Turkey Prepares A Syrian Diversion For Its Internal Strife

Turkey Prepares A Syrian Diversion For Its Internal Strife

By South Front,

A Turkish operation in northeastern Syria may be brewing, if recent developments are an indication. On May 28th, the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) announced that it had eliminated the mastermind behind ISIS assassinations in the region, in a joint operation with the “Free Syrian Police.”

The SNA said that a joint force had raided a hideout in the town of al-Bab where the ISIS assassination commander was taking shelter. There were heavy clashes.

In a typical Turkish-esque reporting manner, the pro-Ankara forces achieved victory, despite the odds. Two days later, ISIS’ response came, when al-Bab was subjected to two attacks. On May 30th, in the morning, an improvised explosive device blew up the SUV of Tala ‘Abu, the General Judge of al-Bab, who survived the attack.

Later on the same day, unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle shot and killed two personnel of the Free Syrian Police, a law reinforcement body backed by Turkey, in al-Bab. Eyewitnesses who were at the scene of the second attack said that the gunmen shouted “the Islamic State is remaining”.

ISIS remains as a strong presence in Turkish-occupied areas in northern and northeastern Syria. Some of the Turkish-backed militants present there are former fighters and commanders of the terrorist group. Furthermore, Turkey’s forces and the factions it backs fight against the Kurdish groups in northeastern Syria.

On May 30th, Turkish forces shelled the town of Maraanaz which is located in northern Aleppo and is jointly held by Kurdish forces and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

The Turkish shelling appears to be a response to a recent infiltration attempt by the Afrin Liberation Forces (ALF) on Maraanaz front. On May 28th, a group of ALF fighters attempted to infiltrate the defenses of Turkish forces to the north of the town. The attempt failed because the fighters came across a minefield and two of them died.

In Greater Idlib and northeastern Syria, Ankara fights against ISIS, also against every Kurdish faction. It’s only “allies” appear to be the factions it backs, and mostly the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front (Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham). On May 30th, Turkish mob boss Sedat Peker has opened up in a new video explaining the Turkish government involvement in illicit trade with Syria and the transfer of weapons to the al-Nusra Front.

Peker was considered an ultra-nationalist and an ally to the ruling AK Party of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He began revealing information about the corruption of senior Turkish officials and their involvement in illicit activities after a fallout with the authorities.

As a result of these revelations, Turkey’s leadership is feeling a sense of urgency. There were allegations of high-level phone tapping and more, alongside the illicit weapon and drug trade. As such, the focus needs to be shifted quickly outside of Turkey and what better way than to organize a sort of crisis in the north of Syria?

Tyler Durden
Tue, 06/01/2021 – 05:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3yVYTr0 Tyler Durden

Brickbat: The Big Cover-Up


Florida’s Bartram Trail High School is offering refunds to anyone who returns a copy of this year’s yearbook. Numerous parents and students complained when they saw that at least 80 photos of female students had been digitally altered, typically to cover any exposed cleavage, no matter how minor. No photos of boys appear to have been altered. A spokesman for the St. Johns County School District said the teacher who serves as the yearbook adviser made the alterations to make the students’ clothing conform to the district code of conduct, which mandates that girls’ shirts and tops “must be modest and not revealing or distracting.” This was the second time this year that the school’s dress code led to controversy. In March, administrators stood in hallways and called out girls they didn’t believe were in compliance with the dress code and had others removed from class.

from Latest – Reason.com https://ift.tt/3vEev0d

The Global Race Towards Full Vaccination

The Global Race Towards Full Vaccination

Scientists initially estimated that 60 to 70 percent of a population would have to acquire resistance to Covid-19 in order for herd immunity to take effect, a threshold that has been revised upwards since the start of the year with 80 to 85 percent quoted in some cases.

As Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, the race towards full vaccination is well underway and Israel has the highest share of its population fully jabbed, according to Our World in Data.

Infographic: The Race Towards Full Vaccination | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

Despite the ever-higher immunity threshold discussed by scientists, Israel’s Covid-19 case count started to tumble when 40 percent of its population received at least one jab and now 59.3 percent of its inhabitants are fully vaccinated. The country’s reproduction rate has been around 0.5 in recent weeks and it appears to be on track to emerge from the pandemic, suggesting that initial herd immunity estimates carried some accuracy.

With 45.4 percent of its inhabitants fully vaccinated, Bahrain comes second on the list.

In the United States, 40.2 percent of people have been fully vaccinated (though do not forget that almost half of unvaccinated Americans have natural immunity from prior infection).

