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Top Three Videos – August 4, 2023

The biggest bank heist in history (and why you've never heard of it)
The Economist

Quick Summary Bullets:

  • High level financial corruption played a significant role in this heist, making it the biggest bank heist in history.
  • The perpetrators of the heist wrote 247 cheques to just five companies, three of which were registered right before the transfers began, raising suspicions of fraudulent activity.
  • The heist involved stealing $2.5 billion in cash, making it one of the biggest bank heists in history.
  • The stolen money was not only transferred out of Iraq but also potentially reached other regional capitals and even farther, indicating the extensive reach of the heist.
  • Corruption in Iraq extends beyond petty bribery and is deeply rooted in the political system, with decisions made in 2003 playing a significant role.
  • Despite the arrest of Nur Zuheir and the efforts to undermine the pro-Iranian faction, the Prime Minister Kadhimi was toppled, suggesting the heist had significant political implications.
  • The widespread allegations and difficulty in determining who is clean and who is complicit highlight the deep-rooted corruption in Iraq’s political landscape.
  • The heist in Iraq has resulted in a significant amount of money staying within the country, raising questions about its redistribution and potential involvement in money-laundering schemes.

Transcript Summary:

  • 00:00 Billions of dollars were stolen in the biggest bank heist in history in Iraq, leading to an investigation by a team of accountants and lawyers.
    • The biggest bank heist in history occurred in a dysfunctional country where billions of dollars were stolen due to high level financial corruption.
    • 800bn Iraqi dinars were stolen from the tax authority in Iraq, and a team of accountants and lawyers, led by Hussein Kanber agha, was formed to investigate the crime.
  • 02:11 Billions of Iraqi dinars went missing from an account containing unclaimed rebates, with 247 cheques written to five unknown companies, revealing a massive bank heist.
  • 03:46 Nur Zuheir Nur Zuheir orchestrated a complex bank heist of $2.5bn by obtaining large cheques from the tax authority through his connections and transforming the cash-based economy in Iraq.
    • Three businessmen, including Nur Zuheir Nur Zuheir, were involved in a complex bank heist of $2.5bn authorized by the tax authority, and the speaker investigates how it happened.
    • Nur Zuheir was able to quickly obtain large cheques from the tax authority by bypassing the usual lengthy process through his connections and fictitious requests.
    • The Rafidain Bank in Iraq was the center of a massive heist orchestrated by Nur Zuheir, who transformed the cash-based economy into an efficient system, allowing him to steal $2.5bn.
  • 06:32 $2.5 billion cash stolen from banks in Iraq, transported to safe houses, raising questions about bank staff and security, with no one reporting or questioning the presence of checkpoints on every street.
    • $2.5 billion in cash was stolen from banks in Iraq and transported to different safe houses and regional capitals, raising questions about the involvement of bank staff and security.
    • No one reported or questioned the presence of a checkpoint on every street, and the speaker suggests subscribing to The Economist for more articles.
  • 08:06 Iraq’s political corruption and grand corruption allowed leaders to gain power and control the state’s wealth, leading to the heist of the century as a political power play between rival groups.
    • Iraq’s political corruption and grand corruption, stemming from decisions made in 2003, allowed leaders to gain power and control the state’s wealth through bribery and manipulation of contracts and procurement.
    • The heist of the century in Iraq was a political power play between rival groups, with the government rushing the investigation report to discredit their opponents.
  • 10:31 The biggest bank heist in history involved Nur Zuheir, who was released on bail and suspected of having protection from high-level officials, leading to a shift in the investigation towards those who uncovered the heist.
    • Nur Zuheir’s arrest and the efforts to undermine the pro-Iranian faction were unsuccessful, leading to the toppling of Prime Minister Kadhimi and the new prime minister’s vow to recover the missing billions, although the stacks of cash displayed were only a small fraction of the stolen money.
    • Nur Zuheir, a man involved in a major bank heist, was released on bail and it was suspected that he had protection from high-level officials, leading to a shift in the investigation towards those who uncovered the heist.
  • 14:02 Former Iraqi prime minister and his allies are implicated in a massive bank heist, involving the collusion and disappearance of money, while it remains uncertain how much of the stolen cash has been recovered.
    • The collusion and disappearance of money in Iraq’s political regime implicates former prime minister Mustafa Kadhimi and his allies, who fled to London, as they try to defend themselves and shift blame onto others.
    • Iraqi politicians and officials, despite their opposition, were all part of a corrupt system that was involved in stealing money from the country, similar to the plot of “The Murder on the Orient Express,” and it remains unclear how much of the stolen cash has been recovered.
  • 16:59 Billions of dollars were stolen from Iraq’s government, with some of the money remaining in the country and being used for infrastructure projects, while the fate of the rest of the stolen money and the consequences for those involved in the heist remain uncertain.

