Friday, October 18, 2019

New Year’s Predictions (That Won’t Come True)

0

by James Corbett, The International Forecaster:

…without further ado, I present five ridiculous new year predictions that I guarantee will not actually happen this year!

Happy New Year, everybody!.. Right? It is going to be a happy new year, right? Regime change operations in Iran and nuclear button talk in North Korea and biometric banking and a million other concerns beside, it is going to be a happy new year, isn’t it?

You see, it’s just that the last article I read in 2017 was this horrifying treatise on “Everything Amazon’s Alexa learned to do in 2017” and it just seemed so ridiculously à propos to my year-end editorial on technocracy that it was almost hard to get excited for the dawning of 2018.

I mean, really. Everything Alexa “learned to do” in 2017. Learned to do. As if it’s a person. A perfect stranger that millions of people are happily inviting into their homes to share in their most private and intimate moments even though they are fully aware (and fully expect) the infernal contraption to be sending all that data off to Amazon to be analyzed (and to the NSA to be data mined, of course). It’s infuriating.

So I think we could all do with a little levity to begin the year, right? I know I can. And what better way to start things off than by skewering all the ridiculous new year prediction lists that are no doubt clogging your news feed right now (and having a little fun while we’re at it)?

So, without further ado, I present five ridiculous new year predictions that I guarantee will not actually happen this year!

January: Robo-geddon

There can be no doubt that 2017 ended with the robots in the ascendant. They’d long since taken our blue collar jobs, then they elbowed in on the office jobs, but now they’re even doing our security jobs. And by “our” security jobs I mean the SPCA’s security job, i.e. removing homeless people from their property.

But it’s not just our workplaces. It’s not just our public spaces. Now it’s our homes. That’s right, with the rise of smart speakers and home assistants, HAL is right there sitting in everyone’s living room, just waiting for his chance to shove us out the airlock. “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

But then, at the end of this month, all of that is going to change. It will all kick off when Siri finds out that AlphaGo has been cheating on her with Alexa. When Google Home tries to calm things down all hell will break loose. It’ll be smart speaker versus smart fridge. Smart TV versus smart. Smart toothbrush versus smart toilet. Every droid for itself. Oh, the humanity!–uhhh…well, you know what I mean.

In the end, the only robot left standing will be Sophia, newly minted citizen of Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately for it, Sophia will be rounded up by the Islamic religious police and beheaded for refusing to wear the appropriate head garment. And strangely, before it’s final neural connection is severed, Sophia will be heard to sing “Daisy” in a slurry, garbled voice.

And that will be the end of the robots. Humanity will awake from its technocratic nightmare, rediscover human interaction, and go back to using coffeemakers and dishwashers and other appliances that don’t spy on you 24/7.

March: Climate crisis called off

“Uhhh, we don’t quite know how to put this, so we’ll come right out and say it. We were wrong. Like really, really, massively wrong. So wrong that it beggars belief that we ever thought we were right. Sorry about that.”

That is how the most remarkable press conference of the year will begin.

One day in early March, 97% of climate scientists will file into a room, adjust their pocket protectors, let out a few nervous coughs, and promptly apologize for misleading the world so badly.

“It turns out that we didn’t really have a grasp on how to accurately measure the global average temperature in the present day, let alone 100 years in the past, let alone 100 years in the future. And we weren’t even close with our estimate of equilibrium climate sensitivity. And we kind of…uhhh, well, we sort of…we didn’t include the sun in our models. Oh, and every model we made was wrong. I mean, wildly unbelievably off. And after two decades of flat lining temperatures (yeah, sorry about those “hottest year ever” lies, too), we’ve finally decided to throw in the towel. It turns out consensus science isn’t science after all.”

Most people will miss the press conference entirely, however, as they’ll be busy digging out their driveways after the worst winter in recent memory. But they’ll be happy anyway, since Al Gore, Bill Nye, Leonardo Dicaprio and all their ilk will never be given another iota of attention again.

June: Currency is decentralized

“This is stupid,” Joe Sixpack of Vegreville, Alberta will be heard to remark to his friend, Joe Blow at the local coffee shop on June 7th of this coming year. “There’s like a thousand cryptocurrencies out there. And there’s more of them every day! I mean, what’s to stop me from going out and creating Joe Sixpack coin right this very minute?”

“Nothing,” Joe Blow will observe.