In this case, full vaccination refers to all doses prescribed by the vaccination protocol with data only available for countries reporting the breakdown of their doses.

As Scott Morefield wrote recently, Blue-state lockdown-lovers drunk on their own power like Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer who insist on a 70 percent vaccination rate in order to ease up on mandates and restrictions are ignoring the science completely in order to hold their people hostage to an unobtainable, unnecessary goal.

Dr. Marty Makary, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital debunked the desire among some health officials, sometimes referred to as “zero COVID,” that COVID-19 can be eradicated completely.

Well, unfortunately, we have this perception now that’s being created by some public health leaders that we need to reach total eradication. We’re not gonna get to total absolute risk elimination. That is a false goal and quite honestly it’s being used now to manipulate the public. We heard today again from our public health leaders that if we get to 70% vaccination, then we can start seeing restrictions removed. That’s dishonest. Most of the country is at herd immunity. Other parts will get there later this month. San Francisco had 12 cases yesterday, most asymptomatic. What do you call that? I call that herd immunity. And I think what’s happening is our public health leaders are dismissing natural immunity from prior infection, which changes the path to get to more population immunity. It invokes mandates, it means kids may have to get it and it demonizes those that are hesitant rather than respecting their decision.

Indeed, you don’t have to have a medical degree to know that the formula for herd immunity has always been vaccinated plus natural immunity, but then again, when have Democrats ever been good at math?

Tyler Durden
Tue, 06/01/2021 – 04:15

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3i6wBE0 Tyler Durden

Brickbat: The Big Cover-Up


Florida’s Bartram Trail High School is offering refunds to anyone who returns a copy of this year’s yearbook. Numerous parents and students complained when they saw that at least 80 photos of female students had been digitally altered, typically to cover any exposed cleavage, no matter how minor. No photos of boys appear to have been altered. A spokesman for the St. Johns County School District said the teacher who serves as the yearbook adviser made the alterations to make the students’ clothing conform to the district code of conduct, which mandates that girls’ shirts and tops “must be modest and not revealing or distracting.” This was the second time this year that the school’s dress code led to controversy. In March, administrators stood in hallways and called out girls they didn’t believe were in compliance with the dress code and had others removed from class.

from Latest – Reason.com https://ift.tt/3vEev0d

Did The Greens Peak Too Soon In Germany?

Did The Greens Peak Too Soon In Germany?

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, ‘n Guns blog,

For the past year the Green Party has surged in popularity, riding from what I can gather, a kind of anti-government wave coming from the left thanks to Angela Merkel’s continued mishandling of the COVID vaccination program and the exhaustion from multiple rounds of lockdowns.

Protests across Germany, under-reported in the news, have proliferated and the rise of the Greens can be seen as a kind of simple protest vote against the existing government, another of Merkel’s Grand Coalitions between her nominally center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democrats (SPD).

The SPD has lost considerable support over the term of this government and the Greens have been the beneficiary. I’ve talked about this previously and how Merkel uses the Greens as her whip hand in the Upper House, the Bundesrat, to push German policy along the vector set by her masters in Davos.

That’s resulted in both a loss of support for the CDU and the SPD nationally as the Greens have gained such that the electoral map in Germany is now functionally no better than the mess in Spain or Italy.

And from where I’m sitting this has always looked to be the plan.

The problem, however, is that after peaking nationally at nearly 28% earlier this year, Green support is coming back down to earth as people being listening sincerely to what they actually stand for.

They’ve become increasingly bellicose, supporting war in Ukraine to counter Russia as well as their silence recently over the conflict between Hamas and Israel. They’re led by interventionist and increasingly neoconservative people internally while trading on their pacifist roots. And that dichotomy is beginning to catch up with them apparently among German voters.

This is because the Greens, just like Merkel, are a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Davos Crowd’s agenda to make the world safe for communism and the Green New Deal, itself a 593-page piece of EU legislation that is bogged down in ideological infighting within the European Parliament as members there fight over typical things like the definitions of words and what is or is not ideologically pure enough.

It’s Jonathan Haidt’s “Elephant and the Rider” problem playing out at a policy level.

In a post for my Patrons back on March 23rd I said then that the biggest enemy of the Green New Deal is the Greens.

So much of the ‘culture war’ which is now turning into a Hobbesian “War of All Against All” is due to the spiraling of logic built on false premises, like man-made global warming, and amplifying from there.

W.B. Yeats called it a ‘widening gyre’ but that’s why the EU will never get its Green investment rules set in place and certainly not in time for the 2030 time frame. Remember, I think of the EU as the Western Oligarchs’ last attempt to colonize the world through regulatory dominance a la California.

