely cosmetic. @rene_renelefort
Africa

As if this legislative decision would change anything in the behaviour of the authorities on the ground, police, various armies, justice etc., state of emergency in place or not.

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JUN-2019 :: Hugh Masakela said I want to be there when the People start to turn it around
Africa

The "zeitgeist" of the Revolution in Khartoum was intoxicating
As I watched events unfold it felt like Sudan was a portal into a whole new normal.
And now we have two visions of the Future. One vision played out on our screens, the protestors could have been our wives, children.
The other vision is that of MBS, MBZ and Al-Sisi and its red in tooth and claw. 

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Flutterwave is interestingly ‘worth’ more than Gtbank & Zenith bank combined together. @Hitee_
Africa

Flutterwave was formed in 2016, the owner, GB, was once an employee with gtbank.
This is stupendous .

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How @instagram ‘Billionaire @gucci Master’ Sank Nigeria’s Super Cop @BW H/T @SeweS_
Africa


Instagram isn’t exactly known for its fidelity to reality. It’s a place people go to curate an image of their best self, or their aspirational one. 

But rarely do those images obscure a darker truth to the extent they did back in 2019, in a pair of posts by two public figures from Nigeria.
On Dec. 8, Ramon Abbas, better known as @hushpuppi, Ray Hushpuppi, or the Billionaire Gucci Master, posted a photo of himself lounging on the hood of his purple Rolls-Royce. 

His outfit, designed by the legendary Virgil Abloh, was a sky blue shirt-and-pants set with a white cloud that appeared to float across his forearms and midriff. 

He’d parked the Rolls in the driveway of the Palazzo Versace Dubai, a resort-style hotel where he lived in a penthouse apartment. 

For Abbas, then a 37-year-old influencer who’d gone from a childhood in a poor part of Lagos to an adulthood full of private jets and celebrity friends, this sort of extremely conspicuous consumption was his brand. 

“I don’t believe in competition,” read the post’s caption. “You’re not me and THATS IT #LouisVuitton #OffWhite #VirgilAbloh #RollsRoyce.”

That same week, 3,000 miles away, Nigeria Police Force Deputy Commissioner Abba Kyari, also known as @abbakyari75, struck a different pose. 

Kyari’s style was all business: seated at a desk stacked with files, wearing a blue dashiki and his ever-present AirPods. 

Flanked by two plainclothes deputies, he looked purposefully into the camera. His caption was equally dry: “With my Senior Colleagues today.” 

Lining the walls behind him were shelves laden with dozens of his awards. In a decade-long string of busts, Kyari, then 44, had captured kidnappers, freed schoolchildren, and hunted assassins. 

“He was the star,” says Rommy Mom, who sits on Nigeria’s Police Service Commission, an independent body responsible for police oversight. 

During a yearslong wave of violent crime and terrorism, the Nigerian press had nicknamed Kyari, the chief of the country’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT), the Super Cop.

Kyari’s glowing press ran counter to law enforcement’s checkered reputation in Nigeria. 

In particular, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or SARS—which Kyari had previously headed for six years in Lagos—was known for a mix of savage brutality and day-to-day corruption. 

A year later, in 2020, SARS’s tactics would be the subject of large street protests that culminated in the government agreeing to disband it. Even then, Kyari somehow seemed to float above it all.

“Here was someone who was viewed as really uncharacteristically competent at their job in an organization not known for competence,” says Matthew Page, who researches Nigerian corruption as an associate fellow at Chatham House, a London think tank. 

“That was the narrative around him—that he was actually getting the job done rather than being abusive or on the take.”
The Billionaire Gucci Master and the Super Cop could hardly have seemed more different. 

Hushpuppi had more than 2 million Instagram followers to Kyari’s 80,000, and he’d have looked about as at home in an office surrounded by paperwork as Super Cop would have on the hood of a purple Rolls. 

Yet behind each man’s carefully sculpted public image, their fates appear to have been deeply intertwined.
Off camera, Abbas fueled his lifestyle with a different kind of hustle, as an online scammer and money launderer. 

He was a partner in what are called business email compromise scams, in which hackers penetrate corporate accounts and collect on phony invoices.

He moved money for scams that targeted a law firm in New York, a bank in Malta, and a Premier League soccer club. 

He teamed up with a loose network of hackers and fraudsters—including, at least once, a state-sponsored group from North Korea—in schemes chasing as much as $100 million. 

