China’s Plot to Deploy Army Against North Korea Could Start WW3

New photos of a recent highway construction in China could be part of a contingency plan to invade North Korea or amass a huge army on their shared border. Experts fear this newly uncovered plot could stoke the fires of World War 3, inevitably involving the United States.
According to The Express UK, communist China has traditionally been North Korea’s closest ally, but Kim Jong-un’s continued nuclear and ballistic missile tests have tested Beijing’s patience on the rising tensions worldwide. These new revelations also come as North Korea was spotted transporting 30 Scud missiles from Hwangju, south of the capital Pyongyang, to Nampo, on the Korea Bay coast opposite China.
New photos have emerged and they reveal that the Communist superpower is building a six-lane highway in its desolately populated northeast on route to North Korea. With most Chinese peasants not able to afford the luxury of a car, the construction of the G1112 Ji’an – Shuangliao Expressway, has led experts to believe it will be used for quick deployment of tanks and troops to its North Korean border. The photos obtained by Daily Star Online show Chinese construction workers digging tunnels through the mountains and massive cranes constructing bridges over rivers.

This post was published at shtfplan on October 16th, 2017.

After Lightning Offensive, Kirkuk Is Now Fully Under Iraqi Military Control

Photo-posted by local reporters- of a mass exodus from Kirkuk to Erbil as pro Iranian militias are advancing on the city. To be confirmed pic.twitter.com/x94bYbKDhT
— Walid Phares (@WalidPhares) October 16, 2017

Iraq’s military has effectively gained control of major assets and government buildings in Kirkuk city, and is now set to fully pacify it after overnight clashes at a moment when oil prices rose toward a six month high as the conflict now threatens output.
Iraq’s elite U. S.-trained Counter-Terrorism Force has taken over the provincial government headquarters in the center of Kirkuk after operations to seize the city from Kurdish forces began overnight – the contested city is now reportedly under the control of Iraqi national forces. Some of the first footage Western audiences woke up to Monday morning were of (ironically enough) US supplied equipment – including tanks, being used to bulldoze images of Iraqi Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani. Iraqi forces have further pulled down Kurdish flags flying over government buildings throughout the city, while leaving the Iraqi flag flying.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 16, 2017.

Catalan Leader Defies Spain, Sends Evasive Reply To Rajoy Activating Second Ultimatum Deadline

President Puigdemont's response to Prime Minister Rajoy regarding the political situation in #Catalonia pic.twitter.com/0R1ej2LQic
— Catalan Government (@catalangov) October 16, 2017

The Catalan stand-off has been extended until Thursday as both sides hold their ground.
After days of expectation and talks with his separatist allies, Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont stood by his decision to keep his region’s declaration of independence from Spain ‘in suspension’ despite a demand for clarity from Spain prime minister Rajoy, effectively challenging the central government to follow through on promises to forcibly take control of the region by sending an evasive reply to the central government’s Article 155 notification, which on Wednesday began the process of suspending home rule in the region.
The Spanish Prime Minister’s office was seeking a simple “yes” or “no” reply by 10 a.m. on Monday on the question of whether Mr. Puigdemont had or had not declared independence last Tuesday. Anything other than “no”, the First Minister was warned, would lead to the activation of the so-called faced the use of Article 155 of the Spanish constitution. This article is the so-called ‘nuclear option’ which allows Madrid to dissolve the regional government and call fresh regional elections. The central government can also take over the local police force and television channels.
Eventually, Puigdemont chose more obfuscation and defiance: his four-page reply, obtained by Catalan radio stations Catalunya Radio and RAC1 and released by The Spain Report, neither confirmed nor denied he had proclaimed a new Catalan republic last week, but said the declaration remained ‘in suspension’ and proposed two months of dialogue arguing that the Spanish people and Europe will only understand ‘dialogue, negotiation and agreement.’ He did not say what he would do if talks did not take place by the middle of December.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 16, 2017.

US Increases Pressure on Iran and Hezbollah – To What End?

