Nov 11

Today’s News 11th November 2017

  • Debunking Two American Myths

    Authored by The Saker,

    There are two myths which are deeply imprinted in the minds of most US Americans which are extremely dangerous and which can result in a war with Russia.

    • The first myth is the myth of the US military superiority.
    • The second myth is the myth about the US invulnerability.

    I believe that it is therefore crucial to debunk these myths before they end up costing us millions of lives and untold suffering.

    In my latest piece for the Unz Review I discussed the reasons why the US armed forces are nowhere nearly as advanced as the US propaganda machine would have us believe. And even though the article was a discussion of Russian military technologies I only gave one example, in passing, of Russian military technologies by comparing the T-50 PAKFA to the US F-35 (if you want to truly get a feel for the F-35 disaster, please read this and this). First, I am generally reluctant to focus on weapons systems because I strongly believe that, in the vast majority of real-world wars, tactics are far more important than technologies. Second, Andrei Martyanov, an expert on Russian military issues and naval warfare, has recently written two excellent pieces on Russian military technologies (see here and here) which gave many more examples (check out Martyanov’s blog). Having read some of the comments posted under Martyanov’s and my articles, I think that it is important, crucial, in fact, to drive home the message to those who still are thoroughly trained by the propaganda machine to instantly dismiss any notion of US vulnerability or, even more so, technological inferiority. I am under no illusion about the capability of those who still watch the idiot box to be woken out of their lethargic stupor by the warnings of Paul Craig Roberts, William Engdal, Dmitrii Orlov, Andrei Martyanov or myself. But I also think that we have to keep trying, because the war party (the Neocon Uniparty) is apparently trying really hard to trigger a conflict with Russia. So what I propose to do today is to connect the notions of “war with Russia” and “immediate and personal suffering” by showing that if Russia is attacked two of the most sacred symbols of the USA, aircraft carriers and the US mainland itself, would be immediately attacked and destroyed.

    The aircraft carriers myth

    I have to confess that even during the Cold War I always saw US aircraft carriers as sitting ducks which the Soviets would have rather easily destroyed. I formed that opinion on the basis of my study of Soviet anti-carrier tactics and on the basis of conversations with friends (fellow students) who actually served on US aircraft carriers.

    I wish I had the time and space to go into a detailed description of what a Cold War era Soviet attack on a US aircraft carrier battle group would typically look like, but all I will say is that it would involved swarms of heavy air and sea launched missiles coming from different directions, some skimming the waves, others dropping down from very high altitude, all at tremendous speeds, combined with more underwater-launched missiles and even torpedoes. All of these missiles would be “intelligent” and networked with each other: they would be sharing sensor data, allocating targets (to avoid duplication), using countermeasures, receiving course corrections, etc. These missiles would be launched at standoff distances by supersonic bombers or by submerged submarines. The targeting would involve space-based satellites and advanced naval reconnaissance technologies. My USN friends were acutely aware of all this and they were laughing at their own official US propaganda (Reagan was in power then) which claimed that the USN would “bring the war to the Russians” by forward deploying carriers. In direct contrast, my friends all told me that the first thing the USN would do is immediately flush all the carriers away from the North Atlantic and into the much safer waters south of the so-called GUIK gap. So here is the ugly truth: carriers are designed to enforce the rule of the AngloZionist Empire on small and basically defenseless nations (like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq). Nobody in the USN, at least not in the late 1980s, seriously considered forward deploying aircraft carrier battlegroups near the Kola Peninsula to “bring the war to the Russians”. That was pure propaganda. The public did not know that, but USN personnel all knew the truth.

    [Sidebar: if the topic of carrier survivability is of interest to you, please check out this Russian article translated by a member of our community which is a pretty typical example of how the Russian don’t believe for one second that US carriers are such hard targets to destroy]

    What was true then is even more true today and I can’t imagine anybody at the Pentagon seriously making plans to attack Russia with carrier based aviation. But even if the USN has no intention of using its carriers against Russia, that does not mean that the Russians cannot actively seek out US carriers and destroy them, even very far from Russia. After all, even if they are completely outdated for a war between superpowers, carriers still represent fantastically expensive targets whose symbolic value remains immense. The truth is that US carriers are the most lucrative target any enemy could hope for: (relatively) small, (relatively) easy to destroy, distributed in many locations around the globe – US carriers are almost “pieces of the USA, only much closer”.

    Introducing the Zircon 3M22 hypersonic missile

    First, some basic data about this missile (from English and Russian Wikipedia):

    • Low level range: 135 to 270 nautical miles (155 to 311mi; 250 to 500km).
    • High level range: 400nmi (460mi; 740km) in a semi-ballistic trajectory.
    • Max range: 540nmi (620mi; 1,000km)
    • Max altitude: 40km (130’000 feet)
    • Average range is around 400km (250mi; 220nmi)/450 km.
    • Speed: Mach 5–Mach 6 (3,806–4,567mph; 6,125–7,350km/h; 1.7015–2.0417km/s).
    • Max speed: Mach 8 (6,090mph; 9,800km/h; 2.7223km/s) during a test.
    • Warhead: 300-400kg (high explosive or nuclear)
    • Shape: low-RCS with radar absorbing coating.
    • Cost per missile: 1-2 million dollars (depending on configuration)

    All this is already very impressive, but here comes the single most important fact about this missile: it can be launched from pretty much *any* platform: cruisers, of course, but also frigates and even small corvettes. It can be launched by nuclear and diesel-electric attack submarines. It can also be launched from long range bombers (Tu-160), medium-range bombers (Tu-22m3), medium-range fighter-bomber/strike aircraft (SU-34) and even, according to some reports, from multi-role air superiority fighter (SU-35). Finally, this missile can also be shore-based. In fact, this missile can be launched from any platform capable of launching the now famous Kalibr cruise missile and that means that even a merchant marine or fishing ship could carry a container with the Zircon missile hidden inside. In plain English what this means is the following:

    1. Russia has a missile which cannot be stopped or spoofed by any of the current and foreseeable USN anti-missile weapons systems.
    2. This missile can be deployed *anywhere* in the world on *any* platform.

    Let me repeat this again: pretty much any Russian ship and pretty much any Russian aircraft from now on will have the potential capability of sinking a US aircraft carrier. In the past, such capabilities were limited to specific ships (Slava class), submarines (Oscar class) or aircraft (Backfires). The Soviets had a large but limited supply of such platforms and they were limited on where they could deploy them. This era is now over. From now on a swarm of Zircon 3M22 could appear anywhere on the planet at any moment and with no warning time (5000 miles per hour incoming speed does not leave the target anything remotely comparable to even a short reaction time). In fact, the attack could be so rapid that it might not even leave the target the time needed to indicate that it is under attack.

