Traders barely had time to enjoy the lull from the “Armageddon trade” – the rising possibility of a nuclear exchange between the US and North Korea, which peaked over the weekend when various US officials said a nuclear war is not imminent, echoed by a statement by N. Korea’s state-run news agency KCNA, before a new set of worries promptly took over, chief among them the ongoing slow motion train wreck in Donald Trump’s administration coupled with yesterday’s double terrorist attacks in Spain. Alas, “nuclear war” risk is about to come back with a vengeance because on Monday US and South Korea are scheduled to begin joint military exercises, a massive show of force which every time in the past has infuriated North Korea, sometimes triggering a show of force. Held every fall in South Korea, the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian war games are the world’s largest computerized command and control exercise. Some 30,000 U. S. soldiers and more than 50,000 South Korean troops usually take part, along with hundreds of thousands of first responders and civilians, some practicing for a potential chemical weapons attack. Scheduled long before the recent diplomatic fallout between Washington and Pyongyang, the U. S. and South Korean militaries will simulate warfare with North Korea from Aug. 21 to 31, well aware that North Korea could respond with another missile test, according to McClatchy. In light of this perceived provocation by North Korea, which will almost certainly prompt some reaction, Scott A. Snyder, a Korea specialist with the Council on Foreign Relations said ‘Over the course of the next two weeks I expect tensions to escalate. This is always a sensitive issue, but it is more hair-trigger as the North Koreans are very sensitive to the likely additional nuclear-capable aircraft flyovers.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 18, 2017.
While the focus on North Korea has been their improvement of missiles and a potential nuclear strike against the United States, many have missed an equally sinister weapon lingering in the rogue nation’s arsenal. And experts say that it’s time to take notice of it. Experts say there’s another weapon in Pyongyang’s arsenal the globe should keep a very close and watchful eye on. ‘Nuclear weapons are not the only threat,’ Kelsey Davenport, director of non-proliferation policy for the Arms Control Association told the McClatchy Washington Bureau. ‘North Korea could respond to a U. S. attack using chemical weapons. That would be devastating.’ And according to Fox News, Kim Jong Un’s military has been collecting large stockpiles of nerve agents, such as sarin and VX, which is the most dangerous and potent of all nerve gas agents. North Korea could always choose a chemical attack, rather than a nuclear one; one that could target U. S. military bases in the region and large cities like Seoul and Tokyo, according to a new report. Pyongyang denies that they have chemical agents, yet back in May, it was reported that the UN was helping North Korea obtain a patent for a banned nerve gas agent.
This post was published at shtfplan on August 17th, 2017.
On August 21st, approximately 25,000 U. S. troops will join ‘tens of thousands’ from the South Korean military to conduct a ‘major military exercise’ that is already triggering threats from North Korea. Considering the fact that any sort of provocation could cause a nuclear war to erupt on the Korean peninsula, is this really a wise thing to do? The more research that I do on this upcoming solar eclipse, the stranger things become. When I first started hearing about this eclipse many months ago, I didn’t pay too much attention, but now after looking into it extensively I do believe that it is going to be quite significant. And I didn’t even know about this major military exercise that will happen during the eclipse until today. The following comes from MSN… The U. S. military is preparing to launch a major military exercise with South Korea in coming days, and faces a dangerous balancing act: How do you reassure allies in the region that you are ready for a war with North Korea without provoking an actual conflict in the process? The annual Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercise is scheduled for 10 days beginning Aug. 21, and will include about 25,000 U. S. troops along with tens of thousands of South Koreans. The exercise focuses on defending South Korea against an attack from the north, and each year triggers threats and rebukes from North Korea. But it comes at an especially sensitive time now, following the exchange of a series of threats between President Trump and North Korea.
