US Soldier Killed In Iraq Helicopter Crash After Raid Against ISIS Target

An American soldier was killed and several troops injured late on Sunday in Iraq when their helicopter crashed after participating in a raid against an Islamic State target, military officials said Monday. There are no indications that the helicopter was downed by enemy fire, said Army Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman. All personnel who were aboard the aircraft were quickly recovered after the crash, and the Operation Inherent Resolve coalition has launched an investigation into the incident, he said quoted by Stripes.

A pair of U.S. Army MH-60M Blackhawks prepare to conduct an aerial refueling exercise

Three servicemembers were evacuated for additional medical treatment, Manning said; it was not immediately clear whether the injured troops were also American, as Manning declined further comment on the crash before the dead servicemember’s name is released after the next-of-kin notification process is completed.

Pentagon officials on Monday declined to identify where in Iraq the crash occurred or the location of the mission. U.S. and coalition forces are primarily fighting ISIS in its last strongholds in eastern Syria’s Middle Euphrates River Valley, but they also target remaining ISIS terrorist cells in other parts of Syria and Iraq. The coalition partners with Iraqi security forces for operations in Iraq and with Syrian Democratic Forces to fight ISIS in eastern Syria.

Previously, Newsweek reported there were 10 troops aboard the aircraft. The magazine said the aircraft was an MH-60 Black Hawk flown by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, known as the Night Stalkers, which pioneered nighttime techniques for special operations missions.

Special Operations Command referred inquiries about the crash to Operation Inherent Resolve, the military campaign against ISIS. Officials for the international alliance and at the Pentagon would not confirm details about the nationality, unit or type of helicopter involved in the crash.

The death brings the number of U.S. troops who have died in Iraq and Syria this year to 11 — eight of which were the result of helicopter crashes. It was the second fatal helicopter crash in Iraq this year alone, following the March downing of an Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk in western Anbar province, when seven servicemembers died after it struck a power line.

A rash of deadly aviation incidents this year, including crashes during training outside of combat zones, has raised concern of a military readiness crisis, which some officials contend has been brought on by years of continuous combat operations, aging equipment and deferred modernization efforts.

The latest defense spending bill, which President Donald Trump signed into law last week, created an independent National Commission on Military Aviation Safety to review and assess the causes driving such incidents. The commission would make related safety, training, maintenance, personnel and other policy recommendations.

Army Col. Sean Ryan, a coalition spokesman, stated on Twitter that the crash “further demonstrates the sacrifices of #Coalition servicemembers & the danger they face every day.”

In recent days, the U.S.-led coalition began its third phase of Operation Round Up, a mission to clear ISIS from the Syrian town of Hajin, which Pentagon officials have said is the terrorist group’s final stronghold.

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New Study: Robots Can Brainwash Children Into “Mindless Conformity”

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

A new study has shown that robots can brainwash children, essentially programming their minds into “mindless conformity.” Children can be significantly influenced by machines, even when the robots were obviously wrong.

Writing in Science Robotics, the University of Plymouth researchers behind the study said the findings raise concerns about the potential for robots to have a negative influence on vulnerable children.  Children were shown to trust the answer a robot provides over their own assessment, even though it was easily wrong, making “robot pressure,” the new peer pressure, reported RT.

People often follow the opinions of others and we’ve known for a long time that it is hard to resist taking over views and opinions of people around us. We know this as conformity. But as robots will soon be found in the home and the workplace, we were wondering if people would conform to robots.” 

“What our results show is that adults do not conform to what the robots are saying. But when we did the experiment with children, they did. It shows children can perhaps have more of an affinity with robots than adults, which does pose the question: what if robots were to suggest, for example, what products to buy or what to think?” – Professor in Robotics Tony Belpaeme, one of the scientists behind the study.

Professor Noel Sharkey, who heads the Foundation for Responsible Robotics, responded to the research on Twitter. “If robots can convince children that false information is true, the implication for the planned commercial exploitation of robots for childminding and teaching is problematic,” he wrote.

Of course, it was pointed out that teachers can do this as well, as children are taught to respect authority first over coming to the correct factual answer. Children in public schools are already taught that if they conform and do what’s asked of them regardless of the morality behind the task, they will succeed.

Because of this new study, the researchers cautioned that a discussion needs to take place around what protections need to be put in place to minimize the danger to children as robots become more widespread. To the rest of us, this is what it looks like when everyone (from the government to the corporate media to the food and medical industry) attempts to manipulate your opinion for their gain.

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Sweden In Crisis: Leading PM Candidate Vows Migration Reforms As Nationalism Surges

After reeling from the sight of approximately 100 burning cars, frequent shootings, grenade attacks and sexual assaults, populism is rising in Sweden – as evidenced by the anti-immigration right-wing Sweden Democrats party surging in polls leading up to next month’s September 9 elections. Both the center-left and center-right parties have ruled out working with the Sweden Democrats, a party with neo-Nazi roots that wants to freeze immigration and to hold a referendum on Sweden’s membership of the European Union. That said, the moderate parties may be forced to adopt SD measures in order to assuage public calls for tougher policies on crime and immigration. 