    None of the above is a big secret, by the way. Just place “zircon missile” in your favorite search engine and you will get a lot of hits (131’000 on Google; 190’000 on Bing). In fact, a lot of specialists have declared that the Zircon marks the end of the aircraft carrier as a platform of modern warfare. These claims are widely exaggerated. As I have written above, aircraft carriers are ideal tools to terrify, threaten, bully and otherwise attack small, defenseless countries. Even medium-sized countries would have a very hard time dealing with an attack coming from US aircraft carriers. So I personally think that as long as the world continues to use the US dollar and, therefore, as long as the US economy continues to reply on creating money out of thin air and spending it like there is no tomorrow, aircraft carriers still have a bright, if morally repulsive, future ahead of them. And, of course, the USN will not use carriers to threaten Russia. Again, the US press has been rather open about the carrier-killing potential of the Zircon, but what it rarely (never?) mentions are the political and strategic consequence from the deployment of the Zircon: from now on Russia will have an easy and very high value US target she can destroy anytime she wants. You can think of the US carrier fleet like 10 US hostages which the Russians can shoot at any time. And what is crucial is this: an attack on a US carrier would not be an attack on the US homeland, nor would it be a nuclear attack, but the psychological shock resulting from such an attack could well be comparable to a (limited) nuclear strike on the US homeland.

    This, on one hand, will greatly inhibit the Russian willingness to strike at US carriers as this would expose Russia to very severe retaliatory measures (possibly including nuclear strikes). On the other hand, however, in terms of “escalation dominance” this state of affairs gives a major advantage to Russia as the US does not have any Russian targets with an actual and symbolic value similar to the one of a US carrier.

    There is another aspect of this issue which is often ignored. Western analysts often speak of a Russian strategy of “deterrence by denial” and “Anti-Access Area Denial” (A2AD). Mostly this is the kind of language which gets you a promotion and a pay raise in US and NATO think tanks. Still, there is a grain of truth to the fact that advanced Russian missiles are now providing Russia with a very cheap way to threaten even fantastically expensive US assets. Worse, Russia is willing (eager, in fact) to export these (relatively cheap) missiles to other countries. I find it amusing to see how US politicians are in a state of constant hysteria about the risk of nuclear proliferation, but fail to realize that conventional anti-ship missiles are a formidable, and much more likely, threat. Sure, there are missile export limiting treaties, such as the MTCR, but they only apply to missile with a range of over 300km. With modern ballistic and cruise missiles becoming smaller, deadlier and easier to conceal and with ranges which are (relatively) easy to extend, treaties such as the MTCR are becoming increasingly outdated.

    The bottom line is this: as long as deterrences holds, attacking US carriers makes no sense whatsoever for Russia; however, as soon as deterrence fails, attacking US carriers, anywhere on the planet, gives Russia an extremely flexible and powerful escalation dominance capability which the US cannot counter in kind.

    Striking at the Holy of Holies – the US “homeland”

    If you thought that discussing striking US carriers was bad, here we are going to enter full “Dr Strangelove” territory and discuss something which US Americans find absolutely unthinkable: attacks on the US homeland.

    True, for the rest of mankind, any war by definition includes the very real possibility of attacks on your own towns, cities and people. But for US Americans who are used to mete out violence and death far away from their own peaceful towns and cities, the notion of a devastating strike against the US homeland is pretty much unthinkable. On 9/11 the loss of 3000 innocent people placed the vast majority of US Americans into a total state of shock which resulted in a massive over-reaction at all levels (which was, of course, exactly the purpose of this false flag operation by the US and Israeli deep states). Just as with carriers, the dangers of a US over-reaction should serve as a deterrent to any attacks on the US homeland. But, just as with the carriers, that is only true as long as deterrence holds. If the Russian territory becomes the object of a US attack this would clearly indicate that deterrence has failed and that the Russian armed forces should now switch from a deterrence mode to a war-fighting mode.

    At this point, the US American over-reaction to begin attacked or taking casualties could, paradoxically, result in a last-minute wake-up call indicating to everybody that what will come next will be truly devastating.

    Introducing the RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)

    Though officially very little is know about the Sarmat and the Yu-71, the reality is that the Internet has been full of educated guesses which give us a pretty clear idea of what kind of systems we are dealing here.

    You can think of the RS-28 Sarmat as a successor of the already formidable RS-36 Voevoda (SS-18 Satan in US classification) missile: it is a heavy, very powerful, intercontinental ballistic missile with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (warheads):

    • Weight: 100 tons
    • Payload: 10 tons
    • Warheads: 10 to 15
    • Hypersonic glide vehicles: 3-24 (that’s the Yu-71 we will discuss below)
    • Range: 10’000km
    • Guidance: Inertial , satellite, astrocelestial
    • Trajectory: FOBS-capable

    That last line, about being FOBS-capable, is crucial as it means that, unlike most Soviet/Russian ICMBs, the Sarmat does not have to fly over the North Pole to strike at the United States. In fact, the Sarmat could fly over the South Pole or, for that matter, in any direction and still reach any target in the USA. Right there this capability is, by itself, is more than enough to defeat any current and foreseeable US anti-ballistic missile technology. But it gets better, or worse, depending on your perspective: the Sarmat’s reentry vehicles/warhards are capable of flying in low orbit, maneuver, and then suddenly plunge towards their targets. The only way to defeat such an attack would be to protect the USA by a 3600 coverage capable ABM system, something which the USA is decades away from deploying. And just to add to these already formidable characteristics, each Sarmat can carry up to 3-24 (depending on who you ask) Yu-71 hypersonic glide vehicles.

    Introducing The Yu-71 (aka “Object 4202) hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV)

    Yet again, this is hardly a topic not covered in the media and you can find numerous articles describing what a hypersonic glide vehicle is and how it can be used. (the best article I could find in English was by Global Security, it is entitled “Objekt 4202 / Yu-71 / Yu-74”).

