The capital city of Myanmar, Naypyidaw, is 7,054 square kilometres in size, roughly four and a half times the size of London (1,569 square kilometres), according to The Independent. But the city is a ghost town. Its population is only 924,608, compared to London’s 2016 estimate of 8.63 million. The capital of Myanmar was moved from Yangon to Naypyitaw (which means Seat of the King) by the then-military regime in November 2005. According to The Guardian, it is rumoured to have cost $4 billion (3.2 billion) to construct the city, with 20-lane highways and wide streets designed for a future of expansion. It has reliable electricity, golf courses, hotels, shopping malls, and restaurants and cafes with fast and free wi-fi, uncommon throughout the rest of the country. However, despite billions in government investment, the city has struggled to attract Burmese locals or substantial numbers of tourists. Guardian reporters who visited the city in March 2015 said: “The vast highways are completely empty and there is a stillness to the air. Nothing moves.”
By now most of you have heard the latest bad news of out Syria: on June 18 a US F/A-18E Super Hornet (1999) used a AIM-120 AMRAAM (1991) to shoot down a Syrian Air Force Su-22 (1970). Two days later, June 20th, a US F-15E Strike Eagle shot down an Iranian IRGC Shahed 129 drone. The excuse used each time was that there was a threat to U.S. and U.S. supported forces. The reality is, of course, that the U.S. are simply trying to stop the advance of the Syrian army. This was thus a typical American ‘show of force’. Except that, of course, shooting a 47 year old Soviet era Su-22 fighter-bomber is hardly an impressive feat. Neither is shooting a unmanned drone. There is a pattern here, however, and that pattern is that all U.S. actions so far have been solely for show: the basically failed bombing of the Syria military airbase, the bombing of the Syrian army column, the shooting down of the Syrian fighter-bomber and of the Iranian drone – all these actions have no real military value. They do, however, have a provocative value as each time all the eyes turn to Russia to see if the Russians will respond or not.
Less than three months after the US launched 49 cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase in early April, allegedly in retaliation for a chemical attack conducted by Assad forces, in an ominous statement issued with no supporting evidence or further explanation, on Monday night the White House warned that the U. S. has ‘identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime’ in Syria and warned that Assad would ‘pay a heavy price’ if one took place. Such an attack ‘would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children,’ White House (outgoing) spokesman Sean Spicer added, noting the activity is ‘similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.’ ‘As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price,’ the White House added on Monday night. According to AP, a non-governmental source with close ties to the White House said the administration had received intelligence that the Syrians were mixing precursor chemicals for a possible sarin gas attack in either the east of south of the country, where government troops and their proxies have faced recent setbacks. Further quoted by AP, several State Department officials typically involved in coordinating such announcements said they were caught completely off guard by the warning, which didn’t appear to be discussed in advance with other national security agencies, perhaps an indication of just how powerful the Deep State has become under Trump. Typically, the State Department, the Pentagon and U. S. intelligence agencies would all be consulted before the White House issued a declaration sure to ricochet across foreign capitals.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 27, 2017.
Early on the morning of April 7, American warships stationed in the Mediterranean Sea fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack carried out by the Syrian regime. But in a report published on Sunday at the German newspaper Die Welt, veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh throws cold water on the claim of Syrian culpability, exposing yet another instance of military action based on flawed – or in this case, entirely nonexistent – intelligence. Russian Intelligence and the April 4 Strike On April 4 at about 6:55 a.m., Syrian time, the Syrian government carried out an airstrike on a two-story cinder block building determined by Russian intelligence to be a rebel command center, where commanders of the Syrian opposition’s most radical Islamist factions frequently met. The strike killed up to four jihadist leaders, according to an intelligence estimate. Hersh sets the scene: The Syrian target at Khan Sheikhoun […] was depicted as a two-story cinder-block building in the northern part of town. Russian intelligence, which is shared when necessary with Syria and the U. S. as part of their joint fight against jihadist groups, had established that a high-level meeting of jihadist leaders was to take place in the building, including representatives of Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Qaida-affiliated group formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra.
