Top Trump official calls bankers, will convene ‘Plunge Protection Team’

Source: Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump’s Treasury secretary called top U.S. bankers on Sunday amid an ongoing rout on Wall Street and made plans to convene a group of officials known as the “Plunge Protection Team.”

U.S. stocks have fallen sharply in recent weeks on concerns over slowing economic growth, with the S&P 500 index .SPX on pace for its biggest percentage decline in December since the Great Depression.

“Today I convened individual calls with the CEOs of the nation’s six largest banks,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Twitter shortly before financial markets were due to open in Asia.

The Treasury said in a statement that Mnuchin talked with the chief executives of Bank of America (BAC.N), Citi (C.N), Goldman Sachs (GS.N), JP Morgan Chase (JPM.N), Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and Wells Fargo (WFC.N).

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The United States are preparing a war between Latin-American states

Source: Voltaire

by Thierry Meyssan

Little by little, the partisans of the Cebrowski doctrine are advancing their pawns. If they must cease creating wars in the Greater Middle East, they’ll just turn around and inflame the Caribbean Basin. Above all, the Pentagon is planning to assassinate an elected head of state, ruin his country, and undermine the unity of Latin-America.

John Bolton, the new US National Security Advisor, has relaunched the Pentagon’s project for the destruction of the State structures in the Caribbean Basin.

We remember that in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the Secretary for Defense at that time, Donald Rumsfeld, created the Office of Force Transformation and nominated Admiral Arthur Cebrowski as its Director. Its mission was to train the US army for its new role in the era of financial globalisation. It was designed to change military culture in order to destroy the State structures of the regions which were not connected to the global economy. The first chapter of this plan consisted of dislocating the « Greater Middle East ». The second stage was intended to perform the same task in the « Caribbean Basin ». The plan was designed to destroy some twenty coastal and insular States, with the exception of Colombia, Mexico and as far as possible, territories belonging to the United Kingdom, the United States, France and Holland.

When he arrived at the White House, President Donald Trump opposed the Cebrowski plan. However, two years later, he has so far only been able to prevent the Pentagon and NATO from handing over States to the terrorist groups they employ (the « Caliphate »), but not to stop manipulating terrorism. Concerning the Greater Middle East, he has managed to diminish the tension, but the wars still continue there at lower intensity. Concerning the Caribbean Basin, he restrained the Pentagon, forbidding them to launch direct military operations.

Last May, Stella Calloni revealed a note from Admiral Kurt Tidd, Commander in Chief of SouthCom, exposing the operations aimed at Venezuela [1]. A second penetration was simultaneously implemented in Nicaragua, and a third, running for the last half century, against Cuba.

Working from several previous analyses, we concluded that the destabilisation of Venezuela – beginning with the guarimbas movement, continued by the attempted coup d’etat of February 2015 (Operation Jericho) [2], then by attacks on the national currency and the organisation of emigration – would end with military operations [3] led from Brazil, Colombia and Guyana. Multinational manoeuvres of troop transport were organised by the United States and their allies in August 2017 [4]. This was made possible by the election of pro-Israëli President Jair Bolsonaro, who will come to power in Brasilia on 1 January 2019.

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UAE’s Hidden Agenda in Yemen

Source: Albawaba

………Economic advantages

Abu Dhabi’s presence in Yemen can also be seen as long term strategy of setting itself up in the region. In addition to securing its own economic interests, Abu Dhabi’s aim to secure as many ports as possible in Yemen is a way to position itself as one of the major players of international trade. UAE created Dubai port World in 2005 which is a global port operator by a merger of Dubai Ports Authority and Dubai ports of International. The company is currently one of the world’s leading port operators as it manages the ports of Bossaso in Puntland, Berbera in Somaliland, Doraleh in Dijbouti, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

Abu Dhabi has successfully managed to exploit the conflict to build its bases in Yemen as it has established its military forces in Mukalla and Aden, where the UAE also controls the commercial ports. It is not unlikely that the current offensive led by UAE backed forces on the port city of Hodeidah is not an attempt by Abu Dhabi to control the last major Yemeni port. As the UAEs secures its own geopolitical ambitions by entrenching itself more and more in Yemen’s conflict, the Yemenis are once again taking the burden.