Elijah J. Magnier

The US has raised the level of tension with Iran without taking any concrete steps to pull out of the Iranian nuclear deal. The reason why Trump is expected to limit himself to verbal abuse and continue threatening hostile measures against Tehran without executing them is fundamentally to avoid a breach between the US and the EU.
The Nuclear deal is not bilateral, so the withdrawal of the US theoretically cannot scupper it. Nevertheless Iran is likely to consider the deal totally void if the US pulls out, with all that that implies. So the US continues its aggressive verbal campaigns against Iran, confusing the Europeans, who rightly fail to predict what decisions this US President is capable of adopting in the medium to long term.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on OCTOBER 16, 2017.

US Deploys Special Forces “Decapitation” Team To South Korea

Today, the South Korean and U. S. navies kicked off massive combined drills off the coast of the Korean peninsula amid heightened tensions, a training exercise which North Korea has warned may prompt another ballistic missile launch potentially to coincide with the launch of the Chinese 19th Party Congress on October 18. The two allies plan to continue the Maritime Counter Special Operations Exercise (MCSOFEX) through Friday in the East Sea and the Yellow Sea.
As reported over the weekend, the drill involves the U. S. 7th Fleet’s aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) and two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers – the USS Stethem (DDG-63) and the USS Mustin (DDG-89). The carrier strike group will train with South Korean warships and other defense assets, such as the Sejong the Great Aegis ship and P-3 Orion anti-submarine aircraft in the East Sea.
And while details of the drill were well-known in advance, what was reported for the first time overnight from Yonhap is that a unit of U. S. special forces tasked with carrying out “decapitation” operations is also aboard a nuclear-powered submarine in the group, according to a defense source. So far, little else is known about why said decapitation team is on location, or whether it will be put into use, although it presence may explain Trump’s “calm before the storm” comment that beffudled the media two weeks ago.
Among other assets mobilized for the joint drill are F-15K, FA-18 and A-10 fighter jets, as well as AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, Lynx and AW-159 Wild Cat naval choppers. The U. S. has also deployed a Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) plane to closely monitor the North’s ground and naval forces.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 16, 2017.

The True Danger Of The North Korea Crisis: It Could Cost America Its Allies

Tough North Korea rhetoric from the U. S. administration continues. Major South Korean media increasingly talk as if U. S. air strikes are likely, and theexpert community seems increasingly resigned to them as well. Despite constant criticism of his incendiary language, President Donald Trump continues to suggest that major action against North Korea is imminent – most recently by suggesting that we are now in a period of ‘calm before the storm.’
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I have argued in these pages that such strikes would be an enormous risk. We do not know what the North’s redlines for retaliation against such a strike are. We do not know if the strikes would so unnerve the North’s elites that war was next, that they would respond with enormous force, possibly including nuclear weapons. An expert study of this scenario suggests appalling casualty numbers. We also do not know what China’s thresholds are for intervention. China is treaty-bound to help North Korea if it is attacked. It may not, but if a U. S. air strike against North Korea spirals into a major conflict, then the likelihood of Chinese intervention rises.
It is also worth noting that even if the Chinese and North Koreans do not respond to air strikes, North Korea will almost certainly deploy human shields as soon as the bombs start to fall. And the North has so many targets that the United States would like to hit, that any ‘air strike’ would look a lot more like a major air campaign and not a quick ‘surgical strike,’ as in Syria earlier this year. An air campaign against sites with human shields means a high civilian death toll. The North Koreans will not make this easy for us at all.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 16, 2017.

Tillerson: US Diplomacy With North Korea Will Continue Until “The First Bomb Drops”

Two weekends after Trump publicly snubbed and mocked Rex Tillerson’s attempts to achieve a diplomatic resolution with North Korea, when the president tweeted that “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man… Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!” just one day after Tillerson revealed for the first time that the US has been in direct, if secret, contact with Pyongyang over its missile and nuclear tests, on Sunday morning the Secretary of State – who remains in hot water with Trump over the recent NBC report that he called the president a “fucking moron” – doubled down and said that Trump had instructed him to continue diplomatic efforts to calm rising tensions with North Korea, saying “those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops.”
Tillerson says Trump wants diplomacy in North Korea: "Diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops" — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 15, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 15, 2017.