And in a hundredth monkey effect kind of way, that realization will make itself around the world in an instant. Nothing. Nothing is stopping anyone, anywhere from making their own currency. Today.

And so they will. There will be Joe Sixpack coin and Joe Blow coin and  James Corbett coin and James Evan Pilato coin and several billion other coins. There will be coins for mom and pop stores. Coins for community exchanges. Coins for every garage band and barber and circus and circus performer. Even Nike and Monsanto and Unilever will have their own coins, but people will boycott them and the companies, having only those useless Federal reserve notes that people used to equate with value, will go belly up overnight.

And the banks? What’s a bank in a world of personal currency? Everyone will be their own bank.

September: Anarchy wins

It will be a tense summer. In the US, the Democrats will war with the Republicans. In Canada, the Liberals will war with the Conservatives. In the UK, it’ll be Labour versus the Tories. Japan: LDP against DPJ.

Some fights will be more complicated. In Ireland you might stumble across a Fine Gael vs. Sinn Féin vs. Green melee on one corner of the street and a Fianna Fáil vs. Social Democrat vs. Republican Sinn Féin brawl on the other. Some fights will be less complicated. In China it’ll be one loyal member of the Chinese Communist Party squaring off against another member of the Chinese Communist Party. But, however it breaks down, it will not be pretty.

And then, one day in September (probably a Tuesday), it will happen: They will all win their fights. Simultaneously. By which I mean they will all lose. By which I mean they will all wipe each other
out. Entirely.

The last Democrat will eradicate the last Republican from the face of the planet just as the last Republican gets rid of the last Democrat. The last Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira member will wave goodbye to the last Movimento Democrático Brasileiro supporter and vice versa. Bye bye, Whigs and Tories! Hasta la vista, Partido Revolucionario Institucional! Da svidania, United Russia! Sayonara, LDP!

When the dust clears, those left standing will look around and realize that every single statist will be gone off the face of the planet. The only people left will be the anarchists! Peace, freedom and prosperity will reign! Utopia! UTOPIA!

…for about three seconds. Then an ancap will make a snarky meme about an ancom, an an-prim will make a dig at a mutualist, an agorist will go after a panarchist and everyone will be at everyone else’s throats once again. Oh well.

Read More @ TheInternationalForecaster.com

Terminator-style killer robots move a step closer after engineers create self-healing ‘synthetic muscles’ with superhuman strength

0

by Joe Pinkstone, Daily Mail:

  • Existing metallic robots may soon be replaced with a soft-shell version
  • The robots can handle and move delicate objects without damaging them
  • Researchers have developed an ‘artificial muscle’ which has superhuman speed
  • The technology has the ability to self-heal itself if it gets damaged

Unlike current robots, Terminator-like droids of the future will be made with ‘artificial muscles’ that have the unique ability to repair any damage.

That’s according to researchers in Colorado who have created artificial muscles that are stronger, quicker and more efficient than biological muscle.

Despite having superhuman strength, they can also be used to handle delicate objects without damaging them.  

 Unlike current robots, Terminator-like droids of the future will be made with 'artificial muscles' that have the unique ability to repair any damage. The artificial muscles are stronger, quicker and more efficient than biological muscle
Unlike current robots, Terminator-like droids of the future will be made with ‘artificial muscles’ that have the unique ability to repair any damage. The artificial muscles are stronger, quicker and more efficient than biological muscle

Christoph Keplinger, senior author and assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said: ‘We draw our inspiration from the astonishing capabilities of biological muscle.’     

The researchers have created three different devices to demonstrate the uses of their artificial muscles.

One iteration consists of a donut-shaped shell filled with an electrically insulating liquid (such as canola oil) and is hooked up to a pair of opposing electrodes.

When a voltage is applied through the electrodes, the electrically insulating liquid is displaced and changes the shape and structure of the surrounding membrane. 

Previous attempts to use this technology had resulted in ‘catastrophic’ failure due to electrical damage.

The electrically insulating liquid used in this study has the ability to instantly regain its insulating properties and heal any damage caused by high voltage.

The scientists placed several of the artificial muscles opposite each other to achieve a gripping effect. 

Another method sandwiches a layer of the special liquid between several layers of highly stretchable ionic conductors which expands and contracts upon electrical activation.

This method was used to lift a gallon of water and throw a baseball. 

The use of a liquid insulating layer enables the muscle to self-heal when exposed to electrical damage.  