In response, the head of the center-right Moderate party, Ulf Kristersson, is now on the offensive when it comes to crime and migrants – telling the Financial Times that Swedes have lost trust in the government, and that the country is “paying the price for 20 years of “very unsuccessful integration policies” by both left and rightwing governments.” 

There is a crisis in politics being able to solve problems,” Kristersson lamented. “Is politics able to do anything at all?

Sweden, held up in international surveys as one of the world’s happiest and most successful countries, has been jolted by frequent shootings, grenade attacks and arson attacks on cars in suburbs with a heavy immigrant population in Stockholm, Malmo and Gothenburg. –FT

Kristersson said Sweden faces a crisis as serious as when it reeled from financial and economic problems in the early ’90s, when interest rates spiked 500% and several banks were in need of rescue. 

“We have been saying it [is unacceptable] since 2013, and showing in practice that we accept it. This is threatening very basic values. [The car fires are] a sign that things happen that should not happen, that did not happen, that this is not an extreme event,” he added, Kristersson added. 

To address Sweden’s exploding elephant in the room, the Moderate party has rolled out a series of platform planks dealing with crime and immigration. Some highlights from their website (translated): 

  • At least 10,000 more police officers by year 2024
  • The elimination of reduced sentences for youths aged 18-21
  • Increase the minimum penalty for rape and for gross sexual abuse
  • Each police region should have a group specializing in investigating sexual offenses
  • Crack down on “hate gange criminals” 
  • Sweden will receive fewer asylum seekers than in recent years
  • Requirements for self-sufficiency and knowledge in Swedish for permanent residence
  • A common quota system in the EU
  • Revoke the citizenship of the person who committed serious crime against the state or lied on their application
  • A national ban on begging

Nothing about the “migrant sex courses” the government is pumping over half-a-million USD into, which aims to stem rampant reports of sexual assault over the last several years, as rape was up 10% across the country in 2017 with 7,230 reported cases. Meanwhile reports of sexual molestation, coercion and exploitation up between three and seven percent across 12,130 reports. 

Last week, Swedes were horrified after “multiple gangs of masked youths” rampaged across three major Swedish cities, setting cars on fire using Molotov cocktails in what appears to have been a coordinated action. 

 

Meanwhile, the country’s rise of extreme populist groups in Sweden is accelerating fast.

Many Swedes were horrified in early 2017 when U.S. President Donald Trump linked immigration to rising crime in Sweden, but an increasing number now agree with him.

The Sweden Democrats have succeeded in linking the two in the minds of many voters, even though official statistics show no correlation between overall levels of crime and immigration.

Sweden has one of the highest levels of lethal gun violence in Europe, World Health Organisation data showed. But while the number of foreign-born citizens has risen for decades, murder rates are roughly flat. –Reuters

As Reuters notes, dozens of people have been killed in the past two years in attacks in the capital Stockholm and other big cities by gangs that are mostly from run-down suburbs dominated by immigrants.

According to data released by Swedish police in December, there were 306 shootings in Sweden last year, resulting in 41 deaths.  Swedish officials, meanwhile, had refused to acknowledge migrants as a primary factor. In December of 2016, Sweden’s freshly minted “Anti-Terror” coordinator, Anna Carlstedt, blamed Islamic Terrorism on “White Power” her first day in office.

And let’s not forget about those grenade attacks, such as the one in January at a Malmo police station:

Grenade attacks in Sweden have been on the rise since 2012, though the rate in 2017 was considerably lower than in previous years, at 10 attacks vs. 34 the previous year. In 2016, an 8 year old boy sleeping in the living room of relatives in Gothenburg, Sweden was killed by a grenade thrown into the room. “At least five children and several adults were in the flat when the grenade was hurled inside,” according to the BBCwho added that the boy died in his mother’s arms.

In February, 2017 a man was injured outside of a residence after a grenade was thrown: 

Moreover, in a February 2017 article that the Huffington Post deleted entitled “Trump is absolutely right about Sweden” Norwegian journalist, author, and world traveler Reni Zografos outlines the country’s sweeping problems with immigrants and crime – along with the failure by foreign media to cover the problems. 

Its well known to Scandinavians and other Europeans that liberal immigration comes with drugs, rapes, gang wars, robbery and violence. In addition to that we see the respective nations’ cultures fading away, for good and for bad. But the immigration problem is not only a Swedish predicament.

The fact is that the press here in Europe hasnt been doing their job properly. There is this fear on the part of journalists to not report the basic truth – which is that Europe has enormous problems that comes from liberal immigration politics, and as we now see not just in Sweden, but also here in Norway. –Reni Zografos

Meanwhile, the Sweden Democrats still trail the Social Democratic Party but has overtaken the main opposition Moderates in many polls. All mainstream parties have ruled out working with them.

But they could emerge from the election as kingmakers, and a strong election showing could force the next government to take their views into consideration when shaping policy.

Their policies include a total freeze on asylum seekers and accepting refugees only from Sweden’s neighbors in the future. They also want tougher penalties for crime and more powers for police, and say tax cuts and higher spending on welfare could be funded by cutting the immigration budget.

