Sep 05

Today’s News 5th September 2017

  • Merkel, Schulz Agree: "It's Clear, Turkey Should Not Become An EU Member"

    Having blasted Germany for "abetting terrorists," Turkish president Edrogan was on the receiving end of some ire this weekend as the refugee crisis and the EU deal with Turkey dominated the TV debate between Chancellor Angela Merkel and her coalition ally SPD challenger Martin Schulz on Sunday.

    The rivals agreed, however, that Turkey can’t be part of the EU.

    "If I become German chancellor, if the people of this country give me a mandate, then I will propose to the European Council that we end the membership talks with Turkey. Now all red lines are crossed, so this country can no longer become a member of the EU,”said Schulz during the debate, forcing the CDU leader to clarify her position on the issue.

     

    “The fact is clear that Turkey should not become a member of the EU,”said Merkel, agreeing with Schulz.

    “I’ll speak to my [EU] colleagues to see if we can reach a joint position on this so that we can end these accession talks,” added Merkel, who is hoping to get re-elected for a fourth term.

    As RT notes, the government in Ankara is moving away from democratic principles at a “breathtaking” speed, Merkel said, adding that at the moment “the accession negotiations are non-existent.”

    However, she refused to completely freeze the relationship with Turkey.

    Additionally, Reuters reports that the actions of the Turkish authorities are making it “impossible” for the country to join the European Union, an EU executive said on Monday after German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for ending accession talks.

    Quoting European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker from last week, before Merkel’s election campaign comment, the Commission’s chief spokesman told a regular news briefing:

    “Turkey is taking giant strides away from Europe and that is making it impossible for Turkey to join the European Union.”

    He stressed, however, that any decision on whether to formally halt the long-stalled membership process would be up to the 28 member states of the bloc, not the Brussels executive.

    Turkey has been receiving funding from the EU, which will reach €6 billion by 2018, as part of the deal to halt the migrant flow into Europe, signed in March 2016. Turkey was also promised visa free travel and expedited talks on joining the EU, but the discussion of those issues remains stalled due to Ankara’s refusal to relax its harsh anti-terrorism laws. As EU-Turkish ties hang in the balance, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been actively reiterating his threats to withdraw from the deal and again allow migrants to pour into the EU.

     

  • Endless Regional Chaos: American Presence In Afghanistan Explained

    Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

    The geographic location of Afghanistan has always occupied a central role in many geopolitical studies. Donald Trump’s reasons for reinforcing US troops in the region are driven by the continuing US need to prevent a complete Eurasian integration among regional powers.

    The April peace talks between Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Russia and China seemed to have put an end to the persistent and dominant American presence in the country. In Washington, following fifteen years of war and a series of failures, many had come to the conclusion that the time had come for the United States to return home.

    Trump had throughout his electoral campaign criticized the foreign policy of his predecessors, giving the indication that he would be looking to leave Afghanistan once he assumed the presidency.

    The road plan for Afghanistan laid out by the April peace talks seemed to offer the prospect of national reconciliation between the Taliban and the central authority in Kabul, assisted by parties with great interest in the country like India and Pakistan, given their geographic proximity, as well as Russia, China and Turkey.

    The first talks in April 2017 capitalized on America's absence at the conference as well as on the will of the protagonists to reach an agreement after fifteen years of war and terror. Afghanistan is a key crossroad in the eastward expansion strategy that illustrates the special partnership between Russia and China, as seen with the steady progress of the Silk Road 2.0 initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union. Given Afghanistan’s geographic position, sharing boundaries with Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, it is useful to emphasize the role the country could play as a commercial and energy hub in the not too distant future.

    Due to incompetence or perhaps due to facing insurmountable pressures, Donald Trump is undergoing a gradual and inexorable diminution with the elimination of all the most representative members of his administration. At the same time, the appointment of military personnel to civilian roles has pushed the administration into unexplored directions not foreshadowed in the electoral campaign. Trump spoke of less US military presence in the internal affairs of other nations. But as we shall see, nothing could be further from the truth.

    The appointment of Generals McMaster, Kelly and Mattis (Mattis perhaps being the most powerful US defense secretary since the end of World War II) is Trump's attempt to withstand and bargain with the most significant elements of America’s deep state. A strong military component in the White House helps ensure continuity in US foreign policy. Contrary to what was professed during the elections, Donald Trump immediately traded American foreign policy in exchange for explicit GOP backing for key legislation that will help secure a 2020 re-election. Without bills on health, tax and immigration reform being passed, there will be no arguments in favor of the GOP and Trump during the midterm and presidential elections in 2018 and 2020 respectively.

    The deep state in Washington has slowly but inexorably taken over Trump's presidency, a task made all the simpler by Trump’s character, which dismisses his lack of experience with an overweening self-confidence. The military component of the deep state, in concert with GOP leaders, took less than six months to quash Trump's electoral promises and turn the president’s foreign policy into a dangerous reprise of the Obama and Bush years.