Eventually he landed in the crosshairs of the FBI. In June 2020, local police raided his Dubai penthouse and shipped him to the U.S., where last summer he pleaded guilty to money laundering related to scams that brought in close to $24 million. 

This July, he’ll face a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison.
The announcement of Abbas’s plea contained a more explosive revelation, however. The U.S. government alleged that one of the influencer’s fellow conspirators was a man sworn to uphold the law: Abba Kyari.
Kyari was born in Gombe, a town in northeastern Nigeria. His dad, a teacher, raised 30 children in a polygamous family, and Kyari was the eldest. 

“I handled so many cases whenever my siblings had any problems with one another,” he later said in one Instagram post. 

“I started my detective work in my house.” After earning a university degree, he graduated from the police academy in 2002 and in eight years rose from street officer to commander of a SARS unit in Lagos. 

He earned a reputation for risky and aggressive operations against some of the country’s most notorious criminals. 

By 2016 he’d been plucked to head the Intelligence Response Team, an elite unit created to combat a nationwide kidnapping crisis. He was Nigeria’s youngest high-ranking police official.
As a commander, his exploits were legion. He’d arrested the masterminds of the deadliest robbery in Nigeria’s history and captured the country’s deadliest kidnapper, nicknamed the Vampire. 

He’d nabbed bombers and arms dealers and taken on the terrorist organization Boko Haram. 

“It’s very important to send a message to the criminals,” he said in a BBC documentary on his efforts to stem kidnapping. “Kyari and his people will follow you wherever you are, and they will never forget.”
Perhaps most famously, in March 2016, Kyari and his men took over the case of three girls snatched by a gang of kidnappers from a school in Lagos and held for six days. 

His team reportedly used intelligence from the kidnappers’ families to track them down and recover the girls unharmed. The operation earned him a presidential medal of courage. 

“He has become known as the saving grace of the Nigeria Police,” declared the online news outlet the Eagle. By 2019, Kyari was widely rumored to be in line—and angling—for the job of inspector general, the top cop.
Beneath the accolades, however, was a disquieting undercurrent. “We had been concerned about the rogue activities of both SARS and the Intelligence Response Team under him,” says Okechukwu Nwanguma, executive director of the Rule of Law & Accountability Advocacy Centre, a police watchdog group. 

Kyari’s teams, Nwanguma says, “were involved in all manner of criminal activities: obstruction, abduction, intimidation, torture, killings.” 

Another human-rights advocate, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, detailed years of interviews with arrestees who accused Kyari’s officers of abuses.
Under Kyari’s direction, both men allege, his teams routinely targeted businesspeople for arrest, extorted money from suspects and their families, and in some cases committed extrajudicial killings. 

In a decade of tracking Kyari, Nwanguma says, he was rarely able to collect enough evidence from intimidated victims to challenge the police. 

But he estimates that there were hundreds of other cases of abuse: “They would just abduct somebody and say, ‘We are investigating somebody—we saw your name in his phone.’ And they take the person.”
The scam had already succeeded at this point, but why not try for more?
In one incident in 2015, SARS officers under Kyari were accused of torturing and killing an innocent car dealer in Edo State, in Southern Nigeria, and using the dead man’s ATM card to clean out his bank accounts. 

Five officers were later convicted for the murder. In 2017 a lawyer for a kidnapper whom Kyari had arrested publicly suggested the officers had extorted money and jewelry from the defendant. 

A year later the widow of a kidnapper who’d been killed in a gun battle with police accused Kyari’s crew of appropriating her late husband’s assets. 

In mid-2019 a judge ordered Kyari and his team to produce a suspect whose lawyer couldn’t find him and believed he’d died in custody.
All these accusations rolled off Kyari, who didn’t respond to calls and messages seeking comment for this story. He continued to rack up arrests. 

His Instagram post on Dec. 14, 2019, showed him accepting an award from a Nigerian bank security group in Lagos. 

In a post from Dec. 17, he stood in front of a group of prisoners seated on the ground, identified in the caption as “72 Notorious Kidnappers/Armed Robbers/Car Snatchers.”
It was around this time, in mid-December, according to the U.S., that Hushpuppi joined a scam already in progress. 

This con was more old-school than the business email compromise schemes he was a part of. It was a high-level version of a basic advance fee scam: 

Pay us a little up front, the scammer says, and we’ll guarantee you a huge windfall later. The upfront asks keep coming, and the windfall never arrives.

In this case, the day before his purple Rolls post, Abbas received a message from a Kenyan entrepreneur named Abdulrahman Juma. 