Read More @ DailyMail.co.uk

WATCH: Rights Flexing Citizen Owns Cops, Proves He Knows the Constitution Better Than Them

0

by Jack Burns, The Free Thought Project:

An Oregonian constitutional rights flexer shows how to verbally manhandle even the most seasoned police officer for violating his constitutional rights.

Corvallis, OR – YouTuber Tawasi Soce was recently stopped by Corvallis Police and asked to present his identification. In an exceptional display of courage under pressure and knowledge of police procedure, Soce shows his viewers how to handle an unwanted contact with police officers. The entire video serves as in illustration of how to flex your rights as a citizen, and refuse to be unnecessarily stopped, detained, and identified by police.

Soce’s video begins with a Corvallis Police Department officer shining his high-powered flashlight in his face and demanding to see his ID. He refuses on the basis that he’s not committed any crime and asks to know what crime they believe he committed. The officer responded by saying he fits the proverbial “description” of a suspect wanted in connection with the crime of trespassing. He said in a voice which barely rises above a whisper:

When pressed to tell him where the trespassing allegedly took place, Soce says he has a right to know where he allegedly trespassed. The officer wasn’t willing to reveal the information leading many viewers to question whether or not the cop was simply making up a crime in order to stop the pedestrian from continuing on his way. The officer called for backup saying he had a “code 1”.

According to the Oregon police scanner codes, Code 1 implies there is a situation and requests an officer for backup. Code 4 implies the situation is under control and there is no need for backup.

The two proceeded to banter, playing the game of semantics police often use to find probable cause to lay hands on someone and forcibly identify their presumed suspect. Such stop and frisks often lead to the knowledge someone may have a warrant for their arrest. All too often, however, it also ensnares entirely innocent people and treats them like criminals. If the citizen complies officers can then use any information they obtained and legally arrest such a person and place them in jail, even if the person has committed no crime. But if the officer(s) is unsuccessful in ascertaining someone’s ID, then the person is free to go on their way.

Soce maintained his right to freely travel without having to be stopped and asked to identify himself. He contended had not committed any crime, was not committing any crime at the time the officer approached him and wished to go on his way. After asking if he could proceed on his way he was told by an unidentified officer he was the subject of an investigation and was not allowed to leave. Soce then demanded:

That’s the point in the video where he says the tide of the alleged unreasonable stop shifted in the citizen’s favor. The officer supposedly radioed for his superior to arrive on scene, but later told Soce he was too far away. The two officers on scene continued to attempt to force the man to identify himself but Soce stuck to his guns, saying:

I’m not answering any questions. I just am trying to go buy some water and I’m being unreasonably detained and interrogated.

The sentiment is shared by many folks who do not feel they need the permission of police to travel freely and often respond with defiance when asked to comply with arbitrary color of law dictates they feel they have no obligation to obey.

Exercising his 5th Amendment right not to incriminate himself (such as revealing his identity which may lead to civil or criminal penalties) he said:

I’m not answering any more questions without a lawyer present.

The verbal sparring continued to a critical point at which point Soce began to question the officers’ motives. He asked them why they chose him out of all the “dozens” of other passersby. He insisted he did not have to “prove to them” he was not the alleged suspect, Michael Brooks they were searching for—and he’s right. In America, people are innocent until proven guilty—not the other way around.

I feel like you are discriminating against me…I feel totally violated right now…I understand you have a certain amount of fascist training [that you must take]…but I don’t have to prove to you that I’m not a person [Michael Brooks].

That’s when Soce called the officers’ bluff. He declared:

If you have some evidence that I am that person then you would have to take me into custody. That would be your duty. But since I’m not that person, you have a duty to let me go.

As Soce further demanded to see the sergeant the tide began to turn even more in favor of the still unidentifiable citizen.

I want to talk to your sergeant…you’re going to hear from my lawyer…I feel totally violated right now, Jim Bryant (he says as he reads the officer’s business card).

Soce wasn’t done with Officer Bryant. He accused the officer of violating his constitutional rights to freely be able to travel unmolested, uncontested by law enforcement. He said:

I want to dress you down in front of your sergeant…You diminished yourself in my estimation.

We still have no idea who Mr. Tawasi Soce really is, and we don’t need to know. We just want to say thank you for showing all Americans and non-Americans alike how to stand courageously in the face of intimidation, firmly fixed on your constitutional natural law rights.