    More and more frequently, American intervention in foreign lands lead to situations of uncontrollable chaos, with no real central authority able to govern and obey Washington’s orders. The current state of the Middle East is reflective of this. In Afghanistan, Washington, especially Mattis, is cognizant of the country's rebirth under Sino-Russian leadership after fifteen years of America’s presence. This is a scenario that the US deep state is not willing to tolerate.

    Leaving aside Afghanistan’s huge amounts of natural resources (about one trillion in precious metals), as well as its strategic location linking east and west, a peaceful Afghanistan led by a single central authority would hardly cohere with US objectives in the country. The US loves to consider itself the indispensable nation for peace in Afghanistan, when actually it is the main obstacle to peace.

    For American foreign policy continuity, Afghanistan needs to remain in a chaotic situation. Above all, the US military industrial complex is not willing to surrender its political and military power in the country, only to be substituted by Moscow or Beijing. With these unofficial motives, General Mattis announced a surge of several thousand American troops to the country. It is immediately clear that numerically and tactically, four or five thousand soldiers will make no difference. The intent is purely demonstrative, as seen in Syria with a few missiles lobbed at an empty airbase. The purpose is to send a clear and unambiguous message to Russia, China, Pakistan and even India, to the effect that without American consensus, no strategic reorganization is permissible in Afghanistan.

    General Mattis and all those who for decades have been constantly thinking of MacKinder's geopolitical theory (Heartland Theory) are aware of the strategic importance of keeping Afghanistan hostile towards regional powers like China and Russia. The USSR's war in defense of the country, and the socialist superpower’s subsequent collapse, offers a historical warning.

    In April, Moscow and Beijing, with the tacit approval of New Delhi and Islamabad, launched a peace process in Kabul that should have facilitated talks between the central authority and the Taliban to bring about a truce that would bring to an end the violence and destruction that had over fifteen years left the country bleeding in endless poverty and suffering.

    The American surge will not advance American interests in the country. It will not change the delicate balance negotiated between the parties back in April. It will not affect the efforts of Moscow and Beijing to stabilize the country. It will only buy Washington more time by bombing and killing civilians, always viewed by American generals as an acceptable and privileged option available to them.

    Like in other parts of the world, the presence of American troops does not fully explain the long-term goals of military planners. Afghanistan in some respects resembles a similar situation to Southeast Asia. In South Korea, the American presence has persisted since 1950, and with it the destabilization of the Korean peninsula. As in Asia, the central purpose of the American presence in Afghanistan is to occupy geo-strategic zones in order to prevent Eurasian integration between powers like India, China and Russia. Secondly, it is the constant presence of troops and military bases in locations close to or around the two major powers of China and Russia that aims to overburden and thereby diminish the defensive capabilities of these two strategic threats. In 1962, when the USSR did something similar in response to the US deployment of patriot missiles in Turkey, it started building up its offensive capability in the Western Hemisphere using Cuba as a military base. The US was willing to go to war to halt this domestic threat and for weeks the world was on the verge of a nuclear conflict. Only dialogue between American and Soviet leaders averted this threat to human existence.

    Conclusions

    Washington cares for nothing other than its own interests. But twenty-five years after the end of the Cold War, the world is changing, and more and more fruitful efforts to replace the chaos wrought by US policies can be seen with peaceful, mutually beneficial cooperation increasingly being the order of the day. The road to economic prosperity and a re-established unity among the Afghan people is still a work in progress, but once the country manages to establish its independence, Washington will have a hard time dictating conditions. Countries like Russia, China and India have every intention of using diplomacy and peacekeeping to prevent a dangerous escalation in Afghanistan.

    India and China have some divergence over the future of the region, but by the start of the 2017 BRICS conference, they had already resolved a border dispute that lasted over two months. The ability to create diverse organizations like BRICS, AIIB and SCO provides the opportunity to begin any kind of negotiation with a legal and economic foundation. This represents a commendable example of overcoming differences through diplomacy and economic benefits.

    While the United States exhales the last breaths as a declining global power, no longer able to impose its will, it lashes out in pointless acts like lobbing 60 cruise missiles at Syria or sending 4000 troops to Afghanistan. Such acts do not change anything on the ground or modify the balance of forces in Washington’s favor. They do, however, have a strong impact on further reducing whatever confidence remains in the US, closing the door to opportunities for dialogue and cooperation that may otherwise have offered themselves.

    Trump promised isolationism. His generals, behind the scenes, have managed to make this electoral promise come true, leaving Washington alone in the international arena in the near term.

  • Putting North Korea's "Bomb Test" In Context

    On Sunday, North Korea tested its most powerful nuclear bomb yet, detonating a device that caused a 6.3 magnitude tremor.

    The weapon's sheer power has caused alarm but the fact that Pyongyang is claiming it can be fitted inside an intercontinental ballistic missile is sending shockwaves through Asia and beyond.