Jimmie Akesson, the leader of the Sweden Democratic party, has described the situation as “pretty fantastic”.

“We are dominating the debate even though no one will talk to us,” he told party members.

The Sweden Democrats have succeeded in linking the two in the minds of many voters, even though official statistics show no correlation between overall levels of crime and immigration. However, while the government denies it has lost control but Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has not ruled out sending the military into problem areas.

“Sweden is going down a more right-wing path,” said Nick Aylott, a political scientist at Sodertorn University said.“It is almost impossible to avoid according some sort of influence to a party with around 20 percent of the vote.”

Trump was right after all.

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Escobar: So What Will ‘The Sanctioned Supergroup’ Do?

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

Those were the days, during the Cold War 1960s and 1970s, when the earth was actually ruled by rock supergroups – from Cream and Led Zeppelin to Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends – and the post-truth geopolitical remix of the supergroup. Meet The Sanctioned;  a multinational band starring multi-instrumentalists Vladimir Putin (Russia), Xi Jinping (China), Hassan Rouhani (Iran) and Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkey).

As the whole rock universe knows, The Sanctioned run the relentless risk of being outshined – in the form of multi-layered sanctions – by undisputed glitter solo act Donald Trump (US).

The two real virtuosos in the band relish playing in perfect synch. Putin may indulge only the occasional Jimmy Page solo (as in Caspian-launched missiles against Daesh in Syria); he’s more like Keith Emerson invoking the Russian classical composer Mussorgsky. Xi is fond of orchestral Pink Floyd-esque concept albums, in the New Silk Roads mould. Rouhani could be Jack Bruce in Cream – supplying those subtle moments of faultless musicianship. It’s Erdogan who’s irresistibly attracted to summon the back door man’s antics of Robert Plant.

As for Trump, he’s no Dylan – and certainly not Roger Waters; more like Ted Nugent with some Black Sabbath overtones.

So what will The Sanctioned come up with next? A doozy like Deep Purple without Gillan and Blackmore or an epic like ELP’s Fanfare for the Common Man?

The Fanfare for the Common Man geoeconomic scenario reads like this.

Putin-Xi – as in the Russia-China strategic partnership – offer Erdogan membership of both the BRICS (as in BRICS Plus) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organizations (SCO). Erdogan, on the record, has already manifested interest in both.

Turkey pulls out of NATO. The Turkish military will squeal, but Erdogan, after the failed 2016 coup – of which he was alerted by Russian intelligence – now controls the military.

Beijing and Moscow offer an array of trade deals; Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has already offered trade in their own currencies. Erdogan for his part said Turkey is ready to begin using local currencies in trade with Russia, China, Iran and the EU.

After Turkey restructures its US dollar debts, China buys up the Turkish lira off foreign exchange markets – an easy play for the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). Ankara is already planning to issue yuan-denominated bonds. China’s ICBC already announced a $3.6 billion loan for energy/transport.

In sharp contrast to the Washington Consensus, Erdogan very well knows that Turkey cannot “rewrite the crisis management playbook for emerging markets” by surrendering to IMF austerity. An answer would be to increasingly rely on the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Then most of the scenario – SCO, BRICS Plus, AIIB, trade bypassing the US dollar – is replayed with Iran, as in those days when Pink Floyd used to engage in full encores of Dark Side of the Moon.

A new sell-out album

The Sanctioned’s new album (in 180g vinyl plus all formats/platforms), titled Eurasian Integration, is destined for multi-platinum status and to fill multi-purpose arenas from Izmir and Hamadan to Chongqing and Vladivostok.

It features Iran as an even more crucial hub of the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – in conjunction to the new connectivity drive between Russia and Iran signed at the landmark Caspian Sea Convention.

In a parallel track, the China-Kazakhstan-Iran connectivity corridor already features freight trains plying the route all the way to the Iranian Caspian port of Bandar-e Anzali.

Another key track in the new album revolves around the BRICS’s Contingent Reserve Agreement (CRA), decided at their latest summit; a mechanism to de-dollarize economies which will be expanded as the BRICS turn into BRICS Plus.

After signing an interim agreement three months ago, Iran is already on the way to engage, by the start of 2020, into a full free trade deal with the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). Turkey will follow.

As EU companies leave sanctioned Iran, Chinese and Russian companies go into overdrive. As the US Congress slaps a nyet on Turkey buying F-35 fighter jets because Ankara is buying the Russian S-400 air-defense system, Boeing and Airbus in Iran are bound to lose market share to Russian jets such as the MS-21 or the IL-96-400M.

And as Iran-Turkey trade gets a boost, Turkish Stream – the Russia-Turkey strategic energy partnership – is far from being derailed.

Erdogan knows very well how Turkey is the quintessential East-meets-West strategic connector across Eurasia. And he knows what’s he’s really “guilty” of: buying the S-400s, ditching the “Assad must go” obsession, advancing Turkish Stream and insisting Turkey will continue to buy Iranian oil.

