BREAKING: CIA turns Smart TVs, iPhones, gaming consoles and many other consumer gadgets into open microphones. #Vault7
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) March 7, 2017

The Vault 7 Wikileak has now become reality and it’s a doozy. In addition to the irony of the Obama administration directly interfering with political elections in other countries via the CIA, the latest release from Julian Assange shows that literally every internet enabled consumer device in Russia was turned into an active microphone.
No, seriously.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on MARCH 7, 2017.

China Telecom Giant ZTE Pleads Guilty, To Pay $1.2 Billion Penalty For Selling US Tech To Iran

In Wilbur Ross’ first public announcement, the former hedge fund manger and current Trump commerce secretary announced that China’s telecommunications giant ZTE has agreed to pay a total of $1.2 billion in penalties and plead guilty to violating U. S. sanctions on Iran, selling US technology to Tehran, and obstructing a federal investigation, ending a five-year probe that has raised trade tensions between the U. S. and China. The penalty was among the largest ever in a sanctions case.
ZTE was accused that over a six-year-long period, it planned to obtain technology products from the U. S., incorporate them into ZTE equipment and ultimately ship the equipment to Iran. The company agree to settle because as the WSJ adds, it avoided a more-devastating supply cutoff of U. S. components, which the Commerce Department slapped on ZTE in March 2016 and immediately suspended as a settlement was negotiated. Without key components such as Qualcomm processors for its smartphones, ZTE’s ability to produce some of its major products could have been crippled in a matter of months, putting it at the risk of bankruptcy.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 7, 2017.

North Korea Diplomat Warns Of “Major Escalation That Might Turn Into Actual War”

Yesterday’s snap deployment of the US THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea has led to significant reverberations among the region, with not only North Korea, but also Russia and China slamming the move.
As reported last night, various equipment including 2 launch pads for U. S. missile defense system known as THAAD arrived in South Korea on Monday and will continue to be brought in, Yonhap News said.”Continued provocative actions by North Korea, to include yesterday’s launch of multiple missiles, only confirm the prudence of our alliance decision last year to deploy THAAD to South Korea,” Adm. Harry Harris, commander, US Pacific Command, said in a news release.
US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and South Korean Defense Secretary Han Min-koo spoke over the phone last week and agreed that THAAD should be deployed “ASAP.”
U. S. military releases first pictures of THAAD anti-missile system being deployed to South Korea overnight.
— James Pearson (@pearswick) March 7, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 7, 2017.

Ukraine Has Lost Billions On The Trade Agreement With The EU In Year One

The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) between Ukraine and the European Union, which came into force on 1 January 2016, was aimed at helping the East European economy to recover; however, the results after the first year fell far short of Ukraine’s expectations. The former Soviet Republic lost 2.2 billion more than it lost in 2015 on trade with the EU. While imports from the EU have surged, exports have barely grown.
As Polish media reports, the European Union has flooded Ukraine with goods, which is contrary to the aim of the free trade agreement: the document assumed the asymmetric openness of the markets in Ukraine’s favour.
According to the Eurostat data, EU’s exports to Ukraine grew in 2016 by 17.6%, from 14bn to 16.5bn, whereas Ukraine’s exports to the EU increased by 1.9%, i.e. from 12.8bn to 13bn. As a result, Ukraine’s trade deficit with the EU has surged from 1.2bn to 3.43bn!

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 7, 2017.

US Begins Deployment Of Controversial THAAD Anti-Missile System To South Korea

Well that escalated quickly. Just a day after North Korea’s test firing of 4 missiles towards US bases in Japan, and hours after North Korea warned the world was “on the brink of nuclear war” due to US-South Korea “maneuvers,” CNN reports the first pieces of the controversial US-built missile defense system (designed to mitigate the threat of North Korean missiles) arrived at the Osan Air Base in South Korea Monday night, according to the US military.
The decision in January to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system, had angered both Russian and Chinese officials:
“We think the US-South Korean decision to deploy the THAAD missile defense system has seriously threatened China’s security interest. For the region, it will also break the strategic balance. So it’s completely understandable to see countries in the region firmly oppose this decision,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said. “China and other countries have to address our own legitimate security concerns and take necessary measures to safeguard our security interest.”
“Deployment of US missile defense systems in South Korea clearly goes beyond the tasks of deterring ‘the North Korean threat,’” Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said in October, according to Russian state-run Tass news agency.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 6, 2017.

Russia Invites NATO To Take Part In Moscow Security Conference

Russia and NATO balancing on the brink of military conflict has been a hot topic ever since 2014 when the bilateral ties were frozen as a result of the events in Ukraine. Heightened tensions, arms control erosion and a plethora of divisive issues negatively affect the bilateral relationship, with misunderstanding and frustration hindering any attempts to turn the tide.
War preparations are on the way. Last year, NATO rejected Russia’s initiatives to ease tensions in Europe. Some moves of NATO members aimed at boosting first strike capability go almost unnoticed by media, for instance, the acquisition by Poland of air-to-surface long-range cruise missiles. The US-initiated B-61-12 life extension program (LEP) puts into question the prospects for arms control in Europe.
Incidents caused by dangerous maneuvering and provocative exercises have become frequent. Last year, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, then Germany’s Foreign Minister, accused the alliance of warmongering against Russia. He spoke out against NATO military exercises in Poland and the Baltic States, describing them as saber-rattling. The one thing we shouldn’t do now is inflame the situation with loud saber-rattling and warmongering, the foreign minister told Bild am Sonntag newspaper. Anyone who thinks a symbolic tank parade on the alliance’s eastern border will bring security is wrong, he noted.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 7, 2017.

North Korea Warns US-South Korea “Maneuvers” Are “Driving [World] Towards Nuclear Disaster”

Update: North Korea warned Monday that U. S.-South Korean military exercises, which it called “the most undisguised nuclear war maneuvers,” are driving the Korean Peninsula and northeast Asia toward “nuclear disaster.” The North Korean ambassador to the United Nations, Ja Song Nam, said in a letter to the U. N. Security Council that the U. S. is using nuclear-propelled aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, nuclear strategic bombers and stealth fighters in the joint exercises that began Wednesday. “It may go over to an actual war,” Ja warned of the military drills, “and, consequently, the situation on the Korean Peninsula is again inching to the brink of a nuclear war.”
“Involved in the drill were Hwasong artillery units of the KPA Strategic Force tasked to strike the bases of the U. S. imperialist aggressor forces in Japan in contingency,” the North’s official KCNA news agency said. “In the hearts of artillerymen … there was burning desire to mercilessly retaliate against the warmongers going ahead with their joint war exercises,” KCNA said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 6, 2017.