U.S. and China playing a dangerous game of “chicken” in the S. China Sea – miscalculation could lead to war, warns official

China Sea
May 2015 SOUTH CHINA SEA A Chinese navy dispatcher demanded eight times Wednesday that a U.S. Air Force P8-A Poseidon surveillance aircraft leave the area as it flew over Fiery Cross Reef, where China has conducted extensive reclamation work on what it claims as sovereign territory. When the U.S. crew responded that it was flying in international airspace, the Chinese dispatcher answered, “This is the Chinese navy…. You go!” The U.S. plane, which was operating from an air base in the Philippines, received eight warnings from the Chinese during the mission. Verbal sparring is common between the two militaries, but the Pentagon decision to release two videos and audio recordings from the dust-up a day earlier — less than a week after it disclosed that a U.S. warship also had sailed through the Spratlys — shows a new willingness to publicly confront Beijing for expanding construction projects in waters believed to be rich in oil and gas, and close to vital shipping lanes.
U.S. officials said they are determined to preserve freedom of international navigation and airspace, but are not seeking to provoke a confrontation with China. The jockeying comes as Defense Secretary Ashton Carter heads to Asia next week on a trip intended to shore up security alliances in a region increasingly nervous about China’s policies. He will visit Singapore, Vietnam and India. Regional tension has grown since President Obama announced a so-called U.S. strategic pivot to Asia four years ago, in part to keep an eye on a fast-rising China. The administration has shifted ships and troops to the Western Pacific and expanded military ties with several countries worried about China’s growing clout, including Japan, the Philippines, Australia and, to a lesser extent, Vietnam. The renewed American focus on the region appears to have led to unintended consequences, however. Beijing has become more aggressive in asserting its maritime and territorial claims in the South China and East China seas.
Some senior Chinese officials fear that the U.S. military “has effectively ‘boxed in’ China,” Jeff Smith, director of Asia security programs at the American Foreign Policy Council, a Philadelphia think tank, wrote in this month’s Foreign Affairs magazine. The Chinese are “eager to punish neighbors such as Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines — and even India — who they believe capitalized on a period of relative Chinese weakness to assume control of disputed islands in the South and East China Seas,” he said. For now, U.S. officials believe they can pressure China to scale back its island-building by galvanizing other Asian governments against it. In recent months, the U.S. has encouraged Japan to begin naval patrols in the South China Sea, where it doesn’t normally sail, and provided ships and other equipment to the Philippine and Vietnamese coast guards.

“As China seeks to make sovereign land out of sandcastles and redraw maritime boundaries, it is eroding regional trust, undermining investor confidence and challenging the energy security upon which all of us depend,” Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a speech Wednesday in Jakarta, Indonesia. The U.S. surveillance flight came less than a week after the Fort Worth, a Navy littoral combat ship designed for near-shore operations, passed close to the Spratly Islands, where the Chinese are dredging sand and building up five reefs.
Pentagon officials said the patrol was meant to show that Washington does not accept China’s claims that seas surrounding the disputed reefs constitute Chinese territorial waters. Chinese navy ships tailed the U.S. vessel during the patrol. “What you’re seeing by the U.S. is a calculated, transparent effort to reveal the situation in all of its details and potential dangers,” said Mira Rapp Hooper, an expert in maritime disputes at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. But when military forces operate in such proximity, she warned, “there is always the danger of inadvertent or accidental escalation.” –LA Times
US vows to continue flights over disputed islands
S China Sea MapWASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States vowed on Thursday to keep up air and sea patrols in international waters after the Chinese navy repeatedly warned a U.S. surveillance plane to leave the airspace over artificial islands China is creating in the disputed South China Sea. The Chinese navy issued eight warnings to the crew of a U.S. P8-A Poseidon, the U.S. military’s most advanced surveillance aircraft, when it conducted the over-flights on Wednesday, according to CNN, which was aboard the U.S. aircraft.
The Poseidon flew as low as 15,000 feet (4,500 meters), CNN said, and video provided by the Pentagon appeared to have been taken from directly above one artificial island. The incident, along with recent Chinese warnings to Philippine military aircraft to leave areas around the Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea, suggested Beijing is trying to enforce a military exclusion zone above its new islands there. Some security experts worry about the risk of confrontation, especially after a U.S. official said last week that the Pentagon was considering sending military aircraft and ships to assert freedom of navigation around the Chinese-made islands. –Yahoo News
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Soros is worried about the potential for World War III, starting with China

