Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Age of Economic Warfare Begins. Will It Lead to a Conventional War?

 Valdai Club
"In the early hours of May 10, a day after the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Israel launched a missile attack on “Iranian military facilities” in Syria, allegedly to punish the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for having fired 20 missiles at Israeli military positions. This happened in the Golan Heights area, where, to believe the Israelis, some elements of Iran’s Al-Quds unit are deployed. The attack killed a number of Syrians. During the period of hostilities, the Israeli military launched over 100 strikes at the Iranian contingent in Syria, which cooperates with the Russian force. But Moscow never retaliated against Israel, nor even criticized it, although occasionally Russian military equipment that had been sold to Iran came under fire.

Following this serious event, there were media reports that the Middle East was on the verge of war. The Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, made a more restrained statement to the effect that Israel was not seeking to escalate tensions. “I hope we finished this chapter and everyone got the message,” he said. Although countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia are dreaming of escalating their confrontation with Iran in order to open the gate to war, they want it to be fought by the United States and are unwilling to become involved directly. Israel has the bitter experience of waging (and losing) a war in Lebanon from 1982 to 2000; Saudi Arabia is facing a similar failure in Yemen. Despite their resolute efforts, Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia are in a deadlock, being unable to change the balance of power in Lebanon against Iran and its ally, Hezbollah, for the last 36 years."
Good thing Israel can be so persuasive
Where is the conflict headed?

"All of this is occurring against the background of Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, under which Iran has halted its nuclear program in exchange for a reduction in sanctions.

The Iranians have been fully complying with the JCPOA, but this did not stop Donald Trump from walking away from the nuclear agreement with Iran. Despite the best efforts of the Iranians to convince the rest of the world that they are faithfully adhering to the 2015 agreement, the JCPOA itself is now on life support, if not dead already. And, of course, the Iranians realize that the EU, no matter how “angry and humiliated,” will hardly be able to withstand Trump’s pressure. According to deputy head of the IRGC, Hossein Salami, the Europeans are powerless to save the deal. Although the EU is going out of its way to show – particularly in the days immediately after Trump’s announcement – that they are not America’s “vassals” and will continue to implement the deal, that they are even ready to challenge the US unilateral sanctions against Iran at the WTO, etc., this looks increasingly utopian"
flashback May 15/18: US To Turn Heat Up on EU as Trump Admin. Hits Iran Central Banker with "Terror" Sanctions

"Just look at what has happened only recently. A Danish shipping company, Maersk, has declared that it will not berth merchant ships at the Iranian coast in the Gulf and has already stopped sending ships to Iran; Merkel has stated that her government will not be able to compensate damage to German companies, which will come under US sanctions because of their cooperation with Iran; Macron has declared that France “has no intention to engage in a trade war with the United States.” Total, the biggest French oil and gas company, has announced that it intends to withdraw from its project with Iran unless supported by the EU and granted a special waiver from the US. All of this suggests just one conclusion: the Iranian economy will continue to be strongly affected because international banks and companies will in every way seek to avoid US sanctions"
Thursday May 17/18: The EU Caving to US Edicts Begins: Total and Maersk Out/Iranian Oil Off the Market
"Note, too, that oil prices surged immediately in the wake of these events (both Trump’s statement at 9 pm on May 8 and the exchange of missile strikes in the early hours of May 10). It certainly cannot be overlooked that there are speculators who will benefit from Iran’s isolation from the European markets.
 Given the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, the way of presenting Iranian missile strikes on Israel is also aimed at creating a negative image of Iran as an extension of Trump’s statements. Right now, it cannot be predicted how the conflict will develop, for this depends on domestic politics in Iran and the country’s ability to manage relations with the international community. Still, as I see it, there will be no military conflict in the near future.
First, the age of economic warfare has begun. After Iraq, it will be very hard to convince the US legislators and Americans in general that military operations are required. The US has grown fond of sanctions as an alternative.[1]

If we take the worst-case scenario and assume that Tel Aviv and Riyadh will pressure the unpredictable Trump into war or that this will happen because of a miscalculation similar to one that led the US to plunge Iraq into chaos, it is clear that strikes on select facilities is the only possibility. But what comes after that? Of course, any outcome will affect the Iranian economy, hitting ordinary citizens the hardest.

Is there a way out?

Who would have predicted such a subversion of orientalist expectations? It is not Iran’s reliability but the reliability of its Western partners that is in question. The Europeans should think how to oppose the US rather than cave in to the pressure. They should revise their priorities in light of the history of their relations with the US and Iran in the 21st century, during which time the United States has imposed policies on the EU that benefitted itself in exchange for bolstering the economically vulnerable European bloc.