So as he perfects his Robert Plant impersonation – “You need coolin’/ Baby I’m not foolin’/ I’m gonna send ya/ back to schoolin’” – Erdogan is doing the math on how a New Silk Roads partnership among equals, in tandem with a close relationship with the AIIB and the EAEU may be way more profitable than a toxic cocktail of oversized NATO, no EU and IMF neoliberal austerity.

That partly explains Ankara’s whirling dervish dance away from US T-bills, bonds and notes by over 50% since the end of 2017. While, in parallel, Moscow and Beijing (followed at a distance by New Delhi and even Ankara itself) keep piling up gold anticipating the extra bonanza of Eurasian Integration, the hit album.

A very handy thermometer of Erdogan’s popularity may be found in Fatih, a pious, working-class neighborhood on the European shore of Istanbul.

Fatih mirrors Erdogan’s immense popularity all across Anatolia. Whatever his notorious, incandescent illiberal traits, Erdogan’s development program is not only about more mosques and more malls. The AKP over the years did manage to set up a quite decent universal healthcare insurance system – including the upgrading of public hospitals – as well as a pension system.

Now it’s time to deliver again – nationally and globally.

Calling all Eurasian young dudes

Meanwhile, Russia will keep developing a very sophisticated strategy across the Black Sea.

In no time, Putin has already reshaped the Black Sea – geopolitically and geoeconomically. The graphic symbol is the sumptuous Kerch Strait bridge to Crimea – an engineering tour de force inaugurated only three months ago.

Putin’s multi-instrumental riffs are ubiquitous. Erdogan gets S-400s, nuclear power plants and Turkish Stream (which also benefits vast tracts of southern Europe). Rouhani and the Central Asians get a Caspian convention and the prospect of a succession of energy deals. Damascus and Tehran – with Ankara a little far behind – get to see the possible end of the tragic Syria war cycle.

As Erdogan progressively moves Turkey’s reserves to yuan – and gold – benefits can accrue from more interaction with the BRI/EAEU/SCO galaxy in everything from electronics and nuclear technology to advanced weapons. And further connectivity may entail, for instance, Chinese goods transiting through Russian ports in Krasnodar and Crimea to Turkish ports in the Black Sea.

The Black Sea, for all practical purposes, is being configured as a Russo-Turk Mediterranean Sea – much as the Caspian is now configured as a Central Asian, non-NATO, Mediterranean Sea.

In parallel, The Sanctioned is also enjoying a guest performing appearance by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim al-Thani, instrumental in the offer of a $15 billion loan to Ankara. And this after Qatar restored good relations with Iran, including energy collaboration on the shared South Pars/North Dome – the largest gas field on the planet.

It’s crucial to consider that in the event the Qatar-Turkey Combined Joint Force Command may “disappear”, for some reason, the path would be open for a nasty, joint Saudi/UAE invasion of Doha, with   major consequences; the double confiscation of the Qatari sovereign wealth fund and North Dome – to the benefit of salvaging the sinking “Vision 2030” House of Saud.

What’s certain for now is that The Sanctioned face a real threat of having Eurasian Integration – the hit album – dispatched to the bottom of the charts, with the corollary of having new BRI and EAEU connectivity routes to Europe via crossroads Turkey partially blocked or at least seriously disturbed.

As the (real) David Bowie wrote it, for supergroup Mott the Hopple: All the (Eurasian) young dudes, carry the news.

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North Korea To Let UN Inspectors Observe Missile Launches

North Korea has agreed to allow the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to conduct an on-site inspection of the country’s missile launches in order to ensure the safety of international flights from the country’s missile launches, reports the Japan Times, citing officials with the Montreal-based UN agency. 

(Screenshot: Little Big “LollyBomb“)

Inspections by the ICAO aim to ensure that member states comply with its regulations concerning the safety of international aviation. The last review of North Korea, conducted in 2008, was not related to missile launches. –Japan Times

Assurances were given to high-ranking ICAO representatives by North Korea’s General Administration of Civil Aviation during the UN agency’s visit to the country in May. 

The 192-member ICAO is now planning to send its personnel next year in order to verify what measures North Korea, which is a member of the group, has taken to keep unannounced missile launches in check as it pledged, they said.

After last May’s trip, the ICAO said North Korea had promised to suspend activities that represented a danger to civil aviation, including the test-firings of long-range missiles without prior notice. Pyongyang conducted numerous unannounced missile tests last year, posing an enormous threat to airplanes flying in the region. –Japan Times

The danger of North Korea missile testing was highlighted last July, when an Air France plane flying from Tokyo to Paris flew “downrange” of a North Korean ballistic missile which splashed down into the Sea of Japan off Hokkaido sailed past minutes later. 

North Korea’s willingness to allow an on-site inspection is the latest in a series of measures taken by the isolated country to convince the world that it stands behind its pledge to dial back their ballistic missile program as it mends ties with the international community. The upcoming inspection will include visits to the country’s aviation authorities, as well as access to those in charge, according to the ICAO.

Last October, the ICAO issued a strong condemnation of North Korea’s seemingly continuous launches of ballistic missiles within range of international air routes without prior notice – claiming they seriously threatened the safety of international travelers. 