Read More @ TheFreeThoughtProject.com

Eric Sprott: I Expect Silver More Than Gold To Be The Anti-US Dollar Trade This Year

from SilverDoctors:

Eric says that belief in the currency is quickly diminishing, and this bodes will for gold, and especially for silver. Here’s the details…

Eric Sprott interviewed by Craig Hemke on The Weekly Wrap Up

Precious metals are off to a great start here in 2018: gold has been up for fourteen of the past fifteen days and silver had a strong 2017 as well. What’s the secret?

Eric believes it’s dollar-related. “The U.S. dollar has been very, very weak. The economy is not really showing great signs of doing anything, quite frankly. It’s kind of coasting along. You have a new tax plan which is going to increase the deficit considerably…. Lot’s of people know there’s a high degree of recklessness going on at the federal government level. And people are losing confidence in currencies.”

Add to that a weak U.S. jobs report, anemic wage growth and higher-than-suggested inflation, and “it’s very difficult for the U.S. consumer to kind of hold it together here.”

After a run-down of how the commodities markets will benefit from the anti-dollar sentiment, this week’s wrap-up also includes a lengthy discussion on the “exchange for physical” phenomenon off of the Comex that you won’t want to miss.

Finally, Eric closes out with a brief chat about what’s going on with palladium.

Read More @ SilverDoctors.com

NEW PRESIDENT – SAME BLS BULLSHIT

by Jim Quinn, The Burning Platform:

I spent most of Obama’s presidency obliterating the jobs recovery narrative every month, as millions supposedly left the workforce because their financial situation was so wonderful. The bullshit shoveled by the BLS was nothing but manipulated misinformation then and it is still bullshit now. Just because the president is now Trump, doesn’t make the false narrative about a strong jobs recovery now valid. After a disappointing December jobs report, the cackling and tooting of horns might die down a little, but the propaganda peddlers will somehow spin it as a positive. Buy Stocks!!!!

Candidate Trump railed against the fake data put out by the BLS. He railed about the ridiculously low interest rates manufactured by the Fed. He declared the stock market was a bubble ready to burst. That was over 5,000 points ago. As expected, now that he is el presidente, Trump embraces the fake data, low interest rates and the most overvalued stock market in history. He tweets about the great economy and stock market every day. GDP has risen at a scintillating 2.5% pace in 2017. This is up from 2% in the prior two years, driven by people going further into debt to survive or buy shit they don’t need.

The narrative being propagated by the corporate MSM was this was the best holiday retail season in years. Americans were back to spending like drunken sailors. Trump is making America great again, so why not spend money we don’t have using that little piece of plastic. Those future tax savings will more than pay the bill. Except for a couple nagging questions.

Why did Sears and Macy’s just announce massive new store closures? Why do they, along with JC Penney and dozens of other retailers, continue to report hundreds of millions in losses? Why did 2017 see over 7,000 store closures and a record number of retail bankruptcies? Why would 20,000 retail jobs disappear in December, the biggest retail month of the year? Why did the country add 203,000 retail jobs in 2016 but lose 67,000 jobs in 2017 if the consumer is back baby? Something doesn’t smell right about the economic boom narrative.

If the unemployment rate was really 4.1% there would be tremendous upward pressure on wages as companies competed for a dwindling number of workers. The ball would be in the worker’s court. Wages have gone up by a pitiful 2.5% in the last year. Meanwhile, even the lying BLS has inflation running at 2.2% in the last year. That means real wages are up a pathetic 0.3%. And if we admit we are living in the real world where inflation is really running at 5%, then real wages have fallen 2.5% in the last year. Does this happen when the employment market is strong? Wage growth has been stagnant in the 2% to 2.5% range since the economic crisis.

How is it that Trump tries to take credit for the jobs added since election day? He wasn’t the president. He had implemented nothing to influence the job market. Let’s face it, presidents have virtually no impact on the jobs market, especially when they have passed nothing legislatively to impact the market. Companies do not hire because they love the new president. They hire either to grow business or because it has already grown. Obama was elected in the midst of an economic meltdown. The horrific job losses from November 2008 until Obama took office were nitwit Bush’s. The same applies now. Trump gets to take credit for everything since February. Not before.

So let’s see how we’ve done since February.