    Here is a summary of what we think we know about this HGV:

    • Max Speed: from Mach 5, according to Scott Ritter, to Mach 9, according to a quasi official Russian source, to Mach 15, acccording to Sputnik, to Mach 20 (that’s 7 kilometer per second, or 25’200kh/h, or 15’000mph), according to Global Security. Whatever the true speed, it will be fantastic and far, far beyond the kind of speeds current or foreseeable US anti-missile systems could hope to engage.
    • Hypermaneuverability: Russian sources describe the Yu-71 as “???????????????? ??????????” or “hypermaneuverable warhead”. What that exactly means in turns of sustained Gs does not really matter as this is not about air-to-air combat, but about the ability to perform sudden course changes making it close to impossible for anti-missile systems to calculate an engagement solution.
    • Warhead: nuclear and conventional/kinetic.

    That last line is very interesting. What it means is that considering the speeds attained by the Yu-71 HGV it is not necessary to equip it with a conventional (high explosive) or nuclear warheard. The kinetic energy generated by its high speed is sufficient to create an explosion similar to what a large conventional or small nuclear warhead could generate.

    Bringing it all together now

    Did you notice the similarities between the Zircon missile and the Sarmat+Yu-71 combo?

    In both cases we have:

    1. an attack which can come from any direction
    2. speed of attack and maneuver capabilities which make interception impossible
    3. the capability for Russia to destroy a very high value US target in a very short time

    It is amazing to see that while US decision makers were talking about their Prompt Global Strike program, the Russians actually developed their own version of this capability, much faster than the USA and at a fraction of the cost.

    These are all ideal ways to “bring the war home” and to encourage a country which enjoyed total impunity for its policies to being seriously thinking about the consequences of messing around with the wrong people.

    To make things even more potentially dangerous for the USA, the very same geography which protected the USA for so long is now becoming a major vulnerability. Currently 39% of the US population lives in counties directly on the shoreline. In fact, the population density of coastal shoreline counties is over six times greater than the corresponding inland counties (source). In 2010 the US Census Bureau produced a fascinating report entitled “Coastline Population Trends in the United States: 1960 to 2008” which shows that the coastal counties provide an “intense concentration of economic and social activity”. In fact, a very large number of US cities, industrial centers and economic hugs are located near the USA coastline making them all *ideal* targets for Russian conventional cruise missile strikes which could be launched from very long distances (including over open water). And we are not talking about some future, hypothetical, cruise missile, we are talking about the very same Kalibr cruise missiles the Russians have been using against the Takfiris in Syria. Check out this very well made video which explains how Kalibr cruise missiles can be hidden pretty much anywhere and used with devastating effect on military and/or civilian targets:

    The reality is that the US homeland is extremely vulnerable to any kind of attack. This is only in part due to recent Russian advances in military technology. For example, the “just on time” manufacturing or delivery practices which are aimed to minimize costs and inventory are, from a strategic/military point of view, extremely dangerous as it take very little disruption (for example in the distribution network) to create catastrophic consequences. Likewise, the high concentration of some industries in specific areas of the United States (oil in the Mexican Gulf) only serve to further weaken the ability of the United State to take any kind of punishment in case of war.

    Most TV watching Americans will dismiss all of the above by saying that “anybody come mess with us and we will kick their ass” or something equally sophisticated. And there is some truth to that. But what this mindset also indicate is a complete mental inability to operate in a scenario when deterrence has failed and the “other guy” is coming for you. That mindset is the prerogative of civilians. Those tasked with the defense of their country simply cannot think that way and have to look beyond the “threshold of deterrence”. They will be the one asked to fix the bloody mess once the civilians screw-up. Georges Clemenceau reportedly once said that “War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men”. I believe that the exact opposite is true, that war is too serious a matter to entrust to civilians, especially the US Neocons (the vast majority of whom have never spent any time in uniform) and who always make it sound like the next war will be easy, safe and painless. Remember Ken Adleman and his famous Iraqi “cakewalk”? The very same kind of scum is in power today and they want us to believe that the next war will also be a cakewalk or that being on a high speed collision course with Russia is something the USA can afford and should therefore engage in. The combined effect of the myth of US military superiority with the myth about the US invulnerability result in a US American sense of detachment, or even impunity, which is not at all supported by fact. I just fervently hope that the people of the USA will not find out how mistaken they are the hard way.

    In the meantime, the Russian Chief of General Staff, General Gerasimov, has announced that Russia had completed what he called a “non-nuclear deterrence system” based on the Iskander-M, Kalibr and X-101 missiles. According to General Gerasimov, the Russian armed forces now have enough high-precision weapon systems to strike at any target within a 4000km range. Furthermore, Gerasimov declared that the number of platforms capable of launching such missiles has increased twelve times while the number of high precision cruise missiles has increased by a factor 30. General Gerasimov also explained that the combined capabilities of the Kalibr cruise missile, the Bastion mobile coastal defense missile system and the S-400 air defense system made it possible for Russia to fully control the airspace and surface of the Baltic, Barents, Black and Mediterranean seas (talk about A2AD!). Gerasimov concluded his briefing by sayingthe development of high-precision weapons has made it possible to place the main burden of strategic deterrence from nuclear to non-nuclear forces”.

    To fully evaluate the implications of what Gerasimov said please consider this: deterrence is, by definition, the action of discouraging an action or event through instilling doubt or fear of the consequences. So what Gerasimov is really saying is that Russia has enough conventional, non-nuclear, capabilities to inflict unacceptable consequences upon the USA. This is something absolutely new, a fundamental game changer. Most importantly, that is the official declaration by a senior Russian official that the USA does not have any technological superiority and that the USA is vulnerable to a devastating counter-attack, even a conventional one. In one short sentence General Gerasimov has put to rest the two most important myths of US geostrategic theory.

    Keep in mind that, unlike their US counterparts, the Russians typically like to under-evaluate Russian military capabilities. You will find the Russia media bragging about how “totally awesome and best in the world” Russian weapons systems are, but military personnel in Russia still has a corporate culture of secrecy and under-reporting your real capabilities to the enemy. Furthermore, while junior officers can say pretty much anything they want, senior officers are held to very strict rules and they have to carefully weigh every word they say, especially acting officers. So when the Chief of Staff officially declares that Russia now has a conventional strategic deterrence capability – you can take that to the bank. It’s real.

    Alas, the western media is still stuck in the “full idiot” mode we saw during the transit of the Russian aircraft carrier from the North Atlantic to the Mediterranean: on one hand, the Admiral Kuznetsov was presented as a rusty old bucket while on the other NATO forces constantly shadowed it as if it was about to strike London. Likewise, US politicians present Russia as a “gas station” while, at the same time, stating that this “gas station” has the capability to decide who lives in the White House. This kind of reporting is not only unhelpful but outright dangerous. One one hand the “the Russians are backward brutes” fosters an arrogant and cocky attitude. On the other hand, constantly speaking about fake Russian threats results in a very dangerous case of “cry wolf” in which all possible Russian threats (including very real ones) are dismissed as pure propaganda.

