Here’s how the Trump presidency will play out

January 19, 2017

by Pepe Escobar

ThHere’s how the Trump presidency will play oute Trump era starts now – with geopolitics and geoeconomics set for a series of imminent, unpredictable cliffhangers.

I have argued that Trump’s foreign policy guru Henry Kissinger’s strategy to deal with the formidable Eurasia integration trio – Russia, China and Iran – is a remixed Divide and Rule; seduce Russia away from its strategic partnership with China, while keep harassing the weakest link, Iran.

In fact that’s how it’s already playing out – as in the outbursts of selected members of Trump’s cabinet during their US Senate hearings. Factions of US Think Tankland, referring to Nixon’s China policy, which was designed by Kissinger, are also excited with the possibilities of containment regarding at least one of those powers “potentially arrayed against America”.

Kissinger and Dr. Zbig “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski are the two foremost, self-described Western dalangs – puppet masters – in the geopolitical arena. In opposition to Kissinger, Obama’s foreign policy mentor Brzezinski, true to his Russophobia, proposes a Divide and Rule centered on seducing China.

Yet an influential New York business source, very close to the real, discreet Masters of the Universe, who correctly predicted Trump’s victory weeks before the fact, after examining my argument offered not only a scathing appraisal of those cherished dalangs; he volunteered to detail how the new normal was laid out by the Masters directly to Trump. Let’s call him “X”.

The non-stop China watch

“X” starts by doing something US deep state-connected regulars, who revere their idols, never dare to, at least in public; “It is important not to attribute too much importance to either Kissinger or Brzezinski as they are merely fronts for those who make the decisions and it is their job to cloak the decisions with a patina of intellectuality. Their input means relatively nothing. I use their names on occasion as I cannot use the names of those who actually make the decisions.”

That’s the cue for “X” to detail the new normal; “Trump was elected with the support of the Masters to tilt towards Russia. The Masters have their tools in the media and Congress maintaining a vilification campaign against Russia, and have their puppet Brzezinski also come out against Russia, stating ‘America’s global influence depends on cooperation with China’. The purpose is to threaten Russia to cooperate and place these chips on the negotiating table for Trump. In a traditional good cop-bad cop approach, Donald is portrayed as the good cop wanting good relations with Russia, and Congress, media, Brzezinski are the bad cops. This is to aid Trump in the negotiations with Russia as Putin sees the ‘precarious’ position of his friend and should be willing to make major concessions as the line goes.”

And that brings us to how Taiwan – and Japan – got into the mix;

“Donald shows the Russian tilt by talking to the Taiwanese, demonstrating that the shift is serious. But it was decided to throw Japan into the mix as a predator against US industry, with an attack on Toyota, thoroughly deserved. That moderated the position as the Masters became afraid that the perception of our building up Japan against China would be too much of a provocation.”

So expect China – as “not too much importance” Kissinger prescribed – to be under non-stop scrutiny;

“The Masters have decided to reindustrialize the United States and want to take jobs back from China. This is advisable from the Chinese viewpoint; for why should they sell their work to the US for a dollar that has no intrinsic value and get really nothing back for the work. China should have a car in every Chinese worker’s garage and they will become a larger producer of cars than the EU, US and Japan combined, and their own nation will keep their wealth in their own country.”

And why China over Russia? “Russia in this sense being a natural resource country with a gigantic military industrial complex (the latter being the only reason she is secretly respected) is exempt from any tough trade talk as they hardly export anything but natural resources and military equipment. The Masters want jobs back from Mexico and Asia including Japan, Taiwan, etc., and you see this in Trump’s attack on Japan. The main underlying reason is that the US has lost control of the seas and cannot secure its military components during a major war. This is all that matters now and this is the giant story behind the scenes.”

In only a few words “X” details the reversal of an economic cycle;

“The Masters made money out of transfer of industry to Asia (Bain Capital specialized in this), and Wall Street made money from the lower interest rates on the recycled dollars from the trade deficits. But now, the issue is strategic; and they will make money on the return of industries scaling down their investments in Asia and returning them to the United States as we rebuild production here.”

“X” remains quite fond of Henry Ford’s business strategy; and that is the cue for him to address the crucial theme: national defense. According to “X”,

“Ford doubled the wages he paid and made more money than any other manufacturer. The reason was that a living wage where the mother can have many children on her husband’s wage was psychologically good for productivity in his car plants, and that his workers could then afford his cars. He thus recognized that in a society there must be a just distribution of wealth that his admirer Steve Jobs could not. Henry’s mass productivity was the wonder of the world and that was what won World War Two for the United States. Amazon does not contribute anything to national defense, being merely an internet marketing service based on computer programs, nor Google which merely organizes data better. None of this builds a better missile or submarine except in a marginal way.”

It’s the Pentagon, stupid

So yes; this all has to do with reorganizing the US military. “X” made a point to refer to a CNAS report I quoted in my initial column; “It is very important for what is visible between the lines. And that is we are in deep trouble being technologically behind Russia by generations in weapons, which is a follow-up on the Brzezinski quote that we are no longer a global power.”

This is a thorough, wide-ranging analysis of how Russia has managed to organize the best armed forces in the world. And that does not even take into account the S-500 missile defense system, which is now being rolled out and arguably seals the entirety of Russian airspace. And the next generation – S-600? – will be even more powerful.

“X” does venture into deep state taboo territory, as in how Russia, over the past decade, has managed to leap far ahead of the US, “eclipsing it as the strongest military power”. But the game may be far from over – wishful thinking or otherwise;

“We hope Secretary of Defense James Mattis will understand this and that the Deputy Secretary of Defense has advanced technological skills, organizational ability and the foresight to understand that the weapons of World War Three are offensive and defensive missiles, and submarines, and not air power, tanks and aircraft carriers.”

A realist, “X” admits that the warmongering neocon/neoliberalcon status quo – represented by most US deep state factions – will never abandon the default posture of unremitting hostility towards Russia. But he prefers to focus on change; “Let Tillerson reorganize the State Department along Exxon efficiencies. He may be worth something in that.  He and Mattis may be gutless but if you tell the truth to the Senate you may not be confirmed. So what they say means nothing. But notice this about Libya. The CIA had a goal of driving China out of Africa and so does AFRICOM. That was one of the secrets to our Libyan intervention.”

Not that it worked; NATO/AFRICOM turned Libya into a wasteland run by militias, and still China was not driven away from the rest of Africa.

“X” also admits,

“Syria and Iran are red lines for Russia. So is the eastern Ukraine from the Dnieper.” He is fully aware Moscow will not allow any regime change gambit on Tehran. And he’s also aware that “China’s investments in Iranian oil and gas imply that China also will not permit Washington’s overthrow of the Iranian government.”