    Using data from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Statista's Niall McCarthy presents the following infographic provides an overview of the strength of all North Korean nuclear tests since 2006.

    Infographic: North Korea Tests Its Most Powerful Bomb Yet  | Statista

    You will find more statistics at Statista

    Sunday's detonation was estimated to have been 100 kilotons or more, far more powerful than previous tests and the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. How does it compare with the warheads inside current U.S. and Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles?

    According to the Economist, the U.S. Trident and Russian SS ballistic missiles have a yield of 455 and 800 kilotons respectively.

  • So Deep, It's Sunk?

    Authored by Robert Gore via StraightLineLogic.com,

    If you strike the king but do not kill him, by definition your position is weak.

    There has never have been a deeper deep state than the Soviet Union’s. It controlled everything: the military, intelligence, the judicial system, the rest of the government, the press, and the economy. It operated in shadows and darkness; there was no loyal opposition or media to shine the occasional light. Yet at 7:32 p.m., December 26, 1991, the Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin and replaced with the Russian flag. The Soviet of the Republics of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union’s declaration number 142-H recognized the independence of the Soviet republics. Mikhail Gorbachev had resigned, handing power to Boris Yeltsin. The Soviet Union and its deep state were no more.

    There are still lessons to be generally recognized from the fall of the Soviet Union.

    First and foremost: command and control doesn’t work. That’s a lesson US commanders and controllers and their media and academic fellow travelers ignore at their peril. They cling to their cherished vision of American life directed from above, with the infamous Deep State at the apex of the power pyramid, the ultimate string pullers. Recent maneuvers, however, suggest a Deep State so tangled in its own strings that any attempt to free itself will only make the situation worse.

    A deep state operates submerged from public view. The US deep state had to emerge in its effort to topple Trump, an emergence that screams weakness (see “Plot Holes”). The ineptitude of the effort made the weakness that much more apparent. A claim that Russia had hacked the Democratic Nation Committee (DNC) last summer and then used Wikileaks to disseminate what it had hacked, all in collusion with Donald Trump’s campaign, was the cornerstone of this maladroit coup. It should have raised more eyebrows than it did that the DNC refused to turn over its servers to the FBI for analysis, and that the only confirmation of the hacking claim came from a contractor, Crowdstrike, which had numerous conflicts of interest, including that it was paid by the DNC.

    No objective, scientific analysis of the evidence was performed until that of the Veterans Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). That group forensically analyzed the metadata associated with the alleged hack. The speed with which the material was downloaded precluded an Internet based hack. The only way it could have been downloaded so quickly was onto an external storage device. That’s a leak, not a remote hack. It had to have been done by someone with direct access to the DNC’s computer system, which suggests a DNC insider, perhaps Seth Rich.

    Alternative news site consortiumnews.com published the VIPS’ analysis and conclusions . Mainstream “confirmation” followed at the left-leaning thenation.com. With its cornerstone gone, the Russian collusion story collapsed. For form’s sake Special Prosecutor Mueller will fan the embers for the next few months, perhaps uncovering a technical violation or two of this or that inconsequential law, perhaps releasing some sort of face saving report, but even the most rabid anti-Trumpers appear to recognize that the Russian hack dog won’t hunt.

    If this is the best the supposed all-powerful deep state could come up with, then the deep state isn’t nearly as powerful as supposed. The way this affair was handled buttresses that conclusion, because it opens deep staters to serious legal liability.

    Before the election they thought they would be shielded by a Clinton administration, but now they’re wide open to prosecution for a number of possible crimes. There is the FBI’s dereliction of duty, not performing its own analysis of DNC servers and accepting Crowdstrike’s conclusions without further scrutiny. (It was apparently in bed with the Clinton camp from the get-go.) There are the multiple leaks to friendly news outlets of classified information. There are the intelligence reports with their damning and much-reported, but evidence free, best assessments and probable conclusions. Potentially the most legally troublesome: a cabal of deep state insiders concocted their story to unseat a duly elected United States president. That makes out a prima facie case of treason.

    If you strike the king but do not kill him, by definition your position is weak. He can exact ultimate retribution and your head is in a basket, or he can let you twist in the wind. The best guess is that Trump will do both, depending on the specifics of each conspirator’s situation and which course will be most useful to him.

    When California Senator Diane Feinstein says conciliatory things about Trump, infuriating her base, you know things have changed. As ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, she has also joined chairman Charles Grassley requesting interviews with two high-ranking FBI officials concerning the discredited Trump dossier. She’s one of the shrewdest power players in Washington, a deep state stalwart. Her effort with Grassley and her conciliation aren’t magnanimous gestures from the bottom of her black heart. Rather she’s bending the knee; Trump has won the game of thrones.

    When the major mainstream media outlets in unison condemn Antifa’s violent tactics, you know things have changed. George Soros, meet Donald Trump and the new order. The condemnations toss the latest kerfuffle about what Trump said after Charlottesville down the memory hole, and give Trump cover to do something about fringe violence in the future. The extremists are by no means finished; that wouldn’t serve anyone’s purposes. They’ll make handy scapegoats; you never know when there’s going to be a fire at the Reichstag.