    The reality is, of course, very different and simple in a binary way: Russia represents absolutely no threat to the United States or anybody else (including the three Baltic statelets). But if some western politician decides that he is smarter and stronger than Napoleon or Hitler and that he will finally bring the Russians to their knees, then he and his country will be destroyed. It is really that simple.

  • Ethereum Proposes 'Guidelines' To Stop ICO-Related Fraud

    It looks like Ethereum’s developers and entrepreneurs have finally recognized the perils of being associated with the massively fraudulent ICO market.

    ICOs have exploded since the beginning of the year as companies equipped with little more than a white paper sketching out some grandiose (and often highly improbable) killer app that somehow incorporates a monetized token trading on a blockchain much like bitcoin. So far, these offerings have raised more than $3 billion this year, and many of them are built on top of Ethereum’s platform, which enables the creation of decentralized “smart contracts” that can carry out higher level functions beyond simple transfers of value.

    Last year, the collapse of the DAO – a kind of crowdfunded project meant to provide early stage financing to blockchain startups – sent the price of ethereum spiraling lower. Apparently, Ethereum’s top people are afraid the collapse of the ICO market might be even more damaging, CoinDesk repors.

    "Grotesque" might not be the word you'd think ethereum developers would ascribe to today's ICO scene.

     

    But that's exactly how some of the platform's ardent supporters described the current state of affairs. At Devcon3 in Cancun, Mexico, last week, developers were decidedly unenthusiastic when approached for thoughts about the new funding method, some going so far as to allege that many projects that use it to raise money are little more than "scams."

     

    Even Fabian Vogelstellar, the developer behind the technology standard that helped make ethereum tokens so easy to launch, was keen to join the ranks of ICO critics, echoing remarks made by a colorful cast of commentators as diverse as MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito and the "Wolf of Wall Street" Jordan Belfort.

     

    "The problem right now is that too many people outside of the blockchain space focus on tokens and ICOs; frankly speaking, it's the least interesting part of ethereum." 

    The tone of these remarks stands in stark contrast to the optimism about ICOs , which just earlier this year were being hailed as a groundbreaking tool for capable of revolutionizing how companies raise money.

    Etherscan CEO and founder Matthew Tan went so far as to call ICOs ethereum's "killer app," a statement that aligns with the more than 10,000 token projects launched to date – 13 of which have eclipsed $100 million in total market value, according to Etherscan data.

     

    It's an interesting take seeing how ICOs are typically touted as a means to circumvent traditional fundraising methods. But, du Rose's sentiments hint at a crucial criticism: that many ICOs are simply executing incorrectly. 

    The criticism comes as regulators in US, China and many other major markets for cryptocurrencies have taken steps to curb or regulate the markets. The SEC has been slowly clarifying its stance toward ICOs since this summer, when it first declared – in a finding about the DAO fiasco – that ICOs are securities that must be registered with the SEC and subject to US securities laws.

    To their credit, Ethereum developers have suggested some helpful “guidelines” of their own.

    Here’s Jack du Rose, co-founder of ethereum startup Colony:

    Ethereum developers largely believe that, at the very least, the individuals or company behind an ICO should have a prototype to prove their idea could theoretically work in practice. For instance, ethereum-based casino game platform FunFair launched an ICO over the summer, but only after releasing several prototypes.

     

    And FunFair founder and CEO Jez San Obe had strong words about issuers that do it differently.

     

    "You should have a product before you ICO, you should know how to run a company, you shouldn't have an anonymous team and you should release a prototype first," he told CoinDesk.

    It’s something that, in conventional markets, should go without saying. But ICOs are anything but conventional. So Ethereum’s developers reminded investors and the companies doing the offering not to "risk other people's money on something, when there’s a reasonable likelihood we'd be prosecuted."

    Issuing  a token before the product is not only foolish from a regulatory standpoint, but also "incompetent and greedy."

    Du Rose also insisted that ICOs be reserved for companies building a product that is decentralized, like the ICO being used to finance it.

    "For a token to be interesting … it should be a totally decentralized protocol, not just glitter on top of a centralized company with its own revenue models," du Rose said.

     

    In this way – although probably curiously for some – Giveth founder Griff Green pointed to The DAO as an ICO success story. Though its code had a bug that led to millions of dollars in ether being stolen from users, it was at least decentralized, said Green, who was the community organizer of the project.

     

    He thinks about The DAO in a more abstract way, though, saying that, in the future, people will be able to launch their own cryptocurrency to push against the power of the banks.

     

    "The power of creating currency is unfathomable. Banks are in a really good spot today. They have a lot of money and a lot of power. They can create money out of nothing. Instead, with ICOs, you can give that power to every person," Green said.

    While regulators, investors and – increasingly – the general public believe the ICO space is fraught with bad actors, some crypto investors see this as the beginning of a learning process. ICOs could still revolutionize corporate fundraising, they believe, the market just needs to work out the kinks first.

    "What I've seen is kind of unsurprising," said DappHub software engineer Andy Milenius. "People's first experience with an idea is allowed to be wrong."

    As we've reported, two of the world's largest ICOs have already hit the rocks this year.

    And we imagine those won't be the last…

  • "For The Sake Of Allah": Swedish Radio Station Hijacked To Play ISIS Recruiting Song

    Earlier this year, President Trump took a beating in the mainstream media for blasting Europe’s, and more specifically Sweden’s, disastrous immigration policies…

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      Of course, since that feud erupted, the MSM has been repeatedly embarrassed by a series of violent attacks perpetrated by Muslim migrants on Swedish citizens.  Here are just a few examples:

    Now, the latest evidence suggesting that the migrant population in Sweden might have motivations beyond their simple, peaceful relocation from the Middle East comes via a radio station in Malmo.  As The Local pointed out earlier today, Malmo residents who flipped their radio dials to Mix Megapol earlier this morning were greeted with a rather alarming “ISIS recruiting” mix tape rather than the station’s normal “hits from the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s.”  The terrorist recruiting mix tape was apparently played for a full 30 minutes after an “unknown offender” managed to hijack the radio station.