The going really gets tough when it comes to NATO;

“X” is convinced Russia “will invade Romania and Poland if those missiles are not taken out of Romania and the missile commitment to Poland rescinded. The issue is not the worthless defensive missiles of the United States but the substitutability of offensive nuclear missiles in these silos. Russia will not tolerate this risk.  These are not subject to negotiation.”

In contrast to the “perpetual threat” perpetual propaganda by the US War Party, Moscow focuses on actual facts on the ground since the 1990s; the break up of historic Slavic ally Serbia; Warsaw Pact nations and even former USSR republics annexed by NATO, not to mention attempts to also include Georgia and Ukraine; US deployment of color revolutions; the “Assad must go “ fiasco, as in regime change forced on Syria even including the weaponizing of Salafi-jihadis; economic sanctions, an oil price war and raids on the ruble; and non-stop NATO harassment.

“X”, fully aware of the facts, adds,

“Russia has always wanted peace. But they are not going to play a game with the Masters of the Universe that has Trump as the good guy and the Congress, CIA, etc. as the bad guy as a negotiating ploy. That is how they see it. They do not regard this circus as real.”

The circus may be just an illusion. Or wayang – Balinese puppet theatre – as I suggested.

“X” advances a crisp interpretation of the shadow play ahead from Moscow’s point of view, allowing “several months to see if Putin can work out a detente with Trump that essentially creates an autonomous eastern Ukraine, a peace treaty in Syria with Assad in place, and a withdrawal of NATO forces back to their line of defense under Ronald Reagan.”

Who will prevail; the Masters, or the deep state? Brace for impact.

The Stuxnet Connection to Fukushima

Posted on January 2, 2017

 

[ Ed. note – Normally Dane Wigington of Geoengineering Watch doesn’t have a lot to say about Israel. But in this, the most recent installment of his weekly radio show, Wigington gets into a lengthy discussion not only about the UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements but also the likely connection between Stuxnet and the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The Stuxnet computer worm is believed to have been developed by the US and Israel. While its first use likely took place in 2009, in an operation targeting Iranian nuclear facilities, the story didn’t come to light until the following year. One of the earliest articles on it was this piece published in ZDNet on September 14, 2010. I am including, among the articles posted below, a piece by a Japanese writer reporting that Stuxnet had been found on 63 personal computers in Japan. That piece was published originally on October 5, 2010. The Fukushima nuclear disaster occurred just over five months later.

Stuxnet was presumably developed specifically to target Iranian nuclear plants, but it seems to have gotten loose, spread around the world, ending up, finally, causing a calamity at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. The Iranians dodged the bullet for the most part, while the Japanese got hit with a tragedy they are still dealing with today.

In the radio show, Wigington points out the all-too-obvious hypocrisy, namely the Obama administration’s angry denunciations of unproven allegations of Russian hacking of the US presidential election–while the very same administration is guilty of having launched a cyber attack on Iranian nuclear facilities–an act of war essentially. I am reproducing below the three articles Wigington cites in his discussion on Stuxnet, plus the additional one I found on the discovery of the Stuxnet worm in Japan five months before the nuclear disaster. ]

***

Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyber Attacks Against Iran

NY Times, June 1, 2012

WASHINGTON — From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program.

Mr. Obama decided to accelerate the attacks — begun in the Bush administration and code-named Olympic Games — even after an element of the program accidentally became public in the summer of 2010 because of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran’s Natanz plant and sent it around the world on the Internet. Computer security experts who began studying the worm, which had been developed by the United States and Israel, gave it a name: Stuxnet.

At a tense meeting in the White House Situation Room within days of the worm’s “escape,” Mr. Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, Leon E. Panetta, considered whether America’s most ambitious attempt to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear efforts had been fatally compromised.

“Should we shut this thing down?” Mr. Obama asked, according to members of the president’s national security team who were in the room.

Told it was unclear how much the Iranians knew about the code, and offered evidence that it was still causing havoc, Mr. Obama decided that the cyberattacks should proceed. In the following weeks, the Natanz plant was hit by a newer version of the computer worm, and then another after that. The last of that series of attacks, a few weeks after Stuxnet was detected around the world, temporarily took out nearly 1,000 of the 5,000 centrifuges Iran had spinning at the time to purify uranium.

This account of the American and Israeli effort to undermine the Iranian nuclear program is based on interviews over the past 18 months with current and former American, European and Israeli officials involved in the program, as well as a range of outside experts. None would allow their names to be used because the effort remains highly classified, and parts of it continue to this day.

These officials gave differing assessments of how successful the sabotage program was in slowing Iran’s progress toward developing the ability to build nuclear weapons. Internal Obama administration estimates say the effort was set back by 18 months to two years, but some experts inside and outside the government are more skeptical, noting that Iran’s enrichment levels have steadily recovered, giving the country enough fuel today for five or more weapons, with additional enrichment.

Whether Iran is still trying to design and build a weapon is in dispute. The most recent United States intelligence estimate concludes that Iran suspended major parts of its weaponization effort after 2003, though there is evidence that some remnants of it continue.

Iran initially denied that its enrichment facilities had been hit by Stuxnet, then said it had found the worm and contained it. Last year, the nation announced that it had begun its own military cyberunit, and Brig. Gen. Gholamreza Jalali, the head of Iran’s Passive Defense Organization, said that the Iranian military was prepared “to fight our enemies” in “cyberspace and Internet warfare.” But there has been scant evidence that it has begun to strike back.

The United States government only recently acknowledged developing cyberweapons, and it has never admitted using them. There have been reports of one-time attacks against personal computers used by members of Al Qaeda, and of contemplated attacks against the computers that run air defense systems, including during the NATO-led air attack on Libya last year. But Olympic Games was of an entirely different type and sophistication.

It appears to be the first time the United States has repeatedly used cyberweapons to cripple another country’s infrastructure, achieving, with computer code, what until then could be accomplished only by bombing a country or sending in agents to plant explosives. The code itself is 50 times as big as the typical computer worm, Carey Nachenberg, a vice president of Symantec, one of the many groups that have dissected the code, said at a symposium at Stanford University in April. Those forensic investigations into the inner workings of the code, while picking apart how it worked, came to no conclusions about who was responsible.

A similar process is now under way to figure out the origins of another cyberweapon called Flame that was recently discovered to have attacked the computers of Iranian officials, sweeping up information from those machines. But the computer code appears to be at least five years old, and American officials say that it was not part of Olympic Games. They have declined to say whether the United States was responsible for the Flame attack.

Mr. Obama, according to participants in the many Situation Room meetings on Olympic Games, was acutely aware that with every attack he was pushing the United States into new territory, much as his predecessors had with the first use of atomic weapons in the 1940s, of intercontinental missiles in the 1950s and of drones in the past decade. He repeatedly expressed concerns that any American acknowledgment that it was using cyberweapons — even under the most careful and limited circumstances — could enable other countries, terrorists or hackers to justify their own attacks.