World War 3
May 2015BEIJING Global conflict has increased in recent years, with much of the Mideast in flames and historic rivalries rising to the surface in parts of Europe and Asia too.  Hedge fund legend George Soros is concerned that it all could end in catastrophe — another world war. And China might prove to be the flashpoint, the chairman of Soros Fund Management said at the Bretton Woods Committee Annual Meeting at the World Bank, MarketWatch reports.
If the Asian titan fails in its attempt to shift the economy’s focus to domestic demand from exports, Soros sees the “likelihood” that Chinese leaders will resort to foreign conflict to keep themselves in power and prevent the country from falling apart.  And if China chooses the wrong adversary, look out. “If there is conflict between China and a military ally of the United States, like Japan, then it is not an exaggeration to say that we are on the threshold of a third world war,” Soros stated.
 The solution: the United States should let China’s yuan join the International Monetary Fund’s basket of currencies, he argued. And in return, China should reform its economy, including acceptance of the rule of law. Without such an agreement, “there is a real danger that China will align itself with Russia politically and militarily, and then the threat of third world war becomes real, so it is worth trying.” Meanwhile, only six years after the end of the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, some experts are worried another one may be on its way.
They are “warning that the global community has failed to learn the lessons of the Greek debt crisis — or even of Argentina’s default in 2001, the consequences of which are still being contested furiously in courts on both sides of the Atlantic,” writes The Guardian’s Heather Stewart.  Some of the concern stems from the soaring dollar, plunging oil prices and the Federal Reserve’s preparation to raise interest rates.  The dollar reached multi-year highs against a range of currencies in recent months, oil prices have hit six-year lows and many economists expect a Fed rate move later this year. “We’re going to have another financial crisis,” Ann Pettifor, director of Policy Research in Macroeconomics, told Stewart. “Brazil’s already in great trouble with the strength of the dollar; I dread to think what’s happening in South Africa; then there’s Malaysia. We’re back to where we were, and that for me is really frightening.” –Newsmax
Posted in Acts of Agression, Arms Race, Banking Crisis, Bankruptcy, Boom and Bust Cycles, Conflict Among Nations, Currency - Economic warfare, Cyber Attack, Economic Collapse, Escalating hostilities, Financial market turmoil, Flashpoint for war, Geopolitical Crisis, Hierarchal Control, Hoarding Gold, Hoarding Resources, New World Order, Nuclear Proliferation, Preparation for War, Resource War, Rumors of War, The Pyramid Model, Unsustainable Debt Burden, Widening gap between rich and poor | 2 Comments

Will ISIS be the spark that ignites World War III?