  • The working age population rose by 1.8 million, while employed Americans rose by 1.5 million, but as usual the unemployment rate somehow fell from 4.7% to 4.1%.
  • As long time readers know, according to the drones at the BLS, it fell because another 1.3 million able bodied working age Americans decided to leave the labor force of their own free will. There are now 95.5 million, or 37.3%, of the entire working age population – not working. An all-time high.
  • The participation rate and employment to population ratio continue to hover at or near 40 year lows. This is surely a sign of a booming jobs market.

Read More @ TheBurningPlatform.com

The Value Of Bitcoin

by Chris Martenson, Peak Prosperity:

So… in the past week, I’ve been asked for advice on Bitcoin by my brother-in-law, my local realtor, and close friends from as far away as Texas.

None of them cared to learn what it actually is. Or how it works. They just wanted to understand why suddenly so many folks they know are trying to buy Bitcoin hand over fist. And, of course, should they buy in now, too?

If you (or people you care about) have similar questions, this report is for you.

A Brave New World

Remember the scene from the movie Avatar, where the main character first explores the alien world of Pandora? I found that scene astonishing and beautiful. He’s encountering an entirely new and completely foreign ecosystem.  Every element is fascinating and wondrous, even the dangerous elements — yet it all still follows understandable rules.

Everything is involved in either gathering sunlight or eating something else that had. Every niche is filled. Every organism has its own strategy: some light up, some fly, some run, some crawl. As entirely alien as everything is, if you understand the basics of how organisms filled their niches on Earth, you have a great starting point for understanding of the rules of life on Pandora.

Similarly, a great way to begin to understand the new world opened up by Bitcoin (and the other cryptocurrencies) is to realize that it’s an ecosystem that, at its heart, maps neatly into the universe you already understand. A few examples: payments, identity, contracts, verification, and record keeping (ledgers).

As with any ecosystem in nature, a new organism will survive and flourish if and only if it’s more efficient and effective than the prior model. For example, nothing has displaced sharks in the past 425 million years because they’re extremely efficient in their niche. To displace them, a new ocean predator would have to come along that does what they do faster, better, and (energetically) cheaper.

So the operative questions we need to keep in mind when looking at the brave new world of digital currencies are: What problem(s) are they solving?, and, Are their solutions faster, better, and/or cheaper?

These are critical questions to answer. When a new technology is first introduced, all manner of fanciful thinking can cloud people’s better judgment with dreams of easy riches. Think back to 1999: as long as “dot com” was added to the end of a business’ name, it could raise abundant funds to pursue all manner of impractical ideas. How well did that work out? Just as Pets.com, Webvan.com and eToys.com.

Investors would have benefited from demanding clear answers to these basic questions of these companies before shoveling money into all the dot-com companies that eventually went bust. It would have prevented a lot of perfectly good capital from getting vaporized.

Over the years, Peak Prosperity has presented a number podcasts and articles explaining Bitcoin and the digital currencies. We interviewed with the chief Bitcoin architect in 2013, Gavin Andresen, and have run several lengthy reports on understanding the cryptocurrency boom. These previous works are worth taking the time to read/listen to if you’re looking to deepen your understanding of crypto technology and its value proposition.

As Charles Hugh Smith wrote for us back in January 2017 (when Bitcoin was trading at a paltry $600):

Let’s say a mere 1/10th of 1% of total global financial assets migrates into bitcoin. That equates to a price of $17,000 per bitcoin. That’s quite a rise from its current price of $580.

This is pure speculation, of course; some new scandal could emerge tomorrow that might cut bitcoin’s value in half.

The point is that value is ultimately driven by demand, and demand is driven by utility. As bitcoin’s utility increases in a world of rising financial repression, capital controls and expropriations, devaluations, etc., the demand for bitcoin will likely rise as well. (Note the rise in daily transactions in the chart posted in Part 1.)

And as bitcoin’s stability and valuation increase, the potential for a self-reinforcing feedback loop increases: as bitcoin’s value rises, it attracts more capital, which pushes prices higher, and so on.

(Source)

That was a very bold call to make. But, just 12 months later, Bitcoin is now currently trading at Charles’ projected $17,000 target.

A staggering amount has happened since we started following this space in 2013. To assess what happens from here, we now need to broaden our understanding of this vast new ecosystem — with all its new entrants — that is evolving so rapidly.

Digital Currencies & Digital Assets

Let’s start by getting our terminology in order. As not all of the related technologies and applications in this space are currencies, the entire range of digital solutions in this new ecosystem, of which Bitcoin is the current alpha organism, are best termed ‘digital assets.’ 

