China’s Xi threatens Taiwan with force but also seeks peaceful ‘reunification’

By Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee, Reuters

China reserves the right to use force to bring Taiwan under its control but will strive to achieve peaceful “reunification” with the self-ruled island that has a bright future under any future Chinese rule, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday. 

Taiwan is China’s most sensitive issue and is claimed by Beijing as its sacred territory. Xi has stepped up pressure on the democratic island since Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party became president in 2016.

Tsai rejected Xi’s call and instead urged China to embrace democracy.

Xi has set great personal store in resolving what the Communist Party calls the “Taiwan issue”, holding a landmark meeting with then Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou in Singapore in late 2015, just before Tsai was elected.

Xi spoke at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 40th anniversary of a landmark Taiwan policy statement.

He said “reunification” must come under a one-China principle that accepts Taiwan as part of China, anathema to supporters of Taiwan independence, adding that the “one country, two systems” model of autonomy, with which China governs Hong Kong, was the best way for Taiwan.

China translates the word “tong yi” as “reunification”, but it can also be translated as “unification”, a term in English preferred by supporters of Taiwan independence who point out the Communist government has never ruled Taiwan and so it cannot be “reunified”.

The vast majority of Taiwan’s people are clearly aware that Taiwan independence would lead to a “grave disaster”, Xi told an audience that included Taiwan business people and senior party officials.

“Chinese people don’t attack other Chinese people. We are willing to use the greatest sincerity and expend the greatest hard work to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification,” Xi said.

“We do not promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option to use all necessary measures” to achieve this goal and prevent Taiwan independence, he said.

This, though, was aimed at foreign forces who sought to interfere and the tiny minority of Taiwan independence forces and their activities, Xi said without elaborating in what was likely a reference to the United States, Taiwan’s strongest backer.

Speaking to reporters, Tsai said Taiwan would never accept “one country, two systems” and was proud of its democratic way of life.

“The vast majority in Taiwan resolutely oppose ‘one country, two systems’, This is the ‘Taiwan consensus’,” she said.

“We call on China to bravely step forward for democracy, for only by doing so can it truly understand the people of Taiwan’s thinking and insistence.”

Xi reiterated that China was willing to talk with any party in Taiwan to push the political process – stalled by China since Tsai took office – as long as they accept the “one China” principle.

Underscoring China’s nervousness about U.S. support in particular for Taiwan, U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday signed into law the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, which reaffirms the U.S. commitment to Taiwan, including arms sales.

‘LASTING PEACE’

Xi sought to reassure people in Taiwan that there was nothing to fear from Chinese rule, even though most people there have shown no interest in being run by autocratic Beijing.

“After peaceful reunification, Taiwan will have lasting peace and the people will enjoy good and prosperous lives. With the great motherland’s support, Taiwan compatriots’ welfare will be even better, their development space will be even greater,” Xi said.

Tsai, who says she wants to maintain the status quo with China, said on Tuesday China must use peaceful means to resolve its differences with Taiwan and respect its democratic values.

Beijing has regularly sent military aircraft and ships to circle the island on drills in the past few years and has heaped pressure on the island internationally, including whittling down its few remaining diplomatic allies.

Taiwan is gearing up for presidential elections in a year. Tsai’s party suffered stinging losses to the China-friendly Kuomintang in mayoral and local elections in November.

Xi was speaking on the anniversary of the “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan” on Jan. 1, 1979, when China declared an end to what had been routine artillery bombardment of Taiwan-controlled offshore islands and offered to open up communication between the two sides.

However, the offer was rebuffed by Taiwan’s then-president Chiang Ching-kuo, who in April that year came out with a “three nos” policy of no contact, no compromise and no negotiation with China.

Chiang only relaxed that in 1987, allowing people in Taiwan to visit China for family reunions. His father, Chiang Kai-shek, fled with defeated Nationalist forces to Taiwan in December 1949 after losing a civil war to the Communists.

Read more: China’s invasion of Taiwan has already begun
Read more: How to Boycott China

EDITORS NOTE:I’ve yet to meet a Taiwanese person (From the country of Taiwan….NOT China) who wants anything to do with the CCP! China’s governmental corruption is well documented….In a recent statement on his crackdown on corruption, Emperor XI says 1.3 million government workers are corrupt. Then there is their constant lying and denials about pretty much EVERYTHING when they get caught doing terrible things against their own people or other countries, to disregarding a world court decision on how to divide up the South China Sea, and deny building military installations (They have heard of satellite photographs…right?) on the islands in the South China Sea which historically are NOT theirs…and using extremely corrupt business practices such as predatory lending to countries who will NEVER be able to pay China back their loans. Instead, they sign over rights to their raw materials and infrastructure such as ocean ports and airports so that China has a strangle hold on their country! EVERYONE knows exactly what they are up to with their “String of Pearls” ocean transportation route and their “Belt and Road Initiative” which is the land version. These two routes will pretty much give China a strangle hold throughout South East Asia. Can you image the result if India claimed as much of the Indian Ocean as China has the South China Sea and disrupted the flow of oil to China? China would be finished in two months as they rely totally on imported oil as they squandered all their natural resources already. They are seeking to colonize a world that has already been colonized! Sorry China! The planet should stop dealing with you all together and develop new trade agreements with each other for the mutual benefit of the parties concerned, NOT as China has done where they become the only one who benefits. My suggestion: Due to the extreme human rights violations going on in China these days, ALL NATIONS should boycott the Olympics. Hold it in another venue that already exists…..say like…Calgary!

Snowden accuses NSA of conducting industrial espionage

By Steven Musil

The National Security Agency engages in industrial espionage, grabbing intelligence from foreign companies regardless of the information’s value to national defense, Edward Snowden told a German TV network.

In text released to the media ahead of a broadcast Sunday, German public television broadcaster ARD quoted the former NSA contractor as citing German engineering firm Siemens as an example.

“There is no question that the US is engaged in economic spying,” Snowden told ARD, according to a Deutsche Welle account of the interview. ”If there’s information at Siemens that’s beneficial to U.S. national interests — even if it doesn’t have anything to do with national security — then they’ll take that information nevertheless.”

In response to a New York Times report that the agency had installed surveillance software on nearly 100,000 computers around the world, the agency denied supplying any obtained intelligence to US companies to give them a competitive edge.

Germany was particularly critical of the NSA’s surveillance activities after it was revealed last year that the agency eavesdropped on the phone calls of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and dozens of other world leaders. During reforms to the NSA announced earlier this month, President Obama pledged to end the practice of monitoring the political leaders of US allies.

“NSA’s activities are focused and specifically deployed against — and only against — valid foreign intelligence targets in response to intelligence requirements,” the NSA said in the statement to CNET. “In addition, we do not use foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of — or give intelligence we collect to — US companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line.”

NSA: China is violating antihacking deal it made with US By Sean Keane

A National Security Agency official says China has been breaching a 2015 agreement to stop cyberspying against the US.

Rob Joyce, a senior intelligence official with the NSA, aired his suspicions Thursday, according to Reuters. He did note that the even though the attacks haven’t stopped, they have dropped “dramatically” since the 2015 agreement between then-President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping. According to the deal, neither government would “conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property including trade secrets or other confidential information for commercial advantage,” Obama said back in 2015.

“It’s clear that they are well beyond the bounds today of the agreement that was forged between our countries,” Joyce said, according to Reuters.

China “firmly opposes” the allegations, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying reportedly told a daily news briefing in China.

Last month, China responded to a report that President Donald Trump’s personal iPhone had been tapped by Chinese spies by suggesting that he switch to Huawei. Trump’s relationship with China has been tense since the US entered a trade war with the country. A Bloomberg Businessweek report alleged last month that Chinese surveillance microchips had been inserted into Apple and Amazon data center equipment during the manufacturing process, prompting China and the tech companies to issue firm denials.

In August, researchers said they found Chinese hackers targeting Alaska’s state government, as well as the state’s Department of Natural Resources and utilities companies, as its leaders went to China to discuss trade deals.

Neither the NSA nor the Chinese Foreign Ministry immediately responded to requests for further comment about Joyce’s comments.

Trump’s hidden agenda: Emperor Caracalla

By Christopher R Rice (from around the web), UndergroundRailroad

The US KBW Bank index, which tracks large US banks and serves as a benchmark for the banking sector, is down 2.5% at the moment. It has dropped 17% from its post-Financial Crisis high on January 29.

Of course European banking stocks are doing much worse.  Right now they are down 27 percent from the peak and 23 percent from a year ago.

If they aren’t healthy, nobody is going to be healthy for long, and it is starting to look and feel a whole lot like 2008.

I have previously warned my readers that the damage caused by this trade war would get progressively worse the longer that it lasts.

Many companies have been trying to ride it out, but eventually the money runs out and layoffs start happening

A soft landing for America 40 years from now? Don’t bet on it. The demise of the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagines.