ISIS WW 3
May 2015GEOPOLITICS Many imagined World War III would be fought using advanced weaponry and nuclear arsenals, not knowing that the most primitive weapon, radicalism, is the most lethal amongst all. Civil war ignites when countrymen of differing political and religious ideologies, sometimes more loyal to foreign powers than to their national identity, wreak havoc whereby a country or even an Empire crumbles. It is as if history is repeating itself. Great civilizations fell, never to be rebuilt and now nation-building seems a forlorn dream. The 2003 regime change in Iraq was not only a ‘Shock and Awe’ campaign to oust Saddam’s Ba’ath Party, but to serve as a wakeup call for all regional powers in the Middle East. Establishing democracy and allowing people to exercise any degree of freedom of opinion is still a taboo, seeming to pose an existential threat to the national security of many ruling regimes in the Arab World. Is extreme radicalism preferable to democracy?
The recent fall of Ramadi city to the hands of the so-called Islamic State (known as ISIS or Daesh), was inevitable. Ramadi, the centre of Anbar province (60 miles to the west of Baghdad), as well as other Sunni-dominated provinces in Western and Northern Iraq, were already death zones, pre and post-Daesh, posing a threat to any Iraqi who welcomed the U.S.-led regime change of 2003. This was the region the U.S. forces failed to tame and where they incurred the most casualties during their stay. The U.S. failed to sell democracy to a group who knew they would end up in the minority. It was from Anbar province, the Sunni protests ignited strife against the Iraqi government in December 2012 calling for radical reform which included many illegitimate demands, while Daesh and al-Qaeda splinter groups moved freely to parade their weapons and fly their flags publically long before the fall of Mosul in June 2014.
Chanting for regime change was commonplace. The protest platforms were supported by almost all Sunni leaders who were expected to be partners of a democratically elected government of the new Iraq. They found it too difficult to accept the democratic outcome which replaced their dominant power pre-2003, even though they were only a minority. The recent victory of Daesh in Ramadi came after a number of strategic advances achieved by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) in the north and west of the country. Daesh was so desperate for a big victory beyond their usual social media propaganda campaigns to compensate for the loss of Tikrit, Saddam’s hometown, that was recently liberated by al-Hashd al-Shabi, known as Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). For Daesh, it was only possible to seize control of Ramadi after the full mobilization of their local supporters backed by foreign fighters, bringing an army of suicide bombers to launch a decisive attack and offer no mercy to Sunnis collaborating with the government. Mass executions took place. Video footage revealed mass desertion by local police and security forces, abandoning their posts and leaving their weapons behind.
Many have joined Daesh, and a victory was declared which knocks another nail into the coffin of democracy. That night, people in Mousal went out to the streets, jubilant and celebrating en masse. The day after, Daesh paraded their weapons and hundreds of armed vehicles in Rutba, west Ramadi; a public demonstration that the international coalition air forces have drastically failed to spot, despite the sophisticated surveillance and intelligence they possess. There are many factors that have contributed to the fall of Ramadi. The U.S. training has been weak, there are not enough Sunni Arab men willing to fight in Anbar, some local police are double agents for Daesh, some are not willing to fight family members, intra-Sunni political and local conflicts and also bad politicians in Baghdad. The U.S. did not want the PMF in Anbar and the result was Ramadi fell, Anbar provincial council voted to call in the PMF and some tribal leaders have been asking for that for months.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was left with no choice but to call upon the PMF to sustain military efforts of the ISF. Since the liberation of Tikrit, the PMF has become Iraq’s main power on the ground. A Shia dominated paramilitary armed group, formed in mid-2014 after the collapse of the army – in response to Grand Ayatollah Sistani’s Fatwa (religious edict). However, the group now includes over 5,000 Sunni tribal fighters and hundreds of Christians and other minorities who have joined, so it is no longer an exclusively Shia force. The priority of liberating Anbar is becoming high on the agenda. It borders Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, and the sacred city of Karbala, which the Caliph of Daesh has vocally called upon his followers to invade and destroy the holy shrines it is home to. If this provocative situation were to arise all might be lost to a Shia-Sunni civil war, which would undoubtedly spread across the region.
Iraq is in a difficult spot. That Sunni population are now either internally displaced people (IDP) or live under the rule of Daesh, while most of their politicians are seen as rejectionists to the Shia-dominated rule. The Sunnis opted to join the political process post-2005, on the condition of being equal partners in every single administration, regardless of the democratic outcome. Yet having this caveat they have continued to act as an opposition within the government, often complying to their favorable foreign backers’ requests in the region rather than engaging in constructive debate. This has significantly hindered the political process, crippled national reconciliation efforts and compromised much-needed national unity.
For Iraqis to reconcile their differences, influential players in the Middle East have to reconcile and stop using Iraq as a battlefield for their proxy war. Iraq needs western powers to act as strategic allies to safeguard its nascent democracy and contribute to state building. It also desperately needs its neighbors — on all sides — to help stabilize the country rather than hinder its progress. Radicalizing Iraq is no option — if Iraq is lost to radicalism, the domino effect will impact the Middle East, engulfing the region into a religious war. –Huff Post
Posted in Acts of Agression, Age of Decadence, Arms Race, Civil Unrest, Conflict Among Nations, Escalating hostilities, Ethnic tensions, Flashpoint for war, Geopolitical Crisis, Gun violence, Hierarchal Control, New World Order, Nuclear Proliferation, Political turmoil, Preparation for War, Religious War, Resource War, Rumors of War, Social Meltdown, Terrorism threat, The Pyramid Model | 1 Comment