According to prosecutors, Juma offered to include Abbas in an advance fee scam with an eager mark: a businessperson hoping to build an international school in Qatar. 

The businessperson, whose name and nationality remain sealed in federal court, needed a $15 million loan for the project and hired a financial adviser to help secure it. 

Unfortunately, the adviser’s assistance amounted to Googling sources of multimillion-dollar loans. That search led to Juma and his Nairobi company, Westload Financial Solutions Ltd.
Westload’s website promised “financial solutions specialize in financing projects from inception right through operations.” 

That the site was riddled with errors, including occasionally referring to the company as “West Financial,” failed to raise any red flags. 

In November 2019 the businessperson traveled to meet Juma and a colleague at Westload’s offices, on the sixth floor of a modern glass office tower in Nairobi’s business district. 

There, according to the U.S. government’s allegations, Juma signed a contract to arrange the $15 million loan in exchange for a $164,000 upfront “consultancy” payment (the advance fee). 

The next day the businessperson sent the upfront fee to a law firm of Juma’s choice. Neither Juma, Westload, nor the law firm responded to emails and calls seeking comment.
The scam had already succeeded at this point, but why not try for more? When the businessperson complained that the money hadn’t arrived in his account in Qatar, Juma said it was stuck and it would take an additional $150,000 to release—essentially, a second advance fee. 

Once again, the businessperson paid up, no doubt hoping it was the final key to the supposed loan.
At this point, according to the court documents, Juma engaged Abbas to help with yet another round of the con. 

Abbas would pose as a bank manager in the U.S. who could unstick the loan. Via WhatsApp, Abbas messaged the businessperson from a New York City phone number, introducing himself as “Malik,” the “director of the bank responsible for crediting you the funds.” 

He said that because the Qatari government was under U.S. sanctions, the money would have to go through an American account (which was true enough), and he’d be happy to create one.
And so he did. First, Abbas arranged for a contact in Los Angeles to register a company with the same name as the businessperson’s Qatari company. 

Then he had a Wells Fargo account opened for the business. There was just one last obstacle, “Malik” now told the businessperson: 

They’d also need an account in the U.K. to receive the money. He said he’d open an “investor’s account with our private banking service over there” for an advance fee of $330,000.
After a week of hesitation, the businessperson wired $230,000 of the total to a bank “Malik” provided. 

As it happened, the account belonged to a watch dealer in Florida, and the amount exactly covered a rose-gold and titanium Richard Mille RM 11-03 that Abbas had coveted

“Malik” had the businessperson send the other $100,000 to a Capital One account held by another Abbas associate. 

Abbas used half of it to purchase bogus citizenship from St. Kitts and Nevis—a transaction that involved bribing a government official and faking a marriage certificate.
A week later the watch made its first appearance on Hushpuppi’s Instagram feed. 

In the image he was standing on the royal purple carpet of the Palazzo Versace Dubai, sporting a Gucci Mickey Mouse T-shirt, his Richard-Mille-clad arm held lightly across it. 

“One of the best things I learnt that keeps me going,” he wrote, “is to ‘Never take criticism from people I’d never go to for an advice’ ” #Gucci #RichardMille #Versace #Rm1103.”

By January 2020, according to prosecutors, Abbas and Juma were ready for another go. 

Abbas called on a compatriot in Nigeria, Vincent Kelly Chibuzo, to create a bogus Wells Fargo website and automated support line, which “Malik” passed on to the businessperson. 

When he called the phone number, the system said the $15 million had come through. “OMG, I can’t believe it, its true,” the businessperson wrote to “Malik.”

The group’s next story was that the businessperson owed a “withholding tax” of $575,000 to get the money from the U.S.

“Are u proud of me or no?” Abbas asked Juma, by text, when they’d enacted the next phase.

“It’s a perfect job bro,” Juma replied.
Perfect, but for one flaw: Chibuzo, according to the allegations, began complaining that he deserved a bigger share of the spoils. 

When Abbas ignored him, Chibuzo decided to strike out on his own. 

On Jan. 13 he called the businessperson directly and told him both Juma and “Malik” were “fake.” 

The businessperson should stop paying them, he said. They should pay Chibuzo, instead: It was he who could actually free up the loan.
The now-baffled businessperson relayed all this to Juma, who forwarded it to Abbas.
Abbas replied that he would “deal with” Chibuzo. A few minutes later, according to the complaint, he called Kyari.

“I want him to go through serious beating of his life”
The connection between the influencer and the Super Cop went back to at least the previous September, when Kyari paid a visit to Dubai for unknown reasons. 