People need to understand the threat is at their doorstep. It’s not a few years off or a decade away; it’s here now. We are right in the middle of collapse.

Each one of the FAANG stocks is now down by more than 20 percent, and they have combined to lose more than a trillion dollars in value. We haven’t seen anything like this since the financial crisis of 2008, and at this point all of Wall Street’s gains for 2018 have been completely wiped out.

The following numbers come from CNBC

  • Facebook: $253 billion
  • Amazon: $280 billion
  • Apple: $253 billion
  • Netflix: $67 billion
  • Alphabet: $164 billion

When you add those figures together, you get a grand total of 1.02 trillion dollars.

Our economy is more dependent on Wall Street than ever, and it is absolutely imperative that we have a healthy financial system. Now that the financial system is starting to crumble, a lot of people are becoming highly alarmed.

As a result, economic activity will crash at a pace that will make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.

Our system will not be able to handle a decline of that magnitude. There is more leverage on Wall Street today than ever before, and a huge decline in stock prices would lead to a meltdown unlike anything we have ever witnessed.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are described in the last book of the New Testament of the Bible, the Book of Revelation by John of Patmos, at 6:1-8. The chapter tells of a book or scroll in God‘s right hand that is sealed with seven seals. The Lamb of God opens the first four of the seven seals, which summons four beings that ride out on white, red, black, and pale horses.

President Trump is actually the man who will bring the Apocalypse.

“According to the Bible, the Antichrist will be a charismatic celebrity, a ‘big talker’ and a ‘smooth talker’.” “He will convince people that he alone has the solution to every problem. He will claim to be a deal-maker and a master negotiator.

“He will claim to know how to defend Israel and to create lasting peace in the Middle East. He will be an intimidator and a militant lover of power.”

He will exalt and magnify himself and claim to be the ‘only Savior’. He will deceive the masses, and even the very elect. The number 666 denotes arrogance, pride, egotism, the love of money and power, and militarism.

The Black Horse of the Apocalypse, has a rider and a set of scales, it is justice. His lethal power is a terrible, divine judgment on mankind for its violent oppression and greed, and it takes the form of famine and wasting through malnutrition. 

The appearance of the Black horse and its rider will bring depression and want, with heavy taxation from the government holding the balances which should have spoken of justice and equity. 

From A.D. 212 to A.D. 217 the Emperor Caracalla and his successor oppressed the people and heaped upon them burdens grievous to be borne. This taxation to maintain the army and the extravagant administration of the Empire proved to be so burdensome that agriculture was ruined and fertile provinces were left uncultivated in desolation, depression and gloom.

In our highly interdependent system in the West in which more than 80 percent of the population has been domesticated and is psychologically incapable of self-reliance, it is very likely that a disruption of normal supply chains and services would result in considerable poverty and death. Such a threat would invariably lead frightened and unprepared people to demand increased government controls so that they can return to the level of comfort they have grown accustomed to.

Their solution will be predictable.

MARTIAL LAW

Much has recently been written about the possibility of impeaching President Trump. We should be looking at the possibility that President Trump will find himself believing that he is in a corner, under siege, and he will resort to what all trapped animals do — fight like crazy to survive.

What could he do? I fear that his temperament is such that he will announce that the press, the Democrats, the deep state, in and out of government, have been building a case to remove him from office via a vast conspiracy of trumped-up charges.

He will say this is a potential coup that cannot be allowed to come to fruition.

For the good of the country he will say that he is declaring martial law and that he will hold free and fair elections within the year. Martial law will allow him to suspend the Constitution, remove all or part of Congress, take over all judicial proceedings and detain whoever he wants via his police powers.

Who, or what, will be asked to enforce his extra legal usurpation of authority? Traditionally, in countries around the world, when martial law is declared the military is tasked to enforce all orders, proclamations and directives. This has lead to civilian demonstrations, often violent, against the new order. Usually the military is given a free hand to maintain law and order by whatever means necessary.

Will the military obey Trump’s dictums? The Universal Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) explicitly states that all military personnel are obligated to refuse to carry out an illegal order. However, if a military person refuses to carry out what is later determined to have been a legal order then the individual can be tried for treason. How many will be willing to take the chance of being tried for treason?

I am strongly suggesting that there is an increasingly real and frightening possibility that Trump will resort to martial law.

For those who believe that there is a near zero probability of President Trump declaring martial law I quote what he said recently at a meeting with conservatives and evangelicals: “We’re under siege and we know how to fight better than anybody and we never ever give up.” 

Dueling accusations of criminality, investigations instead of debates, jail promised to the loser – is what politics would look like in a WWE future where government is a for-profit television program.

TRUMP’S HIDDEN AGENDA: Trump Planning Mass Arrests, Military Tribunals For Deep State Traitors

I found this on the a pro-Trump Tea Party website:  “…seize control of Google, Facebook, CNN, Washington Post and the New York Times to halt the treasonous lies, coordinated election fraud and political coup attempt which is being run by all these traitors of America.”

Order military police to find and arrest thousands of deep state traitors who have been deliberately undermining America from within. This will include hundreds of people inside the FBI and DOJ, plus hundreds more in the State Department and other agencies. Arrests must also include traitorous, corrupt federal judges who have deliberately undermined America by, for example, blocking Trump’s constitutional travel ban to protect America from enemy terrorists. Many traitors will attempt to flee the country, of course, and they will need to be located and brought to justice.”   

UPDATE: Trump retweets image of US deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein behind bars ‘for treason’

Donald Trump has retweeted a mocked up image of a range of people the president considers enemies behind bars, including the US deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.

The tweet, which was posted by an account called The Trump Train, also includes Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Robert Mueller, with the caption: “Now that Russia collusion is a proven lie, when do the trials for treason begin?”

While the initial scenario we face in America will be one of stagflation, many necessities and the means to produce those necessities will skyrocket in cost. There may not be inflation in every sector of the economy because imploding demand could offset some of the effects of falling currency value, but there will be extreme inflation in the areas that hurt common people most.

Many Americans will starve to death. And the American government won’t do anything to help. Buildings, like the economy will be in collapse. Nationwide shortages of food at runaway inflation prices will become the norm.

With an economy in freefall, and food prices skyrocketing, many Americans will eat less and less every day. Children will suffer the most, and severe malnutrition will rise at an alarming rate.

With triple-digit inflation driving up prices, few will be able to afford to pay for even the most basic goods. We will find that U.S. interest rates simply cannot go up enough to stop inflation.

Hyperinflation will largely destroy the economy’s capacity to produce real goods.

The third horse is the black horse of famine, which brings with it a global food shortage. This horse is as black as tar. You can hear his hooves pounding, his flanks heaving. You can see his nostrils flaring, as his great rage focuses on the human race.

He comes to bring global famine. Super markets will be stripped bare. Civil riots will break out over the lack of food! People will begin to know the aching, clawing sensation of true hunger. And it could happen across America and the nations of the world very soon.

The rider on the black horse holds up a balance and scale, declaring how much one simple meal will cost…the sum of one day’s wages. There will not be enough to share with family or friends. Just one meal for one day’s wages. Starving people in the coming global famine of the Great Tribulation will kill each other in order to eat.

Last month more than 100 executives from the world’s largest financial institutions met privately at the Times Square office of Nasdaq Inc. to discuss the future of money; more specifically a software apparatus called “Blockchain.” The goal is to implement Blockchain as a medium to fully digitize monetary transactions around the world and in a way that is traceable and foolproof. In other words, the goal is put an end to all transactions involving physical cash.

Corrupt government is the tool by which globalists can extort goods and labor from a population as well as exert force to subdue rebellion. It is highly unlikely that the global reset will result in a collapse of government. On the contrary, it is usually during economic collapse that governments grow in power to the point of totalitarianism.

The Anti-Christ will have complete control over all of the food on planet earth. The oil and wine discussed in the book of Revelation are food for the wealthy, also controlled by the Anti-Christ.

These rulers and their subordinates will stock their shelves with choice products from the state-owned supermarket; but the masses will starve to death, exactly like what happened in the Holocaust as Hitler and his Nazi regime had the finest of everything…and the Jews literally died of starvation in the concentration camps just a few feet away.

THE WALL

Sometime in the future: A group of friends and I had to bug out of Phoenix do to society breaking down. As we got to the border which is usually open, I was shocked to see that a giant wall was preventing us from leaving America. 

The CIA controls most of the drug trade through America which would benefit from a wall because then the drug mules would be on lock down giving the CIA a monopoly on drug imports. Also, given the current debt that American’s owe to the central bankers it’s likely that they don’t want their tax slaves running away.

Even now we can hear the thunderous hooves of the four horses storming across the stage of human history, bringing deception, wars, hunger and death on a scale so massive it staggers the mind! The Bible makes it perfectly clear that God’s judgment is certain. Acts 17:31 tells us, “…because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

God judged Noah’s generation that mocked the message of salvation by sending a flood. He drowned every last human on planet earth. He is the ultimate judge and He will have the very last word…no matter what Congress rules or the UN decides. King Jesus will rule and reign with ultimate authority.