Islamic State seizes ancient town of Palmyra in Syria

ISIS Syria
May 2015SYRIA Islamic State extremists captured the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra after government defense lines there collapsed Wednesday, a stunning triumph for the group only days after it captured the strategic city of Ramadi in Iraq. It was unclear by nightfall how close to Palmyra’s famed archaeological site the militants had advanced, activists said, adding that Syrian soldiers were seen fleeing the area.
The ruins at Palmyra are one of the world’s most renowned historic sites and there were fears the extremists would destroy them as they did major archaeological sites in Iraq. The UNESCO world heritage site is famous for its 2,000-year-old towering Roman-era colonnades and other ruins and priceless artifacts. Before the war, thousands of tourists a year visited the remote desert outpost, a cherished landmark referred to by Syrians as the “Bride of the Desert.”
The fall of the town to the Islamic State group after a week of fighting was an enormous loss to the government, not only because of its cultural significance, but because it opens the way for the extremists to advance to key government-held areas, including Damascus and the Syrian coast to the south and southwest, as well as the contested eastern city of Deir el-Zour to the east. Next to it are also important gas and oil fields in the country’s central region.
It was not immediately clear how close the militants were to the ruins, which are just southwest of the town. “I am terrified,” said Maamoun Abdulkarim, Syria’s director-general of antiquities and museums. “This is a PR battle for Daesh, and they will insist on scoring victory against civilization by destroying” the ancient ruins, he said, using the Arabic acronym for the group. The fall of Palmyra just days after Islamic State fighters seized the strategic Iraqi city of Ramadi showed the extremists’ ability to advance on multiple fronts at opposite ends of a sprawling battlefield that spans the two countries — and erased any sense that recent IS losses in Tikrit and elsewhere had dealt a major blow to the militants.
The Syrian Observatory for human rights reported that government forces collapsed in the face of IS attacks and withdrew from the town late Wednesday. Beibares Tellawi, an activist in Homs province, also confirmed IS was in control of the town. He said the militants had reached the notorious Tadmur prison, where thousands of Syrian dissidents have been imprisoned and tortured over the years. The fate of the prisoners, believed to number around 1,000, was not immediately known. –USA Today
Posted in Acts of Agression, Arms Race, Conflict Among Nations, Escalating hostilities, Flashpoint for war, Geopolitical Crisis, Hierarchal Control, Immigration surge, Preparation for War, Protests, Religious War, Resource War, Rumors of War, Social Crime, Social Meltdown, Terrorism threat, The Pyramid Model, Violence | Leave a comment

Ramadi falls: brutal battle for Baghdad likely amid warning of ISIS terror cells in Iraqi capital

 ISIS Map of Middle East
May 2015 BAGHDADThe fall of the Iraqi city of Ramadi to Islamic State (ISIS) fighters could herald a “brutal, destructive fight” for the capital Baghdad, a Middle East expert has warned. Fighting has intensified close to Iraq’s biggest city in recent weeks, with the nearby strategic town of Ramadi falling into the hands of extremist ISIS fighters over the weekend. Now, a leading academic has predicted an “almighty confrontation” in the capital, warning of a “civil war focused on Baghdad which would be extremely destructive.” Professor Gareth Stansfield said the primary threat was posed by terrorist sleeper cells that had the potential to launch a bombing campaign from inside the city. He told Express.co.uk: “ISIS doesn’t just operate as a regular military force as it is doing in Ramadi, it also has terrorist cells as well. “If it has terrorist cells in Baghdad and they are activated, and we start to see the big suicide bombs and the big car bombs and the shootings and maybe an internal insurgency in Baghdad, then this starts to look extremely dangerous indeed.”
ISIS militants reportedly butchered 500 civilians and soldiers in Ramadi during fierce fighting, forcing a further 8,000 to flee the violence. The group took advantage of sand storms to launch a deadly assault on the area, defeating Iraqi forces backed by the United States and a coalition of Arab states. The White House described the fall of Ramadi as a “setback” but insisted the US would help Iraqis recapture the city. Experts are now warning that a flurry of brutal execution videos could follow in the wake of ISIS’s victory.  Prof Stansfield, a director of Middle East Studies at the security think-tank Royal United Service Institute, said the fall of Ramadi would be seen as a “great propaganda victory” for the terror network.
Baghdad is within striking distance of Ramadi, which is just 70 miles west of the capital, and there are fears that the instability could pose a threat to the Iraqi government, with pressure mounting on the country’s president, Haider al-Abadi. Prof Stansfield, who also contributed to the Iraq Inquiry into the 2003 war, said it was possible that ISIS fighters might make “some serious advances, moving very quickly as they do, but then the Shia militia mobilizing and you get an almighty confrontation in Baghdad, and a civil war focused on Baghdad which would be extremely destructive.” He added: “You wouldn’t see the government of Iraq fall, just because it is so firmly entrenched as a Shia city now, and the Iranians have invested so much…they have got the defense of Baghdad worked out but it would be a very, very brutal, destructive fight.” However, Baghdad remains for the time being relatively safe and was unlikely to fall into enemy hands he said.
“It is difficult to imagine Baghdad falling to the Islamic State, just because Baghdad is so heavily populated by Shia and the Shia militia have flooded Baghdad, it is very difficult then to imagine that happening,” said Prof Stansfield. If that were to happen, the future of Iraq itself would be thrown into question, as the government would likely be deposed and control of key infrastructure and resources would fall under ISIS control. –Express UK
Posted in Arms Race, Civil Unrest, Conflict Among Nations, Escalating hostilities, Flashpoint for war, Geopolitical Crisis, Gun violence, Hierarchal Control, Infrastructure collapse, New World Order, Political turmoil, Preparation for War, Religious War, Rumors of War, Social Meltdown, Terrorism threat, The Pyramid Model, Widening gap between rich and poor | Leave a comment

North Korea says it can now fit nukes on missiles, aim them at U.S.