The relentless talk of expanding the EU is all about bringing more countries under its regulatory rubric forcing more people to adhere to its standards which then increases the pressure on trade partners to do the same.

It’s California on Leninist Steroids.

And I still fear not the Green New Deal itself but the haphazard way it gets implemented once the lobbyists get a hold of it. It will be a horrifically bloated piece of rotting pork which the average, fiscally-conservative German voter knows they will ultimately have to pay for.

So, with that in mind and the Greens peaking in the polls four months out from the Bundestag elections, itself a zombie institution thanks to the Greens’ veto power in the Burdesrat thanks to Merkel, it is possible that we see a sharp U-turn in the polls by the time the election actually happens.

Why? State-level elections.

Next week state elections happen in the German State of Saxony-Anhalt. And the closer we get to this election, for the first time in months, German polling is interesting. Because the heretofore incompetent Alternate for Germany (AfD) has successfully placed themselves in the position to win that election making it very difficult for Merkel, the very definition of lame duck, to keep them out of the government there through backroom dealings.

It’s one thing when the CDU is the dominant vote-getter, but it’s another thing when after two election cycles in Saxony, AfD is denied a seat at the table when they have a stable 23-25% level of support which is surging as we get to election day.

In this way if AfD wins this election it will be a black eye to all the other parties if they again pull the same stunt as in the last round of elections, refusing to even talk with them. And this could be the thing that catalyzes real movement in the polls come October.

I still maintain that AfD has squandered its many chances this far to become the center-right standard bearer for the average German. They are still mired below the critical 16% Chasm nationally while the SPD have fallen into irrelevance. Recent polls have the national number rising off of post-Coronapocalypse lows. And the question now is whether they see this opportunity in front of them to put Davos’ agenda on its back foot at a critical juncture in European history and position themselves as the true anti-war, pro-German middle class party.

I’m not sanguine about this given its leadership’s history, but it bears watching as the split between the former East and West Germany politically widens. Davos is always pushing events to ensure weak leadership in key countries. And it looks to me that the situation in Germany is fluid in a way that could see their best plans compromised.

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Tyler Durden
Tue, 06/01/2021 – 03:30

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Turkey Cracks Down On Alcohol As Erdogan Pushes Islamist Agenda

Turkey Cracks Down On Alcohol As Erdogan Pushes Islamist Agenda

Turkey, which Ataturk’s reforms dragged kicking and screaming from the confines of medieval Islam into the modern world, is fast regressing to its original state under its despotic ruler Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is seeking to place Islam at the heart of national politics to deflect away from his catastrophic rule, and steer the overwhelmingly Muslim country toward the Middle East and away from the West. He is doing so by restricting the use of alcohol, to start.

On April 29, the Turkish government imposed a nearly three-week nationwide lockdown and ban on alcohol sales through the end of Ramadan. Even at grocery stores allowed to operate during the period, liquor sections were sealed off with tape notifying customers that the corner has been temporarily closed by government order.

The liquor section of an Istanbul grocery store is cordoned off during a recent three-week lockdown.

As the Nikkei details, many people rushed to buy liquor before the lockdown. An employee at a midsize winery in the western region of Thrace said it had received telephone inquiries about delivery from about 30 customers. “I guess we have never sold so much alcohol during Ramadan,” she said.

The lockdown ended May 17, but the government would keep the weekend curfews and alcohol ban through the end of the month. It may extend it beyond. Many Turks question the effectiveness of the ban on drinking at home as an antivirus measure and criticize the move as undue meddling in private lives.

Since taking power in 2002, the Islamist ruling Justice and Development Party has clamped down on alcohol. The government has increased related taxes over the years and in 2013 passed a law banning alcohol ads and sales at liquor stores after 10 p.m. It also prohibits makers and sellers of alcohol from sponsoring sports events.

And these are only the visible measures. Although more than 150,000 stores, including supermarkets, sell alcohol in Turkey, over the past few years it has become increasingly difficult to obtain permission to open new stores to sell liquor, said Ozgur Aybas, head of a liquor store association that opposes government restrictions. In some conservative regions, local authorities turn down stores’ applications, saying alcohol is a sin.

Erdogan is a pious Muslim known for his dislike of alcohol. “The president may be trying to turn Turkey into a place like Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which allows alcohol consumption only among non-Muslim foreigners,” said Aybas, echoing similar views in the industry.