Neil Howe: Crisis Looms Now That The Fourth Turning Is Here
Wealthion

Quick Summary Bullets:

Generational Archetypes and Historical Patterns

  • History unfolds in cycles, with civilizations and societies going through predictable patterns of boom, bust, and renewal, as outlined in the book “The Fourth Turning.”
  • The naming of the Millennial generation in the late 1980s by Neil Howe and Bill Strauss showcases their foresight in predicting the impact and significance of this generation in shaping the future.
  • The alternation between inner world (values, religion, art) and outer world (politics, economics, infrastructure) reconstruction leads to different generational archetypes and their unique experiences in history.
  • Neil Howe’s book, written in 1997, has largely played out as predicted, validating his insights on the unfolding of the fourth turning.
  • Neil Howe believes that each generation has turned out very close to what was originally foreseen, with the boomer generation being principled and uncompromising.
  • Millennials are a generation that values community and doing things together, as they are obsessed with group activities and fear missing out.
  • “It’s like musical chairs. Right. I mean people have to leave so other people can move up and be decision makers and of course that speeds up the pace of history.”

The Impact and Significance of the Fourth Turning

  • The Fourth Turning is a significant and imminent crisis that we are currently experiencing, and there is much more to explore and understand about its stages and impact.
  • The speaker highlights the contrast between the “stupid era” of buying houses and the potential changes that may occur in the mid to late 2030s, implying a looming crisis or transformation.
  • “Fourth turnings is really where the status quo falls apart and is then replaced by the new seculum.”
  • All of our fourth turnings in history have been marked by total wars, both internal and external conflicts.
  • History shows that major decisions, such as framing new constitutions, are often made during dark and challenging times, when the future is uncertain and the stakes are high.
  • Historical processes, including generational rhythms, only move forward and cannot be reversed, requiring a crisis to transition from one turning to another.

Economic and Societal Transformations

  • The current economy for young adults has more similarities to the economy of the 1700s than the economy of the 1900s or 1950s.
  • The transformation in technology and lifestyle from the late 1880s to the time of Eisenhower’s presidency, including the advent of telephones and airplanes, showcases the rapid pace of change and progress in society.
  • “It’s very important how we navigate through this dangerous time, but coming out of crises like this is when we undertake our largest infrastructure growth, as we did after World War II.”
  • “Inflation is a means by which governments recapture the real value of their debt, and combined with financial repression, it forces individuals to accept a rate of return far beneath the rate of inflation, making investing in real assets crucial.”

Col. Douglas Macgregor: Is the Ukraine War Lost?
Jeremy Ryan Slate

Colonel Douglas McGregor gives one of the very best explanations of the history of the Ukraine war and his assessment of the current situation.

Quick Summary Bullets:

International implications and consequences of the conflict

  • The delusions and bubble in Washington could potentially lead to the commitment of U.S and NATO forces in the conflict, risking a direct confrontation with Russia.
  • The mainstream media deliberately lies and there is now no truth, only a narrative that must be followed, otherwise you’re labeled as an enemy or a Putin agent.
  • “If you don’t have the military power on the ground…you risk an escalation to the nuclear level particularly if you lose which we would if we went toe-to-toe with the Russians on a conventional level.”
  • “There are some sober-minded individuals who are saying look. You know this could in fact get out of control. We may not be able to manage this. We need to bring it to an end.”
  • “I think people will party and party and party and drink their champagne and spend their money and buy their yachts and their big cars and live in the houses they do in Washington until it all falls apart.” – Col. Douglas Macgregor
  • “The United States has no vital strategic interests in eastern Ukraine. We should not be involved in this war.”