    Malmö residents who tuned into popular radio station Mix Megapol at around 8.30am on Friday suddenly found themselves listening to Isis recruitment song ‘For the sake of Allah’.

     

    The song was played after the radio station’s local airwaves were hijacked by an unknown offender, Bauer Media, which owns the station, confirmed after 24Malmö.se first reported the incident.

     

    “We will report this incident to the police and to the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority,” marketing director Jakob Gravestam said in a press release.

     

    He confirmed to 24Malmö.se that the three-minute song – with lyrics trying to tempt Westerners into joining Isis with promises about maidens waiting in paradise for fighters – was played for around 30 minutes.

    Malmo

    As you may recall, earlier this year in April, Sweden fell victim to a deadly terrorist attack after a 39-year-old migrant from Uzbekistan plowed a beer delivery truck into a market in Central Sweden.  The attack killed 4 people and seriously injured a dozen others. 

    Since then, many Swedes have called for the implementation of “geo-fences” in urban areas that would give the police the ability to remotely disable large trucks and/or an outright ban on trucks altogether.

    Infrastructure Minister Tomas Eneroth hopes to introduce the ‘geo-fences’ in urban areas next year and which use technology that can digitally stop large vehicles  or reduce their speed.

     

    Since then, Swedish authorities have worked to increase security against these kind of attacks, including the implementation of more physical barriers in pedestrianized areas, increased video surveillance and tightened security at large public events.

     

    On Drottninggatan, the street targeted in April’s attack, authorities have already doubled the number of concrete lions which are in place to stop vehicles driving down the pedestrianized streets.

     

    “Security on our pedestrianized streets has been improved. Directly after the terror attack we put out more stone lions, and we have also ordered heavier versions which are coming next year,” said Daniel Halldén, Stockholm’s transport commissioner.

     

    The heavier lions will weigh three times as much as those currently in place, at three tonnes each, and will be placed in a way so that vehicles cannot drive straight ahead but are forced to turn, preventing them from being able to increase their speed.

    Of course, rather than ban trucks, knives, rocks, paper clips, etc., Sweden could also consider a more rigorous vetting program for the migrants that seem to be responsible for a fairly high percentage of these types of attacks…though that would probably be culturally insensitive…so maybe not.

  • When A.I. Rules…

    Elon Musk unveiled his apocalytpic vision of the world a few weeks ago…

    “Until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react because it seems so ethereal,” he said.

     

    “AI is a rare case where I think we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive. Because I think by the time we are reactive in AI regulation, it’s too late.”

     

    “Normally the way regulations are set up is a while bunch of bad things happen, there’s a public outcry, and after many years a regulatory agency is set up to regulate that industry,” he continued.

     

    “It takes forever. That, in the past, has been bad but not something which represented a fundamental risk to the existence of civilization. AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.”

    And since then numerous futurists have prognosticated on whether is mankind's salvation or eventual downfall. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg embraces it while Stephen Hawking considers this the most dangerous moment in history as AI and automation are set to decimate jobs and change the social contract.

    However, as Mike Wehner via BGR.com,  writes, when AI rules, one rogue programmer could end the human race…

    The idea of small groups of humans having control over some of the most powerful weapons ever to be built is scary, but it’s the reality we live in. In the not-so-distant future, that incredible power and responsibility could be handed over to AI and robotic systems, which are already in active development. In a pair of open letters to the prime ministers of bother Australia and Canada, hundreds of AI researchers and scientists are pleading for that not to happen.

    The fear, they say, is that removing the human element from life and death decisions could usher in a destructive age that ultimately spells the end of mankind. The AI weapons systems are, as the researchers put it, “weapons of mass destruction” which must be banned outright before they can do any serious damage.

    “Delegating life-or-death decisions to machines crosses a fundamental moral line – no matter which side builds or uses them,” the letter explains.

     

    “Playing Russian roulette with the lives of others can never be justified merely on the basis of efficacy. This is not only a fundamental issue of human rights. The decision whether to ban or engage autonomous weapons goes to the core of our humanity.”

    In a setting where computers have the ultimate say in whether or not to engage in hostile acts — even under the guise of defending their own territories or protecting the populations they are programmed to protect — conflicts could escalate much faster than humans have ever seen. Weeks, months, or even years of posturing and diplomacy could turn into mere minutes or even seconds, with missiles flying before humans can even begin to intervene. And then, of course, there’s the issue of the AI being manipulated in unforeseen ways.

    “These will be weapons of mass destruction,” the scientists say.

     

    “One programmer will be able to control a whole army. Every other weapon of mass destruction has been banned: chemical weapons, biological weapons, even nuclear weapons. We must add autonomous weapons to the list of weapons that are morally unacceptable to use.”

    It’s a frightening thought, but it hasn’t stopped military contractors from exploring the possibility of AI-controlled weapons and defense systems. This could be yet another way mankind engineers its own destruction.

    *  *  *

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  • America Is The 22nd 'Best' Country In The World For Women

    To the surprise of many, Saudi Arabia recently announced it would end its longstanding ban on women driving with the change set to come into effect from June 2018. That ban has served as a major symbol of female oppression throughout the world and it has also done huge damage to the kingdom's reputation for years. The situation could improve even further in the years ahead with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pushing to implement more reforms in order to return the country to moderate Islam.

    However, as Statista's Niall McCarthy points out, Saudi Arabia isn't alone in how it treats women and a new index has gauged the status of women in different countries.

    Infographic: The Best And Worst Countries For Women Worldwide  | Statista

    You will find more statistics at Statista

    The global Women, Peace and Security Index was launched by The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and the Peace Research Institute of Oslo.

    It measures women's well-being by assessing various factors such as inclusion, justice and security in 153 countries.

    Iceland comes first, followed by Norway and Switzerland.

    The U.S. is in 22nd position and its lack of paid-maternity leave is one possible reason it trails other developed countries. Along with Papua New Guinea, the U.S. is the only country worldwide that doesn't offer new mothers paid maternity leave.

    Countries that are less peaceful and unstable tended to score poorly in the index with Afghanistan and Syria both rock bottom.

    Yemen is also embroiled in conflict and it comes third-last. Pakistan is amongst the worst countries in the index and various studies have shown that domestic violence and "honor killings" are widespread there. Nobel Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai is a key example of just how dangerous Pakistan can get for women. She was shot and nearly killed in 2012 for publicly speaking about women's right to an education.