Abu Dhabi malign activities in Yemen has largely gone unnoticed because of intense speculation of Saudi’s disastrous and clumsy military campaigns. Though the Gulf is exploiting the conflict for their own adventurous visions which is being ignored due to their stated allegiance to get rid of AQAP

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Retreating ISIS army smuggled a fortune in cash and gold out of Iraq and Syria

Source: Washington Post

More than a year after the collapse of its self-declared caliphate, the Islamic State is sitting on a mountain of stolen cash and gold that its leaders stashed away to finance terrorist operations and ensure the organization’s survival years into the future, intelligence officials and terrorism experts say.

As the Islamist militants retreated from former strongholds in Iraq and Syria, they carried vast sums in Western and Iraqi currency and gold coins — a trove estimated by independent experts to total about $400 million — nearly all of it looted from banks or acquired through criminal enterprises.

While some of this treasure was buried or hidden away, the group’s leaders have laundered tens of millions of dollars by investing in legitimate businesses throughout the Middle East over the past year, the officials said.

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Pentagon Considers Using Special Operations Forces to Continue Mission in Syria

Source: NYT

The Pentagon is considering using small teams of Special Operations forces to strike the Islamic State in Syria, one option for continuing an American military mission there despite President Trump’s order to withdraw troops from the country.

The American commandos would be shifted to neighboring Iraq, where an estimated 5,000 United States forces are already deployed, and “surge” into Syria for specific raids, according to two military officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The strike teams are one of several options — including continued airstrikes and resupplying allied Kurdish fighters with arms and equipment — in a new strategy for Syria that the Pentagon is developing as officials follow the order Mr. Trump gave on Wednesday for a military drawdown even as it tries to maintain pressure on the Islamic State.

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Facebook is building a cryptocurrency to be used in WhatsApp, report says

Source:

Facebook is working on a cryptocurrency that will let users of WhatsApp — the messaging service that the social network giant acquired in 2014 — send and receive money, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The initial focus of this effort would be the remittances market in India, the report says, and the cryptocurrency would be a stablecoin — a special type of cryptocoin which has its value pegged to some real world asset, such as the U.S. dollar.

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Mattis is out, and Blackwater is back: ‘We are coming’

Oh, by the way, Erik Prince’s sister is Education Secretary Betsy Davos

Source: Marine Corps Times

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is out.

 

Mattis’ resignation comes amid news that President Donald Trump has directed the drawdown of 2,000 U.S. forces in Syria, and 7,000 U.S. forces from Afghanistan, a U.S. official confirmed to Military Times, a story first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

This month, in the January/February print issue of the gun and hunting magazine “Recoil,” the former contractor security firm Blackwater USA published a full-page ad, in all black with a simple message: “We are coming.”

 

Is the war in Afghanistan — and possibly elsewhere ― about to be privatized?

If Blackwater returns, it would be the return of a private security contractor that was banned from Iraq, but re-branded and never really went away. By 2016 Blackwater had been re-branded several times and was known at the time as Constellis Group, when it was purchased by the Apollo Holdings Group. Reuters reported earlier this year that Apollo had put Constellis up for sale, but in June the sale was put on hold.

 

Blackwater’s founder and former CEO Erik Prince has courted President Donald Trump’s administration since he took office with the idea that the now 17-year Afghan War will never be won by a traditional military campaign. Prince has also argued that the logistical footprint required to support that now multi-trillion dollar endeavor has become too burdensome. Over the summer and into this fall Prince has engaged heavily with the media to promote the privatization; particularly as the Trump administration’s new South Asia Strategy, which was crafted with Mattis, passed the one-year mark.

 

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Russia Has a Plan for Libya—Another Qaddafi

Source: Bloomberg

Russia has a new potential leader for Libya. His name is Qaddafi.

The former dictator’s son, Saif al-Islam, this month became the latest in a long line of Libyans to seek Moscow’s support as President Vladimir Putin steps up Russia’s role in the energy-rich North African state.