The origins of their relationship are murky, but according to court documents, Abbas loaned Kyari a car and driver for his stay. 

A few weeks later, Kyari sent Abbas a slideshow of photos from the trip and an article about his recent arrest of a kidnapper. 

“Am really happy to be ur boy,” Abbas responded. “I promise to be a good boy to u sir.” 

Unusually for the two prolific Instagram users, both fond of being seen with other famous people, neither ever posted about the other. 

Whatever the nature of their connection, it wasn’t something they wanted to publicize.
Now, in January 2020, it seemed Abbas was looking for help in neutralizing his scam partner gone rogue. 

Moments after reaching out to Kyari about Chibuzo, Abbas updated Juma. “Setting him up already,” he messaged. 



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How @instagram ‘Billionaire @gucci Master’ Sank Nigeria’s Super Cop @BW H/T @SeweS_ [continued]
Africa


In a message to Chibuzo, he was more explicit. “U have committed a crime that won’t be forgiven,” he said. 

“In due time I swear with my life you will regret messing with me, you will even wish you died before my hands will touch you.”
By Jan. 20 it appeared his threat had been fulfilled. Kyari sent Abbas a headshot of Chibuzo looking despondent. “We have arrested the guy,” he wrote. “He is in my Cell now. This is his picture after we arrested him today.”
“I want him to go through serious beating of his life,” Abbas responded. He explained how Chibuzo had double-crossed him in the scam, attempting to “divert the money” to himself.
“Ok I understand,” Kyari replied.
“Please sir I want to spend money to send this boy to jail, let him go for a very long time,” Abbas continued.

 “Let me know how I can send money to the team sir, let them deal with him like armed robber. … I want him to suffer for many years.”
Kyari texted a Nigerian bank account number to Abbas. According to prosecutors, this step completed the crime, making Kyari and his team cops for hire, paid to commit a false arrest.
The same day, a photo on Kyari’s Instagram showed him at a press conference, standing by the podium for the announcement of the arrest of 60 kidnappers. 

“Nigeria Police will Never relent,” the caption read, “in the fight against these deadly Criminals.”

Incredibly, even after Chibuzo’s attempt at sabotage, the advance fee scam continued. 

The businessperson, perhaps so confounded by the dizzying back-and-forth that he was able to internalize only half of what Chibuzo had said, confessed to “Malik” that Juma had taken him for more than a million dollars. 

“I know that you think I am stupid, but I trusted him and now I’m going bankrupt,” he said.

“Wow,” came the reply. “Over one million?”
“Malik,” naturally, offered to help, telling the businessperson he could get him out of the mess for a fee of $180,000. He would also report Juma to the FBI, he said. 

He didn’t, naturally, but now the partnership was falling apart. It was every man for himself. 

Juma complained to Abbas that the businessperson was calling his office and accusing him of being a scammer. 

Abbas replied that Juma had only himself to blame. Juma hadn’t found a way to keep the story going, but Abbas had. 

“That’s what happens when u leave a client hanging, u take the money and no follow up,” Abbas said. “Gives the client time to think and involve people.”
After Chibuzo had been in custody a month—including time in the hospital for a painful rash he’d acquired in jail—Kyari allegedly messaged Abbas to say that Chibuzo’s girlfriend had offered a bribe for his release. 

“They were thinking it’s normal arrest that is why they think money can remove him,” Kyari wrote. “No money can remove him here. Hahahaha.” 

Nonetheless, a few days later, Abbas messaged Kyari that he was free to let him go. Chibuzo was finally freed, presumably frightened into silence. 

Neither he nor his girlfriend, whose name wasn’t disclosed in the court documents, could be reached for comment.
The scam reached its final turn in March 2020, after Abbas had extracted an additional $180,000 in transfers, for a grand total of $1.1 million in advance fees.

 “Sorry Mr Malik,” the businessperson wrote in a final message, “but I’m not gonna pay more and I’m out of this game.” He had finally put it together that “Malik” and Juma were “all one team.”
Abbas’s time in the game, too, was coming to an end. Three months later, after midnight on June 8, armed officers from a Dubai SWAT team stormed his penthouse and arrested everyone inside. 

Within a few days, Abbas was on a plane to the U.S., in FBI custody for his role in other, more complex email scams.
If Kyari was concerned, he didn’t note it publicly. His own rise appeared to continue unabated. 

Three days after Abbas’s arrest, the National Assembly presented Kyari with a special commendation for outstanding service. 