North Korea
May 2015 NORTH KOREANorth Korea claimed Wednesday it has been able to make nuclear warheads small enough to fit on a missile — a development that, if verified, would mark a major advance in its military capabilities and the threat it can pose to the world. Pyongyang has a habit of making exaggerated claims about its technical abilities, and Wednesday’s assertion comes amid widespread doubts about its reported test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile earlier this month. But Kim Jong Un’s regime is known to have been working on both its nuclear weapons program and missile technology, and analysts widely believe that it’s just a matter of time until they put the two together through “miniaturization.”
The North’s National Defense Commission, or NDC — its highest military authority, chaired by Kim — said that it was able to make a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on an intercontinental ballistic missile, designed to be fired at the mainland United States. “It is long since [North Korea’s] nuclear striking means have entered the stage of producing smaller nukes and diversifying them,” a spokesman for the NDC said in a statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency. North Korea “has reached the stage of ensuring the highest precision and intelligence and best accuracy of not only medium- and short-range rockets, but long-range ones,” the KCNA report continued, according to a translation by the South’s Yonhap News Agency.
It added that this month’s purported submarine military test was part of a larger strategy of advancing its nuclear program as part of its “byungjin” policy, under which North Korea hopes to advance both its nuclear weapons capabilities and its economy. Pyongyang claimed it had sent a “world-level strategic weapon” soaring “into the sky from underwater.” State media ran photos of Kim aboard a boat holding binoculars as the rocket blasted out of the sea. But that purported test has been widely discredited. On Tuesday, Adm. James Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the North Koreans “have not gotten as far as their clever video editors and spinmeisters would have us believe.” “They are years away from developing this capability,” he told a forum in Washington.
Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., an expert on North Korea’s weapons programs and chief analytical officer at AllSource Analysis, a consulting firm, wrote that the test launch appeared to have been from a submerged barge, rather than from a submarine. The commentary was in a report for 38 North, a Web site devoted to North Korea. Like state newspapers, North Korean television also ran still photos, rather than video, of the test, leading analysts to speculate that the missile had flown for only a few seconds. Notably, one of the photos was not cropped as it was in the newspapers and showed a ship towing a barge. Still, experts put miniaturization of nuclear weapons as a distinct possibility. North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests and regularly launches missiles of varying ranges, advancing their efforts with each test.
In a separate report for 38 North earlier this year, Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, said that it seemed “very plausible” to him that North Korea would be able to design nuclear weapons small enough to fit on a missile. “I’ll be the first person to say that we should not exaggerate the capabilities of North Korea’s nuclear forces, but underestimating them is every bit as bad,” Lewis wrote. “The North Koreans are developing military capabilities that we will, sooner or later, have to deal with.”
A 2013 report from the Defense Intelligence Agency said it had “moderate confidence” that Pyongyang had the ability to miniaturize its nuclear weapons and mount them on long-range missiles. U.S. military officials have offered similar assessments more recently, although the military does not consider weapons to be operational until they’ve been tested.
“Our assessment is that they have the ability to put a nuclear weapon on a KN-08 and shoot it at the homeland,” Adm. Bill Gortney, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command, told reporters at the Pentagon last month, referring to North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile. This echoed an earlier statement from General Curtis Scaparrotti, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea. “I believe they have the capability to miniaturize the device at this point and they have the technology to potentially actually deliver what they say they have,” he said in October. –NH Register
Posted in Acts of Agression, Arms Race, Civil Unrest, Conflict Among Nations, Cyber Attack, Escalating hostilities, Flashpoint for war, Geopolitical Crisis, Hierarchal Control, New World Order, Nuclear Proliferation, Preparation for War, Resource War, Rumors of War, Terrorism threat, The Pyramid Model | Leave a comment

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Yellen warns Tech bubble could burst