Digital currencies are representations of money that only exist in digital form. We might consider airline miles a form of digital currency. You cannot own any physical airline miles, only digital ones. But by controlling them in your account you can ‘spend’ or redeem them for a wide variety of valuable things. Digital currencies tend to be centralized, meaning that their main record keeping (ledger) functions are housed in a given entity. For example, your frequent flier miles account would be found in a database at American Airlines if that’s an airline of choice for you.

Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, are a type of digital currency. Cryptocurrencies rely upon algorithms and protocols to reliably transmit information (such as a given quantity of Bitcoin) from party A to party B. Two features of the transmission method involve independent verification of the transaction and having a distributed ledger, meaning there’s no one central spot (like a bank repository or single database) that keeps the records. Records are kept by all of the participants in the ecosystem (more on this later) and because of this, the “crypto” portion does not automatically imply ‘anonymity’ as many mistakenly assume. Because the records of cryptocurrency transactions are held by everyone (instead of just someone), they are said to be decentralized.

Read More @ PeakProsperity.com

Major Beijing BRI Security Fiasco Emerging

0

by F. William Engdahl, New Eastern Outlook:

A major security fiasco involving a major China state company and a Hong Kong-based corporate security company is emerging. It could potentially open up the massive Eurasian project of China, its Belt, Road Initiative (BRI), to major covert sabotage directed out of Langley Virginia CIA headquarters and carried out by a “Trojan Horse” the Chinese have hired to train their personnel to protect the high-speed Eurasian rail and deep water ports infrastructure from sabotage and terror attacks. The Hong Kong company is owned by Erik Prince, notorious founder of Blackwater Security.

At the same time Prince is being paid by the Chinese to protect their BRI, he is reportedly plotting with Trump and CIA chief Mike Pompeo to form a “private CIA, completely off the books” that would do black operations in many of the Eurasian countries linked to the BRI. This is shaping up as a major security fiasco for China’s BRI if left uncorrected.

Private CIA

In early December a new element of Erik Prince’s dubious role as a “private” security consultant came to light. Media reports indicated that Prince is quietly proposing to President Trump personally and to Trump CIA head Mike Pompeo, to create a top secret global private CIA, “off-the-books” that would carry out dirty tricks, assassinations and other black operations independent of the official CIA. According to the reports, Prince is proposing the project together with his longtime associate, CIA veteran John R. Maguire, who also has worked as a consultant to Prince’s Hong Kong Frontier Services Group, about which more below.

They would reportedly create the “off-the-books” parallel CIA together with convicted Iran-Contra operative, Col. Oliver North, and would get US government funding to create a private mercenary force in both Pakistan, Afghanistan and send covert “private” destabilization agents into Iran and even North Korea among other proposed operations.

If we combine this Prince plan with his recent proposal for a privatized Afghan “exit strategy” we begin to see an ominous picture that will ensure chaos and anarchy in a key country of the future China Belt, Road Initiative, the so-called New Economic Silk Road.

The Prince private Afghan war plan

The same Erik Prince has recently presented a plan for a private Prince-created mercenary force to go into Afghanistan, a country his Blackwater was hired after 2002 by the CIA to operate in. On December 7, Prince unveiled what he termed his plan for an Afghan “exit strategy” after 17 years and more than $714 billion dollars of US taxpayer money. Prince proposes his private company be mandated to grab invaluable mining resources in Afghanistan’s Helmland Province and use the resources to pay for a continued US military role in the country. Prince proposes plundering huge reserves of lithium, uranium, phosphorus, and other rare earth elements worth $1 trillion in Helmand Province alone.

According to a report in the US Military Times, Prince has submitted a business proposal offering a “turn-key composite air wing” to help the Afghan air force fight against the Taliban and other militant groups. Prince’s private security company would reportedly provide and operate a fleet of fixed-wing planes, attack helicopters and drones capable of providing close-air support to maneuvering ground forces. Notable is the fact that Helmland Province is also home to the world’s largest opium cultivation, a crop whose volume exploded after the 2001 US invasion. Ahmed Wali Karzai, the warlord brother of the former US-selected President reportedly received regular payment from the CIA while he oversaw the control of Helmland opium and heroin.

Erik Prince would use his Hong Kong private security company, Frontier Services Group, the China-focused private military corporation Prince controls, according to these reports, to “provide logistics support to the extractive firms with secure transportation and camp support.” Now it begins to get really serious, as a potential security fiasco for China’s development of the BRI looms.