In what may be the first documented clash between Chinese and Indian soldiers who have been piling up across the border between the two nations over the latest territorial dispute, Reuters reports that “Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in an altercation” in the western Himalayas on Tuesday, “further raising tensions between the two countries which are already locked in a two-month standoff in another part of the disputed border.” While there has been no official confirmation yet by either India or China, a Reuters source in New Delhi who was briefed on the military situation on the border, said Indian soldiers “foiled a bid by a group of Chinese troops to enter Indian territory in Ladakh, near the Pangong lake.” He added that some of the Chinese soldiers carried iron rods and stones, and in the melee there were minor injuries on both sides, the source said. “There was an altercation near the Pangong lake,” said a police officer in Srinagar, the capital of India’s Jammu and Kashmir state, under which the area falls. An army source in Srinagar, quoted by Reuters, spoke of an altercation following what he called a Chinese army “incursion in Pangong lake area“. This fresh standoff at Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh comes in the backdrop of tensions between Indian and Chinese troops over Doklam plateau in Sikkim sector with the PLA skipping the ceremonial border meetings on Independence Day.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 16, 2017.
With geopolitical uncertainties injecting more volatility into the markets, Financial Sense Newshour sat down with Todd Mariano at Renaissance Macro to get his thoughts on North Korea and other hot spots around the globe, including Turkey, which, he said, is one of the greatest and overlooked concerns right now. Here’s what he had to say in our recent podcast, which aired Saturday on our site and on iTunes (see Art Hill on Technicals; Todd Mariano on N. Korea, China, and Geopolitics for audio). Is Nuclear War Imminent? The short answer is that no, it isn’t, believes Mariano. What we’re observing is that markets are reacting to uncertainty, specifically due to the shifting approach Washington is using to engage with North Korea, he noted. However, the situation really hasn’t changed all that much from a policy perspective, even under the new administration in Washington. ‘What markets are really reacting to amounts to headline risk because of the comments that the president made,’ he said. ‘The way I think this goes is certainly not a preemptive strike by North Korea. No one understands better than the North Korean military and Kim Jong Un that a preemptive strike coming from them would spell the end of the regime.’
Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation, By suggesting that he might order a U. S. regime-change invasion of Venezuela, President Trump has inadvertently shown why North Korea has been desperately trying to develop nuclear weapons – to serve as a deterrent or defense against one of the U. S. national-security state storied regime-change operations. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Venezuela and, for that matter, other Third World countries who stand up to the U. S. Empire, also seeking to put their hands on nuclear weapons. What better way to deter a U. S. regime-change operation against them? Think back to the Cuban Missile Crisis. The U. S. national-security establishment had initiated a military invasion of the Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, had exhorted President Kennedy to bomb Cuba during that invasion, and then had recommended that the president implement a fraudulent pretext (i.e., Operation Northwoods) for a full-scale military invasion of Cuba. That’s why Cuba, which had never initiated any acts of aggression against the United States, wanted Soviet nuclear missiles installed in Cuba. Cuba’s leader Fidel Castro knew that there was no way that Cuba could defeat the United States in a regular, conventional war. Everyone knows that the military establishment in the United States is so large and so powerful that it can easily smash any Third World nation, including Cuba, North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Venezuela.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 16, 2017.
There are two points I want to hammer home in today’s piece. First, we all need to accept that Donald Trump is not some sort of crazy aberration in U. S. politics, but rather basically just the ghastly continuation of the authoritarianism and militarism which has characterized our insane society since we experienced a civilization-wide mental breakdown following the attacks of 9/11. I’ve written about this ongoing cultural insanity on many occasions, but most passionately in my 2013 piece, How I Remember September 11, 2001: In the days following the collapse, all I wanted was for the towers to be rebuilt just like before. I wanted the skyline back to what I had know since the day I came into this earth at a New York City hospital to be restored exactly as I had always known it. Career-wise, I felt I should leave Wall Street. I thought about going back to graduate school for political science, or maybe even join the newly created Department of Homeland Security (yes, the irony is not lost on me). I read a lengthy tome on Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda. I was an emotional and psychological mess, and it was when I was in this state of heightened distress that my own government and the military-industrial complex took advantage of me.