Although Turkey is a Muslim-majority country, it has a rich drinking culture and produces a wide variety of alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine and raki, the country’s signature spirit. Drinking became legal soon after the Republic of Turkey was established in 1923. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey and a hard drinker, helped establish a state-owned winery.

Ataturk – who regarded Islamic politics and society as the primary obstacle – pushed for Westernization with a focus on the separation of state and religion. While some see Turkey as a Middle Eastern country, international organizations and Western media often regard it as part of Europe. Turkey is a member of NATO and was named as a candidate for EU accession in 1999.

Erdogan has been trying to reverse the country’s secularization. Last year, the government converted Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, a World Heritage site secularized by Ataturk in 1934, into a mosque, and this past March it announced a withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, an international accord designed to protect women from violence.

Diplomatically, Turkey has actively engaged in the Palestinian issue as a Muslim country, and its EU accession has been practically put on hold.

The current move to tighten alcohol regulations is part of Erdogan’s effort to promote Islam and traditional values. When the tougher law was introduced in 2013, Erdogan implicitly criticized Ataturk and his longtime ally Ismet Inonu by saying, “Given that a law made by the two drunkards is respected, why should a law that is commanded by religion be rejected by your side?”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks beside a portrait of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.

Erdogan is trying to appeal to the country’s conservatives, who make up a majority of the population but often feel neglected by secular elites, who did not even allow women to wear headscarves in public at times.

According to several private-sector surveys, only around 20% of Turks drink alcohol regularly, while the state-run Turkish Statistical Institute – which is more Erdogan’s personal propaganda arm than anything data-driven – reported that more than 70% of those age 15 or older have never had alcohol.

Yet people seem weary of the government’s move to limit their freedom to choose their favorite drink. In a recent survey conducted by Istanbul Economics Research, 56% of respondents saw the recent alcohol ban as inappropriate, while 44% voiced their support. The poll shows that many in the nondrinking segment have reservations about the ban.

Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said that Erdogan and Ataturk are very similar in that both try to transform the country based on their own vision — but their visions are completely opposite.

Tyler Durden
Tue, 06/01/2021 – 02:45

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3geNQAH Tyler Durden

On The Hunt For Gas – War Drums In The Western Mediterranean

On The Hunt For Gas – War Drums In The Western Mediterranean

Authored by Piero Messina via South Front,

The waters of the eastern Mediterranean have become the scene of a low-intensity war. The goal is to control the energy resources that extend into the seabed from the coast of Greece to Israel. The maritime area of the eastern Mediterranean is one of the main areas of energy interest. In 2009, the Leviathan gas field (450 billion m3) was discovered, about 130 kilometers offshore from the Israeli city of Haifa. Subsequent explorations in this sea area have shown that large quantities of gas also exist in adjacent areas. In particular, the Tamar fields (about 318 billion m3) and some minor fields, including Dalit (55 billion m3) and Karish and Tanin (respectively about 8 and 55 billion m3), were discovered off the Israeli coast. They will allow Israel to meet domestic consumption and export part of its production. Then came, in 2011, the discoveries in the Cypriot waters of Aphrodite (about 129 billion m3) and Calypso (with a potential of 170-230 billion m3).

Greek Energy and Environment Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Cyprus Giorgos Lakkotrypis and Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz signed in Athens the intergovernmental agreement on the construction of the EastMed gas pipeline in December 2020

Whose are those energy resources? How and where will that wealth be distributed?

All the key players of that geopolitical quadrant claim their rights over those waters and the exploitation of the resources contained in the subsoil. The first move to conquer those seas is Turkey. Erdogan’s expansionist policy begins at the end of 2018, first with a series of hostile naval patrols against Cyprus, then with a series of drilling off the island shared with Greece. Turkish research activities arouse protests from the international community. So, the EU imposes sanctions on Turkey. But they are almost a caress.

Then, in compliance with the neo-Ottoman project of “Blue Homeland”, Ankara signs, in November 2019, an agreement with the Libyan transitional government, then chaired by  Fayez Al Serraj, for the exclusive exploitation of the maritime EEZ and for cooperation military. A punch in the face of Greece. In fact, on that same stretch of sea, another cooperation treaty entered into force in the summer of 2020, signed between Greece and Egypt. For Ankara it is a blow to the heart. Within days, the Ankara government sends the Oruc Reic seismic research ship to inspect what it considers to be its exclusive sea area. Too bad,  even the Greeks also think the same. The incident occurred on 12 August 2020. The Oruc Reis is sailing escorted by a fleet of Turkish ships and is approached by a Greek naval patrol. Eventually the Greek frigate Limnos and the Turkish Tgc Kemalreis will clash in this absurd sea duel. Greece and Turkey are both members of NATO. But national interests come first.

