Oakland Holds Community Forum on Public Banking (publicbankinginstitute.org)

The idea of creating a public bank in Oakland is under serious consideration, a move that could help the city’s cannabis industry access financial services and free up more funds for lending and infrastructure development.

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Oakland Holds Community Forum on Public Banking

By Richard Knee, Hoodline.com

A February 9 forum on the topic organized by the City Council’s Finance Committee and advocacy group Friends of the Public Bank of Oakland (FPBO) drew a standing-room-only crowd to a City Hall meeting room. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin and representatives from Richmond also attended, as those cities may wish to participate.

Public banking is a venerable concept, though not widespread; North Dakota has a 98-year-old public bank, Philadelphia’s City Council voted last February to begin the process of forming one, and activists are pushing for one in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

On February 28, Finance Committee members Annie Campbell Washington, Dan Kalb, Noel Gallo and Abel Guillén are set to receive a staff report on the cost of a feasibility study. At that point, Kaplan said she’ll bring a resolution to authorize the study, which was backed last November by FPBO.

While the chief motivation is to keep local money in Oakland, a public bank could also give the city’s cannabis industry expanded access to banking services. Additionally, the proposed institution could provide low-interest loans to students and home buyers, support small businesses and invest in local infrastructure.

Public Banking Institute (PBI) board member and leader in the Santa Fe effort, Nichoe Lichen, offered some feedback.

“Who pays for the [feasibility) study matters,” she said. “For a feasibility study, you need expertise, you need someone who is open-minded, who knows resources. You need all kinds of people — legislators and banking experts.”

Kalb scoffed at the notion of private-sector banks being “too big to fail,” saying that in reality they had become “too big to help the people who need help most.” Bank operators would need to raise significant lending capital, as cash represents just three percent of domestic transactions, said Mark Armstrong, president of Sonoma-based Commonomics.

“Instead of trying to regulate the institutions we have, why not just create a better one?” asked economics and public finance consultant Tom Sguros. “All it takes is one city to organize wealth in a way that benefits the people of the city rather than Bank of America,” he said.

The cannabis industry is largely cash-only; because most banks are federally-insured, depositing funds from a technically illegal business could create challenges for growers and dispensaries.

Cannabis industry lawyer Henry Wykowski said Harborside Health Center, for which he is lead attorney, does $10 – $20 million in cash transactions each year, making customers “unnecessary targets for crime” and complicating tax payments.

Arreguin said 8,000 of his city’s nearly 113,000 residents “do not have a bank account or are under-banked,” so “we look forward to participating with you in this effort.”

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BELATED VALENTINE TO WELLS FARGO: HOW TO BREAK UP WITH YOUR BANK

2/20/2017 – BY LAINEY HASHORVA (Occupy.com)

Dear John, we need to see other banks. It’s not me, it’s you.

In the wake of CEO John Stumpf’s departure from Wells Fargo due to the exposure of rampant ongoing criminal activity, falsifying over 2 million customer accounts, firing 5,300 low-ranking employees, creating unauthorized credit cards and forging signatures, this was not a good Valentine’s Day for the world’s biggest bank.

Several cities have already broken up with Wells Fargo for its dirty business practices, which also include falsifying foreclosure documents, repossession and sale of veterans’ homes and vehicles, damaging people’s credit, displacing seniors and other unethical and unlawful behavior. Recently, the City of Santa Monica, Calif., pledged to divest its interest and investments from Wells Fargo. Other cities have followed suit, including Davis, Seattle, Portland and Philadelphia to name a few.

Did I mention the Dakota Access Pipeline? Wells Fargo is one of the largest investors in the DAPL; the bank even manages the accounting books on that project. It seems Wells has its dirty little octopus hands involved in all sorts of crimes against the people, the land, the native Americans and the water that brings life to so many communities and ecosystems.

The levels of corruption run deep, like toxic oil through untouched sacred lands. On so many levels the bank’s corruption is like a cancer in our country. The only positive that has come from all this dark – and literally diabolical – business is the fact that more and more people are now awake to the fact that they have to do and stand for something. They must show up and choose sides like never before. It’s too late to remain silent to the destruction of our drinking water, our ecology, our future, our credit, our homes, our communities.

So, what do we want to stand for instead?