Rocketman May Have Destabilized the Ground in North Korea

Sources in South Korea are reporting that there was another earthquake in North Korea of a 2.7 magnitude near the Punggye-ri nuclear test site. This was the fourth earthquake to hit the region since the last underground nuclear test on September 3rd, 2017. The first earthquake was a 6.3 magnitude. The last North Korea test was a hydrogen bomb. U. S. intelligence reportedly determined the blast was 10 times greater than that of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Oct 15, 2017.

The Unraveling of American/Russian Relations – Paul Craig Roberts

Dear Readers: I agree that the official Las Vegas story seems to be unraveling. A public mass shooting should be transparent, not opaque. I think we explored the story long enough to discover that without knowing the facts, we cannot arrive at an explanation with confidence.
It is time to move on to another unraveling – that of US/Russian relations. This unraveling is far more serious as it threatens life on earth. I have warned of the consequences of Washington threatening Russia’s security by breaking agreement after agreement, by placing missile bases on Russia’s borders, by orchestrating anti-Russian coups in former Soviet provinces, and by a continuing volley of false accusations against Russia. There is no act more reckless and irresponsible than to make one nuclear power fear nuclear attack from another.
Alert observers have become aware of the mounting danger. Canadian professor Michel Chossudovsky writes that Washington has taken nuclear war from a hypothetical scenario to a real danger that threatens the future of humanity. Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader who worked with President Ronald Reagan to end the Cold War and the threat of nuclear Armageddon, has appealed to President Trump and President Putin to hold a summit meeting and bring an end to the rising tensions. Gorbachev wrote in the Washington Post that ‘it is far from normal that the presidents of major nuclear powers meet merely on the margins of international gatherings.’ This is especially the case as ‘relations between the two nations are in a severe crisis.’

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on October 14, 2017.

Trump And Bannon Make Up: Breitbart Chief Slams Vanity Fair, Predicts Huge Victory For Trump In 2020

The original, populist, “grassroots” Trump, the one who won the elections before surrounding himself with various Goldman Sachs-derived advisors, made a solid comeback this past week: just consider the flurry of recent actions undertaken by the president.
When Trump ran for president last year, he frequently said that only he ‘alone’ could fix the nation’s problems. But once he took office, Trump attempted to follow the lead of Republicans on Capitol Hill, and he watched with dismay how little movement was made on priorities such as healthcare, immigration, and national security. And, after weeks of seeing his agenda imperiled by Republican divisions and infighting among his aides, Trump became a whirlwind of activity this week, reasserting his campaign priorities and trying to deliver wins for his fervent but frustrated base of supporters.
Indeed, Trump took steps to dramatically undercut the Obamacare health system, sent notice he was willing to scuttle the nuclear deal with Iran, moved to roll back coal-plant limits, and again demanded a wall along the Mexican border. In doing so, Trump reverting back to conflicts and fights that defined the core of his campaign, and which drifted as Trump became increasingly more institutionalized by the Washington swamp. Meanwhile, on Twitter Trump increasingly relished his feuds with the news media, senior Republicans in Congress, and National Football League players who have protested during the national anthem.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 14, 2017.

The Spanish Civil War, Revisited: Pepe Escobar Fears “Lethal Response” From Madrid

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,
Puigdemont’s political twist could invoke a lethal response from Madrid: suspension of Catalonia’s government
Call it theatre of the absurd – with a lethal subtext. Under pressure from all corners – even Donald Tusk, president of the EU Council – in his fateful date with destiny Carles Puigdemont, President of Catalonia, came up with some last-minute judo dialectics. He issued a non-denial denial Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Spain. What was declared was immediately suspended; the Republic of Catalonia lasted for six seconds.
The deft political gambit left Madrid predictably bewildered. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, a.k.a. nano-Franco, issued an ultimatum; you have five days to say if you declared independence or not.
Independent of the answer, Madrid’s nuclear option remains on the cards; infamous article 155 of the Constitution, which calls for the suspension of Catalonia’s government and parliament from six to 12 months.
Yet that may come with a twist; a 155 in slow motion, parallel to the hazy offer of starting a process, in six months maximum, leading to Spanish constitutional reform. Madrid needs Catalonia for this reform to succeed. So, essentially, Puigdemont just needs to say ‘no’ for the train to start rolling.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 14, 2017.