“We discussed the irony, more than once,” one of his aides said. Another said that the administration was resistant to developing a “grand theory for a weapon whose possibilities they were still discovering.” Yet Mr. Obama concluded that when it came to stopping Iran, the United States had no other choice.

If Olympic Games failed, he told aides, there would be no time for sanctions and diplomacy with Iran to work. Israel could carry out a conventional military attack, prompting a conflict that could spread throughout the region.

A Bush Initiative

The impetus for Olympic Games dates from 2006, when President George W. Bush saw few good options in dealing with Iran. At the time, America’s European allies were divided about the cost that imposing sanctions on Iran would have on their own economies. Having falsely accused Saddam Hussein of reconstituting his nuclear program in Iraq, Mr. Bush had little credibility in publicly discussing another nation’s nuclear ambitions. The Iranians seemed to sense his vulnerability, and, frustrated by negotiations, they resumed enriching uranium at an underground site at Natanz, one whose existence had been exposed just three years before.

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, took reporters on a tour of the plant and described grand ambitions to install upward of 50,000 centrifuges. For a country with only one nuclear power reactor — whose fuel comes from Russia — to say that it needed fuel for its civilian nuclear program seemed dubious to Bush administration officials. They feared that the fuel could be used in another way besides providing power: to create a stockpile that could later be enriched to bomb-grade material if the Iranians made a political decision to do so.

Hawks in the Bush administration like Vice President Dick Cheney urged Mr. Bush to consider a military strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities before they could produce fuel suitable for a weapon. Several times, the administration reviewed military options and concluded that they would only further inflame a region already at war, and would have uncertain results.

For years the C.I.A. had introduced faulty parts and designs into Iran’s systems — even tinkering with imported power supplies so that they would blow up — but the sabotage had had relatively little effect. General James E. Cartwright, who had established a small cyberoperation inside the United States Strategic Command, which is responsible for many of America’s nuclear forces, joined intelligence officials in presenting a radical new idea to Mr. Bush and his national security team. It involved a far more sophisticated cyberweapon than the United States had designed before.

The goal was to gain access to the Natanz plant’s industrial computer controls. That required leaping the electronic moat that cut the Natanz plant off from the Internet — called the air gap, because it physically separates the facility from the outside world. The computer code would invade the specialized computers that command the centrifuges.

The first stage in the effort was to develop a bit of computer code called a beacon that could be inserted into the computers, which were made by the German company Siemens and an Iranian manufacturer, to map their operations. The idea was to draw the equivalent of an electrical blueprint of the Natanz plant, to understand how the computers control the giant silvery centrifuges that spin at tremendous speeds. The connections were complex, and unless every circuit was understood, efforts to seize control of the centrifuges could fail.

Eventually the beacon would have to “phone home” — literally send a message back to the headquarters of the National Security Agency that would describe the structure and daily rhythms of the enrichment plant. Expectations for the plan were low; one participant said the goal was simply to “throw a little sand in the gears” and buy some time. Mr. Bush was skeptical, but lacking other options, he authorized the effort.

Breakthrough, Aided by Israel

It took months for the beacons to do their work and report home, complete with maps of the electronic directories of the controllers and what amounted to blueprints of how they were connected to the centrifuges deep underground.

Then the N.S.A. and a secret Israeli unit respected by American intelligence officials for its cyberskills set to work developing the enormously complex computer worm that would become the attacker from within.

The unusually tight collaboration with Israel was driven by two imperatives. Israel’s Unit 8200, a part of its military, had technical expertise that rivaled the N.S.A.’s, and the Israelis had deep intelligence about operations at Natanz that would be vital to making the cyberattack a success. But American officials had another interest, to dissuade the Israelis from carrying out their own pre-emptive strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities. To do that, the Israelis would have to be convinced that the new line of attack was working. The only way to convince them, several officials said in interviews, was to have them deeply involved in every aspect of the program.

Soon the two countries had developed a complex worm that the Americans called “the bug.” But the bug needed to be tested. So, under enormous secrecy, the United States began building replicas of Iran’s P-1 centrifuges, an aging, unreliable design that Iran purchased from Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani nuclear chief who had begun selling fuel-making technology on the black market. Fortunately for the United States, it already owned some P-1s, thanks to the Libyan dictator, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

When Colonel Qaddafi gave up his nuclear weapons program in 2003, he turned over the centrifuges he had bought from the Pakistani nuclear ring, and they were placed in storage at a weapons laboratory in Tennessee. The military and intelligence officials overseeing Olympic Games borrowed some for what they termed “destructive testing,” essentially building a virtual replica of Natanz, but spreading the test over several of the Energy Department’s national laboratories to keep even the most trusted nuclear workers from figuring out what was afoot.

Those first small-scale tests were surprisingly successful: the bug invaded the computers, lurking for days or weeks, before sending instructions to speed them up or slow them down so suddenly that their delicate parts, spinning at supersonic speeds, self-destructed. After several false starts, it worked. One day, toward the end of Mr. Bush’s term, the rubble of a centrifuge was spread out on the conference table in the Situation Room, proof of the potential power of a cyberweapon. The worm was declared ready to test against the real target: Iran’s underground enrichment plant.

“Previous cyberattacks had effects limited to other computers,” Michael V. Hayden, the former chief of the C.I.A., said, declining to describe what he knew of these attacks when he was in office. “This is the first attack of a major nature in which a cyberattack was used to effect physical destruction,” rather than just slow another computer, or hack into it to steal data.

“Somebody crossed the Rubicon,” he said.

Getting the worm into Natanz, however, was no easy trick. The United States and Israel would have to rely on engineers, maintenance workers and others — both spies and unwitting accomplices — with physical access to the plant. “That was our holy grail,” one of the architects of the plan said. “It turns out there is always an idiot around who doesn’t think much about the thumb drive in their hand.”

In fact, thumb drives turned out to be critical in spreading the first variants of the computer worm; later, more sophisticated methods were developed to deliver the malicious code.

The first attacks were small, and when the centrifuges began spinning out of control in 2008, the Iranians were mystified about the cause, according to intercepts that the United States later picked up. “The thinking was that the Iranians would blame bad parts, or bad engineering, or just incompetence,” one of the architects of the early attack said.

The Iranians were confused partly because no two attacks were exactly alike. Moreover, the code would lurk inside the plant for weeks, recording normal operations; when it attacked, it sent signals to the Natanz control room indicating that everything downstairs was operating normally. “This may have been the most brilliant part of the code,” one American official said.

Later, word circulated through the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Vienna-based nuclear watchdog, that the Iranians had grown so distrustful of their own instruments that they had assigned people to sit in the plant and radio back what they saw.

“The intent was that the failures should make them feel they were stupid, which is what happened,” the participant in the attacks said. When a few centrifuges failed, the Iranians would close down whole “stands” that linked 164 machines, looking for signs of sabotage in all of them. “They overreacted,” one official said. “We soon discovered they fired people.”