  • The End Of "The End Of History" – US Mid-East Policy's Fork In The Road

    Authored by Tom Luongo,

    In 1989 Francis Fukayama declared that we had reached “The End of History.”  Democracy as a form of government would, in fact, be the end of the evolution of human interaction.  The West had triumphed and that the rest was ‘just a chase scene,’ to borrow a phrase from Neal Stephenson’s brilliant dystopian novel “Snow Crash.”

    But, this past week’s events in the Middle East tell me that autocracy has replaced democracy and the trans-national parliamentary system of the European Union that Fukayama championed in his 2007 article in The Guardian.

    The EU no longer practices representative Democracy today.  Diktats come down from unelected technocrats in Brussels. They are wholly-owned by stateless rent-seeking oligarchs (i.e. George Soros). Everyone in and around the EU is expected to obey or face tanks in the streets (Spain) or endless legal entanglements from captured international courts (Poland).

    If you circumvent the rules, the EU will change them to suit its masters’ needs.  Just look at any proposed Russian pipeline into Europe over the past five years.

    In the U.S. we have been subjected to the worst form of operant conditioning by an unelected Deep State and its quisling media for a year. They created the mass delusion that President Donald Trump is a secret Russian agent.

    The goal was to overturn a democratic election, which itself the people had to overcome systemic voter fraud to win.

    When, in fact, everyone who is involved in creating this mass delusion are covering up their collusion with Russia in ways that are espionage and treason.

    So, consider me unimpressed with Fukayama’s assessment of history.  History is one of the praxeological disciplines.  Economics is another.  Any historical analysis bereft of economic imperatives is worthless.

    And Fukayama’s end of history argument is the height of worthless history because it doesn’t ask the basic question “Cui Bono?”  Who benefits?

    The End of Saudi Arabia as We Know it

    Saudi Arabia has simply replaced one group of autocrats with another, Crown Prince (and soon to be King) Mohammed bin Salman.  There is not one democratic impulse in his body.  But he is the tip of the spear that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are wielding to remake the landscape in the Middle East.

    Bin Salman’s moves have been stunning in their severity and swiftness.  But, if you are going to move against the most powerful people in the world, act fast or be destroyed.

    There is a full-court press on to bring to light the extensive corruption of our political class from Washington to Tel Aviv, Brussels to Beirut.  And while barred from openly coordinating policy or even talk with each other, Putin and Trump are supporting each other’s moves while looking like they aren’t.

    The status quo in Saudi Arabia is over.  It’s bin Salman’s country now.  Thank Putin and Trump for this.  The old alliances between it and Israel are now out in the open, creating cognitive dissonance in a whole new class of people.  It’s reach into governments around the world has been severed.

    Hundreds of billions in assets frozen.  Dozens of family members jailed, many major donors to the corrupt-to-the-bone Democratic National Committee.

    A major pillar of U.S. control atomized with the arrest of Prince Alaweed.

    The coincidence cannot be ignored.  Everything happens in politics for a reason.

    And for every pundit confused by what is happening, worried that this is a prelude to regional war I remind you that there are always multiple interpretations of the same events.  Such is the grist for history’s mill.

    For example, that missile fired from Yemen at the Saudi capital conveniently had ‘proof’ of its Iranian origin.  Was this bin Salman’s false flag or someone else’s?

    As Zerohedge pointed out this morning:

    The narrative is familiar: just as European terrorists conveniently commit suicide and always dutifully bring along their passports so they can be identified, so Iran always makes sure it leaves identifying marks when it illegally sells its weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen.

    Lingering Questions

    What if bin Salman’s purge was a reaction to a false-flag to gin up a war with Iran?

    Israeli and U.S. Deep State forces have motive.  They are on the verge of losing everything? Certainly it’s as plausible as it being the opening act of bin Salman’s next foreign intervention.

    Why was Donald Trump greeted by China’s leadership in a way that no foreign leader in the past 60 years was ever treated?

    Could it be that despite his ham-fisted rhetoric, Premier Xi Jinping knows that Trump is, in fact, sincere in dismantling that portion of the U.S. Empire that no longer serves anyone’s interests except the very favored few who meet in Davos and Jackson Hole every year?

    And that Trump will come to embrace China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative as good for the U.S. as well as the rest of the world?

    Trump went out of his way to greet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vietnam at the beginning of APEC, despite intense pressure for him not to do so.  Again, why?

    Is this the behavior of a man about to go to war? Be impeached?

    Multiple Ways to Drain a Swamp

    The path to draining the swamp is a circuitous one but, in my mind, it’s hard to argue where things are headed.  They are not headed towards confrontation with Iran but actually the opposite.

    The most rabidly anti-Iranian segment of the Saudi Royal house is impoverished and imprisoned.

    CNN will be sold and go out of business to allow for the Time-Warner/AT&T merger.  Jeff Zucker is out. Add another scalp to Steve Bannon’s belt along with Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and so many to come.

    Will the vestiges of the neoconservative establishment in the U.S. and Israel continue to sabre-rattle and try to undermine what is happening?  Yes.

    They’ve been doing that since the day Trump was elected just over a year ago, but it hasn’t stopped the momentum.  Why?  Because Putin was on the job outmaneuvering them at every turn.

    Trump made a deal with the neocons back in August to cede them control of foreign policy and, in effect, outsourced cleaning up the Middle East to Putin. But, predictably they also didn’t follow through with their end of the bargain.

    Trump learned, like Putin did, the John McCain’s of the world don’t keep to their deals.  They are ‘not agreement capable.’  And, as such, since the last failure to repeal Obamacare Trump has gone after every pillar of support these people had.

    It will end with Hillary Clinton’s indictment.  But in the meantime it will look like the world is on the brink of world war.

    And History’s Just Fine

    Eventually, Saudi Arabia looked at the game board and saw that it was alone.  King Abdallah saw the changes that had to be made.  He met with Putin, they agreed on slightly-higher oil prices.  China offered to buy an Aramco stake but that would mean cutting ties completely with the U.S.

    I believe that offer was a bluff.  It was meant to send bin Salman to Trump who agreed to get the Aramco IPO done in New York but he had to take control and end the royal family’s support of evil around the world.

    Pat Buchanan’s latest column laments that no one listens when the U.S. barks anymore.  But, at the same time, what the U.S. is barking hasn’t been worth the air it disturbed in more than twenty years since the End of History.

    This is what happens when you ‘Cry Wolf’ too many times. 

    Benjamin Netanyahu is finally going to learn that lesson in the coming weeks.