Meanwhile, oiver the last two months, and amid desperate attempts by the neocons and their media lapdogs to disparage President Trump’s agreements with North Korea’s leader, claiming Kim is violating the terms38North confirmed that not only is progress being made on dismantling its nuclear missile launch facilities, but “activity at the launch pad appears to go beyond that commitment.

Commercial satellite imagery from August 3 indicates additional dismantlement activities are ongoing at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station since last observed. At the vertical engine test stand, used for testing and development of engines for ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles, the North Koreans have continued to tear down the steel base structure and appear to be removing fuel and oxidizer tanks from dismantled bunkers.

At the launch pad, work on the rail-mounted processing/transfer structure used to support rocket launches continues, with two-thirds of the west wall and a third of the north wall having been removed, and its components remain on the adjacent ground. While the launch pad activity seems to be related to dismantlement, as it stands right now, we cannot rule out the possibility that it could be the beginning of a project to modify the structure for other purposes. –38North

It appears that North Korea is operating in good faith. 

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The Shape Of Trump To Come?

Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,

I thought I’d make list of things we can expect to emanate from the White House over the coming year or so.

I’m sure you will agree, wherever you stand on the political roller coaster, that there’s little chance things are going to be boring going forward.

Here goes:

Trump will end the ‘monopolies’ of Facebook, Google, Twitter et al. The intelligence community will hate this, but they already hate him anyway, so why bother? And besides, it’s the only thing to do that makes any sense. The AT&T model might be useful, essentially creating Baby Bells, though the international reach of the companies may add a layer or two of complications.

But you simply can’t have a few roomfuls of boys and girls ban and shadowban people with impunity from networks that span the globe and reach half of the world’s population on the basis of opaque ‘Terms and Conditions’ that in effect trump the US constitution the way they are used and interpreted. Whether they are private companies or not will make no difference in the end.

At some point an ‘entity’ becomes a ‘utility’. Twitter and Facebook already are the most efficient way to alert people in cases of emergency. To throw people out of such systems is indefensible.

The CIA and FBI will protest like there’s no tomorrow, but they have to realize that spying on Americans the way they do at present in conjunction with Alphabet and Facebook is just as indefensible as throwing people off these services. The judicial system will at some point be forced to curtail these powers. Better for the executive power to be ahead of that. Baby Bells it is.

Trump will tell his people to open up to Mueller . He’s already done this, but will do it again, loudly and publicly, citing the need to wrap up the Mueller investigation ASAP. That will be the target: stop the ‘inquisition’. Mueller has talked for 30 hours over the past nine months to White House lawyer Donald McGahn II, and at some point enough is enough.

As I cited a few days ago, Trump’s legal team has given Mueller until September 1 to talk to the president, and that’s it. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, Giuliani again said he doesn’t want to rush Trump into a perjury trap, but Mueller has had plenty time to have that talk. The investigation risks being used as a political tool in the midterms, and that can’t happen.

Moreover, since US District Court Judge Amit Mehta has ruled that the FBI must release documents pertaining to what it knew about the ‘veracity’ of the Steele dossier, the most consequential reason to start the Special Counsel investigation in the first place may well soon be going going gone.

The FBI offered to pay Steele $50,000 for evidence that what was in his report was true, and they never paid that money. Ergo, it is reasonable to conclude that he never delivered the evidence. This points to huge potential problems for the FBI, the DNC -which financed the dossier-, Steele himself, and various other parties. How about James Comey?

Since the judge’s ruling was a direct effect of Trump declassifying the Nunes and Schiff memos in February, count on one thing: Trump will declassify many more documents . Judge Mehta ruled in January that the FBi didn’t have to “disclose the existence of any records containing the agency’s efforts to verify the dossier”, but now says that after Trump declassified the memos ‘the ground shifted’.

In other words, once docs are declassified, intelligence services no longer have a place to hide. Trump is thinking: why didn’t I do this much more and much sooner? Note: it still took 6 months for the judge to rule on the FBI and the memos, but next time this could go much faster. And there are thousands of files that could be de-classified.

Trump will revoke the security clearance of many former FBI and CIA agents whose names have come up in connection with Russiagate. He needs to do this so they can’t get in the way of the Second Special Counsel he’s going to initiate. By now, there are many more reasons for the second counsel than there ever were for the first.

Mueller is going after George Papadopoulos, a nobody, because he’s the only person who allegedly ever mentioned Russians. Everyone else he’s focused on has only ever been indirectly -at best- connected to Russia. But Papadopoulos was allegedly caught saying the R-word when he was drunk, to some never properly identified ‘professor’.

And that’s the only ‘link’ between Russia and the Trump campaign that we’ve ever seen. It is at times like this that we can see how shaky and shady the entire Mueller file was from the get-go. And why that Second Special Counsel will become reality. If you’d like to read a very long and detailed report on this, I recommend Barbara Boyd’s damning Fish Stinks From the Head Down for LaRouchePAC:

In the past week, we have learned that Steele was being paid as a human source by the FBI early in as of February 2016, if not sooner, based on a release of his highly redacted FBI file to Judicial Watch in a FOIA suit. After he was fired as an official FBI human source in October 2016, based on the obvious fact that he was using his FBI relationship as coinage in the information warfare operation he was running against Donald Trump for the British government, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, his relationship to the FBI was continued through a back channel.