To understand the importance of that incident, it is necessary to look carefully at the map of the pipelines under construction.  That naval crash seems to be only the anticipation of a geopolitical conflict. A conflict that risks becoming more complicated: the two frigates collided exactly in the middle of Eastmed’s route.

What exactly is Eastmed and what can its real geopolitical value be?

EastMed is a pipeline that must connect the Levantine basin (in practice, Israel) with the gas distribution networks in Europe. It is a project carried out in joint ventures by Depa (the national gas company for Greece) and by Edison, an Italian-French multinational in the energy sector. The project was blessed by the European Commission which considered it strategic for the European Union. The pipeline route is over 1900 kilometers, 1300 offshore and 600 onshore. According to forecasts, the pipeline will start from the Israeli natural gas reserves of the Levant Sea basin, and then go to Cyprus, Crete and end in Greece. Subsequently, the gas from Greece will reach Italy through a further pipeline. The project, according to estimates, has a value of about 6 billion euros and, within 7 years, will meet 10% of the European Union’s natural gas needs. But in reality nothing has been decided yet. From a geopolitical point of view, that gas pipeline serves to reduce the energy dependence that Europe has on Russia.

That pipeline risks transforming the eastern Mediterranean into a war scenario. For the Eastmed design, the countries interested in the construction of the pipeline came together in a permanent forum. EMGF is its name: it was established in 2018 and was ratified by the acceding countries with a meeting in Cairo in September 2020. Here is the list of adhering countries: Italy, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Cyprus, Greece and the Palestinian National Authority . The simultaneous presence of Israel and the Palestinian National Authority makes us think. In the report explaining the reasons for the Forum, there are sufficient reasons to imagine a possible escalation of violence. Both for the exclusion of Turkey and Lebanon, which will have no intention of giving up those enormous riches, and for the geopolitical position declared hostile to the Kremlin. It is no secret that the project is against Russia.

The anti-Moscow blockade is strengthened by the forthcoming entry of France and the blessing of the US government. Here is what the Statute of the EMGF says: “Countries such as Turkey and Lebanon do not participate in the Forum due, respectively, to persistent tensions with Greece and Cyprus and the presence of Israel. Interest in the initiative was expressed by France which intends to join the Forum in the near future. The United States views the creation of the EMFG with great interest and would like to join the Forum or at least strengthen cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean region in the energy sector, as evidenced by the participation of the US Deputy Secretary for Energy at the launch of the Forum in January. 2020. The US, in particular, believes that the gas resources present off the coast of Israel, Cyprus and Egypt constitute an important element for the diversification of European energy supplies, with a consequent decrease in the old continent’s dependence on supplies from Moscow”.

Eastmed is expected to be fully operational in 2025. But there are still many doubts.

Tyler Durden
Tue, 06/01/2021 – 02:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3cq7LLV Tyler Durden

Eisenhower Rejected Military Chiefs’ Demand For Nuclear War On China

Eisenhower Rejected Military Chiefs’ Demand For Nuclear War On China

Authored by Gareth Porter via TheGrayZone.com,

A previously censored account of the 1958 Taiwan Strait crisis that was sponsored by the Pentagon has been published in full by the leaker of the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg. The report provides a hair-raising portrait of a reckless US military leadership relentlessly pressing President Dwight Eisenhower for the authority to carry out nuclear attacks on communist China. After holding the still-classified version of the account in his possession for fifty years, Ellsberg said he decided to release it because of the growing threat of US war with China over Taiwan, and the danger that such a conflict could escalate into a nuclear exchange.

May 22 New York Times report on the account offered only general details of the role the US Joint Chiefs of Staff played in the run-up to the 1958 Taiwan crisis. However, it is now clear from the original highly classified documents as well as other evidence now available that from the beginning, the Joint Chiefs aimed first and foremost to exploit the tensions to carry out nuclear strikes against Chinese nuclear military targets deep in highly-populated areas.

Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist Kuomintang regime and the Joint Chiefs were allies in wanting to embroil the United States in a war with China. Deputy Secretary of State Christian Herter feared that the Nationalist regime was determined to drag the US into conflict, according to the Pentagon-sponsored account. The reason, according to the author of the account, Morton Halperin, was that involving the United States in a war with the Chinese Communists “was clearly their only hope for a return to the mainland.”