    The extent of bin Salman’s purge and its effects on not just the Middle East but the U.S. and the EU can only be assessed in hindsight by historians.  A future Fukayama will come along and see this and declare another end to history.

    *  *  *

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  • Skynet Makes Its Move: Ford Wraps Workers In Exoskeleton

    The secret to crustaceans and insects belonging to the phylum Arthropoda family are their exoskeleton. Ants, lobsters, hermit crabs, spiders, and beetles are all creatures whose life is made possibly by their exoskeleton body plan. Although humans do not have exoskeletons, but rather endoskeletons, it hasn’t stopped the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in pursing this technology.

    Over the years, DARPA has invested millions into exoskeleton suits for ground troops. This wearable robotic system gives soldiers the ability to carry heavier objects, run faster, and even leap over large obstacles.

    From the battlefield to North American manufacturing plants, Ford is now pilot testing upper body exoskeletal technology called EksoVest. This wearable technology alleviates stress and supports the Ford assembly line worker, who might have to do a task up to 4,600 times per day and up to a million times per year.

    According to Ford, embracing the technology could decrease worker fatigue and produce overall better worker safety in facilities.

    These are the approximate number of times some Ford assembly line workers lift their arms during overhead work tasks. At this rate, the possibility of fatigue or injury on the body increases significantly. But a new upper body exoskeletal tool – the result of a partnership between Ford and California-based Ekso Bionics – helps lessen the chance of injury.

    Ekso Bionics® (EKSO) produces the EksoVest, Ford has adopted the non-powered version, designed to lift five pounds to 15 pounds per arm. The suit’s composition is lightweight carbon-fiber strapped to the back of an operator, as shown below…

    Russ Angold, co-founder and chief technology officer of Ekso Bionics, said “collaboratively working with Ford enabled us to test and refine early prototypes of the EksoVest based on insights directly from their production line workers. The end result is a wearable tool that reduces the strain on a worker’s body, reducing the likelihood of injury, and helping them feel better at the end of the day – increasing both productivity and morale”.

    So far, Ford is pilot testing EksoVests in two U.S. plants and in other regions….

    With support from the United Automobile Workers and Ford, EksoVest is being piloted in two U.S. plants, with plans to test in other regions, including Europe and South America.  

    UAW-Ford Vice President Jimmy Settles said, “with the proven success at the piloted locations, we look forward to expanding this technology to our other UAW-Ford manufacturing facilities.”

    Ford’s goal with the EksoVest is to improve workplace safety. Bruce Hettle, Ford group vice president, Manufacturing and Labor Affairs said,

    Our goal has always been to keep the work environment safe and productive for the hardworking men and women we rely on across the globe.

     

    Investing in the latest ergonomics research, assembly improvements and lift-assist technologies has helped us design efficient and safe assembly lines, while maintaining high vehicle quality for our customers.

    Perhaps, there is another reason behind the adoption of the EksoVest.. We believe Ford recognizes the global demographic time-bomb that is about to explode on developed economies. As Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins notes, there’s an economic headwind businesses, Central Banks, and global Governments will face: the percentage of the global population that is 65 or older will double from 10% to 20% by 2050. Ford is essentially taking the body of a prime working age male let’s say 35-48 strapping an exoskeleton on them and turning output as if they were 20-25.

    As the population grows old, Ford is turning the bodies of an aged worker into a highly productive one. Ford recognizes the demographic shift that is about to wreak havoc across many developed world economies.

    Bottom line: Has the demographic shift in western economies ushered in the start of a Skynet takeover through the adoption of wearable technology, as Ford is determined to strap employees with robotic suits?…

  • Buchanan Fears A GOP Bloodbath – The Lesson For 2018

    Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

    The day after his “Silent Majority” speech on Nov. 3, 1969, calling on Americans to stand with him for peace with honor in Vietnam, Richard Nixon’s GOP captured the governorships of Virginia and New Jersey.

    By December, Nixon had reached 68 percent approval in the Gallup Poll, though, a year earlier, he had won but 43 percent of the vote.

    Contrast Nixon’s numbers with President Trump’s.

    Where Trump won 46 percent of the vote against Hillary Clinton, his approval rating is now nearly 10 points below that. He has less support today than on the day he was elected, or inaugurated.

    Tens of millions of Americans are passionately for Trump, and tens of millions are passionately against him.

    The GOP problem: The latter cohort is equal in intensity but larger in number, and this is especially true in purple and blue states like the commonwealth of Virginia.

    There is no way to spin Tuesday as other than a Little Bighorn, and possible harbinger of what is to come.

    In George Washington’s hometown of Alexandria and Arlington County, Democratic candidate Ralph Northam won 4-1. In Fairfax and Loudoun counties, the most populous D.C. suburbs, Northam won 2-1.

    In the rural counties, however, Republican Ed Gillespie rolled up the landslides.

    As there are two Americas, there are two Virginias.

    Consider. Of all the delegate seats in the Virginia assembly allocated to Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties, the GOP can today claim only one.

    Northern Virginia is taking on the political and socioeconomic profile of San Francisco.

    Another and perhaps insoluble problem for the GOP, not only in the Old Dominion, is demography.

    Democrats rolled up their largest margins among African-Americans, Hispanics, single women, immigrants and the young. And these voting blocs are growing.

    Gillespie ran up his largest margins among white males near and past retirement age and married white women. These Middle Americans are in inexorable demographic decline.

    The Greatest Generation is passing on, and baby boomers born between 1946 and 1951 are now on Medicare and Social Security.

    Yet reports of the GOP’s demise are grossly exaggerated.

    Though Gillespie lost by nine points, Jill Vogel, who ran for lieutenant governor on Trumpian issues, lost by six.

    By 2-1, Virginians do not want their Confederate monuments torn down. Northam, sensing this, moved toward Gillespie’s position as the campaign went on. Also, among the 27 percent of Virginians who regarded taxes and immigration as the top issues, Gillespie won by nearly 4-1.

    It was health care concerns, the No. 1 issue, that buried the GOP.

    As for mainstream media rage and revulsion at the “racism” of Gillespie ads suggesting Northam supported sanctuary cities and was soft on the MS-13 gang, this reflects an abiding establishment fear of the Trumpian issues of illegal immigration and crime.

    Then there was the Republican messenger.

    A former chairman of the RNC, Washington lobbyist and White House aide, Gillespie is an establishment Republican unconvincing in the role of a fighting populist conservative. His speeches recalled not Trump’s run, but that of the Republicans Trump trounced.