    There has been a tiresome litany of articles about Trump’s capture by the deep state, characterizing him as a puppet for the military and Goldman Sachs. Whatever idealism motivated his run for president is gone and he’s now supposedly just an errand boy. The commentators who bemoaned the firing of Michael Flynn dusted off their articles, changed and rearranged a few things, and bemoaned the departure of Steve Bannon. Poor Donald’s all by himself in big, bad Washington. Except he’s mowing down his enemies one by one (it looks like James Comey may be next), and he’s got the deep state cornered. As for his associates, if there’s one clear lesson from Trump’s life it’s that everyone—wives, employees, Goldman Sachs flunkies, generals, you name it—is expendable. Some of those he’s terminated in the past probably thought they had the upper hand.

    Many of the same Trump-as-puppet commentators dusted off their articles bemoaning Trump’s bombing of the Syrian air base, changed and rearranged a few things, and bemoaned Trump’s Afghanistan escalation. Few of those latter articles mentioned that the Syrian government, with the aid of Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah, has turned the corner on quashing the rebellion, ISIS is on the run, and Syrian refugees are returning home. All of which sets the stage for the US to eventually leave Syria. Look for something similar to eventually play out in Afghanistan, and to go similarly unremarked upon.

    Donald Trump didn’t risk all for the Iron Throne to let Goldman Sachs and the military run the show. He has allied with those power centers, but he’s calling the shots. Trump has allied with another power center: state and local police departments. He has given them fulsome, vocal support, encouragement to be more brutal, rescission of President Obama’s civil asset forfeiture rollback, and promises of more military gear. This is what one would expect of a ruler bent on consolidating his power—secure the praetorians. The Bill of Rights won’t stand in the way of sealing that alliance.

    Trump’s supporters can’t believe their man’s primary motivation is acquiring power. Trump’s enemies, other than Senator Feinstein, can’t believe how good he is at it. Neither side will recognize the real danger until it’s too late. Legions of worrywarts fret that an erratic, captured Trump will go off half-cocked and press a nuclear button or do something else almost as stupidly devastating. What should worry them are the precise calculations and bloodless strategies of the most ruthlessly Machiavellian president since Franklin D. Roosevelt as he further consolidates and extends his power. Given present jurisprudence, nothing in the Constitution stands in his way.

  • North Korea Seen Moving ICBM Into Position For Possible Launch: Report

    The USDJPY and 10Y yields snapped lower and gold kneejerked higher following the latest North Korea-related headline out of Bloomberg, according to which:

    • NKOREA STARTS MOVING ICBM FOR POSSIBLE LAUNCH BEFORE SAT.:DAILY

    Bloomberg references a just released article in the Asia Business Daily, according to which North Korea started moving the ICBM-class missile, produced at a new Pyongyang research center, on Monday following Sunday’s thermonuclear test.

    The report confirms overnight intelligence from South Korea: recall first thing this morning, Yonhap reported that South Korea’s spy agency said it had detected that North Korea is making preparations for a possible intercontinental ballistic missile launch, a move that would further raise tensions a day after it conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear detonation.

    Chang Kyung-soo, acting chief of the defense ministry‚Äôs policy planning office, told lawmakers on Monday that North Korea was making preparations for a missile firing, according to Bloomberg while Yonhap adds that South Korea’s spy agency said there was a chance the North could fire an ICBM into the Pacific Ocean, saying that the isolated state was able to conduct a nuclear test at any time.

    According to the just released Business Daily report, there is high chance N. Korea will fire ICBM missile before Sept. 9 national founding day. More details from the original report, Google translated:

    According to the authorities, one ballistic missile produced by a weapons research institute dedicated to the production of North Korea’s ICBM was found to be moving to the west of Hwanghae Island after being mounted on the 4th Mobile Launch Base (TEL) on the day after the 6th nuclear test.

    Earlier this year, North Korea built a 1980-square-meter weapons lab, which could manufacture ICBMs, in Pyongyang. It was last February that the weapon laboratory was released to the outside world. Although it was a wilderness until 2009, it has now been transformed into a strategic hub for North Korea’s major missiles.

    According to a joint US-ROK report, North Korea has a maximum of 900 ballistic missiles, and it has been confirmed that there are 108 aircraft capable of launching surprise attacks. According to ballistic missiles, the number of Scud missiles and TEL that can mount Scud missiles are the most common. The number of Scud missiles is 430 (TEL 36).

    The report concludes by noting that according to S. Korean intel, “if North Korea conducts further ICBM provocations there is a high possibility that it will choose an unpredictable time and place. To this end, Pyongyang may launch missiles directly from the mobile launch base, or launch multiple missiles at multiple locations simultaneously.