Imagery recovered by nuclear inspectors from cameras at Natanz — which the nuclear agency uses to keep track of what happens between visits — showed the results. There was some evidence of wreckage, but it was clear that the Iranians had also carted away centrifuges that had previously appeared to be working well.

But by the time Mr. Bush left office, no wholesale destruction had been accomplished. Meeting with Mr. Obama in the White House days before his inauguration, Mr. Bush urged him to preserve two classified programs, Olympic Games and the drone program in Pakistan. Mr. Obama took Mr. Bush’s advice.

The Stuxnet Surprise

Mr. Obama came to office with an interest in cyberissues, but he had discussed them during the campaign mostly in terms of threats to personal privacy and the risks to infrastructure like the electrical grid and the air traffic control system. He commissioned a major study on how to improve America’s defenses and announced it with great fanfare in the East Room.

What he did not say then was that he was also learning the arts of cyberwar. The architects of Olympic Games would meet him in the Situation Room, often with what they called the “horse blanket,” a giant foldout schematic diagram of Iran’s nuclear production facilities. Mr. Obama authorized the attacks to continue, and every few weeks — certainly after a major attack — he would get updates and authorize the next step. Sometimes it was a strike riskier and bolder than what had been tried previously.

“From his first days in office, he was deep into every step in slowing the Iranian program — the diplomacy, the sanctions, every major decision,” a senior administration official said. “And it’s safe to say that whatever other activity might have been under way was no exception to that rule.”

But the good luck did not last. In the summer of 2010, shortly after a new variant of the worm had been sent into Natanz, it became clear that the worm, which was never supposed to leave the Natanz machines, had broken free, like a zoo animal that found the keys to the cage. It fell to Mr. Panetta and two other crucial players in Olympic Games — General Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Michael J. Morell, the deputy director of the C.I.A. — to break the news to Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden.

An error in the code, they said, had led it to spread to an engineer’s computer when it was hooked up to the centrifuges. When the engineer left Natanz and connected the computer to the Internet, the American- and Israeli-made bug failed to recognize that its environment had changed. It began replicating itself all around the world. Suddenly, the code was exposed, though its intent would not be clear, at least to ordinary computer users.

“We think there was a modification done by the Israelis,” one of the briefers told the president, “and we don’t know if we were part of that activity.”

Mr. Obama, according to officials in the room, asked a series of questions, fearful that the code could do damage outside the plant. The answers came back in hedged terms. Mr. Biden fumed. “It’s got to be the Israelis,” he said. “They went too far.”

In fact, both the Israelis and the Americans had been aiming for a particular part of the centrifuge plant, a critical area whose loss, they had concluded, would set the Iranians back considerably. It is unclear who introduced the programming error.

The question facing Mr. Obama was whether the rest of Olympic Games was in jeopardy, now that a variant of the bug was replicating itself “in the wild,” where computer security experts can dissect it and figure out its purpose.

“I don’t think we have enough information,” Mr. Obama told the group that day, according to the officials. But in the meantime, he ordered that the cyberattacks continue. They were his best hope of disrupting the Iranian nuclear program unless economic sanctions began to bite harder and reduced Iran’s oil revenues.

Within a week, another version of the bug brought down just under 1,000 centrifuges. Olympic Games was still on.

A Weapon’s Uncertain Future

American cyberattacks are not limited to Iran, but the focus of attention, as one administration official put it, “has been overwhelmingly on one country.” There is no reason to believe that will remain the case for long. Some officials question why the same techniques have not been used more aggressively against North Korea. Others see chances to disrupt Chinese military plans, forces in Syria on the way to suppress the uprising there, and Qaeda operations around the world. “We’ve considered a lot more attacks than we have gone ahead with,” one former intelligence official said.

Mr. Obama has repeatedly told his aides that there are risks to using — and particularly to overusing — the weapon. In fact, no country’s infrastructure is more dependent on computer systems, and thus more vulnerable to attack, than that of the United States. It is only a matter of time, most experts believe, before it becomes the target of the same kind of weapon that the Americans have used, secretly, against Iran.


Where Fukushima Meets Stuxnet: The Growing Threat of Cyber War

Foreign Policy, March 17, 2011

The Japanese nuclear crisis, though still unfolding, may, in a way, already be yesterday’s news. For a peek at tomorrow’s, review the testimony of General Keith Alexander, head of U.S. Cyber Command. Testifying before Congress this week and seeking support to pump up his agency budget, the general argued that all future conflicts would involve cyber warfare tactics and that the U.S. was ill-equipped to defend itself against them.

Alexander said, “We are finding that we do not have the capacity to do everything we need to accomplish. To put it bluntly, we are very thin, and a crisis would quickly stress our cyber forces. … This is not a hypothetical danger.”

The way to look at this story is to link in your mind the Stuxnet revelations about the reportedly U.S. and Israeli-led cyber attacks on the Iranian nuclear enrichment facility at Natanz and the calamities at the Fukushima power facilities over the past week. While seemingly unconnected, the stories together speak to the before and after of what cyber conflict may look like. Enemies will be able to target one another’s critical infrastructure as was done by the U.S. and Israeli team (likely working with British and German assistance) targeting the Iranian program and burrowing into their operating systems, they will seek to produce malfunctions that bring economies to their knees, put societies in the dark, or undercut national defenses.

Those infrastructures might well be nuclear power systems and the results could be akin to what we are seeing in Japan. (Although one power company executive yesterday joked to me that many plants in the U.S. would be safe because the technology they use is so old that software hardly plays any role in it at all. This hints at a bit of a blessing and a curse in the fractured U.S. power system: it’s decentralized which makes it hard to target overall but security is left to many power companies that lack the sophistication or resources to anticipate, prepare for or manage the growing threats.)

Importantly, not only does the apparent success of the Stuxnet worm demonstrate that such approaches are now in play but it may just be the tip of the iceberg. I remember over a decade ago speaking to one of the top U.S. cyber defenders who noted that even during the late 90s banks were losing millions and millions every year to cyber theft — only they didn’t want to report it because they felt it would spook customers. (Yes.) Recently, we have seen significant market glitches worldwide that could easily have been caused by interventions rather than just malfunctions. A couple years back I participated in a scenario at Davos in which just such a manipulation of market data was simulated and the conclusion was it wouldn’t take much to undermine confidence in the markets and perhaps even force traders to move to paper trading or other venues until it was restored. It wouldn’t even have to be a real cyber intrusion — just the perception that one might have happened.