“In spite of the image of the police in Nigeria,” the speaker of the House of Representatives noted, “the House recognizes that some police officers are exceptional.”
In his own personal image-making, Kyari’s Instagram showed him drifting a bit further toward Hushpuppi’s scene. 

In October 2020 he was pictured in his office with the Nigerian pop star Davido, once a friend of Hushpuppi. 

The following July, Kyari was spotted at the funeral of the mother of Obinna Iyiegbu, a nightclub owner popularly known as Obi Cubana, who’d been questioned as part of both drug and fraud investigations. 

(Cubana has not been charged in those investigations.) Cubana, Kyari noted on Facebook, was “a brother and a good friend.”

Then, on July 28, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Abbas had pleaded guilty to money laundering. The same day, the Justice Department revealed that it had indicted Juma, Chibuzo, Kyari, and three U.S.-based defendants on charges of conspiring to commit fraud and money laundering. 

Juma, Abbas, and Chibuzo were accused of directly fleecing the businessperson, while Nigeria’s Super Cop was alleged to have aided the conspiracy by jailing Chibuzo in exchange for a bribe.
Nigeria’s largest news outlets splashed the Kyari allegations across their front pages and broke down Abbas’s scam in minute detail.

 “How Hushpuppi bought Richard Mille wristwatch worn on Instagram,” read the headline in the newspaper The Punch. 

“The indictment from the U.S. court came as a shock to everyone,” says Rommy Mom, the member of the Police Service Commission. “This is someone who had been decorated from the top.”
Not everyone was shocked, of course. Nwanguma, of the Rule of Law & Accountability Advocacy Centre, says he and his peers felt vindicated. 

In the police force, he says, “there are quite a number of good people, but the system is so corrupt that it breeds and encourages people. It provides them the environment to commit crime and get away with it.”
As befits a celebrity cop, Kyari turned first to social media to defend himself. He posted a long Facebook message, since deleted, claiming that he’d only assisted Abbas in investigating threats against his life. 

The bank account numbers he’d supplied Abbas, he explained, were for payments to a seller of “native clothes and caps.” Kyari had facilitated the transaction, he claimed, after Abbas had admired them on his Instagram page.
The Police Service Commission suspended Kyari from the force, pending an investigation by the inspector general of police. 

After the commission received an initial investigative report in December, it determined the report had “gaps” and demanded further digging. 

“We should wrap this up before April,” Mom, the commission member, said in an interview in early February. 

He said the commission has faced no pressure from police higher-ups and that its decision will be made independently.
Juma is currently in custody in Kenya, awaiting a judge’s decision on extradition, and Chibuzo’s whereabouts are unknown. 

For months, whether Kyari will be extradited to the U.S. has remained an open question. “To the best of my knowledge,” Mom says, “I don’t think there has been any extradition request filed.” 

The U.S. Department of Justice Office of International Affairs, which handles extraditions, declined to comment on the state of Kyari’s case. 

But one Justice Department official insisted that Kyari’s was more than simply a “name and shame” indictment. 

In a TV interview in early February, the Nigerian attorney general allowed that there was “prima facie reasonable grounds of suspicion” for prosecution, and that Nigeria was in contact with the U.S.
Even facing potential disgrace and extradition, Kyari seemed unable to avoid the spotlight. 

At the end of January he posted photos to Instagram and Facebook from the wedding of the son of the inspector general of police—the person in charge of investigating him. Obi Cubana, the nightclub owner, was there, too. After a media uproar, Kyari deleted the posts.
Then, on Feb. 14, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in Nigeria announced that Kyari was suspected in another major crime. 

The agency alleged that in late January, while supposedly suspended, Kyari had contacted an NDLEA officer saying he and his IRT team had confiscated a 25-kilogram shipment of cocaine. 

Over several conversations, Kyari allegedly suggested that they join forces to keep and sell most of the seizure, leave some for the prosecution, and split the proceeds. 

“The boys are very, very sharp, they are very loyal,” he allegedly said of his team. “I do take good care of them.”
The NDLEA officer reported the approach and, outfitted with a wire, collected the money from Kyari. When Kyari then failed to show up for questioning, he was declared a wanted man. 

“With the intelligence at our disposal,” the NDLEA said in its statement, “the Agency believes strongly that DCP Kyari is a member of a drug cartel that operates the Brazil-Ethiopia-Nigeria illicit drug pipeline.”
Late on Valentine’s Day, the Super Cop was taken into custody.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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February 2022
 
 
 
 
 
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