What are Iran’s options?

Iran maintains hope for partners like Russia and China, but regrettably this strategic triangle is unable to reshape the entire system of international relations. Besides, Russia and China are interested in advancing their interests outside of their alliance with Iran. For example, the next day after Netanyahu’s latest visit to Moscow, Moscow backed off its intention to sell to Syria or deploy there its S-300 systems and thus protect it from further air attacks."
I disagree with the author's contention regarding the sale or supply of the S-300 to Syria - Read anew or rereadthe May 11/2018  post titled: After Netanyahu Visit to Russia, Russia backs off Supply of S-300's to Syria

"It is clear that Iran will continue to promote its interests internationally in the same way. But it is still an open question whether or not it will change its priorities. It is quite probable that the countries with ongoing nuclear programs will soon pool efforts to create a mechanism to contain US political and economic pressure. At the same time, it would be fair to assume that Iran will continue with its good-neighbor foreign policy, using the tools of cultural diplomacy to cultivate and maintain real allies in the fight against US hegemony"   

Monday, May 21, 2018

Likud MK Pushes Israel to Recognize Kurdistan as Independent

'Cause when you just wanna get along with your neighbours taking every action to antagonize them makes perfect sense..... not! 
As US Congressman DeSantis pushes for the recognition of Syria’s Golan as Israeli territory we have an Israeli MK pushing for Israel to recognize Kurdistan as an "independent" state.

 Can anyone deny that the US and Israel are being intentionally provocative pushing these concepts? It seems to me neither the US or Israel are hiding their desire for a regional war.

The move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem was a provocation

Flashback: May 14/18- PROVOCATIVE Opening of US Embassy in Jerusalem

Flashback : Ivanka & Jared In Israel for US Jerusalem Embassy Opening: Palestinians Die

 The push to recognize annexed Syrian territory, as Israel's is a provocation

Earlier today:  Congressman urges US to recognize Syria’s Golan as Israeli territory

And the idea of recognizing Kurdistan as independent is obviously yet another provocation- Not even hidden.

Jerusalem Post: Likud MK Pushes Israel to Recognize Kurdistan As An Independent State 

Amid tensions with Turkey, Israel should back Kurdish statehood, Likud MK Yoav Kisch proposed in a motion to the Knesset’s agenda this week.

“Facing Iran’s increasing strength in the region, Turkey’s extremism and the dissolution of Syria, Israel must lead and support the Kurdish effort to establish an independent state,” is the title of Kisch’s motion.

The Likud MK’s proposal came as diplomatic relations between Jerusalem and Ankara have soured, with Turkey withdrawing its ambassador in protest over Israel’s response to violent riots in Gaza, and Israel reacting in kind.

According to Kisch, Turkey isdistancing itself from the West and calling out against Israel, supporting terror and continuing to oppress the Kurds in its territory.”

As such, “recognizing an independent Kurdistan can be good for Israel’s interests,” Kisch said, adding: “There is a reason why Israel was the first to publicly congratulate moves towards Kurdish independence in northern Iraq.”

If the Knesset approves Kisch’s motion, the topic will likely be moved to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee for further discussion. The committee may then hold a vote on support for Kurdish independence, but such a move is not required.

I’ve long talked here about the Israeli push for an Israel 2.0 aka Kurdistan. I've talked for so long about this topic, in fact, it's become tiresome to me- Yet still people don't grasp that Kurdistan is simply Israeli expansion, obscured.

Posts you may have missed over this long holiday week end (here in Canada, anyway)-


Congressman urges US to recognize Syria’s Golan as Israeli territory

Coming hot on the heels of the inflammatory embassy move to Jerusalem this type of recognition would simply 'up the game' in the region.

 (PT) A member of Congress has urged the US to recognize Syria’s Golan Heights as an Israeli territory after Washington's relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds last week.

Republican Representative Ron DeSantis said in an interview published on Israel’s Walla news website on Sunday that he had brought the proposal before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, of which he is a member.
Ron DeSantis- Israel firster
Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and has continued to occupy two-thirds of the strategically-important territory ever since, in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.
DeSantis also said the proposal is a natural follow-up to the US embassy’s relocation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds last Monday.
He noted that as the embassy move would help take Jerusalem al-Quds off the negotiating table, the US recognition of Israel’s claim to the Golan would clarify it has no intention of forcing Tel Aviv to relinquish the territory.
Bnei Yehuda, an Israeli settlement built in the occupied Syrian territory, southern Golan Heights.