    The report also notes that the ICBM mobile launcher is moving “at low speed mainly during the night time” to avoid detection by foreign intelligence authorities. In other words, the US now has a conveniently moving target and a due date by which North Korea will likely launch its next rocket, effectively giving Trump a greenlight for a “preemptive” strike over the next five days.

    The market’s reaction to the news, while not as dramatic as to Sunday’s nuclear test, confirms just how much on edge traders remain for every headline out of North Korea.

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  • Ron Paul Explains Why "Government 'Aid' Only Makes Disasters Worse"

    Authored by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

    Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey, including my family and me, appreciate the outpouring of support from across the country. President Donald Trump has even pledged to donate one million dollars to relief efforts. These private donations will be much more valuable than the as much as 100 billion dollars the federal government is expected to spend on relief and recovery.

    Federal disaster assistance hinders effective recovery efforts, while federal insurance subsidies increase the damage caused by natural disasters.

    Federal disaster aid has existed since the early years of the republic. In fact, it was a payment to disaster victims that inspired Davy Crockett’s “Not Yours to Give” speech. However, the early federal role was largely limited to sending checks. The federal government did not become involved in managing disaster relief and recovery until the 20th century. America did not even have a federal agency dedicated solely to disaster relief until 1979, when President Jimmy Carter created the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by executive order. Yet, Americans somehow managed to rebuild after natural disasters before 1979. For example, the people of Galveston, Texas successfully rebuilt the city following a major hurricane that destroyed the city in 1900.

    FEMA’s well-documented inefficiencies are the inevitable result of centralizing control over something as complex as disaster recovery in a federal bureaucracy.

    When I served in Congress, I regularly voted against federal disaster aid for my district. After the votes, I would hear from angry constituents, many of whom would later tell me that after dealing with FEMA they agreed that Texas would be better off without federal “help.”

    Following natural disasters, individuals who attempt to return to their own property – much less try to repair the damage – without government permission can be arrested and thrown in jail.

    Federal, state, and local officials often hinder or even stop voluntary rescue and relief efforts.

    FEMA is not the only counterproductive disaster assistance program.

    The National Flood Insurance Program was created to provide government-backed insurance for properties that could not obtain private insurance on their own. By overruling the market’s verdict that these properties should not be insured, federal flood insurance encourages construction in flood-prone areas, thus increasing the damage caused by flooding.

    Just as payroll taxes are unable to fully fund Social Security and Medicare, flood insurance premiums are unable to fund the costs of flood insurance. Federal flood insurance was almost $25 billion in the red before Hurricane Harvey. Congress will no doubt appropriate funding to pay all flood insurance claims, thus increasing the national debt. This in turn will cause the Federal Reserve to print more money to monetize that debt, thus hastening the arrival of the fiscal hurricane that will devastate the US economy. Yet, there is little talk of offsetting any of the costs of hurricane relief with spending cuts!

    Congress should start phasing out the federal flood insurance program by forbidding the issuance of new flood insurance policies. It should also begin reducing federal spending on disaster assistance. Instead, costs associated with disaster recovery should be made 100-percent tax-deductible. Those who suffered the worst should be completely exempted from all federal tax liability for at least two years. Tax-free savings accounts could also help individuals save money to help them bear the costs of a natural disaster.

    The outpouring of private giving and volunteer relief efforts we have witnessed over the past week shows that the American people can effectively respond to natural disasters if the government would get out of their way.

  • Japan Prepares For Mass Evacuation Of 60,000 Citizens From South Korea

    It won’t be the first time that a near-panicked Japan has came close to the edge when it comes to North Korea, and in preparation for an “emergency” was planning to evacuate its citizens located in South Korea. The last such notable spike in escalations took place in April, when as the Yomiuri Shimbun reported at the time, the Japanese government had asked the U.S. to provide advance consultation if it is about to launch military action against North Korea, and “ramped up preparations for emergency situations”, including the potential evacuation of some 57,000 Japanese citizens currently in South Korea.

    Fast forward to today, when moments ago Japan’s Nikkei reported that as tensions on the Korean Peninsula reach new heights following Pyongyang’s first (allegedly) hydrogen bomb test, Japan is planning a possible mass evacuation of the nearly 60,000 Japanese citizens currently living in or visiting South Korea.

    “There is a possibility of further provocations,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a Monday meeting with ruling coalition lawmakers. “We need to remain extremely vigilant and do everything we can to ensure the safety of our people.”

    In response to North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, Japan and the U.S. are seeking a peaceful resolution by ratcheting up economic pressure on the rogue state through an oil embargo and other measures, while South Korea’s president has also called for a currency/FX blockade of the Kim regime. And yet, what has spooked Tokyo is that on Sunday, Defense Secretary James Mattis also said any threat to the U.S. or its allies “will be met with a massive military response – a response both effective and overwhelming.” Which means thousands of Japanese may soon be in harm’s way.