We’ve repeatedly warned our readers that a collapse of life as we know it in America would quickly devolve into violence, looting and outright anarchy. As the economic landscape in America deteriorates it is likely only a matter of time before millions of starving Americans make their way to the streets in protest. When that happens they’ll be met with a heavily armed response. It’ll start with tear gas and rubber bullets, but that won’t be enough to stave off the starving and hopeless masses, so we can fully expect real bullets to start flying in short order. To see a real-world example of this one need only turn their attention to Venezuela, where the collapse of their currency has led to hyperinflation to the point that supplies of bare essentials like flour, meat, medicine and toilet paper are unavailable to the general population. The situation has been playing out for several years and it appears to be coming to a head. As evidenced by the video below, which appeared on Live television, Venezuelan riot police and military are now to the point where they are willing to kill to ensure the security of the State.
This post was published at shtfplan on June 26th, 2017.
Based on the principle that transformative world events are not random, but are in fact predictable, Stratfor develops decade, annual and quarterly forecasts. These forecasts are built upon Stratfor’s geopolitical methodology, our framework for identifying and forecasting the fundamental trends shaping the international system. Below are the global trends highlighted in Stratfor’s forecast for the third-quarter of 2017. The complete forecast is available at Stratfor Worldview. The US Exits Stage Left? When world leaders gather in Germany for the approaching G-20 summit, they will no doubt make a slew of assertions – some alarmist, others justified – about a US retreat from the global stage. Talk of leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping stepping in to fill the void and uphold global governance on major issues such as free trade, climate change, and security can be expected. But there is an underlying reality to that narrative that should be kept in mind. Simply put, those hoping to fill the United States’ shoes in leading the world still have their own existential threats to contend with at home. Germany and France are buying valuable time with their electorates to try to repair the European Union and make an example of the United Kingdom’s departure, but the bloc’s members still have vastly different visions of what European integration should look like and how nationalism might fit in. China, meanwhile, is not a globalist power with a model of governance to offer the world; it is a fiercely nationalist power with global clout, caught between the compulsion to operate as a market economy and the imperative to centralize political power under the ruling Communist Party. None of these countries come close to matching the US military footprint or the country’s ability to shoulder the burden that comes with superpower status.
Ever since the end of World War II, the United States, rightly or wrongly, but most of the time, wrongly, has fancied itself as the world’s policeman. Even a disastrous and costly military intervention in Southeast Asia did not deter the United States from acting as the chief arbiter of what governments were in and which were out as evidenced by Central Intelligence Agency interloping in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Angola, Haiti, and Colombia. Two military interventions in Iraq and a U. S.-led military campaign directed against Yugoslavia were not enough to pry the United States from its self-appointed role as the chief global cop. In fact, American neoconservatives continued to fanaticize about the United States leading the world into a post-Cold War new American century. The United States under Donald Trump now resembles a disabled policeman who was forced to retire on disability after being injured, not in the line of duty, but by engaging in self-destructive piques of bravado. The United States has abandoned internationalism as witnessed by Washington’s withdrawal from the free trade Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Paris climate agreement. The United Kingdom’s decision to depart the European Union in the Brexit referendum has put the final nail in the coffin of Britain’s status as a minor superpower. Until another nation steps forward to claim the title of chief world cop, the world will be subjected, as coined by the New Testament’s Book of Matthew, to wars and rumors of wars.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 26, 2017.
Episode #191 of SUNDAY WIRE SHOW resumes this June 25th, 2017 as guest host Patrick Henningsen brings you this week’s LIVE broadcast on the Alternate Current Radio Network… LISTEN LIVE ON THIS PAGE AT THE FOLLOWING SCHEDULED SHOW TIMES: 5pm-8pm UK Time | 12pm-3pm ET (US) | 9am-12am PT (US)
This week we deliver another LIVE broadcast, this time from Britain’s former naval stronghold in Plymouth, as SUNDAY WIRE host Patrick Henningsen breaks down the biggest stories in the west and internationally, including a follow-up on the recent disaster in West London where we’ll speak to local resident Emma about the Grenfell Tower fire – the social and political fallout as well as questions about how many residents actually died in the fatal blaze. In the second hour, we’ll connect with geopolitical analyst Daniel Faraci from Grassroots Political Consulting in Washington DC to discuss how the recent fracture between Qatar and Turkey (and Iran) on one side – and the US, Saudi Arabia, UAE and the rest of Gulf, on the other. What will this mean for the region for Syria and for Yemen? In the final hour, we’ll try to connect with political pundit Basil Valentine to discuss the Queen’s top priority as Britain’s monarch; not government or Parliament – but horses, as well as a report from Glastonbury festival and the Corbynmania going on there. We’ll also get Basil’s thoughts on the Grenfell situation and how its thwarted the Tory plans to consolidate power. VOTE IN OUR NEWS POLL: What’s more important in modern warfare – a strong military, or a strong media?