(AS) According to a report by the Washington Free Beacon Thursday, the proposal describes the Golan Heights as an “integral part” of Israel, and recognizes that it is “crucial” for Israel to retain the strategically important area overlooking the Sea of Galilee.
"It is the sense of the Congress that the Golan Heights represent an integral part of the state of Israel and are crucial to the ability of Israel to safeguard its borders and maintain its existence," the proposal reads in part.
The draft drawn up by DeSantis also cites the ongoing Syrian civil war and Iran’s use of Syria as a forward base for attacks on Israel as justification for recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.
"Given the civil war in Syria and the expansion of Iranian influence in Syria, the United States should recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights."
The measure proposed by Rep. DeSantis has been given to the Republican-dominated House Rules Committee, which must decide whether to advance or quash the bill. The committee is headed by Texas Congressman Pete Sessions, a long-time supporter of Israel, and includes 11 Republican lawmakers and 4 Democrats.

Nimrod's Castle Israeli Occupied Syrian Territory
Don't Miss...

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Oil Is The Enabler of Military Power

It is incorrect to say that oil is an unimportant reason to wage war - It may not be the only reason, but, it is an extremely important reason  for understanding why wars are fought.  Controlling access or denying access to oil is something that's been discussed at the blog. There is a vicious circle of needing oil to wage war- waging war to access oil. While all  along the way- profits are made. And most pathetically a free pass is given by the AGW cult to the war machine every single day-

Oil. Why is oil so important? Is it cars? What else? I just don't know....

Originally, it was the writings of Mahan and Mackinder on Naval power and geopolitics, combined with the final conclusion of the USS Maine inquiry that the explosion that destroyed it in Havana Harbor was most likely from a spontaneous fire in the coal bunker that overheated and ignited the ammo in the adjacent ammo bunker. Thus leading all of the major and wanna-be naval powers to race for control of oil to replace the more dangerous and harder to handle coal as fuel for their battle fleets.  

Nothing better than oil to move ships, planes and tanks around. Oil is the enabler of military power. Both World Wars were already decided by oil.

take 2:
It's funny aka strange to me that most, but not all people, fail to consider the importance of oil in war making- this is one of many issues that I take exception too regarding the AGW claims- war making is never addressed... by the cult adherents

Total US Military Oil Consumption (2011) is 360,000 barrels of oil per day.

 That is 360,000 barrels of oil a day, every single day of the year. That is minimally more then 131,400,000 barrels of oil a year.  It's likely even more then this chart shows as of 2018- 
  Since the US has been waging an ever growing war- on an ever expanding global battlefield since 2011. At 2018, present day price per barrel of 70.00. That oil consumed by the US Military, in just one year, would cost approximately 9 Billion, 198 Million dollars every year!

It boggles ones mind.
Chart from here

A more recent article has makes it very clear my more then 9 billion dollars a year figure is way to low


The military’s average annual oil bill was about $14.28 billion between 2007 and 2015.

 You wanna talk about a waste of resources!!! On a scale that is unimaginable to me!!!
 And I'm somehow a sinner for driving my little 4 cylinder budget car and heating my house in a cold climate? Give me a break!!


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Alexa and Siri Can Hear This Hidden Command. You Can’t.

You really shouldn't have this garbage in your home. 
Your private dwelling. Your own little oasis- Your sanctuary.
 Researchers can now send secret audio instructions undetectable to the human ear to Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant.
BERKELEY, Calif. — Many people have grown accustomed to talking to their smart devices, asking them to read a text, play a song or set an alarm. But someone else might be secretly talking to them, too
Over the last two years, researchers in China and the United States have begun demonstrating that they can send hidden commands that are undetectable to the human ear to Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant.
So for two years now.... researchers have demonstrated they too can send "hidden commands" that are UNDETECTABLE to your human ear directly to your wifi connected creepy home spy system
Inside university labs, the researchers have been able to secretly activate the artificial intelligence systems on smartphones and smart speakers, making them dial phone numbers or open websites.
In the wrong hands, the technology could be used to unlock doors, wire money or buy stuff online — simply with music playing over the radio.
 A group of students from University of California, Berkeley, and Georgetown University showed in 2016 that they could hide commands in white noise played over loudspeakers and through YouTube videos to get smart devices to turn on airplane mode or open a website.
This month, some of those Berkeley researchers published a research paper that went further, saying they could embed commands directly into recordings of music or spoken text. So while a human listener hears someone talking or an orchestra playing, Amazon’s Echo speaker might hear an instruction to add something to your shopping list.