    According to Nikkei, there are currently about 38,000 long-term Japanese residents in South Korea, as well as another 19,000 or so tourists and other short-term travelers. “If the U.S. decided on a military strike against the North, the Japanese government would start moving toward an evacuation on its own accord regardless of whether the American plans are public,” a Japanese government source said.

    Tokyo is working on a four-tier emergency plan based on the severity of the situation: discouraging unessential travel to South Korea, discouraging all travel to South Korea, urging Japanese citizens there to evacuate, and finally, urging them to shelter in place.

     

    Should skirmishes erupt between the two Koreas, for example, the Japanese government would discourage all new travel to South Korea. At the same time, it would urge citizens already there to evacuate using commercial flights. Although the Japanese Embassy would help secure airline reservations, the government’s role under this scenario would mainly be to provide information.

     

    But Japan would need to coordinate with South Korean authorities under a shelter-in-place scenario. If Pyongyang launched a major military attack that leads to the closure of South Korean airports, the Japanese embassy would urge citizens still in the country to stay at home, or move to a safer area within the South.

    Also in case of a worst case scenario, Seoul has agreed to give Japanese citizens access to safe zones, such as designated subway stations, churches and shopping malls, according to a Japanese source. The Japanese government has already provided its citizens in South Korea with information on over 900 such facilities.

    Furthermore, in the event of airport closures, the best option for Japanese citizens to return home would be by sea from the southeastern port city of Busan. The Japanese government is working to obtain cooperation from U.S. forces stationed in South Korea to transport evacuees across the country from Seoul to Busan.

    Additionally, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces would need permission from South Korea’s government to operate inside the country. Approval has not been forthcoming, Yonhap reports, and could provoke a backlash from a South Korean public harboring historical grievances at the former colonial power. But SDF vessels could help in ferrying Japanese citizens home from Busan.

    Such a crises could make it easier for terrorists and other dangerous individuals to enter Japan disguised as returning citizens. The Japanese government aims to work with the U.S. to prevent such unlawful entry. One proposal would create a temporary holding area for returnees in Busan or Japan.

     

    “We are looking at a range of responses” to a crisis on the Korean Peninsula, from securing evacuees and processing their entry to creating and operating holding facilities, as well as determining whether Japan is responsible for their protection, Abe had said at a parliamentary session in April.

    As we reported in April, and as the infographic below showed, the Japanese government has been contemplating five potential emergency responses should a military clash break out between the US and North Korea. They include the following:

    • Logistical support by Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in the event of a local conflict
    • Use of force by the SDF in the event of a full scale war
    • Protection of Japanese citizens in South Korea
    • Preparation for armed attacks against Japan
    • Civil protection and response to evacuees 

  • Get Out While You Still Can: Paris Hilton Pitches An ICO On Twitter

    The ICO market just received an endorsement from the reality television star who tried to copyright the phrase "that's hot."

    Hotel-empire heiress Paris Hilton revealed on twitter that she’s joined the ICO party just as the Chinese government has announced harsh new restrictions that will make it virtually impossible for its citizens, some of the most voracious buyers of these coins, to participate in new offerings.

    Hilton said this weekend that she’s “looking forward” to participating in an offering called Lydiancoin.

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    According to Business Insider, LydianCoin is a platform that wants to combine the blockchain with "targeted, AI driven digital marketing and advertising services." In its white paper (of course, the company launching the offering hasn’t actually built the product yet), advertising-tech company Gravity4 aims to raise $100 million by selling 20 million Lydian coins at $5 a pop. As BI reports, Gravity4's CEO Gubaksh Chahal pleaded guilty to assault in 2014 after being accused of beating his girlfriend, and was accused of violating his probation by assaulting another woman.

    Hilton joins a pack of celebrities who’ve used their presence on social media to hype ICOs. Floyd “Crypto” Mayweather, has publicized his investments in a handful of ICOs. Dennis Rodman notoriously wore a t-shirt advertising an ICO called “potcoin” when he returned from visiting Kim Jong Un in North Korea earlier this year.

    Rapper the Game has been talking up Paragon Coin, a coin that aims to “revolutionize” the legal marijuana market.

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    As BI notes, the involvement of celebrities is a sign that ICOs are going mainstream. However, with governments from China to Russia – and even the SEC in the US – preparing to crack down on the nascent market, which is expected to raise nearly $2 billion this year according to analysts at Pitchbook, the combined power of regulators in some of the biggest markets for digital currencies could swiftly put an end to the party.

    According to Bloomberg, fans and skeptics of ICOs will interpret Hilton’s involvement differently.

    To critics of the booming world of ICOs, Hilton’s involvement is the latest example of a fad finance trend that has already seen the offerings raise $1.25 billion this year. To its supporters, it’s evidence of the networking effect that will quicken the development of ICOs.

    Not that the market needs any help. Some of the most successful ICOs have raised more than $200 million – with little more than a white paper sketching out their product idea. Inevitably, the vast majority of these coins will quickly become worthless, while their creators will have extracted hundreds of millions of dollars in wealth from unwitting buyers.