Market Bubble
May 2015ECONOMY Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen recently joined the rising chorus of economists and former Fed officials warning about the risks of irrational exuberance by bond and stock investors paying bubble-inflated prices. Conspicuously silent about the risks of stock investing over the last 6 years, Yellen’s comments quickly tanked the bond market. But with the NASDAQ tech-heavy index up 500% since the bottom of the last crash, Yellen seems to be warning this bubble could pop. Yale Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert J. Shiller has published three editions of his iconic book: Irrational Exuberance. On March 15, 2000, as prices of tech heavy NASDAQ were peaking just before an 76% crash, he warned that the stock market “was in a speculative bubble, not grounded in sensible economic fundamentals.”
Exactly five years later, as residential real estate was peaking just before a 35% national crash, Schiller published a second edition of Irrational Exuberance warning that housing prices were “in a speculative bubble, not grounded in sensible economic fundamentals.” On January 29, 2015, Schiller published a third edition of Irrational Exuberance, warning that “the bursting of the speculative bubbles that led to the 2007-9 world financial crisis” has again “accelerated since the crisis” for “valuations in the stock and bond markets.” Yellen not only knows Robert Schiller as a distinguished academic economist, but her distinguished academic economist husband George Akerlof and Robert Schiller also co-wrote Animal Spirits in 2009.
The tome reasserted the necessity of an active government role in economic policymaking by resurrecting the idea of “animal spirits,” a term John Maynard Keynes used to describe the gloom and despondence that led to the Great Depression, and the changing psychology that accompanied recovery. The book influenced Yellen to support an ultra-easy monetary policy and an ultra-low interest rate environment. Yellen made her bearish comments during a high-visibility public interview with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde at an IMF seminar at the IMF headquarters in Washington DC on May 6. Ms. Lagarde asked the U.S. central bank chief about the possibility that the Fed’s rock-bottom interest-rate policy is leading to bubbles in financial markets. Yellen reportedly answered:
“I would highlight that equity-market valuations at this point generally are quite high,” Ms. Yellen said. “Not so high when you compare returns on equity to returns on safe assets like bonds, which are also very low, but there are potential dangers there.” Bloomberg News reported this week in “Bond-Market Crash Has Wall Street Divided on What’s Next” that the global bond selloff following Yellen’s comments has “set investors on edge.” Some analysts said the worst of the selling rout might be over after weeks of pain. But the investment banking firm of Goldman Sachs warned that government debt is still expensive, despite the crash in prices sending bond yields soaring.
Since Yellen’s comments, the stock markets have been stable. But the bond market crash brought back memories of the grim dot-com technology stock crash that started in March of 2000 and did not bottom until the NASDAQ was down 76% on October 9, 2002. The current valuation for all the stocks on the NASDAQ index is about $9.2 trillion. That compares to almost $20 trillion at the 2000 market top. But a big part of the lower valuation is due to a few big companies’ stock prices being crushed. AOL saw its stock value plunge from $226 billion to about $20 billion in the dot-com crash, for example. Just last week, Verizon offered to buy what is left of AOL from Time Warner for only $4.4 billion. 
Wall Street analysts use “metrics” to try to justify the current stock market prices as reasonable, including: 1) During the dot-com boom, investors were willing to pay 152 times companies’ earnings, versus an industry average of 19.1 times today; and 2) during the dot-com boom, investors were willing to pay 6.7 times companies’ book value versus 3.9 times today. But those lower “multiples” are still highly inflated compared to valuations over the last 100 years. Today’s stock market bubble may not be as “flamboyant” as the 2000 dot-com Crash or the 2007 subprime real estate crash. But that is only because there is no standard definition of what a “crash” is. After a bubble bursts, everyone claims to have seen it coming.
Fed Chair Yellen knows that Robert Shiller has documented that the financial conditions most likely to lead to asset bubbles are the rear combination of an ultra-easy monetary policy and an ultra-low interest rate environment. Having been personally responsible for setting the monetary policy that created both conditions, Yellen seems to have given investors a warning that this stock market bubble may soon burst–like those before it. –Breitbart
Posted in Acts of Agression, Arms Race, Conflict Among Nations, Cyber Attack, Cyber crime, Economic Collapse, EMP Threat, Escalating hostilities, Flashpoint for war, Geopolitical Crisis, Hierarchal Control, Hoarding Gold, New World Order, Nuclear Proliferation, Political turmoil, Preparation for War, Rumors of War, The Pyramid Model, Widening gap between rich and poor | Leave a comment