SUPPORT 21WIRE – SUBSCRIBE & BECOME A MEMBER @21WIRE. TV Strap yourselves in and lower the blast shield – this is your brave new world… *NOTE: THIS EPISODE MAY CONTAIN STRONG LANGUAGE AND MATURE THEMES* PLEASE CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
This post was published at Spreaker on JUNE 25, 2017.
Via TheAntiMedia.org, There’s currently a push in the halls of Washington D. C., to establish a new branch of the military by 2019, one whose focus would be operations among the stars. Proposed legislation by House representatives would create a ‘Space Corps’ that would serve ‘as a separate military service within the Department of the Air Force.’ It would be the first branch added to the military since 1947 when the Air Force was officially established. On Tuesday, the top two lawmakers of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, Representatives Mike Rogers and Jim Cooper, added the legislation to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The subcommittee oversees military space operations and works within the umbrella of the House Armed Services Committee. ‘There is bipartisan acknowledgement that the strategic advantages we derive from our national security space systems are eroding,’ Rogers and Cooper said in a joint statement. ‘We are convinced that the Department of Defense is unable to take the measures necessary to address these challenges effectively and decisively, or even recognize the nature and scale of its problems.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 24, 2017.
21st Century Wire says… ‘There is one curious thing…the Presidents of your country [US] change…but the policy…doesnt change, on matters of principle.’ ~ President Putin NATO’s justification lies in its ability to find or create an enemy, Putin told legendary film maker, Oliver Stone. No other ‘enemy’ has served NATO and the military industrial complex as well as Russia and the ‘Cold War’. The re-emergence of the cold war construct has reached almost unprecedented levels with western media & governments bearing down on historic prejudices with renewed vigour. The new ‘cold war’ is a chilling prospect for the world if it is allowed to mushroom into something more deadly.
One year after Brexit: Forget euro zone breakup, sterling now deemed riskier (Reuters) Senate Holdouts Seek Upper Hand in Perilous Health Bill Talks (BBG) Senate Bill Poses Risks to Health-Care Companies (WSJ) Trump’s Tape Ruse Risks Fresh Legal Jeopardy in Russia Probe (BBG) Arab states demand Qatar closes Jazeera, cuts back ties to Iran (Reuters) Qatar Seen Rejecting List of Severe Demands to End Gulf Crisis (BBG) Turkey rejects call to shut military base in Qatar (Reuters) From Music to Maps, How Apple’s iPhone Changed Business (WSJ) How Killing Obamacare Might Save Obamacare, For a While (BBG) Baghdadi death near 100 percent certain: Interfax quotes Russian senator (Reuters) Japanese warship takes Asian guests on cruise in defiance of China (Reuters) FBI Director Nominee’s Client List Could Hinder Oversight of Investigations (WSJ) Buffett’s Home Capital Bet Backs Turbulent Canada Housing Market (BBG) China’s authorities tighten noose around online video content (Reuters) Deadly London apartment blaze began in Hotpoint fridge freezer, police say (Reuters)
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 23, 2017.
‘Years of complex operations and the ongoing demands of units in the field have left the armed forces struggling to maintain both operational capacity and high levels of readiness, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office.’ That’s the opening paragraph of an article published by Business Insider last week. The piece, titled ‘The US military is struggling to keep up with all its responsibilities,’ could just as easily been titled ‘The American Empire is overextended,’ as it thoroughly details the GAO’s negative assessment of the current state of the U. S. war machine. Writing that ‘unrelenting demands from geographic commanders for particular types of forces are disrupting manning, training, and equipping cycles,’ the report breaks down how each branch of the military is essentially overburdened and underprepared to fulfill its national security obligations. The Air Force, for instance, has reported that less than 50 percent of its forces are at acceptable readiness levels. Additionally, the branch says, it’s short of 1,500 pilots and 3,400 maintenance crew members.