Moscow has until now been seen as throwing in its lot with Khalifa Haftar, a military strongman who controls most of the oil-producing east of Libya. Yet Russia has been quietly building ties with all the competing factions, according to two European diplomats who study the Kremlin’s strategy. That puts it in a position to benefit more than other outside powers that support one side or another.

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New warfare includes infiltrating power, technology grids

Source: New Westminster Record

The ability of countries to shut down each other’s power and communications grids is at the heart of warnings for Canada to exclude Chinese telecommunications firms from further investment here, experts say.

Minneapolis-based technology futurist Richard Thieme said countries having comparable technological warfare options to interrupt power grids, communications and other technology is a new form of mutually assured destruction. That’s the phrase coined to describe countries’ nuclear capabilities to annihilate each other during the Cold War.

“You penetrate, you disable, you take over systems, you later information, you take over,” Thieme said.

That’s what Canadian intelligence services have been telling the government and universities for years now. And, it’s what Canada’s New Zealand, U.S. and Australian partners in the so-called Five Eyes intelligence alliance have said as they banned China-based telecommunications giant Huawei from involvement in build-out of fifth-generation (5G) high-speed communications.

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French forces to remain in Syria to definitively uproot IS insurgents: minister

Source: Xinhua

Defense Minister Florence Parly said on Thursday French troops would carry out operations against Islamic State (IS) fighters in Syria to totally wipe out the group’s remaining pockets, despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces from the Arab country.

Around 1,000 French troops including special forces have been based in the region.

“For now, of course we are staying in Syria because the fight against the Islamic State is an essential issue,” Loiseau told CNews television.

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Putin Boosts Private Military Groups Outlawed in Russia

Source: Bloomberg

President Vladimir Putin said private military contractors have a right to “push their business interests in any corner of the planet” as long as they act within Russian law. The problem is, mercenaries are illegal under Russian law.

The president’s endorsement of mercenaries came in response to a question at his annual press conference Thursday about the Wagner group, a shadowy military contractor said to be controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin, who’s known as “Putin’s Cook” because one of his companies provides food services to the Kremlin. While Russian law bans mercenaries, private security companies are allowed to operate.

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USGS Announces Largest Continuous Oil Assessment in Texas and New Mexico

Source: USGS 

USGS Identifies Largest Continuous Oil and Gas Resource Potential Ever.

Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced the Wolfcamp Shale and overlying Bone Spring Formation in the Delaware Basin portion of Texas and New Mexico’s Permian Basin province contain an estimated mean of 46.3 billion barrels of oil, 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 20 billion barrels of natural gas liquids, according to an assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). This estimate is for continuous (unconventional) oil, and consists of undiscoveredtechnically recoverable resources.

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U.S. Army’s “strategically prepositioned critical war stock” to build-up European eastern front

Source: NBC News

The U.S. and its NATO allies are taking no chances amid a build-up of military force on Europe’s eastern frontier with Russia.

At the Dutch installation in Eygelshoven, a 500,000-square-feet storage space — including nine humidity-controlled warehouses — has been made available to house elements of the Army’s “strategically prepositioned critical war stock.” It includes Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles and Paladin self-propelled howitzers.

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Russian new military barracks in disputed Kuril islands

Source: Channel News Asia

Russia says it has built four new military barracks in the Kuril islands, angering Tokyo on Tuesday (Dec 18) with whom it has been locked in a decades-long row over the archipelago in the Sea of Japan.

Soldiers will be able to move into the new dormitories by the end of the year, the Russian defence ministry said in a statement on Monday.

Moscow and Tokyo are still technically at war, with neither side historically prepared to budge on a dispute over the ownership of the islands seized by the Soviet Union in the closing days of World War II.

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Trump administration plans to pull US troops from Syria

Open mouth, insert foot. Far from any type of military victory

Source: Stars and Stripes

The Trump administration has decided to pull all U.S. troops out of Syria, a defense official said on Wednesday.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a decision that has not yet been announced, said the decision would include the entire force of more than 2,000 U.S. servicemembers. It was made on Tuesday, the official said.

President Donald Trump has long promised to conclude the campaign against the Islamic State and has questioned the value of costly and dangerous military missions overseas. He tweeted Wednesday “we have defeated ISIS in Syria.”