Causes and motivations behind the conflict

  • President Putin’s initial intention was to prevent NATO from advancing closer to Russia’s borders, which he saw as a threat to his country’s security.
  • Putin’s annexation of Crimea was driven by his concern that it would become a NATO Naval Base, rather than a desire to expand westward.
  • The hostilities between Ukraine and Russia broke out almost immediately after the decision to “punish” Russia, resulting in the deaths of 14,000 people.
  • NATO’s posturing and increasing proximity to Russia has led to tensions and anger from Putin.

Military capabilities and impact of the conflict

  • The Ukrainian forces have suffered significant casualties, with estimates of 300,000 to 350,000 dead, highlighting the devastating impact of the conflict.
  • “The Russians never ran out of anything, but the Ukrainians have now run out of everything – they’ve run out of most of their artillery ammunition, tank ammunition, even Small Arms, and they’re running out of human beings.”
  • “Russia is better armed, better equipped, better trained, better commanded, and more modern than it has been certainly since the 1980s.”
  • “Russia is stronger than ever, we are not.”

Transcript Summary:

  • 00:00 Colonel Douglas McGregor discusses the ongoing war in Ukraine, highlighting Russia’s motives, the role of Ukrainian nationalists, and Putin’s desire to protect Russians in eastern Ukraine.
    • The speaker discusses the importance of being free thinkers and unapologetically ourselves in order to create our own lives.
    • Colonel Douglas McGregor expected the war in Ukraine to be a quick conflict, but it has dragged on because the Russians are trying to end it as quickly as possible.
    • President Putin’s initial intention was to prevent NATO from advancing closer to Russia’s borders, and he interpreted the placement of missile sites in Eastern Europe as evidence of this, while also mentioning the government turnover in Ukraine.
    • Russia took control of Crimea because they saw the revolution in Ukraine as a threat and wanted to prevent it from becoming a NATO Naval Base.
    • Russia was not solely responsible for the hostilities in Ukraine, as the Ukrainian nationalists initiated the fighting and wanted Russia’s intervention, while Putin saw the Ukrainian Army’s buildup as a threat.
    • The war in Ukraine has lasted as long as it has because Putin wanted to protect the Russians in eastern Ukraine and the Minsk Accords were a delay tactic to give the Ukrainians more time to build up their forces.
  • 06:37 Ukraine underestimated Russia’s power and resources, leading to their current state of collapse and vulnerability, while Russia is rapidly expanding its armed forces and poses a risk for countries like Ukraine.
    • In April, Boris Johnson informed Zelenski that Washington wanted the war to continue and promised full support from the US and NATO, leading Zelenski to believe they would win; meanwhile, the Russian army, lacking sufficient forces, decided to shift to a defensive strategy, mobilizing reservists and volunteers to prepare for the war.
    • The lack of freezing in the ground during winter prevented an offensive operation in Russia and Ukraine due to the deep, fertile soil turning into impassable mud.
    • Ukraine’s off-road movement was hindered, leading to them being attacked by foreign fighters and suffering heavy casualties, resulting in their current state of collapse and vulnerability to Russia.
    • Ukraine underestimated Russia’s economic power, resources, and ability to rapidly provide their forces with modern equipment, while Ukraine has run out of ammunition and is facing a shortage of personnel, leading to the realization that the bet on Ukraine as a proxy has failed.
    • The Russian armed forces are rapidly expanding and are expected to have at least 1.2 million troops under arms in the near future, making them better armed, equipped, trained, and commanded than they have been since the 1980s, which poses a risk for countries like Ukraine and may lead to potential intervention.
    • Russia is currently stronger than ever, while the United States is not, which poses a dangerous situation.
  • 12:25 Washington and Western powers are deluding themselves into thinking Ukraine is winning the war, while the poor condition of our armed forces and lack of information from mainstream media could lead to a disastrous conflict with Russia.
    • Our armed forces, ships, and aircraft are in poor condition, the Army is in terrible condition, lacking in size and ammunition, and there is a significant fuel and logistical infrastructure problem in the European theater.
    • Washington and other Western powers are deluding themselves into thinking that Ukraine is winning the war, but in reality, they are in danger of being drawn into a conflict with Russia, which would be disastrous for Europe.
    • The mainstream media deliberately spreads lies and propaganda, leaving the American population uninformed about the situation in Ukraine, which could have serious consequences if NATO were to engage in a conflict with Russia.
  • 15:34 Russia is hesitant to escalate the Ukraine war due to fear of US/NATO involvement, but if the US lacks military power, there is a risk of nuclear escalation, so Russia wants to negotiate; understanding the people involved in a war is crucial, as attempting to win from a distance with limited resources is unlikely to succeed and could lead to trouble; NATO’s expansion towards Russia angers Putin, and the speaker is concerned about Polish influence overshadowing American interests; Europe lacks unified hostility towards Russia, with little support for war among European electorates, and top-down leadership influences decisions rather than the will of the people, who are influenced by globalist elites; globalists aim to destroy Russia and replace Putin due to their threat to interests, and the US dollar’s dominance is being affected as countries grow tired of US financial bullying for American hegemony.