The word “Apocalypse” is a Greek word that means to remove the veil, to uncover or make clear. The purpose of the book of Revelation is to remove the veil and make clear what God’s plans are for the future of this world. God is saying to the church, “I am the God that knows the end from the beginning, and I am in total control!”

GET READY! The Anti-Christ is coming to produce a one world government, a one world religion and a one world currency.

And I will make it as clear as I can. Get your house in order. Make practical preparations for famine.

Collect bottled water and canned goods. Pray with and for your family members. Make sure they have received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. While we do not live in fear, we must be prepared. Our time grows shorter with every waking hour.

Our very survival is hanging in the balance.

I would never have dreamed that I would be preaching a sermon series on “The Coming Fourth Reich,” teaching on the similarities between Hitler and our modern day existence…but here I am waving a red flag and saying as boldly as I know how…GET READY! Don’t sit by and wait for someone else to do something! Don’t wait for your rights to be completely stripped. Stand up! Speak up!

Then when the Lamb opened the third seal I heard the third living creature saying, “Come!” So I looked, and here came a black horse! The one who rode it had a balance scale in his hand.

Think that sounds impossible?

The fact of the matter is that all of this has been orchestrated. Our present state of affairs amounts to little more than political theatre. The common metaphor of politicians being puppets is apt. The ones pulling the strings behind the scenes are the same who own and control central banks. The chairman of the Fed, in a sense, is also a puppet, for he does not own the bank he oversees. He’s simply a sort of executive – a face to the world who appears to make important decisions. The POTUS assumes a similar role.

As economies and ecologies continue to collapse, the world will be dragged into war as a result. The pieces for this horrific play have already been set in motion. It is only a matter of time before financial crisis grips the globe, famine spreads like wildfire, and ever-larger conflicts ensue.

The result will be a world war that will, as planned, become a full-scale nuclear assault.

China has officially announced that its new currency, the Petro-Yuan, will be available this year. This will lead to the US dollar losing reserve currency status and ultimately failing as a currency. The resulting chaos will have only one solution – war.

The American economy is paralyzed. With long-fraying alliances at an end and fiscal pressures mounting, U.S. military forces are seen as the only hope and so the populist president will launch world war three.

I have been writing about this over and over because I both want people to take notice and want to have it on the record so that when it all comes down, it can be easily understood what the real causes were. Make no mistake – the mechanisms underlying this imminent financial failure will be obscured. For evidence of this, just look to the lack of press coverage this Petro-Yuan event has received in the Western mainstream media.

Were it not for RT.com, most would never have even known this had happened.

American and European media had us distracted with scandal after scandal. Meanwhile, the entire empire has had its support pillars undermined and the final nail placed in its coffin due to a viable alternative to the US dollar backed by a regional superpower now existing. Most people living in first-world nations haven’t the slightest clue that any of this is happening and don’t perceive that war is on the horizon as a result.

This will allow those in power to pin the failure on any manufactured event they choose.

I have spent two years making a documentary film, The Coming War on China, in which the evidence and witnesses warn that nuclear war is no longer a shadow, but a contingency. The greatest build-up of American-led military forces since the Second World War is well under way, in the northern hemisphere, on the western borders of Russia and in Asia and the Pacific, confronting China.

Almost two-thirds of US naval forces have been transferred to Asia and the Pacific.

The US has also encircled China with 400 military bases armed with bombers, warships and missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

These bases extend all the way from Australia to the Pacific islands, through Asia to Korea and Japan and across Eurasia to Afghanistan.

The island of Okinawa is an “aircraft carrier” of US military bases, their bombers aimed at China less than 500 miles away.

A mini nuclear war is being planned.

A study by think tank the RAND Corporation – which, since Vietnam, has planned America’s wars – is entitled, War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable.

Commissioned by the US Army, the authors evoke the Cold War when RAND made notorious the catch cry of its chief strategist, Herman Kahn – “thinking the unthinkable”. Kahn’s book, On Thermonuclear War, elaborated a plan for a “winnable” nuclear war.

According to Amitai Etzioni, professor of international Affairs at George Washington University, “the United States is preparing for a war with China, a momentous decision that so far has failed to receive a thorough review from elected officials, namely the White House and Congress.”

However, “for the first time,” wrote Gregory Kulacki of non-profit organisation the Union of Concerned Scientists, “China is discussing putting its nuclear missiles on high alert so that they can be launched quickly on warning of an attack …

Less than five minutes. This is the approximate time that would elapse from President Trump’s decision to launch a nuclear strike against China to shooting intercontinental ballistic missiles out of their silos, according to Bloomberg estimations. The publication, citing former Minuteman missile-launch officer Bruce G. Blair, also estimates that it would take about 15 minutes to fire submarine missiles from their tubes.

Xi Jinping Says China Has To Prepare For War 

China’s President Xi Jinping has ordered the military region responsible for monitoring the South China Sea and Taiwan to pay a special attention to the current situation in the region and boost its capabilities so it can handle any emergency.

“It’s necessary to strengthen the mission … and concentrate preparations for fighting a war,” Xi said during an inspection tour made on October 25 as part of his visit to Guangdong province, according to state broadcaster CCTV. “We need to take all complex situations into consideration and make emergency plans accordingly.”

Xi emphasized that the Southern Theater Command has had to bear a “heavy military responsibility” in recent years. He stated that the Chinese military has “to step up combat readiness exercises, joint exercises and confrontational exercises to enhance servicemen capabilities and preparation for war”.

The black horse and its rider are doing their job, cultivating and reaping the seeds sown in war and oppression: scarcity and famine. Hard on its heels comes another reaper, who sweeps up and destroys what his fellows leave behind. 

The horrors brought on by the Four Horsemen are only the beginning of the End: after that the Tribulation cranks up to intolerable levels and suffering will take over the entire world. Eventually the full measure of God’s wrath will be poured out on the earth.

Bush official says John Bolton was ‘by far the most dangerous man we had in the entire 8 years’

By Ben Brimelow

Richard Painter, the former chief White House ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration, blasted the prospect of former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton replacing General H. R. McMaster as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser — a prospect that came to fruition Thursday.

“John Bolton was by far the most dangerous man we had in the entire eight years of the Bush Administration,” Painter tweeted last Friday. “Hiring him as the president’s top national security advisor is an invitation to war, perhaps nuclear war.”

Painter ended his post with a blunt and stark sentence: “this must be stopped at all costs.” He also linked to an article in the Atlantic titled “Hiring John Bolton Would Be a Betrayal of Donald Trump’s Base.”

The Atlantic article describes Bolton as “perennially hawkish,” and notes that he was a big supporter of the Iraq War in 2003 and has said that he still believes that it “was correct.”

“I think decisions made after that decision were wrong, although I think the worst decision made after that was the 2011 decision to withdraw US and coalition forces,” Bolton said in 2015.

“The people who say, ‘Oh, things would have been much better if you didn’t overthrow Saddam,’ miss the point that today’s Middle East does not flow totally and unchangeably from the decision to overthrow Saddam alone.”

Bolton has also been very hawkish on Iran, writing an article for the National Review titled “How to Get Out of the Iran Nuclear Deal.” The article was, according to Bolton, originally a gameplan for Trump that Bolton had drawn up and given to former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.

“We Know Where Your Kids Live”: How John Bolton Once Threatened an International Official By

Who better to advise the bully-in-chief, Donald Trump, on when to make war and kill people than another bully? It’s difficult, after all, to avoid the label — that of a bully — when thinking of John Bolton, the former Bush administration official-turned-Fox News pundit who Trump recently picked as his national security adviser.

“John Bolton is a bully,” José Bustani, the retired Brazilian diplomat and former head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, told me when I reached him by phone in Paris earlier this month.

There are a number of people who claim to have been bullied or intimidated by Bolton — including Bustani. The latter’s criticisms of the famously mustachioed hawk have been public for many years now, but some of the details of his tense encounter with Bolton at the OPCW have never been reported before in English.

In early 2002, a year before the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration was putting intense pressure on Bustani to quit as director-general of the OPCW — despite the fact that he had been unanimously re-elected to head the 145-nation body just two years earlier. His transgression? Negotiating with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to allow OPCW weapons inspectors to make unannounced visits to that country — thereby undermining Washington’s rationale for regime change.

In 2001, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell had penned a letter to Bustani, thanking him for his “very impressive” work. By March 2002, however, Bolton — then serving as under secretary of state for Arms Control and International Security Affairs — arrived in person at the OPCW headquarters in the Hague to issue a warning to the organization’s chief. And, according to Bustani, Bolton didn’t mince words. “Cheney wants you out,” Bustani recalled Bolton saying, referring to the then-vice president of the United States. “We can’t accept your management style.”