What makes the nuclear threat so unsettling to many is that it is invisible. It shares this with the cyber threat. But the cyber attacks have other dimensions that suggest that General Alexander is not just trying to beef up his agency’s bank accounts with his description of how future warfare will always involve a cyber component. Not only are they invisible but it is hard to detect who has launched them, so hard, in fact, that one can imagine future tense international relationships in which opposing sides were constantly, quietly, engaging in an undeclared but damaging “non-war,” something cooler than a Cold War because it is stripped of rhetoric and cloaked in deniability, but which might be much more damaging. While there is still ongoing debate about the exact definition of cyber warfare there is a growing consensus that the threats posed by both state-sponsored and non-state actors to power grids, telecom systems, water supplies, transport systems and computer networks are reaching critical levels.

This is the deeply unsettling situation effectively framed by General Alexander in his testimony and rather than having been obscured by this week’s news it should only have been amplified by it.


Fukushima: US-Israeli Stuxnet Sabotages Thermometers and Water Treatment

TNI, March 4, 2014

With every new report and article coming from the establishment and alternative media about Fukushima, Japan, the gap between their fake reality and the real truth keeps growing further and has by now become so wide that it seems to be very unlikely that the establishment and alternative media will ever pick up the real facts in their reporting about the nuclear power station in Fukushima.

Ever since the 7.0 earthquake hit Japan on March 11, 2011, the cover-up of the actual causes – the eco-terror, the nuclear attacks and the sabotage – has been tightly scripted and expanded by the media, the USGS, the NRC, the Israeli Magna BSP [1, 2], the United Nations, the EU and even the WWF and Greenpeace.

Obviously it can be expected that also the problems in the aftermath of the proven eco-terror, the nuclear attacks and the sabotage will be shrouded in lies and deception. Sadly, we don’t expect any other behavior.

Practically all the ongoing reports about the leaking of water, about pumps and valves that are malfunctioning or were “forgotten” to be switched properly and about the failing thermometers at the Fukushima power station are missing the same crucial piece of information.

It has already been confirmed since at least 2010 and in multiple ways that Stuxnet (malware/virus), created by the U.S. and Israel, infected and continues to sabotage the Fukushima nuclear power station by attacking the Siemens SCADA control systems.

The same Stuxnet is also responsible for sabotaging the thermometers in the nuclear reactors that continue to fail, like it is the case in unit 2, falsely blamed on workers who “cripple” the instruments. Thermometers like in Fukushima are operated through/linked to the SCADA control systems which are still infected with Stuxnet, this means that also the thermometers are exposed to the Stuxnet infection.

The decontamination system for contaminated water at Fukushima was co-developed by AREVA and Veolia Water in “a record-two months“ after the eco-terror and the nuclear attacks occurred. According to Veolia Water data their “state-of-the-art online control of wastewater systems” work with and supplement SCADA control systems:

“The operation and reporting of STAR Control® are based on Internet technology and a graphic user interface is accessed by network browser on LAN, ADSL or similar networks.”

This is surely the reason why Magna BSP’s internet connection with the reactors at Fukushima is so important to those who have created this mess by committing eco-terror and engaging in war crimes. In this way full control can be kept remotely which is necessary when Japan is to be held hostage firmly, as they slowly lose credibility in the international community for a disaster they didn’t even create.

So whenever you encounter a new Fukushima article or report be sure to check if that source has already reported about the real facts, including the eco-terror, the nuclear attacks and the sabotage. If they haven’t done so then it’s very unlikely that their future reporting will be trustworthy since they omit key facts on purpose and leave you in fear with fake radiation charts to stare at.


[ Ed. note – The following is a re-post of an article originally published on October 5, 2010, five months before the Fukushima nuclear disaster occurred, reporting the discovery of Stuxnet on computers in Japan. The re-post of this article was published in 2014 ]

October 5, 2010: Cybervirus Found in Japan/Stuxnet Designed to Attack Off-Line Servers Via USB Memory Sticks

Fukushima 3/11 Truth, January 21, 2014

Yomiuri Shimbun

Stuxnet, a computer virus designed to attack servers isolated from the Internet, such as at power plants, has been confirmed on 63 personal computers in Japan since July, according to major security firm Symantec Corp.

The virus does not cause any damage online, but once it enters an industrial system, it can send a certain program out of control.

Symantec says the virus reaches the servers via USB memory sticks, and warns against the careless use of such devices.

Systems at power plants, gas stations and water facilities are not connected to the Internet to protect them from cyber-attacks.

A Symantec engineer who has analyzed the virus said it was made using advanced technology, and it is highly likely a well-funded organization, not an individual, produced it. The virus has spread throughout the globe via the Internet.

After Stuxnet finds its way onto an ordinary computer via the Internet, it hides there, waiting for a USB memory stick to be connected to the computer, when it transfers itself to the memory stick. When the USB device is then connected to a computer linked to an isolated server, it can enter the system and take control of it.

As computers that harbor Stuxnet do not operate strangely, the virus can be transferred to a memory stick inadvertently.

According to the security company, the virus is designed to target a German-made program often used in systems managing water, gas and oil pipelines. The program is used at public utilities around the world, including in Japan.

The virus could cause such systems to act erratically, and it could take months to restore them to normal.

The 63 infected computers found in Japan were likely infected sometime after June.

According to the company, about 60 percent of the computers that have been infected with the virus were discovered in Iran. Since September, about 30,000 computers there have been found to be infected with the virus. The country’s Industry and Mines Ministry has called the virus an electronic act of war.

Some computers at the Iranian Bushehr nuclear power plant, which is scheduled to begin operation in October, have been infected with the virus.

A supervisor at the plant said the virus has not damaged the facility’s main computer system and would not affect its planned opening.

In Japan, no public utilities have been affected by the virus. Nevertheless, the Cabinet Office’s National Information Security Center has urged electric power companies to exercise extreme care when using USB devices, and to scan any programs that may have been tampered with.

Source: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T101004003493.htm

Archived: https://web.archive.org/web/20101008111929/http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T101004003493.htm

 

Video: Crisis at the US Federal Reserve, End of the Washington Consensus?

Global Research, November 20, 2016
Federal-Reserve-Economy

In the multipolar world of the 21st century, the locus of economic attention is shifting toward Eurasia.

And as journalist and author Nomi Prins notes, in this changing economic landscape, the dominance of the Federal Reserve and the Washington consensus is coming into question for the first time since the end of the Second World War.

This is the GRTV Feature Interview with your host, James Corbett, and our special guest, Nomi Prins.

The End of the West As We Know It

The End of the West As We Know It

MATTHEW JAMISON | 10.11.2016 | OPINION

The End of the West As We Know It

The shock, unbelievable, astonishing election of Donald J. Trump is not only a massive turning point in the history of the United States. It is also the end of an era for the post-WWII American led Global Order and it marks the beginning of the twilight of American global leadership. The repercussions of this presidential election will be felt for years to come and will have profound effects on global politics. Mr. Trump’s «America First» policy and isolationism will lead America to abdicate and eventually lose its role as the World’s Police Man and pre-eminent Superpower status.