Deep Web – Dark Crimes: the 96% of the web you can’t access and don’t know about

Dark Web
May 2015CYBERWORLD TECH  — You thought you knew the Internet. But sites such as Facebook, Amazon, and Instagram are just the surface. There’s a whole other world out there: the Deep Web. It’s a place where online information is password protected, trapped behind paywalls, or requires special software to access—and it’s massive. By some estimates, it is 500 times larger than the surface Web that most people search every day. Yet it’s almost completely out of sight. According to a study published in Nature, Google indexes no more than 16 percent of the surface Web and misses all of the Deep Web. Any given search turns up just 0.03 percent of the information that exists online (one in 3,000 pages). It’s like fishing in the top two feet of the ocean—you miss the virtual Mariana Trench below.
Much of the Deep Web’s unindexed material lies in mundane data­bases such as LexisNexis or the rolls of the U.S. Patent Office. But like a Russian matryoshka doll, the Deep Web contains a further hidden world, a smaller but significant community where malicious actors unite in common purpose for ill. Welcome to the Dark Web, sometimes called the Darknet, a vast digital underground where hackers, gangsters, terrorists, and pedophiles come to ply their trade. What follows is but a cursory sampling of the goods and services available from within the darkest recesses of the Internet.
Things You Can Buy
  1. Drugs
Individual or dealer-level quantities of illicit and prescription drugs of every type are available in the digital underground. The Silk Road, the now-shuttered drug superstore, did $200 million of business in 28 months.
  1. Counterfeit Currency
Fake money varies widely in quality and cost, but euros, pounds, and yen are all available. Six hundred dollars gets you $2,500 in counterfeit U.S. notes, promised to pass the typical pen and ultraviolet-light tests.
  1. Forged Papers
Passports, driver’s licenses, citizenship papers, fake IDs, college diplomas, immigration documents, and even diplomatic ID cards are available on illicit marketplaces such as Onion Identity Services. A U.S. driver’s license costs approximately $200, while passports from the U.S. or U.K. sell for a few thousand bucks.
  1. Firearms, Ammunition, and Explosives
Weapons such as handguns and C4 explosives are procurable on the Dark Web. Vendors ship their products in specially shielded packages to avoid x-rays or send weapons components hidden in toys, musical instruments, or electronics.
  1. Hitmen
Service providers—including a firm named for the H.P. Lovecraft monster C’thulhu—advertise “permanent solutions to common problems.” For everything from private grudges to political assassinations, these hired guns accept bitcoin as payment and provide photographic proof of the deed.
  1. Human Organs
In the darker corners of the Dark Web, a vibrant and gruesome black market for live organs thrives. Kidneys may fetch $200,000, hearts $120,000, livers $150,000, and a pair of eyeballs $1,500.
Secret Browser, domains, and search engines
Tor—short for The Onion Router—is one of several software programs that provide a gateway to the Dark Web. Tor reroutes signals across 6,000 servers to hide a page request’s origin, making clicks on illicit material nearly impossible for law enforcement to trace. It uses secret pages with .onion suffixes—rather than .com—which are only accessible with a Tor browser. – Popular Science adapted from book Future Crime by Marc Goodman
contribution Lisa M.
Posted in Age of Decadence, Currency - Economic warfare, Cyber Attack, Cyber crime, Financial market turmoil, Flashpoint for war, Greed and Corruption, Hierarchal Control, Hoarding Resources, Infrastructure collapse, Resource War, Social Crime, Tech Crimes, Terrorism threat, The Pyramid Model, Violence | 2 Comments

Former U.S. commander warns of Skynet scenario of nuclear war starting from a cyber-attack

