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BLACKWATER USA | DAILY BRIEF


China

  • The deadline for China to close its consulate in Houston passed, and U.S. agents entered the property. There had been fires spotted on the grounds recently: it’s suspected that Chinese consulate personnel were burning documents ahead of the deadline.

  • The U.S. also detained the last of four Chinese nationals charged this week with lying about their connection to the PLA, and a Singaporean national pleaded guilty to serving as an illegal agent of the Chinese government from 2015 to 2019, when he was working as a political consultant in the U.S.

  • Australia echoed the U.S. in saying that it rejects China’s claims in the South China Sea as unlawful.

Russia

  • The U.S. again accused Russia of sending mercenaries and weapons—including anti-aircraft missiles—to Libya, in contravention of the UN arms embargo. Russia is unlikely to face any serious consequences this time, either.

North Korea

  • NBC says North Korea has resumed its illegal oil imports and exports of coal and sand after a brief lull due to the pandemic, with China turning a blind eye to renewed large-scale smuggling operations off its coast.

Venezuela

  • According to Venezuela’s opposition, Norwegian government representatives plan to arrive in Venezuela imminently for another go at mediating between Pres. Maduro’s government and the opposition. The first round ended last September with little progress.

  • A colectivo (street gang) linked to Pres. Maduro filmed itself beating two men in Caracas for failing to wear coronavirus face masks, and posted the video to social media. Seems like an excessively brutal way to enforce anti-COVID precautions.

Mexico

  • Former PEMEX head Emilio Lozoya testified about extensive corruption within Pres. Pena Nieto’s government that preceded AMLO’s, and admitted to taking bribes worth $10 million from Brazil’s Odebrecht. Lozoya was extradited from Spain last week to face these charges…unless you believe Spanish tabloid reports that an imposter stood in for him.

Azerbaijan

  • A top Azeri opposition leader, Fuad Qahramanli, was arrested and charged with trying to overthrow the government because of his links to an incident that happened during the pro-government (or rather, pro-war with Armenia) rally on July 14th in Baku…apparently a group of people briefly stormed into the parliament building during the rally. That said, it’s not clear that Qahramanli was even at the rally, much less among the intruders, and opposition figures say he’s being scapegoated as an excuse to silence him.

Other News

  • The Economist called bullshit on Tanzania’s official GDP growth figures, saying all evidence besides the government’s rosy forecasts show the economy is actually in decline. That matters because Pres. Magufuli is up for reelection in October, and appears poised to win based on the false narrative he’s spun about growth.

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