That channel was the Number Four attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, Bruce Ohr, whose wife, Nellie, worked for Steele’s American employer, Fusion GPS, on the Trump Russiagate project. According to documents finally released to Congress by the Justice Department, Ohr would meet with Steele, who would convey new “information,” and then meet with the FBI to convey Steele’s findings.

This relationship lasted through May 2017, if not later. Ohr’s meetings with the FBI were meticulously recorded on formal FD 302s by the FBI agents, the Deputy Associate Attorney General of the United States having become, in effect, an FBI informant in order to circumvent Christopher Steele’s firing as an informant for egregious violations of FBI Guidelines. Steele sought Ohr’s intervention when Senators Lindsay Graham and Chuck Grassley referred him to the Department of Justice for prosecution because of lies he told the FBI. Steele also sought Ohr’s help in getting placed on Robert Mueller’s investigative team.

Boyd provides a lot of additional details of a part of the Mueller investigation that has so far barely been mentioned: the involvement of British intelligence. And on the link between Christopher Steele and Victoria Nuland.

Finally, Trump will push for Julian Assange to testify -with immunity- to probably the Senate Intelligence Committee (but there are alternative options) on what he knows about -potential- Russian involvement in US election meddling and hacking of DNC or RNC servers and computers. There’s no-one who know more on this than Assange, and he has evidence.

That his deal with the DOJ was killed by James Comey will be all the more impetus for Trump to hear what he has to say. For many people, it will appear ironic, but this may be Assange’s best bet to regain freedom.

The one person who can prove that there was never any collusion between Trump and Russia is locked up in a tiny embassy in London. And the one person who can get him out of there lives in the White House.

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Chelsea Clinton Says She Might Run For Office One Day

Will we have to endure a Hillary 2.0 for decades to come? Will we witness a “Chelsea 2032” campaign? 

On Monday Chelsea Clinton caused a stir when at an event in Edinburgh, Scotland she said an eventual run for political office is a “definite maybe”

The former first daughter was in Scotland promoting her new children’s book about activism and was asked about the possibility of politics in her future. Clinton indicated she has not ruled out an eventual run for office, referring to politics as a “definite maybe” but “definite not now” according to statements reported by The Guardian.

Chelsea Clinton at the Edinburgh International Book Festival where she made the comments on Monday. Image source: Evening Express

She further explained, “At the federal level, as much as I abhor so much of what President Trump is doing, I have a great amount of gratitude for what my congresswoman and my senators are doing to try to stop him at every point,” Clinton said, referring to Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

And she hinted at a future run for office in the following:

I think my family … is being really well represented. But if that were to change, if my city councilor were to retire, if my congresswoman were to retire, my senators, and I thought that I could make a positive impact, then I think I would really have to ask my answer to that question [of whether to run for office].

“For me it’s a definite no now but it’s a definite maybe in the future because who knows what the future is going to bring?” she added.

“I’m outraged every day by something our president has done or said or left undone or neglected, or who he has recently bullied on Twitter or television,” Clinton explained further during the Monday book event. 

Referencing her mother Hillary Clinton alongside President Trump, she said, “For me, sometimes, I think I’m just so fundamentally my mother’s daughter that I’m far more outraged by the Trump administration ripping children away from their families at the border and not having reunified those children with their families now for months, than I am about anything he has ever done to my families.”

Chelsea described her mother’s defeat in 2016 against now President Trump as an “emotional gut punch”.

She described the general impact on her family as follows: “She just has continued to persist forward in trying to have a positive impact in politics and outside politics in the way that I have seen her do my entire life,” the younger Clinton said of her mother coming to grips with the loss. 

Chelsea Clinton’s Monday remarks are at the very least a clear indicator that the Clinton family will never go away, no matter how devastating their defeats (or scandals).

Perhaps now mom can live vicariously through her daughter’s future political career.

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DOJ Indicts Iranians Accused Of Spying For Iran On Jewish, Anti-Khomeini Groups

The Department of Justice indicted two individuals accused of spying on Israeli and Jewish facilities in the United States, as well as the anti-Khomeini group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK).

Ahmadreza Mohammadi-Doostdar, 38, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, and Majid Ghorbani, 59, an Iranian citizen and resident of California, were arrested on August 9, according to records which were unsealed on Monday. 

According to the indictment, in or about July 2017, Doostdar traveled to the United States from Iran in order to collect intelligence information about entities and individuals considered by the government of Iran to be enemies of that regime, including Israeli and Jewish interests, and individuals associated with the MEK, a group that advocates the overthrow of the current Iranian government.

On or about July 21, 2017, Doostdar is alleged to have conducted surveillance of the Rohr Chabad House, a Jewish institution located in Chicago, including photographing the security features surrounding the facility. –DOJ

Ghorbani is alleged to have attended a MEK rally in New York City, where he allegedly photographed individuals participating in the protest against the current Iranian regime. 