Iranian General Responds To Trump: “We’ll Bury You”

At the same time as the US Treasury’s declared Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization as part of Trump’s crackdown on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as Iran Nuclear Deal, a senior commander in Iran’s Quds Force, the elite overseas arm of the IRGC said that his forces have “buried many” like Donald Trump, and the US President’s threats against Iran will “damage” America.
‘We are not a war-mongering country. But any military action against Iran will be regretted … Trump’s threats against Iran will damage America … We have buried many … like Trump and know how to fight against America,’ deputy Quds commander Brigadier-General Esmail Ghaani said, cited by Tasnim news agency. The IRGC is Iran’s most powerful security entity and wields control over large swathes of Iran’s economy as well as considerable influence within its political system.
The crackdown on the IRGC came just two days after Iran’s foreign minister warned of a tough response if Trump proceeded with threats to scrap a landmark nuclear deal signed under the Obama administration. Speaking during a closed session of parliament on Wednesday, Mohammad Javad Zarif told lawmakers that Iran ‘will never renegotiate’ the deal brokered between Tehran and six world powers, Fars news agency reported.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.

Trump Invites “Crushing” Response After Designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard As Terrorist Organization

While Trump’s just announced decision to decertify the Iranian nuclear deal, giving Congress 60 days to decide whether to unwind Obama’s landmark deal, was widely leaked previously even though few can point to what terms of the agreement Iran has violated, one aspect of Trump’s Iran statement was unclear: whether he would designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, or IRGC, the elite wing of Iran’s army, a terrorist organization – a move which Iran vowed would prompt “decisive , crushing” retaliation.
Trump did just that, and the new, sweeping sanctions on the IRGC could affect conflicts in Iraq and Syria, where Tehran and Washington both support warring parties that oppose the Islamic State militant group.
This is what the Treasury’s OFAC unit posted on its sanctions website moments ago:
Treasury Designates the IRGC under Terrorism Authority and Targets IRGC and Military Supporters under Counter-Proliferation Authority WASHINGTON – Today, the U. S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) pursuant to the global terrorism Executive Order (E. O.) 13224 and consistent with the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. OFAC designated the IRGC today for its activities in support of the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), which was designated pursuant to E. O. 13224 on October 25, 2007, for providing support to a number of terrorist groups, including Hizballah and Hamas, as well as to the Taliban. The IRGC has provided material support to the IRGC-QF, including by providing training, personnel, and military equipment.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.

Germany, UK, France And Russia Slam Trump’s Decision To Decertify Iran Deal

It didn’t take long for Europe’s biggest nations – the other signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, aka the Iran Nuclear Deal – as well as Russia, to slam Trump’s unilateral decision to decertify the Iran agreement and, in the process, put the entire deal in jeopardy. Moments ago, in a joint statement, Theresa May, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron all reiterated their commitment to the JCPOA, expressed their concern by the possible implications of Trump’s decision not to recertify the deal, and urged the US to think hard before taking further steps that might undermine it further.
Here is the statement they released together moments ago:
We, the Leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom take note of President Trump’s decision not to recertify Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to Congress and are concerned by the possible implications.
We stand committed to the JCPoA and its full implementation by all sides. Preserving the JCPoA is in our shared national security interest. The nuclear deal was the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and was a major step towards ensuring that Iran’s nuclear programme is not diverted for military purposes. The JCPoA was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council in Resolution 2231. The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly confirmed Iran’s compliance with the JCPoA through its long-term verification and monitoring programme. Therefore, we encourage the US Administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies before taking any steps that might undermine the JCPoA, such as re-imposing sanctions on Iran lifted under the agreement.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.