Bolton continued, according to Bustani’s recollections: “You have 24 hours to leave the organization, and if you don’t comply with this decision by Washington, we have ways to retaliate against you.”

There was a pause.

“We know where your kids live. You have two sons in New York.”

Bustani told me he was taken aback but refused to back down. “My family is aware of the situation, and we are prepared to live with the consequences of my decision,” he replied.

After hearing Bustani’s description of the encounter, I reached out to his son-in-law, Stewart Wood, a British politician and former adviser to Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Wood told me that he vividly remembers Bustani telling him about Bolton’s implicit threat to their family immediately after the meeting in the Hague. “It instantly became an internal family meme,” Wood recalled. Two former OPCW colleagues of Bustani, Bob Rigg and Mikhail Berdennikov, have also since confirmed via email that they remember their then-boss telling them at the time about Bolton’s not-so-subtle remark about his kids.

I reached out to John Bolton and the White House for a response to these allegations. Rather than issue an outright denial, the White House responded via a press spokesperson that referred me to a section of his 2008 memoir, “Surrender is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations,” which deals with Bustani and the OPCW. In the book, Bolton said the U.S. viewed Bustani as a “management disaster” (without mentioning Powell’s praise), but claims to have offered him “a gracious and dignified exit” — if, that is, he went quietly.

To call Bolton’s rhetoric undiplomatic is an understatement. He visited Bustani in his capacity as a top U.S. State Department official, yet his behavior was more thuggish. How on earth can a senior diplomat, representing a democratic government, justify implicitly threatening the children of an international official in order to win a political argument? How is such a person now fit to hold the office of national security adviser — the most senior position in the U.S. government that doesn’t require an election win or Senate confirmation?

Carl W. Ford Jr, the State Department’s former intelligence chief, called Bolton “a serial abuser” of junior employees and “a quintessential kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy.” Testifying before the Senate in 2005, Ford discussed the case of Christian Westermann, the former chief bioweapons analyst at the State Department who had refused to sign off on a speech accusing Cuba of possessing a secret bioweapons program and had been “berated” by Bolton, who “then tried to have him fired.”

Melody Townsel, a former U.S. Agency for International Development contractor, said she was harassed by the short-tempered Bolton, then a lawyer in the private sector, on a visit to Kyrgyzstan in 1994: “Mr. Bolton proceeded to chase me through the halls of a Russian hotel — throwing things at me, shoving threatening letters under my door and, generally, behaving like a madman,” she later recalled, in a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

According to Time magazine, his former boss Colin Powell privately warned Republican senators in 2005, during the confirmation hearings for Bolton’s controversial nomination as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, that “he had been troubled by the way Bolton had treated subordinates who did not agree with him.”

Yet the big problem is that Bolton — the “madman,” the “serial abuser,” the “bully” — happens to also be pretty effective at getting things done. This is perhaps what makes him so dangerous. Take the case of Bustani and the OPCW: Bolton succeeded in having the Brazilian removed from his post. Only a few weeks after the U.S. official’s visit to the Hague, the OPCW chief was “pushed out of office” in an extraordinary meeting of the organization’s member countries (and in a decision, incidentally, that an administrative tribunal of the International Labour Organization would later call “unlawful”).

Bolton himself proudly recalled in his memoir how then-Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., criticized his views while praising his abilities during the 2001 congressional hearings to confirm him as under secretary of state. “My problem with you, over the years, has been, you’re too competent,” Biden remarked, according to Bolton. “I mean, I would rather you be stupid and not very effective.

Now, therefore, is the time to panic; now is the moment to sound the alarm. The bullies have come together. The “ideological” and “brutal” Bolton is about to be given a desk a few feet away from the Oval Office.

Is it any wonder, then, that Bustani — who did so much to prevent the threat of conflict and the proliferation of chemical weapons before being ousted by Bolton — believes the latter’s appointment as Trump’s national security adviser could spell “disaster” for the world?

Want more?

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Video of Donald Trump with underage girls says Whistleblower Police child protection specialist

Xi Jinping Says China Has To Prepare For War

China’s President Xi Jinping has ordered the military region responsible for monitoring the South China Sea and Taiwan to pay a special attention to the current situation in the region and boost its capabilities so it can handle any emergency.

“It’s necessary to strengthen the mission … and concentrate preparations for fighting a war,” Xi said during an inspection tour made on October 25 as part of his visit to Guangdong province, according to state broadcaster CCTV. “We need to take all complex situations into consideration and make emergency plans accordingly.”

Xi emphasized that the Southern Theater Command has had to bear a “heavy military responsibility” in recent years. He stated that the Chinese military has “to step up combat readiness exercises, joint exercises and confrontational exercises to enhance servicemen capabilities and preparation for war”.

One of the key missions of the Southern Theater Command is overseeing the South China Sea, an area where tensions and military activity involving China, the US and other powers have been growing steadily.

Over the past year, the Chinese Navy and Air Force have been involved in multiple encounters with the US military in the region. While China claims a major part of the South China Sea as its territorial waters. The US administration challenges these claims sending multiple naval and air patrols in the area. Washington is also boosting its military presence in the region in order to deter the Chinese diplomatic and military expansion.

Battle for Idlib, Armageddon coming

By Christopher R Rice

“I think it’s a very sad situation in Idlib, the province, what’s going on there,” Trump told reporters in the Oval office on Wednesday as he met the emir of Kuwait. “If it’s a slaughter, the world is going to get very, very angry. And the United States is going to get very angry, too.”

Russian and Syrian warplanes resumed airstrikes against insurgents in the densely populated enclave.

The bombardment began just hours after Trump warned on Twitter that Assad “must not recklessly attack Idlib Province”.

“Let us be clear, it remains our firm stance that if President Bashar al-Assad chooses to again use chemical weapons, the United States and its Allies will respond swiftly and appropriately,” the White House said in a statement on Tuesday.

Trump on Wednesday also denied that he wanted to assassinate Assad – one of the many shocking claims made in a new book by the acclaimed Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward.

“That was never even contemplated,” Trump said.

Trump Escalates Syrian Proxy War: At the start of the Trump presidency, it looked like the U.S. covert “regime change” war in Syria might be ending, but it has returned, zombie-like, in a slightly different form.

The parallel measures by the U.S. and Russia signify a race between the two major powers to capture as much territory as possible from the Islamic State before the other side is able to do so.

Under the guise of “defeating ISIS,” both powers are essentially carving out their own spheres of influence throughout the country, dividing it between U.S.- and Russian-backed regions, leading to an inevitable showdown between the two sides over the fate of the country and its territorial integrity.

Today in Idlib, where the FSA is being supported by the CIA, al-Qaeda and its coalition completely dominate the rebel forces. Rebels routinely pass at least half of their U.S.-supplied weapons to Nusra while the U.S.-approved “moderates” only operate under license from al-Qaeda.

It is important to realize the true history of this failed CIA program and the terrorism it has wrought on Syria. It’s also important to understand how the fight against ISIS is currently being utilized to potentially fracture and partition Syria under the guise of eliminating the threat of terrorism.

Syria says it’s been warned that Jabhat Al-Nusra terrorists brought in chlorine containers to a local village, where they aimed to work with the White Helmets to stage “a provocation.”

A chemical weapons provocation, currently being prepared by terrorists in Syria, is aimed at allowing France, the United Kingdom and the United States to carry out a full scale invasion on Syria before the November elections, in the US.

For this purpose, USS The Sullivans destroyer with 56 cruise missiles on board arrived in the Persian Gulf several days ago, while a US В-1В bomber carrying 24 air-to-surface AGM-158 JASSM cruise missiles was deployed at Al Udeid air base in Qatar.

Who’s who: Sunni Islamic fascist militias control Idlib. Sunnis make up 90% of all Muslims in the world. 95% of all terrorist organizations are Sunni. The Sunni under Saddam ruled Iraq and killed millions of Shia, Kurds and Christians. It is the Sunni Saudis that are killing Shia in Yemen. It is Sunni ISIS and al Qaida that have committed genocide against Shia, Kurds, Druz and Christians in Syria.

Salafists are radical Sunnis and an offshoot of the Saudi’s Wahhabi sect.

The rebels (ISIS, Al Qaeda, Alawiyat al-Qasioun, White helmets, Grey wolves, Muslim Brotherhood, and all the rest) are not the good guys.

At least Russia has provided a humanitarian corridor before bombings begin. The US never did this in Mosul with an over two million civilian population and then the US cut off their water supply, cell phones and utilities! The US has no morals to be telling Russia how to fight their moderate rebels!

No mention of the thousands of civilians killed in Raqqua by US bombing, as the world inches closer to World War III.

TheAmericanConservative: On August 9, a Saudi airstrike hit a school bus and killed dozens, including many children. The Saudis have also bombed Yemeni schoolsweddings, and hospitals.

It’s a human rights catastrophe that—despite the fact that America has no quarrel with Yemen or the Yemeni people—President Trump is subsidizing. With its most recent deal to arm the Saudis costing the U.S. over a billion dollars, small government conservatives should be much more concerned about the price tag of this bloody foreign intervention.