A day after US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford promised him that the US would exhaust all diplomatic options, including another round of UN sanctions, before resorting to a ‘military solution’ in its simmering conflict with North Korea, South Korean President Moon Jae-in reminded Washington during a forceful Tuesday speech that the US would need to seek, and receive, South Korea’s consent before risking another armed conflict on the Korean peninsula, signaling his country will no longer stay quiet as tensions escalate with its northern neighbor. As Bloomberg summarizes, “Moon asserted the right to veto any military action against Kim Jong Un’s regime, saying that decision should be made by ‘ourselves and not by anyone else.’ He vowed to prevent war at any cost – a statement that drew a sharp contrast with President Donald Trump, who has warned of ‘fire and fury’ if North Korea continues to threaten the U. S.” Some highlights from his speech: “Without South Korea’s consent no one can determine military actions on the Korean peninsula” South Korea govt will prevent war at any cost; “There will be no war repeated on the Korean peninsula” South Korea will work closely with U. S. to overcome security threats posed by North Korea’s nuclear missiles South Korea govt will “strengthen diplomatic efforts in order not to shake principles for a peaceful resolution” Sanctions and talks should go together; “Sanctions are not to heighten military tensions but to bring North Korea to talks” Moon’s speech coincided with the Korean independence-day holiday on Tuesday, which is celebrated in both the North and the South. The holiday commemorates the defeat of the Japanese during World War II. According to Yonhap news agency, Moon marked the occasion by visiting the graves of independence fighters. Meanwhile, Moon’s counterpart, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, “”celebrated by backing off his threat to launch a nuclear strike against Guam, a US territory in the Pacific Ocean that’s about 2,000 miles away from the Korean Peninsula – well within the range of the North’s missiles. According to KCNA, the North Korean news agency, Kim has received a report from the army about its plans to strike the area around Guam and said, “he will watch the actions of the United States for a while longer before making a decision.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 15, 2017.
United States Naval Construction Battalions, better known as the Seabees (C. B. – construction battalion), of the Naval Construction Force held a groundbreaking ceremony for a maritime operations center on Ochakov Naval Base, Ukraine, July 25. According to the Navy.mil, the official website of the US Navy, the maritime operations center is one of three projects that are currently planned to be executed by the Seabees in Ochakov and will serve as a major planning and operational hub during future military exercises hosted by Ukraine. The Seabees arrived in Ochakov in April to establish contracts, obtain construction permits and perform other logistical tasks for the maritime operations center project. *** Maritime operations centers are the operational-level warfare command and control organizations designed to deliver flexible maritime capabilities throughout the full range of military operations. The future Seabee projects in Ochakov include a boat maintenance facility and entry control points with perimeter fencing. Our ability to maximize European reassurance initiatives in Ukraine holds strategic importance, and will ultimately improve host nation defense capacity and infrastructure, strengthen relations, and increase bilateral training capabilities, said Lt. j.g. Jason McGee, officer in charge of Det. Ukraine. In July, several US missile warships, including the USS Hue City Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser and the USS Carney Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, a P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft and a Navy SEALs team took part in the 12-day Sea Breeze 2017 NATO naval exercise held in the northwestern part of the Black Sea, near the port city of Odessa. 17 nations took part in the training event.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 15, 2017.
There is something unsettling about how President Trump has surrounded himself with generals. From his defense secretary to his national security advisor to his White House chief of staff, Trump looks to senior military officers to fill key positions that have been customarily filled by civilians. He’s surrounded by generals and threatens war at the drop of a hat. President Trump began last week by threatening ‘fire and fury’ on North Korea. He continued through the week claiming, falsely, that Iran is violating the terms of the nuclear deal. He finally ended the week by threatening a US military attack on Venezuela. He told reporters on Friday that, ‘We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary. … We have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering, and they are dying.’ Venezuela’s defense minister called Trump’s threat ‘an act of craziness.’