Quemoy and Matsu, the two main offshore islands occupied by Nationalist troops, were less than five miles from the mainland and had been used by Chiang’s forces as bases to mount unsuccessful commando raids inside the mainland. And Chiang, who was still committed to reconquering the mainland China with the ostensible support of the United States, had stationed a third of his 350,000-man army on those two islands.

In May 1958, the Joint Chiefs adopted a new plan (OPS PLAN 25-58), ostensibly for the defense of the offshore islands. In fact, the plan provided a basis for attacking China with atomic weapons. It was to begin with a brief preliminary “Phase I”, which it called “patrol and reconnaissance” and was said to be already underway. “Phase II”, which would have been triggered by a Chinese attack on the offshore islands, would involve US air forces wiping out the attacking forces.

But the new plan envisioned a possible third phase, in which the Strategic Air Command and forces under the command of the US Pacific Command would carry out strategic attacks with 10 to 15 kiloton tactical nuclear weapons “to destroy the war-making capability” of China.

According to the account authored by Halperin, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Air Force Gen. Nathan Twining, told State Department officials in an August meeting that the third phase would require nuclear strikes on Chinese bases as far north as Shanghai. The Joint Chiefs played down the threat to civilian casualties from such tactical atomic weapons, emphasizing that an airburst of tactical atomic explosions would generate little radioactive fallout. But the account indicates that they provided no concrete information on expected civilian casualties.

Given the fact that both the Chinese gun emplacements across the Taiwan Strait and a key airbase serving the Chinese military forces in any conflict over the offshore islands would have been located close to significant population centers, such atomic explosions would have certainly caused civilian casualties on a massive scale.

The Joint Chiefs did not acknowledge that the bombs they planned to detonate with airbursts would have had the same potential lethality as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Nor would they concede that the targets of such bombings were located in the immediate vicinity of Chinese cities that were roughly the same population as Hiroshima.

The city of Xiamen, for example, was close to military targets in the Amoy area, while Ningbo was close to the main Chinese airbase in Zhejiang province that would have been attacked by US forces. Like the Hiroshima bomb, the nuclear explosions would have been triggered in the air, where blast damage is greatest, destroying or damaging nearly everything within a radius of three miles from the blast, killing much of the population.

The Joint Chiefs also assumed that China would respond to the US use of atomic weapons by retaliating with atomic weapons, which the Joint Chiefs presumed would be made available to the Chinese government by the Soviet Union. 

The Halperin report recounts that Twining told State Department officials that the bombing of the intended targets with tactical nuclear weapons “almost certainly would involve nuclear retaliation against Taiwan and possibly against Okinawa….” That assumption was based on a Special National Intelligence Estimate that had been issued on July 22, 1958. The estimate had concluded that, if the U.S. “launched nuclear strikes deep into Communist China,” the Chinese would “almost certainly” respond with nuclear weapons.

Despite the acceptance of the likelihood that it would lead to nuclear retaliation by China, JCS Chairman Twining expressed no hesitation about the plan, asserting that in order to defend the offshore islands, “the consequences had to be accepted”.

The Joint Chiefs seek to appropriate war powers

The Joint Chiefs’ plan betrayed the military chiefs’ hope of removing the power of decision over nuclear war from the hands of the president. It said the plan would be put into operation when “dictated by appropriate U.S. authority” – implying that it would not necessarily be decided by the president.

In his own memoirs, Eisenhower recalled with some bitterness how, during the 1958 crisis, he was “continuously pressured — almost hounded — by Chiang [Chinese nationalist Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek] on one side and by our own military on other requesting delegation of authority for immediate action on Formosa [Taiwan] or the offshore islands….” He did not refer, however, to the efforts by the Joint Chiefs efforts to gain advance authorization for the use nuclear weapons on the Chinese mainland.

The wording of the JCS plan was changed to read “when authorized by the President” at Eisenhower’s insistence to provide that only conventional means could be used at least initially for defense of the islands, while leaving open the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons if that failed.

But the Joint Chiefs were not finished. In a paper presented to Eisenhower on September 6, the chiefs proposed that they be authorized to “oppose any major attack on Taiwan and attack mainland bases with all CINPAC force that can be brought to bear” in the event of “an emergency arising from an attack on Taiwan and the offshore islands moving so rapidly that it would not permit consultations with the President…”

Further, they asked for the authority to respond to a “major landing attack on offshore islands,” by “[u]se of atomic weapons and U.S. air attack in support of [Chinese Nationalist] Air Force…as necessary, only as approved by the President.” Eisenhower approved the paper with those qualifiers.