President elect Trump has openly questioned and disparaged the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. There are going to be big tensions and fissures within NATO regarding the arrival of Donald Trump and Trumpism in American foreign policy. Mr. Trump will bring to a head the massive imbalance in NATO funding arrangements. To be fair to Mr. Trump does have a point with regards to the funding of NATO. The United States shoulders well over 50% of the funding of NATO while other European members have been able to shelter under the American/NATO defence umbrella without paying their fair share. This has been glossed over and tolerated by various American administrations both Republican and Democrat. Now however, if Trump sticks to his previous pronouncements on NATO it could mean a big shake up of NATO or perhaps even the Alliance breaking apart.

The Donald stated at an election rally back in the summer that he would like to: «keep NATO, but I want them (the other European member states) to pay. I don’t want to be taken advantage of». Most starkly, the United States spends 3 percent of gross domestic product on its armed forces while the rest of NATO averages 1.4 percent of GDP even after agreeing formally to a 2 percent target. And the consequences are natural—for example, at the peak of the Afghanistan war the U.S. provided 100,000 troops to the mission while the rest of NATO managed only about 35,000. Trump has capitalised on this imbalance to further propose his America First agenda. Trump is apparently willing to disband NATO as well as key Asian alliances, and to withdraw from the Middle East as well — a «Trexit».

For President elect Trump, everything, including military alliances, is seen through the prism of zero sum business transactions. Commenting further Trump has questioned one of the most sacrosanct principles of NATO, Article 5, that an attack on one member state is an attack on all members: «people aren’t paying their fair share and then the stupid people, they say, ‘but we have a treaty’». Striking a deeply isolationist and quasi-xenophobic tone Mr. Trump lambasted the idea of having to defend far away countries who were not paying their fair dues: «We’re protecting countries that most of the people in this room have never even heard of and we end up in world war three…give me a break».

The divisions in NATO will now most likely be brought to the fore and could, if not managed carefully, lead to the unravelling of the Atlantic Alliance. It is not just America’s European and North Atlantic alliances, which could fracture during the four years ahead of President Trump. He has previously singled out not just European nations like Germany but also other US allies like Japan and Saudi Arabia, threatening them that if elected America could «walk» if they do not pay the full cost of American soldiers stationed in those countries for their protection. Former Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt reacted after the Trump NATO comments by stating: «I never thought a serious candidate for US President could be a serious threat against the security of the West. But that’s where we are».

German Chancellor Angela Merkel in her statement congratulating Donald Trump on his election contained a veiled warning. Frau Merkel: «Germany & America are connected by values: democracy, freedom, respect for the law and the dignity of human beings independently of origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political views. On the basis of these values, I am offering the future President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, close co-operation».

France’s President Francois Hollande was even more pointed in his «congratulation» statement declaring that Trump’s victory: «opens a period of uncertainty». Speaking from the Elysee Palace President Hollande said that there was now a greater need for a united Europe, able to wield influence on the international stage and promote its values and interests whenever they are challenged.

The EU Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini alluded to a similar theme in her tweet on the election result talking about the need to rediscover «the strength of Europe». Indeed, the election of Donald Trump as President could provide a catalyst for a dramatic rallying around by the Europeans to a separate and unified European defence organization. Trump’s election could have the consequence of speeding up and providing the rapid rationale needed to kick into high gear the push towards a new European Army, outlined by Jean-Claude Junker in the summer, in contrast to NATO.

At risk is a core principle of America’s post-World War II strategy—that trying to stay out of others’ business did not work and, in fact, helped lead to the world wars. Trump rejects this and would prefer that the United States interfered less in other countries affairs. Trump in particular seems to reject the core elements of America’s strengths in the world market and international security system and appears indifferent to or hostile even towards the post-WWII trans-Atlantic American commitment to European defence which could ease the ascension of a European Defence Community on par with NATO and eventual replace NATO as the main defence pillar for European security giving the EU a global military identity and capability.

If Hillary Clinton had been elected President of the USA then moves towards a common European defence posture might have taken longer and may have been more restrained or perhaps even involve NATO to some extent. NATO would have remained the cornerstone of the United States defence and security apparatus and policy making in Europe and under a Clinton administration with attempts made to strengthen NATO relevance, identity and cohesion with initiatives designed to reinvigorate the alliance.

One silver lining to a Trump Presidency, which ironically could hasten a divergence between America and Europe and cause deep alarm and division within NATO, is the possibility of détente between Russia and America under the respective leaderships of President Trump and President Putin. President Trump will in all likelihood attempt to foster a new and closer relationship between Washington DC and Moscow, particularly with regards to combating ISIS in the Middle East and stabilising Syria.

The EU and NATO, particularly the Eastern European countries will probably resist this push for enhanced cooperation and closer relations between America and Russia but it is clear that a Trump administration will place much greater emphasis on taking into account Russian interests rather than seeking confrontation and conflict and will not take great consideration over Western or Eastern European concerns. So, the election of Donald Trump as American President could represent a seismic geopolitical realignment and the end of The West as we have known The West since the end of WWII. NATO may fracture or become obsolete while the United States could move closer to Russia while the European Union moves away from America.

What Does Trump Victory Mean for Asia? Nothing New

November 9, 2016 (The New Atlas) – With the victory of Donald Trump during the 2016 US presidential elections, many commentators, analysts and academics have “predicted” a more isolationist America. For Asia specifically, particularly those in need of US intervention to prop up their unpopular, impotent political causes, they fear an ebbing of US support.

However, as history has shown, the whims of US voters rarely has an impact on US foreign policy, particularly amidst the more subtle use of US “soft power.”

US policy toward Asia has been a historical, socioeconomic and military continuum marked by a consistent desire for geopolitical and socioeconomic primacy in the region stretching back for over a century. Since World War 2, the US has attempted to contain a rising China, temper and exploit emerging developing nations across Southeast Asia and prevent nations subjugated to US domination (Japan, South Korea and the Philippines) from achieving anything resembling an independent foreign and domestic policy.

This is a continuum that has transcended presidential administrations and congressional shifts of power for decades.

To believe that the recent victory by Donald Trump amid America’s 2016 presidential election will suddenly change this decades-long continuum is naive and folly.

The networks that primarily seek to establish, protect and expand US primacy in Asia are driven by corporate and financial special interests including banks, the energy industry, defence contractors, agricultural and pharmaceutical giants, the US entertainment industry and media as well as tech giants.

They achieve primacy through a variety of activities ranging from market domination through incremental advances in “free trade,” the funding of academic and activist groups through organisations like the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Open Society, Freedom House and USAID as well as direct pressure on the governments of respective Asian states through both overt and covert political, economic and military means.

This is a process that takes place independent of both the White House and the US Congress.