“We wanted to see if we could make it even more stealthy,” said Nicholas Carlini, a fifth-year Ph.D. student in computer security at U.C. Berkeley and one of the paper’s authors.
[Read more on what Alexa can hear when brought into your home]
Mr. Carlini added that while there was no evidence that these techniques have left the lab, it may only be a matter of time before someone starts exploiting them. “My assumption is that the malicious people already employ people to do what I do,” he said.
Yup, it's already happening
These deceptions illustrate how artificial intelligence — even as it is making great strides — can still be tricked and manipulated.
Computers can be fooled into identifying an airplane as a cat just by changing a few pixels of a digital image, while researchers can make a self-driving car swerve or speed up simply by pasting small stickers on road signs and confusing the vehicle’s computer vision system.
With audio attacks, the researchers are exploiting the gap between human and machine speech recognition. Speech recognition systems typically translate each sound to a letter, eventually compiling those into words and phrases. By making slight changes to audio files, researchers were able to cancel out the sound that the speech recognition system was supposed to hear and replace it with a sound that would be transcribed differently by machines while being nearly undetectable to the human ear.
Yet many people leave their smartphones unlocked, and, at least for now, voice recognition systems are notoriously easy to fool.
There is already a history of smart devices being exploited for commercial gains through spoken commands.
Last year, Burger King caused a stir with an online ad that purposely asked ‘O.K., Google, what is the Whopper burger?” Android devices with voice-enabled search would respond by reading from the Whopper’s Wikipedia page. The ad was canceled after viewers started editing the Wikipedia page to comic effect.
A few months later, the animated series South Park followed up with an entire episode built around voice commands that caused viewers’ voice-recognition assistants to parrot adolescent obscenities.
There is no American law against broadcasting subliminal messages to humans, let alone machines. The Federal Communications Commission discourages the practice as “counter to the public interest,” and the Television Code of the National Association of Broadcasters bans “transmitting messages below the threshold of normal awareness.” Neither say anything about subliminal stimuli for smart devices.
"There is no American law against broadcasting subliminal messages to humans, let alone machines"

Satanic Observations on the Satanic Family Altar

Courts have ruled that subliminal messages may constitute an invasion of privacy, but the law has not extended the concept of privacy to machines.
Now the technology is racing even further ahead of the law. Last year, researchers at Princeton University and China’s Zhejiang University demonstrated that voice-recognition systems could be activated by using frequencies inaudible to the human ear. The attack first muted the phone so the owner wouldn’t hear the system’s responses, either.
 Courts have ruled that subliminal messages may constitute an invasion of privacy, but the law has not extended the concept of privacy to machines.

It is perfectly fine to target  both you and an AI device that is privy to your life/bank/security and well being with subliminals...

Of course, read the rest, at the opening link. 

From earlier today:
 Ironically, the creepy AI taking commands from elsewhere walks hand in hand with the "indoor generation" and it's problematic existence.

The “Indoor Generation” and It’s Myriad of Health Risks

The “Indoor Generation” and It’s Myriad of Health Risks

While modern amenities have undoubtedly made life easier on many accounts, there’s a key element of the above scenario that’s a major departure from human behavior throughout any other point in history: Over the course of the past 200 years, workers have migrated from workplaces like fields and farms to factories and offices. Instead of basking in natural sunlight, many people today are spending the majority of their time basking in the glow of some kind of screen, which puts us out of sync with natural circadian rhythms. In addition, modern society prioritizes high-pressure careers, and an always-on attitude when it comes to work and social life — which disturbs natural biological rhythms even further.
When examined collectively, all of these factors may be taking a toll on our health and happiness. Welcome to the era of the “Indoor Generation.” A recent report backed by data from international research firm YouGov highlights how much time people are really spending inside — and the findings are illuminating in more ways than one.
This detachment from the natural world — and natural sunlight, specifically — can have negative impacts, and can even have deleterious effects as serious as respiratory problems or Seasonal Affective Disorder. The YouGov report notes that around 15 percent of the world’s population is affected by different levels of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or winter depression, which may be a direct result of lack of daylight. A full 39 percent of survey respondents said that daylight significantly impacts their mood.
Spending so much time inside isn’t great for physical health, either — particularly in home and workplaces with poor indoor air quality. As the YouGov report points out, an average adult breathes in almost 4,000 gallons of air every day — and indoor air can be up to five times as polluted as outdoor air (a fact that almost 80 percent of survey respondents didn’t know).