When Secretary of State John Foster Dulles warned that Japan would object strongly to using nuclear weapons against the Chinese mainland, and forbid the launching of nuclear weapons from their territory, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Arleigh Burke suggested that the opposition to nuclear weapons in Japan was “inspired by the Communists,” and that foreign leaders would soon recognize that the use of nuclear weapons by the US “was in their interests”.

Burke closed his argument by claiming that if the US did not maintain the threat of tactical nuclear weapons in conflicts,  it would “lose the entire world within three years.” That obviously absurd argument suggests that the intense desire among the Joint Chiefs to use nuclear weapons against China was less motivated by any threat from Communist Chinese than by their own institutional interests.

In pre-Cold War Washington, the US Navy served as the primary bureaucratic ally of the Kuomintang regime. The relationship was forged when Chiang provided the Navy with the home base for its 7th Fleet at Tsingtao in Northern China. Navy brass in the Pacific had urged unconditional support for Chiang’s regime during the civil war with the Communists and derided as “pinkies” those State Department officials – beginning with Secretary George C. Marshall – who entertained any doubts about the Kuomintang leader.

By 1958, the Air Force was so strongly committed to its role as an exclusively nuclear-weapons delivery organization that it insisted on being able to able to using nuclear weapons in any war it fought in the Pacific region. The account of the crisis reveals that, when the Air Force Commander in the Pacific, Gen. Lawrence S. Kuter, learned of Eisenhower’s decision to defend the offshore islands with conventional weapons, he relayed the message to Gen. John Gerhart, the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff. Shockingly, Gerhart responded that the Air Force “could not agree in principle” to the use of SAC forces for such non-nuclear operations.

Beyond the desire of the Navy and Air Force chiefs to ensure their long-term presence and reinforce the importance of their respective roles in the Pacific, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have always aspired to maximize their influence over US policy in any conflict where U.S might use military force.

It turned out that the Chinese never intended full-scale war over the offshore islands. Instead they sought to mount a blockade of resupply to the islands through artillery barrages, and when the US military provided armed escorts for the ships carrying out the resupply, they were careful to avoid hitting American ships. As the Halperin report observed, once the Chinese recognized that a blockade could not prevent the resupply, they settled for symbolic artillery attacks on Quemoy, which were limited to every other day.

It was the eagerness of the Joint Chiefs for a nuclear war against China, rather than the policy of communist China, that presented the most serious threat to American security.

Although the circumstances surrounding the U.S.-China conflict over Taiwan have changed dramatically since that stage of the Cold War, the 1958 Taiwan crisis provides a sobering lesson as the US military gears up for a new military confrontation with China.

Tyler Durden
Tue, 06/01/2021 – 00:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3g2an3c Tyler Durden

Space Junk Damages Part Of International Space Station

Space Junk Damages Part Of International Space Station

Amid fears of increasing space junk in low Earth orbit, a robotic arm attached to the International Space Station (ISS) has been damaged by space junk. 

In a blog post, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) said a routine inspection on May 12 uncovered a small, untrackable piece of space junk that struck Canadarm2, which is a Canadian robotic arm on ISS used to conduct station maintenance. 

“Canadarm2 is continuing to conduct its planned operations,” said the CSA. “The damage is limited to a small section of the arm boom and thermal blanket.” 

The statement also explained that NASA and CSA would work together to find out more about the impact. CSA said near-term robotic operations will continue as plan. 

Over decades, debris from satellites, rockets, and other space devices has been locked in orbit. A lot of the junk is building up and could cause significant damage to the ISS and functioning satellites.

According to the CSA, “over 23,000 objects the size of a softball or larger are tracked 24/7 to detect potential collisions with satellites and the ISS.” Yet as these items deteriorate and break apart, they produce smaller debris that can’t be tracked, posing additional risk to space-based operations. 

The European Space Agency (ESA) said many of these objects are accumulating rocket boosters, defunct satellites, and spaceborne shrapnel. It estimates up to 160 million objects measuring upwards of a millimeter are clogging up low Earth orbit. 

In its annual 2020 report, ESA showed that the number of “fragmentation events” has soared over the last three decades. 

Though these fragments may be small, they travel at thousands of miles per hour and can easily pierce satellites and other spacecraft, resulting in ESA and NASA calling for action against space debris. 

Planned for 2025, the ESA recently awarded the Swiss startup company Clearpace, a $117 million contract, to remove space debris from orbit. 

If readers are curious about just how much space junk is floating above, ESA’s animation shows an incredible view of all the debris:  

Meanwhile, Elon Musk is expected to launch thousands of Starlink satellites into space which could cause further traffic jams in orbit. 