    • Russia has been holding back in the Ukraine war because they don’t want a war with the US or NATO, but if the US doesn’t have the military power to take on Russia, there is a risk of escalation to the nuclear level, so Russia just wants to negotiate an end to the conflict.
    • Talking to and understanding the people involved in a war is crucial, as believing in superiority and attempting to win a war from a distance with limited resources is unlikely to be successful and could lead to trouble.
    • NATO’s continuous expansion towards Russia has angered Putin, and the speaker is concerned that the Polish influence may overshadow American interests.
    • Europe is not unified in its hostility towards Russia, as there is little support among the European electorates for a war with Russia, and the decision to engage in war seems to be driven by top-down leadership rather than the will of the people, who are influenced by globalist elites.
    • The globalists, who control financial markets, media, and governments, aim to destroy Russia and replace Putin because Russia’s national identity and resources pose a threat to their interests.
    • Russia is holding out in the Ukraine war, but the US dollar’s dominance is being affected as many countries are becoming tired of the United States using the financial system to bully and enforce its notion of American hegemony.
  • 22:40 The war in Ukraine may escalate into a larger regional conflict, with the outcome depending on the internal power struggle within the US administration and the ideological divide between globalists and nationalists.
    • Madeleine Albright and her successors have repeatedly used the military to advance US interests, creating a receptive audience for Putin who is seen as someone who has stood up to the US.
    • Many nations, including China and India, are accumulating large amounts of gold in order to move away from the valueless fiat currency and peg their currencies to gold, which will make it easier for them to do business and avoid dealing with the US.
    • The speaker discusses the devaluation of the dollar over time, inflation, and the disparity between the financial situation of the elites in Washington and the average person.
    • The speaker discusses the disconnect between the ruling government and the population, using the example of Dr Zhivago, and highlights the de-industrialization and falling standard of living in Germany due to bad policies and the unnecessary war on Russia.
    • The war in Ukraine may lead to a larger regional conflict that could potentially drag the US in, and the outcome will depend on who emerges triumphant within the administration, with the ideologically committed globalists wanting open borders and favoring criminals over citizens.
  • 28:17 Some individuals want to continue the war with Russia, while others are concerned about potential consequences; there are concerns about the government’s actions domestically and internationally, and if a crisis occurs, it could worsen the economy and weaken the credibility of the dollar system.
    • Some individuals want to continue the war with Russia, while others are concerned about the potential consequences and believe it should be ended.
    • The speaker suggests that there may be a conversation among those in power in Washington about potentially postponing or distorting future elections in order to maintain their rule, especially if the American people become outraged and they are unable to cheat their way through the next election.
    • Americans no longer trust the electoral process due to past instances of election theft, but unlike in 1960, Richard Nixon chose not to contest the stolen election because he believed President Kennedy would keep the country safe.
    • There are concerns about the government’s actions both domestically and internationally, and if a crisis occurs, it could worsen the economy and weaken the credibility of the dollar system.
  • 32:11 Colonel Douglas McGregor discusses corruption in the American political system, argues against US involvement in the Ukraine war, and calls for a third party in American politics.
    • The world is a scary place and people will continue to party and live extravagantly until it all falls apart.
    • Effective organization is needed on the right to combat corruption, demand proper action, and have legal protection and offense against the Democrats.
    • McGregor discusses the corruption and compromise within the American political system, where politicians are influenced by donors and are forced to join the corrupt system in order to survive and stay in office.
    • He argues that the United States should not be involved in the war in eastern Ukraine, but later changed his stance due to pressure from donors who support the war.
    • The political spectrum has completely realigned and both the Democratic and Republican parties no longer represent the people.
    • McGregor  argues for the need of a third party in American politics and emphasizes the importance of the American people demonstrating their disinterest in the two existing parties.

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