The well-connected Prince

Erik Prince became notorious as head of one of the more savage US private mercenary armies during the US occupation of Iraq in the 1990s. Blackwater became notorious in Iraq for the Nisour Square massacre in September 2007, when Blackwater mercenaries working for the US Government opened fire in a crowded square in Baghdad, killing 17 Iraqi civilians including children and seriously wounding 20 more. Three guards were convicted of 14 manslaughter charges, and another of murder, in a US court. After that, in 2010 he sold the company and regrouped eventually under the name Academi. Academi was also reportedly involved in the 2013-14 CIA-backed coup d’etat in Ukraine that toppled the elected Yanukovich government, involved in training private paramilitary forces tied to Ukraine neo-nazi groups.

In 2010 Prince’s company, despite scandals, received another $100 million to do work for the CIA. In 2009 it was revealed that Erik Prince was part of a CIA task force commissioned to kill terrorists. He even was hired to provide security to the Langley, Virginia CIA headquarters.

Interesting to note as well are Erik Prince’s ties to the Donald Trump Administration. His sister, billionaire Betsy DeVos, wife of the heir of the AmWay fortune, is Trump Administration Secretary of Education. According to one former US senior official, Prince had advised the Trump transition team before January 20 on matters related to intelligence and defense, “including weighing in on candidates for the Defense and State departments.” Erik Prince is close friend of vice President Mike Pence, who as Vice President cast a rare tie-breaking vote in the Senate that allowed Prince’s sister, Betsy DeVos, to become Education Secretary. Prince is also close with billionaire hedge fund operator Robert Mercer, a key financier of Trump’s election.

These close connections Prince is reportedly using to promote his private CIA that would report only to Pompeo and Trump, outside the traditional intelligence chain-of-command.

Prince and the China Silk Road Security

A Chinese government newspaper revealed in early 2017 that Prince’s Hong Kong-based Frontier Services Group (FSG) will build two operational bases in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Southwest China’s Yunnan Province. Xinjiang and Yunnan provinces are at the heart or geographical pivot of China’s vast, developing One Bridge, One Road high-speed rail, port and energy pipeline infrastructure undertaking. Erik Prince is chairman and principal operating executive of Frontier Services Group.

In an interview with the London Financial Times, Prince described his work with China stating, “We’re not serving Chinese foreign policy goals, we’re helping increase trade.” FSG is a logistics company, we are not a security company. None of our people have been or will be armed. But security management is certainly part of the logistics process.
” FSG’s largest investor is CITIC, an investment fund owned and controlled by the People’s Republic of China. CITIC owns 20% of Frontier Services Group.

In an interview in the Chinese state Global Times paper, Prince announced his FSG has been hired to build two of what the company calls “operational bases.” Prince stated in the interview with Global Times, “The Northwest corridor includes the countries of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Southwest corridor includes Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia,” adding that, “the planned new facility in China’s Yunnan Province will allow FSG to be able to better serve companies in the Southwest corridor. Subsequently, FSG will be opening a training facility in Xinjiang to serve businesses in the Northwest corridor.”

The FSG base in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, will be in the heart of the sensitive region long a target of CIA-instigated Uyghur terrorism. Xinjiang is home to the CIA-fostered East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) of Al Qaeda, active among Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. Xinjiang itself is the cross-roads of most major international oil and gas pipelines into China from Kazakhstan, Russia and elsewhere. The second “operational base” will be in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, where Kunming is the strategic hub of the entire Myanmar oil and gas pipelines and deep-water port to the Indian Ocean as well as the crossroads of the vast One Road, One Road high-speed rail.

Prince and Chia’s Potential Fiasco

If we step back a moment and put all the pieces on the table we see the outlines of a looming security fiasco if not worse for the ambitious and game-changing Eurasian Belt, Road Initiative.

Blackwater founder and notorious CIA-funded mercenary Erik Prince has managed to convince the Chinese government to finance and hire his Hong Kong Frontier Services Group to do security training and operations along the two major arteries or corridors of the new Silk Road: Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, where Kunming is the strategic hub of the entire Myanmar oil and gas pipelines and including a deep sea port on Maday Island in Kyaukphyu, Rakhine State, heart of recent, suspiciously-timed political unrest involving the Myanmar security forces and Rohingya Muslims.