The following video was published by X22Report on Aug 14, 2017 YouTube is going after all those videos that expose the deep state. Trump warns Venezuela that the US has a military option. South Korea says unlikely NK will bomb Guam. China bans coal, oil and other imports from NK. US military is not on high alert and there are no actions being taken by the fleet or forces. Russia says the US should leave Afghanistan. The elite are pushing their agenda in Virginia.
21st Century Wire says… This is a potentially incredible breakthrough in the painful 7 year-long Syrian conflict. As 21WIRE has pointed out previous, aside from Turkey’s key part in facilitating the creation and supply of anti-Syrian terrorist enclaves over the last 7 years, it has also played the central role in the dismantling of Syria’s manufacturing sector centered around the now devastated industrial hub of Aleppo. That’s what makes this latest news almost unbelievable. Since 2011, the leadership in Ankara has committed much of its southern territory, a good portion of financial and military resources, as well as nearly all of its diplomatic credibility… for one goal: to destabilize its neighbor and achieve regime change in Damascus. Perhaps its renewed dialogue and a lucrative Southstream energy partnership with Russia, along with the relative success so far in the Astana Peace Process – and Washington’s disruptive military and financial backing of a prime Turkish arch-enemy, the Kurdish militia in northern Syria, has made Turkish President Erdogan and his inner circle realize that it’s time to reverse course on a 7 year failure, and immeasurable social, civil and economic destruction of their southern neighbor.
A report in the New York Times expanded on the chairman’s remarks, which were published by local media in Korean, but were translated by the US media. ‘The United States military’s priority is to support our government’s efforts to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through diplomatic and economic pressure,’ General Dunford was quote as saying in a Korean-language statement released by Mr. Moon’s office after the meeting. ‘We are preparing a military option in case such efforts fail.’ Dunford added that he was supporting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s effort to push the North toward talks, and a possible peaceful resolution, though ‘as a military leader’ Dunford said it’s still his duty to make sure the president has ‘viable military options.’ Though he also stressed that the North’s nuclear program threatens “the entire global community,” as the Hillreported.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 14, 2017.
A “stolen” 10 meter-long Soviet-era, anti-aircraft missile has exploded at a recycling centre in eastern Russia, killing two and injuring one, the Telegraph reports. Russian media were reportedly alerted to the explosion of the large-scale missile in the Siberian city of Chita after a YouTube user uploaded a car dashcam video showing the moment of the blast.
According to the Telegraph, a criminal investigation was opened into the “illegal acquisition and storage of explosive device” after two warheads from a S-200 Angara missile were found at the blast site. Local authorities said it appeared that the warhead had detonated while workers were cutting it down for scrap metal. The exploded missile was an S-200 Angara, also known as the SA-5 “Gammon” in NATO countries, a long rage, medium-to-high altitude surface-to-air missile system. The SAM has been in service since 1967s, but has since been replaced by the S-300 and S-400 surface-to-air models. It is unknown how the missile came to be at a recycling plant. Local news website by24.org says that the seven tonne missile “had been stolen” from a military base by persons unknown and taken to the facility in exchange for cash. It had likely exploded while recycling workers were trying to dismantle it.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 13, 2017.
The former Soviet republic of Moldova may actually become yet another foothold for the US military in Europe. The US Naval Facilities Engineering Command Europe Africa Southwest Asia (NAVFAC EURAFSWA) plans to construct eight training facilities for military operations in urban terrain at the Bulboaca training base in Moldova. The fact that the US Navy Department is involved makes believe the facility will host American Marines. *** A total of $1.6 million has already been invested in the renovation of the Bulboaca base located near Tiraspol, the capital of Transnistria or the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic. The largely Russian-speaking region broke away from Moldova following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The secession led to an armed conflict that ended in a ceasefire in July 1992. Russian troops were deployed to the conflict zone in accordance with the Agreement on the Principles for a Peaceful Settlement of the Armed Conflict in the Transnistrian Region of the Republic of Moldova, signed in 1992 by the presidents of Russia and Moldova in the presence of Transnistria’s leader.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 14, 2017.