Recent events in Syria indicate that “the United States [is] seemingly looking to cement a north-south ‘Sunni axis’ from the Gulf states and Jordan to Turkey,” Fabrice Balanche, a French expert on Syria and a visiting fellow at The Washington institute for Near East Policy, wrote recently.

Iran defeats ISIS: Without the work and help of Iran, ISIS and Al-Qaeda terrorists would take over many countries. The root of all Arab terror groups is in Saudi Arabia teaching of Wahhabi savages. Just like in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the rest of the Arab world.

I want to thank Iran for being the first and only country fighting ISIS in Iraq when Obama denied its existence. I want to thank Iran and Russia for defending a non religious government in Syria from the jihadists fanatics backed by America, Israel, Saudi Arabia that want to impose a Sharia regime.

US interference: Idlib is the last strong hold of Western/Saudi backed Sunni Islamic-Fascist thug militias. Once they have been destroyed peace can return to Syria. The Syrian government has offered to evacuate any civilians that wish to do so.

Hillary In Leaked Email: Saudi Arabia And Qatar Are Funding ISIS (DailyCaller)

The United States is providing de-facto cover for Islamic State units in Syria and only pretending to fight terrorism in the Middle East, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

The ministry said the U.S. air force had tried to hinder Russian strikes on Islamic State militants around the Syrian town of Albu Kamal.

“These facts are conclusive evidence that the United States, while imitating an uncompromising fight against international terrorism for the global community, in fact provides cover for Islamic State units,” the defense ministry said.

Government watchdog Judicial Watch published more than 100 pages of formerly classified documents from the U.S. Department of Defense and the State Department.

The documents obtained through a federal lawsuit, revealed the agencies earlier views on ISIS, namely that they were a desirable presence in Eastern Syria in 2012 and that they should be “supported” in order to isolate the Syrian regime.

The U.S. intelligence documents not only confirms suspicions that the United States and some of its coalition allies had actually facilitated the rise of the ISIS in Syria – as a counterweight to the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad- but also that ISIS members were initially trained by members and contractors of the Central Intelligence Agency at facilities in Jordan in 2012.

‘CIA created ISIS’, says Julian Assange as Wikileaks releases 500k US cables (YahooNews)

Former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn confirms to Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan that not only had he studied the DIA memo predicting the West’s backing of an Islamic State in Syria when it came across his desk in 2012, but even asserts that the White House’s sponsoring of radical jihadists (that would emerge as ISIL and Nusra) against the Syrian regime was “a willful decision.”

The large scale air campaign which has resulted in countless civilian casualties has been routinely misreported by the mainstream media. According to  Max Boot, senior fellow in national security at the Council on Foreign Relations. ”Obama’s strategy in Syria and Iraq was not working… [ because] the U.S. bombing campaign against ISIS has been remarkably restrained”. (Newsweek, February 17, 2015, emphasis added).

The evidence confirms that the Islamic State is not the target. Quite the opposite. The air raids are intended to destroy the economic infrastructure of Iraq and Syria. (In comparison, the NATO bombing raids of Yugoslavia in 1999 lasted about three months (March 24-June 10, 1999).

The Islamic State is not only protected by the US and its allies, it is trained and financed by US-NATO, with the support of Israel and Washington’s Persian Gulf allies.

The Global War on Terrorism is a fabrication used to justify a war of conquest. The Jihadist terrorists are “Made in America”. They are instruments of US intelligence, yet they are presented to public opinion as “enemies of America”.

“The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN. (CNN Report, December 9, 2012)

Confirmed by media reports, the illustrious pro-democracy former LIFG leader Abdelhakim Belhadj (alias Sadeeq), who worked in close liaison with US-NATO in 2011 has now (February 2015) joined the leadership of the Islamic State in Libya, thereby facilitating the extension of the Islamic State project into the Maghreb, on behalf of his US-NATO sponsors.

The Jerusalem Post reported on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to the IDF field hospital in the occupied Golan heights.

This hospital was set up to treat wounded Al Nusrah mercenaries, who are directly supported by the Israeli military operating out of the Golan Heights. The JP acknowledges that the hospital is being used to support the jihadist insurgency.

Syria’s not the target but a stepping stone

As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in 2010, the Saudis “want to fight the Iranians to the last American.” Why the Saudis would see this as attractive is clear. Why Netanyahu would like to go along with this also follows a certain logic. That is not the mystery in this drama. The mystery is why the president of the United States would go along with something that so clearly contradicts U.S. national interest.

“American unwillingness to confront Iran and its proxies in Syria, if obliged by circumstances, is a thing of the past,” Frederic Hof, director of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and a former State Department liaison to Syrian opposition forces, told The Christian Science Monitor.

“And Moscow would now have to anticipate with high likelihood aerial combat with US forces should it elect to provide tactical air support to Iran and its proxies on the ground,” Hof added.

“Our people are gathering in the Tanf area right now, so a clash is definitely coming,” a Hezbollah unit commander in Beirut, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Monitor.

Turkey said the United States has 13 bases in Syria and Russia has five. The U.S-backed Syrian YPG Kurdish militia has said Washington has established seven military bases in areas of northern Syria.

U.S.’s Mattis says ‘zero intelligence’ that rebels in Syria’s Idlib have chemical weapons capability By Idrees Ali

New Delhi (Reuters) – There was “zero intelligence” of chemical weapons capabilities possessed by groups opposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the province of Idlib, U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said, adding that the facts did not back Russian assertions.

Syrian government forces plan a phased offensive in Idlib and surrounding areas held by rebels opposed to Assad, who has been backed by both Russian and Iranian forces in the country’s civil war.

Russian and Syrian jets hammered the rebel stronghold on Tuesday, days before the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey meet to discuss the expected Syrian government offensive that could spark a humanitarian disaster.

In the past few days, Russian officials, cited by Russian media, have said there was a plan by “militants” to stage a false chemical weapons attack in Idlib province to frame Assad.

“We have zero intelligence that shows the opposition has any chemical capability,” Mattis told reporters traveling with him to the Indian capital of New Delhi for a high-level dialogue on Thursday between the south Asian nation and the United States.

Russia’s Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said he had told U.S. officials that Moscow was concerned over signs the United States was preparing new strikes on Syria and warned against “groundless and illegal aggression against Syria.”

“We have made very clear that by putting out innuendo that somehow any chemical weapon use coming up in the future could be ascribed to the opposition, well, we want to see the data,” Mattis said. “We cannot see anything that indicates the opposition has that capability.”

He said instead there was a history of Assad’s government using such weapons.

U.S. President Donald Trump has twice ordered U.S.-led strikes against targets in Syria in response to what Washington called the Assad government’s use of chemical weapons against civilians.

On Tuesday the White House said that if Assad used chemical weapons “the United States and its allies would respond swiftly and appropriately.”

Asked if he saw indications of the Syrian government preparing to use chemical weapons in Idlib, Mattis said, ” I think the best answer to that is, we are very alert.”

Sputnik, a Russian state-owned news outlet, said recently the White Helmets rescue service had delivered a large shipment of toxic substances to “local armed militant groups.”

The Pentagon said the Russian government was using a “concentrated disinformation campaign” to discredit the United States and its allies.

“That Russia is seeking to plant false lies about chemical weapons use suggests that Moscow is seeking to deflect from its own culpability when these heinous weapons are used,” Commander Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.

Maj. Gen. Alexei Tsygankov, head of the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation, said on Sunday that the White Helmets group in Syria plans to film videos for Middle Eastern and English-language media outlets after staging a false-flag chemical weapons attack aimed at sharply destabilizing the situation in the war-torn country.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov stressed that the Nusra Front terrorist group, which now refers to itself as the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham group, was plotting a very serious provocation in the Idlib area with the use of chemical weapons. According to the deputy minister, the White Helmets group in Syria will film a video of the “chemical attack,” and the provocation might be used as a pretext for massive strikes on Syria.

A phone call from a resident of the village of Serakab in Idlib province about the planned incident.

According to the source, on the afternoon of February 12, rebels from the Jabhat Al-Nusra (Al-Nusra Front) terrorist organization brought three cars packed with more than 20 cylinders of chlorine along with personal protective equipment to Serakab.

The White Helmets have been long hailed by the Western media as “peace-bearing heroes” who save human lives. However, the group has been dogged by allegations of having ties with terrorist groups.

Swedish Professors & Doctors For Human Rights (SWEDHR) is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental organization engaged in the research and reporting on the effects of war-crimes, torture and human-rights transgressions on civilian populations or on individuals.

Actor George Clooney knew that the organization Swedish Doctors for Human Rights had cited the “White Helmets” as child killers when he produced the Oscar winning propaganda video.

Moreover, Google itself is involved, at war with this group and others, censoring them from their search engines.  The information here will be new to Americans.  