Authord by James Holbrooks via TheAntiMedia.org, ‘Years of complex operations and the ongoing demands of units in the field have left the armed forces struggling to maintain both operational capacity and high levels of readiness, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office.’ That’s the opening paragraph of an article published last week. The piece, titled ‘The US military is struggling to keep up with all its responsibilities,’ could just as easily been titled ‘The American Empire is overextended,’ as it thoroughly details the GAO’s negative assessment of the current state of the U. S. war machine. Writing that ‘unrelenting demands from geographic commanders for particular types of forces are disrupting manning, training, and equipping cycles,’ the report breaks down how each branch of the military is essentially overburdened and underprepared to fulfill its national security obligations. The Air Force, for instance, has reported that less than 50 percent of its forces are at acceptable readiness levels. Additionally, the branch says, it’s short of 1,500 pilots and 3,400 maintenance crewmembers.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 21, 2017.
John Kiriakou never imagined he would become, much less be called, a whistleblower for speaking out publicly against his CIA employer over a shadowy torture program he’s come to believe amounts to the most nefarious of violations of international law, a heinous crime against humanity, and an affront to otherwise-touted American values of freedom and justice. But that’s what happened. And the ex-CIA officer languished behind bars for nearly three years for what amounts to a witch hunt targeting dissenting voices – those situated at the highest levels of government, down to military and surveillance contractors, and even extending broadly enough to begin quashing the free press.
A couple of weeks ago we expressed some level of ‘amazement’ at just how sophisticated, efficient and pervasive the ‘Russian hacking’ community had become after CNN reported that they had managed to hack into a Qatari News Agency and post a ‘fake’ news story all in an apparent attempt to drive a wedge between the U. S., Qatar and some of it’s Gulf Arab neighbors. Think about that for a minute. Set aside, if you will, the hacking event itself for just a moment and imagine how good the Russians had to be to know exactly what news story needed to be planted inside the Qatari news agency to provoke an immediate severing of diplomatic ties by numerous Arab neighboring states…it truly is mind boggling how it all played out exactly the way the Russians planned…these ‘Russian hackers’ are certainly not a bunch of amateurs. And while that may sound like a joke, it is, quite unfortunately, not…at least it wasn’t at CNN anyway. Here are the details, as they were previously reported by CNN: The FBI recently sent a team of investigators to Doha to help the Qatari government investigate the alleged hacking incident, Qatari and US government officials say. Intelligence gathered by the US security agencies indicates that Russian hackers were behind the intrusion first reported by the Qatari government two weeks ago, US officials say. Qatar hosts one of the largest US military bases in the region. The alleged involvement of Russian hackers intensifies concerns by US intelligence and law enforcement agencies that Russia continues to try some of the same cyber-hacking measures on US allies that intelligence agencies believe it used to meddle in the 2016 elections. The Russian goal appears to be to cause rifts among the US and its allies. In recent months, suspected Russian cyber activities, including the use of fake news stories, have turned up amid elections in France, Germany and other countries.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.
Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org, Sunday, a Navy F-18 Hornet shot down a Syrian air force jet, an act of war against a nation with which Congress has never declared or authorized a war. Washington says the Syrian plane was bombing U. S.-backed rebels. Damascus says its plane was attacking ISIS. Vladimir Putin’s defense ministry was direct and blunt: ‘Repeated combat actions by U. S. aviation under the cover of counterterrorism against lawful armed forces of a country that is a member of the U. N. are a massive violation of international law and de facto a military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic.’ An ABC report appears to back up Moscow’s claims: ‘Over the last four weeks, the U. S. has conducted three air strikes on pro-regime forces backed by Iran that have moved into a deconfliction zone around the town of Tanf in southwestern Syria, where there is a coalition training base for local forces fighting ISIS.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.