In or about December 2017, Doostdar returned to the United States from Iran and made contact with Ghorbani in the Los Angeles area.  During the meeting, Doostdar paid Ghorbani approximately $2,000 in cash and Ghorbani delivered to him 28 photographs taken at the September 2017 MEK rally, many of which contained hand-written annotations identifying the individuals who appeared in the photos.  These photographs, along with a hand-written receipt for $2000, were found concealed in Doostdar’s luggage as he transited a U.S. airport on his return to Iran in December 2017. –DOJ

Ghorbani is also said to have traveled to Iran “in or about” March 2018 to conduct an “in-person briefing,” after which he attended the MEK-affiliated 2018 Iran Freedom Convention for Human Rights in Washington DC. “During the course of the conference, Ghorbani appeared to photograph certain speakers and attendees, which included delegations from across the United States.  On May 14, Doostdar called Ghorbani to discuss clandestine methods Ghorbani should use in order to provide this information to Iran,” reads the DOJ statement. 

“This alleged activity demonstrates a continued interest in targeting the United States, as well as potential opposition groups located in the United States,” said Acting Executive Assistant Director McGarrity. “The FBI will continue to identify and disrupt those individuals who seek to engage in unlawful activity, on behalf of Iran, on US soil.”

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Desperate China Unveils Plan To Tax Childless Couples To Avoid “Demographic Time Bomb”

China, like Japan, faces a demographic crisis, and like Japan, the central planners have decided to do something about it.

Japan has tried a few things – from imposing “handsome taxes” to make it easier for uglier men to get laid, to changing women’s attitudes towards sex as “bothersome,”  but so far it is not working as young Japanese men appear to prefer the company of their AI girlfriends.

But, while Japan went with the ‘carrot’ incentive for encourage more fornication; China, having relinquished its one-child policy three years ago, prefers the ‘stick’ to change Chinese people’s attitudes towards baby-making.

As The South China Morning Post reports, a proposal to tax all working adults aged under 40 – with the money going to a “reproduction fund” to reward families who have more than one child – has caused uproar in China.

The proposal comes amid a nationwide campaign to encourage people to have more children – a drastic turnaround after a one-child policy that lasted nearly four decades and only ended three years ago – as Beijing worries about a rapidly ageing society, shrinking workforce and falling birth rate creating a demographic time bomb.

Couples can now have two children but the birth rate is falling despite the new policy.

And the working-age population has peaked (just as much of the western world has also)

And here is why that is a major, existential problem for Xi – as China attempts to transition from a pure debt-driven ‘production’ economy to a ‘consumption’ economy, the core consuming base of the nation is collapsing

But, as SCMP notes, the proposal was roundly criticised, with some saying it was reminiscent of the way the Chinese government controlled its population for so many years.

Under the policy introduced in 1979, people were fined for having more than one child and women were forced to have abortions or sterilisation procedures. Critics said both the old policy and the latest proposal violated basic human rights.

In the first six months, the number of births in mainland China fell by 15 to 20 per cent in many provinces from a year ago, according to local government data. Last year, some 17.58 million babies were born – down by 630,000 from 2016, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

To tackle the problem, the academics proposed ways to encourage people to have more children, including taxing women and men under 40 for a “reproduction fund” that families with more than one child could claim subsidies from. Those who were not eligible would receive their contributions back when they reached retirement age. They said a certain proportion of people’s wages would be taxed and the government could top up the fund as necessary, without giving further details.

The reactions have been almost universally negative, as SCMP reports:

Huang Rongqing, former head of the population and economics institute at Capital University of Economics and Business in Beijing, described the suggestion as “ridiculous”.

“The choice of whether or not you have a baby is a family’s decision to make. We can encourage people to have babies with incentives but not by forcing taxes on everyone. This would be a violation of human rights, just like it was when we used to limit the population,” Huang said.

“They have the freedom to make suggestions, but I was really surprised that such well-educated professors could come up with such a wacky proposal,” he said.

State broadcaster CCTV called the proposal “absurd” in an editorial on its website on Friday.

And state tabloid The Beijing News asked, “What has other people having more babies got to do with me?”

And finally, in Shanghai, Dora Li, who has a five-year-old daughter and does not plan to have another child, said she was disgusted by the idea.

Many mothers were forced to go overseas to have a second baby because of the one-child policy. If this proposal goes ahead, then I guess many more would have to leave in order not to have another kid,” she said.

Education and medical resources haven’t improved, so it costs too much to raise another child.

And Li concludes with perhaps the most poignant perspective on China’s central planners proposals…

“They only consider the social costs and the country’s birth rate – it’s never about the happiness of individual families.”

Of course, the bigger question in all of this is whether Japan is providing a glimpse of all our futures? Many of the shifts there are occurring in other advanced nations, too. Across urban Asia, Europe and America, people are marrying later or not at all, birth rates are falling, single-occupant households are on the rise and, in countries where economic recession is worst, young people are living at home…

 

 

 

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Watch Out California! 53 Major Earthquakes Just Hit The Ring Of Fire In A 24 Hour Period

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

Is something unusual starting to happen to the crust of our planet? 