    Get out while you still can.

  • Red October In Washington In 2017?

    Submitted by Iben Thranholm

    Red October in Washington in 2017?

    I recently I came across a video on Youtube showing a presentation by former Soviet KGB propagandist Yuri Bezmenov, aka Tomas Schuman, who worked for Novosti Press Agency during the Soviet era until he defected in 1970. Yuri Bezmenov issued a strong warning to America that they were not living in an age of peace and love as many believed. Quite the contrary, he claimed. America was slowly being subverted into Marxism. He predicted that it would eventually lead to a revolution in the USA that would put an end to the free world. The question is if the revolution in the US he warned against is just about to happen.

    The 1983 video shows a lecture he delivered in Los Angeles on methods of “ideological subversion”, a form of warfare the KGB used against America.

    Bezmenov explains that the main effort of the KGB was not conventional intelligence at all. Only some 15 per cent of resources was spent on James-Bond-style espionage, while 85 per cent was devoted to a slow process called “ideological subversion” or “active measures”.

    What this means, Bezmenov explains, is to change Americans’ perception of reality to such an degree that no American is able to draw a sensible conclusion in the interest of defending themselves, their families, communities and their country, regardless of the abundance of information available to them. It is a massive brainwashing process achieved at a very slow pace. 

    The process is split into four stages: 1) demoralization, 2) destabilization, 3) crisis, and 4) normalization.  

    In his book “Love Letter to America” from 1984, Bezmenov explains how the main principle of ideological subversion is turning a stronger force against itself, and the crucial role demoralization plays in that process.

    He writes, “It takes about 15 to 20 years to demoralize a nation. Why that many (or few)? Simple: this is the minimum number of years needed to ‘educate' ONE GENERATION of students in a target country (America, for example) and expose them to the ideology of the subverter. It is imperative that any sufficient challenge and counter-balance by the basic moral values and ideology of this country be eliminated.

    The main methods used by Marxists in the West, Bezmenov explains, were to: “corrupt the young, get them interested in sex, take them away from religion. Make them superficial and enfeebled […] destroy people's faith in their national leaders by holding the latter up for contempt, ridicule and disgrace […] cause breakdown of the old moral virtues: honesty, sobriety, self-restraint, faith in the pledged word.

    The main targets are religious faith, education, media and culture – hippie-movement of that day. Although to all appearances America firmly rejected Soviet Communism during the Cold War, Bezmenov very correctly observes that there was a massive undercurrent of Marxist-Leninist indoctrination at many, if not most, universities and institutions of learning, in the media and artistic communities in the West throughout the 1960s and 1970s that was never challenged or counterbalanced by fundamental American patriotic values. This was especially true of the entertainment industry. According to Bezmenov, a group of rock or pop-musicians with a message of 'social-justice' sugar-coated in popular 'spiritual' tunes was actually more helpful to the KGB than someone standing in the pulpit preaching Marxist-Leninist doctrine. 

    The 1983 video shows Bezmenov explaining that the demoralisation process in the US had already been completed to a degree beyond the wildest dreams of the top leadership in the Kremlin.

    This proces was done by Americans to Americans thanks to lack of morals.  Most of the people educated in the 1960s, intellectuals are now occupying the positions of power in the government, civil service, mass media and the education system. You are stuck with them,” Bezmenov points out. 

    This has resulted in the ideology of Cultural Marxism, which consists of eroding all traditions and values, thus destroying the foundations of Judeo-Christian culture. The initial round of Marxism, implemented in 1917 in Russia, was mainly about economical reforms and the distribution of financial goods. This model has now collapsed with the demise of the Soviet Union. No one fights for state socialism any more. Multinational companies have taken over. However, the spirit of Communism lives on in the West, the cradle of Marxism, in the shape of false compassion, freedom and equality in absurd measure. The second coming of Marxism, which now unfolds in the West, assumes the form of identity politics, which aims to obliterate all distinctions based on race, gender, culture and religion, using the weapon of open borders and mass immigration. The special target is the traditional family, which s attacked constantly and viciously in the attempt to create a culture in which identity and fundamental relations are dissolved. Transgenderism is another way to deprive a human of his or her fundamental identity. All this is done in order to allow the state or large multinational corporations to control these individuals, who no longer know for certain who they really are. As Soviet Communism dismantled economic class distinctions, cultural Marxism and  multiculturalism will obliterate all identity and national distinctions in order to facilitate global control of the masses. The white, Christian male, branded as a supremacist, is the new capitalist or nobleman, who must go to the scaffold, like the czar and his courtiers. Accusation of hate-speech is the new form of censorship that radical leftists apply to control all discourse. The media have manipulated the concept of truth beyond all recognition of truth and falsehood. Truth is what the powers that be want to apply. 