Never have we been so divided politically, philosophically, morally. Never has it seemed so insurmountable to achieve fundamental rights of fairness, justice and “action.” It seems that business entities as large as these mega banks should be required to take the hippocratic oath like those in the medical profession. “First do no harm,” etc etc, with some form of ethical standards we can all agree on in business, service and stewardship of the planet.

These days, instead, it’s a race to the bottom, politically, ethically, morally. How do we as “regular” people, consumers and occupiers of Earth work together to stop the bleeding? Or, should I say, the oil leaking? How do we avoid being beaten by the monster machine on every level?

There is a quote by George Bernard Shaw in Malcolm Gladwell”s book, “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants,” which reads: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

The thing that gives me hope these days is that movements are rising up and individuals are taking a stand. This momentum and pushback is a beautiful thing to watch. There is a literal smorgasbord of action choices anyone can take. For starters:

1. Say no to banking with cheaters that pollute, forge signatures, charge excessive fees, foreclose on families and veterans.

2. Move your money from Wells Fargo and the banks like it that are choosing harm over health to our society. When you close your accounts, tell them why you’re doing so: Tell them that you want to put your money in a bank that is aligned with your values.

3. Make a sign and show up. You don’t even need a pink hat to take a stand: All you need is a good message written on a piece of cardboard.

4. Call and email your congressional representative and tell them why you are bothered by the fact that they are not representing your best interests (ie. the policies they support are harming environmental protections, consumer protections, etc.)

5. Show up to those town hall meetings and make your voice heard.

6. Tweet back at bogus messaging and hate speech.

7. Volunteer.

8. Vote (with your dollars, not just at the ballot box.)

9. Walk a senior’s dog, pick up litter in your neighborhood, or any other number of activities that help people in your community.

So many small things you do can contribute to the greater good and provide a counter-balance to all the negative. Quoting Gladwell himself: “Giants are not what we think they are. The same qualities that appear to give them strength are often the sources of great weakness.”

In our persistence against injustices big or small, we make our voices heard. We speak for those who cannot speak or stand or fight back. We make progress, we say NO. When we tire, we rest. Our opposition depends on protest fatigue; on outnumbering us in size and money; on hefty resources and militarized response. But all through history, the persistence of “unreasonable” movements, with the odds stacked against them and the laws in place to prohibit them, forced progress by dragging us all toward an evolution of mind, spirit and collective consciousness.

These are unprecedented times which call for unprecedented resistance: to hate, discrimination, fascists, cheaters. We put our strength where are values are. And we invest our money as consumers the same way, choosing among institutions that compete for our business, our loyalty and our dollars. It is time for us individually and collectively to define who we really are, by defining what we leave for the future, and by showing the heart or lack thereof that we wish to offer the world.

Dear Wells Fargo, Roses are red, Violets are blue, your business model sucks and so do you.

Wells Fargo, foreclosure crisis, bank bailouts, John Stumpf, banking crimes
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People Of The Union of America (facebook.com)

The People Of The Union of America (POTUA) community endeavors to create a model American government of the People by the People and for the People. It’s principles and basic assumptions can be found in America’s Founding Documents, especially the Preamble to the Constitution.

POTUA’s initial project is the construction of a “shadow cabinet.” The purpose of the Shadow Cabinet is similar that of the shadow governments and cabinets of the U.K. Here in the US, such political tools as shadow governments are usually contemplated within “think tanks.”

“The Shadow Cabinet is a feature of the Westminster system of government (e.g., British Parliament). It consists of a senior group of opposition spokespeople who, under the leadership of the Leader of the Opposition, form an alternative cabinet to that of the government, and whose members shadow or mark each individual member of the Cabinet. “ – Wikipedia

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Two days of remembrances for Amilcar, killed by SFPD: Sunday 2/26 & Monday 2/27

Two Years Later: We remember Amilcar

Killed by SFPD, 2/26/2015   

Two days of remembrances: 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

8:00pm – 10:00pm

~ Candlelight Vigil ~     

Folsom Street

(between 24th & 25th Streets)

San Francisco    

An evening of prayer and attentiveness to remember Amilcar. We will for a circle of sanctuary and healing, expressing our commitment to protecting one another from the violence that affects our community.