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Nato nation Albania publicly posting sensitive intelligence data online

Source: Independent

Albania, a Nato country, is posting sensitive information about its most senior intelligence operatives on the internet, making details about their identities, vehicles, operational roles, travel movements, and daily habits publicly available in what appears to be a major and potentially dangerous breach that could have international consequences.

Salary and expense data posted in spreadsheets on the website of Albania’s Ministry of Finance show a wealth of details about the State Intelligence Service, including the locations of field offices, cash withdrawals, and minutiae such as the plumbers, technicians and mechanics they use.

“By getting into Albania’s system they can get into Nato’s system,”

The records show the names and national identification card numbers of agents in the service, known locally and in the intelligence community as SHISH, operating inside Albania and abroad, including two with sensitive posts at Nato headquarters in Brussels.

The spreadsheets disclose the names, positions, salaries and expenses of at least eight senior clandestine Albanian operatives – some working under diplomatic cover – in Belgium, Greece, Kosovo, Italy, Macedonia and Serbia.

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Inside the chaos and corruption of Tripoli, where militias rule the streets

Source: The Guardian

Driving through this city means navigating a political fog as you try to work out who among the rag-tag gunmen in assorted uniforms and battered pickup trucks are gangsters, and who constitute the official security forces of the United Nations-backed government. After a while you realise they are the same. One unit is freshly kitted out in smart blue uniforms of the interior ministry, but it remains a militia, as violent and threatening as before. Tensions are high after the body of one warlord was dumped by rivals outside a city hospital in the latest tit-for-tat killing.

Tripoli’s warlords are on the state payroll, through the simple expedient of gunmen threatening the bankers with kidnapping or worse. Similar pressure resulted in the government handing its all-important intelligence and surveillance portfolio to an Islamist militia. Even as militias fight each other in the capital, they also fight the army of the nationalist warlord Khalifa Haftar, a brooding presence far to the east.

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‘Five Eyes’ Spy Chiefs Plotted to Contain Huawei’s Global Reach at Meeting

Source: Irish Sun

SPY chiefs from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US have plotted to stop Huawei’s global growth amid fears it is spying for China, it has been claimed.

The “Five Eyes” bosses have pledged to contain the Chinese telecom company’s global domination, agreeing it poses a security risk.

The meeting was first reported by The Australian Financial Review after intelligence officials had publicly voiced concerns about Huawei and China’s “cyber espionage capabilities”.

Huawei has denied the accusations, and Western intelligence agencies have not released any evidence to back up the claims.

The accusations come amid rising tensions over Chinese technology ambitions.

It has the biggest research-and-development budget from the Chinese government at £10.3billion (89.7billion yuan).

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UK psyops bigwig pushed plan to ‘mine Sevastopol Bay’ during 2014 Crimea crisis – leaked documents

Source: RT

In the midst of the Crimean crisis, a special adviser to the UK House of Commons Defence Committee had a suggestion for Kiev – to lay mines in Sevastopol Bay, leaked documents have revealed.

“I am trying to get this message across” to Kiev, reads a leaked document purporting to show the strategy that Christopher Donnelly, who was a Special Adviser to the UK House of Commons Defence Committee, recommends.

The documents, leaked by a group which claims to be associated with the Anonymous hackers, purport to indicate that Donnelly had drafted “military measures” that he would implement if he, personally was “in charge.” The documents are allegedly dated March 01, 2014, when the Crimean crisis was in full swing.

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China and Russia Have Modified the Atmosphere Above Europe to Test Possible Military Application, Scientists Say

Source: NewsWeek

Moscow and Beijing have reportedly joined forces to carry out heating experiments above Europe and modify an important layer of the atmosphere for a possible military application, according to Chinese scientists.

Five experiments were conducted in June, and one of them created a physical disturbance over an area as large as 49,000 square miles, or roughly half the size of Britain, The South China Morning Post reported Monday. The heating experiment, which took place 310 miles over the small Russian town of Vasilsursk in Eastern Europe, generated an electric spike that contained 10 times “more negatively charged subatomic particles than surrounding regions,” the publication noted.