    As we witness the current development in the USA, especially after the violent clashes in Charlottesville and the disturbances and violence instigated by movements like Antifa and Black Lives Matter, it is relevant to ask – following Bezmenov’s analysis – if the third item, the crisis, of the “ideological subversion” process is unfolding before our eyes in the USA. According to Bezmenov it may take only six weeks to bring a country to the verge of crisis ( as we saw it in Central America in the 1970s) and – after the crisis – the violent change of power, structure and economy, the period of normalization begins, which will usher in a new regime. We have seen the same method used in the Middle East with the Arab Spring, and the Maidan coup in Ukraine in 2014. Western society is now undergoing the same process with destabilization through radical leftist movements and dominance of social justice warriors.

    Just now, protesters carry out a ten-day “civil disobedience” march starting on 28 August in Charlottesville, Virginia, headed to Washington D.C. to fight white supremacy and demand that President Trump be removed from office. 

    "The March to Confront White Supremacy" states it will travel to the nation's capital and then occupy it with non-violent demonstrations. 

    "For years, white supremacist violence, rhetoric, and policies have escalated and intensified – exploding during Donald Trump’s run for president and reaching a boiling point in Charlottesville," the event’s web site reads.

    "We demand that President Trump must be removed from office for allying himself with this ideology of hate and we demand an agenda that repairs the damage it has done to our country and its people," the march organizers wrote. 

    Professor Mark Bray, a historian and lecturer at Dartmouth, author of a new book entitled "Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook,” defined the Antifa movement recently in an interview on NBC News: 

    It’s basically a politics or an activity of social revolutionary self-defence. It’s a pan-left radical politics uniting Communists, Socialists, Anarchists and various different radical leftists together for the shared purpose of combating the far right.

    In the interview, Bray explains that anti-fascists go about resisting fascism, and discusses if they are ethically reasonable as collective self-defence against fascism and Nazism."

    The resistance against the “old, conservative America”, also visible in the dismantling of statues, is now so strong that the opposition to Trump think it is reasonable to discuss if the de radical leftist movements are ethically defensible in their fight against what they call fascism and the policies the claim Trump represents. 

    As I see it, this bears an uncanny resemblance to the political events leading up to the October revolution in Russia in 1917. Antifa, the tearing down of statues and the march on Washington now resemble the revolutionary Bolshevik uprising that brought down the government in 1917 and later, in February 1918, deposed Czar Nicolas II.  Although today’s protesters currently joining in the "The March to Confront White Supremacy” from Charlottesville to Washington DC claim that they are non-violent, their aim is – with or without violent clashes – to depose President Trump and his presidency. If they succeed sooner or later in ousting the president, like the Democrats have attempted to do together with the radical leftist ever since Trump was inaugurated, it will actually amount to a coup d’etat like in the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. 

    This will complete the ideological subversion that Yuri Bezmenov warned against and take it into its final stage, which is normalization. If this happens, everything we have understood American culture to be will be replaced by pure cultural Marxism, that is, a new kind of Soviet regime with multiculturalism as its ideology. 

    Paradoxically, these are the very political movements that spearhead the hysteria of accusations of Russian involvement in America’s democratic elections and Trump’s alleged cooperation with the Russians. The radical leftists hate Russia because they cannot forgive them for abandoning Marxism and instead embracing conservative, Christian values as the foundations of modern Russia.

    Yet how will the right and the movement behind Trump react if the radicals leftist attack Trump in earnest? Former Trump adviser Roger Stone believes a civil war would ensue if Congress were to impeach President Donald Trump.

    In case he is right, the question is whether the right will be able to win such a civil  war. Their Achilles’ heel is that they are themselves soaked in the dye of moral and spiritual culture Marxist ideological subversion. There are few genuine conservatives left, but many of them are moral relativists, who live by the cultural Marxist creed. A good example is British homosexual media personality Milo Yiannopoulos, who often rails against the leftists. In a speech entitled “10 things Milo hates about Islam”, he proclaims his hatred of the left, but simultaneously swears his allegiance to it. He states:

    On the one hand, we’re defending America from the excesses of the left, and the threat they represent to free expression and freedom of association. On the other hand, we have to defend the good things that the left has achieved – women’s rights, gay rights, and tolerance […]

    Thus is the precise predicament in which the right in the West is stuck. They are against the left’s position on mass immigration, but their morals, culture and spirituality are cut from the same cloth. Not that conservatives are against respect and tolerance, but the right’s desire for civil rights are often based on moral relativism, which is at the core of cultural Marxism.

    Demoralization has also had its effect on the right, and therefore it has not the moral superiority to win the battle. It is not fundamentally separate from the left on sexuality and family. The West currently has no real alternative to cultural Marxism unless an entirely new movement arise that re-establishes eternal moral values defined as faith, love, freedom, conscience, family, motherland and nation. Bezmenov also points this out at the closing of his lecture, as he calls for “a very strong national effort to educate people in the spirit of real patriotism and to explain the real danger of socialism, communism, welfare state and big brother state. If people will fail to grasp the impending danger, nothing ever can help the USA. Then its good bye to freedom”, he concludes.

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