    Ed Gillespie was Virginia’s version of Jeb Bush.

    Message from the Old Dominion: A purple state, trending blue, with its economy recession-proof as long as Uncle Sam across the river consumes 20 percent of GDP, is a steepening climb for the GOP. You must have a superior candidate, comfortable with cutting issues, to win it now.

    Republicans are being admonished to drop the monuments-and-memorials issue and respect why NFL players might want to “take a knee” during the national anthem.

    But if to win in Northern Virginia the GOP must move closer to the Democratic Party, why would the rest of the state want to vote for the Republican Party?

    During the campaign, both candidates moved rightward.

    Northam rejected sanctuary cities and accepted Lee and Jackson on Richmond’s Monument Avenue, and Gillespie ran Trumpian ads, even if they seemed to clash with the mild-mannered candidate himself.

    The lesson for 2018:

    While the solid support of Trumpians is indispensable for GOP victory, it is insufficient for GOP victory. Republican candidates will have to decide how close they wish to get to President Trump, or how far away they can risk going and survive.

    Facing this choice, Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker decided to pack it in. Other Republicans may follow. But a house divided will not stand.

    Republicans should recall that off-year elections are often problematic for incumbent parties. In 1954, President Eisenhower lost both houses of Congress. After pardoning Nixon in 1974, Gerald Ford lost 49 seats. In 1982, Ronald Reagan sustained a 27-seat loss.

    In 1994, Bill Clinton lost 53 seats and control of the House. In 2010, Barack Obama lost 63 seats and control of the House.

    If the nation chooses to turn Congress over to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer in 2018, will that be all Trump’s fault? Or should perhaps some credit go to Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and venerable political tradition?

  • Be Careful What You Sniff In Canada

    A new crisis is developing in Canada and it’s not the housing bubble.

    A far more sinister one, that is taking the country by storm, as a new wave of fentanyl has washed up on the shores of Canada from an unknown origin most likely China, and has made it onto city streets.

    To our friends in the business district of Toronto, be – careful what you sniff – it might contain fentanyl. 

    Here’s why:

    The number of positive tests for fentanyl in samples of heroin seized by law enforcement agencies across Canada have exploded. Health Canada’s Drug Analysis Service (DAS) revealed to CBC News that in 2012 .08% of 2,337 heroin samples tested positive for fentanyl. Fast forward to today and that number stands at 60.1% of 3,337 heroin samples, an astronomical jump visualized below.

    Seems as China has turned on the fentanyl spigot in 2016 and 2017…

    Over the past five-years of tests, marijuana samples seized by law enforcement agencies contained no fentanyl. But on a more interesting note, cocaine and methamphetamine seized by law enforcement agencies reported an increase. A potential health hazard for the modern day bankers in Toronto…..

    The most common drugs the service tests for include marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl, heroin, hydromorphone, oxycodone, MDMA, alprazolam and GHB.

     

    Fentanyl was not identified in any of the marijuana samples tested over the five-year period, while cocaine and methamphetamine saw increases from 0.01 per cent to 1.8 per cent and zero per cent to 1.7 per cent, respectively. Overall, the figures are stark. In 2012, only 217 of the street drug samples tested positive for fentanyl. Just as the number of lives claimed by the deadly opioid has skyrocketed since then, so too has the number of times fentanyl has showed up in samples of illegal street drugs. As of Sept. 30, DAS found fentanyl in 4,568 samples this year – an increase of 2,005 per cent.

    According to Dr. David Juurlink, head of clinical pharmacology and toxicology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto:

    “…the exponential increase of street drugs testing positive for fentanyl over the last five years doesn’t surprise.The illicit drug supply has never been more dangerous because of the profusion of fentanyl-related compounds. This is why so many people are dying. They’re dying because the drugs they’re using contain, you know, much more opioid than they thought.”

    In fact, Juurlink is right as shown below…

    Dr. Michael Krausz, a professor of psychiatry specializing in addiction at the University of British Columbia, explains drug dealers “want to save money or make higher profits”, so fentanyl is mixed into drugs like heroin or cocaine to stretch their supplies.

    Krausz also said drug dealers are not skilled enough to keep fentanyl doses in a survivable range while mixing it with heroin or cocaine, which is why many experts believe overdoses are occurring. Simply, the end user is not realizing what he/she is getting and ends up dead.

    Juurlink said several factors sparked fentanyl’s rise:

    • increase in demand for opioids as overprescription of painkillers led to addiction
    • flood of prescription medication
    • fentanyl patches
    • blackmarket

    In British Columbia, 80% of the street drugs are laced with fentanyl. Four mothers who have lost their sons to overdoses advocate for state controlled drugs.

    The Globe And Mail explains: Fentanyl’s deadly path

    China is a key source of illicit fentanyl coming to Canada in response to demand from prescription-painkiller addicts as well as users of street drugs, traffickers are turning to a pharmaceutical-manufacturing giant to produce deadly, black-market versions of fentanyl, according to the RCMP.

    Across Canada, police are seizing illicit fentanyl from China – Three examples from 2015: A package of fentanyl declared as a muffler was stopped on its way to Calgary; a man in Brampton, Ont., was charged with importing more than 500 grams of the drug; and a parcel destined for Halifax was found to contain 514 grams, worth about $1-million.

    Once the drug is in, it is processed – often in Western Canada – Because illicit fentanyl and fentanyl analogues are so potent, the white powder is cut or mixed with other drugs and fillers, before it can be sold on the street. Most of the 21 clandestine labs dismantled by police since 2013 operated in British Columbia and Alberta, according to a Globe and Mail analysis.

    Bootleg fentanyl is highly lucrative – The math works like this, according to Edmonton physician Hakique Virani: A kilogram of pure fentanyl powder costs $12,500. A kilo is enough to make 1,000,000 tablets. Each tab sells for $20 in major cities, for total proceeds of $20-million. In smaller markets, the street price is as high as $80.

    Fentanyl has been found in police busts all over the country –  The first known fentanyl seizure in Canada was from a clandestine lab in Montreal in April, 2013. Since then, police have busted traffickers in almost every province and the Northwest Territories, for a total of 58 across the country, according to The Globe’s analysis.

    Bottom line: China is flooding North America with fentanyl through shipping routes into Canada. The opioid crisis is far from over and its about to kick into hyperdrive. The one question we ask: how will bankers in Toronto and or on Wall Street deal with the very real possibility their blackmarket stimulants could contain fentanyl?

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