Bring candles, palm branches, and photos of your favorite mission murals, especially those with the image of Amilcar.

Monday, February 27, 2017 

12 Noon 

~ Die-in and Press Conference ~    

SF Hall of Justice

850 Bryant St.

(front steps)

San Francisco      

Demand DA George Gascon give us our day in court and hold police accountable for Amilcar’s killing.

We will call out Amilcar’s name and those of the many others killed by SFPD.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1318989158139259/

 Sunday, February 26, will mark two years since SFPD killed 20-year-old Amilcar Perez Lopez–six shots to the back when he was running for his life.

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EINSTEIN ON THE WORLD AS A DANGEROUS PLACE

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.

–Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist. He developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics. Einstein’s work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. Wikipedia

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75 march on Feinstein & Pelosi Homes on Sunday, February 19

2-Hour March on Feinstein & Pelosi Homes:

Despite fearful predictions of stormy and wet weather that didn’t prove true, approximately seventy-five direct democracy community activists came together outside of Sen. Feinstein and Rep. Pelosi’s manors in San Francisco’s wealthy Pacific Heights district, organized by the People’s Town Hall Project.

The primary message for them and their dozens of publicly-funded aides was we demand public engagement they should already be doing: hold formal and consistent town halls.

We gathered first at the public garden in front of Feinstein’s mansion, our third time, where a one-hour town hall was held.

A diverse roster of speakers addressed concerns including blocking all Trump nominees especially to the Supreme Court, voter suppression, getting friends out on the streets, supporting the water protectors at the Standing Rock, and resisting Democratic Party lethargy.

The most popular chant of the day was “Money Out, Votes Count!” and a few pushed Rep. Keith Ellison as head of the Democratic National Committee.

Afterward, we marched along Broadway to Pelosi’s manor where we were greeted by two members the Capital Police of Washington, DC, on duty to protect the Minority Leader of the House, who were stationed on the street in a four-door, tinted-glass Suburban SUV. Also present were seven members of the local police force.

At Pelosi’s house, we again assembled on the sidewalk and claimed public space with an enormous rainbow flag, displaying our signs and hold another open mike session.

Calls were made for the congresswoman to fully back the legislative and social organizing agendas of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Activists addressed her tightly scripted Feb 18 Saturday morning chat before a friendly audience packed with local Democrats, where she selected fans to make statements.

Pelosi was roundly booed for this charade of public engagement that in no way qualifies as a genuine town hall.

A super yuge thanks to all our friends and cohorts for braving the threatening skies to keep the pressure on our federal public servants to better represent San Francisco progressive values. This is what direct democracy looks like, as shown in our photos and videos.

More info on the People’s Town Hall Project: https://www.facebook.com/PeoplesTownHall/

View the two videos from today here: https://www.facebook.com/benjamintbecker/videos/10101210757988575/

and here:
https://www.facebook.com/benjamintbecker/videos/10101210781536385/

Signed,
Ben Becker, Brandon Harami, Agatha Varshenka
Co-Organizers
The People’s Town Hall Project

All photos courtesy of Mirka Morales.

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Free trash!!!

Request for help:

First They Came for the Homeless needs some help removing trash.  They are located at the HERE/THERE signs at the Berkeley / Oakland border as you go up MLK, where Adeleine and MLK intersect.  While the City of Berkeley has not raided this site for over a month, they have not provided any services – like trash pickup or portapotties.  Stop by and take a bag of trash!  Free!

–JP Massar

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‘Not on our watch’: Trump resistance catches fire in Bay Area (mercurynews.com)

cct-resist-0208-05
(Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)  Annette Madden, of Concord, from left, and her husband Tim Smith, sit with Carol McKenna, of Bay Point, as they attend a huddle meeting at the home of Judi Herman, in Concord, Calif. on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. Donald Trump’s election has sparked a grassroots movement of progressives and moderates around the country. The Women’s march organizers have called for people around the country to start “huddle,” small gatherings in people’s homes and elsewhere to organize people to take specific actions.
PUBLISHED:  | UPDATED:

Bay Area residents fed up with President Donald Trump huddle up to take action.  (Bay Area News Group)

OAKLAND — Before Donald Trump was elected president, Dave Emme had no idea who his congressional representative was. The 32-year-old environmental engineer, who lives in Oakland, was so disengaged from national politics that the first time he voted for president was for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Now, not only does he know Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, represents his district, he has her number on speed dial. Emme is a co-organizer for Indivisible Lake Merritt  one of many grassroots groups that have sprung up in recent weeks to resist the Trump agenda. It’s part of a mass movement sweeping the Bay Area and the nation since the inauguration of the 45th president.