Please note that at no time has the White House or any western media acknowledged the controversy regarding the White Helmets, which we allege is part of al Qaeda’s propaganda operations.  Nor is any mention of the dozens of proven gas attacks by FSA, ISIS and al Nusra which are suddenly “forgotten” as though by magic.

The White Helmets, supposedly an independent NGO, receives up to $100m from the CIA and UK Foreign Office, “dark project” funding.  Murdering children is their stock and trade as we will prove.  Sharing headquarters with Turkish Intelligence in Gaziantep, Turkey this organization is far more “death squad” than civil defense.

The Chairman of the association, Professor Prof. Marcello fer rada de Noli, published at the beginning of March 2017 a first article with an analysis of the case: “Swedish Doctors for Human Rights: White Helmets video, macabre manipulation of dead children and staged chemical weapons attack to justify a” No-fly Zone “in Syria”.

Hundreds of Syrian White Helmets evacuated to Jordan through Israel By CBSNews

The Israeli military in coordination with its U.S. and European allies evacuated hundreds of Syrian rescue workers known as the White Helmets from near its volatile frontier with Syria, in a complex and first-of-a-kind operation. Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Sunday that 422 White Helmets volunteers were evacuated, instead of the initial 800 cleared for the operation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a separate video statement, said U.S. President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others had asked him to help evacuate the group’s members.

“We renew our call on the Assad regime and Russia to abide by their commitments, end the violence, and protect all Syrian civilians, including humanitarians such as the White Helmets, in areas formerly part of the southwest de-escalation zone and throughout Syria,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement.

The White Helmets have enjoyed backing and received finances and training from the United States and other Western nations for years.

The White Helmets have been called “terrorists,” accused of being “agents” for foreign powers, and of cooperating with radical insurgent groups. The White Helmets have been accused of staging rescue missions and chemical attacks to blame on the government.

Syrian lawmaker Khaled Abboud said that “foreign powers are pulling their agents out of the battlefield” because of the Syrian military victories that have quashed the “aggression” against Syria.

Separately Sunday, al-Ikhbariya TV quoted a military official as saying that a military post in the town of Masyaf in Hama province was hit by an Israeli airstrike. The area houses several defense ministry facilities.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

PREPARING FOR WORLD WAR 

New satellite images appear to indicate that Iran is building a new ‎surface-to-surface missile factory in Syria, raising ‎fresh concerns in Israel over the extent of the two ‎countries’ military cooperation across from Israel’s northern border, Channel 10 News recently reported.

Israel has mounted several airstrikes against ‎Iranian assets in Syria in an effort to stave off ‎Iran’s attempts to entrench itself ‎militarily in war-torn Syria.‎

Newsweek: The U.S. has also repeatedly accused Iran of supplying ballistic missiles to Yemen’s Zaidi Shiite Muslim rebels—known as Ansar Allah or the Houthis—and currently engaged in a war against a Saudi-led coalition trying to reinstate the country’s government. Defense Secretary James Mattis warned Tuesday that “Iran has been put on notice” due to their support for Assad, the Houthis and threats regarding the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s busiest oil chokepoint. On Thursday, Iranian military general staff chief Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri warned that no oil would pass through the crucial shipping lane should the U.S. succeed in cutting Iran’s oil exports to zero, an initiative that has earned Trump widespread international criticism.  

Citing three Iranian officials, two Iraqi intelligence sources and two Western intelligence sources, Reuters reported Friday that Tehran has begun supplying Shiite Muslim paramilitary groups in neighboring Iraq with short-range ballistic missiles. The missiles were identified as Zelzal, Fateh-110 and Zulfiqar models with ranges varying from 124 to 435 miles, making Riyadh and Tel Aviv viable targets should the weapons be fired from western Iraq.

Bloomberg: Over the coming weeks, both NATO and Russia will launch a series of super-high-end war games. These games are hardly for fun — rather, they are deadly serious practice sessions for hundreds of thousands of soldiers, thousands of combat aircraft, and flotillas of combat ships. While no one will die (other than by accident, a not uncommon occurrence in such exercises), the messages going back and forth are crystal clear: We are prepared for war.

Russia’s exercise is called Vostok — which means “east” — and will be held principally east of the Ural Mountains. It is the largest military exercise by Russia since Soviet times (in 1981) and will deploy 300,000 troops and more than 1,000 military aircraft. Of note, China will participate with thousands of its troops operating alongside the Russians (there will also be a token contingent of troops from Mongolia, which has been a partner to both Russia and NATO at times).

NATO will conduct its own huge military exercise, named Trident Junction 2018. It will take place on the northern borders of the alliance and will involve 40,000 troops from all 29 nations, a couple of hundred aircraft and dozens of warships. While not as spectacularly large as Russia’s Vostok, it will serve as a “graduation exercise” for NATO’s new Spearhead Force, a serious, highly mobile capability that can put NATO combat troops into the Baltic states to repulse a Russian invasion within a matter of days.

Finally, it is worth looking specifically at the maritime dimension of both the Russian and NATO exercises. It is not a coincidence that the NATO operation will be commanded not by a general, but rather by a four-star U.S. admiral, Jamie Foggo. A former commander of NATO submarine forces and the legendary U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean, Foggo has thought deeply (and frequently published) about maritime operations in the current NATO-Russia environment. There will be significant maritime groups both from NATO and Russia operating in the Baltic Sea, Black Sea, eastern Mediterranean and even the Arctic.

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China’s invasion of Taiwan has already begun

By ANI

China’s invasion of the “renegade province” of has already begun. Of course, not a physical assault by military forces – not yet, at least – but rather a campaign of psychological and diplomatic pressure against that has seriously intensified in recent months.

Take, for example, the issue of airline reservations, with issuing a directive in April to 44 that they change the name “Taiwan” to “Taiwan, China” on their global websites.

Numerous carriers such as Qantas, Air India, Lufthansa, and caved in, even though the White Housecriticized Chinese demands as “Orwellian nonsense” and “part of a growing trend by the [CPC] to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies”.

In like fashion, the chain, clothing and Mercedes-Benz have all at some point felt China’s wrath for offending its sensibilities about descriptions of or Each apologized for not complying with China’s standards.

The Chinese government urged the U.S. not to allow Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to stop over in the U.S. on her way to Belize and Paraguay this month as she has on previous trips to Latin America. It’s Beijing’s latest gambit in an ongoing campaign to wipe Taiwan off the map as an independent political entity. This campaign is forcing everyone from national governments and NGOs to airlines and clothing companies to take a stance on the contentious issue of Taiwan’s status.

Related: China lodges complaint over Trump-Taiwan call

This Chinese pressure has been ramping up since Tsai Ing-wen of the took office in in January 2016. There was an immediate cooling of relations with Beijing, and has attempted to marginalize Taiwan at every opportunity. Tsai insists she wants to maintain the status quo in terms of bilateral relations, but the CPC fears she will push for formal independence.

Tsai is facing extreme pressure from China, as well as internal political and civil pressure to modify her stance. Nevertheless, it appears that Taiwan is the only party intent on observing the status quo in cross-straits relations. certainly is not.

In March at the National People’s Congress, said, “It is a shared aspiration of all Chinese people and in their basic interests to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and realize China’s complete reunification.”

Xi received rapturous applause when he threatened, “Any actions and tricks to split China are doomed to failure and will meet with the people’s condemnation and the punishment of history.The Chinese people share a common belief that it is never allowed and it is absolutely impossible to separate any inch of our great country’s territory from China.”

Related: China Is Trying to Wipe Taiwan Off the Map

Later, in June, Ma Xiaoguang, for the Taiwan Affairs Office in China, warned, “We have the stern will, full confidence and sufficient capability to defeat any form of Taiwan independence separatist plots.” He added that China “absolutely will not permit Taiwan independence forces to…interfere with the course of China’s great rejuvenation.Taiwan independence is a dead-end street.We warn Taiwan independence forces not to play with fire.”

Ian Easton, a research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, a Virginia-based think tank, told ANI, “In the past ten years, most people took peace for granted. Most thought Taiwan’s going to be absorbed.by China. They thought this is a flashpoint not worth considering anymore. The US didn’t talk much about it and nor did its allies.”

However, Easton said the threat to Taiwan has grown greatly under Xi. “There’s no question about it.Clearly his approach is different to that of Hu Jintao – his personality is different, he’s much more ambitious, much more aggressive, he’s much more interested in Taiwan than Hu Jintao was.” Easton pointed out, “has been much more focused on preparing to one day occupy the island. It’s always been the party’s and the People’s Liberation Army’s [PLA] main strategic direction ever since the collapse of the

For now, China is prosecuting a short-of-war campaign tobludgeon Taiwan. Russell Hsiao, writing for The Jamestown Foundation, delineated ten elements to this pressure campaign: poaching Taiwan’s diplomatic allies; military coercion; economic coercion; excluding Taiwan from international organizations; pressuring foreign corporations; pressuring Taiwan’s non-diplomatic allies; economic incentives; political warfare; cyber espionage; and traditional espionage.