How close is the US to war with North Korea? That was the question several top military and national security advisors struggled to answer over the weekend, mitigating fears of an imminent nuclear war even as Trump raises geopolitical tensions and boosts bellicose rhetoric with every public appearance. Speaking on “Fox News Sunday”, and walking a fine line of backing Trump’s tough talk but not wanting to raise the alarm at home, CIA Director Mike Pompeo said there’s no indication war will break out.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 13, 2017.
The crisis with North Korea has hit a fever pitch with both, President Trump and Kim Jong Un, exchanging words on a nearly hourly basis. While North Korea has threatened to reduce the United States to ‘ash,’ Trump has responded by saying that the U. S. military is ‘locked and loaded’ for war. So serious is the concern that Guam, identified by Un as an initial target should war break out, has issued a nuclear war guide to its residents: Guam Homeland Security issued a new fact sheetFriday, which the agency says will help residents prepare for an imminent missile threat. The information was released following this week’s threat by North Korea to launch a missile attack against Guam. The advice includes tips such as: ‘Do not look at the flash or fireball – It can blind you’ and ‘Take cover behind anything that might offer protection.’
This post was published at shtfplan on August 11th, 2017.
Andrew Korybko The Duran Trump was more aggressive than usual yesterday when he said that he’s not ruling out a ‘military option’ in Venezuela, and the international media went haywire speculating that the President was considering an invasion. Nothing justifies what Trump said, but taking aside all moral considerations, his statement shouldn’t have been surprising, and interestingly enough, it might even backfire on him. All US Presidents routinely restate the rhetoric that ‘all options are on the table’ when dealing with the crises that their country provoked abroad, which in this case is the Hybrid War on Venezuela that seeks to attain proxy control over the world’s largest oil reserves in the Orinoco River Belt and smash the socialist-multipolar ALBA grouping. Venezuela’s preexisting socio-political vulnerabilities and institutional weaknesses were exploited by the US’ economic machinations against the country in order to trigger a Color Revolution against the government. When that failed, the regime change movement transformed into an urban insurgency and recently expanded its operations by staging a terrorist attack against a military base in the central part of the country.
As the drumbeat intensifies for what might turn out to be anything but a splendid little war against North Korea, it is appropriate to take stock of the ongoing, seemingly successful effort to strip President Donald Trump of his authority to make any foreign and national security policies that fly against the wishes of the so-called Military-Industrial Complex, or MIC. A Google search for Military-Industrial Complex (in quotation marks) with Trump yields almost 450,000 hits from all sources and almost 26,000 from just news sources. During the 2016 campaign and into the initial weeks of his administration, Trump was sometimes described as a threat to the MIC. But over time, with the appointment to his administration of more generals and establishment figures (including some allegedly tied to George Soros) while purging Trump loyalists, it’s no surprise that his policies increasingly seem less a departure from those of previous administrations than a continuation of them (for example, welcoming Montenegro into NATO). Some now say that Trump is the MIC’s best friend and maybe always was. There are those who deny that the MIC exists at all. One self-described conservative blogger writing in the pro-war, pro-intervention, and mostly neoconservative National Review refers to the very existence of the MIC as a myth peddled by the conspiracy-minded. Sure, it is conceded, it was appropriate to refer to such a concept back when President Dwight Eisenhower warned against it in 1961 upon his impending departure from the White House, because back then the military consumed some 10 percent of the American GDP. But now, when the percentage is nominally just 3.2 percent, less than $600 billion per year, the term supposedly is inapplicable. (There are those who argue that the real cost annually is over $1 trillion, but why quibble.)
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 12, 2017.