Regardless of how elections turn out, this process will continue so long as the source of these collective special interests’ power remains intact and unopposed.

For Asian states, in the wake of Trump’s victory, keeping track of and dealing with the actual networks used to project American primacy into Asia Pacific is more important than weighing the isolationist rhetoric of president-elect Donald Trump.

Until networks like NED and USAID are either entirely reformed or dismantled, and Asian alternatives are able to permanently displace US economic and institutional domination in the region, the threat of American primacy asserting itself over the interests of Asia itself will persist.

The New Atlas is a media platform providing geopolitical analysis and op-eds. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Real Secret of the South China Sea

July 27, 2016

by Pepe Escobar for Sputnik News

The Real Secret of the South China SeaThe South China Sea is and will continue to be the ultimate geopolitical flashpoint of the young 21st century – way ahead of the Middle East or Russia’s western borderlands. No less than the future of Asia – as well as the East-West balance of power – is at stake.

To understand the Big Picture, we need to go back to 1890 when Alfred Mahan, then president of the US Naval College, wrote the seminal The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783. Mahan’s central thesis is that the US should go global in search of new markets, and protect these new trade routes through a network of naval bases.

That is the embryo of the US Empire of Bases – which de facto started after the Spanish-American war, over a century ago, when the US graduated to Pacific power status by annexing the Philippines, Hawaii and Guam.

Western – American and European — colonialism is strictly responsible for the current, incendiary sovereignty battle in the South China Sea. It’s the West that came up with most land borders – and maritime borders — of these states.The roll call is quite impressive. Philippines and Indonesia were divided by Spain and Portugal in 1529. The division between Malaysia and Indonesia is owed to the British and the Dutch in 1842. The border between China and Vietnam was imposed to the Chinese by the French in 1887. The Philippines’s borders were concocted by the US and Spain in 1898. The border between Philippines and Malaysia was drawn by the US and the Brits in 1930.

We are talking about borders between different colonial possessions – and that implies intractable problems from the start, subsequently inherited by post-colonial nations. And to think that it had all started as a loose configuration. The best anthropological studies (Bill Solheim’s, for instance) define the semi-nomadic communities who really traveled and traded across the South China Sea from time immemorial as the Nusantao – an Austronesian compound word for “south island” and “people”.

The Nusantao were not a defined ethnic group; rather a maritime internet. Over the centuries, they had many key hubs, from the coastline between central Vietnam and Hong Kong to the Mekong Delta. They were not attached to any “state”, and the notion of “borders” didn’t even exist.Only by the late 19th century the Westphalian system managed to freeze the South China Sea inside an immovable framework. Which brings us to why China is so sensitive about its borders; because they are directly linked to the “century of humiliation” – when internal Chinese corruption and weakness allowed Western barbarians to take possession of Chinese land.

Tension in the nine-dash line

The eminent Chinese geographer Bai Meichu was a fierce nationalist who drew his own version of what was called the “Chinese National Humiliation Map”. In 1936 he published a map including a “U-shaped line” gobbling up the South China Sea all the way down to James Shoal, which is 1,500 km south of China but only over 100 km off Borneo. Scores of maps copied Meichu’s. Most included the Spratly Islands, but not James Shoal.

The crucial fact is that Bai was the man who actually invented the “nine-dash line”, promoted by the Chinese government – then not yet Communist – as the letter of the law in terms of “historic” Chinese claims over islands in the South China Sea.

Everything stopped when Japan invaded China in 1937. Japan had occupied Taiwan way back in 1895. Now imagine Americans surrendering to the Japanese in the Philippines in 1942. That meant virtually the entire coastline of the South China Sea being controlled by a single empire for the fist time in history. The South China Sea had become a Japanese lake.

Not for long; only until 1945. The Japanese did occupy Woody Island in the Paracels and Itu Aba (today Taiping) in the Spratlys. After the end of WWII and the US nuclear-bombing Japan, the Philippines became independent in 1946; the Spratlys immediately were declared Filipino territory.In 1947 the Chinese went on overdrive to recover all the Paracels from colonial power France. In parallel, all the islands in the South China Sea got Chinese names. James Shoal was downgraded from a sandbank into a reef (it’s actually underwater; still Beijing sees is as the southernmost point of Chinese territory.)

In December 1947 all the islands were placed under the control of Hainan (itself an island in southern China.) New maps — based on Meichu’s — followed, but now with Chinese names for the islands (or reefs, or shoals). The key problem is that no one explained the meaning of the dashes (which were originally eleven.)

So in June 1947 the Republic of China claimed everything within the line – while proclaiming itself open to negotiate definitive maritime borders with other nations later on. But, for the moment, no borders; that was the birth of the much-maligned “strategic ambiguity” of the South China Sea that lasts to this day.

“Red” China adopted all the maps — and all the decisions. Yet the final maritime border between China and Vietnam, for instance, was decided only in 1999. In 2009 China included a map of the “U-shaped” or “nine-dash line” in a presentation to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf; that was the first time the line officially showed up on an international level.
No wonder other Southeast Asian players were furious. That was the apex of the millennia-old transition from the “maritime internet” of semi-nomadic peoples to the Westphalian system. The post-modern “war” for the South China Sea was on.

Gunboat freedom

In 2013 the Philippines – prodded by the US and Japan – decided to take its case about Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) in the South China Sea to be judged according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Both China and Philippines ratified UNCLOS. The US did not. The Philippines aimed for UNCLOS – not “historical rights”, as the Chinese wanted — to decide what is an island, what is a rock, and who is entitled to claim territorial rights (and thus EEZs) in these surrounding waters.UNCLOS itself is the result of years of fierce legal battles. Still, key nations – including BRICS members China, India and Brazil, but also, significantly, Vietnam and Malaysia – have been struggling to change an absolutely key provision, making it mandatory for foreign warships to seek permission before sailing through their EEZs.

And here we plunge in truly, deeply troubled waters; the notion of “freedom of navigation”.

For the American empire, “freedom of navigation”, from the West Coast of the US to Asia – through the Pacific, the South China Sea, the Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean – is strictly subordinated to military strategy. Imagine if one day EEZs would be closed to the US Navy – or if “authorization” would have to be demanded every time; the Empire of Bases would lose “access” to…its own bases.

Add to it trademark Pentagon paranoia; what if a “hostile power” decided to block the global trade on which the US economy depends? (even though the premise — China contemplating such a move — is ludicrous). The Pentagon actually pursues a Freedom of Navigation (FON) program. For all practical purposes, it’s 21st century gunboat diplomacy, as in those aircraft carriers showboating on and off in the South China Sea.The Holy Grail, as far as the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is concerned, is to come up with a Code of Conduct to solve all maritime conflicts between Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and China. This has been dragging on for years now because mostly the Philippines wanted to frame the Chinese under a set of binding rules but was only ready to talk until all ten ASEAN members had agreed on them first.