In a separate experiment at the time, the temperature of thin, ionized gas in high altitude rose up to 212 F due to a particle flow. The electrons were pushed into the sky by an atmospheric heating facility in the Eastern European town, which was created by the former Soviet Union during the Cold War years. After the facility ignited a host of high-power antennas to introduce a considerable amount of microwaves into the high atmosphere—which reached 260 megawatts, the necessary amount of power to light a small city—the Chinese electromagnetic surveillance satellite named Zhangheng-1 gathered data with state-of-the-art sensors, the Post added.

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Resource Wars:As arctic ice melts, the U.S. military prepares for threats from Russia, China

Source: Chicago Tribune

The mysterious operation was part of the U.S. military’s gradual growth in the Arctic as it grapples with the effects of melting polar ice and Russia’s and China’s increasing assertiveness in the region. The slowly evolving plan has included stationing more fighter jets in Alaska, expanding partnerships with Nordic militaries, increasing cold-weather training and designing a new class of icebreaker ship for the Coast Guard that could be armed.

The vision could take greater shape by the end of the year: Both the Navy and Coast Guard are working on new Arctic strategies in light of the quickly changing circumstances senior U.S. military officials see.

In October, the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier and its associated ships sailed above the Arctic Circle, the first such unit to do so since the Cold War. The strike group, carrying thousands of sailors, practiced cold-weather operations in the Norwegian Sea, an area where Russian submarines operate.

“Certainly America has got to up its game in the Arctic. There’s no doubt about that,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said during a visit to Alaska in June. “The reality is that we’re going to have to deal with the developing Arctic, and it is developing.”

Both nations[China and Russia] have shown interest in Arctic resources as the ice melts, including fossil fuels, diamonds, and metals like nickel and platinum.

 

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Photo Credit: U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division fire 105mm howitzers during a 2014 night-fire training event at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. (Staff Sgt. Daniel Love/U.S. Army

Netanyahu: Our missiles can strike any target in the middle east

Source: Jpost

Amid rising tension in the North, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Monday that Israel has missiles that can reach any target throughout the Middle East.

“They develop offensive missiles here that can reach any place in the region and any target,” Netanyahu said during a visit to Israel Aerospace Industries outside of Tel Aviv.

 

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Russia to deploy warplanes to Crimea amid Ukraine standoff

Source: DW

The Russian Defense Ministry on Monday said it would “return” more than 10 warplanes to Crimea, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

The ministry said fighter jets, including Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30’s, will be sent to the annexed Ukrainian territory as part of a “permanent deployment.” They are expected to arrive by Saturday.

The announcement comes after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed in an interview that Ukraine was preparing an “armed provocation with Russia on the border with Crimea during the last ten days of December.”

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DARPA Wants BAE AI Machine Learning Software To Pick Out Enemy Signals Among Many

Source: Aviation Today | DARPA

BAE Systems is developing machine learning algorithms aimed at deciphering radio-frequency signals for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) under a contract worth up to $9.2 million.

Part of DARPA’s radio frequency machine learning system (RFMLS) program, the phase one contract is focused on differentiating signals and picking out important ones from the unimportant, particularly in signal-dense areas.

“The inability to uniquely identify signals in an environment creates operational risk due to the lack of situational awareness, inability to target threats and vulnerability of communications to malicious attack,” said Dr. John Hogan, BAE Systems’ director of the sensor processing and exploitation product line. “Our goal for the RFMLS program is to create algorithms that will enable a whole new level of understanding of the RF spectrum so users can identify and react to any signals that could be putting them in harm’s way.”

 

Read More: Aviation Today | DARPA

 

 

How Chinese scientists use sperm whales to run secret messages for the military

Source: The Star

Chinese scientists have found a way to hide secret messages in the sound pulses that sperm whales emit to keep enemy reconnaissance systems from deciphering them – a breakthrough that could help military submarines avoid scrutiny, researchers said.

With this technique, whale sounds are edited and a coding system is built around it. Messages are emitted in the form of these edited whale sound bites, indistinguishable from regular whale sound, which are deciphered by the receivers following the code.

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