The USGS defines any earthquake of at least magnitude 4.5 as “significant”, and there were 53 earthquakes that met that criteria along the Ring of Fire on Sunday alone

If you would like to verify that information for yourself, you can so do right here.

Not too long ago, I wrote about how “Earth changes” seem to be accelerating all over the world, but even I was stunned by the ferocity of the seismic activity that we witnessed over the weekend.  Because none of the earthquakes happened in the United States, the mainstream media almost entirely ignored this story, but that is a huge mistake. 

The entire west coast of the U.S. falls along the “Ring of Fire”, and experts assure us that it is only a matter of time before the seismic tension that is building up along the tectonic plates in that area is released.

Much of the seismic activity on Sunday was near the small island nation of Fiji, and it is true that Fiji often experiences earthquakes because it sits directly inside the Ring of Fire

Fiji falls in the Pacific Ring Of Fire – a massive horseshoe-shaped area in the Pacific basin.

The ring is formed of a string of 452 volcanoes and sites of seismic activity (earthquakes), which encircle the Pacific Ocean.

Roughly 90 percent of all earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire, and 75 percent of the world’s active volcanoes are dotted along the expansive ring.

It certainly is not unusual to see earthquakes happen along the Ring of Fire, but what was unusual about the activity on Sunday was the size of the earthquakes.

The largest quake on Sunday was a massive magnitude 8.2 earthquake that could have done an enormous amount of damage if it had been closer to the surface

A massive quake of magnitude 8.2 struck in the Pacific Ocean close to Fiji and Tonga on Sunday but it was so deep that it did not cause any damage, authorities in Fiji said.

The U.S. Tsunami Warning Center also said the quake was too deep to cause a tsunami.

Earthquakes that are that deep are usually not so large.  This “deep focus” earthquake on Sunday was actually the second largest “deep focus” earthquake that has ever been recorded

The USGS calls these “deep focus” earthquakes, and while some of the biggest earthquakes to strike the earth are deep focus, their depth usually minimises damage.

The biggest deep focus earthquake ever recorded was in 2013 when an M8.3 struck near Russia and was felt all over Asia, giving us a sense of how massive this Fiji quake was.

In addition to this massive earthquake in Fiji, other areas of the south Pacific were also hammered on Sunday as well.

You may remember that the Indonesian island of Lombok was shaken by a tremendous quake back on August 5th which killed hundreds of people, and on Sunday they were hit once again.  The following comes from CNN

A trio of intense earthquakes shook several islands in the South Pacific and Indonesia on Sunday, including two on the already battered island of Lombok.

The most recent major quake was a 6.9 magnitude tremor centered just 4 kilometers south of Belanting, on the Indonesian island of Lombok.

That island is still trying to recover from the devastating effects of an August 5 earthquake that killed more than 430 people.

But until big earthquakes start happening here, many Americans simply will not pay any attention to all of this.  What they need to understand is that this is truly a global phenomenon that we are witnessing, and shaking in one part of the globe can have tremendous implications for people literally living on the other side of the planet.  In particular, those living along the west coast should be deeply alarmed that seismic activity along other areas of the Ring of Fire appears to be intensifying.

And I am definitely not the only one saying this.  According to one British news source, scientists are warning that “increased seismic activity” along the Ring of Fire “may mean the so-called ‘Big One’ killer earthquake is on the way”…

Scientists warn increased seismic activity in the area may mean the so-called “Big One” killer earthquake is on the way.

If California was hit, experts warn tens of thousands could be killed.

Sadly, the truth is that we would be extremely fortunate to only have “tens of thousands” killed in the event of a historic earthquake on the west coast.

The 1906 and 1989 earthquakes were actually not that big compared to some of the monster quakes that we have seen elsewhere along the Ring of Fire, but they still did tremendous amounts of damage

Two major earthquakes have hit the Bay Area in modern history. In 1906, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit San Francisco and 80 percent of the city’s buildings fell or burnt to the ground, leaving 300,000 people homeless and killing nearly 3,000. In 1989, a 6.9 magnitude quake caused the ground to liquefy in parts of the city and collapsed highways, killing more than 60 people.

A new report from the U.S. Geological Survey says that there is more than a 70 percent chance that a 6.7 magnitude or higher earthquake will hit the area in the next 30 years.

We live at a time when our planet is becoming increasingly unstable.  In recent weeks we have witnessed earthquake swarms off of the Oregon coastrecord-setting heatwaveshail the size of softballs, and wildfires of unprecedented size and scope.

There are some experts out there that would like to assure all of us that what we are witnessing is completely normal.

But I think that not a lot of people are buying that explanation.

Because there has not been a major seismic event on the west coast for decades, many people have grown complacent.  They simply assume that because nothing has happened in such a long time that nothing will happen for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately, the experts assure us that the “Big One” is definitely coming to the west coast at some point, and all of this seismic activity may be an indication that it is coming sooner rather than later.

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