“We know instinctively that spending so many hours in stuffy places isn’t good for us,” said Peter Foldbjerg, head of daylight energy and indoor climate at VELUX. “The health benefits of improving our indoor environment are scientifically proven; however, we still have a long journey to go in terms of making people understand that these changes are not just a ‘nice to have.’ Without action, we can put our health at risk.”
There are a number of factors that affect air quality, such as dampness or mold, burning candles, how you clean your home (and with what), and building and furniture materials. When these factors combine to create suboptimal air quality, it can put our bodies through the wringer: It increases instances of eye, nose and throat irritation as well as levels of fatigue. If you’ve noticed a persistent, dull headache after spending a number of hours inside, that, too, may be related to poor air quality. The YouGov study also notes that living in damp and moldy homes increases risk of asthma by as much as 40 percent.
So, depression. Asthma. Ruined Sleep Cycles which lead to a whole host of health issued not even addressed in this article- Since sleep time = body healing/regeneration time.

Your body does incredible things when your sleeping

There’s another victim of indoor living: Our sleep cycles, which evolved to respond to natural daylight — something we’re just not getting enough of. Indoor lighting levels are around 300-500 lux, which is enough light for going about your daily routine, but not enough to regulate biological rhythms requiring a minimum of 1,000 lux. This is another element of well being that people are largely unaware of: Only about half (53 percent) of the YouGov survey respondents knew that daylight has a significant impact on sleep.

It’s not just technology that’s to blame for the disruption of our natural cycles. We now live in a “social clock society,” in which people are expected to be available at a moment’s notice for both work and social duties. “We are a 24/7 society, and this has disconnected us from the natural rhythms of nature,” said Foldbjerg. “It impacts our sleep quality and general health.”
Steven Lockley, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and neuroscientist at the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, reiterates that exposure to light-dark cycles is an “absolutely crucial” part of human biology. “That’s due to the role of light in resetting our circadian clock each and every day,” he said. “It resets our clocks to be in tune with environmental time, and light is the primary time-cue.”
In addition, Lockley explains that light, as an “acute stimulant that directly alerts the brain,” can affect energy levels as well as alertness and productivity.
If you’re exposed to brighter and bluer light in the daytime, then you get a better stimulant effect,” he said. “You’ll be more alert and have better cognitive function … If we’re thinking of offices, schools, hospitals, etc., it’s the alerting effects in the daytime that we want to take advantage of.”
The YouGov research, said Foldbjerg, reveals that we cannot continue to live in ignorance about the health of indoor domestic and public spaces. He hopes that the report will shed light upon this important issue, and help “put human and basic health needs center stage.”

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The EU Caving to US Edicts Begins: Total and Maersk Out/Iranian Oil Off the Market

 In case you missed...US To Turn Heat Up on EU as Trump Admin. Hits Iran Central Banker with "Terror" Sanctions

Expect the European nations to cave. All they’ve done since WW2 is cut off their noses to spite their own stupid faces-
Bolton made very clear that the US had ways of making the EU comply.
And voila! 
The energy giant Total and the world's largest container shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk announced that they would both pull out of Iran claiming that future US sanctions would make business there impossible.
These decisions came after US President Donald Trump decided to pull the US out of the Iran nuclear deal on 8 May, which will result in sanctions being reimposed on Iran that will decrease production output of for example oil and gas.
France-based energy company Total said it will abandon its gas development project in Iran, South Pars 11 (SP11) which it joined in July 2017, over fears of the impact of US sanctions about to be imposed on the country.
The company said in a statement: “Total will not be in a position to continue the SP11 project and will have to unwind all related operations before 4 November 2018 unless Total is granted a specific project waiver by the US authorities.”

Maersk said that the increasing oil prices and high geopolitical tension could negatively affect profitability and that it was impossible for any company which has dealings with the US to stay in Iran. Its share price was down almost 11 per cent at 1pm.
Soeren Skou, chief executive of Maersk, told Reuters: “With the sanctions the Americans are to impose, you can't do business in Iran if you also have business in the US, and we have that on a large scale.”

“I don't know the exact timing details, but I am certain that we're also going to shut down (in Iran),” he said.

Total has found itself in the same position as US shareholders make up more than 30 per cent of the shareholding and its US-based operations accounts for $10bn (£7.4) of its revenue.

French president Emmanuel Macron called upon the EU to protect the EU companies that has business in Iran under US sanctions.“International companies with interests in many countries make their own choices according to their own interests. They should continue to have this freedom.”
The hole left in the market by the missing Iranian barrels is causing the price jump (Source: Getty)
Bang bang John Bolton's Hammer Goes

Also Read: Oil prices surge to new high as 2m Iranian barrels go off the market

After the plans for the US to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal became known, oil prices surged over the uncertainty of what would happen to Iran's oil industry if the US reimposed sanctions, limiting Iran's production.

According to chief executive at Sun Global Investment Mihir Kapadia, so far 2m barrels of oil previously produced by Iran has been taken off the market.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), has not restricted the number of barrels available but has not made up for the loss of barrels from Iran.