Tyler Durden
Mon, 05/31/2021 – 23:30

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3yPlQMd Tyler Durden

Trump: Biden Is “Destroying” Our Country With “Failed Border Policies”

Trump: Biden Is “Destroying” Our Country With “Failed Border Policies”

Authored by Isabel van Brugen via The Epoch Times,

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday accused Joe Biden of “destroying” the United States with his administration’s “failed border policies,” in a wide-ranging interview that also saw him criticize the president for his handling of issues in the Middle East and China.

“If he would have done nothing, we would have had right now the strongest border in history,” Trump said in an interview with Dick Morris on Newsmax’s “Dick Morris Democracy.” 

“All he had to do is nothing.”

Since assuming office on Jan. 20, President Joe Biden’s has rescinded a number of his predecessor’s immigration and border policies.

Republican lawmakers have long argued that the burgeoning crisis is a result of Biden’s move to overturn several Trump-era immigration policies that helped curbed the flow of illegal border crossings. This includes his predecessor’s cornerstone Migrant Protection Protocol, which effectively ended the problematic “catch and release” policy, significantly stemming the number of illegal immigrants at the southern border in 2019.

In a return to Obama-era policies, the Biden administration is again releasing unaccompanied illegal immigrant minors into the country. Lawmakers argue that Biden’s act sent a signal to prospective migrants to once again travel to the United States.

Illegal immigrants just released from detention through “catch and release” immigration policy stand at a bus station before being taken to the Catholic Charities relief center in McAllen, Texas, on April 11, 2018. (Loren Elliott/Reuters)

The Biden administration, meanwhile, has sought to shift the blame onto the previous administration, with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas saying that the previous government had “dismantled the orderly, humane, and efficient way of allowing children to make their claims under United States law in their own country.”

“I had everything worked out with the other countries, whether it’s Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico,” Trump said Saturday. “And even Mexico, stay in Mexico. In other words, these people ought to stay in Mexico, and they couldn’t get into our country. And he ended that. It’s just crazy what they did.”

Trump also claimed in his interview with Newsmax that the Northern Triangle countries are “opening their prisons.”

“Their prisoners are coming in, their murderers, their drug addicts, and drug dealers, by the way. And the human traffickers are coming in. And we’re accepting them, because they’ve opened up the borders,” Trump said.

“The question is do they do it out of incompetence, which I happen to think, or they do it because they really believe open borders are good for this country? Which they are not.”

He added:

“We won’t have a country. They are destroying our country.”

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data published on May 11, arrests and detentions at the U.S.–Mexico border hit record levels last month.

Illegal immigrants, mostly from Central America, are dropped off by Customs and Border Protection at a bus station in the border city of Brownsville, Texas, on March 15, 2021. (Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

Immigration arrests and detentions at the southern border last month rose by 3 percent from March, to 178,622—the highest one-month total in 20 years, CBP data show.

[ZH: Additionally, the number of people attempting to cross the US-Mexico border from countries beyond Mexico and Central America’s Northern Triangle – including residents of Haiti, Cuba, Romania and India – has spiked during recent months.]

Last month’s figures, however, marked the first month since Biden took office that the CBP didn’t record a major month-on-month jump in the number of border arrests and detentions, despite reaching record levels.

While the Biden administration has called the unprecedented surge in numbers a “challenge,” neither the president nor the vice president has visited the border.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on May 4, “After coming into office, our administration immediately jumped into action to address the influx of migrants at the border—something that began during and was exacerbated by the Trump administration.”

Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. May 24, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

The former president also mentioned the violence between Hamas—a designated terrorist group since 1997—and Israel this month, saying “what’s happened to Israel is one of the great injustices.”

“If you look back 10 or 12 years ago, Israel was so protected by Congress. Congress loved Israel. Now, especially if you looked at the House, the House doesn’t like Israel. The House is protective of anything other than Israel,” Trump said.

Members of the progressive group that has come to be known as the “Squad”—Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib D-Mich.)—have come under fire in recent days for their controversial anti-Israel comments on Twitter as violence intensified, before a ceasefire agreement was eventually reached on May 20. The 11-day conflict started when Hamas launched rockets into Israel over a court case to evict several Palestinian families in East Jerusalem that triggered riots.

“What’s gone on with the House with AOC and Omar and all of these people and Pelosi, they are not in favor of Israel, and yet the Jewish vote goes to the Democrats,” Trump added.

The White House and “Squad” members didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment by The Epoch Times.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 05/31/2021 – 23:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3yRGM5m Tyler Durden