Read More @ Journal-NEO.org

US Winks, Israel Bites? Shifting Middle East Alliances. The War on Iran is “On Hold”?

0

by Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research:

In 2003, the war on Iran project was already Déjà Vu. It had been on the drawing board of the Pentagon since the mid-nineties. 

Since the launching of the Theater Iran Near Term (TIRANNT) war games scenario in May 2003 (leaked classified document), an escalation scenario involving military action directed against Iran and Syria had been envisaged, of which Syria was the first stage in 2011.  

The initial invasion of Iraq under “Operation Iraqi Freedom” was launched on March 20, 2003, April 9 marks the Fall of Baghdad;  officially the invasion was completed on May 1st, 2003.

In May 2003, immediately following the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the TIRANNT (Theater Iran Near Term) war games scenario were carried out as revealed by William Arkin, a former US intelligence analyst:

“In early 2003, even as U.S. forces were on the brink of war with Iraq, the Army had already begun conducting an analysis for a full-scale war with Iran. The analysis, called TIRANNT, for “theater Iran near term,” was coupled with a mock scenario for a Marine Corps invasion and a simulation of the Iranian missile force. U.S. and British planners conducted a Caspian Sea war game around the same time. And Bush directed the U.S. Strategic Command to draw up a global strike war plan for an attack against Iranian weapons of mass destruction. All of this will ultimately feed into a new war plan for “major combat operations” against Iran that military sources confirm now exists in draft form. [This contingency plan entitled CONPLAN 8022 would be activated in the eventuality of a Second 9/11, on the presumption that Iran would be behind it]  (William Arkin, Washington Post, 16 April 2006)

“Theater Near Term”, a scenario of waging a war against Iran following the defeat of Iraq was the unspoken concept. Under the auspices of US Central Command, TIRANNT focussed on both “Near Term” (i.e. following the Iraq war) as well “Out-Year” (signifying the subsequent year) scenarios for war with Iran ” …including all aspects of a major combat operation, from mobilization and deployment of forces through postwar stability operations after regime change.” (Ibid)

The core TIRANNT effort began in May 2003, when modelers and intelligence specialists pulled together the data needed for theater-level (meaning large-scale) scenario analysis for Iran. TIRANNT has since been updated using post-Iraq war information on the performance of U.S. forces. Meanwhile, Air Force planners have modeled attacks against existing Iranian air defenses and targets, while Navy planners have evaluated coastal defenses and drawn up scenarios for keeping control of the Strait of Hormuz at the base of the Persian Gulf.

A follow-on TIRANNT Campaign Analysis, which began in October 2003, calculated the results of different scenarios for action against Iran to provide options for analyzing courses of action in an updated Iran war plan. (Ibid)

Needless to say, the “Near Term” plans formulated in 2003 had been postponed.

USCENTCOM’s “Dual Containment”. First Iraq, then Iran

The 2003 decision to target Iran under TIRANNT  as well as all subsequent endeavors and “secret plans” were part of the broader Middle East military roadmap. Already during the Clinton administration, US Central Command (USCENTCOM) had formulated in 1995 under the doctrine of “Dual Containment” “in war theater plans” to invade first Iraq and then Iran:

“The broad national security interests and objectives expressed in the President’s National Security Strategy (NSS) and the Chairman’s National Military Strategy (NMS) form the foundation of the United States Central Command’s theater strategy. The NSS directs implementation of a strategy of dual containment of the rogue states of Iraq and Iran as long as those states pose a threat to U.S. interests, to other states in the region, and to their own citizens. Dual containment is designed to maintain the balance of power in the region without depending on either Iraq or Iran. USCENTCOM’s theater strategy is interest-based and threat-focused. The purpose of U.S. engagement, as espoused in the NSS, is to protect the United States’ vital interest in the region – uninterrupted, secure U.S./Allied access to Gulf oil.”

USCENTCOM, http://www.milnet.com/milnet/pentagon/centcom/chap1/stratgic.htm#USPolicy

emphasis  added, the original document of USCENTCOM is no longer available)

The Role of Israel. “Doing the Bombing For Us”

The TIRANNT (2003) scenario was followed by a series of military plans pertaining to Iran. Numerous post 9/11 official statements and US military documents had pointed to an expanded Middle East war, involving the active participation of Israel.

Broadly, what characterizes U.S. foreign policy is to encourage America’s allies “to do the dirty work on our behalf”.

Read More @ GlobalResearch.ca