It might seem like visiting Lee’s office would be preaching to the choir. She’s already one of the most liberal legislators in Congress and a vocal Trump opponent. Yet grass-roots organizations want to make sure their allies don’t get complacent and are fighting as hard as they can. They’re also seeking to build a strong coalition in left-leaning areas that can in turn support those seeking to flip red congressional districts.

“Everyone is just trying to figure it out,” Emme said. “Its a bunch of people who weren’t politically active and said we have to do something.”

Strangers connecting through social media and Slack are crowding into living rooms in Concord and San Jose. They’re spilling out of rented church space in Berkeley and gathering at co-working office spaces in Oakland. What they all have in common is their visceral reaction to Trump and fears that he is leading the country down a dangerous and authoritarian path.

“You have this unprecedented response because Trump is hitting the nerve around our democratic principles and values and what our nation stands for,” said San Jose State sociology professor Scott Myers-Lipton, citing in particular the president’s continuing attacks on the press and the judiciary.

Myers-Lipton, who teaches a class on effecting social change, says opposition isn’t just focused in more liberal parts of the Bay Area.

“There were 10,000 people at the Women’s March in Walnut Creek and over 35,000 in San Jose, which is not seen as a hotbed of political activity,” he said. “It’s Democrats, Republicans and independents that say, ‘No, you’ve crossed our democracy.’ ”

The question now for grass-roots organizers, he said, is how to harness that energy into a long-term strategy.

Indivisible is a national network of individual chapters inspired by a guide authored by former congressional staffers. It explains how to use tactics the tea party employed with great success to block Barack Obama, to resist his successor. The basic playbook calls for organizing lots of small but dedicated local groups to turn up at congressional district offices and call representatives about key issues.

Indivisible and other groups turned up the heat under U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, recently after she voted to approve Trump’s first five cabinet picks. A Feinstein aide joked that Indivisible blew up his Blackberry and almost broke his laptop. Feinstein did vote against Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education pick, and Jeff Sessions for attorney general.

“If politics is the castle, you look at these walls and this moat, and you say I can’t influence anything that’s going on in there,” Emme said. “And then suddenly you get this treasure map that tells you how to sneak through this secret passageway and have an impact. That’s how I felt when I read that document.”

Within a few days, he and Rob Norback had launched Indivisible Lake Merritt. They held their first official meeting Wednesday in a conference room at the Port Coworking space in downtown Oakland where Emme works. Nine people came.

Meanwhile, the Women’s March on Washington organizers urged people to start small gatherings called “huddles” in homes Feb. 2 through Feb. 12 to build on the organic momentum from the national and sister marches that drew millions of people.

Judi Herman decided to host a “huddle” in her Concord home because when she went on the website, all the ones near her were full.

On Friday, 17 people squeezed into her living room. They introduced themselves and why they had come. They spoke of Trump’s divisiveness. His attacks on immigrants. The GOP’s assault on abortion rights.

“I can either sit in my living room alone and scream at my TV or I can do something,” said Annette Madden, a 72-year-old Concord retiree.

They wrote up specific actions and strategies they would like to see taken over the next four years and posted them on Post-Its on the wall.

“It’s like mass therapy,” Herman said. “You meet other people, and you feel like I’m necessary, I can do something.”

Daphne White, a freelance journalist in Berkeley, started an Indivisible group with a Facebook page. She rented a room at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists church on Martin Luther King Day weekend. Thirty-seven people attended. By the second meeting, a week after Trump had been in office, five times as many showed up.

“We had people standing outside on the balconies looking into the windows,” she said. “It was so awesome and so unbelievable.”

Unlike the Occupy movement, Indivisible is developing a structure with specific tasks for people. These range from sending out emails and calling and visiting congressional representatives, such as they did to urge Feinstein to vote against DeVos.