Related: Donald Trump Angers China With Historic Phone Call to Taiwan’s President

Taiwan now has diplomatic relations with only 18 countries worldwide. It lost formal ties with and Príncipe in December 2016, in June 2017, and the and in May 2018, after China lured them away.

Beijing, like it did with over the topic of a US Army missile defense battery stationed on its territory, is unafraid to use its considerable economic clout against Taiwan. Thus, it limited the number of tourists travelling to the islandsince Tsai assumed office, with the number falling 700,000 in 2017 alone.

In international organizations, China has gleefully pressured others to ostracize Taiwan. Thus, Taiwan was denied observed observer status at the Health Assembly in May. Another example is the (ICAO), with China pressuring the group to exclude Taiwan. The ICAO has remained silent on China backtracking on its 2015 agreement with Taiwan over using the commercial M503 flightpath near the centerline of the

Authoritarian China, thanks to its growing technological and digital knowhow, is increasingly taking advantage of the liberties and openness of Western and Taiwanese democracies. Indeed, Easton warned that China is subverting Taiwan’s democracy, “everything from espionage to cooperating with pro-unification and organized crime syndicates in Taiwan, gunrunning, drugs and smuggling people into Taiwan. They’re going to do things that will destabilize Taiwan’s society.” Easton even spoke of operatives being mixed in with pro-unification groups and their protests, some of which have turned violent.

Related: Forget trade — the Trump administration just crossed a far more dangerous ‘red line’ with China

Work Department (UFWD) is actively engaged against Taiwan. Hsiao commented, “In Taiwan, the UFWD targets a broad range of constituencies, including aborigines, local villages and townships, youths and students, pro-China political parties and groups, and Taiwan military veterans. has previously estimated that China spends at least $337.8 million per year on UFWD recruiting efforts in Taiwan, but has also said it believes there might be more ‘invisible funding’.”

China is routinely using disinformation, propaganda, “content farms” and bots to fan the flames of social instability via UWFD proxies. Taiwan has an extremely of 82.3% and penetration rate of 73.4%, and China can relatively easily spread fake news on messaging sites such as Line, as well as imagery. One example of the latter is a picture of a Chinese H-6K bomber flying near in Taiwan. Such an event did not occur, yet the image still went viral. China is also good at misquoting officials or ex-officials in either Chinese or Taiwanese forums to show purported approval of the CPC.

Hsiao, of the Global Taiwan Institute, concluded, “The CPC has a long history of using propaganda and disinformation against Taiwan. In it has found a fertile information environment to amplify its time-honed tactics of political and psychological warfare. Flooding Taiwan’s society with propaganda and disinformation can weaken its people’s trust in democratic institutions and lead to political instability.”

He continued, “The CPC’s ultimate goal is the subjugation of Taiwan under the PRC, and propaganda and disinformation are means to weakening morale and people’s resistance towards that political end.”

Likewise, China is manipulating the cyber sphere to its advantage. Taiwan is the number one target of Chinese hacking, with a reported 20-40 million attempted hacks against its public sector each month throughout 2017.

Hsaio explained that Taiwan has suffered a number of embarrassing high-profile espionage incidents too, often involving the military. From 2006-16, some 40 Taiwanese – including military officers, businesspeople and government officials – were prosecuted for spying on behalf of China.

With such intense bullying of Taiwan and of anyone else that does not submit to Beijing’s narratives, and with mounting concerns over China’s hard-nosed One Belt, One Road initiative, China is beginning to face adverse reaction on the international stage. Ironically, Beijing’s squeezing of does permit more countries to see the ugly nature of this authoritarian regime and its leader.

While China is happy to bully those weaker than itself, it also shows a remarkably thin skin for a nation that regards itself as a global power. China was incensed by Trump accepting Tsai’s in December 2016. also feels antagonized by ongoing American military equipment sales to Taiwan, with the USA the only country willing to stand up to Chinese bluster.

China continues to ramp up pressure against Taiwan militarily. It has hundreds of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles aimed at the island. It has also boosted the number of military exercises near the island. For example, from August 2016 to December 2017, counted at least 26 PLA aerial exercises, of which 15 circumnavigated the island. There were just eight in 2015 and 2016 combined. The Chinese has passed Taiwan four times already.

ANI asked whether a military confrontation between China and Taiwan becomes more likely the longer Xi stays in power. Easton replied, “Yes, it does,” and he outlined two reasons. One is that Xi will inevitably get older, weaker and face more health issues. ‘There are going to be potential power struggles, and there are going to be all the problems associated with a dictatorship – especially a communist-style dictatorship – and we’ve seen this with Mao and

Easton described the potential for leaders to develop megalomania because they become godlike. “There’s already this incredible cult of personality in China, and being godlike makes people go crazy. It corrupts their sense of reality, so there’s a rea risk of that.” A related danger is that Xi will not receive accurate information from his underlings. After having done so much to eradicate opponents within the party and military, Xi could end up being surrounded by “yes men” who simply tell Xi what he wants to hear. This may lead to huge miscalculations, with Xi making decisions based on wrong assumptions.

The second reason given by Easton regarding the rising possibility of war is that the PLA will grow increasingly stronger over the coming 10-20 years. China has made huge investments in the PLA, but these may not bring a payback straight away. Indeed, it may take years to get a return on that investment.

“So a lot of the heavy military spending, research and development and training that we’re seeing right now, they’re going to come to fruition in the next one to two decades. When they do, China’s going to have so much more military power than it currently has and that it has had over its entire modern history. When that happens, I should think there’s going to be even greater temptation to do something that could be disastrous,” Easton warned.

UPDATE:

Earlier this month, a scathing editorial in Chinese state media warned the US Senate not to pass the Taiwan Travel Act, legislation to permit high-level talks between US and Taiwanese officials.

Unless US President Donald Trump “is ready to see the by and large stable and so-far profitable relationship derailed, unless he is determined to plunge his country into a pointless, mutually damaging altercation, or worse, he should resist the seducement,” the editorial said.

It added: “Unlike trade, though, Taiwan is a matter of sovereignty. For Beijing, it is a clearly defined core interest that is not negotiable.”

Anyway, on Friday, Trump signed the bipartisan bill into law.

And so here we are, with the market gearing up to watch us haggle over soybeans and Boeing aircraft (the US’s biggest exports to China, according to the Institute of International Finance ) like a farmer at the Iowa State Fair — when in reality the danger is much graver.

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War is extending: Bibi-Trump plot against Iran

President Donald Trump has put the United States on the course for war with Iran. That was clearly his objective when he refused to certify the international nuclear accord with Iran and proclaimed heavy sanctions against Tehran’s powerful paramilitary Revolutionary Guards Corps.

All of Trump’s senior national security officials and those from the treaty partners and UN reported that Iran had kept its end of the deal.

Bob Corker, Tom Cotton, and Marco Rubio, are all firmly in the pocket of pro-Israel lobbies. The U.S. vociferous ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, is almost a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Las Vegas gambling mogul and uber Zionist billionaire, Sheldon Adelson – who is also a key financial backer of Trump and Netanyahu.

Having pushed the U.S. to destroy its old foes, Iraq and Syria, Israel now has its big guns trained on Iran, the last regional power that can challenge Israel’s domination of the Mideast. Iran, we should remember, is also the only important Mideast power backing the Palestinians and calling for a Palestinian state.

The Israeli lobby and so-called Christian Zionists that make up Trump’s electoral base are beating the war drums against Iran.

President Trump’s administration has put Iran on “final notice”, and with Republicans in control of all branches of government, GOP may finally get what it has been wanting for decades… another country to invade. Trump and the Republicans are furiously beating the war drums against Iran, and have attempted to mislead the American people so they’re able to justify military action in Iran. Legislation was passed on the first day of the 115th session of Congress that would give President Trump the authority to use military force against Iran unilaterally.

“This is the only time in modern presidential history when we’ve had a small number of people from the uniformed world hold this much influence over the chief executive,” said John E. McLaughlin, a former acting director of the CIA who served in seven administrations. “They are right now playing an extraordinary role.”

Commentator and Trump ally Ann Coulter tweeted, “The military-industrial complex wins.”

Kelly, Mattis and McMaster are not the only military figures serving at high levels in the Trump administration. C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke each served in various branches of the military, and Trump recently tapped former Army general Mark S. Inch to lead the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

“The only chance we have of trying to keep this thing from blowing apart is some military discipline,” said Peter Wehner, who served in the three Republican administrations prior to this one and who opposes Trump. “It’s like military rule or a military coup.”

Many retired senior military officers are now working as war consultants (while drawing a fat pension) at $200-$300 per hour. Bleeding our coffers while 40 million Americans are living on food stamps. And now this fake war is extending even after Saddam’s and Bin Laden’s deaths.