Russia’s Combat Suit Gets A Nuke Resistant Upgrade

Russia’s new combat suit is getting a major upgrade. With threats of nuclear warfare pending in important regions of the globe, the nuclear resistant watch was a necessary addition to the futuristic fight suit designed by the former Soviet Union.
According to Newsweek, citing Rostec, the Russian defense contractor building the suit, the third-generation Ratnik-3 suit ‘comprises five integrated systems.’ Those five subsystems include ‘life support, command and communication, engaging, protection, and energy saving subsystems,’ according to Tass, a Russian state-owned media outlet. This could be the most advanced combat suit on the planet.
In total, the suit comes with 59 items, Tass said, including a powered exoskeleton that supposedly gives the soldier more strength and stamina, along with cutting-edge body armor and a helmet and visor that shields the soldier’s entire face. The suit also has a ‘pop-up display that can be used for tasks like examining a plan of the battlefield,’ Andy Lynch, who works for a military company called Odin Systems, previously told The Daily Mail Online.

This post was published at shtfplan on October 11th, 2017.

Trump Doubles Down On Threat To Revoke Network News Licenses

Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2017

Update (8:20 pm ET): Fresh off a rally in Pennsylvania where the president talked up the administration’s tax reform plans, Trump has returned to twitter to round out a day of roasting NBC News by doubling down on his earlier assertion that the FCC should consider revoking the network’s license(s).
Of course, as one FCC commissioner pointed out earlier, the FCC can’t revoke a license for an entire network, only its regional affiliates.
Update (2:40 pm ET): Defense Secretary James Mattis has come forward to vouche for his boss, telling the press that NBC’s report is “absolutely false.”
In an unusual move, he published his denial in a terse statement.
Update (2:30 pm ET): Echoing a statement from the White House communications released earlier Wednesday, President Donald Trump clarified during a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that he never said anything about increasing the nuclear arsenal by “tenfold” – like NBC reported early today, citing anonymous sources that reportedly were in the room with Trump at the time.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 11, 2017.

Is It Time To Take North Korea’s Cyber Weaponry Seriously?

Analysts say cyber capabilities have become a key asset in North Korea’s war chest. Pyongyang’s increasingly bold attacks in the virtual space have come in tandem with the hermit nation’s rapidly progressing ballistic missile and nuclear programs and some say that it’s time this is taken very seriously.
The rogue regime has used cyber attacks for a wide range of purposes including hacking adversaries like South Korea and pilfering money. North Korea’s hackers have been accused of carrying out some of the most audacious cyber attacks of the past few years, from siphoning millions of dollars to stealing state secrets.
‘North Korea’s cyber weapons are as destructive as its conventional weapons,’ Lim Jong-in, a cybersecurity professor at Korea University, told CNN. ‘Tomahawk missiles can paralyze a major country’s power grid and financial system. So do North Korea’s cyber weapons.’ Lim continued, saying: ‘Cyber experts say North Korea should be ranked among the top 5 in the world. I believe North Korea can steal anything they want through cyber espionage. No country is safe from its cyber espionage.’

This post was published at shtfplan on October 11th, 2017.

Germany Moves Ahead with Nord Stream II

EU lawyers have sided with Germany and effectively told the European Commission their bid to regulate a new Russia-Germany gas pipeline known as- Nord Stream 2 (NS2) is seriously flawed. The now former German Chancellor Gerhard Schrder is working with the Russians to push this project forward. This clearly demonstrates that Germany has the upper-hand in Brussels.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Oct 11, 2017.

The ‘Amazon Effect’ Is Coming to Oil Markets

While OPEC mulls over further steps to once again support falling oil prices, tech startups are quietly ushering in a new era in oil and gas: the era of the digital oil field.
Much talk has revolved around how software can completely transform the energy industry, but until recently, it was just talk. Now, things are beginning to change, and some observers, such as Cottonwood Venture Partners’ Mark P. Mills, believe we are on the verge of an oil industry transformation of proportions identical to the transformation that Amazon prompted in retail.
According to Mills, the three technological factors that actualized what he calls ‘the Amazon effect’, which changed the face of retail forever, are evidenced in oil and gas right now. These are cheap computing with industrial-application capabilities; ubiquitous communication networks; and, of course, cloud tech.
The Internet of Things is entering oil and gas, and so are analytics and artificial intelligence. These, Mills believes, will be among the main drivers of a second shale revolution, reinforcing the efficiency push prompted by the latest oil price crisis.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 10/10/2017.