“That’s been a benefit to me and has made me feel less panicky and more focused as the days go forward,” said Liz Kelley, a 31-year-old Oakland office manager who helps coordinate media for Indivisible East Bay.

Other Bay Area residents are finding individual ways to resist Trump’s policies.

When Iris Kokish, a 27-year-old Oakland labor and employment attorney, found out on social media about all of the people stranded at San Francisco International Airport due to Trump’s travel ban, she headed there to offer her pro bono legal services. When she arrived at SFO, she walked through the crowd of protesters to the speaker, announced that she was an attorney and asked how could she help.

For starters, she was told, she could help distribute the 20 pizzas that had just been delivered to feed those working to help those caught up in the ban. She did, and soon received an email from an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer.

“They said, we’re going to be announcing every once in a while to protesters if you have a friend or family member or know someone detained we have lawyers here for you to talk to,” Kokish said. “And I was given a list to collect the flight number people were on, their arrival time, how large the family was and what country they were coming from. Then I passed that off to the ACLU.”

She stayed from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. that Saturday.

Kokish said she has since gone from someone who was not even remotely politically active to having her congressional representatives numbers programmed into her phone. And she calls them regularly.

“Sometimes their  voicemail is full, but sometimes I get to talk to someone,” she said. “I really feel like it’s working. I feel like everyone is becoming a little bit more militant.”

One thing is certain. Trump’s election has jolted many people out of complacency. They’re taking an interest in their government and how it works. They’re searching for ways to get involved and influence the political process. Could it be that the man so many fear will destroy America could end up unwittingly helping to strengthen it?

That optimistic thought has crossed Emme’s mind.

“It could be that he ends up being the thing that unites, rather than divides us,” Emme said.

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Analysis: New US state chief a perfect fit for Russia

Friendship between Putin and Rex Tillerson dates back to 1990s when the Texas oilman established a US energy presence.

 (aljazeera.com)

Moscow, Russia – The appointment of Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil’s chief executive, as the new US secretary of state was a shock to many – mostly because of his lifelong employment at one of the world’s largest oil companies and friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The friendship between the former KGB spy and the Texan oilman – they’re both 64 now – dates back to the late 1990s when Tillerson established the biggest presence of a US oil company in Russia, and Putin was a fledgling politician who had just been appointed prime minister in ailing president Boris Yeltsin’s government.

In 2013, Putin handed Tillerson a pentacle-shaped Friendship Medal, one of Russia’s highest award for foreigners, for “special merits in development of bilateral ties with Russia”.

Donald Trump names Rex Tillerson as secretary of state

A year earlier, Tillerson presided over a multibillion dollar deal that was designed to help Moscow tap into the immense oil Bonanza in the Arctic – but fell through because of Western sanctions imposed after Crimea’s 2014 annexation. Tillerson lambasted the sanctions that cost his company billions of dollars in lost profit.

And now, when Tillerson is a fledgling diplomat and Putin is a seasoned, iron-fisted politician, Kremlin critics wonder whether these amicable ties will mark a U-turn in Washington’s dealings with Moscow.

Trump reveals new controversial cabinet nominees

“This appointment is very beneficial for Putin,” Vladimir Milov, Russia’s former deputy energy minister now in opposition to the Kremlin, told Al Jazeera.

Tillerson will create “an environment that is much more comfortable for Putin that the previous architecture of transatlantic cooperation, a certain unified West with its own certain values”, he said.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea, support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, and the pro-Damascus operation in Syria has brought ties with the West back to Cold-War lows.

But the jingoistic, neo-conservative, and pragmatic course chosen by president-elect Donald Trump starkly contradicts years of Washington’s policies towards containing Russia – and strangely fits the Kremlin’s own political agenda.

No more lectures on democracy?

For most of his rule, Putin wanted the West to treat Moscow as an equal and detested reprimands for his crackdown on opposition figures, corruption, and concentration of key industries around state-run corporations.

Analysts insist Trump’s approach will be much more businesslike.

“Russia’s leadership proclaimed pragmatism as the basis of its foreign policy a long time ago. If the US will share the same foreign policy principle, I don’t think there will be any problems,” Alexey Mukhin, head of the Moscow-based Centre for Political Information think-tank, told Al Jazeera.