Skynet Cyber Attack
May 2015WASHINGTON  Taking U.S. and Russian missiles off high alert could keep a possible cyber-attack from starting a nuclear war, a former commander of U.S. nuclear forces says, but neither country appears willing to increase the lead-time to prepare the weapons for launch. Retired Gen. James Cartwright said in an interview that “de-alerting” nuclear arsenals could foil hackers by reducing the chance of firing a weapon in response to a false warning of attack. Essentially adding a longer fuse can be done without eroding the weapons’ deterrent value, said Cartwright, who headed Strategic Command from 2004 to 2007 and was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before retiring in 2011. The Obama administration has considered and rejected the idea before of taking nuclear missiles off high alert. There appears to be little near-term chance that Moscow would agree to pursue this or any other kind of nuclear arms control measure, given the deteriorating U.S.-Russian relations after Russia’s intervention in eastern Ukraine.
The U.S. and Russia also are at odds over a U.S. accusation that Moscow is violating a treaty banning medium-range nuclear missiles. Robert Scher, the Pentagon’s top nuclear policy official, told Congress this month that “it did not make any great sense to de-alert forces” because the administration believes the missiles “needed to be ready and effective and able to prosecute the mission at any point in time.” An example of the high alert level of U.S. nuclear weapons is the land-based nuclear force. These are the 450 Minuteman 3 missiles that are kept ready, 24/7, to launch from underground silos within minutes after receiving a presidential order. A study led by Cartwright proposes to adjust the missile command and control system so that it would take 24 hours to 72 hours to get the missiles ready for launch.
War GamesCartwright said cyberthreats to the systems that command and control U.S. nuclear weapons demand greater attention. While the main worry once was a hacker acting alone, today it is a hostile nation-state, he said, that poses more of a threat even as the Pentagon has improved its cyber-defenses. “The sophistication of the cyberthreat has increased exponentially” over the past decade, he said Tuesday. “It is reasonable to believe that that threat has extended itself” into nuclear command and control systems. “Have they been penetrated? I don’t know. Is it reasonable technically to assume they could be? Yes.” Cyberthreats are numerous and not fully understood, officials say. Could a hacker spoof early warning networks into reporting attack indications that lead to overreactions by national leaders? Could they breach firewalls to transmit unauthorized launch orders to crews in nuclear missile launch control centers? Defense officials are tight-lipped about countering this type of cyber threat.
The report argues that lowering the alert levels should be preceded by both Russia and the U.S. eliminating a strategy known as a “launch on warning” — being prepared to launch nuclear missiles rapidly after early warning satellites and ground radar detect incoming warheads. It says this presents an unacceptable level of nuclear risk, and argues that vulnerability to cyberattack against the warning systems or the missile control systems is “a new wild card in the deck.” “At the brink of conflict, nuclear command and warning networks around the world may be besieged by electronic intruders whose onslaught degrades the coherence and rationality of nuclear decision-making,” the report says.
Last week the No. 2 official at the National Nuclear Security Administration, Madelyn Creedon, was asked at a Senate hearing about progress against this threat to nuclear command and control. She said the government is “doing better,” but she declined to publicly discuss details. Two years ago the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board, an advisory group, reported that “most of the systems” in the U.S. nuclear arsenal had not been fully assessed to understand possible weak spots in the event of an all-out cyber-attack. “Keeping missiles on hair-trigger alert makes them more vulnerable to an unauthorized launch, including one resulting from a cyber-attack,” Gronlund said. –Yahoo News
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Britain tells UN Iran trying to buy nuclear technology

Iran Nuclear Material
May 2015MIDDLE EAST Iran is actively trying to buy nuclear technology through blacklisted companies, according to a confidential UN report, citing information from the British government. The claims — which if true would violate UN sanctions — were made to a UN panel of experts just weeks after world powers reached a framework deal with Iran on curbing its nuclear program. “The UK government informed the panel on the 20 April 2015 that it ‘is aware of an active Iranian nuclear procurement network which has been associated with Iran’s Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA) and Kalay Electric Company (KEC)’,” the report, seen by AFP, said. “Given the late communication, the panel could not independently investigate the above information.” The United Nations has slapped a series of sanctions on Iran over its failure to address international concerns about its nuclear program and suspicions that it could have military purposes.
KEC is on a UN list of blacklisted Iranian companies for its ties to the nuclear program. The report was presented to the Security Council’s Iran sanctions committee on April 21, just as negotiators from the P5+1 — Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States plus Germany – began work on finalizing the nuclear deal. The panel noted that overall there had been few reported violations of UN sanctions. “It might be linked, inter alia, to a decrease in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s prohibited activities and restraint on the part of member-states so as not to affect the negotiations process” for the nuclear deal, the report said. World powers have set June 30 as the deadline for finalizing the agreement that would end one of the most vexing disputes in international diplomacy and could open the door to revamping relations with Iran. –Space War 
Iran claims Israel has nuclear weapons: What is the truth? In 2014, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists echoed that estimate. “We conclude that many of the public claims about the size of the Israeli nuclear arsenal are exaggerated,” a comprehensive report declared. “We estimate that Israel has a stockpile of approximately 80 nuclear warheads for delivery by two dozen missiles, a couple of squadrons of aircraft, and perhaps a small number of sea-launched cruise missiles.”
Other defense analysts believe that the number of nuclear weapons Israel has is actually much closer to 100, and possibly a bit higher. In 2007, the Federation of American Scientists said the estimates range from 70 to 400 warheads, but it played down the high-end estimate. “Based on plausible upper and lower bounds of the operating practices at the reactor, Israel could have thus produced enough plutonium for at least 100 nuclear weapons, but probably not significantly more than 200 weapons,” the report said. –Washington Post
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