A well equipped, well trained, well funded, well supported U.S. troops did not win in Iraq or in Afghanistan. Now, the generals say this is a bigger threat than Saddam and Bin Laden, let us roll the dice once again, to fight the enemy of America! While in 2018 – Saudi troops, Egyptian flight sorties are bombing in Yemen using U.S. supplied war inventory.

Iran, which won its independence in the 1979 Islamic revolution, should be a natural ally of the United States. The most scientifically advanced Middle Eastern nation, Iran has an educated population, a growing and highly-diversified economy, and a crucial geostrategic position in the center of the Eurasian chess board. Its successful experiment in political Islam is pluralistic and at least as democratic as anything in the West.

But the U.S. is owned by international bankers and influenced by ultra-Zionist neoconservatives. These folks are out to conquer the world. So they don’t want allies, they want vassals. Iran will never settle for vassal status, nor will it acquiesce to the Zionist genocide of Palestine. Hence the “Iran problem.”

Now that Bibi Netanyahu has helped install his man Donald Trump in the White House, will the Likkudniks accelerate their plots against the Islamic Republic? Of course they will.

There is no compass in Trump’s negotiations and his need for free-flying improvisation may have worked during his real estate days, but applying the same principle to geopolitics is rife with risk. Within hours of scrapping the nuclear agreement with Iran, missiles were fired between Israel and Syria. The European Union is banning European companies from complying with U.S. sanctions as well as planning to switch to euros instead of dollars for Iranian Oil. When Trump slapped punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum from abroad and then followed with a new round of U.S. sanctions on fourteen Russian companies, the Russian stock exchange plunged, causing chaos in global commodity markets and inadvertently hurt European aluminum manufacturing.

Fortunately, most of the extremists around Donald Trump don’t know what they’re doing. Any major attempt to destabilize or (God forbid) attack Iran will almost certainly turn into a fiasco for the aggressors. Even back in 2004, when Iran’s defenses were far less formidable, the neocons at Atlantic Magazine couldn’t buy a war-game-against-Iran scenario that didn’t implode into mega-disaster for the US.

Since top military people are usually not that stupid, we may assume that they will settle for some kind of regime change effort: Color revolution (that already failed in 2009, but who cares?), coup attempt, Saudi-money-fueled effort to stir up ethnic and religious minorities…you know the drill.

I am already hearing rumors of a supposed “coup attempt” shaping up.

Will this scam work? It may very well succeed in enriching a few Iranian-exile scumbags. But it won’t overthrow the government of Iran. The Iranian people, even those who lack religious enthusiasm for the current government, remember 1953 and are not about to let it happen again.

There is only one solution for this problem – Just get all U.S. troops out of the Middle East. We all know this won’t happen because there is too much money to be made! So far the U.S. government has spent over 3 trillion on this war of terror. 9,000 dead US troops!!

This trade clash with Beijing is not even over steel and aluminum but the dominance of core information technology into the 21st Century. China has its own “Made in China 2025” strategy which aims to establish a world leading role in technology with giants like Alibaba and Tencent whose market values are already over half a trillion. China has the world’s fastest supercomputer and is building its own Hadron supercollider. While the U.S. has taken a laissez-faire approach, heading in a different direction in technology, China is funding centers in India and Japan. China has supercomputers faster than the U.S., chips that are Chinese made and fifth generation wireless networks (5G) will be first in China, not America.

Semiconductor chips have replaced oil as the lifeblood of the global economy. The arms race over the future and technological dominance will shake American hegemony to its very foundations. In an attempt to stall China’s technological advancement and catch up, America introduced tariffs. Tariffs won’t work. S&P Global warned that American companies would be the biggest losers in a trade war with China.

Professor Allison and his colleagues studied the conflicts between a rising power and an established ruling power over a 500 year period showed that when one power threatens to displace the other, that in 12 of 16 cases, they ended badly in bloodshed.

In America businesses are at war on a daily basis against a rogue US Government.

The soft tyranny we endure now on a daily basis has turned scores of Americans into reluctant activists, no longer satisfied with participation in mundane “demonstrations” that prove and accomplish nothing.

Nearly everywhere you turn, crowds of angry Americans are gathering, no longer content to merely sit idly by and remain spectators to the cavalcade of injustices being perpetuated ad nauseum against We the People by criminal governments that have long since lost their legitimacy.

As the Fed’s quantitative tightening intensifies, the financial system will contract further raising alarms over the $164 trillion of debt held by the U.S., Japan and China. Inflation long feared to be dormant has picked up as the sanctions have affected everything from aluminum to oil. And, ominously the benchmark 10 year Treasury yield continues to breach levels not seen in seven years, indicating rising inflation expectations and stormy times ahead.

Trump’s tax cut will cost $5.5 trillion in lost revenues and add over $1 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, deepening the hole in America’s debt to GDP currently over 100 percent.

A decade after the global financial crisis, the world led by the United States has loaded up on debt again. Once the biggest buyer, China has started dumping US government debt.

After years of easy money, Trump’s trillion dollar spending plans risks America becoming the next global crisis as its debt spirals out of control.

The truth is that Iran is simply not behind most of the turmoil in the Middle East, and until Washington’s policymakers change their all-Iran-all-the-time mental model, they are doomed to failure. One thing is guaranteed: they are going to misdiagnose the patient and attack the wrong disease.

The Iran Exaggeration

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine a Middle Eastern country — no, not Israel — but one with a sizeable, protected Jewish community, a place where Islam is the state religion but its president regularly tweets Rosh Hashanah greetings for the Jewish New Year.

Sounds like somebody’s wild fantasy, but it’s actually Iran. In fact, the Islamic Republic sets aside one mandatory seat in its parliament for a Jew, three for Christians, and another for a Zoroastrian. It would be a mistake to conclude from such token gestures that Iran is a paragon of tolerance. But they do speak to the complexity of a diverse society full of paradox and contradiction.

85% of domestic terrorists turned out to be American citizens or permanent residents.  Most were American-born.  Of the 13 U.S. citizens involved in such fatal terror attacks, none were Iranian-American.

It always struck me as odd that Iran made the cut for the very exclusive membership in George W. Bush’s “axis of evil.”  After all, unlike those 15 Saudi hijackers and perhaps even the Saudi government, it had no connection to 9/11 and was “comprehensively helpful” in the initial take down of the Afghan Taliban and the arrest of fleeing al-Qaeda fighters.

By contrast, consider just a few of Washington’s “partners” in the region:

* Saudi Arabia: this monarchy enforces a strict brand of conservative Wahhabi Islam not so terribly different from the basic theology of ISIS.  The Saudi government publicly executes an average of 73 people per year, including juveniles and the mentally ill.  Beheading is the favored technique. (Sound familiar?)  Nor are all the victims convicted murderers.  According to a 2015 Amnesty International report, “Non-lethal crimes including adultery, robbery, apostasy, drug-related offenses, rape, ‘witchcraft,’ and ‘sorcery’ are punishable by death.”  In addition to its citizens carrying out the 9/11 attacks, Saudi Arabia supported a branch of al-Qaeda (Jabhat al-Nusra) in the Syrian conflict.  Furthermore, its ongoing U.S.-backed air strikes against Yemen’s Houthi rebels have been killing numerous civilians and may have helped to cause and further intensify a disastrous famine. The U.S. response: a record-breaking $110 billion arms deal for the Saudis.

* Egypt: In the wake of a 2013 coup d’état led by General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi against an elected government, that country’s military gunned down hundreds of demonstrators.  Since then, its strongman has used “mass, arbitrary arrests,” tortured detainees, and conducted “extrajudicial executions” — all in the interest of retaining power.  The U.S. response: $1.4 billion in (mostly military) foreign assistance in fiscal 2017.  To top it off, President Trump recently invited Sisi to the White House, lauded the dictator’s “fantastic job in a very difficult situation,” and is planning a future visit to Egypt.

There’s an uncomfortable truth that Washington needs to face: U.S. policy toward Iran hasn’t achieved its goals despite almost four decades of effort since an American-installed autocrat was overthrown there in 1979.  Foreign policy hawks — Democrats and Republicans alike — will undoubtedly fight that reality tooth-and-nail, but as with the Cuban embargo, Iranian isolation has long outworn any imagined usefulness.  That ostracizing Iran remains fashionable reflects domestic political calculus or phobic thinking, not cogent strategy, and yet our new president just traveled to Saudi Arabia, a truly autocratic country, and in the wake of an Iranian election that was by all accounts resoundingly democratic, denounced that land as despotic and all but called for regime change.

U.S. policy in the Middle East is confused, contradictory, counterproductive, and dangerous. It could leave Washington involved in a war with Iran. (And given our recent wars in the region, imagine where that’s likely to land us.)

Major Danny Sjursen is a U.S. Army strategist and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge.  He lives with his wife and four sons near Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Sources:

Gold Eagle: The war drums

Common Dreams: Beating the war drums…again

Toms Dispatch

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