Pro-Kremlin pundits are already ecstatic about the appointment.

“This is a positive development so unexpected that we still don’t believe it’s happening,” Kremlin adviser and political analyst Sergei Markov told Al Jazeera.

Profiting on Russia

In 1998-1999, Tillerson served as vice president of Exxon (before the company’s merger with Mobil) in charge of operations in the Caspian Sea and on Sakhalin, Russia’s largest Pacific island north of Japan.

Dealings with Russian authorities weren’t always easy. In April 2015, the company sued Russia at the Stockholm arbitrage court claiming it overpaid profit tax on the Sakhalin project.

But Tillerson soon found himself among Moscow’s most trusted Big Oil executives.

In September 2005, Putin met Tillerson – ExxonMobil’s president at the time – as well as with the company’s then-chief executive Lee Raymond, and top managers of Conoco-Phillips and Shevron-Texaco.

Months earlier, oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovskywas sentenced to nine years in jail for alleged fraud in what was widely seen as the Kremlin’s revenge for his financial support of the opposition. International investors were worried about the imprisonment, and the meeting was an attempt to reassure them that Moscow was still a reliable partner.

Trump taps climate change denier to lead EPA

Most of Khodorkovsky’s oil company, Yukos, soon became the bulk of state-run Rosneft, ExxonMobil’s main Russian partner and its nation’s largest oil company. Igor Sechin, a former Portuguese translator and Putin’s key ally often described as the second-most powerful man in Russia, heads Rosneft now.

He is also a good friend of Tillerson, according to Russian and western media reports.

Arctic oil dream

In 2011, ExxonMobil outmaneuvered oil giant BP to help Russia develop the world’s largest treasure chest of untapped hydrocarbons.

The Arctic Circle holds some 90 billion barrels of yet undiscovered but technically recoverable oil, about one-seventh of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves – as well as billions of cubic metres of natural gas, according to a 2008 assessment by the US Geological Survey.

Russia’s share of the reserves is at least 41 percent of oil and 70 percent of gas, accordingto Norwegian officials. But Moscow lacked the deep-drilling technologies and equipment – and that’s where ExxonMobil stepped in.

In 2011, Putin oversaw the signing of a “strategic” deal between Rosneft and ExxonMobil to develop three oil-and-gas fields in Russia’s Arctic – in exchange for shares in six ExxonMobil projects in the United States.

“I’d like to emphasise the exclusiveness of these decisions for Russian companies … that until today were not able to develop existing deposits in the US,” Sechin told the Interfax news agency.

Russia: Alexei Ulyukayev arrested over $2m bribe

Tillerson attended the ceremony and said in a statement that the deal “takes our relationship to a new level and will create substantial value for both companies”. ExxonMobil said it would spend $3.2bn to explore the fields that would give it access to tens of billions of barrels of oil.

The drilling began in 2014 but the deal – along with another joint development in western Siberia – was frozen because of sanctions over Crimea, and ExxonMobil reportedly lost $1bn.

Sechin and Rosneft were blacklisted as part of the sanctions.

Tillerson told ExxonMobil’s shareholders “we always encourage the people who are making those decisions to consider the very broad collateral damage of who are they really harming with sanctions”.

The sanctions did not stop him from visiting Russia at least twice to meet the energy minister and attend an economic forum in St Petersburg, Putin’s hometown.

Bright future?

So, the big question now is whether Tillerson will be instrumental in the lifting of sanctions, which will undoubtedly benefit ExxonMobil’s current and future operations in Russia.

“He and Donald Trump will initiate the lifting of sanctions with a probability of 70-80 percent,” analyst Mukhin predicted.

Trump doubts President Barack Obama’s claims that Russia meddled in the November presidential vote through hackers and propaganda, and spoke in favour of lifting the sanctions and respecting Russia’s interests.

“With him, a certain ‘reset’ is possible,” Andrei Kolesnikov of the Carnegie Moscow Centre, a think-tank, told Al Jazeera.

His boss at Carnegie, Dmitri Trenin, said in a tweet that Tillerson’s tenure as the fourth-most powerful man in the US would signify “the greatest discontinuity in US foreign policy since the end of the Cold War”.

How Trump may change US foreign policy

Source: Al Jazeera News

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