Beijing’s strategy is the opposite; bilateral discussions to emphasize its formidable leverage. Thus China assuring the support of Cambodia – quite visible early this week when Cambodia prevented a condemnation of China regarding the South China Sea at a key summit in Laos; China and ASEAN settled for “self-restraint.”

Watch Hillary pivoting

In 2011 the US State Department was absolutely terrified with the planned Obama administration withdrawals from both Iraq and Afghanistan; what would happen to superpower projection? That ended in November 2011, when then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton coined the by now famous “pivot to Asia”.

“Six lines of action” were embedded in the “pivot”. Four of these Clinton nicked from a 2009 report by the Washington think tank CSIS; reinvigorating alliances; cultivating relationships with emerging powers; developing relationships with regional multilateral bodies; and working closely with South East Asian countries on economic issues. Clinton added two more: broad-based military presence in Asia, and the promotion of democracy and human rights.

It was clear from the start – and not only across the global South — that cutting across the rhetorical fog the “pivot” was code for a military offensive to contain China. Even more seriously, this was the geopolitical moment when a South East Asian dispute over maritime territory intersected with the across-the-globe confrontation between the hegemon and a “peer competitor”.

What Clinton meant by “engaging emerging powers” was, in her own words, “join us in shaping and participating in a rules-based regional and global order”. This is code for rules coined by the hegemon – as in the whole apparatus of the Washington consensus.

No wonder the South China Sea is immensely strategic, as American hegemony intimately depends on ruling the waves (remember Mahan). That’s the core of the US National Military Strategy. The South China Sea is the crucial link connecting the Pacific to the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and ultimately Europe.And so we finally discover Rosebud — the ultimate South China Sea “secret”. China under Clinton’s “rule-based regional and global order” effectively means that China must obey and keep the South China Sea open to the US Navy.

That spells out inevitable escalation further on down the sea lanes. China, slowly but surely, is developing an array of sophisticated weapons which could ultimately “deny” the South China Sea to the US Navy, as the Beltway is very much aware.

What makes it even more serious is that we’re talking about irreconcilable imperatives. Beijing characterizes itself as an anti-imperialist power; and that necessarily includes recovering national territories usurped by colonial powers allied with internal Chinese traitors (those islands that The Hague has ruled are no more than “rocks” or even “low-tide elevations”).

The US, for its part, is all about Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny.  As it stands, more than Russia’s western borderlands, the Baltics or “Syraq”, this is where the hegemon “rules” are really being contested. And the stakes couldn’t be higher. That’ll be the day when the US Navy is “denied” from the South China Sea; and that’ll be the end of its imperial hegemony.

 

Kazakhstan SITREP June 20, 2016 by Scott Humor

June 20, 2016

Kazakhstan SITREP June 20, 2016 by Scott Humor

Kazakhstan’s President Nazarbayev and Putin say “we” at SPIEF 2016

On June 16-18 the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum took place in the Northern capital of Russia St. Petersburg

Om June 17, 2016 President Putin met with President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. The presidents’ conversation took place at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum before the plenary session, in which they will take part.

On Friday Russian President Vladimir Putin, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev addressed a plenary session during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

 

 

The session was focused on the theme, “Capitalizing on the New Global Economic Reality,” and Nazarbayev called on the EU to cooperate with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which is currently comprised of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.

“Disintegration and economic isolation don’t solve any of the internal problems, that’s just self-delusion,” Nazarbaev said.

“The EEU wants to see an effective, stable European Union, with which it wants to closely cooperate. In exactly the same way cooperation with our union is beneficial for Europe.”

“We propose the creation of a large Eurasian partnership with the participation of the EEU and also countries with which we have already developed close relations: China, India, Pakistan, Iran, and of course our partners in the Commonwealth of Independent States as well as other interested countries and unions,” Putin said.

 

Does it look like the president of Russia Putin and president of Kazakhstan Nazarbayev host a Russian economic forum together?  

So, what is behind Nazarbayev and Putin addressing as “we” guests of the Russian biggest economic forum?

Valery Pyakin, a political analyst with the Concept Technologies Foundation think tank, explains the situation in no uncertain terms.

 

 

“At first we had an agreement [between Russia and Kazakhstan] about the common economic zone. After that, Kazakhstan was hit with a Maidan style riots that were instantly diffused in a harsh manner by the government. Western Media didn’t know what to say about this upheaval. To support the upheaval, or to support the government? What to do?

Immediately after those mass riots, Medvedev has met with Nazarbayev, where Nazarbayev stated his dedication to the course of creating a common economic zone and a custom union, all the questions of integration. In other words, recreation of the Soviet Union (or Russian Empire, if you wish) with the new economic and political base. Of course, this move is absolutely rejected by the world deep government and by the US. Nevertheless, Nazarbayev stated that he supports and will continue to work towards this goal.

After that, the Western media, NGOs and politicians all at once came out with the scathing statements about the violation of “human rights” in Kazakhstan. However, all these talks about “human rights” completely stopped, after China and Japan have reached an agreement that both countries will not use dollar for their economic transactions.

In other words, China and Japan demonstrated that they understand this process [between Russia and Kazakhstan] and that they know what impact it will have on the international process. They have showed that they don’t want to be left out of these processes, they don’t want to be just observers in all these. They want to secure their sovereign interests. They want to stay alive.

[On May 23rd, China reconfirmed its support for reunification of Russia and Kazakhstan, or “Russia’s integrational initiatives” ]

In response to this, the West made the situation around Iran sharply worse. Iran is the main source of oil for China.  China and Japan have received an ultimatum to make them join the Western assault on Iran. China told to the West to go to hell. Japan in a very diplomatic form said that Japan is not going to stop using Iranian oil. They were joined by the South Korea. These countries showed to the US and the EU to stop blackmailing them and to stop interfere with Russia’s affairs. They told the West to get its foot off their throats, because if they don’t use Iran’s oil, they will use Russian oil.

For the US it’s becoming very expensive to continue its meddling in the integration processes between Russia and its southern historical part Kazakhstan. If the US won’t success in breaking down the national elites of China and Japan, as they successfully done with Europe, it will have to urgently diffuse this process. The US is already spreading too thin. They won’t be able to conduct further attacks.  Note how more and more countries are simply telling to the US to take a hike with their “peacemaking.” The US is collapsing.  They can only deal with one target at a time. If they get tied up with Syria, they will get Iran. If they get tied up with Iran, they will get Syria. Each one of these countries has relationship with  countries around them. Imagine that any question concerning Iran immediately touches interests of China and Japan.

That’s why the situation for the US and the Globalists is very, very difficult. They got themselves into a situation described in Russian fairy-tale.

“Guys, I’ve caught a bear.

Bring it here.

It wouldn’t go.

Why don’t you come back here, then?

I can’t. The bear holds me and wouldn’t let me go.”

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